Thursday: What’s Baking?

It's Complicated Is a Garbage Movie – Supposedly Fun

Does anyone remember this film? Meryl Streep is one of my favourite actors, and in this film she plays a woman on the flip-side of a story about a marital affair with her own ex-husband! She steals her husband back from the other woman, only to realize that she did not want him in her life anymore. A phenomenal film that deals with middle-age drama, and the ups and downs of relationships. If you are a fan of the ‘country chic’ style, you will love her house on set. If you’re a fan of bakeries, you will love the shop she owns and operates in the film! After the scene where she takes her new boyfriend in to the bakery to make chocolate croissants together, I was in love! I’m not sure what I am more crazy about: the bakery or her croissants!

Remembering how delicious the scene was, I thought to myself, “Why not make Chocolate Croissants?” This is a terrific idea if I do say so myself, and I’ve happily added a recipe to equip you for the task!

Extra flaky and buttery homemade chocolate croissants (Pain au Chocolat) are incredible warm from the oven. Recreate this French bakery classic at home with a recipe and video tutorial on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Homemade Chocolate Croissants (Pain au Chocolat)

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup (4 Tablespoons; 60g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 4 cups (500g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled), plus more for rolling/shaping
  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 Tablespoon active dry or instant yeast
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (360ml) cold whole milk
  • one 4-ounce bar (113g) semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • optional: confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Butter Layer

  • 1 and 1/2 cups (3 sticks; 345g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons (16g) all-purpose flour

