Thursday, March 31, 2011

Vanilla Bean Bundt Cake

If you’ve been reading the recipes that I post here on my blog, then it shouldn’t be any secret that I have a weakness for the chocolate/peanut butter combination. What may not be nearly as obvious though is my love for vanilla. It’s such a classic flavor that when done well, can never go wrong. Vanilla beans are magical to me. The seeds inside of the vanilla bean are an intoxicating aroma to me, and I could add them to just about anything. I make my own vanilla extract when I can get my hands on some vodka. Want to win me over? Bring me a bottle of vanilla. Bonus points if I’ve never tried it before. I’ve got three types of vanilla extract in my cupboard, and at least a dozen or so vanilla beans.

When I came across this recipe at Sweetapolita, I immediately bookmarked it. The glaze across the top looked so good that I knew I needed to make it as soon as possible. (Side note: Have you ever read Sweetapolita? It’s a beautiful blog!) I was pleased how the cake turned out. It was delicious, and I’ve been eating it every chance I get. It tastes especially good with a cup of coffee in the morning. Yes, I do occasionally eat cake for breakfast. It’s one of the perks of being an adult, and I rationalize that it’s perfectly acceptable because there’s no frosting involved.

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As for the glaze, I was less than impressed with it. In Rosie’s pictures, the glaze was thick and dried white on the cake. She warns that the glaze can’t be too runny or else that won’t happen. I tried to get the same results, but didn’t want to add too much icing sugar. The recipe calls for 1 cup icing sugar, but when I hit 2 cups, I gave up. I did drizzle the glaze on top anyway, and it did add a sweet touch to the top of the cake. When I make this cake again, I’ll reduce the amount of milk. To see the glaze recipe, be sure to click through to Sweetapolita’s blog.

Vanilla Bean Bundt Cake
From Sweetapolita

(Printable Recipe)

3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups softened butter
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 vanilla beans
4 eggs
1/4 tsp pure lemon extract
1 cup buttermilk

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a bundt pan.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
3. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Halve the vanilla beans lengthwise, and scrape out the seeds with the tip of knife. Mix into butter mixture.
4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in lemon extract.
5. Alternate folding in the flour mixture and buttermilk, making three additions of flour and two of buttermilk.
6. Pour into bundt pan and smooth out. Bake for approximately one hour, or until an inserted knife comes out clean. Let cake rest in pan for one hour, then turn out onto a cooling rack and let sit for another hour before glazing.


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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My Friend Fuegita Bonita

Andi and I go way back. Way back to my Live Journal days, to be specific, where we first met. She’s my first ever blog friend, and has been around for me through so many things in my life. I convinced her to move to blogger about a year ago, but she went on a bit of a hiatus. I missed her blog posts terribly while she was gone, but she’s back now! She’s reinvented herself, and I can’t wait to see what she does with her blog. I’ve asked Andi to introduce herself to you guys, and I’d love it if you stopped by her blog and showed her some love. You won’t regret it!

I’m Andi and I am a blogaholic…Oh, wrong place. So anyway, I live in Kansas. I have my bachelor’s degree in Anthropology. I am taking classes right now and plan on getting a higher level degree, either business or accounting. I work in an office, not really much to say, I don’t really have an official title, I do a little bit of everything. I’ve done receptionist, accounts receivable, accounts payable, order entry, purchasing, shipping…and on and on.

Angela is amazing enough to allow me the chance to pimp myself out to you all to help with the re-launch of my blog, Fuegita Bonita. I have been blogging for probably about 10 years off and on. My current blog I started at the beginning of last year, and at the end of the year I became jaded with it. I have had tons of ideas for posts and am finally getting around to blogging again. I’m going to blog more about my hobbies, photography, baking, cooking, and making jewelry.

With this re-launch, I am trying to improve myself in many different ways and using my blog to help with those changes. I want advice, feedback, and personal stories in order to learn from their experiences. I want to devote more time to my hobbies and craft and improving my health.

In honor of this re-launch, I want to do a giveaway. When I get 50 followers, I will giveaway a necklace made by moi! Go check out my blog, I posted a necklace I made last night! Add me on Twitter!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Ten on Tuesday


#73 at Roots and Rings

1. What is a food that you never thought you would try, but then tried and liked?
I once tried some sort of duck dumplings that Stephen made and I liked them. I haven’t had any sort of duck since though.

2. Do you subscribe to any foodie publications? If so, which ones?  
I don’t subscribe to any. The closest I get is reading a ton of food blogs (they make up nearly half the blogs I read). I’d list them all, but that’d just be too many. I’ve been wanting to subscribe to some food magazines though, so maybe I should start trying to convince Stephen to get onboard with that idea.

