Recipe: Whole Grain Raspberry Pancakes


Friday, December 30, 2011

Since I've been eating one too many fried egg sandwiches lately (mmmmm, fried egg sandwiches), I decided to switch it up and try a new, healthy pancake recipe.

Did I mention that I love being on holidays? I really, really love being on holidays.

I already have a go-to pancake recipe that I use quite often (Oatmeal Brown Sugar Pancakes) but I thought the honey and cinnamon in this recipe would add a little something different.

They were so yummy and delicious. I'll be making them again for sure. Next time though, I won't be wasting any pancakes on any silly photo shoots. ;)

Whole Grain Raspberry Pancakes
Source: Chef Michael Smith


1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat, grain, or almond flour
1 cup oatmeal flakes
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg or cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups any milk or water
1/4 cup vegetable oil or melted butter
2 tablespoons honey
2 eggs, 4 for added richness
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

{1/2 cup brown or white sugar is optional}

*I added 1/8 cup of packed brown sugar
* I added 3/4 cup chopped frozen raspberries


A preheated pan is the first secret to pancake perfection. While you mix the batter, preheat your largest, heaviest skillet over your sweet spot, the medium to medium-high heat that gives the batter time to cook through while the surface browns. Your preheated skillet is at the perfect temperature when a few scattered water drops dance on it (just right) without evaporating (too hot) or just pooling still and simmering (too cool).

Whisk together the dry ingredients, including the brown sugar, if using, to distribute the fine powders evenly among the coarser ones.

Whisk together the wet ingredients and then pour them into the bowl of dry ingredients. Lose the whisk and grab a wooden spoon so it won’t clog in the batter. Stir the batter until it is smooth, but don’t overmix.

Spoon the batter into the preheated pan, evenly filling it with a lot of little pancakes or a few large ones. Smaller ones are easier to flip and are easy to pass out to a hungry crowd.

Watch for bubbles. As the batter heats through, the baking powder will activate and release leavening bubbles that rise to the surface. Keep an eye on them. At first, they’ll burst and disappear, but as the batter cooks through they’ll leave behind a telltale hole.

When the pancakes are evenly covered here and there with holes, it’s time to flip. Because the batter is heated through, and the first side is already browned, the second side cooks faster.

You can get ahead of a crowd by stashing a plate full of pancakes in a warm oven. Cover the plate with a bowl, and they’ll stay fresh and warm while you cook more.
Sharing here:

Foodie Friday @ Designs by Gollum
Sweets For a Saturday @ Sweet As Sugar Cookies
Show and Tell Saturday @ Be Different Act Normal

Top Ten Projects of 2011


Thursday, December 29, 2011

So everyone else is doing it and I want to, too.

You know, recap all of the projects I did during the year to make it seem like I was somewhat productive around here.

It could work. It could be fun. Here goes......

Project #1: Pie Plate Wall

I searched everywhere for enough pie plates to do this. I needed a bit of help from friends across the country but I finally scored enough plates to channel my inner Martha and make a mini version of a pie plate gallery wall. It adds just a little bit of charm to the breakfast room. Let's forget about the part when they all fell off the wall. They're stuck now alright.  

Project #2: Window Pane Mirror

I just love old windows. So when I salvaged this one from the basement to use in our back breakfast room / mudroom I couldn't have been happier. Plus, I did this project all by myself without Alex's help. I think. 

Even though this project was super simple to do, it's still one of my favourites. I love unique wall art and being able to use some botanical prints from my grandfather's old encyclopedia set just seems super cool. Plus, I love how some double mattes can give them a custom-framed look.

This project is one of my favourites because I went back about five times before I was able to haggle down the price of this teeny desk. It looks pretty darn cute in a corner of our living room and it's a great place to store my laptop when I'm not using it. Plus it has that secret compartment at the back for me to stash my secret shopping purchases.

Project #5: Shelf Makeover

It's just a simple little shelf but it just turned out sooooooo cute all trinkified in the breakfast room.

Project #6: Shutters!!!

Oh how the front of the house wanted these. I'm still so proud of us that we were able to tackle building, painting, and installing these shutters all in one day. Now that doesn't happen too often around here.

