Even though summer is now but a fading memory, I think we all still remember how awesome the weather was across most of Canada. Not only did that mean quality sorbet-licking time, but also that growing conditions for much of Canada’s bounty were ideal. In Niagara the vintners are toasting their good fortune, and in the Annapolis Valley the apple farmers are munching to theirs.
Now October is here, and besides being the harvest season, to me, it means three things:
1. A repeat airing of It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.
Here’s the thing: Like everything else, pumpkins are in season earlier than usual this year, so get started now. No need to worry though — if a pumpkin is properly harvested and stored it can last up to four weeks, so Halloween will not be ruined. Not on my watch!
Here’s a recipe for my favourite part of the pumpkin, their seeds. When toasted, they have an addictive nutty flavour.
Raw pumpkin seeds
Step 1: Rinse pumpkin seeds under cold water and pick out the pulp and strings. (This is easiest just after you’ve removed the seeds from the pumpkin, before the pulp has dried). Place clean pumpkin seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet and allow to dry for a few hours, stirring once or twice.
Step 2: Preheat oven to 350°F.
Step 3: Drizzle dried pumpkin seeds with oil, sprinkle with seasoning salt, then toss to coat and spread seeds out evenly on the baking sheet again. Roast on bottom rack of the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes or until golden, stirring every five minutes.
Try adding your roasted pumpkin seeds to this Best Raw Granola Recipe (photo above).
Martha has done it again! I recently went to a press function for the new line of Martha Stewart cleaning products. My first thought, being a design editor, was, Wow, I really like the packaging! And I also really liked the fact that all the cleaners are clear with no unnecessary ingredients added. I find that so many of the eco-friendly cleaning products in the market today try to be something they are not. They come in neon pink, purple and green — not very natural!
Products include All Purpose Cleaner, Dish/Hand Soap, Glass & Mirror, Bathroom, Toilet and Wood Floor Cleaners, Carpet Spot Remover, Laundry Detergent, Fabric Softener and Dishwasher Detergent. She essentially has covered the entire gamut of household cleaners!
We were kindly given samples to try at home, and this past weekend my partner and I did a major fall cleaning blitz, so I got the chance to try out many of the different products. I have a very sensitive nose, and to be honest, cleaning day is not my fave. The strong smell of conventional cleaners really gets to me. That’s what I love most about this new line of cleaners — there are no fragrances or colours added. They have a really mild scent, but get the job done!
One of my faves was the Laundry Detergent. I love the measuring pump — no need to pour the detergent into a separate cup to measure the correct amount. Just one and half squirts for smaller loads and two for larger loads. It couldn’t be easier!
For more great eco cleaning products, check out our blog post on Method.
1-2. Martha Stewart
If you’ve been keeping up with my blogs, you have probably noticed a slight obsession with all things West Elm. Being one of those 20-somethings living in a small space in the heart of downtown Toronto, I’ve got a tight budget when it comes to decorating. As much as I love it, it can’t always be Ikea! I was browsing the new products on the West Elm website and I have to say, I’m totally in love with the selection. More than that, I couldn’t believe the prices on some things! So affordable and oh so stylish. Here are a few of my favourite things…
This Owl Table Lamp is too adorable to resist. I have a love/hate relationship with birds — love anything bird-like, graphically speaking, but can’t stand the real ones. It’s a long story…
Don’t know what to do with a narrow room? An assortment of these Convex Mirrors offer a fun way to add some dimension to your space.
I saw this Safari Kraft Deer and it brought me right back to my West Virginia upbringing. I could put one of these up in my loft and feel right at home. And the best part? It’s only $12.
Another thing you should know about me: I’m a sucker for side tables — especially those of the turned pedestal base variety. I might already have three in my place right now, but another wouldn’t hurt, right? Especially if it’s as attractive as this Mirror-Top Turned Side Table.
I’m on the hunt for new bedding and you already know how much I love white, so this Square Tuck Duvet collection seems too good to be true!
Click here for more West Elm finds and editor favourites.
1-5. West Elm
I have a problem. A J.Crew problem. And it's certainly out in the open — the corkboard above my desk is swathed in catalogue covers, my favourite photo shoots, and the styling merits of those talented J.Crew designers.
