Green & Black’s chocolate pumpkin brownies recipe + A giveaway!

Green & Black’s chocolate pumpkin brownies recipe + A giveaway!

I know it’s like 1,000 degrees outside and the last thing a lot of us want to do is turn the oven on and bake, but bookmark this recipe to make when the heat wave breaks because you’re going to want to eat these chocolate pumpkin brownies all Fall. Developed by natural foodie Regina Braun of LeeLalicious for Green & Black’s chocolate, they’re a fudgey, not overly sweet treat, easy to make for Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving or whenever. Green & Black’s sent me some bars to give it a try, plus a selection for one lucky reader.  Continue reading “Green & Black’s chocolate pumpkin brownies recipe + A giveaway!”

Ladies Who Drink: A Stylishly Spirited Guide to Mixed Drinks and Small Bites + Win a copy!

Ladies Who Drink: A Stylishly Spirited Guide to Mixed Drinks and Small Bites + Win a copy!

Fixing drinks has never been my domaine, but look out world, ’cause that’s about to change. Thanks to Running Press, I have everything I need to transform from a cocktail dunce to a cocktail diva in Ladies Who Drink: A Stylishly Spirited Guide to Mixed Drinks and Small Bites by Anne Keenan Higgins. Small in size but mighty in know-how, the lighthearted guide takes readers through the basics and beyond: from home bar essentials (including liquors, tools and glasses) to party-planning tips, to cocktails and nibblies for every occasion. (Think Backyard Barbecue, Ice-Skating Party, A Trip to Margaritaville, and Sunday Brunch Bloodies.) Served with a splash of mixology history and infused with charming illustrations of ladies who lunch (and sip!) looking oh-so-chic and you’ve got a practical and pretty starter for anyone new to the bar. Continue reading “Ladies Who Drink: A Stylishly Spirited Guide to Mixed Drinks and Small Bites + Win a copy!”

Thinking outside the jar with Bonne Maman + A giveaway!

Thinking outside the jar with Bonne Maman + A giveaway!

In my house, jams and jellies rarely see more than a side of toast, but last week’s inspired bites at Fauna Ottawa have me looking at our favourite jewel-toned spreads in an entirely new light. Bonne Maman invited Fauna chef Billy Khoo to think outside the jar for an exclusive tasting featuring the company’s preserves. Here’s a look at the dishes we sampled. Maybe they’ll inspire you too!  Continue reading “Thinking outside the jar with Bonne Maman + A giveaway!”

Gourmet Trading stocked our pantry with Stonewall Kitchen specialty foods. Here’s how they went over.

Gourmet Trading stocked our pantry with  Stonewall Kitchen specialty foods. Here’s how they went over.

Like a lot of people trying to feed a family on a budget, we tend to stock our pantry with the same things week after week. We know what will get eaten, what probably won’t, and how long our favourite dishes will take to prepare. We shop with a list, pick up what we need, and generally ignore the rest (unless something’s on super sale, which I cannot resist). But when Toronto-based Gourmet Trading reached out to me last month, I was reminded that there’s a whole world of foods and flavours available to explore and enjoy. Gourmet Trading has been bringing that world to Canada for nearly 30 years as an importer and distributor of specialty foods. They sent me a selection of products from one of their top-selling brands, Maine’s award-winning Stonewall Kitchen, and I was pleasantly surprised to see how well they went over. Will they be new pantry staples? Read on and see.  Continue reading “Gourmet Trading stocked our pantry with Stonewall Kitchen specialty foods. Here’s how they went over.”

How do you like them apples? Celebrating 50 years with Chudleigh’s Farm 🍎 #Chudleighs

How do you like them apples? Celebrating 50 years with Chudleigh’s Farm 🍎 #Chudleighs

This time last week I met my friend Ann at Chudleigh’s Entertainment Farm and Bakery in Milton, Ontario to celebrate the orchard’s 50th anniversary. Chudleigh’s was one of the first u-pick apple orchards in Ontario and one of the first in the area to introduce entertainment farms with wagon rides, a children’s play area and friendly farm animals to round out the pick-your-own experience. But you might know Chudleigh’s for its famous apple blossoms — the insanely delicious single-serve apple pies made with Chudleigh’s family recipes and enjoyed all over the world, from Canada to Dubai to Australia and everywhere in between. Here are some scenes from our day.  Continue reading “How do you like them apples? Celebrating 50 years with Chudleigh’s Farm 🍎 #Chudleighs”

Talking top back-to-school trends with Staples + A $250 giveaway!

Talking top back-to-school trends with Staples + A $250 giveaway!