3. What ingredient do you find yourself reaching for the most when you cook?
When I’m the one cooking, I always seem to make a chicken dish. Sunday night was BBQ chicken pasta, last week was coconut chicken curry, not too long before that was chicken stew. I guess I just like chicken.

4. Are there any foods that you hated as a child, but then learned to like as an adult?
The most recent one I discovered I like is pistachios. For some reason, I just didn’t like them as a kid, but I decided to try some at work recently and found that they’re not half bad!

5. What do you like to eat that others may consider weird?
I don’t necessarily think that I eat anything weird. Although, I occasionally like to crumble up a granola bar into my yogurt, which Stephen thought was a bit strange.

6. What is the weirdest ingredient you’ve ever cooked with?
I’ve never cooked with a particularly strange ingredient, but I have baked with a not some common ingredient: lavender. I don’t personally think lavender is all that strange, but when I made lavender chocolate chip cookies, everyone I shared them with were surprised that you could even bake with lavender!

7. Do you have any major food allergies?

8. Is there an ingredient that you would like to cook with, but are intimidated to try?
I don’t believe that there are any particular ingredients that I’m intimidated by. Normally, if I’m going to be intimidated, it’ll be by a whole recipe, such as French macarons.

9. Do you bake?
Only of course! Baking is who I am, it’s how I identify myself. (Hello, my name is Angela, and I bake…)

10. If you could go on any “foodie” show to compete, which one would it be, and why?
I’ve never had any desire to be a food competition show. I’m more interested in  getting myself onto a show like Ace of Cakes. That’s more my cup of tea.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Dinner & Ballet

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This past Thursday was mine and Stephen’s 3 year anniversary, and I promised to let you know how we celebrated it. About a month ago, Stephen told me that he thought of something to do for our anniversary. I was surprised because I hadn’t even thought of our anniversary yet! He planned this whole date, and kept it super secret from me for nearly a month. I was starting to go crazy, because he would mention it all the time just to drive me nuts. He even made dinner reservations right in front of me!

We started the night off with dinner at NOtaBLE, a still relatively new restaurant in Calgary. I find it to be in an odd location, on a busy street not far from where my parents live. It’s not a location that you’d expect a restaurant to be in (on one end of the block, there’s a Husky, and across the street is a tattoo parlour and a pizza shop). That didn’t stop the food from being amazing though. I ordered a ravioli of confit chicken that was happiness in my mouth. We didn’t have time for dessert though, so I’ll have to go back another time.



During dinner, Stephen had handed me a plain white envelope. I ripped it open knowing that whatever was enclosed was the key to the second half of our night; ballet tickets! I have always wanted to go to the ballet. I had even put it on my 101 list, so it was really no secret that this is something I wanted to do. This was a huge deal for me because anyone who knows Stephen knows that he’s just not the ballet kind of guy; he was doing this all for me. I’m surprised that he even found a performance on the night of our anniversary! We saw Serenade & Vigil of Angels; two separate performances in one night. (To read a bit more about the performances, click over to the Alberta Ballet website.) Both performances were amazing. I was so glad that I was able to see them, and even more excited about the fact that I got a two for one deal! I’ve always been fascinated by the gracefulness of ballet, probable because I’m so ungraceful myself.

The night was a huge success, and well worth all of the planning that Stephen put into it. I’m an incredibly lucky girl, and I’m sure to let Stephen know that as often as possible.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Link Love

I thought I’d try a different kind of post today. I’ve seen this post from a few different blogs, and thought it could be a fun way to share some neat links that I’ve found throughout the week! Ready? Here goes!

-I’ve been listening to the new Mother Mother album all week. I was introduced to it by the 4 year old girl I was watching last weekend.

-These mug shots from 1920s Australia are hauntingly beautiful. Just, wow.

-This quote by Rosemary Urquico is amazing. Are you a girl who reads?

-Heartsy. It’s like Groupon, but for Etsy. You’re welcome.

-This post is entirely eye candy for me. So lovely.

-This book mobile is fantastic! If I had a library, it would so be in there.

Have you seen anything awesome around the internet this week? Feel free to share your links in the comments!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Strawberry Banana Muffins

After grocery shopping on Saturday, Stephen and I ended up with 2 2lb clamshells of strawberries, completely free. I love strawberries, so of course I was all over this deal. My favorite way to eat strawberries is sliced up with a little bit of Nutella mixed in, or dipped in sour cream and brown sugar. I was out of Nutella, and sour cream, so after eating a big bowl of sliced strawberries with a hint of sugar, I knew that I needed an alternative before they go bad. My guinea pigs like strawberries as well, but they only get half a strawberry each a day, so that isn’t too helpful to my cause.


