eat me:.bread pudding.

So as the weather starts to cool down I start to want warm, comforting desserts filled with fall flavours, with nuts and apples and caramel.  And what better way to combine all of these flavours than in bread pudding?

Which leads to me to a confession, I had never had bread pudding until two months ago, at Stella's Cafe.  I always thought bread pudding would be a lame dessert, like who wants bread when you can have cake or pie or brownies?  I was so wrong.  Bread pudding is amazing.  After baking with cream , eggs and spices it turns into something moist and delectable, quite similar to cake actually, but way less work.

You definitely need to try bread pudding this fall, especially if it comes topped with caramel sauce and whipped cream!
bread pudding.  slightly adapted from martha stewart

1 day-old baguette, roughly cut into 1 1/2" cubes.  if you decide to make this the day of and your bread is fresh just cut it up, place on a baking sheet and bake at a super low temperature for a while.  the goal is to dry it out a bit but not brown it.
1 apple, cored and chopped into 1/2" cubes.
zest and juice of 1 lemon.
1 C. chopped walnuts.
5 large eggs.
3/4 C. sugar.
1 1/2 C. whipping cream.
1 1/2 C. milk.
1 tsp. vanilla extract.
a pinch of nutmeg.

place cubes of bread in a baking dish.  in a small bowl mix together apple, walnuts, lemon juice and zest, set aside. in a larger bowl mix together sugar, cream, milk, vanilla extract and nutmeg. add in apple mixture.  pour over bread, making sure all the bread is covered.  place the baking dish in a larger baking dish or roasting pan and fill the outer pan halfway with water.  this helps to allow the bread pudding to cook evenly. cover with tinfoil or buttered parchment and bake at 350 degrees (325 degrees if using a glass pan) for 45 minutes.  uncover and bake for another 15-25 minutes until top is brown and a knife inserted in the centre comes out relatively clean.  let cool for 20 minutes before serving.

caramel sauce
1 1/2 tbsp. butter.
1/2 C. whipping cream.
3/4 C. brown sugar.

heat everything in a small saucepan until combined and sauce is smooth and heated through.  pour into a small pitcher or bowl and let cool, giving it ample time to thicken up before serving.

whipped cream
1 C. whipping cream
1 pinch of sugar.

in an electric mixer whip ingredients on high until it thickens up and desired consistency is  reached.

serve everything together for a delicious fall dessert that is definitely worthy of thanksgiving or any other special celebration!  have a great week, xo, T.

d.i.y.: vintage book bunting.

I love vintage books.   Especially ones with illustrations, the shading of vintage black and white prints is just so wonderful!  The only problem with these lovely novels is that the images and text are trapped inside, only to be seen by those who actually make the effort to read them.  And while I love reading and being immersed in the worlds that words create sometimes I just want to enjoy a book for the beautiful object that it is - which means unleashing all of its pages in some sort of craft! 
I chose to make some sweet paper bunting out of one of my favourite Nancy Drew books - the Clue of the Dancing Puppet.  I adored Nancy Drew as a child and I still have a good collection of my mom's old vintage yellow Nancy Drews.  Don't worry, I had two copies of this particular volume, so one is still in readable condition!  Bunting is a fun and simple way to show off some of your favourite stories and makes for a charming and whimsical backdrop for all kinds of parties and sweet things! 
Things you need:
_an old book you don't mind cutting up. [or you could always scan and reprint the pages to keep your book intact!].
_white glue and a glue gun.
_olfa/exacto knife and ruler [not pictured].
_buttons, lace, fabric, buttons, stickers, paper diecuts and other lovely things to embellish your bunting.
_ribbon. [not pictured].
1_cut out your desired pages.  i chose a mix of illustrations and text, i cut out 20 pages but you can do as many as you like. i also found it easiest to cut out the pages by scoring them with my olfa knife instead of just tearing them out.
2_cut your pages into triangles. i estimated the centre bottom point and then cut from each of the top two corners, but you could make a template or measure each page if you wanted to be more exact.
3_decorate, attaching elements with white glue.
4_cut a piece of ribbon to the approximate length you want your finished bunting to be. remember that you will leave spacing between each of your triangles and will want some extra on the ends to tie it on to things. i used 1" wide ribbon and chose to make two strands with 10 triangles each.  evenly space the triangles and glue to the wrong side of the ribbon with hot glue, gluing so that the top edge of the triangle is in the centre of the ribbon.
5_fold down the top edge of the ribbon and affix to each triangle with more hot glue.
I really love how this project turned out, the illustrations make me smile every time I look at them!  This bunting is currently hanging in my dining room waiting for our next family gathering at Thanksgiving!

ps. see those cake pops? there might be a recipe coming up soon so stay tuned!

