Browsing Tag

everyday

ENTERTAINING OUTDOOR entertaining

For Casual Before-Dinner Parties: the Napkin Cup and the French Decanter by Royal VKB

napkin cup by royal vkb

Although 25 centimeters (10 inches) of snow felt on my city this week, summer entertaining will be soon around the corner. I found at Royal VKB two products that will make it easy to invite friends for an informal gathering.

By combining a napkin holder with a cocktail stick holder, it liberates one hand. Plus, your guests won’t have to search where they are when they reach for tapas or finger food. Since the napkin cup is make of plastic, I won’t be afraid to bring it for a picnic. Continue Reading

FOOD + DRINK FOR all the family

My Weekly Meal Planner Experiment: Conclusion

spaghetti alla norma

It’s time to write my post-mortem. First, I shortened my weekly meal planner experiment by 2 weeks because I learned nothing new from the last two weeks. When I started this little experiment my hope was to add more recipes to my repertoire, and to start planning ahead. Let’s see how I did point by point.

Adding new recipes to my repertoire. I tried a few new recipes. But with a toddler and a busy schedule, it proved to be harder than I originally thought. For one thing, the fact that Zack is neither a fan of chicken nor steak reduced my choices. Several new recipes that inspired me where either too long or require ingredients that are normally found at the grocery store. This leads to planning ahead. Continue Reading

FOOD + DRINK FOR all the family

Weekly Meal Planner: Week 6

italian sausage and vegetable one pot dish

My meal planning was business. I wished that I could report a new recipe but it didn’t happen. So, you will see many common faces on last week’s menu:

  • Monday: What was in my pantry dictated what we ate that night. I served spaghettini with a garlic, olive and tomato sauce topped with freshly ground Parmesan.
  • Tuesday: I made what is comfy food in my home: my spicy Italian sausages with vegetables one pot dish.
  • Wednesday: Zack’s appetite was really back. He adored my scaloppine al limone. I originally planned to serve Brussel sprouts but the ones at the grocery store had seen better days. I relied on my trusted asparagus and rice for completing my menu. Zack had chocolate one or twice before. He was delighted at his first bite of Dixies from Laura Secord. This crunchy pecan pieces and chewy caramel covered in milk chocolate is delicious!
  • Thursday: A friend offered that we exchanged babysitting duties to each have a night out. Therefore, Zack had a little friend over for Valentine’s Day. For the occasion, my husband cooked a kid-pleasing meal: sloppy joe. I made for us an arugula and spinach salad.
  • Friday: We were due for some spicy shrimps. We each ate a bowl of stir-fried prawns and noodles from “Off the Shelf: cooking from the pantry” by Donna Hay. For dessert, we had more Dixies, thanks Laura Secord who sent Zack a box as a Valentine’s gift after they heard that he loves them so much. A big thanks to Katia and Laura Secord!
  • Saturday: My husband and I celebrated a friend’s birthday at a French restaurant while my toddler went to dinner at an Asian restaurant with my mother-in-law.
  • Sunday: I craved for a simple winter meal. We ate a Chinese fondue with cauliflower and button mushrooms.

That was it!

FOOD + DRINK FOR all the family

Weekly Meal Planner: Week 5

what's for dinner week 5

My little experiment on recording what we eat for dinner continues. Last week was special because my toddler was sick for half of the week. He ate bread and chicken soup several nights in a row. I am glad that he now has regained his appetite.

