Thursday: What’s Baking?

There is nothing better than the sweet smell of cinnamon that circulates through every room, and brings pleasure with every deep breath. You must be asking, “Lisa, are you still talking about desserts?” The answer is yes! I’m still on track as I make my intro into the the magic that is cinnamon buns! I am big on making them from scratch, and usually throw together a big batch for my Sunday brunches. Ask my kids…big fans of Sunday brunch!

I found a recipe that you might be interested in trying on Sunday morning, that will have you drooling into your morning coffee! The aromas will be out of this world! Just you wait and see…

CINNAMON BUNS

Ingredients

  • For the dough:
  • ¾ cup warm milk (whole milk or 2% preferred) (110 degrees F)
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons quick rise or active yeast (1/4-ounce package yeast)
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • For the filling:
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar (light brown sugar also works)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • For the cream cheese frosting:
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Warm milk to around 110 degrees F. I like to do this by placing milk in a microwave safe bowl and microwaving it for 40-45 seconds. It should be like warm bath water. Transfer warm milk to the bowl of an electric mixer and sprinkle yeast on top. Add in sugar, egg, egg yolk and melted butter. Mix until well combined. Next stir in flour and salt with a wooden spoon until a dough begins to form.
  2. Place dough hook on stand mixer and knead dough on medium speed for 8 minutes. Dough should form into a nice ball and be slightly sticky. If it’s TOO sticky (meaning it’s sticking to the bottom of the mixer, add in 2 tablespoons more bread flour.) If you don’t want to use an electric mixer, you can use your hands to knead the dough for 8-10 minutes on a well-floured surface.
  3. Transfer dough ball to a well-oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and a warm towel. Allow dough to rise for 1 hour to 1 ½ hours, or until doubled in size. This may more or less time depending the humidity and temperature in your home.
  4. After dough has doubled in size, transfer dough to a well-floured surface and roll out into a 14×9 inch rectangle. Spread softened butter over dough, leaving a ¼ inch margin at the far side of the dough.
  5. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar and cinnamon. Use your hands to sprinkle mixture over the buttered dough, then rub the brown sugar mixture into the butter.
  6. Tightly roll dough up, starting from the 9-inch side and place seam side down making sure to seal the edges of the dough as best you can. You will probably need to cut off about an inch off the ends of the dough as the ends won’t be as full of cinnamon sugar as we’d want it to be.
  7. Cut into 1 inch sections with a serrated knife or floss. You should get 9 large pieces.
  8. Place cinnamon rolls in a greased 9×9 inch baking pan or round 9 inch cake pan. (I also recommend lining the pan with parchment paper as well, in case any of the filling ends up leaking out.) Cover with plastic wrap and a warm towel and let rise again for 30-45 minutes.
  9. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove plastic wrap and towel and bake cinnamon rolls for 20-25 minutes or until just slightly golden brown on the edges. You want to underbake them a little so they stay soft in the middle, that’s why we want them just slightly golden brown. Allow them to cool for 5-10 minutes before frosting. Makes 9 cinnamon rolls.
  10. To make the frosting: In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Beat until smooth and fluffy. Spread over cinnamon rolls and serve immediately. Enjoy!

*Recipe taken from ambitiouskitchen.com

Make your weekends special for those you love! Let them wake up to warm cinnamon buns in the oven, and a pot of fresh brewed coffee; all for their Sunday morning pleasure;) Have fun with it! Happy Thursday everyone!

Wednesday: Do it Yourself Challenge!

When it comes to décor, there is something striking about the appeal navy blue and gold. The elements nestle together the way champagne and luxury intertwine, in order to create a bold and extravagant statement. The colour gold can stream through accents such as: Pillows, lighting, or even furniture legs. The navy can be incorporated through window treatments, upholstery, or a deep navy blue accent wall. Are accent walls still in? Glad you asked! It all depends on how it’s done.

If you are to do an accent wall, the first rule is to make your choice of colour the anchor that holds the room together. The wall should be where the eyes first glance, and where the accessories play as an extension to the ensemble. It is also very important to balance light with dark by making your wall the focal point, but contrasting it with light colours. Take for instance, the ceilings and adjacent walls in the photograph above, which help to brighten up the space and makes room for the “drama” of navy blue.

Even if you do not own anything navy blue or gold in your room, but you like the visual appeal, start with the wall. Spray paint chandeliers or table lamps gold, and find a blue and white throw to toss over the edge of the bed. Another way to create the colour contrast on the wall is the use of wall art! You can marry the theme of your room by hanging art that gives hints of the colours you want to repeat throughout the space. The concept of white frames on a navy wall captures the essence of contrast, creating a bold and sharp statement.

