Home Content – Reclaimed Wood Dining Room Table

When my parents got married, their parents bought them their Dining Room set – table & chairs etc. To this day we still have most family dinners/meals/gatherings at that table. So when we got married my parents wanted to do the same for us. I knew we were going to need something large and special to suit the space. Added to that we really wanted to go with reclaimed wood, but also have something that wasn’t so rustic it would look odd amongst our more modern & contemporary furnishings. And to throw one more ball into the juggle, my parents were paying for it so I didn’t want it to be outrageous in cost.

I searched high and low all over the city, the internet, word of mouth leads, etc. There’s no shortage of companies in Toronto that will make you a reclaimed wood table but their pricing was just out of the question. And then I stumbled upon HD Threshing. Their showroom and work shop are out in Cambridge, which helps them keep overhead down, it’s a family business, and they deal direct with the wreckers who take down old barns all over the country. We went to visit them in January and fell in love with their product. They don’t stain the wood but they do an epoxy finish that protects your table for life (I swear this thing will outlive my husband and I). This also adds a smooth surface which is helpful for kids doing homework, cleaning up crumbs and spills, etc. The colour of your finished product is based on how much sanding they do – the more sanding, the lighter the final colour. Everything is custom made and you can choose from a couple of different wood options, plus a variety of styles of shapes/sizes/legs/etc. We also opted for a bench to coordinate in style for the one side.

Last week they sent us photos of our table pre-epoxy;

table in progress 3 Table in progress side profile

And our bench;

bench in progress

And today they delivered the finished product! 8.5 foot Reclaimed Hemlock Barn Board, 100% amazing.

new table set up

To keep it feeling modern we opted for really clean lines with the legs, and to seat enough people we opted for a Trestle Table as opposed to a Harvest style so the legs don’t get in the way. Also the bench they designed to be in the same style as the table. The bench came out a little darker than the table which is kind of the brilliance of their process, i love it. I don’t like things to be too ‘matchy matchy’. And we opted for clear resin chairs on the opposite side thus keeping the beauty of the table top as the focal point as well as maintaining a lighter and modern feel in the room. We have two velvet upholstered chairs being made for the ends, they should be ready in a few weeks. I’ll post photos when they arrive.

new table decor

And to top off our new table, some fruit and fresh tulips. Can’t wait to host our first family dinner!

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Kitchen Content – Home Made Hummus

I like most people have always just bought hummus in the store, not realizing how flippin easy it is to make myself!

I can’t take the credit for the recipe, just for following it – and now sharing it!

Here’s the recipe I used from Inspired Taste. Seriously delicious, I don’t plan on changing a thing next time. I like my hummus a little thick so I only added about 2 tablespoons of water at the very end, but everything else I followed to a T.

hummus

Enjoy it with baby carrots, sliced cucumber, or just about any other veggie you can think of. Also for the price it cost (under $2) it yeilds about 2 or 3 times the amount you get in a pre-packaged option in the grocery store. And of course, no preservatives!

Home Content – The Wallpaper Diaries

Ok so I admit I put the whole wallpaper search on hold for a while. I did order the mural for the family room, which just came in. And was debating just painting the hallway instead of wallpapering it, mostly because the cost of awesome wallpaper was just so high! (seriously – it’s an investment!). But I really didn’t like the idea of a plain hallway, i wanted impact and life, some creativity! It’s tough with a hallway, there’s no direct sunlight and i have really awkward light fixtures (they came with the house, see below).

Chandeliers 2

So I took the time while I was waiting for the mural to arrive (meanwhile we did the baby’s room and our bedroom) to brainstorm solutions for the hallway. Should I just do the one wall? (but then would the impact be there?) Should I try one of those stencils like you see on Pinterest? (seriously, at 30+ weeks pregnant I can’t exactly get up on a ladder and my husband is not really the ideal candidate for this job) Should I just say ‘eff it’ and do plain jane paint for the entire hallway until i have the money and inclination to do it right? And then I was watching Candice Tells All and discovered paintable wallpaper. Oh. My. God. Could this be the solution?

As it turns out doing the hallway in Paintable Wallpaper is going to cost less than half of what it would cost for any of the cool graphic print wallpapers that we were looking at. And there are a lot of options, you can get anything from just a really cool texture, to a geo repeat, and plenty of traditional options as well. Including an option that would be awesome for a ceiling to mimic tin tiles.

