Friday, December 30, 2011

Final Friday of 2011

I can't believe it's the last weekend of the year. Where did it all go?  It's been so nice getting to know you all. Thanks for all your support, lovely comments, and for getting me hooked on some seriously good blogs all over the world!

Wishing you all a fantastic New Year's weekend. Here's to a perfect 2012 for all!

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Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Well hello everyone! How was your Christmas? I've spent the last 6 days bed or couch bound due to a Yuletide cold/flu (what is the difference anyway?). I did pop out to my mom's for Christmas day, but that was it. Hope you managed to breeze through the holiday bug free!

I tried out a recipe for our New Year's Eve get together. Yum. Have you made yorkshire pudding before? I grew up eating it pretty much every Sunday, but only recently starting making them myself.  I thought I'd make mini ones, then top them with a mushroom compote along with a little gruyere cheese. Bite (maybe two!) size and perfect for a cocktail party.

Mini Yorkshire Pudding with Mushroom Compote - makes about 24

1 cup + 2 tablespoons milk
4 oz all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, beaten
about 1/3 cup vegetable oil for mini muffin tin

Mushroom Compote: You might want to double this recipe. I did.

4.5 oz mixed mushrooms, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1.5 teaspoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
2 tablespoons red wine
3 tablespoons olive oil

To make yorkshire pudding: Preheat oven to 425f. In a medium bowl, sift together flour and salt. Make a   well in the flour mixture, and whisk in the 3 beaten eggs. Add the milk, a bit at a time, while whisking away. Your batter should be a little thicker than unwhipped whipping cream. Refrigerate batter for 30 minutes.

12 minutes before you take out your batter, place 1/4 teaspoon vegetable oil in each cup of the mini muffin tin. Place in oven and heat until it smokes, about 12 minutes. Take pan out of oven and place on a stove top element/flame set on low (I do this so the oil stays as hot as possible while I pour batter into tin cups). Put one tablespoon of batter in each cup, working quickly, then place back in oven. Your oil really needs to be super hot, so the puddings rise high and are light and airy.

Allow to cook for 15-20 minutes, until puffed high and golden brown. Really try not to open the oven door while cooking, as they may flatten. Place on a wire rack to cool.

To make compote: In a large pan, on medium low, heat up your oil, then add onion and garlic. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add mushrooms, red wine and thyme, and cook for another 10 minutes.

To assemble: Warm up yorkshire puddings in a 350f/180c oven for about 5 minutes. Top with a small piece of gruyere and a spoonful of the compote.

I'm definitely going to make these for the party. Pretty easy and, if you're not shooting the process, or getting over a yuletide bug, it takes no time at all. ;)

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Friday, December 23, 2011

Joyful Friday

If you're celebrating Hanukkah, I hope you have a great one too! 

Thanks for checking in with me this week, and for leaving such lovely comments. It means a lot! 

I'll be back next week... 


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Yarn + Trees

Happy Hump day before Christmas!

I found myself, last minute, in Seattle late Monday night into the very wee hours of Tuesday. We saw Prince play at a nightclub, after his arena show. Wow and wow. Absolutely amazing. I was 5 feet away from that magical man. The show wrapped up at 4am and on the way home (2.5 hours away), we saw this spectacular display of yarn bombing. They looked beautiful in the dark with no one around.

I feel like knitting our tiny tree, in our back yard, a Christmas sweater now ;)

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Monday, December 19, 2011


Where have the last few weeks gone? Is it really Christmas this weekend? Wow.

I've made some mocha shortbread for a little get together. Nothing like a coffee/chocolate combo. FYI, I have made these with gluten free all purpose flour and they taste the same. If you do use a gluten free flour, make sure to add 1/4 teaspoon of guar gum as well.