You can have a room that looks like it should be on the cover of “Style at Home,” on a tight budget. All you have to do is see the vision, and get creative. I hope you all enjoy your evening! Happy Wednesday everyone!

Tuesday: What’s for Dinner?

It is definitely cold out there these days, as the temperature hovers just above zero. Life in Fall is absolutely in full swing, and the colours on the trees prove the point! When considering dinner, we will naturally gravitate to something warm in our bellies that will give us the feeling of big hugs from the inside. So, what will we decide on to eat tonight? Easy. How about a hearty soup with robust flavours in every scrumptious bite? Sounds like a plan! Let’s take a look:

SLOW COOKER CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP

INGREDIENTS

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed

1 cup frozen corn

2 bell peppers, chopped

1 white onion, chopped

1 15-oz. can fire-roasted tomatoes

1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp. cumin

1 tbsp. chili powder

1 tsp. kosher salt

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 cup shredded Monterey jack

1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

3 small corn tortillas, cut into strips

Sliced avocado, for serving

Sour cream, for serving

Lime wedges, for serving

  1. In a large slow cooker, combine chicken, black beans, corn, peppers, onion, fire-roasted tomatoes, cilantro, garlic, cumin, chili powder, salt, and chicken broth.
  2. Cover and cook on low until chicken is cooked and falling apart, 5 to 6 hours.
  3. Shred chicken with a fork, then top soup with Monterey Jack and cover to let melt, 5 minutes more.
  4. Meanwhile, make tortilla crisps: In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add tortilla strips and cook until crispy and golden, 3 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and season with salt.
  5. Serve soup topped with tortilla crisps, avocado, sour cream, cilantro, and lime.

*Recipe taken from delish.com

Of course we can always substitute the chicken for tofu, or maybe you could simply leave it out. I bet that the taste will still be amazing, regardless! Go with soup tonight, and I promise you won’t regret the thought. Until next time, happy Tuesday everyone!

Sunday: At Home

I just got home from mom’s house today because we celebrated my brothers’ birthday last night. It was laughs making pizza from scratch, and blowing candles out over a homemade cookies and cream cake by yours truly;) My mother is a character that is unique in her own way. Sibling rivalry began with my mom’s unyielding devotion to her youngest son, my brother, which leaves me and my sister in the dust;) No one compares to him, and no one ever will. The lengths my mom goes to, to ensure that he is well cared for, and will go out of her way to provide for his every need is extraordinary. Keep in mind, my brother just turned 33 years old:)

Last night, my mom got all dolled up for his special day, and even went as far as to put up birthday decorations like when we were younger. At the dinner table, she laughed harder, and cheered louder for him more than anyone else in the room! That’s my mom. Her son could do no wrong. Anyone have a mom like that at home who can relate? Well, it used to be that me and my sister would find it disturbing, but now we find it both disturbing and comical. Sometimes, you just have to let it go! We love him just the same.

Upon my return home this afternoon, it was all about a quick dinner, which consisted of a chicken and mozzarella ravioli, bruschetta, and caesar salad. It took me 30 minutes to prepare, and it looks gourmet! I added some pesto to the pasta, and it smells delicious! I have to thank Costco for the pasta tonight. Not bad at all!

Lastly, the skincare! I’m on week 3 of my turmeric mask journey, and so far, so good. The focus for my face is a little dark spot that I’ve had for a while, at the baseline of my jaw. Keeping track of that spot each week will help me to see whether the mask truly makes a difference overall for my face.

Now you have the whole scoop for my Sunday at Home. I hope you all enjoyed! Happy Sunday everyone!

Wednesday: Do it Yourself Challenge!

The kitchen island is the center hub of the family who gathers in the kitchen for family meetings, dinner, or games! Sometimes it houses small appliances, or is the home of the table fruit. Like so many other essentials in the house, this special addition to the eating area should be unique to the members who use it. Barstools might be a necessity for some to get homework done, or to eat a quick bowl of cereal before dashing out. Others may need the space for baking orders for their small cupcake business. Whatever the situation, the island must compliment your life, and make it easy and convenient to get the job done.

There are ways you can be creative to build a stylish, workable space without breaking the bank. The use of a pallet or skid as the base of your island, not only gives your kitchen a swanky industrial look, but also saves you a ton of money you would have otherwise spent on expensive building materials. All you need is good quality paint and a brush, and you can make it happen!

