Archive for September, 2011

September 25, 2011

Dinner Party + Baby = Disaster?!

Suspect armed with drool and considered dangerous to dry clean only garments

So things have been a little hectic around these parts, hence the lack of posts! ¬†I’ve been meaning to get this one up for over a week now and seems like every time I try, Baby H is causing some sort of ruckus ūüôā

Since he is now acting (and looking!) very much like a toddler, I can’t really get away with calling him Baby H anymore. ¬†He’s got nicknames up the yin yang but for now the one that sticks is Beastie, because of his antics and his devilish smile.

Anyhoo – we were celebrating a friends’ engagement recently and decided to have them over for dinner. Since we have transformed most of our living space into a rec room for Beastie we figured a menu comprised of appis would be a great idea – hand held, bite sized, no cutlery (or table for that matter) needed.

When you have a super active lil guy on the loose you have to roll with the punches.  Gone are the days of sitting back, casually enjoying wine (which, by the way, used to be left on your glass/steel coffee table near the edge without a second thought) for an hour and then convening at a table for a leisurely multi-course meal.

Our appi-dinner party went off splendidly since we:

A) Prepped everything ahead of time – our meal, Beastie’s meal, cleaning up the place, cleaning up ourselves, cleaning up the kidlet

B) All serving dishes were kept high and out of reach.  Made a bit more legwork but avoided any disastrous pulling down of trays/plates

C) Kept copious amounts of good wine flowing so that the excited screeching of Beastie, while appreciated by us parents, could be dulled a bit for the newly engaged couple

I think the most important thing is to keep your sense of humour and realize that things can’t be perfect with a kidlet cruising around trying to grab your guests’ necklace/hair ūüôā ¬†Our guests remarked that they didn’t see us both sit down once together at the same time! ¬†This is true but honestly we had a great evening despite the seeming craziness of it all.

The important part is we got to spend a nice evening with good people and Beastie got to be a good little host.

tomatz for the zuke bruchetta

Thai Chili Chicken Croustades

Zucchini Bruschetta

Menu:

Thai Chili Chicken Croustades – sounds kinda schfancy but actually really simple!

Zucchini Bruchetta – a nice variation on one of my fave appis

Honey Herbed Lamb – Ontario lamb was tastier than the usual New Zealanders we get

Samosas – we cheated here and picked up from a local joint, veggie and then some beef and they were delish

Spinach Raspberry Salad – we succumbed to cutlery here

Ice Cream Sandwiches – homemade chocolate chip cookies trapping some yummy vanilla bean ice cream in between…can’t lie, I ate two.

Though we love dining out with Beastie I’m happy that we figured out a way to entertain in our home while keeping a relative state of zen-ness throughout the whole affair.

What are your experiences with entertaining in your home with a toddler/infant?

 

 

 

September 19, 2011

Cookin’ Greens: Review & Giveaway!

Veggies.  Love em or hate em Рthey should be a staple of your everyday diet.  A challenging part of figuring out meals is how to serve up a fresh variety of veggies in inventive ways Рkeeping, of course, to the StylnMommy adage of being convenient and tasty!

Brand: Cookin’ Greens

Key Features:  

– Dark leafy greens, farm picked and within 6 hours – double washed, double blanched and chopped and quick frozen

– The IQF process (individually quick frozen) improves taste, texture and nutritional benefits

I Love It Because: ¬†The concept of having super fresh veggies that are pre-washed and pre-chopped kinda sold me right from the start. ¬†For this recipe I tried out the Designers Mix (collards, rapini, spinach, yellow beans and white onion) and simply added some chopped red peppers that I already had, melted some butter and cooked on the stove top with lemon juice, lots of garlic and salt/pepper for the reco’d 3 minutes. ¬†We served with some sliced up medium-rare steak on top.

For some reason I don’t really cook with yellow beans that often (okay fine…at all!) but was pleasantly surprised by the sweetness. ¬†In fact – all the veggies tasted super fresh. ¬†I have never really been a fan of frozen foods in general but I will definitely be swerving into the frozen foods aisles more after seeing that frozen doesn’t have to mean sodium-laced and dry. ¬†The Cookin’ Greens were yummy and lived up to their mantra of being straight from the farm – I couldn’t tell the difference between the greens and the fresh red peppers that I had picked up from the farmers market.

But I Wish It Had:  I love the idea that you can get fresh greens straight from the farm Рbut would really love it if they could offer up other farm-fresh goodies!

So, Reco or No?¬† A big YES. ¬†If you want healthy, convenient and most importantly, tasty veggies then head for Cookin’ Greens.¬† They offer the Designers Mix, Athletes Mix, Spinach, Kale or Rapini and have new products available coming soon.

