Monday, May 31, 2010

Bridal Shower + Trifle Bowl = ...?

So 2 weeks ago at Costco I bought a beautiful trifle bowl.
I've never made trifle before but I've had it once and good lordy it was delicious.
So next weekend is my dear friend's bridal shower and as one of the hostesses, I am prepping everything. Including 2 types of cupcakes (Chai and lime ricotta cheesecake) and a more centerpeice-worthy desert. Which I will put in my trifle bowl!
Now - the question I have to ask you all is this:
Do I make a traditional trifle OR do I make a strawberry shortcake in a trifle bowl?
Here is Martha's 1-2-3-4 Lemon Cake which I think would look fantastic in the bowl:

Delicious lemon curd layered between thick slices of pound cake and topped with fresh whipped cream and berries. Mmmmmm
Then there's the more traditional trifle:

....which I kind of like the look of a bit more......eep!

Input please!

Also - my cousin from Ireland arrives this week for her first ever visit to Toronto! I'll be posting some fun things to do in the city this week as I brainstorm trips to take her on to showcase the beauty and fun that is Toronto!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Happy Birthday John!

Happy Birthday John!
To my roommate, my partner in crime, my friend, my confidante, my protector, my personal comedian, chef, and sometimes maid (sorry for not ever sweeping the floors). To the man who makes me smile, makes me laugh uncontrollably, makes me melt.
Thank you for all the wonderful things you have brought into my life.
I love you in ways I never knew possible.

Friday, May 28, 2010


I again appologize for being a blog neglecter.
Last weekend was my best friend's birthday and she turned 25.
I made her 25 different cupcakes!

Here we have:
top row: lemon poppyseed and lemon cranberry
middle row: lemon and strawberry
bottom row: honey waffle and blueberry

top row: coconut and peach
middle row: cherry and maple
bottom row: Blackberry and banana cream pie

Vanilla and mint

top row: oatmeal and espresso

middle row: chocolate raisin and double chocolate chip

last row: Rainbow and chocolate

top row: Baileys and Gingerbread

middle row: Creme brulee and chocolate caramel

bottom row: Cookie and Mocha latte

And there you have it!

I also went to Stratford last weekend to see Kiss Me Kate, which was very entertaining! I highly recommend everyone head over to Statford at least once this summer to check out a play.

I really want to see Peter Pan and Evita and the Tempest.

I'll post again soon!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Gluten-Free Rainbow Chip Cake

This little kitty has an appointment with the veterinarian's vaccination needles today.
Then in a week and a bit he gets the old one-two declaw-neuter combo.
Poor little bugger.
Bahahaha I have the best cat. That picture breaks my heart with its cuteness factor.
I've embarked on an exciting baking adventure. A two parter.
My best friend's birthday is this Sunday so I made her a cake for her party.
She has stomach issues so she has gone back on a gluten-free diet to see if things get better. As a person with a food allergy, I understand the hardships that people with food allergies, intolerances, and sensitivities face. I get it. I've had to say no to cakes, cookies, etc because there's a good chance they may have nuts in them. It hurts me inside 'cause they look so good.
Anyway, being such an in-touch, sensitive person (toot toot - what's that noise? Oh just me tooting my own horn) I bought some rice flour to make an entirely gluten free cake!
I made a gluten free carrot cake last year and the texture was definitely different from regular flour. This year she wanted rainbow chip so I tried to make my own version.

Kind of looks like rainbow chip right?
I haven't been able to properly taste this cake so I can't give you an accurate rating. The texture is not as light and fluffy as a regular cake. It's a bit more dense and I have good reason to believe the rice flour is sweeter than regular flour. Or so I was lead to believe when I licked the bowl clean.
But if you want to try and make a gluten free cake, here's how you can do it!

Gluten-Free Rainbow Chip Cake
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a bowl, mix together 2 1/2 cups rice flour, 3/4 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp baking soda, and 1 tsp cinnamon. Pour about 1 1/2 cups milk in but pour slowly and whisk the milk in to the flour mixture until it is smooth. You may need less than this or you may need more - the recipe I followed called for 3/4 cup but that was waaaayyy too little so I eyeballed how much I used.
  • In a seperate bowl mix together 1 egg and 3/4 cup sugar. Add this to the flour mixture and mix well. Mix in about 1/3 cup sprinkles.
  • Pour cake mix into a greased pan and bake for about 25 minutes.

The second baking adventure that I've been undertaking is top secret until Saturday....I may post it now and set it to post later on tomorrow.

It's pretty cool - I'm proud of myself!

Happy Long Weekend!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Happy (Belated) Birthday to a Wonderful Aunt!

