Tuesday, December 13, 2011

3D Paper Garland

More cute paper garland! I can't stop!
Actually this is the first garland I started last week but somehow it got pushed aside once I started cutting out the glittery circles for the other holiday garland I made. 
To make these I folded a couple circles in half and then glued one half to another half, and kept gluing the folded circles to each other until I was happy with the amount of layers. Then I just put thread in the middle (where all the folded edges meet) and glued the last two sides together. 
I think the little 3D circles would make really cute simple ornaments for a christmas tree and the flat strands of circles would look great acting as ribbon on a present. 
Looks like I've got more crafting to do!
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Monday, December 12, 2011


Samosas have been on my "Must-make" list for years now. I suppose one big hinderance that kept me from making these for so long was finding nigella seeds for the dough. But thanks to Costas Halavrezos and Epices de Cru I now have a wealthy stock of them in my spice drawer.
The recipe I used was from Epicurious and although seemed to have generally good reviews many reviewers complained that they were bland. Considering that the recipe suggests that they be served with yogurt (as opposed chutney which is what I eat samosas with) I wasn't too concerned.

Well after rolling out the dough, folding and filling them, we fried up two right away and froze the rest. We ate them with my peach chutney and loved every single bite.

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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Metallic Paper Garland

I'm really not a glittery person.
Aside from a pair of black sequinned leggings I bought 2 years ago, and maybe some glittery eye shadow I wore as a teenager, I think I can safely say I don't really like glitter.
That is however until Dec 1st hits and I'm transported into a world where silver, gold and all things shimmery feel almost necessary. Maybe it's because winter is so white, cold, and drab that I feel like I need a something sparkly to catch the light and brighten up my day.
This garland was super simple to make. I used a large paper punch to create all the circles and then just sewed them together with my sewing machine. Since my metallic paper wasn't double sided I had to use sew two together back to back so that there wouldn't be plain white sides of the garland showing. I think the fact that it's doubled up and therefore sturdier will help it last for at least a few years.

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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Dark Chocolate and Hazelnut Scones with Orange Zest

Not since I discovered "Super Natural Everyday" have I been so excited about a cookbook. I've been patiently waiting for my turn to borrow "Ancient Grains for Modern Meals" by Maria Speck from the library, and today I finally got to pick it up.
Now I know a recipe like this might not be the best representation of a book of this nature but it was the first one I tried and they turned out to be some of the tastiest scones I've ever had so I felt I owed it to you all to share. I literally can't stop thinking about these scones (weird, no?) and even crave them for dessert.
And don't worry I'm sure I'll be sharing lots of delicious things made with farro, barley, quinoa, polenta and wheat berries with you soon enough.

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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Cauliflower Soup

Since getting home from vacation I've made a few promises to myself. The first one was to really crack down on eating healthier and making time for exercise.
 I was doing great before vacation but it's amazing what a huge step back it is to eat out and not exercise for almost three weeks. Ugh. I really can't believe how out of shape I feel.
The second promise was to really make great use of my time at home since I'll be working at the family biz full time for...well...quite a while. I wish the two promises weren't so interconnected..but they are (having barely any time to cook, clean, or relax leaves very little motivation to eat healthy and work out).

So today is my first day off since working full time again and I've done laundry, ran errands, made soup, and am currently making veggie burgers and cookies to have in the freezer for those upcoming days when we'll need them most. I'm also planning on dusting off my rarely-used slow cooker in hopes that it'll provide some amazing meals while we're both at work. Have any great slow cooker recipes? I'd love to hear about them!

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Thursday, December 1, 2011


We just arrived home from our amazing 2 week vacation and I'm feeling rather weird.
I barely got any sleep on our red-eye flight, my stomach is still struggling to adjust to digestion without acidophilus (although I'm so thankful for it's help in saving me from sickness in Cuba), I'm excited to get back into the swing of things yet don't really want to do anything at all, I'm exhausted but I can't sleep, I'm in the middle of load #3 of probably 6 loads of laundry, I'm hungry but have no groceries...
Am I painting a vivid picture of my day so far? Phew. I wish I could just fall asleep.

