Wednesday, 31 July 2013

DIY Face Scrub

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Here's a super easy face scrub that I've been using for the past month or so. I decided to try to make some of my everyday face lotions and potions after realizing that I spend a crazy amount of money at Shoppers Drugmart. Before I was really into St. Ives apricot scrub but I'd go through it pretty quickly. This though, I can whip up whenever as I have all of the ingredients just lying around anyway, score!

Face Scrub


Ingredients



  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1 tbsp honey

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 tbsp sweet almond oil (if you don't have sweet almond, you can just use more olive oil)

  • 6 drops essential oil (I use grapefruit)

  • splash of water (optional)


To make it just mix everything in a mason jar until it's a nice paste. I found that I like to add a splash of water to it to loosen it just a bit. Play around with the ingredients, if it's too rough, add more oil, or if it's too oily just add more sugar. I was a bit put off by how oily it felt at first, but once you dry your face off with a towel it removes most of the oil, leaving your face nice and moisturized.
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I really like the idea of making some of my everyday beauty products, especially when you read about all the terrible stuff that's in most things. I went to a talk last year (by this lovely lady) where she talked about all the crap that's in your beauty products, and it was a big eye opener!

Enjoy!

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Craftster & Craft Swapping

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I feel like I haven't written a crafty post in forever! Recently I've been getting back into Craftster, which, in case you're wondering is an online crafting community (I know right?!). Craftster has a section where they do craft swaps; where you pretty much mail people crafts of a certain theme, and get sent crafts too! Kind of like a crafty pen pal. I did my first swap back in high school and it was a Breakfast at Tiffany's theme. I loved it! I made 4 crafts and sent them to my assigned partner and received 4 crafts as well. I can't remember exactly everything I received but one of them was a charm bracelet made entirely out of Tiffany blue and black bobbles and charms. Sounds amazing right?

Currently I'm signed up for an ATC (Artist Trading Card) swap, where everyone posts a list of themes they like (some of mine for instance are Wes Anderson movies, cake, and Bewitched) and then someone chooses one of your themes and creates a little piece of art around that idea and sends it to you. Make sense? Here are some of the ones I've been working one:
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Themes from left to right: alcoholic drinks, motivational quotes, goddess, & alcoholic drink


ATC swaps are great (especially for me) because they are cheap and don't require too much time to make, plus even if you have to mail it to someone overseas, you're only mailing a tiny envelope (as opposed to a larger craft). Like the idea? You should check out Craftster, sign up (for free) and join the swap!


Happy crafting!

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Chocolate Meringues

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When Dave and I were in London we stayed in a little town called Pinner. I remember one of the bakeries in the village made these huge chocolate meringues. I vowed that I would recreate these once I got home, but with all the humidity lately, meringues just weren't an option. Yesterday was the first cool day in a while so it was the prefect day to try it out.

These are so delicious; the exterior is crisp and light while the inside is soft and slightly chewy. Perfect for a summer dessert or really, you could eat these as a snack. The only cautionary comment I have for you is to not make these when it's humid, or they won't properly dry out, they'll just kind of melt.

Chocolate Meringues adapted from here


Ingredients




  • 6 large egg white (try to use free range or organic when you can)

  • 1 cup and 5 tbsp sugar

  • Pinch of salt

  • 2 tbsp cocoa



Make It!


Preheat your oven to 300°. Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Put your egg whites into a bowl, making sure there are absolutely no little pieces of egg shell or egg yolk in them. Whisk on medium until the whites form firm peaks. (Apparently you'll know that it's thick enough if you can hold the bowl upside-down over your head. I did this and it works!)

With your mixer still running, gradually add the sugar and the pinch of salt. Turn the mixer up to the highest setting and whisk for about 7 or 8 minutes until the meringue mixer is deliciously white and glossy. Dip your finger in the meringue and rub the mixture between your thumb and index finger. It should feel perfectly smooth. If it feels at all grainy, whisk for a little bit longer. Keep a close eye on the meringue because if you whisk for too long, it will collapse.