Egg Wash

  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) whole milk

Instructions

  1. Preliminary notes:Read the whole recipe before beginning.
  2. Make the dough: Cut the butter in four 1-Tablespoon slices and place in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment (or you can use a handheld mixer or no mixer, but a stand mixer is ideal). Add the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. Turn the mixer on low-medium speed to gently combine the ingredients for 1 minute. With the mixer running, slowly pour in the milk. Once all of the milk is added, turn the mixer up to medium speed and beat the dough for at least 5 full minutes. (If you don’t have a mixer, knead by hand for 5 minutes.) The dough will be soft. It will (mostly) pull away from the sides of the bowl and if you poke it with your finger, it will bounce back. If after 5 minutes the dough is too sticky, keep the mixer running until it pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
  3. Remove dough from the bowl and, with floured hands, work it into a ball. Place the dough on a lightly floured silicone baking mat lined, lightly floured parchment paper lined, or lightly floured baking sheet. (I recommend a silicone baking mat because you can roll the dough out in the next step directly on top and it won’t slide all over the counter.) Gently flatten the dough out, as I do in the video above, and cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Place the entire baking sheet in the refrigerator and allow the covered dough to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  4. Shape the dough: Remove the dough from the refrigerator. I like to keep the dough on the silicone baking mat when I’m rolling it in this step because the mat is nonstick and it’s a handy guide for the exact measurement. Begin flattening out the dough with your hands. You’re rolling it out into a rectangle in this step, so shaping it with your hands first helps the stretchy dough. Roll it into a 14×10-inch rectangle. The dough isn’t extremely cold after only 30 minutes in the refrigerator, so it will feel more like soft play-doh. Be precise with the measurement. The dough will want to be oval shaped, but keep working the edges with your hands and rolling pin until you have the correct size rectangle.
  5. Long rest: Place the rolled out dough back onto the baking sheet (this is why I prefer a silicone baking mat or parchment because you can easily transfer the dough). Cover the rolled out dough with plastic wrap or aluminum foil, place the entire baking sheet in the refrigerator and allow the covered dough to rest in the refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight. (Up to 24 hours is ok.)
  6. Butter layer (begin this 35 minutes before the next step so the butter can chill for 30 minutes): In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the butter and flour together until smooth and combined. Transfer the mixture to a silicone baking mat lined or parchment paper lined baking sheet. (Silicone baking mat is preferred because you can easily peel the butter off in the next step.) Using a spoon or small spatula, smooth out into a 7×10-inch rectangle. Be as precise as you can with this measurement. Place the entire baking sheet in the refrigerator and chill the butter layer for 30 minutes. (No need to cover it for only 30 minutes.) You want the butter layer firm, but still pliable. If it gets too firm, let it sit out on the counter for a few minutes to gently soften. The more firm the butter layer is the more difficult it will be to laminate the dough in the next step.
  7. Laminate the dough: In this next step, you will be rolling out the dough into a large rectangle. Do this on a lightly floured counter instead of rolling out on your silicone baking mat. The counter is typically a little cooler (great for keeping the dough cold) and the silicone baking mat is smaller than the measurement you need. Remove both the dough and butter layers from the refrigerator. Place the butter layer in the center of the dough and fold each end of the dough over it. If the butter wasn’t an exact 7×10-inch rectangle, use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to even out the edges. Seal the dough edges over the butter layer as best you can with your fingers. On a lightly floured counter, roll the dough into a 10×20-inch rectangle. It’s best to roll back and forth with the shorter end of the dough facing you, like I do in the video above. Use your fingers if you need to. The dough is very cold, so it will take a lot of arm muscle to roll. Again, the dough will want to be oval shaped, but keep working it with your hands and rolling pin until you have the correct size rectangle. Fold the dough lengthwise into thirds as if you were folding a letter. This was the 1st turn.
  8. If the dough is now too warm to work with, place folded dough on the baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil, and refrigerate for 30 minutes before the 2nd turn. I usually don’t have to.
  9. 2nd turn: Turn the dough so the short end is facing you. Roll the dough out once again into a 10×20-inch rectangle, then fold the dough lengthwise into thirds as if you were folding a letter. The dough must be refrigerated between the 2nd and 3rd turn because it has been worked with a lot by this point. Place the folded dough on the baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil, and refrigerate for 30 minutes before the 3rd turn.
  10. 3rd turn: Roll the dough out once again into a 10×20-inch rectangle. Fold the dough lengthwise into thirds as if you were folding a letter.
  11. Long rest: Place the folded dough on the lined baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil, and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight. (Up to 24 hours is ok.)
  12. At the end of the next step, you’ll need 2 baking sheets lined with silicone baking mats or parchment paper. The dough is currently on a lined baking sheet in the refrigerator, so you already have 1 prepared!
  13. Shape the croissants: Remove the dough from the refrigerator. On a lightly floured counter, roll the dough out into an 8×20-inch rectangle. Use your fingers if you need to. Once again, the dough is very cold, so it will take a lot of arm muscle to roll. The dough will want to be oval shaped, but keep working it with your hands and rolling pin until you have the correct size rectangle. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, slice the dough in half vertically. Each skinny rectangle will be 4 inches wide. Then cut 3 even slices horizontally, yielding 8 4×5-inch rectangles. See photo and video above for a visual. Cut each rectangle in half lengthwise so you have 16 2×5-inch rectangles. Work with one rectangle at a time. Using your fingers or a rolling pin, stretch it to be about 8 inches long. Do this gently as you do not want to flatten the layers. Place a few small pieces of chocolate in a single layer at one end and tightly roll the dough up around the chocolate. Make sure the end is on the bottom. Repeat with remaining dough, placing the shaped croissants on 2 lined baking sheets, 8 per sheet. Loosely cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and allow to rest at room temperature (no warmer! I suggest just keeping on the counter) for 1 hour, then place in the refrigerator to rest for 1 hour or up to 12 hours. (Or freeze, see freezing instructions. I prefer the shaped croissants to be cold going into the oven. When you poke the dough with your finger, it will slowly bounce back. That means they are ready to be baked.
  14. Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C).
  15. Egg wash: Whisk the egg wash ingredients together. Remove the croissants from the refrigerator. Brush each lightly with egg wash.
  16. Bake the croissants: Bake until croissants are golden brown, about 20 minutes. Rotate the pans halfway through baking. If croissants show signs of darkening too quickly, reduce the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  17. Remove chocolate croissants from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for a few minutes before serving. They will slightly deflate as they cool. If desired, dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.
  18. Croissants taste best the same day they’re baked. Cover any leftover croissants and store at room temperature for a few days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. You can also freeze for up to 3 months, then thaw on the counter or overnight in the refrigerator. Warm up to your liking.

*Recipe taken from sallysbakingaddiction.com

It is a lengthy recipe but if you read over it thoroughly before you start, I promise that it won’t be that confusing. I hope you have a fabulous time baking, and make sure you watch the movie! I know you’ll enjoy it;) Happy Thursday everyone!

Wednesday: Do it Yourself Challenge!

