Tuesday, 31 January 2012

The Head and the Heart

Have you heard The Head and the Heart? I can't listen to them without a huge grin on my face. Have a listen...

Monday, 30 January 2012

Wild Flour

A girls trip out to Banff this weekend came to a delicious end at Wild Flour Bakery. This awesome little cafe has become a Banff staple. Their breakfast sandwiches and granola alone are worth the trip.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Book/Wine Club

The first official book club meeting is tonight (we're reviewing the Hunger Games trilogy which I loved). The most important rule of book club is that everyone must bring a bottle of wine. Technically, it's meant for the hostess, but I imagine there won't be much leftover after a heated Team Peeta/Team Gale discussion. Here are a couple of my favorite go-to wines.

From the top:

Pirramimma Petit Verdot
Four Vines Biker Zinfandel- I normally drink their Old Vine Cuvee because it's cheaper, easier to find and equally delicious, but I came across Biker the other day and had to have it.
Crasto Douro- Having never had anything but port from this region, we decided to give this wine a try on New Year's Eve and it was quickly added to the list of favorites.
Kung Fu Girl Riesling- I normally prefer reds, but when I do drink whites, this one always impresses.
Nino Franco Rustico- Oh bubbles!! I'm always happy to try new sparkling wines, but the Nino is always the trusted go-to and it's very easy to find.

This was a tough list to make! There are too many good wines to choose from. Do you have any faves you'd like to add? Perhaps do a little "research" over the weekend and report back. Have a good one!

Thursday, 26 January 2012

I Love Alberta!

Being born and raised in Alberta (except for a short stint in the Northwest Territories), I tend to take this province for granted. It's too cold, the chinooks give me headaches, we don't have any vineyards, Vancouver gets all the good shows, blah blah blah. Then, I see this and realize just how lucky I am to live here.

Nice work Travel Alberta! Not only have you made people want to visit, but you've made us remember how fortunate we are to call this province home.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Robbie Burns Day!

Happy Birthday to the man responsible for Auld Lang Syne and Ode To A Haggis. The man who was once voted "The Greatest Scot" and the man who Bob Dylan named his biggest inspiration (for the 1794 poem 'A Red, Red Rose").

Robbie Burns Day to me means a feast of haggis, neeps and tatties (turnips and potatoes), lots of kilts and usually time spent with family. My favorite memory will always be going to my Uncle Garry's house where he would prepare the haggis, my Auntie Lynn would address it and I would get to cut it with a sword. For those of you still unsure of what the fuss is about, the BBC has a great explanation of Burns Night.

In celebration of The Bard, I leave you with my favorite Burns Night dessert-Sticky Toffee Pudding.

Being part Scottish myself, and having lived in Edinburgh, I am a bit embarrassed that the recipe actually comes from Rachel Ray. Shame aside, it's delicious, easy and turns out every time.

Sticky Toffee Pudding

1-1/2 cups chopped dates
2 teaspoons baking soda
3-1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon salt
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2-3/4 cups dark brown sugar
3 large eggs
3 cups heavy cream


Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease a 12-cup Bundt pan. In a saucepan, bring 1 2/3 cups water, the dates and baking soda to a boil. Transfer to a bowl and let cool.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, ginger, baking powder and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. In another large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together 2 sticks butter and 3/4 cup brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add half of the flour mixture and beat until just combined. Add half of the date mixture and beat until just combined. Repeat with the remaining flour and date mixtures. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake, rotating once, until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean, about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan, bring the cream, remaining 2 cups brown sugar, 1 stick butter and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until thickened, about 15 minutes; set aside.

Remove the cake from the oven, leaving the oven on. Using the handle of a wooden spoon, poke holes through the cake and ladle half the toffee sauce over the cake to fill the holes; set aside the remaining sauce. Bake the cake for 15 minutes more. Let cool in the pan for 1 hour, then invert onto a platter and top with the reserved sauce.

To the immortal memory of Robert Burns!

Monday, 23 January 2012

30 Day Yoga Challenge-Halfway

Today is the halfway point of the 30 day yoga challenge. The first few days were a bit rough, but I'm really enjoying it now. Here are a few things helping me get through it.

Lululemon Wunder Under Crops and Slipless Headbands

Yogitoes Skidless Mat Towel

Emergen-C Vitamin Drink Mix. It replaces the electrolytes and other things you lose through your sweat. I'm a fan of the pink lemonade flavor, but they're all pretty tasty.

