Not your average cookie

I made these cookies this past weekend when I got the baking itch. Or maybe it was a sugar with drawl itch. Whatever it was, it needed to be satisfied.

I haven't baked for awhile (work & personal life=so busy lately. In a good way. No copmplaints here), and this classic cookie was the perfect choice for a quick baking session. It felt good to get back in the kitchen! My version of stress relief.


Joy the Baker is one of my favourite go to blogs (and cookbook!) for yummy treats. I am eagerly awaiting the release of her new cookbook. Can't wait to see what she comes up with next.

These cookies are taken to a whole 'nother level with browned butter. Browning butter is simple to do, and results in such a rich, nutty flavour.

...and it smells AMAZING


P.S- sprinkle a little sea salt on top before baking. The salty combined with sweet is so, so good.


I encourage you to try these the next time you have a craving for chocolate chip cookies. These guys got rave reviews from my "taste testers" (aka co-workers & pregnant ladyfriend). Crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside.

Enjoy!


Domino

Did you ever happen to read Domino Magazine?

I first stumbled upon it years ago at my local grocery store and was captured by the bright cover.
Design magazines in general can just be so blah, or too grown up, or too modern for my taste.

Domino was such an eclectic, quirky, fun and fresh mix of design and all things home. I remember my very favourite article was turning an outfit into a room design. How fun! I would love to do something like that.


The magazine stopped being issued in and around 2009 (so sad). I managed to salvage a few of my old magazines and still have them squirreled away. Had I known, I wouldn't have cut & pasted so many of the pages into my design inspiration scrapbooks (Anyone else ever make these?! I still have all mine. Hoarder, I tell you.)

Luckily for us Domino fans, the mag has since been re-released for special issues and as of last week Domino has created a full gallery online of past spreads & images.



If you are anything like me and spend hours browsing Pinterest & Houzz for a little inspiration, you should hop on over to the Domino photo gallery. You inner design fan girl will thank me :)

My all time favourite photo/home office of Mary MacDonald. I still have this one saved.
All images via Domino.com


Back on Track

I think it's important to check in with your health, mind and body every once in awhile and re-evaluate. I have definitely been feeling the need to step up my health game lately. This may or may not have something to do with an upcoming bikini wearing vacation.

While my husband and I are "healthy" for the most part, we have both agreed to cut down on our sugar intakes, while I also try to eliminate starchy carbs with our weeknight dinners. I'm looking at you white dinner buns and rice!

For me personally, this also means getting back on a steady work out schedule and closely watching what I eat. It's so easy to reach for that little bowl of desk candy a few times through the day, but not so easy on my waistline.

(P.S-So, this "no candy" thing-it's all I can think about! I am trying to figure out if it's all in my head, or if I am a true sugar addict and going through with drawls. Gross)

Here are a few things I have been focusing on to get back into the health groove...

Fitness:
Creating a workout schedule is key. If I don't plan for it, it just won't happen.

Pre-booking myself into classes and scheduling workouts with friends has proven successful!
I also add at home workouts into my calendar and set up a pop up reminder. Totally holds me accountable.

Via pinterest
 
I have only been a couple of times, but the Booty Barre class at Union Athletica is so, so good and kicks my butt and legs in ways I have never felt.




 Jillian Michael's Yoga Inferno ...Love this workout. Perfect for squeezing in a quick & sweaty half hour workout at home before dinner.


Every monday I attend an adult gymnastics bootcamp at the Kyle Shewfelt Gymnasium. Can I just say that having a Olympic gold medalist as your bootcamp instructor is pretty awesome. And motivating. And hard. It doesn't feel like working out if you get to jump in foam pits and trampolines!

Food:

The meals we regularly eat are pretty healthy, but I am definitely guilty of snacking and sneaking in treats at every opportunity.

Menu planning has always been a must for me to keep my week stress-free. I have been reaching for my Martha Stewart Light cookbook, Meatless & Real simple Dinners. All great cookbooks with healthy & simple recipes.

This Green Breakfast smoothie (Via RFFMBT) has been my go-to for breakfasts. So fresh and delicious.


For dinner, This Salmon recipe is my absolute favourite-I make it once a week!


I made Jessica Alba's Turkey meatballs for the first time last week. They were so yummy, super filling and couldn't have been easier! I served them with Greek salad and Asparagus tossed in a bit of butter, grated lemon with a squeeze of juice. Mmm!

 
I would love to know...what helps you stay on track with a healthy lifestyle?

Intention :: Acceptance

Is anyone else suffering from the winter blues?
January is over, yet spring still feels so far away.

I wanted to check in and see how those resolutions (or non-resolutions) held up over the past month or so, and share my personal experience as well.

In January I set an intention. A word, mindset and feeling to aspire to.


I would love to say that I experienced a whole month of joyful moments, peace, calm, happiness, {insert other positive emotion here}...but the truth is, January had it's challenging moments. 
I'm also learning it's Ok to have a bad day, to admit defeat. 

For every up, there is a down.
And that's just being realistic.

This leads me to another thought, or intention if you will....Acceptance.
Acceptance of oneself
Acceptance of the world around you
 

I will accept that negative situations may arise, but I can chose to move on, learn & improve from the experience

I will accept that I cannot always change what is happening around me, but I can chose what and who I surround myself with
 
 
My new mantra:
Positive thoughts breed positive actions. Positive actions breed positive results. 

I would love to know...how have your resolutions or intentions held up in the New Year?

