April 28, 2017

Ready, Set, Weekend With Simply Beautiful Eating

As we go into week 8 of our kitchen renovation, I am experiencing deep baking withdrawal. Although I have to admit, being ovenless has been an acceptable excuse for not cooking and baking.

I thought it would be relaxing and a well deserved break, but to be honest, it’s been hard…..like really hard.

So instead of banging out creations week after week, I’ve succumbed to pouring over pictures of wall colours, countertops, taps, lighting and other various kitchen paraphernalia that has landed me into more trouble than you want to know about with my husband (and the contractor).

Just when they thought it was safe ……….I come up with another “brilliant” idea”.

What was it this week?

A pot filler.

Yes.

A pot filler. You’ve seen them. They are stuck on the wall over the cooktop and conveniently dispense hot and cold water directly into your pot on the stove. GENIUS.

When we first started to design our kitchen, the contractor asked me if I wanted one. Then, two of my friends who are interior designers said, “you’re getting a pot filler, right?” Of course I said YES and my husband said NO.

Steve’s justification for his answer was as follows:

“What do you need it for? Can’t you just walk over to the sink and fill the pot? We only have pasta once a month, so it’s a big waste of money.”

Not to mention he would have to do extra plumbing work for this little kitchen thingy.

To which I answered, “BUT IT’S SO PRETTY!”

Then I stopped to think about the fact that I do have two sinks in the kitchen – one on the island and a main one just a few steps from the cooktop. So I eliminated the pot filler option from my mind UNTIL……..last night.

I’m going to blame Pinterest again, because if you key word search “Beautiful Kitchens”, the majority have these damn pot fillers sticking out of the wall.

As you know, Steve needed to change all the lighting in the house. Since he was already in a lousy mood from that task even though he admits he was W.R.O.N.G. , I figured it was an opportune time to ask for another item we clearly DO NOT NEED for the kitchen. Guess what?

HE SAID FINE JUST DO IT.

He said what?

I had to confirm his answer again, because I thought I heard him say something like “YOU WILL BE FINE WITHOUT IT.” But no, in his current state of exasperation, he said YES!

This brings me to today, and as I write this blog I’m thinking about how to rationalize having that thing on the wall. For instance, this recipe has nothing to do with a pot filler except for the fact that it is also really pretty. Oh and it’s easy. Oh oh…….and it’s a great side dish for pasta which means only one thing……….

I need the pot filler. Right Steve?

Black Sesame & Herb Double Cheese Twists

– 2 sheets frozen puff pastry
– 1 extra large egg
– 1 tablespoon water
– ½ cup shredded jalapeno jack cheese
– ½ cup shredded OKA cheese or Jarlsberg
– 1 teaspoon minced fresh herbs, I used thyme & parsley
– ½ teaspoon kosher salt
– 1 teaspoon black sesame seeds
– Freshly ground black pepper

1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
2) Roll out each sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured board until it is approximately 10 X 12-inches. Beat the egg with 1 tablespoon of water and brush the surface of the pastry. Sprinkle each sheet evenly with both cheeses, fresh herbs, salt, pepper and the sesame seeds. With the rolling pin or your hands, lightly press the flavourings into the puff pastry. Cut each sheet crosswise with a floured knife or pizza wheel into 11 or 12 strips. Twist each strip and lay on baking sheets lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Brush with additional egg wash.
3) Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until lightly browned and puffed. Turn each straw and bake for another 2 minutes. Serve warm or cold.

See you next week!

debi @simplybeautifuleating

xx, Debi
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April 21, 2017

Ready, Set, Weekend With Simply Beautiful Eating

Before I begin, I need to clarify something with all of you. Ready?

Is it a woman’s prerogative to change her mind OR is it NOT?

Now, don’t just jump up and scream YES before reading the rest of this story because that wouldn’t be fair to Steve.

As you know, our home is under renovation. It’s been exactly 6 weeks since D DAY (demo day). I have been running around to various places trying to pick out all the stuff we need to put this Simply Beautiful “kitchen puzzle” together. I will keep this brief because I want to save all the juicy details for my REAL RENOVATION blog which will be coming up soon if we ever finish this project.

So here’s the thing.

I’m wondering how I have still have a husband – because he literally wants to L.E.A.V.E.

Why?

Well….it’s like this.

I KEEP CHANGING MY MIND.

