gimme your name.

whelp, this post is looooong overdue. Sometimes I get to meet the most glorious people and I secretly wish we could be besties (and I could have their daughter’s name). It feels like it has been a good year for that. I am endlessly curious about other families and moms. A part of me wants to scoot right up and just listen and watch. I guess that is kinda what my job is, AND I get to create photographs. win win for me!

minimalist mini session.

Sometimes all we need to a portrait. A marker of what IS. simple.

I adore messy, love soaked, playful lifestyle images. I love curated, stylized, intentional sessions. Yet, no matter what… I come back to the simple portrait.

Sometimes we just need to see our people with nothing extra… cause they are ENOUGH.

bye bye 2018....

The year end has found us again. I love a clean new year, yet feel longing for the ones that pass. I present my personal faves of 2018… I am trying so very hard to be stronger with being present and enjoying the life that is my gift. It is a feat that throws me down every time.

I have created a phone wallpaper in hopes to keep my wondering mind more grounded. It says 3 words…

FOCUS.

BE HERE.

SEE BEAUTY.

I spend my life careening to the next idea and rarely appreciate what I have accomplished. Dreams and creations dangle before my mind unceasingly making everything elusive and never enough. May 2019 bring a more grateful and sound mind.

Pictures of my family centre my heart and remind me IT WAS ALWAYS ENOUGH… I just need reminders sometimes.

kyla hornbergerComment
FUDGE.

Years and years ago I OBSESSED over baking and perfecting recipes. My fudge recipe is a result of those early labours. I am fully aware that fudge in its truest origin was a mishap and slightly grainy in texture… I prefer smooth. So I present my fudge recipe. No marshmallow knock offs here…

My Fudge

1 1/2 Tablespoon - dark cocoa powder

3 cups - granulated sugar

1 1/2 cups - heavy/whipping cream

3 Tablespoons corn syrup

Pinch of salt

3 1/2 ounces - dark chocolate, chopped

1 1/2 Tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

In a heavy bottomed saucepan, combine cocoa and sugar. Add cream, corn syrup, chocolate, and salt. Continually stir over medium heat to dissolve all the sugar crystals. Bring to a boil, wipe down sides of pot with a pastry brush dipped into cold water to ensure no sneaky sugar crystals are hiding. Stop stirring and continue to boil to soft ball stage (235 - 238 degrees Fahrenheit). It will take approximately 7 minutes - watch closely!!!

While the fudge is boiling prepare a 9x13 pan by smearing with butter on the bottom and sides. Have the 1 1/2 Tablesppons of butter chopped and ready to dollop on top of the fudge once it is poured into the prepared pan.

When the fudge has reached soft ball stage, remove form heat and add vanilla. Pour into the prepared pan, and dollop the butter over the top. Allow to cool to room temperature. You can place outside, if it is cold, to hurry the process but don’t let it get too cold… it will take more energy to turn it later. While it is cooling prepare an 8x8 pan with parchment paper the extends past the edge of 2 opposite side and spray lightly with oil. The parchment draping over will allow you to grab the ends later and lift the fudge out and be sliced into beautiful uniform pieces.

Once it is room temperature there are two ways to ‘turn’ the fudge. The old fashioned way is with a paddle  (wide, strong wooden spoon with a flat top). Butter the counter top, put the fudge on top and start pulling the fudge on top of itself with the paddle. It will get easier as you go, then harder, than easier, then exasperating until you feel utterly defeated and at that moment you will begin to start seeing the glorious shades of opaque threading through the mixture and you know you are nearing the end…. The whole process takes 30-40 minutes. 

The other method is using a Kitchen Aid mixer with a paddle attachment. Butter the mixer bowl and add cooled fudge. Beat on low - med until the turns opaque. Be prepared to scrape the sides of the bowl down as the fudge goes through its sticky phase.

The fudge is ready when it turns opaque (not transparent) and is no longer glossy or sticky. It is a breath taking process really. Once it is turned, press into prepared pan immediately and smooth the top with an icing spatula. Wrap tight and refrigerate or freeze. I have no idea how long it lasts because it never sticks around long enough to test its residency.


salted caramel dark chocolate meringues...

