She's All Excited!

I'm on a Christmas holiday in Montreal, Qc
and am super excited to see
Kitchen Stories Herb and Spice Blends
at La Bohemia Cafe on Rue St. Denis corner Duluth for sale.
Can you say: Super Fab from this Etsy gal?


Time for an Update!

It's been ages since I've written but all this time has been consumed by either work or keeping my head on straight. Between my aging parents, my son who has gone off to college and messes at my big girl job, I've just havn't had much time to be here.

H1N1 has really played havoc on our so
ciety of late, don't you think? And I just have to believe that it's keeping people out of the malls --it has me for certain! We've had 3 cases of it in our little work group and mos
t affected have been the parents with little children in daycare. Fortunately they've each recovered but I can't possibly ignore all those little babes who didn't make it or, the perfectly healthy 40 year old woman with only a mild case of respiratory discomfort. Wow, living can be so elusive.

On the positive, we do have Internet Shopping! I think I may be done for once before December 23rd this year! Call me paranoid or OCD about germs but that can't be all bad, considering the business that I'm in, right?

I just bought this cute jacket for myself... Purple is so HOT right now.


La Cuisine, it's rolling! Et mon bebe aussi

All I can say is that my arms are killing me (good for the definition, hopefully). It's a whole day project just to get 3 cabinets done between sanding, stripping, staining.... which takes forever to dry.

This coming week I'll strip the frame, put the final coat on the doors then, pack us and our gorgeous boy up for our trip back home to Montreal, where he will be studying.

I will miss him beyond belief.I guess Momma really did need a project eh.


The Kitchen - continued

I'm giving myself until Christmas to finish this kitchen project and doing it in stages like this suits me just fine. I mean come on? How long could you live with microwaved meals for? Yuck!

First section done and, I LOVE IT!!!

Oh how I do enjoy a good project


Welcome to my Kitchen !

I still can't believe we have lived in this house for 6 years now and I'm just getting to the dreaded kitchen renovation project. Here's the now --cabinets removed for refinishing

The look I have been trying to achieve

and this is what I've created by stripping the varnish, staining with red oak stain then again with red mahogany 2 sometimes 3 times then finally, when I'm super satisfied, a coat of poly.

If only great lighting was available during this photo shoot and I highly suspect I'll be doing this 'till Christmas


Fun New Tool

Eesh, if I had my background black, things might look more different but, the absolute fun news is for Vintage lovers... You have to try this out: poladroid

Here's the real one:


A Spicy Bunch

One of these days I'll learn to say no but for now, in these slow online sale and fast highway get home times I felt that I could get just a little bit busy and help out 1000 Markets with their PR ramp up campaign. I sure had a hard time parting with these little cuties...


Top 10 Fridayliciousness

While I wasn't "theoretically" supposed to be not at work today, I did it, I took the day off and will claim it as yes, a sick day (oh the shame). I'm too new here to worry about someone from work finding this out and I had no intention of updating my Facebook status or even dare utter a tweet about it. I just went dark while the sun shone like crazy.

#10 - no one else home
#9 - a frozen meal for lunch ain't so bad
#8 - HGTV and the Food Network rock!
#7 - accountable for nothing, not even the dishes
#6 - slept
#5 - slept some more
#4 - got my creative mojo back, even if only for an hour
#3 - IKEA
#2 - Hot Herb Jars
#1 - lovely red wine & Pizza

Ahhh Fridays off.


French Herb Butter

We love love love our baguettes around here and while they are a bit more expensive then our favorites back home in Quebec, our work around solution has been quite delicious...
go direct, right before they close when they are half priced and buy as many as you can fit in your freezer, break them in half if you need to and store them in Freezer Bags.

What's also the best is grilling or broiling the bread soaked in herbs and butter and here is one super easy recipe that gives this delicious bread in hands down time!

French Herb Butter
1 stick of butter, at room temperature
3 tablespoons French Herb Blend

Combine ingredients in a bowl and blend until well distributed
be sure not to whip.

To save for later: spoon Herb Butter onto a small sheet of wax paper, roll, twist ends and store in the fridge for later use.


