Friday, December 09, 2016

Home Made Ginger Bread House

A few weeks back S and I were in a grocery store, and saw a gingerbread house kit for sale. Of course, I wanted to get it. S said that those kits were lame and that he always makes his gingerbread houses from scratch. Well, I soon found out as we struggled to make templates and cut the gingerbread, it was actually his mom that always made them from scratch, not him. He also forgot to mention that this was years ago and his memory of how to make them was less than fresh. That being said, it was still a great idea and I am grateful for S and his creativity, open mind, craftiness, sense of humour, and just for putting up with me in general :) .. okay I am cheesy I know.. I'll stop now.

Anyway, we managed, using this site as guidance. We baked the gingerbread one day, got the candy another, ate all the candy (mostly me), bought more candy, and finally built and decorated the house. I'd say this took place over about a week or so. Hey it was a busy time. We  also baked a few extra gingerbread pieces and put together gingerbread house kits to give as hostess gifts and I had some fun designing printouts with the icing instructions with this cool program Canva that S told me about. 

I won't re-post all the instructions as you can follow the ones from the site. I would however advise you to let the icing thicken for a bit in the fridge, as it can be unwieldy if it's too thin. Also have patience and use glasses (or other props) to hold up the walls of the house while you let it dry. 

Under construction it looked like this:

we were a bit skeptical but kept at it. We ended up with this:

Kristin sent me a photo of the one she and Shawn made:

Looking good!

What's next?

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Gingerbread Men

Eleanore has inspired me to try my hand at gingerbread. 
She has been talking about making a couple of houses recently, and I kind of like that idea! But a house!? Frankly, that’s a bit of an ambitious start for me, so I opted for gingerbread men. (Also, I prefer men over houses. ☺)

I picked this as the best (self-proclaimed) recipe. The Google seemed to back this claim up because it came back high on the search return.
I made the dough on Tuesday night before my soccer game at 11pm (ugh, but that’s another story). The directions were straight forward, except the resulting dough looked a little dry—very crumbly. I shrugged my shoulders–que sera, sera– wrapped up the dough in plastic and refrigerated it overnight.
The next day, I brought the dough back to room temperature (a couple of hours on the counter seemed to do the trick), and rolled it out. The dough was still a bit dry IMHO, but I was able to roll it out surprisingly easily after working it a bit in my hands. Full disclosure: I like easy cookies, where you just roll them into balls and don’t even have to worry about patting them down, so this was a major departure for me to have to break out the rolling pin as an extra step. If you’re the same, do not be daunted! It was simple enough.
The recipe says to bake the cookies between 7 to 10 minutes. My oven is convection, and I went for the 7 minute time because 1) I don’t like rock hard biscuits and 2) I’m highly impatient. They came out pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty good!
For the icing, I mixed powdered (or icing) sugar with a bit of corn syrup (I really didn’t measure this out, sorry) and a tiny bit of water, and then coloured the icing with food colouring. I used baggies with a tiny hole snipped in one corner to pipe out the icing. I’m not the best piper, but I figured I would go all in: I tried to make some look like they were wearing military uniforms, because I was going to be shipping some to a friend stationed overseas. They don’t look professional, but I think they are obviously gingerbread men, right?

Overall, I’d say, on a scale of 1 to 10, it was a 7 in level of difficulty (it’s the decorating bit that really bumped it to this level), and for taste, about the same.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thai Chicken Wraps

Thai Chicken Wraps, Salad and Mango Juice
There was also a dessert (not pictured), but I was too full to eat it.
Do you know that expression, the way to a man's heart is through his stomach? Well I think that definitely applies to women too. There is something about a delicious dinner, and nice presentation, that just melts my heart. If you want to impress that special someone, definitely make these wraps!

This meal was so yummy, I may have asked S to marry me after. I definitely got down on one knee. I am not sure what happened after that as I was a bit delirious, overtaken with love and acting kind of goofy.  It occurs to me that If I did propose, I never got an answer! Hmm.. Anyway, yes these are THAT GOOD!

S actually wanted to make some wraps for a potluck with his friends and so this was a bit of a trial run. He added a sauce to them the second time around and they were even better.  I'm happy to be the test kitchen anytime ;)

I'm hoping to share some of S's recipes because they are so yummy!

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

So did yall watch the election results last night? We did and it was quite a late night. In theory the night was pretty bad. We lost soccer 7-3, I got a parking ticket trying to do a good deed of watering my friend's orchids (grrrr), Sens lost and then Trump won the election.. and yes that last one is in a league of its own. Despite all that it was a really nice evening yesterday watching the results come in with S's colleagues, and although I woke up with some anxiety and apprehension about the future of mankind,  society, the stock market and everything else, I can't help but be in a generally good mood.

