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

Monday, March 9, 2015

Mop Philosophy Monday

 Remember this brass elephant I found on etsy a few years ago?  He's standing guard in front of that precious Feu de Bois Diptyque, it's still our favourite scent, no contest.
 I've been washing a load of tea towels every single day.  I've been buying paper towels as well so there's no accounting for it.  Messy family?  Messy cook?
Likely.
Here's me easy lima bean gratin:
Saute your favourite assortment of root vegetables and fresh herbs in butter, add vermouth of course.

Add a bag of frozen lima beans, easy, then mix in some cheddar cheese or gruyere...

...add more cheese.

Then completely cover with-more cheese.
 I baked mine in the oven along with some potatoes, that was an easy dinner.
 I've been trying to think of less boring ways to cook chicken.  I gave it a go with some chestnuts.
I know, the vermouth is a popular ingredient these days.
I sauteed the chicken, added vermouth, then cream...


...then chestnuts and parsley.  Pretty good.  Serve with mashed potatoes.
 I've been having more friends around, trying to be more social.  How about you?  I find once I start making the effort it just gets easier and I start organizing more visits.
Having friends around for drinks is a favourite activity lately but the snacks have to be easy.
 I made my very last trip to Target, I think it closes sometime in April?  It was so depressing!  The store was a mess and I kept looking at the employees and thinking about where they would go next?
My last trip to Target: it was too sad.
 Honestly I even had trouble finding things to purchase but I had gift cards to use up.  I ended up buying a year's supply of Method laundry soap.  Not very exciting but I couldn't wait to get out of there!

I've been going through my clothes once more in order to bring my second round of spring things to consignment.  I'm definitely keeping my colourful old JCrew jackets:
Colourful old JCrew jacket with a Wolff et Descourtis scarf.
What are you up to this week?  Going through closets?  Making any trips to Target?  Buying a year's supply of laundry soap?  Cooking up some less-boring chicken recipes?
Be Good Darlings,
xoxDani

40 comments:

  1. Have not had the heart to say goodbye to Target...too sad.
    Love that you have been hosting dinner parties and such...wish we lived closer I would invite you all here to our cozy bungalow.
    Hugs

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    1. Hostess I'd be there in a flash, it always looks so inviting. Yes don't go to Target, it's very depressing and I felt like a zombie by the time I left.

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  2. Oh as you know I am struggling to eat animal protein just now but that chicken looks delicious, I am so over food and its preparation, I just want an astronaut pill or pixies to leave three meals on the doorstep every morning, the cheese dish looks really tasty too.

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  3. Is Target closing down in the whole of Canada? Feu de Bois is my favourite Dyptique, although Baies runs a close second. I use your dish cloths every day Dani, and they always make me think of you on the opposite side of the world - I love them!
    There are some good chicken recipes in the Ottolenghi cookbooks, I make up a lot of them on a regular basis. I'm purging my wardrobe too - I have a few sundresses that are off to Goodwill as I've worn them on high rotation for 4 years, and they're looking a little tatty now… and a couple of pairs of shoes have gone into the bin, as I keep wearing them thinking "one last time"… but they really are past their prime!! Always so hard to admit an old favourite that just works needs to be farewelled. Keep warm xx

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    1. Heidi yes they are shutting them all down! I don't even think they've been here two years, it was a disaster from the start. The stores were badly stocked and the prices were quite high on many items, lots of people here went once and that was it. It's too bad.
      Very happy you are using the cloths :)
      You sound like you are having a busy week and hopefully with cool temps that won't have you melting at school pick-up! :)

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  4. Hello Dani,

    Well, you are certainly making the most of your new kitchen. You do seem to be cooking up a storm lately and the chicken dish looks absolutely delicious. No wonder there are so many more tea towels to be washed!

    We love having people to dinner but do not love the work of it, so, lazy tarts that we are, we get someone else to do that whilst we cope with the hard work of talking! It saddens us that fewer people seem to entertain at home these days and meeting up in a restaurant is just not the same. We are sure that your guests jump at the invitation when they can be sure of such wonderful food on offer.

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    1. Jane and Lance meeting at a restaurant is not the same at all. Will you bring your cook with you when you return to England to your new cottage? That seems like it would work out very well :)

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  5. I'm sorry your Target is closing! I went there this past weekend too, along with my third trip to the consignment store. They've been accepting all my things this spring, it is unheard of. Your lima beans gave me the shudders lol - it's one food from my childhood that I despised :) But the chicken looks amazing. I need to find new ways to cook it too, I'm bored with everything I make to eat. Have a good week!

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    1. Care you and I are both on the same page with Lima beans! Mother used to serve them and I could not eat them...I would literally choke. Dani does make them look appetizing so I might try her recipe and see if my tastebuds have changed...the vermouth might help!

