Friday, January 10, 2014

the sisterhood - paula blundell

a definition of sisterhood -  a bond between two or more women, not always related by blood. they always tell the truth, honor each other, and love each other deeply, like sisters.

beautiful, right?

in 2014 i want to share a bit more love, and i thought what better way than to highlight a few of the women in this world that inspire me. members of my sisterhood. near or far, real life friends, internet buds, or beauties that have connecting through this blog - women doing great things and worthy of a bit of our admiration, love and attention.

there are endless amazing women in this world, and i can only scratch the surface of connecting with some of you, but i hope by doing this, we are better able to support one another and grow the connections in our online community a tiny bit in the process.

so, my first girlie who knows what's up is my dear dear friend, paula blundell. paula and i met in 2007 while working for an environmental non-profit in calgary. we are both neurotically and meticulously obsessive about organizing and reorganizing just about everything in life, so it wasn't long before we really connected and fell head over heels for each other. hard. i have always felt that paula is the perfect yin to my yang. wildly adventurous, free-spirited, spontaneous and outgoing. full of integrity, thoughtfulness and never afraid to wear her heart on her sleeve. all things i aspire to learn from her as our friendship continues to grow. all things i admire and love so dearly about her beautiful spirit. the pb to my j, i am thankful every single day to have her in my life.

paula and finn - winter  2013
name, occupation, location
paula blundell
owner and professional home organizer of room to breathe
calgary, ab

what makes your heart happy?
the dearest of friends. like ms. thorburn, who although lives miles away, still blows kisses and sends hugs on the wind regularly in the form of kind emails, beautiful cards and pix by post, sweet words by text, and a voice on the other end of the phone that knows me so well. a warm heart is a happy one, right?! xo

your all time favourite recipe?
are you kidding me?! how to choose just one. ohhh, jess, I think it may have even been you who introduced me to this sweet treat.

editors note: it was me, and this recipe is AH-MAZING! there is very little in life more delicious than this dish, and i am cursing paula for reminding me of it. i fear i will be eating the 8 servings all to myself over the next few days. argh! consider yourself warned.

Maple Fried Oatmeal w/ Vanilla Bean Cream & Lemon Curd
from Diner Deluxe - Serves 8

::  Ingredients  ::

Lemon Curd
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
5 egg yolks
5 lemons, zest and juice
1/2 pound cold butter, cubed

Vanilla Cream
1 whole vanilla bean
3 tablespoons natural vanilla extract
1 cup apple juice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup real maple syrup
1 litre whipping cream

Oatmeal Squares
2 tablespoons salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
4 cups rolled oats
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup dried cranberries

1 cup real maple syrup
1 litre Vanilla Cream recipe
1 cup Lemon Curd recipe

::  Method  ::
Lemon Curd
Over a double boiler, combine sugar, whole eggs, egg yolks, lemon zest and juice and whisk until ‘ribbon’ stage. Slowly add the cold butter, a few pieces at a time, whisking until mixture is smooth and cool. Refrigerate until needed.

Vanilla Cream
Split and scrape seeds from vanilla bean and add to apple juice, lemon juice and maple syrup. Add vanilla pod and simmer for 8 - 10 minutes. Add in whipping cream and return to a gentle simmer. Do not boil or cream will split. Reduce by half. (Approximately 20 minutes) Cool and refrigerate until needed.

Oatmeal Squares
Bring 1 litre of water to a boil adding 2 tablespoons of salt. Add brown sugar, oats, butter, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Bring the mixture back to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until oats are cooked through. (Approximately 7 - 10 minutes) Add dried cranberries, and spread out on a 6 x 9-inch baking sheet that has been lined with parchment or lightly greased with butter. Allow to cool and then slice into eight equal squares.
Gently fry the squares of oatmeal in a pan with some butter. When lightly browned, flip the oatmeal squares and add 1 tablespoon of maple syrup, ½ cup vanilla cream. serve topped with 1 tablespoon lemon curd. Repeat assembly eight times.

your all time favourite photograph?
little ole me and the big ole atlantic ocean. taken by one of my hometown be sties (steve) in one of my favourite places on earth (Flatrock Falls, near St. John's, Newfoundland). forever reminding me of the vastness of the earth, the interconnectedness of all things, and the absolute magnificence of nature.

something in your home that you adore?
this heavy old ceramic ash tray that over time has become my sacred dish of things that make me feel good. i guess you could call it an altar. it sits on my bookcase and holds beach rocks and sea shells from ocean sides, dried cedar that i found in my pocket after a forest walk (a surprise treat to sniff later), a little turquoise buddha that i have no recollection of how it found its way to me, an amber drinking glass from my childhood that holds a deliciously smelling beeswax candle, nag champa and a wooden insense holder lined in gold stars, a metal handmade match case that i've planned to source as gifts to guests of my future wedding, lavarock from Hawaii (don't tell anyone;), a meditation mantra from a friend, and a few smudge sticks.

something on your wishlist?
the man of my dreams. oh wait, i finally found him last summer. so, nothing. my wishlist is all crossed off :)

something totally random about yourself?
i have a third nipple. nah, that sounds too outrageous. i'm allergic to the cold. true. cold air and cold water give me the most attractive of skin rashes. reason enough to spend winters in warmer climates? i think so.

how people can connect with you
- follow paula's incredibly creative blog for tips and tricks on organizing and simplifying your life!
- check out room to breathe on facebook  
- keep a lookout for the launch of their handmade product line to help you live more simply! coming summer 2014.

thank you so much, paula! your humour and sentimentality always make me smile, and this little post was packed full of both! smiles for days, my dear friend! xo

i hope to make this a regular feature and would love to expand and connect with those of you who i have yet to meet. if you are interested in sharing (and getting a little shameless self promotion in the process) please, get in touch!