Happy Love Day

A few fun photos from an (old) valentines day shoot. Happy Valentines Day!
 
 
 

Photos by Brendan Nogue
Baking and treats by me!

Daydreaming: Kitchen shelves

I truly believe that the kitchen is the heart of the home. It is one of the most important rooms and my absolute favourite.
If you don't believe me, just watch where guests end up the next time you are over at someones house. I promise it will (almost) always be the kitchen. This phenomenon can also be referred to as the "Kitchen Party" :)

 (The show home of our house model)

The Kitchen in our new house is completely open to the rest of the main living area. There is not too much that can be done with it in terms of decorating, but I do have my heart set on open shelves. There is a little area just off the kitchen that would be the perfect location!

Shelves are a great way to display some cute, personal items that add personality and a burst of colour. I would love to showcase a few handmade spice bowls purchased in Mexico, and maybe a painting or two.

Here are some inspiration images that speak to me:

via



Now to decide between all white everything, or warm wood accents...

Book Club

This month is all about the cookbook!

Would you believe when I first moved away from home, I had no idea how to cook?
I will never forget the first time I made a pasta-Goat cheese, spinach and pine nuts. It was the grossest thing I have ever made my husband eat! Poor guy.

Things have come a long way for me in terms of cooking dinners. I am a master at the weeknight 30 minute meals, I only wish I had more time to really explore and hone my skills with more complex meals.
When my husband and I take the time to make a great meal from scratch on saturdays, enjoying the process and doing it together...those are the best.

Baking is a passion of mine and I try and squeeze it in at least once a week. I find it so relaxing to get in the kitchen and make a big floury mess. Life just doesn't feel complete with at least one baked treat in the house :)



Butter Baked goods: 
I bought this with the last of my christmas gift cards, and I am so glad I did.
I love everything this book. It's sweet vintage charm, the pink and green colour scheme (my wedding colours!), and the fact it is created by a former canadian interior designer turned baker.
The recipes in the book are really unique (you guys-she makes her own marshmallows from scratch) and they all look simple and delicious. I think if I had to own one baking book, this might be it!

Dolce Vita:
I first borrowed this book a few years ago from a co-worker and madly scribbled down recipes-the bolognese sauce in particular. It is the best traditional spaghetti sauce I have tried, and is now the base recipe for my husbands amazing sauce (the secret is liquis smoke and hot sauce only found in the states). I am really excited to try out some new pasta dishes, but mostly bought it for these.

Simple Dinners:
Any book that has quick and simple recipes-I am all over it. The beautiful photographs and high quality ingredients make this book shine. I am always on the hunt for new chicken and salmon recipes and this one does not disapoint. It will be a great addition to our weeknight meal rotation.
 

I would love to know...have you ready any good books lately? Cooking or otherwise?



Moving on up: Professional Photos

I am excited to share another part of getting ready to sell our house: Professional Photos!

We asked the wonderful Brendan Nogue Photography to take interior photos for our upcoming MLS listing.
Brendan is a great friend, so much fun to work with, and has taken many amazing photos for us in the past. He does it all... family photos, weddings, live events & more.

I highly recommend him if you are in need of a local yyc photographer!

Thanks to him, we now have great marketing photos, photographic evidence of the tidiest our house will ever be, and a keepsake of our first home together. For such a small investment, it is so worth the outcome.

Here are my favourite shots: 

{Living room}

{Kitchen}

{Kitchen}

{Bathroom}

{Bathroom}

{Bedroom}

{Bedroom 2/Office}

Our patio this past summer...



...and below is our current reality. Yuck.


Thanks again to Brendan for all your help! I appreciate your mad skillz and I hope you appreciate your new found love of chai latte's.






Treats for my Sweets

Bet you thought I meant my husband, huh? Nope. I meant this little guy... Charlie!
a.k.a: The other love of my life


I have a small obsession with this pup. He is actually my husbands family pet, but I love him like my own. Charlie is a gentle old soul (14 years young!), but can be such a brat and has tons of personality. What else could you want in a best friend?
























I constantly give him treats and make sure I get in more pats in than anyone else so that I will forever be his favourite. Since my husband and I don't reallllly celebrate valentines day, I decided to celebrate by spoiling my old man with these homemade dog treats.



Adapted from BH&G Holiday food gifts magazine-2013

Ingredients:
1 Cup natural apple juice
1/2 Cup natural creamy peanut butter (I purchased mine at Safeway)
1/2 Cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 honey
1 tbsp canola oil
1 1/2 Cup rolled oats
1 Cup whole wheat flour
3/4-1 Cup all purpose flour

Directions: 
Preheat Oven to 300 degrees F. 
Whisk: Apple juice, peanut butter, applesauce, honey & oil in saucepan over medium heat until it thickens.
Remove from heat, let cool & stir in oats. 
Stir in whole wheat flour
Stir in enough all purpose flour to form a stiff dough. 
Roll 1/2 the dough on a lightly floured surface until 1/4" thick. 
Using cookie cutters, cut out shapes and arrange on baking sheet with parchment paper. 

(Repeat with other 1/2 of dough or put in freezer for later!)

Bake for 15-20 mins until light brown. 
Turn off oven and let sit in oven for 1 hour.

Cookies should last up to one month in an air tight container. 




Note: I have read that some dogs can have allergies to oats and flour. Charlie and a few other pups shared these with had no issues at all. They absolutely loved these treats. Just a heads up!