Friday, 30 November 2012

Fashion Friday- Apres Ski

We're heading out for our first day on the hill this Saturday. Here's a perfect outfit for snuggling up in the lodge with a blueberry tea after a long day of shredding gnarly pow ;)


Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Homemade Holiday Gifts- Bacon Jam

You heard me.
Bacon. Jam.

Seriously. This, plus last week's beer bread- or an egg sandwich, or on baked brie, or with pretty much anything- makes for a winning combo.

Slow-Cooker Bacon Jam
from Martha Stewart
1 1/2 lbs sliced bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 medium yellow onions, diced small
3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1/2 c. cider vinegar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. pure maple syrup
3/4 c. brewed coffee

In a large skillet, cook bacon until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. With a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel to drain. Discard all but 1 tbsp. of bacon fat. Add onions and garlic, and cook until onions are translucent (about 6 minutes). Add vinegar, brown sugar, maple syrup and coffee. Bring to a boil, stirring and scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan, for about 2 minutes. Add bacon and stir to combine.

Transfer to a 6-quart slow-cooker and cook uncovered on high for 3 1/2-4 hours. The liquid should be syrupy. Transfer to a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Let cool. Transfer to airtight containers and refrigerate for up to 4 weeks.

You can freeze the finished jam until you're ready to gift it. I used small mason jars and the recipe made enough for 6.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Ahh the Weekend

My mom was in town this weekend. After babysitting my brother's kids, we spent the day doing a little Christmas shopping before getting dolled up for a night out. Eric joined us for yet another amazing meal at Avec. If you haven't been yet, you must go. The room is so cozy, the service is always great, and the food is incredible! It's quickly becoming my favorite Calgary restaurant. After dinner, we ditched Eric to sing and head bob our way through the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra's Rattle and Hum: A Tribute to U2. Outstanding show!


I've already got Eric lined up to see this show in the Spring.

Hope you had a good weekend!

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Homemade Holiday Gifts- Beer Bread

My friend Carrie had the genius idea to package up beer bread mix. She found some super cute bags at IKEA. We filled them with a can of beer, the mix, and a print out of directions.

Beer Bread
3 c. all-purpose flour (sifted)
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt 
1/4 c. sugar
1 can beer
1/4 c. melted butter 

Preheat oven to 375. Mix beer with dry ingredients. Pour the mixture into a greased bread pan. Top with melted butter and bake for an hour.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Ahh the Weekend...

We were up in Camrose celebrating a few birthdays.

We had a small get together for my Dad who, much to my elation, is growing his mustache back for Movember. I remember the day he shaved his mustache off thinking that he looked so serious and scary. I've  become accustomed to his bare face over the years, but here's what it looked like in all its glory:

What a beaut!

The big event was my Uncle Al's 65th.  He's my favorite ski buddy. I have so many fond memories of driving out to the hill together, packing ski beers in our coats, and having picnic lunches in the truck.

He's also infamous for his naps. As you can see, he's pretty much capable of taking them anywhere.

Happy birthday, Uncle Al! See you on the slopes.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Are Your Jeans Running?

Well you better go catch them! HA!

Ok. That was super lame. Let's move on, shall we?

I bought these Naked and Famous jeans last week and completely love them.

Or I did, until they turned my new white shirt blue. Arggg. My Mom, in all her infinite wisdom, told me that the trick to keeping new dark wash jeans from running is to put a half cup of white vinegar into your washing machine where you'd normally put detergent. Run a normal wash cycle- I'd recommend the extra rinse option if you have it- and hang them to dry. If your jeans still run, you can soak them in the tub with the same amount  of vinegar for a full day. That should keep your jeans blue and your hands (and white shirts) not.

Happy weekend!

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Homemade Holiday Gifts- Hot Chocolate and Marshmallows

I've decided not to do a ton of Christmas baking this year. Honestly, I think my sister probably baked as much as I did last Christmas and there were too many treats. It turns out that's actually possible. Who knew?!
However, that isn't keeping me from making yummy homemade gifts. Every Wednesday for the next month or so, I'll have a DIY holiday project. They're easy, delicious, and perfect for last minute gifting. First up: hot chocolate with homemade marshmallows.