Mocha Shortbread - made about 22 cookies with the tree shaped cutter

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup icing sugar
1 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
3 teaspoons instant coffee granules

Preheat oven to 300F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Cream butter until light and creamy. Beat in icing sugar and coffee granules. Sift over top the flour and cocoa and mix well. Cover dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface and cut out whatever shapes you like. Place on baking sheet, one inch apart, and bake for about 20 minutes. That's it. Done. Easy. Delicious.

Do you heaps of baking on the agenda for the week? Do you try something new every year, or do you have your family traditions that you can't do without? Let me know!

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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Weekend Observations

Didn't get much shopping done. Oh well, there's always tomorrow ;) What did you get up to this weekend? 

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Friday, December 16, 2011

Joy to the World, it's Friday

The week got away from me! How was yours? I leave you this week with something I wish I had right now.

By the way, I did a post earlier in the week, over at the Poppytalk. I still have 15 more of these to make for our family Christmas dinner ;)

Have a lovely weekend! Back soon.

Monday, December 12, 2011


Hello everyone! Did you have a nice weekend?

I baked some Fruit and Nut Biscotti over the weekend - not too sweet and it can last for a couple of weeks. Not that I expect this will be sitting around for long. ;)

I got the original recipe from Canadian Living, but have made a few changes. This version is gluten-free (would never know it!) and is minus the golden raisins as I'm not a fan of them. 

Fruit and Nut Biscotti - makes about 18 think slices

4 egg whites
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
3/4 cup gluten free flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)*
1/4 teaspoon guar gum*
1/3 cup whole almonds
1/3 cup shelled pistachios
1/4 cup candied orange peel (I had some left over from last week)
1/2 cup dried cranberries

* if using all-purpose flour, you use the same amount and omit the guar gum

Preheat oven to 350f/180c. Line the bottom and sides of a 9"x5" loaf pan with parchment paper and set aside. 
In a large bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Add sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, and beat until stiff peaks form. Beat in vanilla.

Sift together the flour and guar gum and sprinkle half over top of mixture. Fold in, then add remaining flour mixture. If using all purpose flour, sift flour directly over top egg white mixture. Add the almonds, pistachios, orange peel, and cranberries and fold in. Scrape mixture into prepared pan, and smooth out top.

Bake until firm and pale golden, 35 minutes. Let cool in pan, on rack, for 15 minutes. Remove from pan, peel off paper and allow to cool completely. Wrap and place in freezer until firm but not frozen, 30 minutes. Using a sharp (seriously sharp)  serrated knife, cut into thin slices, about 3mm thick. Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, 1/2 inch apart, and bake in a 300f oven for about 18 minutes until golden and crisp. Allow to cool on baking sheet on a cooling rack. Enjoy!

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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sunday Observations

Had a pretty quiet day today.....and it was so needed. Hope you had a lovely, relaxing Sunday too.

This is what I got up to....

Now I'm just finishing up a post for Poppytalk. Must wrap it up tonight! What did you get up to today? 

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Friday, December 9, 2011

Festive Friday

Another week comes to a close...and it feels like a blur! I hope you all have a lovely weekend!

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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Holiday Inspiration for Charities

How's your week going? The week is whizzing by and I still haven't bought any Christmas presents. Please tell me I'm not the only one.

Late last year, the editors at Style At Home magazine asked 8 photographers if they would submit a holiday image for this year's December issue. Something they were inspired by during the holidays. All of the images selected would be 8x10, and available for purchase for $100 with proceeds benefiting various charities. I was one of the photographers asked, and I decided to donate the proceeds to The Arthritis Society. I think this is a fantastic idea, and I'm so happy to be part of it. I hope they do it again next year!

We each submitted a few photos and, from my selection, they chose this BW image. My husband and I were in Australia last Christmas, so they do have that Aussie, summery, feel to them.

I'm happy to say, I have sold a few already! I thought I'd offer up the other two images for The Arthritis Society as well. They will be printed on a beautiful, matte, archival paper, and signed. If you are interested in purchasing any of these images, please contact me directly. I would be pleased to take your money, send you a print, and hand over another cheque to The Arthritis Society.

