Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Land of Nod Cinnamon Buns

There are a few staples in my family for Christmas morning breakfast. Christmas sausages from Camrose, Imperial cheese, wifesaver and/or pull apart cinnamon buns. We celebrated Christmas this past weekend and since I was in charge of brunch, my pick was gooey cinnamon buns.

This recipe couldn't be any easier and because you make it the night before, you don't have to worry about rushing around your kitchen at 7am. Bonus: your house will smell amazing when everyone arrives!

Land of Nod Cinnamon Buns
from the Best of Bridge

20 frozen dough rolls
1 c. brown sugar
1 pkg. vanilla instant pudding mix
1-2 tbsp. cinnamon
1/2 c. melted butter

Mix together the brown sugar, pudding powder and cinnamon. Place 10 dough rolls in a bundt pan and sprinkle with half the mixture. Pour half of the butter over top. Add the remaining dough rolls, sugar mixture and pour the rest of the butter over. Cover with a damp tea towel and leave overnight.

In the morning, preheat oven to 350. Bake for 25 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before turning the pan over onto a plate.

Forgive the paper plate. By the time brunch rolled around, no one felt like dirtying another dish!

Friday, 5 December 2014

Local Gift Guide- Kidlets

Both of our families have agreed to only buy Christmas gifts for the kiddos. I have a hard time balancing wanting to be the cool aunt with not wanting to buy them more stuff that they won't use. I prefer to buy them an experience or something that I would've cherished as a kid. Here are a couple of ideas.

Books- everyone got a book from us this year. I still have my favorite childhood stories in a bin somewhere. We have a great book and toy store by our house called Monkey Shines. I also love Pages on Kensington and Shelf Life Books.

Blue Sunshine Dream Catcher- I've always been kind of a scaredy cat when it comes to bed time. It's totally ridiculous, but as soon as my head hits the pillow, my imagination runs wild. As a kid, I took comfort in knowing that my little dream catcher would keep the nightmares away. Calgarian Stephanie Nigh makes these beautiful catchers. They'd look gorgeous above the bed and there plenty of colors to choose from. Check them out on etsy.

Blocks- Simple toys are always the best. It helps that these blocks are nice to look at! Available at the Uncommons.

An Experience- This is my preferred gift for my nieces and nephews. I like to get them tickets to Butterfield Acres, the Zoo, theatre, the Science Centre or a Hitmen game. I like the fact that they're getting a memory instead of just another thing.

I hope these gift guides have been helpful. Good luck with your Christmas shopping and have a great weekend!

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Local Gift Guide- for Her

The second local gift guide is for us ladies. If I'm being honest, it's pretty much just everything I want for Christmas :)

Plant Terrariums- Our house is filled with air plants and terrariums (mostly because they're the only thing I can keep alive). I love these hanging globes! Available at Plant 

Erica Weiner Jewelry- Erica Weiner creates the most beautiful and delicate jewelry. Although she isn't local, you can find her pieces at Purr

Pucker by Gwendolyn Richards- Calgary food writer and cook extraordinaire, Gwendolyn Richards, has just released her first cookbook. You can find a few of her recipes (I'm dying for these lemon cookies) on her blog Patent and the Pantry.  As a lover of all things citrus, this book is a must have! You can find it at Cookbook Co. or Chapters.

Gypsy Skulls Print (or an original)- I'm obsessed with the stunning dried flower prints by Calgary artist Ayla Graham. She does so much more than just skulls- which makes it even tougher to choose one! You can shop her website or check her out at Market Collective this weekend.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Local Gift Guide- for Him

Last week I made the mistake of thinking I could quickly run to the mall. I just needed to grab a couple of things and it was the middle of the day- I was wrong. Parking was a nightmare, people were grumpy and the lines were long. It only reinforced my love for shopping locally. This week, I've put together three gift guides to help ease your Christmas shopping stress while supporting great businesses in our city. First up, one for the dudes.

