Monthly Archives

November 2012

HOME + GARDEN HOME decor

At the Opening Night of Ethan Allen’s Design Centre in Montreal

ming display sideboard with kim vallee at ethan allen

ethan allen cours mont royal opening night
from left to right:  Maripier Morin (TV columinist), Valérie Taillefer and Jean Airoldi (TV hosts and couple), me (Kim Vallée) Vanessa Sicotte (TV host and blogger) Mélissa Nepton (fashion designer), Julie du Page (comedian) and Mr. Farooq Kathwari (Chairman, President and CEO of Ethan Allen).

Last Thursday, I had the honor to be one of the 5 design personalities who were invited to pick their 5 top choices for the Design Centre Opening Night of the first French-speaking Ethan Allen store. If you are not familiar with the brand, you will like to know that you can tailor their furniture pieces to fit your taste and that Ethan Allen provides free interior designer services to their clients.

Now, let’s talk about my 5 picks. I rely on my own signature lifestyle: entertaining in style. For that, I selected furniture that are making a statement and that will stand the test of time.

josephine chair

My first choice was a modern take on a French classic. I absolutely felt in love with the fabric on the armless Josephine chair.

webber china cabinet in sunny yellow

Then, the bright yellow of the Webber china cabinet caught my eye. It is unusual to find a tall china cabinet that stays the same depth from the top to the floor. It is the type of china cabinet that I would definitely enjoy if it was in my own home.

Antiqued Glass Candlesticks

Candlesticks are a must have for anyone who entertains a lot.  Made of faux mercury glass, which is blown double-walled with silver placed between the layers, the Antiqued Glass Candlesticks bring the right amount of glitter and drama. Everyone who attended the opening night party returned with one of my picks. The small and the medium sized candlesticks were in our party bag.

My last two choices have a gentleman mood to reflect the trend towards more gender-neutral and masculine home decor. And they both have a distressed finish.

marapi table

We all need a versatile small side table. The sculptural shape of the Marapi table made it a winner for a reading nook, or to be used as a night table. You can bring it to your living room when you host a cocktail party. The table is heavy to move so you don’t have to worry that it will fall down if someone bumps into it while a few drink glasses sat on it. If you like the Marapi table, you can have it delivered fast since it is from the Ethan Allen Express collection.

ming display sideboard with kim vallee at ethan allen

My fifth item is the awesomely rustic Ming display sideboard. The compound miter corners are a nice touch. I like how it feels strong yet polished, especially in this vignette. It is currently showcased at the store next to a stunning L-shaped grey leather sofa. I imagine this design as the perfect living room for an urban couple or a design-savvy bachelor.

ethan allen cours mont-royal

Located at Cours Mont-Royal with an outside entry door at the corner of Metcalfe and Maisonneuve West, the 9,000 square feet store is both elegant and inspiring. If you are in Montreal, I invite you to discover what is inside the new Ethan Allen’s store.

photo credits: a mix of mine and from photographer Marc Dussault

MEDIA buzz

My Holiday Entertaining Tips for Coup de Pouce

kim vallee interview for coup de pouce decembre 2012

kim vallee interview for coup de pouce decembre 2012

I just want to share an interview that I did for the magazine Coup de Pouce. I was happy to share my entertaining tips with the journalist Annie Richer for an article about the top 10 rules to be the perfect hostess or guest this holiday season.

You can read it all in the December 2012 issue of Coup de Pouce  from page 107 to 111. Etiquette expert Cendrine Chénel also shares her tips. We talk about it from different angles.

FAMILY KIDS products

Fun and Funky Medical Alert Bracelets for Girls and Boys

medical alert jewelry for girls

medical alert jewelry for girls
sourcing: Fruit Punch Medical ID Bracelet $49.95 | Tropics Stainless Steel Medical ID Cuff $39.95 at Lauren’s Hope

I bet that you will not to fight with your kids to wear their medical alert bracelet if their bracelet looks like that. I think that it is a brilliant idea to have access to fun designs. The selection goes from silicone alert bands to stainless steel or leather bracelets or dog tags for boys. The selections get bigger for girls with the addition of fun and funky models. You won’t have to be jealous of your kids, Lauren’s Hope carries them in adult sizes.

medical id bracelet for boys

Parents of active kids who do many sport activities, you will appreciate that they are waterproof and durable. There is also a vast collection of necklace for kids with allergy and In Case of Emergency necklaces.