GIVEAWAY TIME! Wanna try it for yourself? ¬†Cookin’ Greens is giving away some yummies for the discerning cook of the house!

To enter simply leave a comment at the bottom of this post letting me know that you have done the following (#1 is your mandayatory entry for this contest, the rest are extra entries):  Entries accepted until Sun Oct 2nd 2011.

#1 – ‘Like’ the Cookin’ Greens Facebook page here¬†¬†and the StylnMommy page here¬†and leave comment at the bottom of this post letting me know you’ve done this

#2 РFollow Cookin Greens on Twitter here *extra entry* and leave a comment to let me know

#3 РFollow StylnMommy on Twitter here *extra entry* and leave a comment to let me know

Good Luck and Cheers to Cookin’ Green!

This Contest is open to Canadian Residents only. I was not compensated for this post and all views and opinions are my own.

UPDATE: Contest winner is Alfa РCongrats!  As a reminder, this contest was open to Canadian residents only (see above)

Thanks!

September 14, 2011

Sugar Beach

pink brollys existing outside of a drink

Sometimes its fun to rediscover a little patch of the city you thought you knew…Here we are taking a lil break at¬†Sugar Beach…or what was formerly known as a parking lot.

taking in the view

 

September 12, 2011

Here’s Your Two Cents Back

As first time parents, M and I have had our fair share of advice – be it warranted or of the other variety. ¬†We definitely appreciate and take into consideration what seasoned parents have to share with us and often get tons of super useful tips and suggestions. ¬†We couldn’t have gone through this first year without all the amazing parental anecdotes and words of wisdom from friends/fam.

What irks me is having people (especially those who don’t even have children of their own) laying their 2 cents on me:

1) Without me asking for it

2) In an aggressive manner

3) With a know-it-all ‘tude

I know that what you’re supposed to do is turn the other cheek, smile, say ‘thanks’ and move on. ¬†But it just about drives me nuts when a childless person will criticize some aspect of my or M’s parenting. ¬†I don’t know if its the bold criticism or the fact that they don’t have their own kid that makes my blood boil but lately I’ve been on the receiving end of this and figured I can’t be the only one out there and wanted to get it off my chest.

I don’t know what it is about having a baby that suddenly opens you up to a ton of judgement. ¬†I’ve always been totally fine with people having their opinions about anything about me- my lifestyle, my clothing, my job, choices I make etc etc…but I definitely feel protective over my parenting skills and my kidlet.

The awesome thing about being a parent is that you are shaping a lil person.  Its a huge responsibility and an honour.  To blatantly criticize or judge the way somebody else does this is hugely inappropriate.  I cherish the fact that I have this opportunity and I feel like I give my absolute all to Baby H РM and I are so lucky to have him and we never take this for granted.

Obviously everybody is entitled to their own opinions – but to all those who like to shoot off their mouths, maybe you’d like to think twice before you spew out some nonsense that passes as advice ¬†to a parent, especially when you don’t have any experience as one.

….Eeps! ¬†Not usually so forceful but thought it was an issue that needed a voice! ¬†What are your experiences with unwarranted advice?

 

September 8, 2011

Veggie Lasagne

ooey gooey goodness

Sometimes you just don’t feel meaty.

Last night I did my own spinoff of this recipe from Big Girls Small Kitchen:

2 zucchinis, sliced into 1 inch rounds

1 large eggplant, sliced into 1 inch pieces

6 plum tomatoes (cook for 1 minute in boiling water, let cool, peel and crush)

3 cloves minced garlic

no cook lasagne

tub of ricotta

mix of parmesan, mozzerella and cheddar

oregano

salt

olive oil

Oven at 400 degrees.  Toss zukes & eggplant in olive oil and salt and roast for 25 minutes.

Prep tomato sauce by mixing crushed plum tomatoes with salt (to taste) and about 2 tbsp of olive oil. Mix well.

Prep ricotta by mixing with oregano and salt.

Line bottom of lasagne pan with tomato mixture. On top put – lasagne pieces, eggplant/zukes, ricotta mixture, parm mixture, then sauce again…repeat. ¬†In the orig. recipe they separate the zukes/eggplant but I liked it all mixed up ūüôā

Add extra parm on top.  Cook covered with foil for 20 minutes. Uncover and cook another 20 minutes. Or 30 like me if you forgot it was in there in the first place.

Absence of meat was not noticed by Hubby! ¬†Will make again but will add some spinach to the mix…

 

 

September 6, 2011

Love Letter to Autumn

my very own little pumpkin spice latte

What can I say except I have been majorly crushing on you for as long as I can remember.

