Friday, June 29, 2012

Pink Lemonade Jello Shooter Slices

Yesterday I had a lovely leisurely day, though the morning and early afternoon was a bit of an accident.
I went down to a part of Toronto that I've never been to in the daylight to pick up some antique-y art for my cousin. Thinking I had my day planned out perfectly, I made my way downtown around 11 am only to realize that the store I needed didn't open until 2.
Being pretty happy after some good news in the morning (two interviews for nursing jobs!!), I made the best of a beautiful day and wandered around the city. I went into Trinity-Bellwoods Park for the first time ever and sat and read my book for awhile. 

Then my friend came over and we made a ton of jello shooters for this weekend. We're off to a friend's cottage to enjoy the sunshine and to celebrate Canada Day.
One type of jello shooter I've wanted to try for awhile is the orange slice shooter.
I found a recipe for pink lemonade and we made them in both lemons and oranges.
It's actually a lot easier than I was expecting. So if you're looking for a twist on jello shots, give this one a whirl.

  • Hollow out 8 lemon halves.
  • In a saucepan, sprinkle 2 pkgs of gelatin over 1 cup of pink lemonade and let sit for 2 minutes. Heat over low heat until the gelatin has dissolved, about 5 minutes. Add in 1 cup vodka.
  • Pour into lemon halves (make sure they're well balanced or they WILL spill over) and refrigerate until set.
  • Cut into slices and enjoy!

Have a good long weekend and a happy Canada Day!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Wedding Wednesday: Cake Edition

*Meant to post this yesterday but came home from work with a raging migraine, had a bath, and went to bed without posting!

You will notice an error in this post... namely the fact that my numbering skills are lacking.
I actually did have 5 cakes but the first one was the wrong file and wouldn't open in picmonkey, so I started counting from 1 at picture 2, then picture 3 became cake #2, until I forgot and just started writing cake #4 for picture 4. And I was too lazy to go back and fiddle with the pictures to fix it up.

But I digress.

I feel like I'm running out of ideas for these Wedding Wednesdays. Not because I'm actually out of wedding related things to blog about, but because I'm not sure how much I should give away and how much I want to hold back to surprise people with.
I'd post pictures of my dress if I didn't think there was a slight chance John might take a peek on here!

One thing that seems safe (since I haven't made any decisions yet) is the cake!

I've gone back and forth with a couple of ideas - lace, grapes (winery themed, but I vetoed this as I'm wary of winery overkill), etc. One idea that I keep coming back to is the faux bois look.
I remember watching Martha awhile back when she dedicated part of her show to faux bois painting and crafting. I wanted to faux bois everything (and use 'faux bois' as many times as possible in this post cause it makes me sound real fancy-like).

My talented friend who is graciously making the cake loved the idea.

Here are some inspirations!

My friend actually sent me the picture of cake #5 so if we go with this look, the cake might look very similar to what you see above!

She's leaving for a crazy Southeast Asian travel extravaganza soon so we'll need to set a date to do some cake tasting.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I feel like Chicken Tonight, Like Chicken Tonight

This weekend is the Canada Day long weekend.
It'll also mark one year since the engagement!
As we've done for the past few years, John and I will be heading up to his friend's cottage for a weekend of good eats, beer, swimming, sunshine, and more.
John and I are assigned to lunch on Sunday and we've been brainstorming meal ideas. Something easy that doesn't involve a lot of prep and won't require a lot of cooking.
We decided that we're going to do wraps and have sort of a Greek theme.
Realistically I'll probably buy a box of ready-to-go chicken skewers but I started looking into grilled chicken recipes and came across these two that I want to try at some point this summer.

Up first: Jerk Chicken
(recipe and photo via

You will need:
  • 3 fresh Scotch bonnet, or habanero chiles, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 small yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 8 scallions, coarsely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed with the flat side of a large knife
  • 3 tablespoons (about 1 bunch) fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground allspice
  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, (2 to 3 limes), plus lime wedges for serving
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil, plus more for brushing grill
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 whole chickens, (about 5 pounds each), cut into 8 pieces each, or 16 drumsticks and thighs, rinsed well and patted dry
1.Make jerk marinade: Process chiles, onion, scallions, garlic, and thyme in a food processor until mixture forms a coarse paste. Add brown sugar, allspice, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, vinegar, soy sauce, lime juice, and oil; season with pepper. Process until smooth. Marinade can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 1 day before proceeding.

