Junior League of Toronto For the Love of Cooking Event

Dear Toronto,

Do you love indulging in cooking shows? Are you always searching for recipes to make something new? When you travel, do you like to visit local grocery stores, markets and food shops? Do love food, wine, conversation and a fun evening out? 

If the answer to one or more is a definite YES, please join us for the Junior League of Toronto For The Love of Cooking event on the evening of Thursday April 6th. The evening will include hands-on cooking lessons and dinner led by Chef John Cirillo (a former head of Canada’s culinary Olympics team) and his team. Olive Oil Sommelier Karen Rapp will run a tasting and Noble Estates will provide wine pairings. A silent auction and special surprises are also in store. This event is open to Junior League of Toronto, friends and the Toronto community. Men are also most welcome to join us too. Please share with anyone you think may be interested. 

The Junior League of Toronto is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers.  Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable. Funds raised from the event will help support an array of programs for youth and families living in shelters and vulnerable individuals facing mental illness. 

To purchase tickets – https://www.jlt.org/?nd=p_event_detail&event_id=729

A spring table in bloom 

I love all things Finnish. My entire life I have been surrounded by Finnish design at home including many beautiful iittala pieces. I absolutely adore every one of these timeless beauties. This year, iittala is re-thinking the table setting and asking their Instagram followers to share their table reset. Sunny spring days will be in bloom soon so I created this spring table setting with a few of my iittala, Arabia and Marimekko treasured pieces. A fresh take on my spring table.  

My love of hygge 

Tonight we spring forward which always makes me happy. While this winter was bearable by Canadian standards, the dark days are always a challenge for me and I definitely tend to favour cocooning at home over the winter months. 

Long before hygge became the popular lifestyle trend it is today, I learned about the concept after seeing Sharmi Albrechtsen on House Hunters International when she embarked on a move from the USA to Denmark. Sharmi was also featured on the Oprah Life Class on Gratitude that I attended in Toronto. Sharmi’s introduction to happiness and the Danish way of life definitely intrigued me to learn more. 

Hygge – pronounced ‘hoo-guh’ – is the art of creating intimacy, fellowship and coziness in the smallest everyday moments. With my Finnish roots, hygge and this way of living appealed to me. I essentially fell in love with this Danish way of life which seemed like a perfect fit for the cold and dark winter months in Canada. In the spring of 2015, I travelled to Finland to see my family and loved being surrounded by their simplistic way of life. This is something I am definitely trying to incorporate back home in Canada. I purchased these beautiful iittala candle holders to help me perfectly capture the coziness of hygge at home. Every time I light them, they are a perfect reminder to savour what is important in life – time with family and friends, to take time to just be and to enjoy the simple joys of living.  

In search of a not so puffy winter coat 

Chilly, winter days are not over yet so a warm winter coat is definitely still needed. Since I started working full time and wear dresses and skirts most days, I really just invested in winter coats I could wear to work and on the weekends too. However outside of work during the winter months, I am pretty casual with jeans and leggings my outfits of choice so I have kept looking for a casual coat to suit this part of my wardrobe. For many years, I would try on lots of coats but everything I would find was just too puffy for me. Finally last autumn I discovered the Columbia Sportswear WOMEN’S MIGHTY LITE™ HOODED JACKET. Absolutely love the Omni-Heat™ Reflective technology that keeps me perfectly comfortable both indoors and out. Definitely the best winter clothing investment I made last year. 

World Cancer Day 

Today is World Cancer Day. Thinking of all those currently battling this awful disease and the many loved ones that are sadly no longer with us. Talk to your Doctor about screening and when it should begin for you. Learn what symptoms to look for and listen to your body when things just don’t feel right. Early screening can save lives. Try to adopt healthy lifestyle changes. Little changes can make a big difference. Advocate for someone who can’t. If a family member, friend or someone you know has cancer, show up. Call, visit, drive them to their chemotherapy or radiation appointment and keep them company, drop off a home cooked meal, send them a card, a care package or do something that just brightens their day. Please don’t disappear because you are feeling uncomfortable and don’t know what to say. 

“What Cancer Cannot Do – Cancer is so limited … It cannot cripple love, It cannot shatter hope, It cannot corrode faith, It cannot destroy peace, It cannot kill friendship, It cannot suppress memories, It cannot silence courage, It cannot invade the soul, It cannot steal eternal life, It cannot conquer the spirit.” Unknown 

One-pan chicken and veg

Homemade lunches and dinner always seem to go out the window when my life gets busy. The key is definitely prepping in advance. I spent a bit of time this morning making this one-pan chicken and roasted veg to ensure I have some homemade lunches to bring to work. 

I melted coconut oil in a frying pan. Coated the chicken thighs with a tandoori spice purchased from a Indian grocery store. Seared both sides of the chicken thighs and placed on a parchment lined cookie sheet.

Melted coconut oil to toss with the chopped vegetables. My veg mix included orange, yellow and purple carrots, beets, zucchini and red and yellow peppers. I also added finely minced red chilli, garlic and ginger for a bit of flavour.

Combined the chicken thighs and vegetables on the the cookie sheet. Baked until fully cooked. While the chicken and veg were baking, I made brown basmati rice. Once everything was cooked, I placed one chicken thigh, 1/2 cup of rice and the roasted veg into individual containers and froze immediately. 

Lunch simplified.