Friday, August 20, 2010

Cute as a Button and Fun Bento Boxes

I have twin 6 year old girls who share a room as well as a four year old who has her own room. I am ALWAYS looking for fun ways to decorate their rooms. I especially like looking for shared space ideas for my twin girls. As they get older, privacy will become more and more of an issue. I really love these shared spaces!!

As you know I am all about colour too. I love it anywhere in my home. Look at this cute teen room! Actually, I could live in this room and I am thirty-something or other-ish.... : )

More cute rooms...

Take a look at these cool rooms! What boy wouldn't love this one!

I really like this one too, how fun!

Are you cuted out yet? How about a cute snack to go with your cute room?! A great way to exercise portion control and make food look appealing to your child is to use Japanese-style bento boxes.
Really, you can use any divided container you have in your cupboard. I like this super-cute colorful one...

How adorable is this bunny box? This one doesn't even have dividers, they just put the food in it in a cute way!

You could put absolutely anything in a bento box. Any type of sliced fruit or vegetable with some dip. Maybe a sandwich - use your cookie cutters to make them extra cute and appealing. Veggie chips with some hummus, the sky's the limit and it's so much fun. Let your child pack their own bento box and they are more likely to eat what they packed! Let them take their box up to their cute rooms with their best buddies and let the healthy snacking begin. So fun!

~ Kids room photos from

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Napa Valley Cottage life and Fresh Chopped Salad

Napa Valley is a place I would love to visit. Tour the gorgeous vineyards, sample wonderful wines and stay in beautiful bed and breakfasts. These are photos from a cottage in Napa Valley - my kind of cottage! I could live in this shower all summer...

I love the photo above, a touch of roughness. Beautiful. I could picture making this salad in that kitchen. My mom brought it over one summer evening a couple of weeks ago, it was so delicious!!!! So refreshing for summer. You can serve it over tortilla chips or just eat it as a salad like we did. Enjoy your cottage if you have one. If not, make this salad and enjoy your own personal summer surroundings. Bon appetit!

¼ cup olive oil ½ tsp. minced jalapeno

2 ears of corn, husked 2 cups diced sweet peppers

3 small tortillas cut into ¼ inch strips 2 cups halved cherry tomatoes

¼ cup fresh squeezed lime juice 2 cups canned black beans….rinsed and drained

3 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro 1 avocado..pitted and diced

1 tsp. brown sugar 2 celery ribs, diced

1 tsp. chopped garlic

Place tortillas on baking pan and bake until tortillas are crispy and golden brown.

Cook corn on the cob and cool and then cut corn kernels from the cobs and set aside.

Dice peppers, slice tomatoes and chop cilantro.

Put peppers, tomatoes, black beans and corn in large bowl plus celery if using.

In blender, combine olive oil, lime juice, cilantro, sugar, garlic and jalepeno and puree until smooth to make vinaigrette.

Toss veggies with the vinaigrette. Add avocado and gentlyl toss again. Serve garnished with tortilla chips.


~photos from House Beautiful, recipe from my mom, Linda

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Dreamy Sheds and a Spring Salad

I know what you're thinking. Sheds? Dreamy? Well, take a peek at these fancy sheds that have been converted to outdoor retreats!

This shed was converted into an outdoor family room!

This one is used as a potting shed
This is the garden plot next to the potting shed. The garden plot is used to test colour schemes. Gorgeous!

This is the inside of the potting shed. Adorable!

Not so much a shed but I loved this outdoor cabana. Heavenly!

So now you need something to take out to your converted shed, something light and springy. Perfect time for a spring salad!

~ 1/4 cup olive oil
~ 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest and 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
~ 1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
~ 1 teaspoon sugar
~ Coarse salt and ground pepper

~ 2 heads Boston lettuce, cored and torn into bite-size pieces
~ 1 head radicchio, cored and torn into bite-size pieces
~ 4 scallions, thinly sliced
~ 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved

Make vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together oil, lemon zest and juice, vinegar, and sugar; season with salt and pepper. (To store, refrigerate up to 3 days.)

When ready to serve salad, place lettuce, radicchio, scallions, and tomatoes in a large bowl; add vinaigrette, and toss to combine. Serve immediately.

~ Recipe from Martha
~ Photos from

Monday, March 29, 2010

Moroccan Chic and Quick Creole Shrimp

So there probably isn't anything Morrocan about shrimp (is there?) except maybe the colours of both this outdoor room and this beautiful shrimp dish are delightful...and similar!

I LOVE moroccan decor, I gravitate towards the jewel tones and the wonderful dreaminess of softly draped fabrics. Some of the fabric can be heavy but I don't mind that either now and then in the right setting.
These photos are from the book Moroccan Chic which Alkemie posted on. See the blog here, I just LOVE it, always amazing photos.

The table above would be a perfect setting for your shrimp dish! It's from the Spring 2010 Kraft magazine. My hubby and I loved it, I just omitted the cajun seasoning for my kids. We served it over pasta the first time we made it and rice the second. Both were yummies!

Quick Creole Shrimp

~ 1 lb. frozen uncooked shrimp, thawed
~ 1 Tbsp. Cajun seasoning
~ 1/4 cup Kraft Extra Virgin Olive Oil Sun Dried Tomato Dressing (I didn't have it so I used Red Pepper and Parmesan and it was awesome)
~ 2 cloves garlic, minced
~ 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

Toss shrimp with seasoning. Heat a medium skillet on medium-high. Add dressing and garlic; cook and stir 1 minute.