Summer is the popular kid in school. ¬†Winter’s the underdog. ¬†Spring is like the nerdy yet kinda cool hottie with glasses.

But none of them can compare to you.

I love the perfect temperatures that you bring.  The crisp breeze and clear skies are a godsend for a sweaty betty like myself.

My all-time fave Starbucks drink, the PSL (pumpkin spice latte for all you Timmies’ drinkers) is back with a vengeance when you’re around and this makes me one happy camper.

Speaking of camping…

The clothes! ¬†My fall wardrobe is essentially an interchangeable mix of long tank/henley, skinny jeans (this year will throw in some high waisted flares for flavour) thin wrappy-like sweater or cardi and leather jacket with Fryes. ¬†As much as I deviate from this it is a tried and true formula and it is my absolute favourite way of dressing for which I have you to thank. ¬†Think: ¬†clothes you can walk off into the woods in – plaids, leathers, greys, wools…(okay fine, perhaps more of a park than a wood…wouldn’t want to get an acorn stuck in that new cashmere)

Fall you are so awesomely awesome because you include our Anniversary, Mom’s bday, Doggie’s bday and now Baby H’s bday. ¬†Ah yes and Hallowe’en which is especially exciting when you have a lil goblin to dress up.

You make it somehow more excusable to consume more baked goods.  And for some reason I always associate french onion soup with Fall.  Oh yes, and port.  Okay so I think for some reason, you turn me into something of a glutton.  Perhaps we will call this training for the holidays.

You are in essence the perfect season and luckily in Canada we actually get an Autumn – I plan on revelling in every leafy moment of you!

Cheers and I raise my PSL to you!

Love, Me – SWAK x

 

 

 

September 5, 2011

The shock of losing…

a moment in time

No matter how much you think you are prepared for it, the death of someone close to you will always come as a shock.

Unfortunately in the past few years cancer has affected M and I’s families and we have experienced this feeling.

My MIL (seen above with M on our wedding day) was an amazing woman. ¬†She was super sharp with a quirky sense of humour. ¬†She was probably the best gourmet chef I will ever know in person and every time I was over at the house I had the pleasure of trying some awesome homemade recipe. ¬†She would hold the spoon up and ask me what I thought and (not even in a kiss ass, daughter-in-law, kinda way, but totally truthfully) it would always taste amazing. ¬†I always felt very lucky to have her as my MIL – she wasn’t one to hold back her opinion (like the time I showed up with bleached blond hair…eeps) and every dinner convo at the house was at the very least a lively one.

She was gone in 4 weeks. ¬†From a string of doctors appointments until that last night in the hospital where we intro’d her to Glee (which, btw she thought was hilarious) it never felt real. ¬†To this day when we go to the house, standing in the kitchen seems strange and I sometimes find myself lowering the lights since she hated having them turned on full blast. ¬†Lung cancer.

beautiful person inside & out

You would think having more than 4 weeks to prepare would be better but I really don’t know. ¬†I have 6 Aunties on my Dad’s side. ¬†Growing up with so many females around who loved us and spoilt us was a blessing. ¬†Aunty S was by far the most outgoing with a sense of humour that was in turn outlandish and clever. ¬†She had a laugh that I will never forget – loud, lusty and full of life. ¬†She would come over to visit, borrow some Vogues and we would talk about whatever was going on – the easy, familiar talks that you have with someone you’ve known and who has known you your entire life. ¬†When I was barely a teen she would think nothing of bringing me along with the other aunties – late nights out at Future bakery and cafe downtown, my first club experience, fun karaoke outings. ¬†I just loved sitting around unobtrusively eating some pastry and listening to all the grown-up talk – Aunty S had the best stories EVER.

Aunty S had about a year.  She endured the painful treatments and chemo like the amazing, strong woman she was.  She kept that sense of humour and an unbelievably positive attitude throughout some of the most horrifying moments a person can go through.  She fought.  She was taken by inflammatory breast cancer Рa rare and aggressive form of c.

You can’t really summarize what somebody means in a paragraph. Even pages and pages wouldn’t really be able to express what these people meant not only to me but to their children, spouses, and the rest of our families. ¬†These two amazing and beautiful women were a part of my life and meant so much to me – but so much more to others. ¬†They were mothers, wives, sisters, friends. ¬†And because of cancer they are gone well before their time. ¬†Whether it was 4 weeks or over a year – nothing can prepare you for it.