Have a lovely week! xo, T.

eat me: sweet potato bourbon bundt cake.

So it is finally fall! Hooray! And fall means fall recipes, which for me generally mean things involving large amounts of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.  I don't really know why, but they're just the perfect comforting balance to the crisp fall weather outside.  My most favourite part of fall is that pumpkins are in season. I adore pumpkins.  Although I hate pumpkin pie.  Figure that one out, I think it's a texture thing. 

Anyways, we have not yet gone on our lockport adventure to pick pumpkins so I thought I would try out a new fall recipe, one with sweet potatoes.  As you have probably noticed from the chocolate beet cake and carrot orange muffins, I like baking with vegetables. Sometimes things get a little weird, but generally you always end up with something super moist and subtly delicious tasting!  This cake turned out really well and was super simple - no frosting, just dumping melted chocolate on top and watching it deliciously run down the sides.  As for the bourbon, it adds a nice warmth and spice and all the actual alcohol content bakes out, but it can easily be replaced with apple juice if bourbon isn't your thing.
sweet potato bourbon bundt cake. adapted and slightly modified from martha stewart.

1 C. brown sugar
1/3 C. butter
2 eggs
1 C. cooked and mashed sweet potato. (approximately 2 medium-sized sweet potatoes [yams] preferably organic.)
1 tsp. vanilla
2 3/4 C.flour
1 1/2 C. milk
1/3 C. bourbon
1/3 C. apple juice (or 2/3 C if not using bourbon)
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp. ginger.
1 tsp. nutmeg.
1/3 C. chopped pecans + more for sprinkling.
1 C. dark chocolate chips or finely chopped baking chocolate.

cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. add eggs one at a time. add sweet potato. in a separate bowl mix together flour, spices and baking soda. starting with the dry ingredients alternate,adding to the butter mixture with the milk.  add bourbon and apple juice and mix until just combined.  stir in pecans.  pour into a prepared bundt pan and bake at 325 degrees until a knife inserted in the cake comes out clean, 50 - 60 minutes.  let cool in pan for 20 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.

to make the chocolate glaze melt the chocolate chips in a heat proof bowl in the microwave, stirring every 20 seconds until melted and smooth. to thin into a glaze pour in a few tablespoons of milk while stirring and mix until incorporated and smooth (it takes a bit of mixing!) repeat until desired thickness is reached.  pour over cake and sprinkle with chopped pecans.


ps. - does anyone else feel that a bundt cake with glaze looks like a giant donut from above?  That is all I could think about while I was taking photos.  I have a weird mind.

Happy Fall! xo, T.

eat me:.chai ice cream.

So, I don't know about you, but practically overnight my life has changed to include boots, top buns, giant scarves and tea on a regular basis.  Guys, it's fall.  I love the cozy feeling that fall has, bundling up scarves and sweaters and walking through the leaves - without completely freezing in -40.  Fall is also the time where I start drinking tea again, sometimes even more than coffee.  I know, crazy hey?!  My most favourite tea is chai, so with the sun setting at 7:30 and me considering wearing mittens I decided it was time for one last kind-of summery/welcome fall treat.  This recipe has the same steps and structure as the chocolate ice cream we made last time just with a few different add ins! 

{Ps.  I know the number of posts lately has been lacking, I'm sorry!  Life got a little busy with new jobs and new relationships...but everything is starting to settle into place, including free time for crafts again! }
homemade chai ice cream.

2 C. heavy cream.
5 chai tea bags.
1-2 tsp. cinnamon.
1/2 tsp. ginger.
1/2 tsp. nutmeg.
1/4 tsp. cloves.
1 C. milk.
3/4 C. white sugar.
5 egg yolks.
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract.

in a sauce pan bring 1 cup of cream, tea bags and spices to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly, simmer for a few moments and then let the tea bags steep while the cream cools a bit.  remove tea bags and pour into a heatproof bowl and add second cup of cream, mixing until smooth. place a strainer on top of bowl. in the same saucepan warm the milk and sugar. while that is warming lightly beat yolks, adding in the warmed milk mixture, stirring constantly. pour back into saucepan and heat over medium, stirring constantly until 170 degrees has been reached and mixture has thickened. make sure you are stirring constantly to prevent scrambled eggs are forming! pour through strainer and combine with other mixture. chill in an ice water bath. freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions or follow these awesome steps to make it without an ice cream maker, it takes some more time but is super simple if you have a hand mixer or even a fork!

