Browsing the archives for the moving tag.

My Poor Kitchen


I complain about lament the loss of my kitchen pretty frequently, I know I do. Most of the time when I write or talk about it, it’s the size and beauty of it that I miss. Other times, it’s the pantry. Man, I had a pantry! On a daily basis though, it’s the kitchen things I have collected over the years that I didn’t think to bring with me that I miss the most. Mainly because I wasn’t entirely sure how long we’d be here. I know that the opportunity to live here in Los Angeles is amazing, I am so incredibly thankful for my husband’s job and our cute little apartment in our sweet tourist-free neighborhood. But daaaamn, there’s a whole lot of stuff I just didn’t think to bring. Juicer? Nope. Juice jug, even? Nope. I recognize it’s a ridiculous first world problem to have, that I can’t make my own juice so I have to buy a carton of juice. Oh poor me. How will I ever go on?

Do you hate me? I know, I’m sorry.

My new homie Vanessa lent me a bunch of must-haves from her kitchen (some utensils, a small saucepan, kitchen towels, and the cutest mugs there ever were) – that helped. I was smart enough to bring my pie pan, waffle maker, two best aprons, food processor and Kitchen Aid with me (but dumb enough to bring the sausage packer with me and leave the grater at home uuuugh), so that helps – a bit. Oh and my granny’s rolling pin – but I didn’t bring her cookie cutters with me! My wonderful and handsome husband was kind enough to ignore that my Target shopping list was eerily similar to my ‘things I can live without’ list written in Canada and he picked up knives, kids dishes, serving bowls, oven mitts, a brownie pan, muffin tray, cookie sheet, measuring cups and spoons and some tupperware.

I feel sad for my kitchen that I was so pumped for the long-awaited and heavily wished for bucket list in Los Angeles that I totally underestimated what I’d actually need in my kitchen. I looooove to mess around and whip up treats as much as I love to make a dinner everyone loves, so how I managed to gloss over the importance of my kitchen is beyond me.

Also neglected around here is the living room and our bedrooms. I did pack all my fave hair do dads and bangles and make up – and I did bring all of our favorite clothes! Since none of us really watch tv, we all (even our 3 year old) watch Netflix or stream tv shows from our laptops, so the living room is a big carpeted square where we sit on the floor in front of the flatscreen and play XBOX.

We’re calling it ‘minimalist’ but it’s hilarious.

Some days I can hardly believe we traded a beautiful house that we worked so hard to own for our little patch of Los Angeles, but at the same time I can hardly believe we can sunscreen up and take off to the beach any time we feel like it. So that, combined with the farmer’s markets and new friends makes it a pretty fair trade.


Greetings From California!


So my exciting news that I was afraid to jinx by sharing with you all?

It finally happened! We have been in Los Angeles since the wee hours of last Wednesday morning and all five of us have loved every second of it. Apartment hunting here is definitely more fun than apartment hunting pretty much anywhere else. We found a place last weekend and moved in on Monday. I’ll get a desk and blog about our crazy amazing road trip this weekend. Theeen, I’ll get back to blogging about stuff I have already made and finally get back to actually cooking and baking again! That will be so nice!

Actually this afternoon I made a cute lunch and treat for myself from scratch while Skyping with my dad and I’ll try to get that up next week too.

So far, we’ve tried out a handful of American chains we are painfully deprived of in Canada like In n Out, Carl’s Jr, and Pinkberry. I’ve also discovered a handful of menu items that are totally different at Starbucks and my fave local place this week has been California Pizza Kitchen. Super good!

I will leave you with some obnoxious photos I took at the Santa Monica Pier recently before I get back to blogging on the regular again next week. Wish me luck!!!!

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Getting Settled & Catching Up

Crafty, Domestic, Healthy, Pretty

Greetings long lost souls. It’s been two weeks since my last post which, while better than the seven weeks between that and the post before it, is not cool and should be my last disappearance for a while. Things are falling into place around here – all the boxes are unpacked, all the clutter has been tossed or donated and I can finally look around the new house and sigh happily instead of having no idea where my extra food processor blades are (the horror).

