Recipes

Mango & Strawberry Banana Smoothie

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I have been on a total smoothie kick lately and have been trying out different kinds of smoothie recipes… Some turned out decent, others not so good. Than I came across this little gem – a delicious Mango & Strawberry Banana Smoothie and it’s so tasty, I had to share this one with you guys – believe me, it’s a keeper!

Fresh, fruity, healthy, pretty, & easy to make! (What more could you want?)

I found the recipe on myrecipes which you can find here, but I have adapted it slightly.

To make this lovely drink, you will need:
(Yield: 2 smoothies)
1 mango (peeled, and coarsely chopped)
1 1/4 cups total of plain low-fat yogurt
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
pinch of freshly grated lime zest
1 banana (peeled & chopped)
10 medium sized strawberries (washed, and chopped)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
pinch of freshly grated lemon zest

Directions:

1. To make the Mango Layer: In a blender, combine the mango, 3/4 cup yogurt, 1 tablespoon of honey, 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, pinch of lime zest & 2 ice cubes. Blend until combined. Divide the mango smoothie into 2 glasses, and set aside. Rinse the blender.

2. To make the Strawberry Banana Layer: Combine the banana, strawberries, 1/2 cup yogurt, 1 tablespoon honey, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, pinch of lemon zest, and 2 ice cubes and blend until smooth.

Using a large spoon, GENTLY scoop the strawberry banana layer onto the inside edges of the glass on top of the mango layer. Do not pour the strawberry layer right on top of the mango layer straight from the blender, or else you won’t get the nice crisp horizontal line. (The first time I made a layered smoothie, it didn’t clarify how to pour the layer on top and I ended up with a swirly smoothie, instead of layered 😉 ) Take your time, and using a spoon drop small amounts at a time.

Happy Smoothie-Drinking! 
Natasha xo

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Uncategorized

Family Time

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Nicholas & Laura’s Birthday 

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Natasha made a Banana Cake (Nick’s choice!) with the help of her little cousins for Laura & Nick’s Birthdays


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Mmm, The Keg dinner.

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Natasha & her little cousin putting on a performance for Canada Day

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Grandpa with his girls
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Natasha & her little cousin

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Bubble time!

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Natasha posing with her drumsticks

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imageReppin’ our HEART band shirts. We looove Heart!

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Cousin Love

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Projects

Glass Suncatchers

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After my little mishap on our previous DIY project, (my cracked Flower Power plate), I was excited to do another project to get over the extreme sadness I was dealing with… Alright, a tad overboard and dramatic, I’ll admit. 😉 I’m alright now.

Natasha and I spent another Sunday afternoon at the studio with my sister and her 2 young children and we all made glass sun catchers. We think they turned out so cute and they are now hanging in our living room window, shining all kinds of pretty colours into our place.

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Laura at the Studio

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My suncatcher is the one with the purple, (obvs. Purple is my fave colour).

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And here’s Natasha’s suncatcher! Lots of bright colours and orange, (her fave colour).

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We’re already brainstorming new project ideas for our next DIY… stay tuned! 🙂

Laura 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-must at a backyard BBQ! 

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PRETTY-IN-PINK LEMONADE CUPCAKES

Ingredients:

For the Cake – 
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 – 
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

Martha Stewart’s Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies

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Tonight I made a quick, easy recipe by Martha Stewart.

Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies! 

They turned out moist, chewy and delicious. The oatmeal and cranberries taste perfect together.
This recipe is from Martha’s ‘Holiday Cookies 2001’, and they definitely are Christmas cookies but who says you can only have cranberry cookies at Christmas?! I love cranberry and wanted to try them out. These cookies are the perfect Christmas cookie though, and I’ll definitely be making these again in December… maybe add some white chocolate chips next time!

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Notes:
I followed her recipe exactly except for the following…

– I added 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts
– I did not use the bottom of a glass to flatten the cookies out. I prefer the cookies a bit thicker.
– I only baked them for about 11 minutes each, (instead of 16-18 minutes like stated in the recipe) to keep them chewy.

Martha Stewart’s Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies
http://www.marthastewart.com/342189/oatmeal-cranberry-cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup dried cranberries

Directions:

STEP 1: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the vanilla, milk, and eggs. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter with both sugars, and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low, gradually add milk mixture, and beat well. Add the flour mixture, and beat until just combined. Remove bowl from the electric mixer, and stir in the oats and cranberries. Place dough in the refrigerator until firm, at least 2 hours or overnight.

STEP 2: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper, and set aside. Shape 2 tablespoons of dough into a ball; place on one of the prepared sheets. Repeat with the remaining dough, placing 3 inches apart. Press with the bottom of a glass to flatten dough into 2-inch-diameter rounds.

STEP 3: Bake until golden but still soft in center, 16 to 18 minutes, rotating halfway through. Remove from oven; transfer with parchment to a wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

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Happy Baking!
Natasha xo

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Beauty & Cosmetics

What’s In Her Bag? Laura’s Summer Beauty Picks.

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I get asked all of the time what my favourite products are and what products do I use. Being in the cosmetic business and working as a make up artist for many years, I have used hundreds of products. In fact, too many to list in a single sitting!
So I decided I would share what products I am currently using this summer. I try new products constantly and change things up often but this group of products are my staples.

(Photo – from left to right)

Revlon Photoready Skinlights in pink light:
Revlon had this product years ago but it was discontinued at least 3 years ago. They relaunched it (in new packaging) this past spring and I was so excited to find it again. I use it as a highlighter on my cheek bones. Can you say glowy and gorgeous?

Stila One Step Skin Tone Illuminating in bronze:
This is a primer with a bronzer built-in so you get that slight bronzed radiance that looks completely natural.
You can use it alone or I like to mix it with my foundation on top of my hand then apply it.

