Raisin Report: No.13

Rasin Report - edition 13

I’m going through a phase where I want a total revamp to our house…I’m looking at your Love it or List it. Damn you and all your beautiful home renos! I mean clearly I’m not about ready to dump $50,000 for a fresh new look, but I don’t think buying a new coffee table, or some new dining room chairs is a far reach to switch up the feel of our main living room.

Our coffee table has seen better days. It did look like new…once. Chris spilled a piping hot cup of tea on it stripping off some sort of finish, not to mention the bumper corners can’t be removed because of some super human tape of sorts, and Raisin’s endless snacks and driving his cars all over it…it’s seen a lot of love in the last 4 years. How long does someone keep a coffee table anyways? I STILL remember the glass table my parents owned when I was a wee toddler. That thing was long gone in my teens. So, I’m thinking an upgrade to our Urban Barn table has had a good run considering I got it at a steal of a deal.

The new look I’m going for is rustic, or cottag-ey. I like the feel of reclaimed wood and wouldn’t be opposed to it being a fun shade of teal, or maybe a worn white look. The thing is I can find a TON online, but I’m a I need to see it physically before I buy it kinda gal. Also I’m horrible at judging the size of something before it’s in the surroundings of our own furniture. But if I find the right coffee table for the right price online…ya never know. The tables above are some of the finds online that I’ve been cruising around for. Here’s hoping one finds it’s way into our living room soon.

WHITE SHABBY CHIC TABLE  / DIY RUSTIC TABLE / TABLE WITH WHEELS / SOLID WOOD TABLE / TURQUOISE RUSTIC TRUNK TABLE / POTTERY BARN TABLE

Good News Thursday: 10

Intro good news1

*WHAP* That’s my virutual high five. I knew for some reason today was extra awesome, and I wasn’t sure why. Then I figured it out. It’s national high five day! How fun is that?! I kinda used it as an excuse to high five people for whatever they did, and for any reason. Computer update? High Five! Finished an edit? High Five? Had a cookie for lunch? Hight five! And it went on and on. Fun times. So I’d have to say Thursday was a pretty up top kinda day. Oh and there’s a pretty HUGE deal happening around here right now. A storm is coming…in the hockey arena. The Jets play their first NHL playoff game in OVER 19 YEARS!!! Truth be told, I’ll probably be sleeping by the 2nd period, but I’ll cheer for the first at least. High fives all around and up top to the weekend around the corner. Happy Good News Thursday all.

Spring in our steps

spring days

The days are totally starting to warm up, the snow is ALL gone (for good this time I think), tulips are bursting from the ground, and all of us are streaking down the streets in joy that winter is over. Okay well we’re not streaking, but we might as well be. Everyone is so flipping happy that the weather is picking up. I think even the hardcore hibernators rose out of their home caves and took a walk. How could you resist with +20 for the first time in well over 6 months?

This weekend we woke up and literally headed straight outside. PJ’s in the backyard with warm coffee and Raisin with his yogurt playing happily in his house. I’d say life’s pretty damn great. We mostly set up everything on Saturday. Raisin put together his house with his dada’s drill, supervised all the way #obviously.

We set up his sandbox and brought out all his outdoor toys. The gazeebo and patio furniture are out, along with candles and some decor, the patio table and chairs were power washed including both decks. We made a serious dent in our outdoor living area, and we spent every second of the day outside. We even ate lunch and dinner outside although we weren’t entirely set up, but we just couldn’t resist. Fresh air, all day, all the way!

The weekend wouldn’t have been complete without a bike ride to the park. We did some running, swinging, and serious kite gazing. Rasin had kite envy. And to top it off Chris made Raisin his own little makeshift swing for the back yard. If you were to ask me how the weekend went, I’d use one word. Perfection. Keep em’ coming Winnipeg.

Flourless Black Bean Brownies

Brownies_INTRO

So I have a bit of an issue. I’ve been eyeing up a few things that I totally WANT. Not needs, just wants. Selfish, materialistic, make myself feel good mindless expenses. Because of that, I can’t bring myself to bite the bullet and buy them. Reason? It’s pretty much that I just can’t justify it. But there’s always a part of me that keeps peeking at them online just to torture myself. Good times, am I right!?

