Browsing Tag

fall

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

Thanksgiving Tabletop Ideas from Classic to a Modern Look

thanksgiving tabletop ideas from traditional to modern

I propose you five festive looks for Thanksgiving, that are suitable for the Canadian way and the American way to celebrate Thanksgiving.

If you are new to my blog, here is my design philosophy when it comes to my table settings for a Holiday celebrations. My guests eat on bowls and plates that can be reused for other parties. This is my way to be thankful towards Mother Earth. My table linens and my centrepiece deliver the decorative elements of my Holiday tabletop.

Tabletop Ideas for a Classic Style Table

I always say that you need a casual chic table for a Thanksgiving meal. So, go with would make you and your family happy. I like the idea to use a halved globe as a vessel for your centrepiece. It should not be too hard to find an old World globe since so many of them have become obsolete. Ask your friends and family to help you locate one; there is probably an unused World globe that is stored in their garage or basement of someone you know.

thanksgiving tabletop ideas from traditional to modern
photo credits: No. 1 Eclectic Fall Bowl Centerpiece from BHG.com | No. 2 Woodland Forest Jacquard Tablecloth $155-$183 USD at Williams Sonoma | No. 3 Autumn Summer Table by Crate & Barrel

Tabletop Ideas for a Modern Style Table

The snowberries of the Marimekko Lumimarja Orange table linen collection takes a different direction in orange. As a bonus, I can imagine this tablecloth reinterpreted for a Halloween party.

thankgiving table with a modern Finnish touch
photo credits: No. 4 Marimekko Lumimarja Orange Tablecloth and Napkins $8.95-$89.95 USD at Crate and Barrel

I am a fan of the tête-à-tête placemats. With tête-à-tête (which means face-to-face) placemats, your table puts the emphasis on guests that seat in front of each other. Don’t think that you can use this look only just for a romantic dinner. The concept works well on a communal table. Simply remember to get three “placemats for two” for 6 guests, four for 8 guests or six for a group of twelve. Then, use the same between the placemats to place the dishes that you will share and the centrepieces.

duo linen placemat and napkins
photo credits: No. 5 Duo linen placemat for two $15.95 USD at CB2

I hope this small round-up will give ideas on how you can dress your table for Thanksgivings.

HOME + GARDEN HOME decor

New Uses for Old Things: Wooden Boxes …and Tips for a Rustic Meal

storage made of wooden boxes

storage made of wooden boxes
Photo: Wooden Box Service Stations at Clyde Common via Remodelista

Each fall, I crave for cosy space and comfort food. There is a design lesson to take home from the service stations at Clyde Common, a Portland restaurant located at the Ace Hotel. You could replicate their design to organize your pantry, your linen closet, or to create storage in your craft room or your kids’ playroom.

Laid-Back Food Presentation

serving steaks on a wood cutting boards
all food photos by David Reamer for Clyde Common

After reading their story on Remodelista, I was curious to see how Clyde Common interprets the European style tavern. I wanted to see how it differs from what is happening here in Montreal. This led me to food presentation that you can steal for your next fall or winter dinner party.

family style at the table

Even though I am a stylish girl, I appreciate the laid-back feeling of food being served on cocottes, cast-iron pans and wooden cutting boards. When I host an everyday dinner party at home, I leave the fancy food presentation to the professional chefs and concentrate my energy on cooking delicious food. Through simple tricks, I add flair to my meal.

charcuterie tray
A crowd-pleaser: the charcuterie tray

Finally, a cute way to serve crudités with their vinaigrette. Even if people don’t eat it, they pleasantly decorate your table.

veggies in a mason jar

What is your favorite way to serve food in fall or winter?

FAMILY LIVING with kids

What to Do this Fall: Apple Picking

apple picking jerome

Part of my childhood memories is to go apple picking with my parents. I love apples! So for me, that was always a treat to grab it from the tree. I want to continue the tradition with my son. So, yesterday we went with a bunch of friends. We couldn’t had a better weather for an outdoor activity.

zack eats an apple
photo: my son shares my love of apples (and Apple…)

Zack was delighted by his day. He is a typical boy that loves being outside. My son enjoyed the tractor ride to get to the orchards, he was able to run between the trees, he ate apples that he picked himself and he played with the other children.

apple picking zack

We even spent some time at the nice play area for toddlers that is one of the activities for kids at Vergers Petit et Fils, located in Saint-Hilaire. I recommend the place if you have kids because there is a lot of free, fun activities for them to do.

apple tree

I brought home 4 apple varieties. Some to eat fresh, others to cook. Tonight, I plan to bake the apple crumble recipe from Jamie Oliver in ramekins.

I’m looking for more ways to cook with apples. What is you favorite apple recipe?

+ top photo: my husband harvested the apples at the top of the trees

ENTERTAINING EVERYDAY entertaining

5-Minute Martha: Greet Your Guests with Tasty Grazing Boards

grazing board pate de foie

grazing board pate de foie

There is no need to rush or to prepare several types of appetizers when you are having guests over at the cocktail hour or for dinner. Instead go with a crowd-pleaser and put on your coffee table a grazing board. Since you are certain to find all the ingredients that you need at a good delicatessen near you, you can pull it off even at the last minute. You save more time since no individual bite assembly is required. When you shop, assume that one board will feed 4 to 6 persons as appetizers.

