Food

Travel: A Quick Trip To Toronto

A friend and I met in Toronto last weekend for a fun weekend away from reality. It was glorious. Here’s a quick recap of what we did, saw, and ate during our 24 hours in the city.

Shopping…what girls’ weekend doesn’t include a bit of shopping? Anthropologie was a highlight – mostly for the styling, I have to say. It’s such a pretty place!

White-Cabana-Toronto-9I saw the white background and thought it was perfect for a selfie. Please note: I am actually wearing sandals (spring has finally made an appearance), and I do not have a jacket on. There were big changes in the weather last weekend!

 

White-Cabana-Toronto-1On the recommendation of a friend, we went to The Carbon Bar for dinner. The menu has all the goodness of southern cookin’ – ribs, cornbread, slaw, grits – and the cocktails to match I was torn between the brisket and the squid/mussels/pork belly + lentils dish, and in the end, I opted for the fish. I don’t think you can actually make a wrong decision at The Carbon Bar. Everything that was coming out of the kitchen looked delicious.

White-Cabana-Toronto-2White-Cabana-Toronto-3¬† White-Cabana-Toronto-4For Sunday brunch, we did a bit of a Google/Trip Advisor search and settled on Smith (Church & Wellesley). I’m rarely on this side of town when I’m in Toronto, so it was nice to see what’s on the go east of Yonge. If you don’t know where Smith is, you might just walk right past it (like we did), but once you find it, you’ll feel like you hit the jackpot. Our dining neighbours told us as much. I opted for the salmon plate (with cream cheese, capers, and bagel crisps), and my friend got the croque madame. We were both pleased. The food was plentiful and fresh. I loved the design of this space, and the patio and bathroom both looked really cool.

White-Cabana-Toronto-7White-Cabana-Toronto-8White-Cabana-Toronto-6   White-Cabana-Toronto-5So there you have it Рa peek into my quick weekend in Toronto.

Food: Vanilla Danish Cookies

A couple of years ago,¬†I learned about Danish¬†chef Trine Hahnemann¬†as I was¬†munching on some simple¬†vanilla cookies that a friend made from Trine’s recipe. The little white¬†rings are full of goodness¬†– they’re¬†perfectly sized¬†and have¬†just enough¬†sweetness.

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I didn’t make them in time for Christmas, but I did bake a batch in time for my family’s New Year’s Day feast.

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before –¬†little ring cookies ready for the oven

Trine-hahnemann-danish-cookies-White-Cabana-2Trine-hahnemann-danish-cookies-White-Cabana-1after: little ring cookies ready to be eaten

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Trine Hahnemann’s Vanilla Danish Butter Cookies

375 g butter
250 g sugar
1 egg
2 vanilla pods
500 g plain flour

1. Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until the mixture is pale and fluffy. Add the egg and continue beating.
3. Split the vanilla pods lengthways and scrape out the seeds with the tip of a knife. Stir them into the flour.
4. Fold the dry ingredients into the butter mixture. (I knead the dough a little bit so everything sticks together.)
5. Wrap the dough in cling wrap and chill for (at least) two hours.
6. Preheat the oven to¬†200¬įC (I¬†set mine at 390¬įF).
7. Roll the dough into very thin sausages about fix or six centimetres long. Curl each on into a ring and press the ends firmly together.
8. Place rings on a parchment-lined baking tray (I put the trays in the fridge for a few minutes before putting them in the oven. This helps them keep their small ring shape).
9. Bake for about eight minutes (I baked mine for about 6 minutes.)
10. Cool cookies on a wire rack.
11. Store the cookies in an airtight container and do not mix them with other types of cookies or they will go soft.

*Instead of converting the measurements into cups and tablespoons, I used a scale and weighed each of the ingredients.

Thanks to Emmy for teaching me about these delicious Danish cookies. Recipe via Red (original recipe is in The Scandinavian Cookbook). Photos by me.

The Friday Five: #HappiMess with Delta Faucet Canada

My life this fall has been slightly chaotic. Sometimes I¬†do wonder why I decide to take on so much work and extracurricular and blogging activities. Why, oh why, do I do this to myself? Then I realize that I have so much fun doing what it is that I do that I have no reason to complain about my sometimes-overly-packed days. A couple of weeks ago, for example, I headed to Toronto to join the very colourful Tiffany Pratt¬†and about 20 other¬†bloggers and influencers to create a #HappiMess sponsored by Delta Faucet Canada. Here’s my recap in five points…

1. Delta Faucet Canada welcomed us into a very white event space at Andrew Richard Designs. The long white table was all set with artsy materials.

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2. Tiffany encouraged us to create and paint and sparkle up a unique clutch. I was totally frozen when I saw the palette of colourful paints. Luckily, the Tiffany and the PR crew had a spare tube of black paint, and I put it to very good use. I definitely felt more at ease once the black paint made an appearance! (Thanks, team!)

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That’s my clutch! (It sparkles more in real life!)

4. We mingled and laughed and played with paint. And then washed our hands…obviously. Here I am washing up (and pretending to be a hand model):

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 great faucet, right?

3. We nibbled on delicious eats by the Food Dudes and talked about Delta’s collection.

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5. In addition to the painting, the clutches, the food, the drinks, and the Skittles, we filled our Instagram and Twitter feeds with photos of lovely flowers from Blush and Bloom.

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It was a very fun evening, and completely different from my day-to-day university life. Kudos to Tiffany and Delta for bringing out our creative sides (and for showing us how magical sparkles can be!).

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! Do let me know if you make a #HappiMess over the next couple of days!

Photo credit: Koko Photography

Marketplace: Boxed Water

It’s a bit suprising that I haven’t yet featured Boxed Water. The packaging is right up my design alley. Not only that, but the¬†design¬†is environmentally-friendly.

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photo credit: Jeff G. (my brother-in-law)

That¬†being said, I’m actually one of those people who still drinks tap water. Call me crazy.

Learn more at Boxed Water is Better.

In the Kitchen: Making Bread with the KitchenAid Stand Mixer

Okay, okay. Since you already know that I love my KitchenAid stand mixer, I’ll get straight¬†to¬†my recent¬†bread making¬†experience.

