November 28, 2013
While it’s not exactly Thanksgiving up here in Canada, I thought it’d be nice to at least support my southern counterparts. I mean, it’s the least I can do. And though you won’t find mashed potatoes and gravy gracing my tabletop this evening (sigh), I’ve whipped up the next best thing. This turkey soup is comfort food embodied. It’s so wholesome, so delicious, and it simply tastes like home. Bonus: it works perfectly with those leftovers you may have on hand in the coming days (unless you want to mail me some. That’s cool too.) Happy Thanksgiving my dears!
Click for recipe…
November 21, 2013
Will you guys judge me if I tell you I don’t like donuts? Before you do, you should know that my best friend doesn’t like cheesecake (I know. I questioned our friendship for a while there). But really, they’re just not my thing. Transfer that cinnamon-y, nutmeg-y batter into a muffin tin, on the other hand, and you’ve got me sold! And though these guys could technically be considered cupcakes, what with all the sugar involved, if you call them muffins you get to eat them for breakfast (win). These babies are all sorts of delicious and I call this one a slam dunk.
November 14, 2013
Okay so the soup I mentioned last week? This is it. And you need to stop what you’re doing and make it right now (it’s an order). My cousin and I found the recipe and whipped it up on a whim last Saturday. At the time I had no intentions on sharing it with you guys; that is, until we took our first bite. I immediately scooped some into a container so that I could style it and photograph it the next day for you guys (I know. The life of a blogger. I judge me too). But seriously – it’s SO damn good. And I’m willing to be weird for the sake of a really awesome post.
Click for recipe…
November 7, 2013
This cake right here? It’s my kryptonite. Ask anyone. You cannot leave me alone in a room with it as I will devour the ENTIRE thing. This is the cake that my mom whips up for me every year for my birthday, without fail. If I’m being totally honest, she actually makes two. One to share with whomever is at the table when the candles are blown out, and one for me to take home and hoard for myself (I’m not even the slightest bit ashamed, and I very rarely share the second). Up until recently, I never asked her for the recipe for two reasons. Number one: for the sake of my health, I should not be in possession of this knowledge. And number two, saving it for my birthday, and my birthday only, ensures that it remains special. That said, I’ve wanted to share it with you guys for a while now because it’s that. damn. good. And now that I know how easy it is, things are about to get interesting.
Click for the recipe…
October 31, 2013
Seeing as it’s Halloween at all, I felt it only made sense to re-create one of my very favourite chocolate bars. Snickers is one of those bad boys that totally flies under the radar, and definitely doesn’t get enough credit. The real deal is good, don’t get me wrong, but when you have the option to make it at home? Well, all bets go out the window. Seriously. Ooey, gooey, delicious perfection can be yours in moments, and tastes (dare I say) better than the real thing. These things are ridiculous, and from here on out will be the only way to successfully celebrate Halloween.
Click for recipe…
October 24, 2013
For the first time in my life I was asked to bring something to contribute to our Thanksgiving dinner. I suppose that makes me a real adult, eh? I was wondering when I’d start feeling legit and it turns out participating in Thanksgiving is it! I whipped up these simple roasted root veggies and they were so good, and so easy that I thought it was worth a share. They will undoubtedly become a staple in our home during the cooler months!
October 17, 2013
I’m heading up to the cottage this weekend to celebrate my birthday with a few girlfriends (I’m really good at dragging out this birthday thing, let me tell you!) And, if you ask me, no weekend with the girls is complete without a signature cocktail. After testing out a few versions, I’ve definitely found a winner. This maple spice concoction is a little sweet, a little sour, and dangerously tasty.
October 10, 2013
I’m fairly certain that I don’t need to tell you that apple pie should be a staple come October. It’s simply falls into the “good life decision” category. And when it comes in the form of heart-shaped, personal sized pieces? Welp, you can pretty much assume that a good day is to be had. While these heart shaped apple hand pies are a little more work than your average fall staple, their adorable single-servedness (totally a word) is WELL worth the effort. Plus, much like the maple cinnamon almonds I posted last week, your entire house will just smell like love while they’re in the works. Perfection.
October 3, 2013
Funny story: this recipe for maple cinnamon almonds is probably the easiest recipe I’ve ever made, yet I still managed to mess it up more times than I care to admit. Note to self: focus is key when baking! I didn’t have quite enough almonds, I forgot to add the salt to the mix (so I sprinkled some on halfway through the baking process), and accidentally added the maple syrup to the sugar mixture instead of the egg. How awkward. The best part? Despite all my could-have-been-major hiccups and the fact that they aren’t as pretty as I would have liked, they still tasted beyond. Like everyone who goes in for a sample looses complete control over themselves and forces me to take them away type of beyond. All this to say that you need to make them. They’re clearly foolproof! And your whole home will smell like warm cinnamon, which should be a law come autumn.
September 26, 2013
I’ve been impatiently holding on to this recipe for what feels like months now, just waiting for the perfect opportunity to bust it out. You see, the problem with double chocolate chip cookies stuffed with nutella and salted caramel is that if I made double chocolate chip cookies stuffed with nutella and salted caramel I would eat them. All. So I sat on it until the perfect moment. And that moment? It happened last weekend. With an impending bridal shower on the horizon, we were each asked to bring a dozen cookies. So, knowing full well that I would (reluctantly) have to share, I whipped em’ up. And I must admit, it was one of my better life decisions to date. I file these bad boys under: Must. Make. and Holy. Crap.
September 19, 2013
There’s no question that my tastebuds have changed over the course of the last couple of years. Not long ago the idea of pickles completely repulsed me, and now I can’t seem to get enough! So when Justin came home recently with a big brown bag filled to the brim with cucumbers from his uncles garden, I knew exactly what we needed to do with them. Inspired by my dear Leah of Freutcake, I transformed a hefty number of them into three types of dill pickles (classic, garlic and super duper spicy!) and our fridge has been happy ever since.
September 12, 2013
I know. I’m a walking contradiction. One minute I’m preaching about the benefits of healthy smoothies and the next I’m making popcorn as fattening as physically possible. But as far as I’m concerned life is all about moderation. So if you’re ingesting healthy things on the regular, it’s totally cool to add caramel, bacon and cashews to your popcorn once in a while. In fact, it’s encouraged!
Click for recipe…
September 5, 2013
As far as I’m concerned, galettes are totally underrated. They’re basically impossible to mess up, they’re pretty to look at, and they taste unbelievable. It’s kind of like a faux-pie, really! So when the last of this years peach bounty became too much for me to ingest, I decided to throw em’ into one of these bad boys. I used Chef Chloe‘s recipe and couldn’t have been more pleased with the results (the fact that it lasted barely one evening is a testament to the deliciousness that ensued).
August 29, 2013
One of my favourite people in the entire world recently moved into the building down the street from me and I couldn’t be more excited. In celebration, I obviously made her some welcome muffins (because that’s just what twenty somethings in this day and age do… right? …) It just so happened that I had recently been introduced to this fabulous Martha Stewart recipe and had been itching to give them a test run. I whipped em’ up pretty quickly over my lunch break not long ago and was seriously surprised at how delicious they were. Truthfully, it almost pained me to give them away (do I get bonus friend points for that?) I’d gladly add these babies to my ever growing list of recipes to hoard, and kind of love that you truly can’t tell that they’re a healthy alternative to your standard baked good.
Click here for the recipe…
August 22, 2013
It’s no secret around here that I like to bake. I can thank my grandma for not only passing down her baking gene, but also physically teaching me her ways as early as two years of age. I have vivid recollections of us baking together at the cottage, me standing on a chair in order to really dig into that batter. The one thing we always made together each year, without fail, was chocolate chip cookies. Her recipe is no secret (in fact, it’s written on the side of the Hershey’s chipits bag if I’m being honest!) but no matter how many different versions I try hers is the one that I go back to time and time again. So when I headed up to visit her last week, it only made sense to whip up a batch for her to enjoy. And when I handed them to her, she proudly proclaimed that she should have just married a cookie. And I completely and wholeheartedly agree (especially if it’s this particular cookie).
Click for the recipe…
August 1, 2013
I’m not sure that these homemade drumsticks legally fall under the recipe category as there’s little to no real cooking or baking involved. That being said, I am sharing how to make Magic Shell from scratch (thanks Joanna!) so that’s got to count for something, right? Plus, it’s a well known fact that homemade anything tastes infinitely better than the store bought variety, even if said store bought variety is your childhood embodied. And now that I know how ridiculously easy it is to make these bad boys, I solemnly swear to never go back to the original version again (unless I’m out and desperate – then all bets are off, for the sake of drumstick emergencies only of course).