It’s been a while since I’ve baked with strawberries. (Last summer was the last time, actually.) While flipping through some cookbooks at work, I came across a recipe for these muffins in the Quinoa 365 book. Stephen and I don’t eat quinoa, but I’ve been wanting to try and incorporate some healthier options into our every day lives when possible. This looked like a great opportunity to do so! The muffins turned out super moist, and I loved the chunks of strawberries. Next time I make these though, I’ll be sure to sprinkle some coarse sugar on top of the muffins. They just needed that extra “oomph”.

Strawberry Banana Muffins
From Quinoa 365: The Everyday Superfood

(Printable Recipe)

1/4 cup quinoa
1/2 cup water
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup mashed banana
1 cup diced frozen strawberries

1. Bring quinoa and water to a boil in a small saucepan. Cover, reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Then, turn off the heat and leave sitting, covered for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside to cool.
2. Preheat oven to 400F and grease muffin tins.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Mix in cooked quinoa, making sure to coat the quinoa well.
4. In a medium bowl, combine the sugar and oil. Mix in yogurt, egg, vanilla and banana.
5. Stir the strawberries into the flour mixture. Fold the flour mixture into the banana mixture.
6. Spoon into muffin tin and bake for 28-30 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Enjoy!


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

3 Years Together


Tomorrow is mine and Stephen’s three year anniversary. It feels like three years have gone by so fast, and yet so slow, all at the same time. I feel like I’ve known him my entire left, and yet sometimes I feel like we just met yesterday. When I reflect upon our relationship, I’m amazed at all that we’ve accomplished in our three years together.

We’ve lived in 2.5 places together. I say half, because I really only lived in the first apartment with him for about 5 months. Then came the condo in Mission, and now we’re in a townhouse. The home we’ve created together is a safe haven for me, and there’s no where else I’d rather be.

Stephen likes to say that we’ve both changed, and we met in the middle. He used to have a few more bad habits, and I used to be a bit of a goodie-goodie. Since meeting each other, we’ve met halfway. He’s given up those bad habits, and I’ve come out of my shell. I honestly couldn’t think of a better match for me than him. He encourages my passions. He sees me as better than I am and shows me the way to get there.

Tomorrow night, Stephen’s in charge of the celebration. He started making plans about a month ago, and won’t tell me what we’re doing. I do know that it involves dinner, but that’s all he’d tell me. You can bet that there’ll be a blog post next week updating you on this!

(Those are our baby pictures up above. Or at least, the only ones we have where we’re semi close in age. Stephen decided that we should stick them in matching frames and display them together. Aw!)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Ten on Tuesday


#72 at Roots and Rings

1. What condiments are always, always in your fridge?
Ketchup, mustard, BBQ sauce, salad dressing of some sort and syrup. Stephen insists that we store syrup in the fridge because that’s what he grew up with, and I’ve nearly gotten used to it. I’d say about 8 times out of 10, I still go looking through our cupboards for syrup.

2. How do you like your steak cooked? Your burgers?
I like my steak medium-rare. I didn’t realize that people ordered their burgers to be cooked a certain way, which I suppose means I probably always eat burgers that are well done.

3. What’s your favorite use for fresh tomatoes?
Thanks to my last nanny family, I discovered how delicious tomato toast was. Toasted rye bread, butter and tomato slices with salt and pepper. Yum!

4. What’s your go-to dinner when you haven’t planned anything in advance and you don’t feel like going out?
Some sort of pasta and jarred pasta sauce. Either that, or a bowl of a cereal.

5. What’s your favorite snack food lately?
I just picked up Sea Salt Pita Chips over the weekend, which are really good. Makes me wish I had some hummus though.

6. What’s your favorite weekend breakfast to make at home?
If I’m making it, then waffles. If Stephen’s making it, then it’s a full on big breakfast that will keep us full until dinner time: Pancakes, eggs, bacon, toast and hashbrowns. I love when he cooks for me.

7. What’s your favorite thing to grill? How do you do it?
I don’t grill. I’m awful at it (burned chicken, every time). I love it when Stephen grills steaks for us though. He likes to keep it plain and simple so that the steak is the real star. I need to marry this boy.

8. What’s your favorite wine for under $10? If you’re not a wine person, what brand of beer is your favorite?
I’m not a wine or beer person. I’ve tried both but I just can’t seem to like them.

9. Give us your most delicious cocktail recipe.
I don’t have one! I rarely drink, and when I do, I’m not the one mixing drinks.

10. How do you like your eggs?
Cooked by Stephen.
Haha! Ok, seriously though, I like them pretty much any which way. Stephen makes some amazing ones that involve sour cream and chives. He spoils me.

