29 Candles


Last weekend we had lots to celebrate; the 29th birthday of one half of this blog, and the same half along with her better half’s 1 year anniversary! The family headed down to Kingston to celebrate both of these exciting occasions at the McIlquham farm! It was so crazy being in the barn on the exact day 1 year ago that we were setting up for one of the best and most beautiful days ever (if you haven’t seen pictures of Erica and Ben’s wedding check out this post). It felt like the perfect way to celebrate Erica’s birthday and her and Ben’s first year of marriage! Check out some highlights from that night below:

Back where all the magic happened 1 year ago; the barn still looks as beautiful!IMG_4162


Ben’s prepping the pork for pulled pork sandwiches!IMG_4166

Getting into all of the delicious eats!IMG_4187

The insanely beautiful and delicious nautical cupcakes made by Ben’s sister Kate (she has some serious talent!)IMG_4152

Birthday girl making a wish with a little help from her nieces!IMG_4195


Erica’s favourite birthday gift: a selfie stick from cousin KyleIMG_1626


The next morning Dad and Ben raiding the garden for tomatoes- it wouldn’t be a Kingston trip without coming home with a box of the tastiest produce ever! IMG_4201

Anchors aweigh!

Bon Voyage


My best friend jetted off on a 2 1/2 month adventure to China and Thailand today, and although it is going to be weird without her here for that long (this is the longest we have ever been apart) I am so excited and proud of her for embarking on this journey on her own! As you might guess there was no way I could send her off without a proper good-bye, which is what led me to throwing her a Bon Voyage get together! (Her birthday is also the 6th of September- so consider this a combination excuse to throw a party!). It was a great night; from the surprise look on her face when she entered, to the infinite photo booth opportunities seized by all! When you get this fun of a group together you’re destined to have a good time!

The food for the party was majority supplied by all of my wonderful girlfriends but I did manage to put together a few, what I thought to be Asian themed dishes. My favourite (and most simplest of them all) was probably the candy sushi!

I made a regular batch of rice krispie squares (just a little thiner than you would typically make the squares) which required:

Rice krispies

Mini marshmallows



Then once they sat overnight I topped them with a Swedish Fish candy (you can buy these in bags at any convenience or grocery store- but surprisingly not in bulk) and a strip of Fruit by the Foot Fruit Roll-Up (if you can find a package of strictly green ones that would be preferable- I had a heck of a time trying to find that so ended up having to buy a mix box of Colour-by-the-Foot and just cutting the green foot out of each and into tiny strips).

The rice krispies are supposed to be the rice patty, the Swedish Fish are the raw fish of the sushi, and the Fruit by the Foot is the seaweed that holds it all together.



Get ready for some Photo Booth fun!!
















We miss you already Lindsay!

Anchors aweigh!

Reliving Our Wedding


Last September Ben and I got married at his parents farm in Kingston and this past Thursday our wedding was featured in the Eastern Ontario/Quebec version of Wedding Bells Magazine. PROUD MOMENT!! We thought that this might be the perfect time here at Anchored to the East to showcase some of the pictures from the day taken by the AMAZING Adelita Rose Photography

The fun started in May when Ben’s parents decided that we would fix up the barn for the wedding.. we thought it would take a month or so….    ended up taking the full summer. Every weekend, and every day for Ross, were spent cleaning, repairing, painting, laying floors, electrical, etc. etc. The result was spectacular and we will be forever grateful!

When trying to brainstorm and figure out what “theme” we wanted for the wedding.. we had some ideas but couldn’t quite figure out something specific so we decided to just roll with our ideas and loop in things that we love.. which we ended up calling “woodland nautical”.

I had the best time putting together everything for the day and I actually miss doing it! If anyone in the Kingston area needs help planning their wedding – let me know! 🙂

Here we go…FullSizeRender

My mum, the girls and I got ready at the BEAUTIFUL Whitney Manor http://www.allsuiteswhitneymanor.com. Ben and I also spent our wedding night here.

I hand painted the bridal parties names onto these small champagne bottles and tied them with straws. These and the robes were part of my gifts to the girls.

