Monthly Archives

November 2010

COCKTAILS + wine FOOD + DRINK

Jamie Oliver’s Christmas Spirit Cocktail

christmas spirit cocktail recipe by Jamie Oliver

christmas spirit cocktail recipe by Jamie Oliver

You know by now that I believe it is a must to prepare a signature drink to greet your guests. I found a recipe from Jamie Oliver that requires no bar tools.  It is easy to remember how to make it since Jamie’s Christmas spirit cocktail contains only 2 ingredients: iced cold tequila and pomegranate seeds.

Jamie suggests to not swallow the iced cold tequila until you’ve crunched the pomegranate seeds because they add a real burst of fragrance and flavor in your mouth. Remember the ice shooter glasses I made two years ago for my husband’s birthday party, they would add a special touch here.

SOURCING:
+ Jamie Oliver’s Christmas spirit cocktail recipe
+ photo by David Loftus

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

Holiday Printables Round-Up – Part 2: Decorations

Holiday Printables :: Christmas Subway Art and Banner

Holiday Printables :: Christmas Subway Art and Banner

There are so many amazing FREE printables available for Christmas. So many, in fact, that we had to split our round-up into four parts! If you haven’t started decorating for the holidays Part 2 is decking your halls with cute, printable and FREE options.

The sisters at Eighteen25 created this poster that’s a typography lover’s dream. It would make a sweet holiday addition to a mantle or entryway. Don’t miss the instructions for the coordinating pennant banner.

This paper chain garland style from WhipUp is likely a flashback to the Christmases of your childhood, but the downloadable patterns in fresh colorways give it a modern update.

Holiday Printables :: paper and gingerbread garland

Kids will love this printable gingerbread man garland from Amy Karol at Angry Chicken. It’s an easy project for kids to decorate their bedroom or play area.

Missed part 1? Check out our round-up of printable holiday lists. Up next: printable cards and tags!

SOURCING:
+ Christmas Subway Art and Banner from Eighteen2
+ Paper Garland from WhipUp
+ Gingerbread Garland from Angry Chicken

ENTERTAINING PAPER goods

Holiday Printables Round-Up – Part 1: Planning

Holiday Printables :: christmas shopping gift list

Holiday Printables :: shopping lists :: holiday planner and to-do lists

There are so many amazing FREE printables available for Christmas. So many, in fact, that we had to split our round-up into four parts! Part 1 is all about planning, with several cute and clever printable options that will have you writing lists just for fun.

How many shopping lists will you write during the holiday season? Keep them cute – and your budget in check – with this printable from Pink Peacock Designs. Whether you print the complete organized or the blank version, this planner from Giver’s Log will help you have an ultra-organized handmade holiday. This printable list from All Sorts is a colorful and versatile option for all your holiday to-dos.

Holiday Printables :: christmas shopping gift checklist

Instead of writing separate lists for shopping, wrapping and shipping, download this smart checklist from A Typical Type A.

Up next in our holiday printable round-up: decorations!

SOURCING:
+ Holiday Shopping List from Pink Peacock Designs
+ Handmade Holiday Organizer from Giver’s Log
+ Jolly Holiday List from All Sorts
+ Christmas Gift Lists from A Typical Type A

GIFT IDEAS Gift WRAP

Gold Gift Wrap Ideas from Shim + Sons

gold gift wrapping by shim + sons

gold gift wrapping by shim + sons

Don’t you love receiving a gift that’s impeccably wrapped? It’s almost like receiving two presents in one: a pretty package and the treat that’s inside it.

Coordinating your gift wrap with your holiday decor is an easy way to create a unified look in your space. Using a multitude of boldly colored patterns and prints can overwhelm the rest of your decorations, so keep it simple by sticking to one colorway.

In the Holiday issue of new digital magazine Gifted, designer Sally Shim of Shim + Sons shared simple packaging techniques using white and gold paper goods for an incredibly sophisticated look.

Gift Wrapping ideas by Sally Shim

Basic white boxes are wrapped with bands of vellum for a frosty feel; graphic patterns drawn with a ruler and a gold marker look especially modern. I also love the woven gold paper strips. It’s a clever play on the tartan trend that can easily be re-interpreted with other shades to match your decor. You can find instructions for all of Sally’s wrapping ideas in Gifted magazine. They made the cover page!

