Saturday, December 4, 2010

Edible letter to Santa

Just in time for the holidays. You can customize your own letter to Santa to put out on Christmas Eve. Email me at if interested in ordering!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


I made a ton of treats yesterday and thought I would share the recipes for a few of them.

Whole-Wheat Brownies

Apple Granola Muffins - I substitute apple for pear -

Happy Baking!!!


Friday, November 12, 2010

So, I have to apologize...I’ve been ignoring my blog lately, as I am finding that there are too many things to do during the day and night, and I just can’t get to the blog part of the list! My friend Sylvia scolded me on Skype yesterday though, so I thought I had better post something to put you all at ease ;-)

The bakery has started to take is still a slow process as the busy time was during Halloween, and since then things have tapered off. I’m not complaining. I think I needed the break – to sleep, to reorganize supplies, and to think of what was coming next – CHRISTMAS!! I am in the brainstorming part of the process, trying to decide what cookies to make for the upcoming holiday, how to package them, how to market them, etc etc. I’ve been surfing the net for inspiration and finding so much that I can barely take it all in!! Wow there are some really talented people out there, who are so open to share their talents with others who are passionate about baking as well.

I want to show you some of the work I’ve completed lately, in case you are not one of my facebook fans or perhaps not an avid facebook-er.

As for the other side of my life, Zack, Maggie and my husband Mike are all doing well. We are hoping to have a new addition to the daycare ‘team’ (fingers crossed) so that will round out our numbers to four kiddies each day with possibly maintaining Fridays ‘off.’ We attended Mike's "Pumpkin Carving Party" at his work and Z&M had a blast carving their first pumpkin!

We broke out the IKEA easel that we bought for Z&M at Christmas (and then tucked away in the closet since then b/c it was too big for them) yesterday and they painted a masterpiece, one kid on each side of the easel.

Tonight we bought hockey sticks to play with at the park. The weather has turned colder here in Vancouver, but it rarely snows so nothing will keep us from running around inside the nearby tennis court  We also have started going to ‘school!’ There is a strong start program in the East end and we went for our first trial run two Fridays ago. I was expecting this place to look and feel like a daycare, but it is actually a full on kindergarten classroom, with two teachers, and all the cool ‘stations’ like sandbox, painting, colouring, crafts, books, and a kitchen. They have open play for the first hour, then snack time, then calendar/weather/story and song time. Z&M were SO EXCITED to go to school (just like Clifford they said) and I think they liked the teachers. They made a ghost craft with one of the teachers, and I just watched them from the other side of the room is too soon, it is too soon...but with a smile on my face and pride in my heart. They are such amazing kids.

Looking for advice on how to get my name out to bigger clients, the type that would be sending a lot of thank you gifts to clients...cookie boxes will be available and I would love to have a lot of them sent out this year...thank you in advance for any thoughts on this matter.

Love to you all!

Saturday, October 16, 2010


I had another one of those moments yesterday. You know when you are sitting somewhere beautiful, with the ones that you love, and you are having fun, and you take a moment to just sit back and 'take it all in.' Zack & Maggie were digging in the sand at the beach, and the mountains were watching over us and the sun was warming our backs. I felt truly blessed, and was/am truly thankful that I live in such a beautiful place and have such incredible children. I am also unable to express how fortunate I feel for being able to enjoy these moments with my family. I didn't realize how happy staying home with Zack & Maggie would make me. Don't get me wrong, not every moment in our lives is so poignant, but for the most part it really is wonderful.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


A client of mine is brainstorming for her daughter's first Birthday. She wants the theme to be giraffes. I took some time to look online for some ideas and
(re)discovered how cool giraffe spots are! I had been making cookies for another client, so I had extra cookies and icing, so I made a prototype of a giraffe spot cookie. I am in love with how it turned out (except for the two spots that are touching) and hope that I get to make these cookies at some point in my career.

Parker's Beef Stew

Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa, makes delicious food. I have all of her cookbooks and they are all well-used! I love that her recipes are easy to follow, and always turn out and look like the photo...not all cookbooks deliver in this way.

I have started making food for other people. I test-drive a recipe with my family, and if it is a hit, I make it for my client. I went to the butcher to buy the beef for this recipe as the last time I made a stew (years and years ago) I bought meat from the grocery store, and it was TOUGH. Now, this could have been because of me, but I wasn't taking any chances this time round.

I think the stew turned out wonderfully. The leftovers became very thick, so needed to be watered down some before it was heated up.