2.Transfer 1/3 of the marinade (about 1 cup) to a small bowl; set aside to use for brushing chicken. Transfer remaining marinade to a large bowl. Add chicken; toss to coat, rubbing marinade under the skin and all over chicken. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight. Allow the chicken to come to room temperature before grilling.

3.Heat a grill to low (if using a charcoal grill, coals are ready when you can hold your hand 5 inches above grate for 7 seconds). Brush grate lightly with oil. Place chicken on grill, skin sides down. Discard used marinade. Grill chicken, brushing occasionally with reserved cup of fresh marinade, until the skin sides are well browned but not charred, about 25 minutes. Turn chicken, and continue to cook, basting it occasionally, until cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes. Cut chicken breast halves into 2 or 3 pieces, if desired. Serve with lime wedges.

And second: Grilled Tuscan Chicken with Rosemary & Lemon

You will need:
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary or 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 chicken (3 1/2 to 4 pounds), cut into 8 or 10 serving pieces
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1. Heat grill to medium. In a small saucepan, bring 1/3 cup water and rosemary to a boil; remove from heat, cover, and let steep 5 minutes. Transfer to a blender. Add oil and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Puree until smooth; let cool.

2. Combine chicken and rosemary oil in a shallow dish or resealable plastic bag, and turn to coat. Cover, and let marinate at least 15 minutes at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator, turning chicken occasionally.

3. Remove chicken from marinade; place on grill. Discard marinade. Cook, basting frequently with lemon juice and turning as needed to prevent burning, until cooked throughout, 20 to 30 minutes.

(recipe and photo via

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Lazy Hazy Summer Days

Since finishing school I've found myself with a wonderful amount of free time. Not too much but not too little.
I didn't think I was actually studying all that much but I must have been because I've found myself doing things that previously I used to never have time for.
Last night I baked cookies for the first time in a long time. It felt (and smelled) so nice to have a finished batch of cookies cooling on the counter before I went to bed.

Other activities I've recently re-engaged myself in are things like reading (Game of Thrones! I need book 5 now!), catching up on celebrity gossip (Miley Cyrus engaged! Angelina Jolie rated a C+ mom by Star Magazine!), running (generally 4 times a week!), cleaning the apartment, and enjoying TV. I did try watching 'Girls' online yesterday and now my laptop is virused. I hope John can fix it tonight. My solution was to restart the computer. Twice.
Didn't fix it.

I've also been making dinner whenever I can. I'm trying to find new ways to incorporate as many vegetables into my diet as I can and so far so good.

And the nicest thing of all about lazy summer days is getting to end them with dinner on the balcony.

I'm so glad summer's here!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wedding Wednesday: Bridal Shower Edition

On Saturday my amazing friends and family threw me a bridal shower.
It was so much fun and I wish I could do it every weekend...but realistically by the 3rd weekend I'd have no friends left.
Anyway, here are some pictures from the gorgeous afternoon!

With my giant "I'm the Bride" pin

A delicious vanilla cake with a layer of custard

Flowers arranged by the talented Ms. Marion

The table with prizes and favours.

The favours - an adorable mug and spoon combo

My bounty at the end of the day - so many amazing gifts. I'm so lucky.

We played a how well do you know the couple trivia game, a wedding traditions trivia game, taboo words on clothespins, made toilet paper bridal gowns, and much more. Every minute of it was amazing.
To thank the party planners (and for something to do since they wouldn't let me plan/cook/bake/bring anything) I put together small jars of jelly bellies (colour coordinated) and a bag of sweet strawberry tea leaves.

The template for the tea card came from Martha Stewart - click here to get the PDF file, then customize it to fit your needs!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Rum Balls

On Saturday afternoon, I was thrown a bridal shower by my bridesmaids, my mom, and my soon to be mother-in-law.
It was the best afternoon I've had in a long time.
The games, the decorations, the food, the drinks, the laughs, the ladies... every second of it was amazing.
You'll get a look at some of the pictures in Wednesday's post.

My friend (and bridesmaid) Marion made rum balls. She made them for my other friends' Stag & Doe and I ate way more than was appropriate for one person.
When I saw them on the table I got very excited.
These rum balls are to die for AND they're a Martha recipe!

I looked them up on the website, so here is the recipe I found (the picture looks very similar to the real things so I assume this is the correct recipe).