But on a positive note I felt so thankful this morning to be back in our little home, to climb into our bed that feels just right, to be able to make a cup of my favourite tea, listen to CBC radio and most importantly to be able to reach into the freezer and pull out one of these black bean empanadas for a quick and completely effortless lunch.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Almost back to reality...

I already miss the beach, the warm ocean water and (most importantly) the churros.  
Our relaxing Cuban getaway has come to an end but we still have a few more days of Canadian vacation before we have to dive head first back into real life. So we'll continue to relax by eating at our favourite Calgary restaurants and playing with our nieces for just a little bit longer. 

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Saturday, November 19, 2011


Hello dear readers, sorry I disappeared with no explanation. The hubby and I are on a much needed vacation. We're currently trying to avoid frostbite in icy Edmonton and next week will be lying on a beach in Cuba. See you in December!
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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Coconut Cake

Today our little family business is celebrating its 2nd anniversary! These last two years have been amazing, like nothing we could have EVER imagined. We are blessed with the most dedicated staff and customers who all seem to embrace our business as if it's their own.
Right now my husband and our staff are working as fast as humanly possible serving discounted drinks as a birthday gift to our loyal and loving customers. So it only seems fair that I should whip them up some healthy snacks (like this kale salad and this beet & apple slaw) and some birthday cake to fuel them throughout this busy day.

Truthfully I don't make cakes very often, although I don't really know why that is. I do enjoy eating cake and now that I have a fancy schmancy stand mixer it certainly isn't anymore difficult or time consuming than any other dessert I make.
I've had my eye on this cake for a really long time but since my better half doesn't care much for coconut (and I apparently don't make cake) you can probably imagine why it has yet to come to fruition. Well today's task of making a birthday cake for our cafe seemed like the perfect time to try this recipe (and guess who had a bite and loved it? My coconut hating husband!).

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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Ginger Molasses Cookies

These are easily some of the best cookies I've ever made. I found the recipe 7 or 8 years ago while living in an apartment about the size of a closet. It was so small it didn't even have a full kitchen, just a small sink, mini fridge, two burners and a toaster oven. It's amazing to think of the things you'll put up with when you're young and seeking independence.
The first time I baked these cookies was in that toaster oven and my tiny one room apartment was filled with the most delicious aromas of molasses, ginger and cinnamon.
These cookies have the perfect texture (soft with a slightly crisp exterior) and aren't too sweet which usually means I end up eating more of them.

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Roasted Red Pepper & Chorizo Pizza

I think this is going to become a winter staple meal in our house. Sweet and tangy homemade roasted red peppers paired with spicy chorizo sausage on a thin layer of homemade tomato sauce, sprinkled with a hard cheese and some bitter greens. Mmmm I wish I had leftovers...

One of my favourite preserving blogs Food In Jars, has a really cute feature called "Preserves in Action" that's a showcase for how and when to use preserves. Some are as simple as jam on toast, but most are creative ways to use up your precious homemade preserves. This pizza feels like a decent example of my own Preserves in Action because I was able to use two preserves to make this pizza, the tomato sauce and roasted red peppers.

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Wonky Stripes Baby Quilt

The first time my friend Lisa told me about her experience of adopting a child from Ethiopia, I struggled to keep the tears back. Her adoption story was so beautiful and touching I think it would be impossible for someone to not be moved by it. She's such a energizing and selfless woman who was clearly changed forever the day she brought back her little girl. When Lisa recently told me she was going to back to Ethiopia this winter and was organizing a fundraiser for C.H.O.I.R. I knew immediately that I wanted to help.
The fundraiser is in the form of a shopping event featuring handmade artisan gifts with a child in mind. I've clearly had children on my mind for quite sometime now so it felt really natural to make another craft intended for a child.
This is the first quilt I've made for someone else other than myself and I must say I'm pretty sad to have to see it go! Good thing I can just make another one.