Turn off the mixer and add the cocoa. With a spatula gently fold in the cocoa. You want to have some cocoa streaks in there. Using a large spoon, plop large dollops of meringue onto your prepared cookie sheet. Make sure to leave a little bit of space between them. I made 9 medium meringues, but you can make them as small or as big as you want. Dab the tops of them with the bottom of the spoon to give them that nice curly top. 

Bake for about an hour until they're nice and dry on the outside, but soft in the middle.
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I forgot to do this, but dust them with some more cocoa when they're cool. Enjoy!

Thursday, 25 July 2013

(Ty's) Falafels & White Bean Sauce

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Ok, so I cannot take credit for these, my brother Ty actually made them last night for dinner. Ty and I are very similar in probably only one aspect of our lives, and that would be food. We love food. We love cooking it, reading about it, talking about it, watching people cook, we're kinda obsessed (he would never admit that though). When I found out recently he's been reading The Joy of Cooking and Mastering the Art of French Cooking and actually made a Julia Child Butter Roasted Chicken I was amazed, and perhaps a little shocked.

Lately, Ty's been into cooking labour intensive type menus. This one took him on and off all day from start to finish. Not something I have time for everyday, but they were really amazing. Some may say, the best falafels ever? These are definitely more fragrant and moist than what you would get at most restaurants.

Falafels & White Bean Sauce taken from here


Ingredients



  • 2 1/4 cups cooked chickpeas

  • 3 scallions, coarsely chopped

  • 1 large clove garlic, coarsely chopped

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander

  • 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • Generous 1/4 cup coarsely chopped parsley

  • Generous 1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro

  • 1 egg

  • 1 lemon, juiced

  • Kosher salt

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1/3 cup flour, plus 1/4 cup flour for shaping patties

  • Vegetable oil, for frying

  • Lettuce, for garnish

  • Chopped salted tomatoes, for garnish

  • Sliced cucumbers, for garnish


Make It!

  1. In a food processor, combine the chickpeas, scallions, garlic, cumin, coriander, cayenne, parsley, cilantro, egg, and lemon juice. Pulse to combine and season with salt. The mixture will not be smooth, but it should not have large chunks.

  2. Add in the baking powder and 1/3 cup of the flour and pulse to just combine. Remove to a bowl and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

  3. Remove the chickpea mixture from the refrigerator. Add enough oil to a large saute pan so it reaches 1/2-inch up the sides and heat it over medium-high heat until an inserted thermometer reads 360 degrees F.

  4. Meanwhile, drop spoonfuls of the chickpea mixture onto a plate with 1/4 cup flour. Roll into balls on the floured plate and press gently into patties. Fry in batches of hot oil for about 3 to 4 minutes each side and drain on paper towels.

  5. Serve the falafel on a bed of lettuce with chopped salted tomatoes, cucumber and White Bean Yogurt Sauce.


Creamy White Bean Yogurt Sauce



  • 3/4 cup cooked white beans

  • 1 small garlic clove, coarsely chopped

  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt

  • 1/2 lemon, juiced

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Puree the white beans, garlic, yogurt, lemon juice, and olive oil in a mini food processor until very smooth. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve with falafel or as a salad dressing
IMG_2391 (2)You can double or triple the batch and then freeze the ones you don't eat too! Enjoy!



 

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Jamie Oliver's Food Tube



I think by now we all know how much I love Jamie Oliver. Did I mention he talked to me once while I was at his restaurant in London?! Since, it has only increased my obsession. My friend Jen (who is living in London) recently directed me to my new online time waster: Jamie Oliver's Food Tube. If you love watching the Food Network but don't have cable (like myself) then this is a great alternative. There are loads of quick how-to videos, master classes by different chefs and bakery owners, it's heaven really.

Here's one of my favourties:[youtube=http://youtu.be/3I9ppoJhCkQ]

Thanks Jen!

