Sunday, April 29, 2012

Birthday Gift and Baby Shower Gift

I was busy this weekend making some custom artwork for gifts.  One is for my niece's 7th birthday and the other for my friends new baby - her third girl!  Really, what do you need when you have your third little girl... personalized artwork for the nursery, of course!!!

Coincidentally, both of these little girls have purple bedrooms, so I just kept going with the same materials.  It was perfect!  You can see other colours I have made in my Etsy Shop.

Happy Birthday Rebecca!  Welcome to the world, baby Julia!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Thai Curry and Coconut Butternut Squash Soup

This is my new favourite soup recipe - Thai Curry and Coconut Butternut Squash Soup.  I found it on The Eclectic Cook and wanted to share it with you.

If you are having a dreary, rainy day like me, then you might want to think about making this soup for dinner.  It is so delicious!  My daughter's love it too!  I've made it several times in the last month and every time it taste better.


Monday, April 23, 2012

Caesar Salad

It's your lucky day!  

Here is the recipe for our ever so delicious, mouth watering, Caesar Salad recipe.  We love it so much, we make it at least once a week and we always use the entire head of roamine and no salad EVER goes to waste!

My husband and I have tweaked this recipe over many years.  My husband used to be the Caesar salad master, and always used his father's recipe.  His Dad's dressing contained the usual Caesar dressing ingedients, along with red wine vinegar and a coddled egg.  I am a vegetarian with some egg issues (squirming or gagging!), so I have never really liked having the egg in the dressing (and always hated being the one to make it!).  We eventually made the same dressing, just omitting the egg altogether, and it was a good improvement. 

My Mom makes a killer Caesar salad as well and I grew up loving it.  She puts fresh mushrooms and some grated mozzarella in it.  It wasn't until I was older and I tried making it myself that I realized how much oil went into it, as well as mayonnaise, and that stink'n egg again!  I played around with her recipe, too, but still knew there must be a better variation out there.

So, this brings us to my current recipe.  It is a combination of my Mom's recipe and my Father-in-law's.  Oddly enough, it's kind of a variation of the Caesar Dressing in the More Time Moms Family Meals cookbook.

Mix all the ingredients together in a jar

Best garlic press ever!  By Zyliss

Key ingredient #1 - a huge pile of top quality, freshly grated Parmesan

Key ingredient #2 - homemade garlic croutons

Caesar Salad Recipe
Shake together in a jar:
1 - 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
juice from half a lemon
1 tsp of Dijon mustard (I like to use 1/2 seedy Dijon)
1 - 2 tsps of mayonnaise
dash of Worcestershire
1/4 cup olive oil
freshly ground black pepper and salt

1/2 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese

half a baguette
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
olive oil
salt and pepper

Cube the baguette into whatever size bite you please.  Spread the baguette pieces out on a stoneware dish (we use our Pampered Chef stoneware) or a cookie sheet if you don't have one.  Gently toss them with the garlic, salt and pepper and a generous drissle of oil.  Bake in the oven at 350 degrees celcius for approximately 25 minutes.  Stir halfway through.

Mix dressing with 1 head of well washed and dried romaine lettuce.  Add Parmesan and cooled croutons and enjoy, enoy, enjoy!!!

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Litterless Lunch

With Earth Day in just a few days, I was inspired to create some new products that would make packing a litterless lunch as effortless as possible and as pretty as can be!  

I used one of my reusable snack bags as a starting point.  I love the Alexander Henry Apple and Pear fabric, so I chose this one.

The apples and pears were calling to me right away and I knew I had to highlight them somehow.  I decided to sew a fabric lunch bag and hand applique it with a green felt apple and a pink felt pear.  I always love the look of appliqued items, but I'm pretty new to this skill.  So glad I did it, though.

The lunch bag is lined with the same water-resistant nylon that I make my snack bags with.  I used a layer of interfacing between the outer fabric and liner just to give it some more shape and durability.  I wanted something else to hold a sandwich, so I sewed a sandwich wrap with the apple and pear fabric.  It too, is lined with water-resistant nylon.  It is in the shape of an octagon, and closes with a velcro tab.  I sewed in a matching pink grossgrain ribbon tab for easy opening, and to coordinate with the snack bag.  The great thing about the sandwich wrap is that once opened up, it acts as the perfect placemat!