15 more days!

Friday, 20 January 2012

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

During the week I try to keep my carb intake to a minimum. If I don't practice this restraint, I end up carb loading like a marathoner pretty much every day. Said restraint, however, can sometimes be torture. Enter cauliflower pizza crust.

I found the recipe via Pinterest (where else?) and made it for dinner last night. It was awesome! Definitely a new Monday-Friday staple.

Cauliflower Crust Pizza
From Eat. Drink. Smile.

1 cup cooked, riced cauliflower (about half of a large head)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp crushed garlic
1/2 tsp garlic salt
olive oil (optional)
pizza sauce, shredded cheese and your choice of toppings*

To "Rice" the Cauliflower:
Remove stems and leaves, and chop the florets into chunks. Add to food processor and pulse until it looks like grain. Do not over-do pulse or you will puree it. (If you don't have a food processor, you can grate the whole head with a cheese grater). Place the riced cauliflower into a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 8 minutes. There is no need to add water, as the natural moisture in the cauliflower is enough to cook itself. I don't have a microwave so I steamed the grated cauliflower until it was soft.

To Make the Pizza:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup cauliflower, egg and mozzarella. Add oregano, crushed garlic and garlic salt, stir. Transfer to the cookie sheet, and using your hands, pat out into a 9" round. Optional: Brush olive oil over top of mixture to help with browning. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes. Spread sauce over the crust and add your toppings. Place under a broiler set to high until the cheese melts (3-4 minutes)

*Note that toppings need to be precooked since you are only broiling for a few minutes.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Kate Spade Stationary

I've always been a fan of stationary. I could spend hours looking at greeting cards and I'm loving these ones from Kate Spade.

 So simple and super cute! How perfect are the kiss cards for Valentine's Day?

Costa Concordia

Below is a satellite image of the Costa Concordia cruise ship that ran aground off the coast of Giglio, Italy.

Such a crazy picture of an incredibly unfortunate event.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

I Thought This Might Be Appropriate...

With the frigid temperatures we've been having lately, I think we could all use of a bit of cheering up. Robert Munsch wrote some of my all-time favorite stories as a kid. Here he is reading 50 Below Zero:

Another one of my favorite cold weather classics is Robert Frost's The Cremation of Sam McGee.

Grab a nice warm coffee or tea and have a read/listen. I hope, if nothing else, they at least warm your spirits.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

The Zoo

Eric and I visited the Calgary Zoo a couple of weeks ago. Neither of us had been since one of our very first dates!

My favorite part is always the gorillas. I could sit and watch them all day. Did you know that we're getting 4 species of penguins? Penguin Plunge is scheduled to open next month!

Monday, 16 January 2012

Shop Sweet Lulu

I bought a few things from Shop Sweet Lulu for my niece's baby shower. Now, every time I look at their website, I can't help but make up an excuse to throw a party.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Victoria's Secret Swimwear

We're thinking about doing a little Hawaiian vacation in April and Victoria's Secret is always my go to for swimsuits-good fit and tons of options. They just released their video for their 2012 swimwear collection.

Enjoy, male readers.

I'm particularily digging these three:

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Wacky Cake

I know what you're thinking. Cupcakes? Twice in 2 weeks? Give your head a shake! But, little Charlie needed them for his baby shower and I have that fancy new mixer and a new cake decorating kit (and very little self control).

My mom made wacky cake when I was growing up and it's still a favorite. It's just chocolatey enough without being overly sweet.

Wacky Cake

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
3 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. vinegar
5 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 cup cold water

In a large mixing bowl, mix flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Make three wells in the flour mixture. In one put vanilla; in another the vinegar, and in the third the oil. Pour the cold water over the mixture and stir until moistened. Fill cupcake liners about half full. Bake at 350 for 18 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Chocolate Icing
3 cups of icing sugar
1/2 cup softened butter
1/3 cup cocoa
2 tsp. vanilla
4 tbsp. milk
Cream together butter, 2 cups of icing sugar and cocoa. Add vanilla and 2 tbsp. of milk. Slowly add up to 1 more cup of icing sugar and 1-2 tbsp of milk*. Mix until desired consistency.
*You don't have to add all of the extra icing sugar or milk. Add each slowly until the icing is the right taste and consistency for you. For the icing above, I only added about a half cup of icing sugar and 1 tbsp. of milk and it was perfect for piping.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012


I'm a little late to the party, but I bought the Arkells album "Michigan Left" yesterday and I haven't stopped listening to it since. The song 'Book Club' was on repeat the whole way home from yoga (accompanied by some very spirited car dancing). Here's their video for 'Kiss Cam'

For a preview of the album, you can check out the Arkells website. "Michigan Left" is available on iTunes. Pick it up!