Actually, there is one casualty of this move – the nubby thing on the top of my pressure cooker. Insert loud, inconsolable sobbing here. I was positive that I packed it in the pressure cooker. Of course when I took the lid off once it was out of the box, it was not only not inside the pot but not inside the box. Now that everything has been unpacked, I have to give up and order a new one. My dad gave me his (hilariously unused – hilariously because he’s owned it for 30 years and it still had the original recipe book/instruction manual inside) just a few months ago, but I can’t imagine making mashed potatoes without it now! It’s actually good for a lot of otherwise time consuming cooking, I should write an article about that.

So far this week, I have added four articles to the site – one for each section and yes, all from projects or recipes done and photographed months ago. However, they are all good projects and recipes!

These are Pecan Pie Cookies, they have been officially counted as the 7th cookie of the year, baked back in February. I know, as if I’m only posting them now, but here they are – in all their pecan pie glory. They have all the pecany, brown sugary, buttery (and even slightly creamy) taste and texture of a pecan pie with the portability of a cookie. I know, I know. You’re welcome. Go make some. I’ll wait here.
This torte was pulled from Smitten Kitchen, and just like everything else I pull from there, it was very, very good. It’s not fussy at all, and while its technically a summer squash, I used a butternut squash and cooked it in the dead of winter!
Making mineral makeup was so fun!! Everything from knowing what’s actually in the makeup that I put on the biggest organ of my body, to being able to control the exact colours and richness is just amazing. Not to mention you can say you made your own (which is rad enough) and compared to other mineral makeup of the same quality, there is a decent savings there too!
This hat is really really cool, but it’s also an epic fail if we’re determining success by wearability. Intended as a 31st birthday gift for a man with at least an average size head, it might fit Wee One #1. I decided to write about it anyway though because the pattern is great, and the finished product, while totally useless to the person I had intended it for, turned out better than I expected it to. I really love to do any kind of colourwork, but I usually sequester intarsia work to one room, out of the children’s grasp, so as not to walk into a room with yarn barf all over the place. Anyhoo, these were made in one room and somehow also made pretty quickly, for me anyway.

Tomorrow I’ll add more articles to the site and blog about them here! There are so many fun things I’ve made that I can’t wait to show off. Homemade Tater Tots, anyone??

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New House Dance!

Domestic, Kids, Small Town

We did it. 12 years, 9 addresses and 3 kids later we finally bought a house. It is everything we hoped for and sometimes even more – generally when we discover something we didn’t see before. We are still technically living in the woods, but now we are in an ity bity town in the woods. There are literally something like 40 houses here max, and thank God our next door neighbors are great! We haven’t met anyone else since we got here on Tuesday. Next week, once we’re all unpacked and I’m back to baking up a storm, I’ll make something cute and bring it around to meet other neighbors. Fun!

I could not be more excited – or busy – or eager to blog. Over the next week or two I’ll add links to recipes and how tos I photographed a while ago but haven’t posted. By the time I’ve caught up to what I’m baking and knitting now, I’ll be unpacked! Here’s three for Saturday.

Peanut Butter Balls, made waaaaay back in February, are classified as a cookie in the cookbook I baked them from, but they were not included as a weekly cookie because they’re balls. Not cookies. Ahem. (read)
Mozzarella Sticks (also made in February) really are just battered and fried cheese, but man is battered and fried cheese good – especially when you season your coating. (read)
These Holiday Spice Cookies were the 8th recipe the kids did from the Baking With Kids cookbook. I admit they’re a little random for the end of March, but Wee One #2 picked them, so away she went. (read)

Tomorrow I’ll be back with more and maybe an unpacking update. I am itching to bake and to knit but I can’t stop unpacking until we’re totally unpacked because the half-unpacked mess drives. Me. Crazy. So I have been channeling all of my kitchen powers on dinner. Thursday night was a serious chicken alfredo and last night I made a garlic-stuffed herb-crusted roast. Tomorrow, who knows? Maybe rosemary chicken!


Marriage Monday & A Chocolate Tart

Churchy, Domestic, Marriage, Small Town

In this blog post I am participating in Marriage Mondays, and on Wednesday I’ll add this link to Living Well Wednesdays

Today’s an exciting day because it’s the first day of the Good Morning Girls Bible study of the book of James and it’s also the day the first book for the Bloom / (In)Courage book club is announced. No lie, I will be picking up (or ordering) that book as soon as I know what it is!

