Friday, February 28, 2014


Hello weekend! Hope you all had a great week. If you're in Vancouver, did you enjoy the little bit of snow we had? It was so pretty! Really wish we'd see more of that lovely white stuff. 

I haven't made bread in awhile, so I made a basic white bread, and added some spicy chilli chocolate to the centre. So good and pretty easy to make too. 

Mini Bread Loaves with Spicy Chocolate - makes 4 loaves

1 eight gram packet of active dry yeast
3 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon sugar (1 tsp for yeast mixture, 3 tblsp for dough)
1 cup lukewarm milk
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 85g spicy dark chocolate bar, broken into pieces

To glaze:
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon milk

Preheat oven to 320f/160c. Grease and line with parchment paper, 4 one cup baking tins and set aside. 
In a small bowl, mix together the yeast, one teaspoon of sugar, and milk. Set aside in a warm spot until bubbles form on the surface, about 5 minutes (see pic below).

In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, oil, 3 tablespoons sugar and yeast mixture and stir until a smooth dough forms (I use my hands for this). Knead the dough, on a lightly floured surface, for a about 5 minutes, until it's elastic and smooth.

Divide the dough into 4 even pieces. Flatten out each piece and place chocolate in centre. Fold around chocolate and pinch together to close. Smooth into a ball and place, pinched side down, into prepared baking tin. Cover with a towel and allow dough to rise, in a warm spot, until about doubled in size. This should take 45-60 minutes. 
Brush the tops with the egg mixture and bake for about 25 minutes, until golden brown on top. 
Allow to cool a little, in tins, before removing.

Have you made bread before? It's a pretty fun thing to do, and I find it so relaxing to knead dough by hand. Kids love it too! Maybe something to try out over the weekend? 

Have a great weekend! 

Friday, February 21, 2014

A Sunshiny Kitchen for Friday

Hello weekend! It's been a very golden day for Canada at the Olympics, and our hockey team is heading to the gold medal game on Sunday. Can't wait. Will you be watching?

To end off the week, I thought I'd share a few pics of Lisa Moody's, of Grapevine Designs, kitchen. I shot it for House and Home magazine, and it's on the stands now.

What do you think of Lisa's kitchen? I loved her counter top with a built-in cutting board at one end of it. The table, with a window bench seating, was pretty great too.  I also can't believe how incredibly organized this busy mom of 3 is. Wow. 

Have a great weekend! 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


Hello all! Hope your week is off to a good start.

I've been baking a little more these days, and trying to make things a little on the healthier side while I'm at it. I went off the healthy rails with this one, but every now and then isn't going to hurt. Right? I played around with a basic coffee cake, that I've made forever, by adding orange, almonds and cardamom. It's pretty delicious. Love the light cardamom flavour. 

Orange & Almond Coffee Cake w/ Cardamom - 

To make the streusel topping/filling:

1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
6 tablespoons chilled butter, diced
1 1/2 cups chopped almonds

Mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon. Blend the chilled butter in with your fingers until small pebble size clumps form. Add the almonds and stir to combine. Cover and set aside in refrigerator. 

To make the cake:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 cup granulated sugar 
3/4 cup butter, softened
3 large eggs
1-2 teaspoons orange rind
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups low fat* sour cream 
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
* this is my attempt at taking a little of the fat out of it ;) 

Preheat oven to 350f/180c. Grease two 6"x6"x2" pans or one 13"x9"x2" pan and line with parchment paper for easy removal. 
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and baking soda. In another large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, then add orange rind, ground cardamom, and vanilla. Stir in the flour, a little at a time, alternately with the sour cream.  Add the orange juice stir to combine. If using two small pans (like I did), spread about a quarter of the batter in each pan. Sprinkle about a quarter of the streusel over top each. Drop another half of the remaining batter on top of each cake and sprinkle with remaining streusel. 

Bake for about 25 minutes, then check to make sure topping isn't getting too browned. If you think it is, place aluminum foil, loosely, on top of each pan. Bake for about another 20-25 minutes (total of about 45-50 minutes) until a skewer, inserted in centre of cakes, comes out clean. Allow cake to cool in pans, on wire rack, for at least 15 minutes before removing. Enjoy! 