YES PLEASE. This is my Gwynnie’s FAVOURITE Christmas treat, as well it should be.

This recipes was inspired by the Chocolate Meringues in the Duchess Bakeshop Cookbook. Whenever we visit Edmonton we head over to the Duchess pronto and eat patisseries. The Duchess is absolutely inspiring and a must visit, if you can!

I use weights for this recipe…. If you do not have a kitchen scale then GO BUY ONE. They are pretty darn cheap these days AND they are kinda fun.

Salted Caramel Meringues

180 grams egg whites (fresh works best, not prepackaged carton)

345 grams confectioner’s sugar (icing sugar)

Pinch of salt

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup Salted caramel (recipe HERE)

1/4 cup dark chocolate chopped

Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Combine the egg whites, confectioner’s sugar and salt in a metal/glass mixing bowl that has been cleaned of any oils. I usually wipe the bowl and whisk with a paper towel soaked with lemon juice or vinegar.

Place your mixing bowl(i am using a kitchenmaid mixer bowl) over a pot of simmering water (double boiler).  Stir mixture until it reaches 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from double boiler and allow to cool for 10 minutes.

Transfer bowl to mixer with a whisk attachment and whip on high for about 10 minutes. The peaks should be stiff and glossy.

Using a spatula fold in vanilla.

Using a teaspoon, spoon messy drops of meringue onto the parchment. They should be about 1.5 - 2 inches wide and at least an inch apart.

Warm salted caramel and chocolate (separately) until they are melted, but not hot. If they are too hot it will effect the meringue. Working with one row of meringue mounds at a time, put a small dollop of caramel and chocolate on each one. The dollop is about 1/4 - 1/2 tsp in size. Using a toothpick swirl the caramel and chocolate into the meringue.

Lower the over to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Place baking sheet in the middle of the oven and bake for 30 minutes.

Allow to cool completely. Store at room temperature for up to one week. 

Salted Caramel Recipe

There are a few skills that get us through life. Talking, bathing, working…. the basics. There is one skill that will make ALL THESE THINGS BETTER. You may loathe the kitchen, yet this is the one thing you should teach yourself to do. It will sustain you. The Salted Caramel Skill.

Salted Caramel improves lives everyday. Specific real life case in study…mine. Perfect in every season and makes a irresistible offering to friends.

Do it do it do it do it do it. This is really what Nike was talking about.

Salted Caramel

yields 1 cup

1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar

6 Tablespoons (90grams) salted butter, room temp and cut into pieces

1/2 cup (120ml) heavy cream

1/2 tsp salt

  1. Heat granulated sugar in a medium heavy bottomed sauce pan over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.

  2. Sugar will slowly start to melt and form clumps, it will eventually turn an amber colour and melt completely. KEEP STIRRING. Always. The sugar can burn quickly. 

  3. Once the sugar is melted, add the butter. The caramel mixture will bubble up and spit butter, be careful..

  4. Stir butter until completely melted, about 2 minutes. Sometimes a whisk work better at this stage.

  5. Slowly drizzle the cream over the mixtures while stirring. Once all combined continue to boil for 1-2 minutes, while stirring.

  6. Remove from heat and add salt.

  7. Pour into a jar and allow to cool.

  8. Store in Refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Devour as needed.

plain ol' chocolate chip oatmeal cookies

Walking through the door and the warm sugary smell of cookies intoxicating your senses is one of my favourite memories from childhood. They were routinely the same cookie. Sometimes my mother would throw us for a loop with her coconut cookie, but usually it was the plain ol’ chocolate chip oatmeal ones.

These are not fancy. They do not require browned butter, sifting flour, necessary refrigeration time etc. Throw the ingredients in a bowl in a sloppy manner and you are good.

I have had this recipe memorized for years. I reguraly fill my home with the smell of these delicious confections to please the hungry bellies walking through my door after school.

In fear of pulling a ‘Gramma Birdie’ (rest her soul, I wish I had known her properly), I will scribe it for all to use, lest at some future point the recipe becomes a medley of 3 fistfuls of flour, half an eggshell of oil, just the right amount of sugar…

Plain ol’ Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

makes approximately 40 cookies? not sure, as the cookie dough is often pirated away…

1 cup margarine

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup brown sugar

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 cups quick rolled oats

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

  1. Prepare 3 cookie sheets with parchment. I prefer LIGHT cookie sheets ~ the dark ones can cause excessive browning on the bottom of baked goods. Preheat oven to 350 F.

