New England Cranberry Duff

Yesterday we did our first ever Thanksgiving (yes, we Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving a month earlier than our neighbours down south, never really understood why…) dinner at home. Offner and I spent tons of time in the kitchen preparing enough food for an entire army (we were only 6!). We had three services: the appetizers (cheese, sausage, cold cuts, vegetables, foie gras, salads, etc.), the mains (chicken, roasted vegetables, Quenelles, quiche, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, etc.) and the desserts (fresh fruit, homemade apple pie and homemade New England Cranberry Duff). It was heavenly!

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I spent lot’s of time in the kitchen as a kid helping my mom make desserts for any kind of celebration or party she’d throw. Since I moved out almost eight years ago, I haven’t made too much dessert. Yesterday’s dinner was the perfect occasion to whip out my old dessert making skills and make a perfect fall creation. I usually always either invent recipes or add my own personal twist on recipes I already know but this time, I tried an all new recipe that I found on Martha Stewart’s website.

Last week I received cranberries with my Fresh City Farms basket so I wanted to make something with them. I found this New England Cranberry Duff cake that looked amazing on her site. It was an absolute hit! Not only does it not require many ingredients, it’s also super easy and quick to make. I decided to double to recipe to make the cake thicker. Not only is it great as a dessert but it’s also perfect for a snack or even breakfast!

Here’s the recipe taken directly from Martha’s website:

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, (1 stick), softened
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/3 cup pecans, toasted, coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup plus 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

DIRECTIONS

  1. STEP 1

    Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter bottom and halfway up sides of an 8-inch square glass baking dish using 2 tablespoons butter. Spread cranberries evenly over bottom of dish. Sprinkle pecans on top, then sprinkle with 1/3 cup sugar; set aside.

  2. STEP 2

    Melt remaining 6 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat; set aside. Put egg and the remaining 1/2 cup sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until pale and thick, about 1 minute. Reduce speed to medium-low; gradually beat in flour, and then salt. Pour in melted butter in a slow, steady stream, beating until smooth.

  3. STEP 3

    Slowly pour batter into pan to cover cranberries. Bake until golden brown and a cake tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack 10 minutes. Run a knife around edge to loosen, and invert to unmold onto a serving platter. Serve warm or at room temperature.

So happy with how it turned out! Yummy!! 🙂

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Cibo Wine Bar

Last Friday, thanks to a twitter recommendation from Chic Darling. Offner and I tried out the new Cibo Wine Bar that opened up just over two months ago on the corner at King and Brant Street in Toronto. We were looking for some good food to enjoy after a long week at work.

Reservations were super easy through Open Table online. Even if we reserved the afternoon of, there were still some spots available.

Right when we walked in, I noticed that the place had completely transformed from the trashy club that it used to be. The big wall of wine bottles, the dim lighting and the wooden walls gave it a very homey and nice atmosphere. I liked that you could see the kitchen from the dining room, the wood oven and also where all the in-house pasta are made.

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As expected, the wine bar had a pretty big selection of wines. We let our waiter recommend us a wine, something we rarely do but figured it’d be the place to do it. To our surprise, the wine he recommended from Napa Valley was delicious! Though a little pricey for the bottle in our opinion ($65), it was worth it in the end.

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The menu was pretty extensive. They had a variety of Italian food – a full pizza list, pasta that was made in-house, others that that weren’t, a list of salads, soups, fish and also some cheese and charcuterie boards.

We opted for an appetizer each: I took the cheese platter and Offner, the fried calamari. Though his calamari was good it was a little undercooked and too chewy for his liking. I was really excited to try their cheese board as it was recommended to me. The presentation was nice and the portions were good for the price ($17). That being said, the cheese itself wasn’t very original – they served Brie and a form of Mozzarella, basically cheeses that are not only easy to find, but unoriginal. The rest of the cheese was a little better/tastier but being a big cheese connaisseur, sadly I was disappointed with their overall selection.

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For our main course, Offner ordered some shrimp pasta made in-house, which he really enjoyed and myself, the endives salad, which was tasty and reasonably priced. Though the dessert menu looked very appetizing (hello Nutella pizza!!), we were too stuffed to order any.

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The one thing that really stood out and gave the restaurant an edge was what I noticed on my waiter’s feet…

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Yup! Some good ol’ chucks! I think having all the waiters wear chucks gave them a cool laid-back vibe.

Overall, a good experience at Cibo Wine Bar. I think they could improve their cheese selection (Terroni in my opinion still offers a better selection of cheese for the same type of Italian cheese board) and perfect some of their dishes a little more but all in all, we had a pleasant time. The restaurant now also serves brunch on the weekends, something I’d be curious of trying out some time!

