Friday, 28 February 2014

A Friday Ritual

One photo without explanation. A moment captured- a time to be still, to breathe and remember.

Happy Friday! :)

Thursday, 27 February 2014

a Citrus Explosion Salad Dressing

Yesterday our Mama went out for tea with a good family friend. While they were sipping their teas and commiserating about winter, her friend asked for a tasty salad dressing recipe. She was sick and tired of the Kraft dressing. Her taste buds begged for something better and more tasty. Our Mama came home inspired and whipped up this dressing in minutes (with the help of Miss Charlotte). It is the perfect winter salad dressing recipe, as it's full of citrus goodness. The base is freshly squeezed grapefruit juice which is great because they are plentiful right now in grocery stores. Plus with all the colds and viruses going around right now, our immune system could always use a little vitamin C booster.

Do you have a favourite salad dressing recipe? Share with us! We love to hear from you. 

We dedicate today's recipe to our Mama's friend who is like an Aunty to us. Enjoy!

A Citrus Explosion Dressing

You will need: 

1 grapefruit
2 cloves of minced garlic
1/4 cup of chopped green onions
2 tbs maple syrup
2 tbs honey
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil

How to make it:

Step 1: Squeeze the juice from the grapefruit into a jar. Add the garlic and green onions.

Step 2: Add the maple syrup, honey, rice vinegar and olive oil.

Step 3: Secure lid on the jar and shake well.

Shake it up!!

This dressing is good for 4 days in the fridge


Wednesday, 26 February 2014

a few good words on Art

It's the middle of the week friends and here in Ottawa it's still winter. The canal is open again tomorrow and while that is good news for some, for us it means winter is still here in full force. So what to do? Hunker down and make art. Tonight we are lucky enough to be teaching an art class at our favourite local studio and boutique Peaberry. It's hard though to just sit and get inspired and so we always look to be inspired. We all know that inspiration is all around us and it really is just a matter of attitude, but sometimes we need something more. We need to actively look for inspiration, like admiring orchids in bloom, seeing a hawk soar over the river on the way into work, or reading a few good words on art. If you are a regular reader of our little blog, you will know by now that we love our quotes and love that only a few words can snap us out of a bad mood.

So today we give you a round up of a few thoughts on art. Read, enjoy and go be inspired.

"If you are willing to do something that might not work, you're closer to be an artist" Seth Godin

"Artists are just children who refuse to put down their crayons" Al Hirschfeld

"Art is the most intense mode of individualism the world has ever known." Oscar Wilde

"I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people." Vincent Van Gogh

"Some painters transform the sun into a yellow spot, others transform a yellow spot into the sun." Pablo Picasso

"Every artist dips his brush into his soul and paints his own nature into his pictures." Henry Ward Beecher

"To send light into the darkness of men's heart's-such is the duty of the artists." Schumann

"The main thing is to be moved, to love, to hope, to tremble, to live." Auguste Rodin

"Art must be an expression of love or it is nothing." Marc Chagall

"The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance." Aristotle

"We are all artists in everything we do. Art is creating; it is our link that makes us like God. All you have to do is look at any form of nature to know that God was the greatest artist of all. He gives us beauty in His creations to inspire us to find the artists inside of us. Art isn't just about painting or sculpture. It is in everything from how you organize your life to how you communicate with the world." Bethany Jane Andrews Hoey

"Art is not about thinking something up. It is the opposite-- getting something down." Julia Cameron

and of course a few words from Calvin and Hobbes:

Calvin: "It's a magical world, Hobbes, ol' buddy..let's go exploring!" Bill Watterson

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

DIY Face Mask: See ya later Acne!

Oh skin! It is our largest and fastest growing organ and for some of us, the most problematic.

Recently I (Renee) have decided to switch up my face washing regime and take a more natural route for my skin. I have had acne issues since I was a teen and have been using different over the counter creams forever. ( My breakouts were never bad enough to go any oral medication and after switching diets around it did clear a bit, but still have occasional major annoying breakouts) The one that worked the most was Benzyl Peroxide but has all kinds of annoying side effects. Yes it clears your skin, but also dries it out like crazy, has you buying cart loads of moisturizer and makes it way more sensitive to sun exposure.
So this year I took the plunge, tossed out the Benzyl Peroxide and decided that there has to be a natural way to achieve clear skin. Lucky for me Charlotte introduced us all to Zoe's Corner. *big happy dance*

Zoe is a local gal who makes natural soaps, face wash, deodorants etc. I was thrilled to notice also that she too has acne and so has a natural get rid of acne regime. If you are looking for an alternative to chemical products, check out her Etsy shop here
Her products are gentle and the best: they smell amazing! After a week of switching over, I can't believe how much better my skin feels. Take a few minutes and check out her shop, it's definitely worth it.