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

30 Day Yoga Challenge

Last night marked the first practice of my 30 day yoga challenge at Moksha. I've always wanted to do one, but never thought I would be able to make the time commitment. I figure if I don't do it now, I never will. So, away we go!
Of course, the day before I started, I saw this article by the New York Times. It's a good reminder that yoga isn't a competition. I've never considered myself a competitive person, but when the yogi next to you is rocking eagle pose without even a wobble, it's tough not to compare yourself to them and push yourself beyond your limits. If I'm going to make the full 30 days, I have to remember that this is only about me and how I feel.
Wish me luck!

Monday, 9 January 2012

The September Issue

I had Saturday night all to myself so I finally watched The September Issue.

It's a beautiful and fascinating look at the world of Vogue and the toil that goes into creating the legendary September issue. Loved it!

Friday, 6 January 2012

A Few New Things

You may have noticed the new blog banner. It was designed by Jess from I Rock So What. She was raising funds to attend the Alt Design Summit by selling her blog banners. I read about it over on Paper Bluejay and thought it was an awesome idea. I love what she made!

While looking through Rue Magazine over the holidays, I saw this bag from One Sydney Road and had to get it for my friend (and book club organizer extraordinaire) Lindsay.

I ordered a couple of garlands from Steph Loves Ben and I'm obsessed. I bought them for the holidays, but I think I might just have to leave them up all year.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Champagne Cupcakes with Champagne Cream Cheese Icing

I got a KitchenAid mixer for Christmas (so spoiled)! I couldn't think of a better first use than combining my two favorite things- champagne and cake.

Cupcake recipe found here.

Cupcake Ingredients

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2/3 cup butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3/4 cup champagne (plus some for you)
6 egg whites

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Prepare a cupcake pan with liners.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together, and then blend into creamed mixture alternately with champagne.
In another large clean bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold 1/3 of the whites into batter to lighten it, then fold in remaining egg whites. Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 full.
Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. This made about 18 cupcakes.

Champagne Cream Cheese Icing

2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons champagne, at room temperature

Using an electric mixer, cream together the powdered sugar, butter and cream cheese. Add vanilla and champagne. Mix until smooth.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Looking Ahead

This picture was taken after much cheese and much, much wine and champagne on New Year's Eve. We may or may not have lit fireworks off the balcony, but that's neither here nor there.

I feel like New Year's resolutions get a bad rap. Maybe it's because often times people don't actually do the things they set out to do. I think it's important to have goals for the new year. Set out to challenge yourself and try something new. At the very least, you'll make a memory. Here are a few of my goals for 2012:
  • Go an entire month without eating out or ordering in. As much as I love eating out I think it'll be a fun challenge to cook everything at home. Not only will it be healthier, but a lot cheaper!
  • Run a couple of 10k races- preferably somewhere new. I like 10kms. It's challenging while still being enjoyable. Part of me thinks I should try for the half marathon, but the other part of me, the part that includes the lungs, legs and brain, thinks that might be a terrible idea.
  • Cook something in a water bath. As soon as a recipe calls for a water bath-I'm out, but not this year. Creme brulee, here we come.
  • Take a class. I'm not sure what it will be yet, maybe photography or Photoshop 101, maybe another wine course, but I'm going to learn something new.
  • Have friends over more often.

I've got a few trip ideas brewing, we're talking about buying a new place and it's only January 4th. I can't wait to see what this year brings!

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

A Look Back

Happy New Year! I can't believe how quickly 2011 flew by. When I look back on it, it was a pretty exciting year!

Trips to Vegas, Portland and Costa Rica, two new nieces, getting rid of my apartment and countless memories made with friends and family. I'm so lucky to be surrounded by such amazing people and can't wait to see what 2012 holds-more on that tomorrow.