Click below for recipe…
July 25, 2013
Truth: I can count on one hand the amount of legitimate meals I’ve cooked in the last month. When the summer season rears it’s beautiful, beautiful face, the last place I want to be is in front of a hot stove. I’ve since resorted to quick fixes: a poached egg on toast with greens, summer salads, and maybe, just maybe I had a bowl of chocolate frozen yogurt on Monday evening and decided to call it a night (what?!) All that aside, sometimes my lazy-”cooking” pays off. I recently threw together this ridiculously easy summer-time pasta that can be made in minutes, and tastes just like a real, live dinner. Plus, those ripe tomatoes are just so darn good these days that I’ll think of any excuse to eat them in abundance. Now, I won’t lie, this dish isn’t revolutionary by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s really simple and really delicious so I thought I’d share it all the same.
Click for the recipe!
July 18, 2013
Though I absolutely adore working from the comfort of my own home, there are certain things that have become slightly problematic. With nobody here to pass judgement, I’ve acquired a few bad eating habits that I’m finding difficult to break. Things like this cookie-recipe-for-one (the number of times it has been used will not be discussed) or boxed mac and cheese for lunch. Feeling lothargic and sluggish lately as a result, I knew that things needed to change.
I’ve since resorted to not keeping chocolate chips or mac and cheese in the house, and instead stocking the fridge full of fruits and veggies. And whenever a sweet craving hits, I bust out the blender and whip up a smoothie. It’s not EXACTLY a fresh chocolate chip cookie, but I’m definitely noticing a huge difference when it comes to both my waistline and my state of mind.
Click for recipe…
July 11, 2013
After three years of humming and hawing, I finally decided to pull the trigger and get myself a popsicle mold. I know. Big things are happening here folks. Though the thought of spending $20 plus on a bunch of plastic and metal was hard to wrap my mind around, I figured, for the love of popsicles, it was high time to suck it up. And so I did. And I think you should too. Because there really isn’t much that beats a homemade popsicle in the heat of the summer (no, not even you rocket pop!)
I started out with Joy the Baker’s recipe for roasted strawberry and toasted coconut popsicles, and while they were good, I feel like they could be a little bit better (Joy, I will still love you forever and ever). As far as I’m concerned, the roasted strawberry portion stole the show. The coconut? Well it was delicious in its own right, but it palled in comparisson to the frozen roasted strawberries. SO, if you’re still reading my blabbering on over here, I insist that you make these, but double up on the strawberry portion*. And then thank me later.
*My recipe, below, reflects this alteration.
Click for the recipe… (more…)
July 4, 2013
Okay so I’m being a total cheater today because this cocktail was already featured on Style Me Pretty Living. But I just really, really wanted it up on my own pages. Because, honestly, it’s my favourite recipe to date. I made it mid-morning some time ago specifically to shoot it, and had to literally stop myself from guzzling the whole thing before noon (willpower, commence!) The combination of muddled basil, raspberry, limoncello and champagne is just beyond – it can’t be beat.
PS – Happy Independence Day to my American friends <3 !
Click for recipe…
June 27, 2013
We are officially in the thick of strawberry season which is pretty much my favourite season of all time. As you probably know, an in-season strawberry is unlike no other. If given the option, I’d happily choose a bowl full of them over chocolate any day (and if you know me at all, this is a very bold statement. I don’t mess around when it comes to chocolate). So when this small window of sweet deliciousness is open, you better believe I capitalize to the full extent. I pretty much put them on anything and everything, but my favourite treat to date? This strawberry shortcake cake. It’s sweet, it’s light as air, and it’s happy to let those beautiful strawberries be the center of the show. Plus? Look how pretty!
Grab the recipe right here:
June 12, 2013
We recently posted this recipe for tequila chicken with tomato-corn relish on Style Me Pretty Living and it has been on my mind, more or less, ever since. Not only is it incredibly flavourful, it’s basically foolproof and sure to impress even the pickiest of dinner guests. We’ve now made it a handful of times in the last month and I’m thinking it’s here to stay. Paired with mexican rice and an ice cold fresh lime margarita and I do believe we’ve got ourselves our very own party. Enjoy!
all images original to lark & linen
Grab all of the recipes after the jump! (more…)
June 6, 2013
I wasn’t sure there was anything that could rival a brownie, but as it turns out their lighter toned counterparts are all kids of awesome. I feel as if all you really need to know about this recipe is that I whipped them up to bring up to the cottage a few weekends ago and there were only a few survivors upon our arrival. In our defense, there were 6 of us in the car at the time, and the drive WAS practically three hours long. And in all honesty, I’m sincerely proud of us for making them last as long as they did! They’re truly just. that. good.
May 30, 2013
Hey guys! Sarah here from Girlcrush. While Jacquelyn is having the time of her life on the Amalfi Coast (I’m not jealous at all, are you?) I thought I would share a little taste of Italy for all of us stuck at home!
I found this recipe in the June issue of House and Home, one of my favourite places for recipes, and immediately needed to try it. Enjoyed warm or cold (I prefer the pasta warm although it is meant to be served cold) this dish is a must try.
For the Dressing:
Olive oil for brushing
1 lb plum tomatoes halved lengthwise
1 clove of garlic, minced (I used 2)
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
For the Salad (Pasta):
1 lb dried pasta, such as penne or farfalle
5 oz of washed baby kale
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 lb fresh mozzarella
1/4 lb thinly sliced prosciutto
1. Line a heavy-dute baking tray with foil.
2. Brush both the foil and tomatoes with olive oil.
3. Place tomatoes on tray skin-side-up.
4. Broil for 6″ from heat until lightly charred, approximately 5 minutes on skin side and 10 on cut side. Remove and cool.
5. Place tomatoes, garlic and vinegars in a blender. Puree. Slowly add oil. Transfer to a bowl.
6. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drains and rinse with cold water until cool, or enjoy the pasta warm.
7. Place pasta, kale and chopped basil in a large mixing bowl.
8. Add some dressing and season. Mix.
9. Arrange on a large serving platter or plates.
10. Tear mozzarella into chunks and distribute on top.
11. Tear prosciutto into ribbons and distribute on top.
12. Drizzle with oil and enjoy!
You can rest assured that this will be the FIRST thing I make upon my return. A big thank you to Sarah, recipe maker extra-ordinaire.
May 16, 2013
So this is kind of awkward, but I actually picked up these pretty purple glasses over two years ago thinking “these will be PERFECT for a lavender lemonade post”. And though they’ve been well used and loved ever since, there they sat unfulfilling their rightful duty. Until now! Because I finally tried this recipe that I’ve been eyeing forever, and I’m so glad that I did. It basically tastes like summer in liquid format, and that excites me to no end.
May 9, 2013
I’m hosting a Mother’s day brunch this Sunday and while planning my menu I stumbled upon Martha Stewarts recipe for blueberry blintzes. Being impatient by nature, I felt as if it was my duty to give them a test run. You know, just to be safe. So I made my girlfriend come over a few days ago to be the official tester. And can I just tell you that they were revolutionary? Seriously. Sweet, but not too sweet. Filling, but not roll me home filling. And, as an added bonus, they just looked so gosh darn pretty atop my robins egg blue dishes (this is important you know). From here on out, Sunday brunch will never be the same. (Tip: pair them with a mimosa. You’ll thank me later.)
May 2, 2013
I recently stumbled upon this recipe for flourless fudge cookies and I simply couldn’t resist sharing the goods. With just a handful of ingredients, it’s virtually foolproof (and can be made in a quick minute – which is relatively dangerous if you’ve met sweet tooth and I at any point during our existence). The results are ridiculously chocolate-y with a satisfying balance between crispy, chewy and soft (aka magic). Pair it with a tall glass of cold milk and you’ve got yourself a party.
April 18, 2013
I’ve mentioned my best friend Jessica a few times on these pages before (in fact, my trip to Ireland was specifically for a Jess visit). But I’m not sure that I’ve ever shared that she’s an amazing chef. Because she is. The best even (and though I may be biased, it is 100%, unequivocally, undeniably true). So when she sends me links recipes, I just KNOW they’re going to be good. Like this one. This Nigel Slater lemon and thyme loaf might very well blow your mind. It’s moist, it’s spongey, it’s pretty much foolproof and it may just be the best thing you’ve ever eaten. Ever! Bonus: there’s lemon in it which totally makes it acceptable to eat for breakfast (at least that’s how I’ve justified it).