Project #7: Leaded Window

This project wasn't too difficult to tackle. It just took us forever and a day to get it done. We must've had this window for over a year before we got the guts to try hanging it up somewhere. I absolutely love how it looks in our dining room.

I've seen millions of versions of these all over the internet but waaaay back last year I thought it was pretty genious to use old book pages to personalize a little craft for Alex on Valentine's Day. Y'all seemed to like this one so I'll include it in the list. :)

Even though this is similar to the other window/mirror project I did, it still gets an honourable mention. This baby is HUGE!!! And I got all fancy and glazed it. Oh yeah.

Yes, yes I know I just did this one. But it made our kitchen sooooooooo much cuter.

Well, that's it for this year's round-up. We didn't have any huge room transformations or crazy detailed projects, but there's always next year, right?

Hey, so what was your favourite project of the year? Send me a link, yo! I wanna check it out. :)

Sharing at:

Top Projects of 2011 Party @ Southern Hospitality

Open Shelving Details and Some Questions Answered


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Oops! I forgot some details about the open shelving we installed and posted about yesterday.

Here we go: 
  • We installed the shelf brackets directly onto some studs for extra support and so we wouldn't have to bother with pesky drywall anchors
  • We pushed the fridge to the far right of the wall (you can kind of see it beside the mixer)(it's ugly, so it stays out of the picture)
  • The dishwasher that was originally on that wall went to the dump since it stopped working a few months ago (and was a total eyesore)(and it made me flood the kitchen three different times)
  • The shelves are off-center to the wood counters below so that the hubs could have his way as he wanted to make room for the dog bowls (oh, boys).... all I have to do is roll the carts to the left a little when Alex is gone and everything will be centered and perfect again
  • So as not to be wasteful, we plan to reuse the open shelves for storage in our laundry room once we decide to go ahead with a full kitchen renovation

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Now, I've been the worst lately at answering questions. I'm never sure whether to answer questions in the comments section of the post, send direct emails to the people asking the questions, or answer them in a specific, separate post. I'll do my best to answer them here for today:

Where'd you end up putting the fridge and dishwasher? (Ugly Kitchen Quick Fix: Open Shelving)

Instead of leaving the fridge in the middle of the wall, we pushed it over to the right as far as it could go to leave us with lots of open space. We brought the dishwasher to the dump since it stopped working a few months ago, was super ugly, and was taking up usable space.

Isn't it wonderful when you can make a small change in a room without spending a huge amount of money? (Ugly Kitchen Quick Fix: Open Shelving)

Oh yes, yes it is. Alex and I both can't stop talking about how we should have done these little, inexpensive changes a long time ago since they have made such an impact already. :)

And I love your console table. Did you buy it new or is it something you refinished? (Reminiscing about Christmas Decor. Sigh.)

The console table in our living room was actually an inexpensive Homesense find! We were on the hunt for something very narrow so as not to block the doorway into the living room and we found this console table kind of by accident. I still love it! And Homesense!

Love your blog, where is Lexie during all of the chaos? (Nothing Like a Little Christmas Chaos)

While the floors were being refinished, we sent both dogs (Roary and Lexie) to my in-laws for a week. Lexie is still very afraid of unfamiliar men (we are fairly certain she was abused before we adopted her, boo hoo) and we didn't want her causing a fuss with the floor guys here. We also didn't want dog fur blowing around on the floors OR the dogs to smell the stinky fumes. So they both had a little mini vacation thanks to Alex's parents!

The floors will be beautiful. What kind of finish will stand up to the 4 legged ones? (Nothing Like a Little Christmas Chaos)

The floor company we used recommended oil-based polyurethane for extra durability with the two dogs. They also recommended a satin finish (rather than semi-gloss or high-gloss) to hide any scratches. That worked out perfectly because I really wanted the least shiny finish as possible. 

Gorgeous windowboxes, but how do you water them? Are they on a drip system? (The Longest Windowbox Ever)  

I just water the windowbox with a spray nozzle attached to a regular garden hose. We have drainage holes drilled all along the bottom of the windowbox for excess water to run out. So, nothing fancy!!

