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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Recipes

Chocolate Rum Balls

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We started early with the Valentine’s baking and now we can’t stop! Until Valentine’s Day is finally upon us, there will be plenty more sweetness to come. Valentine’s Day is all about chocolates and sweet treats so today I thought I’d make some Chocolate Rum Balls. I’ve been making these Rum Balls for many years. I used to make them every year for Christmas Eve and bring them to my Uncle’s as they were his favourite. They’re a pretty little addition to any dessert tray or cookie platter.

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We found these pretty little cups at Michael’s. Adorable!

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Chocolate Rum Balls Recipe:

{yield 20-25 Rum Balls}

1 125g pkg of cream cheese
1 c. ground almonds
1 c. icing sugar
1 tsp. instant coffee
1/4 c. dark rum
3 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted (can melt in microwave approx 40 sec)
Topping Suggestions: Sprinkles, icing sugar, toasted coconut

Directions:

Blend cream cheese until fluffy. Stir in almonds, icing sugar, powdered instant coffee and rum. Mix well.
Add in melted chocolate.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until mixture is easy to handle. (approx. 1 hour)
Roll mixture into 1 inch balls (tsp size amount) and roll into desired toppings.
Tip: I placed the rolled balls onto a sheet of wax paper and then sifted powdered coatings on top instead of rolling the balls in the coatings.

Refrigerate in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.

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Happy Valentine’s Baking!
Laura & Natasha xo

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Beauty & Cosmetics

Etsy Holiday Inspiration

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Etsy is a marketplace where people around the world connect to buy and sell unique goods. Our mission is to re-imagine commerce in ways that build a more fulfilling and lasting world.

I love Etsy.

For those who are not aware, Etsy is a website which focuses on the selling & buying of handmade, & vintage items.
I like to think of Etsy as a ‘craftier‘ version of Ebay.
You can find everything on the site from paintings, prints, art & craft supplies, to home decor, quilts, beauty, jewelry, & toys.

Each item is unique, and it’s a great way to support artisans, & support smaller businesses.
Plus you can also find plenty of ideas for some DIY projects!

I’ve purchased some really cute items from Etsy previously & highly recommend shopping on Etsy. My latest purchase were gorgeous knitted coffee cozies which you can see here.

I was browsing on Etsy earlier, and started looking at Holiday gifts & decor and was blown away at all the great gift ideas.
Etsy is such a great site to do some online Holiday shopping, especially if you are looking for unique, homemade, beautiful pieces!

Grab a cup of cocoa, turn on your Christmas playlist, get cozy in your Christmas PJ’s (come on, you know you have a pair! ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) and browse with me on Etsy! ๐Ÿ™‚

Here are some of my top Holiday Picks from Etsy:

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1. Winter Forest Wrapping Paper
from Etsy Seller: NormansPrintery

There’s few things I love more than beautifully wrapped Christmas presents under the tree. It’s almost like an art.
I love wrapping gifts, and have basically become the sole ‘gift wrapper‘ in my family. I love taking my time, and making the gifts look perfect, so I’m all about cute, unique wrapping paper.
This Forest Wrapping Paper is unique and perfectly vintage looking.

2. The Barrow – Chunky Infinity Scarf
from Etsy Seller: deroucheau

Nothing says Winter fashion like a nice, big, wool infinity scarf!
Essential piece of a girl’s Winter wardrobe.

3. Knitted Heart Fingerless Gloves
from Etsy Seller: KnitsbyVara

Cozy, homemade knitted gloves – perfect gift for her.

4. Burlap Dog Christmas Stocking
from Etsy Seller: ChristmasClaude

These doggie stockings are so adorable!
Pet’s are apart of the family, why not get a stocking for your fur-baby?

5. Glittered Acorn Christmas Ornaments – Set of 5
from Etsy Seller: AnnaBelleArts

I love the look of these glittery acorn ornaments.

6. Snowflake Christmas Earrings
from Etsy Seller: CloverPower

7. Christmas Reindeer Cushion
from Etsy Seller: CalicoandCotton

Cute reindeer pillow, perfect for a cabin!