Tea Towel c/o Celina Mancurti
March 21, 2013
Honestly, I’m pretty confident that this post need not any introduction. Nutella banana swirl muffins pretty much sums it up. All you need is this recipe, and about half an hour of spare time. I kid you not, these rank amongst my top five favourite things I’ve ever made. And if I have to be honest, I ate three. THREE. Right out of the oven. I couldn’t stop! The nutella becomes kind of crispy crunchy in the most satisfying way and… I’ve said too much. Go. Bake. Now! You won’t regret it.
March 14, 2013
The thought of roasting a chicken of barbecuing a steak still intimidates me to no end. But Thai food? That I can tackle. I know – logic at its best. This particular recipe for coconut curried chicpeas is one I stumbled upon years ago (if you click on the link you can see I commented on it back in 2010 – crazy!) and have been making consistently ever since. It’s one of those guys I’ve been meaning to share with you forever. Well shame on me for taking so long! It’s a good one, I assure you. We make it bi-weekly around here and usually throw together enough to last us a few days (we’re lazy like that ;). It’s quite healthy, ridiculously flavourful and so easy you could essentially do it with your eyes closed.
March 7, 2013
First of all, a big, warm thank you to everyone who left comments, tweets & emails regarding yesterdays post. You guys warmed my heart and I so loved learning more about you. The best readers in the world? Quite possibly. You’ve inspired me to be real more often.
And now on to the goods: these breakfast cookies. Because they are DAMN good. And healthy! I really didn’t even know that the combination was possible. I originally found the recipe here, but couldn’t track down dried blueberries (my local bulkbarn shut down and I’ve since wandered around like a lost puppy when looking for unconventional ingredients). I have to say though that the cranberries were a nice touch though. I recommend it. I do! Not only are these guys flavourful, but they’re chock full of nutrients and definitely keep me full until lunch. Plus, they make for the perfect thing to grab when I stumble into the kitchen with my eyes half closed first thing in the morning (morning person, I am not). Check out my take on it below.
February 28, 2013
I’ve had this recipe for Greek baked eggs pinned for longer than I can even remember. Every once in a while, it’d cross my mind and I would make a mental note to try it already. When my friend and I arranged a study/brunch date last weekend, I figured it was a great excuse to bust this guy out. My only regret is that it took so long to finally get to it. It was ridiculously easy, chock full of flavour, and provided the perfect fuel for us to get our study on. Let me just finish by saying that I know what YOU should be doing this weekend.
February 21, 2013
When Rachel linked to this recipe* last week, my interest was immediately piqued. Having only recently discovered my adoration for gin cocktails, I’ve been on the hunt to add to my teeny, tiny arsenal of concoctions. The results were beyond what I could have ever imagined. If you only ever make one of “my”** recipes, please, please let this one be it. It received a virtually unheard of four thumbs up in our household and it’s more than safe to say that they’ll be on heavy rotation in the coming months. Do I smell a party anyone?!
*The sweet tooth within me rimmed our glasses with brown sugar. One of the better decisions I’ve made in my lifetime.
**I use the term “my” loosely. Clearly I’m simply a recipe thief!
February 14, 2013
I feel as if it’s no coincidence that Pancake Tuesday and Valentine’s day happened to fall within the same week. And if that’s not reason to celebrate with some delectable goods, well I simply don’t know what is. This recipe for heart-shaped red-velvet pancakes just so happens to kill two celebratory birds with one stone. They’re light, they’re fluffy and gosh-darnit they’re adorable! Happy Valentine’s Day my loves! Make yourself some festive pancakes why dontcha.
Ps: I picked up my teeny heart-shaped frying pan at the dollar store. Best $2 I think I’ve ever spent. Also? I didn’t use the sweet cream cheese butter mentioned in the recipe. I probably should have because doesn’t that sound amazing? But I had a hankering for some real maple syrup. Also, also? There is NOTHING wrong with making yourself some heart-shaped red velvet pancakes. I did it. And I’ll do it again.
February 7, 2013
Though it may seem like all I ingest is food of the sugary variety, I can assure you that it isn’t the case. I fully subscribe to the notion of everything in moderation and do my best to apply it to every day life. The way I see it, you should eat that dang cookie and don’t you dare feel guilty about it, but perhaps just stop at one. So far in this lifetime, this notion has worked well for me.
On a typical day, I try my best to reach for healthier meals. No, you probably won’t see me choking down a spirulina and kale smoothie, but I am conscious about what I put in my body. One of my go-to winter dinners (especially after a long day at work) is soup. It’s one of those meals that consists of a bunch of ingredients thrown into a pot, is typically relatively healthy, and simply requires a little wait time as the stove works its magic. It’s my kind of recipe – that’s for sure. This spinach, tomato & barley soup is a combination of ingredients that Justin and I have “perfected” by grabbing inspiration from a multitude of soup recipes that we’ve tried and loved in the past. It has quickly become one of our very favourites, and we always ensure to have a batch or two frozen for those last-minute meals. (See below for our recipe!)
January 31, 2013
Though they’re incredibly dangerous, I’m a huge fan of recipes that make just enough goodies for a single (albeit large) serving. When I first stumbled upon the recipe for single serve chocolate cake that I blogged about some time ago, I thought I had hit the jackpot. It had never occurred to me that a similar version could be found for chocolate chip cookies. Though this recipe is INSANELY good (like, maybe the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever made type good), I almost wish I didn’t know it existed. Since its discovery two weeks ago, I feel like I have to confess that I’ve made it three separate times. And had I not of recently run out of chocolate chips, I’m sure that number would have continued to climb. So here you have it: a dangerously delicious recipe that makes chocolate chip cookies for one (or two, if you’re feeling share-y. Though if you don’t feel like sharing I totally won’t tell).
January 24, 2013
Though I don’t eat breakfast on a daily basis (I know, I know, it’s terrible), I still stand by the fact that it’s my very favourite meal. Not only does it involve eggs, bacon and mimosas (never forget mimosas!), but it’s also considered perfectly acceptable to eat something sugary before 9 am. And let’s face it, any excuse to indulge in delicious treats will always be aces in my book. Last week I woke up with a hankering for something sweet. I began perusing through some of my favourite food blogs and stumbled upon this recipe for blueberry breakfast fritters. As luck would have it, I just so happened to have all of the ingredients on hand. I quickly whipped them up and was extremely satisfied with the results. The only issue? I may have overdone it just a touch when it came to devouring the bounty. I officially file this one under crazy delicious, but reserved for special occasions (and don’t leave me alone with them. Please.)
January 17, 2013
Late last week, my family came over in celebration on my moms birthday. It was my very first time planning a legitimate, grown-up, sit down dinner party for a decent number of people and I’m happy to say that it went off without a hitch. Though the main course is naturally important, if you ask me, dessert is always the star of the show, and with that the pressure was on. I wanted to present something classic and sophisticated, preferably individually portioned for quick and easy delivery and (even quicker clean up). In came this recipe for pear and cinnamon frangipane tartlets. The results were as delicious as they are beautiful, and it’s safe to say that my mom was one very happy lady.
January 10, 2013
For the past few years, I’ve been put in charge of our Christmas Eve dessert. It’s a task that I’ve completely and wholeheartedly embraced in the past, and this year was no exception. While brainstorming ideas that I felt would please the masses, I came across this recipe for wine-soaked cherry eton mess. Intrigued by the meringue snowflake topper and individually portioned jars, I felt like it’d be a fun addition to our Christmas Eve meal. It turns out I was right – an instant hit ensued! Though it was slightly more labour intensive than your typical treat, I would still gladly recommend it for any and all future events you may come across.
December 20, 2012
While browsing the interwebs for Christmas baking inspiration, I somehow stumbled upon on a few recipes for cardamom sugar cookies. Though I typically abide by the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” rule of thumb (in other words: classic sugar cookies remain classic for a reason), my gut told me to take the plunge and give it a try (am I living on the edge or what?) I ended up using this recipe and the results were absolutely glorious (glorious!) The hint of spice further elevated the otherwise simple treat and, dare I say it, I truly believe that they’re even more seasonally appropriate than the classic variety. Forget tradition, I’m totally sold.
