Friday Faves: Fashion Edition

Happy Friday! Except when you are on mat leave, everyday kind of feels like Friday. I especially love them lately because my husband is home by four and I know we have the whole weekend together with no work – best ever! It’s also kind of crazy to think about tonight being possibly my last Friday night being pregnant. Baby Girl is ready to come any time now! Crazy….!!!

I figured lately there has been lots of baking and crafting mentions but very little on my other love; fashion! Fall fashion is the best of all too. I am obsessed with scarves and boots and coats. Anything cozy, I want to be wrapped up in it. Being pregnant, my Fall shopping has been quite limited. I did not want to purchase any more maternity clothes as I would not be getting a whole lot of use out of them for much longer. I also have not wanted to buy non-maternity clothes, as I have no idea how long it will take me to return to something resembling my original size. There were a few things though that I could not resist and I wanted to share them with you.

FridayFaves1

The scarf was an easy choice. You do not need to squeeze into it like a pair of skinny jeans. This forest green tartan infinity scarf was a fabulous find at Street, owned by Below The Belt. Reasonably priced too. I know I could very well make a scarf like this but by the time you purchase the fabric, you sometimes wonder which is the better route to take. The coat was a bit of a larger purchase and I think I have a tiny bit of buyer’s remorse, simply because I haven’t been able to wear it yet. The warmer weather we are having and the very large baby bump have prevented me from even wearing it once yet. I am sure with the cool weather quickly approaching, I will fall in love with just as I did in the store a couple weeks ago. It is a London Fog Tartan Duffle Coat (Yes, I love tartan) from Hudson’s Bay. The toggles are totally adorable too! Finding a hood on a tailored coat is next to impossible as well so WIN! The tiny ‘H’ was a gift for my anniversary back in August from Henry. He gave it to me on a beautiful chain and it’s from Pandora. I am considering this new still as I haven’t worn it. Why you ask? It is to symbolize our daughter’s first name. I couldn’t wear it without everyone bugging me and asking me what it meant. I am a horrible liar and would blush crimson when asked so I put it away for safe keeping until she is born. So very soon it will hang around my neck! Sorry – her name is even a secret to you! The next couple pieces are perfect for layering. I love Aritzia’s camisoles and wear them in all colours under just about everything. I picked up these Thigh High socks from Free People and they are the comfiest things. I cannot get enough of soft, lounging clothes for around the house – especially ones that still look good! The purse was a recent purchase at Target. It’s by the brand Merona – Target has a huge selection of Merona bags. I loved the gold hardware and the pocket structure on this particular bag suited me perfectly. Lots of little compartments yet all totally functional. Plus it looked good. Oh and did I mention there was a sale? Target just makes me so happy. They also have a fantastic selection of wrap coats by Mossimo at Target. They are the perfect layering piece for cooler Autumn months  and the patterns are fantastic. I love this Aztec like print and there is a red tartan one that I have my eye on too. (Or perhaps I do not need 2 tartan coats…) I found these gorgeous ballet slipper flats at Urban Outfitters. They were a great price, are comfy and look super sweet on. Due to my (always) swelling feet, I will have to wait until Baby Girl arrives to wear them regularly. At the moment my feet look like chubby sausages in them. Soon though! Lastly, who doesn’t love a pair of printed leggings. They are everywhere right now and some of the patterns are so fun. This pair is from H&M and will be my go-to pants, along with a few others, all season long. SO EXCITED to have Baby Girl and fit back into some of my Fall Favourites! It is the most wonderful time of the year. Well next to Christmas of course!

Enjoy your LONG WEEKEND Friends! Stay tuned for some Thanksgiving highlights real soon. XO

Baked Goods For All

Okay… so the nesting is in full force! But seriously, who can resist when there are so many delicious recipes out there. Plus when you have a trusty steed like my red Kitchen Aid Mixer, it makes everything so simple and fun. I only use it for basic mixing so far. I would love to get my hands on some of the fixtures that can be added on to her (yes She is a she). They have pasta makers and sausage stuffers, you name it Kitchen Aid has thought of it. Absolutely my favourite brand.