We also found a great website that has 7 strategies to help fight the acne battle without chemicals. Check it out here

and if you want to try a super easy face mask that helps with breakouts, try the following recipe! It is SO easy and your skin feels great afterwards. (yes it does look a bit funny-like mud or chocolate on your face, but works so well)

It has only three ingredients and if you apply it regularly, you will see results :) Save yourself some money and give it a shot.

DIY Face Mask: See Ya Later Acne

1 tsp of cinnamon ( is a natural exfoliant)
1 tsp of nutmeg (  is anti-inflammatory)
1 tsp of honey ( is an natural antibiotic and it's stickiness pulls out grime and dirt)

Mix together to form a gooey paste. Spread it over a clean face and leave it on for half an hour. Wash off with warm water and moisturize as usual.

*Warning* This mask is not for everyone. IF you have sensitive skin or are hesitant, try just a spot treatment first. It didn't bother my skin so I used it as a full mask, but others only use it as a spot treatment.

Looking for more info on this great face mask, we found it all here

What about you? What's your skincare regime? Any tips or suggestions? Please share, we love hearing from you!

Monday, 24 February 2014

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

This weekend we stumbled on a recipe on the back of a Kraft Peanut Butter jar. It was for a Chocolate Glazed Pie. It sounded interesting so we took a peek and couldn't believe some of the ingredients:
  • cream cheese
  • smooth peanut butter
  • butter
  • vanilla instant pudding
  • milk
  • cool whip topping

We know that Kraft was obviously trying to sell their products and so their little- recipe- making elves whipped up a Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie.  It sounded great and so tasty, but definitely not something we could or ever would indulge in. What if, we wondered, there was a Peanut Butter Pie that was not packed with Kraft ingredients and was actually healthy? Was it possible? Well with the help of our Mama and some recipe searching and tweaking, we came up with:

A Peanut Butter Pie that is vegan and gluten free! Time to celebrate? YES! The best part is it's so easy to make and doesn't require lots of crazy ingredients. We think it's the perfect way to start a Monday.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie (that tastes like heaven)

For the Chocolate Crust you will need:

1 1/2 cups of raw hazelnuts
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp of cocoa
3 tbsp of maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 tsp of salt

How to make it:

Step 1: Blend all ingredients in a food process until mixture is crumbly. (Approximately two minutes) Be careful not to over process as it will turn into a butter.
Step 2: Use your fingers and press the mixture into a 9inch pie plate or a springform pan.

For the Peanut Butter Middle you will need:

1 1/2 cups of natural peanut butter
1 container of SoDelicious coconutmilk yogurt (454 grams)
1/3 cup of maple syrup
1/8 tsp of salt

How to make it:

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Pour into your prepared pie crust and chill for one hour or more.

For the Chocolate Ganache you will need:

1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup of maple syrup
1/4 cup of cocoa
1/2 tsp of vanilla
1 pinch of salt

How to make it:

Combine all ingredients in a bowl that can be placed over a saucepan of simmering water.
Gently melt the glaze over the simmering water for a few minutes.
Spread the ganache over the pie and freeze for ten minutes.

Voila! Enjoy!

Friday, 21 February 2014

A Friday Ritual

One photo without explanation. A moment captured- a time to be still, to breathe and remember.

Happy Friday! :)

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Fruit Explosion Muffins

We love muffins. If you come to our house on a Wednesday to visit, you will find our Mama lovingly baking muffins for her kiddies. Every Wednesday she has a freshly baked batch of muffins, waiting to cool, just for us. Lately a new kind of muffin has appeared on the Wednesday muffin tray, one that we call:

Carole's Fruit Explosion!  Tim Hortons used to have a muffin that we loved called Fruit Explosion. It was a muffin jam packed with all kinds of berries. Our Mama decided to make her own version of the Timmy's muffins. Carole's Fruit Explosion is a spelt muffin full of berries that burst in your mouth. It reminds us of summer days, of berry picking and warm weather.

Carole's Fruit Explosion 

2 cups of Light Spelt Flour
1/2 cup of white sugar
3 tsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp of salt
1/2 cup of  frozen blueberries
3/4 cup of frozen raspberries
1 egg
1 cup of soy milk
1/2 cup of olive oil or vegan margarine

How to make them:

Step 1:  Preheat oven to 375' F. Stir together dry ingredients and add berries
Step 2: Combine egg, olive oil, and milk and stir into flour mixture, until moist. Do not beat. 
Step 3: Bake at 375' F for 18-20 minutes
Yields 12 muffins


If you are looking for more muffin recipes check out:
Muffins that taste like donuts
Chocolate Chip Muffins

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Winter Reading

"What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn't happen much, though." J.D Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

It's still winter here and we are trying so hard to stay positive. But it's hard. So very hard to go outside and have freezing cold snow hit your face, and think Oh I'm SO Glad For Today! It's easy to be happy when it's nice and sunny and beautiful. It's much more work to stay positive in the midst of the February blahs. Instead of beating ourselves up about living in such a frigid climate, we are turning to our novels and escaping. We are turning to our 'friends', trusted books to keep us in check and help us push through this cold and dreary month.