Saturday, 20 July 2013

(Julia Child's) Quiche au Camembert

IMG_2094My cousin Cherise came over last night for dinner and Disney movies so I wanted to make something a little special and fancy for dinner. And when I think fancy, I think of my giant lug of a book Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child. I am rather ashamed to say that this is the first recipe I've cooked from it. Dave bought it for me last year and I have swooned over it ever since, but alas never took the plunge and created anything from it. Something about the way the recipes are written kind of intimidates me. (Have a look and you'll know what I'm talking about)

So I started with something easy; a quiche. Can we just pause and acknowledge the fact that quiches are totally under-rated? Because they are. They are so easy to make, you really don't even need a recipe. You can eat them hot, cold, or room temperature. They're awesome.

This quiche is more of a savory cheesecake. There are only 2 eggs in the entire thing, so it's not very eggy at all. It's creamy, light, perfect for a summer dinner!

Julia Child's Quiche au Camembert


Ingredients



  • 1/2 cup of diced Camembert cheese (don't peel of the papery outside!)

  • 1 brick of low fat cream cheese (trust me, you want the low fat with all the other stuff going in this thing)

  • 2 tbsp softened butter

  • 3 tbsp whipping cream/any cream really

  • 2 eggs

  • salt and pepper

  • 1/2 tbsp cayenne

  • 3-4 tbsp of chopped green onion tops

  • partially de-thawed pie shell (not the deep dish kind)


Make it


1) Preheat over to 375. Mix together cheeses, cream and butter with a mixer or fork until smooth. Add eggs, salt & pepper, cayenne and green onion and combine.

2) Pour into pie shell and bake for about 30 minutes until it's puffy and browned. Don't worry it it get really poofy, it'll fall back down once it cools.

We ate this with a salad, some crusty bread, and pink wine. Delicious!

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Friday, 19 July 2013

Passion Tea Lemonade

IMG_2089 A few summers back I was obsessed with Starbucks Passion Tea Lemonade. It's so tasty and summery, but alas, was rather pricey (especially since half of it is really just ice!). Then one day I was glancing in my cupboard and noticed I had some Tazo Passion Tea just hanging around. So I popped a tea bag into a pitcher of lemonade to see what would happen. Well it tastes exactly like the one at Starbucks (fancy that!). And costs me about $1 to make an entire pitcher. Score!

(Starbucks) Passion Tea Lemonade


Ingredients



  • frozen can of lemonade

  • a bag of Passion Tea (or any other fruity herbal tea you have)


Make It



  1. Pour the frozen can into a pitcher, fill to the top with water and add tea bag. Stir well and let sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. I like to add sliced pink grapefruit to mine as well.


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FYI Here in Canada you can buy Tazo brand tea at Shoppers Drugmart and Walmart

Enjoy!

Thursday, 18 July 2013

In the Woods

I know I've been talking endlessly about camping lately, but here are just a few more photos. PROMISE this is it!

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Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Tomato Tart

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I admit "tart" might not be the right word for this. It's really just puff pastry, which is much easier to make. And by make I mean, remove from the fridge and unroll. So simple! It's ridiculously hot out where we are right now and genius me decided to make something in the oven. Der. (We have no air conditioning) Oh well, it was totally worth warming up the apartment!

We had this for dinner as is, but would go great with a salad too (it's too hot out and we felt lazy)

Tomato Tart (from here)


Ingrediants



  • roll of puff pastry

  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese

  • 1/4-1/2 cup of pesto

  • 4 tomatoes thickly sliced

  • olive oil

  • salt & pepper

  • thyme (or any other herb you have lying around really)


Make It!



  1. Preheat your oven to 400. Lay the tomatoes on some parchment paper on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil and S&P. Bake for about 15-20 minutes until they start to cook down and get a bit caramelized.

  2. Mix together the ricotta and pesto in a bowl. Roll out your puff pastry and spread the ricotta mixture over the whole thing. Top with roasted tomatoes and bake (at 350) until its puffy and golden. Tear up some thyme and sprinkle on top.