Monday, March 21, 2011

My Weekend in iPhone Photos

It was a busy weekend for me. I just finished working six days in a row, and now I’m thankful that I’ve got today off. I’m not used to this wacky schedule yet.


I’m not sure if I’ve talked about them much on here before, but I’ve taken on a weekend family. I was looking for new families to do occasional babysitting for when I found an ad for this family, for one weekend a month. Fast forward a couple of weeks, and I’ve already worked two full weekends for them this month. I don’t mind, mostly because it’s nice to have a little bit of extra money. We’re still trying to furnish/decorate our house after all.

With this new family, I start at 6:30am, which means I have to get up at 5am. The nice part about it is the fact that Stephen and I take the bus to work together on the Saturdays that I work. I work ten hour days with two kids (4 year old girl and 1 year old boy). My days are filled with games of Titanic (the ship is a fort I built under the bed), endless card games and good music. This family has the best taste in music, and the 4 year old knows all the words to every song. On Saturday, we spent some time at a park in the middle of downtown. The kids had fun breaking up and smashing ice. I was just thankful to get out the house.


After work on Saturday, Stephen and I made our monthly trip to Superstore. We came across this giant snow pile in the corner of the parking lot. It was taller than both of us, and I semi considered standing in front of it and telling people I went to the mountains. It was much too dirty though.


The one good thing about our trip to Superstore? Free strawberries with a purchase over $150! They’re giant, and taste fantastic on some leftover strawberry frozen yogurt I made last week.


Plans for today include a thrift store trip with my sister and her boyfriend. Send good thoughts my way so that I might be able to find something good!

Friday, March 18, 2011

7 Quick Takes (Vol 32)

1. I'm working through the weekend, so I'm pretending that today is only my Wednesday.
2. I found season 5 of House at the library earlier this week, so Stephen and I have been trying to cram in as many episodes as we can before it's due back on Tuesday. There really should be a longer loan time for TV shows on DVD; one week just isn't enough.

3. I've received a few emails from people wanting me to write about their stuff on my blog, for nothing in return. If I can tell you don't even read my blog, then I'm not going to help you out, sorry. One of the emails says it was from my toast. Yeah, the kind you eat for breakfast. Random much?
4. I have this curling iron/flat iron combo thing that I was using earlier this week. It fell apart while I was using it, and a piece fell down my shirt and burned my stomach. I now have a perfectly round burn that will turn into a scar. Lovely.

5. I don't celebrate St. Patrick's Day in any way. I don't have anything against the holiday, I've just never celebrated it.

6. Waking up at 5:30am during the week, and 5am this weekend is entirely too early. Thank goodness for coffee.

7. I'm really bummed that these cookies didn't turn out. I need to find a solution to the hard caramel problem, because these really are genius.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Twix Cookies

Last night, I went to another blogger meetup. It was a potluck, and I knew immediately that I needed to bring some sort of dessert. My first attempt was caramel apple cider cookies. They didn’t turn out because the caramel was too tough when they were cool. My next attempt was salted brown butter rice krispie squares, but I was apparently having an off day because I managed to mess those up. I finally settled on Twix cookies; the easiest way to describe them is that they’re like a chocolate chip cookie, but instead of chocolate chips, there’s chopped up Twix bars mixed in.


I thought the cookies were great, as did my sister, her boyfriend and Stephen. However, I ended up bringing nearly the entire batch of cookies back home with me last night. I think that’s more due to the fact that there were also cheesecake brownies in attendance, and that most people were still full from dinner. Despite that, I still highly recommend these cookies. After all, how could you go wrong with cookies that call for chopped up chocolate bars? Merry (from Merry With Children) says that she’s made a similar cookie that used Mars bars. Any chocolate bar would do, really. Experiment with your favorite and let me know how it turns out!

Twix Cookies
Adapted from Sprinkled With Flour

(Printable Recipe)

2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4  cup melted (and then cooled) butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg, plus 1 egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups chopped Twix bars

1. Preheat oven to 325F. Coarsely chop Twix bars in 1/4 inch chunks.
2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, beat together butter, sugar and brown sugar. Beat in the egg, egg yolk and vanilla. Fold in flour, then fold in the chopped Twix bars.
4. These cookies look best if you use this method from Sprinkled With Flour: Grab a scant 1/2 cup of dough and roll it into a ball. Then, using your fingertips, pull apart the dough into two equal halves. Place on cookie sheets with the jagged edges facing up.
5. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the cookies are lightly browned.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Calgary Bloggers

I write my blog posts at night; it’s what works best for me. I can barely string together full thoughts in the morning. Yesterday, I worked around 12.5 hours. It was a long day, to say the least. My day involved a play date, a trip to the library, lots of cleaning, playing outside and putting two sweet boys to bed. I love reading bed time stories to freshly bathed 4 year olds wearing footie pajamas. I came home, Stephen ordered a pizza because I didn’t feed myself at dinner time, and then I realized that my brain is fried. Working 12.5 hours will do that to a person.

