Archive for February, 2011

February 25, 2011

Homemade Lemonade

The sun is staying out longer these days which means summer is coming (only six more months). This all has me catching a case of spring fever. I just can’t WAIT to shed my parka and wool socks. I find myself trying to find little ways to add some sunshine to my days and what better way than tangy, sweet, summery, yellow, homemade lemonade? The secret to great lemonade is making a simple syrup to sweeten it with (very easy, trust me).

1 cup of fresh lemon juice (5 – 8 lemons, freshly squeezed – you can use bottled lemon juice but it will affect the taste a little)

6 cups cold water

¾ to 1 cup sugar

Slices of lemon

In a saucepan combine sugar and 1 cup of water to make a simple syrup. Simmer over medium heat until sugar is dissolved.

Combine lemon juice, simple syrup and the remaining water in a pitcher and chill.

Serve over ice with slices of lemon.

Ingredients can be adjusted to taste, add more lemon juice if you prefer your lemonade more tart!

In a pitcher, combine the lemon juice and cold water. Slowly stir in the sugar, tasting periodically until you reach the desired sweet-tart taste. Once the lemonade is well blended, serve in glasses of ice and garnish with a slice of lemon. (Please note: bottled lemon juice may be used in lieu of freshly squeezed lemons but the taste will not be as snappy.)

February 25, 2011

däv Rainboots

There’s nothing a west coast girl needs more than a good pair of rainboots. My current fave in this department is Southern California’s däv. They specialize in combining fashion and function – warm and cozy fleece liners, shock absorbing cushions and adjustable fit panels make this more than your average rubber boot. They’ve got everything from equestrian, to city, to lace up to western. I was lucky enough to open a big box with their English Floral Boots inside this past Christmas. Check out däv’s collection and let the puddle jumping begin!

February 23, 2011

Live The Language Videos

Please do yourself a favour today and watch these videos! Commissioned by EF Language-Learning school, these 4 amazing videos definitely have me wanting to fly across the world and soak up some culture and fun! What a great way to use typography. I think Barcelona is my favourite… No Beijing.. I mean London…. Ok, ok, its Barcelona. More at art director Albin Holmqvist’s site.

February 23, 2011

Daily Spark.Feb 23 11

It’s the 2 chairs that really do it here for me. I love that nature inspired fabric on the slipper chair. It does such a nice job of brightening up the black wall (which looks sooooo good). And check out the back of the desk chair – great shape!

February 22, 2011

Daily Spark.Feb 22 11

Hmmmm is that 2 ovens I see? This kitchen would be so fun to cook in! It makes me want to make tomato sauce and red velvet cakes. How cool would it be if the wall behind the sink was done in chalkboard paint? Love it!

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February 22, 2011

Chicken and Mango Lettuce Wraps

These lettuce wraps are the best meal. They really are – so good for you they taste unbelievable! The sauce is so yummy that I think I am going to start bottling it.  You have to make these, even if you don’t cook. Thankfully there isn’t that much cooking involved

For the Sauce:

1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar

1/4 cup vegetable oil

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

1/8 cup soy sauce

1/8 cup finely chopped peeled fresh ginger (from a 2- by 3-inch piece)

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1/4 teaspoon Asian sesame oil

For the Wraps:

3 chicken breasts

1/2 cup fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon mild honey

1/2 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup olive oil

1 head of iceberg or butter lettuce, leaves separated

1/2  cut into matchsticks

3 chopped scallions (green onion)

1 ripe mango (manilla are my favourite) cut into matchsticks

1 red pepper cut into matchsticks

2 chopped jalapeno peppers

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Method:

Start by cooking your chicken and your rice. I put the chicken breasts in the oven at about 375 degrees and leave it in there for about 30 minutes or until it is fully cooked through and no longer pink inside.  As for rice, use a rice cooker or follow the package instructions.

