Sunday, February 26, 2012

DIY for sewing novices - button swap

Collectively, these coats cost me $22 and a 1/5 of a lasagna. The red peacoat was from a clothes swap, so it was $0. The cuffs needed rehemming, and since I can't sew, I took a lasagna and five pieces of clothing needing repairs to my friend's mom. Still following? She even added a nice black trim. The second coat was a $12 thrift store dream find - virgin wool, beautifully designed and with a pretty fuschia lining. But I thought both could be spruced up with some new buttons, so I dropped another $10 at Fabricland. I didn't take any pictures pre-alteration, so just squeeze your eyes shut really tight and use your imagination. The red coat came with boring red buttons, and the navy coat had none. I was told that without buttons it looked like a housecoat (ahem, B). Now it just looks like the coat of a Russian spy. Who bakes lasagnas.


Coat - Swapped (Jacob)
Buttons - Fabricland
Jeans - Superblue (Australia)
Boots - Thrifted (Etienne Aigner)
Socks - Lorpen
Earmuffs - ? via mall kiosk
Scarf - Gifted
Gloves - Auclair via Winners

Coat - Thrifted
Buttons - Fabricland
Pants - Thrifted (BCBG)
Shoes - Old Navy
Gloves - Auclair via Winnera
Gift - Gifted from Dooney and Burke

Friday, February 24, 2012

Trend trial run: Short sleeve over long

I'm not sure how I feel about this one. The thrifted BCBG pants are a favourite of mine for work, and I like that I've incorporated some punchy colours but overall I feel my outfit's a little...MEH. Anyways, I'm putting it out there in the blog world and those of you enjoying a quiet Friday evening by your computers can feel free to agree...or disagree.

When you have a 'meh' outfit, do you post it?


Pants - Thrifted (BCBG)
Shirt - H&M
Cardigan - Thrifted (George)
Shoes - Old Navy
Sarong - Gifted from Hawaii (also here)
Flower pins - Thailand markets
Earrings - Walmart

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Traditional Greek salad

This light salad calls out for fresh late-summer produce (Southern hemisphere dwellers, take note). Traditionally, Greek salad is made without lettuce. Given my love-hate relationship with leafy greens, that suits me just fine.

Chop 3 ripe tomatoes and 1 whole English cucumber. Add 1/4 red onion, very thinly sliced (I didn't have any, and substituted sweet onion). Add crumbled feta cheese to taste and a handful of olives. 

To make dressing, vigorously whisk 3 T red wine vinegar, 3 T lemon juice, 1 tsp chopped garlic and 1 tsp dried oregano. While continuing to whisk, slowly pour in 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil. Season to taste.

Substitute 1 to 1 1/2 cups of cherry tomatoes for regular tomatoes. 
Add chopped red pepper. 
Substitute green olives for black ones.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Trend trial run: Knee-high boots and socks

When warmer days are upon up, I'll be sorry to say goodbye to knee-high socks and boots and cosy layers. The top half of my outfit was inspired by Tinfoil Tiara's knotted top (ok, 1980s, you can take some credit too) and the bottom half, well, by half the blogosphere. Because I couldn't be bothered to shell out $6 for a new pair of funky knee-highs I dug out my ski socks to do the trick - worn scrunched-down in this outfit.

What trends have you been trying out this season?


Jeans - Superblue (Australia)
Pink shirt - Kenneth Cole via Costco
Grey shirt - Muui (Australia)
Floral shirt - Thrifted (Zara) (also here and here)
Socks - Lorpen
Boots - Thrifted (Etienne Aigler)
Necklace - from my sister's closet
Earrings - Gifted

Friday, February 17, 2012

Paprika-laced shrimp risotto with wild mushrooms and peas

Confession: I made this recipe a few months ago off the top of my head and I don’t remember exactly how I did it. This is my best attempt to retrace my steps.

Preparing the shrimp
Fill a skillet with about 1 inch of white wine. Add 1 T hot paprika and bring to a simmer. Add about 30 uncooked shrimp, cover and cook for several minutes until shrimp are no longer translucent. Remove shrimp and run under cold water briefly to stop cooking. Keep remaining wine mixture hot.

Preparing the mushrooms
In a bowl, re-hydrate ½ cup dehydrated wild mushrooms according to package directions. Drain the mushrooms and set aside, reserving 1 cup of the water used for steeping. Pour this water into a pot and add approximately 6 cups of vegetable stock, then heat and keep hot on stove.

Preparing the rice
Finely chop ½ cooking onion, then saut√© in a large saucepan over medium heat in a mixture of oil and butter until translucent, stirring frequently using a wooden spoon. Add 2 cups of uncooked Arborio rice and cook until also somewhat translucent, stirring regularly. Pour the hot wine mixture used to cook the shrimp over the rice and onions, and stir. Once almost fully absorbed by the rice, add a ladleful of the hot stock mixture and stir as it absorbs. Repeat this step one ladleful at a time, stirring constantly. When adding the last ladle of stock, also add the re-hydrated mushrooms and ½ cup of peas.