After all of the freezer cooking, it was time to indulge in something sweet. The winning recipe of the day was the Pumpkin Spice Cake. It turned out perfect! I had a random recipe on a scrap of paper so I have no idea where it came from but I will include it here:

Pumpkin Spice Loaf (I say cake because I didn’t have loaf pans, only cake pans, so that is how it turned out!)

- 2 cups pumpkin puree

- 2 cups white sugar

- 1 cup oil

- 4 eggs – I used fresh from the farm and I honestly think it was a big contributor to how good these turned out!

- 2 cups flour

- 2 teaspoons baking powder

- 2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ginger

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease 2 loaf pans OR cake Pans (9″ is what I used) and YES the recipe makes 2 which is awesome! I gave one to my mum – 2 cakes in the house is simply wrong…right?! Mix together well the pumpkin, sugar, oil and eggs. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and ginger. Pour into loaf pans and bake for one hour or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let rest on cooling rack. I used a store bought Buttercream Frosting for mine but I think you could get creative here and try a few different kinds. A real heavy cream cheese frosting would be nice, sprinkled with some pumpkin All Spice would be a really goody. I may do that for Thanksgiving next week!

Thank you to whomever gave me the recipe! Sorry I cannot give credit where credit is due. I have also included a couple photographs of two other tasty treats that were a result of this afternoon.

S’mores! These don’t really have a recipe but they are easy as pie. Spread out Graham Cracker Cookies on a baking tray lined with tin foil. Don’t forget the tin foil as they can get a little messy! Next goes chocolate. Sweetened baking chocolate squares work well here but this time round I used chocolate chips. Next I layered Mr. Christies Chocolate wafer cookie. Probably not necassary but who really cares?! On top of that goes as many mini marshmallows as you can fit. Last I swirl some maple syrup on each of them and pop them into the over. Keep an eye on them as they melt fast. You want to pull them out when the marshmallows are just browning and you can see the chocolate melting. It’s a very fine line so be careful!

Next up, Chocolate Pretzel Turtles! Another quick and easy treat that can get a little messy. Line your baking tray with tin foil. Spread out pretzels and pop a Rolo chocolate onto each. Put your tray into the oven and keep a close eye! Now if there is a secret to not letting the caramel leak all over the baking tray, please let me know! I have yet to make a batch where I don’t loose half the caramel in the baking process. As soon as your chocolate has softened and your caramel is everywhere (hopefully not for you!) pull them out of the oven and place Smarties or Reese’s Pieces on each of them. I chose orange Reese’s in honour of Halloween coming soon. Let them cool and then go to town! These also make a great little favour for parties or gatherings. I put a few into clear little bags and tie with twine. My guests always rave about them!

Alright! Now that we all have a mild case of diabetes… enjoy!

IMG_6357 IMG_6369

IMG_6361 IMG_6368

Spaghetti Pie Time

Happy Friday friends! It’s feeling very Fall-ish here today in the good ol’ Tricities. That calls for some cooking in the kitchen! My mum is always giving me cooking magazines and she recently gave me the One-Pan Recipes Better Homes and Gardens edition. This magazine is full of fantastic recipes that, go figure, only require one pan! I managed to make enough for two though so that we would have one for dinner, and one as a freezer meal for when Baby Girl arrives. My freezer is actually looking pretty impressive right now! So after drooling over every recipe and photograph in BHG, Spaghetti Pie was too good-looking to resist. I used this recipe here as a guide but gave it my own twist and of course changed up some of the ingredients. For whatever the reason, I cannot stick to a recipe. If I had it my way there would be a giant stock pot and every item in my fridge all mixed together.

An hour later, I had two perfect looking Spaghetti pies! I doubt it really takes this long but I tend to be a little slow these days. Baby brain often has me tackling three projects at once. The part I loved the most about this recipe is how structured my ‘pies’ were. You could literally cut into them with a fork and eat like pie versus the traditional Lady & The Tramp way of eating spaghetti. Not that there is anything wrong with that way either! From my kitchen to yours friends! XO

IMG_6452 IMG_6453 IMG_6457

Thank FULL Of Goodness!

