Monday, March 28, 2011


This weekend I made some very simple lemon poppy seed muffins with my nephews. Actually, they really love lemon and poppy seed, but said they didn't like "muffins" so I told they they were cupcakes. They loved them ;)

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins - makes about 36 mini muffins

2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup plain yogurt
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons lemon rind
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons poppy seeds

Preheat oven to 350f. Butter mini muffin tins or use paper liners.
Mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Blend lemon juice and yogurt in a separate bowl. With an electric mixer, beat butter, lemon rind and sugar in a large bowl until just combined. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition until mixture is light and fluffy.

Beat in dry ingredients alternately with yogurt mixture. Mix until just combined. Fold in poppy seeds. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of batter into each muffin cup.

Bake for about 15-18 minutes, or until a skewer, inserted in centre, comes out clean. Cool in pans for a few minutes, then remove muffins from pans to a wire rack.

Have a great day! Back on Wednesday.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday Observations

I made just a little set today, but I've got visions 
of a future garden party. 

Etsy shop I'm loving: ReStyle

I also observed that hanging out with my nephews, Owain and Liam, is a lot different than hanging out with my niece, Annika. Holy Crazy Boys. Minute one of arriving at our house, there was a knee and slate stair collision. Ouch. The day could only get better after that, and it did.

What did you observe today? I'd love to know! Back soon.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Flowers for Friday

It's been a day of ironing out many computer issues with Jacqueline Queen of the Mac. I love her. She calmed me right down. I'm ending the week with a trio of flowers. Hope you all had a good week!


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Spool of Thread

I hope you're all having a good week!  Thought I'd share my sewing experience from last night, with you.

Spool of Thread is a cute fabric and sewing store and they also offer a variety of workshops. Actually, it's more of a sewing lounge. Lord, if they served cocktails I'd never leave.
Owners, Lili and Henry, are so helpful and encouraging. Last night, I took a 3 hour pillow case session with Lili, and I actually came away with two pillow cases that I'm not embarrassed to show. I'm not a sewer, at all, so this fast and to-the-point workshop was perfect for me. Thank you Lili.

My pretty decent pillow cases.

If you're in the Vancouver area, check them out. I plan on taking the duvet workshop next, so maybe I'll see you there.

Have a great day! Back soon.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


I hope your week is off to a good start!

I baked some bread over the weekend, and it's kind of on the healthy side. Go figure. Have to say, I still marvel at the bread making process. It kind of reminds me of my film processing days. The picture would magically appear in my chemical tray, just like the dough magically doubles in size Usually. Hopefully. ;) It's all like one big science experiment to me.

Whole Wheat Bread with Maple and Walnuts - makes one loaf

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water (about 105f)
1 egg
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 pure maple syrup (use the strongest grade you can find)
1.5 teaspoons maple extract
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup old fashioned oats
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons quick rising yeast

Place all ingredients, in order listed, into a large bowl. I mixed everything by hand, as I prefer to do it this way, but you can use a heavy duty mixer with a dough hook to do it as well. If dough is a little sticky add a handful of flour at a time. Knead for 8 minutes, or blend in mixer for 8 minutes. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and a towel. Let rise in a warm area until doubled in size, about 90 minutes.

Butter a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan. Butter a sheet of plastic wrap. Place dough on lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 2 minutes. Shape dough into an 8x3 inch log. Place in prepared pan and cover loosely with buttered plastic wrap (buttered side down). Allow dough to rise in a warm, draft free, area until centre is about 1 1/2 inches higher than pan, about 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350f. Carefully pull plastic wrap off dough. Place bread in oven and bake until deep golden in colour, and an instant read thermometer inserted in centre, reads 180f - about 30 minutes.
Cool in pan for 15 minutes, then turn out onto wire rack to cool completely.

This bread is perfect with goat cheese or with cheddar, then placed in a toaster oven to melt. Maple, walnuts and cheddar. Mmm.

Have a good day! Back on Thursday.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sunday Observations

Welcome Spring! We squeaked out one beautiful day here in Vancouver to ring in the new season. Here are a few observations....

That was my first day of spring. What did you get up to? Hope you all had a great weekend!
Back soon.


Friday, March 18, 2011

Spring is coming, I can feel it.

I wasn't able to post this week, so my apologies for being absent. How was your week? Hope it was good to you.

Since spring officially begins this weekend, I thought I'd end this week with yellow and pink. Hello, sweet spring.