With all three complete, I packaged them together to make a lovely "Litterless Lunch" gift basket.  My daughter's preschool is having their huge 50th Anniversary Dance fundraising event in a couple of weeks so I figured I could donate it for the live auction.  Let's see how much it goes for!  I may even list it in my Etsy shop.  

Ta da!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

She's One!

Happy 1st Birthday Violet!

My little baby celebrated her 1st birthday today!  Her actual birthday is tomorrow, April 16th, but we had a little party at our house today to celebrate the special occasion.  It was such a lovely day.  Violet could not have been more adorable all day.  She was such a sweet bunny, enjoying every moment of the day. 

I made her a special birthday crown, with the number 1 on the front and some pretty frangipani (plumeria) flowers on the side.  My absolute favourite flower, for their beauty and smell!  My wonderful husband made the most delicious Creamy Mixed Mushroom Lasagna and Caesar salad.  We are Caesar salad fanatics and have perfected a mouth watering masterpiece (in our opinion!).  I will have to post our recipe soon.  Of course, we followed lunch with a scrumptious white birthday cake (another favourite of mine!) and some ice cream.  Oh, I just LOVE food!

Violet wore a beautiful dress that was made by my sister-in-law.  She actually made it for my older daughter, as a gift for her 1st birthday.  I was so happy to see it fit Violet so well, especially on her birthday!  It is the oliver + s birthday party dress.  The butterfly fabric was perfect for it.

Is there anything else in here?

I wish for...

First taste of cake...

It's delicious!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Happy National Grilled Cheese Day!

Who would have thought?  A day devoted to the most delicious, yet simple, old school sandwich in the world - yes, it's true, it's National Grilled Cheese Day!  Turn up your griddle, cut into some sharp, old cheddar cheese and dive into that butter... mmmmm!!!

I LOVE grilled cheese sandwiches and I could eat one every day!  To be honest with you, I always thought it was called a "girl cheese" and I could never understand why boys ate them.  I don't think it was until I was in high school, or maybe even university, that I learned its true name.  So sad.  Of course, the grilled cheese is enjoyed by all genders, all ages, and all mammals (my dog loves them!).

In honor of National Grilled Cheese Day, I hope you find time to make one today.  You can stick with your basic buttery, toasted white bread with cheddar cheese melted between them, or you can try something adventurous from the links below.  The possibilities are endless!  You must turn up your speakers and check out this elaborate website at the Grilled Cheese Academy.  Select a sandwich from the 'Sandwich Directory' and try to not laugh!

10 Best Grilled Cheese Recipes

11 Gourmet Grilled Cheese Sandwich Recipes 

8 Swoon-Worthy Grilled Cheese Sandwiches 


Monday, April 09, 2012

Easter Eggs and Horses

Happy Easter!

We had a lovely Easter Sunday.  We started the morning bright and early with some hunting and munching on chocolates as we came across them.  It didn't take long for the effects of the chocolate consumption (combined with the early wake up) to take its toll on our 3 year old!  Wowzers!

After a few melt downs, we took some time to finally dye our eggs that we had made earlier in the week.  I tried a new technique this year - using a plastic bag to create a swirly, textured look with the help from a "pearlescent" egg decorating kit.  I picked it up at the Dollar Store.  It worked pretty well, but the eggs certainly didn't look like the ones on the front of the box!  Instead of dipping eggs in a bowl of water with food colouring, you use a dropper to put a few drops of dye on the egg and then swirl it around in a bag to get the swirly look.  I think I'll stick with the traditional way or dying eggs next year.

Beautiful white eggs, anxiously awaiting their transformation...



Such pretty Easter colours!

After a fun morning at our house, and a big morning nap for Little V, we headed to my parents house for Easter lunch.  We were joined by my brother and his family and my grandma and my aunt.  We had a lovely meal together and lots of playtime in the huge basement with the 4 grandgirls!  

We topped the day off with a trip to a friend's farm, Fairchild Acres, to see their new little foal, who was just named that morning - Almen.  He was the sweetest little horse ever!  Only 3 weeks old and he was looking pretty big.  My niece was like the horse whisperer.  The horses were drawn to her instantly.  I was amazed at how calm and content she was around them.

Maybe next year the Easter Bunny will bring her a horse!