I hope you guys are enjoying your first fall days, I know I am! xo, T.

U.S of A.: minot, north dakota.

So, this past weekend I went on a road trip to dear old Minot, North Dakota.  While they did not have Super Target they did have an amazing candy store and super awesome vintage signs everywhere.  I love old signs, the colouring and lettering is just so great.  I realized after looking through these photos that I probably should have titled this post "Minot, N.D.: a study in signs,"  but, anyways there are a few photos of other things as well, namely the Scandinavian park, the antique store and the children's splash pad that I ran through.  I like water parks.  And of course the person I went to visit made up for the lack of Super Target, 100%. :)
That rainbow is why I love splash pads, they are magical.  And how often do rainbows actually end at someone? um, never.  Clearly it is a sign.  Minot, you are a sweet, odd little quiet town.  xo, T.

d.i.y. accordion photo book.

One of the main reasons I started this blog was because I like taking photos, a lot. And this blog gives me an excuse to share some of them!  However, most of them still end up stuck on my computer.  Which is why I really like photo books.  They are super quick and easy and a sweet little excuse to actually get photos printed! 

If you didn't know, I am the queen of folded books.   I'm pretty sure I made hundreds for lots of little kids last summer.  Out of all the kinds of books that I made that summer accordion books were my favourite.  They are quick to make, don't require binding, and can either be flipped through like a regular book or unfolded along a shelf or table to display all the images.
This one was made as a present for someone lovely in my life.  The final size of each page is 5" x 5.5" and the cardstock pages are taped together with lime green masking tape.  To form the pages I cut cardstock down to 5.5" x 10" rectangles, folded in half and then taped along the edges to join, making sure the folds in the cardstock in both pieces were facing the same way.  For more instructions on book making and binding see this post.  The images were edited and sized in photoshop and then printed on matte 4x6's and cut down to be 5" squares.  Crepe paper added a little bit of colour! 

Photo books are fun because they are like little mini scrapbooks, but way less intensive, and they can also double as really lovely cards.  Have fun filling yours with photos, labels, maps and bits of other delightful things! xo, T.

eat me: homemade dark chocolate ice cream.

So.  It's September now and I realized two things: a) I don't have to go back to school today - for the first time since I was two and b)  I haven't made ice cream yet this summer.  And yes, it is still summer, technically we have 15 more days and I am going to cling to the sunny weather and the joy of being able to be barefoot for as long as I possibly can.

Clearly now is the best time to make ice cream - before outside becomes colder than the temperature of my freezer.  If you live in the prairies you should definitely make the most of the sunshine we've had lately and make this ice cream.  If you're not in the prairies you still need to make this.  This ice cream is amazing.  You will love it, especially if you like chocolate.  Thanks to Safeway now carrying 85% godiva chocolate bars this ice cream is super dark and super rich.  And super wonderful.  It is also super easy to make, even if you don't have an ice cream maker!
Homemade dark chocolate ice cream.  recipe and instructions adapted from brown eyed baker.

2 C. heavy cream.
4 tbsp. dutch - processed cocoa powder.  (add less if you don't want the flavour as intense.)
5 oz. dark chocolate chopped into small pieces.  I used 85% and loved it.  use what percentage feels right to you.
1 C. milk.
3/4 C. white sugar.
5 egg yolks.
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract.

in a sauce pan bring 1 cup of cream and cocoa powder to a boil, whisking constantly, simmer for a few moments and then pour into a heatproof bowl and add second cup of cream and chopped chocolate, mixing until smooth.  place a strainer on top of bowl.  in the same saucepan warm the milk and sugar.  while that is warming lightly beat yolks, adding in the warmed milk mixture, stirring constantly. pour back into saucepan and heat over medium, stirring constantly until 170 degrees has been reached and mixture has thickened.  make sure you are stirring constantly to prevent scrambled eggs are forming!  pour through strainer and combine with other mixture.  chill in an ice water bath.  freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions or follow these awesome steps to make it without an ice cream maker, it takes some more time but is super simple if you have a hand mixer or even a fork!

Enjoy along with our last few really warm days! xo, T.