Once the floors are done, won't you have to put the trim back and paint it too? (Vintage Highchair Find and More About Floor Refinishing)

We left all of the baseboards as is while the floors were being refinished. At one time, there was quarter round all along the baseboards but it must have been removed when they installed carpeting in the house a long time ago. We've been meaning to put the quarter round back on but it didn't really make sense to do it until the floors were redone. The sanding machines did scuff up the painted baseboards a bit but we went around and touched them up with some white paint already. We are hoping to paint some quarter round and install the finishing trimwork this week sometime. Woohoo!

Have you heard of rust-o-leum's cabinet makeover kit? Looks amazing. (Ugly Kitchen Quick Fix: Paint)

No, I haven't heard of the kit! I have tried Benjamin Moore's new cabinet paint but it was so sticky to work with. I'll have to check out the kit you mentioned the next time I'm at the hardware or paint store!

Approximately, how much fabric did you use for the entire stocking? You didn't mention how much fabric you needed for each piece. I really want to make these, so I would love to know..thanks! (Burlap Stocking Tutorial - Just For You)

Oh geez, I really have no idea since this was over a year ago and I haven't even taken those stockings out this year to see how big they are. I'm pretty sure I purchased a meter of fabric per stocking just to be on the safe side (in case I messed up) and had lots left over for other projects. I think it would also depend on the dimensions of the stocking that you choose. Obviously more fabric for bigger stockings!!!

I'm considering blinds like those for our bedroom, would you mind sharing the source? (Tiny Bedroom Progress)

We purchased the bamboo roller blinds from a company called Linens N' Things that used to be in business in our town. They went out of business a few years ago and we were able to buy seven sets on clearance. I think the company is still in business in the States but when I checked the website awhile back it didn't look like they carried those exact shades anymore. Boooo!

Congrats on reaching the double digits! I will do my own awkward dance for you when your file lands in Ethiopia! P.S. Does this mean you will resume making your awesome dolls soon?!? (A Small But Exciting Adoption Update)

Ha, ha! I am SO out of practice with making those dolls. I always intended to make some more but never got around to it. How about I'll say maybe. Haha.

Hi, this is a great tutorial - thanks. I'm about to make one for my bedroom window, but it really needs to be lined (to keep the draft out). I was just wondering if you can see the back of the blind when it rolls up? (Tutorial - Fabric Tie-Up Shade)

I rolled the fabric under so that you only see the finished side!

Nice ... what are your favourite shades? (Tiny Bedroom Progress)

My favourite shades are the chocolate brown ones that you can see in the above post. They are the same ones I mentioned a few questions up from Linens N' Things.

Do tell about your shades...I think I want them! (Tiny Bedroom Progress)

 See answers above. :)

So where's the after shot of the newly painted kitchen? (Our Kitchen Is Oogly)

I put up some pictures, I put up some pictures!!!! I'm just slow is all..... :) The pics are here. :)

I've just found your blog and love your style!! Would you please please share the color on your walls here? I'd love to paint my kitchen like this. (Shelf Before & After + A Shelf Vignette)

The colour in our little breakfast nook is called Seagrass. It's a Sarah Richardson colour with her new line of paint called Para Paints. We found it at Lowe's but I know that other paint stores carry it also.

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Phew. I think that was all of your questions! Thank you so much for your comments, questions, and continued blog love. If you have any more questions for me.... leave 'em here. I think I'm on a roll today!

Ugly Kitchen Quick Fix: Open Shelving


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Last month I shared some photos of our super ugly kitchen. Then on a whim I decided to freshen the room up with paint (you can read that post here) since we had left it completely untouched since we moved in. 

A fresh coat of paint gave me the bug to see what other easy, inexpensive improvements we could make to the room, knowing that in about a year, we might be ready to tackle a full-on kitchen renovation.  

One of the main problems in the kitchen was the layout of the appliances on one wall, as well as the lack of storage. As you can see from this picture, one wall on the left is full of cabinetry, and the wall on the right has none. 

On the empty wall sat an ancient rolling dishwasher from Eatons (with a microwave on top), a fridge in the middle of the wall, and empty space on the other side of the fridge which we tried to fill up with an Ikea kitchen cart. The layout completely sucked. The fridge looked like a monstrosity, the Ikea cart looked out of place in the far corner, and the dishwasher, well, was an ancient old dishwasher.

