Friday, September 30, 2011

Happy List!

For a blog that's called Two Cups of Happy, I really don't write about happiness very much. I'm hesitant to share too much about my personal life on this blog. That said, I have always loved making grateful/happy lists to put things in perspective and remind myself that life's good. Everyone could use a reminder, I think.

Things that made me happy this week:

1. Playing tennis ball with Abby. She is the most hilarious dog. She will pummel herself towards the couch and bounce against the back of it. She's always good for a laugh.

2. Having lunch with a former co-worker. I hadn't seen this lady since June, so we had a lot to catch up on. Lots of laughs. LOLZZZ.

3. Getting groceries. Now before you call me a glutton, it wasn't because of the groceries themselves. D kept making me laugh and we just had fun. Ewww, right?

4. Getting in a good workout on Monday. Going to the gym never fails to lift my spirits and make me feel like I did something with my day. Oh, and this was MY JAM for the treadmill on Wednesday:

WARNING: This is NSFW. There is penis bouncing.
(That's the first time I've ever said those 2 words together....)

Another happy thing happening tonight. My friend is coming over to make me supper. Yay! Hope you enjoy your weekend. I may see you here on Sunday for a Steppin Out post, unless the rain keeps it up.

  Love & Speedos?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tasty Tuesdays: Black Bean Soup

Remember on Friday when I told you I made soup? Well I got the recipe for Black Bean Soup from Jen @ jenloveskev. Click for recipe. It turned out pretty good and it definitely hit the spot with some naan on a cool day. We brought some down to D's sister and she seemed to like it too! The recipe measurements are a little wonky (ml/oz etc.) but you really can't mess it up. I just used an online converter.

I made a few substitutions. I added one can of black beans and one large can of chickpeas instead of 3 small cans of black beans. I also added about a tsp more chili powder, a bit more cumin and a dash of garam masala. Yum.

Since I was too busy rushing to get everything in the pot, I only took a few pics. For the best pic of the soup, go to the jenloveskev link above! I know the one below doesn't look that appetizing... woops.

sunny yellow pot!


after adding spices
Try this soup if you want something different that's not too outlandish. You'll like it. I promise... :)

Thanks for visiting,

xo Janelle

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Steppin Out: my surprisingly not-lazy Sunday

Hi, friends. I hope you are all having a beautiful day. After yesterday's post I was sure that we had seen our last summer day, the kind of day when just sitting leaves sweat on the back of your knees. Instead, I woke up this morning to a hot, humid day with sunshine streaming through my windows. I immediately knew I wanted to do something productive instead of lazing around in my usual Sunday slump.

The couch was in desperate need of a vacuum, as were the floors, so I got right to work. While I was at it I figured I would mop the living area, too. After my Molly Maid possession (seriously, I hate cleaning), I met up with my friend M and we took Abby-dog down to the waterfront. We walked along the boardwalk for a bit and ran into some friends. We eventually decided to head back up towards home and sit outside the Smiling Goat coffee shop in the shade. I usually only go there when I'm grabbing a coffee to go, but there was plenty of seating outside. Plus, I love that they leave out a big bowl of water for the dogs. I had a delicious Arthur's smoothie with ice and M had a coffee. Abby had some ice cubes and a few licks of my smoothie. So spoiled...

Here's what I wore on our lovely Fall adventure with Summer weather:

Abby will work her way into any photo

I was sold when I found it buttoned up the back.

Tank: "Mine", thrifted from Crimson & Clover (new store!)
Jean Shorts: Garage jeans, cut-off into shorts
Shoes w/ heart cut-outs: Forever 21
Bracelet: from Turkey, international market

Belt: H&M

This turned into the best day. I can't stop smiling. I hope you have a good night! Come back on Tuesday for a soup recipe.
 Love & sunshine,

Friday, September 23, 2011

crunchy leaves, cozy sweaters & hot soup

For the first time in a while I am looking forward to the coming season. I usually dread the end of hot summer days and fear the first blast of cold wind, but not this year.

