Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Simple Picnic Chicken

In the summer, we like to take advantage of the outdoors as much as possible, and eat "al fresco."  Picnics with the kids, or BBQ’s on the patio is where you’ll find us during the hot months.

Here is a simple recipe for “oven-fried” chicken.   I’ve been told that it tastes similar to commercial fried chicken, but with less grease and oil.  This chicken will keep cold (and taste even better when it’s cold!), but can be served right out of the oven.

Here’s the recipe:

Oven-Fried Chicken

½ cup of flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. paprika
½ tsp. pepper
¼ cup of butter, melted
1 pkg of drumsticks or thights (approx. 10 pieces)

1)  Melt the butter in one bowl, and mix the flour, salt, paprika and pepper in another.

2)  Dip the chicken in butter.  Then roll the chicken in the flour mixture.

3)  Arrange on a glass pyrex dish (or cookie sheet). 

4)  Bake, uncovered for 50 minutes at 425 degrees.

Serves approx. 4 people.

{This post linked to 33 Shades of Green}

Monday, June 27, 2011

summer begins

Photographed in Prince Edward Island
Now that the hustle and bustle of school schedules are done...I'm looking forward to the hot summer days ahead...with cool drinks, sprinkler drops on tanned skin, sticky ice cream trails on forearms, and enjoying the beautiful sounds and scents of nature.

Of course, we'll do memory-making activities, keeping busy spending endless days at the park, the pool, at the golf course (the husband), biking at the cottage, and spending time with friends and family.

Hopefully the kids will enjoy simple pleasures, like...

Looking at the world with a different view...

Discovering the world on the road...

Or briefly closing their eyes to the world, 
and simply enjoying quiet moments like this...

May the sun shine brightly this summer!

{Editor's Note:  All artwork above, courtesy of SBN contributing associates, a.k.a "the offspring"}

Friday, June 24, 2011

Amazing Farm House

This past week, I went on a school field trip to the farm with my daughter, and I thought of my friend who dreams of retiring in a beautiful farm house, raising animals, growing fruits and vegetables, and living off the land.  I love visiting farms…picking strawberries, cherries or apples then eating our fresh pickings.  It's a pilgrimage our family takes bi-yearly...but I’m more of a beach girl, so I gravitate towards water and sand.  However, I might re-think that notion if I had a farm house that looked like this (of course, designed by my fave, Barbara Barry)

 { source: Veranda Interiors }

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Style Icon Inspired-The Shift Dress

{ sources:  JackieAudreyGrace }

When we think of summer, we usually think of paring down our wardrobe, wearing less when the temperature rises.  I love summer clothes.  No bulk, no fuss. Just pretty simple.  And if you know me, I like to keep things simple...and the shift dress is exactly that.

There seemed to be a common thread amongst my style icons…most particularly their favorite designer, Givenchy (which is not the most readily accessible to most people).  I think Calvin Klein, who designs with simplicity in mind, is like our modern day Givenchy.

Here are a few dresses I've found that are inspired by the ones worn by Jackie, Audrey and Grace.  

These can be found online at: Zappos,  Lord and Taylor

I'll definitely be wearing these dresses this summer...I found these exact dresses at Winners (TJ Maxx/Marshalls in US) in the colours below.  

Found at Winners for less than $60 (as of June 2011)

As usual, I stuck to neutral these dresses will be fashionable for more than one season.  I also believe, the lighter the colour, say white, the more you should invest in a known name, as clothes that are better made usually have a lining, and will conceal any unmentionables underneath.  The white Calvin Klein dress is nicely lined.

It's amazing how classic and simple never go out of style, and can stand the test of time!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Style Icon Inspired-Simplifying a Wardrobe

The Hermes Birkin Bag, the epitome of
classic, clean lined design.

Since I don't have that dream walk-in closet I showed you last week, I'm working on simplifying my wardrobe, so everything fits into the closet I do have.

There was a rumour that Grace Kelly was able to pack for a week's travel, with everything fitting into a bag not much larger than the famous Hermes Birkin "Kelly" bag (the one, of course, named after her).

I think she, like the other style icons listed here, Jackie Kennedy and Audrey Hepburn, had something in common...that they wore simple, classic designs in neutral colours. Dresses instead of separates. Muted colours instead of bright colours. Their clothes, while simple in style, always looked effortlessly beautiful.

Elegant, refined, sophisticated chic. Here are a few examples of what I mean.

Favorite Designers:  Givenchy and Yves Saint Laurent
{ source: Life }

Favorite Designer: Oleg Cassini (who inspired Givency at the time)
{source: Life }

Sophisticated Chic
Favorite Designer:  Givenchy
{source: Life}

Upcoming in my next post will be the first "style icon" segment...for each season, I will highlight one key design style that these ladies had in common, compare how they wore this style and find similar clothes that you can find today (in a more approachable price range, of course) show how easily achievable it is to be simply beautiful with these timeless and elegant looks.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011's time to Graduate!

