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

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Bakesale Trifecta Squares

S asked me if I would bake something for a bake sale fundraiser for his work. Sure. I love baking and this is for a good cause: win-win. Oh, and I won't end up eating it all: win-win-win. I came upon this Food Network recipe by chance in my monthly magazine and thought it was perfect. It said bake sale trifecta, I needed something for a bake sale. Voila, I was sold. It combines 3 popular bake sale items, the brownie, the cookie and Rice Krispies squares into one.

Warning: these are very intense!!

Baking these squares made me feel a bit Martha Stewart-y. Well, sort of.  Maybe a messier, less perfectionist version of her (oxymoron right?). I always say that I have 'butter fingers'  but for this recipe, you really do need to cover your fingers with butter..

Unrelatedly, while making these, somehow, the bag of cocoa fell, on it's own, pouring out of the cupboard onto the counter, toaster and the floor. How does that even happen?   When I was younger,  I used to say something fell, and my mom would ask, did it fall or did you drop it? In this case, it really did fall.  I must have put it back off balance somehow, in such a way that it was fine at first and then just fell on its own a few minutes later. What a mess!!

Daniele told me that sometimes cocoa can be used as blush and is great for staining.. good for environmentally friendly makeup, not so much for cleaning the kitchen! Wahhh. Luckily she helped me clean it up. Haha, it was a pretty funny sight.

They turned out pretty well. I would definitely make them again.



For the brownie layer:
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pan
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

For the cookie layer:
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips

For the cereal-treat layer:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for your hands
1 10 -ounce bag mini marshmallows<< I used half of a 400g bag
3 cups rice crispies or other rice cereal

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a 9-inch square, 2-inch-deep baking dish with foil, leaving an overhang; butter the foil. Make the brownie layer: Beat the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar in a bowl with a mixer on medium speed until creamy, 4 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla; mix until combined. Reduce the mixer speed to low; beat in the flour, cocoa powder and salt. Spread in the prepared pan.

Make the cookie layer: Beat the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar in a clean bowl with a mixer on medium speed until creamy, 4 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until combined. Reduce the mixer speed to low; beat in the flour, baking soda and salt. Stir in the chocolate chips. Gently spoon and spread the cookie dough on top of the brownie batter. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool completely in the pan.

Make the cereal-treat layer: Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the marshmallows; stir until melted. Remove from the heat and stir in the cereal. Let cool slightly. Butter your hands, then press the cereal mixture on top of the cookie layer. Refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes. Cut into squares.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Tater Tot Waffles

This recipe is as simple and delicious as it looks. I got the idea from Damn Delicious and couldn't make it soon enough. I went out and bought some frozen tater tots, and made these the next day. 

Tater Tots are really the only ingredient you need, along with ketchup, sriracha and whatever sauce you would like. Oh and a waffle iron. Note, you could easily make this with homemade potatoes that are grated. I'd probably grate potatoes and onions and make it into hash browns. This is the lazy/easier version. 

Place tater tots in waffles iron- close iron

Let the iron go for regular period until the light goes green ( depending on your waffle iron)-  we left it a bit longer to make sure they were nice and crispy.

heart waffles? 
Enjoy! We had them with jerk chicken- nice variation on the usual chicken and waffles! mmm

Aren't these napkins cute? I got them at the newly opened Simons at Rideau Centre

Monday musings

Happy Monday,
With the rainy weather, I finally got back into the kitchen this weekend and am excited to share some recipes on here. First though, I wanted to talk about my weekend and some things going on in Ottawa and on the Internets.

Have you been watching the Olympics? Go Canada Go!! My favourite has been the swimming of course. Track and field is fun to watch too.  Did you all catch the 100m final last night? Go Andre de Grasse!! Also, so sweet the bromance/mentorship with him and Usain Bolt..melts your heart!

After work on Friday, S and I did a short little Nike Training workout. We did one of the partner workouts "Beach Ready" and it was only 17 minutes of abs, dead lifts, lunges etc.

A few rounds of this
The only equipment you need for that one is a mat and a medicine ball and since it was raining we did it inside. We were both sore the next day.. time to get back in shape! At least for me. The Nike Training Ap has recently been updated with a lot of new workouts so check it out.

