A fabulous Saturday afternoon in my kitchen with local Markham via Mexico Chef Paula Zavala. I was lucky to be able to attend her virtual Thai Food Cooking Class today. On the menu – Thai Coconut Milk Soup with Chicken or Shrimp, Chicken or Pork Skewers with Peanut Sauce and Thai Caramelized Plantains or Bananas.
Chef Paula hosts a few weekly classes virtually from her kitchen. Definitely recommend doing your mise en place prep before the class. In addition to her weekly classes, you can also book a private class too. What a fun and safe idea to enjoy with family, friends and/or your team for a little holiday cheer from the comforts of home. Gracias Chef Paula for a great few hours of connecting with others, learning and my delicious Saturday evening dinner. ♥️
My first time staying in an AirBNB was in Ravello, Italy. Suite Lia was my lovely home away from home – a close walk to the city square but a quiet spot with a stunning sea view, lovely garden and a hot tub shared with neighbouring Chez Lia – a larger two bedroom suite. Both are also a close walk to Villa Eva and Villa Cimbrone.
Like many spots in the Amalfi Coast, it does require climbing a lot of steps so if you are planning a future holiday there, I recommend to start waking a lot including stairs to make navigating the coast less challenging.
My AirBNB host was Francesca of Chic and Fabulous – a local wedding and event planner who also helps plan touristic services. As a woman travelling alone to Ravello, it was very important to me where to stay and that I would feel safe on my own. I knew immediately I found the perfect spot when I connected with Francesca. She was incredibly patient with my many questions and was a fabulous host and amazing to deal during my time in Ravello. To learn more about Suite Lia, Chez Lia and Villa Mariella, I highly recommend connecting with Francesca at Chic and Fabulous.
It has likely been a decade since I have tackled a lasagna but this one was definitely worth the effort. Creating a béchamel sauce for a lasagna is something new to me but made a big difference to the creaminess of this dish.
Recipe is my take on of the vegetable lasagna made by Chef Devan Rajkumar @chefdevan of #ChefDevatHome IGTV videos.
Lasagna Noodles, Tomato Sauce, Mozzarella and Parmesan Cheeses, Butter, Flour, Milk, Pesto, Your Favourite Vegetables
• Lasagna – Use fresh pasta if possible. I bought lasagna sheets from my local Longo’s and will never use a boxed one again.
• To add creaminess to the lasagna, make a Béchamel sauce – one of the five mother sauces. It is essentially three tablespoons of butter and three tablespoons of floor. Cook in out over low to medium heat for three to four minutes to form a roux. Add two cups of hot milk and whisk until creamy. Add a pinch of nutmeg.
• Parchment paper at the bottom of the baking dish
• Add sauce at the bottom of the dish with a bit of oil from a sundried tomato jar if you have on hand. I used a Just Sauce Roasted Garlic Jar for my lasagna.
• Lasagna Noodles – you may need to cut them them to fit the dish you are using
• Mozzarella Cheese
• Béchamel Sauce
• Lasagna Noodles
• Repeat the above. I added sautéed onions, mushrooms, spinach and zucchini on some layers and for others added pesto sauce to the mozzarella and béchamel sauce.
• Avoid thick layers.
• Once I ran out of my béchamel sauce, I added the top lasagna noodles and covered with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese, salt, pepper and chilli flakes if you wish.
• Cover with parchment paper and then with foil. Cook in a preheated oven at 350F for 45 minutes to one hour.
• Remove from the oven and take off foil and parchment paper. Add mozzarella and parmesan cheese to the top and broil for 3-4 minutes. Turn the oven light on and do not walk away. Critical to ensure you do not burn the top.
Today like many others, I officially started working from home indefinitely to protect myself, family, friends and others during COVID-19 outbreak. I am incredibly grateful to have the option to do so. To help with the transition from working in an office to home and to create a bit of balance between work and home life, I created myself a workspace that is both productive yet beautiful and peaceful to me.
The move to work from home means I will personally gain between 10 – 15 hours that I commute every week. For many of us that spend a lot of time commuting and/or are simply used to always being on the go, the next little bit may be exceptionally challenging and lonely as we socially distance ourselves from others to help flatten the curve.
Thought I would share some ideas to help you embrace these changes in routine and all the extra time you may find yourself with over the next few weeks and potentially beyond.
Professional and Job Search Ideas
Review and revise your CV
Make your CV Applicant Tracking System (ATS) compliant
Practice your interviewing skills even if you don’t have an interview scheduled
Develop or revisit your own personal brand
Update and complete your LinkedIn profile
Connect with others on LinkedIn by sending personal invites
Join groups on LinkedIn and follow others
Comment on LinkedIn posts and articles
Write and share your own articles and posts
Learn a new brainstorming technique like Mind Mapping®
Reflect on where you are at in your career, where you want to go and love what you do
Research companies you are interested in potentially working for to learn more about them
Find opportunities to learn formally and informally – read, listen to podcasts, webinars, lives, zoom chats, etc.
Life doesn’t always give you a fairytale but thankfully that doesn’t mean you can’t own beautiful dishes just for you. Love my new Sophie Conran White Porcelain by Portmeirion dishes from the William Ashley Warehouse Sale. Simple and practical for every day and entertaining too.
Meet Francesca, owner of Chic & Fabulous and the lovely woman who made my Ravello holiday all come together. Not only is Francesca a local wedding and event planner but she was also my AirBNB superhost as well as the organizer of my Dolce Vita Amalfi Coast Tour and my cooking class. Prior to my arrival in the Amalfi Coast and throughout my entire stay, Francesca was absolutely wonderful to deal with and truly made my me moon special. If you plan to visit Ravello and the Amalfi Coast, definitely connect with Francesca to find out about all the amazing things to enjoy and explore. Grazie Francesca. Till we meet again. ♥️
“Money doesn’t buy elegance. You can take an inexpensive sheath, add a pretty scarf, gray shoes, and a wonderful bag, and it will always be elegant.” – Caroline Herrera
Scarves have always been one of my favourite accessories and Love From Alice is one of my go to stops for my growing scarf collection. Open Saturday and Sundays in Jubilee Market Hall at Covent Garden in London, England. I love that scarves are A simple and inexpensive way to add a pop of colour and change up an outfit. If you find yourself in London, definitely pop by Love From Alice for a visit.
When the perfect recipe lands in your inbox and you have all the ingredients, you head to your kitchen. Meet Nigella Lawson’s Moonblush Tomatoes. I used fresh thyme as I had it on hand and it calls for Maldon Salt which is worth the splurge.
Sweet dreams wee ones. See you in the morning!
Good Morning Moonblush Tomatoes.
Nigella’s Moonblush Tomatoes = super simple linguine. Five ingredients – tomatoes, linguine, evoo, fresh thyme and parmesan cheese. Super simple and absolutely delicious.
Today is Caregivers Day. 3.3 Million Ontarians support someone else. Many caregivers work full time and then care for someone they love in their hours outside of work. Every caregivers journey is different but nonetheless it can be mentally, physically and spiritually exhausting. Please visit www.ontariocaregiver.ca to help support you or someone you love or work with.
“A strong woman stands up for herself. A stronger woman stands up for everybody else.” – Unknown. Happy International Women’s Day to all the strong women who are advocating everyday for themselves and others.