It was my Aunt Wendy's birthday on Monday and I didn't get a chance to make her a happy birthday blog on her actual day (confession: the one that I posted on Monday was written on Saturday and delayed). And since she is a very active follower of my blog it's only appropriate that she get the birthday shout out she deserves!
I hope you had a fabulous day and I know you had some very good news to celebrate this year as well! Congratulations there will be in order once I see it officially announced via the all mighty facebook haha.
My Aunt is incredible - she is probably the craftiest person I know, she can organize events like nobody's business (see last summer's cottage fam jam for a perfect example). She is a very loving and devoted mother to her sons and daughters-in-law, and she is a beautiful grandmother - though you'd never guess she was old enough to have grandchildren by looking at her! She feeds my love of all things Christmas and has been one of the biggest supporters of this blog from the very first post.
For inspiring and motivating me to keep finding and trying and sharing new recipes
So, Wendy, I decided that in honour of your birthday I am going to post a recipe that I always associate with you. In fact it even carries your name.
The Wendy Dip

(Photo not of actual dip, rather it was stolen from a google search)

To make this dip:

  • Mix together 1 block of cream cheese, softened, and 1 small tub of sour cream (about 2 cups).
  • Mix in 1/2 pkg of taco seasoning. Spread the mixture out in a serving bowl.
  • On top, sprinkle diced tomato, green onion, and grated cheddar cheese.
  • Serve with tortilla chips and watch how fast this disappears!

***If desired you could also add black olives or even ground beef.

I'll post again tomorrow cause I have the morning off.

Happy Birthday again Aunt Wendy! Sorry I missed you on the actual day!

Love you :)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Chocolate-covered-Cranberry Cornmeal Biscotti

The second of the two promised recipes has arrived!
These are REALLY good - potentially my all time favourite biscotti recipe - and if you think the word 'cornmeal' in their name means the biscotti aren't as delectable then you would be wrong.
The cornmeal really compliments the cranberries and also gives the cookie a really nice texture as well as making it taste delicious.
This is a Martha recipe I adapted to fit my dietary restriction (meaning the pistachio's were nixed) and also to satisfy my curiosity of experimenting.
Chocolate-Cranberry Cornmeal Biscotti

(Recipe taken from with slight changes)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in center. Whisk together 1 1/4 cups flour, 1 1/4 cups cornmeal, 1/2 tsp baking powder, and 1/2 tsp salt.
2. Put 6 tbsp butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until smooth. Add 1 cup sugar and mix until pale and fluffy. Mix in 2 eggs one at a time, until well combined. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture all at once; mix until just combined. Add 1 tbsp lemon zest, and 1 cup dried chocolate covered (optional) cranberries, and mix until combined.
3. Transfer dough to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Pat into a log that is roughly 14 by 3 1/2 inches. Bake until firm, lightly browned, and slightly cracked on top, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool on sheet on a wire rack, about 15 minutes.
4. Transfer log to a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, cut on the diagonal into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Arrange slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake cookies, rotating sheet halfway through, until they begin to brown at edges, 15 to 18 minutes. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 2 weeks.
Another week of work....bah humbug. But I have all day Thursday off this week - very excited! I don't even know what all to do!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Earl Grey Tea Cookies

I swear I'm not purposely neglecting this blog.
I love this blog.
But I've been working like a mad women, especially this week as I did 2 extra shifts.
But it's Friday!
I'm going to give you the recipes I've been promising.
This was one of two that I made for John to take with him to Grimsby. He goes again next week (boo) so I'll have to do some more baking this weekend.
I do have a nice dinner on the go for him as we speak.
Pulled pork (oh my gosh it smells so good I'm really proud of myself), cornbread muffins, spicy fries and a pumpkin pie for desert.
I will DEFINITELY post the pulled pork.
I obviously want to brag about what a great job I did.
But for now -
Earl Grey Tea Cookies

1. In a bowl, whisk 2 cups flour, 2 tbsp finely ground tea leaves (about 8 tea bags), and 1/2 tsp salt in a small bowl; set aside.
2. Put 1 cup butter, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1 tbsp orange zest in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low; gradually mix in flour mixture until just combined.
3. Divide dough in half. Transfer each half to a piece of parchment paper; shape into logs. Roll in parchment, pressing along the edge of parchment to narrow the log and force out air. Transfer in parchment to paper towel tubes; freeze until firm, 1 hour.
*** as in put them in the freezer, don't put them in the fridge. Or they will crumble like the dickens when you try to cut them later. I promise.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut logs into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Space 1 inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment.
5. Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until edges are golden, 13 to 15 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks. Cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 5 days.

These cookies are very tasty and if you are a tea drinker they will appeal to you even more. And if you like butter, guess what? You're also in luck. These are very rich in butter so not a good idea for every-cup-of-tea consumption. But worth induldging in every now and then.
Now to go get the laundry and finish up with dinner!
And then - off to the final dress fitting for the wedding which is less than 2 months away!!!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

Mother's Day is so much more than a day to bring your mom a bouquet of flowers. It's a day to appreciate all of the little things she does. Like the time she walked 30 minutes through a snow storm to bring you Tylenol when you were babysitting and had a bad headache. Like the time she curled up on the bathmat beside you when you spent the night in the washroom with a stomach bug. Like the numerous times she was up hours before the sun to make sure you were dressed and ready for your competition.
My mom has done all of these things. She is an incredible woman and more importantly an incredible mom.
Happy Mother's Day, mom.
I hope one day I can do all of the same things for my own children that you did for me.