On our recent road trip to Hamilton, we stopped at the Ikea in Burlington to see if we could find an inexpensive solution to our ugly, inefficient wall in the kitchen.

I had seen these wall shelves a million times before but never considered them for our space.

Grundtal Wall Shelf - Ikea - $29.99

Grundtal Rail - Ikea - $8.99

So we went for it and picked up two wall shelves, one rail, and some hooks. We decided that these would be one of our Christmas gifts for eachother. Plus, Alex always likes putting stuff together on Boxing Day. :)

When we got home we moved the fridge to the far right of the wall where it had never been before. That left a large section of wall for us to install the shelves.

This was the layout before:

Here is my very own handyman installing the shelves.

Now that they are up and installed I am in total, utter LOVE. I cutified the shelves with items from all around the house (some practical, some decorative). This is now what you see on that bare wall in the kitchen: 

Ooooh, aaaaah, so fancy compared to before. Note: Alex has since gone and messed up my cute arrangement by jamming a cheese grater on the bottom rail when I wasn't looking.

I really am in love. Stay tuned for my next kitchen post where I'll share how we scored some extra counterspace. I'm also seeing new knobs in my future somewhere........

{Note: I forgot some details in this post and added them here.}

Sharing here:

Tuesday's Treasures @ My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia Nifty Thrifty Tuesday @ Coastal Charm, Metamorphosis Monday @ Between Naps on the Porch, DIY Project Parade @ The DIY Show-Off, Transformation Thursday @ The Shabby Creek Cottage, Feature Yourself Friday @ Fingerprints on the Fridge, Frugal Friday @ The Shabby Nest

Refinished Hardwood Floors


Monday, December 26, 2011

As much as I hate to admit it, getting our 2nd story floors refinished a week and a half before Christmas probably wasn't the best idea in the world. It really added quite a bit of chaos to an already hectic time of year.  

The fumes were waaaay stronger than I had anticipated. (We went with oil-based polyurethane for extra durability with the two doggies.) Not only did I need to have 10 nights worth of sleepovers out of the stinky house, we STILL have the windows open upstairs with fans blasting all crazy-like. Alex is really impressed that we've been heating the outside for two weeks. Hee hee hee.

We weren't able to move our furniture back upstairs in time to host Christmas Eve dinner so we had to do a last minute venue change and host it at my mom's house. I also ditched the turkey, stuffing, and gravy plans (boo hoo) and bought some locally made lasagna and perogies to serve to the fam. Yup, it was that crazy around here.

We did end up getting our Christmas tree up with lights on it by 1:00 a.m. on Christmas Eve (after we got home from hosting dinner). I guess you could say we went with the plain-jane style of decorating this year. ;)

Despite all of the setbacks and chaos that refinishing these floor caused us, it was SOOOOO WORTH IT. They are so dreamy and pretty and smooth and shiny. They make the whole upstairs look so fresh, crisp, and clean. It's making me SO excited to start decorating the upstairs bedrooms.  

Without further ado, here are some of the after photos. Forgive the lighting, I snapped them late one night in a mad rush.

Since our house is so old, we have very large gaps between the floorboards and the baseboards. Our next step is to finish the rooms off with some freshly painted quarter-round or shoe moulding as some call it. 

We did have to do some paint touch-ups to the baseboards where the sanding machines scuffed up the paint. My trusty handyman did that for me the other day while I was wrapping presents. He's such a good worker.

So now that the 2nd story floors are refinished, I'm so antsy to get the main floor done, too. I think we'll wait for the summer though, when we can stay at camp for a few weeks and have the windows open without the furnace running. ;)


I hope everyone had a fabulous Christmas with friends and family and holiday cheer. Okay, and maybe a few fun presents. I'll be back tomorrow to share one of the gifts Alex and I purchased for ourselves / eachother on our shopping trip to Hamilton. I'm off to take some pictures as we speak...... MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!

Sharing here:

Metamorphosis Monday @ Between Naps on the Porch

Reminiscing About Christmas Decor. Sigh.