Don’t worry, I’m not going to drone on and on about scripture (unless you’re interested – email me!), I’ll stick to the theme of marriage and family on Mondays.

I’m going to give you a recipe for a chocolate tart that my husband adored last week – in just a sec.

First a quick note on not freaking out over your husband taking the lead.

I have had a great start to 2011 in my teeny tiny little town. The teeny tiny little town in the woods that I never in a million, billion years would have chosen to move to. My husband has been trying to get me to move to the middle of nowhere for years, but since neither of us drove it wasn’t really feasible until the summer of 2009 (when he got his license and a car) and I really wasn’t feeling it. Up to this point I had handed most major decisions to my husband without any trace of weirdness but this decision just felt too much. It was crazy. I’m a through and though city kid. I took streetcars and buses to school! I loved walking everywhere. I have a real affinity for the Toronto Public Library system. Most of all, I’m a seriously social creature and most of my dear friends either live in Toronto or pass through it a couple times a year. If I’m totally honest, that last point is the one I held on to the longest.

Eventually, I started to see that he wanted to live in the woods even more than I wanted to stay in Toronto. Friends reading this probably don’t believe that, but it’s true. He was borderline miserable. And now? Now that we’ve been here for 4 months I feel like so much in my life is better than it was. Don’t get me wrong, I miss my friends and the ability to take the streetcar to the library (or, well, anywhere), but I don’t miss the reality of three kids on a packed streetcar AT ALL.

I have found something out here that I never would have found within my life in Toronto. I have found a new, deeper connection to my husband, I have found that my priorities were not at all in line with really nurturing my family and I have found…wait for it…a desire to slow down. I still do a million things in a day, but I used to do 2 million. Now, when I look out the window while in the middle of the day’s ‘to do’, I see nature and God’s creation everywhere! I know He’s present in Toronto too, but out my old kitchen window I saw a concrete backyard, a neighbour I longed to avoid and rows upon rows of similar houses with hardly a few feet between them. Out this back window, I see snow. Lots and lots and lots of snow, and some days it comes down in such huge beautiful flakes that I have to just stop. I stop and I take my coffee to the big patio doors and I just stand there and watch it fall. So there we have it. He was right, and to put that better, he knew something I didn’t know, something he never could have explained to me. I had to experience it to know that it was better.

And now, onto the chocolate tart! Hilariously, I the title of the blog post that introduced me to this tart is No Bake Chocolate Tart for a Happy Husband. Ha!! It’s a brilliant recipe because it only has three ingredients (unless you count the ingredients for the crust which is only another 6 anyway).

Pate Sucree (Sweet Tart Dough) – from The Art of Simple Food via Shoots & Roots

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg yolk, room temperature
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (unbleached)

It’s pretty self-explanatory but here goes. Cream the butter, then add the sugar and beat till fluffy. Add the salt, vanilla & egg yolk, mix till combined. Now add flour and mix until the dough is crumbly and most of the flour is mixed in. Mix the rest by hand until the dough forms a ball. Pop it in the fridge for 4 hours before you roll it out. I’ll wait here.

Of course once you take it out of the fridge you’ve got to let it warm up a little, say 20 minutes or so before you roll it out between parchment paper (or on a floured surface if you must) and pinch it into a cute tart pan, or pie plate.


Chocolate Tart (for a Happy Husband) – also from The Art of Simple Food via Shoots & Roots

6 oz dark chocolate, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
baked and cooled sweet tart crust

First, warm the cream in a stainless steel bowl (I set my bowl over a frying pan of simmering water but there are much fancier ways to do it), when it’s scalding add the chocolate. I took it off the frying pan of water for this part (because, as you probably know, water + chocolate = bad).


Once your chocolate is all melted and mixed in well with your scalding cream, pour it into your cooled tart shell. Pop it in the fridge and wait – forever. Ok, so technically it’s actually 2-3 hours, but when your husband is in the fridge every few minutes poking at it, it seems like forever.


Then, naturally, you take it out an hour early and have the first slice when it’s all gooey and not set up yet. Whoops! Yummy anyway! Hours later, once this treat is completely set, take another slice for photos and then eat that too. 😉



A Smell You Later Supper


In this post, I’m participating in Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, and Tuesdays at the Table

I made this supper for my friend Jade and her boyfriend (now fiancee) in July, before we even found this house, but I’m calling it a Smell You Later Supper, because although I didn’t know I was leaving, we all knew he was leaving for Vancouver for school in the fall.

