https://throughthecommon.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/lemon-curd-curd-on-spoon_0104.jpg

When Life Gives You Lemons…Make Lemon Curd 

https://throughthecommon.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/lemon-curd-single-lemon_0089.jpgI love everything lemon – lemon loaf, lemon chicken, lemonade but one of my favourites is lemon curd.  Never heard of it? It’s the food of the gods but I’m not sure who thought the name “curd” would attract many fans? Curd for dairy products is coagulated milk, like cottage cheese, but fruit curd is something completely different. Generally made from citrus fruit, fruit curd is a delicious spread or dessert addition and you may not have realized you were eating lemon curd with your last slice of lemon meringue pie. My favourite topping for scones is clotted cream and lemon curd which is a very traditional way to serve them, but lemon curd has so many more uses!

  • Fruit pie, none of that commercial, fake, fluorescent-coloured stuff for me
  • Tarts – keep a few shells in the freezer and you can bake them as needed
  • Fool – a “fool” (other than the obvious LOL) is a creamy dessert. Take some stiff whipped cream and mix it with the curd. Use a few blueberries or whatever you have on hand for garnish and you’re done
  • Toppings – pound cake, waffles, toast, or right from the spoon!

In all my work, I try to say – You may be given a load of sour lemons, why not try to make a dozen lemon meringue pies?
~ Maya Angelou

Have I inspired you to give it a try?  Many people are afraid to attempt to make it because they have heard it is difficult to avoid curdling the mixture. I have a foolproof method I use and I’m going to share it with you, it will be our little secret… combining the butter with the sugar prevents separation and makes a silky curd.

Kelly’s Lemon Curd

6 oz. Butter

2 C Sugar

8 Eggs

3 Lemons juiced to make 1-1/3 C Lemon Juice

2 tsp. lemon zest

Lemons, Butter, Eggs and Sugar. That’s it! Four ingredients and you can pronounce them all.

Directions:
https://throughthecommon.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/lemon-curd-zest_0083.jpgWash the lemons, remove the zest, chop it finely, and set it aside.  Juice the lemons and make sure there are no seeds in the juice. You will need to have 1-1/3 cups of lemon juice. I will top it up with lemon juice concentrate if I don’t get enough from the lemons.  Separate four of the eggs and set the whites aside. In a separate bowl, combine the four egg yolks with the four whole eggs.

https://throughthecommon.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/lemon-curd-butter_0084.jpgCombine the butter and sugar in your mixer until well incorporated (like you would with cookies).  Add the lemon juice and mix gently.  Now add the eggs, a bit at a time, until well incorporated. The yolks will automatically fall into the mixing bowl, one at a time, if you pour slowly.

Place the contents in a double boiler. What? You don’t own a double boiler? Neither do I. I take a large pot and fill it half full with water and place the metal bowl from my kitchen aid mixer on top.  https://throughthecommon.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/lemon-curd-butter_0084.jpgVoila! Double boiler!  You can use any type of metal bowl over boiling water just make sure the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water.

Bring that mixture up to a temperature of 170 degrees, stirring often to prevent sticking. This is an important step because it cooks the egg, which thickens your mixture.  You must reach this temperature or your curd will not thicken and will separate over time.

https://throughthecommon.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/lemon-curd-cooking_0079.jpgOnce you reach the temperature required, remove from the heat.

Add in the lemon zest and stir to incorporate. Cover the surface with plastic wrap by placing the wrap directly on the surface of the curd. This will prevent a skin from forming on the curd.  Cool in the fridge until ready to use.

Once the curd is cool, I spoon it into 1-cup containers and freeze. It freezes well and defrosts quickly.  The recipe will make four 1-cup containers but one automatically gets set aside for my Mom.  Always good to ensure your status as the favourite child!https://throughthecommon.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/lemon-curd-ready-for-freezer_0105.jpg

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If you go anywhere, even paradise, you will miss your home. Malala Yousafzai Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/search_results.html#8HwcgX0cwyb0zYsr.99

My Secret Obsession – okay, if you know me, it’s no secret!

The Pacific National Exhibition in Vancouver, British Columbia has offered a lottery prize home since 1934, long before the latest trend of hospital lotteries began offering their multi-million dollar homes as prizes. Even as a kid, I loved going through the prize home to see the “home of the future” gadgets and gizmos. Jetsons HouseWe are nowhere near what the creators of the Jetsons envisioned our homes might be but you can learn a great deal by visiting show homes. And unlike crashing real estate “open houses” with no intention to buy, it’s perfectly acceptable to take pictures or video of decorating ideas that catch your eye and a great way to see upcoming trends. I’m glad I no longer have to wait for the annual fair to view over-the-top decorating and mansion-like homes because the BC Children’s Hospital Lottery prize homes are open for viewing now.

I’ve been twice.  Once with my daughter when they first opened and most recently with my Mom.  We wouldn’t miss touring them and it’s amazing how different they can be from year to year. There were a few trends that I noticed were still strong and a return of some past decorating trends that (ugh, oak everywhere! Floors, trim, walls…) might be returning.