Medical alert jewelry is something that I now care about. My son has a stent. I need to carry a card with me to be shown to doctors and dentists that would treat him. Even if most of the times that medical information is irrelevant, you never know when it will. He is still too young to wear a bracelet or a necklace but when it will get older I would certainly revisit Lauren’s Hope to pick a bracelet that suits his style.

COOKBOOKS FOOD + DRINK

Free Printables: Holiday Recipe Cards

holiday recipe card printables with an handwritten recipe

holiday recipe card printables with an handwritten recipe

I am excited to share my first free printables of the holiday season. This year, I decided to design my own. I am starting with a printable project for foodies.

From cookie exchange parties to the office pot luck, the holiday season provides many occasions to share and exchange recipes. This is why it is a good idea to keep a fresh supply of ready-to-fill recipe cards. You will never be short on supply if you print your own. My holiday recipe cards are available in three patterns. Later this week, I will share the matching holiday gift tag printables.

capons and gremolata

I already found use for my batch. Last Saturday night, I attended a dinner at a friend’s home. She made a delicious squash and pear soup that she served in shooters with bacon chips. This was a hit! Several people asked her the soup recipe. She also made a delicious gremolata that she served with the capons. The next day, I wrote down her recipes into my recipe cards.

Instead of simply printing your menu for your holiday party, why not share all your recipes? The recipe cards can become a part of your tabletop. Tie them with a ribbon or a twine topped with a holiday ornament and display a pack on each guest plate. Your gourmet friends will appreciate this extra step.
holiday recipe card printables

Printing Considerations

If the recipe cards are for a gift, I recommend a cardboard paper because they look the best. You want a paper on which it will be easy to write. For that reason, it is better to select a matte paper.

On the other end, laminated recipe cards are easy to wipe off. Since I prefer to protect my own recipe cards with self-laminating sheets, I print the recipe cards that are for my own use on standard printing paper with a higher brillance level.

Feel free to print my holiday recipe cards. If you like them, share my link with your friends and family. The size of my recipe cards is 3×5 inches.

Click here to download my holiday recipe card printables.

If you are interested in the complete recipe, click here for the pineapple marmelade recipe.

 

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY decorations

My Holiday Décor Started with an Evergreen Bouquet

christmas bouquet

christmas bouquet

I like to integrate small holiday elements into my home décor. Here is an evergreen bouquet that I put next to my yellow green vase collection. To complement my vase collection, I put my bouquet inside a tall and narrow glass container that I cover with holiday gift wrap paper.

What is important when you design an evergreen bouquet is to play with textures. To achieve that result, I  looked outside the local conifers. I am sorry that I didn’t write down the different leaves but I know that several species are from the United States, the red berries are from Netherlands and the pine leaves are from Quebec. I bought them at Atwater farmers market. When you make your selection, stay with the same tones. Some conifers have yellow tones, others have blues.

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

Pumpkin & Fennel Dukkah recipe

dukkah

Pumpkin & Fennel Dukkah recipe

I continue my series on easy holiday entertaining ideas with a Canadian twist on a popular Egyptian spice blend. This dukkah recipe replaces the traditional hazelnuts, pistachios and sesame seeds with pumpkin seeds and almonds or pine nuts.

When people asked me what they should keep in their pantry to be ready to entertain, dukkah naturally comes in mind. While your guests are enjoying a glass of wine or your welcome cocktail, cut a baguette, pour some olive oil in a large plate or an oil serving bowl, and serve dukkah in a low bowl. You dip bread into olive oil, then into the nut mixture. I have to warn you to make plenty since dukkah can become addictive. Leftovers can be stored into a airtight container for a month. Another easy to make appetizer is to cover goat cheese balls with dukkah.

