dylan kendall - gifts of joy

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How cute are these?!

Dylan Kendall is a ceramicist who makes joyful little home accessories complete with little feet. From kitchen vessels to bathroom accessories Dylan's designs are sure to bring a smile to someones face (I'm smiling right now!).

Wouldn't these make a great gift for someone on your list this season? I especially love the soap dish!

If you shop this week you'll get 10 per cent off orders under $100. Yay extended cyber Monday sales!

Happy shopping.

 

November 28, 2012 — AlannaB

aeroport taxi and limousine service

We're home!

Now, I don't often use my blog as a platform to speak negatively of brands, but when a company leaves me with no choice but to put my kid's life at risk I think I have every right to produce a public complaint. So here goes.

Late yesterday afternoon (4:45 p.m. to be exact) we arrived at Pearson from a fun holiday in Bonita Springs, Florida. Before we left for the airport - yesterday morning - I called Aeroport Taxi and Limousine Services to book a van with a child seat to pick us up at Pearson. The spokesperson on the phone told me to call when I landed and that a car would be there to pick us up with a baby seat within five minutes. Great, I thought and hung up the phone.

Note: We booked them to drive us to the airport when we left a week prior and despite the poorly installed baby seat it had been a satisfactory alternative to park n' fly.

So fast forward about five hours and we've landed and retrieved our luggage.  It's about 5:30 p.m. and L'il E is getting cranky (understandably so after a long afternoon and no nap) I've come down with the cold that I'd been fighting off all week and the Hubs is getting testy. I call Aeroport Taxi and Limousine Services and they tell me to go to door 19 and that a car will be there in five minutes. We go to 19 and wait, and wait, and wait. I call back and another representative tells me a car is on it's way, but that there are no cars in cue with a baby seat. What? (Insert blood boiling here).

At this point I lose it.

I ask why the car I had ordered five hours ago is nowhere to be found and the woman calmly on the other end tells me that I need to wait until there is a car with a baby seat in cue, but she can't tell me how long that might take - it could be one or two hours (you're kidding right?). She then tells me that she can't request for a car to come pick us up because that's not how things work with arrivals (oh really?). Finally she tells me that her drivers will take me without a car seat (oh you mean put my kids life in danger? OK no problem). I hate this company.

She hangs up offering me no alternatives and doesn't even sympathize and I'm left utterly frustrated and irate. Did I mention helpless?

With no other option available the Hubs and I take the chance and hop in another airport taxi with L'il E strapped to us - literally holding him for dear life. Now I know there are haters out there who will judge us for this, but we honestly had no other choice.

Fortunately we made it home safely and E sat calmly looking at photos on my iPhone while I sat there having a full-on Britney Spears moment.

I will never be calling for Aeroport Taxi and Limousine Services again. They've been around since 1968 but clearly they haven't learned anything about customer service in the last 44 years.

Do you have any airport horror stories to share? I'm feeling catty.

 

 

enjoying the sun

Hi folks!

I'm MIA because I'm off on vacation in Florida. I didn't say anything because I thought I was going to have the time to keep posting, but clearly I've been having too much fun.

Please hold until I'm back on Wednesday.

Until then!

November 11, 2012 — AlannaB
Tags: not sure

tomato soup for the soul

This weekend our cupboards were bare, again, and I was desperate for a quick and nutritious dinner for L'il E to eat before heading out to a friend's for dinner. I thought to myself, if only I had a can of tomato soup to heat and serve with a yummy grilled cheese sandwich (the ultimate feel-good combo). Then I noticed a few cans of diced tomatoes and thought there must be a simple way to make tomato soup with that. So off I went to the internet and among the thousands of recipes I found this one courtesy of Heidi at Food Doodles.

I liked it because even in my bare kitchen I had every ingredient the recipe called for and it only took about 15 minutes total to make. The result was also delicious, so delicious that I'm not sure why anyone would even bother to buy canned tomato soup ever again. I certainly won't.

So here goes, because I know you want to try it.

[print_this]Super simple Tomato Soup

You'll need:

  • a couple glug sof olive oil
  • 1 onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 32 oz can of tomatoes, pureed, diced or whole
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda (this help neutralize the acidity of the tomatoes and it totally works)
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley (I only had dried basil)
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • black pepper to taste (go easy on the pepper if you're not into spicy tomato soup)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil
  • 1 tbsp honey (I didn't use a full tbsp because I don't like overly sweetened things)
  • whole milk to serve if desired (a tbsp or two and totally worth it!)