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    2. Cate and Hostess, I have a lima bean trick for you: if you puree them in a food processor before baking them with all of the cheese the texture improves to a sort of mashed potatoes consistency, and their natural starch adds to that comfort food taste as well. Try it!

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    3. hostess, I might need to drink the vermouth or something else before downing a lima bean. It would have to work better than chugging a glass of milk after each one lol. Dani I could probably do that, but I think maybe life is too short :)

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  6. We eat a ton of chicken here because of my food allergies so I am the queen of non-boring chicken! I should be looking at clothes to take to consignment but I sm soooo busy this week and next! Just a ton of things to do! Isn't Target depressing? I bought a year's worth of barkeeper' friend and the organic unscented pump soap we use in the bathroom! I wish I was closer so you and sydney and I could commiserate together over its demise! We stopped at the one in Bangor and it made us feel even worse.... Sigh....

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    1. WMM, what will I do for party/ baking/ fun supplies. No more "one-stop." Good reminder on the Barkeeper's Friend stock-up. Can get it other places here but more hassle to find. Remember when I thought DBP was lucky since her town was first Target "testing" store, of all. :-(

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    2. Wendy that was smart of you and I thought of Barkeeper's Friend but someone beat me to it. I would say my current supply will last 8 months at best and then what am I going to do. Of course I bet you do have loads of chicken tricks up your sleeve.
      GF so true it was an ideal One-Stop and even had Starbucks for a little treat while shopping. :(

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  7. Dani, do you put vermouth in your porridge? The lima bean dish looks yummy and there is no such thing as too much cheese around here either.
    A year's worth of laundry soap from Target will likely keep us from another installment from that stuff you made organic enzymes to wash Mr BPs undies in the butter-churn as I recall...

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    1. G I'd forgotten that chapter in my housekeeping history, leave it to you to remind me! Vermouth in porridge is a very smart idea. You can't go wrong with layers of melted cheese.

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  8. MOP HOP Vermouth in the veggies, wine mugs and sandals before St. Paddy's?! Dani, you are killing me -- in the best possible way. Please don't get me started on Target's Canadian demise, equal parts so sad and corporate hubris stupid. Food & Wine has an all chicken recipes cookbook that is pretty good; popping it in the post for you this a.m.

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    1. GF thank you that is more than kind! Hehe glad to be killing you in the best way. Wearing green argyle today, old JCrew 2008, remember those cardigans? Very festive March. The sun is definitely cheering me up.

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  9. Please be careful with chicken bc don't know about Canada but in the states try put some odd things in it. The hubs insist we have at least two tea towels at all times so our laundry consists of mostly tea towels. I like diptyque's feu too but to be fair I don't dislike any candle!

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    1. Naomi I would have a Diptyque candle in every single room I ADORE them. I do try to be careful when I buy chicken but sadly the organic is just so 'spensive, it's ruinous. I buy grain fed but they are all caged I'm sure and hopefully not injected with anything terrible.

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  10. Yummy lima dish! Entertaining in the snow is a lot of fun--make a stew and a fire, open the wine, all set. And what a pleasure to cook on that gorgeous range!

    One easy chicken dish with pounded filets-- a little butter and olive oil, garlic minced, add the chicken and cook a couple of minutes on each side, then add vermouth, some dijon mustard, tarragon and cook a few minutes; add a bit of cream at the end.

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    1. Lane, vermouth say no more! After my own heart you are! I'll be making that this week, thank you. :)

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  11. FDB is my favorite, too. I took it along in my suitcase once to warm up a trip in depressing weather, and it did, until the Housekeeper showed up because someone had reported smelling smoke. Well, at least it was a polite lady tapping at the door and not a whole bunch of guys in with hoses and axes. I'm glad yours is well guarded so it will stay out of trouble.

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    1. Fred that is very funny but it does so accurately smell like a lovely burning fire? How do they do it?
      Well the firemen would have been more exciting!

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  12. Dear Dani.
    This will sound criminal BUT Feu de Bois is the ONLY Diptyque candle I love and the only one in the range I can bear. The rest of their range does absolutely "zilch".
    I'm amazed at how you can keep your svelte figure and still add so much cheese on your beans.
    You're a star!
    The only way to entertain is at one's home. Far more relaxed - except occasionally, not so much for the cook. Simple is the way to go to prevent chef breakdowns. And who says entertaining has to be a 3 course home cooked meal? Once you develop a routine and some great, easy staples, having friends around is a breeze and so much fun.
    Chicken is always a favourite. Organic chicken will have you re-mortgaging your house over here; but free range can sometimes be just as good. It's such a versatile dish. Throw it in a casserole with all your vegies and carbs (rice/pasta), lots of herbs and tomato for a nice thick sauce and you're done.
    I've always envied your Target buys across the Pacific. Our target store compares to one of your dime stores. Terrible range across the board and lately has been quite expensive. I can spend way too much time in there, and walk out quite frustrated with nothing to show. So your Method buy is a fantastic and "exciting" find in my books. Floorboards look great by the way.
    Purging is a continuous task in our house. I've just tossed most of my t-shirts as we move towards the end of the warmer weather. Feels wonderful to gain that little bit of space in a drawer. That gorgeous scarf of yours is a definite keeper - so soft -and love the texture of that mustardy jacket too.
    Hope your skies are getting brighter! Keep happy. Helen :)