Stir in shrimp, cook 2-3 minutes or til done. Top with parsley.

Serve over pasta or rice.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Sunny Bathroom and Kid Friendly Cran Pom Bellinis

I seem to be posting a lot about drinks these days. I can't help it, I just love a yummy drink! And it doesn't even have to have alcohol! It's something special you can do for yourself, when you are having one of those days like I did today. This one looks so pretty and that evokes happiness! I have sick kidlets right now and I'm dying to take a bath and have a yummy drink.

I LOVE this bathroom, I love bathrooms with windows, the natural light is so heavenly. This bathroom would look beautiful all candlelit in the evening.

Enjoy a bath and try this recipe. I'm going to! Even the kids can have it, when they are all better that is. : )

  • Virgin Pomegranate and Cranberry Bellinis

    1 cup ice
  • 1 1/2 cups simple syrup, recipe follows
  • 1 1/4 cups unsweetened pomegranate juice, chilled
  • 1 cup unsweetened cranberry juice, chilled
  • 1 (25.3 fluid ounces) bottle sparkling water, chilled
  • 2 limes, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch fresh mint, for garnish
  • Optional garnish: 1/2 cup (2 1/2 ounces) pomegranate seeds
  • Special equipment: a 6 to 8 cup capacity punch bowl


Place the ice in a punch bowl. Add the simple syrup, pomegranate juice, and cranberry juice. Stir well. Slowly pour in the sparkling water. Garnish with lime slices, mint sprigs and pomegranate seeds, if using, and serve.

Serving Suggestion: As an alternative to serving from a punch bowl, make the bellini mixture in a 6 to 8 cup capacity pitcher. Divide the pomegranate seeds between 12 champagne flutes. Add 1 slice of lime and 1 sprig of mint to each glass. Pour the bellini mixture into the prepared glasses and serve.

Simple syrup:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar

In a saucepan, combine water and sugar over medium heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved. Take the pan off the heat and allow the syrup to cool.

~ Photo from Alkemie

~ Recipe from Giada De Laurentiis

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Color Me Happy and Papaya Delights

I absolutely LOVE the colours of the tulips in my supermarket right now. Aren't the colours of spring so lovely?! I have been buying a few bunches here and there and it makes me so happy to see them in my house when it's white (with snow) or brown (no green grass yet) outside.

More colours to love? Fruit! The tropical kind! I never liked papaya before but my parents and my aunt found this great store that always has papaya for a good price. Their trick? Slice it up (cut it in half lengthwise to start and take out the seeds) and then sprinkle some fresh lime juice over it!!! OH so delicious. I also found this recipe that sounds like a winner too. So go treat yourself to some color and a lovely papaya salad!

Lime Basil Grilled Fruit

~ 1 medium fresh pineapple, peeled and sliced thinly into length wise wedges
~ 1 medium ripe papaya, (weighing about 1 lb), peeled and sliced into length-wise wedges
~ 4 tablespoons lime juice (60 ml)
~ 3 tablespoons fresh basil, finely chopped (45 ml)
~ 1/2 cup icing sugar (125 ml)
~ 2/3 cup water (75 ml)

In a small sauce pan over medium heat, combine lime juice, sugar and water and simmer until sugar has dissolved and syrup is slightly thick. Take mixture off heat and stir in basil til combined. Refrigerate for 8 hours to allow flavour to infuse.

Preheat grill to 400F.
Generously oil elements on top of grill and place pieces of pineapple and papaya and grill them for one minute on each side. In a glass bowl combine the fruit and the syrup and stir gently until fruit is coated. Enjoy!

~ From
~ tulip photo from

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Beauty and Sangria

Can I get me one of these views?

So beautiful.

Can you tell I'm itching for summer? The weather here is fairly mild right now but snow is in store. **sigh**

Well, when the weather warms up, enjoy your own outdoor space with this lovely sangria. I am going to try it but maybe I'll cozy up by the fire instead of waiting for summer. : )

Sangria Bonita

Combine 1 (750-ml) bottle dry white wine, 4 ounces (½ cup) orange liqueur, and 3 tablespoons sugar in a large pitcher, stirring until sugar dissolves.

Add (750-ml) bottle sparkling water.

Add 1 sliced orange, 1 sliced lime, 1 sliced star fruit, and 6 sliced strawberries; chill up to 1 hour. Garnish each serving with fresh mint. Makes 6 servings.

~ Photos and recipe from Coastal Living magazine

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Breath of Fresh Air and Parmesan Crusted Salmon

I absolutely love this home featured in House Beautiful magazine. Jill Brinson is a designer and this is her home in Atlanta.

Enjoy and then go try this yummy salmon recipe. It is so tasty! Can you just picture yourself cooking in that gorgeous kitchen?! And the it.

Parmesan Crusted Salmon

Makes 4 servings

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1 teaspoon dill weed
1 cup white wine
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
1 tablespoon melted butter
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 pounds salmon steaks

In a shallow, medium bowl mix Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoned bread crumbs, tarragon and dill.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, blend white wine, teriyaki sauce, butter, red onion and garlic. Cook and stir until onions are tender.

Press one side of each salmon steak into the Parmesan cheese mixture. (I breaded both sides.) Place steaks crust side up in saucepan with white wine mixture.
Cook over medium high heat until most of the liquid is reduced, 10 to 15 minutes***, then flip with a spatula. Continue cooking until crust is golden brown and fish is easily flaked with a fork.
***I always end up burning mine, so I pan-fry it for a few minutes on each side and then bake it in a 375F oven til done, maybe 10 minutes or so.