"We are what we believe we are."
C.S. Lewis

Monday, July 27, 2015

Mop Philosophy Monday

Dinner on the terrace.
In sixteen weeks that cedar hedge will be covered with snow.
 Someone said to me the other day "in sixteen weeks we'll have snow on the ground" and of course my first thought was What a Party-Pooper.  But then I realized that it's true... which means we definitely need to have dinner outdoors as much as possible.

On burger night I don't mind having the Maille jar on display, being so attractively French and all:
 The ketchup bottle is less charming to the eye so I always squirt some into a container, right now it's a Bonne Maman jar, again attractively French:
Bonne Maman jar holding Heinz ketchup.
 I served sweet potato fries with the burgers last week, that's one way to get orange vegetables into those Rascals:
Sweet Potato Fries: they always get a bit charred, maybe I need a lower oven temperature?
 I think we need to talk about zucchini.  As you may remember Molly Katzen's Zucchini-Crusted Pizza is one of my favourite recipes of all time.  I've discovered once and for all that it's even better when the zucchini has all liquid squeezed the heck out of it.

Squeeze the zucchini in a linen towel to get all of the liquid the heck out of it.
 I like that this recipe does some multi-tasking with the grater: first the zucchini and then the cheese:
 I mixed mine up with fresh herbs from the garden, basil mostly:
 Why not use parchment paper?  It makes clean-up a breeze:
 I layered it with a fresh tomato, some shallots and more basil:
 Then added piles of cheese and sliced brown mushrooms:
 When throwing raw mushrooms on top of an oven-cooked recipe I think we can all agree that a few glugs of olive oil are needed for optimum roasting:
 I served it with buttered parsley potaotes...
 ...and of course salad.
With more cheese, why not.
 In other news from the Mop Philosophy Kitchen I had to rescue our butter dish this week.  The lid fell on the floor and broke clean in half, you'll be happy to know all was well after some mending with Krazy Glue.
I was able to save the Emma Bridgewater butter dish with Krazy Glue thank goodness.
I think every household needs a tube of Krazy Glue kicking around, how about you?

I hope your week is off to a fine start.  I'm going to be doing plenty of cleaning and organizing before we head off on a trip later this week.  I'll let you know how it goes, especially the organizing: I've got a couple of projects up my sleeve.
Take Care Tooties,

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Mop Philosophy Monday

 Doing any sweeping lately?  Me too, but not at Berna's cottage.  My job was thinking up dinner and then more importantly: cooking it.
That old corn broom came in handy when it was time to clear out the bunkie:
The Bunkie catches the winds off of the end of the island.
 I put in some serious conversation time on the dock. I'm happy to report that we solved ALL of the problems.
 Our sunset seemed to reinforce that confidence...

 ...but then I read the new People magazine and I realized that in fact, I have no answers.  I would normally say Love-Loyalty-Stick-To: can't go wrong.  But apparently even the best-seeming things go off:
Ben&Jen:I read the article and I still don't know why they split.
Perhaps they can make a go of it yet, and if not, all the best to them.
 Back at home I'm putting my kitchen to work with the help of that cookbook I bought in Provence (which is the one and only French document I can read by the way):
 That stove just begs for French recipes, don't you think?
 That bread has been a daily pleasure, most especially for MrBP when he arrives home in the evening but let's face it, The Rascals are obsessed with it for toast!
Daily Bread
We have it at dinner and then The Rascals fight over it for toasty snacks.
 Feeling a bit distant from fruit these days?  Me too, I'm trying for a low-carbohydrate diet and fruit is no longer such a fast friend. 
 Sadly, the same goes for Potatoes The Holy Vegetable:
 Those baked potatoes were brought for dinner by our son the Ole Rascal:
Our Darling Ole Rascal
 While we were at Stratford last Saturday afternoon he turned up with dinner, well you can see for yourself that he's a good son.
I can't wait for his next visit home because I think I finally mastered the elusive kale chip...
...the key is the kale must be bone dry before the olive oil is applied and the whole mess is roasted up with salt.  Delicious with cocktails!  Ole Rascal will love it with a cold beer.

I hope you've had a good weekend.  I wish you had been with me solving all the world's problems on Berna's dock, I know you would have had good points.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Slapdash Decorator Turns An Eye To The Front Porch

 Our front porch is one of my favourite places to people-watch and drink a glass of wine.  Therefore cushioning is important, and because this space is, after all, outdoors, it is ideal if those cushions are slipcovered so they can be tossed in the wash easily.
Last year I bought some rather uninspiring cushions from Pier One.  The seat cushions fit the furniture (which was purchased at Pier One several years ago, they seem to always have this same style of wicker hanging about) but the indoor-ooutdoor fabric covering them was kind of blah.
So I decided to buy some fabulous French fabric (the porch is covered so it didn't have to be a Sunbrella fabric) and sew up some slipcovers in a slapdash fashion.
 This fabric has a grey background with bits of orange, blue-grey and even a little chartreuse in the pattern.
I love it so much I used the online fabric sample to create the new wallpaper for the blog.
 The sewing on these is pretty terrible but the slouchy slapdash effect somehow suits the casual porch... at least that's what I'm telling myself.
The orange in the main fabric picks up the orangey-red brick of the house, don't you think?
 I had a yard of this fabulous light green toile fabric, also from France, that I was planning on using in the living room.  I had the living room cushions made from velvets with trims so this fabric was left abandoned... in the end I think it suits the porch and the wicker.
 Another Slapdash Decorator solution took place last week... the corralling of the sneakers and the Birkenstock sandals in the foyer.
Scout has decided that she loves to eat sandals and sneakers so when Little Rascal is here with her friends they just throw their footwear on top of the piano:
I know, not very elegant.
 I had a basket that was originally intended for magazines just lying around and it turns out to be a perfect container for several pairs of shoes:  they can be propped in there vertically and don't get lost in a commotion on the bottom.
How's your week going?  It's been so hectic around here I can't even tell you.  I hope you're having fun and staying out of mischief.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Mop Philosophy Monday

Hydrangea paired with Saskatoon Berries.
 Our garden has gone mad, the Saskatoon Berry tree is bursting with colour, the Hydrangea plants are exploding with blooms.  It rained for days and days which set the whole lot up for lushness.