Chantelle Grady of the blog Little Things proposed in the Montreal issue of Relish three killer compositions. Relish is her food digital magazine.

The first option is a classic. You can serve pâté de foie with caramelized onions and toasted bread. For a non-fuss version, check out the caramelized onions recipe by Chuck Hughes that he puts in his grilled cheese sandwich.

grazing board baked camembert

You can’t go wrong with serving baked Camembert or Brie. It is so good that I suggest that you keep one ready to bake in your freezer all the time. Jamie Oliver bakes his directly on the wooden cheese box. Other chefs line a baking dish with parchment paper. I use a Brie baker because it is easier to serve the warm wheel of Camembert or Brie in a dish. Chantelle served her version with Serrano ham and toasted bread.

grazing board pork terrine

The third board displays pork terrine, mustard (you can serve a few), gherkins again on toasted bread. You can go a step further by offering a mustard selection. For the cornichons, I adore the Maille Tarragon & Vinegar gherkins. If you prefer sweet cornichons to the sour ones, try Maille Mini & Crunchy gherkins.

SOURCING:
+ Montreal issue of Relish produced and photographed by Chantelle Grady from the blog Little Things
+ Beautiful baked Camembert recipe by Jamie Oliver
+ Baked Camembert and Herb Oil by Roger Mooking

LIVING TRAVEL

What To Do in Montreal: Magie des Lanternes 2011

magie des lanternes 2011

magie des lanternes 2011

My husband, our baby and I had a great time at the opening night of Magie des Lanternes. It is truly magical.

magie des lanternes 2011 family activity

Our baby enjoyed the view of the lighted theme lanterns.

magie des lanternes 2011 :: emperor parade

The 19th edition organized by the Montreal Botanical Gardens is under the theme of “The First Emperor’s Procession”. The exhibit pays tribute to China’s first Emperor, Qin Shi Huangdi, and his impressive cavalry. It takes 8 months to the exhibit design team in Montreal to draw about 200 new thematic lanterns. They put a lot of attention to details. For example, each character has its own facial features.

magie des lanternes 2011 closeup

The drawings are send to Shanghai where the lanterns are produced using traditional methods. To withstand our fall weather and the test of time, the lanterns are made with parachute fabrics instead of the traditional silk. The lanterns arrived in Montreal not completely unassembled. They proceed like that to ease the installation of the LED lamps on the metal frame.

magie des lanternes 2011 :: The First Emperor's Procession

You have until October 31st, 2011 to experience the Magie des Lanternes exhibit. Do not miss it; it makes a great family activity or a romantic walk.

magie des lanternes 2011 chinese family

Go to my Facebook page to see More photos of the exhibit.

SOURCING:
+ Magie des Lanternes
+ photos: Jérôme Paradis for kimvallee.com

ENTERTAINING EVERYDAY entertaining

Ideas to Steal: Baby Potatoes in a Mason Jar

baby potatoes in a mason jar

baby potatoes in a mason jar

We have seen tons of use for the Mason jar, and this one is a keeper. Next time that you are having friends over for diner or to eat a raclette, be ready to serve your baby potatoes in a Mason jar. Go either for individual portions or for a few communal jars.

I spot that idea on Apartment Therapy from Amy Rosen’s trip to Copenhagen. She saw it at the famous Restaurant Jacobsen.

SOURCING:
+  photo: Amy Rosen for Apartment Therapy

COOKING tools FOOD + DRINK

Kitchen Tip: Stock-Up for Your Slow Cooker

slow cooker veggies healthy mama baby blog

slow cooker veggies healthy mama baby blog

During these dog days of summer, the prospect of a hearty, rich slow cooker meal likely couldn’t be further from your mind. After all, it’s grilling season!

But this quick – and brilliant – tip from Tara and Stephanie at Healthy Mama, Healthy Baby makes so much sense right now, when farmer’s markets are loaded with fresh, locally grown veggies.

They chop meat and veggies to pre-assemble and freeze basic slow cooker meals. All it takes is a few ingredient adjustments to create completely different meals – from barbecue chicken to Thai curry.

Your slow cooker may stay in storage for another few months (although it sure beats turning on the oven during a heat wave!), but when you’re ready for your first cozy fall meal? You can re-live summer memories with the tastes of the season.

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

Six Last-Minute Place Card Ideas for Thanksgiving

clay conifer place card holders :: diy project made of crayola model magic

clay conifer place card holders :: diy project made of crayola model magic

Since Thanksgiving is the culmination of the harvest season, it seems only “natural” to find tabletop inspiration in nature. With a few materials and a bit of creativity, fruit, vegetables, leaves and nuts can be fashioned into charming place cards that add a personal touch to your table – even if you don’t have a lot of time.

For our American readers who will celebrate Thanksgiving on Thursday, I collected four easy yet impact full ideas that will leave you plenty of time to socialize with guests and snack on stuffing and squash.

