Thursday, November 29, 2012

My Felted Cloche Hat!

 My first attempt at felting and I think it went pretty well!
 I used this pattern but not exactly since I'm not very good at following instructions...
I'm going to try another one now that I have a better idea of what I'm doing....

I felted it up in the kitchen sink instead of the washing machine....I wanted to see what was happening... : ) Good project for a lazy knitter though!

Thanks for reading!
Love Desiree

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Inspire Me Thursday

Happy Thursday!
It snowed last night guys!  I am officially into the Christmas spirit!  I have my first festive dinner on Saturday and we're putting up the tree this weekend!


The victory roll!  It lasted all day without moving...

 If I'm going to continue riding my bike I think I need some goggles... What's the point of wearing mascara if it's all over my face by the time I get to work!?



Some of my favourite little displays around the house right now...

And the beginnings of my my Christmas decor!
Wouldn't this be a great idea for gift tags?
Have a wonderfully festive weekend..

And listen to this clip of my brother playing an instrument he built himself...Check out his youtube channel to hear more...

Love Desiree
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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Weekday Recipe Roundup

Hello my lovelies...I'm back with another recipe roundup! 

My Menu:
Sunday: Roast Beef Dinner with Roasted Vegetables and Mashed Potatoes
 James whipped up this Sunday feast which made it taste even better...There's just something about food that someone else cooks right?!
For the beef:
What you'll need:
Inside round cut of beef
Flour, garlic salt, rosemary, pepper

Dry the meat with paper towels and roll it on a cutting board covered in flour, garlic salt, rosemary, and pepper.
Sear it on all sides in a cast iron pan for about 3 minutes per side. (Our smoke alarm went off several times) 
Bake it in the oven uncovered for 425 for the first half hour and then turn the oven down to 375.
Cook for 14 minutes per pound if you want medium rare.

For the veggies:
Roast in an oven safe dish tossed in olive oil, salt, and pepper for about 45 minutes or until desired tenderness.
Serve with mashed potatoes.

Monday: Roasted Trout with Beet Salad
 Last Christmas James' Aunt gave me a little recipe book with all her best soups and salads and this is one of them.  Isn't that just the nicest gift?  I was touched... : )
 I added pecans in my version and served with roasted trout.

Tuesday - Ditali Tomato Chick Pea Pasta
 This recipe is a great one and satisfied my intense longing for PASTA!
What you need
2 tbsp (30 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
3 cups (750 mL) sliced mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, finely chopped
1 can (14 oz/398 mL) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 can (28 oz/796 mL) tomatoes, chopped
3/4 tsp (4 mL) salt
1/2 tsp (2 mL) pepper
1/2 tsp (2 mL) dried oregano
1-3/4 cups (425 mL) ditali pasta or penne or macaroni
2 tbsp (30 mL) chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup (60 mL) grated parmesan cheese
Parsley sprig

-In large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat; cook mushrooms, garlic and onion, stirring
occasionally, until no liquid remains and mushrooms are browned, 10 to 15 minutes.
-Stir in chickpeas, tomatoes, salt, pepper and oregano; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer
until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
-Meanwhile, in large pot of boiling salted water, cook ditali until al dente, about 8 minutes; drain
and return to pot. 
-Add sauce and chopped parsley; toss to coat. 
-Serve sprinkled with Parmesan cheese; garnish with parsley sprigs.

Wednesday - Roast Beef Sandwiches with Arugula and Mushroom Salad
For yoga night I used the left over beef from Sunday's roast to throw together some beef on a bun topped with cheese, onion, and horseradish and then broiled to perfection..quick and easy so we can get out the door fast.  In an effort to give this meal some nutritional benefits I served it with a tasty arugula salad...