Ben and Erica - abc039 We strung the barn with “restoration hardware” style edison bulbs for glow. Ben’s dad and uncles built all of the tables. All of our guests sat on white chairs ordered from Kingston Party Centre who helped us get the chairs we wanted in a pinch after Rise to the Occasion canceled my order DAYS before the wedding- HORRIBLE service… steer clear my Kingston friends. Ben and I sat on a bench together draped with a buffalo hide..  I know, romantic!Ben and Erica - abc098 The table runners were cut and ironed down to fit each table by our dear family friend Melinda. The napkins I purchased in bulk off of the internet (cheaper than ordering through a rental company). We bought the table runner fabric at various Fabric Land locations across Ontario. Each female guests seat was draped with a pashmina scarf. I did this to both add colour and texture to the barn, but to also help if the weather was chilly.. which it totally was! Thank goodness for the scarves!Ben and Erica - abc100The majority of the flowers for the wedding were grown by Ben’s Aunt’s Mandy and Lizzie, mostly dahlias and hydrangeas. The tables were covered in a curly moss to add a whimsical feel. The greenery used was cut from around the property and a mix of pine, rosemary, sage and mint. The vases were a combination of a bunch of pieces I collected over the months leading up to the wedding. The one pictured here is a water tumbler from Pier 1 and the rest were crystal type vases from various antique and second hand stores that I spray painted in gold for an antique feel. Ben and Erica - abc102 We used antlers collected from Ben and his dad’s annual four wheeling trip where they drive around in the bush looking for sheds. We had almost a hundred battery operated pillar candles and strings of wire lights that we embedded around all of the moss to give the look of fire flies.Ben and Erica - abc106 The name plates were pieces of wood cut up that I hand painted each guests name onto. We saved all of the original  nails that we removed throughout the barn renovation and I used these to prop up the name plates.Ben and Erica - abc108Our wedding favour was a jar of honey harvested off of Ben’s Grandma/Aunts property which is attached to Ben’s parents land. On one our first dates Ben said “You’re the bees knees” so we used this to label the honey jars and topped each jar with a patch of blackwatch tartan to fit the feel of the wedding. We also had custom beer kozies made up that were placed around the buckets of beer and the bar, they had our names, wedding date and “the hunt is over” with a photo of antlers on them. Half were printed in camo and  half in navy blue.Ben and Erica - abc111 The candle holders were rimmed with gold and a rope handle, I found these at Target in Canada and believe I visited every Target in Ontario within those few weeks trying to gather enough. We placed bottles of San Pelligrino on the tables to satisfy thirsty guests and because they just looked so darn pretty with the rest of the decor 🙂Ben and Erica - abc127 Around the barn we placed antlers and other nautical art work that we had. I also got a bunch of posters printed with various nautical and love quotes on them that we placed in various spots around the barn to add colour and so we could “feel the love”.Ben and Erica - abc126For dessert we served cheese platters on each table, then we had a sweets table at the side of the dance floor that people could pick at throughout the evening. We also served fried chicken and waffles as our late night eats. The dessert table was a combination of all of our favourite things. Homemade goodies, mushroom chocolates imported from France, custom truffles on a stick with an image of antlers painted on them from British Columbia (https://www.thomashaas.com/), Chomeur from Pan Chancho, donuts from The Golden Rooster, and the list goes on. Ben’s sister Kate made our BEAUTIFUL wedding cake- how talented is our family??
Ben and Erica - abc123The boys looked amazing in their kilts.. Ben and Erica - abc170 Our bouquets were spectacular! They were HUGE.. felt like I was carrying a giant bush but I loved it! The ribbon tied around the handle was blue and white striped. I got the ribbon from Creative Bag in Pickering.Ben and Erica - abc228 It poured rain all day.. right before the ceremony, although still quite cold, the sun came out! We were able to have our ceremony outside. All summer we cut the grass to create an aisle and ceremony spot in front of the pond. So happy we got to use it.. picture perfect!Ben and Erica - abc265 One of my favourite shots of our guests enjoying the ceremony.Ben and Erica - abc282 Being early September we thought the weather was going to be so great that our guests would want to play games. We had various home made games set up on the lawn, here is a shot of three sets of corn hole.. too bad it was so cold that day.Ben and Erica - abc331 Signs hand painted on wood to show our guests where to go.Ben and Erica - abc337 For the cocktail hour we had a spread of Oysters from Mike Mundells….. it was spectacular! They were set up on an antique wagon and besides being picture perfect,  seemed to be a favourite amongst guests. I mean who wouldn’t want an aphrodisiac at a wedding?! All of the wine from the wedding was from the wonderful Lighthall VineyardsBen and Erica - abc338 I love any time in my rubber boots so this picture was a must.. and turned out to be one of my favourite pictures from the day.Ben and Erica - abc381We had planned on doing all of our group photos before the ceremony so we could enjoy cocktail hour but unfortunately the weather didn’t cooperate… As you can see it clouded over again once the ceremony finished.Ben and Erica - abc373We had other details not pictured here, we had Big Love Balls rolling around on the lawn for guests to take photos with.We had custom cocktail napkins printed. We had sparklers for our guests to play with at dark. We had glass and rope lanterns (different than the ones on the table) scattered around the property for light at night. We had the stalls in the barn cleaned out and candles everywhere for guests to have their drinks and take photos below the hay loft. Unfortunately some of these details went unnoticed because the weather was so horrible.. but I’ll never forget them.Ben and Erica - abc479To see more pics from our day check out this slide show that I put together; https://vimeo.com/114792952

Anchors aweigh!

Happy Birthday Canada!


Being Newfies we celebrated Canada’s birthday with our favourite red-themed food: lobsters. With Canada Day falling in the middle of the week we decided to have a few drinks in the backyard and take it easy. Along with our lobster we had steak, Newfie mustard salad, and Kentucky macaroni salad, finishing off with Uncle Mike’s peanut butter squares! Check out our version of a backyard kitchen party here:

Saying their goodbyes

A little last minute lovin’

They’re so much prettier when they’re cooked!

