Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Good Tidings!

The holidays have arrived and I couldn't be more ready and excited for some relaxation! We'll  spend Christmas Day with Eric's family and then he and I are planning a little getaway to Emerald Lake Lodge. The rest of our time off with be spent catching up with friends and being unabashedly lazy.


Here are a few tips for your holidays:

To make
Overnight Baked French Toast
If you're in charge of bringing a side dish, make it this one
Spiced cranberry sangria

To watch
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
The World's Fastest Indian
This list.

To do
In your pjs:
Yogadownload
Barre3
In the real world:
Bowness lagoon is open for skating

I hope you a have a wonderful time spent with loved ones and good food!

Monday, 22 December 2014

New Beauty Find

A few girlfriends and I did our annual favorite things gift exchange last week. One of the amazing items I received was a SpaCells Facial Sponge. It's a little exfoliating mitt that you use on your face and body and it is life changing! The more gentle face side of the mitt still seemed a bit rough at first, but afterwards, my skin felt amazing!


It's a perfect stocking stuffer for any last minute shoppers out there! You can find them in Calgary at Frilly Lilly or online.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Land of Nod Cinnamon Buns

There are a few staples in my family for Christmas morning breakfast. Christmas sausages from Camrose, Imperial cheese, wifesaver and/or pull apart cinnamon buns. We celebrated Christmas this past weekend and since I was in charge of brunch, my pick was gooey cinnamon buns.


This recipe couldn't be any easier and because you make it the night before, you don't have to worry about rushing around your kitchen at 7am. Bonus: your house will smell amazing when everyone arrives!

Land of Nod Cinnamon Buns
from the Best of Bridge

20 frozen dough rolls
1 c. brown sugar
1 pkg. vanilla instant pudding mix
1-2 tbsp. cinnamon
1/2 c. melted butter

Mix together the brown sugar, pudding powder and cinnamon. Place 10 dough rolls in a bundt pan and sprinkle with half the mixture. Pour half of the butter over top. Add the remaining dough rolls, sugar mixture and pour the rest of the butter over. Cover with a damp tea towel and leave overnight.

In the morning, preheat oven to 350. Bake for 25 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before turning the pan over onto a plate.



Forgive the paper plate. By the time brunch rolled around, no one felt like dirtying another dish!

Friday, 5 December 2014

Local Gift Guide- Kidlets

Both of our families have agreed to only buy Christmas gifts for the kiddos. I have a hard time balancing wanting to be the cool aunt with not wanting to buy them more stuff that they won't use. I prefer to buy them an experience or something that I would've cherished as a kid. Here are a couple of ideas.


Books- everyone got a book from us this year. I still have my favorite childhood stories in a bin somewhere. We have a great book and toy store by our house called Monkey Shines. I also love Pages on Kensington and Shelf Life Books.

Blue Sunshine Dream Catcher- I've always been kind of a scaredy cat when it comes to bed time. It's totally ridiculous, but as soon as my head hits the pillow, my imagination runs wild. As a kid, I took comfort in knowing that my little dream catcher would keep the nightmares away. Calgarian Stephanie Nigh makes these beautiful catchers. They'd look gorgeous above the bed and there plenty of colors to choose from. Check them out on etsy.

Blocks- Simple toys are always the best. It helps that these blocks are nice to look at! Available at the Uncommons.

An Experience- This is my preferred gift for my nieces and nephews. I like to get them tickets to Butterfield Acres, the Zoo, theatre, the Science Centre or a Hitmen game. I like the fact that they're getting a memory instead of just another thing.

I hope these gift guides have been helpful. Good luck with your Christmas shopping and have a great weekend!

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Local Gift Guide- for Her

The second local gift guide is for us ladies. If I'm being honest, it's pretty much just everything I want for Christmas :)


Plant Terrariums- Our house is filled with air plants and terrariums (mostly because they're the only thing I can keep alive). I love these hanging globes! Available at Plant 

Erica Weiner Jewelry- Erica Weiner creates the most beautiful and delicate jewelry. Although she isn't local, you can find her pieces at Purr

Pucker by Gwendolyn Richards- Calgary food writer and cook extraordinaire, Gwendolyn Richards, has just released her first cookbook. You can find a few of her recipes (I'm dying for these lemon cookies) on her blog Patent and the Pantry.  As a lover of all things citrus, this book is a must have! You can find it at Cookbook Co. or Chapters.

