Beauty in the Ordinary

This is not about being brilliant, or extraordinary, it's not about wanting to be famous, or making headlines, or trying to impress...this about sharing a 'gift' each day with the lift the spirit of people when they read this blog, to show them the beauty in the ordinary.
"And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it." Raold Dahl

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Roasted Tomato Sauce

After reading your last post V.
and tripping off to visit smitten kitten's blog post
on her roasted tomato sauce,
I took myself off early this morning in search of locally-grown romas.

Found these...

and the banana peppers
(I think I may stuff them with italian sausage meat!)

Came home and, like smitten,  I washed and cut the tomatoes in half
and set them out on a baking sheet with olive oil, garlic, rosemary, thyme and oregano, some salt and pepper...

and popped them in a 400 degree oven to roast for an hour.
(I wish I could share how deeply red
 the house smells right now.)

It was as much as I could do to stop myself from sitting down
with a baguette and eating them just like this.

Then it was time to throw everything into the food processor and give
it a, voila!

 All the while the tomatoes were roasting, I'm thinking about
those banana peppers...what to do with those?
And here is what I decided.
I cut off their hot little heads and removed as many of the seeds as I could.
You could just smell the fire in them!
I quickly blanched them in boiling water, just until they were soft enough to be stuffed
without breaking.  Then I mixed together some italian sausage meat, an egg, some
breadcrumbs and little salt and pepper - and a dash of Worcestershire sauce, just because.
Then stuffed them as best as I could, made a few meatballs with the leftover meat,

and smothered the whole shebang with the roasted tomato sauce.

They are cooking away in the oven as we speak...I'm thinking about an hour.
I'm off to shower all this pepper oil off me, before I do something silly
like try to take my contact lens out!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The first storm of the year hit here on our island today.
High winds, power outs, ferries cancelled.

It felt like the middle of November.

It's time to pack away the flip flops 


bring out the wellies

It's time to forget about salads


cook up some comfort food

roasted tomato soup with broiled cheddar
at smittenkitchen

And with only a couple of weeks into the first term
of school my darlin' grandson went home sick this afternoon,
seems the stomach flu has arrived here too!

(Get well soon sweetie)

If November weather has arrived in your neighbourhood,
or the flu has you home in bed...

cosy up
with a few of these

found at  svpply

and stay warm and dry!

with love Victoria

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Chemise

Speaking as a woman, I don't think there 
is another garment that makes you feel more feminine than
the chemise.

Classically, it just means a shirt...
something worn next to the skin...

but in a woman's lexicon it means



there is nothing more feminine than wearing something like this.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Happy First Day of Autumn...

Okay...I know I am a day early, but just couldn't wait to share...

All images are respectfully filched from

my new favourite blog.  I found it, thank you so much, through

...another blog that is a feast for the senses.

I love this season.

Monday, September 19, 2011

My Vision Board

Thanks to Pininterest

I can show you images from my Vision Board.

These are images that please my heart...

not necessarily things that I want to have...

more a flavour of how I choose to live my life...

...the reality of my life may look different,
but, believe me, it feels just like this.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Expocycle de Montréal

Here's what stole my heart at the Bike Show

we just attended

so pretty...

oh, and yes...there was lots of other eye-candy too...

David Arroyo and Rui Costas of Team Movistar

 Simon Clarke of Team Astana

Cousin, Villeux, Rolland, Hurel and Gautier of Team Europcar

A girl can look can't she?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Kitchen Reno...

Cro, over at Magnon's Meanderings,
is just beginning a kitchen reno.

Rudy and I have gone through this a few times
with Brilliant Husband doing most of the work himself.
He loves the demolition part...swinging that sledge hammer can release all kinds of tension.

Our last reno was the most adventurous, and I think the most creative.  We began with this:

Can we see potential or what!  These photos were taken when we purchased the house...(and no, I had nothing to do with that mural!)
The cabinets were dark green, the countertop was black marble and the appliances were black.  This kitchen had to go!

Here is where we finished:

This is the right-hand wall as you enter the kitchen.  The cabinetry is Rational
from Germany.  Cream, lacquer finish.  The interiors are pure-engineering magic.  
The large door to the left of the oven and microwave is the integrated fridge with bottom freezer drawer.

and this is opposite...
30 ft, long, three-sided, bar height + regular height countertop.   One piece of stainless steel with an integrated sink and gas stove top.
It took six, BIG guys to carry it into the house.

It is so beautiful.  It took me about three weeks before I could bring myself to actually take something directly from the oven or stove top and plop it down on the countertop. But you can, truly, honestly...YOU CAN!

We chose colour-backed glass over tile, something I have repeated in other houses since.
An australian friend introduced us to it (they have been doing it there and in Europe for years).
You can choose any colour your little heart desires, and the best grout.

The lower cabinets for this side of the room are blonde maple, and there is a  three-sectioned feature cabinet with lift-up glass doors.

This kitchen was a very narrow (but tall) room; positioning the oven in the lacquer wall
was critical; to allow the required space so as to be able to stand behind and open the door. We are talking eighths of inches here people, which is why your kitchen designer is so important.  Rudy worked side-by-side with these people, checking and re-checking every measurement.  We only had one cabinet door (for the integrated diswasher) that was measured incorrectly, and this meant waiting another six weeks for the piece to be re-ordered and shipped from Germany.

The venting hood for the stove-top was the biggest challenge.  With ten-foot ceilings, it was difficult to find something that would descend low enough to effect the proper extraction strength.  BH had to design an attachment in the ceiling with a metal-worker so that the whole unit could hang low enough.  He and our son-in-law spent the better part of a day standing on a scaffold welding the hood to the ceiling attachment.  This baby isn't coming down any time soon.

This job involved not only completely gutting the kitchen,
but also taking down the dividing wall that separated the kitchen from the living area,
moving a bathroom (that was originally off of the kitchen - yuck!!)
and creating a new hall closet in a nook by the entrance way.  And just because he could, BH integrated the sound system into the ceiling, alongside the multitude of dim-able potlights...I insist on a bright kitchen.

The entire job took 8 weeks, start to finish.

We packed up most of the kitchen into boxes and stored them in the basement, cooked on an electric two-ring burner and washed dishes in a plastic laundry tub set up in the centre of the construction area.  The old fridge took pride of place in the middle of the living room, until it was time for it to go, and then we resorted to a cooler bag.

One night, during construction, our daughter and her husband came for dinner and Jess and I were hand-washing the dishes in the laundry tub.  She had put her antique wedding ring on the side of the sink and of course, I knocked it down the drain.  And speaking of drain, have you ever seen the colour in someone's face drain-out in about a half-a-second?  That was Jessica.

Long story, but I promised her we would get it back.  The sink, unfortunately, did NOT have the u-bend underneath that is designed to catch jewelry that stupid mothers knock down it, so this retrieval required one (thank goodness) very skinny (as it happened Russian) Rotorooter man, wriggling on his back into the space between the basement ceiling and the kitchen floor to find the secondary trap which he then opened onto his belly (because he had to lie flat to get in there) and sorting through the detritus of dinner with his fingers until he found her ring.  Oh yes, and did I mention the $750 bill??? (I did promise her.)

Once complete, of course, we put the house on the market and sold it.

I weep for the loss of this kitchen somedays.
I would do it again in a heartbeat.

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