To see the other photographer's images, and the charities they've chosen, check out the December issue of Style At Home.  Have a lovely day! 

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Monday, December 5, 2011


How was your weekend? Hope it was a fun one.

I'm slowly getting festive around here, so I baked the first of my Christmassy baking. Orange Almond Stars are a German (one half of my heritage) recipe that I've had for years. I can't recall where I found it, but I have changed it up a bit. These are addictive, and not quite as sweet as they sound ;)

Orange Almond Stars - makes about 48 using a 1.5 inch star cutter

3 egg yolks
2/3 cup berry/caster sugar
2 cups finely ground almond or almond meal (I always buy almond meal, as I can't grind it that finely)
Zest of one large orange, finely grated
1 egg beaten, for glaze

150g icing/confectioner's sugar
1-2 tablespoons water or milk (I used 2 tablespoons water because I prefer it a little runny)
Top with candied orange peel

Preheat oven to 350f/180c. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
In a large bowl, mix together the egg yolks and sugar with an electric whisk for about one minute or until light and fluffy. Stir in the almond meal and zest to make a firm dough.

Sprinkle icing sugar on your work surface, and rolling pin, and roll out dough. Cut out stars (or any shape), prick with a fork, and transfer to baking sheet. Brush egg on each star, and bake for about 8 minutes, or until a light golden brown. Cool completely on a wire rack.

To make icing, place icing sugar in a small bowl, add water and stir until smooth. Top with a few tiny bits of candied orange peel. Place iced cookies on a wire rack, and allow to harden. If you'd like the recipe for candied orange peel, let me know!

That's it for today! Have a lovely day.

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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sunday Observations

My husband, Robert, working on an installation for our new restaurant, The Union. Finally opening very soon!

Took a break at Dr. Sun Yat Sen garden in Chinatown, one of my favourite spots in Vancouver. I've mentioned this garden many times, but I have to brag a bit for them - they were chosen the number 1 city garden, in the world, by National Geographic in NG's new book, Secret Journeys of a Lifetime If you're in the Vancouver area on December 21st, you should check out the lantern festival - it's magical. 

Now, for a flashback to Saturday...

Popped by the Fieldstone Vintage Market in Abbotsford. The ladies of Birch and Bird, have once again put on a great event. If I hadn't broken a ball filled with feathers (top right), and sent the contents flying around, I would have stayed longer. Thanks to Twig for letting me off the hook. Sorry guys! 

We spent a day with our friend Paul Wood in his fantastic letterpress studio. Paul's an old pro at it, and my husband is pretty skilled too, so it was nice to be allowed to play with the big boys. Our cards are below....I did the little one, with the pinecone  ;)

Well, that was my weekend. What did you get up too? Anything festive?

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Friday, December 2, 2011

The Weekend Has Arrived

I took this shot last December in Australia. I loved the festive wreath dangling off this perfectly rusted post box. I would love to be there right now. Sigh.

I hope you've got a great weekend planned! I plan to check out the Fieldstone Vintage Market, taking place in Abbotsford on Saturday December 3rd. Maybe see you there?

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Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Symphony of White

Hope your week is going well! I'm swimming in a sea of bed linens all this week, either at an actual shoot, or doing post production. Whew. This is a giant job. I love Ami Mckay, so it makes it easy!

If you've been reading my blog for a bit, you know that I shoot a variety of homes for magazines. Thought I'd share a very white one with you. Personally, I'm not "tidy" enough to pull of all that white ;)
The homeowners, Trish (owner of Principessa) and Angelo, designed and built the house. How does one build one's own home? I wish I had that skill. They have since sold it, and are working on their new home right next door to this one. Apparently it's going to be quite different than this one. Looking forward to seeing what they come up with.

What are your thoughts on white? What's your home style? I'd love to know!

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