Recipe: Fudgy chocolate peanut butter brownies
A decadent brownie recipe that perfectly combines peanut butter and fudgy chocolate.
For the brownies
For the topping
1 Preheat the oven to 325°F.
2 Lightly grease a 9" square baking pan and set aside.
3 In a small saucepan, melt the butter, peanut butter and chopped chocolate over a gentle low heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture is smooth and well combined.
4 Remove from the heat. Whisk together the sugar and the eggs in a large bowl. Add the melted chocolate mixture, stirring to combine.
5 In a small bowl, sift together the cocoa powder, flour and baking powder and stir into the egg mixture, folding gently until combined. Stir through the chopped peanuts. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
6 For the topping, drag the 2 tablespoons of peanut butter through the surface of the batter in small swirls with the tip of a knife. Sprinkle with peanuts and chocolate chips.
7 Bake for 30 minutes. Allow brownies to cool completely before cutting into squares.
Peonies wallpaper in Copper by Rifle Paper Co.
Wake up your space with one of these graphic and colourful wallcoverings.
Graphic and gripping, colourful and curious, bold and bright – these imaginative wallcoverings are no wallflowers, and they’re sure to energize any area of your home.
Few wallpaper designs are able to draw us into a world of whimsy quite like this quirky and colourful hot air balloon print. It’s the perfect fit for a bright modern nursery or an eclectic workspace. Schumacher Balloons wallpaper in Multi, through designers, Bilbrough & Co., $372 per single roll.
Inspired by the intricate shapes of crystals, this graphic wallpaper will literally have you peering at a room from an entirely new angle. Add to the unexpected look by opting for it in an emerald green hue. Cole & Son Curio Quartz wallpaper in Emerald Green, through designers, Kravet Canada, $234 per double roll.
Channel the tropics with this vibrant Osborne & Little wallpaper, which showcases flamingos peering through exotic flora. As far as we’re concerned, the flamingo trend is here to stay. Osborne & Little Matthew Williamson Cubana Flamingo Club W6800 wallpaper in 01, through designers, Primavera, $406 per double roll.
A true showpiece on its own, this bold patterned wallpaper draws from global influences. Featuring exotic flora and fauna, the print reflects a life well travelled. Thibaut Trade Routes Goa wallpaper in Blue, through designers, Kravet Canada, $128 per single roll.
Beloved stationary brand Rifle Paper Co. partnered with modern fabric company Hygge & West to bring forth beautifully designed wall coverings, such as this oh-so-dainty and delightful floral print. Peonies wallpaper in Copper, Rifle Paper Co., $190 US per double roll.
Portland-based interior designer Caitlin Wilson knows a thing or two about fashioning pretty and playful textiles. Take this delicate floral wallpaper for instance, which has a way of breathing new life into a space. Blooms Grande wallpaper in White, Caitlin Wilson, $178 US per double roll.
Add dimension and personality to your space with elegant wallpaper like this hand-screen printed option from designer Jill Malek. It will instantly lend your home a feminine glam feel. Peel wallpaper in Blush Gold, Jill Malek, $170 per single roll.
If there’s going to be an elephant in the room, it might as well be through this eclectic black and white wallpaper. While it may be tempting to apply the paper on multiple surfaces, we suggest starting small and using it to create an accent wall. Abnormals Anonymous Gossip wallpaper in Men in Black, NewWall, $95 per yard.
Buying guide: The truth about thread count
Is there anything better than sliding into a bed laden with good quality sheets? At the end of the day, I can't wait to stretch out under my fresh, soft covers and nestle my face into a good cotton-covered pillow. We spend a third of our lives in bed so quality sheets are key, but how do you get quality for your money? There's no doubt that most consumers believe the higher the thread count, the better the quality, but this isn't entirely true. With the help and expertise of Joanna Goodman, owner of Au Lit Fine Linens, we expose the truth about thread count and what it takes to find quality bed sheets.
What is thread count, really?
Simply put, thread count is the number of threads woven into one square inch of fabric. This number is based on the threads woven horizontally ("weft") and vertically ("warp"). Extra threads can also be woven into the weft threads to increase the thread count. These added threads are called "picks" and are added in the overall count, which is how some sheets end up having thread counts in the thousands. This is why the idea that high counts equal better quality isn't really accurate. Consider this: Joanna says most weavers will say the maximum number of threads that can be woven into one square inch of fabric is 500 to 600. Though the number is arguable and, according to Joanna, "depends on the mill you deal with," it gives you an idea of where the line is between single-ply, unpicked weaves and ones that add threads here and there to bump up the count.
