Thursday, December 30, 2010

Oh forgot to tell you....

Remember that cake competition that I put the Thanksgiving cake in that Sean and I made??


I came home a few days later and there was a box on my doorstep from Simon & Schuster with some books in it.... As I love being in the kitchen and 'creating' masterpieces it was brilliant... like Christmas had come early!!! Here is the list of books they sent...

An autographed copy of 'Cake Boss'
Bon Appetit Desserts
Foodista - Best of food blogs
The World Kitchen - Williams Sonoma
Cooking Essentials - Williams Sonoma
Cooking from the Farmers Market - Williams Sonoma
Tools & Techniques - Williams Sonoma

I made some Indian Korma and substituted the chicken for Turkey with an excellent recipe from The World Kitchen.... My only disappointment was that I thought Aarti (Aarti Paarti) would have been in the Foodista cook book. As soon as I got it I combed the pages looking for one of her recipes and much to my dismay there wasn't one!

I haven't quite made my way through all of them yet, I love reading cook books.... but, if you like making cakes, desserts, squares etc... Bon Appetit Desserts is an excellent book to have in your cooking library. I did get a lot of my Christmas baking recipes from it. I have been trying to collect all the Williams-Sonoma collection cook books so I was really happy that there were a few Willams-Sonoma books in there too!!

Thank you Simon & Schuster!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to everyone! Hope a wonderful Christmas was had by all! Ours was pretty low key (but I am still exhausted!)... Santa, presents, dinner with the family, building ginger bread houses, waiting for the man in red...

The Christmas tree after Santa & Grandma & Grandad visited....

A special gift from Caleb that he made at school... some Christmas and tree decorations! He was so excited to give it to us! My favorite day is boxing day. The kids woke up today, we all just hung out and they played with their new toys almost all day. The kids make my Christmas... (that and the fireplace channel on the TV!) they were super excited for the man in red and to get their little hands on the parcels under the tree. I love cooking Christmas dinner for our family. The only thing I hate about Christmas is being so far away from all my family. I wish that I could share the excitement with my sisters, my grandparents and my friends that are so close to me that they will always be family.....
Caleb & Dad enjoying a Christmas nap... had to share. I love my boys :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Thanksgiving Cake Project

My husband and I made our first cake together!!! We wanted to do something nice for our family thanksgiving dinner and his Mum's 70th birthday. Sean really wanted us to do something together and was adamant he wanted to help out!!! So I made a red velvet cake and got to practice my basket weave again!!! (sigh) I baked orange coloured mini bundt cakes to use for the pumpkins then we went about decorating. Sean is so good and modeling the fondant and all the little details. I was actually pretty impressed that he got the hang of working with the fondant right away where as it took me a few tries to get the hang of it.

All of the cake is edible... all the veggies (which the kids tried to eat with their dinner instead of the real ones), the basket, the fruit..... It turned out pretty good! There is always the stress when I make these cakes that it will be a complete disaster... and I am turning up with a grocery store slab cake instead!! A friend posted on my facebook wall about a cake decorating contest so I decided to enter our cake! You can vote for it here.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Join Loco Beanz and support Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

If you click on the link below and add yourself as a friend to the Loco Beanz facebook page. Once they hit 500 friends then they will donate $100.00! Right now they are at 434 friends....!/profile.php?id=100001107406869

Also starting Friday at Loco Beanz buy a breast cancer cookie for $2.50 or a breast cancer travel mug for $7.50 and $2.00 from every sale will be used to buy blankets from My O'l Blues for the cancer patients at the Manitoulin Health Centre. The blankets are so soft and warm!

For more information call Loco Beanz @ (705) 282-0007 or (705) 368 2261.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

A very productive day

So I had a super productive day today... I made two cakes.... Toopy & Binoo.

Went for a really long walk with a friend EVEN though I was feeling super lazy and just wanted to go back to bed....

Cut the grass... I was hoping I was done with that for this year.... I started pruning my apple tree... My neighbors probably think I am crazy! Especially when I was hanging from the tree 6ft up with my husband's cordless saw in my hand and the ladder tipped over... I hope no one was watching!! I also picked apples so I think next week will be an apple/pumpkin pie making week!