Camp  Brand Sweater- the Livery Shop, the Uncommons, online

Homemade gin  kit- the Uncommons

Vinyl- Luke's Drug Mart

For his stocking- Zerrol ice cream scoop and $25 gift card- pre-packaged and ready to go at Village ice cream

If you're really on the ball, Eric and a bunch of his friends are really digging this craft beer advent calendar. Give Vine Arts, J. Webb Wine Market or Zyn a call to see if they still have them in stock. We're three days into the month already, but your guy will just have to play catch up ;)

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

No Bake Holiday Treats

I'm not sure if it's just too early, but I'm finding myself a bit Scrooge-y about Christmas prep this year. I'm excited for the holiday itself, but the decorating, shopping and baking? Not so much. That said, I did want to get a few treats ready for guests and host/hostess gifts as the party season ramps up.

Chocolate Bark- this was always one of my favorites growing up. I added a bit of a twist using salted almonds and dried cherries for the dark chocolate and pistachios and dried cranberries for the white. This doesn't really require a recipe- simply spread your dried fruit and nuts of choice on a baking sheet. Melt chocolate in a pot until smooth and pour over the dry ingredients. Put it in the fridge until it's hard and break it into pieces.

Saltine Toffee- I've had this one on the blog before, but it's the most requested Christmas treat so I thought I'd bring it back.

Saltine Toffee
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. sugar
24 saltines
1 c. chocolate chips

Pre-heat oven to 350. Bring the sugar and butter to a boil, then turn down heat and let simmer for 5 minutes. Line a 9x13 pan or cookie sheet with tin foil. Arrange the saltines in a single layer. Pour the toffee mixture over the crackers and bake for 5 minutes or until the toffee is bubbly. Let cool for about 2 minutes. Pour the chocolate chips on top and let them melt. Spread to cover evenly. Put it in the fridge to cool. Once fully cool, break it into pieces and try not to eat it all.

If you're looking for more Christmas recipes, here are a few from the archives:
Lemon Squares
Nuts and Bolts
Magic Cookie Bars
Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Or check out Paper Bluejay's 12 Days of Baking.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Natural Skin Care

There are plenty of reasons why it's important to me to try to use natural products on my skin, but at the end of the day, I use them because of how they make my skin look and feel. I have naturally dry skin. It doesn't matter how much water I drink or supplements I take, my skin is always on the dry side. Using harsh cleansers only irritates it and causes breakouts for me. Here are a few of the natural products I use to keep my skin clear and moisturized.


Black Soap- I first heard about black soap at a farmers' market in Whitefish. The guy selling it mentioned that after using it regularly for a couple of weeks, whether you skin was oily or dry, your skin's natural oils would balance out. I'm not entirely sure if that's the case, but my skin never looks better than when I use black soap. It smells a bit weird and it's kind of messy, but I love it. You can find black soap at Alora Boutique. They often set up a stand at Market Collective or you can find their products at these stores.

Shea Butter- After washing my face at night, I use shea butter to moisturize. At first I thought it would be too greasy, but it's exactly what my skin needs. I find it too heavy to use during the day under make up, so this is a night time only routine. Occasionally on the weekends, i'll moisturize with coconut oil as well. It takes longer to absorb, but it's a big treat for my parched skin. Shea butter is pretty easy to find. I typically buy mine at Community Natural Foods.


Dr. Roebuck's Pure- I've used both shea butter and coconut oil as moisturizers for my body as well, but I find coconut oil too greasy and shea- in it's solid form- can be inconvenient to deal with in large quantities. I was sent a sample of Dr. Roebuck's and was immediately sold by its thick, luxurious texture and fast absorbency. Dr. Roebucks has an entire line of both face and body moisturizers and washes. It's now available at Shopper's Drug Mart. Read more about their story here.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Freezer Chicken Pot Pie

Before our friends' new baby arrived, I offered to make a few freezer meals for after he was born. Lucky for me, this chicken pot pie recipe made enough for two. I saved one for us vowing not the make it until I was REALLY desperate- that moment came on Sunday. It wasn't even a hard day! We went to the Millarville Christmas Market, I got a few things done around the house and I had planned on grocery shopping, but when dinner time hit and it was still snowing- I had to bust out that pie.