Monday, April 30, 2012

Weekend recap and Turkish eggplant

A sunny Sunday just makes a weekend so nice, doesn't it? Hope you all had a great weekend! I unplugged for a good part of the weekend which felt fantastic.

Friday night I had a quiet night, popped into Ikea and did some groceries...fortunately for me, the Ikea trip was swift and successful and I picked up Arholma chairs for our front porch. They are so much more comfortable than what we had before! The Mr. put them together on Saturday:

Saturday we did the majority of our errands, which meant Sunday was free! We hit the gym, washed the car, did some more gardening and enjoyed the day. It ended up being really nice out on Sunday and I hope the good weather keeps on coming.

I also cooked one of my favourite dishes on Sunday - from my favourite cookbook that I've mentioned many times - The Cook's Book of Everything. Imam bayildi is a turkish eggplant dish, with tomato, parsley, currant, onions, and garlic. It is best cool or at room temperature, and totally delicious. I have not been to Turkey but I am sure that I would love love love the food there.

 
 
Served with asparagus and grilled chicken thigs (marinated in lemon juice, olive oil, yogurt and some herbs). Such a fresh and light dinner to end the weekend.

Here's the recipe:
Imam Bayildi (serves 4-6), from The Cook's Book of Everything.
INGREDIENTS:
185 ml (3/4 cup) olive oil
1kg eggplants, cut in half lengthways
3 onions, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
400g (14oz) roma/plum tomatoes, peeled and chopped, or 400g (14oz) tin chopped tomatoes (drained; save the juice)
2 tsp dried oregano
4 Tbsp chopped parsley
35g (1/4 cup) currants
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp lemon juice
pinch of sugar
125ml (1/2 cup) tomato juice
METHOD:
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Heat half the olive oil in a large, heavy based frying pay and cook the eggplants on all sides for 8-10 minutes, until the cut sides are golden. Remove from pan and scoop out some of the flesh, leaving the skins intact and some flesh lining the skins. Finely chop the scooped-out flesh and set aside.
3. Heat the remaining olive oil in the same frying pan and cook the onion over med. heat for 8-10 minutes, until transparent.
4. Add the garlic, cook for another minute.
5. Add the tomoatoes, oregano, parsley, currants, cinnamon, reserved eggplant flesh, and season with salt and pepper.
6. Place the eggplant shells in a large ovenproof dish and fill each with the tomato mixture.
7. Mix the lemon juice, sugar, tomato juice, and some salt and pour over the eggplants.
8. Cover and bake for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake for another 10 min.
9. To servie, place the eggplants on a serving platter and lightly drizzle with any remaining juice.
**This disk is usually served cold (recommended), but it can be served warm.
It's delicious! Happy cooking.


Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday faves - black and wood

Today I'm happy to announce that we have a guest poster in for Friday Faves!It has been one long week so this couldn't have come at a better time for me.

I've been thinking of doing a Friday Faves on black for a WHILE now but didn't know quite how to narrow it down...in came Jessica with a suggestion to focus on Black and Wood - genius. Enjoy, and happy weekend!

--

Hello! I’m Jessica, a writer for Arcadian Lighting, a website and blog with a wonderful selection of affordable light fixtures and interior design inspirations every day! I’m delighted to be guest posting for Heather today because I'm going to sharing a chic, contemporary combination in interior design – the color black and wood textures. The crisp, stark quality of the color black contrasts beautifully with the grain and texture of wood. I hope you find these interiors as unique and inspiring as I do!
Pendant Lighting
This spacious apartment shows just how serene and stylish minimalism can be when it comes to interior design. From the bare wooden floorboards to the rugged wooden furniture, this apartment is grounded and earthy with simple black, modern accents.
Pendant Lighting
The black stacking chairs make wonderful accents on this bright and airy patio. The weathered floorboards lend a bit of rustic beauty to the charming and playful d├ęcor.
Den Lighting Fixtures
I love the varying types of wood in this eclectic dining room. The contemporary pendant lights are certainly eye-catching and unique.
Bedroom Lighting
The cool, modern atmosphere in this bedroom comes from having just enough dark moody colors and bright open windows. The black frames throughout the room and dark hardwood floor are beautiful against the dusty blue walls and crisp, white curtains.
Living Room Pendant Lighting
Black furniture and dark wood floors create a great contrast with the brighter walls and ceiling in this lovely living room. A single black pendant light makes a great focal point.
Pendant Lighting
The black and white color palette of this home is quite dramatic, yet the matte colors are broken up by the wood textures that show through. The red ceiling light, cow skin rug and exposed ceiling beams add a burst of color.
Table Lamp
The traditional style of this bedroom demonstrates the beauty of classic simplicity. The mix of colors is grounded with the black accents and wooden floor for a lovely effect.
Dining Room Chandelier
The black industrial shelves in this quirky dining room stand out against the bright green wall and help showcase the white pottery. Plenty of wood features keep the room fresh and natural.