Geo:

PW geo diamonds

Texture:PW texture

Tin Ceiling:PW tin roof

And the winner for us is this guy, i just love the traditional pattern and the scale of it. Also the fact that the texture is on the raised pattern really adds dimension:

PW raised relief

So the plan is to leave it white (the ceilings are going to be painted white as well, this grey has GOT to go) and then when it starts to look a little dingy we can just put a fresh coat of white paint on it. It’s highly durable and designed for high traffic areas. Can’t wait to show you the ‘After’ photos.

Kitchen Content – Grain Free Granola

This recipe is great for paleo & primal diets, as well as anyone who enjoys tasty granola. Mr Content is hooked on it so I make a large batch every few weeks so he can add a few spoonfuls to some full fat yogurt before heading to the office. I love knowing what is in my food, and I also love great tasting food. Plus it’s a great gift if you ever need a hostess gift. Just fill up a mason jar and tie some raffia or straw around the jar in a bow and voila!

Now here’s the thing about this granola. I don’t measure. I’m sorry! It probably differs a little every batch but the basic ratios stay the same. And you can alter it to remove anything you don’t like, or add some items you do like. I have some nut allergies so I don’t put cashews in it, but i bet they would be super yum if you added them in.

The base of the granola is Almonds – both sliced and in pieces (mix up the texture), pecan pieces, and walnut pieces.

Granola nuts

Then I add coconut flakes (the larger the better, and preferably unsweetened), ground flax seeds/meal, hemp seeds, and sometimes sunflower seeds…

Granola seeds

Next is the dried fruit; apricots (i dice them up to make chunks), raisins, cranberries, and apples (unsweetened and also diced into chunks)…

Granola Fruit

Then comes the seasoning. This is the key to the flavour, well that and baking perfectly. Coconut oil melted it in the microwave, then add vanilla extract, a lot of cinnamon, and some rich/dark maple syrup. How much maple syrup you add is up to you and how large your batch is. Really you don’t need to sweeten it up too much because the fruit has a lot of sugar in it already. But i do go heavy on the cinnamon. Mix up the seasoning ingredients together then add to your fruit, seed, nut mix to coat thoroughly. But you don’t want a puddle of seasoning at the bottom of your bowl. Just enough to get everything nicely coated.

Granola seasoning

Your ratio should look something like this, i made an extra large batch so i divided it into two bowls so i wouldn’t spill everywhere while trying to coat the mixture;

Granola mix

Now you want to spread the mixture flat onto baking sheets, ideally lined with parchment paper. Set the oven for 200 degrees fahrenheit to slow bake. Stir the sheets every 10 minutes or so, so they don’t burn up and bake evenly.

Granola baking

Your granola is ready when it’s all a nice deep golden brown, the house smells amazing, and your apricots and raisins have plumped up.

Granola close up

Take your baking sheets out of the oven and let them cool completely. The raisins and apricots will shrink back down and the whole mixture will go from soft to crunchy. I absolutely recommend eating this with full fat organic yogurt for the best ever start to your day. Let me know if you make any alterations that you loved!

Kitchen Content – Potato Salad

I’m a major lover of potato salad to accompany just about any meal in the Spring/Summer. This recipe I must credit to my friend Shawn, it’s been my go-to since he first sent it my way and instantly became my signature summer dish for any/every potluck I attended.

Spring is trying desperately to join us so I thought I’d continue to channel it by a pastel mani/pedi today and bbq ribs and potato salad for dinner tonight. C’mon Spring, I’m rootin’ for ya!

Feel free to try different variations – today I omitted the basil and just have dill and parsley in there and it’s still fantastic. Also let it be known I’m a big fan of high fat yogurt – full fat is the only way to go folks. Trust me.

potato salad

Serve this salad with a batch of your favorite barbecued ribs or chicken for an old-fashioned summer picnic. If desired, add 2 chopped hard-cooked eggs or 1/2 cup chopped red onion with the potatoes.

Ingredients:

3 lb. red potatoes, unpeeled

1/3 cup plain yogurt

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup sour cream

1 Tbs. Dijon mustard

3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

8 green onions, white and light green portions, 
  thinly sliced

2 celery stalks, finely chopped

3 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus 
  parsley sprigs for garnish

3 Tbs. chopped fresh mint, plus mint sprigs 
  for garnish

3 Tbs. chopped fresh basil, plus basil sprigs 
  for garnish

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions:

Bring a large pot three-fourths full of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the potatoes and boil until tender when pierced with a fork, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and let cool completely in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. Cut the potatoes into 3/4-inch dice.

In a large bowl, stir together the yogurt, mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, lemon juice, green onions, celery, and the chopped parsley, mint and basil. Add the potatoes. Season with salt and pepper and toss gently to mix.

