Rustic Home Inspiration

As if Ellen Degeneres wasn’t perfect enough: funny, business-savvy, successful, yet somehow perfectly relatable…she’s also a kick ass interior designer! I came across some images from her new book and had to share. I have a serious weakness for rustic homes, and these two photos had me dreaming to move to the country.



I mean…that kitchen above?? Stone top table, antique chairs…but what really gets me is the gorgeous wall to wall rug and the brick fireplace with a wood stack. She manages to put together all of these unexpected elements that somehow flawlessly work and make a stunning place to sit around with a cup of coffee, or read by the fire. I can even imagine fire roasting some tomato sauce in that fireplace.


Those caramel leather chairs are what dreams are made of and I think i’m going to need to find replicas for our place. These could be a good start.


Oh, you know, just what looks like a gourmet food store in your HOUSE! #lifegoals


Give me a good book and I would never leave that little corner.

I think Ellen and I may be design soul sisters, and I would gladly accept an invitation to hang out at her SoCal Horse Barn.

Photos: William Abranowicz for ELLE Decor

Spicy Spaghettini

In honour of National Pasta Day (yes, this is a thing), I am bringing you one of my oldest and favourite (simple) recipes. When I grew up in Toronto, I used to go to a small Italian restaurant called Sempre on Bloor St. It was so good. Everytime, I would get the same dish: spaghetti with tomato sauce, topped with goat cheese and a few sprigs of basil. This recipe has stayed with me throughout my life as a constant comfort dish, and I couldn’t wait to write down the recipe last night after I enjoyed it. It’s hardly a recipe, but it’s so delicious and I can imagine there are a lot of different ways to enjoy it, so put your spin on it!

Spicy Spaghettini
Serves 2

200g spaghettini (or any noodle you love)
1 cup pre made tomato sauce (I tried Sugo Sauce for the first time, and would suggest half a cup of their original, mixed with half a cup of their spicy sauce)
1 small disk of goat cheese
8 sprigs of basil
Parmesan and salt to taste

1) Cook pasta according to directions.
2) In a small saucepan, warm the tomato sauce.
3) When the pasta is done cooking, dump it into the sauce pan and stir.
4) Top with goat cheese and basil.
5) Enjoy!

Happy National Pasta Day!

Fall Panzanella Salad

I’m always so inspired by the colours, people, and bountiful displays at the farmer’s market. This weekend’s was no different, except that it’s fall, which means turning over a new leaf and embracing cooler weather, greyer skies, and turning the heat on. I have to admit, I love the shift from warm to cool and look forward to this time every year. It means I can cuddle up with a hot mug of tea and my favourite cookbooks concocting what I want to make next. Today, we had some classic fall vegetables like tomatoes and brussels sprouts. I had seen something on Pinterest called a “winter panzanella salad” and wanted to make a fall version with what I had on hand. I used a bunch of different recipe methods and came up with something that worked for our ingredients. It’s certain to become a new staple.

IMG_2740 IMG_2743 IMG_2744Fall Panzanella Salad
Serves 2 as a main, 4 as a side

1/4 red onion, sliced thinly
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp white wine vinegar
pinch of salt
1 lb brussels sprouts, quartered
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
1 tsp fresh sage, torn
6 small tomatoes, cut into pieces the size of the brussels sprouts
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh parsley

2 tbsp salted butter
2 cups of fresh bread, cut into cubes
3 garlic cloves, pressed
1 tsp dried thyme
3 tbsp freshly grated parmesan, plus more for topping
pinch of salt and pepper

1) Add onion and vinegars to a bowl and put aside.
2) Heat oven to 400F.
3) Toss brussels sprouts with olive oil, sage and salt & pepper.
4) Roast for 15-20 minutes, or until slightly crispy.
5) Melt butter on stove top. When bubbling, add garlic and thyme.
6) When garlic is fragrant, add fresh bread and toast.
7) When bread is slightly brown, put on baking sheet and put in oven with parmesan cheese and salt & pepper. Bake for 15 minutes.
8) Whisk olive oil into onion dressing.
9) When breadcrumbs are done and brussels sprouts are ready, combine with tomatoes, dressing and top with parsley and a little parmesan.

What are your favourite fall recipes? Leave them in the comments below!


Easy Bruschetta

6LH5zKt6UtVE4yhmr4jQaUBAgfNjHgYjJiJmio38ZUA 6ot-66CIVE2PRwIXCQ6xRQVsYXFUeo95oBNGkaJd50cWhile it’s almost the end of summer, which means the end of tomato season, I thought I would give you a great way to use up those tomatoes you no doubt have overflowing on your counter tops. This is about as simple as it gets, which is perfect when you’re trying to fit in all of your summer activities before the reality of fall hits.