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I stopped by to let you know what my plans are for tonight. I’m heading to a Calgary Bloggers Meetup. It’ll be a potluck at someone’s house, and I’m thinking of bring some Twix cookies. You can find out more about it here.
What’s your Wednesday looking like?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Ten On Tuesday


#71 @ Roots and Rings

1. What is your cleaning style like?
Lazy. I hate to admit that, but it’s true. I’ve always hated cleaning, and will do anything possible to get out of it. When I clean our house, it’s an all day affair because I get distracted easily.

2. What is your favorite thing to add to an outfit to take it from casual to classy?
I’m not very good at this sort of stuff. All of my outfits are much too casual, which has been bugging me lately. I guess, with the things I own right now, it would have to be a nice pair of shoes.

3. Do you like stormy weather?
If I don’t have to go out in it (like walking somewhere or taking the bus), then I absolutely love it!

4. What is your favorite cold treat on a hot day?
Ice cream, all day every day. Now that I have an ice cream maker, I make ice cream at least once a week.

5. What is your favorite warm treat on a cold day?
A nice mug of hot chocolate or coffee.

6. Who is your favorite animated character?
I can’t think of any! There are animated cartoons and movies that I like, but I don’t think I necessarily have a favorite animated character.

7. What do you keep your jewelry in?
In a box that some candles came in. I know it sounds weird, but when you open it up, it has a few compartments that are perfect for organizing jewelry. It has a ribbon to tie it shut as well. I own hardly any jewelry, so it’s what works best for me.

8. Do any of the rooms in your house have a theme?
Almost every room in my house has some sort of Paris related item in it. Other than that, nothing has a full on theme.

9. Do you watch any interior design TV shows – if so, what is your favorite?
I don’t really watch any interior design shows. Occasionally, if nothing else is on, I’ll watch The Nate Show.                

10. When was the last time you did something risk-taking?
Going to the Calgary Bloggers Meetup was a bit of a risk for me because I didn’t know anyone.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Weekend Wrap-Up

Confession: It’s still the weekend for me. If you’re reading this early in the morning, there’s a good chance that I’m still sleeping. I wrote this post last night while sitting in the craft room, sitting beside Stephen, who was working on a top secret project that will be my Dad’s birthday gift. Let’s recap my weekend, shall we?

I’m currently in the midst of a four day weekend. I’m not full time (3x/week) with the new family yet, so I have a few extra days off here and there. Friday started off with a coffee date with my sister and our friend Izel. I had a coupon for a free drink that Starbucks sent me shortly after my birthday last month, so I finally put that to good use. The coupon was good for any size drink, so I ordered a Venti White Mocha; a real treat because I never order the Venti size.IMG_0757

Saturday was spent getting our house in order. Stephen and I have been letting the housework slip lately, so I spent most of the day getting the house back in shape. I had good motivation, as Christine (from Without Adornment) and her husband came over for dinner and a few games of Settlers of Catan. We tried out a new recipe that turned out amazing; pork loin with a pomegranate apricot sauce. We’ll definitely be making that one again. Since Christine is gluten free, I didn’t bake anything for dessert. Instead, I made some strawberry frozen yogurt, which we topped with peaches and strawberries.

Yesterday was spent lazing around the house in my pajamas. I did take a break from being lazy to clean up the craft room, bake some banana bread and make some vanilla ice cream. Stephen hung up a dowel on my desk to hold up all of my ribbon. I thought I had quite the collection, but when I stuck it all up there, I realized that most of my collection is comprised of scraps. I’ll have to remedy that soon.


Dinner was a joint effort. We made some meatballs and spaghetti from one of my Barefoot Contessa cookbooks. Those meatballs were some of the most amazing and moist ones I’ve ever tasted! We watched 127 hours and then had some root beer floats with the vanilla ice cream I had made earlier in the day.

The plans for today include some baking, organizing and a trip to the grocery store. I love when my weekends aren’t overly busy, but I’m still able to fit in some time with friends.
What did you do this weekend?

(Pictures were taken with my iPhone using the Instagram and Hipstamatic apps.)

Friday, March 11, 2011

7 Quick Takes (Vol 31)

1. This week feels so much longer than it really was. I only worked three days this week, so that makes me feel silly saying that out loud.

2. T has been sick all week, so my Tuesday and Thursday were rather boring. The weather finally warmed up, but I couldn't take advantage of that with the boys because we've been cooped up inside.

