Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Two Delicious GUILT-FREE Chocolate Recipes

Feel like having a treat, but rather avoid the extra calories? Try one of these delicious, chocolate filled recipes! Both contain healthy ingredients and are super easy and quick to make. Guaranteed to satisfy your cravings :)

Skinny Double Chocolate Muffins

Ingredients (for 12 muffins):

1 3/4 cup oats - I used the smaller 'quick' oats
3 egg whites
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup vanilla greek yogurt 
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup hot water
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
coconut oil for greasing the pan - any oil with little to no flavour will do


Preheat your oven to 350°.

Grease the muffin/cupcake pan.

In a large bowl, simply mix all the ingredients together, except the chocolate chips.

When the mixture is blended, stir in 1/2 cup of chocolate chips.

Scoop the mixture into the pan, dividing it evenly over the 12 cups.

Bake for 10 minutes.

Take the pan out of the oven and sprinkle the left over chocolate chips (1/4 cup) on top of the muffins. Place the pan back into the oven and let it bake for 5 more minutes.

Take the muffins out of the oven and let them cool in the pan. When cool enough to touch (after about 20 minutes) take them out of the pan and place them on a cooling rack. 

Muffins freeze well.

Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients (for 12 cookies):

1/2 cup oats
1 cup whole wheat flour 
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vanilla greek yogurt 
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chocolate chips


Preheat your oven to 350°.

Prepare baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, mix together the oats, flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Set aside

In a small bowl, mix together the yogurt, applesauce, vanilla, honey and sugar. When blended and smooth, poor the mixture onto the dry ingredients and stir until you have a lumpy, sticky dough. Dough will be quite dry.

Fold in the raisins and the chocolate chips. 

Scoop 12 balls onto the baking sheet and slightly flatten.

Bake for 12 minutes.

Take the cookies out of the oven and let cool on a cooling rack.

Cookies freeze well, or store in an airtight container.

Friday, 24 January 2014

DIY Easy Knit Baby Booties

In my opinion handmade baby things are the best! I love the idea of being able to create something for my little one. However, I have absolutely no experience with knitting or sewing, so I needed an easy project to start with.

I found a cute knitting project for baby booties, here. It seemed very basic, so I decided to give it a go. I bought a set of bamboo knitting needles in size 5.0 mm / size US 8, yarn that matches this needle size - I picked a type of yarn that is machine washable, and a tapestry needle with a large eye for weaving the ends and sewing the pieces together.

When I started the project I realized the original instructions weren't really working for me, so I had to adjust things a bit. I decided to create two individual 'squares':
- For the first square I cast on 6 stitches and knit 22 rows;
- For the second square I cast on 26 stitches and knit 10 rows.
I ended up with two little patches.

After weaving in the ends, I had to connect the two pieces together. In the diagram below you can see that I put the smaller piece on top of the bigger piece, making sure they overlap right in the middle of the bigger piece. Using the tapestry needle and the yarn, I sewed them together (sewing along the dotted square).
Once the two pieces were connected, I connected A with A, B with B, and C with C, making sure all the edges were tightly fastened.
When the first side was done, I did the same for the second side and attached it right over top of the first.

Because I had zero experience with knitting, I looked up some tutorials on youtube. I found the following videos were very helpful:
1. Slip Knot
2. Knit Stitch and Bind Off
3. Weaving the Ends
4. Joining Squares
The tutorials are made for kids, so a little childish, but very easy to follow.

Following all the steps, I ended up with two cute little baby booties. I have to admit, they are definitely not perfect; One is a little bigger than the other and the edges don't all look equally 'nice'… But it was a great first project and I'm super happy I finally took the step to create something for my baby. Can't wait to put them on her little feet in a few weeks!

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Pregnancy Brain?!

Ok, so I wouldn't say I'm the most organized person in the world, but I usually manage to keep things (including my mind) in order at least a little bit. However, the last two weeks or so have been total chaos. It has been like functioning with either an overactive brain, or no brain at all... I'm not sure!

I forget everything! I can walk from one room to the other and forget why I was going there, I forget half the things I was supposed to get at the store - but who cares, because I forgot what I was going to make anyway, I forget where I place things, I forget what I'm doing as I'm doing it, I make plans, but forget about them, I forget to eat, and even forget what I was saying in the middle of a sentence.

I also have a million ideas and plans, but constantly get distracted (by other ideas and plans I guess…) so nothing gets done. We've been doing a lot of projects around the house lately, but none of them are really finished yet. The house is cluttered with tools, baby stuff and things that I forget to put away - or can't put away yet, because the dresser/closet/space they need to be put in isn't finished yet.
And, on top of that I am clumsy and constantly losing things...

So it's time to get into action, cause I'm driving myself (and I'm sure my ever loving and surprisingly patient husband) crazy. So starting last weekend, I've been actively trying to battle this madness and living by my moms wise words 'an organized home is an organized mind'. I've been scrubbing and organizing the house, clearing out closets to create (a temporary) space for baby things, and making to-do and don't-forget lists. I'm not sure if it will resolve the issue, but I'm hoping it will at least help a little bit.