December 13, 2012
Do not let the sound of white chocolate peppermint popcorn deter you, for I’m confident that it might just be the best thing you’ll ingest all season. It legitimately looks and tastes like Christmas in the very best way and would make the perfect little gift to hand out this to loved ones in the coming days.
I originally enjoyed a handful (give or take) of a grocery-store version at a holiday party a few weeks ago and haven’t been able to get it out of my mind since. At the time, I made sure to indulge in more than my fair share (for research purposes of course) knowing full well my plans to recreate the dish at home.
Just before embarking on our Christmas baking last weekend, I whipped up a batch (using the recipe below) for the girls to enjoy throughout the day. I won’t even begin to tell you how quickly it disappeared, which is generally a pretty good sign. As it turns out, I’m not the only one enamored with this delectable combination. It’s a hit, I promise you that.
November 8, 2012
Much to my dismay, my winter jacket emerged from the closet for the first time yesterday morning. The weather has quickly turned from somewhat bearable to completely frigid and I’m not quite mentally prepared. While I’m never entirely happy when the winter months begin to show their true colours, there’s something to be said about hunkering down indoors with a piping hot bowl of soup as the wind howls outside. On a particularly frosty day recently, Justin and I took this recipe out for a spin. The flavours are rich and intense in the best possible way and I was surprised at how simple it was to throw together on a whim*. Chef Michael Smith is always a hit in our household and I can pretty much guarantee that this soup will be on heavy rotation in the coming months.
*I realize that lemongrass, coconut milk and lime leaves aren’t staples in most people’s homes, but we are big Thai food fans over here. In fact, I’ve never in my life roasted a chicken, cooked a steak or baked a pork chop – but Thai? Thai I can do with my eyes closed.
September 20, 2012
I’m thrilled to have been a contributor in this months Xquisit Magazine sharing one of my favourite fall recipes: goat cheese stuffed beet ravioli in a brown butter shallot sauce. Definitely not low-cal – but really delicious, and bright pink! It doesn’t get much better than that. You can find the recipe on page 68 here.
September 13, 2012
For reasons I’m unable to explain, I had been finding it difficult to say goodbye to summer. By late-August most years I’m more than ready for cooler temperatures, cosy knits and knee-high boots but not this time. While it feels unseasonably warm mid-day, there’s an undeniable crispness in the air during my morning bike rides to work which was leaving me less than impressed. Instead of fighting the inevitable, I’ve made an effort to embrace what’s to come. On Sunday morning I woke up early with the urge to bake. I promptly put on some music, flung open the windows and got to it, donning flannel pjs and all. Using this recipe, our condo quickly transformed into a fall-like haven: crisp gold cupcake foils, and wafting scents of pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg filled our home, and those familiar autumn urges came rushing in. It was just what I needed to get me into the fall spirit once more. And further proof that cupcakes make all of the things right in the world.
August 23, 2012
While this has been a wonderful summer thus far, there’s no denying that it’s been a busy one. With some sort of unavoidable commitment each weekend, it’s been challenging to get away for any length of time. I’ve had to forgo our yearly family camping trip and have only made it up to the cottage once (in which there was a fire ban due to a dry spell in the County). With this in mind, there is one thing that has been omitted from my seasonal to-do list: a campfire. And more importantly: s’mores – a necessary summer staple. Instead of dwelling on my misfortunes (I know, it’s a rough life) I decided to take matters into my own hands. Enter: the s’mores square. Made up of essentially the same ingredients as your standard s’more, these things could almost pass as the real deal. Though I’m unable to trick myself into believing that they were made over an open flame while wearing an oversized sweatshirt, they are undeniably delicious and make for a great alternative to your usual marshmallowy treat.
August 2, 2012
This isn’t the first time I’ve admitted to becoming lazy during the warmer months. With the sun shining bright outside, the last thing I want to do is be cooped up in the kitchen trying to come up with some sort of feast. While scones and muffins are the perfect quick & easy breakfast alternative during fall and winter, come summer I am undeniably on the hunt for cold meals that can be thrown together in a pinch. When I was introduced to this breakfast concoction, I knew it would be the perfect recipe to help get me through the early humid mornings. The mild and creamy cheese paired with the homemade granola and sweet blueberries is surprisingly satisfying, and definitely keeps me full well until lunch.
Click to see the recipe: (more…)
July 25, 2012
It could be the type-A (ahem, control freak) that lives within me, but I love the idea of making anything and everything from scratch. It’s always nice to know exactly where your food is coming from and I can’t help but enjoy being in charge of the items I fuel my body with on any given day. Up until somewhat recently, I would purchase bags full of sugar-laden granola to add to my morning yogurt, ingesting unnecessary calories and questionable ingredients to boot. Upon discovering how simple (and delicious!) it is to make my own, I vow to never go back to the grocery-store variety, and I’m convinced you’ll make the switch yourself if you give it a shot. The results are crunchy, in that satisfying kind of way, and make for the perfect snack at any time of the day*. Plus, if you’re feeling fancy, you’re free to add and take away ingredients as you see fit (walnuts? chia seeds? dried apricots? the choices are abound!)
*I love unintentional rhymes
July 12, 2012
Much like my discovery with popcorn and bread, I’ve recently discovered that you don’t require a specific machine (I’m looking at you ice cream maker) to make one of my favourite frozen treats. I’m telling you, minds are being blown in my kitchen on the daily. It turns out, all you need are a few key ingredients, a freezer, and a little bit of patience (waiting is truly the hardest part). I found this particular recipe in one of my newest cookbooks, and I can confidently say that it’s AMAZING. I would even go so far as to announce that the results taste almost entirely like Haagen Daz coffee ice cream. I know. Right? If you haven’t already run out to the store to buy a litre of heavy cream, I’m not sure we can continue this friendship. That’s how serious I am about this recipe.
June 28, 2012
Don’t be surprised if you see an abundance of strawberry recipes on the blog over the next few weeks as I can’t seem to stop craving them in all forms. Now that strawberry season is upon us, they have become my go-to snack, and have even replaced dessert on several occasions. Though I’ve been making strawberry smoothies since I can remember, I thought it’d be fun to kick it up a notch with just a touch of cream cheese – transforming my go-to smoothie into a cheesecake one. The additional ingredient gives this recipe just a little bite, and pairs perfectly with your back porch after a long day at work.
June 21, 2012
While there’s no denying my love for all things food related, the last thing I want to do come summer is spend my time indoors in front of a hot stove. With backyard barbeques, potlucks and picnics galore, I constantly find myself on the hunt for quick and easy snacks that I can throw together in a pinch. Giada’s pea pesto crostini recipe fulfils all of my requirements and then some and I have no doubt that it will become my go-to recipe during the warm summer months. Not only do they taste absurdly delicious, but they’re pretty to look at (which, to me, is equally as important), barely require any stove action (apart from a light toasting of the baguette) and are a healthier alternative than your standard barbecue fare.
June 14, 2012
I’ve never had the privilege of visiting Miette Bakery in San Fransisco, but based on their incredibly pretty cookbook and this insanely delicious recipe I feel confident when I say it’s a place I’m sure I’d enjoy. I’ve had their cookbook sitting on my shelves for some time now, but this is the first recipe I’ve attempted and I can promise you that it will not be the last. If you’re looking for a soft and chewy cookie, this recipe is not the one. It produces a confection that somehow bridges the gap between dense and crumbly and melt-in-your-mouth. Imagine shortbread and peanut butter colliding (a nice thought, isn’t it?) It results in a divine classic and is by far my favourite peanut butter cookie recipe to date.
June 7, 2012
I’m constantly on the hunt for recipes I can create entirely from scratch. Theres something about taking a few simple ingredients and having them transform into a hearty meal with your own two hands. The idea of making gnocchi from scratch had always intrigued me, but I’ve always assumed the process to be daunting and time consuming. When I found this recipe for a cheater version, I just had to give it a shot. The combination of ricotta, mint and spinach was one I had never considered, and I was pleasantly surprised by how the flavours enhanced one another. The process was relatively quick (basically: mix, roll and boil) and resulted in light as a cloud little dumplings that taste (almost) like the real thing, without all the hassle.
May 31, 2012
While you’d never guess based on my list of recipes I’ve conjured up on this here blog thus far, I do try my best to reach for healthier alternatives on a regular basis. Admittedly, it’s not always easy when cheese filled pastas and thick juicy steaks are there for the taking, but recipes like this one definitely help. The combination of pearl barley, peas and shrimp with just a hint of lemon will have you convinced from the first bite. Pair this dish with a glass of riesling on your back porch (or condo balcony if you’re anything like us) and you’ve got yourself a superb summer meal.