Stila Stay All Day Foundation:
I don’t always use liquid foundation but when I am needing a little extra coverage this has been my go to formula. You can achieve medium to full coverage and it wears for hours.  It’s oil free and has botanical extracts which has many benefits including extra hydration and helps to slow down the onset of premature aging. Now who doesn’t want that benefit?
An added bonus, it comes with a coordinating concealer which is attached to the lid. Very handy.

La Roche-Posay SPF 60 Ultra Fluid Lotion for Face:
Now I don’t have to tell you just how important sun protection is, especially for your face. It’s our #1 protection against premature aging. Now that should catch more then a few ladies attention. We hear it all of the time, but most women don’t use any or apply enough when they do use it. Dermatologist recommend using SPF everyday. Yes, even in the winter.
I am more of an oily t-zone skin type and I don’t love the feeling of thick heavy products on my skin. That’s why I am so thankful I found this little gem. It’s good for all skin types, light weight fluid, fragrance free, paraben-free and dries matte. What more could you ask for?

Porefessional by Benefit:
This little miracle in a tube is just what the make up artist ordered!
Porefessional is for, you guessed it, those dreadful pores. It fills in and smooths out your skin. This lightweight, oil-free primer can be applied under your foundation, ontop of foundation or simply alone. Since I already use a primer (Stila bronze) I apply this one lightly ontop of my foundation around my nose area. I can’t tell you what a difference it makes. You have to see it for yourself to believe it.

Lancome Hypnose Doll Lashes (one pictured is the Limited Edition by artist Alber Elbaz):
Unfortunately we are not all born with beautiful long lush lashes so all of us ‘unfortunate’ ones have to supplement best we can. Like many other women out there we are forever searching for the ‘perfect’ mascara. For me, this Lancome Doll Lashes is pretty darn close to perfect. The cone shaped brush is designed to build and separate lashes without thick clumps. I very rarely find a mascara I will purchase more then once, but this one I’ve bought more than a few times.

Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector in candy shimmer #05:
I am a big lip gloss girl and have to admit I’m kinda picky when it comes to choosing them. That probably explains my makeup drawer designated solely to glosses…approximately 70 or so. Not sure, I lost count.

The reason I keep coming back to this Clarins one (always alternating the colours) is because it’s not sticky, heavy or gooey. It’s a soft gel formula that hydrates and nourishes your lips while your wearing it. Plus it’s so darn pretty.

Laura xo

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Recipes

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies with White Chocolate & Cranberries

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The last two days have been filled with everything baking and a lot of trial and error.

I had been looking forward to trying out zucchini bread, as I’d made zucchini muffins and cookies previously and they both turned out great. So yesterday I got to it & baked my very first zucchini bread loaf! What a let-down… it was the nastiest zucchini bread I’ve ever tasted. It was my first time making zucchini bread and I think it may be my last. That’s how bad it was. It turned me right off, and I doubt I’ll be baking with zucchini for awhile now.

Since my love affair with zucchini died – today I’d decided I had waited long enough and it was time to start baking pumpkin goodies!

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YAY for PUMPKIN! Move over zucchini – there’s a new vegetable in town.
(Is pumpkin a fruit or vegetable?! I will admit, I had to google it – apparently it is technically a fruit, but is accepted by many as a vegetable. I’m just going to go with vegetable. It just seems more veggie-ish.)

My mom had told me to wait until October to start baking with pumpkin but I just couldn’t wait. (October! Who can wait till October to start baking with pumpkin? Definitely not I. Sorry Mom!) 

Like many bakers, I have a massive crush on pumpkin.
Pumpkin = Moist, Healthy, Sweet & Spicy Goodness. Who can resist?
I adore the flavor and will literally eat anything with pumpkin in it. (Anyone tried homemade pumpkin pasta or ravioli and know of a good recipe? I’m thinking about trying it out soon!)

For my first pumpkin recipe of the year, I decided to bake Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies with White Chocolate & Cranberries – and they most definitely did not disappoint.
Besides the minor setback of almost burning the house down (yes, that happened – don’t ask. 😉 ), the cookies turned out perfect and my pumpkin craze has now officially started. (Be prepared for lots of posts on pumpkin-flavored baked goods!)
Bring on the Fall! 

If you’re looking for the ultimate chewy, moist, pumpkin-spiced, oatmeal cookies – this is the recipe for you! The pumpkin combined with the oatmeal, plus the addition of the white chocolate chips & cranberries give this cookie amazing texture, and tons of flavor. It is definitely one of my favorite pumpkin recipes!

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Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies with White Chocolate & Cranberries

Ingredients:
(yield: 48-52 cookies)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch of allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup pure pumpkin
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray cookie sheets with non-stick cooking spray, or line with parchment paper.

2. Combine flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice & salt in medium bowl.

3. Beat butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar in large mixer bowl until light and fluffy. Add pumpkin, egg and vanilla extract; mix well. Add the flour mixture and combine until all ingredients are incorporated.
Fold in the white chocolate chips and dried cranberries.

4. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto prepared baking sheets.

5. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets for approx. 2 minutes than remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Note: Store cookies in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

Happy Start-of-the-Pumpkin-Season Baking!
I’m looking forward to seeing all the pumpkin recipes start to pop up.

Natasha xo

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This is Zeus, aka Zeusie, Zeusie-Zoo, Zeuser, Doodie-doo, Dooder, Mr.Z, Poopie-Poo, Baby, Little Man. (He’s a dog of many names)
He’s our 13 year old fur-baby and the love of our lives. We just got a new DSLR camera and of course the first thing I do is shoot some photos of Zeusie. It was late at night and he was sleepy but I couldn’t resist, I had to sneak a couple photos. He was just looking too cute. Adorable ain’t he? 😉

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