13 June 2014

Here's to the weekend

Last weekend was the perfect summer weekend. I went home for the weekend (I'm still away at school working for the summer). It was great to go home to my family, friends and the pool! I spent a lot of time outside soaking up the summer sun and giggling with my friends. I was out with them till almost 2am each night just catching up! Here's to this weekend being just as great (it probably won't be since I will be studying for my midterm for my summer course.)

I got off the train and met my friends downtown for the Jays game. While I'm not a huge baseball fan, the crowd was great and the sun was out so I wasn't complaining.  And of course I couldn't pass up the opportunity for a hot dog. 

The CN Tower. The little dots in red are people up at the top doing the "Edge Walk". It always fascinates me that people would be willing to walk around the edge of the CN Tower. I don't hate heights but I don't think I could handle that. lol. 

Saturday was spent by the pool with my friends. I am currently reading Never Have I Ever. Katie is so funny. I feel like she is describing my life half the time. Too good. If you haven't you should check it out, its the perfect weekend read. 

Improvising to make s'mores. We couldn't build a fire outside so we had to resort to using the stove. Tasted great all the same. 

Delicious shrimp tacos I made for dinner. Loved the sweetness from the mango.  

What are your weekend plans? 

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2 June 2014

Mini S'more Doughnuts



I wanted to make a take on the classic S'mores for a get together with friends this past weekend. I decided it has been too long since I brought out my mini doughnut maker.  A classic mini doughnut recipe topped with a chocolate cream cheese glaze, mini marshmallows, crumbled graham crackers and a chocolate drizzle. 

I used this recipe for the doughnuts. 

Chocolate Cream Cheese Glaze 
Ingredients 
4oz cream cheese, room temperature
4 tbs icing sugar, sifted
1/4 cup milk 
1 tbs vanilla extract. 
1/2 cup chocolate chips, melted 

Directions: 
In a medium sized bowl, beat cream cheese until light and fluffy.  Sift in icing sugar (very important for no icing sugar clumps in your glaze). Beat until incorporated. Beat in milk and vanilla. Stir in melted chocolate. 



Assemble Doughnuts: 
I dipped the doughnuts in the chocolate glaze and crumbled the graham crackers on top then added a few mini marshmallows to each. I wanted some graham cracker crumbs as well as larger cracker pieces on each to add a bit of extra crunch.  Drizzle with melted chocolate. 

If you have a kitchen torch it might be fun to brown the marshmallows a little bit before you drizzle chocolate on top, I however do not have one, and learned that a lighter isn't strong enough to roast marshmallows. 


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26 May 2014

Joyous Health: Book Review


This book has been living on my counter. I am constantly grabbing it to reference things - from how to cook quinoa to the dirty dozen list. This book is a valuable resource of healthy, whole and clean eating. Joy is great at providing information in an interesting and knowledgeable way. She recommends taking 6 weeks to work through her book - I read it in one night and then started adapting different aspects into my life. I have since gone back and started to work through it. Since reading Joyous Health I have been more conscious about what I am eating and have been working at creating healthier meals. Rather then being restrictive I have found the book to really open my eyes to new and different ways to cook a foods that I already love and how to start incorporating other fresh foods. I also really like how uplifting Joy is in her book. This is NOT a diet book. It is much more about lifestyle then it is about being restrictive. She gives stress management tips and information on how to live a fuller healthier life. Following the first part of the book, full of Joy's information and knowledge, the second part is a traditional cookbook, fully of healthy easy to make dishes. All of Joy's recipes are delicious and easy to follow.  What I personally really liked about the book is that Joy is Canadian.  It was great for me for because the information in the book was relevant and I could find all the ingredients listed (there is also a US version!). 
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23 May 2014

Snapshots: May 23

Beautiful May Day

Dog walking

I have an obsession with pretty trees

Went for dinner, got a doggy bag. The restaurant always writes fun things on their take out boxes last time it was "Don't even think about sharing". 

Ice cream runs. Chocolate with fudge sauce, brownies and Reese Peanut Butter cups.