October Kitchen Post

Well, it’s finally here: OCTOBER! October is probably my favourite month, tied with December. Both months I love, for obvious reasons – the holidays! I am a Thanksgiving nut and also have a soft spot for Halloween! It is seriously one of the best months for cooking, baking, decorating, crafting, all sorts of good times. Not to mention that this is the month baby Girl will be joining us! She will be a holiday lover crafter just like her momma too!

In honour of this awesome time of year, I wanted to share some favourites out of my kitchen. Most are classics but I have stumbled upon some real gems. It pretty much all came from William Sonoma!

Five Apple Cider – I found it very difficult to justify paying $18.95 for Apple Cider however after doing some research, it was not such a bad investment. First reason being, Apple Cider (the real good thick stuff) is surprisingly very challenging to locate. At least in my neighbourhood it is. I searched everywhere! I eventually found a pretty good one – at Walmart of all places! Unfortunately the Walmart one was not concentrate so you plough through it just like regular juice, doesn’t last too long. Which brings me to the second reason of why the William Sonoma brand is a goody – its concentrate! Essentially that means you only add a small portion to water and it goes way farther. Not to mention it’s delicious taste! You get what you pay for.

Mulling Spices – Okay slightly torn here. The Mulling Spices, when heated on stovetop, not only make your house smell seasonally divine, but when added to the cider, simply send you off to Fall Scented Heaven. That being said, these ones are a teensy bit pricey. You could very easily make your own. If you are a crafty one too, there are many adorable packaging techniques that you could DIY and give away as presents! I think I may do this in miniature mason jars for the holiday season. Everyone loves receiving some good ol’ Mulling Spice right?!

Cranberry Sauce – Now to each their own, but personally I like to make my own cranberry sauce. It is a bit of a tradition with my girlfriend Maria. Our first year, we decided to add rum to the mixture (the recipe recommended it!). We then proceeded to drink a lot of rum and I can’t quite remember how the rest of the sauce making day went. A success I am sure! Due to her having 3 babies over the years gone by, and me now preggo with my first, rum has been absent for our cranberry sauce days since. Hopefully at Christmas time we can spice things up again! Funnily enough, I do not even like cranberry sauce on my turkey. I just like making it and canning it into little mason jars and giving it to my friends and family as presents!

Spiced Pecan Pumpkin Pancake & Waffle Mix – bit of a mouthful today and an even better mouthful to eat! I think it just goes without even saying this flavour is to die for. I will say that obviously homemade is always better but for a mix, you can’t beat this one. The festive flavours make it a huge party for your pallet.

Stuffing – I think Stuffing could really be its own food group. I will often make it on the regular and serve it for dinner with roast chicken and gravy. Who doesn’t love stuffing! I like to make homemade every Thanksgiving and then have some stovetop as a back up because everyone else at the table loves stuffing too. This packet is on the large side and definitely enough to feed a small army – aka my family’s appetites during the holiday season.

 

I hope ya’ll enjoyed reading about these holiday favourites. I will be sure to share some success recipes that I discover over the next couple weeks, as well as our cranberry sauce making due to go down this weekend, sans rum of course. Cheers from my kitchen to yours friends!

 

Beautiful Me Project

When I moved to the area a few months back, I was extremely fortunate to join a Facebook Group called the Tri-Cities Moms Group. The group has already been a huge source of support and answer to the hundreds of questions I have had throughout my pregnancy. Seriously, if you have a question, about thirty experienced mommas will give you an answer! Real helpful ladies out there so big thanks to them! There is one person in particular who is behind an incredible project and I am so excited to share that information with you on here. It is called the Beautiful Me Project and is lead by Candice Tizzard. The project’s aim is to bring awareness to the beauty of woman’s postpartum bodies in the Lower Mainland. They are working to release a book, compiling incredible stories, stunning photography and I encourage you to check out the website as soon as you can. This is such an overlooked area and everyone needs to be more aware of postpartum depression. As a new momma-to-be myself, I really have no clue what to expect and it is resources like this that can help prepare you for anything that could come your way. If you have any questions or wish to be more involved with this project, please do not hesitate to email me and I will pass on your contact information to the team.

