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I am a custom photographer located in Calgary Alberta. Specializing in maternity, newborn, baby, children and family portraits, I provide on location and studio sessions and am available for travel. Thanks so much for stopping by! Enjoy!

Archive: ‘recipes’

Let’s talk playdoh

Monday, March 28th, 2011

Because here, we take our playdoh seriously.

My kids take their time with playdoh completely seriously. Which for us is super awesome. Hours are spent every week at our kitchen table. Imagining, creating, laughing, and building. It’s time the kids really play well together. They make stories together using their playdoh. Copy each others’ creations. Then make new ones. Time when laughter comes easily. It is heavenly.

I take making playdoh just as seriously. We go through A LOT of playdoh. Kade seems to lose about 1/10 of her playdoh every time she plays. And by lose I mean drops it on the floor. And by dropping it on the floor, that really translates to mommy has to sweep the floor 4 or 5 times when Kade plays with playdoh. That part is not so heavenly!!

Because of this, I would never buy store bought playdoh anymore. To pay for it, then be sweeping it up…. NO THANKS. Plus, it gets pretty hard after a few days, and doesn’t go through all the toys easily. THAT translates into mommy has to sit and play with playdoh to help make the swirl cones. THAT is also not so heavenly all the time!

So I started making playdoh. A stranger at Walmart gave me a recipe and I made it all the time. The problem was the playdoh stunk and went moldy pretty quick. Putting kool aid in playdoh is not the answer for coloring. I tried to make the recipe a few times without the kool aid, adding more flour but just couldn’t get the consistency right. Way too sticky, too soft, then oops – rock hard. So I texted my sister to get her recipe. Which she didn’t have after moving. So I did what she told me and googled cream or tartar playdoh recipes.

There are so many recipes out there. SO MANY. So I went through them and got the general feel of the ingredients, and the different ways of adding ingredients. And then, I experimented. Different smells, different ways of adding ingredients, different ingredients. And then, the unthinkable happened. I found one that worked!!

This recipe is easy and fun, and makes for rather elasticy but really soft playdoh. The kids absolutely love it. I love it. AND best part? Very few crumbs on the floor!!!

So here is what I did. In a pan I heated up the water and salt together over med heat for a couple minutes. Whisking. When I didn’t add the salt and heat the water together, there seemed to be too much salt and when playing with the playdoh there was salt all over the kids hands and stuff. After it heated for a couple minutes I added the cream of tarter, vanilla, oil and cinnamon. After stirring that quickly I added the flour, mixed with a spoon and it was ready. Most recipes said to let it form a ball, but really it took about 10 seconds to stir as the ingredients were hot and the flour made the mix dry almost right away. I stirred it until there was no liquid left (still spots of flour in it). Then left it for a few minutes to cool. Once cooled enough to dump it out and form into a ball I put it in the freezer to cool more quickly. Once cool enough to knead I broke it up into a few balls and added all the colors my kids wanted. 1 recipe makes 2 good size balls of playdoh. You can add the color to the water at the beginning. As my kids like having lots of colors, I knew I wanted more than one color to a batch, so I did it at the end!

food coloring

1 cup water

1/2 cup salt

2 tbs cream of tarter

2 tbsp oil

1 cup flour

To get the ‘ok’ from the kids on smell I added about 1 tsp cinnamon (maybe more – Kade was dumping it lol) and some vanilla. We just kept smelling and dumping until the kids liked it :)

It’s a good recipe! Hope you try it out, because any time we as parents get to ourselves is COMPLETELY worth it!

I love making playdoh. You can make any color, and it only takes minutes. It is the best stuff to have around in our house. Super funny that I shocked Rohan by saying some people buy it at the store. He was totally amazed that you could get it there 😉

My Signature

365 day 240 mmmm love this recipe | Calgary photographer

Friday, July 30th, 2010

I feel the need to put a disclaimer here…. I am having allergies. Not just run of the mill one reactine and I’m good. Extreme allergies. So I am taking a bit more than usual of meds…. not knowing if it’s a cold on top of allergies…. or really insane allergies. If something looks off in the recipe…. tell me! My brain is a jumbled mess!

Here it is! Another of my very favorite recipes!!! Not only is the recipe easy…. but it is a fantastic stress reliever!! I got it from my sister and we LOVE it!!!