White Kitchens

https://throughthecommon.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/lottery-homes-4-of-12.jpgThe biggest difference I noticed was the addition of colour through backsplash tile and counter tops. All the homes we visited had patterned counter tops throughout the home but it was very noticeable in the kitchen where previously you had only seen neutrals. The counter in the picture was very heavily patterned in a marble design. Thick counters covered all surfaces with a waterfall profile rather than the straight or bullnose profiles that have been popular recently. I like the softness of the profile but I think I would grow tired of such a busy pattern. The backsplash tile had a very soft green hue and appeared to have a crackled glass finish. Very pretty but unusual to see green in a kitchen. Lighting was dramatic with several light sources and options for brightness. The chandelier over the island added a modern touch to an otherwise traditional cabinet design. The perimeter of the cabinetry was white and the island was a soft grey which is a trend that we’ve seen for a few years now.

Cove Ceilings

https://throughthecommon.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/southpoint-langley-dining-room.jpgIf you want to take a room up a notch, use the 5th wall to achieve it! All of the lottery homes showed a great deal of attention to the ceilings in each room. The formal dining room in the Southpoint Langley home had a beautiful cover detail with a more traditional looking chandelier in the centre. Cove ceilings are also a great way to divide up a very large space into zones like a kitchen and great room, for example. Cove ceilings make me swoon! Mom even remarked how the crystal teardrops were making a comeback. Sure adds a bit of glitz and sparkle to a room.

Extensive Moldings  

https://throughthecommon.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/south-surrey-great-room1.jpgThere has been a movement in recent times to simple straight moldings, no crown, profile baseboards, or wall treatments. That seems to be changing, at least in the lottery homes, where I saw lots of cove ceilings, crown moldings, door trim, and panelling. I love the grid pattern treatment that has been done to the fireplace in the great room. https://throughthecommon.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/traditional-moldings-doorframe.jpgFireplaces can be intimidating when they span two stories of a home but this molding treatment breaks up that broad expanse of space. Love it! I already had plans to add this to the eating area in our kitchen but now I’m even more excited about how it is going to transform the space. I’ve also been considering adding additional moldings to our door frames and I like the stacked look that adding different profiles can create. A winter project, maybe?

Home Office

The home office is still popular as more people choose to either extend their work day at home or telecommute. https://throughthecommon.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/traditional-moldings-doorframe.jpgThis one’s location in the lottery home was adjacent to the Master Suite so not really ideal to entertain clients but I could have spent hours in here. It was a really elegant space with lots of natural light and it was tucked away on the main floor so if you were a “messy” worker, no one would notice.  So many home offices are located when you first enter the home so either they need to be presentable at all times or they need a door.

 

If you go anywhere, even paradise, you will miss your home.

~ Malala Yousafzai

I love going through open houses to gather ideas and to see if what I’m planning in our home is working someplace else. It’s also fun to imagine life in the location, should your name be drawn.  But, I’m pretty sure that if I were that lucky, I would take the cash and continue to work on the home we love.

Chalk Paint Outdoor Bench

I am inspired by words, particularly quotes.  I love reading them and find they are an excellent way to start the day.  With that same thought, I have decided to start using a quote with each of my blog posts – that is until I run out of quotes or blog posts – although I think neither is likely to happen.

There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.  ~ Aldous Huxley (1864-1963) English Novelist

I believe whole-heartedly in improving my corner of the universe and my emphasis this year (let’s not call it a resolution, those are too easy to break) is on learning.  Learning a new skill, a new idea, learning more about the people in my life.  I hope that by sharing some of my projects, you will learn something too.

After allowing it to dry for 24 hours, I began the process of applying the finishing wax.  Annie Sloan Chalk Paint makes two different kinds of wax.  The Clear Wax is traditionally applied first with the Dark Wax used to age/antique the piece.  But because I was applying it over Black paint, I used the Dark Wax exclusively.  You can see the paint before the wax is really a dark slate grey, not the colour I was wanting.  The texture of the finish is very unique, it has a soft, chalky feel to it.  You can leave your piece like this but adding the wax gives it durability and a depth to the colour.  Very hard to explain but I hope the pictures give you an idea of the transformation of the paint.  The wax penetrates the paint and hardens it making it extremely durable.Application of Dark Wax

I used a short haired brush to apply the wax, dipping into the container and work the wax into the paint with a small circular motion.  The wax is soft and easy to apply but apply sparingly because at some point, you will need to buff it and too much will just make it sticky.  Here is a picture that shows the dramatic difference in colour once the wax as been applied. Outdoor Bench 1007 It’s like the paint suddenly comes to life!  Outdoor Bench 1011

After coating the entire piece, I allowed it to dry overnight.  The next day, the wax felt a bit tacky and I used an old sheet to buff the wax smooth.  The texture of the finish now feels like it has been varnished, very smooth and lovely!

I love this piece now and am so inspired to paint more pieces.  Outdoor Bench 1012This process is completely addictive!  Incredible results – fast and easy.  Stay tuned for more…

 

 

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