For now, please excuse the lack of posts and bear with me as I'm trying to organize my way back to the blog. More to come soon!

Friday, 10 January 2014

Time for a Banging Change?!

For years I've been toying with the idea of changing up my hair. I've tried some colour changes and the occasional (slightly) shorter or layered cut, but nothing too drastic. My hair has been pretty much the same since I was about 14… Now maybe it's the new year, the pregnancy hormones, or the fact that I'm just bored with my look, but I feel like a change!

When it comes to doing my hair, I'm kinda lazy. That's probably why I'm so comfortable with my current cut - I just let it air dry and how I get up in the morning is how my hair will stay for the rest of the day. It's always okay, but doesn't really do much either.

So, I've been looking around for some inspiration and I really love the look of bangs!! I feel they give just that little bit of edge to your look.

Source images: Pinterest

There are a couple of things that scare me a little though. First of all, you can't really half-bang it; If you're going to cut bangs, you have to go all the way and cut a good chunk of hair. Also, you can't really hide your bangs, once you've cut them they're there, whether you like them or not. Cutting bangs means I have to start styling my hair on a daily basis… I'm not too great at styling my hair, so what if I'm stuck with a haircut I can't style?! And last, bangs definitely don't look great on everyone!!

Source images: Pinterest


Have you ever had bangs or do you have any advice for cutting or styling them? Please share your thoughts on why to bang or why not to bang!

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Bedroom Makeover Part II

We've been busy over the holidays!! It's still a work in progress, so I can't show any final results yet, but we've made some impressive improvements.

We started with checking the state of the floors by lifting the carpet. We weren't sure if maybe the carpet was covering up something, or if there was even a full floor of hardwood underneath. Since it's an old home that has been divided up into apartments, you never know what you might find. So we lifted all the corners (as much as possible, but so that we could put it back if we had to) and found gorgeous hardwood everywhere!

Once we had established that, we put the carpet back down so we wouldn't have to cover the floors while painting. Since there we so many holes in the walls, we started with repairs. We also took down the window treatments and filled those holes and painted the ceiling while the filler was drying.

Because we wanted to clean off the hardware and hinges on the doors, we decided to just take them out. Oh yeah, and did I mention we had some holes in the walls?!

After the filler was sanded down and the ceiling, the woodwork (windows, doors, etc.) and the heater were painted and dry, it was finally time for the walls. All the preparations and repairs are a lot of work, but don't really show much progress, but painting the walls is so rewarding! By the time we got to that stage, things went so quickly.

And finally, the big moment of taking out the carpet (and a million staples!) - beautiful floors!!! I couldn't be happier. We finished the baseboards and cleaned everything up, but that's about it for now. The husband is back to work and I need to figure out how we're going to furnish and decorate this room (and how we're going to arrange for the little one to join us in there).

Friday, 3 January 2014

Best Free 2014 Calendars

The last two weeks have been fun, but reality will hit again on Monday. To start the year organized the pretty way, I've rounded up 6 of the most gorgeous free printable 2014 calendars.

Find it here: My Scandinavian Home

Find it here: Paper Snaps Blog

Find it here: Lia Griffith

Find it here: Oh The Lovely Things

Find it here: Smäm 
(The calendar is in a different language, but not hard to figure out with a little bit of imagination. My absolute favourite and way too gorgeous not to post.)


Thursday, 2 January 2014

Happy 2014!

Yesss 2014 is here, I couldn't be more excited and ready for it!! For us, 2013 was demanding, requiring a lot of input while giving back little. Struggles with health, immigration and work made things challenging at times, but we have left the worst of that behind us. Now it's time for new beginnings and new plans.

This year brings some wonderful things to look forward to and has love and family as its main characters. In March we are expecting our first baby! We feel beyond blessed and don't think words could describe our happiness and excitement. It's always been my dream to become a mother and to be able to start a family with the most amazing person I've ever met, has already made for an incredible experience.

Especially during the first half of the year, both the husband and I will be very busy. So one of my goals will be to make sure we really enjoy our moments together and spend quality time whenever we can. I also hope I will see more of my family and friends who live far away. With my parents coming for a visit in March, we're definitely making a great start, but we also aim to travel to Europe at least once this year.

Some personal things I want to focus on this year are to spend more time with my camera and challenge myself in taking better pictures - now that I got a new camera lens for Christmas… no more excuses! I want to teach myself how to knit and hopefully create some simple and cute baby things. Also, I want to try sewing!! Maybe get some tips from my pro-seamstress sisters in law and start with some basic projects. I love anything to do with home and decorating and want to continue improving things around the house with DIY projects. And last but not least, I'm really enjoying blogging so far (not even a month in, but still…) so I'm hoping to keep that up and continue to share about all the things I love.

Happy new year to all of you!!!