Saturday, February 27, 2010

Weekend Getaway

I forgot to mention that I am going away for a girl's night tomorrow!  In celebration of a friend's birthday, a bunch of us are leaving our spouses and children and treating ourselves to a spa-day, a fantastic dinner and a night away!  
We're going to Langdon Hall in Cambridge, Ontario.  I've never been but have heard nothing but amazing things about the place itself and the services (and food) they provide.
I'll be sure to take lots of pictures and fill you in on my return!
images via Langdon Hall
Until then, have a wonderful and safe weekend...

Friday, February 26, 2010

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Spring Wardrobe Update

I took a quick peek at the J.Crew new arrivals and spotted a few pieces that would be great as we move into Spring...I love the materials, colours and drapey-ness of these items.  I also love how they all work with my existing wardrobe (essential) and feel completely appropriate for my lifestyle right now.  Great for everyday but I could dress anyone of these pieces up for a night out!  Have you found anything that you just have to have for Spring?

It's Snowing Again!

Winter has arrived this week!  
images via Martha Stewart
We woke up this morning and it's snowing again.  I must confess that I'm actually enjoying it...Maybe it's because I know that it can't last too long (right?!) and that spring is around the corner...

Family Recipes - Orzo Salad

This is the perfect go-to recipe for just about everything.  It works as a side dish, quick lunch, a pot luck dinner or even a main dish with some added protein; chicken or salmon anyone?  Everybody loves it and it is really easy to make (do you see a pattern here?).  
This recipe yeilds enough for 6 plus leftovers!  Oh, feel free to omit or add things to make it your own...this is truly  an adaptable dish:
Orzo Salad
1 Quart chicken broth (4 cups)
1 1/2 cups orzo
1 can chick peas (drained and rinsed)
a handful of grape tomatoes halved (or use what you have)
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup chopped mint leaves 

Red Wine Vinaigrette
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tsp. honey
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup olive oil
Mix the vinegar, lemon juice and honey in a bowl and slowly add in the olive oil.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Bring the chicken broth to a boil in a heavy bottomed saucepan; add the orzo and cook for 7 minutes.  Drain and transfer to a wide-rimmed bowl to allow it to cool completely.  Toss the orzo with the chick peas, onion, fresh herbs and about 3/4 of a cup of the vinaigrette.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve at room temperature or cold.  

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Oh My!  I post this as I sit and snack on a few sweeties...
With 2 shops in London, Hope and Greenwood has captured a bit of heaven.  I love the palette and fantastic presentaion of the sweets... Maybe someone will open one in my neck of the woods?!
images via Light Locations
I hope you're day has been great and if not perhaps these images will help turn it around....
Check in tomorrow as I'll have a super delicious and easy side dish to serve with your dinner ( I promise you'll love it)!!

Thinking About...

Peacock Blues...
and shots of burnt orange...
images via Abigail Ahern

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Quick Snack

Do you get the munchies around this time everyday?  Maybe it hits around 3...mine is usually around the time Max gets home from school.
Here's a fantastic snack option for both parents and kids and it only takes a few minutes to prepare....
Crunchy Pumpkin Seeds
(via fine cooking magazine)
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1 tsp. olive oil
11/2 tsp. ground coriander
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. dried dill
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 325F.  Toss the seeds in the olive oil and place on a baking sheet large enough to hold them in a single layer.  Bake, stirring occasionally, until golden, roughly 10-15 minutes.  Ovens vary so I suggest keeping your eye on them the last 5 minutes...remember too that they tend to continue cooking for a few minutes after they are removed from the oven.
Once they are roasted, toss them immediately with the spices.  Transfer to a small dish and dig in!
Oh - I always do a handful tossed in sea salt only as well.  Olivia prefers them this way and the leftovers are great tossed in a salad...

Organize My World-Back Door

I find it's a constant struggle to keep everything organized in our house.  With two kids (one at home still), two adults who both work from home and a cat (who has too many play structures) there seems to always be stuff to be picked up and put away.  We've managed to do a pretty good job for creating a place for everything (which in my mind is the key to organization) but the one area that is a constant struggle is the back door.
my back entry 
This happens to be the most frequent entry point for us so boots and shoes, car keys, homework, mail etc. all inevitably end up her.  Oh, did I mention that this is also our kitchen!
I have spent the last few months trying to find the perfect catch-alls to hang on our wall but have yet to see them - until today! 
Jan over at Poppytalk (one of my favourites!!) posted this yesterday and I just had to share it with you.  This is my perfect solution!  
I'm now on a quest to find them locally...wish me luck!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Weekend Snippets

Happy Monday!
 I nearly forgot to post this...sorry!I didn't get many snaps this weekend because I spent a lot of time with my hands too filthy to pick up the camera.
I picked up a huge lot of vintage jewelry that I was busy cleaning (messier than you 'd think).  We did a bunch of wall repair and patching as well and  finally tackled my little chest of drawers!!  I'll give a proper before and after once the final details are finished but this will give you a hint...
Oh - and there was also an enormous amount of cooking....

Family Recipes - Split Pea Soup

I love soup.
Pretty much any kind will do (except mushroom - I can't get into mushrooms).  I love how hearty and warming it is on a cold day and how you get everything you need in one bowl.  Also, as a mum soup goes a long way with my budget and also my time.  I can prepare everything in advance and get on with my day as the soup is cooking.  When it's time to eat, only a couple of last minute preparations are need to get dinner on the table - I love that!!
This is my grandmother's recipe for split pea soup.  It is beyond delicious and super easy to make.  Freeze those ham bones from Christmas or Easter and pull them out when you want a fantastic but easy dinner.

2 tblsp butter
2 medium carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 onion coarsly chopped
1 1/2 cups split peas (I used green but yellow or orange would be great as well)
8 cups of liquid (water, vegetable or chicken stock)
1 ham hock
Rinse and pick over the peas discarding any misshapen ones and stones.
Melt butter in a soup pot over medium heat.  Add the onion, carrot and celery and sautee until soft, about 10 minutes.  Add the split peas, ham hock and liquid.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low and simmer for about an hour.
Remove the soup from heat. Remove the ham hock from soup but do not discard.  You want to let the ham cool until you can handle it.
Using an immersion blender (or regular blender, in batches) puree the soup until smooth.  Thin the soup with more stock or water if necessary and return to the stove to reheat to serving temperature.  Season with salt and pepper if needed.
While the soup is heating, remove the meat from the ham hock and cut into small pieces.  Add to the soup.
Ladle into bowls and serve with fresh bread or toasted croutons.
Serves 6.

  If by chance ham isn't your thing, try this great vegetarian version - it'll hit the spot!

Friday, February 19, 2010

In the Works

We are busy working on some fabulous, family-friendly recipes!!  Stay tuned...
Have a great weekend!

Things that make me smile

A beautiful cool, crisp winter morning.....
Bare Trees via Flickr

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Vintage Finds

Sometimes I'm amazed by the things I come across when I go to my mum's house...things I've obviously grown up with but have looked beyond or just not taken much notice of.  Well, this past weekend I collected some treasures and wanted to share them with you.  
McVitie's Biscuit free sample tin
sewing needles with just the most amazing packaging!
the tiniest forks
a series of pins...
I'm looking forward to putting these items to good use.   The quality of the needles are beyond anything I have seen and I'm thinking that the little pins will be fantastic worked into either some jewelry or other craft (perhaps a series of small frames?).  I'm undecided about the forks yet but I'll keep you posted. 
 Have a great day!