And the winner is….

February 24th, 2014

Annabelle! Congratulations!! I’ll be sending you a 2014 My Dog Panda calendar tomorrow!

With a whopping three comments, this giveaway had VERY good odds, haha :) Thank-you so much, dear ladies, for participating! Panda sends you all kisses! xo

Happy Pandaversary!

February 21st, 2014

Happy Pandaversary!

*This giveaway is now closed – congratulations to Annabelle for winning!

Happy third Pandaversary! To commemorate three years of kisses, hugs, snow angels, grass rolling, car-trunk-hijacking, ball-non-retrieving, carrot-munching, cat-food-stealing, ear-scratching, tail-chasing and all-around smiley-ness and joy for life, I am giving away one of the few Panda calendars left in my possession. We have managed to sell almost all of them and I am so grateful – I can’t wait to make a collective donation to the Frontier Animal Society on your behalf!

Please leave a comment below if you’d like to participate for a chance to win a 2014 My Dog Panda calendar – I will be randomly selecting a winner on Monday. And as always, in honour of Pandaversary, feel free to do one of the following things today (or, continue to celebrate all weekend!)

- share hugs, kisses and smiles
- go for a walk outside
- take a nap or three
- eat some carrots

Panda will be getting even more love than usual today – if that is even possible. Have a wonderful weekend everybody!

Calendar Girl

December 17th, 2013

Here at Girlfriday, we like to give back. As 2013 winds down, I’m proud to have donated work and time this year to the very deserving and amazing Ten Oaks Project in Ottawa, as well as the tirelessly hard-working St. Mary’s Hospital Foundation in Montreal. This year, Panda asked if she could get in on the fund-raising fun – so we hatched up a little calendar project to give back to Panda’s favourite cause, because they are also the reason she is alive today. Now you can get your monthly dose of Panda even when the internet is out!

Panda Calendar 2014

I’m pretty excited to finally have a first offering in my Etsy shop, and extra-pleased that any profit these calendars make will be going straight to the Frontier Animal Society. We’re hoping to make this an annual fund-raising tradition!

Panda Calendar 2014

I’d like to give a big thanks to Mylène and Warren at Pazazz, who were very patient with me and did such a beautiful job on the printing. The 2014 My Dog Panda calendar is in a handy 5 x 7″ postcard format, printed on satin finish FSC-certified card stock – I love how it turned out. A special thanks also to my darling Christian, who helped take the pictures.

Click here if you’d like to purchase a 2014 My Dog Panda calendar for yourself or for the animal-lover in your life, and give back to an amazing, no-kill animal shelter to boot. It’ll give you the warm fuzzies, Panda style.

We love our calendar girl!

Fresh Work: Lake Jane

November 27th, 2013

I am just a tad behind on my work posts – even though my next few work updates won’t necessarily be the freshest in freshly freshed freshmakers, please bear with me as I try to get caught up.

This past summer I helped my dear friend Marie-Eve Best update her very popular blog, which also happens to be one of my favourites: Lake Jane. If you didn’t know already, Marie-Eve is incredibly talented in many areas: interior design, fashion, cooking, diys, writing… I could go on. Her blog is a lovely mix of personal stories, recipes and fabulous fashion and design discoveries. She recently started up an interior design consulting business and I speak from experience when I say that she is a power-charged dynamo that flies into your space and whips it into shape before you have time to blink – all while remaining affordable and creatively re-using what you already own. She’s currently helping me finish my office space so I’ll be sure to share the end result when we’re done. Marie-Eve has flawless taste, so I was a little bit nervous about fulfilling her expectations – but lucky for me, she is also a fabulous communicator and I’m really proud of the end result!

Lake Jane blog redesign close-up

To keep the content front and center, we developed a look that was light but distinctive. A subtle grid design, soft watercolour grays and a little hint of mint brought everything together.

Lake Jane blog redesign

If you haven’t yet gotten hooked on Lake Jane, go on, take a gander and enjoy! And thank-you, Marie-Eve, for the great project – it was such a delight to work with you :)

Happiness Is…

October 25th, 2013

Fall daydreaming. Best performed on a carpet of crunchy leaves, listening to the squirrels and taking deep breaths while the sun shines down and warms your fur face. Have a lovely weekend, everybody!

Fall daydreaming

Cashew butter cookies

*waves*

Today’s groundhog-like emergence from blog hibernation is for one very important reason: cookies!

Said hibernation was disappointingly due to chronic illness – when health issues become too big to handle, I need to re-prioritize, and social media fun therefore comes to a halt. Things are slowly on the upswing so hopefully I’ll be popping in here a bit more often from now on. But, I digress – this post is not about illness, it’s about cookies. Delightful, scrumptious, stuff-your-face cookies. When you’ve eaten nothing more than a few plain meats and even less vegetables for months on end, the possibility of cookies is truly glorious.

These aren’t “ordinary” cookies in the sense that they are grain free, gluten free, dairy free and refined sugar free. Not exactly a ringing endorsement for a sweet treat, I know, but you’d be surprised what deliciousness can come from restrictions – in fact, one could argue that when challenged by a swarm of “can’ts”, the most triumphant kind of yumminess can result. I can safely eat a small mountain of these and not feel ill for days afterwards, so these are the best cookies in the whole world, currently.

