Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Closing the gate on 2008

We're having a fairly mellow New Years Eve this year, there will be no Party-Slava a la 2006/7. In fact, we've been pretty mellow since Christmas and I have enjoyed doing not much apart from drinking tea, spending the day in trackpants, baking....ok really mostly eating, reading, music listening to and hanging out with my favourite (who is on holiday, wahoo!).

Our Christmas was lovely, we ate pancakes while wearing our new sheepskin slippers (thank you Grandma!) and ventured out to see Frost Nixon in the evening. Who would've thought I'd cry over Richard Nixon.

Some present favourites...

- the stocking Richard sewed and embroidered for me
- yarn gift certificates
- the slippers
- the softest, softest cardy from Jigsaw (thank you Dad and Bev!)
- a lovely print
- fantastic Daiso calender
- Neil Young songbook
- lots of baking, chocolate and Icelandic vodka!
- owl undies! (Thanks Mum!)

The above* + movies + cheap champagne + Richard = how I will ring in the New Year, and I am very excited.

I hope you all have a fantastic New Years, thank you all for your friendship and encouragement throughout the year. I look forward to more kindred spirit-ness and baking tips in the new year.


*note how the fudge never leaves the shot....

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Chili for when it's chilly

The snow is still falling here in Vancouver, it started up again on Saturday evening and is still going strong. I am still excited to see it, and check out the window every five minutes to make sure that it hasn't stopped!
We've spent pretty much the whole day inside, aside from a quick walk to the local market for dinner and baking necessities. Richard whipped up a big batch of our favourite chili and I added some heart shaped biscuits for melting butter and dipping. Yum!

This recipe is so easy, delicious and nutritious so I thought I should share it with you all! Great for warming yourself up over winter! It's taken from Alex Jamieson's 'The Great American Detox Diet'. If you soak your own beans, you might want to add some salt.
2 c corn

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 Tbsp chili powder

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

15 oz can red kidney beans (1 1/2 c cooked beans)

24 oz can diced tomatoes


1. Saute onion in oil over medium heat for 2 min.

2. Add corn, tomatoes, beans, garlic, chili powder, cumin & cayenne. Stir well and cook for 2 min.
3. Simmer on low for 20min.

Easy, huh? So good too!

We curled up on the couch with our supper, half watching 'Raising Arizona' and half watching the beautiful winter scene outside our window - I love how the snow lights up the sky! It was lovely and cozy with the Christmas tree lights and solstice candles glowing while we filled our bellies.

Have I mentioned how much I love this time of year?!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Baby it's cold outside.

Vancouver has had (more than) a dusting of snow twice in the past week, and with temperatures staying below zero it is sticking with much more to come! This year feels like my first 'real' Christmas in awhile, with the past two spent away from home with lovely friends, but never in my own home. This year I got to decorate, bake, take time to hand make presents and all the while listening to many a Christmas carol.

Apparently this is one of the white-est Christmas's Vancouver has seen in awhile, and it truly is magical. I think I'm on par with a certain 3yr old friend for Christmas excited-ness. I couldn't believe that while I was putting up the tree, I was watching huge, fat snowflakes fall outside! The cold has made the snow lovely and powdery, and so fun to walk through! I wish they didn't have to plow it, although I'm sure not many drivers share that wish... (for more frosty snaps, head over here)
We decided to attempt to make all our Christmas decorations (save for the lights) from things we already had, or could find. Neither of us wanted to get a real tree (ok, secretly I did because they are so pretty over here!!) or really pay for a fake tree, so Richard brought home some pine branches he found and we fashioned a Scandinavian inspired tree out of that. I love love love it! Combined with making origami wreaths out of left over wrapping paper and a vintage Golden Books dictionary (Domesticali has a great tutorial, which I found via Tiny Happy), drying orange slices and baking sugar cookies I have felt very Christmas-y and am super pleased with the results.

To make the orange decorations, I simply sliced a navel orange into thin slices, lay them on a parchment paper lined tray and popped them in the oven at 200 degrees F. Basically, you just want to leave them in there until they are dry and have lost most of their sticky-ness. I left mine in for a few hours, and then let them dry out over night. Once dry, using a needle I strung some embroidery floss through the top of the slice and tied on a cinnamon stick using the two strands of floss. I hope that last part makes sense!

Hoping that you're keeping warm (or cool, as the case may be) where you are! I have peppermint bark and chocolate dipped pretzels to check on!


Monday, December 15, 2008

It's the most wonderful time of the year.

It really is beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Vancouver got its first snow on the weekend, and I was just as excited as the wee girls I was with. Looking out the window and seeing a completely new city, blanketed in white is truly like magic!
I have finished, wrapped and sent my NZ/Australia presents (of course we were at the post office as it was closing...), and have vowed to have them ready to be sent by boat in October for next year. The house has been put back in some kind of order, we're putting our decorations up and dough for sugar cookies is chilling as we speak! Oh, I really really do love this time of year. Richard is also learning to love all the many Christmas carols I have been playing. Bless him.

And look, here he is. Just a wee thing with his big sister and possibly one of the strangest/scariest/most hilarious Santa photos I have ever seen.

I hope you are all enjoying some Christmas festivities where you are!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Monday, December 8, 2008

Getting closer.

The very latest I can send my Christmas presents home is this Wednesday. Ideally, I'll get them out today as the postage will be cheaper, know me. There are a few things still waiting for final details, etc, etc. So at the moment I'm feeling equal amounts of being overwhelmed and being excited.

This is most definitely helping with the excitement. Oh, how I love this man with his talk singing and dreamy voice.

Back to it!


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Too much.

Just a quick post to show you what I am currently FREAKING out about. Those are acorn madeleines, made by the lovely ladies at Bread and Honey. I cannot handle the cuteness of them, and will probably go to Williams-Sonoma tomorrow in order to by the cakelet pan and make them myself. A cakelet pan! Could this get any cuter.

That's all.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Late night cookies

I should most definitely be in bed, but instead I am watching/listening to old America's Top Model episodes on Youtube, organising our den and my newly acquired fabric and yarn from up north. I'm being sustained by tea and the best vegan chocolate chip cookies ever.

Chocolate chip cookies are always a treat, and I've been playing around with the perfect combo of added extras - I think I've found it!


2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 c vegan organic sugar

1/2 c brown sugar

1 c melted vegan butter (I use earth butter)

1 mashed banana

1 c oatmeal

1 c coconut

1 c chocolate chips

1/4-1/2 c chopped pecans

1 tsp vanilla

2 1/2 tsp baking powder


1. Cream together butter, banana, sugar and vanilla.

2. Add flour, baking powder, oatmeal and coconut. Combine.

3. Add chocolate chips and nuts, stir and fold these into the mixture.

4. Bake at 350 F for 12-15min.