Recipes

Mini Red Velvet Donuts

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Valentine, Oh Sweet Valentine!
{We’re at it again. We can’t be stopped now, we’re on a roll.}
This time we decided to try these delicious Red Velvet Mini Donuts. Oh so adorable.

These red velvet donuts are little mouthfuls of Valentine’s goodness. If you love red velvet, you will looove these donuts!
They are soft & not overly sweet. The icing balances the overall flavour, and adds that little bit of sweetness that red velvet cakes need.
Being that these are mini donuts, you can feel less guilty about devouring 10 of these little guys instead of one big donut! ๐Ÿ˜‰

This recipe is super easy to make, and is one of our favorite Valentine’s treats.

Happy Baking Everyone!

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Laura baking with love! xo

Oh, I just have to point out this vintage apron I’m wearing.
My parents got it for me this Christmas and I was more than giddy over it.
Love. It. So. Much.
It’s so hard to find cute aprons so I couldn’t be happier when I laid my eyes on this one!

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Baked Red Velvet Mini Donuts Recipe

Donut Batter:
{yield 4 dozen mini donuts}
1 tbs. red food colouring
2 tbs. cocoa powder
2 c. flour sifted
3/4 c. granulated sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c. buttermilk
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tbsp. melted butter

Directions:

Mix together food colouring and cocoa powder to form a paste in small bowl.
Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray donut pans with a nonstick cooking spray.
In a large mixing bowl sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
Add buttermilk, eggs, vanilla extract, butter and the red paste mixture beating until combined.

Fill each donut cup approximately 3/4 of the way full.
Bake 5-8 minutes making sure to not over cook. (In our oven they were perfect after 5 minutes)

Let donuts cool in the pan an additional 3-5 minutes before removing onto a wire rack.
Let donuts cool completely before icing.

Vanilla Glaze Icing:
2-4 tbsp. hot water
2 c. confectioner’s sugar
1 tbsp. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

In a small bowl, stir all of the ingredients together until sugar is completely dissolved. Use icing immediately to glaze tops of the donuts. We found it was easy to dunk the tops of the donuts into the glaze then place onto a wire rack until set.
Tip: If icing forms and becomes too thick while glazing the donuts, add a drop or 2 of hot water, mixing well.

Happy Valentine’s Baking!
Laura & Natasha xo

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Uncategorized

Gingerbread House

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Yesterday was our annual Christmas Fun Day at Auntie’s! Every year I have my niece over for the day and we construct a gingerbread house.
I decided to change it up a bit and surprise her with a Barbie gingerbread house. Like how cute is that! She loved it!

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Lil’ sweetie eating some sweet treats.

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I’m trying to construct the gingerbread house. It’s more difficult than it looks! ha

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Natasha starting to ice the roof with bright pink icing.

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Artists hard at work.

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Almost complete… we’re lovin’ it!

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This is what Christmas is all about.

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Ta da! The masterpiece all complete.
What a great day spent making memories with my special girls.Happy Holidays!

Laura xo

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Uncategorized

Hostess Gifts

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We are all so busy during the holidays. With all the running around, shopping, baking, cooking, & entertaining, it can get real exhausting. We have made up a sweet list of hostess gifts that any girl would be happy to receive. Wine, chocolates or poinsettia’s are typical hostess gifts that are commonly given and while these gifts are great, we think hostess gifts can be a little more personal and have a wee bit more pizazz.

1. Soap Gift Sets from Lush

You can’t go wrong with Lush products. We love them so much. I know, I know, I have Lush on every single list for gift giving. Trust me, the hostess that receives a gift from Lush will definitely invite you back next year!

2. Specialty Tea from Teavana

Every Host knows that it takes a lot of time and energy to plan a get together let alone get through all of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. A quality cup of tea is always appreciated. We love these gift sets that come in the beautiful tins that can be reused over and over. You will be affectionately remembered every time she brews a cup of tea long after the holidays are over.

3. Pure Maple Syrup from Blisgourmet

This amazing maple syrup is recognized by top chefs and foodies such as Martha Stewart and Rachel Ray. This is something a little different then the typical bottle of wine or chocolates. Especially great for those that love to cook.

4. Scented Candles from Bath And Body Works

The scented candles from Bath And Body Works are to die for! We can’t pick just one as a favourite. This one is the ultimate holiday scent of rich red apples, green pine and golden cider. One for the hostess and one for me!

5. Lip Balm Sets from Korres

We love, love, love this line from Greece. The body products are the ultimate and so are their lip glosses. Perfect for the long winter to keep lips hydrated and smooth. This limited edition lip glaze set has delicious flavours such as jasmine, pomegranate, raspberry. Made with no parabens or sulphates.