Top 60 Best Coffee Bar Ideas - Cool Personal Java Cafe Designs

If you are a lover of coffee like I am, then you must be hysterical over the piece of art in the picture above. Coffee is no joke! For some, the pot must always be brewing, and for others, a simple cup a day will suffice. For me, I not only love to drink it, but I also love the idea of giving it a special home at home! Today’s DIY challenge is to make a coffee bar that resembles your local coffee shop; including everything from the blackboard signs, to the stacked teacups. Putting a coffee bar together makes your coffee experience a glamourous one, whether you sip alone or with a friend.

This is a simple transformation that only requires some old wood for the chalkboard frame, a vintage dresser or side table, and a lot of imagination! First thing’s first, you must decide on the perfect place to set up the coffee bar of your dreams! This could be the kitchen, or even your dining room. The main idea is to give it a home where it’s easily accessible to you and your guests, as well as a spot that would compliment the look.

Adding shelving to the scene will allow room for décor pieces that will add to the bar concept, and would also house some of the essentials needed for coffee/tea time. For the countertop display, a coffee grinder and/or coffee maker should be the main focus, followed by a kettle and teacups. Cake domes or platters are a welcomed addition to the bar because it suggests that treats are to be served! Some people like to include coffee syrups to be fancy, but my idea of good coffee is best uncomplicated:)

Are coffee bars only for coffee? Absolutely not! This area can double as a bar for cocktails, or even service for a dinner party. You can include fresh flowers and candles to make it elegant, or fill a few vases with corks for a wine and cheese party. There are so many uses for a space like this, you will wonder why you had not thought of adding one before!

Does your coffee bar have to be out in the open? Not necessarily. Your kitchen pantry could double as a coffee bar if you really wanted to keep it hidden until needed. How incredible it would be to throw open the doors when your guests are ready to be served, only to reveal a swanky, built-in coffee bar! You just can’t beat that kind of class;) Take a good look around your home and make an epic plan for a coffee bar that will keep your guests coming back for a refill. Enjoy your evening, and happy Wednesday everyone!

Tuesday: What’s for Dinner?

Review: Money Heist - Feeds NITT

So, I started a series on Netflix called, “Money Heist,” which is real edge-of-your-seat action! It’s about a group of outlaws that come together to rob the Royal Mint of Spain. With the Professor’s master plan, the outlaws calculate every anticipated move of the police and come up with genius tactics to print and steal 1 billion euros! I’m telling you, you won’t be able to stop for a bathroom break! It’s too hot! Now, the scene is set in Spain, and the culture is alive in the series with the scenery, music and of course, the food!

One particular dish we will be trying for dinner, has a background story that is too funny for words! During the heist, the outlaws negotiated a good meal for themselves and the hostages to eat after a full day of war. They request Paella and beer to be delivered to them, and the famous scene shows the police hauling in eight gigantic pans of the hot rice in all of its glory, along with ice-cold beer! It was a sight to behold, and a very mouth-watering scene! At that moment, I thought to myself, “What about Paella for dinner?”

I found a delicious recipe taken from Food and Wine that received fantastic reviews! Take a look:

Seafood-and-Chicken Paella with Chorizo

Seafood-and-Chicken Paella with Chorizo

Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

  • 4 ounces fresh chorizo (casings removed)
  • 1 small onion (thinly sliced)
  • 1 garlic clove (thinly sliced)
  • ½ cup canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1 pinch of saffron dissolved in 2 tablespoons of water
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound large shrimp (shelled and deveined)
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ pound mussels (scrubbed and debearded)
  • ½ pound cockles (scrubbed and rinsed)
  • 1 ½ cups cooked chicken (8 ounces preferably dark meat)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 scallion (thinly sliced)

Directions

Instructions Checklist

  • Step 1 Preheat the oven to 350°. In a 10-inch paella pan or ovenproof skillet, cook the chorizo over moderate heat, breaking it up with a spoon, until some of the fat is rendered and the chorizo is browned, 4 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and cook over low heat, stirring, until softened and just beginning to brown, 8 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, rice, saffron with its liquid and the 1 1/2 cups of water. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat, without stirring, until the rice is al dente and the liquid is absorbed, 15 minutes.
  • Step 2 In a large skillet, heat the 1/4 cup of olive oil until shimmering. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper, add them to the skillet and cook over high heat, turning once, until pink and cooked through, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shrimp to the rice. Discard the oil.
  • Step 3 Wipe out the skillet. Pour in the wine and lemon juice. Add the mussels and cockles, cover and cook, shaking the skillet, until the mussels open, about 3 minutes. Pour the mussels and cockles and their cooking liquid over the rice.
  • Step 4 Stir the cooked chicken into the rice. Cover and cook in the oven for about 5 minutes, until the paella is just heated through. Garnish with the parsley and scallion, drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and serve.