To serve, transfer the salad to a large serving bowl and garnish with parsley, mint and basil sprigs.

Kitchen Content – East Coastin

My husband is an East Coaster – a Newfoundlander to be exact. I could go on and on about my love for both the East Coast and the people of the East Coast but I won’t, or at least not in this post. This post I’m focusing on one of my favourite East Coast meals.

I have been slowly trying to learn some of his mom’s recipes so I can incorporate them into our own family traditions and special occasions. This weeks special occasion was just that it was Wednesday, so why not? We’re both big fans of fish cakes and so we picked up a salt cod and called up Mr Content’s mom for her recipe and i gave it a go.

I do have to say that it’s really easiest to get recipes from Alice when you are standing right beside her while she’s making them because they are all in her head and she cooks and bakes on auto-pilot so when getting information over the phone we get instructions like ‘add a little bit of this’ as opposed to ‘add a table spoon…’ and ‘cook for a little while…’ instead of  ‘simmer for 15 minutes…’. So when in doubt I turned to the interweb to see what other recipes had to say about the matter.

Now Alice I know you are reading this and I am sure mine don’t compare to yours but I did my best and there were no leftovers so I think I passed the test! Also i made a couple of variations just to suit our preferences.

So first off – we went to Little Portugal and picked up a Salt Cod. The one we got was huge so i cut it in half and have the leftover piece in the freezer for next time. I put the fish in a bowl of water to start soaking the salt out – i changed the water after about an hour (you can visibly see the salt in the water at first)

fish cakes soak

Really you should soak the fish overnight but I forgot so after a couple of hours I put the fish in a pot with fresh water (again) and brought the water to a boil then let it simmer for 15 minutes or so, then repeated that process again. I got this tip from the interweb and it worked great. After the second boil I could flake the fish by hand – which is what you’re going for.

fish cakes salt

While the fish was soaking I was busy chopping potatoes and setting them to boil. (just like you would boil any potato – until tender, about a half hour-ish)

fish cakes boil

And I diced a couple of onions but instead of leaving them raw i sauteed them in a healthy does of butter until they turned a bit clear.

fish cakes sautee

Then I mashed the potatoes and added the satueed onion (butter and all, no need to drain) and mixed that all together. Then i flaked the salt cod into the mixture (remove any bones if necessary) by hand and mixed it all up together. There’s enough salt left over in the cod that you don’t need to add any more so i just cracked some fresh pepper into the mix and left it at that. Then i formed the fish cakes by hand – this is completely up to your own preference. Mr Content and I prefer them really crispy on the outside and proper potato-y on the inside so i made them round and thick for maximum pan contact (aka crispy exterior). Now Alice would have added flour to the whole mixture before forming the cakes but I found i didn’t need the flour, they stuck together just fine without. And then I fried em up in bacon fat. But you could use butter too and get the same result. I just like to fry anything possible in bacon fat when the opportunity presents itself.

Ta-Da! Newfoundland style fish cakes;

fish cakes

So here’s the ingredients, sort of;

  • About 6 to 8 white potatoes (depending on how you like your potato to fish ratio)
  • About half of a big slab of salt cod
  • 2 small yellow onions, diced.
  • Pepper to taste.
  • Some Butter for sauteing
  • Some more butter or some bacon fat for frying

Also I would like to add that in this quantity i ended up freezing half the cakes for a second quick fry dinner in the near future and we still had enough leftovers from the first fry to have for breakfast the next morning with eggs. Best breakfast ever. Trust me.

Enjoy!

 

Baby Content – The Beginnings of a Nursery

Two major additions to the nursery this weekend!

My dad somehow scored a really great rocking chair from a friend – for free! I had no idea what it looked like and saw it for the first time at Easter (where it was waiting for us at my parents’ place for us to take it home). I’m so thrilled with it, I’m putting it in the nursery and we’re putting the one Mr Content ordered for me in the family room. I tossed an ikea pillow onto it for comfort and have tucked it into the corner of the nursery by the window.

Rocking Chair

 

And here’s the big one – THE CRIB IS UP!!! I can hardly believe it. It still isn’t sinking in that there’s a wee one joining us in less than three months but it’s really happening! We’re thrilled with the crib, and it was relatively easy to put together (thank goodness!). It has three different heights for the mattress, converts to a toddler bed and eventually to a regular bed – the front and back turn into a head board and base board. This was a gift from my mother-in-law (Thank you Alice!) and we know it will be much loved for many years to come. No bedding yet, I’ve put it on the registry  so I will post further updates as it all comes together. Also I’m still playing with the layout of the furniture in the room, and am holding off on hanging anything on the walls until the furniture is figured out. Stay tuned for the evolution.