Gypsy Skulls Print (or an original)- I'm obsessed with the stunning dried flower prints by Calgary artist Ayla Graham. She does so much more than just skulls- which makes it even tougher to choose one! You can shop her website or check her out at Market Collective this weekend.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Local Gift Guide- for Him

Last week I made the mistake of thinking I could quickly run to the mall. I just needed to grab a couple of things and it was the middle of the day- I was wrong. Parking was a nightmare, people were grumpy and the lines were long. It only reinforced my love for shopping locally. This week, I've put together three gift guides to help ease your Christmas shopping stress while supporting great businesses in our city. First up, one for the dudes.



Camp  Brand Sweater- the Livery Shop, the Uncommons, online

Homemade gin  kit- the Uncommons

Vinyl- Luke's Drug Mart

For his stocking- Zerrol ice cream scoop and $25 gift card- pre-packaged and ready to go at Village ice cream


If you're really on the ball, Eric and a bunch of his friends are really digging this craft beer advent calendar. Give Vine Arts, J. Webb Wine Market or Zyn a call to see if they still have them in stock. We're three days into the month already, but your guy will just have to play catch up ;)

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

No Bake Holiday Treats

I'm not sure if it's just too early, but I'm finding myself a bit Scrooge-y about Christmas prep this year. I'm excited for the holiday itself, but the decorating, shopping and baking? Not so much. That said, I did want to get a few treats ready for guests and host/hostess gifts as the party season ramps up.


Chocolate Bark- this was always one of my favorites growing up. I added a bit of a twist using salted almonds and dried cherries for the dark chocolate and pistachios and dried cranberries for the white. This doesn't really require a recipe- simply spread your dried fruit and nuts of choice on a baking sheet. Melt chocolate in a pot until smooth and pour over the dry ingredients. Put it in the fridge until it's hard and break it into pieces.

Saltine Toffee- I've had this one on the blog before, but it's the most requested Christmas treat so I thought I'd bring it back.

Saltine Toffee
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. sugar
24 saltines
1 c. chocolate chips

Pre-heat oven to 350. Bring the sugar and butter to a boil, then turn down heat and let simmer for 5 minutes. Line a 9x13 pan or cookie sheet with tin foil. Arrange the saltines in a single layer. Pour the toffee mixture over the crackers and bake for 5 minutes or until the toffee is bubbly. Let cool for about 2 minutes. Pour the chocolate chips on top and let them melt. Spread to cover evenly. Put it in the fridge to cool. Once fully cool, break it into pieces and try not to eat it all.

If you're looking for more Christmas recipes, here are a few from the archives:
Lemon Squares
Nuts and Bolts
Magic Cookie Bars
Gingersnaps
Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Or check out Paper Bluejay's 12 Days of Baking.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Natural Skin Care

There are plenty of reasons why it's important to me to try to use natural products on my skin, but at the end of the day, I use them because of how they make my skin look and feel. I have naturally dry skin. It doesn't matter how much water I drink or supplements I take, my skin is always on the dry side. Using harsh cleansers only irritates it and causes breakouts for me. Here are a few of the natural products I use to keep my skin clear and moisturized.

Face

Black Soap- I first heard about black soap at a farmers' market in Whitefish. The guy selling it mentioned that after using it regularly for a couple of weeks, whether you skin was oily or dry, your skin's natural oils would balance out. I'm not entirely sure if that's the case, but my skin never looks better than when I use black soap. It smells a bit weird and it's kind of messy, but I love it. You can find black soap at Alora Boutique. They often set up a stand at Market Collective or you can find their products at these stores.

Shea Butter- After washing my face at night, I use shea butter to moisturize. At first I thought it would be too greasy, but it's exactly what my skin needs. I find it too heavy to use during the day under make up, so this is a night time only routine. Occasionally on the weekends, i'll moisturize with coconut oil as well. It takes longer to absorb, but it's a big treat for my parched skin. Shea butter is pretty easy to find. I typically buy mine at Community Natural Foods.

