Kitchen Tales: Garlicky Rosemary Carrots

Having vegetables as a main dish is pretty normal in our home, at our dinner gatherings, and even extended family outings. Occasionally, experimenting with classics is what makes all the difference. I revamped my regular roasted carrot dish and added a favourite herb from our garden: fresh rosemary. But, the major difference was adding the honey pecans to the dish, which balanced the combination of savoury and sweet, and gave the dish a slight tangy finish. 

I served garlicky roasted carrots and added a potato. This was a main dish for us, but I also served it as a side dish along with a Caesar salad on a different night. *I used a bag of frozen round wedged carrots and thawed them out to save time.

340 g (12 oz.) carrots (round wedges or thinly sliced) 
1 russet potato (cleaned) or about 180 g (cut in small cubes) 
3 tablespoons quality olive oil 
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary (chopped) 
1 1/2 teaspoons Tamari (Gluten-free soy) 
1 teaspoon onion powder 
4 garlic cloves (chopped) 
1 teaspoon paprika 
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt 
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Yield: Serves 2-4
Prep: 5-7 min. Cook: Bake 200 C/400 F  30-40 min. 

  1. Place cut carrots and cut potatoes in a bowl with the olive oil, Tamari, garlic, paprika, and onion powder. 
  2. Sprinkle rosemary, black pepper, and coarse sea salt in the bowl, then toss the veggies (carrots and potatoes) until they are nicely coated. 
  3. Transfer the veggies to a sheet pant, spreading them out in a layer. 
  4. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until potatoes are browned and carrot edges are slightly crisp. 
  5. With a spatula stir and flip veggies after 15 minutes. 
  6. Remove from oven, place a generous handful of honey pecans on top, and garnish with a rosemary sprig. Season to taste. Serve hot.

What's your favourite vegetables to cook?


Snack Pairings: Honey Pecans

I keep a variety of mixed fruit and nuts in my cupboard, because I usually make homemade granola and jar-size snack mixes. But, there are occasions when I just need a small portion of toasted nuts for a quick snack or recipe. So, I decided to make toasted pecans with honey, a hint of lemon, and no added cane sugar.

I am actually using these for an upcoming dish, and I only wanted to make enough for my recipe. Otherwise, I would be on honey pecan overload, although it wouldn't be the worse obsession to have.

Thankfully, I have a gigantic freezer, and freeze some of the unused peanuts and mixed nuts in small bundles for making smoothies, butters, mills, and many other epicurean masterpieces. This is also very helpful if you are on-the-go; a little sweet dab of raw organic honey is easy enough to satisfy the palate, awaken those gastronomic glands, if you will, and will certainly have you thirsty for more.

Caution: honestly, you'll  literally be thirsty as well, so do have a bottle of water nearby whilst sampling the goods. Let's not forget the crisp tasty crunch of your favourite buttery nuts, be it almonds, cashews, or pecans, which can take the place of (insert your favourite junk-food here or) a less than protein infused treat.
This quick recipe is so simple and delicious. If you don't like honey, you can use agave, etc. I also make seasonal snack mixes, especially during Christmas holidays. We make a spicy pumpkin seed, and fruit and mixed nut version, amongst others.

*Tip: Sometimes I toss them in little bags (beautifully decorated, of course), and send them off with my guests when they leave a dinner gathering. If you really love them, then it also helps to know their favourite indulgence(s). Are they more of a savoury or sweet snack lover. They will love you even more! You can thank me later.

What's one of your favourite and easy homemade snacks?

Prep: 5 min. Cook 10 min.
Bake: 180 C/350 F/ Gas mark 4

100 g (1 cup) pecans (halves)
1/2 tablespoon quality butter (softened)
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
2 tablespoons raw organic honey
1 tablespoon water

  1. In a small bowl, mix water, butter, honey, and lemon juice together, slowly stirring in pecans with a spoon. 
  2. After pecans are coated, Spread coated pecans out evenly on a large square of parchment or on a non-stick baking sheet. You can pour the rest of the honey mixture on top of pecans. 
  3. Preheat oven to 180 C. Bake pecans, stirring occasionally, 7-10 minutes.  
  4. Remove from oven, and sprinkle course sea salt on top. 
  5. Spread the pecans onto waxed paper to cool. After pecans are completely cooled, store in a clear jar with lid, a closed snack bag, or covered container at room temperature. They can also be refrigerated. 


Anchored and Embellished

For summer travelling accessories, sometimes it's easy to forget to pack. And, with whispering fashion quotations like, "less is more," in our memory bank, the humid climate tends to distract (some of us) from packing favourite novelty items that could help transform that "special" outfit.  