Then you:

  1. In a medium sized pot, heat the olive oil over medium to low heat.
  2. Add the onion and saute until clear, then add the garlic and sautee for another couple of minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes, baking soda, parsley, bay leaf and salt and pepper (the baking soda will fizz).
  4. Bring  to a boil, then turn down to a simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Remove the bay leaf and puree.
  6. Once blended, stir in the honey and fresh basil.
  7. Serve  hot with a splash of milk.

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This soup goes best with a grilled cheese sandwich (gluten free of course) and a glass of milk. Enjoy!

wantful.com

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Photos courtesy of Wantful.com

The Christmas shopping season is upon us! So to make your lives easier I'm going to offer up some holiday gift ideas every week until Christmas. Sound good?

This week I've got the ultimate gift for that person you just can't shop for - wantful.com. It's an online retail destination that only carries stuff that can't be found in mainstream retailers. Trust me, these well-designed premium products will impress even the pickiest person on your list.

So this is how wantful.com works. It's super easy and quick.

First you input who you're buying for and how much you want to spend ($30 to $500). Then you answer a few questions about their style and interests. With that info they spit out a variety (like 50-100) of recommended gift ideas. From those recommendations you select 12 gifts that are compiled into a beautifully printed book, wrapped in rice paper and sent to the person you're buying the gift for. Shopping has never been so easy and honestly it's all cool stuff!

When the person receives the book they choose one item from the 12 selected items, go to wantful.com and redeem their gift. The gift is then sent to them.

From jewellery, accessories, entertaining, to beauty, art and decor, and giving back I would be surprised if you can't find something for that special person on your list.

Above are a few things I'd like in my gift book and they're all in the $100 category! Pretty sweet.

Happy shopping!

 

 

 

cinnamon-sugar pumpkin seeds

C'est l'Halloween!

Like our pumpkin? We had a little pumpkin party this afternoon and after carving I did a little digging around online looking for pumpkin seed recipes. I found a twist on the traditional salted seasoning and I thought I would share.

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Cinnamon-Sugar Pumpkin Seeds

You'll need:

  • Pumpkin seeds from your pumpkin carving
  • Olive oil
  • Sugar
  • Cinnamon

Then you:

  1. Heat oven to 375 F
  2. Collect the seeds, rinse them and pat dry.
  3. Toss seeds with olive oil and place on a cookie sheet.
  4. Roast for 10-15 minutes stirring every 5 minutes until seeds are browned and crispy.
  5. While seeds are still warm sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.

Done! Enjoy!

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October 30, 2012 — AlannaB

remember when

Remember when we used to stay in our pajamas all day, when we used to sip our coffees and read the paper and didn't have our days planned around food and naps? Remember when we used to get excited about home projects and would spontaneously got out for dinner or drinks? Remember when we would just be?

Moments like these rarely happen with a busy toddler running round and when they do (first I pinch myself) I want to hold onto them and not let go.

Thanks to the rain, this weekend was a string of many of those moments. I was happy to be introverted and just stay close to home away from the busy-ness and influence of our crazy lives.

No one tells you you're going to feel this way when you're planning to have a family. There is so much attention placed on the pregnancy phase and then the baby's arrival followed by all of THEIR stages that somewhere along the way you just kind of get lost in the excitement and sadly so do some of your closest relationships.

No one talks about this part of having babies. It's just to-be-expected that everything is wonderful because - hey you have a baby! Well yes, it's wonderful, but there is more to life right....

So before I go any deeper I want to turn this around because whilst there are many hard times post baby it's important to remember what you had before the crying, diapers and sleepless nights and continue having those moments. I've compiled a short list of things to keep it real:

  1. Let the rushed morning kisses goodbye linger a little longer.
  2. Continue talking to each other. Take time early in the evening (before you're too exhausted) to talk about the day and ask questions.
  3. Encourage each other to do things like working out, taking a class or going out on the town with the girls/guys.
  4. Remember the things you used to do pre-baby days and do them together (date night, super cliche but so important).
  5. Continue to laugh. That is what will keep the spark alive.

The Hubs and I are 10 years strong this month, but these last few years have been the most challenging (but amazing). Having a child takes it's toll, but if you can weather the bumps I swear it brings you to a whole new level.

Here's to more rainy weekends, hibernation and remembering.

What are you secrets to keeping the relationship real post baby?

 

 

 

 

say no to the dinner rut

We're in a rut, a cooking rut, and it's not a good place to be.

For the last several weeks I feel like we've been eating the exact same items. We are weeks away from falling victim to chicken Monday, fish Tuesday and son on. It's been a rotation of chicken and salad, fish and kale, stir fry of some kind, beef/chicken fajitas, homemade gluten free pizza, and the odd time gluten free spaghetti bolognese.

Needless to say I'm bored and so are my taste buds.

