Wednesday

Mulligatawny Soup




I made this traditional Indian soup a few weeks ago and can't wait to make again. You may find the list of ingredients a bit odd, but somehow they work together wonderfully and make a very satisfying meal for cold and blustery night. There are many variations to this dish so if you have an idea, by all means put your own spin on it. Perhaps you wish to use coconut milk instead of cream, cut back on curry or serve it over a bed of white rice? Knock yourself out. It will get two thumbs up either way!


Mulligatawny Soup


2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts chopped into bite size pieces.
1 medium/large onion chopped small.
3 cloves of garlic minced, or 1 Tsp of bottled garlic.
1/4 cup all purpose flour.
1 tbsp curry powder.
1 box of chicken broth.
2 cups of blend cream.
2 granny smith apples, peeled and chopped into bite size pieces.
1 tbsp brown sugar.
Black pepper, salt, butter and cayenne pepper for seasoning.
 


Green onion, sour cream and red pepper flakes for garnish.
 

On medium to high heat in a Dutch oven, cook salt and peppered chicken in two tablespoons of butter. Brown and set aside. Once done, add two more tablespoons to the pot and sauté onions and garlic, stirring well to prevent burning. At this point, sprinkle flour and curry over onions and remaining butter, use a whisk to create a paste. Now add the broth and stir well. It's time to add the cooked chicken, brown sugar, and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Allow flavours combine - then add apples and cream. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes.
 

Garnish your bowl of soup with a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkling of green onion, red pepper flakes for kick and some fresh naan bread.


- R

What The F*** Were We Thinking?



Our kitchen is where it all goes down. The most important room in our house. It's where we sit to drink our coffee and map out our day, and where we meet again later to talk about it. It's where we stop to re-group and where we drop our bags, our keys and our mail. It's where we skim through the weekly flyers and organize and pay our bills. On the kitchen floor is where I sit to talk on the phone and at our table is where G opens his laptop to do work, or where I bookmark the next recipe I'm going to try on Pinterest. It's often where I blog, where I think, plan and make lists. It's where I fold our clean laundry, and where I turn the music up and dance and sing at the top of my lungs when I'm alone.


Our kitchen is where we gather with friends. Like true Capers, we sit around the table all hours of the night pouring drinks, playing guitars, singing, laughing, joking and eating like kings. It's where we spend hours cleaning, washing the dishes that we ate from and rinsing the bottles that we drank from. Lastly and most importantly, it's where I am happiest cooking, baking and preparing meals for the ones I love.

 
For the last four weeks my kitchen has been a construction zone. Four weeks, in case you didn't hear me. We are halfway through an expansion and complete renovation and although I am so very excited for the finished product, I am feeling a bit lost. I miss my kitchen. Our cabinets are empty, some are gone and all are soon to be replaced, and our dishes and cookware are piled high in no order in our sitting room. My husband has even asked on a few occasions that I avoid our house so not to see the mess he's created with a sledgehammer, for example, a busted out wall with exposed electrical wires and insulation, dry wall dust everywhere, and tools and extension chords cluttering every empty space. 


My happy place is not so happy.

 
To me, halfway through a home project and deep into a mess is also known as the what the f*** were we thinking stage. I know it will pass, but anyone who has tackled home renovations will agree, the midway point is extremely overwhelming. On top of that, productivity is at a bit of a standstill. Our helpers are juggling a few jobs at a time and materials needed aren't easily accessible to us folks living in the sticks. With that, I've started asking myself what was wrong with the old kitchen? Those old wood cabinets, they didn't do anything wrong. They were cabinets I once loved. They were a subject of conversation, they were rustic and made the home feel like a cabin in the woods and so what if G and I were always butt to butt preparing meals together. I like being butt to butt. We'll never cook butt to butt again!

 
I know I'm getting a bit carried away and sounding a bit like a spoiled brat. Poor girl, she wanted a bigger kitchen and she's getting one. She wanted new cabinets and she's getting them. It just goes to show you, or I guess me, how much I depend on routine and how lost I am without it. I'm completely thrown off my game. Not being able to find my coffee maker, sit at my kitchen table or cook a proper meal for my husband has been affecting my mental status.
 