Recipe courtesy of The Food Network

Parker’s Beef Stew
• 2 1/2 pounds good quality chuck beef, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
• 1 (750-ml bottle) good red wine
• 3 whole garlic cloves, smashed
• 3 bay leaves
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• Kosher salt
• Freshly ground black pepper
• Good olive oil
• 2 yellow onions, cut into 1-inch cubes
• 1 pound carrots, peeled and cut diagonally in 1 1/2-inch chunks
• 1/2 pound white mushrooms, stems discarded and cut in 1/2
• 1 pound small potatoes, halved or quartered
• 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
• 2 cups or 1 (14 1/2-ounce can) chicken stock or broth
• 1 large (or 2 small) branch fresh rosemary
• 1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
• 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
• 1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas
Place the beef in a bowl with red wine, garlic, and bay leaves. Place in the refrigerator and marinate overnight.
The next day, preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
Combine the flour, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 tablespoon pepper. Lift the beef out of the marinade with a slotted spoon and discard the bay leaves and garlic, saving the marinade. In batches, dredge the cubes of beef in the flour mixture and then shake off the excess. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot and brown half the beef over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes, turning to brown evenly. Place the beef in a large oven-proof Dutch oven and continue to brown the remaining beef, adding oil as necessary. (If the beef is very lean, you'll need more oil.) Place all the beef in the Dutch oven.
Heat another 2 tablespoons of oil to the large pot and add the onions, carrots, mushrooms, and potatoes. Cook for 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. Place all the vegetables in the Dutch oven over the beef. Add 2 1/2 cups of the reserved marinade to the empty pot and cook over high heat to deglaze the bottom of the pan, scraping up all the brown bits with a wooden spoon. Add the chicken stock, rosemary, sun-dried tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, 1 tablespoon salt, and 2 teaspoons pepper. Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables in the Dutch oven and bring to a simmer over medium heat on top of the stove. Cover the pot and place it in the oven to bake it for about 2 hours, until the meat and vegetables are all tender, stirring once during cooking. If the stew is boiling rather than simmering, lower the heat to 250 or 275 degrees F.
Before serving, stir in the frozen peas, season to taste, and serve hot.


Friday, September 24, 2010


Kim, from the TomKat Studio, was interviewed on the Project Nursery site today. She is an inspiration to me as she is also a stay at home Mom and her business is super successful and growing bigger every day! Her interview reinforced to me how important it is to stick to it, and not to expect it to blow up right away. She started her business a year and a half ago, I only started last November, so I must exercise patience and keep working hard. My big break will come sometime soon. If only there was a Canadian equivalent to Martha Stewart...if you know of such a person, let me know!!

I am inspired by Kim for the fact that she is self-taught. It all started when she wanted to create a fun, cool, theme for her daughter's Birthday. I have used Illustrator in the past, but am very 'green' with it, so ideas take a long time to come to fruition. Again, patience :-)

Thank you to Kim and her staff who introduce me to other talented individuals every day through their Facebook posts. I am excited every day to see whose work has been featured.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

capturing moments...

Is it possible to capture every moment with a camera...I once thought "yes," but learned yesterday that the best moments are captured with our hearts. I only wish I could guarantee that those moments wouldn't one day be lost in my memory. I was playing photographer yesterday while Zack was looking at a butterfly and Maggie was picking soybeans from the field. My camera battery ran out, and it was at that moment that the sunshine shifted to that beautiful orangey-hue and father and daughter were perfectly cute. I tried to click my mental camera as Mike turned and did the same to myself and I wish I could remember these moments forever. It makes me teary to think that they will one day not want to look/poke/discover/listen and talk about everything with us and I guess my hope is that I continue to have a fun and precious relationship with them, for their entire lives. I think my parents have done that with me. I am radiating LOVE LOVE LOVE these days. I am so happy.

Monday, August 30, 2010


Elmo, one of the cutest characters on Sesame Street if you ask me. I have to admit that the "tickle me Elmo" dolls kinda freak me out, but the basic old school Elmo gets two thumbs up from me.