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    1. Hi Helen, today it is 5 above zero and I feel like I'm on a resort vacation, the sun is shining and it is just glorious. It's all relative!
      That scarf is from Paris, our first trip there in 2010. We met the owner of Wolff et Descourtis and MrBP bought me that scarf, it is a treasure.
      The only way is to have dinner at home, it's so expensive to go out, I don't enjoy it for that reason. All those meals out while we were renovating will have me tucked in at home for years... I do need to do some freezer meals or something though for the nights when I am weary and would just like to pop something quick in the oven. Like your chicken suggestion maybe? Thank you :)

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  13. Love that elephant. I've done my final Target stock up too. Very depressing. Hopefully the expansion of Loblaws can provide work to some of the employees. One of the clerks was telling me that she was getting OK severance and thought she'd find something else right away so let's hope.

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    1. Jen it's a LOT of employees out of work, good point about Loblaws, let's see what they can come up with!

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  14. Dani its not that I am in Target ALL the time; however I would be devastated if our closed!
    Thinking of springtime cooking, salads and lighter fare, Always a challenge as to what new to do with chicken breasts!

    xoxo
    Karena
    The Arts by Karena

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    1. Karena true isn't it, I know I was so excited to have a Target, always fun to shop there in the US but they sure didn't last long here and just got off to a bad start, it's a shame.

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  15. I visited Target the last time I was in Toronto. I felt really sad for the staff. Re: chicken - have you looked at the Ottolenghi cookbooks? There are some amazing recipes for chicken that will help dispel the non-boring status. Thanks to Ottolenghi, I am now addicted to sumac and za'atar.

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    1. Louise, it's too sad! I will check those recipes thank you. :)

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  16. Oh, nothing better than a home cooked meal shared with friends, and as you say, the more you entertain the easier it gets. Enjoying the spring-like weather always spurs me on to invite friend over for such meals after the darkness of winter, but first the house needs to be spring-cleaned and then the entertaining begins.

    Your casserole of beans and veggies looks marvelous. I must try to make it, thank you.

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  17. Such a lovely meal. I can't believe your Target is closing-what a bummer. The one near me seems to be always packed with people pushing full shopping carts.
    I love your pretty Spring clothes. You should come here-our weather is crazy good for March-you'd be happy as a clam.

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  18. Your meals look delicious. It is planned to be a busy week again... One lesson and one assignment to go through and the topic does not sound appealing to me (this is the first time). I made a banana bread yesterday, wheat free, honey instead of sugar, coconut oil... I have been struggling with the baking (the day was a struggle ;-) but the result was great... I am not going through my closets as I am trying to sell all what I put on the side already months ago!!!
    Have a great week.

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  19. I've just been making boring chicken. Ha!

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  20. It may be boring, but I love Ina Garten's recipe for Perfect Roast Chicken. Try it if you haven's

    It is sad that Target did not make it in Canada. I wonder why they did not stock them well. Ours in Dallas are stocked quite well. I don't buy clothing there, but it is wonderful for greeting cards, kitchen items, toys, DVDs for children, baby wear, outdoor supplies, and some of our Targets even have a decent grocery store.

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  21. Chicken-"dry" run with salt, ground mustard, chili powder, and whiskey to make it the consistency of mildly wet sand. Think high tide line at low tide. The whiskey makes very good skin. I alternate in herbs, too.
    Also can't go wrong with cilantro, chili, and lime with charred red onion and bell pepper on the side. Unless you're one of those unfortunate people who hate cilantro.
    I buy 35-50 chickens in the summer from a farmer I know rather well. It's a sketchy affair as the chickens are handed over in black trash bags full of ice and go into coolers in my trunk! And I pay cash. I'll admit the first time I did this transaction I thought "what the f am I doing??!!" But my friend assured me they were very good. I took her word and am so glad I did. Then I spend about two days vacuum sealing all that chicken and then freeze it. I can't tell you how fabulously easy it is to make dinner when you have chicken all ready to go! I use a basic seasoning mix for most and cook them sous vide.

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