I used Smitten Kitchen's marshmallow recipe and it turned out even better than I had hoped. It was surprisingly simple and mess free. Warning: after tasting these marshmallows, you're likely to become a complete marshmallow elitist.

Hot Chocolate Mix
1 3/4 c. sugar
2 c. plus two tbsp. cocoa powder
1/2 tbsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon (optional)

Mix ingredients in a resealable container. This should make enough to fill just over half a mason jar leaving you with enough room to put marshmallows on top.
To serve, mix 2 tbsp. of powder with 1 cup of warm milk (or half water and half milk).

Option: include a mini bottle of Bailey's as an extra treat. You don't have to, but it would be cooler if you did. :)

In case you're interested, here are last year's Christmas baking posts:
Nuts and Bolts
Magic Cookie Bars
Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
Lemon Squares

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Ahh the Weekend...

007'ing Prosecco into the theatre to see Skyfall. Great movie!

Christmas crafting with Carrie.

Eric listening to very detailed instructions on how to get his niece's island to save her butterfly.

It involved throwing a rock, a mushroom, and a log into a giant pond in order to get to the crocodile forest. Quite the imagination!

Friday, 9 November 2012

Keep on Barackin' in the Free World

How amazing are these photos of Barack Obama from 1980?!

Such a cool dude.

Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter Thumbprints

I hadn't even put up our Halloween stuff before Christmas decorations were filling store shelves. I've promised myself to keep my Christmas baking to a minimum this year (three items max.) and these little gems are the perfect staple. They also work well if your Halloween candy stash has run out and you're in need of chocolate peanut butter fix. Chocolate peanut butter cookies filled with chocolate peanut butter ganache and top with salted peanuts.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Thumbprints
adapted from


1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/3 cup natural-style creamy peanut butter (no sugar added)
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Ganache filling:
3 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon natural-style creamy peanut butter (no sugar added)
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream

2 tablespoons roasted, salted peanuts, finely chopped

Heat the oven to 350°F. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to aerate and break up any lumps; set aside. 
Combine the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until lightened in color and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the beater and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the peanut butter, egg, and vanilla and mix on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Reduce the speed to low, add the reserved flour mixture, and mix just until the dough comes together.
Scoop level tablespoons onto prepared baking sheet. Roll each portion between your hands to form a smooth ball and place them back on the baking sheet about 1 inch apart.  Bake for 8 minutes. 
Remove the sheets to wire racks and immediately use the back of a round teaspoon or the end of a large-handled wooden spoon to make an indentation in the center of each cookie. Let the cookies cool completely on the baking sheets, about 10 to 15 minutes. Meanwhile, make the filling.

For the ganache filling:
Place the chocolate and peanut butter in a medium heatproof bowl; set aside. Place the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Pour over the chocolate and peanut butter and let stand until the chocolate softens, about 5 minutes. Stir until evenly combined and smooth.
Fill the indentation of each cookie with about 1 teaspoon of the ganache filling, sprinkle with the peanuts, and let sit until set, about 1 hour.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Ahh the Weekend...

Whew! I might need a detox after that one. On Friday, some people from work went for what started as a civilized holiday party and ended as a pretty epic pub crawl. Somehow, I managed to get myself to circuit on Saturday morning and then had a hilarious (and delicious) ladies night at Candela. After dinner, I met up with Carrie to see the Pack AD.
Daylight savings time had me up early on Sunday. I met a friend for brunch, made a trip to Michael's, started refurbishing a bar cart, and made cookies. Then, Deana and Cole came over to help make marshmallows for a little holiday project (which you'll hear more about soon) and we finished the night celebrating Cole's birthday over sushi.

Happy Guy Fawkes Day!

Friday, 2 November 2012

Etsy Giftcards

A few weeks ago while browsing Etsy for this riddling rack (which now hangs in our dining room):

I thought to myself 'man, they should really offer gift cards.' Then BAM! The crafting Gods heard my call and Etsy announced that they're offering them-just in time for the holidays. Unfortunately, you can only buy them if you have a US billing address, but fingers crossed they'll offer them to Canada soon. That would make my Christmas list very easy. Come on crafting Gods, don't fail me now!

Have a great weekend!