You can make these cookies with other nut butters. Cashew butter is quite expensive; it’s just what I seem to be able to handle best right now, and it’s reeeeally delicious, so that’s what I use. I tried two different brands of cashew butter, and got two very different results:

Cashew butter cookies

My first (and favourite) batches were made with this cashew butter. It’s a raw cashew butter with no other added ingredients – it is soooo yummy. The resulting cookies are sweet and chewy with an almost caramel-like flavour. They have a slight crust to them when they are fresh from the oven, but over time become almost Dali-clock-like in their pliability. I think that if one were to use sugar instead of honey as sweetener it would help with this, but since that’s not an option for me at the moment I will just enjoy my Dali clocks and twirl my imaginary moustache.

The second cashew butter I tried contains dry-roasted cashews and sunflower oil, and resulted in a very different cookie. They didn’t spread out as much while baking, the texture was more dense and the flavour was completely different: tasty, but less sweet and totally missing the caramel-ish flavour. I suspect it’s the dry-roasting that’s responsible. And, they were a little bit greasy on the fingers. I actually wanted to like these ones better because this cashew butter retails for almost half the price of the first one – but when it’s one of the only things you can eat, I guess you just gotta splurge sometimes.

The recipe I’m including below uses the first kind of cashew butter and is inspired by this recipe. These cookies are also Paleo and SCD-friendly. Flourless nut butter cookies are infinitely Google-able so I encourage you to experiment – I think these would taste amazing with chocolate chunks or diced dried fruit, but I can’t eat either of those things just yet. Which is pretty tragic, yes. But don’t worry. I have cookies.

Cashew butter cookies

Cashew Butter Cookies

makes: approximately 30

1 egg
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 shakes of cinnamon
1/3 cup honey
1 cup cashew butter (or, one 227 g/8 oz jar of Artisana Raw Cashew Butter)
slivered blanched almonds or other (chocolate chunks, dried fruit, chopped nuts)

Preheat your oven to 350F. Line 1-3 cookie sheets with parchment paper (I use 2 cookie sheets and just rotate them so I don’t use up too much parchment paper). Combine first six ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk together. Add cashew butter and mix well. Using a small cookie scoop (a bit less than a tablespoon per cookie) drop them onto the cookie sheet, about 9 per sheet. Sprinkle slivered almonds on top. Bake them one tray at a time on the middle rack for 8-10 minutes, until the tops are lightly golden. They brown quickly at the end so keep an eye on them. Allow to cool on the tray for 5-10 minutes. Eat one. Grin with delight. Make a pot of tea and have some more. And don’t forget to share :)

Happiness Is…

April 12th, 2013

Happiness Is... Freedom

A little freedom. A month ago I slipped on some black ice and broke a little bone in my left wrist – ouch. Our amazing neighbours gave up their Sunday to drive me to the hospital, which is about as generous and sweet as you can get. The doctor said it’s a bone that doesn’t heal well and I’ve been on meds for my IBD that have weakened my bones, so I’ve been crossing my fingers for four weeks hoping that there would be no complications. As of a few days ago, the cast is off, yay! There is still some pain and we want to rule out ligament damage so I’m starting physio next week. More fingers crossed that the pain subsides. I’ll be busy catching up on a mountain of email and giving Christian lots of extra hugs for all his help this past month. In the meantime, I don’t have to shower like the Statue of Liberty anymore! Yay! Happy weekend everyone!

Happiness Is…

February 23rd, 2013

A very furry mini side-project! As promised. All Panda, all the time. I’ll be posting several times a week with a mix of old and new at mydogpanda.com. Happy snowy weekend everybody!

Happiness Is... mydogpanda.com

Happy 2nd Pandaversary!

February 21st, 2013

Happy 2nd Pandaversary!

It’s the perfect day to come out of blog hibernation: it’s time to celebrate our second Pandaversary! Two years ago we met – last year we celebrated year 1. I can barely remember what life was like before Panda – she’s such a constant, happy, sweet, goofy presence in our daily lives. Her joie de vivre makes it really easy to appreciate things you would otherwise be groaning about – like mountains of snow in February. It comes as no surprise that Panda brings smiles to just about everybody she meets – she’s a real cheerer-upper, so if you’re having a low day, drop by my Instagram and prepare to smile. After some advice and requests from friends I’ve decided to start a Tumblr so that you don’t have to wade through the rest of my pesky life to get your Panda fix, so stay tuned for that. Here are a few ways that you can celebrate Pandaversary:

- Take a walk outside.
- Take a nap.
- Share kisses and hugs.
- Smile at a stranger.
- Eat some carrots.

Those are all on Panda’s agenda for today. We love you Panda! Happy Pandaversary!!

Don’t forget to support your local shelter. Thank-you Frontier Animal Society.

Happiness Is…

November 30th, 2012

Getting back into things after a few months away! Howdy and nice to be back. Everybody needs a little break now and then. Speaking of breaks…

Happiness Is... back!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!