 

Ask me if I've started decorating. I dare you.
 

Monday

A Perfect Sunday & A Perfect Apple Crisp!




I'm sure y'all know by now that this right here, this is my favorite time of year. Why? Don't be silly, you know why. Sweater weather is the best weather for long walks and long drives, and my love for cooking, baking and being crafty is at its peak. The kettle is always on, the wood is in and the blankets are always messy on the couch because, well, we're always in them. Cozy and warm and lazy. Those are only a few of the many reasons why I love the fall.

On Sunday, we woke up early to scoot into the village for breakfast. We got our coffee fix for the day as we planned our afternoon and talked about some upcoming home projects, then went for a drive along the countryside. We took in the beautiful sights; the rolling hills of red, orange and yellow, the scattered hay bails as far as the eye can see and cows roaming in the pastures.

We stopped at the Farmer's Market and picked up lots of goodies for a week of happy eating. Corn on the cob, turnip, yellow string beans, squash and mustard pickles! Then back at home, we cuddled up to watch Nashville until I finally found the energy to make an Apple Crisp for a dinner with my parents. The day and the dessert was absolutely perfect.

Have a great week, everyone!


Apple Crisp

8-12 peeled, thinly sliced apples of your choice.
1/4 cup of sugar.
1 cup of brown sugar.
1 cup of flour.
1 cup of rolled oats.
1/2 cup of butter, softened.
E.D Smith Apple Pie Filling. (Optional)
Cinnamon.

In a large mixing bowl combine flour, brown sugar, oats, soft butter and a generous sprinkling of cinnamon. Mix all together until crumbly and set aside.

Butter a casserole dish, preferably something longer than it is deep, and layer the sliced apples. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of sugar and a dusting of cinnamon. Should you choose to add the pie filling, which I highly recommend you do, spread it evenly over your sliced apples. Lastly, create an even layer of the crumbly oat mixture on top. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until oats are browned and filling is bubbly!

Enjoy!

Friday

Sephora, thanks but no thanks.



The store was big and bright. There were people everywhere. The music was loud. Each product station promised the same light weight, long lasting coverage. I didn't know where to look or where to start, and in every direction I turned there was a mirror reminding me that I was a Sephora Virgin. Who is that poor pale girl? She looks lost. Oh, that's me. My head was spinning. If I hadn't had a consultation booked, I would have turned around ran for the hills.
 

I clearly explained the look I was going for. I wanted an easy to do, day to day look that could carry from morning to night and appear as natural as possible. Simple is best. Less is more. My concerns were, and always have been the darkness under my eyes and sun spots, which makes my skin tone uneven. I explained that my biggest challenge is finding a coverage that lasts so I can stop feeling the need to touch up throughout the day, and I asked for a subtle but a sexy eye with a light sun kissed glow. I stressed that I spend all of ten minutes in the mirror in the morning and I didn't want that to change.
 

My makeup artist took a good look at me then gathered a whopping nineteen products from around the store. Are you ready for this? She applied a hydration mask, an eye cream, a primer, a corrector, a foundation, a concealer, a finish, a bronzer, a blush, a contouring powder and highlighter. Then she applied a crease, lid, and corner shadow to my eyes, a liquid liner, a mascara and a shit ton of makeup to thicken and shape my brows. Finally, she applied a liner, a lipstick, a gloss, and then sprayed my face to set it in place.
 
You want a picture? Are you crazy? There was nothing natural, fresh or simple about my look. I was back at square one once again, feeling extremely overwhelmed and lost - only this time with drawn on eyebrows. Looking in the mirror at said eyebrows I didn't even recognize myself, wasn't makeup supposed to enhance your features, not create new ones? My friends couldn't even keep a straight face.


 I didn't have the heart to tell the consultant I wasn't happy, so I waited until she disappeared out of sight to pull someone else aside. Excuse me? I should probably buy groceries this year, so all these products have to go back. What makeup of the nineteen on my face and in this basket, is the biggest bang for my buck?


 
And that's how I left Sephora with one lonely item. Makeup For Ever HD Foundation.
 