Lasagna holds a special place in my heart. I really love it and find it so comforting. However it's not exactly light. When I came across this recipe on Paleomg and modified it a bit. I was excited to try it out, as I happened to have spaghetti squash and the rest of the ingredients on hand. It requires a bit of time, mainly just because you bake the spaghetti squash first and then bake it again with the sauce in the casserole. It is quite simple though and tastes great. It makes a lot and is perfect for dinners or lunches.

This recipe could easily be made vegetarian just omit the meat and add in more veggies.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Beer-Braised Pulled Chicken

It was hard to get a good photo of this dish, mostly because it was so good and I just wanted to eat it right away. I found the recipe in a random magazine- Style At home. Well it's not random, but I didn't know house magazines had recipes in them. I picked it up in the lounge in MTL.. thanks Pat for the passes!

I haven't been cooking too much, mainly because I've been spoiled.  My boyfriend is an amazing cook and makes everything with such ease, faster than I could, with less mess, better presentation, and it tastes better..  so, let me tell you, my motivation to cook was low.

I decided though it was time for me to get back to the kitchen to make casseroles or dishes that last a few days, so that I have some food for lunches or quick dinners. I have started a new fitness regime and find that I am STARVING after the workout. If I don't have something ready to heat up quickly, I will eat everything under the sun defeating the point of the workout. I am also known to get HANGRY.

My favourite way to eat it is in a lettuce wrap with avocado and sour cream. It is also good on top of rice or in a tortilla. (Note: you will not believe the flack I got from my trainer for eating this sour cream. Oh what blasphemy ;) If only he knew what I ate on the weekend !!)

The recipe calls for one chipotle pepper in Adobo sauce. I had to call my friend Kristin and ask her if it meant just 1 pepper or just 1 can. Well good thing I asked!  If I'd put in the whole can it would have been so spicy!!


Monday, August 29, 2016

Blackberry Mojitos

Amazing St Catharines recipes part 3..

I am sharing this recipe with you now so you can  make it on this long weekend- one last burst of summer before we delve into fall. We were all set to make these and then we realized we didn't have any rum..woops!! Not to worry, a short trip to the LCBO later, and we were ready for business.

You do need a muddler to make these. I don't have one so I just ordered this one on amazon.

- 1 lime 
- blackberries ( hand full)
-  a few sprigs of mint 
- 3 teaspoons sugar
- one ounce rum  (or more!)
- club soda
- ice

- cut up lime and put at the bottom of glasses ( apparently I cut limes completely WRONG- HAHA ;))
- add blackberries, mint and sugar
- muddle to squish blackberries and lime juice
- add ice, rum and club soda


Chicken a la King

Okay, so here is the recipe for chicken a la King that Carolyn and I made when I was visiting St Catharines. I've never tried to make anything like it before. It seems complicated but is quite easy. It  was so good!  The recipe was made easier with pre-made shells.

Monday, August 22, 2016

What I ate in a long weekend

I had such a nice weekend in Toronto and St Catharines visiting great friends. I spent a lot of it chilling by different pools, reading and eating, of course! I should say this is from Wed-Sunday.

I am excited that I have a few recipes to post, but first- here's a sneak peak of some of the delicious food I ate this weekend.

In Toronto
  • Not pictured: delicious rum cake at T&C's
  • Delicious Lunch

Cobb Salad at House on Parliament

  • Not pictured: delicious bbq, including such a yummy persian eggplant dip
  • Not pictured: late night Mcdonalds- with milkshakes, chicken nuggets, fries, and a surprise junior chicken from T
  • Not pictured, lattes and pastries at Sumach Espresso- lovely cafe

In Oakville

  • Not pictured: delicious falafel sandwich from Bru. Carolyn and I split it. They put it on two plates and it came with fries and mayo. yumm!! it was the best falafel wrap I've ever had. 
In St Catharines:
Chicken a la King- recipe to follow

Peach pie with Fresh Niagra peaches 

Breakfast with soft boiled eggs

signature cocktail- blackberry mojito! 

Amazing cheese plate with cheeses
Upper Canada Cheese/

 Delicious waffles-  note: the waffle maker that flips
is so much better than the one that doesn't! 
  • Also not pictured, delicious donut from beechwood doughnuts- I had the cookies and cream and wholly hell it was delicious. Carolyn had the fritter and it was really good too. 
Back in Toronto

on my way home I had some time to kill in transit. Luckily there is this thing going on called - Union summer where restaurants have little booths, right outside the train station. There is live music and it's really nice.

I bought one  jerk chicken taco and immediately
went back for anotherit was so delicious!
It had mango hot sauce and plantain chips
from: Come and Get it

Variation on Mexican Street Corn-
meh not as good because it wasn't spicy
I forget what booth
I  only went on one run!

 Needless to say, I need to eat healthy for a few days.. so here is my lunch

Home in Ottawa- time to detox

Kale Salad with Fresh Kale and Tomatoes from S's garden
and fresh basil from my plant


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