Make the sauce – combine all of the sauce ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend on high for about one minutes until all pureed. Give it a taste. I sometimes like to add more ginger than it calls for. Double the recipe if you want some leftover (great great great on salads)

In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, honey, red pepper flakes and salt. While continuing to whisk, slowly stream in olive oil. Put aside (you will use this for your chicken later).

Prepare and chop all of your vegetables.

Once chicken is cooked, shred it using 2 forks and mix with your lime and honey mixture.

I like to make a little spread of the chicken, rice, sauce, lettuce and all the veggies and let everyone serve themselves by making their own wraps and choosing the ingredients that they would like.

February 21, 2011

Daily Spark.Feb 21 11

Its dreary again here on the west coast. Why not give yourself some sunshine at home? Orange is one of my favourite colours (I can hear Ryan and his entire family cringing). The orange here looks so warm with the painted out cream brick and the carmelly wood floors. Nice place for a book and a cup of tea if you ask me!

February 21, 2011

Books By the Foot

One of my most current obsessions is colour coded bookcases. What a great way to organize all of those prized possessions! For those of us that are still working on our libraries of masterpieces, companies like Books By The Foot can offer you a jump-start. Whether you want books in particular colours or on specific subjects they’ve got them! You choose what you are looking for and how much you want, and they will send you actual books in all of your specifications!

February 18, 2011

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Covered Cherries

I first tasted these absolutely delish little pieces of happiness this Christmas when Ryan’s mama made them. I couldn’t believe how good they were when I had my first bite. Chocolate covered cherries are my dad’s favourite thing. His kryptonite I would even say so naturally these were his birthday gift (I’ll get him that Corvette one day). He LOVED them and I knew it when I saw his face as he ate.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup peanut butter

1 teaspoon real vanilla extract

2 cups icing sugar

24 to 26 maraschino cherries with stems

Additional icing sugar

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate (chips or bakers)

1 teaspoon oil

Directions

Take your cherries out of the jar and pat them dry. Let them air dry (the drier the better).

In a small bowl, beat the butter and peanut butter until smooth. Beat in vanilla. Gradually add icing sugar and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Dust hands with additional icing sugar. Wrap each cherry with a rounded tablespoon full of peanut butter mixture. I find the easiest way to do this is to roll the peanut butter mixture into a ball, flatten it out in your hands and wrapping it around. Peanut butter mixture may need to be refrigerated occasionally while rolling cherries. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Melt chocolate  and oil in a double boiler (pot of boiling water with another pot or metal bowl on top if it for those who aren’t sure).

Dip peanut butter balls in chocolate; allow excess to drip off. Place on waxed paper. Place in the freezer to set.

They can be stored in the fridge or the freezer – I suggest freezer.

February 18, 2011

How To: Homemade Cards

Yesterday was my daddy’s birthday! I love making my parents homemade cards. Whenever they see them their faces light up and I feel a little girl who just had a drawing go up on the fridge. They are always so proud! Cards are a lot easier to make than they look and trust me… They impress everyone.

What you need:

1 piece of card stock paper for the base of the card (Any craft store – I get mine at Michael’s)

Pretty paper for your cupcakes (Any craft store – Check the scrapbook section, they usually have some clearance paper, I got mine for 29 cents each!)

Some stick on jewels, or glitter, or buttons, or ribbon, or flowers… you get the idea

A little bit of love

To Make:

Cut out cupcake shapes in your decorative paper (if you are worried about drawing the cupcake, you can email me and I will send you the template that I drew).

Glue your cupcakes on your card stock in a pyramid shape (or any shape your little heart desires). I like to use something called rubber-cement to glue my pieces down. You can buy it in any craft/art store and sometimes even at the dollar store. It is great because it doesn’t wrinkle paper and it wipes off once dry with zero residue. You can also use any other glue you may have on hand.

Use a few different colours and sizes of stick on jewels to decorate your cupcakes.

Voila! You could sell that baby at Hallmark for big bucks!