My Love and Hate Relationships

I am loving all of the new Treasuries on Etsy being built featuring the ol' Red White and Blue theme this week... This one is my favorite, duh... Freedom Rings

Another Super Fave Etsy Shop is: Bomobob can we talk about variety of photography or what??? I bought these a couple of weeks ago and have them posted in my cube at work: For the Birds

I found this in my email a couple of days ago and I had to recoil... Look, I treasure those old relics and if you think I'm going to toss dirt and water into one of them and then, of all things, leave them in direct sunlight for hours on end well, you are sadly mistaken.
How to turn an old or broken camera into a flower pot

And, to top off this post, my new favorite purchase and, if somebody tells me that it's one of those "reseller items" on Etsy, I'll probably sink (I chose the black buttons for this beauty): The Black Long Shirt Dress I hope it's not too Bea Arthurish YIKES! rip


Canada Day is just Days Away

I am so excited! Canada Day is in a couple of days and here I am in Minnesota planning the meal to BBQ, what I will wear (nothing weird or too matchy matchy, don't worry), what to drink (meh, not a huge fan of beer) and wondering who I will meet this year.

Bloomington, MN which is where I have been living since 2003 after leaving my sweet city of Montreal, Qc to live with the love of my life is celebrating it's 10th Annual Canada Day Picnic! Weeeee! It's not city run but a Canadian run one which makes it (thankfully) way more fun.

Bonjour et Bonne Fetes mes amis!!!!


Testing out the new Camera

Anybody else have a second shop on Etsy? Well, if you don't and are considering it, beware... It's tough! Unless you have the ability to love love love two ideas at the same time and, actually have the time to do so, then you should be ok.

My whole Etsy experience began with Photography here: Costellos and then moved into my other passion, Food. Yet there are times when I want to escape from food and get back to nature photography and actually devote special time to it. I guess what I'm trying to say here is that we all need a mini moment to stop and stand back from our shops that consume us and honestly, just get back to what we love, every so often. That's me right now oh, and I just bought a used Nikon D100 so perhaps that's my excuse, too.
Testing, Exploring, Having fun!


Just another avenue?

While I'm still awaiting approval of acceptance into that "other" online hand made website I look at it as inspiration to a more streamlined, blog like experience.

As I understand it, it's for US shipping addresses only and the criteria of acceptance runs from excellent photography to the number of articles that one would sell in their shop and while I'm still going through the exercise of reading all of their dos and don'ts, fees and whatnot, I am in love with their layout.

Many of my Etsy mates have shops on Artfire which I sincerely find intriguing but can any online seller of handmade goods really get over the exclusivity of the gem of 1000 Markets? I have been swooned.

Wish me luck on being accepted 'cause I want to hang out with WhimsyandSpice!


Ode to the basics and damn to Crock Pots


i never knew you existed before moving here
your absence from my life went unnoticed for years
parties meant planning, cooking, buying wine and beer
not filling, stuffing, plugging it in and to simply disappear

Little smokies, meatballs, chicken nuggets and more
Calories, fat and sugar galore
If that's what it means to host a party in this town
Let me out now before I explode through my once sexy nightgown

Ok Ok, I get the ease of the Crock family dinner
though it is only slightly better then a McDonald's sinner
So give up the crock and head to your wok
Fresh Veggies and Meat go so perfectly with pop


Merri Time, or something like that

I wish that I could say that this little weekend of mine back home in Montreal was something really special, but I can't. The best thing that came out of it, a clean kitchen.

My mother began hoarding. She'll be turning 80 in October and this was not something we, as her children saw of her in any uncomfortable way until recently. My last trip here I only broached the subject of cleaning and she nearly took my head off. With this trip, she's in Ireland till June 9 and so I did it behind her back. Is that a bad thing? I'm a little worried about the repercussions.

I found this lovely old box in her pantry and before I tossed it, I just had to photograph it.



2.5 months to go

Well, the moment I've been dreading for the last 3 years is finally coming with only 2.5 months to go. Senior Prom was last Friday night... aren't these kids gorgeous!
Keifer will be heading back to Montreal, Quebec to attend Concordia University in August, entering into their Graphic Arts Program. I'm so happy that he will be staying with my family but his presence here will be sorely missed.

A few of his beautiful friends:

and the birthday girl of the evening


Where's My Man?

In the past 4 weeks, I think I've seen the Man a whole 3 days. Originally he was out of town for work but then his Mother, who winters in Florida, fell down and broke her shoulder and so he flew down there almost immediately. They operated on her, she begins to recover and then what happens? A massive Staph infection, followed by 2 heart attacks. He's had a very difficult few weeks. So, it's yet another weekend on my own here and unless I actually have someone to cook for, preparing a meal for 1 is just not on the agenda. It ends up way way down there with laundry and window washing --it ain't gonna happen unless I'm desperate ;-)

Well, I'm missing him and there's a cold strong wind blowing outside today making it a rather unpleasant experience of cleaning up my garden (something I really do enjoy without being desperate). I got to thinking about his favourite starch recipe that includes any one of these Grey Salt delights but since I won't be making it tonight, I thought you might like the recipe.