Pumpkin & Fennel Dukkah recipe by Josee Robitaille

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) almonds or pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) sesame seeds
  • 4 teaspoons (20 ml) fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) sea salt

How to make it

dukkah preparation

  • Preheat your oven at 350 °F (180°C)
  • Grill the pumpkin seeds and almonds on a cookie sheet for 4 to 6 minutes (until they are lightly golden)
  • Deposit the sesame seeds into another cookie sheet and grill for 3 to 4 minutes (until they are lightly golden)
  • Remove the cookie sheets from the oven and let cool completely
  • Deposit the fennel seeds into a pan and roast them 3 to 4 minutes at a medium heat. Then, remove from oven and let cool completely.
  • Pulse the pumpkin seeds and the pine nuts in the small bowl of a food processor to a coarse consistency. Be careful, it should not become a paste. Another option is to chop them with a knife.
  • Grind or place in a mortar and pestle the fennel seeds and pound until the mixture is crushed
  • Mix all the ingredients in a bowl

Voilà! Put another batch into a Mason jar, attach a gift tag and you will have a tasty hostess gift ready to bring during the holiday season.

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY decorations

At the Launch of a 2.0 Christmas Tree

christmas tree video games played on tablets at place montreal trust

christmas tree 2.0 at place montreal trust

Last night, my son and I attended a Christmas tree reveal party. The Christmas tree at Place Montreal Trust is 2.0; it is social and playful. The 75 feet high tree is decorated with big screens that display Christmas themed video games that are currently played by visitors. You can play at one of the 9 electronic tablets located at the food court level. Every Thursday between 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., visitors are invited to tweet their Holiday wishes at #sapinpmt. The tweets will be displayed on the giant screen at the base of the tree.

christmas tree video games played on tablets at place montreal trust

Finishing the games could make a difference in the life of many sick kids. From November 15 to December 4, Place Montréal Trust will donate $1 per completed game to the Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation, up to $1,000 per day. Make sure to stop by and play for a while. The games are designed to be easily played by young kids. So if you are in Montreal, have a look at this new concept of Christmas trees.

COOKING tools FOOD + DRINK

On my Wish List: The Sticks Silicone Moulds by Lekue

make your own bread sticks

make your own bread sticks
photo: Lekue World page on Facebook

Sticks is a silicone mould that let you greet your guests this holiday season with 30 delicious, crunchy homemade bread sticks. Cooking time is 15 minutes on the oven, or 5 minutes on the microwave. I see it as a perfect bakeware tool for the hostess.

What I like about the Lekue Sticks mold is that the stocks are the right size to be served as appetizers.

lekue sticks
sourcing: Lekue Sticks

They are not just for appetizers. You can serve bread sticks, instead of crackers, with a warm soup at lunch time or you can include them in your dessert table. On Lekue Web site, I found two basic savoury bread stick recipes  (parmesan and orange sticks, black olive sticks) and three basic sweet bread stick recipes (spice sticks, cacao sticks, citrus sticks).

bread sticks with a soup for lunch

I already own the Decomax. Since I really want them, I ask a local shop to investigate if they could order them for me. I have my doubts since Sticks is a new product that seems to be available only the European site. Fingers crossed!

FOOD + DRINK RECIPES + menus

The Best Pineapple Marmelade Recipe

pineapple marmelade with croissant

josee robitaille et kim vallee
photo of Josee Robitaille and Kim Vallee

Yesterday I attended a Proctor & Gamble media event where the star was Josee Robitaille, a consulting chef. I enjoyed so much her recipes that I translated them especially for you. The first recipe is a pineapple marmelade that will become the talk at your next brunch.

pineapple marmelade with croissant

It is simple to make. No special skills are required. All you need are 4 ingredients (pineapple, sugar, lime and fresh vanilla), a heavy-bottomed pot, a Microplane grater, and a food processor. I ate some this morning with a warm French croissant. Delicious! You could serve the pineapple marmelade with crepes, French toasts or on a plain yogourt.

What I like about this marmelade recipe is that it is not too sweet. If you decide to serve at a brunch, I suggest that you make a bigger batch. Your guests will be delighted to take home a small jar.

