Monday, 30 September 2013

Weekend Bits

It felt like I really fit a lot into this weekend. There was plenty of time to catch up with friends we hadn't seen in awhile, visit our friends and their new little guy, and enjoy some serious lazy-Saturday action (while the hubs took part in some home improvement. I like to think I was supervising). That was followed by a Saturday date night to a movie; we saw The Butler - had me crying several times. Sunday brunch with friends, Sunday afternoon tea date with my girlfriend and Sunday dinner with the family. It was glorious. I tried to stay awake for the season premier of Homeland, but fell asleep halfway through.Whoops! How was your weekend?

{homemade potato and corn chowder} 

{brunch at Plank - I'll review later this week}

Friday, 27 September 2013


The scene: while I was watching tv last night, highlights for the next show come on...

Me: Babe! There's a special on beavers coming up next!

Nick: What?

M: A special on beavers.

N: What??

M: There's a SPECIAL on BEAVERS on next!

N: Really?! F@*&ing  awesome!
I want to learn more about beavers!


Side note: The use of exclamation points is true to the conversation; he really is obsessed with wildlife. We actually learned a lot, thanks David Suzuki.

Have a happy weekend!

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Are Mullets Back In Town?

According to sources (a quick look at Vogue's October cover or recent Marc Jacobs ads), it seems as though mullets are back in style. They have resurfaced on their own timeline (not part of the '80s fashion revival of the last few seasons). Some people will probably be really glad they're in style again (because believe it or not, I still know people who sport the original 1980's version).

Let's talk about some of the best mullets out there. There happen to be more than one type. You've got the punk rocker (spiky on top, long at the back). The crew cut/mullet. The skullet (bald on top, party still happening in the back). Some celebs have mullets named after them (the Michael Bolton, anyone?) It's the one hairstyle that continues to get attention from just about everyone.

Do you remember the episode of Full House when uncle Jesse broke his arms, and the girls tried to help by doing his hair, and accidentally ruined his mullet. Consequently, he ended up with a much more appealing hair cut. Nonetheless, he was devastated. There's just something about a mullet that people can't seem to let go of.

So whether you're still rockin' the Billy Ray Cyrus, or you've reinvented the mullet into a trendy, fashion-forward hairstyle (which I will call the mini-mullet), wear it with pride. At the very least, it gives those of us without mullets something to smile about.

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Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Music and Lyrics

Ever since I was a preteen, I have had this weird thing about learning lyrics to songs. From time to time, I just make up the words as I go, but I find it so satisfying to be able to sing along and truly know what I'm singing.

The first time I remember making an effort to learn lyrics was when Savage Garden released their album with the song I Want You. You know, the chickacherrycola song. My poor dad was doing some kind of work on my room, and I sat in there for the entire afternoon, song on repeat, little CD booklet in hand, reading the lyrics. I can still sing the entire song (I keep that in my back pocket for parties - not really but I'm still kinda proud).

The other day, I realized this obsession while trying to learn the chorus for Royals by Lorde. It's obviously a lot easier than I Want You, but still, I don't have the same kind of free time to devote to learning song lyrics.

Sometimes I think I could really kill it on that Don't Forget the Lyrics show. At a wedding a couple weeks ago, I was dancing and singing along to a song, and my friend Bonnie just blurts out "she knows all the words!" #hiddentalent.

Image source Niels Linneberg via photopin cc

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Shrimp Scampi

When I was a kid, Shrimp Scampi was one of my favourite dinners. When I was a teenager, my mom taught me how to make it, and it was only this year that I realized I could make it without the recipe (that's the best part about cooking, right?). Scampi is basically a butter and white wine sauce. In the words of one of my favourite celebrity chefs, how bad could that be?

Ingredients: *all measurements are approximate
1 pkg uncooked shrimp (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup white wine (choose one you would drink)
2 shallots (finely diced)
2 large or 3 medium cloves of garlic (finely diced)
1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 a lemon (just the juice)
A handful of flat-leaf parsley (chopped)

Dice shallots and garlic
Defrost (if frozen) and peel shrimp
Melt butter and olive oil in a large pan
Add in the shallots and garlic, and cook for 2 or 3 minutes (let the shallots soften)
Add in the shrimp and cook until just pink
Squeeze in the juice from the lemon
Pour in the wine
Simmer while the sauce reduces just a bit
Add in the chopped parsley
Serve over rice (with a glass of the wine, of course)

So easy and so yummy. Bon apetit!

Monday, 23 September 2013

Family Cottage Weekend

In high school, I lived next door to my best friend. We loved this because I didn't grow up there, we moved in when I started grade 9. Each summer, her parents would invite my parents up to their cottage for a weekend. When we were old enough to stay home alone, we always told them we had to work at our summer jobs that weekend. Lies. We wanted to stay home and have a double house party. Naturally.