Here's what books we have been reading:
Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan

This book is scary and amazing at the same time. It is the true story of an average 24 year old girl who starts experiencing hallucinations and seizures. She thinks she is going crazy and it takes a month of testing until she is diagnosed. It is an incredible story, one that you will read until the wee hours of the night.

Redemption by Karen Kingsbury and Gary Smalley

This is the first book of the Baxter family series. Gary Smalley is a recognized marriage and family counselor who teamed up with author Karen Kingsbury to create a series based on his teachings. The theme of Redemption is that love is a decision. The story is about Kari Baxter, an affluent married woman, who finds her husband in the midst of an adulterous affair. Leah just finished reading Redemption and is eager to pick up the next novel in the series. It definitely makes you think about divorce and forgiveness in a whole new way.

Wheat Belly by William Davis 

Our Mama is re-reading this book along with the cookbook. We are trying new recipes without as much spelt or kamut, as too much of any processed grain can be an inflaming agent in our bodies. Our Mama has been trying new recipes and made a few amazing creations: like the delicious gluten free cheesecake, or super tasty coconut fish sticks.

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simson

Charlotte picked up this great gem of a novel at Costco last week and has been busy reading. There is a house waiting list for it after she is finished. So far she is enjoying it and says we will like it. It's the story of a scientist who lacks social skills and has a hard time meeting women. He creates the Wife Project-a 16 page survey to eliminate the wrong ones and help him find the perfect wife. Through the process he meets Rosie and discovers that you don't go and find love, it finds you.

What are you reading these days? Share with us! We are always looking for new books.

and PS If you really need to get out the house and you live in the Ottawa Gatineau area, check out here as we are going to be teaching a needle felting class next Wed Feb 26! What's needle felting?
Check out Felting FAQ's here

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Goldfish Crackers *wheat and dairy free!*

Goldfish crackers were a favourite childhood snack of ours. They were so fun to eat! Who didn't like lining up all the fish, gobbling off their heads and making them swim? And who could forget the cheesy melt in your mouth flavour? A couple of weeks ago we were wandering down the cracker aisle picking up rice crackers and we saw the Goldfish Cracker box. We reminisced about them and wondered aloud if there was a way to make a  goldfish cracker for our sensitive tummies. Charlotte the internet queen, scoured the web and found a recipe that might work. After playing around with the flour quantities, she found the perfect Goldfish Crackers!! They are delicious, crunchy, cheesy and the best: no dairy or wheat.

If you are looking for an alternative vegan Goldfish Crackers, give these a try! *WARNING-these crackers are so good, they tend to disappear. If you want leftovers store them away pronto*

Charlotte's Goldfish Crackers


1- 1/2 cups of spelt flour
2 tbsp of nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp of onion powder
1/8 tsp of turmeric
1 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp of black pepper
5 tbsp of vegan margarine
3 tbsp of cold water

How to Make Them:

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350'F

Step 2: In a food processor, combine flour, nutritional yeast, onion powder, turmeric, salt and black pepper. Process until combined.

Step 3: Add margarine and pulse about 15 times until crumbly

Step 4: Add water and process until smooth.

Step 5: On a floured surface, take half of the dough mixture and roll until it is 1/8 of an inch thick.

Step 6: Use a goldfish cookie cutter, or like us, use a pizza cutter and cut them into squares. Poke them with a fork

Step 7: Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the crackers are golden brown. Let cool and store in a tightly sealed container.


Monday, 17 February 2014

Happy Family Day!

It's Family Day! If you live or work in the Canadian provinces of Alberta, B.C, Saskatchewan and Ontario today is a holiday. It is a mini break in the winter, a lovely day to rest, relax and appreciate our family. In the midst of all our everyday business, it is a treat to have a holiday in honour of our family. A day to play, eat family sized bags of chips, go bowling and just be together. If you don't get today off as a holiday, you can still stop and recognize your parents and loved ones. So today we want to pause and be grateful, for all those here in our family today and for those who  passed on.

We are grateful for:

A lovely day bowling yesterday! We all walked over to the local bowling alley and spent two hours having fun. Grandma, Dad and Mr. G were the 2014 bowling champions. We loved all the laughter, the backwards bowling and silliness.