Although I was a bit hesitant to make bread from scratch, I was also very curious and determined. I opened up the¬†handy KitchenAid recipe book that came with my stand mixer, and I flipped to the page that had the “basic white bread” recipe.¬†I prepped all of my ingredients, I followed the directions exactly, and here is a photo-heavy recap of¬†what happened…

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basic white bread recipe from KitchenAid + packets of active dry yeast

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butter, salt, sugar, milk melting on the stove

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4.5 cups of flour to start (I probably ended up using 5.5 cups)

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mixing 2 packets of active dry yeast with warm water in a warm mixing bowl

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mixing all of the ingredients: yeast, water, milk, melted butter, sugar, salt, and flour

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level 2 speed for a few minutes

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mixing the dough with the dough hook until the sides are clean and the dough is sticky

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sides of bowl are clean and dough is sticky

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see – I told you – clean bowl!

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dough in a oil-lined bowl

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risen dough after 1 hour in the bowl

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punched dough

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rolling out half of the dough

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rolling up the flattened dough

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into the loaf pan it goes

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risen dough after 1 hour in the loaf pan

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after 30 minutes¬†in the 400¬į oven

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the recipe made 2 loaves (one is wonky because I had to DIY a loaf-type pan)

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golden bread

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crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside

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the best way to enjoy fresh bread – with Nutella

The bread was FANTASTIC! It was perfectly golden, had a crunchy crust, was soft on the inside, and¬†the recipe worked! It was as time consuming as bread making is (I think it took about 10 minutes to prep, 1 hour of wait time so the bread could rise the first time, 1 hour to rise the second¬†time, and 30 minutes to bake in the oven).¬†I did a bunch of other things around the house during the wait & rise times, so I really didn’t feel like bread making was a whole lot of work. Oh my goodness –¬†I could probably live on fresh bread and Nutella*. It’s too darn delicious!

Oh – and I know I’m “supposed” to eat healthy, grainy, brown bread, but sometimes¬†I just don’t care. White and simple¬†worked perfectly for me!

* This is not a sponsored post, but if Nutella wants to offer me with a year/lifetime supply of Nutella, I’d be grateful, and I’d make fresh bread more often!¬†

Guest Post: Peeking Inside Eye Candy Popper’s Kitchen

Do you like to host? I do. I like hosting friends and family at my house. In the online world, I do enjoy having great guests. Blogging is a very social activity, even though communication happens online with “strangers”. I have met so many incredibly interesting and inspiring people over the last few years of blogging, and today I’m happy to welcome¬†one of these people. Gabrielle is the blogger behind the beautiful food blog¬†Eye Candy Popper. We met a few years ago through¬†a mutual friend (Hi Rebecca!), and over time, I have watched her begin and grow her blog, share her love of cooking,¬†and¬†educate many readers about¬†healthy living. Her recipes – and photos – always look so delicious! Today,¬†Gabrielle¬†shares with us her kitchen¬†and her approach to design. Welcome, Eye Candy Popper!

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Hi! I‚Äôm ECP, aka Eyecandypopper. It‚Äôs so nice to meet you! I‚Äôve been talking to Jordana about writing this article for months. Yes, months! It took some organization, and a lot of collaboration to get to the final product (including help from my friend at Aya Photography and Design), but here we are, 6 months later! Yay! I‚Äôve known Jordana for a couple of years.¬†We met through a common friend, and because I was just starting in the blogging world, I looked up to Jordana for advice. I also loved her blog immediately because I‚Äôm a big fan of white too. This post is different for me, because I mostly talk about food on my blog. I create healthy, but decadent recipes to share with my readers. I focus on organic and healthy whole foods, but I also care deeply about the environment, and the state of our planet, so I share tips and information about eco-friendly and sustainable products. Today, I wanted to introduce to you the place where the magic happens: my kitchen! EyeCandyPopper-kitchen-1 When we renovated the space 4 years ago, I chose these creamy white shaker-style cabinets because I love the old charm and classic element that they bring to the space. My house is really small, only around 850 sq ft, but the 10‚Äô high ceilings add a grand feeling, and since storage is always an issue in any space, I wanted to take full advantage of the height by using tall cabinets (I used a combination of 36‚ÄĚ + 15‚ÄĚ + crown). I only have upper cabinets on one side in order to lighten-up the space, and we used glass doors instead of full panels. EyeCandyPopper-kitchen-2 In order to fit in my eco-conscious needs, I chose natural materials, like the cabinets made out of painted wood (maple) instead of melamine in order to minimize toxic glues used in the process. They were also Canadian-made, reducing shipping distances and fuel used. We chose quartz for the counter, which is not a natural material, but it uses recycled glass and leftovers that would‚Äôve otherwise been thrown out, so I felt good about it. EyeCandyPopper-kitchen-3 EyeCandyPopper-kitchen-4 The floor tiles are porcelain and the backsplash is natural Carrera marble, both durable and long lasting materials. I‚Äôve done some shopping around to find good prices, but I also spent¬†more money for large ticket items in order to get better quality. Splurging on these items gets you a much better return on your investment. EyeCandyPopper-kitchen-5 My goal throughout the house was to maintain a calm, airy, and uncluttered feeling, so we‚Äôve kept decorative items to a minimum and only keep things that are useful. I like my cake stands, and I use them all the time to store freshly baked muffins or cookies. I also like to integrate souvenirs and pictures brought back from trips around the world. I‚Äôve used a few small paintings throughout the kitchen, 2 from a trip to Paris, 2 from a trip to Hong Kong, and various pictures from trips throughout Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. There‚Äôs also an old elephant bell brought back from my husband‚Äôs grandfather from Thailand in the 40s. These are the decorative items that make the space comfortable to me. They are not just decorative items, but they evoke memories at the same time, or they are useful and used on a daily basis. What a lot of my readers don‚Äôt know is that I share a passion for interior decorating and design. My passion for the environment and design has combined together in recent years to become what it is now. While it is sometimes hard to find an eco-friendly version of a building material, I strive to use really good quality materials that will stand the test of time and fads, and I focus on natural materials as well in order to be less toxic for my health. EyeCandyPopper-kitchen-6 EyeCandyPopper-kitchen-7 So that‚Äôs my kitchen! A lovely space which I enjoy every day! I hope you enjoyed it too! Come back next time for a visit of my office.