Body

Dr. Roebuck's Pure- I've used both shea butter and coconut oil as moisturizers for my body as well, but I find coconut oil too greasy and shea- in it's solid form- can be inconvenient to deal with in large quantities. I was sent a sample of Dr. Roebuck's and was immediately sold by its thick, luxurious texture and fast absorbency. Dr. Roebucks has an entire line of both face and body moisturizers and washes. It's now available at Shopper's Drug Mart. Read more about their story here.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Freezer Chicken Pot Pie

Before our friends' new baby arrived, I offered to make a few freezer meals for after he was born. Lucky for me, this chicken pot pie recipe made enough for two. I saved one for us vowing not the make it until I was REALLY desperate- that moment came on Sunday. It wasn't even a hard day! We went to the Millarville Christmas Market, I got a few things done around the house and I had planned on grocery shopping, but when dinner time hit and it was still snowing- I had to bust out that pie.


Tuesday, 4 November 2014

What to do With All that Leftover Halloween Candy

With Halloween falling on a relatively warm Friday, I figured I'd err on the side of caution and buy more Halloween candy than normal- just in case. Well, wouldn't you know it, we had about 3 extra kids than we usually do and huge bowl full of leftover treats. Not a good thing to have lying around in our house!

We hosted a Rockstar Halloween party on Saturday night where we asked guests to come dressed as a rock/pop/country star. The costumes were amazing. We had Katy Perry, John Lennon and Paul McCartney, the Stefani/Rossdale family, a couple of Slash' and very convincing Boy George. I figured I could pawn off all of our leftover chocolate on our guests in the form of cookies and I was right. By the end of the night, all two dozen cookies were gone (hence, no photo of the finished product).



Halloween Candy Cookies

1 c. butter, softened
1 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
3 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. hot water
1/2 tsp. salt
12-14 mini chocolate bars, chopped
sea salt (optional)

Preheat over to 350.
Cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Dissolve the baking soda in warm water and add to mixture along with the flour and salt. Stir in the shopped chocolate bars. Drop by large spspoonfulsn a greased cookie sheet- these will spread a fair bit so be mindful of how many you put on the pan. Sprinkle with sea salt and bake for 10 minutes or until the edges are brown.



Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Halloween Candy and Wine Pairings

After the age of 13, I was never much of a Halloween person, but now that we have a house, I look forward to handing out candy every year. We only ever get about twenty kids, but I enjoy our little tradition of watching a scary movie while eating all the leftover candy with a glass of wine. Luckily for us, The Kitchn put together this great guide to show which candy goes with what.


Tuesday, 28 October 2014

What I Did in TO

The spare time I had in TO was great! I'm sure it's a lovely city at most times, but in the fall it's stunning! I walked around Queen and King Street West and poked into a few shops- Lavish and Squalor being my favorite.

It turns out that Momofuku has four different restaurants, each on a different floor. I went for the more casual Nikai. It's a great cocktail bar that combines bits of both the Noodle Bar and Shoto menus. I had their famous pork buns as well as the chilled ramen. The thing about eating alone is that it's tough to try everything you want. Those two dishes were too much food, but I couldn't help myself!






I can't wait to go back next year and check out more of the city!

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Toronto

I'm off to Toronto tonight for a course. I've never been before and while there's lots I'd love to do and see, I won't have much free time. I'm hoping to eat at Momofuku and explore King Street West, but that's likely all I'll be able to squeeze in until I head back again in May.
map found here

Let me know if you have any TO recommendations and have a great week!

Friday, 17 October 2014

Do or Don't: Floppy Wool Hats

In theory, I love the look of floppy wool/felt hats for fall/winter. They look so chic and add a sort of vintage vibe to an outfit, but in reality, I'm not so sure I could pull one off.




What do we think? Yes or no?

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Calgary Cooks

Typically when I cook I either make things up as I go or I find recipes on the internet, but that doesn't stop me from collecting cookbooks. I love to flip through them over and over again. My latest love is Calgary Cooks, a book compiled of recipes from some of Calgary's best restaurants- Anju, Anejo, Candela, Model Milk, Cucina and dozens more. All of the recipes look beautiful, but I really admire that, for the most part, they're simple enough for the home cook.