May 24, 2012
There’s just something about long weekends that beg for long, leisurely breakfasts (that generally begin just after noon). On Monday morning, Justin and I awoke with absolutely zero plans. We putted around the house in our pyjamas before whipping up these bad boys to fill our bellies. While scones are not typically the first thing I gravitate to (something about their dry crumbliness isn’t generally my schtick), this recipe is definitely one I’d use again and again. The results are dense (yet surprisingly moist), quite easy to prepare, and made for the ultimate breakfast treat.
May 17, 2012
Once in a while, I get the sudden urge for chocolate cake. If you’re anything like me, you know that when this urge strikes, it isn’t easily satisfiable. There isn’t much that can compare to a big slice of warm chocolatey goodness, and don’t try to tell me that a cookie or a chocolate bar will do the trick. I assure you, it will not.
Not wanting to commit to baking an entire cake for these dire moments of need (because if I have an entire cake I will eat an entire cake), I knew that there had to be a solution. It turns out, I wasn’t alone in this thought and have since found a multitude of recipes that result in just enough batter to make one decent portion of ooey gooey deliciousness. A single, personal sized chocolate cake, if you will. After testing out a few versions I came up with what I believe to be the perfect recipe (see below). The combination of ingredients results in a cake that’s not too sweet, not too dense, and just chocolatey enough to fulfil any and all cravings.
May 3, 2012
As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’m constantly on the lookout for quick breakfast solutions that I can grab and eat en route to work (me? morning person? ha!) While this recipe may not be as healthy as the breakfast loaf I’ve been known to make, it does make for a wonderful alternative. The addition of oats and walnuts not only give it a satisfying texture, but they add that little bit of something that keeps you fuller longer than your every day muffin might. Whip em’ up on a Sunday and you’ll have enough to last you (and your roommate/coworker/significant other – yes, muffins DO make friends) all week-long.
Adjustments: the amount of sugar this particular recipe calls for seemed excessive to me turning this so-called muffin into what I would describe as a cupcake. Instead, I used half the amount of white sugar, unsweetened coconut in lieu of the sweetened kind, steel-cut oats instead of granola and added a small handful of chocolate chips (because, obviously).
April 26, 2012
What with all of the food blogs, Pinterest boards and links I’ve hoarded throughout my internet travels, I don’t often recreate the same recipe more than once or twice. I love experimenting with food and have found that testing a new recipe is a great way to hone in on my skills all the while keeping things fresh and interesting in the kitchen. Of course, like anyone, I have a number of go-to favourites that I always fall back on (like this, this and this), but when it comes to desserts, there are very few that I’ve deemed worthy of multiple attempts. This recipe for tiramisu cupcakes is one of the few exceptions and I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to share it with all of you. The process is definitely more time-consuming than many and it must be followed exactly for best results, but I promise you it is entirely worth all of the additional effort. I’ve made them on more than my fair share of occasions and they never fail to please the crowd.
April 19, 2012
In an effort to add more greens to my diet, I’ve been attempting to create big, tasty salads to pair with dinner. Inspired by this recipe for grilled zucchini ribbon salad, I made my own variation to suit my preferred taste. I switched out the arugula for baby spinach, the hazelnuts for pine nuts (since I had them on hand), and the parmesan for feta. The combination of the zucchini paired with the toasted pine nuts, and fresh feta made this dish anything but boring and I would gladly add it to my meal rotation. The results are as pretty as they are tasty (which is always a bonus in my eyes), and it definitely looks like a lot of effort was executed when in reality it only took a few minutes.
April 5, 2012
Is it just me, or do miniature things taste better than those of the full-sized variety? I recently stumbled upon this recipe for mini strawberry éclairs and couldn’t wait for an excuse to whip them up (that excuse being “it’s Sunday and it’s spring!” Totally legit). Apart from the fact that you have to focus on three separate steps (the pastry, the macerated berries and the cream filling), they were shockingly easy to make and I really enjoyed the process. The results were light, fresh, not overly sweet and would make the perfect dessert atop your Easter table (or any table, if I’m being honest). Plus, their miniature size means you can enjoy two or three without feeling guilty – logic at it’s best.
March 29, 2012
Just after moving in to my first place, my hand-me down microwave bit the dust. Being wary of using it to begin with, I wasn’t all that sad to see it go as I realized that most things could be heated up just as quickly in my toaster oven, and I no longer needed to worry about any crazy box manipulating the molecules in my food. (Admittedly, I have no idea how microwaves actually work, but the idea of being able to cook something in under two minutes hurts my brain parts. But I digress.) The one and only thing I missed once my microwave was gingerly placed in the back-alley dumpster was my ability to make popcorn in a flash. I grew up in a household where you either made it in an old-fashioned popcorn machine, or you plunked the bagged stuff in the microwave and waited impatiently for two and a half minutes.
It was only recently (like, really, really recently) that I discovered that you could, in fact, make popcorn with none other than a few tablespoons of hot oil, and a pot with a lid. In the same amount of time no less! Mind. Blown. Since then, popcorn has been made en-mass and I’ve been playing around with different flavour combinations. This one in particular is by far my favourite and I dare you not to devour the entire bowl all by your lonesome (do it, I won’t judge).
ps. it pairs perfectly with a really cheesy movie
March 15, 2012
Since day one, milkshakes have always brought about happy, carefree occasions for me. They remind me of my brother, my dad (who don’t have my sweet tooth, but would never turn down a milkshake) and warm summer days – three things that cannot be topped, really. Up until now, my home-made milkshakes have consisted of a scoop of vanilla ice cream (chocolate chip, when I’m feeling fancy), a splash of milk and a squirt of chocolate sauce. While there’s no need to mess with a classic combination (one my dad has been making for me for years and years now), I think it’s time I try kicking them up a notch just for fun – an adult milkshake, if you will. When I found this recipe on Joy’s blog not long ago, I knew it would be the perfect contender. The combination of rhubarb purée and a real vanilla bean transforms this childhood dessert into a special treat and I can’t wait to make them on the regular come the warmer months.
March 8, 2012
I have a confession: I am terrible when it comes to eating breakfast. I’m well aware that it’s detrimental to my health to go unfed until noon most days, but mornings are just not my thing. More often than not they consist of multiple snooze button pushes resulting in a mad dash out the door when I eventually force myself up. In an effort to hone in on my health and wellbeing, I’ve been making a conscious effort towards a few lifestyle changes. Knowing very well that the likelihood of finding additional time in the morning to fuel my body is quite slim, I’ve been on the hunt for breakfast alternatives that I can quickly grab on the go (generally munching on en route to work). When a friend introduced me to this blueberry breakfast loaf (recipe below) I knew it would work well with my current habbits. The loaf itself is moist and dense, void of any overpowering flavour and pairs perfectly with a small pad of butter and a heaping spoonful of jam as I run out the door. The fact that the recipe is customizable to suit your tastes is quite appealing as I’m one to tire of the same meal too often. I generally throw the ingredients together on a Sunday evening, and the results are enough to last me throughout the work week ahead.(Recipe Below)
March 1, 2012
Can I be honest? Up until recently, I’ve had negative connotations towards desserts that claim to be vegan (or gluten free). I know it’s narrow-minded but it was difficult to wrap my mind around a cake void of eggs (or cream cheese frosting! Blasphemy!) Having a few good friends who’ve recently switched to veganism for various reasons has opened my eyes to a whole new world.
I originally tried a piece of this cake* in Montreal and had nobody told me it was vegan I would have been none the wiser. The results were moist and flavourful and it took virtually all of my willpower to not devour it entirely in one sitting. In celebration of a friend’s birthday this past weekend, I quickly relished in the opportunity to recreate it. It was a huge hit and, much to my dismay, we were left with one measly piece for me to enjoy the next day. (Click read more at the bottom of the post for the recipe)
*cute story: my friends boyfriend made her this cake as a surprise on Valentines day. The original recipe called for cocoa in both the batter and the glaze. He sweetly mistook cocoa for coconut and made the switch without realizing. The results were so delicious that I decided to officially alter the recipe and it will hereby be referred to as a coconut cake. I love happy accidents.
