Friday, April 24, 2015

Orange-soy glazed roast chicken

This post was based on my friend LV's recipe for restaurant-style orange chicken. I used her sauce recipe to marinate a whole roast whole chicken, rather than fried chicken pieces. I served the chicken on a bed of sticky rice, ginger-steamed baby bok choy and mushrooms. This recipe serves 4.

xx

The make the sauce, whisk together in a medium saucepan 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice, 1 cup chicken broth, 1/2 cup white sugar, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 1/3 cup rice vinegar, 2-1/2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoon grated orange zest, 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic, 1/2 teaspoon minced ginger root and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes.
Mix two tablespoons cornstarch with two tablespoons water and set aside. Bring mixture in saucepan to a boil and slowly add the corn starch mixture, stirring frequently until thickened. When sauce has cooled, put the whole chicken in a large bowl and pour the half the sauce over. Marinate for several hours, occasionally spooning the marinade over the chicken. 


Roast the chicken at 400°F for 1 hour to 1-1/2 hours, depending on the size of your chicken. Baste with the juices every 20-30 minutes. The chicken is done when a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165°F.

While the chicken is cooking, prepare 2 cups of sticky rice according to package directions. You can substitute some or all of the water with chicken broth for extra flavour. 

Wash and coarsely chop 12 baby bok choy and quarter about 15 mushrooms. Place into a steamer basket and steam over boiling water seasoned with several pieces of sliced ginger.  

Serve the chicken over the rice and vegetables. Garnish with sesame seeds and minced green onion, and serve sauce on the side.



Monday, April 20, 2015

Beachy

In February, Brad and I had a soul-soothing little getaway to Fort Myers Beach with some of my family. It was the best kind of vacation - sleeping in, going for long walks on the beach, biking around town, having family meals after watching the sun set and making the occasional foray off the island for shopping or a date night.

xx









Shorts - Forever 21
Tank - Lorelai via Road Trip (also here)
Necklace - Claire's
Cardigan - Ted Baker outlet (also here)
Shoes - Vince Camuto outlet
Sunglasses - Shoppers Drug Mart

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Strawberry balsamic and rosemary chicken with couscous salad

Couscous has been a saviour on weeknights. Even if we get home late, it's ready in a matter of minutes and its neutral flavour can be married with all kinds of ingredients. Make-ahead marinating chicken can be popped in the oven and there's no need to dial for pizza. This dish serves four.

xx

To prepare the marinade, whisk together 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup strawberry balsamic vinegar (I used a delicious one from Kingston Olive Oil Company), 2T grainy mustard and 1T dried rosemary (double or triple this amount if you're using fresh herbs). Season with salt and pepper. Pour into a large Ziploc bag and add four boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Marinate for several hours or overnight. 

Bake the chicken at 350°F for about 20 minutes, turning once.

Prepare 1-1/2 cups dry couscous according to package directions. Finely dice 1 small cucumber, 3 Bosc pears, and 1/2 red onion. Add to the couscous, along with 2/3 cup dried cranberries. I added 1/4 cup of leftover hazelnut crumbs, but in a pinch you could add slivered almonds instead.Toss gently to combine. 

Slice the chicken and serve over top.


Sunday, April 12, 2015

A Canadian's guide to jackets: the denim jacket

This is the thirteen (and final) post in my 'A Canadian's guide to jacket' series. I hope you've enjoyed it!


xx

THE FORECAST: Sunny summer day, 27°C, but dropping to 19°C in the evening

THE OCCASION: Walking home after a fireworks show

THE JACKET: Boxy dark denim jacket

Denim jackets are my favourite warm-weather coverup because they're versatile and tough-wearing. They can be surprisingly pricey, though. I got this one on sale at Saks Off Fifth. Truth be told, I still find myself lusting after the one that got away: a faded denim beauty that fit like a glove and cost four times as much as this one. I guess it's lucky I forgot where I'd tried it on! I love the look of rugged denim jackets with feminine pieces, like silk sundresses or coloured denim and floaty tanks. No need to worry about colour matching: denim acts as a neutral and goes with anything!

xx






Jacket - Saks Off Fifth
Dress - Gap via thrift store
Shoes - Vince Camuto outlet
Hat - Forever 21

Thursday, April 09, 2015

A Canadian's guide to jackets: the leather jacket

This is the twelfth post in my 'A Canadian's guide to jacket series'. 

xx

THE FORECAST: Sunny and 16°C

THE OCCASION: Movie date

THE JACKET: Button-up leather jacket

Oh happy day!! Pulling this jacket out storage in the spring brings the biggest smile to my face. It's a telltale sign that summer is finally on its way! There are lots of high-quality imitation leather jackets out there. However, if you're not opposed to wearing the real thing, and if it's in your budget to invest in one, DO IT. This one is made of a buttersoft material and barely shows its age after five years of regular wear (I treat it regularly and dry-clean it very occasionally). It was a splurge that's been every bit worth the investment. 

In a leather jacket, I look for a reputable brand name, pliable and even-looking leather, secure stitching, a good fit, and fun details. With this jacket, I was drawn to the asymmetrical buttons, a blazer-like shape, and split seams on the cuffs. Dark brown is a colour that can be accessorized for spring with pastel hues and boyfriend jeans, or fall with a cozy scarf and boots. 








