Tuesday, February 14, 2012

the art of marriage

When I was choosing a photo for last Friday's post I knew I wanted a shot of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, the Hollywood superstars whose 50 year marriage was very un-Hollywood.   It wasn't a fairytale beginning, he was married when they met and the decades later he spoke candidly about the guilt he felt over that painful breakup.  After a rocky start they wed in 1958 and were married until his death in 2008.  I love that in all their photos from gorgeous youth to golden years they always seem to be getting a terrific kick out of one another.  I've also always loved the reading from their wedding which is beautifully romantic but seems wonderfully pragmatic as well.  And it seemed to work for them...

Happiness in marriage is not something that just happens. 
A good marriage must be created. 
In the Art of Marriage: 
The little things are the big things. 
It is never being too old to hold hands. 
It is remembering to say 'I love you' at least once a day. 
It is never going to sleep angry. 
It is at no time taking the other for granted; the courtship should not end with the honeymoon, it should continue through all the years. 
It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives. 
It is standing together facing the world. It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family. It is doing things for each other, not in the attitude of duty or sacrifice, but in the spirit of joy. 
It is speaking words of appreciation and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways. 
It is not expecting the husband to wear a halo or the wife to have wings of an angel. 
It is not looking for perfection in each other. 
It is cultivating flexibility, patience, understanding and a sense of humor. 
It is having the capacity to forgive and forget. 
It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow. 
It is finding room for the things of the spirit. 
It is a common search for the good and the beautiful. 
It is establishing a relationship in which the independence is equal, dependence is mutual and the obligation is reciprocal. 
It is not only marrying the right partner, it is being the right partner.

Monday, February 13, 2012



Truffles are one of those delightful treats that never fail to impress but are actually quite simple to make. You can get pretty much covered in ganache while rolling them but if you can melt chocolate, you can make these.    I found this recipe in Bon Appetit a few years ago and I love the blend of dark chocolate, Earl Grey tea and brandy for a nice grown-up kick.

Skip the heart-shaped box of supermarket chocolates and whip up a batch of these for your sweetie!

Earl Grey Truffles

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon sugar
3 Earl Grey tea bags - (try Stash's Double Bergamot Earl Grey for  a wonderful citrus note)
8 ounces of dark chocolate chopped
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 tablespoons of brandy
1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
Unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted

Bring cream and sugar just to boil in heavy small saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar.  Remove from heat.  Empty tea from bags into cream.  Cover and steep 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, stir chocolate and butter in small saucepan over low heat until melted and smooth. I like to use a double-boiler to ensure the chocolate doesn't burn.  Transfer to medium bowl.

Strain cream mixture through fine mesh strainer into chocolate mixtures, stir to blend.  Stir in brandy and salt.  Let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.  Cover and chill until firm, about 4 hours.

Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.  Roll rounded teaspoonfuls of chocolate mixture between palms to form balls.  Place on prepared sheet.  Chill until firm about 1 hour.  Roll truffles between palms again.  Place cocoa powder in small bowl.  Roll truffles in cocoa.   Cover and chill.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Friday, February 10, 2012

it's the weekend. fall in love.

Hello, loves, finally the weekend has arrived.  I've got a mixed bag of work and play this weekend with pedicures, brunch and a jewelry sale tomorrow and a lot of work writing for the rest of the week.  How about you? any pre-Valentine's Day plans?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

paper hearts

Everywhere I turn on blogs and pinterest people are posting great ideas for Valentine's Day. 

Last year I was much more organized and ambitious about this occasion - hosting a Valentine's tea and sending out old school vintage Valentine's to my nearest and dearest.  This year with two productions coming up at Theatre New Brunswick and getting my head around Caleb's plans for next season (so exciting!), I am lowering my Valentine's ambitions a little bit.  Although I did manage to hang some simple paper hearts in the den...

How about you? Do you decorate for Valentine's day?  Make homemade cards? Or ignore the occasion altogether?

great places? o-square gets my vote!