Beautiful Me

 

 

Baby Shower Time!

Hey Ya’ll! Time is flying by with this pregnancy. Only 2-3 weeks to go! I think I can squeeze one more chalkboard post in this week so stay tuned for that along with all the good, bad and the ugly that goes along with being 37 weeks pregnant. =)

This post however is dedicated to my recent party for Baby Girl! I know now why you are supposed to let your friends throw you a baby shower. My oh my it was a lot of work! Of course though, as usual, I like to go slightly overboard and make more work than necessary. It all paid off though in the end. All the little details made it absolutely perfect. Here are some fun details that all of you event planners and DIY-ers will appreciate.

The Menu:

Savoury – Chicken Salad on mini croissants, Pulled Pork on mini bread & butter rolls, Halibut Chive & Onion Cakes, Tortilla chips with salsa and guacamole, vegetable platter and Everything Seasoned Pretzel Crackers with hummus.

Sweet – Mini Red Velvet cupcakes, Italian Waffle Funnel Cakes, Anzac Cookies (One of many traditional recipes Here - YUM!), fresh fruit with caramel dipping sauce, Rachel Ray’s Yellow Cake (recipe Here) with Cream Cheese icing and pink sprinkles, and a beautiful professionally made cake delivered by one of my girlfriends – it was gorgeous with pink rosettes and quickly put my homemade cake to shame. (Secretly though, I think mine tasted a teensy bit better!)

Beverages: Lemon Water in a giant vintage drink dispenser was the BEST idea as everyone could help themselves. In my large Mason Jar Dispenser I concocted my favourite – White Cranberry Juice, Ginger Ale, Soda and floating cranberries. If you have not tried this I want you to leave your computer right now, get on down to the supermarket and get yourself all of those ingredients. Game changer!

For those party throwers out there, I learnt two things with the menu here. When on a tight budget, making everything from scratch actually saved me money. Everything tasted amazing too. Home cooking’ is the way to go! It just requires a bit of extra work in the days leading up.

Decorations:

We went with a theme of shades of pink, white and gold. I started collecting bits and pieces from Party City in North Vancouver a little while ago. For the server-ware I went with white and pink obviously, crystal and some antique silver I sourced out at Value Village. I must admit I have a slight new obsession with silverware. I am now using the smaller one in the photographs below for my rings and earrings in our master bathroom. The larger one holds a vase with flowers and is a good base for any centrepiece. Upcycle when you can right?!

I created a beautiful garland in my colour scheme which was a teensy bit of work but it turned out quite perfectly. I love these tassel garlands! I used the HGTV Tutorial however there are tons out there. If you click on that link you will also see the little circle garlands. I made some of those too and had them all over the kitchen and dining area. I used gold cardboard and a circular du-cut from Michaels. They looked fantastic except I cheaper out on double sided tape. This meant I spent more time picking up tiny gold circles off the floor as they kept falling everywhere! Lesson learned. If you are going to all the effort on it, buy good tape.

Goody Bags were my last crafting effort for this event. I had gorgeous pink and white polkadot bags. Each contained a giant Anzac Cookie to take home with a twine wrapped bow to seal the deal. Everyone absolutely loved having a little treat to take home so it was time well spent.

We did a Jack and Jill baby shower and I must credit Megan Kroutil for the invitations. I found her shop Silver Line Design on Etsy. She was efficient and professional and so talented! I adored the invitation she created for us and have included the photograph below. The chalkboard theme really tied it all together and all of my friends and family know that I love a good chalkboard! With it being a Jack and Jill shower, we had a large mix of our friends, family, spouses and kids. It was awesome! More like a party with a ton of fun people and good times than your usual baby shower. I am not one for all of the baby shower games so this was a little bit more my style. We did play one game – guess how big the belly is! The prize was a giant piece of salmon that Henry caught fresh up North. We had many disappointed faces who didn’t win and one friend who was delighted that she guessed bang on! All in all it was one hell of a party and Baby Girl was extremely spoilt.