My friend Laura's son loves Elmo and she facebooked me to see if I could help her out. I love making furry characters and have the perfect icing tip for it, so I said yes! I didn't think Zack & Maggie knew who this little guy was as we don't watch that much tv, but as I was making him they peeked over the counter and exclaimed "ELMO!!" I had forgotten that they both have pj's with Elmo on them. They were very excited about these cupcakes so I made sure I had a few extra to taste test. Apparently Elmo's icing tastes better than his cakey body ;-)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Biking in the city

What a fabulous day! We got up early this morning to venture down to Stanley Park to go biking. Zack & Maggie had a little taste of a bike ride when we were in Courtenay two weekends ago and they loved it! We have been wanting to bike the Stanley Park Seawall for a long time, and today was finally the day! We rented bikes, one with a seat on the back (old school) and one with the seat on the front. I was a bit afraid of the seat on the front, but tried it twice during the 8km bike ride and actually liked it. We saw horses pulling a trolley car, ducks, planes landing and taking off, a WHALE (right under the Lion's Gate Bridge), seagulls, twin babies in a stroller, and had a ton of fun.

The day started out as grey and gloomy, you couldn't see the mountains, and it was a bit cold. Everyone was excited though, and it fueled the fires. As we rounded the corner to see the bridge, the sun started to peek out and it ended up being a beautiful day. You don't need mother nature to provide a beautiful day to have a beautiful day, but it sure does help the memories imprint harder into your brain...that's how I feel anyway. I think sometimes when the weather is not that nice, my brain remembers that and allows the fun we had to fade into the background. Needless to say I was very pleased with the day in all.

We felt like tourists in our city today. Renting bikes by Stanley Park is a very typical activity for tourists. It was kind of neat to pretend and explore. I guess we have acted like tourists a lot this summer, trying to make the most of the weather and the time off I have had. Thank you Vancouver!!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Airplane collection

My favourite cookies to date! My friend Veronica's son turned 2 this past week and loves airplanes. She asked me to make his cake, and I wanted to surprise them with some cookies as well. Ally from Girly Gatherings is soooooooooo inspiring, I follow her on Facebook and love everything she has created. Her latest collection of whale cookies inspired my airplane collection. As well, her idea of having a 'collection' to sell was genious - thank you so much, Ally!! I have cupcake toppers and thank you tags to follow along with this collection - pictures to come soon!


so, I've started a new project - Etsy. When I was at the Portabello West show, one of the vendors approached me and told me that I should definitely check out Etsy, as it could really help my business grow. I looked into it and am very impressed. Their mission is "to enable people to make a living making things, and to reconnect makers with buyers. Our vision is to build a new economy and present a better choice:
$Buy, Sell, and Live Handmade." I had always visited local markets, lovingly looking at the wares of the creative, local person, but didn't know that I could do this, at any time, from my own home. I also didn't know the wealth of talent out there in the baking department. I have spent hours and hours scouring the internet for amazing, inspiring, people, and a lot of the people I've found are into Etsy too. So I took a leap, started my own shop, and wonder where it will take me. I still need to get my name out there, but hope that there are local people who search for baked goods via Etsy too. I also need to get the crafty portion of my business going so it can add dimension to the shop. Here is my my Etsy shop, the iBakery

Saturday, August 7, 2010

summer in the city

Since November 2009 I have been running a little daycare out of my home. I had two wonderful little girls, Kira and Zoe. Zoe left in May as she got into daycare at UBC, and Kira left in June as her Mom is a teacher and off for the summer. I decided not to take on any new children until the fall, so that we could have a family fun summer doing whatever we wanted, whenver we wanted. So far this idea has worked out wonderfully. We are very lucky to have children who can accomodate to a new schedule as we have had days where we go to sleep at midnight and days where we drop our nap and go to bed at 6:30pm. We have gone on a water taxi down to Science World, walked the sea-wall from Dunderave to the Lion's Gate Bridge, watched 3 of 4 Symphony of Fires, listened to the folk festival while playing on the beach, listened to the open concerts at Douglas Park, camped in Nelson, visited friends in Summerland, and on and on. I guess I wanted to post this to share what a wonderful life Vancouver has given us, and to say that I love my family and have really enjoyed the summer so far. I can't wait for the remainder!!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The best leftovers EVER!!

I made 5 cakes this past weekend, a hefty order, but had enough time in between to make it a pleasurable experience. At the end of the weekend I had a bit of cash in my pocket and a TON of odds and ends icing colours. My sweet tooth wouldn't let me throw it away, and my brain wouldn't let me eat it all by itself, so I had to figure out a happy medium. I baked some chocolate cupcakes and blended the colours in one bag to try and make it yummy, fancy, and experimental all at once. These cupcakes became my lunch (my sugar tooth won over my brain in this one!) and then made a few other people quite happy that night, including Zack & Maggie who were allowed a bite of cupcake between bites of sandwhich (the first time I've ever bribed them to eat something...apparently they don't like avocado and goat cheese sandwhiches!). I had to post pictures to show you all how you too can make leftovers a request in your house :-)

Monday, July 12, 2010

New favourite treat!