After watching the epic win of Canada's female soccer team against  France- Semi finals forthcoming tomorrow against Germany- we wanted to go to Movies in the Park but unfortunately it was rained out. We did go the weekend before and it's really nice. If you live in or around center town I recommend checking it out.

On Saturday morning, we went to the Aviation Museum. I had never been before. It was interesting and a lot of fun.  The place is very kid friendly and was swarming with little ones. They had activities for the kids looked like a lot of fun ( they even had space suits for the kids).  For the Star Trek Fans out there out there, there is also a Star Trek Exhibit.

For lunch, we made a variation of chicken and waffles with tater tot waffles.. it was so good! I'll post that recipe in a separate post.

One of my favourite things to make lately is wraps. S made some a few weeks ago for a picnic and they were soo good I have been craving them ever since. I made some for lunches and dinner a few times after and this weekend, Daniele made some for us to bring to the book club picnic. These ones had leftover jerk chicken, spinach, avocado and hummus. Put all the ingredients at the centre of the wraps, roll them up, stab them with tooth picks, cut in half and voila. So yummy.

Speaking of book club, the book we read for Book Club is Girl in the Woods by Aspen Matis. It was pretty good, but not as good as Wild, by Sheryl Strayed. If you have to pick one, I recommend the latter.  Funny story, some people in the book club thought it was the same story and watched the movie Wild by mistake..woops!! haha oh well. Same idea.

Our next book is called, At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen. She wrote Water for Elephants and is a great author. So far, I am really enjoying it.

On another note, My friend Billy opened an Etsy Jewelry Store- The UkiyoCollection. I am so impressed!! The jewelry is so pretty.  Check it out and order some bling! I love all of the items he has so far.

Have a great week!

Ohh, I almost forgot, I went with Emily and her mom wedding dress shopping! It was so much fun. Emily is going to be such a beautiful bride!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Wedding Bells Are Ringing

In double trouble news.. Emily is getting married!! 

The wedding will be in Summer/Fall 2017. So exciting!! R proposed on his birthday, making it a wonderful surprise that took place right outside the building where Emily and R first met! I've never seen Emily so happy! 

Wishing Emily and Rodman all the happiness on this next chapter.  Congratulations Rodman, you are one lucky guy!! 

I am so honored to be a bridesmaid! I can't wait to share your special day and celebrate with you!  

celebratory tea

Ring Pop bridesmaid proposal

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Smore Cupcakes

Unfortunately I didn't get a photo of the completed cupcakes with the chocolate icing on top. I was a bit rushed making these and packing them up in a cooler to take to the lake.

On Saturday we went to Lac Philippe to celebrate S and my birthdays with some friends and family. We had a delicious bbq and picnic lunch, swam (the water is so much warmer than Meech lake), lounged around and hiked to the Lusk caves! I really loved going through the caves. I definitely recommend wearing your swim suit because you are neck deep at some points. It's also useful to have a headlamp. Of course my headlamps batteries were dead, but luckily S is organized and had brought a whole bunch of head lamps.  It is a bit scary, but really fun and beautiful! For those in the Ottawa area, I recommend checking it out. Note it is about 4-5km walk to get to the caves from the beach. I say walk, and not hike because the terrain is easy. You can also get most of the way by canoe or kayak.

Photo credit:Tamara

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to make Smores cupcakes to go along with the camping/lakeside feel. Plus I love smores. I combined a few recipes here because I lost the original one I had found which was the easiest. Here is one that I used for inspiration  There are many different variations. Some use real marshmallows, some have you make your own with egg whites, and some use marshmallow puff. I used real marshmallows.

Basically you make a layer of graham cracker crust, then a chocolate cake layer, one marshmallow that bakes in, one other marshmallow that's mostly in tact and then a chocolate icing over top.

 Graham crust

Chocolate cake layer
With Marshmallow
They were a bit messy and didn't look as nice as the photos in the original recipe but in the end still turned out pretty well. I transported them in a muffin tin in a cooler and that seemed to workout okay.


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