Friday, May 30, 2014

Got Frocked!

I think I've made it fairly clear that I am an lurker. I skulk around on other blogs for ideas and inspiration. Frocks and Frou Frou is a regular stop for me. Lilli knows what works for her. She has a well-defined personal style. I admire that.

Last week while snooping I saw Lilli's "Yours Truly" pictures. I realized that I had comparable items in my wardrobe. A sand-and-black print dress. A soft, black, drapey cardigan. Flat, black shoes. Not exactly the same items, but similar enough to try to recreate her outfit. And her poses. The photos were taken at the end of a long work day.  Hubby and I were tired and hungry. By the end we were feeling rather giddy. 

The dress and the cardigan were both purchased second-hand. That makes this outfit a great choice for Bella's Second-hand First link up over at Citizen Rosebud. And look, I'm jumping in on the first day. I feel so organized!

Hope you'll lurk your way over to check out the fun and fashionable women at both blogs. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Iced Tea to Ice Cream

This one is for you GB!

Our local tea shop is a lovely place. When you enter you are greeted and offered a wee cup of tea. Recently, the weather has been warm, so they've served iced versions of the featured tea.  

A few weeks ago it was an iced white tea flavoured with coconut pieces, pink rose petals, blue malva flowers and vanilla. It made a nice iced tea, but I think it makes an even better ice cream.  Or rather sorbet. 

I think I'm seeing a trend here...

White Tea Vanilla Coconut Sorbet

Adapted from the Chocolate-Coconut Sorbet recipe in David Lebovitz's The Perfect Scoop

2/3 cup water
2/3 cup honey
pinch salt
2-3 tbsp Tea Centre White Tea Vanilla Coconut loose-leaf tea
1 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
1 400 ml can coconut milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
  • Combine water, honey and salt in a pan. Heat slowly, stirring occasionally, until the honey has dissolved.
  • Add tea leaves and coconut.
  • Steep for 40 minutes.
  • Strain out tea leaves and coconut
  • Add coconut milk and vanilla to water/honey mixture
  • Chill
  • Churn in ice cream maker
  • Enjoy!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Get Them Before They're Gone...

I am a collector of kitchen gadgets. Sometimes they're wonderful, and sometimes I wonder why I bought them. Hubby is quite good at fuelling my obsession. He has provided some of my favourite gadgets. The ice-cream attachment for my KitchenAid mixer is one.  This is another:

Yes, I am aware that an ipad isn't technically a kitchen gadget, but I do love having it in the kitchen with me. And not just for the sentimental value:

It's great for looking up recipes:

Both the cookies and the granola glimpsed in the pictures above are made from recipes I found online. I find a recipe, try it once, and, if it turns out, I bookmark it for future use. For the longest while I felt quite smug about all the paper I was saving. Prior to ipad acquisition I was printing recipes. The ipad allowed me to green up my kitchen practices. Then catastrophe.

Some of my favourite food bloggers started taking down their websites. It wasn't just that they didn't post any more. The websites were actually disappearing, often without warning. My carefully-curated bookmarks led nowhere. The horror! The frustration!

Last summer Kristin, the author of one much-bookmarked website, announced she was moving on to other things. She kindly left her website Cook Bake Nibble available so her followers could continue to access her recipes. What a relief! 

Last week, I discovered that Kristin will be retiring Cook Bake Nibble at the end of the month. Thankfully she gave her readers notice, so I've spent much of my afternoon printing favourite recipes. Sifting through her recipes one last time made me remember how much I liked her cooking style. We had many really great meals as a result of her work and her willingness to share her ideas.

So, if you're looking for some decent, easy, whole-food recipes you may want to head over to Cook Bake Nibble before it's too late. And if you miss out, don't fret. Kristin also announced that she'll be releasing a cookbook this year that will include new recipes and recipes from her old blog. I've already signed up for notification when the cookbook is ready, and will try to remember to let you know when I know. In the mean time, you can visit Kristin's new blog Niblet and check out her new adventures. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Stolen Goods

Though I'm not quite as late as last time, I'm once again leaving it to the last minute to join Bella's Second Hand First link-up over at Citizen Rosebud.  

The photo is last-minute too. I rushed away to work right after it was snapped. That's probably why my photographer, aka Hubby, didn't mention the shirt.

Of this outfit, three pieces are new to me. The skirt and belt are thrifted. The chambray shirt was lifted.

Last year many style bloggers praised the versatility of chambray shirts. (Or maybe it was the year before. I really don't keep up.) You could dress it up. You could dress it down. Fashionable women were seen wearing chambray with leather, and chambray with tulle. The really brave wore chambray shirts with jeans and risked being accused of wearing a Canadian tuxedo. 

Though I've never paired them with leather, tulle or (yikes!) denim*, I've had chambray shirts in the past and quite liked them, so I happily leapt for that bandwagon... and almost missed it. 

In spite of reassurances that they'd be easy to find second-hand, I didn't find one. I searched everywhere. I eventually expanded my search to include new items and experienced a different kind of failure. They were all more fitted than the chambray shirts of my youth. None of them buttoned over my chest. 

I had given up on my chambray dreams until one day, while peering into our closet, I spotted one. On Hubby's side. Search complete. 

Stolen from your husband's side of the closet counts as second hand, right?

Hope you'll head over to Citizen Rosebud to check out the stylish and resourceful women sharing Second Hand First. 