For the salad you'll need:
White mushrooms
Parmesan Cheese
Lemon Juice
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

-Toss the arugula with sliced mushrooms and shaved parm
-Mix a 1/4 cup each of lemon juice and olive oil or to your personal taste and add salt and pepper to season

Thursday - Chicken Goulash on Crushed Potatoes
 When LCBO's Food and Drink Magazine claims something is quick and easy they are almost always lying and this recipe was no exception.  It was tasty but way too lengthy of a process for a weeknight...
2 lbs small boiling potatoes
1 1/4 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cups flour
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 medium onion diced
2 large garlic cloves minced
1 cup chicken broth
3/4 cup juice drained from canned tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp hot paprika or sweet paprika with 1/4 tsp of cayenne
1 tsp caraway seeds
1/2 pound parsnips peeled and sliced lengthways
1 large carrot thinly sliced on a diagonal
1 green pepper diced (I used a zucchini instead)
1 cup of drained canned tomatoes
1/2 tsp salt
Several grindings of black pepper
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

-Cover whole potatoes in cold water in a pot with cold salted water.
-Bring to a boil, partially cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes until tender
-Keep warm.

-Cut chicken into one inch squares.
-Toss with flour
-Heat oil and butter over medium high heat in a large pan until hot and bubbly.
-Add chicken all at once, increase heat a little bit and wait 3 to 4 minutes until the chicken is brown on the bottom.
-Stir around when the pink is just gone for about 2 minutes.
-Remove to a plate.

-Reduce heat to medium and add the onion and garlic to the pan and sautee for 2 minutes.
-Meanwhile mix up broth, tomato juice, tomato pasta, paprika, and caraway seeds.
-Add to the pan slowly scraping up the brown bits.
-Stir in parsnips, carrots, green pepper and bring to a boil
-Cover and reduce heat to a simmer for 15 minutes stirring occasionally.
-Return chicken to pan and cover and simmer for another 10 minutes until the chicken is cooked thru.
-Stir in tomatoes and add salt and pepper to taste.

-Divide the drained potatoes to plates and crush with a fork or masher.
-Spoon goulash overtop with a dollop of sour cream and chopped parsley

That's it for my meal plan for the week but how lucky were we to get invited over to Ron and Sarah's this weekend for a feast of epic proportions! Not having to do any of the cooking I made sure to capture the festivities on film...

Check it out!

Happy feasting!
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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Inspire Me Thursday

Wow, is it Thursday already!?  



Coney Island 1904

Getting started on some new designs! 

A Tulle Christmas Tree?  Hmmm...

Lucky girl! ; )

Happy almost weekend!
Love Desiree

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Weekday Recipe Roundup

Are you hungry?  Looking for some meal ideas?  Well, you're come to the right place!

The Menu
 I love Sunday Dinner...especially when I get to share it with special people and this Sunday was extra special because it was my brother Harley's birthday!  I made him his favourite.  Chicken. 

Sunday - Roast Chicken Dinner with Roasted Veggies and Mash
What you'll need:
1 Whole Chicken
2 Lemons and 2 Limes
Olive oil
Head of Garlic or more
Red Potatoes (for mashing)

-Preheat your oven to 425.
-Roughly chop a bunch of carrots, celery and onion and place in a roasting pan or casserole dish.
-Toss with olive oil and whatever herbs you have on hand.
-Rub your chicken with olive oil, salt, and pepper. (be sure to cut any strings off the bird if there are any)
-Stuff it with pieces of lemon, lime and whole cloves of peeled garlic.
-Place the chicken on top of the vegetables.
-Throw in a bunch of unpeeled garlic cloves. (they'll turn into yummy roasted garlic)
-Cook for about 1- 1hr15 or until the veggies are soft.

-Once the chicken is done cooking let it sit covered in tinfoil for about 10 minutes to let the juices drain out.
-Remove the chicken and veg to a serving plate.
-Pour the juices into a small sauce pan, spoon off the grease.
-Add a splash of milk and a dash of flour and begin to stir over medium heat until it begins to bubble.'ve got gravy! (this doesn't make a ton, but it was plenty for four of us.)

Since it is a special occasion I mashed my potatoes with butter, milk, sour cream, AND cream cheese.  Sinful!
Waiting patiently...

 Dessert: Croissant Surprise Cake!
 I also made this ridiculously delicious dessert that I've been thinking about ever since.