Graduation Cap Cupcakes 
Inspired from this Kraft recipe

With the end of the school year fast approaching, I’ve been asked to make some graduation inspired cupcakes. I liked the concept of this cupcake on the Kraft website, but I didn’t like all the food colour and additives in this recipe.  I also wanted it to be one colour, like real graduation hats.  So, here’s my adaptation.

Bake and make the cupcakes and icing (recipe below). In the meantime...

Trim chocolate wafers into squares.
I used Mr. Christie's Chocolate wafers...
they're used to make Oreo cakes or crumbs.

Cut and splice licorice string (you could also use fruit roll ups)

When cupcakes are cooled, turn upside down, and spread the butter cream 
icing on the bottom part of the cupcake.  
I piped my makes it easier than spreading.
Do you like my nod to this blog?

Attach cookie, then with remaining icing, attach the 
licorice string to the top of the cookie.

Happy Graduation!

Cake and Icing Recipes

Chocolate Cupcakes

(to save time, you can always use organic cake mixes).

  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners. Mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa and salt. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition, then stir in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk; beat well. Fill the muffin cups ½ full.
  • Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
Buttercream Icing
(or to save time, you can use pre-made frosting)

  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 2 tsp. milk or whipping cream
  • 4 tbsp. cocoa powder (to make a chocolate icing...leave it out or add 1 tsp. of vanilla for white icing).
  • Blend (with a whip attachment…hand blenders are great for this) above together in blender.

Hats off to the graduates!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Beautiful Dresser

I love to shop.  Let’s just get that out of the way.  And since having kids, I now dress vicariously through them.  

Unfortunately our little girl’s closet is literally a half-sized one (not even 1/10th of the size of the dream walk in closet featured in Friday's post), and with all the clothes her crazy mother buys for her, she’ll need more places to put her stuff.  I love this pretty pink dressing chest from Posh Tots...for a paltry $1000.

Isabella Dressing Chest from Posh Tots

I’ve been looking for similar dressers on Craigslist and eBay, with no luck.  Most are too large or still too expensive.  Then, I remember an article from a design editor at Style at Home magazine talking about great finds at Value Village.  So, I headed off…

Not only did I find the right sized dresser, it had nice simple lines.  The wood was solid  (minus a few scuffs), and $15!  And since there was a 50% sale on (disappointingly not on furniture, but on clothes), the manager was in a generous mood, and said he’d only charge me $10 for this dresser!!!

Imagine all the possibilities...repositioned
crystal knobs, added moulding and
detailing, pretty paint.

Sold…to the lowest bidder? Well, I hightailed it out of there faster than you can say "sale"...and brought this baby home.  I was so giddy that I completely forgot to think of all the excuses I will have to make to justify this purchase (I paid more for my lamp than this dresser, so I can always re-sell, repaint or relocate to a possible cottage some least that will be my "story").  

I think I’m going, stay tuned!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Now...that's a closet!!!

Need I say more ladies???

  {source: 50 Beverly Park

I wonder if I could DIY this closet into my house somehow….

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Beautiful Flowers

With all the rain we’ve had, the greenery in our garden has been quite vibrant and lush.  Thought I’d share some photographs of the beautiful flowers and herbs I bought and planted a little while back…consider this my “garden haul”.


Strawberry Plant

Rosemary in Herb Garden

Red Tulips

Tiger Lily plant

Wouldn't these be beautiful accent colours inside our home?

Monday, June 06, 2011

Beautiful Chanel-Inspired Chair

With spring cleaning, I was dropping off a few items at the local Bibles for Missions store (a great charity).  And of course, since I was in the store, I thought I’d take a peek.

In the corner, this interesting chair caught my eye.  When I first saw it, I instantly thought of Chanel, or Baker furniture (the famed line that carries the furniture line of one of my favourite designers, Barbara Barry).

I bought this chair for $6…and thought of all the possibilities.  Here are a few inspirational chairs that I hope to somewhat re-create with my new find.

Dark chair with fully gilded back.
{source: Thomas Pheasant for Baker}

Black chair with gilded edges and details.
{source: Oficina Inglesa}

Antiqued cream chairs

Beautiful choices.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Simple Ribbon

I'm on a ribbon roll...excuse the pun.  Or obsessed with using my glue gun.  After adding grosgrain ribbon to the lampshade, I looked around the room, and saw these plain white storage boxes on my shelf.

So, I took my hot glue gun, and adhered some black and white ribbon (I bought quite a few from the 50% off sale at Michaels).

Here's the storage boxes with the added touch.

Simple update.  

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Simple (De)light- Reveal !

I was undecided with what colour to spray paint the base of my lamp...which I originally wanted  to look like this.  

I might still paint it in the future, but looking at the lamp in the room, I thought it needed something dark to anchor all the light colours in the room.  I did, however, want to add a little something to the lampshade to give it more presence (and to hide a little dent).

So, I hot glued grosgrain ribbon I bought during their 50% off ribbon sale at Michaels.
Make sure that when you measure the ribbon
around the perimeter, that you have lots of "extra"
ribbon to fold for a neater edge.

Here's the updated lamp in the room.

Simply delightful.