Made ham & scalloped potatoes for supper and I am about to put the kids in the tub and get them in bed before I tidy the kitchen.

Then..... I am going to crash!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Cake Post....

I spent yesterday making cakes...

This one was for Lainey's 2nd birthday!! Time flies I can't believe she is two already!!!!

For another birthday party...

I just have to make Caleb's now... talking of time flying he is 5 on Tuesday!!! And he wants a Batman cake... surprise surprise...... :)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Meatless Monday - But on a Tuesday....

Krissy wasn't kidding when she said these were good! Yummy! I made zucchini fritters (except mine had zucchini and summer squash (from Gypsy Family Farms) that I had to use up in my fridge.) They have feta, fresh mint, dill, lemon zest, garlic... I made my mixture then went to get the kids and when I came back the house smelt amazing! Like garlic, lemon and fresh herbs!

I was a little worried about them falling apart when I fried them after the falafel incident but they turned out pretty good! I wish I had some time to make homemade coleslaw to go with my tomato salad and fritters but out of time so packaged it is :(

I am definitely getting more adventurous in my vegetarian cooking. I bought some quinoa at the health food store yesterday.. oh and some tofu! I had never heard of quinoa let alone ate it before I started eating at Island Chill. So I am ready to take on a few different recipies and try some more of it. I kind of scares me though because it is like cooking rice and I am HORRIBLE at cooking rice. It always turns out like rice pudding... pudding quinoa won't be so good for my salad!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Meatless Mondays I am back!!

Totally inspired today but my yummy lunch at Island Chill (maple ginger tofu wrap & quinoa salad - yes I am getting more adventurous in my choice off the menu!), my girlfriend had a spicy Thai tofu stir fry that looked so good.... so stir fry for supper it is! I decided to stay on the veggie track for Meatless Monday!

It really shouldn't be hard to do with all the veggies I have from Gypsy Family Farms in my fridge. I made a stir fry with the giant summer squash as the 'meat' of the dish... my kids think they look like spaceships so they are always excited to eat them. Threw in some other veggie and over the top of noodles... again a kid favorite, kids LOVE noodles! Of course I got the usual grunting from my poor dirty husband who has been on a roof all day 'is this a meatless Monday thing? humph... would be good with some meat'... I don't think he is going to be turning vegetarian any time soon!

Now for something creative for next week......

Monday, August 02, 2010

Summertime cooking...

I love cooking in the summer!!! Pitchers of Farquhars lemonade with fresh fruit and ice, BBQ's and of course all the fresh produce!! I love going to the farmers market and coming back with armfuls of fresh locally grown produce. The stuff you buy in the supermarket doesn't even compare! I have been getting excited every meal over which veggie we are going to try today (so has Caleb)... Paired with my Jamie Oliver cook book... watch out!! This meal was super easy it was from my JO cook book... I changed a few things.

I used white-fish fresh from the Purvis fish truck on Fridays in Gore Bay, multi coloured beans (green, yellow, purple, speckled) from gypsy farms, the pesto was from the grocery store (next time I will make my own but the PC one is pretty good) and I added baby Parmesan... my kids love cheese they will eat almost anything if you put cheese on it! All fresh local produce and so very yummy and super easy to make!!!

Friday, July 16, 2010

If I could bake cakes all day I would be happy...