ECP xo

 

Pictures, courtesy of Aya Photography & Design. (If you live in Southwestern Ontario, please check out this small talented photography company on Facebook.)
Organic vegetables, courtesy of Eat Green Organics, an organic produce delivery service serving most of Southwestern Ontario. 
Cabinets and counters: Home Hardware
Floor tiles and backsplash: Olympia Tiles Toronto
Light fixture and faucet: Home Depot
Pantry: Ikea

***

Thanks for taking us into your bright kitchen, ECP!

In the Kitchen: Blythe’s Blueberry Muffins

One of the first recipes I tried after my friend¬†Johanne gave me Gwyneth Paltrow’s My Father’s Daughter a few years ago was¬†Blythe’s blueberry muffins. I have been making them ever since because they’re so darn good and easy!

I recently gave them a try using my KitchenAid stand mixer. I didn’t really need to use the mixer, but I wanted to because I love it. Here’s how things turned out.

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prepping the mini muffin tins

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prepping the KA mixer

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prepping the ingredients

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mixing everything together

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fresh blueberry mini muffins – just in time for breakfast!

Here’s the recipe taken from Gwyneth Paltrow’s My Father’s Daughter:

Ingredients

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 eggs (preferably organic)*
1/2 cup whole milk*
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup plus 1 tsp sugar, divided**
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

*I use whatever milk and eggs I have in my fridge.
**I always forget about the extra sugar, and I tend to under measure the sugar, especially in muffin recipes.

Directions

Heat oven to 375¬į. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners*. Whisk butter, eggs, and milk in a bowl. Combine flour, 3/4 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt in another bowl. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients***; fold in blueberries. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups; spring with remaining 1 tsp sugar. Bake until muffins are golden brown and a knife comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve warm.

*I often use mini muffin tins, and I think I can usually get 24 mini muffins and 8 regular sized muffins with one batch of the recipe.
**I threw everything in the mixer at almost the same time, and the muffins still baked perfectly.

In the Kitchen: Making Pasta (again)

Remember when I first attempted making fresh pasta with my KitchenAid stand mixer and pasta attachments? I started with¬†the recipe that was in the KitchenAid recipe book. I failed. It was horrible. I then tried out my mom’s very vague¬†recipe and it worked perfectly. Well, some of my family members thought I shouldn’t have been so harsh on the KitchenAid recipe and that, surely, it was my fault and I did something wrong. (I followed the recipe¬†exactly, but noone seemed to want to take my side.) Anyway, when my parents were over last weekend, I tried the KA recipe again (under my mom’s supervision). The recipe calls for: 4 large eggs, 3.5 cups all-purpose flour, and 1 tbsp water. My mom suggested that I reduce the amount of flour by 1/2 a cup. So I did. I followed the exact recipe but I only used 3 cups of flour. I¬†let the stand mixer do its job, and me and my mom watched over the bowl. I could tell something wasn’t right. After a bit of mixing, I dumped the¬†dough out onto the counter and I knew it wasn’t right. It didn’t¬†feel like it was supposed to feel. My mom was pretty surprised (“but you¬†followed the recipe, you reduced the flour”, she said). At this point, I added a bit more¬†water, then a lot more water, then more flour. It wasn’t coming together the way it should have. I gave up. I left my mom to knead the dough for maybe another 5-10 minutes. There was a lot of kneading involved. In the meantime, I started a new batch with her trusted (and very vague) recipe. It worked out perfectly. She was still kneading¬†the original batch of dough, while I was done with my new batch. White-Cabana-pasta-1

here’s mom hard at work White-Cabana-pasta-2

here’s mom still trying to fix the broken dough, my new version is in the mixer

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dough 2.0 is done and mom is still kneading dough 1.0

I tried to measure her recipe this time and it’s something like this: – 1 egg per person – 3/4 cup of flour per egg – a bit of water (I think I may have used about 1 tbsp) – a bit of salt (I might have used 1 tsp) Dump all the ingredients into the bowl with the paddle attachment. Mix for 2 minutes. Dump the dough out onto the counter and knead for 1 minute. After Mom finally got the first version of dough to the right texture,¬†I¬†got to work with the¬†pasta attachments. First, I used the flat one to stretch out long flat pieces of pasta. I set the¬†knob on the cutter¬†to position 1 and then worked my way to number 5. I set¬†the mixer speed to 3 or 4 and the whole process was quick and easy. white-cabana-pasta-6white-cabana-pasta-7white-cabana-pasta-1 When all the dough had been passed through the smooth stretcher attachment,¬†I attached the fettucini (and then the spaghetti) cutter¬†to the mixer (quick and easy) so that I could pass the long sheets of pasta through to make the noodles. I floured the pasta sheets before passing them through the cutter. white-cabana-pasta-5white-cabana-pasta-10white-cabana-pasta-3white-cabana-pasta-4white-cabana-pasta-9 white-cabana-pasta-11 I like twisting the pasta into round spirals, but I flour the heck out of them before doing this to avoid sticky strips. The pasta (both versions) turned out very well, and it was delicious paired with fresh tomato sauce (I tried my mom’s sauce recipe, which she thought was almost as good as hers…tough crowd). In the end, neither of us¬†are sure of the amount of ingredients that my mom¬†used to adjust the KitchenAid dough, but if I try the recipe again, I’ll start with 2 cups of flour and add more as needed. KitchenAid sent over another version of the recipe when they heard I was in pasta-making distress (via Twitter, naturally), so I may give that one a try too.

Thanks, Mom, for your help and for snapping some great photos!

In the Kitchen: Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

I hosted my parents¬†this past weekend and I¬†just had to show off my KitchenAid stand mixer. (I’m a Leo. We like attention.) I decided to test out this lemon poppy seed cake recipe that Joanna Goddard featured earlier last week. To everyone who is reading – this cake was super easy. If you like lemons and cake and poppy seeds, you should make it.