*OK, maybe I wore it with denim. I had permed hair too. Whatever.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


...but not by choice.

Actually, when it comes to commenting on other people's blogs, I'm usually pretty quiet. I mostly lurk, but there are a few women out there I try to keep in touch with. Often I don't have anything new or inspiring to say. I just want to say "hi".

I haven't even been able to do that lately. Not that I haven't tried, but interweb gremlins seem to be eating my comments. Disqus has been particularly evil and bitchy. I got so frustrated I cancelled my account. 

Maybe the universe is trying to tell me something.

Or it could just be user error...

Whatever the reason, I've been relegated to lurker whether I like it or not. So if you've noticed my lack of participation, please realize it's not intentional. It's not you. It's me. Or the internet. Or gremlins. Or something.

In the mean time, if you're visiting Jan, Val, Patti, Sue, or Rose-Anne please tell them I said hello. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Twenty-fourth of May. Eh?

It's a long weekend here in Canada land. Officially, we are meant to be honouring the birthday of Queen Victoria. Unofficially, it's the weekend that, for many Canadians, heralds the start of summer. For the ambitious, it's a weekend of camping or gardening. I'm not so ambitious, so my tribute to the beginning of summer has involved ice cream. 

Saturday was our first trip of the season to Benino Gelato. Raspberry for me. Salted caramel for Hubby. In spite of the rain we sat outside with our treats. It's the May long weekend dammit. Must... enjoy... food... outside... Actually, it wasn't too bad. The seats were sheltered, and the rain had pretty much stopped. That's another feature of the May long weekend... unpredictable weather.

Of course, exposure to the good stuff means the store-bought frozen treats just won't do. Solution? Make my own. The less-than-cooperative weather worked to our advantage in this respect. Our planned adventure to the Monster Truck extravaganza was out, but ice-cream making was in.  

I could have gone with a tried and true recipe, but where's the adventure in that? A comment by a friend at book club inspired me to try something new. She wondered if I had tried the Silk Road tea I served as ice cream. I had not. Hmmmm....

It seemed appropriate that ice cream made on Victoria Day be made from tea purchased in Victoria. 

Lullaby Tea Ice Cream

Adapted from the Vanilla Ice Cream, Philadelphia Style recipe in David Lebovitz's The Perfect Scoop 

1 cup whipping cream
2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp Silk Road Lullaby tea leaves
1 tbsp vodka
3/4 tsp vanilla
pinch salt
  • Combine cream, sugar and tea leaves in a saucepan. Heat slowly, stirring occasionally until sugar has dissolved
  • Remove from heat. Add milk and vanilla.
  • Steep for 30 to 60 minutes. (Taste occasionally for desired flavour.)
  • Strain out tea leaves. Add vodka. Chill.
  • Churn in ice cream maker.
  • Enjoy!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

So Not Sophisticated

A while ago, I mentioned my longing for a black sleeveless dress like the one I had seen on Canadian company Miik's website. I still haven't found a similar dress, but I did find some Miik basics at one of my favourite local shops, be. I was so excited to try the items in person that I got carried away and bought three pieces. Kiss that tax refund goodbye!

I'm wearing my new Audrey wrap top below. Pricey? You bet, but I love how it feels and how it drapes.  I also like that the company seems fairly open about the making of its garments. And when the top is worn with a thrifted skirt and a hand-me-down jacket, the overall cost of the outfit is less than that of a fast-fashion equivalent. Or at least that's what I'm telling Hubby. 

I wore the outfit for a lunch date with Hubby yesterday.  We planned to go for pasta at Toscano's Trattoria, but when we got there it was closed. Oddly, about every second time we go there it's closed, yet it's always open when I'm in the neighbourhood on other business. Still it all worked out for the best. We ended up around the corner at Avenue Bistro. The food was great. I had the beef dip with frites. I don't regularly order fries when we're out, and when I do I'm usually disappointed and leave most of them. The fries at Avenue are so good I ate every one. With Hubby's help, of course. 

The people at the neighbouring table were quite amusing. They spoke with classic French accents. I had my back to them, but their dropped h's and rolling r's had me imagining French women à la Mireille Guiliano. The men, on the other hand, had us both flashing back to a fifth season Simpsons episode. Their discussion of the "shaudere" (aka chowder) actually had my normally circumspect Hubby smirking into his coffee. Yep, we're mature that way.

After our lunch we attempted a waterside walk. That was almost immediately rained out, so we topped off our Saturday date with our first gelato of the season at Benino Gelato. Frites and gelato. I feel so sophisticated. At least as sophisticated as someone who can quote the Simpsons can feel. 

For actual sophistication, head over to Patti's Not Dead Yet Style for Visible Monday. The cosmopolitan crew is sure to delight.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Butterflies on the Beach

I have nothing to say here. It's been like that for a while now. My creative energy has been dormant. Instead of stringing old words together to make new stories I've been clearing, decluttering and, in some cases, destroying. (Bye, bye houseplants. Hello garbage dump!)

So why am I here if I have nothing to say? Well, because I miss writing here, and I miss interacting with the wee community of friends I have made on the interwebs. 

So instead of a story here's a picture of me, on the beach, dodging raindrops after an oyster burger at a sea-side pub. 

Things are good.

Linking up with Patti and the amazing community of visible women over at Not Dead Yet Style for Visible Monday. Go check them out!