So fast forward many years later, and we were dying to be able to get up to the cottage with both sets of parents. My how things change. Well, we finally coordinated it this weekend. Despite the fact that it was a pretty rainy day on Saturday, we had the best time. After all, a rainy day is a great excuse to cuddle up, drink mugs of coffee and just relax. Combined with homemade tomato soup (recipe from my mother-in-law) was just what we needed. Luckily, the sun came out on Sunday so that we could soak up some vitamin D, and go for a hike. The boys fished in the rain and the shine. Here are some pictures, if you'd like to see.

Warning: this weekend features me, sans make up, sans hairbrush, and re-wearing my moose leggings. A lot.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Happy {Almost Fall} Friday

Well, this weekend is the official beginning of fall. Happily, I'll be celebrating the change in seasons up North. In the tradition of Happy Friday posts, here are a few things about the Fall that make me happy.

Being cozy. Sweaters, blankets, boots. I love to get cuddley.

Fall TV shows. Call my boring. Call my lazy. I love my tv and new shows make me excited.

Soups, stews and savoury pies.

Changing colours. I'm lucky to live in a place that has a beautiful landscape for the leaves changing colour. (Two great places to see them: Niagara on the Lake and The Escarpment)

Can't wait to welcome my favourite season from a beautiful place. Have a wonderful weekend.

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Thursday, 19 September 2013

Thirsty Thursday: My Adult Bevy Center

After being inspired by many different bar carts, I've now (finally) put my own together. This 'cart' is nestled between our living and dining room, so you can grab yourself a cocktail anytime (I swear we're not alcoholics). The elements that I included can be put into four categories: alcohol (duh), glassware, garnishes (in this case, fruit), and extras.

I don't have every kind of alcohol. I don't really see a reason to (unless I were hosting a large party). For now, I just have things that we enjoy, and that our friends also like. That includes a bottle of Pimm's, vodka, rye, gin and scotch. Missing: rum. Nick likes rum and I think a spiced rum would be nice for the winter. There's also some dessert wine and a bottle of sparkling water.

On the silver tray (which belonged to my grandma, by the way), there are four cocktail glasses. The champagne flutes are from my in-laws. They gave them to us the day we got engaged, so they carry really happy memories for us. The crystal decanter also belonged to my grandparents, the tall one with the etched pattern belonged to Nick's nana and granddad, and it made the trip home in my suitcase (success!) and the third one is from our friends' wedding.

I think lemons and limes are an easy and inexpensive way to brighten up a kitchen or dining room. Plus you need them for the cocktails. And lastly the extras: the silver coasters (Kate Spade) are a housewarming gift from our close friends and they have cute cocktail phrases like 'make it a double' and 'on the rocks'. the vase is actually a former beer bottle blown into a glass, but I thought it would look pretty with a flower (plus it totally fits the bar cart theme).

There you have it! If you're ever over at my place, feel free to help yourself to something from the bar :)

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Giant Yorkshire Puddings

One thing Nick used to talk about when we first started dating was his Granddad's Yorkshire puddings. Between that and raving about his mum's roast dinners, I figured I had a lot to live up to. I've been perfecting my technique ever since, and I think I'm doing my grandma proud.

For our anniversary dinner this year, we decided to cook ourselves up some giant Yorkshire puddings (to fill with beef stew, of course). I used this recipe, which is so simple that now I have it committed to memory. It likely yields a dozen small ones, but it's just enough for two giant ones :)

{stirred while enjoying a SF beer}

{I didn't mean to, but doesn't it look like a Yorkshire pudding heart?}

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Restaurant Review: The Harbour Diner

Last weekend, for my dad's birthday, we all went out to The Harbour Diner to celebrate. The Harbour Diner is a little place in Hamilton that we've been to before, and my parents visit pretty regularly. Decorated like your grandparents dining room, with mismatched chairs and china, this place is the epitome of homey.

The Harbour Diner is definitely a local favourite, and thanks to the miracle of television (it was featured on The Food Network's You Gotta Eat Here), it's now pretty popular among out-of-towners as well. The restaurant is tiny, so it's pretty difficult to get a table if you just show up. Do yourself a favour, make a reso (especially on a weekend). I've only ever been for dinner, but based on what I've eaten, I can bet they do a bang-up breakfast. The portions are gigantic. I'm not kidding. One portion is likely enough for three meals, and with that in mind, you wouldn't believe how reasonable the prices are. I opted for the crab and lobster macaroni (obviously), but from what I hear, the meatloaf is where it's at. If you can save room for dessert, try to. They have a great selection of homemade pies and crumbles.

{the features are always tasty, but sell out quickly}

{with the exception of our table for six, this is the entire place}

{obviously I love a place adorned with teacups}

{a must try: their garlic caesar}

{a healthier version of fish & chips}

{didn't I say the portions were big? This is what was left after I finished eating}

{oh and they wrap your leftovers into tinfoil animals}

{animals unite! elephant, crab and swan}

{one full and happy family} 

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