8. Cardinals & Chickadees Christmas Wrapping Paper
from Etsy Seller: PaperandPresent

More pretty, unique wrapping paper. Love this bird design.

9. Custom Superhero Ornaments
from Etsy Seller: IttyBittyWoodShoppe

I thought these wooden superhero ornaments were so original, and creative. They would be so perfect for a kid’s tree, or a little boy’s tree!
If you’re a good painter, you could always make these yourself. I’m sure you could find plain wooden ornaments at a craft store, and paint them yourself. Would make for a great DIY & Christmas craft.

Have you ever bought or sold anything on Etsy before?
Love Etsy?
Comment & let us know! ๐Ÿ™‚

Happy Holiday Shopping!
Natasha Xo

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Recipes

Pretty-in-PINK Lemonade Cupcakes

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Even though the first day of Fall is not until September 22nd, for some reason August 31st always feels like the end of Summer to me.
Right when September 1st rolls around, I feel like Summer has officially ended & Fall has begun.

As you may know from my last few baking posts, I am more than ready for Fall.
So I thought I’d make one last ‘Summer’ recipe before the blog is all things pumpkin!

I made PINK Lemonade Cupcakes, and they are every bit as tasty as they are gorgeous. I love how bright and colourful they are, (It’s a nice change from cranberries & nutmeg) and they are super moist & light. Unlike most cupcakes, the cake is fluffy, fresh, & lemony – not heavy at all, (No eggs are used).
These cupcakes are definitely a summer-mustย at a backyard BBQ!ย 

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PRETTY-IN-PINK LEMONADE CUPCAKES

Ingredients:

For the Cake –ย 
2 1/2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
pinch – 1/2 teaspoon of salt
zest from 1 lemon
1 3/4 cup water
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons white vinegar
juice from 1 lemon

For the Frosting –ย 
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2-3 cups icing sugar
juice from 1 lemon
a few drops of red food colouring (to your preference to create the perfect PINK colour!)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, mix together all of the dry ingredients – Flour, Sugar, Baking Soda, Salt, & the Lemon Zest. Set Aside.

2. In a large bowl, mix the wet ingredients – Water, Oil, Vanilla Extract, Vinegar & Lemon Juice. Combine the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients & stir slowly until ingredients are evenly combined & no lumps appear in the batter. Do not overmix.

3. Pour the batter (The batter will be extremely wet!) into lined baking pans, about 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of a cupcake comes out clean.

Frosting:

1. Using your electric stand mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add in the icing sugar slowly, (scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed) to your preference of sweetness. Add the lemon juice & a few drops of red food colouring – mix until you get the perfect fluffy frosting!

Happy Baking!

Natasha xo

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Recipes

The One & Only Chocolate Chip Cookies

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After searching high & low for the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe, I have finally found the one!
I have eaten many (far, far too many) chocolate chip cookies in my lifetime, and my mom and I have tried many different chocolate chip cookie recipes over the years so believe me when I say – this recipe is the best homemade chocolate chip cookie recipe out there right now. They are so, so good, it’s insane. And yeah, I ate over ten of these babies tonight. (I don’t curr, I’ll admit it.)

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You may be asking how this recipe is any different than the other billions of chocolate chip cookie recipes out there? Well let me tell ya – the main reason for their goodness, and the secretย ingredient to making these cookies so thick, soft, gorgeous & chewy is….

CORNSTARCH!ย 

Cornstarch is the ingredient that makes these cookies soย thick & chewy, and gives them that delicious soft-baked quality.
Funny how one ingredient can make all the difference! All of the chocolate chip cookie recipes I have made in the past did not use cornstarch. The difference in cookies using cornstarch was like night & day.
The other main component as to why these cookies are so chewy and moist is because of the higher ratio of brown sugar to white.

Not only is this recipe the BEST tasting, it is also super easy & straightforward. No crazy ingredients are used – you’ll probably already have all of the needed ingredients in your cupboard!