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Coat a 12-by-17-inch rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray; set aside. Melt 3/4 cup butter and 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate in a small heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally. Set aside.
  2. Whisk together 3 eggs, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp vanilla, and 1/2 tsp  salt in a large bowl. Stir in chocolate mixture, then fold in flour. Pour batter into prepared baking sheet. Spread evenly with a rubber spatula. Bake until top is shiny and a cake tester inserted into center comes out with some crumbs attached, about 10 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
  3. Break up brownie into small pieces; transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. With machine on low speed, pour in 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp rum, and mix until crumbs start to come together to form a ball.
  4. Shape into 1-inch balls, and roll in sanding sugar to coat (*Marion rolled hers in chocolate sprinkles. It did not disappoint). Transfer to a baking sheet; refrigerate, uncovered, until cold, about 2 hours. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Martha Stewart Living July 2012

I haven't done one of these in awhile, but when I saw the front cover of the July 2012 issue of Martha Stewart Living I knew I had to.
It's like it was made just for me.

So here is a quick (today's my bridal shower and I'm also trying to paint my nails, do my hair, organize invitations to be handed out, etc) review of the latest issue!

Martha Stewart Living July 2012

I love s'mores. A lot. A lot a lot.
So much so that they're likely going to be involved in our wedding favours.
I saw the cover and got super excited. Inside is a recipe for graham crackers which I cannot wait to put to the test. I also went to the website to try and find a link to the recipe but I found a different recipe. So I'll give you two.
Here's the one on the website. ---> click here!

And here's the magazine recipe for graham crackers.

  • Whisk together 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, 1 cup whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup toasted wheat germ, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp baking soda, and 1 tsp cinnamon.
  • In a bowl, beat together 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter with 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar and 2 tbsp honey. Beat until pale and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture and beat until combined.
  • Turn out dough onto a floured surface and divide in half. Roll out each dough half to about 1/8" thick and refrigerate for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Cut out cookies using a square fluted cutter (or the shape of your choice). For a fancier looking cookie, cut out a star shape (or again the shape of your choice) from the centre of each cookie. Reroll the scraps once and recut.
  • Place cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet, placed 1 inch apart. Refrigerate for another 15 minutes or unti very firm.
  • Bake until dark brown, about 14-16 minutes, rotating baking sheets halfway through. Let cool, then enjoy!

Next up we have something I've always wanted to try doing: a lobster bake!
Confession: the recipe in this issue is not technically for a lobster bake. But it might as well be!

Here's the recipe for the picture above.

And wrapping up the July issue we come to another cookie recipe.
This one I'm anxious to try out because as weird as it sounds, it also sounds insanely delicious.
And bad for you, that's key.

Potato Chip Cookies

check ch-check check check ch-check it out here

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wedding Wednesday: Escort Cards

DIY-ing things is a lot of hard work but it's also a lot of fun.
It adds personal touches to the things we're including in our wedding and I wouldn't have it any other way. I enjoy having a hand in creating so much of what we're doing and planning.

As the date slowly creeps closer and closer we realize we need to get a move on with some of the smaller things that we couldn't really do before.
In an effort to get a head start and not have to do everything the week before, we went out and bought the materials for our escort cards.
Everything except the stamp, which I bought on ebay about 6 - 8 months ago. Or more. 

I saw a really cute idea on pintrest a looooong time ago (right before I bought the stamp) that fit with our vineyard setting. The escort cards were written on wine cards and arranged on a cork board.
Like this image below.

We went to DeSeres and found these tags and bought up 120 of them.
We'll probably need another package but we'll wait and see.
For $1.99 a package you really can't go wrong.
We got white tags and cream coloured tags.

Using the stamp I bought and the two stamp pads (in pistacchio and violet) we bought from DeSeres, I got to stamping.
The end result looks a little something like this:


Guest's names will be written over top of the grape stamp along with their table number.

Hurray for DIY wedding stuff!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Canoeing in Algonquin Revisited

Remember I went on a canoe trip for the Victoria Day long weekend?
Here are pictures from it!

We had incredible weather, a ton of black flies & mosquitos, great laughs, and delicious food.
I forgot to take pictures of the food the second night (cause I was too busy mowing down on it) but I did snap a couple pics of the food John and I prepared. I forgot (again) to get a picture of the potato salad that our friend Johanna made (so good, SO good) because (again) I was stuffing my face with it.
We did chicken and veggie kebabs as well as some steak kebabs.