Crib

Home Content – DIY Antique Sideboard Update

I sort of have expensive taste. That’s not really a secret. But right now I’m working on a budget and I’ve got a long list of ‘wants’ for the house regarding decor. My husband has a long (more expensive) list of ‘needs’ for the house (air conditioning, new windows, etc.) So I’m trying to get creative wherever possible to save a few bucks and still get the outcome I’m looking for.

I LOVE setting a gorgeous table, so when it was time to do a registry for our wedding last year I didn’t hesitate to pick out China knowing I’d put it to good use eventually. Until this weekend it’s all been sitting in the boxes it originally arrived in, just waiting for a proper home. I was looking at a full fledged China Cabinet but to get the size I need to look appropriate in our space it would have had to be custom made running us upwards of around $4000. Not really where I wanted to spend that kind of money right now. So I hit up Kijiji and got my craft on. I opted for something a little more ornate, knowing with the right paint and new knobs it would balance out some of our more modern/industrial furnishings. The beauty of antiques is that they were made so well! This sideboard is as sturdy as they come.

Original Sideboard ($250);

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The process (remove knobs, sand down thoroughly, wipe down with damp cloth);

ImageI opted for a high gloss navy to offset the black/white/grey theme in the rest of the space;

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Fill drawers and cupboards;

ImageImage

I used one of my favourite (and previously framed) tea towels to line the drawers.

Add art (more to be hung still) and Voila!

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Home Content – A Big ‘Ol Clock

We’ve been wondering how to tackle our kitchen, we’ve got this great big brick wall in it and it’s begging for the right furnishings. The previous owner had a series of mirrors across it, not overly inspiring but it did add both space and light. We knew for sure we didn’t want to go that route so we’ve left it as a blank canvas until now.

We have finally decided on a theme of old Canadiana, Newfoundland, and Dutch paraphanelia. My dutch tiles and plates for sure will find a home there, and we’ve got a number of items from Mr. Content’s father who was a lobster fisherman in Newfoundland. But we’ve got a number of little items and a big wide canvas and have been waiting for inspiration to strike us on how to anchor everything together…. And then inspiration hit when I saw this in CB2;

Kitchen Clock 1

Originally I thought I’d put this above the door in the kitchen that leads to outside but alas it was too big! So we scratched our heads, pondered, turned about 45 degrees to our left and thought – ‘what if?’. And lo and behold, it’s the exact perfect item to centre on the brick wall and act as an anchor for the rest of our trinkets.

Kitchen Clock 2

More posts to come as our heritage paraphernalia starts to join the clock.

Home Content – Inspiration is Everywhere

Our bedroom is the last room to tackle in our home decor rampage. It also happens to be the most mismatched room in the house during our ‘make-do’ stage, and awkwardly laid out. As a first time expectant mom I’ve never ever been more motivated to turn our bedroom into a sanctuary, knowing that rest is of the utmost of importance both now and in the months to come. So where does one even begin to start? We don’t have one single piece to start with.

I’ve showed countless online images of headboards and duvet covers to Mr Content but he just couldn’t give me any direction from ‘a picture’. So I thought I’d take it a step back and dropped by the paint store to pick up some potential paint swatches, but instead of showing him one at a time, i put two potential palettes together and presented them that way. Bingo!

The room is small, so a light bright colour was the only way to go for the walls, but i added in some more saturated hues to show how some accent colours could really compliment the light. (think bedding, pillows, curtains, etc.)

Proposed Palette #1; Blues with a little Seafoam Green action

Blue Palette

Proposed Palette #2; Purples with a little Rose and Neutral action

Purple Palette

As it turns out Mr Content is not a fan of anything green, (not even seafoam!) so those were quickly eliminted from the blue palette. And although purple is his favourite colour he thought the light colour options for purple too grey toned, and anything else was too feminine for the walls. So we chose the lightest brightest blue in the palette and then started playing with accents, we ended up with an array of blues but i still felt like we were missing something to kick it up a notch. That little hit of the unexpected. And then I saw one of my scarves sitting on the dresser and it all came together in an instant!

Bedroom 1

The very light blue is going on the walls – ‘Sheer Bliss’ from Benjamin Moore, and the rest will serve as direction for bedding, accent pillows, headboard/bedframe, etc. Before and After photos to come hopefully in about a month.