*Recipe taken from foodandwine.com

Money Heist' Season 4: Theory claims Nairobi is alive and fans can't wait  for return of 'bad***' character | MEAWW

Although this dish is for seafood lovers, I am sure you can substitute anything you want. After all, Paella is a mishmash of all the flavours and ingredients you adore! The cold beer, well, there isn’t a thing that can substitute that;) If you decide to watch the series, drop me a line about what you think. My favourite character in the outlaw group is Nairobi. She has an entertaining personality, loaded with spunk! You have to watch in order to know what I mean. Eat, drink, watch and be merry my friends! Until next time, happy Tuesday everyone!

Thursday: What’s Baking?

There is nothing better than the sweet smell of cinnamon that circulates through every room, and brings pleasure with every deep breath. You must be asking, “Lisa, are you still talking about desserts?” The answer is yes! I’m still on track as I make my intro into the the magic that is cinnamon buns! I am big on making them from scratch, and usually throw together a big batch for my Sunday brunches. Ask my kids…big fans of Sunday brunch!

I found a recipe that you might be interested in trying on Sunday morning, that will have you drooling into your morning coffee! The aromas will be out of this world! Just you wait and see…

CINNAMON BUNS

Ingredients

  • For the dough:
  • ¾ cup warm milk (whole milk or 2% preferred) (110 degrees F)
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons quick rise or active yeast (1/4-ounce package yeast)
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • For the filling:
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar (light brown sugar also works)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • For the cream cheese frosting:
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Warm milk to around 110 degrees F. I like to do this by placing milk in a microwave safe bowl and microwaving it for 40-45 seconds. It should be like warm bath water. Transfer warm milk to the bowl of an electric mixer and sprinkle yeast on top. Add in sugar, egg, egg yolk and melted butter. Mix until well combined. Next stir in flour and salt with a wooden spoon until a dough begins to form.
  2. Place dough hook on stand mixer and knead dough on medium speed for 8 minutes. Dough should form into a nice ball and be slightly sticky. If it’s TOO sticky (meaning it’s sticking to the bottom of the mixer, add in 2 tablespoons more bread flour.) If you don’t want to use an electric mixer, you can use your hands to knead the dough for 8-10 minutes on a well-floured surface.
  3. Transfer dough ball to a well-oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and a warm towel. Allow dough to rise for 1 hour to 1 ½ hours, or until doubled in size. This may more or less time depending the humidity and temperature in your home.
  4. After dough has doubled in size, transfer dough to a well-floured surface and roll out into a 14×9 inch rectangle. Spread softened butter over dough, leaving a ¼ inch margin at the far side of the dough.
  5. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar and cinnamon. Use your hands to sprinkle mixture over the buttered dough, then rub the brown sugar mixture into the butter.
  6. Tightly roll dough up, starting from the 9-inch side and place seam side down making sure to seal the edges of the dough as best you can. You will probably need to cut off about an inch off the ends of the dough as the ends won’t be as full of cinnamon sugar as we’d want it to be.
  7. Cut into 1 inch sections with a serrated knife or floss. You should get 9 large pieces.
  8. Place cinnamon rolls in a greased 9×9 inch baking pan or round 9 inch cake pan. (I also recommend lining the pan with parchment paper as well, in case any of the filling ends up leaking out.) Cover with plastic wrap and a warm towel and let rise again for 30-45 minutes.
  9. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove plastic wrap and towel and bake cinnamon rolls for 20-25 minutes or until just slightly golden brown on the edges. You want to underbake them a little so they stay soft in the middle, that’s why we want them just slightly golden brown. Allow them to cool for 5-10 minutes before frosting. Makes 9 cinnamon rolls.
  10. To make the frosting: In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Beat until smooth and fluffy. Spread over cinnamon rolls and serve immediately. Enjoy!