So. You need:
Ritz crackers
cheese sliced or shredded – swiss or mozza ( I use mozza. cause I’m lazy and we always have it around)
ham – I have tried reg ham, honey and black forest. It’s all good!
chicken breasts
herb and garlic cream cheese. VERY IMPORTANT. This is the secret weapon 😉

oven. you’ll need it on. 375 does it!

now first. grind up those ritz crackers. however. I put them in a food chopper.
put them in a bowl big enough for you to roll the chicken round to get all covered in the cracker bits bits.

next up. eggs. take the yolks only (do what you want with the whites lol) stir em up in a bowl big enough the dip the chicken breasts in.

and now. cheese. put an amount you think you will use on a plate. I do this because your hands get raw chicken grubby and you don’t want to be breaking to wash your hands to get cheese all the time!

SECRET WEAPON. put some of the cream cheese on a plate. Same reason as the other cheese getting a plate. You are going to spread the cream cheese on raw chicken. You really want to be washing knives all day or pulling out new one when you need more cream cheese from the tub?

and the chicken. HELLO AND YAY FOR STRESS RELIEF!!!!! Take the chicken one piece at a time. Put it in a ziplock bag, or cover it with wax paper, or even paper towel and grab your *meat tenderizer* and yes a friend told me that is the right name :) and smash it. Till you feel better. But if you’re not feeling better and you’ve smashed THROUGH the meat… you should probably stop. And grab a drink. Maybe you want to make it a double 😉

Now you are ready to assemble.

Grab your chicken pieces. Ugly side up. (You all know what I mean)
Spread some cream cheese on it. I use A LOT.
Then add some ham.
Top with cheese.
Roll up and stick some toothpicks in it.
Cover said chicken piece in egg yolk.
Then roll it round in the cracker crumb bits.

Put it on the tray. Continue on until you are done all your chicken. Pop in oven for 40-45 min. and BRING ON THE YUM!!!

*For 3 chicken breasts I used about 10 crackers, 3 TBSP cream cheese, 6 slices of ham, 1 cup shredded cheese (maybe 3/4)

365 day 141 today gave me a headache (recipe inside!) | Calgary children’s photographer

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

I have a cold. Granted it is not bad. It could be soooo much worse. The worst part of it? This killer headache. It makes it hard for me to funtion!
Today was my nephew day!!! YAY!!! So I had all 4 kids PLUS two teenagers (Dion’s daughter is out for spring break and had a friend sleepover). Wow. It is almost 11 and I am DONE!

It was way too cold outside to get them out there playing. So I decided today would be a bake day! Now I love to bake. Love getting my kids to bake and thought this would be fun. And suprise it was! We made my very favorite best ever chocolate chip cookies. Totally awesome!

Now while I was scooping out the first ones onto the pan to go into the oven…. something happened. The 4 little kids were running amuck, playing with the two teens. They were having a great time…. but as parents we all know how these great play times ALWAYS end. My vote is always on Kade. If someone is going to hurt it is definitely going to be her.
And it was. While running to her big sister she fell backwards and smashed the back of her head on the coffee table. And wow did she cry! It was one of those cries that as a parent you know you get to your child. Some cries I ignore, some cries I snuggle… but this was the cry that your heart sinks. Tay brought her to me and I thought ok she looks ok – everything’s good. Then she snuggled in to me and I felt the back of her head. Oh the bump that I felt. I ran directly to the garage to get Dion freaking out as a mom would…… and he felt it and freaked to. Which made me freak more and call the health link. Who told me to treat it at home and not to let her sleep for 6 hrs. Phew.
Then I was worried I needed to get her stitches….. but my wonderful friends again brought me to a calm place. She is now sleeping and I am SURE all is fine. I do not know why… but head wounds really get to me. I worry instantly… whereas if the bump was somewhere else I wouldn’t.

And if you are still with me…. here’s a reward…. the BEST chocolate chip recipe EVER. seriously. TRY it. I DARE you. I do not take credit for this recipe. I got it online somewhere years ago. And never make another recipe. It is THAT good.

What you need:

2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2tsp salt

3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tbsp vanilla
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 cups choc chips (or more if you have a Dion in your house!!!)

*I melt the butter in the microwave just until it is soft
** I use pure vanilla extract – YUM
*** I use special dark choc chips. This recipe is just too good for semi sweet!!!
**** I need an AMEN for pampered chef here. Seriously…. it is the only thing I use to make cookies. You prob will decrease the cooking time I use.. I find it takes a few min longer. BUT so worth it… you won’t believe how much better cookies taste baked on these things!!!

