Surprise Baby Parcel

With Canada Day tomorrow I thought what a perfect time for this post!

 

One thing I think everyone enjoys is getting mail when you are not expecting it, of course this does not apply to bills…yuck! I personally love creating parcels to surprise family and friends. So when I found out that my cousin who now lives in Germany was expecting his first child, my sisters and I came up with the idea to send him a Canada themed surprise baby parcel. This was so much fun to come up with ideas of what to purchase or create especially knowing that our very proudly Canadian cousin would appreciate everything in it however cliche it was. IMG_3138

What we had come up with was a homemade knit Hudson Bay inspired baby blanket, crochet Moose, anorak jacket and not pictured baby wrap moccasins. We also purchased cute Hudson Bay baby mitts and tea towel, mini moose license plate, baby hat, two of our favourite (non Canadian) authors, Robert Munch mini books and of course the classic Maple Syrup.

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Although it reached them a little after he made his early arrival, it was a wonderful surprise for the growing family.

Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

This cranberry oatmeal cookie is always a comfort that reminds me of going to my grammas after school.

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Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

  • Servings: Makes 2 dozen cookies
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A chewy and sweet cookie that is a nod to childhood.

This cookie batter freezes well uncooked, best when formed into balls then flatten slightly and frozen on a lined cookie sheet. Once frozen toss them into a freezer bag.

Ingredients

1/2 cup Butter, softened

1/2 cup White Sugar

1/2 cup Brown Sugar, firmly packed

1 Egg

1/4 cup Water

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

1 cup Flour

1/2 tsp Baking Powder

1/2 Baking Soda

1/2 Salt

3/4 tsp Cinnamon

1/4 tsp Nutmeg

2 cups Rolled Oats

1/2 cup Dried Cranberries

Directions

Preheat oven to 350*F

In a bowl cream together butter and sugars until fluffy. Beat in the egg, water and vanilla.

In a separate bowl mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, spices and oats.

Mix together wet and dry ingredients until fully combined then add the dried cranberries and mix until cranberries are dispersed fully throughout the dough.

Drop from heaping tablespoons onto a greased or lined cookie sheets about 2″ apart. Flatten with a fork and bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.

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Happy baking everyone!

Play Dough

I always found it odd when people would purchase play dough because growing up my mom would always make it. So for this upcoming Easter I decided to make some homemade play dough to give to some friends.

This recipe is not only super easy to make, it also lasts a minimum of 6 weeks, but can last longer if you keep it wrapped up well and in an airtight container.

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Play Dough

  • Servings: Makes 4 cups
  • Difficulty: easy
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Will last at least 5-6 weeks and longer if wrapped up well and stored in an air tight container.

You can add glitter or other textural elements in addition to food colouring.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Flour
  • 1 cup Salt
  • 4 Tbsp Cream of Tartar
  • 2 Tbsp Oil
  • 2 cups water
  • Food Colouring

Directions

  • If you are wanting to make the entire batch one colour you can add the food colouring to the water before mixing the water and oil with the above mixture.
  • You can colour one batch several colours after cooking it by kneading the colour into the dough.

In a medium pot combine flour, salt and cream of tartar.

Mix in the water and oil and cook on medium heat stirring constantly for about 4 minutes or until the dough doesn’t stick to the back of the spoon.

If making play dough into several colours then let the dough cool a little and divide dough into the amount of colours you want to make ( I suggest 3). Knead colour into the dough by either placing the dough and food colouring into a plastic bag and knead until dough is fully coloured or by kneading on a covered surface while wearing plastic gloves.

Once cooled completely place the dough into ziplock bags or wrap in plastic wrap and store in an airtight container.

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Happy creating everyone!

 

East Coast Brown Bread

I lived most of the first seven years of my life in New Brunswick where my father was born and raised, and where most of his family as well as himself still resides. If someone was to ask me what I miss most about not living in New Brunswick aside from my family would be this amazing brown bread! Its soooooo good that I eat it without anything at all on it (that should tell you right there how good it is!).

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East Coast Brown Bread

  • Servings: 2 Dozen Buns or 3 Loaves
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A delicious sweet brown bread commonly found on the east coast of Canada.