When a good friend meets a nice guy and things work out, the Greek girl in me takes over and I absolutely must make them supper and break bread with them. It’s clear to see that this guy is a wonderful match for her and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for them. He likes my cooking, so I’m down with him!

I went fairly down home with this supper and started with onion buns. I like to make dough in my bread machine and then add in the details and let it rise myself before putting it in the oven. Plain bread I’ll just let the bread machine take over and do the whole nine, but it’s also great for the prepping of dough – this way I can be doing other stuff at the same time.

The recipe I used for these came from the Robin Hood website, and I’ve been using it for a few years now.

Onion Rolls – from Robin Hood

1-1/4 cups water
1 egg, beaten
2 tbsp butter
4 cups flour
2 tbsp sugar
1-1/4 tsp salt
1-1/4 tsp bread machine yeast
1 cup onion, chopped
1 tbsp vegetable oil

For the dough, just pop all the dough ingredients into your bread machine and select the dough cycle. Mine is about an hour.

Meanwhile, saute onions in the oil till they’re that delicious golden brown, then set aside and let them cool off. When your dough cycle is finished, roll it out onto your floured counter, cover it with a tea towel and let it sit for 5 minutes.

Set aside 2 tbsp or so of your onions to sprinkle on top of the buns later. Knead the rest of them into the dough. You’ll probably need to add more flour.

Once the onions are mixed into the dough, divide the ball into 12 small ones, put them on your cookie sheet, sprinkle with onions you set aside earlier and cover them up with a tea towel again.

If you’re already baking, your kitchen is likely warm enough to for the buns to double in size after about 45 minutes. Then pop them in the oven at 375 for 15-20 minutes! Careful not to burn them, I came dangerously close!!

Cheesy Tuna Casserole with Rice

2 cans tuna
2 cups cooked rice
1 cup shredded cheese
1 can cream soup (you pick the flavour)

This is one of those non-recipe recipes, where you really can just eyeball. I know there are a lot of recipes out there for this type of meal that call for raw minute rice, but cooked parboiled is just so much yummier, especially alongside the tuna and cheese!

Use your favourite rice, tuna and cheese in this, just steer clear of really overwhelming cheeses. Cheddar, mozzarella and marble are obvious choices for their melty factor. You’ll need about two cups of cooked rice, a cup (or more if you really love it) of shredded cheese and a can or two of tuna. I’m wild for tuna, so I used two cans, and just like the cheese, you choose the soup. I used cream of celery, it’s a good clean base and will work with pretty much any other flavour.


Mix the canned soup with a cup of milk (unless you’re using ready tio serve, of course). Drain your tuna and mix that with the soup and cooked rice in a casserole dish. Add 3/4 cup of shredded cheese to the mixture and sprinkle the rest over the top. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the cheese on top has baked into a nice crusty top layer. Mmmm.

This apple crisp recipe is from one of my Granny’s cookbooks – one she gave me before she passed. 😀

May’s Granny’s Apple Crisp

1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
6 tbsp cold, unsalted butter
1/3 cup old fashioned rolled oats
6 cups peeled and cubed apples
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp lemon zest
3 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Prep the topping first. Either put all the topping ingredients in a food processor and pulse till crumbly (but not dusty) or cut it all together with two knives the way you would a pie crust dough. Even though I’ve got the giant blender, I like to use knives for this topping and others like it because it’s so easy to go too far and have a dusty topping accidentally. If you use the knives, just make sure there are no chunks of butter and if you use your food processor or blender, make small pulses so you can keep an eye on the consistency.


Put the apple cubes and lemon zest in a mixing bowl and toss with the lemon juice, sugar and cinnamon. Pour into a greased casserole dish or pie pan and cover with the topping. Bake for about half an hour – till the filling is bubbling around the edges and the topping is crispy.

Serve with ice cream or fresh whipped cream. Do not ruin this with cool whip!

We had a lovely little supper and then had coffee on the front porch for a couple of hours chatting about nothing specific. I love those chats the best. 🙂 I wish them well, he’s got the May stamp of approval and just a few months after this supper they’re engaged. How exciting!! <3 I am so excited for next Tuesday's post, I'll have my daring chef food up and all the treats the kids and I are creating for Thanksgiving!