In an effort to pull ourselves out of the depths of food boredom I've started scouring cookbooks and blogs again looking for inspiration. We've also decided to feed L'il E leftovers so that we can go back to the days of taking our time at dinner. You see, since L'il E came into our lives meal time has become crazy-time. It's moved along a continuum of eating dinner cold every night, to sometimes me breastfeeding at the table while the Hubs continued, to one of us leaving half-way through dinner to tend to a dirty diaper or get bath started, to eating as fast as we can to move on to the next stage of the nightly routine.  If you have kids I'm sure you are all too familiar with these scenarios. If you don't have kids you still get into dinner ruts so keep reading.

Last Friday night I was fed up, we had leftover sausages from the night before in the fridge and sadly (but not unusually) not much else so I literally Googled "sausage soup recipe" and this hearty recipe came up. Thank you Canadian Living.

Fortunately I had many of the ingredients and it ended up being the perfect dinner for a cozy night in after a long week. It was also quick and easy (bonus).  I was able to throw it all together before L'il E's bath and let simmer while we read bedtime stories and tucked him in.

I have included the recipe below and as usual I made a few modifications. Give it a go!

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Sausage Tomato Chickpea Stew

You'll need:

  • A couple glugs of olive oil
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1 carrot diced
  • 1 celery stalk diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 2 Italian sausages cases removed (the sausages I used were already cooked so it made this recipe even easier)
  • 2 28 oz. cans of whole tomatoes
  • 1 can chickpeas (recipe calls for navy beans, but I only had chickpeas in the cupboard)
  • 1 cup chicken or veg stock (I used two cups and omitted the 1 cup of water from the original recipe)

Then you:

  1. In a large pot heat olive oil on medium heat.
  2. Cook onion, carrot, celery, garlic until softened.
  3. Increase heat to medium-high and add sausages and sautee for five minutes or so until they're cooked.
  4. Stir in tomatoes, breaking up with spoon. Add chickpeas and chicken stock.
  5. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for 15-20 minutes until thickened.

That's it! It's delicious and makes about 8-10 servings. We served it with baby spinach on top as a garnish.

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Do you ever get into a dinner rut? Do you have any yummy recipe to share? I'm all ears!

 

 

 

 

10 on 10

I'm always game for a new creative project especially if it involves taking pics. I have been known to go over board in the photography department (no shame in the over-share!).

Anyhow, y'all know about Fat Mum Slim's Photo A Day Challenge right? Well, her blog recently introduced me to this photo project called 10 on 10, started in 2008 by fellow blogger Rebekah Gough. It's similar to Photo a Day but for the less committed.

Here's how it works. On the 10th of every month (mark your calendars) you take a photo once every hour for 10 consecutive hours and then post the link to your pics on her blog or tag them on Instagram with #10on10.

Sounds fun right? I think I'm in the market for a new DSLR camera. The iphone takes great pics, but I want something a little better.  Anyway, I'm totally in for November 10th! Who's with me?

Until then I've left you with the pic above. L'il E's giggle warms my heart.

 

our thanksgiving feast

Image source

Last weekend the Hubs and I hosted our first Thanksgiving dinner complete with a turkey and all of the fixings (yes, even gluten free stuffing). I was feeling festive and I have this thing for setting tables so I scoured the web looking for different ways to fold napkins. Turns out there is A LOT of info out there, but I found this simple little site, with plenty of instructions on several folding options. I couldn't decide on just one so I settled on a combo of the Pocket Bag and the Fox. The step-by-step instructions with photos are super helpful and I must say the table looked really impressive when I was finished.

The dinner was a hit, fancy napkins and all but the finishing touch was the wheat free pumpkin pie I ordered from Tori's Bakeshop. I don't even really like pumpkin pie, but this made me love it! If you haven't been to Tori's yet, get your butt out to the east end, it's worth the drive!

Finally if you're wondering how I managed to tackle gluten free stuffing here's what I did.

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Gluten-free Stuffing

You'll need:

  • 2 gluten free baguettes (I used Udi french baguettes)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 apple peeled and diced
  • 1 tbsp summer savoury (if you're lucky enough to have some fresh stuff)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or chicken stock

Then you:

  1. Cut up baguettes into cubes and set aside in a large bowl to dry out. I left the cubes out for several hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 350F.
  3. In a large skillet, melt half a cup of butter on medium heat and sautee onions, celery and apple until softened, but not brown.
  4. Remove from heat and season with summer savoury, salt and pepper.
  5. Add butter mixture to bread cubes and mix well with your hands.
  6. Pour stock over bread mixture and mix well again. I don't use the full 1/2 cup because I don't like wet stuffing but add as much or as little as you desire.
  7. Pour bread mixture into a roasting pan and pop in the oven for 30-45 minutes.

That's it!

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