SOURCING:
+ Gifted magazine
+ For boxes and containers, look at Paper Source and Creative Bag

HOME + GARDEN ORGANIZING

The Joy of an Uncluttered Home | Getting Ready for the Baby

unclutter your home

unclutter your home

Two weeks ago, I found out what are the must-have items that you need before you deliver your baby. I am amazed by the amount of new things that we need to care, educate and entertain a newborn.

The first thing on my list was to make room. My husband and I sorted and packed all weekend. By splitting the work, we encouraged each other. He did the main floor while I worked mostly upstairs. We separated things into four categories: donation, furniture for sale, recycling and garbage. I tackled a big closet that was filled with things that we do not use anymore. Big closets can be sneaky. I was surprised by how much we hide there over the years. Now, I got the space to hide our photo albums and the beautiful things that should be kept out of reach during my child’s early years. Everything is neatly organized on the shelves. Looking at my well organized storage space makes me feel good.

Uncluttering your home can seem cumbersome to many. But once you see the results, it is worth every minute on it. Getting rid of unnecessary things removes weights from your shoulder. It’s a soothing experience! I know that you are all busy before the Holiday season. But why not take one weekend or a few week nights to gather the things around the house that you do not use anymore and donate them to a local charity. They need more toys, clothes, food and housewares during this time of the year to prepare their Christmas baskets.

As for us, we still have a big way to go until we see the end of the tunnel. We will continue to pack so they can proceed with some renovations all over the home. I wish to do all these little, and not so little, projects before the baby arrives. This is part of child-proofing my home. I will show you the results once everything is done.

Lastly, have a look at these beautiful kitchen linens. After your hard work, you are allow one indulgence.

SOURCING:
+ Vintage Kitchen Scale $45 USD at One Sidney Road
+ Kitchen Apron by Studiopatro $68
+ Tea Towel Sets $42 for 2 assorted tea towels at Studiopatro

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

Holiday Bakeware for all the Family

snowy railway cake pan

snowy railway cake pan

When I decided to write a post about cute holiday bakeware for families with young children, I head to my top 3 shopping destinations for inspirations. And I found plenty. Each one has its own style.

snowy village cakelet pan

Display the Railway Cake Pan and the Snowy Village Cakelet Pan on a footed cake plate or a large rectangular tray. Cover the floor with icing sugar. It will simulate a nice floppy snow.

christmas bake :: non-stick silicone molds by lekue

The most tempting molds for me were the 3D Christmas tree molds available in two sizes. Use them to make your own chocolate Christmas trees. The assembly is so simple to do that it can be done by a young child. They will be easy to demold since they are made of non-stick, 100% platinum silicone.

gingerbread man cakelet pan

For fans of the gingerbread house, I have 3 suggestions. A gingerbread man cakelet would be a fabulous treat for Santa. When you have time to relax between Christmas and New Year Eve, bake with the kids your own gingerbread house. I suggest that time because many parents are too busy before Christmas to spend one afternoon baking a gingerbread house. Here are the recipes by Wilton to make a Christmas Chocolate Candy House and the traditional Grand Gingerbread House.

gingerbread house mold pan by wilton

A simpler project would be to bake a big gingerbread man cake. It would be a hit on your Christmas dessert table. The only drawback is that, for reasons that I cannot explain, almost no retailers carry Lékué’s Celebrate collection in North America.

SOURCING:
+ Railway Cake Pan $36 USD at Williams-Sonoma
+ Snowy Village Cakelet Pan $36 at Williams-Sonoma
+ Gingerbread Man Cakelet Pan $19.95 at Williams-Sonoma
+ Big 3D xmas tree by Lékué 18.56 EUR / about $23.34 USD
+ Small 3D xmas tree by Lékué 18.56 EUR / about $23.34 USD
+ Gingerman by Lékué 22.80 EUR / about $28.68 USD
+ Gingerbread House Pan $24.95 at Crate & Barrel

FOOD + DRINK TABLEWARE

Four Modern and Airy Fruit Bowls

four modern fruit bowls

four modern fruit bowls

They say that a fruit bowl with holes will preserve better your fruits. And I think that seeing what inside will tempt you more to eat them. With my pregnancy, I make sure that I eat at least two fruits every day. Some nights, I replace cookies and milk with a green apple and milk. It’s healthier and bring less calories.