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Phew! We’re on our way back from our 4-day road trip. I am SO excited to get home and see how our refinished floors look. We won’t be able to put any furniture back down on them until Monday or Tuesday but that won’t stop me from walking on 'em and kissing them all over. I’ll post some pictures of the floors tomorrow! Did I mention that I am so excited???

Since I have not one single Christmas ornament or decoration out I thought I would get all sentimental about some holiday decorating that we did last year. Maybe it will inspire me to dust some boxes off when we get home tomorrow. Or put our tree up since it’s still in a trailer in the backyard. :S

So here are some photos of our Christmas decorating last year. Please forgive the photo quality. These were all taken pre-DSLR.

I made a go at my own version of a burlap stocking using inspiration photos from the web. I wrote a tutorial here. I think I promised a mini-tutorial on how to make that little rosette thingie but it's still on my to-do list. Whoopsie.

I sewed up a matching stocking, this one with buttons.

I hung a fresh boxwood wreath in the centre of our mirror in the living room, and hung the stockings from the console table. 

I set the dining room table with some plain white and green dishes, candles, mini-pinecones, and fresh greenery.

I made a simple garland with some spray-painted bells and braided twine.

I set up a little vignette on our dining room hutch using all natural stuff. I had a green and white theme goin' on.

I put up a real Chrismas tree in our sunroom. I ended up taking the red decorations off because apparantly I had time last year to be picky. (Picky is not an option this year I'm afraid!)

And finally, I wrapped all of our gifts with brown paper and ribbon. I even hand-stamped all of the gift tags. Sigh. They were purty.

Well, that's how our place looked during the holidays last year. No pictures this year as our mattress is still in the middle of the dining room floor and our clothes are in garbage bags all over the house.

Oh, renovations. What would I do without you?

Nothing Like a Little Christmas Chaos


Monday, December 12, 2011

There's nothing like a little Christmas chaos to make you feel like you're losing your mind.

{While I'm spinning out of control, Roary keeps lazing around all cute-like. I heart him.}

Is your Christmas tree all decorated and pretty-like? Mine is frozen in a trailer in the backyard.

Are your Christmas decorations unpacked and giving your home some holiday cheer? Mine are buried somewhere in the renovation disaster in the basement.

Are your gifts wrapped and under the tree? Half of ours are piled in our breakfast room and the other half are still items on a shopping list.

Did you sleep in your bedroom last night? I slept on a mattress on the dining room floor.

Did you have a shower this morning? I had to have a "shower" in the sink. (Try not to picture that, k? It could get awkward around here.)



So on Sunday, when I should have been getting all of my Christmas stuff done, I was finishing the last of the painting on the main floor. (We recently painted the kitchen, living room, dining room, and front entry but had left the sunroom since we were lazy and didn't want to take all of the blinds and curtains down.) It feels good to be done but it took a long time (lots of windows and shelving to paint around). Plus, that's the room our Christmas tree is eventually supposed to go in. It had to get done.

The last of the yellow. See ya, wouldn't want to be ya.

We also spent most of the weekend moving all of our furniture on the second story down onto our main floor (Thanks J & J!!!). The furniture wasn't the sucky part. It was all the other stuff! We filled up like, 12 garbage bags full of clothes and linens. 12 BAGS!?!?!?! 

We got it all done though, and had all three bedrooms emptied out by 8:00 a.m. this morning. Phew.

Then......... the floor guys came today!!!!

I'll show you some pictures of their progress and I'm soooo excited. (Note: These pictures show the floors partially sanded.)

We got home from work expecting there to be dust everywhere. The floor guys have some vacuum thing attached to their sander. Awesome. 

The stairs are all being done by hand. (We'll have to get a runner on them once they're finished so that the dogs don't scratch 'em all back up again.)

That's how rough the floors were in some spots.

Here's kind of an in-progress before and after. I'm so amazed at the difference already!

That's the tiny bedroom.

That's the stripey room.

And that's our bedroom.

To top all of the chaos off, we're heading out of town for a few days so that we don't die from inhaling stinky floor fumes.

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! To be continued......


Oh yeah, I've had a few questions from readers that I haven't gotten back to yet that I will try to answer in my next post. Please be patient with me, it's been sooooo crazy around here!!!   
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