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21 May 2014

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes with Honey Buttercream


These cupcakes are one of my favourites for summer. I love the light lemony taste and the surprise of fresh strawberries in the cake. I have posted the recipe here. I made these for a BBQ for Victoria Day weekend and I loved the photos and had to share. 


It turned out to be a gorgeous weekend for the long weekend. They were calling for rain but it never came! I wanted something fresh and bright for the BBQ since the weather was starting to warm up, I wanted a desert that reflected that.  Plus the lemon syrup from this recipe did double duty in Sangria (recipe to come)! 


My roommate (and friends) seriously thought I was crazy, bringing my cupcakes (and props) outside to take photos in the grass. I would think they were used to my "cupcake photo shoots" by now but I guess leaving the kitchen was just too much for them to handle. Lol.  I love how the photos turned out and am so glad I didn't listen to their teasing. Do your friends bug you for taking blog photos? 


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14 May 2014

3 Everyday Things that Make Me Feel Grown-up

Most days I still feel like a child. Its hard to believe that I in my fourth year of University. Sometimes though I get this fleeting feeling like "wow" I am actually grown up and at the same time I feel like I am just playing dress-up. 
This feeling comes at random times, usually when I am doing everyday things. Things that I do on a regular (or semi-regular basis) but every once and a while it hits me that I am growing up and becoming an adult. They are: 
1. Answering Emails. 
The more formal the email the older I feel. This also true to emails that are about scheduling things or that have multiple exchanges.

2. Wearing Heels. 
I feel SO tall and SO old. You could also add in when I am dressed business casual. 

3. Voluntarily Eating a Salad. 
No one is forcing me. Yet, once again I have picked a salad off the menu. SO grown up!

What makes you feel grown up? 
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7 May 2014

25 before 25: Update

An update on my 25 before 25 list

1. Graduate University 

2. Buy a car 

3. Take a cake decorating class 


4. Go to Europe
planning for this to happen next summer

5. Run a race
signing up for a colour run at the end of the month

6. Throw a dinner party 

7. Watch all of Sex in the City 

8. Take a ballroom dancing class 

9. Get a real job
internship number 2 underway

10. Buy a great pair of shoes 

11. Read all the Jane Austin novels
2 down.

12.  Have my own place 

13. Make Macaroons



14. Make a cupcake tower for something special 


15.  Do another service trip 

16. Road trip
happening in August!

17. Go to a sporting event 


18. Have a pet of my own (even if its just a fish)

19.  Go to Vancouver 

20.  Find my signature drink 

21. Have a girls weekend 

22. Learn to play a song on guitar

23. Keep a journal
started bullet journalling - we will see if it lasts 

24. Invest in a good camera 

25. Dream Big  
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2 May 2014

Snapshots

Sushi Date. The more avocado the better.

Loving everything at Chapters lately. 

Red Velvet Cheese Cake I made for the famjam

Colourful Peppers

Flowers from the boy <3 nbsp="" p="">
The best chocolate cake I've ever had... 
Forgot to take the before photo oops. 

Need chocolate ice cream for serious study sessions. So glad this last exam is DONE! Bring on summer.

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30 April 2014

Gifts for Mom

Gifts for Mom

This year I got inspired with Gifts for Mom for Mother's Day by the colour pink. Its such a fun, fresh colour without being overstated. Here are my picks for Mom:

Perfume - Why not get mom one of her favourite scents this Mother's Day. There are a tons of options to choose from and every time she uses it she will think of you.

Purse - Find me a girl who doesn't like a good bag. I love this Rebecca Minkoff. The chain adds some edge to this other wise girly bag. The shape and quilted textures are definitely classic so Mom can use it for years to come.

Flowers - Flowers are a great way to let Mom know that you are thinking about her especially if you cannot be with her this Mother's Day.

Scarf - I think a scarf is the perfect accessory. It can really add a punch of colour to an outfit and make it that much more exciting. There are so many different patterns and colours out there, surely there is something your mom will love.

Beauty Products - Treat Mom to some high end beauty products that she may not splurge on for herself. These One Love Organics (gift set available at Shop by Monika) use all natural ingredients and are supposed to be good for all skin types.