6. Nail Polish Sets from Nails Inc.

Nail polish and nail art is all the rage and who doesn’t love to have their nails all done up? We are amazed at the selection of colours, textures and art that is being done on nails. Can never have too many nail polishes, now can we?

7. Bath and Body Products from Philosophy

We will never get tired of Philosophy products! Ever. The festive gingerbread products add spice to any girl’s day!

8. Designer Fragrance Sets

So many mini sets to choose from during the holidays. A set like this one is perfect with the rollerball fragrance so she can throw it in her purse.

9. Fun Novelty Gifts

Finding really fun personalized gifts are the ultimate if you know the hostess well. For music lovers, a gift like these coasters is different, unique and fun.

Happy Holiday Shopping!

Love, Laura xox

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Uncategorized

West Coast Christmas Show

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Yesterday we went and checked out the West Coast Christmas Show in Abbotsford, BC.
The West Coast Christmas Show is a big holiday convention where you can find all kinds of goodies for the holidays like gifts, fancy foods from local vendors, decor ideas, live Christmas music & even culinary presentations, (just to name a few).

We’ve never been to the show before but when we heard that Food Network’s (Baker Extraordinaire) Anna Olson was going to be there, we had to go!

Anna performed a Holiday Baking presentation, and gave out lots of helpful baking tips & tricks.
She also baked a few things on stage – an apple crisp trifle, and shortbread bars. They looked amazing!

Here are a few of Anna’s Baking Tips that she shared:

– always use unsalted butter (for a number of reasons, but it is scientifically proven that unsalted butter has more butter in it than salted.)
– when making bars, line the pan with overhanging notched parchment paper so the bars don’t stick & are easy to get out of the pan after baking.
– when cutting a cheesecake or bars – to get a precise cut every time, dip knife in a glass of hot water for 30 seconds, & wipe dry.

Getting to meet Anna was definitely the highlight of the show for us, but we also had fun walking around looking at all the Christmas goodies! There were lots of local vendors & artisans there which was great.
We ended up buyingย  J.R. Watkins cinnamon (Anna used it during her set, and recommended it!), and 100% natural bath body salts. (pictures below)

We had such a great time and getting to meet Anna was awesome – She’s a big inspiration to us.

If you’re in the area, definitely go check out the West Coast Christmas Show for some Holiday fun.

Happy Holidays!

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Body Saltz

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How cute are these cupcake soaps?! I am kicking myself for not buying one now.

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Monkey Toast – Delicious flavour-packed fruit crisps made from 100% organic whole wheat flour, which are nut free and dairy free.
ย We tried a sample of the Banana Blueberry crackers & they are delish!

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Laura with her goodies.

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selfie’s in the car. obviously.

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(suppp!)

Our purchases:

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100% natural body salts by Body Saltz.
These vanilla bliss bath salts seriously smell amazing.. we can’t wait to try them out.

Body Saltz is a Canadian company based in the Fraser Valley of BC that makes homemade, 100% natural body products.

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Anna’s cinnamon recommendation: J.R. Watkins.

Laura & Natasha xo
(note: all photos were taken with an iphone, as dslr camera’s aren’t allowed in the convention centre.)

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Life

Oh No He Didn’t! (Chapter of Wayne – Part 2)

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As promised after our first meeting at the pub that night, Wayne did call me and we planned a date. We set up a time and place and decided on sushi and a movie. Don’t even ask me what movie we went to see, I can’t remember. Doesn’t matter. However, what I do clearly remember is I definitely was no where near being ready to jump into dating, let alone a relationship. I wasn’tย overย my ex husband (of 20 years) by a long shot. Hmmmm… let’s call my ex husband, Damian. Yes, Damian. It’s a very ‘Harlequin Romance‘ kinda name don’t ya think? ย It’s my story, I can assign whatever name I choose. Anyways, ย if you asked me at the time I’d say ‘hell ya I’m over him!’ย  But hell no I wasn’t! I admit it. Apparently for every 5 years you are with someone, it takes approximately 1 year to ‘get over‘ them. So I was with Damian for 20 years… well, that’s 5 fricking years of waiting to get over him! I ain’t got time for that!
Of course I wasn’t over my ex husband. Hell, I’m not sure I’ll ever be completely over him. Us Virgo’s are known to become very loyally attached to those we give our hearts to and tend to want to hang on forever. It’s hard to let go. Real hard.