We have delighted in this treat 2 times in the past two weeks! It is gluten free (important when our friend Jemaica was visiting), wonderful when warm, delicious when cooled, nice to eat for breakfast (shhh, don't tell Zack & Maggie), and really good for all occasions.

This recipe is from the most recent Martha Stewart FOOD magazine, which I now have a subscription to, thanks to my Mom!

"Puffed-rice bars with peanut butter and chocolate"

- 3 tbsp. unsalted butter, plus more for baking dish (I used margarine and an 8" silicone baking dish so didn't need the extra)
- 4 cups mini marshmallows (I used one big bag of marshmallows)
- 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter (I used 1/2 cup as more peanut butter was requested by Mike after the first batch)
- 1/2 tsp. coarse salt
- 6 cups puffed-rice cereal (I'm assuming Martha means rice crispies. In order to make this treat gluten-free, I used "Nature's Path" rice crispies as these are gluten free. The rice crisps are actually bigger than Kelloggs too and we think they are much better in all rice-crispy like treats)
- nonstick cooking spray or vegetable oil, for pressing (Jemaica taught me a trick so that we could skip this step - just wet your hands to press the mixture down...they won't get sticky. It is hot though so be careful!)
- 1 package (12 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips, melted (as always, I used milk chocolate)
- 1/4 cup chopped, roasted salted peanuts (optional)

Butter an 8" square baking dish. In a large pot, combine marshmallows, peanut butter, butter, and salt. Cook over medium, stirring, until melted, about 4 minutes. Add cereal and stire to combine. With a wooden spoon greased with cooking spray or oil, press half the cereal mixture into the dish. Spread half the melted chocolate on top. Repeat with the remaining cereal mixture and chocolate; sprinkle with peanuts. Store in an airtight container, up to 3 days.

Makes 16 bars.

Next time I make these, I will take a photo and add it here


Tuesday, July 6, 2010


I love to do crafts. My friend Katie said something today about being crafty, that she enjoys "making something from nothing," and I think this is what I love about it too. If you read my posts, you will notice that I have just gotten into sewing, so this is the newest type of craft I am doing. I have dabbled in card making and ceramics, and now think sewing is the 'it' thing. I want to teach my children how to make something from nothing, and how to have fun doing it. I also want to improve their fine motor skills and challenge them with new activities. This week our craft was beading. It was inspired by Greek Festival, where they both made bracelets. We went on a huge adventure last week to West Vancouver so we included a stop in a Michael's. I bought beads, string, a bucket full of other stuff, and then pipecleaners as a last minute idea. When I brought out the beading supplies yesterday they were so excited. The pipecleaners worked perfectly as they were able to string the beads on without them falling off. Maggie made 2 'bracelets' and Zack made 1. We sure are having a lot of fun this summer so far!!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


I had a night to myself tonight. I went to a new store called, A Spool of Thread, for a sewing class. We made a tote bag and it was a lot of fun.

In the beginning, I thought I was in over my head as they seem to speak a different language and they were going faster than I could keep up with, and my needle was dull, and my spool of thread wouldn't load correctly...but once we got this all sorted out, it was really fun and nice to focus so intensely on something new and creative. I ventured down to Dressew a few weekends ago to choose my fabric, couldn't decide on one so I bought two (story of my life!), and then almost forgot about the class tonight. The store is a big open warehouse type space, bright, new everything, awesome fabrics, cool patterns, and really nice staff. I was so smitten with it all that I signed up for another class next week (making fabric banners), and will go and make another tote bag (or two, I might make two little ones for Zack & Maggie) so I don't forget how to sew it. My Grandma Young gave me her sewing machine, it is waiting for me in Highgate. I wanted to learn how to use a machine, how to make simple items, and just be a little more handy in that department. I've wanted to take a sewing class for years and am so happy that A Spool of Thread just opened up (grand opening was June 5). Watch for photos from next week's sewing adventure. Now I just have to figure out how to combine the iBakery treats with sewing...hmmmmm :-)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Dr.Seuss, Halo Wars, and little farm animals...