Over time, the rice will take on a creamy consistency. The overall cooking time for the rice will be about 30 minutes, and 2 cups of rice should absorb about 8 cups of liquid. You may need a little more or a little less (if you run out of stock, use hot water). The cooked rice is done when it is al dente.

Remove from heat and stir in shrimp, a few tablespoons of grated Parmesan and a few tablespoons of cream. Season to taste.

{The shrimp after simmering in a mixture of white wine and paprika}

{Mixture of stock and mushroom liquid, being kept hot}

{Sauteing the onions}

{Sauteing the Arborio rice}

{Adding the hot stock to the rice}

{Adding the mushrooms and peas}

{Final product}

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Colourful beaded necklace

Is anyone else loving all the bold and colourful jewellery in stores these days? When I spotted this intricate, Native American-style (is that PC?) beaded necklace at Value Village for $9.99 I couldn't pass it up. Turns out it was the ideal piece for linking a bunch of disparate items from my wardrobe - a blue blazer, an orange skirt, and green shoes (ALL thrifted thankyouverymuch).

I have my sad face on because N and I got busted for taking pictures inside our building. Apparently that's 'not allowed'. I'd say the fact it took eight months before it dawned on them that we were up to this is the bigger problem. They didn't seem swayed with our insistence that we spend most of our time trying to crop OUT the building's identifying features. But fear not, your stubborn bloggers will find a way, if only a more discreet nook of the building. Because, baby, it's cooold outside. 


Blazer - Thrifted (Femme de Carrière)
Shirt - Thrifted (Jalouzie) (last seen here)
Skirt - Thrifted (H&M) (also here)
Shoes - Thrifted (Naturalizer)
Necklace - Thrifted
Earrings - Le Chateau

Monday, February 13, 2012

Tropical lassi

Sometimes, to get through the long winter months, you need a taste of summer. This frothy drink, with its tropical tones of coconut and mango, delivers. I made a few tweaks to the original recipe to lower the calories without sacrificing flavour. I reduced the amount of coconut milk from 400mL to 200mL, filling in with orange-peach-mango juice (any variation would do), used light coconut milk and low-fat yogurt, and reduced the amount of sugar. Even better is if you have fresh fruit on hand!

Blend 200 mL light coconut milk, 200 mL orange-peach-mango juice, 3/4 cup light natural yogurt, juice from 1 lime, 2 1/2 T caster sugar and 6 ice cubes in a blender until smooth and creamy. Garnish with a lime slice. Makes enough for 2 large glasses.

Recipe adapted from: Squeezed cookbook


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Tunic, repurposed as a shirt

I've worn this tunic the usual ways...belted, unbelted, with jeans, with leggings, with a vest over top. One morning when looking for a toned-down colour to offset my flashy yellow skirt for work, I decided to try it tucked in, as a top. Then I decided I needed something around the waist, and settled on my stone belt. A good hair day and deep wine red lipstick finished things off. The shoes didn't make it into the photos but it's just as well. N pointed out that my deep green scaley pumps would have been a fun alternative to the black ones I was wearing.



Tunic - Jacob (also here and here)
Skirt - Caroll (also here)
Belt - Swapped (Salena's Collection) (last seen here)
Shoes - Thrifted (Naturalizer)
Earrings - Thailand markets

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Bold, spicy-sweet glazed pork back ribs

These baby back pork ribs turned out exactly as I hoped. The meat was fork-tender and falling off the bone, the sauce bold, sticky and sweet, but with enough kick to set your lips a-tingling. I made two full racks but there was enough sauce for three. However, It's rich enough that just a couple of ribs will fill you up - we had plenty of leftovers.  Make sure you plan this recipe well ahead of time to account for the double-cooking. 

To make rub: 
Combine 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup hot Hungarian paprika, and 1 T each of chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne and cracked pepper. Rub ribs with the mixture, the bake on a roasting rack for 8-9 hours (overnight) at 200F. Cool and cut between bones into individual ribs.

To make sauce:
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine 2 1/2 cups ketchup,  1 1/2 cups honey, 2/3 cup balsamic vinegar, 1/2 cup cider vinegar, 1/4 cup Coca-Cola, 4 T dark soy sauce, 4 tsp Dijon mustard and 2 tsp Worcester sauce. Bring to boil, stirring often. Continue boiling for 20 minutes, stirring often. Add rib pieces to sauce and toss well to combine.

Place ribs on baking sheet meaty side up, leaning ribs against each other as necessary to hold upright, reserving any extra sauce. Bake at 425F for about 20 minutes, brushing halfway with reserved sauce. 

Rub recipe from here
Sauce recipe adapted from here

 {Rub mixture}

{Raw ribs with rub}

{Sauce being reduced}

{Rubbed ribs, after cooking overnight}

 {With sauce, ready to go back in oven}