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IMG_2066You can't go wrong with puff pastry! Am I right?

Monday, 15 July 2013

Campfire Feast: a bit of everything

This was our last dinner before we headed home. We pretty much tried to use up all of the leftover food. It was pretty epic, if I may say. We all agreed that a meal of just vegetables had never tasted so amazing.  Here's what we made:IMG_19192 IMG_19196Here's how to roughly make everything (some of it is probably self explanatory)

Camembert


This was something I picked up from Jamie Oliver (swoooon). Just take the camembert, pluck some rosemary leaves and put on top, with some minced garlic and olive oil and wrap it in tinfoil. Then just pop it over the fire until it's all melty and delicious. We ate this on baked potatoes and (fire) warmed baguette. It also tastes amazing on precooked noodles too.

Baked Onions


This was my brother's recipe. Just wrap a whole onion in tinfoil and toss it right into the fire, like right on to the coals. Make sure to flip them around every once and a while. I think they took about 45 minutes or so. Then you just unwrap them, peel off the burnt layer and eat! We poured some roasted garlic in oil over these.

Roasted Garlic in Olive Oil


This was something I made at home before I left. I just roasted 4 heads of garlic and then squeezed the cloves into a jar and poured some olive oil on top. The oil tastes amazing afterwards. I am definitely keeping a jar of these in my fridge from now on.

Roasted Red Peppers and Sweet Potatoes


Well, come on, I'm sure you can figure out how we made these!

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Camping food is awesome.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Update!

So I finally got around to updating this here blog. I've been feeling super creative lately and have the time to actually tap into it. Yay for vacation! The archives are now up to date and I've re-done the daily reads page (now called Inspirations), check it out, you may find something new!

Camping Food Series: Campfire Baked Pasta

IMG_1860Dave and I just got back from camping at Awenda for the week. It was lovely. The highlight for me though was definitely the food. Surprising? Perhaps not. Camping food isn't exactly the fanciest of foods, but this time around I was determined not to live off veggie dogs, canned spaghettio's, and marshmallows. And man, did I succeed! I'll share most of the recipes I did over the next few days. This one was surprisingly easy and delicious, but required some planning beforehand.

Campfire Baked Pasta


Ingredients



  • precooked noodles

  • chopped garlic

  • pesto

  • baby spinach

  • chopped tomatoes

  • goat cheese

  • salt & pepper

  • olive oil

  • tin foil


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Make It!



  1. Start your fire about a half hour before you want to cook over it. I read somewhere that if you can hold your hand over the fire for just 5 seconds, then your temperature is good.

  2. Rip off a rather large piece of tinfoil. In the middle of it place some noodles, a chopped tomato, handful of spinach, a dollop of pesto, some garlic, and as much goat cheese as you want. Drizzle a little bit of olive oil on top. Now wrap it up as best you can ( I had to add another piece of tinfoil around it).

  3. Place it over the grill of the pit and cook it for about a half hour, flipping it a few times. Take it off the grill and let it cool for a few minutes before you dig in.


IMG_1847 IMG_1854To make this easier on myself, I precooked a package of spaghetti noodles at home, tossed them in spicy olive oil and put them in a large ziploc bag in the cooler. I also bought a jar a minced garlic (by far the BEST thing we bought food wise for camping) and made a container of pesto at home. It was a bit of work before we left, but was totally worth it when we got there.


What do you like to make while camping?

Friday, 5 July 2013

Adventures in Stratford

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Just a few photos from our (anniversary) trip to Stratford. We made lots of stops along the way , mostly for farm animals and cool shops. Trips like these are my favorite. I grew up going to Stratford all the time (my grandparents live there) but it's nice to slow down and actually look around the town for a change. It helps to remind me that I live in a pretty little spot in the world.
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This guy had his back leg missing!IMG_1436 IMG_1438Happy adventuring!
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