 
 
All in all, despite my anxiousness to wash the mask off my face, I left the store feeling extremely satisfied. Although I didn't like my makeover, and didn't understand the need for all those products, I left with the realization that I didn't need any of it. The desire to have it all is gone, and for the first time in my life I felt confident that what I do at home in the mirror is enough. It wasn't the experience I was going for, but I'll take it. My bank account will surely thank me.



So, Sephora, thanks but no thanks.
 
 
***
 
 
Update: Makeup For Ever HD Foundation was the best $56 I have ever spent. Yep, $56 buckaroos. It's totally worth it, and will forever have a place in my baby wipe container. Yep, baby wipe container - the place my makeup calls home. If you ask me, it does the work of a primer, concealer and foundation all in one because I personally feel there's no need to wear anything else. It goes on light with great coverage and stays on from morning until night. I've never felt so comfortable wearing so little makeup, and feel it hides those little problem spots perfectly.

Thursday

A Makeup Confession - Help!

 
  

I have a confession.

 
An embarrassing truth about myself.
 
 
Are you ready?
 
 
I have never gone beyond the drugstore to purchase skin care products or makeup, ever in my whole entire life. There, I said it.
 
 
The makeup that fills the Huggies Baby Wipe container on my vanity consists of drugstore products, and drugstore products only.You heard me right. My concealers, blush, bronzer and mascara which cost me a whopping $10 or less is kept in a recycled baby wipe container. Can you say glamorous? I'm not saying these products are shit, it's just that within a few hours of wear, I feel the need to reapply and I think I can do better than that.


I am writing this post because it's time I spread my wings and fly away from Shoppers Drugmart. It's time I see what professional, promising products are out there, and it's time I spend a little more money on myself. I am worth it. I deserve it. 
 
 
Here's the deal. It's September and as much as I love this time of year, it means my beachy blonde hair has lost it's shine and my tan is fading by the minute. I once thought the answer to end-of-summer depressies was visiting my hair stylist for a new cut and color, but not long after the drastic makeover I realize I made a mistake. It's not my hair I need to change, it's my face! The new cut and color may have been nice for the first couple of weeks, but my skin is still dull and I look tired 100% of the time, even with makeup.
 
 
Without makeup? Let's not even go there.
 
 
"Are you feeling sick, hunny?" - Concerned husband.
 
"I'm fine, just not wearing any makeup." - Pissed off wife.


So before I'm out with the old and in with the new, I'd like to hear from you.
 
  
Where do you buy your makeup? What products do you consider splurge worthy? I booked a consultation and application with Sephora. Good choice? I honestly wouldn't know. I'm hoping to leave Sephora with a few basics that give me the look I want from the moment I apply it until the moment I wipe it off. I need a lesson on appropriate colors, the proper order in which to apply each product, and what brushes to use. I have a lot of ground to cover, I don't even know how to contour or create a smoky eye. Come to think of it, I can't tell you the last time I wore eye shadow.

Should I consider lightening my brows?  With my hair a natural medium blonde and my brows almost black, lightening my brows has always been tempting. Would it soften my face? Would my hair color appear more natural? I'm scared, and dying my hair a darker shade is not an option right now.


Do you follow any makeup tutorial blogs? Product reviews and application tutorials, link me to some of your favorites!


XO


Stay tuned for my Sephora experience and makeup haul. *Update! See post: "Sephora, thanks but no thanks."
 
 
 

Tuesday

Goodnight Moon



The head of our bed fits perfectly in the bay window of our ground level bedroom, and I'm lying on my belly looking out at the night. The windows on each side of me are open and the breeze is cool and refreshing on my face, reminding me that summer is almost over. I don't mind.
I close my eyes to inhale a deep breath of the fresh air and I feel as though I am outside, unprotected by these four walls. The hair on my arms stand with a chill as I feel a sense of vulnerability and fear, fear that maybe I am too close, too exposed. Only one large pane of glass and two window screens separate me from the wild animals that are lurking beyond the tree line and the dark mysterious woods.
Then suddenly my warmth returns with a sense of calm. I am safe here. I am safe with him.
To my right, my husband is sleeping, unaware of my current state of awe. His chest rises and falls, rises and falls, and I take a second to thank God for him.
The mattress supports our bodies as they sink deeper and deeper into relaxation preparing for a nights rest, and the covers are weightless but warm, softly shielding us from the cool September night.
There isn't a cloud in sight.
The sky is an odd, unfamiliar shade of blue. It's bright, despite the time, and the stars are sparkling like diamonds as far as the eye can see.
The light of the Harvest moon brightens the long dirt road below that would otherwise be dark and uninviting, but there are no cars to travel it anymore tonight. It's too late. I am the only one awake.
The trees are still as the breeze is so gentle it can't shake them.
The rolling hills in the distance are black like perfectly painted silhouettes on a blue canvas.
There isn't a noise to be heard, not a peep, not a squeak or a howl. It's like we're the only ones left on this earth, and I'm not at all afraid.
I am ready to close my eyes and dream...