Repurposing old furniture may also be an exciting way to build the kitchen island of your dreams! You have the option of putting an old chest of drawers, or even a sideboard on wheels with stoppers, painting its exterior, and adding fancy hardware for visual appeal. You could also include hooks to hang accessories, and choose the perfect countertop to complete an amazing transformation. This look would work perfectly in a traditional, or country-themed kitchen.

Lastly, there is the idea of using bookshelves to put a functional, and organized kitchen island together. Fabulous, right? Who would have thought that a couple of Ikea bookshelves lined in beadboard, and finished with moulding could look so good! I am so impressed with all of these options, and I’m sure that one of these kitchen island ideas is the perfect solution for someone’s household.

Just a few ideas to throw around when trying to decide how to make the most bang for your buck. Keeping things low cost with a keen sense of style is exactly what we all need in our lives. Enjoy your evening, and happy Wednesday everyone!

Tuesday: What’s for Dinner?

Savory Crepes with Almond Cheese, Sautéed Spinach and Vegan Hollandaise •  The Curious Chickpea

Welcome back to “What’s for Dinner?” and we are keeping with the French theme, making savoury crêpes that melt in your mouth! I found two recipes that I know you will thoroughly enjoy for the crazy busy nights, where you need to make something fast. I chose savoury because it’s easy to throw in chicken or spinach; something that makes your crêpes feel more like a hearty meal after a long day. Take a look…

Herbed Egg Crêpes Filled with Smoked Salmon

Herbed Egg Crêpes Filled with Smoked Salmon

Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

  • 10 large eggs (at room temperature)
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ⅓ cup coarsely chopped tarragon
  • ⅓ cup coarsely chopped chervil or flat-leaf parsley
  • ⅓ cup snipped chives (plus more for garnish)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Olive oil (for brushing)
  • 1 cup crème fraîche
  • 1 pound thinly sliced smoked salmon

Directions

Instructions Checklist

  • Step 1 In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the heavy cream until blended. Add the tarragon, chervil and 1/3 cup of chives and season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Let the batter rest for 15 minutes.
  • Step 2 Lightly brush an 8-inch nonstick skillet with olive oil and set it over moderate heat. When the pan is hot, add 3 tablespoons of the crêpe batter, swirling to coat the bottom, and cook until golden around the edges, about 30 seconds. Carefully turn the crêpe and continue cooking just until set, about 15 seconds longer. Transfer to a large plate lined with wax paper. Continue making crêpes with the remaining batter, brushing the pan with more olive oil as necessary and layering the crêpes with waxed paper.
  • Step 3 Arrange the crêpes on a work surface. Spread lightly with the crème fraîche and top with slices of the smoked salmon. Fold each crêpe in half, then in half again to form triangles. Transfer the stuffed crêpes to plates, sprinkle the crêpes with chives and serve.

Make Ahead

The herbed crêpes can be made up to 8 hours ahead and refrigerated. Bring them to room temperature before filling.

Buckwheat Crêpes with Wild Mushrooms and Gruyère

Buckwheat Crêpes with Wild Mushrooms and Gruyère

Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

  • ¾ cup buckwheat flour
  • 2 eggs (large beaten)
  • 1 ⅓ cups milk
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (plus more for brushing)
  • 2 shallots (medium thinly sliced)
  • 16 ounces mixed wild mushrooms (thinly sliced)
  • Sea salt
  • 2 cloves garlic (large minced)
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 2 cups coarsely grated Gruyère cheese

Directions

Instructions Checklist

  • Step 1 In a medium bowl, whisk the buckwheat flour with the eggs and half of the milk until lump-free. Add the remaining milk and whisk until smooth. Refrigerate the batter for 20 minutes.
  • Step 2 Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, heat the 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the shallots and cook over moderately high heat until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and cook until tender, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Add the wine, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet and cook until the liquid has evaporated, about 2 minutes.
  • Step 3 Heat an 8-inch nonstick skillet and lightly brush with olive oil. Add 1/4 cup of the batter to the skillet and swirl to coat the pan. Cook over moderate heat until the edges begin to pull away from the pan, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Flip the crêpe and cook 30 seconds to 1 minute longer.
  • Step 4 Sprinkle the crêpe with 1/4 cup of cheese followed by 1/4 cup of the mushrooms. Fold the bottom flaps of the crêpe to form a cone. Slide the crêpe onto a serving platter. Repeat with the remaining batter, brushing the pan with oil as needed. Serve the crêpes immediately.

