Thursday, October 27, 2011

San Francisco Dollhouses!

These aren't doll houses, but they are certainly cute enough to be one! I love how these homes are usually girly on the outside and very simple on the inside.

source: Dijeau Poage Construction

source: unknown

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

French Onion Soup

The cold weather is definitely here to stay for a while... it was 5ºC this morning in Vancouver!  That means nesting and warm, wintery food.  So, today I thought I would share my recipe for French Onion Soup.  Hope you like it.


3 onions, sliced
1/2 stick of butter
1tsp salt
1tsp pepper
3 - 4 tablespoons of fresh thyme leaves
2 cups beef stock
1 cup chicken stock
1 baguette, diced
1 cup gruyere cheese, grated
splash of sherry

1. In a medium sauce pan, sautee onions in butter with salt and pepper until cooked down and dark brown( about 40 minutes).
2. Add fresh thyme, sherry, beef and chicken stock and simmer slowly for 1 hour.
3. Ladel into an oven-safe dish or ramkin.
4. Place 1 slice of bread on top and cover with cheese.
5. Broil in the oven until golden brown.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Chocolate Cheesecake

In case plain cheesecake isn't sinful enough, I have a recipe for a chocolate one that is sure to live up to any devilish expectations!

1/3 cup chocolate wafers, crushed finely
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1 egg
Butter to grease pan

1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
2. Mix wafers and melted butter together.
3. In the bottom of a mini cheesecake pan, pack wafer mixture 1/4" thick.
4. In an electric mixer, combine cream cheese, sugar, cocoa and egg and mix until smooth.
5. Fill each mini cheesecake pan with enough cheesecake batter to fill 1/2 - 2/3 full.
6. Bake for approximately 25 minutes.

Fraîche Ideas ... over 1000 likes!


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Organized Beauty

Today I thought I would post a photo of a cheery pantry.  This picture made me think of how nice it is to bake or cook when everything has a place.  Organization can make all the difference in how much you enjoy your kitchen.  For instance, I think if getting out a box of baking soda requires the juggling skills of a circus performer, you likely won't be doing much baking.  However, if you were to go to a cupboard like this one, baking 100 cupcakes for your kid's school bake sale could even be, dare I say, enjoyable!


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Shortbread Cookies

Here is a fun recipe to try if you have small children. Since the holidays are just around the corner, shortbread is a great recipe to make in advance and freeze. This recipe is intended for use with a cookie press which you can pick up at a kitchen shop or even some art supplies stores.

1 1/2 cups butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
3 T milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder

1. Cream butter and sugar in an electric mixer until fluffy.
2. Add egg, milk and vanilla and beat well.
3. Slowly add dry ingredients and mix until dough is smooth.
4. Fill cookie press with dough and press cookies directly onto a baking sheet. (Make sure the sheet is not greased and do not use parchment paper as the cookies will not stick to the pan when you press them.)
5. Bake at 375º F for approximately 10 minutes until slightly golden around the edges.
6. Let cool on a rack.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Pretty Dollhouse

Today I thought I would share a few photos of a doll house my dad made for my daughter when she was small. A couple of years ago, we painted and started to decorate the inside. It was a very fun project and I think it looks quite cute. We still need to make some curtains and add a few accessories but, I'm pleased with it so far. I think a project like this is never quite "done". There is always room for improvement. However, it is a great mother/daughter project.


Friday, October 14, 2011


Recently I was inspired to buy a madeleine pan at a cook shop. I've always wanted to make them and just never got around to it. So the other night at the request of my daughter, we whipped up a few batches. They are really simple to make and they taste great! I think they are really pretty too.


2/3 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
2 eggs
1 cup powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
2. Brush a madeleine pan with vegetable oil.
3. Combine flour and baking powder in a bowl and set aside.
4. With an electric mixer, beat eggs on high for approximately 5 minutes.
5. Slowly mix in the powdered sugar until combined.
6. Fold flour then melted butter and mix well.
7. Fill each cup 3/4 full and bake for approximately 10 minutes until edges are lightly golden.
8. Once baked, let cool on a rack and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Ice Cream Sandwiches

Here is a cookie I guarantee everyone will love! The cookie is soft and chewy and not too sweet, making the ice cream filling a perfect pairing. Great for children and kids at heart.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup butter, cold and cubed
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 square bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