If you live in the Halifax area come check out Handsmade for Helping at Alderney Landing in Dartmouth on Thursday November 3rd at 6:30pm. This quilt will be for sale as well as pottery, textiles, rugs, jewelry and so much more. 100% of all proceeds will go to C.H.O.I.R.
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Black Bean Pumpkin Soup

Do you ever have those days when you wake up and it's pouring and you say to yourself "I'm not going to leave the house today."? Well I'm having one of those days and it's great!
I love that rainy days make me feel less guilty for being a hermit. It feels a bit more socially acceptable to keep my pajamas on while I bake bread, make soup and quilt, when it's pouring outside.
I predict that the rest of the day will include pots of tea,  crib games, and knitting. Is it really any wonder why I love rainy days?

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Cabbage and Beans

Sounds boring doesn't it?
But I promise you this modest combination of wilted cabbage, browned potatoes and beans is far superior than the sum of it's parts. As I dove in for my first bite I was surprised (maybe even shocked) by how tasty it was. I think this is easily going to become my new favourite healthy cold weather dish.

And if that's not enough to convince you to make this right away let me tell you about how I added the leftovers to some homemade turkey soup stock for the simplest and quickest, yet hearty and filling brothy soup.
I might even just have to make it again tomorrow morning for breakfast with a poached egg on top.
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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Winter Panzanella Salad

The last few days have felt like a bit of a whirlwind, but I'd like to think that this salad has helped keep me grounded. Maybe that sounds silly but I really think comfort food has the ability to soothe the mind as well as nourish the body. 
We started looking at houses this week, with no expectations to actually find one we liked. But of course we DID find one we love, very very much. So now my husband and I have been full of anxious nervous energy for the last few days and I'm using food as a way to try to bring us back down to earth. 
All the nerve-wracking waiting feels slightly less obvious while I'm chopping apples for applesauce, or stirring a hot pot of soup. 

After falling in love with Feisty Chef's Panzanella Salad this summer I couldn't help but let my mind wander into other seasons full of other produce that might be adaptable to this delicious bread salad. I remembered seeing a winter panzanella salad on Smitten Kitchen years ago and decided to just google it and see how the world out there is interpreting it. Well it turned out that Michael Chiarello made a pretty damn good salad that caused a flurry of bloggers to follow suit, including SK and now of course myself.   
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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Raw Kale Salad

I never imagined I'd love raw kale so much. This salad is bursting with bright and bold flavours that make it a rather addictive dish. After eating it (and learning how to make it!) in a recent Feisty Chef cooking class, I just couldn't stop thinking about it. I made it for Thanksgiving dinner a few days later and despite how "un-thanksgiving" it seems it really fit in well amongst mashed potatoes, turkey and stuffing. But it's also quite deserving of a plate of its own for an afternoon snack, just like I'm eating it now.
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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Knit Baby Pants

Don't you just wish there was a wee little babe wearing these that you could scoop up and cuddle in your arms?? Well I sure do. I can't wait for all my pregnant friends to start delivering their babies so I can have some models for these baby knit blog posts. I can't wait to see little tiny toes poking out of the cuffs of these pants! 
I used a pattern from "Vintage Knits for Modern Babies" (great book by the way, I think I might bite the bullet and just buy it) by Hadley Fierlinger. I ran out of yarn which resulted in a few stripes near the waist which I actually really like. I didn't however think about how that also meant I'd need to sew the seams together with a different yarn. Not so fond of that look but I suppose it's not terribly noticeable. I sewed some elastic around the waist to help keep them up as the pattern suggested. I think next time I might try decreasing as I near the waist to see if I could get away without the elastic.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

No-Knead Dinner Rolls

My kitchen still smells like turkey and there's some lonely leftover whipped cream in the fridge. The pie plates have been licked clean, and the napkins have been folded and returned to storage.
Thanksgiving has come and gone again. This year's dinner was just lovely, spent with a mix of friends and family, plenty of food, and plenty of rambunctious children squealing and running about. Polished off by plenty of wine and card games it was all that I could have asked for.