So, almost a year after separating from my husband and having gone on numerous online dating meet and greets, I naively jump in and start dating Wayne. Immediately I’m comparing every little thing Wayne does to that of my ex husband. I mean everything. The way he speaks to the server (very telling you know?)ย  the way he eats his food, how many drinks he consumed in such a short time frame(don’t think I didn’t notice), the way he puts way too much sushi in his mouth at once. (Hello!)
All of these teenie tiny signs combined equals one great, big Red Flag.
My girlfriends at the time would say I constantly compare, compare, compare. They’re all like, ‘You’re not being fair to Wayne. Stop comparing, everyone’s different.’ On and on. I was just simply pointing out that Damian did things a certain way. And ehm, well, Wayne doesn’t. That’s all. Chill.

I clearly remember sitting across from Wayne at the sushi restaurant and thinking, I’m not completely attracted to him in that way.ย I mean, he was attractive yes, but something wasn’t quite right. I remember on our first date being uncomfortable when dinner was over and the waitress brought the bill. He kinda just continued letting it sit there, between us. It got very uncomfortable. It felt like he was waiting for me to take care of it. Or maybe it was all in my mind. But no, I don’t think so. From previous posts you know I do have some issues with that. Completely out of touch with the times and rules of dating. Who pays? What’s the dating etiquette? I figure if you get asked out on a first date, the man should pay, no? What the hell do I know? Red flag #2 because ‘who pays’ later became an issue in our relationship.
An issue because guess who ended up always paying?
Yours truly.

Wayne and I had been dating for a couple of months. Like clock work, every Friday night you could guarantee a party at his place. Now this wasn’t a problem for me initially. Remember, I had been solely a wife and mother for the past 20 years, so it almost seemed like I was making up for lost party time in a sense. I was with my ex husband since I was 18 so I missed the whole partying and going out stage. Wayne and I had so much fun. I have since realized that we had the most fun when we were drinking. ย It’s not like we didn’t have fun without alcohol, but let’s just say we had more fun with alcohol. And for me, 2 glasses of red wine and I’m so there. Yes, I know what you’re thinking, total wussy light weight. Or cheap date, whichever.

The alcohol was a good thing and a bad thing. Good in that when both of us were intoxicated, we let many potential spats slip by. Bad because the ones that didn’t slip by were ridiculous and typically made no sense what so ever. Obviously the communication between two drunk people can sometimes get construed and not make any bloody sense. We would then proceed to beat that particular subject up to no avail. It would end badly with one of us stomping off and locking them self in the bedroom and crash. In the morning either we forgot what we were actually arguing about or continue the argument. However, my fighting/disagreeing/arguing style typically consisted of just shutting down and giving him the good ol’ silent treatment. I know how much men love that. Oh yea. You can imagine how well that worked out. I have to say that method was all I’d ever done in my marriage so that’s what I naturally turned to. Wayne couldn’t tolerate that at all and would insist we talk it out.ย  He would always say that I put up walls, and I swear to God if I heard him say one more time “Oh, there’s them walls you put up!” I’m pretty certain I was gonna lose my mind.
Looking back, I think know those walls were actually me not being totally into him or allowing myself to be into him. Whichever. I’m always a contradiction. Thing is I was a confused mess, I liked him a lot, but I didn’t. He wasn’t Damian. That was perfectly clear.

Wayne was the only guy I knew who actually wanted to dance with me, all of the time. Even when friends were around. He didn’t care. I loved that he would take my hand and lead me to the dance floor or to the middle of the living room and waltz with me. That was something I remember my parents doing plenty of times when my sister and I were growing up. They would dance and talk all night long, I loved that aspect of their marriage. I told Wayne that too. He knew how special that was to me. Those kinds of moments are so simple yet last forever in your memories. I only hope that when I do find ‘the one‘ we will be able to share that as well. I love that closeness.

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I don’t know exactly what it was, but there was always something that felt a little off with my feelings towards Wayne. Like when we would be out at friends homes, a pub, or anywhere around other people and alcohol, I would become uptight and nervous. I would be embarrassed at the things he would say, the unpredictability of what he might say. The way he would act after a number of beers. Almost confrontational with anyone he might be talking with. But afterwards when we would go home and we were alone, it would all be okay. I’m going to go ahead and say that typically the more alcohol between us the better things were. Not completely ideal. He was an up tight kind of guy, and I can be an uptight kind of girl (no shit).ย  Not the greatest combo. But with alcohol he was less uptight and I became more attracted to that guy. The drunk guy was ‘fun relaxed guy’, that’s the guy I liked best unfortunately. He was completely focused on me, treating me like a princess and I would forget all about any inappropriate behavior he had displayed earlier. This became a routine in our relationship. The times we were by ourselves it was different. It was better. So eventually without even realizing what I was doing I would make excuses up for us to stay in, not have people over.ย  Instead insisting we stay at home together, alone. I would tell him I’m dealing with people all day long, I’d rather just spend the evening alone, together. He rarely disagreed, ever. Instead we started sharing amazing Friday nights at home alone. He loved to cook and was a fabulous cook, I’d sip red wine while assisting him. By assisting I mean watching. You know, keeping him company in the kitchen.
We would put the music on, have drinks, dance and talk all night long. I loved it.