Have a great weekend everyone. Thinking of you Japan.

Monday, March 14, 2011


How are you all? For those of you that have friends and family in Japan, my heart goes out to you. I hope everyone is safe and sound.

Had a pretty quiet weekend, just a little baking and a little bowling.  This recipe is from Canadian Living, and it's pretty fantastic. You have to try them. A sweet, yet tart, cookie. Perfect combo.

Lime Glazed Coconut Butter Cookies - makes about 36 
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sweetened desiccated coconut
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons grated lime rind
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Lime Glaze
2 cups icing sugar
2 teaspoons grated lime rind
1/4 cup lime juice

In a large bowl, beat butter with sugar until light and creamy. Add egg and vanilla, and beat until combined. Whisk together flour, coconut, cornstarch, lime rind, baking soda and salt then stir into butter mixture in 2 additions. Divide dough in half and flatten into discs. Wrap each disc and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.

Between floured waxed paper, roll out each disc to 1/4 inch thickness. Using a 2 1/2" round cookie cutter, cut out shapes, and re-rolling scraps. Place 1 inch apart on parchment paper lined baking sheets, then place in freezer for about 15 minutes, until just firm.
Bake in 350f oven for about 10 minutes, until golden around edges. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

To make glaze:
In a small bowl, whisk together all three ingredients. Spread about 1 teaspoon over each cookie. Let harden....if you can!

Take care everyone! Back on Wednesday.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sunday Observations

Bowling is a good way to de-stress, it seems. It also appears to work muscles I wasn't sure I had. Found it was best to have a beer between games.

My niece will eat a soft boiled egg if toast is flower shaped, and yarn is used to dress up the egg cup/shot glass. I might eat soft boiled eggs now too.

I found Un Lieu Sur Terre at Poppytalk Handmade. Check out her beautiful shop here.

That's what I observed on Sunday. What about you?

Back soon!

Friday, March 11, 2011


It's truly amazing how much devastation was caused in such a short amount of time. My thoughts have been with the people of Japan this entire Friday. I spent a few months in Japan, many years ago, and it's a beautiful country.

I live in Vancouver, which is prime for an earthquake as well. What would happen here, I wonder? My husband and I are definitely not prepared for such a catastrophic event. Are you?

If you're able to donate check out Global Giving - they make it very easy to donate. From there you can check out the appeal for New Zealand as well. Very rough times. 

Take care everyone. Have a safe weekend.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Vintage Goodness

There's a cute new shop in town.....well, pretty new. Amanda Michas opened Blue Owl Boutique late last year. She and her sisters sell a mix of new, vintage and re-worked items. It's beautiful.
Amanda told me that she got the name of her shop from a small cafe that her grandfather owned in the 40's and 50's, called Blue Owl. Love a good back story.

Here's a little of what she's got in store these days. There's a high turn over of product as much of it are one-offs.  I've already found a number of things that work well with the mostly mid-century modern stuff we have at home. Happiness.

If you're in the Vancouver area, they're having their "opening" party tonight from 7pm to 10pm at 2308 West Broadway. Below is their video "invite". I've watched it several times. 


Hope to see you tonight! Back on Friday.

Monday, March 7, 2011


Happy Monday! Hope your week's off to a good start.

I was flipping through an old Donna Hay magazine, and came across these Crushed Fig Friands. I'd forgotten all about them, fool that I am. These are delicious, perfect for a coffee break with friends...which I better arrange, as I've already eaten two by myself.

Crushed Fig Friands - makes 8

8oz/240g dried figs (I used mission figs)
3/4 cup orange juice
3/4 cup water
2 cups berry sugar (a.k.a. caster sugar)
4oz/125g unsalted butter, chopped
1 cup almond meal (finely ground almonds)
1 2/3 cup icing sugar, sifted
3/4 all purpose flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon baking powder, sifted
5 egg whites

Make a small cut in the base of the figs, and tear them open slightly. Place in a saucepan over low heat with the orange juice, water and sugar. Stir to dissolve the sugar then increase the heat and boil for 15 minutes or until syrupy. Remove the figs from syrup and place on a rack to cool. Reserve the syrup.

Preheat oven to 355f/180c. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Set aside.
Place the almond meal, icing sugar, flour and baking powder in a bowl. Add egg whites and melted butter and whisk until smooth. Spoon into 8 well greased 1/2 cup capacity tins. Top figs and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden and springy to the touch, but moist in the centre. Serve with the warm orange syrup.