  2. In a mixer, with a paddle attachment, cream margarine and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla. Scrape down sides of the bowl and mix until evenly combined.

  3. This is where I get sneaky…. Traditionally all the dry ingredients are sifted together and then added… I simply add the flour on top of the creamed mixture, make a small well and nestle the baking soda, baking powder and salt inside. Place the oats on top, give it a light mixing with a spoon and continue to blend with the mixture until combined.

  4. Add the chocolate chips and mix until distributed.

  5. Using a 1 1/2 inch cookie scoop, spoon or your hands make 1 1/2 inch mounds of cookie dough onto the prepared baking sheets. Lightly push down the tops, not flat like a finished cookie, just a wee bit.

  6. Bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool on sheet. Freeze well!

tara's cozy creations.

I met Tara years ago. She was a fifth grade teacher and eagerly anticipating the birth of her first child. She has FOUR now…. and she is divine.

Whenever I do a family session for her I am left with a fire of determination. She has built a business from the heart of what she loves AND she has the patience and love of a saint with her kids. I struggle in this area…. I love being around those that inspire me pause and love more. To take in the crazy, the wonder and spirit that only kids can bring. Thank you a million times over!

If you are in search of the perfect gift, search no further. Really really. My Pippa sleeps with her own handmade blanket every.single.night. It has accompanied us on every holiday and soothed many sorrows. A life-saver.

Weighted blankets are also one of her many offerings. Miracles upon miracles! Anxiety sleepers can finally have some peace. CHECK IT OUT! Really…this is not an affiliate thing, just my heart offering you something I love.

the simple portrait.

I overthink. ALOT. This is my Penny. I wanted a portrait of her for while, but I keep waiting for the ‘right’ moment. Finally I told myself to shut up and just took a picture after school.

And guess what…. IT IS ENOUGH. Everything I love because all I ever needed was her. Not new clothes, coiffed hair, a spectacular location… she is enough.

I adore a simple portrait.

kyla hornbergerComment
BIRD HATS...

I have deeply desired to make a bird hat for YEEEEAAAAARRRRSSSSS. I am still perfecting the creation of this pattern and I do plan on adding to my ETSY shop so all can create bird hats at their whim. Miss Pip was going to wear it for Halloween. She is not. Her latest plan is a Peter Pan princess or a replay of last years little Red riding hood. Or a princess. Or a princess ninja. She has a princess thing going on….

halloween.

The end of September was COLD. Which caused me to immediately toss summer aside and start playing with Halloween. I always have grand intentions and a flurry of anticipation for every holiday…. however, once the holiday is upon us I have usually disengaged somewhat.

I decided to outsmart myself and did most of the prep in the very beginning of October… leaving lots of time to fall into a slump. Nailed it. Made fun Halloween crafts with the kids AND became useless the closer the day came.

My Gwynnie had a party… Here is some of the fun. We kept it pretty simple. I perused the Halloween edition of BHG and instantly started to fall into the perfection trap… happily I pulled myself and remembered that paper plates and simple crafts the kids create is ENOUGH. I do love pretty magazines, though…

The front door spiders were the super cheap rings I found at Wallymart. I snipped off the ring part and glued on tiny magnets. The wreath spiders are the full ring clinging on for their dear lives.

crazy cakes Lethbridge

I few years ago I resented my hubby for insisting on living in Lethbridge. Dreaming to live with fruit trees, mild winters and flowers, I was unsettled.

Overtime I have found little pockets of gold nestled in Lethbridge and area that are slowly appeasing my heart. One of them is little shops like Crazy Cakes. It is just like out of a novel. Quaint, family owned, with fiercely loyal patrons. The confections created are immaculately made and taste like sugar drops from heaven. Long ago I dreamed of having a little ‘patisserie’. Finding one that I can admire and frequent stirs my heart in the fondest ways.

These pictures are from I went with my two youngest when summer was a thing…