I love baking in general, but these new little iced sugar cookies are starting to become my favourite item to make. They perhaps allow new creativity to flow, even though on many I am using a printable image, or maybe it is just due to the fact that it is a new thing to try...anyway, I love the cookies I have made lately, and hope you do too.

Halo Wars, which I now know is an X-Box game (I am SO old!), were for a 10 year old's birthday party. He was in charge of choosing 3 images to send to me, choosing the font of his party tag, as well as choosing the background colour to the tag and the ribbon colour. I think Chris did a fantastic job as the end result was cool, masculine, and original. He told me, via FB, that the cookies looked good and tasted good too, so I am happy that it was a success!

The Dr.Seuss cookies were for our friends Claire & Georgia. Their last day of school is tomorrow and they wanted to bring something special to the party. I baked, flooded, imaged and bordered 3/4 of the cookies and then left a bunch for them to do when they came over. I wish I had photographed these little (well, not little, they are 10!) girls icing the cookies. They took their job very seriously and did a fantastic job. I sure hope their class enjoys the work they put into these :-)

The little animal cookies were for our Music Together teacher, Anna. This woman is incredible, totally born to bring music into children's lives. I feel so lucky that we came across her music program and that she has been in our life for almost 2 years. Her son's teacher was leaving the school to go back and do her Masters. They had a party for her on the last day of school to celebrate how wonderful she is and what a great year they had. I made a cake for this occasion and had heard that the class had a wonderful excursion to Maplewood Farm, so I thought I would make some little cookies to tag along. I didn't get a chance to bag these up with ribbon, but at music class yesterday, Anna told me that she went to the dollar store and got some baggies and wrapped them all up for each kid. What a hoot!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Zoe turns two

I run a home daycare as well as the iBakery. Since January, I have had two little girls join us Monday - Friday, two wonderful, friendly, happy little girls. Sadly, one of them (Zoe) got into UBC daycare starting June 1. Her parents both work up at UBC, and they had been on the wait list for almost two years, so it made sense that they took the spot. I was so sad they day they told me, as our little 'gang' really got along well and we all had a lot of fun together. My other little girl is with us for two more weeks, and then she gets to spend the summer with her Mommy & Daddy full time, as her mom is a teacher and has the summer off. My little gang will be down to two.

Zoe turned two on the weekend and her mom asked if I could help out with the party treats. Of course I said yes!! 30 vanilla cupcakes with cookie toppers were ordered, turtles and butterflies to match with Zoe's birthday invitation. I also had her mom email me the exact turtle and butterfly image so that I could make a few toppers to tie it all together.

I tried a new flooding technique with these cookies, and I think the outcome was fantastic. The flooding was not as 'clean' on the back of the cookie as I would have liked, but it was the first attempt so I'm trying not to be too hard on myself ;-) This new technique gave the base of the cookie a smooth look, and then I did the pattern of the animal on top of this. Looked great and tasted really great (2 layers of can that be bad!?!)

We were invited to Zoe's Birthday party as well. It was so nice to see her (our little "Zub Zub" as Zack & Maggie would say) and to enjoy the beautiful sunshine in their backyard (a rarity in Vancouver). The party was from 10:30-noon and Zoe's mom made the most delicious french toast with fruit as one of the dishes to enjoy...I have to get this recipe. The party ended with the Birthday song and cupcakes, and the promise of at least one summer picnic together. Happy Birthday, Zoe!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Nighttime PJ Adventure

Night time PJ Adventures started this week. It is light out longer and Zack & Maggie are really excited about feeding the ducks and bunnies. Since I can’t make it down to Jericho during the day with 4 kids, and Mike is not around at that time to enjoy it as well, we decided we would head out after bath. They each had a small bag of carrots and weren’t too nervous to go right up to the bunnies to feed them. There was one crazy bunny who hopped right up to Maggie and startled her, but other than that it was a very positive experience. ((This crazy bunny had a bulging eye and was WAY too friendly, it kinda freaked me out too)) We traveled all the way around the raspberry bushes at Jericho to feed the bunnies, quite a hike for little legs. We weren’t the only ones with this idea, but definitely the cutest ;-) We were lucky enough to see ducklings, baby bunnies AND a beaver! There is always evidence of a beaver at Jericho, but we've never seen him before. It was so quiet out that we could hear him munching his food. The 'cool' factor of the beaver didn't matter to Maggie, she had grand plans for feeding those bunnies and got bored quite quickly by the beaver.
Cheers to many more nighttime PJ adventures this summer!