This is a sticky dough which in turn makes it lighter when baked.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 2 tbsp butter or margarine
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 pkg or 4 1/2 tsp quick rise yeast

Directions

In a pot bring the water and salt to a boil. Reduce heat and add the oatmeal, cooking for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and let cool for a few minutes then add the butter, eggs and molasses. Mix well and set aside to cool for a few more minutes.

In a large bowl combine the flour and the yeast. Once combined add the oatmeal mixture and mix until combined. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead dough for 10 minutes, adding flour as required.

Form into loafs of buns and set in the appropriate greased baking pans. Cover and let rise for an hour minimum to 2 hours.

When ready to bake preheat your oven to 325*F. Brush the top for the dough with an egg wash and bake for about 45 minutes or until dough sounds hollow when you knock on it.

*If you are using yeast that needs to be activated then omit 1 cup of water from the beginning step and use that water to active your yeast. Combine when mixing the wet and dry ingredients together.

Happy cooking everyone!

Hamburger Soup

It’s approaching midterm time and thus I am preparing to be so busy with school work that I won’t be able to make home cooked meals. So I pulled out my family cookbook and decided to make my dad’s Hamburger soup, which I might add can be turned vegetarian by switching a few ingredients. In addition to this being a hearty soup it is also very freezer friendly, I just freeze portions flat in freezer bags, and just put in a pot to re-heat no added liquid needed.

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Hamburger Soup

  • Servings: 4-6
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A hearty soup perfect to warm you up from the chill of the day.

Can be made in a crock pot by just tossing all ingredients in it in the morning on low and cook for 8hours.

Can be made vegetarian by using veggie ground round instead of ground beef and vegetable broth and vegetable, herb or mushroom bullion cubes.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lb ground beef, browned and drained of fat
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 28oz can tomatoes
  • 1 container chicken or beef broth
  • 1 10oz can tomato soup
  • 2 chicken or beef bullion cubes
  • 3 or 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 8 tbsp barley
  • 3 or 4 potatoes, peeled and cubes
  • 2 or 3 celery stems
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 2 tbsp parsley
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 bay leaf

Directions

Brown ground beef and skim off fat, set aside beef to add to the soup later.

In a different pot boil barley, potatoes and carrots with enough water to cover everything. Once carrots and potatoes are tender enough to insert a fork relatively easily into them, then add the remaining ingredients to the pot and simmer for 30-40 minutes.

Serve and enjoy or let cool and freeze for later!

Happy cooking everyone!

Cheese Ball

We all have different smells or food that reminds us of different people in our lives, the one thing that always reminds me of Christmas or family gatherings at my Gramma’s is her cheese ball. Words cannot describe how much I LOVE this recipe! Besides the taste as well as how genuinely simple and fast it is to make, I love it even more for the fact that it also freezes so well! It is something that I tend to always make a double batch and use one ball immediately and freeze the second ball. That way I have it on-hand just incase I need a last minute dish to bring to a brunch, dinner etc its already made and I just have to swing quickly by the store to pick up a variety of crackers.

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Cheese Ball

  • Servings: makes 1 medium cheese balls
  • Print

A quick and easy addition to any gathering.

 

I always double the recipe and freeze the other ball to use later.

Ingredients

1 large pkg.(500g) Cream Cheese, softened

1/2 pkg. (125g) Imperial Cheese, softened

1/2 tbsp. Blue Cheese (optional, which I leave out)

1 1/2 tbsp Grated Spanish Onion

Shake of Salt and Pepper

1/2 tsp Sugar

3 Dashes of Worcestershire Sauce

Directions

Mix all ingredients together then roll into logs or balls. Can roll in crushed walnuts or pecans.

Happy cooking everyone!

Paper Banner

I like many people LOVE Harry Potter and I was having a friend come and visit me over the weekend and with her also being a big Harry Potter fan I thought I should make her something because… why not! So I happen to have a roughed up copy of the first Harry Potter book and so I decided to create a Harry Potter banner which was inspired by the Archie Comic banner I have having on my wall. So off I go rummaging around my apartment for a ruler, cutting mat, exacto knife, scissor, glue stick and beading thread. Once I was able to find everything which included chasing my cat Newt around trying to get the spool of thread he was playing, I got down to work.