*Recipe taken from ambitiouskitchen.com

Make your weekends special for those you love! Let them wake up to warm cinnamon buns in the oven, and a pot of fresh brewed coffee; all for their Sunday morning pleasure;) Have fun with it! Happy Thursday everyone!

Wednesday: Do it Yourself Challenge!

When it comes to décor, there is something striking about the appeal navy blue and gold. The elements nestle together the way champagne and luxury intertwine, in order to create a bold and extravagant statement. The colour gold can stream through accents such as: Pillows, lighting, or even furniture legs. The navy can be incorporated through window treatments, upholstery, or a deep navy blue accent wall. Are accent walls still in? Glad you asked! It all depends on how it’s done.

If you are to do an accent wall, the first rule is to make your choice of colour the anchor that holds the room together. The wall should be where the eyes first glance, and where the accessories play as an extension to the ensemble. It is also very important to balance light with dark by making your wall the focal point, but contrasting it with light colours. Take for instance, the ceilings and adjacent walls in the photograph above, which help to brighten up the space and makes room for the “drama” of navy blue.

Even if you do not own anything navy blue or gold in your room, but you like the visual appeal, start with the wall. Spray paint chandeliers or table lamps gold, and find a blue and white throw to toss over the edge of the bed. Another way to create the colour contrast on the wall is the use of wall art! You can marry the theme of your room by hanging art that gives hints of the colours you want to repeat throughout the space. The concept of white frames on a navy wall captures the essence of contrast, creating a bold and sharp statement.

You can have a room that looks like it should be on the cover of “Style at Home,” on a tight budget. All you have to do is see the vision, and get creative. I hope you all enjoy your evening! Happy Wednesday everyone!

Tuesday: What’s for Dinner?

It is definitely cold out there these days, as the temperature hovers just above zero. Life in Fall is absolutely in full swing, and the colours on the trees prove the point! When considering dinner, we will naturally gravitate to something warm in our bellies that will give us the feeling of big hugs from the inside. So, what will we decide on to eat tonight? Easy. How about a hearty soup with robust flavours in every scrumptious bite? Sounds like a plan! Let’s take a look:

SLOW COOKER CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP

INGREDIENTS

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed

1 cup frozen corn

2 bell peppers, chopped

1 white onion, chopped

1 15-oz. can fire-roasted tomatoes

1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp. cumin

1 tbsp. chili powder

1 tsp. kosher salt

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 cup shredded Monterey jack

1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

3 small corn tortillas, cut into strips

Sliced avocado, for serving

Sour cream, for serving

Lime wedges, for serving

  1. In a large slow cooker, combine chicken, black beans, corn, peppers, onion, fire-roasted tomatoes, cilantro, garlic, cumin, chili powder, salt, and chicken broth.
  2. Cover and cook on low until chicken is cooked and falling apart, 5 to 6 hours.
  3. Shred chicken with a fork, then top soup with Monterey Jack and cover to let melt, 5 minutes more.
  4. Meanwhile, make tortilla crisps: In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add tortilla strips and cook until crispy and golden, 3 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and season with salt.
  5. Serve soup topped with tortilla crisps, avocado, sour cream, cilantro, and lime.

*Recipe taken from delish.com

Of course we can always substitute the chicken for tofu, or maybe you could simply leave it out. I bet that the taste will still be amazing, regardless! Go with soup tonight, and I promise you won’t regret the thought. Until next time, happy Tuesday everyone!

Sunday: At Home

I just got home from mom’s house today because we celebrated my brothers’ birthday last night. It was laughs making pizza from scratch, and blowing candles out over a homemade cookies and cream cake by yours truly;) My mother is a character that is unique in her own way. Sibling rivalry began with my mom’s unyielding devotion to her youngest son, my brother, which leaves me and my sister in the dust;) No one compares to him, and no one ever will. The lengths my mom goes to, to ensure that he is well cared for, and will go out of her way to provide for his every need is extraordinary. Keep in mind, my brother just turned 33 years old:)

Last night, my mom got all dolled up for his special day, and even went as far as to put up birthday decorations like when we were younger. At the dinner table, she laughed harder, and cheered louder for him more than anyone else in the room! That’s my mom. Her son could do no wrong. Anyone have a mom like that at home who can relate? Well, it used to be that me and my sister would find it disturbing, but now we find it both disturbing and comical. Sometimes, you just have to let it go! We love him just the same.