Let's face it, accessories can completely make an outfit a casual work of art or a refined masterpiece. Although you may need the bulk of your fashion to have that no-fuss characteristic during your holiday, there are embellished pieces like these that are worthy of clearing extra space for in your suitcase.

I am all for lightweight packing, believe me! But, when it comes to my accessories, I put them on an entirely different fashion calibre.  
Renowned handbag and accessories designer, Mary Frances, does exactly that. She produces quality accessories that are completely on another level. It's a fine balance of art and luxury for all women to enjoy.  

Even for leisure travelling and laid-back excursions, I still take a couple of additional (cherished) accessories with me to wear. It's usually a favourite vintage necklace or pearl earrings. Sometimes, it's a special shoe (preferably high-heeled). But, other times, it's just a marvellous handbag. These special pieces go along with the other carefully packed accessories stowed away in my carry-all, but they certainly stand out from the rest. 

This beaded anchor bag and Lotus scarf were surely made to stand out from the crowd. It's also a testament to why Frances' designs have been exalted and worn by many women globally, including red carpet veterans. The attention to design detail in each piece is remarkable. And, there's plenty of tangible ornamentation that will have strangers eye gazing for miles at your whole outfit in broad daylight.  
Shop The Accessories:

From colour choice to diverse silhouettes, there's something for every style of fashionista: the savvy theatre enthusiast, retro style maven, and classy cocktail connoisseur, amongst others. Have a view for yourself. Above are some of my personal favourites from the Mary Frances collection.

Being a nautical lover, I went for stripes for this relaxed daytime holiday outfit, then for the second ensemble paired a washable suede dress with the Lotus scarf, which can be worn a variety of ways. The scarf has such a romantic elegance about it, so I used pink and blue as my fashion palette. And, I will also tell you first hand that these accessories truly gave my look an additional boost of style satisfaction ... all paired with a bold lip, of course!  

What do you think of Mary Frances' accessories?

The goods: "Hooked" and "Anchored Mini Handbag" and Lotus scarf in "Socialite"-Courtesy of Mary Frances, Striped prairie dress-SimplyChic SF, Striped blazer-Consignment Shop, Handmade epaulet trim-DIY, Brogues-Burlington Coat Factory, Maxi dress-Love Culture (similar), Sequins bear belt-DIY, Glitter heels-DIY

Shop Resort Items

Weekend Décor: Simple Luxury

Elaborate and extravagantly decorated pieces are generally my favourite to create. It's quite easy to add beauty to an already exquisite or lavish item. However, in recent months when I'm styling interiors or asked to create something for friends and clients, my biggest undertaking is creating the occasional décor with a blend of both minimal and elaborate elements.

Fortunately, I love a good challenge and decided to take it on with an artful balance of accents for indoor styling. To help with comfy display pairings, it was a delight to partner with Colonial Candle. The added candle adornments give each setting a warm and inviting aesthetic. And, with lingering notes of  amber, vanilla, blue jasmine, and sandalwood, the rooms were filled with plenty of delightful aromas for day and night.

There's a multitude of ways to design special centrepieces and eye catching corners in areas of your home without overdoing it. Aligning contemporary details (like the tinted stemware) with vintage items (like the copper plate and etched glass cloche) can help to offset the overall styling tone. The result here is a gallery of options with an idyllic charm, yet understated elegance.

For the first two pieces, I used chalkboard tags as a theme, and manually added mixed blooms, then used wicker baskets as accents. I also loved the idea of diamond patterned glass for the main vase, as it reminded me of pineapples (a personal favourite), then I used white rocks to fill it in. Using fresh herbs like thyme can add a homey feeling, so I added thyme, satin ribbon, and coloured glass marbles to the second arrangement.

The third option is using burlap to wrap the candles, then add satin ribbon and create a design. The votive candles worked well, and with the natural colour of the burlap and ivory ribbon, you could easily use these versatile candles for a sophisticated tabletop or  even for a vanity/perfume area in your home (seen below).

Next, I decided on two different candle holders in varied heights for a more informal table display. Lemons are also excellent summer components to use, and I continued with the fruit theme for the main table. Bright colours, along with the darkness of the wood and tiny golden embellishments were ideal for bits of contrast against the white diamond patterned linens. Colonial Candle's butterscotch yellow classic tapers added colour as well as opulence to the table. Their candle care kit is a godsend for any candle-collecting devotee. It's easy to use and comes with a trimmer, snuffer, and dipper for the wick.

Lastly, for an unconventional rustic look, I styled it with homemade natural-toned potpourri, cut mirrors, and wicker rounds. Instead of a vase, I used the wicker rounds since the earthy hues, candles, and mirrored reflections were the focal statements.