You can find them at Our Daily Brett, Red Tree Catering, Cookbook Co. and Chapters.

It did get me to thinking about which dishes from my favorite spots that I would've picked. Here's my list:
Ox and Angela- either the Paella or those Patatas Bravas
Double Zero's Roasted Cauliflower
Anju's Chicken Wings
Shikiji's Chili Goma Ramen
Taste's French Onion Soup

Friday, 10 October 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! We're heading north to my cousin's 2nd annual pig roast and spending the rest of the weekend with my family in Camrose.



I hope you get to eat lots, spend time with your loved ones and enjoy the long weekend! See you Tuesday :)

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Pretty Pegs

Shortly after we bought our house, I swore I would never buy IKEA furniture again. Gone were the days of a basement suite filled with poorly put together Swedish furniture- I thought I'm an adult, after all. That is until we started looking for a new couch. We kept looking at the same one at Crate and Barrel and a similar one at Urban Barn, but we were having trouble justifying the $4000 price tag knowing that we'd like to redo the floors that said couch would sit on and perhaps knock down a wall in the same room. We went to IKEA looking for picture frames and lo and behold, there was couch almost identical to the ones we'd seen at the other stores for a fraction of the price. So...we bought it. Truth be told, I totally love it!

In typical IKEA fashion, the legs were just plain wooden blocks. I had read about Pretty Pegs somewhere on the internet and decided to give them a try. They have all different styles and colors of furniture legs for beds, tables and couches. I ordered the Estelle and I'm so happy with how they turned out.





Sorry for the poor lighting. We didn't put them on until it was dark out and they're wooden legs on a hard-wood floor.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Around Calgary- Our Daily Brett

Calgary caterers, Our Daily Brett, have opened up a stunning shop right in our hood! The space is stocked with kitchenware, hostess gifts and delicious food to go.




One of my girlfriends came for dinner last week, so I swung by and grabbed a couple of steaks and some of their homemade chimichurri- which we put on everything for the rest of the weekend.

I may never cook again!!


Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Green Goddess Dressing

I'm not normally a fan of creamy dressings, but I'd heard so much about Ina Garten's Green Goddess, that I figured I'd give it a try.


It's certainly not low in fat, but it has so much flavor that you don't need much of it. While it was delicious on salad, I think it would make the perfect dip for crudités.

Green Goddess Dressing
recipe from food network

1 c. mayonnaise
1 c. chopped scallions, white and green parts
1 c. chopped fresh basil
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
2 tsps. chopped garlic
2 tsps. anchovy paste
2 tsps. course salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 c. sour cream

Put everything except the sour cream into a blender and process until smooth. Add sour cream and process until just blended.

Monday, 29 September 2014

I'm Back!

Sorry for the radio silence. There's been a lot going on in the last little while. I 'd been feeling really down about a few things and I don't think I realized how much they were affecting me until they manifested themselves into a late night meltdown. However, after a couple of Ws in the Anna column last week, things are looking up!

This last weekend I met our friends' new baby and helped another friend shop for a wedding dress. It made me realize what a cool and exciting phase of life I'm in.

The rest of the weekend was spent binge watching Friday Night Lights. Have you seen it? I'm a bit late to the game (no pun intended), but I'm obsessed! :)


Friday, 12 September 2014

29!

It's my 29th birthday today! I have a few celebrations planned with friends and family this weekend, but as I get older I find myself caring less about a big party and more about spending quality time with the people I love in any capacity.

Have a wonderful weekend! The snow is almost gone and it's going to be beautiful!

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Sausage and Corn Chowder

This is me, sitting on a patio in Canmore on Sunday- with no jacket.



This is my front yard as of this morning.

What the?! I know that this freak snowfall isn't going to last, but it didn't stop me from craving some fall comfort food.


With a fridge stocked with fresh veggies from my father-in-law's garden and freezer overflowing with deer sausage from brother, soup seemed like the perfect meal.