Upon my return home this afternoon, it was all about a quick dinner, which consisted of a chicken and mozzarella ravioli, bruschetta, and caesar salad. It took me 30 minutes to prepare, and it looks gourmet! I added some pesto to the pasta, and it smells delicious! I have to thank Costco for the pasta tonight. Not bad at all!

Lastly, the skincare! I’m on week 3 of my turmeric mask journey, and so far, so good. The focus for my face is a little dark spot that I’ve had for a while, at the baseline of my jaw. Keeping track of that spot each week will help me to see whether the mask truly makes a difference overall for my face.

Now you have the whole scoop for my Sunday at Home. I hope you all enjoyed! Happy Sunday everyone!

Wednesday: Do it Yourself Challenge!

The kitchen island is the center hub of the family who gathers in the kitchen for family meetings, dinner, or games! Sometimes it houses small appliances, or is the home of the table fruit. Like so many other essentials in the house, this special addition to the eating area should be unique to the members who use it. Barstools might be a necessity for some to get homework done, or to eat a quick bowl of cereal before dashing out. Others may need the space for baking orders for their small cupcake business. Whatever the situation, the island must compliment your life, and make it easy and convenient to get the job done.

There are ways you can be creative to build a stylish, workable space without breaking the bank. The use of a pallet or skid as the base of your island, not only gives your kitchen a swanky industrial look, but also saves you a ton of money you would have otherwise spent on expensive building materials. All you need is good quality paint and a brush, and you can make it happen!

Repurposing old furniture may also be an exciting way to build the kitchen island of your dreams! You have the option of putting an old chest of drawers, or even a sideboard on wheels with stoppers, painting its exterior, and adding fancy hardware for visual appeal. You could also include hooks to hang accessories, and choose the perfect countertop to complete an amazing transformation. This look would work perfectly in a traditional, or country-themed kitchen.

Lastly, there is the idea of using bookshelves to put a functional, and organized kitchen island together. Fabulous, right? Who would have thought that a couple of Ikea bookshelves lined in beadboard, and finished with moulding could look so good! I am so impressed with all of these options, and I’m sure that one of these kitchen island ideas is the perfect solution for someone’s household.

Just a few ideas to throw around when trying to decide how to make the most bang for your buck. Keeping things low cost with a keen sense of style is exactly what we all need in our lives. Enjoy your evening, and happy Wednesday everyone!

Tuesday: What’s for Dinner?

Savory Crepes with Almond Cheese, Sautéed Spinach and Vegan Hollandaise •  The Curious Chickpea

Welcome back to “What’s for Dinner?” and we are keeping with the French theme, making savoury crêpes that melt in your mouth! I found two recipes that I know you will thoroughly enjoy for the crazy busy nights, where you need to make something fast. I chose savoury because it’s easy to throw in chicken or spinach; something that makes your crêpes feel more like a hearty meal after a long day. Take a look…

Herbed Egg Crêpes Filled with Smoked Salmon

Herbed Egg Crêpes Filled with Smoked Salmon

Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

  • 10 large eggs (at room temperature)
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ⅓ cup coarsely chopped tarragon
  • ⅓ cup coarsely chopped chervil or flat-leaf parsley
  • ⅓ cup snipped chives (plus more for garnish)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Olive oil (for brushing)
  • 1 cup crème fraîche
  • 1 pound thinly sliced smoked salmon

Directions

Instructions Checklist

  • Step 1 In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the heavy cream until blended. Add the tarragon, chervil and 1/3 cup of chives and season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Let the batter rest for 15 minutes.
  • Step 2 Lightly brush an 8-inch nonstick skillet with olive oil and set it over moderate heat. When the pan is hot, add 3 tablespoons of the crêpe batter, swirling to coat the bottom, and cook until golden around the edges, about 30 seconds. Carefully turn the crêpe and continue cooking just until set, about 15 seconds longer. Transfer to a large plate lined with wax paper. Continue making crêpes with the remaining batter, brushing the pan with more olive oil as necessary and layering the crêpes with waxed paper.
  • Step 3 Arrange the crêpes on a work surface. Spread lightly with the crème fraîche and top with slices of the smoked salmon. Fold each crêpe in half, then in half again to form triangles. Transfer the stuffed crêpes to plates, sprinkle the crêpes with chives and serve.