*Recipes taken from Foodandwine.com

Not bad as a Tuesday night dinner, right? I’ll say! You know I also have to mention that it would work perfectly with your favourite glass of wine;) Ladies and gentlemen, put this one under your belt as a fancy pick-me-up on a cold, rainy night. I guarantee it will do the trick! Until next time, happy Tuesday everyone!

Sunday: At Home

(Picture of Niagara Glen Hiking Trail from my phone!!)

Have you ever had an impromptu day, where the early morning finds you on the road to an early hiking adventure? My family and I decided last minute, to accompany a few friends to Niagara Region. We found a fantastic hiking trail called the Niagara Glen, that was situated right alongside our bordering neighbour, the United States. The colours of Fall were bright and bold, and the air was so fresh and full of life! Sometimes, when you live in the city you forget how important a little time spent in nature is for your mind, body, and soul.

It was the most relaxing day I’ve had in a long time, and I loved every minute of it! We took photos of nature all day long, until the kids got sick of smiling;) Isn’t water therapeutic? Listen to the sound of the rushing river as it carries by us in it’s turquoise beauty. It almost seemed as if I could jump in and float away. Don’t be fooled, as the signs posted everywhere soberly reminded us that falling into the aggressive waters would cause rapid hypothermia, and could also drown you both swiftly, and painfully. That was a bit eerie, but I guess they had to be honest about the dangers.

Overall, it was another precious memory for the Myers family! Alas, all good things must come to an end until the next great adventure…

I wanted let you all know that people have been sharing their pictures of my recipe suggestions they’ve been trying out at home, and man oh man, does it ever look good! If you can recall, there were a few fabulous recipes from the Food Network that I shared with you about using your Thanksgiving leftovers to make a fancy, day-after the party, meals. A reader sent a picture of her “Turkey and Stuffing Quiche,” which turned out perfect! Take a look:

Keep the pictures coming! I am loving every one of them. Do you wish that you tried it too?Well, scroll back about five days in blog posts, and you will find the unique recipes that could still be done!

I also have to confess that I’ve been falling behind in my Tumeric Facial Treatments, and experimental research. I will be back on track next week with week 2 pictures. For those of you who read the blog a few weeks ago about making your own homemade facial products, will also remember that I made a mask of my own. I will be using it for 4-6 weeks to investigate if the Turmeric concoction significantly reduces dark spots, and acne. Okay, I think that’s everything for now. I hope you had an awesome weekend, and I look forward to our new week ahead! Nitey nite, and happy Sunday everyone!

Saturday: Reflections

5 Online Dating Tips Women Should Live By - How To Date Online

A couple of friends and I were chatting about the pros and cons of dating online, and if this way of meeting people is truly effective for those who seek love, and a life partnership. It’s a juicy topic, and one we have to cover thoroughly. I have a few stats that I will pair with the topics to help us better understand the online dating situation.

  1. Is online dating a good way to meet?
What AdultFriendFinder Reviews Can Teach You About Online Dating - Hedonist  / Shedonist

So, a lot of people want to know if online dating is a valid way to meet a potential partner that you could spend the rest of your life with, and the answer is yes. According to Kapersky.com stats in 2005, 44% of individuals agreed that online dating was an acceptable and promising way to find your significant other. The same survey was done ten years later in 2015, and the number rose to 59%. This steady incline proves that more of the population is convinced that you could really find the person of your dreams on an app. What do everyday people you know say about this? For one, my friends sounded a bit sceptical about finding someone to spend the rest of your life with online, because a lot people do not take it that seriously. The argument is that between the dishonesty, and lack of commitment, there was no room for real love.

2. Are people honest about themselves online?

Online dating services may put on a fake face | The Seattle Times

It’s a given that the reason why people get away with lying about themselves online is because they can’t be held accountable through a screen. What you put out there is basically what you lead people to believe about you. This is also common about people who post info about their lives on Facebook, and other social media platforms. We give the world the best version of ourselves, hoping that they see us as perfect, which only leads to unrealistic standards. According Kaspersky.com, 57% of people who are on online dating apps lie to each other, and Eharmony.ca mentions the three areas where most people lie, which are: 1)Age, 2)Height and Weight, 3)Job/Income. My issue is, why lie about who you are when you know you have to meet face to face on day? There lies the problem: The people who lie about themselves are not planning to be real with anyone, ever! Can we then assume that the dating app “liars” are only doing this to stroke their own ego?