This recipe serves 6 - we usually cut it down to our little family of 3 (when the teenager is around)

1 1/2 lb red new potatoes
1 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
1 tbsp Little Italy Grey Salt Blend (to go with Red Meat dishes)
or, 1 tbsp Little Burgundy Grey Salt Blend (to go with White Meats, Fish and Seafood)
or, 1 tbsp GreekTown Grey Salt Blend (perfect on Chicken, Lamb and White Fish)
2 tbsp Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 450 F. Cut potatoes to bite sized pieces, usually quarters do the trick. Place cut potatoes in a nonstick deep roasting pan and add the remaining ingredients. Toss together. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes, turn the potatoes and roast for another 15 minutes or until the the potatoes form a nice crust on the white parts. Serve with just about everything!

Love the one you're with!


Recipe & Photo Tip Time...

First of all, I would like to say that I am loving my new little photography studio and so for anyone who is doing product photography and holds a full time day job doing something else, I want you to go out and buy these bulbs: 60 W Sylvania Daylight Plus Clear. Above is the result! This photo was taken at about 9PM in a dimly lit sub-basement environment, TV blaring in the background and hubby enjoying it. My little photo studio is behind him... Minor adjustments were made in Picassa and Voila! It's done and posted to Etsy in as few as 5 shots... 3 of which are currently different angles of this same product in my Etsy shop. This has shaved a ton of time from posting new products leaving me with more time to develop new products and my weekend natural light time, to moi!! Win win and win!

So this is one of my new herb blends. It's salt free and absolutely delicious. If you equally love lemon and pepper, this is such an easy way to get both and jazz up just about any meal in seconds. I am going to recommend that you not use this blend on red meats --it's just not made for it and besides, Black on White just looks so much prettier.

Lemon Pepper Chicken (super simple) time: 10 10 10
3 or 4 Chicken Breasts as they come packaged
1/4 cup of low sodium soy sauce
1 pat of butter
Lemon Pepper Blend (1/4 tsp per 2 breasts, per side)

Place chicken breasts in a glass bowl and let them marinate in the Soy Sauce for 10 minutes. Melt butter in a skillet over medium to medium high heat just until the butter bubbles but does not turn brown. Add the chicken and sprinkle with the Lemon Pepper. Cook 10 minutes then turn the chicken over, sprinkle more Lemon Pepper on the Chicken and cook another 10 minutes. Serve with Rice and Aparagus spears to finish off your beautiful meal.

Eat well and Be Great!


Eye Candy

I had to delete my last two posts due to some coding errors that made my blog look quite ridiculous. So, here's a little eye candy for today.



The weekend is here everyone!
I love weekend breakfastzzzzzz


Cuenca Lights

I miss Spain but I'm sure I would miss just about any city outside of here at just about any given time. The world drives me crazy, crazy with love and one of these days, I want to explore it all.

The city of Cuenca, which is about 1 hour outside of Madrid is built on a hillside. It's city lights up the mountainscapes with these brilliant lights making it all touristy and photo friendly all at the same time.

I Heart Europe


Just a Dream

a girl can dream, right?



I love Photography yet for some reason, my photography has come to a stand still. When it comes to photographing my homemade dinners like this gal does so incredibly well La Table de Nana, we're too hungry to eat to take a photo. When it comes to getting out with other photogs, I've always got something going on. When it comes to me, it's like I've forgotten what it really means to me and that goes way back.

Am I in a PhotoBlock?

I took this photo while driving back from Montreal, Quebec last January and, to be honest, it's one of the last moments that I felt perfectly connected with my surroundings, and my camera.

And, no matter how dark and broody it looks, I love it.


New Product Launch - Ultimate Steak Blend

This is my extraordinarily famous Steak Blend which I have aptly named: Ultimate! A steak or burger is just not the same without it. 4 oz canister filled with Garlic, Black Pepper, Coriander Seed, Mustard Seed, Dill Seed, Red Pepper Flakes and Salt.

