Inspiring Holiday Decor

I get really excited for holiday decor and I admit I tend to go a little overboard decorating the house for Christmas! I haven’t quite started yet…I’m usually of the mind that the last week of November (no sooner!!) or even the first week of December (no later!!) is when my house sees its transformation. Is it just me or is the whole Christmas season getting a bit longer every year? Anyways, I am definitely not complaining!! And, I like to do a little online decor shopping before I commit to purchasing anything new. I got a lot of great items last year that I will be reusing; but, I couldn’t resist a little round up of my favourite holiday decor: 2014 edition! This year, I am all about natural textures; a lot of wood and greenery for instance. And I am hoping to add some more lighting inside the home, whether that’s through the lovely string lights that are becoming a lot more affordable, or through even more candlelight.Holiday Decor

Simple Wreath only 9.99 from Ikea | Pillows and Bust all from Target | A small white HIPPEASTRUM | Humbug Market Tote Bag from West Elm | Pine Scented Candle from Chapters | Gold Star Tree Topper | Birch Branches for a tall vase | Owl Ornaments | Laser Cut Wood Trees | Stacked Wood Tree | North Pole Postcard (something I would even frame!) from Anthropologie | Starry Night Snow globes from Restoration Hardware to add more twinkling lights

Holiday Decor

My love for marquee letters has not gone away just yet. I was thinking I would get one for Christmas to use later on at our wedding this summer. The signs at Restoration Hardware are lovely!! But I also saw these options at Target for only 25.99!! Lit up, they still look pretty good!! What do you think?! For how much use they will see, is it really worth spending over 100 dollars??Holiday Decor

I love this chalkboard kraft paper for wrapping gifts this year (photo from Anthropologie). Easy to write people’s names on it and a cute Christmas saying. I would probably buy some Workable Fixative spray though to prevent smudging. I’ve tried the Krylon brand available at Michaels or other craft/paint stores and it works great!

Holiday DecorI hope my holiday decor has gotten you as inspired as myself for your home decorating. The tree will be going up soon and then I can take you for a little home tour like last year! Happy decorating everyone!!

xo

 

Delicious Chicken Mole

Delicious Chicken Mole

I made this in February when Kristina came to Canmore and introduced us to her beau for the first time. We were hooked…we loved Ryan and his easygoing ways, especially with our playful Madeline. As Kia’s dad said to me once about my husband, “he’s a catch, throw the anchor out on him.” And she did.

This was the dish that inspired Kristina and I to put some of my favourite, go-to dishes on her blog. I wish I could say that this is my original recipe, or that I’ve made major adjustments to make it better, but this recipe is so good it needs little adaptation. This mole comes from Cook’s Illustrated Soups & Stews periodical from 2012. I must say it is my go to book for comforting, no-fail recipes.

This recipe is composed of many steps that need to be followed precisely. It is best to prep all of the ingredients before beginning to cook, as the timing of this recipe is precise, stirring is constant and ingredients can scorch or burn easily. Since I am going through all the food prep and steps, I usually double the recipe and freeze half.   I think that this may actually taste better reheated than fresh since it gives the flavours time to develop.

What You’ll NeedDelicious Chicken Mole

  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ¼ cup almond butter
  • 1 oz bittersweet, semisweet, or Mexican chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 ½ tsp minced chipotle chili in adobo sauce (you can adjust this to make it more or less spicy depending on how much heat you can handle)
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 8 (5 to 7 oz) boneless, skinless chicken thighs, preferably organic
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 ancho chilis, stemmed, seeded and broken into small pieces
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds, plus more for garnish
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 2 cups chicken broth, preferably homemade* or sodium-reduced, organic
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp agave
  • 2 scallions, sliced thin for garnish
  1. Delicious Chicken MolePreheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Combine raisins, almond butter, chocolate, garlic, chipotle, cinnamon and cloves in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Pat chicken dry and season with salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven, heat 1 tbsp oil over medium high heat. Brown the chicken in batches (being careful not to overcrowd the pan)** on both sides, 10 to 15 minutes; transfer to plate. Repeat until all the chicken is browned.
  4. Pour off all but 2 tbsp of fat left in pot (I usually find that I can skip this step since I use skinless chicken). Add torn ancho chiles, and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until dark red and toasted, about 5 minutes. Stir in sesame seeds and cook until golden, about 1 minute. Stir in onion and cook until just softened, about 2 minutes.Delicious Chicken Mole
  5. Stir in raisin-chocolate mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until the chocolate is melted and bubbly, 1 to 2 minutes (do not let the chocolate burn or your mole will taste scorched). Stir in the broth, scraping up any brown bits (mmmm, flavour!!) on the bottom of the pan.Delicious Chicken Mole
  6. Stir in the diced tomatoes with juice and 1 tsp agave and bring to a simmer. Puree the sauce in a blender*** (or use an immersion blender) until smooth. Return to the pot, seasons with salt and pepper and additional agave to taste.Delicious Chicken Mole
  7. Nestle browned chicken with any accumulated juice into pot, spoon sauce over chicken, and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot, transfer to the oven and cook until chicken is very tender, 1 to 1 ½ hours.Delicious Chicken Mole
  8. Remove the chicken from the pot and shred (using two forks) into bite-size pieces. Whisk sauce to re-emulsify and stir in chicken. Gently re-heat over low heat if needed.Delicious Chicken MoleDelicious Chicken MoleDelicious Chicken Mole9. Serve on rice with cilantro, green onions and sesame seeds for garnish

Delicious Chicken Mole

Tips

*The outcome of your recipe depends entirely on the inputs or ingredients. Nowhere is this more true than with broth. Taste the broth you are using before you add it to your dish. If you don’t like it now you won’t like it later. Homemade broth is so simple to do. Stay tuned to this blog for an easy homemade roast chicken and broth.