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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Thanksgiving Meal Ideas

Am I the only one who totally keeps forgetting that Thanksgiving is this weekend?? Aaaah! Where does the time go?! I'd like to think that the culprit of forgetting thanksgiving is the freakishly warm weather we have been spoiled with, but I must admit that my head has been in the clouds lately. All I can seem to do is read and watch coverage of Occupy Wall Street. I never thought in my lifetime I'd see this kind of thing happening in America but I couldn't be more thrilled. It gives me chills and makes my eyes well up just thinking about it. If you don't know what I'm talking about please, PLEASE take it upon yourself to find out what's going on in NYC (and around the world), because clearly most media outlets aren't going to do it for you.

Phew! So what was I talking about? Things that feel slightly meaningless next to social change? Oh right, Thanksgiving! Well the warm weather disappeared quite suddenly today and brought me back to reality. It's October 6th and I don't know what I'm making for Thanksgiving. So as I try to decide what to make, I figured someone out there might need some help too. Here are some delicious side dishes and desserts that your guests are sure to adore (while you all take the time to converse about the state of global and national politics, right?).

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Apples and Bacon

Potato Turnip Gratin

Brussels Sprout Hash

Roasted Broccoli

Balsamic Braised Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprout and Pecan Salad

The following salads might seem a bit unconventional for Thanksgiving (well come to think of it any salad is probably considered unconventional) but why not take advantage of some beautiful fall produce and opt for a healthier side to balance out all those heavy mashed potatoes and rich gravies.

Apple and Bacon Slaw

Cabbage, Apple and Pecan Salad

In my childhood home growing up we always had pumpkin pie after Thanksgiving dinner. That is until my mother started using squash but (at least as I remember it) she didn't tell us because she probably knew we'd protest. "Eww! Squash Pie? Gross Mom!" But of course we didn't notice and loved it anyway.
I've made a few pumpkin/squash pies in my adult life but sometimes I feel like I want something more interesting...especially more texturally interesting, like the following.

Pecan Pie

Apple Coffee Cake

Pear Pie

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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Another Log Cabin Pillow

Despite my attempts to keep my bedding from looking so "matchy matchy" I just couldn't help but make some cute brown log cabin throw pillows to go with our new duvet.
With some new pink striped pillow cases I also made (and some floral ones not shown) I felt like I needed to tone down the girliness by adding some more muted tones to the bed. I mean I do have to share this room with someone else, who happens to be a man. He politely says he loves it all, and I love him all the more for it.Pin It

Friday, September 30, 2011

Beet & Green Bean Salad with Goat Cheese

There's nothing like an early fall salad of beets and green beans. 
I am really going to miss green beans once they disappear from the markets. Thankfully we'll probably have another few weeks (right? right?) before they disappear until next summer. This was also a lovely use for all the tiny little basil leaves left on my sad looking basil plant. 
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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Steel Cut Oats

This little bowl is a window into our daily life and routine.
Almost everyday my alarm clock goes off and I sleepily begin preparing these oats for my husbands breakfast. Why doesn't he make his own darn oats, you ask? Well most days the poor boy has to wake up at 5:45am, and I think it's a fair trade that if I get to sleep in then perhaps I could be generous enough to make him breakfast and bring it to his work. It's the least I can do, right?
As the months roll by his oatmeal gets topped with whatever fresh fruit is available. Strawberries, blueberries raspberries, blackberries, peaches, pears, or apples. It's yet another way we really notice (and appreciate) the season changes.

