Friday, June 29, 2012

friday fixation: mom style

mom style

Mom's been putting together the most amazing outfits lately, I just want to raid her closet! She's been picking up a lot of ankle-length tiered skirts -- broomstick skirts or hippie skirts? -- and pairing them with a simple t-shirt. The whole outfit looks so effortlessly put together which is perfect for the summer. Now. If only we could BOTH find a great military inspired jacket (this one's okay... but not quite what I wanted!).

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

s'more d'oeuvres

We also went to Seattle for (quite literally) a bit, so aside from seeing the space needle, the one thing I really wanted to check out was a Trader Joe's. I'm sure you've heard of them. They've only been mentioned a millionty times on blogs, foodie or otherwise.

Maybe we went to a smaller one, but I wasn't as excited or impressed by it as I felt like I should be. Just like Target, Trader Joe's didn't live up to its hype. We still got a few things to try, though!

The guy at the checkout said these would be the best potato chips we'd ever have. They were good, but we've had just as good.

The salt water taffy, because Idle Husband had never had it; the chocolate covered cereal (think: Trader Joe's cheerios) was our least favourite; the white chocolate pistachio cookies were so good! and while the s'mores bits were quite delicious, they triggered one of my "I could make this!" thoughts. And I can! They're super easy and they taste pretty much the same.

As luck would have it, Idle Husband had been invited to a BBQ, so I thought it would be the perfect excuse to make my own version of Trader Joe's s'more bites. I really needed an excuse, cuz after a week of vacation and frivolous eating, neither of us could really stand the thought of more sugar and chocolate. But I really had to try making them. I couldn't get them off my mind!

This is more of a how-to than a recipe so it's pretty easy overall. Obviously it's a little time consuming and labour intensive, but if you set things up like an assembly line and get a few helpers, making a bunch of these would be pretty swift work.

I purchased regular graham crackers and used a serrated bread knife to cut them into quarters.

I had a few breaks, but overall, this worked really well. Just drag the knife gently across the top, scoring the cracker until you cut through. You don't have to apply that much pressure.

I also purchased regular marshmallows for this simply because I didn't have the time (or the energy) to make my own. All you have to do with them is cut them in half and squish the sticky (cut) side down onto the graham cracker quarter. You're all prepped!

While you melt chocolate in a double boiler, set up a pan with a cooling rack and a piece of plastic wrap or wax paper under it to catch the dripped chocolate once they've been dipped. This makes clean up a breeze and the pan makes it easier to transfer the s'more d'oeuvres to the fridge when you're done.

I found chunks of Callebaut chocolate in the bulk aisle at Save On Foods so that's what I used for dipping. I think it cost me $8 which is about the price of two good quality chocolate bars and I ended up with two larger chunks leftover after all 32 s'more d'oeuvres had been dipped.

 Since I didn't know how much chocolate to melt, I started with a small amount and melted a few more pieces as I needed them. I also used a combination of fork and spoon for dipping mostly because I didn't have enough chocolate to fully submerge each marshmallow. 

All you have to do is place a graham crackered marshmallow on a fork, dip the bottom into the chocolate and use a spoon to pour chocolate over the top. Tap the fork with the spoon until the excess drips off.

Then slide the s'more d'oeuvre onto your prepared cooling rack (choose one that's easy to clean! I have a mesh patterned rack and that would have been a real hassle had I used it).

Continue until you're done. Then set the tray into the fridge to harden. They don't take very long at all to set.

They're so very good and the cracker stays nice and crunchy!

inspired by Trader Joe's s'mores bites

Use desired amounts:
graham crackers
regular sized marshmallows
good quality chocolate

Prepare a large cookie sheet with a piece of wax paper, plastic wrap, or otherwise to catch drips and place a cooling rack on top. Cut the graham crackers into quarters. Cut the marshmallows in half. Stick the sticky side of a marshmallow to a graham cracker quarter. Over a double boiler (or in the microwave), melt chocolate. Using a fork, lower a graham crackered marshmallow into the chocolate, then use a spoon to cover the top with chocolate. Tap the fork to remove excess chocolate from the s'more d'oeurve and set on rack to cool. Once the tray is full, place it in the fridge to fully harden.

notes for the future: homemade marshmallows; flavoured marshmallows; piping the marshmallow directly onto the crackers; homemade graham crackers; sandwich something in between the marshmallow and cracker -- more chocolate, a strawberry, peanut butter; double dip them in chocolate for thicker coating; try different chocolates -- white, dark, mint; sprinkle sea salt on tops while still wet (why didn't I think of this earlier?!).

noted: the Callebaut chocolate was just about the best tasting chocolate I've ever had (and I only sampled two of the s'more d'oeuvres).

Monday, June 25, 2012

what we saw at the vancouver aquarium

We saw the beluga show. They don't do much of a show, really, just some smaller jumps and waves, but they were very pretty.

We saw various sea creatures in small tanks. We thought we'd experience more... magic. Like, dark caverns and rippling blue shadows and quiet, but really it was more like screaming kids, rooms that were bright enough not to be magical yet dark enough to make it hard for pictures, and wall-sized tanks where only about 1-5 people could look in successfully. That made it lose some of its appeal.

We saw a bunch of birds and animals that kinda didn't have anything to do with an aquarium. Let me describe them for you:

little monkeys that were having so much fun together but would. not. look. at. anyone. I also have four more of these monkey-back pictures.

two of the largest parrot species (the hyacinth macaw, I believe) who also could really care less that anyone was around them.

ibis in trees just out of a good viewing zone

and this guy who was extremely pissed off.

oh and bats flying around in a cage in the dark so you could kinda tell they were bats, but they were going so fast there was no point to even trying to watch them.