What to look for when buying sheets
Joanna lists three things to look for on the label: if it's Egyptian cotton, where it's woven and, lastly, the thread count. While thread count is a bit misunderstood, the buzz around Egyptian cotton is true. "The very best cotton in the world is grown in Egypt. So Egyptian cotton will be of a better quality," Joanna says. She also recommends pima cotton, which is grown in America, "though not quite as exceptional as Egyptian." When it comes to weaving, however, she swears by the Italians as being the "master weavers of the world" due to their "long tradition of weaving" and use of the best Egyptian cotton. Be sure the label says 100% or pure Egyptian cotton though, otherwise it may only contain a small percentage of the good stuff. As for the thread count, look for a minimum of 200. From there, it's all about preference!
What to avoid when buying sheets
Joanna's one key piece of advice is to watch out for extremely low priced, high thread count sheet sets. A complete sheet set with a high thread count for $100 or less is probably not the dream bargain you think it is. As Joanna believes, "you always get what you pay for." The price tag for bed linens will vary depending on the sheet size and what items you're buying, such as a duvet cover, sheet sets, or pillowcases. "A superior quality 200 thread count queen set (including flat, fitted, two pillowcases), made of Egyptian cotton and woven in Europe, could retail reasonably for about $150-$250," says Joanna.
What do you prefer?
After going through the quality checklist, go with what feels best for you. If you're looking for a durable linen, Joanna recommends any percale from thread count 200 to 800. Percale is any cotton woven with a 200 thread count or higher and will be more durable than a cotton satin of the same thread count. It's also less likely to pill than cotton satin because it has a denser weave. Love the feel of a cotton button down shirt? Joanna advises a crisp, dense 200 thread count percale. Prefer a silkier sheet? Go for a 300 to 600 cotton satin. If you want lighter sheets, Joanna says, a 400 thread count sheet can be soft and light, while an 800 percale would be soft and dense. The higher the thread count, the more likely multiple-ply thread is used or picks are added, making the fabric denser and heavier.
Now you know that quality is not just about the number, so don't let numbers rule your bed! Remember what to look for on the label and be wary of too-low prices for supposedly high quality items. Beyond that, go with what you prefer. Get a good feel of the sheets before buying. Whether you're unzipping the packaging or lying down on a display bed, make sure the fabric feels good against your skin and soon you'll be having sweet dreams!
Find out how to keep your new linens crisp and clean with our tips to whiter-than-white sheets.
Tour this Vancouver home's modern eclectic look.
This Vancouver home's modern eclectic look is a testament to the power of a sister act.
Now that the dust has settled on their massive whole-house renovation, homeowners Anna Wright and Alistair Sale – both busy professionals and parents of Lewis, 10, Freddie, 8, and George, 6 – each have their favourite features of the new interior. For Alistair, the cook of the family, the open kitchen is the (long-awaited) best part. Anna is most excited about the master ensuite bathroom she doesn’t have to share with the kids. And for the boys, it’s their bigger playroom in the finished basement.
The Vancouver family lived in the 3,700-square-foot 1920s home for five years before embarking on the huge overhaul. “I’m so glad we lived in the house for a while first and figured out what we wanted,” says Anna. “If we’d done the renovation right away, we would have done things very differently, and those decisions probably wouldn’t work for us now.”
The crisp white brick fireplace surround, built-ins and original wood panelling set off the dark grey on the upper walls of the den. Leaded glass cabinetry doors are another original feature. The antique chandelier was picked up at a London flea market.
A contemporary pale orange sofa pops against the white panelling and dark grey walls. The Mid-Century Modern desk was a lucky find at an antiques store a few years back, as was the Tolix chair.
Going vintage is often a more economical decorating idea than buying brand new, says Sophie.
The birdcage pendant light adds another unexpected dose of colour and whimsy.
In the dining area, an antique zinc-topped table from a French flea market pairs well with mismatched colourful Eames dining chairs. “We thought the different hues of the dining chairs would be quirky and fun,” says homeowner Anna Wright.
The designer pendant light was a pricey find from London, England.
Expanding the existing skylight and adding more windows above the sink brought loads of natural light into the white painted kitchen. Homeowner Alistair Sale greatly appreciates the bigger sink, but extra kitchen counter space, double wall ovens and a gas cooktop were at the top of his must-have list.
French doors lead out to a newly enlarged wraparound deck off the open kitchen/dining area, making the backyard much more accessible. The kitchen peninsula is perfect for casual breakfasts and homework time.
The zinc top on the antique dining table can take plenty of wear and tear from everyday family meals; the stark white modern dishware strikes a pleasing contrast against the patinated surface.
A desk area in the kitchen serves as the family workspace and offers plenty of storage space for the kids’ paperwork and school supplies. Inspirational photos and small pieces of art bring personality to the nook.
The new master ensuite bathroom is Anna’s retreat from hectic work and family life.
The matching gold mirrors in the master ensuite are a glitzy big-box score.
Grey and white cement floor tiles provide ornate pattern in the otherwise serene white room.
The bathroom floor tiles themselves weren't very expensive, but shipping the from California was.