My¬†KA stand mixer worked brilliantly and made the whole cake baking process go really quick and smoothly. For beautifully styled food photos,¬†have a look at Joanna’s post. For photos of my version, keep reading…

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sugar, flour, and poppy seeds are measured out

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butter and sugar are creamed together with the KitchenAid paddle attachment

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flour is added once the sugar and butter are creamyphoto 1

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eggs, milk, poppy seeds & lemon zest are added at the end

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photo 3the dough is poured into a buttered & parchment lined loaf tin

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after about 40minutes in the oven, the cake is ready

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a sugary lemony icing is poured and poppy seeds are sprinkled on top

Here’s the complete recipe – from April Carter of Rhubarb and Rose¬†(via Cup of Jo):

Recipe: Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf Cake

For the cake:
¬ĺ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature¬†
¬ĺ cup sugar
1 ¬ľ cup all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
pinch of salt
2 eggs
¬ľ cup milk
¬ľ cup poppy seeds
Zest of 2 lemons

For the glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
Juice of ¬Ĺ lemon
Poppy seeds, for sprinkling

Heat the oven to 350F and butter and line a one pound (4¬Ĺ x 2¬Ĺ x 8¬Ĺ inch) loaf tin with baking parchment. Place the butter and sugar in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer until pale and creamy. Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the eggs, milk, poppy seeds and lemon zest and beat until just combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as you go.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared loaf tin and bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and remove the baking parchment.

While the cake is cooling, make the glaze. Use a spoon to beat the powdered sugar with enough lemon juice to form a runny but opaque glaze. Set the cooled cake on a wire rack and drizzle over the glaze. Sprinkle over the poppy seeds and allow the glaze to set for a few minutes before packaging up. 

Let me know if you give this recipe a try. I would love to know how it turned out for you.

In the Kitchen: Making Pasta with the KitchenAid Stand Mixer

I’m in love with my KitchenAid stand mixer. I’ve used it several times and it hasn’t let me down. It’s¬†pretty darn mighty! After baking up a few delicious treats over the last couple of weeks, I thought it was time for me to¬†make some pasta. KitchenAid¬†generously sent over¬†the pasta cutter trio and I was pretty excited to test them out. Short story – I love them. Long story – keep reading.

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KitchenAid’s pasta roller & cutter¬†set

I grew up helping my mom make pasta with the classic Italian crank pasta machine. My mom¬†always took the lead on the dough making, and I was on crank and fluff-with-flour duty. I’ve made pasta¬†with my own machine, too, even though my Italian parents were pretty shocked when I told them that my cheaper machine was Made in China. “You need one that’s Made in Italy, Jordana.”, they said. Um, yeah,¬†it’s a touch life, I lead, I know.

Anyway…

Fast forward to last week when I opened the KitchenAid package and learned that the pasta roller and cutters were Made in Italy. Awesome. Way to go, KitchenAid!

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top to bottom: fettucini cutter, spaghetti cutter, pasta roller

I decided to use the pasta recipe that was in the KitchenAid recipe book…4 eggs, 3.5 cups of flour, 1 tbsp water…mix with dough hook for 2 minutes…etc.

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Unfortunately, this recipe didn’t work out for me. It was a big fail. My dough, even after more than 2 minutes with the dough hook, was so darn crumbly! Not sure exactly why. I tried adding more water, then another egg.¬†It was a mess.

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crumbly dough

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I couldn’t save this dough

I didn’t give up, though. Instead, I tried out my mom’s recipe. It goes something like this…an egg per person, some handfuls of flour, just enough water. So vague, I know. This is what all of her recipes are like! But, just like probably every Italian Nonna has ever said, you just need to feel the dough and recognize when you’ve hit the¬†right consistency and texture. Anyway,¬†I put the ingredients in¬†the mixing bowl, attached the dough hook, and gave it a spin for a couple of minutes. Things were looking pretty darn good! I then spent a minute (or less) kneading the dough by hand.

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after kneading – top: my failed project;
bottom: my mom’s winning recipe

When I reached the right texture (smooth, not too wet, not too dry), I knew I was ready to move on to the attachments. The instructions that came with the attachments & stand mixer were clear, and inserting the attachments was really easy and straight forward. No problem there.

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First, I used the pasta roller to flatten out chunks of dough. I started with the knob at 1 (widest space between rollers), and then worked my way to 5 (much smaller space between rollers). I set the machine to level 2 – not too fast, not too slow. Once the machine was on, the rollers got a-rollin’.

Kitchen-Aid-pasta-19Next, I switched attachments to make spaghetti and fettucini. I floured everything up so that nothing would stick.

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I ate some for dinner (I made pasta carbonara), obviously, and I froze the rest. Amazing.

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The pasta roller and cutter attachments make easy work of pasta making. Let me tell you, they’re really awesome and work so quickly. Incredible. I thought about my Nonna who used a wooden roller the size of a dining table to roll out the dough and then cut it into strips¬†all by hand. Gosh, I don’t think I could have done it her way – I’m much too impatient!

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Oh – and I also could never be¬†a no-carbs gal. I’m too much of a pasta fan!

Many thanks to KitchenAid  & Hayley for sending me the pasta roller and cutter set.

 

In the Kitchen: The KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer

Although I’ve been thinking about the KitchenAid stand mixer for some time now,¬†I only finally¬†bought myself one¬†last week.¬†Everyone and their brother/mother/sister/friend¬†seems to have¬†one¬†and they all rave about how great it is, so¬†I had little doubt that it would be fabulous. There are plenty of colours to choose from, but it was an obvious¬†choice for me.¬†I’ve used my KitchenAid Artisan stand mixer¬†twice already¬†and it’s worked out very well! No surprise there, right?

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The first thing I ended up baking with the stand mixer was the brownie recipe that was listed in the instruction/information booklet that came with the mixer. It was very easy and straightforward and the end result was ab fab chocolate goodness. I also made madeleines and they turned out perfectly. I love the fact that the mixer can do the work while I measure out the ingredients. The convenience factor is awesome!