I love making cakes.... So when C asked me to make a cake for a stag and doe that she was organizing I agreed to do it for her... she figured it would be the perfect gift for the bride and groom and I figured it would be a great opportunity to get to do a cake with fondant. I figured it wouldn't be that hard... I mean I have made a ton of cakes... and I watch 'Ace of Cakes' and 'Cake Boss' all the time... They just roll out the fondant and just smooth it on. Easy! This is what I was going to attempt...
Ok I was wrong. It was not easy at all.... The baking was easy.. but the fondant was stressful!! Getting the right texture. Kneading it enough but not too much..... And the cracking!! Oh the cracking!!!! How they get it on smooth with no cracking or tearing...?? More practice needed!!!! Luckily I had my friend (and expert cake maker) Hilary on speed dial for help and coaching over the phone in emergencies and Lisabeth on standby in case I ran out of fondant!!! I love the decorating.. making all the little flowers, dusting them with pearl dust... the piping although I do wish that I had an easier time with the icing I made. I would have liked to have used a smaller tip but due to time constraints and my icing already bagged it came out a little less delicate than I would have liked. I also decided to do 2 tiers to make it look a little less weddingy. I couldn't believe how heavy it was! It took two of us to carry it to the car! All in all I was pretty proud of my effort... it looked pretty impressive and I managed to cover up the bad spots with flowers and piping... now I am dying to perfect and want to make a 'real' wedding cake that looks perfect!!!!

My stress was some what heightened as I had 3 cakes to make for Saturday.... the stag & doe, Ironman and a Cinderella cake for Mason & Alexandra's 3rd birthday party!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Joining the 30's club....

July 9th. 1980. That's my birth date which means I turned 30 this year! 30!!! I had to fill out a form the other day and it asked for your age and I wrote 30 for the first time. I squealed as I wrote it... and then had to explain to everyone around why!

My actual birthday (apart from turning 30) was lots of fun... a few weekends prior my friend Leeann organized a surprise birthday party! We went for dinner at Todd and Perry's...... Here is a picture of the boys comparing their pipes before dinner....

... came home to 30 people in my house.... I was definitely surprised and had NO IDEA!! Last crazy night of my 20's.... Check out the cake that Lisabeth made for me! If you know me you know I LOVE shoes! Leeann apparently knows me very well!!

And I even had some friends from across the other end of the Island come for the surprise!

My actual birthday was a lot more low key!! I am 30 now you know!!.. drinks with a few friends.. beautiful flowers from my hubby and my sis.... I got some really thoughtful presents.. a Thai massage from my hubby (20 hours of bliss), a cook book from my friend C... which I have read like a novel! I love Jamie Oliver!!!

Some Pajama Pj's from Audrey... They are so comfy... I want to live in them. Oh and did I mention a Tiffany's bracelet from my sister???

Do I not have the best sister in the world???

How spoilt am I????

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I AM Canadian!!

It's official. After 10 years of living here, two Canadian children... I am now Canadian! Just in time for Canada Day! My dear friend Audrey came with me to Sudbury for the ceremony and of course followed by a major shopping trip to celebrate! It was pretty exciting when we finally got there... of course I had the stress of my car being broken right before and leaving all my documents in my safety deposit box at the bank! There were two ceremonies that day and two islanders with me in the first one and Lynne & Kevin in the second one. It would have been so nice to have been all together and had a picture of the newest Manitoulin Canadians!

We went to an amazing Thai restaurant to celebrate... and I had to have one of these....

It is a key lime pie cocktail.. and if you know me you know I LOVE key lime pie!!!! I can't remember the exact name but malibu, lim cordial, pina colada mix, cream and coconut to finish it all off.... SO GOOD!!! Alcoholic liquid pudding in a glass! Yummy! Need to try and re-create that one! Followed by.... just a few of the dishes... we really pigged out!

BUT!!! The most exciting part of the day... well ok it was a very exciting day (citizenship, completely indulgent I am now broke shopping, alcoholic liquid pudding, yummy food) but....


Just the best ice cream place IN THE WORLD! NOW IN CANADA!! And in Sudbury! I thought I saw a sign the last time I was in Sudbury but soon as Audrey and I were having a great day spending money and stuffing our faces with anything yummy we had to investigate!!! When I lived in Windsor my friend Meredith introduced me to Coldstone Creamery. We drove across the border (a few times at lightening speed) to get some before they closed!

Basically they have all these base flavours which you can try and then add whatever you like to.. they make it in front of you on a cold marble slab. Just the best ice cream EVER!!!!

So to finish.... I am now Canadian, more overweight (sigh) and broke!


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