This morning I'm really noticing the season change. For the last few months I've been enjoying my morning coffee sitting in my favourite arm chair with our deck doors wide open, letting the sun pour in and warm me up.
Today the doors will not be opening. In fact there's only one window out of four that is left open (I just can't say goodbye to the fresh air just yet!). The sun still pours in but doesn't warm me up the same way. I'll rely on wool socks and sweaters to do that this morning, and will every morning from now until next spring (sounds kind of sad doesn't it?).

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Decoupaged Serving Tray

We love to entertain outdoors whenever the weather co-operates and this tray is going to be just perfect for toting all of our edible (and drinkable) creations out to our guests. When my mother found this beautiful old serving tray in an antique store she knew that my husband and I could put it to good use and gave it to us as a birthday gift. However it needed a major facelift, but again she knew that would be right up my alley. Thanks Mum!

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Linguine with Blue Cheese, Beet Greens, and Hazelnuts

I love when I go searching for new recipes to use up a particular ingredient and I find one that features other things I already have on hand, and it turns out to be my new favourite dish. The flavours are simple  but bold in their own ways and the hazelnuts really pull it all together. Yum!
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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Blue Cheese Caesar Salad

So...I'm kind of on a blue cheese kick lately. Mostly because I have way too much of it in my fridge so I can't help but find ways to sneak it into everyday life. This has to be one of my favourite examples of such sneaking. If you don't (think you) like blue cheese but want to learn to love it, I really suggest making this salad. You can easily put less blue cheese in if you're really freaked out, but I say just go for it!

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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Log Cabin Duvet Cover

It's about time our bedroom got a pick-me-up. As much as I love the last duvet cover I made, I've been itching to have something a little bolder on our bed. I know that this collection of fabrics might not look "bold" to some, but compared to the very beige palette of the last one I made this feels quite refreshing and perky.

The other side is made up of oversized simple stripes of navy and two shades of beige. I'm planning on making lots of pillow cases to go with this new cover but I think I'm going to try to make them less "matchy matchy" than the old set of bedding. Maybe throw in a few other fabrics that aren't in the duvet but are complimentary. 
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Friday, September 23, 2011

Corn Stock

So have you been freezing any delicious local corn lately? If not, you still have time to head to the market this weekend and get some, and then you can use the leftover cobs to create the tastiest corn soup stock ever. I really can't wait for that snowy winter night when I can take this out of our freezer along with some frozen corn and make a sweet corn chowder that will make my kitchen smell just like summer.

I read about corn stock on Local Kitchen the other day and was totally inspired. Why on earth haven't I been using those corn cobs to make myself some super flavourful soup stock?? It feels like I'm getting that much more bang for my buck to be able to make something out of (what feels like) nothing. But I guess that's the beauty of making stocks in general. Using up vegetable scraps, and or poultry or fish carcasses that would otherwise be throw out to create something so useful, and of course delicious.
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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Quinoa Muffins

Could I be any more obsessed with my current favourite cookbook "Super Natural Everyday"? I didn't think so, but I feel like my infatuation is reaching new heights. 
I had been searching for around for some quinoa muffins and these are just what I was looking for. Healthy, tasty, filling, with a great texture. Add they were quite quick to throw together. Bonus!
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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Peaches in White Wine Syrup

Before the peaches disappear for another year do yourself a favour and make a batch of these delectable preserved peaches. You'll thank me in February as you pile them on your morning oatmeal and breath a sigh of relief that winter will be over soon.

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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Corpse Reviver #2

This blog has really been overdue for a trip down cocktail lane. I would like to say that I've been so busy drinking them that I haven't have time to tell you about them all, but that would make me sound like an alcoholic which I'm gladly not.

I almost feel like the Corpse Reviver #2 is slightly old news in this neck of the woods. I think my husband started cranking them out in the spring and if you knew how obsessed with cocktails and mixology he is than you'd know that this drink must be pretty special to remain on our radar for so long.
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