The whole mood was a hybrid of contempo décor and mid-century modern design with some of the furnishings. But, it was a simplistic and polished version of what I call, "countryside couture." I also used fresh florals and silk flowers to enhance the afternoon ambiance. You see, with simple elements so much can be done!

I hope you were inspired by these home accent options.

I've included one of five different commissioned samples that I am making for my friend Zoë's wedding festivities. She wanted minimal styled accents for their rustic wedding, so I'm making several options that will still liven up the ambiance for an indoor event. Stay tuned for more entertaining concepts and seasonal décor styling.

What do you think about our inviting weekend décor? 

                                                     Shop table items:
The goods: Classic taper candles in "Butterscotch," Reversible glass taper/pillar candle holders, Oval Jar candle in "Cedar Mint," Votive ovals in "Cozy Cashmere," and Candle Care Kit-Provided by Colonial Candle, Copper serving plate-Vintage (buy similar), Flatware-Reed and Barton (buy similar), Lace tablecloth-Vintage, Etched glass cloche-Family owned (buy similar), Glass dinnerware-Crate & Barrel and World Market (buy similar).  

Shop Colonial Candle's latest additions, including Christmas in July here.


Links and Birthday Vibes

I am pleased to be featured in Links à la Mode this week.

What are you up to on the weekend? One of my best friends are coming in town, then I will celebrate my birthday tomorrow. It will be like match day at our place, so bear with me in slowly visiting your spaces.

But, definitely some time to slip away for a quiet night. This week has been wonderful, except just the other day I embarrassingly stomped my foot really badly. Oh well, "Que Sera, Sera." It will surely be a fabulous, but interesting weekend of no constraining closed-toe footwear. I am determined for my foot to heal ASAP so that I can wear my special heels.

Wishing you a lovely weekend!

Do check out these links from fellow bloggers in the round-up.

Links à la Mode, July 9
A Handful of Stories: 11 Ways to Style a Choker
Bows & Fringe: 4 Hair Scarf Styles
Cat Eyes & Skinny Jeans: {Beauty Board} The Sunkissed Series
Chioma’s Evolution of Style: All American Browns!
Fashion Moriarty: Face Forward | A New Direction?
Fashion Tales: The Playlist Edit
Fashion, Trends & More: Street Style | Grateful Dead Fare Thee Well
Gingham & Grigio: Endless Summer | Your Boho-Chic Go-To
L’ Artiste: 3 Fashion Personalities You’ll Find at a Summer Picnic
La Vintage Vida: It Really Was Raining
Musings of a Fashion Designer: Five Ways to Rock Striped Pants
Otterly Me: 5 Bags that Every Woman Should Have
Reasons To Dress: “Signora” - Maturing with Style
Runaway In LA: Lost in Morocco
Saccharine Soul: Why You Should Wear Flash Tattoos
Style Curated: The Rise of Sneaker Culture at The Brooklyn Museum
Tales of Two: How to Wear Blanket Capes Without Getting Overwhelmed
The Illusive Femme: What I Wore | The Winter Coat
V Style: Best Denim Cutoff Shorts - Favorite Spain Outfit
The Wanderbliss: Unfurled Beauty - Taj Mahal

SPONSOR:  Shopbop sale, Yummie, Fuzzi, Private Party, Boho jeans,Sweater Dresses
Standard Issue, Men's Marni, Doucal's, Tarin Thomas, gold clutches, chiffon blouses 


Evening Entertaining

How was your weekend? Mine was very relaxing, but still productive. We watched the Wimbledon Championships, and had friends over. It was amazing. And, well done Serena Williams & Novak Djokovic.

Here's a few behind the scenes images that I took on one of our grilling weekends several weeks ago right before I finished the whole theme. The gents were grilling, which meant that it took a bit longer than usual, however I'd made some homemade energy bars and gluten-free vegan treats for everyone, so it was tea and treats before the main meal that day. I had no complaints because it allowed me more time to chat and get caught up with the others.

There's nothing better to brighten up your kitchen and culinary mood than music and sprightly coloured table linens. This time I chose an apron from the Gudrun Sjoden eco-collection, which was a first for me, and it actually became a conversation starter amongst a few friends. Loud colours and prints tend to do just that! These pieces caught my eye immediately, and it was the perfect way to liven up the environment.

I also made a few new dishes, which I may share one or two of those on the blog soon. These wine place mats (seen below) captioned my thoughts as we were preparing for the gathering, bringing together both the countryside and modern sophistication to these eco-linens. I fittingly paired them with the very colourful and upbeat atmosphere.
Have you attended any gatherings or BBQ's yet this summer? 
                                                       Shop table theme:

The goods: "Vintergäck" tablecloth (similar), and “Nyttan” apron-Courtesy of Gudrun Sjoden.
Shop the vibrant eco-home collection here.

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