3. How effective is online dating overall?

Awkward First Dates: Lessons in Online Dating as a South Asian Woman

With all of the dishonesty, I could see why people are a bit uneasy about making online dating a viable option for finding their life partners. According to Pewresearch.org, 45% of the online population feel frustrated with the concept, compared to a mere 28% who feel hopeful that they will find love. There are roughly 10% more men than women on dating apps, and the interest in women peaks at 21 years old. Men get more online feedback around 48 years old, giving him twice the amount of followers as women the same age (Eharmony.com). It is clear that women are favoured in their youth, and men are more sought-out in their middle ages. What happens to the interest in a woman once she has conquered a reputable career, and is ready for a family in her 30’s? What happens to a man in his youth that he is only now searching for love in his late 40’s? The mysteries of life;)

Now that we have combed through this subject, I understand that there is a discrepancy between online dating, and true intentions. If there were a way to separate those who want a real relationship from those who are playing around, relationships would be able to blossom faster, and more effectively. Making yourself vulnerable in love is something we cannot run away from, no matter if we are face to face, or online. There comes a time when we have to lay our cards down, and allow ourselves to be enough for someone else to love. My guess is that if both sides take their walls down, there will be room for love to grow. Happy Saturday everyone!

Thursday: What’s Baking?

Emily in Paris review: A seductive fantasy of millennial laziness - Vox

I totally fell in love with this Netflix series over the last few days called, “Emily in Paris.” It’s basically about a woman who leaves her Public Relations firm in Chicago to work at another in Paris, France. The show is filled with laughs as the writers wittingly unveil the vast differences in American versus European culture, and play on the ignorance of a “new girl in a strange world” concept. It’s a lot of fun to watch, and is secretly one of the dreams I had for my own life once upon a time! It had me dreaming of what it would be like to get up and move across the world to rediscover life from a different point of view.

Anyway, where is all of this leading Lisa? Well, I’m so glad you asked! I thought that in honour of all this French ambiance, we could dive into one of their very popular staples, le pain (bread). I took the liberty of finding a simple recipe that is almost too easy to bake;) I bet that gave you just a little more courage, didn’t it? En français, I present to you “Le Pain Facile” (The Easy Bread)…

Overhead photo of a loaf of bread cut into pieces and sitting on a dark background

Easy Crusty French Bread

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (9 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (4 grams) (use honey if you prefer)
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water (300 grams)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (10 grams) kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour (360 grams) plus extra for dusting  (see recipe notes)

Instructions

MIX THE DOUGH & FIRST RISE (1 HOUR):

  1. Combine yeastsugar, and warm water in a large mixing bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.
  2. Let the yeast proof for about 5 minutes, until the mixture is foamy.
  3. Add kosher salt and flour to bowl. Mix with your hands or a sturdy spatula, or mix on low speed with your stand mixer until all flour is incorporated and dough has just started to pull away from the sides of the bowl. For best results, mix until no dry bits of flour remain. Please note: This is a relatively slack (wet) dough, so it may seem a bit shaggy and sticky at this point. Don’t worry – it will become more smooth and elastic as we go!
  4. Lightly flour all sides of your dough (don’t mix the flour in – it’s just to keep the dough from sticking!) and turn it over inside the mixing bowl to coat with flour on all sides. Cover with a clean tea towel and let rise on the counter for about 1 hour, until dough has doubled in size.

SHAPE THE DOUGH & FINAL RISE (30 MIN):

  1. When dough has risen, lightly flour a large cutting board.
  2. Tip the dough out of the bowl and onto the cutting board. DO NOT PUNCH THE DOUGH DOWN – you want to keep all those nice air bubbles intact so you have an airy, delicious loaf of bread. (Note: If the dough is sticking to the bowl a little bit, wet your hand with a bit of cold water and gently separate the dough from the bowl to get it all out).
  3. Sprinkle a bit of flour across the top of the dough, then begin shaping it into a round loaf. Pull each corner of the dough in towards the center (like you’re folding an envelope) and repeat until the dough feels tight and begins to resist your folds. Flip the dough over and tap it into a round loaf. 
  4. Flour a proofing basket or a medium bowl and place your loaf into it seam-side down. Cover with a tea towel and let rise another 30 minutes or so while you preheat the oven.

HEAT THE OVEN :

  1. While bread is rising, place an empty dutch oven (with the lid on) in your oven and heat to 460 degrees Fahrenheit.

BAKE!

