Sunday, March 29, 2015

Kitchen : Choosing The Finishing Touches

Sturdy Faucet (can be found here)
Mesmerizing granite pattern. I'm in love with the shapes and the different shades.
Choosing knobs and handles from the Richelieu collection (found here)
The kitchen is to us the most important room in our house. We want it to be the gathering point for our family and friends. Happy stomach, happy life? No, there's no such saying but looks ARE important. Every little detail sets a mood and reflects our personalities. 

In an ideal world I'd die for a space designed by Sarah Richardson or something out of Lynda Reeve's House & Home magazine. However, since we're taking on this massive project on our own, we have no choice but to research, be attentive and PLAN! 

So far what I've learned:

White cabinets:

If there are fifty shades of grey, there must be at least a hundred shades of white. Every white will have a pigmentation of a different hue (yellow, grey, red etc.) and its intensity will increase depending on your lighting, flooring and counters. Keep in mind that your wall color is also an important factor as your cabinets could clash with the walls of adjacent rooms. 

A good test is to take a sample of color and place a white sheet of paper with a small hole over the sample. You will really see the contrast in whites. 

Also, decide on the materials used for your cabinets. I've been advised that white adheres better on MDF, however it can be a difficult decision to let go of the wooden cabinet dream especially since MDF cabinets are not that cheaper!

Countertops:

All white everywhere? As aesthetically appealing as it may sound, an all-white kitchen may not cater your needs. You will have to be more careful with stains and any imperfection will show. After much debate, we are still debating between a super white or a moon light granite.

Research the material you will use. Remember that some materials may be more porous than others (marble or wood) and require regular maintenance. 

Knobs and handles:

They are the most (relatively) inexpensive way to dress up a kitchen and give it some spunk. Think outside your local hardware store. The internet is a huge source of inspiration and shipping can be inexpensive too (make sure to read thoroughly through shipping and duty fees).

Islands:

Bigger is not always better. Remember to leave a good amount of space to walk around and to open doors and appliances. Since our kitchen is in a "U" shape, we have 36 inches on each side and 39 inches from the island to our range.

Appliances and other hardware:

Shop around, look for sales but stick with quality! Never compromise. These are long term investments so you need to compare and do research. When shopping for bigger items, try to negotiate and throw in a freebie (or a discounted item). For example, ask if your countertop merchant would be interested to sell you a sink or a faucet for a discounted price. 


Any valuable lessons you've learned or want to share?

I'm looking forward to the next steps and to see how each individual pick will look in the end. Wish us luck!

Have a lovely week, xo

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Dates With Goat Cheese Wrapped In Prosciutto + Stuffed Mushrooms

Sweet and salty bite-size stuffed medjool dates. So delicious.
Little army of stuffed dates ready to impress guests
Savoury bread crumb and goat cheese stuffed mushrooms
Liberally sprinkling red pepper flakes. Spicy!
We all know dinner parties can be stressful to plan but there are ways to avoid panic. Put a twist on a classic (with these stuffed mushrooms) or try mixing flavours to wow guests (cue: dates with goat cheese). Both are quick and easy options!

Dates with Goat cheese wrapped in Prosciutto:

I've said this before on the blog: I'm not a fan of dry dates and I surely don't eat them as a snack. Although I can eat a ton of chocolate and feel absolutely great (all lies, I always feel guilty), dry dates are on a sweetness level of their own.

As it happens, this is the second time I share a recipe with dates and I can now say that I've learned to appreciate and balance their sweetness in baking (as seen here) and now while cooking!

The trick? Mixing sweet (dates) with salty (Prosciutto and goat cheese). Just add a basil leaf in between, broil the batch for a few minutes until golden brown and you just made yourself some delicious appetizers. Full recipe found here.

Stuffed Mushrooms:

A twist on a classic. This recipe from Martha Stewart (found here) is easy to make and a guaranteed home run.


Hope I made you a little hungry!


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