**Some tips on browning. 1) Dry your meat. Wet meat will splatter and won’t brown as nicely. 2) Don’t overcrowd the pan. If the pan is too full, there is too much liquid in the pan and the meat ‘poaches’ rather than browns.

***Be careful blending hot liquids. Only fill the blender 1/3 full and place a tea towel over the lid and hold the lid down while pureeing to ensure that the blender does not spray hot liquid onto you.

xo Jacqui

Anna With Love Photography: NYC faves!

Anna with Love Photography

I have loved this online collection of photography and the talented lady behind it for quite some time. I can completely relate to her passion for Paris, having visited this city several times myself. But what I especially love about Anna is her story of being so inspired that she followed her dreams, creating the Anna with Love Photography shop.

And now, she recently released her New York City collection, which has me swooning all over again. I luckily visited NYC myself a month ago and her images captured the city perfectly, making me fall in love even more. I can’t wait to purchase some of these prints for our basement renovation – they would be perfect in another gallery wall!! I thought I would compile some of my faves…but make sure to check out the whole Anna with Love collections! You will not be disappointed!!

Anna with Love PhotographyMad Men | Fast Lane | Brooklyn | New York New York | Park Ave | Soho Good

 Anna is also giving away two prints from the collection, so follow along on Instagram and get in on this giveaway. I am!!

Happy Mid-week everyone!! xx

Lighting 101: Affordable Pendants

Affordable PendantsWhen it comes to lighting design, I always feel like you can have the most fun with pendants. They give off great task lighting and can be the perfect accent piece in a room. Over a kitchen island! Hanging beside the bed! I also love when a bunch of pendants are hung together over a dining table, in lieu of a giant chandelier. We all know that lighting can start to get pretty expensive, especially when looking at a whole house. So I thought I would gather together some beautiful pendants that wouldn’t break the bank. Here is my list of affordable pendants for any room!

Affordable Pendants

 

  • Glass: Modern look that is very minimal. Choose one like this if you want the lighting to disappear. This would be ideal over a sink with a window, so as not to block the outside view. Only 119.00
  • Candlestick: This pendant would look beautiful arranged in a grouping of three. The geometric lines are a great way to have a bit of fun in a space! Only 69.95!!
  • Geo: Another great shape!! It’s so unique AND easy to clean! Only 69.00!
  • Burnished: I love a lot of the pendants at Anthropologie. This one is actually affordable at 98.00 and has a very unique look.
  • Chord: Twist it any way you like!! I love the chunkiness of the rope. Just the right amount of nautical as well. Only 89.95
  • Single Bulb: A simple bulb is sometimes all you need. And this one is perfect with a bit of brass detailing. Only 175.56
  • Industrial: You can find the industrial style almost anywhere you look. Ikea does a fine job with this one at only 59.99.
  • Gold Wire: Gold is still all the rage these days and this small wired pendant would make a great addition to a space. Only 140.00
  • Colored Glass: This blown glass pendant takes on a rose colored finish that would inject just the right amount of color in a space. So feminine! Only 168.00
  • Marble: Last but not least, a beautiful white marble pendant that would make any kitchen look expensive and elegant. Only 159.00

Affordable Pendants

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Lighting 101: My Top 7 Wall Sconces

Top 7 Wall SconcesMy lighting series continues today with one of my favourite type of fixtures – Wall Sconces!! These fixtures are ideal choices in the bedroom, positioned on either side of the bathroom mirror, or accentuating your front entry or staircase. I’ve rounded up my top 7 wall sconces for you to see!

Top 7 Wall Sconces

  1. I love these throw back, retro sconces from Crate & Barrel. A perfect balance of brass and glass in a unique bell shape.
  2. A little hint of the industrial is still a great, modern look. These Factory sconces would look great in a bedroom.
  3. Restoration Hardware has some lovely wall fixtures – and I especially love this french inspired sconce, that can move to wherever you need some extra light.
  4. Great playful curves are the feature of this one!
  5. I love the warmth of the white oak on this one, also from Crate & Barrel. A modern take that would look great in a Scandinavian inspired home.
  6. Mid century modern inspiration at a great price. And it’s the perfect size for a bathroom or bedroom!
  7. Last but not least, a sconce that can be attached to the wall or clamped on a shelf or windowsill if you are not in the business of damaging walls! Great idea!

Top 7 Wall Sconces

I am obsessed with these simple copper sconces – paired with a crisp white bed and grey wall, it looks classic and understated.

powder room finalI also love the single light above the mirror in Cupcakes and Cashmere’s renovated powder room. The brass detailing really pops next to the deep, rich wallpaper.

Tip: In your master bath, think about installing your sconces slightly above eye level, on either side of a mirror. This is the most ideal position for applying makeup and being able to see your face in the most favourable light :)

Tomorrow on Inspired…some perfect pendants and chandeliers!!

xo

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