Can’t wait to start crackin’ these little guys open

Fancy yourself a pair of lobster earrings?!

It would be shellfish not to share right??
IMG_0381Ready to dig in!


Yummy peanut butter squares


Erica spent her Canada Day at Buck Lake sipping on a few Canadian Manhattans, you’re going to want to make yourself one of these delicious cocktails!

Ingredients for the Canadian Manhattan



Da BoysIMG_3160 IMG_3168

Canadian Manhattan Ingredients

1 1/2 oz. rye whiskey

1/2 oz. Dolin red vermouth

1/2 oz. Colin dry white vermouth

Dash of Angostura bitters

1 preserved cherry


Shake liquids in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a cherry.

Anchors aweigh!

Pizza Night @ Buck Lake


After chipping up a storm on Saturday (post to follow tomorrow) we headed to Buck Lake for a night at the cottage with our parents and sweet Willa. It was a well deserved treat after hours in the sun and heat. We enjoyed the lake and made some delish pizzas on the charcoal BBQ, and of course drank some great wine, to toast to another hard days work at The Ranch.

Belle & I


Pizza was: creamy mushroom sauce from Pasta Genova, Seed to Sausage salami, mushrooms, cheese and pea shootsIMG_2976 Dad toasting to sunsetIMG_3020 Willa protecting her personal pan pizzaIMG_2948Snacks & The Globe on the dock
IMG_2889 Outdoor Kitchen PartyIMG_2923 More ‘zaIMG_2981 This pizza was the favourite. Tomato Basil sauce from Pasta G mixed pesto from the same, mushrooms, Bearance’s bacon, oodles of cheese and TRUFFLE OILIMG_2954Uncle Ben


All hands on deck

Pizza lessons from Brett’s BistroIMG_2898 Can it get any better?IMG_2884Anchors aweigh!

“Country Life” Themed Dinner Party with Southern BBQ Eats


As mentioned in our Potato Salad recipe post we celebrated Ben’s birthday last weekend with a “country/southern BBQ” themed dinner party. With the nice weather finally upon us we decided to utilize the barn at Ben’s parents property (which we fixed up last summer for our wedding- more on this later). So we had cocktail hour in the barn, and then made our way inside for dinner. Here are some pics from the evening. I have a bit of a passion for throwing a good party and putting together the right combination of decor and food- so Ben’s birthday was the perfect excuse to exercise that!

Ben & I IMG_2411 The McIlquham SiblingsIMG_2389 The peonies & rananculus I arranged to pretty up the “bar”. IMG_2379 Mint Julep was the signature cocktail of the evening.IMG_2410 Me prepping the Jalepeno Hushpuppies (recipe to come).IMG_2421Enjoying the sunshine. IMG_2423Part of the tablescape for dinner – antlers of course!Processed with VSCOcam with f3 preset

Used some turkey feathers that Ben & I found on our property for the table setting. Took brown paper and wrapped the soft green napkins with it as a “country” napkin ring. Placemat brown leather look from Urban Barn.Processed with VSCOcam with m3 presetThe rest of the table. Table runner was long grass laid flat, flower arrangements were put in green mason jars (peonies) and old brown beer bottles (ranunculus), table cloth was gingham/ plaid in black and white.

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What do you think?

Anchors aweigh!

Raclette Party! Cheese! Need we say more?


Raclette, in Swiss, is the scraping and warming of cheese- umm HELLO!? I think if you haven’t heard of this before you’re probably getting super excited, and if you have experienced raclette before you probably think we are nuts for having just tried this for the first time.

Last month we had a raclette party for our Dad’s birthday. Here is a picture of the raclette grill we borrowed from our friend Karen for the party:


We have also been eyeing up this little number: http://www.crateandbarrel.com/raclette-grill/s202266

The device basically consists of the grill on top (pictured above) as well as the little pans which heat under the burner, as pictured below, Mel is also using these diverse pans to shield her eyes from the awesomeness!


The key to a truly awesome raclette kitchen party  —

endless flavourful options, cocktails, good tunes, CHEESE!! and good company!

We started the party by heating cheese (which is the original purpose of raclette) and used the grill top to heat up our sliced baguette.

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Then we scrapped this lovely swiss-brie concoction onto our bread.. mmmmmmm…

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After this cheesy start we began getting creative and heated veggies, skewers with asparagus, proscuttio and cheese, marinated tenderloin, and used the “underneath” pans to broil potatoes with cheese, bacon, etc.Processed with VSCOcam with f1 preset Processed with VSCOcam with n2 preset

When the heat got too hot to handle.. we stepped outside for a little outdoor brewskie and fire on the deck.
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The best thing we love about raclette are the options! Immediately after the party we were brainstorming other ideas for future parties (breakfast parties with pancakes on top and omelettes underneath, etc.)

Processed with VSCOcam with p8 presetHave you ever done raclette? Have any great recipes or suggestions to pass along?

Anchors aweigh!