I think my newfound excitement for Fall stems from the particularly rainy, lukewarm summer we had. I am looking forward to moving on to weather that makes sense, weather I can prepare for. At least somewhat... This is Nova Scotia. Right now, I have a nice hot pot of soup waiting for me, a dog that needs a nice long walk and endless movies on Netflicks. So here's my invitation. I'm ready for you, Fall.


Pssst: Pop in on Sunday for a Steppin Out Saturday post!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sweet Potato Roasties & BBQ Mayo

 When I eat sweet potato fries I try to convince myself that they're healthy. I mean, they are vegetables. Not that I feel guilty about eating food. I really don't. But, I try to follow the Canada Food Guide as much as I can so I guess it's more like me squeezing in an extra serving of veggies. Moving on, last week I had a few sweet potatoes to use up and because I definitely do not have the patience to cut them into perfect fry shapes... I made roasties aka. hashbrowns. Much less time consuming and just as delicious.

It would be pointless for me to type up a recipe for these. Really all you need to do is cut up the potatoes, toss with some olive oil, salt, pepper and chili powder. Roast em in the oven for a bit and then broil them.

Now, if you're going to try one thing from my blog... trust me, try this BBQ mayo. I whipped this up sometime last year trying to recreate the cajun mayo restaurants serve with their SP fries. Ketchup is just not the same. This sauce is tangy, sweet and can be spicy if you ramp up the chili powder. It works well with fish, steak, sandwiches, regular fries and chicken too. I've started making a little extra so I can have some for leftovers. Oh, I bet it would be awesome on hamburgers too. Someone should try that and let me know how it is... Haha.

So listen, it only takes 1 minute to make and I guarantee you have everything you need to make it in your fridge/cupboard right now. Mayo, BBQ sauce & chili powder. That's it. Mix half mayo, half BBQ sauce and sprinkle in some chili powder. Done. (Almost) instant sauce.

she doesn't photograph well...

Enjoy & indulge,

Sunday, September 18, 2011

DIY Owl Wreath

Hi everyone! I hope your Sunday is off to a good start. Mine, unfortunately, didn't start off so well but it can only get better because I'm going to visit my Nanny this afternoon! It's been about a month since I've seen her last, which is a bit absurd because she only lives a 40 minute bus ride/15 minute drive from the apartment. I love spending time with her mostly because she's hilarious, but also partly (selfishly?) because she feeds me. Very, very well. It's a comfort thing.

Anyway, check out what I made yesterday:

A wreath! I was in the mood to make a fall craft and what's more fall-like than a wreath? I spent the day Saturday gathering what I needed and putting it together. I like how it's simple and can be used for different seasons. Add some white bows and some snowflakes for an instant winter wreath. The owls are meant to be me, D & B. I'm the one with the eyelashes, if you couldn't tell.

I put some music on and hijacked Darryl's desk for the afternoon. I had so much fun making it. It feels so good to be crafting again. I feel like I'm just happier when I create things... even if it's something small or a little gift for someone.

Enough rambling though, here are a few pictures from the process.

These oak buttons are handmade from a guy at the market. How cute would they be on a cozy sweater?

And more shots of the finished product:

A little modesty Brandon!

And now the reason my morning sucked. I woke up to find it was STOLEN last night. Hours after I put it up...

at least I have pictures though, right?

Thanks for looking,

xo Janelle

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tasty Tuesdays: Baked Zucchini Bites

Ok so this "recipe" is like Jalapeno Poppers, but without the Jalapenos. These tasty zucchini bites require very little prep-work and few ingredients. They were inspired by the baked zucchini sticks in the latest Kraft What's Cooking, but I had no ShakeN'Bake so I had to improvise.