What you'll need:
600mL (2.5 cups) whipping cream (35% milk fat)
3 eggs
100g (3.5oz) sugar
3 large croissants
small handful dark chocolate, broken into chunks

-Preheat oven to 350. Line the base and sides of a loaf pan with baking paper.
-Combine cream, eggs and sugar in a large bowl.
-Slice croissants into rounds about 1cm thick. Add to the cream mixture and stand for a few minutes allowing the croissants to soak up the custard.
-Layer half the soaked croissants in the prepared loaf pan. Scatter over the chocolate.
-Layer remaining croissants over the top and pour any leftover custard on top.
-Bake for 40-50 minutes or until the cake is well browned and you can’t see any liquid custard when you press on the top. Cool in the tin.
(Follow this link for the original recipe which includes a video)
I'm pretty sure I gained a couple pounds after that meal!

Monday - Sweet Potato Burritos
The sweet and salty combo in these tasty little wraps keep me coming back for more week after week! 
What you'll need:
Soft tortillas
3 Mashed sweet potatoes
Cheddar cheese
1 Can of re-fried beans
1 Cup of thawed frozen corn
Cilantro (optional)
Red or green onions
Salsa and sour cream

-Preheat oven to 350.
-Chop and boil your sweet potatoes until tender.
-Mash with 1 tbsp of brown sugar.
-Assemble as many burritos as you can manage with the above ingredients and place them on a baking sheet.
-Cook for 12 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the edges are golden.
-Serve with salsa and sour cream.

 Tuesday - Linguini Margarita
Did I mention that I'm obsessed with pasta! James found this recipe in the local commuter paper...
What you'll need:
2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil
1/4 cup (60 ml) finely diced onion
1 lb (500 g) fresh asparagus, cut into 2 inch lengths
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 cup (250 ml) drained, patted dry, and coarsely chopped, oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
3/4 cup (175 ml) dry white wine
1/4 cup (60 ml) low-fat whipping cream
3/4 lb. (375 g) dry linguine pasta
1/2 cup (125 ml) grated Parmesan
1/4 cup (60 ml) chopped fresh basil

 -In a large skillet, warm oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and asparagus and cook until asparagus is slightly soft and bright green, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 1 – 2 minutes until fragrant, being careful not to burn garlic. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate and keep warm.
-To the same skillet, add tomatoes and white wine. Cover and simmer over low heat until the tomatoes are softened, about 8 – 10 minutes. Return asparagus to skillet and add cream. Cook 2 – 3 minutes to meld flavours. Season to taste with pepper.
-In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente. Strain and place in a serving bowl. Cover with sauce and stir to combine. Top with Parmesan cheese, garnish with fresh basil, and serve.
Wednesday - Perogies and Salad
It's yoga night and I need a quick meal!  
What you'll need:
A bag of pierogies obviously!
Cook according to package directions.
For my salad:
1 box of organic mixed greens, prewashed
1 shallot thinly sliced
1 tomato chopped
1/2 cucumber chopped
1/4 cup of crumbled feta cheese
Drizzle with olive oil and white balsamic
A sprinkle of my Dad's toasted garlic powder is the key! (follow the link to see how he makes it.)
It's sooo good and may even still be available! Last I heard there were a few bottles at Churchill Natural Meats in Fonthill.
 Thursday - Winter Burgers
I love, love, love a pan fried homemade burger!
What you'll need:
Extra lean ground beef (I just get the small package at the grocery store.)
1 egg
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 grated onion
2 sprigs of finely chopped fresh rosemary (1-2 tbsp)
1tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp of chilli sauce or ketchup
3 squirts of Worcestershire
Salt and pepper
8 Sliced mushrooms
Red onion, sliced
Cheddar cheese (optional)
-Mix everything but the mushrooms, onion, and cheese until it looks like one big meatball.
-Break it into two balls, and then into 4 and mold them into the shape of a patty.
-Set aside
- Fry up the onions and garlic and set aside.
- Add patties to the pan and fry on medium high heat for 5-7 minutes on each side or until there's no pink inside.
- Top with cheese until melted and then top with mushrooms and onion.
- Dress your burger with the condiments of your choice....

I served these with the same salad from the night before but omitted the feta cheese. 

 Friday - Taco Party!
We had an impromptu taco party on Friday night....
 I don't think I really need to explain how to make a taco right?  Try using a soft taco on the outside and a hard one on the inside....  It's the only way to go. : )

That's it for this week! Happy cooking...
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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Inspire Me Thursday

It's Thursday!  Awesome.


Vintage Flowers - My new obsession! I think it's time I step up my ribbon work.

Vivian Leigh


Happy almost weekend!

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