dinner for six

After making the placemats and napkins for Ren and Paul I had a hankering to make a set for us! The red and white gingham pattern reminds me of summer picnics so I thought these would make a great stand-in for summer dinner parties.

This week I ventured into the fabric stores on Queen West just west of Spadina (if you're from Toronto) and they have some great stuff if you're up for digging. I bought this fabric at L.A. Fabrics and it was only $8.99 a yard, but they have better bargains at Affordable Texiles.

Now on to new projects!

June 13, 2010 — Alanna Banks

my patchwork pouf

My pouf is finished (finally!). Making it was not as easy as I thought it was going to be! The easy part was buying the fabric (thank you Workroom!) and sewing all the triangles together, but from there it all requires a lot of patience and in my case perseverance. Don't skimp on the stuffing, it doesn't look like it takes a lot but trust me you need a lot (3lbs is no exaggeration!). The last step which is the tufting is the most stressful, I got very frustrated and almost had an adult temper tantrum (not attractive!). Make sure you invest in some serious fishing wire and you definitely need that long upholstery needle. Once the tufting is complete it's smooth sailing!

Now onto new projects before I try to make another. Next time I'm going bigger!

May 30, 2010 — Alanna Banks


I have some work to get done today (so glad it's drizzly and grey) so before I hunker down I'm making a steaming cup of Chai (yum!).

I got this recipe from my sister-in-law (thanks Steph), she's the true chai pro but with practice you'll make this recipe your own.

Chai Mix (this is mix that you can store in an airtight container):

With a pestle and mortar crush up equal parts (I usually do 3tbsp of each):

  • cardamom pods
  • cinnamon sticks
  • cloves

Chai Tea:

  • 2 cups water
  • 3 heaping tsp. Chai Mix (the mix from above)
  • 1 tea bag

Bring to a boil then let simmer for at least 20 mins. In a separate pot warm 2 cups of milk (I usually only have skim milk on hand, but obviously the fattier the milk the better it tastes) and sweeten with either honey or brown sugar to taste. Strain the Chai Tea into the warmed milk.


May 02, 2010 — Alanna Banks

quiet time

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reUPeym_2ls] Just listen don't watch!

I'm having a quiet Monday evening listening to Great Lake Swimmers (no I'm not depressed!) and trying out a new granola recipe.

If you're in the mood to chill I recommend you add this Juno nominated band to your playlist. It's been the perfect background music for experimenting in the kitchen with Joshna's Granola, a new recipe I found in The Stop's first cookbook Good Food For All: Seasonal Recipes from a Community Garden. It's a great cookbook with recipes for every season and all the proceeds go towards The Stop's community kitchens.

Mondays aren't that bad after all!

April 26, 2010 — Alanna Banks

what's for dinner?

Tonight we're having Halibut with Spiced Moroccan sauce. I've made this recipe several times and it's best with halibut but if you have another white, meaty fish kicking around that will work too.  It's an easy dish to put together, doesn't require a lot of prep and is good enough to serve to guests (you'll come off looking like a culinary rock star!).

Serve with roasted potato wedges, asparagus and salad (yum!).

I don't have many modifications (that's surprising) but I don't often buy fresh parsley or coriander and don't really notice a difference if they're not used.

Bon appetit!

April 25, 2010 — Alanna Banks

magic juice

It's been a long week y'all and I need a drink, but since it's so nice out I'm in the mood for something refreshing.

This recipe courtesy of Design Sponge is just what the doctor ordered! I gave it a taste test and these are my modifications.

Ingredients (makes four drinks):
6 hulled strawberries
1 peeled orange
5-7 mint leaves (didn't have any, so went without)
1/4 peeled cucumber (don't like cucumber water or anything cucumber flavoured so omitted)
4-6 oz gin, depending on taste (went with 6 oz. of vodka because that's all we had, but it would have been deelish with gin)
8 oz fresh lemonade (made my own lemonade with water, sugar and lemon juice (the stuff in a bottle))

I muddled the strawberries and orange sections together added the booze let it sit while I made the lemonade, poured the lemonade over ice then added the fruit infused vodka. HEAVEN in a glass. Yep.

Try it out and have a good weekend!

April 16, 2010 — Alanna Banks

something sweet

Sunday morning we decided to have breakfast out and wandered over to Hoof Cafe. Of course it was packed and there was a wait (45 minutes!) but we weren't in a rush so we put our names down. Breakfast quickly turned into lunch, but whatevs it was worth the wait.

I had the Brioche French Toast (to die for!) and a side of bacon and my hubs had Eggs Benny with shredded pork. We also had fresh squeezed grapefruit juice (deelish!) but I wish I liked Caesars because they looked amazing.

If you're having a lazy Sunday turn it into special brunch date. You won't be disappointed!

April 13, 2010 — Alanna Banks