February 23, 2012
.blood orange over radish, micro greens with shallots,
white pine salt and meyer lemon walnut oil dressing.
.rainbow carrot, ginger salad with cilantro and a maple, lime dressing..asian pear and persimmon salad with celery leaf and blood orange dressing..sautéed hen of the woods with fermented black garlic over
chopped parsley, with a bergamot, lemon and olive oil dressing.
I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but I’ve been on a serious sugar binge as of late (examples here, here & here). Each afternoon, I find myself craving something sweet and I almost always give in without a second thought. It’s high time I get my act together, if only for my health. While I generally lead a decently well-balanced lifestyle, I will admit that I do not eat (nearly) as many vegetables as I should. I often find salads to be lack-lustre, and almost always leave the table unsatisfied as a result. When I stumbled upon these winter salad ideas, my interest piqued immediately. I love the inventive flavour combinations, and can’t wait to introduce some greens back into my life (without leaving my taste buds in want).
February 16, 2012
Justin and I have been together for just under six years and this is the very first time I’ve ever attempted to make his favourite dessert: banana cream pie. While I’m generally pretty confident in the kitchen, the idea of making my own custard filling always seemed intimidating. It turns out, it’s actually quite easy provided you follow the steps closely. The use of a real vanilla bean* in the custard and mashed bananas in the graham cracker base elevate the recipe to the next level. Justin even uttered the words “this is the best thing you’ve ever made”. It’s possible he’s biased considering it was made solely for him, but I nodded my head in agreement. It’s true. I may even reassess my commitment to any and all things chocolate (I can’t believe I just said that).
*I buy my vanilla beans online here. They’re shockingly less expensive than any place I’ve found in Toronto
February 9, 2012
With Valentines day on the approach, there’s no denying that many of us love on the brain. This past weekend I stumbled upon a really cute engagement photoshoot that incorporated whipped cream hearts and hot chocolate (hello you glorious combination). By spreading said whipped cream out on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet, freezing it and using heart-shaped cookie cutters to cut out little frozen hearts, I quickly made my hot chocolate just that much more seasonally appropriate. And in case you’re wondering, whipped cream hearts do make your hot chocolate taste better (as if you needed to ask).
February 2, 2012
Up until this past weekend, the weather in Toronto had resembled anything but winter*. Gradually shifting from spring-like temperatures to just slightly below, it’s been unseasonably warm and, admittedly, quite pleasant. Over the weekend, however, the weather took a serious turn for the worst. Cold, strong winds, piles of snow and frigid temperatures made many of us crave hibernation within the confines of our homes. Any spring fevers I had been previously experiencing were immediately squashed and instead I reverted back to my winter-like habits.
Being forced to brave the cold on both Friday and Saturday for events I was unwilling to miss, I was pleased when I found myself with virtually no plans on Sunday. Admittedly, still feeling chilled to the bone from said outdoor excursions in less-than-ideal conditions, I found myself craving something piping hot to warm me from the inside out. In came this recipe for broccoli soup. A simple, limited list of ingredients is always appealing and I thought I’d give it a shot. The results were just what I had been craving and it became the perfect solution to help conquer the chilly weekend.
*it should be noted that the temperature has since returned to its strange spring-like state. What’s up global warming?
ps. there’s still time to enter the Seakpeeq giveaway!
January 26, 2012
One of my fondest memories as a child is waking up on weekend mornings to the scent of warm, homemade bread (is there any better smell?) I’ve since longed to resurrect this tradition, but without a breadmaker (or any additional cupboard or counter space to house one) I didn’t think it was possible without a significant amount of effort.
Not long ago, I was pleased to find this video in my inbox* with directions on making your very own rustic bread sans breadmaker and not a single iota of kneading required. With the combination of flour, water, yeast and salt, the video states that a four year old could do it and I completely and wholeheartedly agree. In light of full disclosure (to prove to you that this really is the. easiest. thing. ever), I will confess that I threw this together post-bar, four drinks in, quite late last Friday night not really thinking all that much of it. When Justin and I awoke the next morning, we were pleased to find that the dough had risen and all that was left to do was to bake it and wait (impatiently) before digging in for breakfast.
Bread! That I made! I feel so grown up.
(editors note: it also made for an excellent grilled cheese sandwich the next day)
*thanks uncle Mark!
January 19, 2012
Truth be told, my primary reasoning behind testing out this recipe was that I wanted to put my new mixer to good use and didn’t feel like exerting a lot of additional effort. As mentioned, I was left with a ton of free time last weekend (hallelujah) and found myself craving something sweet to munch on while watching more than my fair share of silly movies. These french meringues proved to be just the ticket. With the use of two simple ingredients, the results were sweet and crunchy yet still managed to melt in your mouth the way meringue is intended. They quickly satisfied my mid-afternoon craving without a ton of fuss, or major calories.
January 12, 2012
One of my favourite things to do after a long day at work is curl up on the couch with a big bowl of hearty soup, a chunk of crusty french baguette and a really silly show (The Bachelor, anyone?) This recipe (see below) for bourbon beef noodle soup is rich, hearty and full of flavour all the while remaining ridiculously easy to throw together in an instant. It really does make those cold and dark winter nights all that more bearable.
January 4, 2012
On Christmas eve, my mother put me in charge of dessert. When I found this recipe for raspberry pistachio cake (with mascarpone icing) I knew it was the one. Not only was it red, white and green (appropriately festive), the results had just the right amount of sweetness and lightness to make it the perfect addition to an otherwise heavy meal. My family collectively agreed that it was a sophisticated dessert, necessary for those days when you just want to feel a little bit fancier.
Note: I used Chambord, a raspberry liquor, where the recipe called for raspberry extract.
December 22, 2011
On Sunday, I attempted to bake cinnamon rolls from scratch for the very first time. I diligently followed this recipe and, while time consuming (you have to wait it out on multiple occasions), I was surprised at how simple they were to make. By the end, our entire condo smelt like warm cinnamon – which is something that I could totally get used to. I’m convinced that these would make the perfect addition to Christmas brunch.
December 15, 2011
Every year, without fail, my mom, my little sister and a couple of girlfriends and I get together for a day of Christmas baking. While we generally attempt to make 12 to 15 different varieties of baked goods to hand out as gifts to friends, coworkers and the like, we decided to save our sanity this year and just focus on a handful of really great ones.
This recipe in particular is one that has been in the rotation since the very beginning of this tradition. The fact that it only has four ingredients deems it one of the quickest to put together and the hardest to ruin. The results are always delicious all the while remaining pretty and festive looking. It just isn’t Christmas until I pop one of these guys into my mouth.
What you need:
::1/2 cup butter
::1/4 cup sugar
::1 cup flour
::1 egg (separate yolk and whites)
::your favourite jam (I used my grandmothers homemade raspberry jam)
what you’ll do:
::Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
::Cream together the butter and sugar.
::Add flour and egg yolk. Mix well.
::Make small round balls out of the dough (around 1″ each)
::Dip the cookie dough balls in egg white and then roll them in the crushed pecans
::Place them on a parchment lined baking sheet spaced evenly apart, and bake them for 4 minutes.
::Remove the tray from the oven and, using a clean thimble, gently press a small hole in the middle of each cookie, careful not to press all the way through.
::Put the tray back in oven and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes.
::Once cool, add a dollop of jam to the centre.
December 2, 2011
With december in full swing (it is the 2nd, after all) and Christmas right around the corner, its high time to start that Christmas baking. Feeling festive, I recently whipped up a batch of Florentines which were quickly devoured by my boyfriend (who claims he doesn’t have a sweet tooth). With the combination of brittle almond and bittersweet chocolate, these lacy cookies are as pretty as they are tasty. Head on over to the Style at Home cookie swap where I’ve submitted this recipe for a chance to win a Kitchenaid Stand Mixer (and there’s still time for you to do the same)!
November 17, 2011
For whatever reason the thought of cooking chicken pot pie was a daunting task. I imagined it to be fussy, time consuming and I had never really considered attempting it myself as a result. When I found this recipe I established that it was potentially something that I could handle. I was shocked at how quick, easy (and delicious!) it was, and it made the the perfect comfort meal after a particularly stressful day.
November 10, 2011
After spending the last few months ingesting summer salads and light, easy dinners, I’ve found myself craving heartier meals these past few days. On sunday night, Justin and I made butternut squash and orzo using this recipe. It was reminiscent of risotto, with a little less guilt (apart from the bacon bits, which were the most important part). It was the perfect fall meal and it kept us warm and full long into the night.
