Monthly Archives: July 2016

friday favourite – changing up the scenery

It doesn’t have to be much, even one night away can feel like such a vacation. The change of pace, different mug for your morning coffee, new scenery — it’s all good for the soul.

This week, we got away for a few days to Martha’s Vineyard, including a visit with this great piece of public art. It’s my favourite change of scenery this week.




cool food for a muggy night

It seems like we have had heat warnings since May and the humidity has all but drained my dinner ideas. So I’ve come up with my go-to dish for when I just want to whine about the weather.

It’s a cold plate of whatever happens to be around.

cold plate smaller

This week, it was a combo of local English cucumber, grape tomatoes, broccoli that I had steamed yesterday, manchego cheese , leftover grilled sausage and some chewy, sourdough bread. You could throw some dressing over it all. But if that’s just too much effort, go plain.

Dessert just might have been some freezer to table refreshing strawberry balsamic sorbetto.


What do you make for dinner when it’s too hot to even open the fridge to cool off?


cool combinations

Some things are clearly made to go together. Gin and tonic (of course), ripple chips and French onion dip, and maple syrup with well, anything.

Other combos might not be quite so obvious. But when you look closer, or try them out, they make for some natural pairings.

Yoga is one we’ve combined with other activities. Several years ago, we did a yoga and knitting workshop at Kripalu. Nothing really tying the activities together, but we did sit cross legged on the floor to knit, and I’m sure our stitches were loose and relaxed because we were.


I did a yoga a kayaking weekend last year with White Squall Paddling Centre. The ability to isolate muscles and breathing in yoga made a huge difference to the buoyancy of the kayaking. And a little sketching thrown in too.

We recently did a little day hike and stopped for some scenic yogic poses.


Hiking and food is an obvious. Tire yourself out and have someone serve up a delicious meal at the end of it all. And a personal favourite – the various Butter Tart Trails across Ontario. You could walk or drive to the next bakery featuring their version of the Canadian classic.


friday favourite – chocolate milk

It used to be a novelty in our house. No name chocolate powder added to a big glass of milk alongside a grilled cheese sandwich. After blowing bubbles in the glass to the almost spilling point, you’d slurp it down…only to find much of the chocolate powder out of suspension in the bottom of the glass.

Reminds me of the final view in my mug of French press coffee – the good strong sludge that settles at the bottom!

2016-07-19 08.51.20

Anyhow, chocolate milk is back on our grocery list and in our fridge. It’s got all the perfect ingredients for a Friday favourite. Refreshing (check). Made with 1% milk (check). Filling appetizer before dinner (check). Great natural source of bone-strengthening calcium (check). Delicious (check).

Cheers to the brown cow!


overnight oats

Overnight oats are a great way to have oatmeal in the summer. Depending on the container you make it in, you can take the oats with you to work, school or on the road! Or make several variations for overnight guests to chose from for breakfast.

Use equal amounts of oats to liquid, (I start with 1/2 cup oatmeal) then add any number of ingredients — bananas, fresh or frozen fruit, coconut, nuts, cinnamon, flax seeds, almond or peanut butter, yogurt —put it in a container and leave it in the frig overnight.

Stir it up the next morning and enjoy a hearty cold breakfast.



an hour on the water

Every day on my route to work, I drive over the river and pass by a “canoe and kayak” rental sign. It calls my name, every time I see it. And I’m always wishing I could just stop there for a little paddle, instead of wherever I am headed.

I finally just did it. Last week, I keenly showed up before they even opened. Brought my own life jacket and rented a kayak for an hour. I have done big canoe trips full of adventure. But what I have realized I really love, is to just paddle around for a little while sitting right on top of the water.


I don’t crave white water. I love getting a closer, quieter look at nature from the seat of a kayak or canoe. On my last paddle, I glided past a turtle sunning on a partially submerged park bench, and a female mallard with two little ducklings just hanging out on a sand bar.

I think I’m going to make that my summer plan. Find more places to take a little rented paddle around.



salmon nicoise

It takes a little time to prepare all the separate elements for this meal but the pay-off is it can all be done ahead of time and it looks and tastes spectacular. This has been my go-to meal for entertaining this summer.

I looked up an old recipe from Ina Garten just to remind me of all the ingredients. I bought  green beans and lettuce at the farmers market in the morning, salmon from the fish market and found the remaining ingredients in my kitchen!

The standard ingredients in a salad nicoise are:

green beans, hard boiled eggs, potatoes, tomatoes, tuna (or salmon), olives and capers.

I spread some pesto on the salmon pieces and baked them for about 20 minutes at 425F. Boil the potatoes, quickly steam the green beans and cut hardboiled eggs in quarters. Arrange everything on a large platter that has been covered with lettuce leaves. Liberally sprinkle capers over the ingredients. Drizzle my salad dressing over everything and serve with some fresh bread. Enjoy!



a few good pieces

There’s an interesting shift happening in our closets.


We have focused on what to wear for ever, like most of you. From the matching outfits our mother sewed for us, to Friday night’s spent sewing a new summer dress pattern. Some of them were flattering. But mostly I think of long, flowing, shapeless outfits. We probably liked it that way – don’t want to draw to much attention to an actual shape. Oh no.

And by the time we get comfortable in our own skin, we’re into our 4th or 5th decade and we look around the closet and realize that what really works is a few good pieces. A cut of pants that work. Tops of a certain length. Sweaters. Jewellery. A dress or two. Repeat.

It’s kind of what men have done for centuries. A suit that fits, a few white shirts and accessorize with the tie and socks.

But it’s not plain. It seems to be stylish and smart. And takes so much of the angst out of wandering through online pages or heaven forbid, the mall!

Here are some of favourite few pieces right now.

Krazy Larry pants and capris, just about anything from Lilla P , and everyday Ts and undershirts from UNI QLO



friday favourite – watercolour cards


We are loving sketching on gift cards. Sometimes we find an image or pattern we like, and do a little production line of cards. We’ve already featured these little beach houses from an Australian wine label, but it’s one of our favourites.

Strathmore makes great watercolour cards in lots of sizes. The small gift card size is the least intimidating as it sits there all white and plain, waiting for a sketch. It’s this week’s Friday favourite.