3. I started with the new family on Wednesday. Baby E was precious, and I think he's given me baby fever. The family has two cats; Cadbury and Callebaut. How perfect are those names?

4. I'm meeting up with my sister and a friend for a coffee date around lunch time. I haven't had a coffee date in forever!

5. Tomorrow evening, Christine from Without Adornment and her husband are coming over for dinner and a game night. Stephen will be cooking his first gluten free meal. Should be fun!

6. Woke up this morning and read Twitter in bed, only to find out about the Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan. It's truly awful, and my thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by it.

7. Instead of spending so much time complaining, maybe I should be a little more thankful about Calgary.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Chewy Granola Bars

The one thing I really like about the MomBoss from my Tuesday/Thursday family is that we have really good communication. If we need to talk, we’ll text, call or even email each other. I’ve had fairly good communication with past families, but it was strictly limited to face to face contact with the occasional phone call. MomBoss had emailed me the recipe for these granola bars saying that she thought it might be a good project for T and I.

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These granola bars are really simple, making them perfect for small helpers. While baking at work, T and I have a system; I measure, he pours and mixes. This time however, he decided that he wanted to snack on some of the dried Rice Krispies. I set out a small bowl in front of him and got to work. When I looked up, I was amazed at the mess he had made! He was tipping the bowl into his mouth and spilling Rice Krispies everywhere! I wish I could share the picture I got of him, he was covered in the cereal, and it was all over the counter and floor. Best part? He was just so dang happy. I don’t mind the mess if it makes him happy.

The boys told me that the granola bars didn’t last past the first day. I may have had two small bars myself, and the Aunt even asked for the recipe. That’s a success in my books!

Chewy Granola Bars

(Printable Recipe)

2 1/2 cups quick oats
1/2 cups Rice Krispies
1/4 cup coconut
1/2 mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup softened butter
1/4 cup honey
1/2 tsp vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9x13 pan with parchment paper.
2. Combine all ingredients. Press into pan and bake for 18-20 minutes.
3. Let cool completely, then cut into bars. Enjoy!

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

What I’m Loving Wednesday


Find out more at This Kind Of Love.

I’m loving my new hoodie from Old Navy. I bought it on the clearance rack, and it turns out it’s now the comfiest hoodie that I own! What I didn’t realize when I bought it is that it’s a Techno Hoodie, meaning it has headphones coming out of the strings in the hood.

I’m loving Donut Shop Coffee for my Keurig. Out of all the flavors I’ve tried, this is hands down my favorite so far.

donut shop

{Image Via Black Berries Specialty Food}

I’m loving International Delight’s White Chocolate Mocha creamer. I had given up using creamer at home, but when I saw this, I couldn’t pass it up. White chocolate mochas are my favorite!


{Image via Food Service Direct}

I’m loving that Stephen and I make a conscious effort to cook better meals for ourselves at home. Not every meal is a winner (especially now that we’re testing out meals for other cultures. This month is Turkish food), but it’s still such a great evening activity for the two of us.

I’m loving that my family picture wall is now hung up! I need to replace some picture frames for a more cohesive look, so there is an empty space, but I think it still looks great.

I’m loving that we finally got our cookbooks under control. We’ve amassed quite the little collection, and we hadn’t figured out a permanent spot to put them in our home yet. They had been shoved up on top of our kitchen cupboards, and I hated them up there. We finally bought a shelf!

I’m loving that I start with my new nanny family today! It’s going to be so fun taking care of a wee little baby. Ok,who am I kidding? I’m nervous! Wish me luck.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Ten on Tuesday


#70 at Roots and Rings

1. How did your parents decide on your name?
As far as I know, my Grandpa picked out my name. Not really sure how he picked it though.

2. Do your initials (First, Middle, Last) spell out anything fun/funny?
They’re A.D.M, so nope.

3. Did you take your middle name from childhood or did you take your maiden name as your middle name? (If unmarried, what do you plan to do?)
I’m not married, but when I do get married, I’ll keep my original middle name.

4. Are you or will you name your children thematically (ie. same first letter, all of same origin…)
There will be no rhyme or reason to the way I name my children. I’ll just pick names that Stephen and I both like!

5. Did you decide on baby names as a little girl? Did you stick to them or change your mind?
I remember being obsessed with the name Tessa. While I still think it’s a nice name, I no longer want to name one of my children Tessa.

6. Does your family have any names that have been passed down through generations?
Not that I know of. In Stephen’s family, there’s several variations of names involving Stephen and Christopher. We’re now both adamant that neither of those names will be passed on to our children.