Jacket: Danier Leather
Jeans: Gap
Top: Guess
Shoes: Cole Haan
Scarf: Sirens
Sunglasses: SMD eyewear via Shoppers Drug Mart






Jacket - Danier 
Top - Lululemon
Scarf - Gift
Jeans - Forever 21
Boots - Ecco
Earrings - 

Monday, April 06, 2015

A Canadian's guide to jackets: the zip-up sporty jacket

This is the eleventh post in my 'A Canadian's guide to jacket' series. 

xx

THE FORECAST: A crisp and sunny day early spring day with a hint of a cool breeze. 14°C

THE OCCASION: Pretending you just arrived at the grocery store/bank/school pickup from the gym, but really you were just too lazy to pick an outfit (or do your hair)

THE JACKET: Fleece-lined zip-up jacket

This jacket was the most frivolous purchase of the lot. I saw it on a clearance rack at Winners and it was love at first sight. (The photos don't do it justice.) Its neoprene-like outer layer is instantly slimming and creates great clean lines, especially when zipped up all the way. Thin fleece inside lining is soft against the skin. 

The Vuarnet brand is nostalgic and I often get comments on it. How a French powerhouse in the 90s sunglasses scene came to sell what appears to be a single item of sportswear at a Canadian off-price department store, I don't know! But I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for more.





Jacket - Vuarnet via Winners
Black tank - Gap
Yellow sports bra - Winners
Shoes - Asics
Socks - TJ Maxx
Hat - Gymboree
Leggings - Ralph Lauren

Thursday, April 02, 2015

A Canadian's guide to jackets: the trenchcoat

This is the tenth post in my 'A Canadian's guide to jacket' series. 

xx

THE FORECAST: Chance of rain throughout the day. 15°C

THE OCCASION: Singin' in the rain

THE JACKET: Banana Republic belted trench coat

It's a good thing Ottawa's sidewalks aren't too densely packed. I'm that a**hole cheerfully staying dry under an umbrella big enough that I could probably turn it upside down and use it to float across the Atlantic. 

I love any opportunity to wear a trench coat. It's a style that's universally flattering and something you can have fun with. I got this one in a classic cut but a burgundy colour that can transition from spring to fall. I disregarded the 'dry clean only' instructions on the label and threw it in a delicate cycle. Because, whatever. I assume stores label everything, even cotton, dry clean only as an insurance policy. To my horror, the colour faded noticeably and it shrank about several inches in length. Gah!! Lesson learned: check the label before you buy, and factor in your potential dry cleaning bills!







Trench - Banana Republic
Jeans - Forever 21
Boots - Kamik

Sunday, March 29, 2015

A Canadian's guide to jackets: the quilted layer jacket

This is the ninth post in my 'A Canadian's guide to jacket' series. 

xx

THE FORECAST: Clear but slightly windy spring evening. 12°C

THE OCCASION: Late-evening gym session

THE JACKET: Lightweight quilted down jacket 

When worn on its own, this jacket has a sporty, downtown vibe. It's my favourite for walking to and from the gym because it's virtually weightless, yet warm enough to keep tired muscles from cramping up. Bright, neon colours play up the athletic angle and break up all the black.






Jacket - Lole
Shirt - Lululemon
Gloves - Winners
Hat - Gymboree
Leggings - Wilfred via Aritzia
Boots - Aldo

Thursday, March 26, 2015

A Canadian's guide to jackets: the rain parka

This is the eighth post in my 'A Canadian's guide to jacket' series. 

xx

THE FORECAST: 0°C. Freezing downpour, windy. (a.k.a. the WORST)

THE OCCASION: Anything that absolutely requires me to be outside, rather than curled up under a blanket on the couch

THE JACKET: MEC Gortex rain parka

I keep this jacket around for the weather I dread the most: wind whipping up icy particles that sting every exposed bit of skin, before melting into a permeating dampness *shudder*. The jacket is old and kind of ugly, but it's functional and waterproof. (I spray it twice a year with an all-weather protector). I layer my quilted down jacket underneath for added warmth. 

The one thing that puts a smile on my face is my Kamik Flora rain boots. I discovered the brand when researching alternatives to Hunter boots. They're Canadian manufactured, 100% recyclable, and surprisingly warm. I've only owned them for a year, but they seem built to last. Plus, I get compliments every time I wear them!





Jacket - MEC
Jacket - Lole
Hat - Gymboree
Gloves - Winners
Jeans - Forever 21
Boots - Kamik via SoftMoc

Monday, March 23, 2015

A Canadian's guide to jackets: the down vest

This is the seventh post in my 'A Canadian's guide to jacket' series. 

xx

THE FORECAST: Sunny and showing the first signs of spring, but still chilly. 5°C

THE OCCASION: Visiting a cabane à sucre for the first maple toffee of the season

THE JACKET: down-filled quilted vest with a faux-fur lined hood

Staying warm starts with the torso and down vests are perfect for those in-between seasons days. But, rappers wearing down vests kind of ruined things for me for a few years. To bring this look into 2015, I wore it over slim-fitting layered shirts, and added tall boots and a cozy infinity scarf. In shopping for a vest, I'd suggest looking for genuine down fill, a snug fit and a detachable hood. There's no need to spend a bundle: this version came from a consignment store.

xx




Vest - Mexx via consignment
Scarf - Suzy Shier
White shirt - Guess
Striped shirt - Lululemon
Jeans - Forever 21
Boots - Ecco