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The City Mice Move to the Country

Churchy, Kids, Marriage, Small Town

Where have I been for the last six weeks? I was moving out of my cute old house in the city and into my lovely new house in the middle of nowhere. Well, not nowhere really – cottage country. Most of our new neighbours are seasonal, though there are a few other tough cookies who live here year round. ‘Cottage country’ in Ontario can mean different things, depending on where you are. In our little town (so small the population is actually added to the population of all the other towns that make up the county – and it’s still just about as many people as our old neighbourhood in Toronto), there are two pockets. One is very ‘small town’ where the houses all look the way you’d expect them to look in a 50s flick, you can walk to the post office, grocery and church. The other pocket (our pocket) is lake front, where all the snazzy cottages are, we are removed from the actual town by a nice long road no one would ever bother driving down.

I will post more photos in the coming days, but for now here is the outside of our sweet country house.

The feeling in this little pocket is very neighbourhoody, everyone is super polite and goes for bike rides in the afternoon and walks after dinner – really, so many people here do this! Our house specifically is surrounded by trees and off the main road by a tiny bit so it’s not even visible when driving by, but it’s easy to spot once you know it’s there. When we’re waiting for the school bus in the mornings, and when the littlest one and I are waiting for the other two to hop off the bus in the afternoons, we have to walk to the end of the driveway, and that’s when we see most of our neighbours. It’s so quaint it hardly even seems real somedays!

This week, I’m baking up this month’s Daring Baker challenge and I will bring some to a few of our closest neighbours to formally introduce ourselves. We haven’t even been to church yet!! When I deliver cookies on our street, I will take photos of the water and the view from our driveway!

We have, however, been to the Meet the Staff BBQ at the wee one’s school and it was a lot of fun. The entire school has 41 kids. Unless you’re from a town as tiny as this one, that number should be alarming. I am amazed at the way this school functions, I love it. First of all, it has a gym about a big as the one I grew up with and my school had 800 kids in it! The student population is divided into three ‘spirit teams’ and each member of each team racks up points by being a ‘good person’! I almost fell over when this was explained to me, essentially the staff at school ‘catches’ the kids being good and gives them points for it, (helping out a smaller kid without anyone asking you to, picking up after yourself, bringing in a litterless lunch…) The team with the most points each term gets a special treat, and the one with the most points overall wins a special class party in June. So sweet!

This is wee one #2’s class room. She is one of 6 students in this class (!), it’s a split JK/SK and her teacher is adorable! Hilariously, she reminds me of me because she’s silly but hyper organized. Remind you of anyone? 😉

Wee one #1 has the biggest class in the whole school – 15 kids! I am extremely happy about this class size for him because the one on one time is unmatched! It’s the same as many standard tutoring places.

All that matters to me about the school really is that it’s safe, we all feel comfortable and the kids are happy – and boy are the kids happy. I feel so blessed that we went from what we all felt was a good school situation to an even better school situation! Phew! I was so nervous for them I could hardly think about anything else. I was nervous about getting involved with the parent council as well, since you never really know what the other moms are going to be like but they’re all so warm and inviting. I just have to get my criminal background check done this week and bring it in!

I’ve said this since our second or third day here – I feel certain that we are supposed to be here. Everything about this house feels right and while of course there are things for all of us to adjust to, those things are minor in comparison to all the good around us.

Sidebar; I’ve been sending letters and cards to my friends and (hooray) a few of them are being amazing at writing back! I think everyone knows how much I love mail (postcards, letters & packages, no bills please) so I’m very, very happy to the amassing a collection of letters and postcards (my friend Jade Van Rando went on a road trip across Canada this summer with her fiancee, and they sent me a postcard from every province and Gill & Andrew went to Ireland recently and sent a really cute one!) Soon, I will need a cute box to keep them all in. <3 I have also been looking for a group to join on Good Morning Girls, fingers crossed I found one this evening! Essentially, these groups are formed from like minded women to check in with each other about their Bible study and prayer. I am very fortunate that three very close girlfriends, my sister and I send group emails to each other all the time, but there are only two of us who are churchy and that sort of convo doesn’t come up much in our emails. 😛 If you’d like to join / help form a group like this, let me know!

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