7. Do you look at the meaning of the name or just the name itself?
Just the name itself. A nice meaning would just be a bonus

8. Do you name pets with human names (Sally, Henry) or with pet names (Fluffy, Mr. Bo Bo)?
Pet names. My guinea pigs are Piglet and Oreo. When I get a dog, I want to give it a food name like Taco.

9. Are there any names that you have an affinity or dislike for based on a childhood experience/someone you once knew?
None that spring to mind.

10. What are some of your favorite names? Why?
I have a few favorite names that I’m trying to convince Stephen to name our children, but I’m not going to share them. Two of them have already been taken and a rabbit and a dog belonging to people close to me, were named them.

Monday, March 7, 2011

I Talk In My Sleep

I worked straight through the weekend, 20.5 hours in total. I’m exhausted, but at least I have today off. I’m keeping today’s post relatively short and sweet!

It’s a well known fact that I talk in my sleep. Always have, and probably always will. When Stephen was working nights, he would always wake me up when he first got home. Often, it would be the only time I would see him all week. The beginnings of our conversations were always hilarious. I was half dreaming, half awake. I would know that Stephen is trying to talk to me, yet I couldn’t get myself to fully wake up from my dream. Here’s some snippets of our most memorable conversations:

Me: “The almond flour is making my hair all sweaty!”

I had had macarons on my mind, and I was sweaty because our old apartment was so dang hot. Stephen didn’t even realize that almond flour was a real thing!

Stephen was coming to be and was changing into his pajamas.
Me: “Stop! I don’t want Jessica (my sister) seeing you!”
Stephen: “What? She’s not here.”
Me: “Then who lives with us?”

I was seriously convinced that my sister was living with us and was going to accidentally walk in on Stephen changing. After Stephen told me that she wasn’t there, I asked repeatedly who else lives with us.

All I can say is I’m thankful I seem to have outgrown my sleepwalking phase. I remember as a kid one time bringing my pillow to my parents and telling them I was done with it. I’ve done several things like that, all while asleep. I must have inherited it from my Mom, who was most definitely a sleepwalker as a child. Apparently, she used to sleepwalk right out of the house, and had to be locked in her room at night!

Do you talk in your sleep or know someone who does? What’s the funniest thing you’ve (or they’ve) ever said?

Friday, March 4, 2011

7 Quick Takes (Vol 30)

1. My Tuesday/Thursday family came home from Mexico this week. They're all so tan, and I'm so jealous. They did bring me home a big bottle of vanilla extract though. They're so good to me.'

2. I'm adding in a new family to work with on weekends. It'll only be once or twice a month. It's going to be strange working through the weekend.

3. My week is all thrown out of whack. I had Monday and Wednesday off, worked Tuesday, Thursday and today, and I'll be working tomorrow and Sunday. I'm used to working only set days and never on weekends.

4. I was such a good little homemaker on my day off on Wednesday. I baked brownies, made Vanilla Superfudge Ice Cream, baked Turkish pita bread and make chicken stew with biscuits. Everything was so delicious, and I think I've finally found my go to brownie recipe.

5. Before meeting Stephen, the mere thought of cooking stressed me out. I'm getting a lot better at it and don't stress over more complex recipes anymore. When I asked Stephen what he's done with me, he joked that he's trying to see how good of a wife he can turn me into before he marries me. I told him he should marry me for my baking alone.

6. I went to the library yesterday with the boy I nanny. While he was playing a computer game, I wandered over to the DVD section. I was actually surprised by the amount of good DVDs they had available! I picked up Inception and The Time Traveller's Wife. I need to go more often and take advantage of the selection.

7. I feel like I haven't had a whole lot to say on Twitter lately. I'm on it all day long, but feel like my thoughts are always the same and don't want to bore people with the same tweets over and over again. Do you ever have the same feeling?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Reese’s Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

I know I preface many recipe posts by saying “we love the chocolate and peanut butter combination around here…”, but it’s just so true. They way to both mine and Stephen’s hearts is chocolate and peanut butter. Obviously, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are also a favorite of ours. Stuffed cookies, however, are a bit of a new concept around here. I’ve made brownie stuff cookies for a friend’s birthday once before, but we didn’t get to have any.

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When I came across this post on Recipe Girl, I bookmarked it to show Stephen. I forgot about it for a few days, but when I finally showed Stephen, he demanded that we immediately go out and buy some Reese’s peanut butter cups. Guess he was excited! I put a picture of a pre-baked cookie on Twitter, and I immediately had a text from my sister asking me to save her one. Couldn’t really blame her, because these were dang good cookies! While these cookies were perfectly delicious, the next time I make the cookies, I’ll just use my own recipe for chocolate chip cookies.