My SIL, Erin, is doing the Weekend to End Womens Cancer walk. ¬†I am determined to bring Baby H with me next year and do the walk but this year we will be on the sidelines cheering her on. ¬†It won’t bring either of the two back but it can help us towards a future where cancer isn’t such a familiar culprit and where maybe a few people won’t have to feel that horrible shock.

If you would like to support – your donation would be so very much appreciated here¬†. ¬†Or just visit Erin’s page to read her story. ¬†I always feel like Fall is a tough time of year for our families but then you have something like this walk – I am so proud of Erin for doing this it inspires the rest of us to live a healthy life and to keep on fighting your own personal battles whatever those may be.

 

 

September 1, 2011

Loose Button Luxe Box: Review & Giveaway!

First impressions count..this one didn't disappoint

Loose Button¬†introduces Luxe Box. ¬†Sounds intriguing? ¬†Well it seems to be every beauty junkies dream. ¬†Basically you subscribe to the service (monthly, quarterly or yearly) and Loose Button will ship you a new and exciting Luxe Box every month chock full of ‘deluxe sized’ samples of beauty products, skincare and fragrance.

I was excited to get the opportunity to give this a try.

Brand: Loose Button Luxe Box

MSRP:  $12/mth, $36/quarter, or $120/year.

Key Features:  

– Deluxe brand name samples handpicked by beauty experts

– Surprise of 3-5 samples of fragrance, beauty or skincare in every chic box

Nice packaging and personalized notecard with product info

I Love It Because: ¬†I am a sucker for getting anything in the mail and what could be better after a hard day then receiving a gorgeous box full of luxury goodies? ¬†It’s a nice concept for those who don’t necessarily have the time to go out and peruse the shops all the time but who like to keep in touch with new and fresh products (Ahem: Calling all stylinmommies!). ¬†This particular box for August included the following: ¬†Kaia Bamboo Facial Cleansing Cloth, City Lips Lip Plumping Treatment, Proclaim Cocoa Butter hand/body lotion, Calvin Klein Forbidden Euphoria Fragrance. ¬†There were also a set of cute handmade earrings by Sheyna included in the mix.

There was a nice variety in the range of products – they covered skincare, fragrance and beauty. ¬†The hand cream was by a brand I had never heard of so it was good to get exposure to something new and I actually did like the mild scent and texture of the cream. ¬†The facial wipes are great for travelling and got all my black eyeliner/mascara off with no problem. ¬†I’ve tried many lip plumpers in my day and unfortunately the City Lips one doesn’t quite stack up but as a gloss alone it works just fine.

But I Wish It Had: ¬†To tell you the truth I was disappointed in the size of a few of the samples. ¬†The fragrance and lip gloss were miniscule – let’s just say Angelina Jolie would be done with the gloss in one or two fell swoops! ¬†The hand lotion was full sized but again, this is from a brand I’ve never heard of before. ¬†I would actually pay a bit more if I was sure I would be getting higher quality brands included. ¬†It seemed a bit odd to include the earrings and almost felt like an afterthought to fill the box up.

So, Reco or No?¬† I love the concept behind the Luxe Box but I’m not sure if I would sign up for a quarterly or annual membership just yet. ¬† The size of the samples was disappointing so I’d have to reco trying a couple of months before committing to anything more. ¬†I was also hoping for more premiere brands to be included in my box. ¬†But for the price you are definitely getting a nice surprise in the mail – I’d say try it out if you are a beauty aficionado who likes to sample new products with no need to worry about committing. ¬†If you’re not so much into the idea it actually makes for a super cute gift idea for that person in your life who can’t live without the latest creams/sheens/glosses. ¬†After all, one month is the price of a coupla lattes!

GIVEAWAY TIME! Wanna try it for yourself? ¬†Loose Button is giving away their September Luxe Box to one of StylnMommy’s lucky readers! ¬†¬†To enter simply leave a comment at the bottom of this post letting me know what your favourite beauty brand is AND ¬†‘Like’ the¬†StylnMommy page¬†here¬†! Entries accepted until Wed September 7th. 2011.

An Extra Entry – ‘Like’ Loose Button on Facebook here¬†¬†and leave a comment to let me know

Yet Another Chance to Win РFollow StylnMommy on Twitter here and leave a comment to let me know

*NOTE: Please leave a SEPARATE COMMENT at the bottom of this post for each separate entry so that I know you’ve entered*

Good Luck!

This Contest is open to Canadian Residents only.  I was not compensated for this post and all views and opinions expressed are my own. Thanks! UPDATE:  Congrats to Meagan Morin for being chosen by random.org as this giveaway winner! Please email/message me with your shipping info!

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