Rachel Emmilee

Friday

 

I never minded the end of summer. I have always looked forward to it, actually. Clearly it's not my favorite season. As a young girl when the days were getting shorter and the breeze was getting cooler, most people were taking advantage of those last few beach days while I was happily preparing myself for the start of a new school year. After a free flowing summer I welcomed structure, deadlines and routine. I loved the feeling of a fresh start, being in a new classroom with a new teacher, having new subjects to study and crisp, untouched notepads. Was there anything better than writing on the first page of a brand new notepad? I'd buy new school supplies and organize it all neatly in my backpack, I'd color code my day planner with new highlighters, and I would make a list of things to do differently to have a better year than the last. I'd even get a new hair cut.

I'm in my late twenties now and not much has changed. Although I'm not going back to school in September, I am still anxiously awaiting the end of August for the much needed change of pace. I already have my list of goals set, although many of them are from last years list that were never crossed off. I'm already searching for the perfect dark brown to dye my hair, and I'm pinning exercise routines that I'll enjoy doing because it's no longer blistering hot outside. I'm looking forward to conferences and workshops that will keep me motivated and more involved at work, and at the end of my week having plenty of time to relax so I can go back to work feeling rested. To spend a Saturday baking, to have time to put my heart and soul into a fabulous meal for my husband, to sip a cup of tea under a blanket as a fire cracks in the stove... I am so excited.
 
 
Are you ready for the leaves to fall, or do you wish summer could last forever?
 
 
Rachel Emmilee

Thursday




Around this time of year, many of our friends and family come from away to take in the beauty and excitement our little town has to offer. They are home for a limited time, so the pressure is on to see everyone and spend quality time with them. I dare say, the rush is on. Our community festival has come and gone and for seven straight days there was never a dull moment. But festival or not, this time of year is when our Tuesday nights are just as exciting as a Saturday, when Keith's Light are our main source of hydration and when there's no such thing as dinner for two. This is when our only time spent at home is when we're scrambling to prepare for company, scrambling to get out the door again, or falling into bed after a long night out.
 
It's all good, right? I can't complain, or at least I shouldn't. I love meeting my friends on the beach and having reasons to dress up and get out of the house. After all, it was a long cold winter here on Cape Breton and I can recall crying for days when the sun would shine and we'd have lots to do, and two or three episodes of Big Brother waiting for a rainy day.

Well, that time has finally come and I have to admit it's hard to keep up. Between juggling places to be and people to see, late nights and early mornings, I neglect some things that are really important. I neglect myself, I skimp on sleep, I choose wine over water and eat more junk food than real, wholesome food. I mean, if I eat another hamburger, hotdog or sausage I may turn into one. Too many times I've silenced the little voice inside my head that begged me to stay in, and I've gone out only to yawn in everyone's face and watch the clock for a good time to leave. I wake up tired with no energy to tackle the day or to put my best food forward at work, because yes, of course I still have to work. And finally, we come home to mow the lawn, pull weeds, water flowers and tidy the the deck furniture but fail to sit down and enjoy the view...
 
On Sunday, after a whirlwind of a week, we drew the curtains and blocked out the sun. We were worn out, sunburnt and dehydrated. We binged-watched Netflix in bed and took a break only to make homemade pancakes and go for a swim. I napped twice throughout the afternoon, and by 7:30pm I was out for the night. I realized at this rate, summer will be over and I'll be struggling to remember what we had done. How many meaningful conversations did I have without a thumping bass in the background? How many moments did I sink into my lawn chair and cherish my surroundings? How many books did I read? How often did I enjoy some alone time to write? So from now on, I have to slow down and re-evaluate what is important to me this summer. I  have a bucket list to tackle, and time is running out...

