29 July 2011

The Start of Something New

This project was started on a complete whim. I honestly have absolutely zero painting or refinishing experience and yet somehow now I'm hooked and have two other pieces of furniture currently in the process of beautification.

If you remember, I decided to completely over-haul our office space and I started by purchasing this ugly little gem for $5. Since the office was going to be my space, I gravitated towards a combination of shabby chic and beachy cottage decor and with that I began my journey.

I innocently ventured into Home Depot, looked at the paint chips and picked out a blue that I thought would work best. Simple enough right? I also grabbed some bristled paint-brushes and sand paper.

The supplies
In doing some research, I found it was best to sand as much as possible to remove any finish on the desk, however I wanted the dark wood to seep through and if I sanded it too much, I would lose the darkness. So, I did just a brief sanding, dipped my brush in a little bit of paint and away I went. 

I only did one coat of paint and once it dried completely, I sanded around the edges a bit to create a more worn look. Since I used a matte paint, I decided to use a clear polyurethane once everything had dried to seal it all together. After finding the perfect hardware for it ( a combination of Anthropologie and original)....its ready! 
*Drum Roll*.....................................................................................

Side view
Pop of yellow
The detailed edges

The Before and After

Now I'm absolutely in love with it and can't wait to haul it upstairs to its new home. Next up...whitewashed bookcase and a green dresser!

27 July 2011

Cakey Gooey Chocolate Chip Cookies

I've been so busy painting and learning about transforming furniture for our office that I stopped searching for new things to bake... *gasp*... Its true though that my time has been spent focused on a new hobby, however tonight I just couldn't live with a cookie-free home any longer.

I was torn as to what kind of cookie to bake. My love for trying new recipes was pushing for something new, but I wasn't feeling all that adventurous. I decided that the best thing to do was to fall back on a classic: The Chocolate Chip Cookie.
First Batch
My usual recipe always gives me a chewy, soft and flat cookie but I decided to try something just a bit new tonight. I found an incredible article about these cakey, dense and huge chocolate chip cookies from Levain Bakery in New York and well... I'm just a bit too far away to try them out myself.

I found a test recipe from Cookie Madness  and decided to go for it! The result was this amazingly cakey, chewy, gooey monster of a cookie! Its not an every day cookie...but its perfect for a wishy-washy day like today!

1 cup of unsalted Butter, cold
3/4 cup Sugar 
3/4 cup packed Brown Sugar 
2 large Eggs 
1 tsp Vanilla 
3 cups all purpose Flour 
3/4 tsp Salt 
1 tsp Baking Powder 
1/2 tsp Baking Soda 
2 cups Semisweet Chocolate Chips 


In a mixing bowl, using an electric mixer or a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat butter and both sugars just until creamy. Don’t over beat. Add the egg and vanilla and beat just until incorporated.

Stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. When thoroughly mixed, add to batter and stir just until blended. Stir in chocolate chips (Note: You can also try adding the dry ingredients directly to the butter mixture)

Divide dough into 12 big lumps. Bake on ungreased cookies sheets (one sheet at a time). 

** I like to slowly bake my  cookies so that the outsides are crispy but the insides are soft so I tend to ignore baking times and go by look. I start at 325F for at least 15- 20 mins.
So good that they required a glass of milk.

20 July 2011

Summer Project

I'm BACK! Hawaii was just absolutely incredible and a much needed break from reality. So, now that life as I know it is back on track, I decided I need to keep busy. My mind tends to freak out when it has nothing to do and so I find projects to keep me going.

My latest obsession with Pinterest has actually given me the courage to step outside of my boundaries and DO something I know nothing about.... distressing and painting furniture. Please pick your jaw up off the floor.... I know... me at Home Depot is an absolutely ridiculous concept ... but I did it!

Upon moving out of my classroom this year, I realized that I need a "home base" for my teaching gear. I immediately seized our home office and decided to make it MINE. My husband has his man room in the basement, so really this was my space. Its currently been used as a storage room with random odds and ends and I wanted to spruce it up and make it my nook.

To start with, I needed a desk. I absolutely love old, beachy, distressed furniture but I don't love their prices. I went online and found someone selling a sturdy wooden desk for a whopping $5 and I was SOLD. I bought it, grabbed some paint and I have been in the garage working away at it ever since.

Here it is in all of its ugly glory:

It has SO much potential...
Now you just need to stay tuned for its beautiful makeover! 

01 July 2011

Whoopie....It's Canada Day!

I love Canada Day! For me, its all about the parades, family BBQ's and of course the fireworks! However this year, I get one out of the three...the fireworks. The town is set to let them go at 11pm and directly in our backyard. How cool is that? I will literally have front row seating...just wishing the hubby wasn't working to watch with me.

I have also been wanting to bake some Whoopie Pies and decided today was the perfect opportunity. To honour Canada's Birthday, I went with Red Velvet with Cream Cheese Frosting....Red & White and Oh.So.Yum.

Whoopie Cakes - Tracey's Culinary Adventures

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
red food coloring
Cream Cheese Frosting- Tracey's Culinary Adventures
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted


Preheat oven to 325 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt together. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the egg and vanilla, beating to combine. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, beating just until incorporated. Add the food coloring a little at a time until you achieve your desired color for the whoopie pies.

Spoon batter in 1-inch rounds, about 1/2-inch high on prepared baking sheets, leaving about 1 inch of space between each round.  Bake 10 minutes, or until the tops of the cookies are set. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for a few minutes then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

To make the cream cheese frosting, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until well combined and smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and mix to combine. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally. When all of the sugar has been incorporated, increase the speed of the mixer and beat briefly until smooth.

Match the cookies by size as best you can to make pairs. Pipe the frosting on the flat side of one of the cookies in each pair. Sandwich the cookies together and press gently until the filling reaches the edges.

So its 7pm currently and I'm eating my Whoopie Pies, listening to classic Canadian music and setting up my deck for firework watching! Hope you and yours had a wonderful Canada Day!
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