First it was the paint colour and my quest for the PERFECT grey (which I’m happy to say I FOUND – well sort of found….12 samples later, one wasted can of paint and a few hundred trips to Benjamin Moore, I had my GREY mixed and remixed 3 times to get it JUSSSSTTTT RIGHT).

Then it was the hardwood flooring which was ordered, cancelled, ordered, cancelled, ordered and finally installed.

Oh ya. The lighting. Don’t get me started. All I’m going to say is….last night I threatened to sell the house because of my sheer unadulterated hatred for the LED pot lights Steve installed.

YES. That’s right.

FOR SALE – AS IS– NEWLY RENOVATED, 4 BEDROOM, DOUBLE CAR GARAGE, SINGLE FAMILY DWELLING WITH HIDEOUS LIGHTING (OFFERS READILY ACCEPTED EVEN THOUGH I AM POSITIVE NO ONE IS GOING TO BUY A HOUSE WITH STADIUM LIGHTING)

The island.

I always wanted a kitchen island. This was supposed to be my dream work station, with tons of space for rolling dough, creating dishes, and storing all kinds of kitchen crap in and on top of. AH….MY OWN OASIS….I could not wait.

So.

It (the island) arrived.

AND…..

it was too small.

SO?

I told my husband that it needs to be bigger

(I said it really fast by the way….kinda like this…..

“Steve? Theislandneedstobelarger…I’mgoingoutnowBYE!”

That’s when I realized that there was a good chance he would ensure I wake up on a REMOTE deserted island yelling…WILSON….WILSON!!!!

To conclude there are two things you need to know today.

1) Steve is the best (let’s just refer to him as SAINT STEVE – Master of Patience once in a while or practically never
2) I made these brownies eons ago and saved them to post now because who can bake brownies with no oven? I was tempted to go out and buy an Easy Bake Oven. Only problem is, the last time I had one in the house all three of my children ended up with salmonella poisoning from our experiment of baking a cake with a LIGHT BULB.

Needless to say, I’m going stir crazy without the ability to cook, bake, photograph and do my usual shtick on here. We just have to wait for the rest of the puzzle to come together – unless I change MY MIND.

TRIPLE CHOCOLATE CHUNK PRETZEL BROWNIES
– ½ cup unsalted butter
– 1 cup chopped good quality dark chocolate
– 1¼ cups granulated sugar
– 3 large eggs
– ½ tsp. salt
– 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
– ¾ cup all-purpose flour
– ½ cup cocoa powder, sifted
– 1 cup chunks of good quality chocolate (dark, semi-sweet, milk and/or white chocolate), divided
– 1 cup pretzels

1) Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Butter a 9” x 9” brownie pan and line it with parchment paper so that it hangs over two of the sides. Dust the two other edges with cocoa powder. Set aside.
2) In a medium saucepan, heat the butter and dark chocolate on medium, stirring every so often. When everything is melted, take the pan off the heat.
3) Add the granulated sugar and stir it in, then add the eggs, one at a time, making sure to stir well after each addition. Mix in the salt and vanilla.
4) Stir in the flour and cocoa powder. Next add three-quarters of the chunks of chocolate.
5) Pour the brownie batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface with the back of a spoon or small offset spatula. Scatter the remaining chocolate chunks on top.
6) Bake the brownies for 30 to 40 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the centre comes out clean. For fudgier brownies, bake them for 30 minutes.
7) Cool completely at room temperature before cutting.
8) Top with pretzels if desired. Makes  24 bite size, 16 small squares or 8 giant size ones.

See you next week!

debi
@simplybeautifuleating
Simply Beautiful Eating

xx, Debi
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April 13, 2017

How to Host a Dinner Party

I’m sure it comes as no surprise when I tell you that I host a lot of dinner parties. I truly love nothing more than having friends and/or family over for a meal, wine and good company.

Since we host so much around here we thought we should start a “How to Host” series that we could share with you all. We filmed our first series here to show you How to Host a dinner party and we’re pretty jazzed about how it turned out. We will put together a series of these videos to show you how to host the simplest of parties to holiday dinners, birthdays and more. We want to know what you think so please share your feedback with us and if there is anything in particular that you’d like to see…please let us know.

For the How to Host a dinner party series, we went through the process of planning, setting and styling the party.

With a trip to our local farmer’s market we came were inspired by all the greenery and decided on an “Earth Day” theme for this dinner party. We found air plants on Amazon which created an unexpected element to our decor and fresh herbs that we planted into pots for everyone’s place card.