+ Simple is often the most sophisticated. Crisp leaves get a glittery touch by writing your guest’s names in gold ink in these two very different tabletop looks. The high contrast of sculpting your own conifers against a brown leaf – like Kate Pruitt did for Design*Sponge (top picture) – is fresh and contemporary.

leaf placecard

The warm, tone-on-tone approach of writing the name on a simple leaf is more suitable for a casual gathering with friends.

acorn and pine cone placecard holders for thanksgiving or a fall dinner

+ Pinecones and acorns are in abundance at this time of year. Pair them with a note of gratitude – either handwritten or printed on card stock – for a thoughtful place card option.

diy thanksgiving place cards :: pilgrim hats

+ Miniature pumpkins are a versatile option for festive Thanksgiving decorating. Use a harvest-hued marker to write guest names on chic miniature white pumpkins, they layer them at each setting with a pretty napkin and scatter a few leaves. Alternatively, guests can claim their spot at the table with personalized flags created from festive ribbon or card stock. Cut them to size, glue them to a toothpick and stick in a gourd or pumpkin.

+ Finally, the Pilgrim caps were done by painting terracotta flowerpots.

SOURCING:
+ Clay Conifer Placecard from Design*Sponge
+ Leaf Placecard from Sunset Magazine
+ DIY Pinecone Placecard Tutorial from Honey We’re Home
+ Felted Acorn Placecards from Southern Living
+ Ribbon Placecards from Better Homes and Gardens
+ Pilgrim Cap Place Cards from Better Homes and Gardens

ENTERTAINING PAPER goods

Hand Printing Techniques from Yellow Owl Workshop

Handprinted placecards for Thanskgiving or a fall dinner party

Handprinted placecards for Thanskgiving or a fall dinner party

Custom designed paper goods like invitations are typically the first piece of an event puzzle. In addition to all the necessary details – like when and where – they also provide guests with the first taste of an event’s theme and formality. But, like most things custom, personalized printing often comes with a hefty price tag.

That’s why we loved this clever hand printing technique from Christine Schmidt, co-founder of the San Francisco-based design studio Yellow Owl Workshop.

Handprinting invitations for a fall or Thanksgiving dinner party

With just a few supplies, including a blender pen, transparency sheets and access to a color photocopier, it’s easy to create your own customized invitations. This project works for any type of event and is a great way to boost your Thanksgiving dinner or Holiday party theme.

You’ll find instructions on the process from Sunset magazine – plus templates for placecards, an invitation and wrapping paper featuring these lovely vintage-looking fruit and veggie graphics.

SOURCING:
+ Hand Printing Instructions from Sunset Magazine
+ Download the placecard template
+ Download the invitation template
+ Download the wrapping paper template
+ Yellow Owl Workshop

COOKING tools FOOD + DRINK

Five Fall and Thanksgiving Baking Tools

Fall Forest Piecrust Cutters

Fall Forest Piecrust Cutters

If I had to my top two, it would be the Forest Piecrust Cutters and the Fall Icon Cakelet Pan. Both carries the right amount of festive vibe. If you wish to spend less, you could get a Wilton’s non-stick cookie pan to bake sweet fall treats.

thanksgiving and fall baking

What else besides baking?

parchment paper leaves for cheese and desserts

This is not a baking tool but the Parchment Paper Cheese Leaves could be used to decorate your dessert platters. It is the fastest way to bring fall to your table. Another option is to place one leave in the middle of your salad on which you will rest your a place card holder or a rolled napkin.

A food mill is a versatile cooking tool that you will use all year long. You can perfectly mash potatoes, prepare fruit sauces, or make your own baby food.

SOURCING:
+ Fall Forest Piecrust Cutters $18 USD for 4 at Williams-Sonoma
+ Fall Icon Cakelet Pan $36 at Williams-Sonoma
+ Oxo Food Mill $42.53 at Amazon.com [affiliate link] – $50 at Williams-Sonoma
+ Fall Cookie Pan $7.95 at Crate & Barrel
+ Parchment Paper Cheese Leaves $10.95 at Sur La Table

FOOD + DRINK RECIPES + menus

Apple Recipe Round-Up | Part 3

Apple Dessert Recipes A La Mode

Apple Dessert Recipes A La Mode

I conclude my Apple recipe round-up with recipes that you can drink, cook on the BBQ or eat for dessert. Keep the dessert recipes in ming for Thanksgiving.

A La Mode

+ Caramel Apples from Country Living
+ Cranberry Apple Crisp from Country Living
+ Baked Apples from Everybody Likes Sandwiches
+ Apple Fritters with Bourbon Ice Cream from Bon Appétit

In A Glass

+ Hot Mulled Apple Cider
+ Algoma Apple Martini
+ Cinnamon Toast Cocktail
+ Harvest Punch (Alcoholic)

On The BBQ

+ Barbequed Acorn Squash with Brown Sugar Glaze and Baked Apple Stuffing from George Laurier
+ Barbequed Pork and Apple Kebabs from Martha Stewart

Make sure to visit my picks for soup and salad apple recipes and my favorite apple recipes for breakfast.