Pineapple Marmelade Recipe by Josee Robitaille

marmelade cooking
on the left side: see what is look like once it is fully cooked, on the right: get an idea of the cube size

  • After you removed the skin, split the pineapple in two lengthwise. Further divide each half lengthways and remove the heart. Then, cut into 1-inch cubes.
  • Put the pineapple cubes inside a heavy-bottomed pot.
  • Add 125 ml (1/2 cup) of raw sugar and the zest of one lime to the pot.
  • Cut the pod of your vanilla bean in halve, lengthwise with a paring knife. With the sharp edge of the paring knife, remove the seeds from the pods. Add the seeds to the pot. Then, cut the pod in half. Add the empty pods to the pot.
  • Bring to boiling and cook without a cover at medium temperature for 25 to 30 minutes. It will be ready when the water from the pineapple is almost all evaporated. Mix a few times during cooking.

pineapple marmelade
you aim for a puree with some textures.

  • Remove the vanilla pods and put the rest in a food processor.
  • Pulse until you obtain a coarse puree.
  • Transfer into a glass container and put it in the fridge. You can keep it for 2 weeks in your fridge.

With pineapples and citrus fruits becoming seasonal, I think that I will make my own marmelade more often.

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

Holiday Cards for Modern Design Lovers

modern holiday cards

modern holiday cards
sourcing: Hip X-mas greeting cards | Mod Homestead gift tags (mini-notes) | Biltzen (deck the antler) At Fabulous Stationery

Personalized holiday cards usually say something about you. I like it when people can guess that it is for me. This is why I adore the cool illustrations at Fabulous Stationery. Their collection would appeal to an interior design, a decor store or a design-savvy family. A nice feature is that any of the patterns can be used for gift tags. It would be more original to select illustrations that share the same theme instead of picking exactly the same.

The last two models (see bottom montage) would make party invites that people will not want to miss.

modern holiday greeting cards
sourcing: Tweet | Goody GumdropsGlam Greetings

Do you still order personalized holiday cards?

SPONSORED POST

9 Ways to Decorate and Entertain with Chocolate this Holiday Season

lindt lindor chocolate box and holiday gift display

lindt lindor chocolate box and holiday gift display

The delicious Lindt Lindor balls have always been part of my family’s Christmas tradition. Over the years, I’ve used them for decorating my home, for entertaining and naturally, for gifts. So, I was thrilled when I was asked to share how I incorporate Lindor chocolates into my holiday celebrations and entertaining routine.

Let’s start with holiday décor; why not create a festive gift display on a shelf or side table? While most of your gifts will stay under the tree, Lindor’s nested gift boxes bring a sense of order and height to the composition. Adding a few festive decorations will complete the look.

Mini Christmas trees are ideal for small spaces. Try hanging Lindt’s snowman and snowflake balls on a bouquet of white branches with snowflake ornaments and tiny blue baubles. You could also tie the chocolate balls together with fishing line to make a garland for your mini tree.

Creating a wreath with unusual materials adds je ne sais quoi flair to your holiday décor. In the past, I made wreaths with a rustic bird nest, baubles and Tiffany-style boxes. This year, I will transform the red-wrapped milk chocolate balls into a Christmas candy wonderland wreath.

Making your own advent calendar will put many smiles on your child’s face. Between the tree ornaments, the craft supplies, and the little toys, you could reward your kids for their good deeds with a few chocolate treats.

If you are hosting a party or dinner, Lindor balls can garnish a martini (click here for the Chocolate Raspberry Lindtini recipe and for more Lindt chocolate recipes). After dinner, keep your mignardises (tiny, bite-sized desserts) simple by serving an assortment of Lindor chocolates on a platter.

Being creative with your hostess gift presentations doesn’t require being crafty. For example, you can simply fill a ceramic egg crate with delicious chocolate pieces.

Finally, I keep a supply of quality milk chocolate on hand for all my holiday baking needs. Whether it’s homemade brownies for a potluck or a holiday cookie exchange, it’s one less trip to the grocery store. And considering how hectic the holiday season is, that may just be the best treat of all.

sponsored by LindtFor your chance to instantly win one of their Daily Dream Prizes, make sure to enter the Dream with Lindor this holiday season contest on Facebook.

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Lindt Lindor via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Lindt Lindor.