 

This Week’s Pottage

A new week means a new pottage… at least that’s what it’s meant since we’ve been getting our Fresh City Farms baskets. This week’s pottage is my best one yet (that’s a good thing I guess since I’ve only ever made two 😛 Improvement is good!).

For this week’s pottage I used cabbage, green onions, cauliflower and beets. I never really measure anything when making pottage, I just eyeball it.

I let all the veggies boil in water for 20mins or so. I also added a cube of organic vegetable broth to add a bit of flavor as well as salt and pepper.

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Once everything has boiled, I blend everything up using my hand mixer. I also add a bit of almond milk, dijon mustard and my secret ingredient: maple syrup! Yup! Plus it’s from my family’s sugar shack, so there’s nothing better 🙂 I find that the maple syrup cuts the bitterness and the milk and dijon make the pottage more of a velvety texture.

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Et voilà! Bon appétit!

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Fall Pumpkin

Last week, two small pumpkins came in our Fresh City Farms bag and just like the concord grapes, I had never cooked anything with pumpkins before. Growing up, I saw my mom make pumpkin pie but had never really been interested in making anything with pumpkin because it always looked so complicated.

After looking at a few different recipes (thank god for Martha Stewart sometimes!), I got inspired to make my own pumpkin dishes.

The first recipe I made was a pumpkin, roasted garlic, beemster cheese, concord grape, tomato, avocado and cantaloupe salad. It really took no time to make. The only kind of preparation it took, was cutting up the pumpkin in small cubes and placing them on a cookie sheet. I drizzled a bit of cumin, maple syrup, olive oil and salt and pepper on them. I also added a few fresh garlic cloves on the cookie sheet to bake with the pumpkin. I cooked the pumpkin in the oven for 40mins at 350F, I kept adding water throughout so that the pumpkin didn’t dry up. When it got nice and mushy, I took it out of the oven and peeled off the skin.

For the dressing, I just mixed freshly squeezed lemon juice, olive oil and dijon mustard. Contrary to what I was expecting, the pumpkin tasted really soft and sweet. It was delish!

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For the second pumpkin recipe, I made a pumpkin and tofu stir-fry with the left over pumpkin I cooked for the salad. I pan fried cubes of tofu, added pineapple pieces, garlic, pumpkin cubes as well as sweet and sour sauce. I cooked everything in the pan until nicely roasted and then placed it on a bed of fresh kale. I was also surprised by how amazing it tasted!

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With the leftover seeds I had from the pumpkin, I put them on a cookie sheet, drizzled a bit of olive oil on them and spices and baked them in the oven at 350F for 15-20mins. They were the perfect lunch snack for the next day!!

There you have it! Some quick and easy pumpkin recipes. What have you made with pumpkin this fall?

 

Concord Grape Spread

Last week we received our first Fresh City Farms local fruit and veggie bag. I challenged myself to use every single item they gave us, even if the bag contained some items I had never cooked with before.

One of these items was Concorde Grapes. I opted to try a grape spread to serve with cheese as an appetizer on the weekend. It’s super easy to make!

All you need is a big handful of grapes, rosemary, olive oil, sugar and salt.

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Rinse the grapes and then place them on a baking sheet. Drizzle 2 teaspoon of olive oil over the grapes. Add a pinch of sea salt and 1 teaspoon of rosemary on the grapes. Also add 1/2 a teaspoon of sugar over the grapes to cut the bitterness.

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Place grapes in the oven and cook at 400F for 15-20 minutes or until grapes burst. Once they’ve cooled off you can place them in a bowl.

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I opted to serve the grape spread with blue cheese on whole wheat toast but they can be served with burrata cheese, compté or any type of cheese you like. The strong taste of blue cheese fit perfectly with the sweetness of the grapes! It was a succulant appetizer to kick off a Saturday night meal. Hope you’ll enjoy 🙂

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Falling for Red #DailyOutfit

It’s a grey Monday today in Toronto! Exciting news if you’re a fan of basketball in Toronto. It was announced this morning that Drake was named the “Global Ambassador” for the Raptors and also that the NBA All-Star game will be coming to Toronto in 2016. Neato!

I spent a lovely weekend at home hanging out with friends, cooking, catching up on Netflix docs and watching the Breaking Bad finale with a group of BB enthusiasts. I had actually never watched the series before so it was funny to see just how into it people really were. Look at these cupcakes!!

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I also checked out the brand new Denis Villeneuve film, his first real “Hollywood” production called Prisoners yesterday. I thoroughly enjoyed the flick. Not only was it super well shot, the story kept us on the edge of our seats the whole time and the acting was really strong. Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal deliver really poignant performances. Definitely worth seeing!

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Really into red these days. Can’t seem to stay away from that color! What is your current favorite color?