We are grateful for:

Sitting around after dinner and looking at old snapshots of our grandparents. Our grandfather passed away ten years ago and is still missed. Seeing black and white photos of him as a sharply dressed young man, brought back memories for my mom. It was special talking and sharing about our family history.

We are grateful for:

The AMAZING chocolate cheesecake that our Mama made for Valentine's Day. It was out of this world delicious and incredibly dairy and gluten free. It was a labour of love, as it took lots of time and dishes. We are so grateful and can't wait to go eat another little slice right now.

We are grateful for:

We sent Valentines gifts of candies and chocolates to our godsons who live outside of the city and loved how they thanked us. We opened our emails and saw photos of them excitedly waiting to open our gifts, and their happy faces after they did. It was such a thoughtful gesture! We love you guys.

We are grateful for:

Leah and John's homemade Valentines. Leah made homemade cards and typed out quotes for all of us. She put the quotes in a hat, closed her eyes and prayed before randomly picking out the right one for each of us. Each quote was so appropriate and special. John made cute cards shaped and coloured like bacon, and wrote funny sayings like: You are just like bacon, you make everything better!

Happy Family Day!

Friday, 14 February 2014

A Friday Ritual

One photo without explanation. A moment captured- a time to be still, to breathe and remember.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Valentine's Day Roundup!

One more day friends! Are you still wondering what to do for your loved ones in your life?
Check out our past posts if you are looking for a few different card ideas:

DIY Scratch Valentines
DIY Pop up Valentines
DIY Punny Valentines

Interested in making a Valentine's Day dessert?
Raspberry Chocolate Cupcakes
Strawberry Pop Tarts
Easy Chocolate Cherry Trifle

Valentine's Day isn't just for couples. We like to use this day to remind our family members how much they mean to us and how much we love them.

Not sure what to write in your cards? Need a few words of inspiration? Here are a few of our favourite quotes on love.

 Read them, write them down, copy them in your journal, use them in your cards, absorb them.

Happy day of love!

"It was rather beautiful; the way he put her insecurities to sleep. The way he dove into her eyes and starved all the fears and tasted all the dreams she kept hidden beneath her bones." Christopher Poindexter

"The best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother." John Wooden

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace." Jimi Hendrix

"In the flush of love's light
we dare be brave
and suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free" Dr Maya Angelou

"It was a million tiny little things that, when you added them all up, they meant we were supposed to be together." Tom Hanks 'Sleepless in Seattle'

"Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone-we find it with another." Thomas Merton

"Never love anybody who treats you ordinary" Oscar Wilde

"He felt now that he was not simply close to her, but that he did not know where he ended and she begun." Leo Tolstoy

"A joyful heart is the inevitable result of a heart burning with love." Mother Theresa

"The best thing to hold onto in life is each other" Audrey Hepburn

"My heart is, and always will be, yours." Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility

"Don't forget I'm just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her." Julia Roberts, Notting Hill

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Raspberry Valentine's Cupcakes

Love is sweet oh so sweet!

We have created a little treat and hope you enjoy them as much as we did! These Raspberry Valentine's Cupcakes are a perfect way to anyone’s heart! We have lost our hearts to them by their pink color, subtle raspberry taste, and rich chocolate filling. We are now wishing we made a second batch. Maybe we will. J

Raspberry Cupcake Recipe

2 cups light spelt flour

1-1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/3 cup oil.

3/4 white sugar

1 egg

1/2 cup soy milk

1/4 cup raspberry purée**

12 drops of red food coloring

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
Place 1 ¼ cup of frozen raspberries in blender until the consistency is smooth.  Sift seeds out of liquid. Set ¼ cup of seedless raspberry purée  aside.
2. Add 1cup of raspberry purée to milk and stir together. The milk will turn pink.
In a bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.
3. In another bowl combine thoroughly oil, egg, 12 drops of red food dye, and raspberry soy milk.
Add liquid ingredients to the dry and stir to combine.
Pour batter into muffin cups and place in oven for 18-20 min.


Yields 12 cupcakes

Chocolate Icing

1/2 cup soft margarine

1 cup icing sugar

2/3 cup cocoa

Place these three ingredients in food processor and blend for 4 seconds.
Then add the following and blend until smooth.

1 tsp. vanilla

2 Tbsp. soy milk

2 Tbsp. Coffee

Cupcake Centers

4. Make a small crater in the center of your cupcake; (we used a round icing tip). Fill the crater with chocolate icing without surpassing the top of cake. We smoothed the top with a small spatula.

Here is our favorite Butter Cream that you can use and replace the nutmeg with the 1/4 cup raspberry purée. If your butter cream is too thin, continue adding more icing sugar until desired thickness is reached.