You can find the DIY for our plant place cards included a recipe PDF for each on our blog here. They were so simple to makes for a beautiful little gift for your guests to take home at the end of the night.

Without further ado, we present the first of our “How to Host” series. We hope you enjoy!

Special thanks to the gals behind the lens on this one…
Video footage and Photos by Abby Copleston
Video editing by Maggie Antalek

xx, Seri
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April 12, 2017

Chef Lukes goes Pacman for National Grilled Cheese Day

You know that saying “it’s so easy a kid could do it”? Well…that’s how we feel about grilled cheese. Seriously, it’s so easy, our own little Chef Luke made it!

Since it’s National Grilled Cheese day today we thought of a fun way to celebrate with our little guy.

Chef Luke whipped up a few grilled cheeses (all by himself!) slapping two pieces of bread together with his favorite slices of cheese inside (cheddar and muenster) and then grilled it up in a hot skillet filled with butter.

Now since Chef Luke loves to play with his food…we let him do just that. We found Pacman cookie cutters for him to cut the grilled cheeses out into Pacman shapes. With all the cut shapes, he built a game board on one of our black trays with grape tomatoes and cherries.  HOW CUTE IS THIS?!!

Watch Chef Luke in action here…

Happy National Grilled Cheese Day, friends!

Video by Maggie Antalek
Photos by Abby Copleston

xx, Seri
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April 7, 2017

Ready, Set, Weekend With Simply Beautiful Eating

I just wanted to share a little secret with you. I completely forgot about this recipe and the accompanying photos. Most likely because I’m living in renovation (hell) disarray and it’s been a messy, long and arduous process. As most of you know, I’m “kitchenless”, which means I have no stove, oven or full size sink.

Oh, I know what you’re thinking. She’s suffering  from the dreaded “Woe Is Me Effect”. Well, you’re right. Working from an upstairs bathroom isn’t my idea of fun. Every time I look to my left while preparing our salad, I see a TOILET. I can’t seem to justify preparing a meal in a room with a commode. I just can’t.

Anyhoo. You need a stovetop and an oven to make this recipe. Don’t even try to make this on a hot plate because it will end up being an omelette and not a frittata.

What’s the difference? I’ll tell you.

Frittatas are cooked in a cast iron pan or oven-safe skillet because they are started on the stovetop and then finished in the oven. And, unlike omelets, frittata fillings are mixed in with the eggs in the pan rather than folded in the center.

Why is this great? Because I seriously SUCK at making omelettes. No matter how slippery slidey the pan is, mine always seem to fall apart and break upon flipping or folding. Yes, I know there are tricks of the trade, but being an “omelette chef” is not in the cards for me. It’s just NOT.

These tomatoes were actually from our summer crop in the garden. That’s the clue on how old these photos are because right now our garden is in spring thaw mode. Nonetheless,  tomatoes are readily available at the market year round, so you needn’t worry about growing your own, unless you happen to have a hothouse in your backyard.

The other thing I love about this recipe is that it reminds me of a party. Here’s what you need to do right now. Grab your friends, partner, husband or wife and dance around the room saying FRITTATA several times. I’m going to do that later tonight. Perhaps it will put me in a better mood when I’m slinging salad in the washroom. Cha cha cha.

GREEK ROASTED TOMATO FRITTATA

– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– ½ cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
– 1 cup baby spinach
– 3 – 4 large eggs
– ½ teaspoon kosher salt
– ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
– 1 ounce feta cheese, crumbled
– ½ cup chopped red or yellow peppers
– 2 tablespoons chopped chives
– 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
– 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill

1) Preheat the oven to 350F.
2) Add the olive oil to the tomatoes and place on a cookie sheet to roast for 10 -15 minutes, or until tomatoes burst open and are nicely caramelized.
3) In the meantime, whisk the eggs in a bowl with a fork. Add the feta, spinach, red pepper, chives and mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4) Heat an 8 or 9 inch cast iron pan on your stovetop and place the roasted tomatoes in, then pour the egg mixture on top of the tomatoes and give everything a good stir, don’t overcook – the frittata will set in the oven.
5) Place the pan in the oven for 15-20 minutes. The cooking time will depend on the thickness of your frittata. Simply stick a sharp knife into the middle to test if it has cooked through. Serve warm with a sprinkle of fresh parsley, dill and additional feta cheese.

xx, Debi
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