Heat oven to 350

Combine and mix first 3 ingredients.

In a separate bowl cream together the butter and sugars. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk.
Mix in the dry stuff. Add the chocolate chips. Scoop onto your baking pan using full tablespoons.
Bake for 17 min. (see above times may vary)

YUMM-O (as Rachel Ray would say!)

Kade and Keag SERIOUSLY fight for the messiest kid title. How come they can make it look so cute though!!!!! If I looked like this…. it would not make someone laugh and grab a camera!!!
This is a 100% crop. For fun. Because you can TOTALLY see me in his eyes. Starting to love my tammy again!
Kade’s owie. all cleaned up and looking much better. Seriously… this girl is going to give us a run for our money. If someone is going to het hurt it will be her. She seems to get over one major owie and gets a brand new one. NOT including all the bruises that seem to be never ending! We are expecting broken bones in our future!!!

365 day 138 | Calgary photographer

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

Here they are!!!!! The cool desserts!!
They are cake pops!!!!!!!!!

Before anyone goes thinking oh wow – those are soooo original…. I got the idea and recipe from this site.
I did change a few things. I hate the crunchy decorations… so I made marshmallow fondant that I really like, colored it all different colors, and cut and made shapes out of it. Not the best – but taste so much better and do not go crunch in your teeth. I used corn syrup to attach everything. I also went to Michaels to buy edible markers…. but I was not down with the 23 bucks or whatever they wanted for them so I got black sparkle gel. Which really….. they look ok and kids don’t notice. But I sure couldn’t get it perfect!!!!

Now… she makes this look super easy on her site. Which – I think it might take some practice. I made my own cakes (chocolate was my reg homemade and lemon was a box) and my own icing. I did everything else sort of as put down by her BUT….. we couldn’t quite get the size of the balls right. When we went to dip them in the melted chocolate some of the would fall off. Then I could turn them enough to get all the chocolate extras to drip off before setting them in the styrofoam… so it was a little messy.

There were a few casualties… but most of them made it.
It was soooooo time consuming though. I had no idea. But they turned out ok for a first time… see for yourself!

Oh yes… and the Easter grass was for decoration. Which I never got to! The kids just wanted to eat them so badly!!!

I also did not put them in the freezer. I left them upside down to harden thinking they wouldn’t slip off like they would if I turned them over while the chocolate was still a liquid.

End result (and all that matters) the kids LOVED them and couldn’t wait to get their hands on them!

365 day 32 recipe inside!!! | Calgary photography

Monday, November 30th, 2009
sheesh…. I am a day behind again. WHO knew it would be so much work getting one blog post a day done? Doesn’t help that this *virus* has been shared in our house 😉

I am trying to broaden the horizons….. change things up. I really want to be able to practice my skills – and I find just picking tough shooting conditions, changing the modes on my camera (although I am going to stick to M – I need to learn too much still to figure out the whole jpeg thing. I don’t like it and it’s taking space on my computer. ONE DAY!) and trying to get really good focus and clear pics. I like popping pp, but clean. Something I haven’t got consistent yet! Although in it’s place I love all the textures, and every other fun techinique I have learned!
BUT – it takes an excellent pic SOOC (straight out of camera) to be able to make it shine. PP does not make a bad photo good :)

So today I decided to throw in a recipe. It is one of our fav soups. I got it from my MIL. I had NO clue what a leek was before I met her. AND I was sure I didn’t like them. (whose the  kid NOW) But this soup has turned out to be my very favorite. So here it is……… (I hope I’m not letting out a secret here lol)

Potato leek soup……..
4 leeks (I use 5)
8 potatoes
1/4 lb butter (I used to weigh it – cause I am a person that NEEDS recipes – bow I just make sure the leeks are sauteeing nicely.)
1/4 cup fresh parsley (usually I skip this – I never have it fresh in my house haha)
6 cups chicken broth

Split leeks lengthwise. Wash. chop into 1″ pieces. (don’t use the really green parts. I stick to white and light-med green). Melt butter and throw the leeks in over medium heat. In your soupot throw in the 6 cups of chicken broth and heat it up. Peel and chop potatoes.  Once the broth is hot and the leeks are transparent add the potatoes and leeks to the broth. Cook until potatoes are soft. Blend it up, garnish it (I use old cheddar cheese – my MIL uses chives and the parsely) and SERVE! YUMM-O :)

And voila….. YUM!