When I first moved to Fredericton, I lived in a wee one-room apartment on the top floor of the Lamont building near the lighthouse.  Officers' Square was quite literally in my backyard.  Fifteen years later, I live just around the corner from another great Fredericton space (Wilmot Park) but  it's Officers' Square that still shows up the most on this blog: lunch datesrallies,  fundraiserscraft festivals, cultural festivals and, of course, concerts!
It's definitely one of my favourite spaces in the city and this year it's in the running again as one of the Great Places in Canada in the public places category (last year it cracked the top 10).  Be sure to visit the site to get your vote in!  (and while you're there why not show a little love to Queen Street and Marysville too!)

Monday, February 6, 2012

playing chicken

What is is about Sunday nights that always make me want to roast a chicken?  I love the convenience of grabbing rotisserie chickens from the supermarket to use in weeknight meals but since you can have your own roasted chicken in just over an hour, Sunday seems to be the perfect time to roast your own.  Great eating for a few days and then the chance to make homemade stock.  In the fall, I like the earthiness of classic poultry seasonings: sage, thyme, rosemary and love pairing it with root veg.  But now that we are in deep winter I am craving a little brightness... okay a lot of brightness.  Enter Martha Stewart Living and a recipe for Lemon, Parsley and Parmesan chicken.

With its vibrant citrus and fresh green flavours, the combination of lemon and parsley is one of the quickest and surest ways to brighten up any dish.  I use it frequently with pasta and toss it with chickpeas, olive oil and garlic for a quick and filling salad.  But stuffing half a cup of chopped parsley and half a lemon inside a chicken was new for me.  The result was incredibly juicy and light tasting meat. You also roast some small potatoes drizzled in olive oil and lemon juice with the chicken - delicious and addictive!  Topped with a parsley, lemon and parmesan sauce, it's a great way to brighten up a winter's night.

(I served this with a simple strawberry and spinach salad to get a few more vegetables in there.)

Friday, February 3, 2012

it's the weekend. take flight.

Cary Grant and Amelia Earhart

As I mentioned earlier this week Band of the Day is my addiction. One discovery, Destry, has become my winter evening soundtrack.   If you're a fan of the retro-pop sound of She & Him, you'll want to check them out.

Gorgeous little Australian zine called Spoonful out of Australia. 

Love this piece on Downton Abbey stars in real life and out of costume.  O'Brien and Hughes are unrecognizable.  And helloooo Bates, my love for you only grows.

Mix tapes of the literati . Need I say more.

Ok, so when I was singing "On My Own" into my hairbrush at 16, Samantha Barks was in diapers.  Still so excited that they've cast a new face as Eponine in the film version of Les Miz. (Also love that the original 'ponine Frances Ruffelle changed her Twitter pic to a shot of her and Samantha)

Letterpress is always delightful - check out the cute Valentines from Dutch Door Press (and how about those cute state birds?!)

If you still have not watched the adorable Kristen Bell's Sloth meltdown. Go. Watch. Now.  It's okay.  I'll wait... (hums Jeopardy theme)... Right?!  She's my new imaginary best friend.  "I needed to be sedated clearly."

Whether your weekend involves swooning over animals or not, I hope it's a great one!


Thursday, February 2, 2012

puppy love

My affection for Kate Middleton is well documented here and also here as is my affection for royal pups.  I also enjoy Wellies and the ocean.  So, yes, these shots of Kate and Will walking their new cocker spaniel pup on a beach are just full of awesome.  

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

confessions of a girly girl

granola girl

When my grandmother first introduced me to granola many, many years ago it seemed incredibly exotic compared to, say, Shreddies or Fruit Loops.  Granola is actually really easy to make at home - doesn't get any simpler than this Everyday Granola recipe from Molly Wizenberg.  I followed her recipe more or less as written but there's a lot of room to play with your own ingredients.

Mix together:
  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans  (or almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds - your choice!)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 3 tablespoons (packed) brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon & 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (you could play with your own fave spices)
  • 1/4 teaspoon (generous) salt

Heat 1/3 cup honey and 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil over low-medium heat until blended.  I think my next batch I'd like to try maple syrup instead of honey - yum!  I'm sure you could replace the brown sugar and honey with agave if you know the right proportions as well.

Spread the mixture over a parchment lined baking sheet and pop in a 300F oven for 40 minutes, tossing every 10.  Once the mixture is crispy and golden, remove and cool.  

Once it's cool mix in 1 cup of dried fruit.  I love dried cranberries but again this is up to you.  Store in an airtight container for one week.