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I used the plastic pour¬†guard at one point, but I didn’t really need it. I was just trying to use as many gadgets/attachments as possible.¬†I used the paddle¬†attachment (above) for the brownies, but I used the whisk attachment to whip up¬†the¬†eggs for the madeleines. Switching¬†the attachments is easy and quick, as is cleaning them.

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I am very happy that I opted for the lift-arm mixer rather than the bowl-lift mixer. The arm lifts at the flick of a switch and the bowl attaches securely and simply to the base.

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Here are the brownies before I put them in the oven:

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It’s a stylish machine, yes, and it looks wonderful on my counter (a stylish appliance? really? this is what I’m talking about these days? how old am I?), and so it seems¬†I’m joining the “it’s so great, everyone should have one” club.¬†I’ll share a few more¬†photos in the upcoming weeks as I’m eager to try the pasta roller/cutter attachments!

Marketplace: A Kitchen Investment

Do you know what I think goes really well with a marble countertop? One of these…

Kitchen-Aid-Artisan-stand-mixer

 

KitchenAid Artisan stand mixer

Um…I bought one! It’s been four years since I wrote about wanting one and¬†I finally took the plunge and made the big ol’ purchase! I’m SO excited. Now let’s just hope I can bake something delicious with it! I’m going to put it to its first test in my kitchen when I bake up some¬†madeleines¬†later in the week.

Event: Wine, Thai, & Blogger Time

Last weekend, a bunch of bloggers got together at Melissa’s (The Sweet Escape) fun and colourful loft for a wine tasting event sponsored by local favourites Union Wines and Linda Modern Thai.¬†Lucky us, right?

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The first wine¬†was¬†Union Gold and this stack of white plates didn’t stay empty for long.

Andrew von Teichman from Union Wines was on hand to teach us about four varieties of wines (gold, white, noir, & red) and to make sure our glasses were never empty! Union is a virtual winery owned and operated by Andrew and his partner Allan Jackson (former owner of Jackson-Triggs), and it sources all grapes from the Niagara region. All Union wine varieties are less than $20 a bottle and are available at select LCBO stores.

The chefs¬†from Toronto’s Linda Modern Thai served up some delicious nibbles¬†that paired extremely well with the four wines we tasted over the course of the afternoon.

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Union Wines and Linda Modern Thai made an excellent pair.

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Melissa’s home has so many beautiful vintage details.

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Melissa’s¬†milk glass collection looks amazing on her floor-to-ceiling bookshelves.

Read Melissa’s recap of the afternoon¬†(her photos are much more colourful than mine) and see her beautiful home in Covet Garden Home. Thanks for¬†hosting, Melissa, and thanks for spoiling us, Union & Linda!

Photos by Jordana.

Marketplace: Chapters-Indigo Spring Collection

Chapters-Indigo is one of those stores that is continually improving. Each season brings new home decor, fashion, beauty, and food and entertaining items, not to mention a variety of new and interesting books. I know I’m not alone when I say that spending an afternoon at Chapters-Indigo is really relaxing. If only I had more time, I would read every one of those best-selling books!

Anyway, I headed to Toronto’s Eaton Centre a couple of weeks ago to attend Chapters-Indigo spring kick-off. I snapped some photos of some of the things that caught my eye.

Mugs…why am I such a sucker for a good typographic mug? I’ve got most of the ones featured in these photos (I spoil myself regularly, it seems):

Chapters-Indigo-Spring-White-Cabana-Mugs

The fashion/style department is the largest I’ve seen it, what with the jewelry, scarves, totes, clutches, and watches. The items are super cute.

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Chapters-Indigo has partnered with Etsy and has featured collections from 8 Etsy designers. Way to support artists, Indigo!

Chapters-Indigo-Spring-White-Cabana-Etsy

I was surprised to see the¬†Nest¬†thermostat in the electronics department. Then again, I shouldn’t have been that surprised considering what a hot product it is for the design conscious customer.

Chapters-Indigo-Spring-White-Cabana-Electronics-Notebooks

The selection of gourmet food and home decor items seems to be expanding. I loved the little jars of salt (reminds me of the jars I picked up in France earlier this year).

Chapters-Indigo-Spring-White-Cabana-food & decorAnd some books…of course…wouldn’t be a bookstore without a great selection of books!

Chapters-Indigo-Spring-White-Cabana-books

Photos by Jordana.

Design: Princess Margaret Home Lottery – Vaughan Showhome

Earlier this week I was invited to attend an event at the Princess Margaret Home Lottery Vaughan showhome. The evening included a tour with designer Jack Celli of Greenpark Homes, as well as wine tasting lessons from Krystina Roman of Rosewood Estates¬†in Beamsville/Niagara, and delicious food and cooking instruction from Steve Gonzalez of Toronto’s¬†Valdez¬†(and Top Chef Canada – Season 1). Laura was our happy host for the evening, and design and food bloggers mingled and ate in a $4 million home. Not bad for a Monday night, right?

The Vaughan showhome is far…in the country…north of Woodbridge…almost in Barrie? Joking…it’s just north of Woodbridge, but it’s definitely in the countryside (and just over an hour drive from Waterloo). The massive showhome is surrounded by other massive homes and a beautiful landscape. The house is full of white so, naturally, I went a overboard with the photos. Black and gold are accent colours throughout the house.

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first floor hallway

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details in the dining room Рmoulding & art

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main floor family room – beside the kitchen

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open concept kitchen

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white bathroom ensuite – 2nd floor

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the elevator (yes, an elevator!)

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substantial doors throughout the home

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high ceilings & crown moulding

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Greenpark‘s Director of design – Jack Celli – in the master bathroom

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Rosewood wines: Riesling, Semillon, Mead (honey wine)

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chef Steve Gonzales in the kitchen (cooking up things like ceviche, arepa, & chorizo…yum!)

