Lola’s: A Cake Journey Around the World + Win a copy!

Lola's A Cake Journey Around the World maple pecan cake

Remember the story of the little red hen? Everybody wants to eat the bread, but nobody wants to help bake it. That’s what it’s been like around here the past week, only everybody wants to eat the cake, but nobody wants to get off the ipad and help make it. Or do much of anything else. I asked my daughter to give me a hand with this photo and what did I get? “What was I BORN for? Helping with PHOTOS or LIVING?” Yeesh. If you’re looking for me later I’ll be over here stress-eating hunks of this maple pecan cake. It’s from Lola’s: A Cake Journey Around the World. Thomas Allen & Son sent me a copy to review and they’ve got another one for one of you lucky ducks.  Continue reading “Lola’s: A Cake Journey Around the World + Win a copy!”

Make mom’s day with Green & Black’s Farmhouse Chocolate Banana Bread + A giveaway!

Green and Black's Farmhouse Chocolate Banana Bread with jam on a sliec try small things

After packing house and downsizing a couple of times over the past few years, my mom insists there’s few things she wants or needs. That’s not to say she doesn’t light up at a little sparkly somethin’ to draw attention to her impossibly delicate wrists or ample bosom (oh she does!) but usually she says “If I can’t eat it, drink it or read it, I don’t want it.” I likely won’t see her for Mother’s Day (we live 500 kms apart) but she’s planning to visit a couple weeks later and I know just what I’ll give her: a steaming cup of tea, a slice of homemade chocolate banana loaf and my undivided attention (provided the kids are outside or something — and even then they’ll be in and out the door every two minutes, you know how it goes) while we take some time to catch up. And I think she’ll be happy. Green & Black’s did a Mother’s Day survey and 57% of moms said that spending time with family and loved ones is the most valued gift, followed by 32% saying that feeling appreciated is really what they want. (Only 1% said receiving a luxurious gift was the most important.) So maybe join me in making something sweet for the special mom in your life (your mom, your neighbour, your buddy) and make the time to enjoy it together. I’ve got just the recipe — Green & Black’s Farmhouse Chocolate Banana Bread — and a little giveaway to go with.  Continue reading “Make mom’s day with Green & Black’s Farmhouse Chocolate Banana Bread + A giveaway!”

Pancakes & Waffles: Delicious Ideas for Breakfast, Brunch and Beyond by Hannah Miles

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Pancakes are a favourite for Sunday breakfast and occasionally dinner and I’ve been wanting to get over my fear of the waffle maker (a dead-heavy lawn sale find that I’m always worried about closing on my fingers and worse), so I was excited when Thomas Allen & Son surprised me with a copy of Pancakes & Waffles: Delicious Ideas for Breakfast, Brunch and Beyond by Hannah Miles. (Book mail is the best mail!) Inside are 27 recipes for sweet and savoury pancakes and waffles and their assorted toppings and photographs that’ll make your tummy rumble. Think buttermilk blueberry pancakes with blueberry lime sauce; potato waffles with barbecue beans; orange waffles with roasted plums; and ginger and sesame waffles with steak and dipping sauce. Hungry yet?  Continue reading “Pancakes & Waffles: Delicious Ideas for Breakfast, Brunch and Beyond by Hannah Miles”

Miracle Mug Cakes and Other Cheat’s Bakes by Suzy Pelta + Win a copy!

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My husband’s late grandfather had the habit of starting many of his sentences with “Here’s another thing you didn’t know,” followed by a long ramble about something obscure that I couldn’t possibly have known or cared to know, like how the father of former finance minister Paul Martin got his start in business or any number of things about Napoleon (the man, not the dessert.) Then it made me bristle, now it makes me snicker. Because despite his gruff delivery, he was almost always right. (Maybe not factually correct, but his versions of events were certainly new to me.) And the more I try small things, the more I think, “Here’s another thing you didn’t know.” Like you can make a cake in a couple of minutes and it’s actually really delicious! At least the ones I tried from Suzy Pelta’s Miracle Mug Cakes and Other Cheat’s Bakes: 28 Quick and Easy Recipes for Tasty TreatsThomas Allen & Son sent me a review copy, and I think you’d like it too.  Continue reading “Miracle Mug Cakes and Other Cheat’s Bakes by Suzy Pelta + Win a copy!”

