Monday, November 28, 2016

cross stitching advent calendar progress

I worked hard this week end on trying to finish my cross stitched project.
And I am almost there...
As some of you have totally guested,
I am making an advent calendar,
cross stitching a pattern for each day:

one of my favorites, so far!

Here are the latest ones:

You can check here to see the previous ones (1 through 9)

The pattern is from "La Magie de Noel" de Veronique Enginger.

After embroidering all the numbers, I need to make little bags out of them,
I still have 3 more days...

Happy sewing!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

a sweet lemon meringue pie

This is one of my favorite desserts,
since it takes a long time to make,
I do not bake it as often as my family would like....
so it is perfect to make for Thanksgiving.
(I do not do the turkey thing...!)

Lemon meringue pie, 

Didn't just look so yummy?

I do not use a lot of meringue, I like to see some of the lemon.

There are 3 components to this pie:
the pate sucree,
the lemon curd
and the Swiss Meringue.

For the pate sucree, I use the same recipe than the tarte aux fraises,
except that I add some lemon zest,

There is enough dough for a regular size pie 
and 6 mini pies.
You need to blind bake the dough just like for the strawberry pie.

Next the lemon curd:
4 lemons, zest and juice
8 oz butter
12 oz sugar
4 eggs

Bring the lemon juice, lemon zest and butter to a boil.
In a bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar.
Slowly pour the boiling lemon butter mixture over the eggs, whisking constantly.
Return the mixture to the pot and bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly.
Keep cooking for another 3-5 minutes after the curd has come to a boil.
Pass the lemon curd through a sieve and cool over an ice bath.
Finish cooling it in the fridge before covering the pie crust.

There is enough lemon curd for all the pies (2 larges, or 1 large, 6 small)

And finally the Swiss meringue:
6 oz egg white (6 eggs)
9 oz sugar

Combine the egg whites and sugar in a mixing bowl.
Place the bowl over a simmering water bath (big pot) and heat until the eggs whites thin
and the mixture reach at least 140 degrees.
Place the bowl on the mixer and whip on medium-high speed until the bowl is cool to the touch
and the meringue hols a stiff peak.
Use the meringue right away.

 I like to pipe the meringue to keep it light,
it is always an option to layer it on,
but the blow torch is a necessity as you can see below:

so much prettier with the meringue slightly burned!

While it is fun to make tartelettes, it is also good 
to make a large pie to serve a crowd.

It can easily serve 12 people, it is pretty rich dessert
with nice and strong lemon test.

I wish you and your family 
Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2016

some vintage cross stitching for a new project

Since my trip to Brittany at the end of the summer,
I have been working slowly and patiently
on a large cross stitched project,
inspired by "la magie de Noel" of Veronique Enginger.

(My Mom bought me the book while I was visiting!)

The author is the designer behind a lot of embroideries by les brodeuses parisiennes,
I previously embroidered one of her designs on my beach bag:

You might have seen a few elements of the project on my Instagram,
it is taking a while but it is very relaxing 
to work on it at night, after a long day at work.
Of course it is all read and green, the total opposite
of my vision for this Christmas, 
as I am dreaming of Champagne Christmas!

So it will not be displayed in the living room,
there is always need for some Christmas red in other parts of the house.

I hope to have it finished on time to be the perfect advent calendar,
there are still 9 days...

Happy stitching!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

It will be a Champagne Christmas

I started collecting some "treasures" to decorate for Christmas!
It is still too early to decorate my house or the tree,
there are birthdays and anniversary before Thanksgiving...

When we went to Lucketts to view this year decorations,
it became clear that I was in the mood for something different:
I am dreaming of a Champagne Christmas!

We always have champagne on Christmas so no change there....
but I mean Champagne color Christmas tree and decor!

A little like the collage from Lucketts:

cream, gold, shiny and light touch of pink,
with some rustic touches of courses!

It is a large departure from my red orientated Christmas tree and decor
from the past:

1)-tree from 2015 Christmas,2)- inspiration board
3)- Christmas quilt 2014, 4)- tree skirt 2013
5)- deer pillow 2012, 6)-tree from 2014, 7)- mini tree from 2012

So no red this year, I am not sure how it will work out,
but everybody seems to be on board,
there is always potential rebellion when ornaments are hanged on the tree.