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Danica (Country Chic Renovator) & me with our Rosewood honey

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beautiful view from the lanai

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hakwood floors & oversized armchairs in the library

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winged art sculptures

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one of the 2nd floor bedrooms with ensuite

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master bathroom (the size of a football field – well, almost)

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his & her toilet rooms in the master bathroom

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door & floor details

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the runway room

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half a dozen switches in the master bathroom

While the house is much too fancy for my taste, it has a good layout, it’s really airy, and the lanai off of the kitchen & family rooms is a beautiful space that can be used year-round. I also quickly noticed – and liked – how substantial the doors, moulding, and trim was throughout the house.

I loved the Hakwood¬†flooring throughout the house. My favourite room in the house was the library – it is currently set up with four large comfy chairs and shelves of vases and other interesting objects. If I lived there, I’d obviously fill those shelves with books. The room has good light from a large window, it’s near off the main foyer and living rooms, and it has a mini-kitchen beside it. How handy.

So, are you interested in this big ticket item? Have other prizes caught your eye? Have you bought your ticket?

Thanks to Laura Z. for being such a wonderful host and event coordinator.

Photos by Jordana. Additional photos here.

20 Below: Drip Maple Syrup

I LOVE waffles. Love ’em. I also love maple syrup. Put those two together and you’ve got a perfect (any time of day?) meal. Yum. Yum. Yum.

I read about Drip maple syrup in the LCBO’s recent Food & Drink. Great packaging, beautiful website, and I am sure Drip’s maple syrup is pretty darn delicious.

dripmaple-enchante_message

The three maple syrup varieties Рblond, copper, amber Рare each $20 and can be purchased online.

Marketplace: The Panasonic Induction Cooktop

I recently learned that Panasonic has introduced a new induction cooktop. Induction heat has been around for years, but I feel like it’s only gaining momentum for home kitchens now.

Panasonic-Induction cooktop

Panasonic’s new induction cooktop sort of looks like a television, doesn’t it? So sleek and shiny, it is! Panasonic says, “The induction cooktop features infrared-sensors for precise temperature control and electrostatic glass touch technology for easy operation.” The cooktop also has the ability to rapidly generate heat. The fact that the induction cooktop doesn’t use flames or elements has got to mean that it’s pretty darn safe to operate*. Panasonic assures its customers that the cooktop surface remains cool to the touch, except just beneath where the cookware sits. The cooktop’s flat surface is much easier to clean than a traditional stove with burners and (those darn) burner guards.

But that’s not all that I’ve learned. Panasonic is also sharing news of its new convection oven.

Panasonic-induction-HL-BD825

I love that, like the cooktop, the convection oven is so sleek. It looks perfectly stylish in an all-white kitchen. Use of the convection oven should result in “even baking, browning, and crisping” as well as juicy and flavourful poultry and roasted meat. I wish it promised that it would cook for me every night. ūüôā

I’d love to hear your view, but I am especially curious to know if anyone has an induction stove. Well worth it? Did you buy a completely new cookware set?

Come on back on Monday to learn about a not-to-be missed giveaway that I’ve organized with the good folks from Panasonic. Your kitchen will definitely want you to enter this one!

 *I have never actually cooked on an induction cooktop.

Images courtesy of Panasonic Cooking Canada.

Celebration: Happy New Year

As you may have noticed, I’ve taken a few days off from the blog to celebrate the holidays, have some downtime, and continue to do work around my home. I hope you have enjoyed a wonderful Christmas with friends and family and that you’re now ready to welcome in the new year!

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via Style Me Pretty

I am wishing all my readers, sponsors, and blogger colleagues a most happy and successful 2014. Happy New Year!

The Friday Five: Tea & Teapots

As much as I love coffee, I love tea. There are so many flavours and I am a fan of most of them! Earl Grey, yes please. Vanilla Roiboos, don’t mind if I do. Chamomile, indeed. I’m not too particular when it comes to loose leaf or tea bags – I like it all. I take milk with most of my tea and sometimes I add a drop of honey. Delicious! Since I talked about coffee last week, I thought I should give some attention to tea this week.

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Swans Upon a Time teapot, Modcloth via Luxe Life

West-Elm-tea-pot

Enamel Teapot, West Elm

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Maxim Teapot, Marks & Spencer

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Alice’s Teapot 4, Anthropologie

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Weave Teapot, Crate & Barrel

What do you prefer – coffee or tea?

Happy Friday! Have a wonderful weekend!

***

Did you enter¬†this week’s giveaway?

The Friday Five: Coffee Pots

I have been drinking more coffee than usual over the last few weeks. I go through phases of preferred coffee types. I normally rotate between Caf√© du Monde drip coffee, espresso, and latt√©s. While I love French pressed coffee too, I don’t have a French press so I never make it. My local caf√© has pour over coffee which is kind of – sort of – like French press. I love the taste of pretty much every kind of coffee (and I’ve written about my interest in coffee here).

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Toddy Cold Brew Coffee System

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Chemix Coffee Maker

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Black & Decker Coffee Maker

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Cuisinart Compact Single Serve Coffee Maker

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Bosch Tassimo

What about you? What’s you coffee of choice? Do you frequent the caf√©s or do you prefer your own make-at-home coffee?

 

Marketplace: Summer Barbecues

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Life Magazine

One of the best parts of summer in Ontario, in my opinion, are barbecues. When I was little it was all about hot dogs and hamburgers. Nowadays I love grilled veggies and shrimp. The barbecue has grown to be a sophisticated cooking machine and accessories such as veggie trays and rib racks make grilling that much easier.

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Weber Genesis BBQ, Weber rib rack, Weber roast holder, Weber vegetable basket, Weber Skewer set, Weber BBQ tool set

Images via The Home Depot.

Art: La Cucina

I just love Ana’s food-related artwork available in her Etsy shop Anek. Not only do the prints’ simplicity grab my attention but the sayings on them are in my favourite languages and they share such positive thoughts. Lovely for your own kitchen or the perfect gift for your most favourite foodie, don’t you think?