November 3, 2011
It may be considered strange that I make myself cupcakes for my birthday party, but I feel like ones birthday is not complete without them. Just the other weekend, we had a number of friends over to celebrate said day. While waiting for them to arrive, my girlfriend and I whipped up these vanilla almond cupcakes with maple cream cheese icing using this recipe. It may be a bold statement, but I think it’s safe to say that they’re one of my favourite cupcakes to date (and judging by how quickly they disappeared I don’t think I’m alone here). I love the classic simplicity of a vanilla cupcake, yet the almond and maple flavours gives it a little something unexpected. I have gladly added this recipe to my official keep pile.
October 27, 2011
Undeniably, one of my favourite parts of Halloween are the pumpkin seeds that just so happen to come along with it (the miniature chocolates don’t hurt either, if I’m being honest). While it’s hard to go wrong with roasted, salted pumpkin seeds, this year I opted to kick them up a notch just for fun by splitting them into two batches: salty and sweet. I used this classic recipe for the first batch, but added a tablespoon of good balsamic to mimic the idea of salt & vinegar chips (yum!). This recipe was used for the second batch which called for sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon and the like. While roasted, salted pumpkin seeds remain classic and don’t necessarily require any tampering, both of these alternatives were given immediate thumbs up and were devoured almost instantly.
October 6, 2011
This soup quickly made it into my winter meal rotation upon its discovery last fall (trust me when I say it’s really, really good). I’ve found myself craving it all summer but couldn’t bring myself to consume soup while wearing shorts and a tank top (it just felt wrong). I’m not going to lie though, the minute the weather showed the slightest hint of a cool breeze it was go-time. The flavours are bold (but not overwhelming) and the ingredients are hearty. It leaves you feeling full, satisfied and toasty from the inside out.
September 29, 2011
Last week, while perusing the interwebs for interesting appetizers for our housewarming party, I stumbled upon this recipe* for apple, cranberry, sage bites. Seeing as they were quite different from what you typically expect in the form of an appetizer (read: prosciutto wrapped asparagus or pigs in a blanket), I immediately decided that these guys needed to be present. Since apples are at their tastiest at this moment, I had no doubt that the results would be delicious (and somewhat festive!) The combination of the sweeter ingredients set against the tartness of the goat cheese was absolutely divine. I was not the only one who thought so as they were the first to be devoured. As an added bonus, they were pleasing to the eye and looked great atop our table (yes, this makes me happy, don’t judge).
*I used goat cheese spread on the cracker instead of parmesan as the recipe recommends. It was a great combination! Also, I topped them with a hint of sea salt and cracked black pepper. Yum.
September 22, 2011
I don’t know about you, but by 3:00 most days I’m in need of a bit of a pick-me-up (and if I’m being honest, it’s usually in the form of a sugary treat). As hard as I try to avoid it, I often find myself reaching for a cookie or, recently, a mug of hot chocolate. Deciding that I need to make some positive changes in my life (beginning with my health), I begun researching healthy recipes I could make en-masse that would satisfy my mid-afternoon cravings. Last weekend, I made homemade granola bars and they have quickly become my go-to snack. The combination of salty and sweet satisfies my cravings, while the nuts and seeds keep me full until dinner, without leaving any lingering guilt. The only problem now is forcing myself to wait until 3:00 to enjoy this delicious little snack. (see below for the recipe!)
What you’ll need:
::1 c. peanut butter
::1/2 c. coconut oil
::2/3 c. honey
::2 c. combination pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, coconut flakes (or whatever you see fit)
::2 c. oats
::a handful of good quality chocolate chips
What you’ll do:
::melt peanut butter, coconut oil and honey in a saucepan over medium heat
::once melted, remove from heat and add the nuts, seeds, coconut flakes and oats and stir well
::press mixture into a 2″ deep pan and sprinkle chocolate chips on top
::refrigerate for 2 hours
::cut into bars and enjoy!
September 16, 2011
Not long ago, I headed to the cottage for labour day weekend with my family (thirteen of us in total). I knew that my grandmother wouldn’t let me contribute in a large way (she loves taking care of everybody), but I didn’t want to leave without doing my part. Since breakfast generally consists of standard bacon and eggs, or, if you’re not up in time, a bowl full of cereal, I knew that it was one meal I could take over just for a day. I wanted to find something that didn’t entail a whole lot of work and fed a large number of people in a flash. In came this recipe for blueberry cream cheese baked french toast. The fact that I was instructed to prepare it the night before was immediately appealing as I’m not exactly what you would call a morning person, and I loved that we generally have all of the ingredients on hand (sometimes I’m lazy, even when I have good intentions). The results were beyond my expectations and it quickly pleased all thirteen of us. I would gladly incorporate this recipe into my personal keep pile.
September 2, 2011
One evening, some time ago, I was hit with a fierce craving for something sweet. I began perusing my usual food blogs in hopes of finding a recipe that would satisfy my craving and not force me to head out to the grocery store in the middle of the night to pick up additional items. When I stumbled upon this recipe for banana tatin I knew it was the one. Not only did it promise to satisfy my cravings, I also happened to have each ingredient on hand. The creaminess of the crème fraîche paired with the sweetness of the caramelized bananas is a combination that cannot be beat. And it was quickly declared the perfectly indulgent midnight snack. Although, for my hips’ sake, we will only be repeating this late-night process on rare occasions.
Have a lovely labour day weekend sunshines!
August 26, 2011
Today I introduce to you one of my all-time favourite cookies: the snickerdoodle. I began making these cinnamon-y treats in the 8th grade, primarily because I thoroughly enjoyed their name. They quickly became my go-to cookie for birthday gifts, bake sales or any ol’ celebration and my friends were not complaining. After being hit with a fierce craving for them just last night, I knew that I had to whip up a batch (and I do mean whip. They’re probably the easiest cookie you’ll ever put together). I used this recipe and the results were moist, chewy and as perfectly cinnamon-y as I remember. It had been years since I made them, but after last night, I won’t make that mistake again.
August 12, 2011
As a child, pizza nights were one of my favourites. My mom would set out all sorts of ingredients and my brother, sister and I could build our own pizza as we saw fit. This naturally meant that my pizza ended up with far too much pepperoni, and nary a veggie in sight. To date, pizza nights still hold a special place in my heart. I love how it doesn’t take a ton of prep work, and you can really get creative with the toppings. Earlier this week, Justin and I threw together this prosciutto, pear & gorgonzola pizza and it is now one of my very favourite combinations. Check out what to do below.
what you’ll need:
::pizza dough (homemade, or purchased for $1.95 at your local pizza shop or bakery)
::a drizzle of olive oil
::1 c. good quality mozzarella
::8-10 slices of prosciutto (ask the butcher to slice it very thin)
::1/2 a pear, thinly sliced
::a handful of crumbled gorgonzola (to your liking)
::a handful of walnuts
::a drizzle of honey
what you’ll do:
::spread your pizza dough out on your flour lined pan (or pizza stone if you have one! I highly recommend you get one of these)
::drizzle the dough with olive oil
::add the toppings: mozzarella, prosciutto, pear, gorgonzola, walnuts
::drizzle with honey
::top with sea salt and some cracked black pepper (to cut the sweetness)
::bake at 400F for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown
July 29, 2011
This recipe holds particularly fond memories for me as I learnt it while vacationing with two of my best friends last year. One of them had been residing in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, for the winter and we had gone to visit her. What began as our first snack at a sweet beach-side restaurant the moment our plane landed, quickly turned into a requirement before every meal. Seeing as both of my friends work in the food industry, they took it upon themselves to dissect what was in this refreshingly simple, flavourful dish. Shortly thereafter we began ingesting it on the regular, making it each morning before heading to the beach, and sustaining ourselves on it until we’d return to get ready for supper, wet, sandy, sun-kissed and content. It’s one of my favourites as it only requires a handful of ingredients, many of which you may already have, and only minutes of your time. Take a look below for the recipe!
what you’ll need:
:: 3-4 tomatoes, chopped
:: 1 medium sized white onion, diced
:: 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
:: the juices of 1 lime
:: 1 jalapeño, chopped (I like spice so I kept the seeds, but if you are more of the mild type remove the seeds as they do pack a punch)
:: 1 garlic clove, minced
:: a pinch of sea salt
what you’ll do:
mix all of the ingredients together in one bowl and try to let it sit in the fridge for an hour or so. I only say this because it will give all of the ingredients the opportunity to marinate a little. When I put this together for a lazy sunday afternoon last weekend, Justin and I just couldn’t wait and found ourselves with half of the bowl left not long after it was made. All to say is I’m not judging if you skip the marinating step.