1. Mix flour, cocoa and baking soda in a bowl and set aside.
2. In an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar, salt and vanilla until fluffy.
3. Add dry ingredients and chocolate to butter mixture and mix until combined.
4. Roll dough onto a lightly floured surface to 1/4" thickness.
5. Cut with a linzer cookie cutter and place on parchment lined baking sheet, spacing 2" apart.
6. Bake in a 350ºF oven for approximately 10 minutes.
7. Once cookies are cooled, ice 1/2 of the cookies with a very good quality vanilla ice cream and press the rest of the cookies on top to form the sandwiches.  Freeze cookies for about 30 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Butter Pecan Tarts

I think there are a few recipes that mark the holiday season. For me, pecan pie or tarts are definitely contenders. These flakey pastries may seem intimidating but they are really quite simple to make. Here is my recipe.

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 sticks unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 to 8 tablespoons ice water
whole pecans, to top tarts

1. In a food processor, add flour, butter and salt and pulse until mixture resembles a small meal consistency.
2. Place flour mixture in a large bowl and add water.
3. Knead by hand until a ball forms.
4. Divide pastry into half and roll each half out onto a floured surface to 1/4" thickness.
5. Cut 7" circles to fit into muffin tin.

2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 cup corn syrup
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F.
1. Heat sugar and corn syrup until sugar is dissolved. Add butter and mix well. Let cool to room temp.
2. In a mixing bowl, beat eggs and vanilla. Add egg mixture to sugar mixture and mix well.

3. Pour into unbaked tart shells to about 2/3 full, then top with two or three pecans. Bake for approximately 15 minutes.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Beautiful Cafe Down Under

Here is a very neat cafe in Melbourne, Australia photographed by Rebecca Hughes. Rebecca is a professional photographer in Australia and publishes a unique blog called Melbourne Cafes Photo Blog.  The cafe is called Friends of Mine and it looks so inviting, I wish I was there! I wonder what the coffee is like from that amazing looking machine?


Friday, October 7, 2011

Contemplating Winter...

This picture is so beautiful and I love the way it romanticizes fall/winter. It brings to mind how much attitude plays a huge part in our perception of reality. I'm sure that a wet cold day like the one in the photo could be quite miserable. However, the girl in the picture is dressed appropriately and stylishly for the weather...waiting for a cab ( I imagine) and appears to be indifferent to the elements . Seeing her standing amongst the beautiful buildings in an almost ethereal setting, makes you wish you were there, doesn't it?

This photo reminds me of the winter ahead and inspires me to make preparations; like stocking the beverage cupboard with tea and cocoa,  brushing off the dust on my Hunter boots and bringing out my raspberry coloured umbrella I got in Paris the last time I was there. (We get a lot of rain in Vancouver during the winter, so I will get much use of these items.)

I think these are important things we can easily do to make the most of the inevitable weather ahead.
And I think that it is important to remember that although we can't change the weather,  we can at least re-imagine it.

Hope you have a great weekend and Happy Thanksgiving for those who celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving!
(By the way, I cannot find the name of the photographer. All I know is that it was originally posted on

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Pretty Journals

For as long as I can remember, I have always kept a journal in one form or another. I'm not very fond of the "Dear Diary" types, but I do like to keep track of my thoughts and ideas in one place. Mostly because I can never rely on my memory for more than a few hours.
Here are some pretty notebooks I picked up at the bookstore. Very cute and very useful.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Milk + Cookies!

Today I was thinking about when my children were small and how I would often make them chocolate chip cookies as an after school snack. They are both teenagers now, but they remember this little tradition. It is a fond memory of theirs as well as mine. It's been a while since I've made them. So, for nostalgia's sake I made a batch which I served with milk, of course.

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped
1/2 cup oats, large flakes

1. Preheat oven to 375º F.
2. Beat butter, sugar, vanilla and eggs in an electric mixer until fluffy.
3. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt.
4. Add flour mixture to butter mixture. Mixing by hand.
5. Mix in oats, chocolate chips and pecans.
6. Drop large teaspoons full of cookie dough onto parchment lined baking sheets. Space 2" apart.
7. Cook for approximately 12 minutes.

Note: This is a great icebox cookie recipe. Just roll the dough into a 1.5" diameter log and cut 1/2" slices as needed. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.