Baked Zucchini Bites
*Serves 2-4 people

You'll need:
2 zucchini
1 egg
fine breadcrumbs (I used store-bought)
chili powder
ground pepper
ranch dressing, for dipping

1. To roast the breadcrumbs, preheat oven to 400 and bake crumbs on a baking sheet until dark brown. Let cool.

2. Mix breadcrumbs, basil, pepper & chili powder on a plate. In a small separate bowl, whisk egg and a splash of water.

3. Wash and slice up your zucchini into bite-sized pieces. Pat dry with paper towel and sprinkle lightly with salt.

4. Dip the zucchini into the egg mixture and then roll in the breadcrumb mixture. Place in a greased glass pan.

Online tip for breading: Try to keep one hand "wet" and one "dry". So, dip the zucchini with your right hand, put it on the plate of crumbs and then use your left hand to throw the crumbs on top of it. Then roll it around with your left hand until covered. This makes such a difference, trust me!

5. Bake at 400 for about 20-30 minutes or until slightly crispy. Serve immediately with ranch dressing. Enjoy!

These make for a delicious treat that tastes bad for you but isn't. Great for picky eaters and over-indulgers. Bring on the vegetables!
These don't keep well and are soggy when reheated so eat them up right away.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Steppin Out Saturday: Property Virgins

 Hope you're enjoying your Sunday. I know it's a sad day for many, many people...


Yesterday D, B, B's girlfriend C and I went to visit some million dollar homes. The local hospital puts on a charity lottery every year and the prizes are pretty amazing: trips, homes, iPods, luggage etc. C asked me about week ago if we wanted to check out 2 of the showhomes in Hammonds Plains. Being the HGTV-loving/nosy person that I am, of course I agreed!

The million dollar home had very nice finishes & fixtures and had lots of storage space. I loved the walk-in closets in every bedroom. Also, the master ensuite bathroom was very, very pretty. It had a modern free-standing tub, a glass shower with a rain showerhead and 2 separate vanities with sparkly wall sconces. The decorating in the rest of the house though, was not to my taste. There was little continuity of color or style and they had a lot of pale green with red.

The half-million dollar home was much more my style. It had a lot of interesting features. For one, the doors were all painted a deep gray color. I've never seen that before but it looked incredibly chic, especially with the white molding surrounding it and the pewter handles. The house also had a beautiful natural slate fireplace in the living area. D thought the decor was a bit too modern, but I think you could warm it up and add your own personal touches.

While walking back to the car we found an actual open house, so we decided to take a peek. Although I felt a bit out of place going to see an $835,000 house, it was so fun! The guy asked us if we were "in the market", bless his heart. The house was nice and open with an amazing eat-in kitchen with tons and tons of cupboard space. The floors were hardwood and very flat, lightly striped tile. Gorgeous! It had a finished basement with plenty of space for a rec room, games space, home theatre AND work-out area. It also had a partial lake views. Swoon!

Swoon is also the name of a little artsy, antique, vintage art gallery shop that we popped into on the way home. It was overpriced for my budget, but I really enjoyed looking. C & I found an entire room of salt and pepper shakers. Once we had explored the shop, we went for a quick lunch at Jack Astors. Later on, D & I went to see Contagion while B & C went to a Celtic Thunder concert. All in all, it was a fun Saturday. I think I may have found a new hobby.... exploring open houses.

And to link up with Mandy @ Harpers Happenings for Steppin Out Saturday, here's what I wore. Please ignore the squinty awkward faces. K? Thanks!

Can you spot my little model?

Sunglasses: Rickis
Earrings: Wal-Mart (They're hidden but they're turquoise drops)
Blazer: Ya Los Angeles, from Biscuit General Store (less than half-price!)
White, sequined tank: Joe Fresh
Jeans: Urban Planet

Thanks for reading. Come back on Tuesday for baked zucchini sticks, if you'd like!

Love & slobbery dog kisses,

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Part 1 of Blog Makeover

I'm in the process of fixing up the blog, so please bear with me. It could be a while before it's all fixed up.


Friday, September 9, 2011

Fill in the Blank Friday

It's Fill-In-The-Blanks Friday at The Little Things We Do, so I figured I'd give one of these a try. Check it out:
1.   Somewhere someone is     having a dream  .

2.    Nature     is/are my muse.

3.  It would suck if    facebook    was no more because,    i wouldn't be able to see what my friends are up to while I'm far away in Halifax  .