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Am I alone here? I’m hoping the answer is no. Mainly because I’d like to think I’m not the only one who gazes at lust items and wish the next day by some miracle the price was slashed by 75%. And THEN, maybe THEN I’d buy it. No such luck today. And if your curious items are: new coffee table, a nume wand, a dress, and (don’t judge) cashmere hair extensions! Yes hair extensions…I’ve kinda fallen in love with all the things you can do online to long hair. Thanks Pinterest.

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Can I live without them and be happy? Totally. Because you know what I can do? Bake brownies. Flourless ones at that! Pretty much evens out the wants, doesn’t it? Well not really, but AT LEAST I can indulge and have a chocolatety bite while scrolling through those items on my iPad.

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Wanna know the best part? These brownies are kinda guilt free. Funny how chocolate can cure most things…and it’s even better when you don’t feel so bad eating it!  The black beans in this recipe create this moist fudgyness, and the chocolate flavour mainly comes from coco powder and chocolate chips. I’m pretty confident to say this is going to be the go-to brownie recipe from now on. Who has time to melt chocolate when you can puree beans and use coco powder? I’d say it’s an awesome substitute, and an uber delicious one.

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If you’re skeptical about how these brownies will taste, I hear ya, I was too. Key word – WAS. There’s no need to hesitate making them, unless you hate chocolate, and chocolate chips, or have an allergy to beans. Otherwise, you’d be crazy not to try baking a batch. After you do make them (and I highly recommend it), cruise the net for items on your wish list while eating the best thing ever.

Link up your recipe of the week
Casa Costello

Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

Modern Family Baking
Recipe from: Skinny Taste

Ingredients

1 (14 oz) canned low-sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
2 Large eggs
1/2 Cup cocoa powder
1/2 Tsp oil
1 Tbsp unsweetened almond milk (or dairy, skim)
1 Tsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 Tsp baking powder
1/2 Tsp baking soda
1/2 Tsp of freshly ground coffee or instant coffee
1 Cup semisweet chocolate chips, divided

Directions

1 – Preheat the oven to 350 and grease a nonstick 9×9-inch square pan with baking spray and line with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhand on all sides.

2 – Blend the black beans, eggs, cocoa powder, sugar, oil, almond milk, balsamic, baking soda, baking powder and coffee in the blender until smooth and pour into a bowl.

3 – Fold in 1/2 cup chocolate chips until combined.

4 – Pour the brownie batter into the prepared pan.  Sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips evenly over the top of the brownies.

5 – Bake the brownies until a toothpick comes out clean, about 30 to 32 minutes.  Allow the brownies to cool completely before slicing them into squares.

brownies 6

Magic beans

Good News Thursday: 9

Intro good news1
Wooohooo, it’s Thursday & we’re one day away from weekeeeeending! What a fun week, but I wish we had 3 day weekends all the time. I’m feelin it already being back at work 4 days and I wish I could get Fridays off ALL THE TIME. That said, it’s been a good one at work. We have 2 interns in and it’s always fun showing them how things work around here. Goodnews is tomorrow I’m going out with a few gal pals for dinner and a movie. I can’t even tell you the last time I’ve been to a theatre to watch anything.

This weekend the temps call for +17, so an outdoorsy weekend it will be. You’ll probably catch us at the zoo, or by a hotdog stand, or eating ice cream…stay tuned! Enjoy the weekend everyone!

Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies

chocolate chips INTRO1

You wanna know what happened in our house over the weekend?  Chocolate levels increased by 90%.  Total chocolate explosion!  How many chocolate molds are out there anyways?  I feel like I’ve been so sheltered. That, or in the last few years Easter has capitalized on making chocolate out of absolutely every single thing possible.  Truth be told, it’s pretty glorious in the eyes of a toddler!

chocolate chips one

We don’t buy chocolate all that often. Crazy I know, but having chocolate in the house is just like having a bag of chips around here. If they’re up for grabs I just eat them before anything else. Hello Achilles heel. Buuuuut, when baking is in order a bag of chipits usually makes it’s way into the shopping cart, or a bar of chocolate during smores’ season of course.  Bring on the marshmallows!  I’m lookin at your face May long weekend and a little cabin opening. Sitting fire side is my kinda jam.

chocolate chips two

Chocolate aside, this weekend Chris got all Holmes on Holmes and decided to help organize my measuring utensils for easy access.  He hammered a few nails inside a cupboard and hung two sets of measuring cups, and one set of measuring spoons.  Amazing in theory and of course super organized.  Win win right? Yup, EXCEPT neither one of us is used to them being on the inside of this cupboard! Every-time we open it they look like they’re about to fly right into our face, and we look ridiculous because it looks like we’re dodging a grenade or something.  Actually, it’s pretty funny when it’s not happening to you!