Sausage and Corn Chowder

1/2 lb sausage, removed from casing
5 medium potatoes
1/2 cup carrots
1 stalk celery
1 onion
1 clove of garlic
2 cups frozen or canned corn
2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 c. Milk
Salt
Pepper
Cornstarch*

In a pot on medium high heat, cook sausage. Depending on the fat content, you may want to drain afterwards. If it's not overly fatty, add a bit of oil to the pot and add carrots, celery, onions, garlic and corn. Cook until onions are translucent. Add broth and bring to a boil. Cook for about 15 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through. Add milk and sausage and allow to simmer. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

*This didn't thicken up as I had planned (I'm assuming it's because I used skim milk) so I took a bit of broth out and whisked in about 3 tbsp. of cornstarch. Once I added it back into the soup and allowed it to simmer, it thickened up perfectly.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Nova Scotia

People have asked me what my favorite part of our trip was and it's tough to say. Even though I loved the whole thing, I really loved Nova Scotia. Halifax is such a great city- very chill with lots of cool restaurants and bars, the Annapolis Valley is stunning and full of wineries, the South Shore is how I picture the Maritimes in my mind with all its gorgeous little waterfront towns and boats everywhere. Ugh. Take me back!

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Magdalen Islands

We picked up Eric's sister, Dori, in Halifax and took a little road trip to PEI to catch the ferry to the Magdalen Islands. Because we left things until the last minute, we were only able to catch the 2am ferry from Souris. Luckily, Eric was a hero and managed to get us a cabin which made the ferry ride much more pleasant and we woke up to the sun rising over the ocean. Not too shabby!




Thursday, 28 August 2014

Newfoundland

St. John's is an amazing city. It's so gorgeous with all it's historic buildings and colorfully painted homes. We spent most of our days just walking down by the harbor.

Here are some photos* of our time spent there.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Frozen Herbs

Before we went on our trip, Eric's Dad sent us home with a big pile of fresh herbs from his garden. Knowing that we wouldn't have time to use or dry them before we left, I quickly Googled how to freeze herbs and found the idea of preserving them in olive oil over at The Kitchn.

I chopped the herbs and placed about 2 tsp. of each one in an ice cube tray. I poured enough oil over to cover the herbs and froze them for a few hours. Once they were solid, I popped them out of the ice cube trays and into labelled freezer bags.




Tuesday, 19 August 2014

One Year!

We're back from our trip! I'll post some details and photos soon.

Eric and I celebrated our first anniversary on Sunday. It's been an incredible year full of laughs and love and it flew by! I can't tell you how much I look forward to the years to come.

Here are a few more of our wedding photos if you'd like to see. It makes me so happy to look through them and remember that amazing day.

Friday, 1 August 2014

Go East!

We're heading to Newfoundland and the Maritimes tonight for a two week vacation. We start our trip in St. John's where friends of ours are celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary. From there well head to Halifax to visit with Eric's sister and tour around Nova Scotia,  PEI and the Magdalen islands.

Source
I did a similar trip when I was about 16, but I can't wait to go back and take full advantage of George Street! I won't be posting while I'm away, but you can follow along on Instagram if you'd like annapalmiere.

In the meantime, here are a few past warm weather posts:
Homemade sunscreen
Banana 'ice cream' sandwiches
Summer Beauty Favorites
Summer Reads
White Wine Sangria

Preserve

Have you seen Blake Lively's new lifestyle website, Preserve? I was skeptical at first- thinking it might be totally out of touch- but it serves as great gift guide and place for inspiration. I also think their idea behind giving back to communities is pretty cool.


Goodbye disposable income!

Monday, 28 July 2014

Backyard Dinner Party

We had beautiful weather this weekend so when we invited a couple of friends for dinner, I thought we'd take advantage of it by sitting outside. I set a table in the backyard and bought fresh fish from Catch. They tweet what's fresh each day and you can order it for that evening by calling the restaurant. I grabbed prawns and oysters for the appetizers and made Bon Appetit's Butter Basted Salmon with Hazelnut Relish for the main. We sat out drinking champagne and white wine until the sun went down.








It's nights like these that make summer so awesome.