The Perfect Steak Recipe - 5 5 5:

Choose your cut, Filet Mignon, NY Strip, Ribeye... and set oven to 500 degrees.
Drizzle a little bit of Olive Oil on steaks then sprinkle with Ultimate Steak Blend.
Heat a Cast Iron pan or oven proof skillet on High. Once pan is sizzling hot, place steaks, seasoning side down in pan and cook for 5 minutes. Flip steaks and transfer the pan into your oven for another 5 minutes (set your timer!). Finally, remove from oven and let the steaks sit in the hot pan for yet another 5 minutes. Serve with your favorites sides.


Etsy Front Page - Finally !!!

Ok, so it didn't bring in this huge amount of sales that in better financial times would have been common place, it did bring me a whole lot of loving and a damn good feeling.

Mine are those delicious looking pancakes that I sell as a mix.


These girls have Legs!!!

I called The Man at 4:30pm this afternoon to say: "I forgot to take something out of the freezer this morning so what do you think we should have for dinner?" My immediate thought was that he was going to suggest a Pizza but nope, instead it was "I'll stop and pick something up" and just look what he brought home and cooked up! They were frozen when he pulled them out of the bag but hey, we live in Minnesota but then I find out that they are........ hold yourselves......... partially cooked because that's just the way it is, here --nothing gets here fast and fresh. I do believe we have a Fresh Fish Monger somewhere within a 25 mile radius but for a last minute dinner purchase at our local grocer, these were finger linking delicious.


The Daily Green

I grew up in Dorval, Qc and everyday I passed by the hideous eyesores of the shipment containers that lined the 2-20 between Dorval and Lachine except I do believe the land actually belongs to Ville St. Laurent.

What if we could use them for housing?

Our climate is a cold one unfortunately... Very interesting though!


My Blueberry World

It's Sunday and I love Sunday's. It means breakfast and coffee while lingering over the newspaper. It means doing nothing or something, it's a day without concern, my day to relax and I gotta tell ya, I do relax so well.

Merci pour dimanche
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Cuenca, from above

Cuenca is a beautiful city, 1 hour outside of Madrid, Spain. We stayed at the Posada de San Jose, the most incredible hotel in town!

Albondigas Caseras (Meatballs, home style)
To Note: I am not a fan of veal and have never had it in my kitchen but for the sake of the recipe, I'm putting it in. All that to say, what I don't know doesn't hurt me but next time round, I'll be rethinking ordering them. Damn though, and I do mean DAMN, they were good!

1/2 pound ground beef
1 pound ground veal
1/2 pound ground pork
3/4 cup break crumbs
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teapoon freshly ground pepper
Flour for dusting
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, coarsly chopped
1 small tomato, skinned and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup chicken broth
Freshly ground pepper

In a bowl combine the ground beef, veal and pork with the bread crumb, 4 cloves of the garlic, the eggs, nutmeg, salt and peppper. Form into cocktail-sized meatballs and dust with flower.

Heat oil in a large pan. Saute the meatballs until well browned on all sides. Add the onion, the remaining clove of garlic, wine, broth, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes.

Coma Bien

My Flickr account is here flickr.com/photos/deebd/
and others are here: costellos.etsy.com
but my most favorite is here: kitchenstories.etsy.com


From Madrid to Cuenca

Welcome to the road from Madrid to Cuenca, Spain

I bought myself a book of Tapas Recipes and am looking forward to making my favourite new delight that goes brilliantly with 1 Euro per glass red wine. Elbondigas which is essentially, meatballs
but they are the best I've ever tasted.

My Flickr account is here flickr.com/photos/deebd/
and others are here: costellos.etsy.com
but my most favourites are here: kitchenstories.etsy.com



Spicy SouthWestern Blend

2 lbs pork cut into 1" pieces
1/2 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon Spicy Southwestern Blend
salt and pepper to taste
juice of 1 large lime
1-15 ounce can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup uncooked rice
4 cups water

Season pork with a sprinkle of southwestern seasoning, some lime juice,and salt and pepper. Heat oil in skillet on medium heat. Add pork and brown. Make sure your pan is hot and that there is not too much pork overwhelming the pan otherwise, it will boil and we don't want that.

Add onion and garlic cooking until onion is translucent and pork is browned well. Place into a 4-5 quart dutch oven.

Deglaze skillet with 1 cup water, adding tomatoes and remaining Southwestern seasoning.
Simmer 5 minutes. Add to dutch oven.