chocolate chips three

New organization in the kitchen meant baking something with Raisin (not that I needed any reason).  And because there’s an excess of chocolate in the house, we put some to good use pre-explosion.  Chocolate chip cookies are a classic, and it’s a definite go to around here.  Measuring out the chocolate chips is probably Raisns’ favourite part.  He’ll steal a few before they make it into the bowl (but come on, who doesn’t) and I don’t mind one bit, because this kid doesn’t lick the spoon…so mind boggling.

chocolate chips four

Nothing tops a soft chocolate chip cookie warm out of the oven, capped with an ice cold tall glass of milk. Dunking all the way, all the time. These cookies are the perfect blend of chocolate chip to cookie ratio. Try not to eat three, four or five in one sitting.

Link up your recipe of the week
Casa Costello
Recipe from: The Baking Chocola Tess

Ingredients

14 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 Cup granulated sugar
1/2 Cup light brown sugar
2 Eggs
1 Tsp vanilla extract
2-1/2 Cups flour (+ a few extra Tbsps – see directions below)
1 Tsp baking soda
1/2 Tsp sea salt
3 Cups, any variation of chocolate chips or chocolate chunks

Directions

1 – Preheat the oven to 350 and line a few trays with baking paper or spray with non-stick spray.

2 – In a metal bowl, place the butter inside the bowl and place in the preheating oven.

3 – Leave it just for a few minutes, until the butter starts to melt around the outside (approx 1/2 of the butter melted).  Take out of the oven to cool.

4 – Once the butter has cooled, ad both sugars and beat with a mixer until light and fluffy.

5 – Add the vanilla and eggs, beating between each addition just until mixed.

6 – Add the flour, baking soda and sea salt and beat on low speed, just until combined.

7 – If needed, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together in a ball and not sticking to the sides of the bowl.

8 – Fold in the chocolate chips until just incorporated.

9 –  Use an ice cream or cookie scoop (1/4 cup for large, 1.5 tablespoons for medium) and drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, allowing room for spreading.  Pat down cookies just a little and press additional chocolate chips on top of cookie dough if desired.

10 – Bake on tray of cookies at a time, for 10-12 minutes for large, 8-9 for small.  Don’t over-bake and allow to cool on wire rack.

chocolate chips five
Chocolatey. Chip-ey.

Good News Thursday: 8

Intro good news1

Hello SHORT work week! Can 3 day weekends be the norm? I love the extra day that we get to spend together as a family – it just feels right and I can’t get enough of it. And to top it off we hit +18 today…what in the world? But hold on, don’t hold your breath, we’re getting some preeeettty chilly temps. They’re just inching their way back right in time for Easter. But you know what, it doesn’t matter, we get 3 whole days together and that in itself is great news. Oh plus I still have a few Madeline Lemon cookies to indulge in this weekend. They lasted, and that in itself around here is a miracle. Uptop for 3 days together and dessert!  Boop!

P.S. Happy Easter to all of you

Easter gift tag printable

Easter INTRO

What in the jelly bean?  I’m amazed I actually assembled these in front of Raisin. Surprisingly, he stuck to the 5 jelly bean quota I allowed as a treat! He had more fun helping me open all the jars to fill them up with those colourful chewy nuggets.

Easter1

Every Easter I choose jelly beans as our go to treat.  Typically people lean towards Peeps.  I totally think they’re stinkin’ cute, but don’t judge me when I say this, but as much as I love marshmallows I can’t bring myself to enjoy them.  So jelly beans it is!

Easter2

You can use these printables on mini jars like the ones pictured, small mason jars, or clear treat bags.  Sky’s the limit people.  Different pastel twine will go the distance for topping off your finishing touches. I like to keep things pretty simple and clean as you can tell.

Easter3

Treats over here are done and ready to go, but next up is stuffing our faces at Easter brunch..it won’t look pretty I’m sure, but at least these treats do! Enjoy.

Download and print

Download and print

IG Roundup : March

march ig1

March has been a good run. Lots of friends, lots of fun, and apparently lots of food. I didn’t seem to Instagram much of anything except some baking and a few special moments – my bad, I guess I was too distracted to stop and take photos! I’ll remember to take more for April and Instaspam the heck outta you guys. And if you aren’t already, you can always follow me here . Looking forward to a fun April with Easter kicking off the whole thang.