4.    the BIG bowl of banana, raisin, cinnamon, cashew oatmeal i just ate   is/are my favorite thing about today.

5.  Life is kind of like     a board game, you can go over the rules all you want but really the best way to learn is to just start  .

6.  If I could have anything I wanted I would want   to pay off my student debt  .

7.  A funny thing happened the other day...    when I beat the boys at Rummy. BAM. .

I hope you all have a lovely weekend.

xo Janelle

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tasty Tuesdays: Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes

Good morning everyone!  I have a fun recipe to share with you today. On Friday D & I whipped up some cupcakes to take to his parents' place for the weekend. We were going to make these, but we didn't want to wait for the dough to rise aka we're impatient, so we went with these Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes from EatingWell (click for recipe). We also had a bunch of cherries that were past their prime, so this was a great way to use them up before we left.

Side Note: Don't you just hate wasting food? I had to throw out a $2 avocado last week and figured I may as well just throw in a toonie. We're trying to be more mindful of how much goes to waste just because we don't feel like eating it or we forget about it. As a bonus, I get to try new recipes!

Okay, back to this recipe.

We made a few substitutions to the original.
- Subbed unsweetened applesauce for the oil.
- Subbed all-purpose whole wheat & all purpose white for the cake flours.
- Subbed soy milk with 2 tsp for the buttermilk & added about an extra 1/3 cup.

And.... they still turned out great. The cherry flavour is really subtle, but then you'll get a bite of a juicy piece of cherry. And, thanks to our handy applesauce substitution, they're not that bad for you. Have a peek at how delicious they look:

So, I'm planning on making a big batch of these the next time cherries are on sale. And not sharing....


Love & cupcakes,

Monday, September 5, 2011

DIY Paper Heart Headboard

To everyone visiting from Pinterest. Thank you! I'm planning another heart paper craft for this year, so please follow this blog via GFC, BlogLovin or RSS or my "my blog" Pinterest board if you don't want to miss it.

Hey everyone! So I'm finally sitting down to write up the tutorial for the craft I mentioned last week. I made a collection of hanging paper hearts to hang above our bed.

More close-ups below.

I know it might look a little bit, maybe a lot, childish but when it comes to hearts I can't help myself. It's simple: hearts just make me happy. I'll have years to have a formal headboard and serious, adult art. But for now, I'll choose hearts. The best part about this craft is that when I turn the fan on at night, the hearts sound like rain as they hit the wall. Maybe, it's a little romantic? Oh, and I like it much better than my half-assed attempt at an art clothesline. Don't you?


Here's how to make one.

You'll need:
- a few sheets of cardstock in whatever colors you like. I used yellow, cream & white.
- a paper punch. Mine was heart-shaped, but you could do leaves, stars, dots, squares etc.
- a safety pin or needle
- scissors
- fishing line. I used .25mm.
- a plastic or wooden dowel

How to:
First, punch out as many shapes as you need from the cardstock. I used about 144 (12 hearts per strand, 12 strands). If you cut strips and punch in opposite directions, you can get more out of each sheet. 

Once you have all the shapes punched, gently poke a hole at the top and bottom of one heart with your pin/needle. You can also choose to hang your shape on a diagonal or sideways.

Cut a length of fishing line. I cut mine the length of my dowel. String the fishing line through the top hole away from you and then through the bottom hole coming toward you.

Repeat with as many shapes as you need. Then cut another strand of fishing line and repeat, repeat, repeat. I found it helpful to tape my strands up on the wall as I went to prevent them from tangling.  

Once you have all of your strands completed, tie each one to your dowel leaving at least 1inch 1-1/2 inches between each strand to keep them from tangling.

Tie two short lengths of fishing line near each end of the dowel and hang using a couple of thumbtacks. And now, all that's left is to enjoy your new, cheap, easy art.

The view when laying in bed :)

I still have a bunch of hearts left over and have visions of making a mobile for a nursery. The only problem is... I don't know anyone with a baby to give it to. To my friends, can someone have a baby so I can make you a mobile?

Love and hearts,