I compiled a list of 4 sublime fruit bowls that would look great on your kitchen. They will also make awesome Christmas gifts.

1. You are probably familiar with the Black + Blum Fruit Loop Bowl. I like its simple sculptural design. You cannot go wrong with that one if you are looking for a fruit bowl that contains plenty in a small container.

2. The most affordable that I featured is the chrome plated wire Affix bowl. I like the fact that it is a footed bowl. And it can easily moves from a traditional kitchen to a modern style one. This one can contain way more than the Black + Blum fruit loop bowl. With a diameter of 11.75 inch, it does not take that much more counter space.

3. The Lorea Fruit Bowl is an origami shaped zebra wood fruit bowl  that won a Red Dot Design Award in 2007.

4. Who does not know the Mediterraneo bowl designed by Emma Silvestris. It made by Alessi of steel with red epoxy resin (my favorite), or you can get it in 18/10 mirror-polished stainless steel. It comes in two sizes.

SOURCING:
+ Fruit Loop Bowl by Black + Blum $42 USD at MoMA store
+ Affix bowl $38 at Chiasso
+ Lorea Fruit Bowl by Zoocreative, $82 at GSelect
+ Small red Alessi Mediterraneo Fruit Holder $78 at Amazon.com [affiliate link]
+ Large red Alessi Mediterraneo Fruit Holder $102 at Lumens

GIFT IDEAS Gifts for the COOK

A Molecular Gastronomy Kit

molecular gastronomy kit

molecular gastronomy kit

What to give at Christmas to a gourmet cook who has everything can be a hard task? But, with this kit developed by Montreal-based Molécule-R Flavors, I think that you might able to cross one name from your Christmas list.

what's inside the molecular gastronomy kit

Cuisine R-evolution should satisfy cooks who are curious about the most popular techniques of molecular cuisine, like spherification, gelification and emulsification. The kit shows how to play with the texture of juices, sauces, creams and dressings. The box contains 50 recipes on a DVD, 5 food additives, a food-grade syringe, 3 silicone tubes, 5 pipettes, a slotted spoon and a set of measuring spoons.

Watch this video to get an idea of what you can learn.

You can buy it online. They ship across Canada and to the United States.

SOURCING:
+ Cuisine R-evolution Kit $58.95 CAD / $57.86 USD at Molécule-R Flavors

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

Happy Thanksgiving!

happy thanksgiving :: cider-brined roasted turkey

happy thanksgiving :: cider-brined roasted turkey

Many of you must be in the kitchen right now, cooking for your family. Do not stress out and try to enjoy the last preparations. I wish you all a wonderful time with your loved one.

I am taking this opportunity to share why I am thankful this year. First of all, I am thankful to be married to such a wonderful guy. Being with the right partner makes all aspects of life easier and more enjoyable. Second, I am thankful to carry our child inside my belly and that the pregnancy is going well. Third, over the last couple of years, both my husband and I have been able to successfully pursuit our dream career. I am blessed that my parents, my brother, my sister-in-law and their kids are all healthy, happy people. Life is great! And I do my best to appreciate every minute of it.

Lastly, I wish to all my American readers a Happy Thanksgiving! If you are looking for very last-minute recipes, check out William-Sonoma Thanksgiving past and present menu.

SOURCING:
+ Cider-Brined Turkey
+ Wild Mushroom, Chestnut & Sausage Dressing

FOOD + DRINK FOOD presentation

Lékué Decopen is a Must for Dish Plating

Decopen by lekue

Decopen by lekue

If you like to decorate your plate like a Chef, you need good tools. Sure, you can use plain plastic bottles but they are not as stylish and fun as DECOPEN. It is as easy as to write or draw with a pen. DECOPEN lets you put the finishing touch on food from appetizers to the dessert. Simply fill your favorite sweet and savory sauces and work your magic. There is a model that comes with 4 nozzles to give you more options on how to decorate food or plate your dishes.

It will make an awesome Christmas gift or hostess gift. For anyone interested, a green 4-nozzle DECOPEN is on my wish list. Watch the video to see how easy it is to use.

SOURCING:
+ Lékué Decopen $24.50 CAD at Linen Chest
+ Lékué Decopen $27 at Arthur Quentin
+ Lékué Decopen 16 EUR
+ Lékué Decopen with 4 nozzles 19 EUR