Whenever J.Crew’s creative director, Jenna Lyons, appears in a blog or magazine, I linger over the images wondering just how she pulls off such effortless style. Her Brooklyn townhouse, not surprisingly, reflects her panache, but not in quite the same way as her work with the American clothier. J.Crew is timeless, classic, almost predictable — which I love about it — but her interior style is much edgier. Parallels can be drawn, of course — a grounding shade of black, white or beige enlivened with a pop of colour and vintage-inspired accents — but her home is borderline quirky, and really shows off her versatile taste.
The converted closet of her Brooklyn home is so organized and spacious, and the addition of a fireplace, glam chandelier, rug and settee elevate it to living room style and comfort levels. (White walls make the perfect backdrop for busy shelving, too.) Personally, I would lounge here each morning, basking in the natural light, sipping coffee, and mulling over what to wear. Jenna lets her son, Beckett, pick out her shoes every day here. “He always goes for the sparkly ones,” she said in one Elle Decor interview, as if he had inherited her love of sequins.
In Beckett’s room, a bold striped ceiling warms up a dark accent wall. I love the idea of a patterned ceiling.
The bright yellow from the nursery is carried into the living room with this contemporary sofa. Apart from J.Crew’s swim collections, I rarely come across such a playful hue. Layering graphic rugs also ups the wow factor. This room reminds me of Victoria Webster’s trendsetting living room, which we showcased in this H&H Online TV episode.
To me, Jenna’s kitchen is much more “J.Crew”. Think of the basic black cabinetry as a cardigan and the cherry blossom stems as a feminine, ribbon-and-metal-embellished necklace — practical and pretty.
Here is the light-filled reading nook of her kitchen. Again, I’m imagining leisurely mornings.
See more photos of Jenna Lyons’ home in Suzanne Dimma’s Style Icons photo gallery.
Today is the first day of the Fall Home Show (which sponsored this blog and our fall trends gallery), and there’s no better way to see what's hot for autumn. Whether you want to turn your home into a sustainable space or incorporate the Urban Farmhouse look into your home decor, you’ll find innovative products and great design ideas from over 300 retailers and industry experts. I got to take a peek behind the scenes yesterday, and while many exhibitors were still setting up, it's clear there will plenty of stylish ideas on display for every room in your home. (Scroll down to see images from opening day!)
I also had the good fortune to meet designer Candice Olson, star of W Network's Divine Design (you can see her yourself today at noon). Candice is part of The Décor(k) Tour, a cross-country tour promoting cork flooring as a chic, stylish, and eco-friendly alternative to wood and tile. Candice gave myself and H&H editors Morgan Michener and Andrea Mills a personal tour of the six-room mobile showroom she designed to demonstrate how versatile cork is, and after seeing the space, I’m sold.
“No other product has all the combined benefits, from green performance to style, than cork,” says Candice. “A lot of wood is sustainable, but that means cutting down a tree, planting another tree, and having it grow. The outer bark of the cork tree is what is harvested, and that bark regenerates itself over the course of a nine-year span. The bark is continuously harvested to create the product over the life span of the tree — over 200 years to 300 years of nine-year cycles. It’s a truly sustainable product.”
Cork provides both thermal and sound insulation, as well as being waterproof, mould and mildew resistant, hypoallergenic and hard-wearing. “There isn’t a room in the house where you can’t use cork,” asserts Candice, who has used it everywhere from the bathroom to the basement and on walls as well as floors. One of my favourite spaces in the showroom at the Fall Home Show was the elegant sitting area. Both the floors and the stunning leather-like wall treatment are made from cork tiles!
Here are two more gorgeous examples of cork flooring:
Here are some of my favourite finds from the Fall Home Show, running now until October 3, 2010, at the Better Living Centre, Exhibition Place, Toronto. (Get discounts on tickets when you purchase them online!)
This adorable dog bowl from L'Occhio Fino would look perfect in a French country kitchen.
The next time I bake, I'm going to imagine I'm using one of these gorgeous ovens from Elmira Stoveworks instead of my grungy apartment model that has clearly seen better days.
Wouldn't this be fun in a kid's bedroom? The murals at MuralUnique are made from original pieces of Canadian art, and range from cute (like this one) to graphic and edgy. This one is called 'Butterfly Garden,' by artist Ruth Baker. You can see the original piece on the left of the image.