Here is what we ate for dinner last week:

  • Monday: After a morning of running errands and an afternoon filled with accounting duties, I welcomed the comfort of a simple healthy meal. I paired boiled green beans and Brussel sprouts — topped with butter — with the Dijon mustard steelhead trout fillets cooked by my husband.
  • Tuesday: I had a craving for chicken and couscous. I cooked a her early Donna Hay cookbook titled  Flavours. It a grilled lemon chicken breasts on a bed of almond, sage, lemon and caper couscous salad. If you don’t own the cookbook, have a look at Emily’s Culinary Adventures. Emily shared how she makes the recipe.
  • Wednesday: We ate a cheese fondue with an assortment of charcuterie (Grison beef and prosciutto), sweet onions, sour onions and sour gherkins.
  • Thursday: I went to a concert that night. Since I was in a hurry, we ate pasta with a ready-made sauce.
  • Friday: It was sushi night.
  • Saturday: Since we were at the ski cottage, I cooked a simple meal. We grilled steelhead trout fillets with a touch of Dijon mustard and oil live on top. Rice and grilled asparagus were our side dishes. For dessert, we ate a delicious apple and cranberry pie from a local bakery.
  • Sunday: Since we arrived from the ski cottage at a time where the grocery store would be full, we ordered pizza. Our usual place is closed on Sunday. We ate it with a Greek salad.

I will continue this experiment until the end of the month.

+ sourcing: Celeste Dinnerware at Crate & Barrel

FOOD + DRINK FOR all the family

Weekly Meal Planner: Week 4

crisp chicken legs

Deciding what’s for dinner was easy this week. I only wish that it would be as simple to feed my toddler boy. I don’t know if it is because he had a cold, but it was not less enthusiastic by my cooking this week.

Here is what we ate for dinner last week:

  • Monday: We started the week with an easy pasta night. To save time, I served the Florentine Spinach and Cheese sauce by Classico on spaghettini. We added extra cheese with freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano.
  • Tuesday: My husband had an event that night. To enough me to pass more time with Zack, I stopped by Tourtière Australienne and bought their delicious Lamb roganjosh pie. I served it with the leftover  potato, rutabaga and carrot mash from last Sunday.
  • Wednesday: That was our fish night. My husband cooked to perfection steelhead trout fillets that he lightly covered with Dijon mustard before cooking. I made us a tropical fennel salad and side of green beans.
  • Thursday: I cooked Jamie-Oliver’s tender and crisp chicken legs with sweet tomatoes that I served with the remaining leftover  potato, rutabaga and carrot mash.
  • Friday: I took a day off from cooking. We ordered something that it always a hit with my toddler: our usual vegetarian pizza, extra ham with a mix salad.
  • Saturday: In honor of the Super Bowl, my husband cooked his delicious chili con carne. He achieved a right balance of spices to be enjoyable but us and our toddler.
  • Sunday: I made us a chicken pilaf rice. I used a recipe from the first cookbooks that I bought when I moved to my own apartment for university. It is so easy to make and delicious. The best part is that the leftover is enough for two lunches.

Do you plan your meal weekly? If so, what do you eat on an average week at your home?

FOOD + DRINK FOR all the family

Weekly Meal Planner: Week 3

watercress salad

The reason why I started to chronicle what we ate for dinner every week was to vary our meals. So far, it is working. I don’t know if reading my weekly menu gives you ideas for what to cook for dinner to your family but, on a personal note, I see the benefits of keeping track of what’s for my dinner. You should give it a try.

Here is what we ate for dinner last week: Continue Reading

FOOD + DRINK FOR all the family

Weekly Meal Planner: Week 2

what's for dinner mushroom risotto asparagus and trout

My toddler enjoyed every meal I made for dinner last week except for the chop suey. I have the feeling that it was because of the ground beef. Instead, he savoured a bowl of the leek and carrot soup from my frozen soup supply.

Here is the list of what we ate last week: Continue Reading

FOOD + DRINK FOR all the family

Weekly Meal Planner: Week 1

weekly meal planning

I have a confession to make. I don’t plan ahead what I will make for dinner. Because I am looking at ways for finding time, I would like to change my routine. After all, planning ahead your meals would reduce my shopping time.

