One of those beautiful mornings.

Have you ever had one of those mornings where you wake up early, are rushing around, are super tired, but have to get in the car because you have appointments or have to get to work or the like?

That was my morning this morning.

I had a dentist appointment, so got up early to get some things done before I had to get the boy to a friend who was babysitting. He got up late, so we were rushing, rushing, got out of the house late and were stuck behind a slow moving vehicle down the highway.

Feeling frustrated, I let my music play and continued on the drive, yawning, dreading the dentist. We turn west onto the road to my friend’s as Sufjan Steven’s song Seven Swans plays in the car. Right at the climax of the song, the height of the song, the sun breaks over the horizon — that amazing dark orangey-red glow of the morning sun — and I start to cry because it’s just so beautiful. For the last portion of the song, it was like time slowed and I saw the beautiful colours of the season, the gorgeous leaves on the trees changing colour, and I heard my boy singing along in the backseat and was just so thankful for this life and this beautiful place I call home.

Best morning ever.

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{My Latest Addiction} Heartland

If you’ve seen my Instagram, you’ll probably notice that I post a LOT of pictures of the Alberta skies, the Alberta fields, and everything I see around my beautiful province of Alberta.

Without a doubt, I love where I live.

Yes, we may get about 9 months out of the year full of winter — very COLD winter — but I absolutely love it.

Really, I could blame CTV for my latest addiction. You see, we don’t get cable, so we only have THREE channels on our TV: CBC, Global, and CTV. Until the day that our antenna (rabbit ears, anyone?) wouldn’t pick up CTV anymore. Normally I wouldn’t think anything of it, but the husband and I watched a LOT of shows on that channel. Instead, we were given the religious channel, which had NOTHING to watch on it.

So, in an attempt to find something good to watch, I had to turn to another station. CBC is a Canadian station and shows a lot of Canadian shows. I watch a few of them, but there are PLENTY of shows that I never really gave a chance. One of these shows is Heartland, a show that’s filmed in High River, Alberta featuring a Canadian cast.

All I really knew about this show was that it had horses and it was a Canadian show. So one day at around 3:00, when there used to be cooking shows aired on TV, I started watching Heartland, all the while griping about the fact that it was on.

Then …

I fell in love with it!

About two weeks of making sure I was at the TV at 3:00, I realized that I had a new addiction and I wanted more of it. I had no idea where I was in the show — it currently has 7 seasons aired — but I knew I had to start at the beginning.

So we still don’t have cable, but now we have … NETFLIX!

About a week and a half ago I’ve spent every spare second catching up on my new favourite TV show, that’s a bit like Gilmore Girls but with horses. If I’m putting together dinner or working on some business stuff, I’ll have it on in the background. Heck, I’m watching it as I write this post and the baby naps. It’s amazing how addicting this show is!

If you don’t know what Heartland is, it’s a show about a family living on a ranch called Heartland, in the fictional town of Hudson, Alberta. It follows the lives and relationships of sisters Amy and Lou Fleming, as well as the cast of characters in their lives. Their grandpa, Jack, is one of my favourite characters in the story, and there’s Ty, who is the on-again off-again romance of Amy. But aside from the people in the show, there are the HORSES!

I’ve always loved horses. In fact, my favourite movie EVER is Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken, about a girl who jumps horses. I think I’ve only ridden a horse less than a handful of times, but I just can’t get enough of them. They’re just so beautiful and majestic and I love how Heartland shows Amy taming these creatures. She’s a bit of a horse whisperer in the show and I love how each horse in the show is so unique, each having their own personalities and issues.

I’ve loved every single episode so far and I’m so happy that it’s coming back for an 8th season! I love how it showcases the beauty of Alberta (even if it doesn’t look as cold as it gets a bit more north in the province — it’s a bit warmer in the southern parts!). Watching the parts in winter make me long for the beauty of having snow on the trees and in the fields, and the parts in the summertime make me long to be out in the summer sunshine among the trees and the beauty of nature.

And I’ve never been so happy to have some horses living next door to me. Hearing them whinny brings a smile to my face, wondering if Amy Fleming could possibly ride them one day.

Did you know:

  • Heartland wasn’t originally supposed to be filmed in High River? It was in talks to be filmed in Montreal at first.
  • Shaun Johnston, the actor who plays Jack Bartlett, co-founded the Shadow Theatre, one of Edmonton’s most successful theatre companies.
  • You can take a self-guided tour of High River to see the locations where Heartland is filmed!
  • Amy Fleming has been riding horses since a young age and had ambitions to be a vet when she was younger.

Heartland comes back for its 8th season on September 28th! I can’t wait!

Have you watched Heartland? What is your favourite TV show? 

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{A Little Tea Love} Dark Chocolate Chai Infused Scones

When it comes to the fall months — okay, for me it might be a year round thing — Chai is definitely one of those super comforting drinks. The mix of spices that are a combination of spicy and sweet just warms you up on a cold day.

Chai is so popular right now that even Oprah is promoting her own blend at Starbucks.

While I do love me a good Starbucks Chai once in a while, it is SO not good for my pocketbook. So instead I’ve fallen in love with Steeped Tea’s Dark Chocolate Chai blend.

But it’s not just for drinking! While the smell of any chai is something I can totally get behind drinking all the time, or even smelling all the time — what? am I the only one who keeps a container of tea around to smell? — it’s also great for baking!

I’ve already shared my Earl Grey Tea cookie recipe that I love so much and now I have a great scone recipe infused with the wonderful aroma of chai. These are sure to be a hit!

Dark Chocolate Chai SconesThese scones are going to be devoured at your next tea party! And everyone will want the recipe.

Dark Chocolate Chai Infused Scones
Adapted from Fresh Food Perspectives

2 tsp. Dark Chocolate Chai loose leaf tea
3/4 cup milk

1 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup unsalted, cold butter, grated
1/2 cup of chai-infused milk
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons of chai-infused milk
Splash of vanilla

The day before you prepare your scones, you’re going to want to start infusing your milk. You could use your loose leaf tea to make yourself a cup first, then dump the tea leaves into a container with your milk and pop it in the fridge. Alternatively, you could heat up the leaves on the stove with your milk for a little bit, then let the mixture cool, pop a lid on it and let it steep overnight in the fridge.

Once your tea is steeped, pour the mixture into another bowl throw a fine sieve, pressing to get as much of the milk out of the leaves as you can. The mixture is going to be a beautiful caramel colour (and it will smell amazing!).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together flours, brown sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. In a measuring cup, whisk together a half cup  of your chai-infused milk, 1 egg, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Set aside.

Add the cold butter to flour mixture and mix in. You can use a flour cutter or cut it in with two forks. Continue until the butter is well incorporated into the mixture.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until combined. It will be a bit of a stiff dough. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Once your dough is chilled, pull it out of the fridge and dump it onto a lightly floured surface. Pat it out to form an 8-inch circle and slice into triangles. You can leave it as 8 larger scones, but I like to slice up each larger scone into a smaller one — perfect for tea time!

Bake for about 16 minutes, until the tops start to brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Once cooled, you can drizzle the glaze over top. Whisk together the powdered sugar, 2 tbsp. of your chai-infused milk, and vanilla. Pour the mixture into a ziploc bag, cut a small hole in the corner and drizzle. Allow them to sit so the icing can set.

These freeze beautifully, but are best when served fresh.

Do you use tea for cooking? Any good recipe suggestions?

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