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Forever 21 boat neck striped black and white top (get it here)

Target red long sleeve sweater (similar one here)

Zara three tone beaded necklace (get it here)

H&M distressed boyfriend jeans (similar ones here)

Lionette Joplin bracelet (similar one here)

Biko black chainmaille bracelet (get it here)

Bing Bang Wanderlust cuff (get it here)

Zara red studded ankle boots 

Asian Squash Recipe

The other night Offner came home with what he thought was pumpkin but turns out it was Asian Squash. I had never made anything with Asian squash or squash in general so I took it upon myself to find a way to make it.

I looked up a few recipes but ended up mixing a bunch of them together to create my own. Surprisingly, it turned out great!

Here’s what I did:

I pre-heated the oven at 350 degrees.

I cut up the squash in small 2 inch slices and put them on a baking sheet. I lightly drizzled 0live oil over them, added a bunch of different spices (salt, pepper, basil, oregano, thym) and also drizzle a bit of natural maple syrup (I put maple syrup in pretty much everything I make ;)) on top.

I then baked the squash for roughly 40mins, basically until they were soft.

Another super healthy snack idea or good vegetable to accompany any meal.

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Kale Chips Recipe

I love finally being home for a few weeks. This will allow me to start cooking a whole lot more. One of my recent favorite snacks, is homemade Kale Chips. Though I love getting some at the store, there’s nothing quite like making your own.

Wednesday I received a whole bunch of kale in my Fresh City Farms basket and decided to make some yummy kale chips to go with my dinner last night. They are SUPER easy to make 🙂

All you have to do is pre-heat the oven at 350, cut up kale in small pieces.

Drizzle olive oil or as I did, flavored olive oil (I went for the hot pepper oil) over the kale and add salt and pepper. Some people also add yeast to the kale to add a crunchier texture but I find that they taste fine without it too!

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Put it in the oven for 10-15mins, until cripsy and dark green.

The perfect healthy snack!

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Promo Day #DailyOutfit

Happy Friday everyone!

Since my cleanse last week, I’ve been staying as healthy as possible, making most meals myself and eating lot’s of fruits and veggies every day. Last night, I made a pretty great salad with apples, almonds, blue benedictin cheese, beets, avocado, cucumber, fresh mint and homemade dressing (olive oil, red grape vinegar, maple syrup, salt and pepper). It was absolutely delicious! Nothing more refreshing than a light salad in the evening!

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I’ve been spending my Friday in meetings and shooting new promos for season 2 of BRBR. For the promos, I decided to wear the lovely new dress that Offner surprised me with earlier in the week. I’ve never owned any French Connection items, so I’m thrilled to finally have one of their lovely dresses in my closet. I’m not gonna lie, he has pretty amazing taste for a man. I’m a very lucky woman!

I’m off to Ottawa for 24hrs and then back for a few days before I leave for some more festival coverage in Northern Quebec. Looking forward to a nice dinner and brunch with friends on the weekend. What are your plans?

Wishing you all a great weekend! xo

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French Connection Flower Lace Dress (similar one here)

Lionette HARLEM necklace (get it here)

Biko black chainmaille bracelet (get it here)

Bing Bang Wanderlust cuff (get it here)

Lionette Joplin bracelet (similar one here)

Lace-Up Platform Boots (similar ones here)

Long overdue! #DailyOutfit

It was long overdue! I’m sorry for the lack of blog posts in the last week and a half. I spent 9 crazy days in Quebec City covering the Festival d’été de Québec for BRBR. It was my 7th and busiest edition yet! I had tons of fun running around the city filming interviews and performances as well as cooking segments and taxi rides with some super nice Canadian artists. My personal favs were definitely meeting the super sweet Gaële, having Les Indiens perform their rad track “Crâne” for us (stoner rock at its best! Listen to their track here), cooking with Jacquie from The Balconies, doing a taxi ride with Lisa LeBlanc and having the guys from The Hunters perform for us on a boat. Have you seen their performance yet?

I also had the chance to see a few shows during our shooting breaks. My top 3 favorite shows of the festival were:

1 – The Balconies

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2 – Weezer

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3 – Bad Religion

Only a few more days before I head back to California for a vacation! Can’t wait to spend some more time there!! In the meantime, I’m enjoying being home: hanging with friends, BBQing, watching several seasons of Kitchen Nightmares and taking it easy! For today’s outfit, I’m wearing color, prints and keeping the clothing light because it’s a hot one in Toronto today! I can’t complain though, at least the sun is shining and it’s finally summer 🙂

Wishing you a wonderful Monday!

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Aztec print top

H&M neon blue cuffed shorts (similar ones here)

Zara blue rope skull necklace

Lionette SINEAD bracelet (check the site for more info)

Biko black chainmaille bracelet (get it here)

Bing Bang Wanderlust cuff (get it here)

H&M pointed cap toe orange high heel