If you try making this cake, let me know what you think. You may find it hard to leave alone! 
Have a great day.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Keeping It Simple - Origami

Hello everyone!

Today I'm sharing a simple origami DIY, that has a variety of it's easy and fun to do.

For this project, I wanted to make holders for mini succulents to be used as place cards for a brunch. You can use any paper you like, but I scanned two contrasting fabrics, double-sided, to make mine. I cut down the paper to 9"x12" to make my 3" containers/boxes. I also used a bone folder (seen in video) to make sharp creases (important in origami). I asked my husband to make a short video, as he was heading out the door, of the action - easier than step by step pics!


That's it! I've also made these for candle holders for backyard parties, and for holding individual servings of party popcorn. If you give these a whirl, let me know! 


Monday, February 10, 2014

BC Home + Garden Show Give-Away

Happy Monday! If you're in BC, I hope you're enjoying your "Family Day" holiday Monday.

For anyone living in the Vancouver area, or planning to be, I've got two pairs of tickets up for grabs, courtesy of the BC Home + Garden show. It takes place February 19th - 23rd, and it's shaping up to be a great event. Really looking forward to seeing some of the celebrity guests including,  Janette Ewen, Jennifer Scott and Jef Hancock to name a few.

To get into the home decor mood, I thought I'd share some images from a shoot I did with David Keeler, of Provide Home, for the March issue of Style At Home. David decorated this city townhouse for a family of three and helped create a modern, calm and inviting space.

David setting up for the shoot. 

Soft blues in the bedroom, that overlooks a pretty green space.  

Their tiny office, just off the master bedroom. Custom light fixture by Caleb Siemon.

Loved all the details. Cushion by Charlene Mullen, framed tea towel by Third Drawer Down and a trio of vases by Heath Ceramics. All found at Provide Home, in Vancouver. 

Lots more of this home can be seen in the March issue of Style At Home on news stands now.

If you'd like a chance to win one of two pairs of tickets to the BC Home + Garden Show, just leave me a comment. I'll be making the draw on Thursday February 13th. I'll see you at the show! 

Have a great day.

Monday, February 3, 2014


I haven't done it in awhile, but I baked some cookies with my niece over the weekend, inspired by fast approaching Valentine's Day.  Even though I shot the Butter Baked Goods book, including countless cookies, I hadn't made the Butter's Shaped Cookies myself. We gave them a go this weekend....they're my favourite sugar cookie recipe by far!

Butter's Shaped Cookies (aka sugar cookies) - made about 60 1.5" hearts

3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 cups butter, room temperature
3/4 cup icing sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons pure vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350f. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
2. Onto a large piece of parchment paper, sift together the flour and baking powder. Set aside.
3. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla and mix to combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again.
4. Turn the mixer to low and add the dry ingredients and mix until fully combined.
5. Shape the dough into a large disk about 1" thick and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
6. Divide the disk into two, and place half the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough to about a 1/4" thick.
7. Use the cookie cutter of your choice to cut out cookies. Carefully transfer to the prepared cookie sheet and place about 1/2" apart. You may have to combine the dough scraps and re-roll the dough to cut out enough cookies. Avoid doing this too many times, as the cookies will become tough with over-handling.
8. Use a rolling pin to roll out the second disk of dough to about 1/4" thick and repeat step 7.
9. Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until the cookies are lightly browned on the edges.
10. Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to cool for about 10 minutes on the sheet, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Royal Icing:

4 cups icing sugar
1/4 cup meringue powder
6 to 8 tablespoons water

1. In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, combine the icing sugar and meringue powder. Mix on medium speed until the meringue powder is evenly distributed throughout the icing sugar.
2. Turn the mixer to low and slowly add the water, little by little, until the icing reaches the desired thickness and consistency.
3. Once the water is incorporated, beat the mixture on high to create some volume and lightness in the icing.
Colour the icing with a little food colouring of your choice.

We went with shades of pink, for our hearts, and made some mini bags to to package them up. So simple.

If you try this recipe out, I'd love to know what you think. Keep me posted!

Have a good day!