July 22, 2011
warm ridiculously hot summer months are upon us, the last place I want to be is in the kitchen. I would much prefer to spend my time on a patio, with a cold glass of white wine in hand. That said, I’m all about creating experiences and, naturally, these experiences tend to revolve around good food, great friends and pretty spaces. As a result, lately I’ve gravitated towards meals that can be pulled together in just a few minutes and only require a handful of ingredients. This caprese pasta recipe is quick, it’s easy, and I would gladly recommend it to anyone who’s just starting to get their feet wet in the kitchen. With the use of some really good quality mozzarella (if you’re in Toronto, try the boccocini from here), fresh basil from our mini herb garden, and balsamic brought to us as a gift from Italy, I’ve found myself craving it daily since.
July 8, 2011
Last Saturday the girls and I declared a pool day and spent the entirety of it by my cousins pool. To complement our idea, we whipped up some strawberry watermelon mojitos using this recipe and enjoyed them in the sun. Despite being slightly more labour intensive than I would usually tackle on a lazy Saturday, it was well worth the additional work. The drink was refreshingly dangerous as the subtle sweetness and fruity mixture completely masked any hint of vodka. They were quickly declared the perfect poolside accessory.
June 30, 2011
As mentioned earlier, last weekend we headed north to go white water rafting. With eighteen of us in total, many of whom were staying in one three bedroom cottage, I knew that access to food needed to be quick and easy unless we wanted to be spending the majority of our time in the kitchen (as opposed to floating on the lake) trying to feed so many mouths. Enter: the pancake muffin. Using this recipe, I whipped these up the day before we headed out. They were an immediate crowd pleaser and they quickly became the perfect little snack to grab throughout the trip. They were moist, maple-syrupy and their name ultimately meant that you could grab one (or two) for breakfast without feeling like it’s wrong to ingest chocolate before 9 am.
Tip: to get all of your muffins equal in size (which not only looks prettier but also ensures that they cook evenly), I recently discovered that if you use an ice cream scoop, you get the perfect amount of batter into each muffin cup. Fancy!
June 24, 2011
This recipe has been on heavy rotation in our household ever since its discovery. It’s the perfect meal to quickly and easily throw together after a long day at work, and the fresh basil and egg combination always seems to be a crowd pleaser. Paired with a healthy portion of roasted asparagus, it leaves you feeling full but not overly weighed down.
June 17, 2011
I feel confident when I say that I grew up making chocolate chip cookies. One of my earliest memories is standing in my grandmas kitchen, licking the cookie batter off of the spatula, waiting for our treats to come out of the oven. She taught me how to bake at a very early age and it’s something that I’ve carried with me ever since.
Fast forward to moving into my first apartment. Luckily I moved in with a girl who was equally (if not more so) as passionate about cookies as I am. She was always down to throw them together at any given moment of the day (and if I’m being honest, that moment was usually at 10:00pm on a random Tuesday). And since we don’t live together anymore, I’m happy to say that I live with a boy who may not help me in my late-night cookie endeavors, but who is more than willing to help me devour the results.
When I first discovered this recipe for one big chocolate chip cookie baked in a cast iron skillet, I knew that I couldn’t pass it up. While it doesn’t hold the same memories of baking with my grandma, it was incredibly easy and the results were over-the-top. And since you mix everything in one pan, you’re left with virtually no dishes to clean up afterwards.
June 10, 2011
When I came across this recipe on Cupcakes & Cashmere not long ago, I knew it was one that I had to test out. I may or may not have a girl crush on both Emily and Ina Garten and I was sure that neither of them would disappoint. The result was incredible! The combinations comparable to love, really. It will, without a doubt, be my go-to meal for any upcoming potluck or summer barbecue in the coming months. You barely need to turn the stove on, it’s quick, easy and inexpensive to throw together, and makes enough to feed a small army (or myself for 3-4 days straight).
full disclosure: I generally opt to switch out the red onion for a yellow one as I’m not the biggest red onion fan. Next, I chop up said onion and brown the bits in a cast iron pan with a dab of olive oil. Also, I use zucchini instead of english cucumber (which I haven’t been able to find; either way the zucchini blends incredibly with the rest of the flavours). Before tossing the zucchini into the mix, I threw it in the skillet with the onion to soften it up just a tad.
June 3, 2011
Seeing as my brother is an avid chocolate and peanut butter fan (really though, do we know anyone who isn’t?), I scoured the internet high and low to find the most delicious chocolate peanut butter cake recipe I could get my hands on in light of his 23rd birthday. My prerequisites were to find one that didn’t seem overly sweet, had a heckuva lot of peanut butter and a handful of rave reviews. I found this recipe and it was definitely the one. The result was moist, the icing was incredible (really, I contemplated the idea of serving the icing on it’s own) and it was an instant crowd pleaser.
April 28, 2011
One of my fondest memories as a child is sitting around a campfire while camping or cottaging, diligently putting together the perfect s’more. While most desserts were generally limited to me (I was usually only allowed one slice of cake. I know, right? I think I had negligent parents) when we sat around said fire I was more or less allowed to stuff myself with as many marshmallowy treats as I saw fit. So when I stumbled upon this recipe for s’more cupcakes it immediately brought back many fond, albeit sugar-induced, memories. And (as seen with this nutella banana bread combo) I’m always down to test out a recipe that combines two of my all time favourite treats. I took one for the team with this one you guys, and you’re welcome. They were delicious!
ps. tomorrow is the last day for the pi’lo giveaway! click here.
April 15, 2011
While you can never go wrong with standard issue banana bread (it’s like love in bread form. amiright?), when I stumbled upon this recipe for nutella banana bread my heart skipped a beat. Those are like, three of the best things that ever existed (nutella + banana + bread = one happy me (and a happy Justin too)).
One evening, right before bed, I decided I just had to whip this thing together. It was non-negotiable. The recipe was incredibly easy to follow, and apart from the fact that it took an hour and a half to bake (rather than the hour it had called for), it was well worth the wait and made for the perfect midnight snack.
images via lark + linen
April 8, 2011
When the going gets tough, I crave good ol’ comfort food. During a particularly stressful day sometime last week, I came home with the urge to cuddle and stuff my face with some macaroni and cheese (at the same time). While there’s something to be said about drowning your sorrows in a box of good old-fashioned kraft dinner, it just doesn’t compare to making the dish from scratch. Using this recipe, we quickly got to work when we arrived home that evening. Despite the fact that it was unarguably more labour intensive than the boxed stuff, it was well worth the wait (and the calories).
images via lark + linen
April 1, 2011
I’ve mentioned before the process in which we’re going through in order to turn our new condo into a home. On our first full Sunday in the new place, Justin headed out to hockey and I whipped up a batch of these orange almond blueberry muffins (recipe can be found here via this book) so that he could come home to a place that was filled with the smell of freshly baked muffins (aka warmth and love. Also, I just realised that we totally sound like a 50′s couple. We are not. But I do like baking, and he does like sports). It instantly made our place feel more homey, despite the fact that they were baked amongst a pile of discarded boxes and unpacked dishes.
Though these muffins didn’t originally appeal to me (I’m more of a chocolate chip, banana muffin kinda girl), we had yet to go grocery shopping and I had to make do with the ingredients on hand. The results were surprisingly delicious and I would gladly make them again.
images via lark + linen
March 25, 2011
images via lark + linen
During all of the pandemonium that came with moving (while simultaneously doubling my work load at the office), I couldn’t find the time for much else other than packing, planning and working. With my cousins birthday on the horizon during the busiest of all business (isn’t that always the case?) I knew that I had to stop to honour it in the way that it most deserved. I scoured the internet for a recipe that was both decadent all the while remaining simple to throw together on a friday evening in between packing boxes and reviewing shop drawings. I stumbled upon this recipe for a dark chocolate cheesecake that fulfilled all of my prerequisites. The result was rich, smooth and utterly perfect. And bonus: the cake was so decadent that you were forced to indulge in only a small sliver at a time. In my eyes, the portion control means that it’s low fat - right? At least that’s what I told myself when I polished off what was left after her celebrations (ps. it was anything but low fat. Don’t tell my waistline).