Things are looking up for back to school at casa try small things. The kids are happy with their teachers (for a change the school’s told us who they’ll have before the first day), last year’s backpacks and lunch bags are in good shape for another year and I won’t be on duty for every after-school pick-up, which saves me from making small talk every day in the yard. And AND (and it’s no small thing), Staples sent us enough school supplies to last the whole year through. Today I’m sharing a sampling of the season’s major trends — Staples has you covered! — plus a $250 Staples giveaway for one lucky reader.  Continue reading “Talking top back-to-school trends with Staples + A $250 giveaway!”

Ready or Not! 150+ Make-Ahead, Make-Over, and Make-Now Recipes by Nom Nom Paleo + Win a copy!

Ready or Not! 150+ Make-Ahead, Make-Over, and Make-Now Recipes by Nom Nom Paleo + Win a copy!

Fall always feels like a great time to turn over a new leaf (pun intended), and if you’re thinking of cleaning up your diet Paleo-style like me, Ready or Not! 150+ Make-Ahead, Make-Over, and Make-Now Recipes by Nom Nom Paleo is a fantastic (and fun!) place to start. Released at the beginning of August, this second book from the husband-and-wife duo behind the award–winning Nom Nom Paleo website and cooking app offers an incredible variety of nourishing whole-food recipes and meal plans that encourage readers to eat as broadly as possible. Recipes are organized by degrees of readiness: Get Set! (Kitchen staples to buy or make ahead of time and have on hand like All-Purpose Stir-Fry Sauce, Cauli Rice and Grain-Free Tortillas); Ready! (Make-ahead meals for when you have ample time to cook, like Chinese Chicken in a Pot, Buffalo Cauliflower Things, and Orange Cream Tart); Kinda Ready! (Turn leftovers and pre-made components into quick and tasty meals like Mexican Watermelon and Cucumber Salad, Naked Salmon on a Hot Pan, and Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Egg Muffins); Not Ready! (Simple, speedy meals ready in 15 to 45 minutes like Simple Egg Drop Soup, Cantonese Crispy Chicken Thighs, and Chicken Curry in a Hurry) and Beyond Ready! (Weekly dinner plans and shopping lists to make the most of your time and ingredients). All in a comic book format with step-by-step photographs, charming illustrations and family-friendly humour that isn’t too corny. (It is grain-free, after all.)   Continue reading “Ready or Not! 150+ Make-Ahead, Make-Over, and Make-Now Recipes by Nom Nom Paleo + Win a copy!”

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking by Samin Nosrat

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking by Samin Nosrat

Samin Nosrat’s love affair with cooking may read like a fairy tale, but her approach to good cooking has less to do with magic than it does with science. Learn the four basic elements or “cardinal directions”, Samin says, and you’ll find your way to dishes that satisfy as much as they delight. Her first book, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking, distills lessons learned in 15 years of cooking (Samin got her start at Alice Waters’ famed Chez Panisse), teaching and writing about food, here in an approachable, richly illustrated guide that encourages readers to be curious, have fun and taste (and taste again!) along the way.   Continue reading “Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking by Samin Nosrat”

Kale & Caramel: Recipes for Body, Heart, and Table by Lily Diamond

Kale & Caramel: Recipes for Body, Heart, and Table by Lily Diamond

No rain, no flowers. •  In her first book, Kale & Caramel: Recipes for Body, Heart, and Table, thirty-something writer, photographer, and natural wellness blogger Lily Diamond shares recipes for 80 nourishing vegetarian and vegan dishes and DIY beauty products made all the more magical for the moving stories of heartbreak, healing and joy she serves alongside. Chapters are organized by the aromatic herbs and flowers discussed within — in the first section it’s basil, cilantro, fennel, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage, and thyme; in the second section, lavender, jasmine, rose and orange blossom. Tips for sourcing, storing, pairing, and infusing into oils, honey, sugar and salt make for a comprehensive and approachable guide that encourages readers to play. Lily is as down-to-earth as they come, and her voice, her brand of wildness “that tends to manifest in quiet river skinny-dipping, or playing fast and loose in the kitchen, or not wearing pants all day, or singing to Beyoncé at the top of my lungs” charmed me as much as her recipes.  Continue reading “Kale & Caramel: Recipes for Body, Heart, and Table by Lily Diamond”

August is for…

August is for…

Okay August. Time to turn you around. I’ve spent most of the past week loafing around the house in my pajamas, exhausted and depressed for letting the days slip by with next to nothing accomplished. Blah. Anyone else been the same? Saturday we drove up near Mont Tremblant to pick my daughter from camp and as anxious as I was to get away from making small talk with the other parents and home to familiar surroundings, I think the change of scenery helped.  Continue reading “August is for…”