Momma-To-Be was very tired after………

BabyGirlShower1 BabyShower2

Baking Days

People say that nesting is a big part of the third trimester when you are pregnant. I will agree! Once I finished up work a few weeks ago, I was pretty go-go-go planning the baby shower and getting the house a bit more prepared for a big party. Now that the shower is done (post and pics to come soon!), this so-called nesting has definitely reared it’s organized, busy-body head! Not only have I uprooted cupboards to organize those, I have completed plenty of baking and freezer meals for when Baby Girl comes. The only trouble with the freezer meals is they look so darn good, we gobble them up for dinner that night! However I have managed to store some things in the freezer in hopes of making those first couple weeks with the new babe a little easier and well-nourished for the Hubs and I.

(TIP! I recently created a cute document and posted it to the fridge. It contains the date, the item’s description, and a space to tick it off when the item has been used. This way you know exactly what is going into the deep dark hole of your freezer and you have ideas readily available on your freezer chart when you are stumped on what to cook up for dinner. This thing has been a lifesaver! I have a PDF version if anyone is interested in me shooting them a copy! Email me @ mrstiffanyhayward@gmail.com )

There is one sad component to all of this baking and nesting. It allows you to be in control of something. I recently discovered my dog Harley (lives at my mum’s because the other furry girl here is a bit grouchy in her old age) has cancer. It has progressed very quickly and they have not given him very long. If any of you have lost a pet you now how incredibly difficult this time can be. It’s a huge shock to discover they are sick, let along that there is nothing you can do about it. I have been devastated and crying at the drop of a hat for about three days so the baking helps me take a bit of control each day, distract myself, and acts as a bit of therapy. It could also be some serious OCD and pregnancy craziness taking over but hey, whatever makes us smile right? I will be sure to post some pics of Harley as well. I got a few yesterday but he just looks so darn sad. Tomorrow is supposed to be a crisp, sunny Fall day so I will try to get some happy Harley shots out on our walk. Stay tuned for the most handsome pup ever!

Alrighty, back to baking! I have included a few shots of some recent yummy concoctions. The first was my mum’s ever so popular sausage rolls. These are to die for and never stay on the plate for too long. You can prep them early and freeze them or simply throw them in the over to cook and eat that day. For these we used your standard go-to Tenderflake pastry. Rolled it out to a quarter inch of thickness. Then we sliced it lengthwise into strips. For the filling, i mixed up italian pork sausage, green onion, salt, pepper and parsley. Oh I think I threw in some cilantro too because I am a nut for cilantro. The beauty with making your own is you could throw in anything your lil’heart desires. you could really get creative here! I stuck to somewhat traditional though. Popped these babies into the over at 400 degrees. I checked them after 15 and they only needed a few more minutes. Depending on the thickness of the pastry, the amount of filling, and how hot your oven gets, these do not take long at all! I timed it too – within one hour, the hubby and two friends had devoured them, leaving me three to snack on. Can you blame them though?! Delicious!

My next little project came about because I still had lots of pastry and happened to have an abundance of berries and apples. I mixed in raspberries, blueberries, granny smith apples and blackberries all together in a big mixing bowl. Googled a quick syrup like recipe to sweeten the pie (there are so many out there, any will do really) and portion it out into ramekins. Topped with some pastry and into the oven they went! Honestly, the quickest and easiest treat you could do. I could have fancied it up but by this point, I just wanted to eat some pie! These are perfect with Vanilla ice cream and a bit of crumbled up cookie. Bon Apetite friends!

IMG_6184 IMG_6185

IMG_6182 IMG_6183 IMG_6186 photo 3 copyMy Boy Harley here! Bless that beautiful drooling boy.Can’t wait to show you all his model poses this weekend!