So to prepare for this year, I purchased some new decorations:

various gold plastic balls, some pinkish glass balls,
a super cute glass acorn garland (from Lucketts),
an Eiffel tower (oui oui we need one!),
some natural touch like the pine cones and the antler,
some other ornaments like the fox medallion, the heavy jingle bell.
And of course ribbons, some for the tree, others for the presents.
I am also sewing a new tree skirt with cream velvet and fake fur....

I am hopping everything turns out as I see it in my head...

Happy sewing!

Monday, November 14, 2016

brie and pear tart

With my new baking corner,
it is the perfect time to try some new recipes.
A few weeks ago, I saw this cool apple brie tart by Jenny Steffens Hobick 
and decided to make one too.

I turned out pretty nice, but we (especially the kids) felt like 
something was not quite right.
So I tried again (after all I am a scientist, I am persistent!)
this time with half brie and half comte (one of the cheese I use for gougeres).
After eating it all, "we" decided the cheese was not the problem,
the apple was!

(uncooked mixed cheese-apple tart)

Then I remembered I use pears often in appetizer with cheese.
Well 3rd time is definitively the charm:
brie pear and puff pastry are the way to go!

Happy baking!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Baking corner {One Room Challenge} week six: the big reveal!

This is it, the last day of the One Room Challenge:
the big reveal!

Here is my little baking corner with its shelves 
for my many baking dry goods,
a countertop to use and display the kitchen aid
and below it a cabinet to house the trash can.

Let's walk back through time and look where we were

My inspiration can be found here,
the transformation of the cabinet here,
and the pull-out trash can here,
with a tutorial from Remodelando la casa.
Last week, I started working on the floating shelves,
getting inspired by this tutorial from Shanty 2 Chic.

Well it took a while and a fair amount of errors,
but I built them!

The first shelf (larger and bottom one) was built with
a piece of MDF cut out in a L shape for the top
and a piece of 1/4 inch plywood (also L shape) for the bottom.
It was not the best idea, as I did not cut it out as straight as I would have liked it!
So for the next one I used some 1x5 for the top and still some 1/4 inch plywood
but this time I used 2 pieces the same with as the 1x5.
It was much straighter and easier!
Good to know if there is ever another time....

The base of the shelves was 1x2 for the most part, with a 2x2
near the angle to make attaching top, bottom and front plate easier.
The only challenging part was finding some studs...50 year old house can be interesting!
To make finishing easier, I primed all the boards/parts before attaching them to the wall,
so I only needed to caulk (a lot to hide my unevenness!) and paint,
and touch up the walls...

Once everything was smooth(ish) and dry,
I was able to put my various flour in pretty containers (IKEA),
put a sticker on them and call it ready.
Another little thing that I fixed: the electric outlet.
It was dirty, painted over (green I think).
I was planning on replacing it but I am not a big fan of electricity,
well I am, but not the wiring part....
In this post by Dream Design DIY ,
Tiffany talks about an electric plate that is attached to the outlet
covering the mess without having to wire anything.
I had to check it out and invest $2.25....
totally worth it!

I am going to get a few more to fix a couple other ugly outlet!
I also added some under mount lights under the shelves,
they are LED battery powered lights, very bright and discreet!

Now I must admit that while I am quite pleased with my little baking corner,
it is not totally finished....(the shame, I know)
You see, by itself it is perfect, or even with the cart from the other side of the door,
(with all our drink crates), it goes well,

but I feel like it is not quite right with the rest of the kitchen.

To me, it needs to be the same countertop, so I will be looking into some black granite,
or may be we might be looking into changing the island and reuse that slab of granite
for the baking corner.
I saw this cool kitchen redo by Design Thusiasm (going on right on ORC)
where Lory did exactly that, and it looks pretty good.
Either way we are going to live with the temporary butcher block cutting board
until we make a decision, which knowing us, might be a while!

Happy day!

Coffee, bunny and Easter eggs

Can anyone have too many bunnies, really? OK, maybe, but I am not there yet! I changed my cocoa station from last winter to a spring coffee ...