We saw one sea otter. He was pretty adorable, eating on shrimp. They're a lot larger than I thought they were. I don't know where I got the impression that they were a little larger than a gopher, but they're like a medium sized dog.

We saw penguins sleep. It seems like everyone's getting penguins these days. These guys just arrived at the aquarium and were in need of names. We just caught the end of their "show" which I think consisted mostly of them sleeping. At least they chose to do it near the glass. (I wanted to touch him so badly.)

We also saw porpoises and dolphins (and about the last 5 minutes of a dolphin show, actually), but I don't have pictures because all they did was circle their tanks. We saw sharks who did the same, so I got a video but I don't think it's worth it to post. Ho hum.

We did see some amazing jelly fish. I went back for more pictures because I loved them so much.

I think they were by far my favourite part and they were one of the first things we saw when we came in.

Here's a little video because this one is kinda magical (I think). I wish there'd been seats by these. I could have watched them all day.

I want to recommend the aquarium so badly, but, like, don't drive to Vancouver JUST for the aquarium and Stanley Park (both are together) or I think you'll be a little disappointed.

Friday, June 22, 2012

friday fixations: b.c. edition

Sometimes the best pictures are the blurred ones.

The pixelated whale. Was it part of the Olympic stuff? I only think that because the torch thing was close by.

I love barnacles!

Sorry; he's dead.

I tried to eat seafood as much as possible and these fish and chips (or fish and shrimp chips) were so delicious. There's no sense ordering steak in Vancouver as there's no sense ordering fish and chips in Edmonton. This was our hotel and we splurged on room service. The views (and the bed!) were amazing!

We quite literally stumbled on this community garden downtown! It was so amazing. I wish we had more green spaces like this.

At The Templeton, I had the Hakai omelette with smoked salmon and we shared a vanilla milkshake. All were delicious. Also, the waitress was so great!

The best saganaki we've ever had at Panos, a Greek restaurant we just happened to notice.

Monday, June 18, 2012


I went through our vacation photos and realized that I take a lot of flower pictures. Here are some from the trip to Vancouver. The staggering number of lupines in the ditches made me want a yard full of lupines here.

Friday, June 15, 2012

friday fixations: driving music

{lennon and maisy} I hate child prodigies (no, I don't).

{yuksek} off the wall (neat!)

{flight of the conchords} sugar lumps (we always listen to them in the car. They're fun to blast out the windows!)

{canyons} when I see you again

We drove to the west coast! Pictures soon.

Monday, June 11, 2012


I'm taking a little blog break this week, but I'll be back by Friday! Have a good week!

Friday, June 8, 2012

DIY: crocheted rag rug part 4

Look! I've finished my rug! Ok so this one's a little small, but I ran out of me-time this week and had to quickly put in some rounds so I could show you guys the end. This one's going to be a teapot trivet which is totally acceptable, by the way. These little practice rounds make great trivets! I have my very first one on my dining room table for hot dinner pots and pans.

So let's finish it off.

Ending a rug is the one thing I've never been taught, but I've figured out a way on my own that seems to work just fine.

Quite honestly, I think my method for tying off a rug can vary but generally speaking, I'll always stitch the loop around to the back of the rug and try to tie a knot back there somewhere so it lies flat and is hard to notice.

It's kind of tricky but just find a place to pull your loop through from the backside of your round.

Pull it through just as though you were making a stitch like before.

Cut the fabric and tie a knot through that final loop.

Sometimes, it only takes one loop before I tie a knot and sometimes I'll do another stitch or two into the back just to flatten it out a little more and then I'll tie a knot. I know the pictures are kind of vague, but it's a little hard to show. You just have to use your best judgement as you're doing it. This is why I say that finishing a rug for me can vary.

From the rugs I have done, I can't tell where I stopped now that they're done and tied. I also haven't had anything come unraveled, but if there's anyone out there that has a better method, please feel free to comment!

I bet you'd all like to know how to do oval rugs, right? I'm working on them... to be announced!

In case you missed them: part 1, part 2, and part 3.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


I found a new-to-me thrift shop yesterday and I'm so glad I did! They had great stuff and their prices were really good (a.k.a. WAY cheaper than Value Village)!

I found this craft basket that'll come in super handy for storing all of my random junk. It's pretty big inside for holding stuff plus it has these little dividers that sit on top!

They had some really great art, too. Water colour... birds. So surprising, right?

You're going to think I'm nuts, but I freaking love this picture. That frame is amazing! I've never seen anything like it before. Well, I should say I do have plastic frames that are simliar, but I've never seen anything in this size. I've also never been all that interested in people-art, but I instantly fell in love with this lady. (Psst, it was $8)

A teak serving bowl (with legs) and a set (rectangle, pictured; square, and circle) of heat proof dishes in this cool vintage pattern. Since I don't have a microwave, I really appreciate having these dishes around now.

Pottery that was too cheap to pass up. Despite the lids, I'm classifying all of these as vases.

I also found two huge feather pillows for our new couch. Again the price was just so good (especially since I've been looking to buy pillow forms lately -- gah so expensive!) The fabric on them is... well, actually it's not that bad. It's a needlepoint-style lane of houses. I do kind of like it, but I don't like the colours (browns, golds, off-whites). Then I found this super bright pink fabric so I'm going to recover them with it!

I also scored a round side table that's perfect for the living room. I'll show you that one later since I also picked up an amazing clover-shaped coffee table a few weeks ago that desperately needs paint. I'll show the before and afters once I get them done!

Have you found anything fun lately?