Saturday, July 31, 2010

Chandeliers... In The Kitchen

There is something super glam about chandeliers in the kitchen. Makes me want to cook in heels. And add an entire bottle of vino into whatever sauce I'm making. Maybe make a dessert terrine too.

Image 1 Traditional Home Image 2 House and Home Image 3, 4 (by Candace Olson) and 5 (photo Brandon Barre) on Decor Pad

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Recipe: The Cheesecake Factory Style Sweet Corn Tamale Cakes

It was the Sweet Corn Tamale Cakes that started my addiction with The Cheesecake Factory many years ago when I first visited this restaurant in Vegas at Caesars Palace. Finally, after fiddling with various copycat recipes, this is the simple version that I'm making at home. This is the best appetizer. Ever.

Southwestern Sauce:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp water
1.5 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
pinch cayenne pepper
pinch onion powder
pinch garlic powder
pinch salt

Combine all of the ingredients and chill. When I make this sauce, I put it into a piping bag then pipe it onto the cakes once they are completely assembled. Or, fill a small ziplock bag and cut the corner for the cheap version. This sauce rocks!

Tomato Salsa:
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1 tbsp minced spanish onion
1 tbsp fresh cilantro, minced
1/4 tsp fresh lime juice
dash salt and pepper
(I've seen recipes that add jalapenos, but I haven't, although they'd be awesome)

Combine all of the ingredients and chill.

Corncakes (makes six 3 inch cakes):
Kernels cut from 5 ears of corn
1/2 cup salted butter (or slightly less.... if trying to be healthy)
1/2 cup corn flour
2 tbsp all purpose flour
3 tbsp sugar

1. In a large frying pan over medium heat, add the corn (and a little butter so it doesn't stick) and cook for a few minutes until warmed through.
2. Chop about three quarters of the corn in a food processor until coarsely pureed, then combine the pureed corn with the butter and sugar.
3. Add the flours and blend well. Add the remaining whole corn kernels and mix.
4. Measure 1/2 cup portions and form into 3'' patties, then fry in a non-stick pan until golden.

Other Ingredients:
sour cream
salsa verde

The Cheesecake Factory has their own salsa verde recipe, but I usually cheat by using store bought salsa verde. Saves time.

Make-Your-Own Salsa Verde:
2 tomatillos, diced
1 green chile (mild), diced
1 green onion, minced
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, minced
1 1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp salt
pinch pepper

Once the corn cakes are fried, I place them on a bed of salsa verde, then top with the tomato salsa, sour cream, diced avocado and southwestern sauce. The corncakes are good on their own, but I load them up. So good.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Pretty Wrapped DIY Soap Bars

I love perusing all the pretty things in Belle de Provence and Teatro Verde. And I adore purchasing beautifully wrapped luxury soaps but I never want to open them! I gathered some scrapbook paper and raffia and created a few of my own. It is a pretty touch for a guest room. 

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Magazine Crush: Traditional Home June/July

I must say, every single page of the June/July 2010 issue of Traditional Home is filled with gorgeous and inspiring photography. 

A spread on my favourite colour was the first thing to lure me in.

There is a gorgeous feature on a Key West home, designed by Todd Richesin.  This makes me want to pack a picnic and go for a bike ride. 

Coral and turquoise. Love.

This incredible kitchen belongs to an Indiana lake home.

A Michigan summer house:

Another incredible home in California's Newport Bay.

A Boston waterfront home.

Well done, Traditional Home.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

DIY Eco-Friendly Natural All Purpose Cleaner

My goal is to clean green in my home. I started by making an all purpose cleaner, mainly for the kitchen counter and cupboard doors. Everything here is white and requires constant maintenance, which truthfully doesn't always happen. 

I filled one spray bottle with a simple mixture of water and vinegar, which can be used first to cut grease and disinfect if needed. I filled another spray bottle with two cups water, 2 tsp baking soda and 2 tsp castile soap infused with eycalyptus and spearmint (which not only smell great, but are also antibacterial). It smells so much better than the off-the-shelf chemically loaded stuff. And I'm not polluting the water or air with contaminants. Baking soda, castille soap and vinegar are cheap and I can continue to reuse the same spray bottles. A healthier home and environment at minimal cost. 

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Southworks Antiques

I went with my parents to Southworks Antiques market this weekend. A person could spend hours in a place like Southworks. And you can't help but marvel and wonder (and sometimes laugh) at the history behind all the treasures.

Plenty of thrifting.

I found an extremely cheap frame surrounding a Victorian picture (screaming for a makeover) which will soon become my kitchen chalkboard once I pick up some supplies. I also got a sturdy white bucket that will be used for storage and also for ice and bevvies when company comes. Or as a flip flop bin.

And a milk glass reamer. I will be having lemon-everything for quite awhile.

My parents got me a nautical inspired glass holder that I was seriously lusting after. Ice cream with tiny spoons, hot apple cider with cinnamon sticks, milk bottles filled with milk and kahlua, and fruit spritzers...

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Summer Sales

There's nothing better than finding something you've been searching for, and then discovering it on the sale rack, at a bazillion percent off. Such is the case with the pair of distressed skinny jeans I picked up at J. Crew for $6.98. Yep, great jeans on the cheap.

And... couldn't help myself... a turquoise beachy hair tie that I'm going to wear as a bracelet. I love sales.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Happy Canada Day - Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing

Red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese icing are perfect for celebrating being a Canadian. Along with plenty of coffee! 

The recipe can be found here. Instead of using red food colouring, I used about a half cup of pureed beets. The cocoa colour dominated since the beets only provided a hint of red, but avoiding unecessary chemicals is well worth the sacrifice.

Happy Canada Day!

If You Need Me...

I'll be lounging somewhere, taking in every bit of summer that comes my way. I'm off to enjoy some vacation time!

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Crate and Barrel

Martha Stewart

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