We also roasted cherry tomatoes with bonconccini and some haloum cheese skewers.
You may recall I cooked haloum (or haloumi, whatever) cheese about a year ago and had a mysterious stomach ailment afterwards, leading me to believe the cheese was poisoned.
This time around there were no stomach ailments to be had and everyone really enjoyed the cheese.
It has a high melting point so it holds its shape and just gets this delicious melt-y taste to it.

It was a beautiful weekend and I cannot wait until the next time I get the chance to sit out in the sunshine and enjoy the beauty of mother nature.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wedding Wednesday: Invitations

In our wedding planning we've managed to stay on the ball with most elements.
Except for a pretty big one: the invitations.
We got our save the dates out fairly early and got our guests the info on hotels so that they could start booking their rooms.
Taking for granted that most people have already made arrangements for accomodation, thus indicating their intention to show up, ...we've fallen behind on the invitations.
Last week we went and got our paper and we've made up a mock invite which we'll be giving to John's uncle who is printing our invites for us.
So hopefully they will be done and ready to hand out by next week.

We wanted to DIO (do-it-ourselves) as much as possible.
I found some inspirational images through handy-dandy google searches and we decided on a mason jar and hydrangea theme to match our centerpeices.

Then I got frustrated at how slowly things were moving invitation-wise and I started to play around with ideas (a thinly veiled threat that I was going to print out our invitations myself onto basic card stock paper, complete with terribly microsoft paint-ed image of a mason jar with flowers). I did manage to create a really cute reply card design that we did end up printing ourselves onto some linen-styled greyish green paper.

Creative kudos to for giving me the fool-proof tools to craft this.
And the image of the mason jar that I stole from somewhere (shhhh, pretty sure that's copyright infringement).

Anyway, if you're lucky enough (ha) to be invited to the wedding of the year (ha), keep an eye out for your invite. It should be in the mail shortly.

Lastly, I wrote the CRNE this morning.
I think it went well....? I won't know for a month or so now if I get to start putting 'RN' at the end of my name, but when I walked out I didn't feel like crying. Must be a good sign.
And more importantly, no more studying!
Now to celebrate.
photo source:

Monday, June 4, 2012

Birthday Cake!

Sorry in advance - this post is not going to be very wordy.
My big RN exam is on Wednesday so I'm trying to cram in as much studying as possible.
Just wanted to share with you this bit of baking I did over the weekend for John's birthday celebration!
Being a big fan of fishing I went with a fishing theme.

All you need is a few boxes of rainbow chip cake, some Swedish fish, vanilla pudding for the fishing hole (and blue food colouring - lots of it, especially if your pudding has a yellow tint), and some rock candy (I found mine at Sugar Mountain).

Stab a few paratroopers with toothpick-fishing rods, tie some dental floss onto them and dangle those bad boys into your fishing hole.

And if you're drinking at your party make some jello shooters complete with Swedish fish.

Now back to learning all about pregnancy and pregnancy-related health conditions!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Feast Friday: What I'm hoping is a hilariously delicious dinner

I'm stretching John's birthday into a week of festivities (small celebrations) ending Saturday night with his birthday party. I took him out for dinner on Monday night, got him some helium balloons, made him lunch and breakfast, and I'm planning a nice dinner for tonight.

One thing we joke about making is a mysterious meal mentioned on It's Always Sunny.
One of Charlie's favourite foods.
The Milk Steak.

I saw this recipe in the latest issue of Everyday Food and knew that I had to try and make it for John.
It's probably not the milk steak that Charlie Kelly had in mind but hopefully it'll be a delicious alternative.
  • In a blender, combine 1 cup buttermilk, 1 bunch cilantro (roughly chopped), 1 tsp coriander seeds, 1/2 tsp curry powder, 3 scallions (roughly chopped) and puree. Reserve 1/2 cup of te marinade for serving. Pour half of the remaining marinade in a shallow bowl and arrange steak in a single layer and cover with the rest of the marinade. Let sit for 30-45 minutes.
  • Heat a grill or grill pan to medium high and lightly oil. Remove steak from marinade and shake off excess. Season with salt and pepper. Grill until browned, 3-4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes before thinly slicing against the grain. Season the reserved marinade with salt and pepper and serve with the sliced steak.

aaaaaaaaand MILK STEAK!