Make Ahead

The herbed crêpes can be made up to 8 hours ahead and refrigerated. Bring them to room temperature before filling.

Buckwheat Crêpes with Wild Mushrooms and Gruyère

Buckwheat Crêpes with Wild Mushrooms and Gruyère

Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

  • ¾ cup buckwheat flour
  • 2 eggs (large beaten)
  • 1 ⅓ cups milk
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (plus more for brushing)
  • 2 shallots (medium thinly sliced)
  • 16 ounces mixed wild mushrooms (thinly sliced)
  • Sea salt
  • 2 cloves garlic (large minced)
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 2 cups coarsely grated Gruyère cheese

Directions

Instructions Checklist

  • Step 1 In a medium bowl, whisk the buckwheat flour with the eggs and half of the milk until lump-free. Add the remaining milk and whisk until smooth. Refrigerate the batter for 20 minutes.
  • Step 2 Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, heat the 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the shallots and cook over moderately high heat until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and cook until tender, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Add the wine, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet and cook until the liquid has evaporated, about 2 minutes.
  • Step 3 Heat an 8-inch nonstick skillet and lightly brush with olive oil. Add 1/4 cup of the batter to the skillet and swirl to coat the pan. Cook over moderate heat until the edges begin to pull away from the pan, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Flip the crêpe and cook 30 seconds to 1 minute longer.
  • Step 4 Sprinkle the crêpe with 1/4 cup of cheese followed by 1/4 cup of the mushrooms. Fold the bottom flaps of the crêpe to form a cone. Slide the crêpe onto a serving platter. Repeat with the remaining batter, brushing the pan with oil as needed. Serve the crêpes immediately.

*Recipes taken from Foodandwine.com

Not bad as a Tuesday night dinner, right? I’ll say! You know I also have to mention that it would work perfectly with your favourite glass of wine;) Ladies and gentlemen, put this one under your belt as a fancy pick-me-up on a cold, rainy night. I guarantee it will do the trick! Until next time, happy Tuesday everyone!

Sunday: At Home

(Picture of Niagara Glen Hiking Trail from my phone!!)

Have you ever had an impromptu day, where the early morning finds you on the road to an early hiking adventure? My family and I decided last minute, to accompany a few friends to Niagara Region. We found a fantastic hiking trail called the Niagara Glen, that was situated right alongside our bordering neighbour, the United States. The colours of Fall were bright and bold, and the air was so fresh and full of life! Sometimes, when you live in the city you forget how important a little time spent in nature is for your mind, body, and soul.

It was the most relaxing day I’ve had in a long time, and I loved every minute of it! We took photos of nature all day long, until the kids got sick of smiling;) Isn’t water therapeutic? Listen to the sound of the rushing river as it carries by us in it’s turquoise beauty. It almost seemed as if I could jump in and float away. Don’t be fooled, as the signs posted everywhere soberly reminded us that falling into the aggressive waters would cause rapid hypothermia, and could also drown you both swiftly, and painfully. That was a bit eerie, but I guess they had to be honest about the dangers.

Overall, it was another precious memory for the Myers family! Alas, all good things must come to an end until the next great adventure…

I wanted let you all know that people have been sharing their pictures of my recipe suggestions they’ve been trying out at home, and man oh man, does it ever look good! If you can recall, there were a few fabulous recipes from the Food Network that I shared with you about using your Thanksgiving leftovers to make a fancy, day-after the party, meals. A reader sent a picture of her “Turkey and Stuffing Quiche,” which turned out perfect! Take a look:

Keep the pictures coming! I am loving every one of them. Do you wish that you tried it too?Well, scroll back about five days in blog posts, and you will find the unique recipes that could still be done!

I also have to confess that I’ve been falling behind in my Tumeric Facial Treatments, and experimental research. I will be back on track next week with week 2 pictures. For those of you who read the blog a few weeks ago about making your own homemade facial products, will also remember that I made a mask of my own. I will be using it for 4-6 weeks to investigate if the Turmeric concoction significantly reduces dark spots, and acne. Okay, I think that’s everything for now. I hope you had an awesome weekend, and I look forward to our new week ahead! Nitey nite, and happy Sunday everyone!