Friday, September 30, 2011

Home baked cookies make the heart smile

What's better than freshly baked homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookies? Full of warm gooey chocolate on the inside and a slight crunch on the outside; the smell of buttery dough filling up the house; the way they melt into vanilla ice cream...yum!

Never settle for dozens of stale cookies when they can be baked fresh every time. Simply mix up a batch of dough, roll it into balls, arrange on a baking sheet, and let set in the freezer.

Once frozen, store cookie dough in airtight freezer bags. Label with baking instructions and keep frozen until your next sugar craving.

A great thing about freezing this dough is that it makes the cookies hold their shape as they bake. Don't even bother defrosting them; just pop the frozen dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and into a pre-heated oven. I use the toaster oven for small or individual batches.

For these chewy oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, this is my absolute favourite recipe! Sometimes I add cinnamon and raisins to the mix, and I always make sure to chill the dough before baking it.

Photographs copyright © 2011 Jasmine Habart.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Peek-a-boo workspace

Pressed for space? How about converting an empty closet into a mini office area. While this isn't for everyone, it's a cute idea if you have the extra storage space. It would make for an easy way to hide that messy desk when guests come over, too!

Remove the closet doors, and it's a simple way to get the look of a desk that's built right into the wall. How HGTV!

Top photograph from Sunset.
Bottom photograph via The Ringls.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Soup that makes the heart smile

The autumn squash season is upon us, which is ever apparent by the overflowing bins of acorn and butternut squash varieties that have beautifully decorated the entrances to grocery stores for the past few weeks. I decided to take advantage of the fall harvest by whipping up some homemade soup. This sweet pepper and butternut squash soup is rich and creamy, yet completely lactose-free.

The recipe I used is from the Chatelaine website. I substituted a red pepper for an orange pepper and used vegetable stock instead of chicken broth. I also added a dash of cinnamon and freshly grated nutmeg to the puréed soup. Mmmmm, soup.

Sweet pepper and butternut squash soup
Serves 4 — actually, maybe more like 3

1 large butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 orange bell peppers, cut into quarters (I used an orange pepper and a red pepper)
1 tsp dried rosemary
2 tsp dried thyme leaves
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper, freshly ground
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 900-mL carton chicken broth (I used vegetable broth)
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
Olive oil, about a quarter cup

Preheat oven to 450°F (230°C). On a large baking sheet, toss squash and bell pepper pieces with rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper, cayenne, and enough olive oil to coat. Arrange in a single layer and roast until tender, about 30 minutes, stirring halfway through.

When the veggies are almost cooked, sauté onion and garlic with oil in a large pot over medium heat until tender, about 5 minutes. Next, add roasted vegetables and broth to pot and stir.

Purée soup using an emulsion blender or stand blender. I've learned a great many things from watching the Food network; one of which is that when puréeing hot liquid in a stand blender, it's important to blend small quantities and hold the lid down tight! So purée soup in two batches, and use a kitchen towel to help hold the lid on without burning your hand.

If using a stand blender, return puréed soup to pot. Add cinnamon and nutmeg, and keep soup warm until ready to serve. Delicious!

Photographs copyright © 2011 Jasmine Habart.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Falling for Essie

Wear your heart on your sleeve, and keep your feelings at your fingertips with Essie's new fall collection of gorgeous nail colours. What colour are you today?

Clockwise from top: Carry On, Case Study, Glamour Purse, Lady Like, Power Clutch, Very Structured (my favourite!)

Photographs from Essie.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Some sunshine on a rainy day

I ♥ this coffee cozy almost as much as I ♥ my daily cup of joe.

Coffee Love Mug Cozy - Sunshine Yellow Knitted Tea Cosy Made to Order

Originally designed and knit-to-order by Katy Reiser, this sunshine cozy is available through the artist's Etsy shop, KnitStorm.

Photograph from KnitStorm's Etsy shop.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Good enough to eat

Flipping through the September issue of Chatelaine, I couldn't help but stop and stare at this mouth-watering photograph by Michael Alberstat. Just like the syrup that drizzles over the pancakes, the rich colours ooze with feelings of warmth and comfort. The gluten-free buckwheat pancakes look incredibly light and fluffy yet rustic, hearty, and oh so satisfying! Breakfast for dinner, anyone?

See more of Alberstat's beautiful photography in the September issue of Chatelaine. Flip to page 146 for more gluten-free ideas, and get the recipe for these buckwheat pancakes on page 173 or online here.

Photograph for Chatelaine. Photography by Michael Alberstat. Food Styling by David Grenier. Prop styling by Julia Black. Photograph from Chatelaine.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Is this even a real cat?

Sometimes I'm not so sure.

Oh my Guscat. ♥

Photographs copyright © 2011 Jasmine Habart.

Friday, September 16, 2011

He's back!

Trick or treat — Greeting card

Halloween is fast approaching, and the big-boned pug is getting ready! You know, if he can't pull off that costume then who can?

Trick or treat — Greeting card

To get your paws on your very own big-boned pug greeting card, visit my etsy shop: Happy Mine.

All artwork and photographs copyright © 2011 Jasmine Habart.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A warm pasta toss makes the heart smile

As summer turns to fall, the weather gets cooler and the days get shorter. We reach to backs of our closets for the sweaters and blankets that we packed away last spring. What better way to usher in the new season than with this warm pasta toss with spinach and sausage! It's hearty yet fresh, and it takes advantage of some of the late summer's in-season produce.

I found this recipe near the top of my mom's folder for pasta/rice dishes. I don't know how old it is or where it came from, but I definitely remember twirling forkfuls of leftovers into bowl after bowl way over a decade ago. I used veggie sausages, and it turned out just as delicious as I remember it being.

Warm pasta toss with spinach and sausage
Serves 6 (no really, it does!)

1/3 cup vegetable or olive oil
1/2 lb (250g) sweet or spice Italian sausages, about 3 (I used Yves Sweet Italian Veggie Sausages)
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp crushed dried chilies
1 lb (500g) fettuccine or linguine (I used whole grain linguine)
1/2 lb (250 g) fresh spinach (I used a mix of spinach and arugula)
3 tbsp red-wine vinegar
2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 red onion, half finely sliced & half finely chopped
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions, or until al dente. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large pan. Add sausage and cook over medium heat until lightly browned. Stir in remaining oil, garlic, and herbs. Reduce heat to low and simmer until sausages are cooked.

Slice sausages into bite-sized pieces and set aside. Scrape pan drippings into a large bowl, and whisk in vinegar. Add drained pasta and mix well.

Add remaining ingredients (sliced sausages, tomatoes, red bell pepper, onion, spinach, and Parmesan) to warm pasta, and toss. Serve warm or as a cold salad. Either way, this dish is delicious, nutritious, and incredibly satisfying!

Photographs copyright © 2011 Jasmine Habart.

Monday, September 5, 2011


It's that time of year again... Hang up those old kicks and break out your new pre-fall wardrobe. It's back-to-school week! Well, I'm not going back, but I'm wishing all of you students a wonderful/exciting/non-terrifying first day!

Photograph copyright © 2011 Jasmine Habart.
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