This is the recipe that I’ve been looking for, the classic chocolate chip cookie – the one that I’ll be making over and over again for years.

I thank the cookie heavens for creating a cookie so perfect – ย the One & Onlyย Chocolate Chip Cookie. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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The One & Only Chocolate Chip Cookies
(This glorious chocolate chip recipe is from Anna Olson (Food Network), which can be found here.ย I have adapted the recipe slightly.)

Ingredients:
(yield: approx. 3 dozen cookies)

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar (the darker the sugar, the better)
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg, (preferably at room temperature)
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon cornstarch (the magical ingredient!)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/4 cup milk chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl using a hand-held electric mixer or in the bowl of your stand mixer (fitted with the paddle attachment), cream together the butter and sugars on medium speed until light & fluffy.ย Mix in the egg and vanilla.ย In a separate bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, baking soda & salt. On low speed, slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until all ingredients are evenly combined. Do not overmix. Stir in the chocolate chips. Cover, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes – 1 hour.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.ย Line an ungreased cookie sheet with parchment paper. (If you don’t have parchment paper, just leave the cookie sheet plain.)ย Using your hands to form the balls, roll dough into 1 Tbsp-sized balls and place onto cookie sheets. If you want extra chocolaty cookies, press a few chocolate chips onto the top of the dough balls.

3. Bake for 8-9 minutes, until barely golden brown around the edges. They will almost look uncooked. Do not leave cookies in oven over 10 minutes! Remove and let cool for 2-3 minutes on the cookie sheet. If the cookies are too puffy for your liking, gently press down on them with the back of a spoon.
Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack.

Note: Cookies stay chewy and fresh for up to 10 days in an airtight container.

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Enjoy!
Natasha xo

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Recipes

Go B-A-N-A-N-A-S Cake

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We’ve went and gone bananas over this cake!

After my zucchini baking phase, I decided to switch things up a bit. Since I really enjoy fruit in baked goods, I decided to make a banana cake!

This cake tastes exactly like the banana bread that your grandma used to make, except without the hard (almost burnt) outer crust and the thick density of the loaf.
You get the same good ole fashion banana bread taste in a beautiful iced cake!
And lets face it – a cake is a lot more visually appealing than bread and is a lot funner to decorate! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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(Add some chopped walnuts if you want an extra crunch!)

This cake really does have the perfect amount of bananas. Not too much that it overpowers everything, and not too little that you can’t even taste it. Not only is this cake fluffy, moist and light – while its in the oven, your house will smell like a sweet banana haven. While the cake was baking, I couldn’t wait to get it out of the oven and take a bite! Nummerz! You are going to want a piece right away – the smell is so mouthwatering and aromatic! (This is the cake to make if you are having guests over and want to impress them with something delicious-smelling baking in the oven hehe. ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

Ingredients:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (approx. 3-4 bananas)
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 (8oz) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 – 4 cup confectioners sugar (to your preference – I used 3 cups)
1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
dash of nutmeg
chopped walnuts (optional)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 9″x13″ inch pan with non-stick cooking spray.

2. In the bowl of your mixer (using the paddle attachment), cream together the butter and sugar until light and smooth. Switch from the paddle attachment to the beater/whisk and beat in eggs slowly, one at a time. Stir in the sour cream and vanilla until evenly mixed.

3. In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon and whisk a few seconds until mixed. Pour the dry mix into the wet mix and stir together. Lastly, mix in the mashed banana. Spread evenly into prepared pan.

4. Bake for 25-35 minutes, (start checking at 25 minutes as oven temperatures vary – I kept my cake in for 34 minutes) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool completely before icing!

To Make The Frosting:

1. In the bowl of your mixer (fitted with the paddle attachment), mix the cream cheese and butter until smooth.

2. Gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar and mix until smooth and creamy. Stir in vanilla extract and the nutmeg. Using a spatula or your preferred tool, spread frosting evenly on the cooled cake. Top with chopped walnuts! (optional)

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Happy Baking!
Natasha xo

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