Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Gooey Layered Everything Bars

Maternity leave has so far been like a holiday. 
It probably helps that there is, as of yet, no baby who needs to be taken care of. 
I know my daily routine will be thrown up and flipped around in ways I can't even imagine once she arrives. 
Currently, after a terrible nights sleep, I get out of bed around 8-8:30 and have breakfast. Then the dog and I go for a long 90 minute to 2 hour walk in the park. Then we come home, she naps and I listen to Serial (the most amazing podcast - if you haven't gotten hooked on this yet, do it). 
Then I run errands, tidy up, think about dinner, etc. 

Last night I finally got around to baking some tea cookies (after having the dough sit in the fridge for about a week - the sugar cookie dough is still there begging to be baked) and I decided that today I would do a bit more baking. 

I did a quick search through Martha's recipes and found one that I haven't tried yet. 

So today's recipe is a fairly easy and delicious one, one that you can pretty much tailor to your tastes and one that would be well received by anyone you'd like to gift these too. 
And when it says gooey, it really means gooey.
Like, good-luck-getting-it-out-of-the-pan-in-proper-pieces gooey.

Gooey Layered Everything Bars

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place a layer of parchment paper in a bar pan.
  • Using an electric mixer or a pastry cutter, mix 3/4 cup butter, 1/2 cup confectioners sugar, 1 1/2 cup flour, 3/4 cup rolled oats, and 1/2 tsp salt. Cut or pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Pour mixture into pan and press evenly into bottom of pan. Bake for 20 mins until lightly browned and firm.
  • Remove from oven. Over crust, sprinkle 1 cup chocolate chips, 1/2 cup dried cranberries*. Drizzle with 1 can condensed milk, and 2 cups shredded sweetened coconut.  
  • Bake until coconut is golden, about 20 minutes. Then remove, let cool and serve!
*I substituted dried cranberries. Martha's recipe calls for 1/2 cup raisins and 1 cup walnut pieces.  

Sunday, December 14, 2014

A Merry Mat Leave Christmas : Toronto Christmas Market

I'm not normally one to brag about the sweet things my husband does for me but this one I have to share.
He knows I love Christmas.
He begrudgingly got and put up our tree earlier than usual this year so we could have it for the bad sweater party. 

On Friday he said he wanted to take me out on a date on Saturday.
We went to the Christmas Market, the most beautiful place during the holidays with all of its lights and christmas carols, warm drinks and inviting smells. 

While we wandered in the market he told me that this was day one of his 12 days of Christmas for me.
Earlier in the day he had gone shopping and after wrapping them up, plopped a bag of gifts under the tree. I assumed these were the gifts for his family being kept separate.
All gifts for me to last the remaining days until Christmas.

He is the sweetest. 
I love that man. 

Our evening at the market was wonderful.
We had apple cider (with whiskey for the one who isn't pregnant) (I miss you, mulled wine) and shared a giant soft pretzel cuddled under a heat lamp.
This is the second year we've gone and the second year that we didn't buy anything other than food and drink. But it's so beautiful that walking around is more than enough. 

If you get a chance, check it out before it's gone!
It's open daily until December 21st 

Countdown to Baby E's due date: 8 days!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Maternity Shoot

About a month ago I met with a very talented and friendly photographer and had some maternity shots taken.
I debated spending the money on photos but I wanted something to remember this time in my life. 
I've had such a wonderful pregnancy and I'm glad I'll have pictures to look back on, to remember how my body changed to grow a little girl, how truly miraculous that is. 

And because this is my blog and I make the rules, I'm going to subject you to a few of my favourites from the shoot.

Worth noting: my dog is a ham and wanted to be in every single shot. We had to lock her out of the room a few times to get some solo shots.

...and for good measure, here is a lovely portrait of my sweet, beautiful dog. 

All photos courtesy of the very talented Krista Lii at Kristaliiphotography.com

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Snow Day Nursery Update

If you live in Toronto or surrounding areas and if you've looked out of your window today, you might  have noticed that it is snowing. 
And has not stopped snowing since long before I woke up this morning at 6:30. 

After a sloooow and cautious drive to Canadian Tire to have our snow tires put on ("you left this right to the last minute, didn't you?"), and then a quick visit to my obstetrician for my weekly check up (not even a little bit dilated or effaced yet so probably no baby this week), I have spent most of the day curled up inside with the pooch. 

I actually kind of expected to go into labour today because the weather is so terrible and until 9 am this morning we didn't have our winter tires on. 
Murphy's Law was apparently on our side this time. 

I have been venturing outside every two hours to try and keep the driveway from accumulating too much snow. I can shovel 2 hours worth of snow, I can't shovel more than that. And I'm trying to be kind to John who's had a sore back and neck the past few days. 
There is nothing quite so depressing as looking out the window an hour later and seeing most of your hard work undone by continuously falling snow. 
Stop it, snow. That's enough now. 
You're pretty, but that's enough.

Reese has been loving the snow, however, running all over the backyard every time I do my shovelling duties. As pretty as it looks outside, she may be the only one who loves this much snow.

Since it's been awhile, and it's a warm indoor thought, I figured I'd take a few pictures of the nursery to share. 
It's kind of messy in areas because we need somewhere to stash the car seat and stroller until she arrives so I only chose one picture to share.  
No one wants to see the messy corner of the nursery.
Or at least I don't want to share it!

I'm obsessed with the world map crib sheet and hope she doesn't poop all over it so I can leave it on for a long time. 

Due Date Countdown: 11 days! 

Monday, December 8, 2014

A Merry Mat Leave Christmas: DIY Garden Christmas Trees

I saw a really cute DIY project on Pinterest that I wanted to try, especially because we have limited lighting in the living room.

DIY Tomato Basket Christmas Trees.

As seen on Pinterest:

I was really inspired to try this project out when I found our umbrella lights in the shed. 
We never put up an umbrella in our table outside during the summer so the lights hadn't even been opened.
We grew a lot of cherry tomatoes this summer in the garden so we had tomato baskets galore. 
I brought one inside, washed off the dirt, and got to work.

I think standard lights would look great wrapped around the baskets, like in the Pinterest picture above, but I like the way the umbrella lights hung down from the  top of mine.

It's such an easy DIY Christmas decoration and looks wonderful. 
And then on Saturday we picked up our tree from Ikea and hung our stockings by the fire with care. 
Having done a lot of my Christmas shopping already, there are a fair number of gifts under the tree right now. 

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas!

Countdown to Baby E's Official Due Date : 14 days.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

A Merry Maternity Leave Christmas: White Chocolate Cranberry Fudge

Though my maternity leave officially starts on Monday, I worked my last shift on Thursday so I am done work for the next 10 months!

On the first day of mat leave my true love gave to me 
a project and a recipe
(it kind of rhymes)
(also in this case 'my true love' = pinterest)

If you want a very simple recipe for fudge, I have just the one for you!

White Chocolate Cranberry Fudge

  • Over low heat, melt 3 cups white chocolate chips with 1 300 ml can of sweetened condensed milk.
  • Once the chocolate has melted, remove from heat and stir in 1 tbsp vanilla extract and 3/4 cup cranberries (I used craisins). 
  • Pour into a pan lined with tinfoil. Allow to set in the fridge for 2 hours or until set. Then cut and enjoy!

The DIY project (which is also crazy easy if you have the necessaries) I'll post tomorrow.

We'll end with a baby update - 
37 weeks + 5 days today!
We're playing the waiting game now for baby E's arrival :)
Her official due date is December 22nd but she's fully cooked and could come any day now.

Baby Watch 2014 begins!