  1. When the oven is hot, you’re ready to go! Use oven mitts to pull the dutch oven out and remove the lid.
  2. Lay a piece of parchment paper down on your counter or cutting board (optional – it makes transferring the bread easier!)
  3. Tip your bread dough gently out of the proofing basket onto the parchment paper. Make sure the seam side is up this time – this is what will create those beautiful cracks on top of the bread!
  4. VERY CAREFULLY (without burning yourself!) use the sides of the parchment to lift the bread up and place it into the hot Dutch oven.
  5. Put your oven mitts back on, place the dutch oven lid back on the pot, and slide the whole thing back into your hot oven.
  6. Cook bread for 30 minutes.
  7. After 30 minutes, remove the lid from your dutch oven. The bread should be taller, crusty, and very lightly browned. Continue cooking the bread, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes more until the bread has deepened in color and you have a beautiful brown crust.
  8. When bread is done, use oven mitts to pull the pot out of your oven.
  9. Use a long spatula or the corners of your parchment paper to lift the bread out of the dutch oven and onto a cooling rack. Let cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting into it.
  10. Slice, slather with butter, and enjoy!

Notes

How to measure flour: If you have a kitchen scale, please use it! Measuring by weight is MUCH more accurate than measuring by volume (with cups) and will give you more consistent bread. That being said, you can certainly make great bread without a kitchen scale! To measure flour in cups: If you measure flour by dipping your cup straight into the bag or bin and shaking off the excess, plan to use about 2 1/2 cups of flour. If you measure by stirring the flour with a spoon or scoop before scooping it into a measuring cup and leveling it off, plan to use about 3 cups of flour. You can always add more flour if you need to – just be aware that this is a relatively slack (wet) dough, so it will be a bit shaggy and sticky at first (but it will smooth out and become more elastic as it rises and again as you shape it!)

If you prefer a thicker, denser dough, or if you’re nervous about shaping a wetter dough, use only one cup (235g) of water. The crumb will be a bit more dense and less airy, but it will still taste great!

*Recipe taken from http://www.lifeasastrawberry.com

Feel free to grab a glass of wine while you bake. After all, you are experiencing the French way! Happy Thursday everyone!

Wednesday: Do it Yourself Challenge!

It is the first place you see when you enter a home, and the first impression you give your guests. This is where your personal style begins: Simple or dramatic, light or dark, elegant or casual. Whatever the look, it all begins where the home receives you; the entryway. Not every home sprawls in size and glamour, but it is amazing what you can do with even the tightest of spaces! There are a few key elements to shape the perfect front hall space:

  1. THE DOOR

The door takes precedence over all other details, only because it is the only object that matters as much outside as it does on the inside. It’s wonderful to have a door with all the bells and whistles like: Vintage knobs, quality trim and bevelled glass inserts. However, if your door is not glammed up, you could always paint and add gorgeous hardware. This is also where your taste is determined, where a regal black or a soft yellow would give you a modern or country appeal.

2. LIGHTING

30 Entryway Lighting Ideas - Foyer Light Fixture Ideas

Lighting sets the tone and atmosphere, making the space warm and inviting. There are a million lighting ideas to choose from, but you will have to decide which style speaks to your personality. A chandelier or pendant is key for an area that you really want to stand out, and having a piece of art giving off light is the way to do it. Some would choose washed wood, others would go for industrial metal. The point is to choose what makes you happy.

3. WALLS

25 Gorgeous Entryways Clad in Wallpaper

Walls speak volumes when it comes to dressing them up to your theme. Doing a simple white with trim, or a funky wallpaper pattern gives your home character and charm. You can layer it with framed art, utility hooks or shelving to make it functional, yet expressive. Now that you have a painted door, the perfect lighting, and walls that say, “Designed to please,” the entryway should finally be coming together for you. We have one more element to explore before we complete the task…furniture.

4. FURNITURE

Which suits your home better at the front door? Seating or a table? Maybe both? You have to decide what you find essential for your comfort and convenience once you arrive home for the evening. You might need a place to throw your mail and keys after a hard day’s work, or perhaps a place to take a load off while you wrestle with your boots. Whatever you decide, it must work with your lifestyle.

With all of that said, now is the time to really put together the entryway of your dreams, starting with the creation of a vision board. Include all of your fundamental pieces, and design examples you find in magazines, or even online. It is so important to see the vision first before you commit to it. That will definitely help you navigate through all of the options, which would otherwise send you into a panic;) See the vision first, then create. I hope you all enjoy your evening. Happy Wednesday everyone!