Image Sources 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

Which of these rooms was your favorite? Let us know in the comments!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Antiquing in Ottawa

While I was in Ottawa a little while ago for a quick visit, I popped into a great antique market that my friend T turned me on to (Ottawa Antique market - which is conveniently down the street from her house). My mom and I popped in after I visited with T - here are some of the beauty items we saw (sadly nothing came home with me as I was taking the train back to Toronto).
This chair is gorgeous, and check out the stack of black books for filling up a shelf!


Beautiful blue Wedgewood pieces


If you saw my post on trends, you know that floral was one of them! I love how crowded / concentrated this floral pattern is.

Those are just some of my fun browsing finds - where is your favourite antique store / market?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Book Club - Book #2

Thanks to everyone who has commented about our first Blogger Book Club book review on The Paris Wife! You can see all of our books on my Book Club page.

If you're interested in taking part in the Blogger Book Club, make sure to grab our second book:


Chapters / Indigo describes this book:
Spanning four decades, from 1968 onwards, this is the story of a fabulous but flawed family and the slew of ordinary and extraordinary incidents that shape their everyday lives. It is a story about childhood and growing up, loss of innocence, eccentricity, familial ties and friendships, love and life. Stripped down to its bare bones, it''s about the unbreakable bond between a brother and sister.

I'm starting this one tomorrow! Make sure to tune in for the review over at Carol's blog The Design Pages on June 4th!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Book Review - The Paris Wife

Happy Monday, everyone. Today's the big day - the first Blogger Book Club meeting!  Grab your tea, coffee, or glass of wine and join in the chat...

If you've read the Paris Wife, I really would love to hear what you have to say in the comments below, or on our Facebook page (under "Blogger Book Club", set up  by Carol at The Design Pages).

The Paris Wife is the story of Ernest Hemmingway and his wife Hadley. The story depicts their first meeting, early romance, marriage, foray into parenthood...and eventually, what tears them apart. I won't spend a lot of time recapping the book here, because I'm not really one for recalling the years of high school book reports (foreshadowing? climax? denouement?).

If you have not read the book, and don't want it spoiled, steer clear of the rest of this post - consider this your SPOILER alert!


Here's my take on it...

I thought the book was just OK. I read it after finishing the Hunger Games and Fall on Your Knees (Ann Marie Macdonald). After those exciting page turners, the Paris Wife didn't have the same level of action and anticipation. I felt that every event had a clear build up to it, without many surprises in the story.  I also didn't feel particularly attached to any of the characters.

I did enjoy the writing - it was nice, soft, and easy to read. I also enjoyed the descriptions of Paris - I was just there last spring, so it took me back! I could picture the neighbourhoods and tried to imagine the cafes and art scene as depicted in this book.
The end of the book was particulary interesting to me - trying to understand what would make Hadley stay with Ernest at first, and trying to understand how Pauline could competely sever Hemmingway's love and loyalty for his wife.

Overall, I found the pace a bit slow, but the writing was smooth and easy to read. While this book wouldn't be a book I would recommend to everyone, I do think it would be a good book to read as a "break" book - if you need a different genre from what you're used to, or if you just read a really heavy book and need a light book as a break.

What did you think?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Friday faves - patio pleasures

'Tis Friday folks! It's been a busy week over here, but time for some pre weekend day dreaming...

Before I get to that...if you have no plans this weekend and feel like reading...pick up the Paris Wife, read it, and check back in on Monday for my book review! It's part of the Blogger Book Club so make sure to check back if you want to leave comments and participate.

Ok...onto el-posto:

I am a summer girl. Through and through. Yesterday was pretty nice but the weekend isn't supposed to be great...I just can't WAIT for it to get here full blast (especially since we got A/C installed!). Outdoor spaces can be so so so pretty and with such a fleeting summer, best to take advantage as much as possible.
Here are some dreamy spaces to lead into what's hopefully a dreamy weekend for you all...happy Friday

Pinned Image

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via Style at Home - May 2012 (p.69)

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via Architectural Digest via Pinterest

Pinned Image

via Style at Home - May 2012 (p.115)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Cherry blossoms

Thank you so much for all your sweet happy birthday wishes! Makes a girl smile...