La Cucina_Anek_Art_EtsyTranslation (from Italian): A little kitchen makes a large home, $30, Anek

Vino_art_Anek_EtsyTranslation (from Italian): A dinner without wine is like a day without sunshine, $45, Anek

Le Chef_Art_Etsy_AnekTranslation (from French): The chef is always right, $45, Anek

Corazon_Art_Anek_EtsyTranslation (from Spanish): A full stomach makes a happy heart, $45, Anek

Marketplace: Soda Stream

When I was in NYC last month my sister introduced me to the wonderful world of Soda Stream – an at-home soda maker.

Corie’s Soda Stream

Corie and her husband are big-time cola fans and so they decided to invest in a Soda Stream so that they could (a) save money and (b) stop carrying cases of cola on their walks home from the grocery store (along with their 3 boys, remember?). It’s been working out brilliantly for them so I thought I should give it a try myself.

my white Soda Stream, $150

I am happy to report that the Soda Stream has been working out quite well for me too! I set it up in less than 5 minutes (it would have been faster if I didn’t take so many photos), the instruction manual is written in a multitude of languages (which makes this linguist very happy), and the design is sleek and white (although many colours do exist).

snapshots of my Soda Stream

So how does it work? Basically you fill the Soda Stream bottle up with water (I use the tap – woah!) and then you screw it on to the Soda Stream machine, pull the trigger a couple of times, unscrew the bottle, and then add a cupful of your flavoured syrup. That’s it! It’s less than a 1 minute process and the end result is perfect.

So far I’ve only made sparkling water and diet cola but there are many more syrups to try. I’ll be putting it to good use at my next party, that much I know (I think the pink grapefruit will be great for punch)!

A variety of Soda Stream machines are available from retailers around the world. The carbonator cylinder (which is the secret to making the bubbles) can be easily replaced via Soda Stream. Price per bottle works out to anywhere from 30 cents to 88 cents.

Many thanks to Melanie K. and Soda Stream for providing me with the Soda Stream Starter Kit.

The Friday Five: Turkey Platters

Who is eating turkey this Thanksgiving weekend?

HIC turkey platter, $25

Gibson turkey platter, $29

Martha Stewart turkey platter, $22

Oneida Kitchenware turkey platter, $14.99

Bamboo Studies turkey platter, $17.25

For the third year in a row I will be cooking up a Thanksgiving feast (with the help of Martha Stewart, of course). Wish me luck!

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Friday Five: Mugs

Do you have set criteria for the mugs you use? Do they all match? Or are they random? Does size matter? Colour? Shape? My mugs have one thing in common – they’re white (or mostly white). Surprised?

white and black J mug from Anthropologie

white and black J mug from Chapters Indigo (thanks Shannon!)

white mug from GlucksteinHome (thanks GH Team!)

black and white mug from Gstaad (featuring a scherenschnitte design)

black and white mug from Beauty’s in Montreal

I hope you all enjoy a cup of coffee (or tea!) in the summer sunshine this weekend. Enjoy!

Note: You can see I’ve been enjoying many meals and tea breaks on my balcony except for one day when it was raining.

Photos by me.

Food: Beautiful Swiss Sweets

One of the things that I love most about my blog is that I have a space to celebrate the talents of amazing people I know. Years ago I worked with Odise in Switzerland but it was only recently that I learned about her amazing talent for cookie and cake design. I love Odise’s work because of her simple design aesthetic and the obvious care she takes in creating her sweets.

cookies, cakes and photos by Odise Mattle

Odise is based in Switzerland so of course it’s a bit of a challenge for me to get a hold of her LoveCake creations. For now, the photos will have to do!

Thanks Odise for sending these photos my way. I’ve been excited to share your work ever since I saw the first photo!

Travel: Boston

I know I’ve already posted a lot from my trip to Boston a couple of months ago (here, here, and here) but I can’t help but post more! I hope you enjoy this series!

A very delicious sandwich with such fresh ingredients! Delicious. From The Italian Cafe in the Financial District. (And yes – I did love the fact that there was a white Mini Cooper right outside the window!)

Logo of Black Ink – a sweet stationery shop in Beacon Hill.

Cheers.

Chanel on Newbury Street.

Harvard in white.

While I don’t love cannoli, I had to give the famous ones at Mike’s Pastry a try. Sweet!

Many thanks to Lisa F. for all her Boston travel advice! Much appreciated!

Photos by Jordana.

Life is sweet

I’m so excited about the new reader-submitted white sightings arriving to White Cabana!

To help kick things off, today I’m taking you inside Life is Sweet, one of my favourite shops in my neighbourhood known as The Beaches in Toronto. (I know, I know, I keep taking you to cupcakeries… but they’re¬†irresistible!)

Life is Sweet shored up on The Beach (as it is also called) in 2007, just when I came, too. Located at the eastern end of Queen Street East where it’s quieter and devoid of the heavy coast town signage that suggests that the surf’s up on Lake Ontario, I instantly fell in love with this little shop and her sweet owner. I really need to get her name (she has wavy brown hair, brown eyes and has a pretty smile- and her photo is up on the wall)- and these days her mom is working at the shop, too.

Life is Sweet is a quaint little shop that makes you want to go in, this pic from BlogTO

Life is Sweet has been there for me over the years. I’ve now been in The Beach for nearly five years and I have served many a mini cupcake along the way. I recently picked up some minis for a friend’s visit- they’re just a perfect two-bite size so you can try a few flavours without feeling like a glutton going for two regular-sized ones (although that’s perfectly okay at my place).

My favourite flavour on the menu is the lemon cupcake- it even has lemon custard in the centre (mini ones too!). I’m also a huge fan of the white chocolate, toffee, coconut, and I know some peeps who really like the Earl Grey- spiced cake with orange icing.

Inside the shop you’ll find lots of pretty white things- perfect for that ‘oh-you’re-so-thoughtful’¬†gift. I love everything and yet I always buy here for others; I’ve given a gorgeous locally-made apron covered in artichokes and a fun set of dinner napkins for a certain white design blogger…

Here’s what caught my eye yesterday as I wandered in for a sweet treat:

Why not add some bling to that cake plate? So fun and festive!

