27 January, 2015


Every time I visit my family there is a list of favourite recipes to make. Every couple days it seems we have a conversation starting with, "Remember those delicious. . ." and so we elaborate and scheme and run to the shop and toss up the kitchen then feast.

Here are French Beignets. We've made them time and time again, and they've never ever failed, though this time we all agreed they were at their best, and I credit that to the extra long rising time this batch had (ok, I just got busy and half forgot about them. No pretending to be fancy here).

We love the powdered sugar dusting that melts in your mouth over this incredibly puffy, yeasty dough, with the slightest hint of sweet. I don't see how you can go wrong.

The original recipe is French Quarter Beignets, and they're cut into small 1-inch squares. We have tried them all shapes and sizes and prefer ours in bitesize circles, about 1-inch in diameter. Try a variety and see what you like best!

French Beignets
makes about 3 dozen 1-inch pieces

1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1/2 cup granulated sugar 
1 envelope active dry yeast
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 cup evaporated milk
7 cups all purpose flour or bread flour (both work well and yield very little difference)
1/4 cup butter or shortening
oil for frying
3 cups icing sugar for tossing

Mix water, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl and allow to sit for at least ten minutes.

In another bowl beat eggs, salt, and evaporated milk.  Add yeast mixture into the egg mixture and combine. 

In separate bowl measure out flour. Add three cups of flour to yeast & egg mixture and stir to combine. Add shortening and continue to mix while adding remaining flour. 

Remove dough from bowl and place on floured work surface. Knead until smooth. 

Lightly grease a large bowl, place dough in bowl and cover. Allow to rise in a warm place for at least two hours*.

Preheat oil in a deep pan to 350ºF, or until the edges of a piece of dough dropped in bubble.

Roll dough about 1/4-inch thickness. Cut into squares or circles and begin frying, flipping constantly until beignets become a golden colour. 

After beignets are fried, place them on a paper towel for a few seconds, then toss in a paper bag with icing sugar and shake.

Best served warm, but equally delicious the next day at room temperature. 

*we allowed this batch to rise for about 6 hours

Adapted from this recipe right here.

22 January, 2015


I had forgotten how glorious white winters are. Whether I'm curled up inside under a thick knit blanket or freezing outside in the white stuff, snow makes me happy. It makes the cold seem more purposeful, even bearable.

Peter and I have agreed this trip to the States has been our best, most relaxing and least stressful, trip. We've packed a lot into it, but each visit has felt rich and meaningful.

I'm thankful to have had my sister and two nephews in Ohio with us last week. I so needed a week of cocktails after bedtime, watching too many episodes of Call the Midwife, overindulging in ice cream and sushi with our best girlfriends from childhood, and doing everyday motherhood alongside my other better half.

We're now back in Michigan, staying with my parents, where we're planted for the remainder of our time in the States, minus a short trip to western Michigan and a romantic weekend sans-children to Arizona.

Though I've been quite off-the-radar since leaving St Andrews, all the quiet time I've had has allowed me to think a lot about this blog, personal goals, photography goals. . . I've never done New Year's Resolutions, but I do like fresh starts. Here are a few things I'm striving for in 2015:

  • blog more
  • drink more water (so I've just bought myself one of these, to make the challenge even more fun!)
  • have a personal quiet time every day
  • come up with a photography-related 'passion project'
  • exercise daily
  • take more photos

Did you make resolutions this year? What are some of your goals for 2015?

10 January, 2015


Ten on Ten was possibly my favourite project from last year and I'm excited to do it again in 2015.  We're wrapping up our time in Pittsburgh with Peter's family then continuing our adventure to catch up with old friends in Ohio before heading off for our next stop.

This trip back has been our best yet. We've had a rich but relaxing time so far with both our families and extended families, which is just what we'd hoped it would be.


1) how charming is my in-laws' barn? It even has straw on the floor and paper lanterns hanging from the ceiling.  2) painted by my husband, aged 17.  3) watching their first snowfall.  4) Katharina has loved having musical instruments all over the house.  5) sledding with one of her many aunties.  6) working, but leisurely.  7) turns out we love snow!  8) my sister-in-law is in India while we are here, but we do have her ducks to remind us of her.  9) Hamish, the dwarf hamster we bought Peter's littlest sister.  10) Sebastian in the coat and hat his Papa wore when he was three.

03 January, 2015

51/52 & 52/52

The last of 2014's portraits, a week late, but here nonetheless. Thanks to my children for putting up with this project and my sister for keeping me going when I was ready to drop it. If you're interested in seeing the photos from week one, you can view the entire column here.

We're having a great, slow and thoroughly relaxing time in America. Family is wonderful and it's been fun to watch our children toddle around with their cousins-- all whom were born within months of each of our babies.
Sebastian Grey// still praying for snow. . .
Katharina McCallum// trying out her auntie's ukulele.
Philippa Byrde// is thoroughly obsessed with her grandpa's cats, and faithfully returns to them squealing, "kiiiittttennn!" even after they bite or scratch her.

Sebastian Grey//  had been saving some money he was sent last year for a trip to Target to buy Lego. Today that finally happened.
Katharina McCallum//  is excited to grow up so she can have her own jar of coconut oil.
Philippa Byrde// seems to have grown up even more since we've come here. Whatever the stage is between toddler and lady-- she's there.