Add remainder of water and simmer uncovered for 1-1 1/2 hours until pork is tender.
Add uncooked rice and simmer 20 minutes,covered.

Yield: 6 servings



There are no pictures to describe today because there is absolutely
nothing that can perfectly describe it.

1. At 10:20am I was turned down for an outside job I had applied to
2. At 11:40am I was offered (not necessarily a promotion but) a better job within current company
3. At 8:30pm made another sale on Etsy
4: At 9:15pm hit my 100th heart on Etsy
5. At 9 something, hit my 100th view on blogger.

Merci pour cette journee,


Road Trip

There's always something a little nostalgic about a road trip

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Chicken & Ginger Soup

Olive oil
3 small chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
2 inch piece of fresh ginger, skinned and chopped
32 oz of low sodium chicken or vegetable stock
16oz can stewed tomatoes
16oz of water
2 cloves, fresh garlic, chopped
chopped fresh cilantro

pretty simple so far, eh?

In a medium sized pot, heat Olive Oil on Medium High heat and add chicken. Add it slowly so that the pot stays hot and cook, tossing gently every two to three minutes.
Once the chicken is looking grilled, add the garlic and ginger and cook for another 2 minutes.
Add a 1/4 cup of chicken or vegetable broth and scrape the bottom of the pot to loosen any cooked bits (to add flavor) and then add the rest of the broth. Bring to a boil and add the water and the tomatoes and let return to a boil and now reduce heat, add Cilantro and simmer.

Now you can add some thin oriental noodles or cooked rice to make this soup a little heartier and a little squeeze of lemon juice will just throw it over the top.



Can I say Oy?

Oy to the 54 products sold this past week. If I could do this everyday, I so would. I was whistling while working today! Now how often do you hear that? These spice blends are only a few of the goodies I assembled this afternoon and wow, I love love love having a biz that is buzzing (for 1 day).


Letting the days go by

The weekend of February 14th is always my busiest. Not only do I have to find something beautiful, fun and creative to do for the ones (yes two) I love but this year, also celebrate the 18th birthday of my little BIG guy. The big 18. Time flies so quickly. His cute little bum at the age of 2 while waiting for the bath to fill is right there, in the forefront of my mind and now here he is, all grown up and sometimes, almost showing his bum for fashion --but barely since he knows I'll give him heck.


The Best Thing: Sunday

If we were meant to pop out of bed, we'd all sleep in toasters
~Author Unknown


I like shinny objects

I have to admit that I have a huge collection of silver utensils. I don't need any more but no matter, if I'm out antiquing or browsing through other peoples junk at yard sales, if it's shinny, it's so mine.

This is my butter dish which I paid all of $2.00 for. It's not worth more than that but to me, it's priceless.

I took this photograph by pointing my DSLR lens with macro filters through the viewfinder of an old Argus Seventy Five camera and the result, a beautiful old fashioned photograph just like my old silver wares.


Home Made Cannelloni - FINALLY

My Sunday of crazy ice fishing antics led the way to one heck of a meal on Monday evening. I left work just a little bit early to continue on my quest for a perfect Pasta dish that would not only ease the lingering day after effects but to also not let go to waste a spec of food. It was so good, I thought I would share:
1 LB. ground beef
1 LB. ground pork
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 1/2 cup shredded Mozzarela cheese, divided
1/2 cup shredded Provolone cheese, divided
1/2 cup Ricotta cheese
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
2 egg yolks
1 large can of tomato sauce
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp chili flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
In a sauce pot, combine tomato sauce, oregano, thyme, chili flakes and salt and pepper and heat through on medium low heat.
In a large skillet, cook beef and pork over medium heat until browned. Add onion and garlic until soft. Add 1/2 cup of the heated sauce mixture and cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in 2/3 cup of the Mozzarella cheese, 1/4 cup of Provolone cheese, the Ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese and the egg yolks; mix well. Cover and let flavors infuse.
Cook cannelloni according to package directions. Preheat over to 350 degrees. Drain cannelloni and rince under cold water then drain again. Fill Cannelloni with meat mixture (as best you can by either using a small spoon, a pastry bag or your fingers - whatever method you choose, it will be messy).
Spread 1/2 cup of the sauce in bottom of baking dish. Place Cannelloni in dish and pour remaining sauce over top. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove cover and sprinkle with remaining cheeses and bake uncovered, 15 minutes or until bubbly, let stand 5 minutes and enjoy!