Rachel Emmilee
XO

Wednesday

"This media we call social is anything but, when we open our computers it's our doors we shut..."


 
This video was such an eye opener for me. I am so bad for clutching onto my phone for fear of missing a message or a notification. I scroll through Twitter, Facebook and Instagram more times a day than I can count. I have full conversations with friends through texts, when, with just a little effort I could be spending time with them and physically laughing out loud. I am always so anxious to share my pictures online rather than absorb the moment that I'm in. I put conversations on hold as I'm filtering, sharing and checking back for 'likes' as if it really matters that people know what I'm doing or where I am at. As if it really matters if they approve. My phone has found a place on my counter as I cook, near the table as we eat, and on my nightstand as I sleep.


I'm going to challenge myself to be less present in the social media world and more present in the real world. I have way too many books to read, too many places to be, too many things to see, and so many people in my life who deserve my undivided attention.
 
 
Yesterday I took a step in the right direction by putting my phone where I couldn't see or hear it as soon as I walked in the door. I was home with my husband and didn't need to be a part of the group texts or watch the snap chats that were blowing up my phone. I wasn't expecting it to be so extremely difficult to cut myself off from the friends who were trying to connect with me; for just those few hours between coming home from work and going to bed, I felt as though I was missing something. Maybe I'll just look at my phone real quick... I wonder what the girls are doing... What if something is wrong? This feeling only confirmed that I am way too dependant on that little device and I desperately need to get a grip, because surely, if there was anything wrong I wouldn't be informed by a snap chat.


I took it a step further today. I deleted the social media apps from my iPhone because I don't need to check Facebook, Twitter or Instagram a hundred times throughout my work day, while I'm driving in the car with G, or when I'm meeting friends to hang out. I even asked G to do the same so I couldn't so easily get my fix using his phone, and I have yet to reply to the thirty-seven text messages I received last night. Thirty-seven messages and get this, not one of them was urgent or pertinent to my well-being.


I can't deny that I truly love how social media is a window into my life and the lives of friends and family near and far. It's connected me with people I'd never connect with otherwise, and it allows me to keep family and friends in the know. I can't deny that I truly love the random text messages I get from my husband throughout the day or the fact that just a few texts amongst friends can plan a date in less than five minutes. And yes, I'll admit to getting a certain thrill out of sharing a photo of an impressive meal I've created... But there needs to be balance, everything in moderation, right?


Going forward, taking baby steps, I'll keep my apps installed on my tablet only. This is limiting me to only having access in the evenings when I'm home in my WiFi zone. Hopefully, even then I won't feel the need to check in so often. As for my Blog, being that it's never consumed my time or energy to the point of neglecting anyone else, and being that it's my escape from routine, a therapeutic outlet to express myself and a tool that's helped me grow as a person, I don't feel it's something I need to part with. However, like everything else, I will sign in when I'm not taking time away from something or someone important. I'll find a place to set my phone when I'm home to relax, and I'll find other ways to cure boredom when I'm sitting in a waiting room or trying to fall asleep. I'll keep my phone in my purse on outings, and although I will still snap a few pictures, the new me won't make sharing those photos an immediate priority.


Ultimately, I don't want to be a dumb person using a smart phone. I want to learn, explore and grow as a person from experience. I want to connect with people and be present, and I want the same for my future children. I don't want them to miss out on opportunities to meet new people, experience something new or witness something special. I don't want to read the fifty ways to achieve happiness when I can figure it out myself.

All I have to do is look up.
 
 
Rachel Emmilee
XO

Celebrating 2 Years Married With...




sunshine * a trip to the city * day drinking * quality time with friends * waterfront hot dogs * late night ice cream * an afternoon spent picnicking on citadel hill * strolling along spring garden road * chocolate covered coffee beans * poutine * bbq * a relaxing massage * a king sized bed * patio drinks * coffee and word puzzles in bed * our first swim in the ocean this summer * a day spent on the beach * lots of love