I really like this dish- great for sauces, nuts, after-dinner mints, you name it

I’m in love with these soy candles from a local candle gal, Amy,

who I met a few years ago¬†at a arts & crafts fair. Amy’s Place candles are on Facebook here

My cupcake haul from yesterday- at no cost since I had no change

and the owner couldn’t break a $20! ¬†And then I realized when

I got home that the owner snuck in an extra cupcake for me. Aw <3

The Friday Five: Table Settings

I don’t know about you but I love a beautifully set table. I think my appreciation of table settings may have started when I was a 16 year old exchange student in France. In the family that I lived with it was the responsibility of the youngest son to set the table each evening. I think he was 9 years old at the time and I remember being surprised at how he took such care in setting each place. The cutlery was where it was supposed to be and each family member had a designated cloth napkin which he would arrange thoughtfully at each place. (I’m pretty sure when I was 9, I didn’t care much about how the table was set – even though it was one of my chores too.)

While I can’t say that my own table is perfectly set for each meal, I can say that I love setting a pretty table to welcome guests. The four table settings featured today are beautiful because, while they do differ, they are all inviting, well-presented, and – best of all – they are simple enough to recreate in my own home! The last image of a table setting how-to (for anyone who still can’t figure out the salad fork from the meat fork) completes today’s Friday Five.

via From Me To You

via Black Eiffel

via Pinterest

via Ritzy Bee

via Say Yes to Hoboken

More table setting ideas here, here, and here.

Have a wonderful weekend! I hope you enjoy a delicious meal or two!

20 Below: Breakfast at The Bag Lady

One of my most favourite things to do in London is to have breakfast with friends at The Bag Lady. The colourful kitschy decor always entertains me, the servers are always smiling, and the food is delicious (try the peanut butter cookies – yum!). The plates at The Bag Lady are always mismatched but on one of my last visits I noticed that a collection of white serving pieces formed on our table. I couldn’t resist snapping a photo.

Breakfast at The Bag Lady, price varies but it’s always less than $20

So if you’re ever in London (Ontario), be sure to stop by for a bite to eat at The Bag Lady. Better yet – let me know you’re coming and I’ll meet you there!

Cupcakes on the east side

Jordana and I are just step-in-step this week!

You’ll recall that earlier this week Jordana featured the quaint cupcake shop Sweet in Boston. Meanwhile, here in Toronto I was snapping pics at Desmond & Beatrice, a cute cupcake bakery in the ever-hip Leslieville neighbourhood.

I had the pleasure of sampling the salted caramel and red velvet cupcakes (not shown.. should have taken the pics *before* eating) – the red velvet’s cream cheese frosting took the cake and declared that cupcake a winner!

And, folks, I’m very fussy when it comes to frosting so just so you know, you can trust me here that these are worth the calories, uh huh. (And Desmond & Beatrice also offers icing shots– for real!! Apparently kids love ’em.. and I really like that idea, myself.)

Q: Are cupcakes the new black? white?- there are cupcake shops popping up everywhere!

The blueberry lemon at Desmond & Beatrice- as if that even matters. Just look at these perfect concoctions.

The Vanilla Latte cupcakes

The Easter-topped Very Vanilla cupcakes

Food: Sweet Cupcakes in Boston

Although lovely Sweet cupcake shop was right around the corner from the hotel I stayed at in Boston, I didn’t have a chance to actually ever make a purchase. I took a few pictures of the white (and pink) shop as I passed by early one morning but I regret not going back to treat myself.

Has anyone tasted the cupcakes from this Boston cupcake chain?

Photos by Jordana.

The Friday Five: Beautiful Books

Yes – we all know I’m a sucker for books. I’ve got books in every room in my apartment (and I’ve actually read most of them too!) and I just love them all (if that doesn’t sound like an academic, I don’t know what does). I’ve been browsing the bookstores often lately and there are some really gorgeous, high-quality books currently on the market. Publishers like Taschen and Phaidon produce just beautifully clean books and I always get so much pleasure reading them – and then looking at them stacked up on a table or bookshelf. The five books featured here have easily grabbed my attention – because they’re white, yes – but also because they provide so much inspiration.

The Art of French Baking, $31

Eleven Madison Park: A Cookbook, $36; photo by Paula Forbes

The Family Meal: Home Cooking with Ferran Adria, $23

A Taxonomy of Office Chairs, $45

D & AD 2011, $59.99

Art & Food: 'wichcraft

Has anyone been to ‘wichcraft in NYC?

On my last visit to the city this summer my sister and I each had the BLT and it was delicious (although we thought it should have come on a bigger plate and cut in half). Unfortunately I don’t have a photo of the BLT, but I do have a photo of the fun piece of art that hung at the top of the stairs (at the Flatiron location if I remember correctly).

art at ‘wichcraft, photo by Jordana

A 24-cup muffin tin. Does one of these really exist?

A head start on Halloween

Okay, so I just can’t resist featuring a few Halloween things event though we’re 12 days away from the big scary night.

(I’m telling myself that you’ll need today’s cookie cutters ahead of¬†time in order to arrive on the scene armed with themed treats.)

Behold- Halloween-shaped cookie cutters ($2.50 Р$3.95 at Crate & Barrel), a fun spatula ($9.95), and a really tempting recipe for lemon and rosemary shortbread cookies (to bake with your new cutters!).

And, for the record, I haven’t tried this recipe (yet) but my default¬†amazing go-to recipe for rosemary shortbread is here¬†(I’m thinking that I may just add a few spoonfuls of lemon zest to my tried & true):

20 Below: Cupcake Wrappers

This weekend at Michael’s, I picked up these sweet polka dot cupcake wrappers. Almost too pretty to use, don’t you think?

cupcake wrappers, $3.49, Michael’s

I know I should have used them for cupcakes but instead I opted to make banana muffins (recipe adapted from here):

Ingredients:

1 cup spelt flour
1 cup flax seeds
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 bananas, mashed
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Add muffin liners to muffin tin.
2. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, flax seed, baking soda & salt.
3. In another bowl, beat together the bananas and oil. Add the brown sugar & egg and beat until completely combined.
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and combine until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips.
5. Spoon the batter into the muffin tins. Bake 15-20 minutes. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring muffins onto a cooling rack.

Photo by Jordana.