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Thursday, 28 March 2013

A Whiter Shade of Pale

Although the blog posts are slowing down, things have been super busy on the home front.  There have been all sorts of home improvement activities on the go.  The new abode is a bit like me – old, but with some cosmetic touches and some accessories it doesn't look bad.   However, although the abode is slowly starting to look spiffy, my hands have gone to shit.  Manicures have been put on the back burner and my hands and nails have been constantly covered in drywall patch compound and latex paint.
The biggest decision was what colour to paint the living room, dining room and hallway.  I have become a big fan of the whole Swedish/Finish décor trend of the white with black accents colour scheme.  I think that it looks chic, funky and modern.  Plus, picking a nice, crisp white paint is easy-peasy, right?  No, not so much.  There should be a book called “500 Shades of White”.  If you choose something too yellow, it will look like you are living in a jar of mayonnaise.  Then there are pink based whites – which were the colour of the walls when I moved in – and although freshly painted they looked dingy.  I didn’t want a stark white either – you know the kind of white that would look like you were living inside an Osmond family member’s mouth.
After reading umpteen décor blogs and decorating magazine articles, I decided upon White Dove by Benjamin Moore - a nice, soft shade of white that was recommended for complimenting oak coloured floors.  I used Benjamin Moore Ashley Grey on the accent wall - just to mix it up a bit.  Whatcha think?
Before shot - the paint actually had a pink undertone although it doesn't show here


As per usual, Pablo likes to lend a paw by brushing against freshly painted walls

So far I have just finished the hallway.  The living room and dining room are still pending.  This old gal sure is slowing down - twenty years ago I would have had it all done in a weekend. 

Happy Easter folks.  Here's a little Procol Harum to get the long weekend rolling.


Monday, 18 March 2013

Corned Beef Cabbage in Guinness

I know that I am Scottish and I know that St. Patrick’s Day is more of a North American celebration in honour of a saint that I know nothing about because I am a heathen…. but I do love preparing a corned beef and cabbage dinner at this time of the year.
The Fella was working, but my ma came over on Saturday for dinner.  The Fella is lucky that we saved some for him – he is not so lucky that Saturday night concluded with an evening of beer consumption on top of the cabbage which made for some nasty Dutch ovens at his expense (nothin’ says lovin’ like a Dutch oven).

Corned Beef Cabbage in Guinness

1 package of corned beef brisket
1 can Guinness
3 onions – quartered
1 head of cabbage - quartered
1 dash of ground cloves
Salt & Pepper to taste

Quarter onions & place in a large stock pot.  Open the package of corned beef and place on top of the onions.  The package directions on the corned beef instructs you to boil it in the bag - but then you miss out on the Guinnessy goodness.   Be a rebel and thumb your nose at those who tell you what to do.  

Pour in the can of Guinness  and then add enough water to cover the top of the corned beef.  Add cloves, salt and pepper. 

Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer.  Cook for 50 min per pound.  Skim fat from the top of the stock every hour. 

Add the quartered cabbage during the last hour of cooking.   I put the corned beef on a cookie sheet and place in a 350 degree oven for the last twenty minutes of cooking.  Serve corned beef, cabbage and stock over mashed potatoes.

Forgo the usual green beer and try Well's Banana Bread Beer - it is not sweet tasting as it sounds - it is a full body beer with notes of banana and nut.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Pisces Palooza

Is it OK to say “Happy March” when we are almost halfway through the month?  Can’t believe how long it has been since my last blog post.  I have been so preoccupied with turning the new abode into a home.  Luckily all the lovely Pisces in my life have provided a much needed distraction.
I am drawn to Pisces peeps.  Pisces have been described as “fish going in two different directions”.  I am a typical Gemini twin, so our dualities bode well together.  No big surprise that my bestie, Vivieen and The Fella are both Pisces with birthdays only four days apart.
In keeping with the dual theme, this past weekend there were dual celebrations – Friday, the girls and I got together to celebrate Vivieen’s birthday and Saturday was reserved for The Fella’s celebration with his family.
Friday’s festivities began with dinner at Capri Ristorante  Capri has been in business since 1963 and the décor has not changed much since then; it looks like the restaurant is a set design from the Mad Men series.  The food is fantastic, which is a testament to their longevity. 

Afterwards, we took advantage of the mild temperatures and participated in Art Crawl on James Street North.  We then ended up at James Street’s newest addition, The Stowaway (no website yet) – which literally opened its doors for the first time hours before our visit.  It definitely had some hiccups on their first night, but I would be willing to try it again.
Birthday girl Vivieen pointing towards where the cocktails are!

Fellow Art Crawlers on James Street North

Sarah, Robin & Diane at The Stowaway

Saturday’s celebrations took us to The Powerhouse Restaurant in Stoney Creek – also a historic landmark.  The Powerhouse is located in an historic building that provided power to the electric rail lines in the 1890’s.  Here is another duality theme comes into play – The Powerhouse is gorgeous inside, however their food is mediocre – not bad, just same old, same old pub fare.   

The gorgeous interior of The Powerhouse
The Fella and the complimentary cotton candy

I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend – food, drinks and laughs with two of the most important people in my life.  Love you both loads.