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I used the ruler to help me get a nice straight cut with the exacto knife and took out 20 pages to use for my banner. From there I measured the width of the page on the bottom and marked a tick the the centre. From there I used my ruler to act as guide for my knife lining up the ruler from the centre tick to the top edge and cut out my triangular pieces. I also being the weirdo that I am decided to use some of my gold ink to underline any Harry Potter-esq words that were on the page i.e. Harry Potter, Dudley, Uncle Vernon etc. Once dry I folded the top quarter inch of the triangle down to create the flap that I will glue down.

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Once I had my stack of triangles with the tops folded I grabbed a scrap piece of paper and my beading thread. I knotted a loop at the start of the thread and just worked off the of spool. Using a glue stick a glued the folded flap and inserted the beading thread along the width of the inside folded edge of the triangle. Pressed down well to make sure the glue flap is secured well and did the same to the other 19 triangles, ending with another tied loop at the end to make it a bit easier to put up.

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Keep in mind the way you are gluing down the flaps as you want them all on the same side!

Once all the glue is dry and hang enjoy!

Happy crafting everyone!

Like A Hug Ho-Cho

What is winter but a perfect excuse to wrap yourself up in a blanket with a good book and a mug of homemade hot chocolate or… you can be me on a Saturday and enjoy some lovely hot chocolate while doing some school work!

The best part about this recipe is that you can make a huge jar of the mixture and just scoop out the amount per mug that you want to use at the moment.

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A perfect beverage for a cold winter day.

You can easily make this into instant hot chocolate by adding 1 cup + 2 Tbsp of milk powder!

Ingredients

For the mix:

1/4 cup Cocoa Powder

1/2 cup Sugar (preferably cane sugar)

1/4 tsp Cinnamon

To Make:

Ho-cho mix

Milk

Vanilla Extract

Directions

Keep adding the measurements in a container until full, mix well.

To make a lovely cup of Ho-Cho heat a mug of milk (or an amount of milk for several mugs) in a pot then add 1-2 heaping tbsp of ho-cho mixture for each mug you are making. Please not that the amount of mixture you put in is to your taste! Add a splash of vanilla extract and whisk the contents of the pot until everything is combined and the temperature is to your liking.

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Sip away and enjoy the day!

 

Cozying Up In Winter

I LOVE winter… second to autumn, partly because I tend to run hot so I am far more comfortable in colder weather. Also because I adore wearing layers, sweaters, colourful scarves, mitts, and hats are amazing. But I think what I love the most is the feeling of winter, cozying up with a mug of something warm and crafting.

 

What I have been working on for the past few weeks is an afghan. I have been teaching myself to crochet so thought why not go big and attempt to crochet an afghan for my mom. What I have been using for reference ( stitching techniques as well as pattern ideas) is the Crochet: The Complete Guide .  I found the instructions clear and concise and love that in addition to the written instructions for the pattern they also have the pattern in a chart form, which I find far easier to understand. The Pattern I choose was 42 Ocean Swells on pg. 92, a pattern that seemed to have more detail then then other patterns featured in the book before it.

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In the final afghan I used almost 2 balls of Red Heart yarn in 16oz. balls, and it took about 3 weeks to make (very dedicated weeks). The final result measures about 40×60″.

You can find the pattern online on Ravelry or this exact pattern through Pinterest .

Happy Crafting everyone!

So…I’ve been away

It has been an extremely busy summer and now were into fall! I personally can’t believe that.

Some things have temporarily changed, first being that I have gone back to school! I am currently enrolled in a Fashion Design program in Ontario and man is this humidity killing me! The nice thing however is how everything is so incredibly close, 10 minute walk to the store, AAAMAZING! On top of that being in Ontario means that I am currently experiencing summer temperatures at the tail end of September which is nice but I’m longing to layer up and cozy down with a  mug of hot cocoa.

On top of all the things that have changed I thought I should go back to things I was wanting to focus on previous to me moving across the county for a school year first being this blog. So… here I go! IMG_0367