 It only happens for a couple of months a year but it is a thrill to walk into the garden and snip off a few items for arrangements inside the house.
 I've been growing basil in pots as well as a wee little Bay Laurel.

Who likes to have salad for breakfast?  My Little Rascal, that's who.  This one is her favourite: tomatoes, fresh basil, avocado and bocconcini cheese.
 I'll tell you what she cannot stand to eat for breakfast: eggs.  As a little kid she called them Bad Eggs and if they were being cooked in the kitchen she wouldn't come downstairs for breakfast.
Bad Eggs?
To tell the truth I don't care for them much either though I can tolerate them as a component of a recipe, like Zucchini Fritters for example.
Zucchini Fritter Recipe
 My absolute hands-down favourite vegetable these days is a gorgeous orange pepper.  Did you know that they are especially good for your eyesight?
 I like to serve a little salad of orange peppers, cubes of feta cheese and some dried oregano sprinkled all over.  Finish with a little olive oil, fresh lemon and salt for a nice side dish to some fish or chicken.
 We've had such a busy week here supporting our family and friends, my mother-in-law has not been well and one of my best friends lost her dear Aunt.  She was so upset there was only one thing for it:  a delivery of some soothing home-cooked food:
Home Cooked Care Package
 I sourced some organic beef, cooked up a big stew with parsley and tomatoes and brought along some fresh tomatoes to slice up for a side salad.

We brought it over in a picnic basket and stayed to share the dinner outside in their garden.  I think we can all agree that eating a meal outdoors is soothing for the soul in and of itself.

Which reminds me of our many outdoor picnics at this time last year in the Yorkshire Dales:

MrBP with his trusty F&M picnic backpack.

 Those are such happy memories, MrBP can organize a picnic lunch right up there with the top experts.

 I hope you had a wonderful Fourth of July.  We were busy visiting MrBP's dear mother in hospital so we cancelled our party, which our friends understood because they are all going through similar things these days... time of life.

I still put together a cheering and appropriate outfit because making a small effort with wardrobe tells people they are important to you... I know you'll agree with me on that.
JCrew linen skirt in red, white and blue, 2007.
For more Frock Philosophies please see my latest post: an update on chambray shirt outfits.

I hope you've been well Darling Tooties.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Mop Philosophy Monday

 I keep pencils in the kitchen, how about you?  Someone is always asking me for a pen or pencil, so to avoid the irritation of searching through drawers I just keep 8 or 10 pencils visible at all times.

Speaking of kitchen supplies, I've been going through cleaning aids like no-one's business, the kitchen is the room in the house that needs endless attention.
 I love to see everything shining and gleaming but of course within a few short hours (or minutes depending on Rascal Snack Habits), it's all a mess again.

 Never mind, let's breathe in the beauty of perfectly folded pink washcloths:

The perfect beauty of five folded pink washcloths.
 As our talented friend Heidi explained last week groups of three or five in decorating and homekeeping are particularly pleasing because these groupings are often found in nature, in petals or leaves for example.
I kept this in mind last week while finishing the decorating of my laundry room:
Folded towels and a blanket, ready to be carried upstairs.
 Three plates in a blue and white theme on the beadboard wall, hung up above the pine chest where I store extra linens and towels... it's a small detail that was very easy to implement yet so pleasing to see as one approaches the laundry room.
 I found two of these plates at the thrift store, there are so many pretty abandoned plates out there in the world that need rescuing.  I had to stop myself from buying more than two.

Another detail that I'm finding especially pleasing lately, yet so useful as well?
I attached tassels to those little keys that lock up various pieces of furniture and are so easily lost.  I can't imagine why I didn't think of this before, I've lost track of some important keys in my time.

Now that it's summertime I've been thinking about all of those years that we sent Ole Rascal up north to his camp in Algonquin Park, the packing up, the anxiety, the letters back and forth...
Red Detail in decorating: the Happy Canoe in the study.
 ...well he wasn't much for writing letters come to think of it, but he did construct this little canoe one summer as a birthday present for MrBP (it says BDAY on the opposite side).  He was always away for his Dad's birthday so he would make a special gift in the craft cabin.  We treasure the Happy Canoe, an important red detail in the decoration of the study.

Speaking of red details how about the window arrangement at the Sun Inn in Kirkby Lonsdale?

The Sun Inn, Kirkby Lonsdale.
Our favourite pub and restaurant in old Kirkby Lonsdale.
Such a Red Detail!
Red Details in the Mop Philosophy Kitchen, some perfect red tomatoes warming on the windowsill.
 Cooking with tomatoes lately?  Me too, as per usual.  I'm also adding them to salads.  I guess I have red details on my mind because this was the topic of my recent Frock Philosophy blog post:
Red Details on Frock Philosophy 

 I'll be wearing some red details this week for Canada Day, and adding in blue to that colour combo for the 4th of July.
Speaking of which, I'm so excited because I'm having a Fourth of July party!  Are you?  Whatcha cooking?  I'm thinking steaks on the Bar-Bee, let me know what you're planning.
Have a great week whatever you're up to,