Welcome to my blog.....

This is a place where I will share my love of flowers, cooking and baking, gardening and fashion (shoes! lots of shoes!) I would love for you to stay a while and take a look and leave a comment if something catches your interest.
(ps...photo on my background is courtesy of Union Photographers)

Monday, 28 March 2011

Homemade Salsa is THE BEST

This past summer I tried my hand at canning tomatoes, so plentiful and sweet from the okanagan, and  I visited one of my cousins, Graziella, who shared her fantastic salsa recipe with me.  It is wonderful being able to go into my cantina, Italian word for "cellar", and grab a jar of salsa and a bag of nacho chips any time someone pops in or when I'm going to someone's home.  It was so much easier, don't get me wrong it is time consuming but easier, than I thought. 
I want to share the recipe with you as well as some tips that I learned...
So...here we go...I started out by Xing it by 6 but this year I may do it x 10.  My cousin added habaneros, which I did not because I can't eat it too spicy but if you enjoy spicy salsa this is an option.  I also added extra garlic. Use gloves, I leaned this the hard way!, all the lime juice, peppers, onions and tomatoes literally burned my skin and watch your eyes! 

6 cups seeded and diced tomatoes
2 cups diced onion (wearing swimming goggles helps with the tears:))
6 cloves garlic minced
5 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
As many habaneros as you want 3-4
1 cup crushed tomatoes
1 tbsp cumin
1\2 tsp each paprika and salt.
2 tbsp red wine vinegar or cider
1\8 tsp cayenne pepper
1\2 cup cilantro chopped
3 tbsp lime juice, fresh.
I added black beans to half the batch and next year I plan to buy some corn on the cob from Chilliwack and add that to some of the jars as well....

Combine tomatoes, onions, garlic, jalapenos in a huge, huge!,  stock pot. Cook for 10 min stirring OFTEN!!!
Stir in tomato sauce, cumin, paprika,vinegar, salt, cayenne...cook another 10 min.
Remove from heat
Add cilantro and lime juice.
Mix well
Taste it at this point-adjust salt and spices to taste.  
I bought, from Costco, a 3 burner camping stove that my husband, Jean, put on the deck which is where I cooked the salsa and processed the jars-helps with mess in the kitchen as well as with all the heat that comes off of the burners.

I also removed some of the excess water that appeared, tomatoes can have a lot of extra water in them, and I prefer a chunkier salsa over a thinner version-again this is to your taste.  After I had jarred as may "straight" jars of salsa as I wanted I took 2 cans of rinsed black beans and added that to the pot and jarred to the rest of the salsa.

I didn't have enough 500 ml jars to to all the salsa so I did a few of the larger 1L jars which works really well for larger parties.

Then put into jars and process, place in a pot of boiling water so the water comes above the lids, for 20 min...
 Use the canning tongs to remove them and put them aside to settle and listen to the "pop" of the jar sealing.  Before putting them into storage lightly pull on the seal just to ensure they are sealed tightly....no one needs to get ill!
Grab a bag of nacho chips and a couple of beers and enjoy the yummy fruits of your labour!!
Have you ever canned or processed any fruits or vegetables? 

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Do you LOVE colour?

There are couples that prefer a wedding of tone on tone whites and there are some that love the idea of their decor, flower and dress colours matching and then there are couples that LOVE colour!  If you are one of these people then here are some ideas for you:
Are your bridesmaid's in a fantastically saturated colour and the thought of giving them a bouquet full of colour seem a little over the top for you?  What about what this bride did?

Photo courtesy of Claudette Carracedo
The girl's were a stunning blue silk dress so we designed bouquets of vibrant green and white while the bride carried a multi-colured bouquet of roses, berries, gladiolas, lysianthus, delphinium and dendrobium orchids-makes a for a fun combination!

This next bride while having quite traditional colours, (red, white and tiffany blue) using them together is a new and modern twist!
Photo courtesy of Jasalyn Thorne Photography
The girl's dresses were a gorgeous tiffany blue so the bridesmaid's carried a tone on tone white bouquet while the bride carried a bouquet of vibrant red roses, spray roses and cymbidium orchids.

Are you thinking flowers should be all colour all the time?  This bride did too...
Photo courtesy of Sweet Pea Photography
Everyone carried a bouquet of reds and hot pink roses and calla lilies but we did add a bit of white to the bride's bouquet with the addition of white calla lilies and white dendrobium orchids.  The bridesmaid's in black dresses meant that the bright bouquets popped beautifully without feeling "busy".

A question I get asked a lot about is the use if dyed flowers to add brighter colours that you may not find, as readily, in nature.  My one caution is to not use dyed flowers in your personal flowers (bouquets, boutonnieres, corsages anything someone may hold or wear).  A requirement when dying flower is for the person dying them to wear a large plastic bag, so not kidding!, because they weep when cut or can be rubbed into your clothes and once the colour is in your clothes it isn't coming out-EVER!  You've spent so much time looking for your special dress and then spent, usually, a fair bit of money on it and the chance of permanently staining it with your special "blue" flower is a scary thought-unless, of course, you love that colour so much the idea of keeping it with your dress forever is appealing to you then, hey, you go for it!  Think about adding wire, crystals or pearls in your special colour and then you can always add those colourful blooms to the ceremony arrangements or centerpieces.
We added some pretty blue wire, made to look like a traditional bow, to add some colour

Same wedding as the above picture and we added dyed blue roses and dendrobium orchids.  The blue delphinium is natural

It's so great that couples can now personalize their weddings the way they want, not like when I got married almost (oh my!) 14 years ago!  You have so many options now to add beautiful colour to your wedding and have it appear perfectly suited!  Do you love colour?  Will you, or did you, use colourful flowers in your wedding arrangements?

Friday, 18 March 2011


Hello and welcome to my very first blog post-I have to say this is more than a little stressful....my first post!  What should I write about?  A friend, the fantastic Jeanette from Delovely Creative, said write something fun and about things I love, like flowers and shoes!,  so I thought how perfect two things I know something about.

Spring is coming, at some point soon I hope, so how about some photos of some of my spring bouquets 

this one is comprised of peonies, tulips, lisianthus, ranunculus, roses and lily of the valley-the scent was unbelievable!  There were strands of tiny sheer ribbon, you get the hint of them there at the bottom, that I attached crystals too.  Wouldn't  a pair of shoes like these, by Steve Madden, go perfectly?

Are tulips your spring flower of choice?  They are the little flower that could!  They spring like nothing else!  I designed these bouquets out of tulips, the Bride has all parrot tulips and the bridesmaid's are "ruffle cut" (yes, their official name that I just made up:)) tulips.
Photo courtesy of John Heil Photography
You'll notice the stunning pave crystals I used in the bride's bouquet-blinged up tulips-who knew but worked so wonderfully!  I love these pretty shoes with just a tiny row of crystals at the top of the "peep" takes this subtle shoe to WOW (just like the crystals in the bouquet)
“Charcas” shoe by Harriet Wilde
Think I've gone on long enough for a first time.  Hope you enjoyed your first visit to my new blog-feel free to leave comments or let me know if you have any suggestions to what you would like to see.  Have a GREAT weekend everyone-I'll blog to ya soon (too corny??)  LOL