Easy Bruschetta
Serves 4 as an appetizer

1 pint of tomatoes (I used cherry heirloom), cut into small pieces
6 basil leaves, cut into ribbons
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pinch of salt
1 pinch of pepper
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp balsamic glaze

Mix everything together and serve on crostini, or fresh bread!

Photo by Christie Graham Photography


Cherry Tomato Pasta

Whenever I have tomatoes from the farmer’s market, I am tempted to eat them all in the most simple way possible: popped into my mouth as a snack. While I love the burst of flavour and enjoying them in their natural state, I also love the taste of tomatoes with pasta (who doesn’t?) When flipping through the latest issue of Bon Appetit, there was an amazing Sun Gold Tomato recipe, and I decided to use it as inspiration for my pint of cherry tomatoes. IMG_2403 IMG_2411 IMG_2416Cherry Tomato Pasta

Cherry Tomato Pasta
Serves 4 as a side, 2 as a main

2 tbsp olive oil
1 spring onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
a handful of basil
2 sprigs of parsley
1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved (all should be around the same size)
4 tsp red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
12 oz fettuccine or linguine
freshly grated parmesan

1) Heat the olive oil over medium until glistening. Add onion and garlic. Sauté until soft.
2) Add basil and parsley, stir.
3) Add tomatoes and vinegar. While cooking, slightly press the tomatoes to release juices. Cook for about 15 minutes or less if you prefer a more raw flavour.
4) Remove basil and parsley.
5) Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot with salted water. Keep a cup of the past water right before draining.
6) Add pasta and 1/4 cup of the pasta water, stirring. Add cheese to taste. Add more water if necessary.

Wine pairing: a dry Rosé or Pinot Noir.

Have an amazing week!


Lidia’s Baked Cherry Tomato Pasta

Cherry Tomato Pasta


The snow is falling, the Christmas tree is lit up, and there’s nothing I’d rather have more than a comforting meal. Pasta is of the utmost comfort to me. I know this recipe doesn’t seem very “seasonal” due to the abundance of cherry tomatoes, but on days when it’s gray and dreary, a little pop of summer is often welcome in my house. And, we always seem to have cherry tomatoes at the grocery store, so why discriminate?

This is one of my favourite recipes to make because it only involves a few ingredients, and it becomes a full meal quickly bursting with flavour and memories of the farmer’s market at summer time.

Cherry Tomato Pasta by Lidia Bastianich (slightly adapted)

3 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon
⅓ cup fine dry bread crumbs
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for the pasta pot
¼ teaspoon peperoncino flakes, or to taste
1 pound spaghetti, gemelli, or penne
10 plump garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1 cup fresh basil leaves, loosely packed
½ cup pecorino, freshly grated, plus more for passing


Arrange a rack in the center of the oven, and heat to 350 degrees.

Toss the cherry-tomato halves in a large bowl with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Sprinkle over tomatoes the bread crumbs, salt, and peperoncino; toss well to coat the tomatoes evenly. Pour the tomatoes onto the parchment-lined sheet, and spread them apart in a single layer. Bake until the tomatoes are shriveled and lightly caramelized (but not dried out), about 25 minutes in all.

Meanwhile, fill the large pot with salted water, and heat to a rolling boil. When the tomatoes are nearly done, drop the pasta into the pot, stir, and return the water to a boil.

As soon as the pasta is cooking, pour the remaining olive oil into the big skillet, set it over medium- high heat, and scatter in the sliced garlic. Cook for a minute or two, until it is sizzling and lightly colored, then ladle in about 2 cups of the pasta cooking water, and bring to a vigorous boil, stirring up the garlic. Let half the water evaporate, then lower the heat, stir in the chopped parsley, and keep the sauce barely simmering.

As soon as the tomatoes are done, remove them from the oven.

When the pasta is al dente, lift it from the water, drain for a moment, and drop it into the skillet, still over low heat. Toss pasta quickly with the garlic-and- parsley sauce in the pan, then slide the baked tomatoes on top of the pasta. Scatter the basil shreds all over, and toss everything together well, until the pasta is evenly dressed and the tomatoes are distributed throughout. Turn off the heat, sprinkle on the grated cheese, and toss once more.

Mound the pasta in a warmed serving bowl.


Buon Appetito!