We were only seeing each other once a week, twice at most, and that would usually be Friday nights. Saturday nights he would play poker with the guys. Religiously. I didn’t mind at all except if for some reason or another we couldn’t see each other on the Friday night and he wouldn’t give up poker on Saturday night to spend it with me. You know what they say? He’s just not that into you! If he was, well, he surely would choose spending time with me over poker at least some of the time.ย  Well, I hadn’t read He’s Just Not That Into You yet so I was not getting it. Plus I was so damn needy then. Couldn’t stand being single, alone, lonely, always wanting to be with someone. Coincidentally he was that someone at that time.

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That was until one particular Saturday night while he was at poker and we were texting each other back and forth. I sensed something was off.ย  He finally tells me, via text, that his on again-off again ex girlfriend he dated before me wanted to get back together. Turns out the friends house he plays poker at was the ex girlfriend’s brother. Ahhh, perfect. She wanted to give it another try. Uhh… okay? Well, that’s very unexpected. I remember being completely shocked.ย  Not heart broken, just shocked. No one likes rejection.

He’s breaking up with me? pffft! Isn’t that ironic?

Laura xo

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Recipes

Eggnog Cookies with Eggnog Buttercream Frosting

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Is it ever too early to start baking Christmas goodies? I think not.
Since Starbucks has officially released their infamous ‘Red Cups’ today, I think it’s time for a Christmas Cookie recipe on the blog!

For our very first Christmas Cookie recipe of the year, we made Eggnog Cookies with a delicious Eggnog Buttercream Frosting.
These cookies are soft & chewy, and have just the right amount of Eggnog.
We added some spiced rum to these cookies which added a really nice, faint spice flavour, but you can leave the rum out if you prefer!

These are the kind of cookies that taste delicious with or without the icing.
I usually prefer cookies without icing, but the Eggnog Buttercream really does add to the cookie.

Happy Holiday Baking! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Eggnog Cookies with Eggnog Buttercream Frosting Recipe

Ingredients:

For the Cookies:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened slightly
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup eggnog
1 tablespoon + 1/2 teaspoon rum (optional)

For the Eggnog Buttercream:
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup eggnog
1/2 teaspoon rum
3 cup confectioners sugar

Directions:

1. Adjust oven racks to the upper and lower middle positions. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
Spray baking sheets with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, nutmeg & cinnamon; set aside.

2. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter & sugar until light and fluffy, approx. 1 1/2 minutes. Add the egg yolks, & vanilla extract; beat at medium speed until combined. Add the eggnog & rum; beat for 30 seconds until combined. Slowly add the flour mix (dry ingredients) & beat on low speed until just combined.

3. Drop by rounded tablespoons of dough onto the prepared baking sheets, placing the cookies about 3 inches apart.
Bake for 20- 21 minutes. Let cookies cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes, than transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the Frosting:

1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, eggnog, rum & powdered sugar until light & fluffy. Add more eggnog if needed. When cookies are cooled completely, ice cookies with a small spatula.

Note: Recipe slightly adapted from http://sweetpeaskitchen.com/2012/12/eggnog-cookies/.

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Happy Baking!
Xo Natasha

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Recipes

Candy Corn Surprise Cookies

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HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYONE!
Wishing everyone a very happy & safe Halloween.

Who’s ready for a delish Halloween cookie recipe?!

These cookies are fun, tasty & perfect for Halloween.

CANDY CORN SURPRISE COOKIES!

I used my mom’s recipe for her Cream Cheese Cookies & just added a candy corn in the center of the cookie for a little Halloween surprise!
They are soft & delicious cookies & it’s so fun taking a bite into the cookie & seeing the candy corn colours pop in the middle.

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Candy Corn Surprise Cookies Recipe

Ingredients:
1 cup unsalted butter, soft
1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
candy corn candies
sprinkles (optional)

Directions:

1, Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray cookie sheets with non-stick cooking spray.
In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, cream cheese, & sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolk, and vanilla. Stir in flour.

2. Scoop out batter by 1 1/2 – 2 tablespoon-sized scoops and roll into a ball with your hands. Press 1 candy corn in the middle of the ball, and press surrounding dough over the candy corn so its completely covering the candy. Make sure the dough is in a round ball, completely covering the candy corn or else the candy corn will leak, and melt onto the cookie and pan. Top cookies with sprinkles. (optional. i put sprinkles on some of the cookies).

3. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes, or until the bottoms are just lightly golden.

(Happy Halloween from Natasha & Laura!)

Happy Baking!
Natasha xo

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