As a first step to change my behaviour,  I decided to chronicle what we ate every week. At least, I could save time by referring to my meal planner when comes the time to decide what’s for dinner. Plus, I could monitor more carefully what we ate. Here is what I cooked or ordered in for dinner last week. Continue Reading

FOOD + DRINK RECIPES + menus

How I Solved the What’s for Dinner Dilemma

weeknight dinner

weeknight dinner
photo: IKEA

In a few words, I gave me less time to think about what’s to eat for dinner. Since my toddler go to day care, the need to quickly prepare dinner has taken a new meaning. I remain impulsive when it comes to decide what to eat for dinner but I added more organisation than it used to. I factor in what my son ate for lunch, what I would like to eat and make sure that our diet provides a variety of meat, fish and poultry.

At couple weeks ago, I gave Jamie Oliver’s 30 minute meals a try. The recipes were delicious but I lost a lot of time by having to constantly read the instructions to find where I was. My guess is that if I redid the same recipes, it would fast.

I reserve 30 to 40 minutes before I pick him up at day care to shop for what I’ld need to cook dinner that night. It used that time as a transition between work and family time.  If the recipe is from a cookbook, I will take a picture of the ingredient list with my iPhone. This is quicker than to make a grocery list. I head to the stores with a “plan B” recipe, in case that they don’t have in stock an essential ingredient.

Our main courses for a week might look like that:

  • Casserole of grilled Italian sausage and vegetables on rice – Like father, like son, since both adore this recipe.
  • Dijon mustard trout served with grilled asparagus and rice – another winner
  • A pasta dish made with a home made sauce
  • Colombine potatoes (slices of potatoes with red peppers, french shallot and parsley), boiled green beans served with a T-bone steak
  • Thai shrimp noodles
  • Veal al limone with rice and broccoli – I used to serve Brussels sprouts with that recipe. Since my son has not yet developed a taste for them, I cooked broccoli instead.
  • Tender and crisp chicken legs with sweet tomatoes – a recipe from Jamie Oliver

Over the week, I might grab a home made dish from the freezer. But tonight, I want to try a new recipe. I will quickly browse Donna Hay cookbooks for a change. I only have five minutes left to decide.

FOOD + DRINK TABLEWARE

Tableware for Thanksgiving at West Elm

Mary Matson thanksgiving tableware

Mary Matson thanksgiving tableware

Mary Matson, a Brooklyn-based graphic artist, collaborated with West Elm on a collection of playful plates and serving pieces for the Thanksgiving table. The salad plates, printed with wishbones, turkeys and fall harvest illustrations, are a simple way to add a festive look to your white existing dinnerware. I got the prices from their press kit. The items will start to appear both online and in stores this week.

bell butter dish

To complete the modern farm look of your table, here are too items that you will be able to use every day of the year. You can fit rectangular European-style blocks of butter as well as slender stateside sticks in the Bell Butter Dish.

sugar creamer

The bamboo tray lets you bring the sugar and cream in style. I like the style of this ensemble a lot. I would buy it for myself, if it was not that the shipping fees to Canada are almost the price of the item.

SOURCING:
+ Thanksgiving Salad Plates: White/silver $40 USD for a pack of 4
+ Thanksgiving Platter: White/silver $29-$49 USD
+ Bell Butter Dish $16 USD
+ Sugar and creamer with bamboo tray $14 USD

HOME + GARDEN HOME office

New Uses for Old Things | Kitchen Gadgets in the Office

desk organization kitchen tools

desk organization kitchen tools

Nothing gives new life to seemingly out-of-date kitchen gadgets than a change of scenery. I spotted these creative office organizing solutions via Better Homes and Gardens and can’t wait to put them to use.

Though it may be past its prime in the kitchen, a roughed-up muffin tin is the perfect desk drawer catch-all for office essentials like paper clips and stamps. Try it in a chest of drawers to keep jewelry untangled, or in the drawer of night table to stash relic tubes of lip balm and lotion.

And though egg cups may only find their way to your dining table once (or less) a year, you can put them to work every day decluttering your desk top. If you don’t already have some in your cupboard, you can find inexpensive vintage options at thrift stores. Treasured teacups would also be a pretty solution for small stationery items.

SOURCING:
+ 19 Home Office Solutions from Better Homes & Gardens