And to my grandmother's who have been there for guidance, my aunt's who provide support and funny insight into why my parents are the way they are, my cousins who have recently become mother's themselves (Congrats Andrea! I hope your first mother's day is a beautiful one, and congrats to Lena who just had a baby boy recently!), and who are mother's to very lucky pets (people who argue animals are not family members are heartless haha) - to big sisters and friends who often find themselves giving motherly advice.
To all mother's of every shape and form -

For my mom we ordered Greek food (which was quickly devoured) and it inspired me to put up a recipe that I am desperate to try out. I had it for the first time in Montreal at the suggestion of my friend Danielle and oh. my. lord. I am so glad I tried it!

(recipe courtesy of

Picture from

To make this you will need:
  • 2 cups plain nonfat yogurt
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 yellow onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt, plus more for eggplant
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • One 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 medium eggplants (about 2 pounds)
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large egg plus 1 large egg white
  • Olive-oil cooking spray
To put it all together:
  1. Drain yogurt in a cheesecloth-lined sieve until thickened, 2 hours or overnight.
  2. Place turkey in a medium saucepan over medium heat; cook until browned, about 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a medium bowl. Add onion, garlic, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, and pepper to saucepan; cook until onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Return turkey to saucepan with tomatoes, tomato paste, and oregano. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium low; simmer until sauce has thickened, about 1 hour. Remove from heat; stir in chopped parsley; set aside.
  3. Preheat broiler. While sauce cooks, cut eggplants into 1/4-inch slices. Sprinkle with salt on both sides. Place in a colander over a bowl; let stand 1 hour to drain. Discard liquid; rinse each slice under cold running water to remove all salt and juice. Place slices on several layers of paper towels; press out water. Lay dry slices on a clean baking sheet; coat with olive-oil spray; broil until browned, about 2 minutes. Turn; coat with olive-oil spray; broil until browned, about 2 minutes more. Repeat until all eggplant slices have been broiled; set cooked eggplant aside.
  4. Place drained yogurt in a small bowl. Add Parmesan and eggs. Whisk together briskly with a fork; set aside.
  5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Assemble moussaka: Place a layer of eggplant on the bottom of an 8-by-8-inch baking pan. Cover with half the turkey sauce. Place another eggplant layer, then the remaining turkey sauce.Add a final eggplant layer; cover with reserved yogurt mixture. Bake until mixture is bubbling and top starts to brown, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a heat-proof surface; let sit until moussaka cools slightly and firms, about 10 minutes. Cut into squares; serve.

I have a cookie recipe and a biscotti recipe to post this week. I made Earl Grey Tea Cookies and Cranberry Corn Meal Biscotti for John to take with him on his second week away :(
Back to Grimsby for work for another week.
Looks like my mom is going to be planning another sleep over!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Orange Chocolate Espresso Thin Cookies

Sorry I didn't blog yesterday - had a mommy-daughter date so I was busy cooking, cleaning (so she wouldn't judge the state of my bathroom haha) and then lounging with her :)
It was a lovely night.
Thanks for the company, mom.
I'm going to keep this post on the shorter side as well only because I'm running a bit late today...because I watched Glee and Lost and slept in later than I normally do.
Umm for those of you who are also Lost fans.......did you not sob like a baby!? I haven't cried that hard since Charlie.
Today's recipe is one I promised last time.
Sorry the picture does not look appetizing at all. I promise they taste really good!
Orange Chocolate Espresso Thin Cookies

  • Beat 1 cup of butter, 1 cup of icing sugar, 1 tsp orange zest, and 1 tsp vanilla extract together. Mix until pale and fluffy.
  • Add in 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 cup cocoa powder, 1 1/2 tsp instant espresso powder, and 1/2 tsp salt. Mix until just combined.
  • Place dough onto parchment paper and shape into a log. Wrap in parchment paper and place into a paper towel tube to ensure a nice round shape. Chill for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut dough log into 1/4 inch thick slices. Place cookies onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Brush tops of cookies with water and sprinkle with coarse sugar.
  • Bake or 15-17 minutes then enjoy!

That's it that's all!

I'll post again tomorrow. Promise. And again on Saturday :)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Sporting Life 10k results!

Just a quick post.
Ran the sporting life 10k this morning. My goal was to finish it in under 50 close!
My official time was 50:56.1

You can check out the results of the run here especially if you know someone who was running it.
Thank you TO ALL who donated. I want to do another 10k this summer and then....

The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon - the half marathon.

Bad idea?
But if I have to crawl over the finish line I will!

It's September 19th I think and I have until June 30th to register before the price goes up so I'll make the final decision in a few weeks. BUT I'll be 25 this summer so it'd be a good way to celebrate a milestone - with a milestone achievement!

Recipes this week - promise! I have one for Chocolate Orange Espresso thins that I've been meaning to put up.