The vibrant colours of artist Ivan Trotter's work pulled me in from across the floor! Inspired by his visits to Provence, France and Tuscany, the original acrylics are as bright and sunny as a Mediterranean day. I love how he made the frame of this work part of the painting; the scrollwork adds extra texture and depth.
The Habitat ReStore Recycled Dwelling was an interesting feature, because everything in the space has been sourced from the Habitat For Humanity ReStore. Designed by Melissa Davis, the exhibit was a great testament to the fabulous, reclaimed home items you can find for next to nothing at the ReStore. For example, this mantle cost less than $200!
I fell in love with the muted colours of this gorgeous rug from W Studio. While I was tempted to buy it on the spot, the prospect of getting it home on the streetcar, and then finding a place to store it until we buy a house, made me leave it for the next lucky shopper.
Along with their main booth, Umbra had delightful mini-booths scattered throughout the show floor. I loved these delicate glass necklace holders; each arm has birds sitting on it!
These brightly coloured table runners (at right, hanging over the table) feature beautifully hand-embroidered flowers. Made of 100% silk, these are sure to cause a stir at the Thanksgiving table.
Some of the biggest names in design, including Colin McAllister & Justin Ryan and Income Property’s Scott McGillivray, will be on hand at the Fall Home Show to share their take on the latest decorating trends in interactive design seminars. Plus, cooking and home entertaining demonstrations will show you how to host holiday parties with style, so don't miss it!
New Moon Kitchen, an all-natural bakery specializing in tastes-like-home cookies, was created (and is still owned and operated) by Toronto-based entrepreneur Eden Hertzog. Her healthy bakery has been supplying the GTA with hand-made cookies for over a decade.
After years of hard work, Hertzog expanded her business to Nova Scotia, British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec. Now she's just cracked the U.S. market, where New Moon’s fresh-baked goodness launched September 11 in Whole Foods Colorado.
The cookies are made with 100% organic spelt flour and are tailored to numerous dietary restrictions. Made in a nut-free facility, these cookies are vegan, kosher, free of dairy and preservatives. There's even a gluten-free option.
Here at House & Home, we’re all for enjoying healthy snacks (ahem) with our afternoon lattes, but organic spelt and no cholesterol or preservatives mean nothing to us if the cookies don’t taste good. (We’re very serious about our snacks over here.)
So we launched an impromptu taste test of two New Moon Kitchen offerings: The Goldies and the Lovebites. Here are our findings.
“The double chocolate cookies are the perfect balance between a cookie and a brownie, pairing crunchy cookie texture with rich fudgy flavour.”
- Kimberley Brown, Senior Features Editor
“My first thought was, ‘Are these really out of a box?’ Crispy oatmeal and chewy chocolate chips mean these cookies can definitely pass as home-baked!”
- Beth Edwards, Editorial Assistant
“These are healthy, right?” asks Jaimie Nathan, Assistant Editor, “Because they taste healthy.”
“I found the texture of both to be really satisfying, nice and chewy! They didn't taste too healthy and they did kind of taste homemade. I really liked the spiciness of the chocolate one. If I were a huge cookie fan, I’d buy them as a “healthy” alternative.
- Kendra Jackson, Associate Editor
“I like the Goldies (though they do taste like they have no butter in them). You’d want to have these with a drink (tea would be nice) because they are a tad drier than, say, my grandma’s oatmeal cookies, which were maybe 20% or 30% butter! The Goldies also have a teeny little sugary crunch in them, like she put large-grain sugar or something like that that didn’t blend in when cooking — and it’s nice! On second tasting, I’d also like to commend the baker of the Goldies for not over-cinnamoning them!
- Katie Hayden, Managing Editor
In the end, the Goldies, a traditional oatmeal cookie that tastes like a traditional oatmeal cookie — minus the buttery goodness — seems to be the fan favourite. Personally, I like spicy food, especially the addictive chili and chocolate combo, so I went in for a Lovebites dark double chocolate number first. It’s hit with spicy chipotle pepper and a hint of orange and vanilla. Again, looks homemade, tastes healthy, and man, is it ever spicy. You don’t want to accidentally drop one of these into little Timmy’s lunch box.
Bottom line: The House & Home editorial crew gives New Moon Kitchen cookies a buy!
Browse more of our favourite cookie recipes.
1-2. New Moon Kitchen