Tea - David's has a great collection of teas for Mom and their special edition Perfect Mug is adorable.   Stock up on her favourites or find her a new favourite. You can't go wrong with Cream of Earl Grey.


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28 April 2014

Hair Care


It all started with my trip to NYC. I couldn't bring my own shampoo with me because I was just using a carry-on for the plane. So I borrowed my friends shampoo. She used shampoo and conditioner that was sulfate free. I immediately noticed how much softer and easier to manage my hair was after just one use. So I went home and purchased some sulfate free shampoos and conditioners. I have been alternating between Tresemme naturals and  Organix.

 I have been debating back and forth if I want to take my hair care one step further and go an all natural homemade route. I don't think that the no-poo method is the way to go for me but I am intrigued by different honey and coconut milk formulas that are floating around. Has anyone tried them or any other natural hair care? I use pure coconut oil to deep condition my hair a couple of times a month and I love it, which is why I think I am leaning towards trying the homemade coconut milk shampoo. 
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23 April 2014

Graduation Gifts for Friends


Gifts for Grads

The majority of my friends are graduating this year. They are off to start the next exciting chapter of their lives. Here are some ideas that I came up with to get them as a small congratulations. All are under $50. 

Starbucks Giftcard -  A Starbucks (or other coffee or tea) giftcard is a perfect gift for someone who is about to enter the workforce. Pair it with a thoughtful card and provide them with coffee for their first day of work. 

Book - There are so many great books out there for grads. Lean In is one that I would recommend for any recent grad. 

Manicure - Treat your friend to a manicure. Its nice to feel pampered after studying for so long.  Many places have gift cards you can give, but even better why not go with her and spend some time together before things get crazy again. 

Travel Journal - So many of my friends are taking time off after graduating and before they start working to travel. A journal is a great way for them to record their thoughts and memories while abroad. Fun add ons: a sleep mask and ear plugs for those train, plane and car rides. 

Necklace - Dogeared has some really cute necklaces that are perfect for grads. Wether you want to wish you friend good luck on her next chapter or thank her for always being there for you. I like the simplicity of them. Etsy also has some great options for unique jewellery and personalized necklaces.


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21 April 2014

Toasted Coconut and Lemon Cupcakes


As promised, the recipe for the Toasted Coconut and Lemon Cupcakes that I posted yesterday. They were a hit with my family and friends this Easter. Lemon and coconut is such a classic combination. The cupcake itself had a nice light texture and the tartness from the lemon cut the sweetness of the buttercream.

For the Cupcake: 
Adapted from: Brown Eyed Baker
Makes 12

Ingredients: 
1 Cup all-purpose flour 
1 teaspoon baking power
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup shredded coconut 
1/2 unsalted butter, at room temp 
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 egg whites (save yolks for Lemon Filling)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line cupcake pan with cupcake liners. 
In a medium bowl whisk together first four dry ingredients
In a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, (or with a hand mixer) beat together butter and sugar, until light and fluffy
Beat in egg, egg whites and vanilla until completely combined
With mixer on low, add flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with coconut milk, beat until combined
Divide batter between cupcake liners, filling 2/3s full. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean
Remove from oven. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes then transfer to wire rack and allow cupcakes to cool completely before filling and frosting. 

Lemon Filling
I used Wilton's Lemon Filling Recipe. Its perfect because it needs 2 egg yolks and it thickens nicely. Allow it to cool before filling. 

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
1 cup butter
3-4 cups icing sugar 
3 teaspoons vanilla 
2 tablespoons heavy cream 

Beat butter until light and fluffy. Beat in icing sugar until smooth and creamy. Beat in vanilla and cream.

Toasted Coconut
1 Cup Shredded Coconut 

Preheat Oven to 350. Spread Coconut out on rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 3-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Watch it closely - it burns quickly! 

To assemble: 
Fit pipping bag with round tip - (I used Wilton Tip 10). Fill bag half way full with cooled Lemon Filling. Push tip in center of cooled cupcake and gently squeeze lemon filling into cupcake. 

Frost Cupcakes as desired (I used a large round tip to get a mound of icing). Using a shallow dish, roll outside rim of cupcake in toasted coconut. Top with mini eggs. Enjoy! 



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