Just before we get to the recipe, I wanted to mention a new feature here at Craving Cupcakes: printable versions my recipes! I went back through all of my recipes and added a printable version. If you click the link below the recipe title, you’ll be taken to a Google Sites page where the recipe is printer ready. It’s very plain and simple, but that’s what you want when you’re printing a recipe.

Reese’s Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies
From Recipe Girl

(Printable Recipe)

1/2 cup room temperature butter
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips
12 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (regular sized)

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
3. In a separate bowl, cream together butter, peanut butter and sugars. Add in egg and beat well.
4. Fold flour mixture into the butter mixture. Fold in chocolate chips.
5. Scoop out a tablespoonful of dough and flatten it. Place a peanut butter cup on top, then top with another tablespoonful of dough. Shape the dough around the peanut butter cup, making sure that you can’t see any of the cup peeking through. Only bake 6 cookies at a time, because they are quite large.

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6. Garnish with additional chocolate chips if desired. Bake for 12 minutes.

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Makes 12 cookies.

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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

iPhone Photos

I love taking pictures with my iPhone. Ever since I got it, I’d say that I take twice as many pictures as I used to. Besides the standard camera app, I’ve downloaded four extras; Hipstamatic, Instagram, ClassicToy and Pocket Booth. I figured it might be fun to share some of the pictures that I've taken recently.


This is the last picture I took of my apartment building before I moved in December. I was waiting for the bus across the street.


These signs were on our bedroom and bathroom doors when we moved in. I took them down right away.


My sister's iPhone case. I love it, but its just not heavy duty enough to stand up to me. I drop my phone fairly often.


Jaybo really wanted a piece of my pie. He's got some serious self restraint.


Who doesn't love a sleeping nephew picture?

IMG_0623I've got cupcakes in my bathroom!


The boys I nanny and I baked a cake for their Grandpa.


My birthday presents from my Tuesday Thursday family.


My new ice cream maker!


We had some friends over to make pizzas. Each couple made their own pizza, and this is how Al decided to garnish his half of the pizza; with doritos.


Chocolate chip cookies stuffed with Reese's. Recipe will be posted here tomorrow!


I take a lot of pictures while waiting for the bus, just to amuse myself. This wall was filled with coffee cups, and upon closer inspection, I found that some people has written inspirational messages on them.


I made some Turkish Pita bread last night. These things are huge! There's something so satisfying to me when a yeast dough turns out beautifully like this.

What have you taken pictures of lately?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

TenOnTuesday#69 @ Roots and Rings

1. What type of cell phone do you have and how would you rate it?
I have an iPhone 3GS, and I’d say that it’s hands down the best phone that I’ve ever owned. I know there’s a lot of iPhone haters out there, or even people who will tell me how much better the iPhone 4 is, but I’m truly happy with the one I have. Obviously, my favorite thing about it is all the apps.

2. What has been your most serious injury?
The one and only time I went snowboarding with some friends, they decided that I was doing really well and took me off the bunny hill pretty quick. I proved them wrong by flipping and hurting my knee; it still gives me problems every now and then. I think it just proves my lack of love for winter.

3. What is one movie you hate and why?
The only movie popping into my head at this very moment is Dumbo. When I was little, my sisters used to watch it so often (at least once a day), that I seriously grew to despise the movie.

4. How many email addresses do you have?
I technically have two, but I really only use my Gmail one. I keep my Hotmail email address because that’s what I signed up for MSN with. I rarely use MSN though, so it’s pretty much pointless.

5. What website do you waste the most time on?
Probably Twitter. Actually, I’m rarely on the actual site. I went from using the website, to using the mobile site on my last phone, to using TweetDeck on the computer, to exclusively using HootSuite on my phone.

6. Which Mexican restaurant makes the best salsa?
I haven’t been to a lot of Mexican restaurants, so I haven’t found the best restaurant salsa yet.
(Side note: Can any Calgarians recommend a good Mexican restaurant to me? Julio’s Barrio doesn’t count.)

7. What is your dream car?
I honestly don’t have a dream car. I’ve never been all that fascinated by cars, so I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about them. I’ll be happy with a car that gets me safely from one destination to another.
Stephen, on the other hand, is obsessed with cars. When I asked him what sort of car he would pick out for me to drive (if money was no object), he said a mini-van. He can only picture me driving a Mom type vehicle!

8. If you could spend up to $100 with no strings or restrictions or guilt, what would you buy?
I’d probably spend it on scrapbook/craft supplies. A trip to Michael’s always makes me happy.

9. What is your favorite board game?
It’s currently Settlers of Catan.

10. How often do you change your hairstyle?
Rarely. I have yet to find a really awesome hair stylist (or hair cutter? What the heck do you call them?). The last person I went to do a pretty good job, but I have a bad track record with getting my hair cut, so I have a really hard time going to get it done.

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