Had a great day yesterday (as great as can be for a weekday)....sun was shining, and the Mr. and I went for a delicious dinner at one of my fave Toronto places - Tabule. It was yummy in all its middle eastern inspired deliciousness, and had BYOWine with no corkage (Mon/Tues)! Bonus...

This past weekend, we had visitors from the Mr's side of the family, and we decided to check out the cherry blossoms in High Park. We had never been, and heard that it was quite the sight to see. Depending on how you looked at it, we lucked out (scored 2 parking spaces within a 10 min walk of the blossoms...key point when we're getting (a very willing and fit) Grandma to hike up and down the park's hills). It wasn't as busy as I heard it might be, likely because it was gray and misty on Sunday...adds some mystery to the scene though!

Here are some of my favourite shots from the day...

Above was a set up for a photo shoot - I'm guessing an engagement shoot. How cute is that?


Pretty. Hello, Spring.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Congratulations to my mom

I hope you all had a great weekend! It's been a bit quiet arond here, but I assure you it's for a very good reason...

I went back to Ottawa Wednesday evening to celebrate my mother's retirement. She has been working at the same institution for 38 years (woah - I know!). They threw her a shin dig on Thursday evening and it was great to see so many people come out and celebrate her career. She gave an excellent speech, citing some of the many changes that have come around in her career (for instance - computers. Yah...and email...not small changes here when it comes to how we work).

My mom was always a working mom and both her and my dad did an amazing job juggling successful careers, AND providing me and my sister an extremely stable and happy home life.

Thanks mom and dad.

They are now both retired and can live the life! They deserve it.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Homemade mayonnaise

I know that mayonnaise isn't exactly the healthiest of condiments out there, and to be honest I don't eat it all that much. Actually, we eat it so seldom that we never have it in the house because it just goes bad before we can use a good portion of the jar.

But, on the weekend we were hoping for a quick lunch, and tuna salad certainly fits that bill. So, I litterally whipped up some mayo. And it turned out very tasty - it's yellow, not white like the storebought stuff (not sure why).  You can find a variety of recipes online, but I used one from my favourite cookbook: The Cook's Book of Everything (sidenote: I love this cook book. I received it at my wedding shower and use it ALL the time).

(I had to switch to a hand blender because I was only using 1 egg yolk and it was not enough liquid for the Cuisinart to do its thing!)

The end result




Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Trend report - spring

Style at Home puts out a trend report every season, and I love looking at it for inspiration. Here's a look at the trends Spring has in store for us:

Florals:
Florals have really come into everything between home decor and fashion. Here are some simple ways to include them in your space.

Floral prints in my dining room


And if you want to keep it REALLY simple without changing your decor, just add some fresh flowers to your table:


Coloured Glass:
I see coloured glass as a great high/low item to have in your home. You can splurge on some beautiful hand made coloured glass, or find it at any discount home store like HomeSense.
accessories-vases.jpg


Orange:
I did a Friday Faves last year on orange (see it here), and love the bright pop it brings to any room or outfit.


An orange throw (or pillow) is an easy, non comittal way to try out orange. via Too Cute Things


These three trends definitely make me think spring and seem like a perfect introduction to the warmer weather to come.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Weekend recap

This weekend was a gorgeous spring weekend here in Toronto - I hope it was beautiful where you were too!

We headed over the border on Friday to do some outlet shopping. I was so surprised to find out that Good Friday isn't a holiday in the US so we did our part to support their economy instead :) We headed over the border, and had an amazingly short wait time - took us about 15 min all in to get into the US! Good luck for us. Here was our view as we headed to the border crossing:

{my instagram}

We went to the Fashion Outlets in Niagara - didn't see any earth shattering deals, but I did get some nice finds at 40% off at Banana Republic, and picked up a watch I've been eyeing for...ohhh...about a year...
DKNY watch via


We had dinner at the Cheesecake Factory - not a gourmet meal, but we enjoyed it. Their portions are inexplicably large...we figured this out a while ago, so now if we go we split 1 main (this weekend it was salmon) and one piece of cheesecake. And we leave STUFFED. Scary to think how we would feel if we ordered our own plates!

Saturday we went to the gym, enjoyed the sunshine, planted some seeds (arugula and leaf lettuce - grow seeds, grow!). Saturday night we went out for a delicious dinner at Globe Bistro. We've been thinking of going there forever, and it definitely lived up to our expectations. Globe focuses on local food, and they do it extremely well.

Sunday we hung laundry out on the line for the first time this year...this has got to be one of my favourite things for spring / summer...I love how things dry outside and they smell so fresh when you bring them in...




What fun did you get up to?
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