Lemon Madeline Cookies

Madelines INTRO
There are plenty of things I look forward to when the clock strikes 4 p.m on Friday. Picking up Raisin, wood fired pizza, a lazy evening, followed by a slow paced morning, and of course the start of the weekend. When the weekends aren’t scheduled with back to back events, we fly by the seat of our pants around here. And somehow we always happen to stumble on something kinda cool. I’d be lying if I said I always knew what activities are going on around our city – unless it’s on the 6 o’clock news, or on a Facebook feed – clueless over here. (Blog alert: somehow this became a rambly weekend post…I advise you to saddle up with a coffee, or some kettle corn)

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Saturday morning starts are standard. I wake up Raisin, and we trot off downstairs for breakfast. He’s already a chatterbox telling me he’d like his toast with peanut butter in the shape of a hexagon, and that it would be so fun if clouds were marshmallows so we could eat them. I completely agree! After we eat he helps me measure out all the ingredients for our morning baking adventure (wild guess what we baked, hint it’s the title of this blog post) and then we play as our creation bakes in the oven.

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An hour or two later Chris joins us from his sleep in day, and starts to make his infamous breakfast sandwich. This is when I slip off to have my favourite shower of the entire week. The one that is of epic lengths and I just stand under the shower head pretty much using an entire tank of piping hot water. After, I head upstairs to get dressed and then strip the beds. This is about the time when I hear Raisin racing up to help me and get changed himself.

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As we headed downstairs this Saturday morning, I hear Chris answer his phone and say “hey, how’s it going? We’re only meeting tomorrow, not today.” It was our realtor. We were scheduled to see a couple of houses on Sunday, and he mixed it up with Saturday. So we pretty much got into the car in record time to meet him. FYI we’re mildly looking and always have been the last two years. It’s not like it’s something that’s actually going down right away. Just like to be “in the game.”

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We saw, we sorta liked, but not enough to bite. But talk about a switch up of plans with the morning! Here’s where the fly by seat of our pants kicks in. We’re already out and decided to carry on being out of the house and head over to The Forks. Lucky for us a fun Festival of Fools was taking place for kids. Enter face painting, balloon animals, magicians, and trapeze lessons. We did 3 out of 4. Up to you to guess which ones. We kept up with the carnival-ish theme and hit up a hotdog stand for some eats.

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With a full morning and afternoon out, there was only one place left to go: home. We queued up the BBQ and enjoyed a nice homemade grilled (the best) dinner. Afterwards we relaxed with a little lego and of course indulged in our baked morning creation. Raisin always asks for these Madeline cookies whenever he sees them. He was so happy he was able to make his very own “sea shell cakes.” Baking with him is one of my favourite parts of the weekend. I’ve always enjoyed baking, but baking with Raisin defines baked with love.  And without a doubt, it ALWAYS does taste better.

Link up your recipe of the week
Casa Costello

Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

Recipe from: Martha Stewart
Yields: 24 Madeline Cookies

Ingredients

3/4 Cup unsalted butter melted (about 1 and 1/2 sticks), plus more for pans
1 & 1/2 Cups cake flour, sifted (not the self-rising kind)
1/2 Tsp baking powder
1/4 Tsp coarse salt
3 Large eggs
2 Large egg yolks
3/4 Cup granulated sugar
1 Tsp pure vanilla extract
2 Tbsp finely grated lemon zest
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting (optional)

Directions

1 – Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl; set aside. (side note I haven’t forgotten to tell you about oven temps – this comes later in step 3 as the batter needs to sit for some time)

2 – Put eggs, egg yolks, granulated sugar, vanilla, lemon zest and lemon juice in a bowl.  Mix with an electric/hand mixer on medium-high speed until pale and thickened, about 5 minutes.  Mix in butter.

3 – Using spatula, fold flour mixture into egg mixture.  Let rest 30 minutes HERE is where you preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

4 – Pour batter into prepared pans, filling the molds 3/4 full.

5 – Bake cookies, rotating pans halfway through until edges are crisp and golden, about 6-8 minutes.

6 – Let cookies cool slightly in pans on wire racks.

7 – Invert, and unmold.  Dust with confectioners’ sugar, if desired
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Love-ly.

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