Exploring Ontario’s Lake Country with #LetsGoMaple

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This time last week I was packing my bags for #LetsGoMaple, a sponsored two-day/three-night trip with 15 other Canadian bloggers to explore Ontario’s Lake Country (Orillia/Rama/Oro-Medonte and area, about a five-and-a-half-hour drive from Ottawa). As someone who struggles with anxiety (social and otherwise), I was as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. I needn’t have been. At the risk of sounding sappy, my travel companions and hosts were as sweet and warm as the maple syrup we poured over our pancakes at Shaw’s Sugar Bush. Which made trying small things loom less large, and a lot easier. Come along and see some of the fun and delicious goodness the area has to offer.  Continue reading “Exploring Ontario’s Lake Country with #LetsGoMaple”

Lucky in friendship (and brunch)

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You know that one friend in horror movies who is like, “Here’s a dumb idea: Let’s split up and not be safe.” That friend is an idiot. You are not that friend. — Daily Odd Compliment • Pushing myself out of the house in the winter can be tougher than a two-dollar steak, but the chance to catch up with my pal Carolyn yesterday over a leisurely brunch made it well worth the effort. For months she’s been working harder than a squirrel trying to bury a nut on a marble floor, and a long chat was even longer overdue. We went to Origin Trade, a coffee house and lounge in the Byward Market. Brunch was on the house in exchange for a review and since neither of us had been, we thought we’d check it out.  Continue reading “Lucky in friendship (and brunch)”

Skip The Dishes and order in! + A giveaway

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We could have ordered dinner tonight from any one of hundreds of restaurants around the city and naturally the kids wanted burgers from a place two kilometres down the road. The food delivery network SkipTheDishes comped us a meal in exchange for a review and since we rarely get take-out (or eat out), it was kind of a big deal.  Continue reading “Skip The Dishes and order in! + A giveaway”

DAVIDsTEA’s feel-good collection + A giveaway!

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Why don’t the Maple Leafs drink tea? Because the Canadiens and the Red Wings have all the cups. (Ba-dum-bum-chuh.) Little seasonal tea humour for you there. (Hey, we’re in the thick of winter. We need all the laughs we can get.) If you’re a die-hard hockey fan, you’ll know the joke’s not even true: the Leafs have won the Stanley Cup 13 times over the Red Wings’ 11. (Don’t be impressed — I totally Googled it.) But we’re not here to talk hockey. Let’s talk tea! Pull up a chair and let me pour you a virtual cup from DAVIDsTEA‘s new feel-good collection. The company sent me its five new limited-edition teas to try and I’m curious to know which one you’d like best. (Or maybe you already have a favourite. Do tell!)  Continue reading “DAVIDsTEA’s feel-good collection + A giveaway!”

The Superfun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook by Isa Chandra Moskowitz + Win a copy!

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I know I’m not alone in feeling overwhelmed this time of year, but if it’s your holiday menu you’re worried about, worry no more! I’ve got your back. The Superfun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook by Isa Chandra Moskowitz is a fantastic resource not only for vegans (and for those with vegan guests coming to the table), but it has plenty of plant-tastic, comforting recipes to satisfy meat-eaters too. It’s Isa’s largest book (she’s published several other vegan bestsellers) and very likely one you’ll turn to the most, both for celebrations year-round and everyday meals. Continue reading “The Superfun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook by Isa Chandra Moskowitz + Win a copy!”

The Sprinkles Baking Book by Candace Nelson + Win a copy!

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It’s been a fantastic year for cookbooks, and out just in time for holiday baking (and giving!) is The Sprinkles Baking Book: 100 Secret Recipes from Candace’s Kitchen by Candace Nelson. It’s the first cookbook from the investment baker turned pastry chef and founder of America’s first cupcakes-only bakery, Sprinkles. Inside are 50 cupcake recipes including customer favourites and new ones created for the book, as well as 50 other desserts (brownies and bars, pies and tarts, loaves and puddings and more). I want to try them all! But I started with two.  Continue reading “The Sprinkles Baking Book by Candace Nelson + Win a copy!”

Breaking Breads: A New World of Israeli Baking by Uri Scheft + Win a copy!

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The other day I asked you to share with me something you tried recently and quite a few of you told me about a new recipe you’d made and how well it turned out. It’s so satisfying, isn’t it? I’m confident you’ll have all kinds of success with this book too. Breaking Breads: A New World of Israeli Baking by Uri Scheft of the famed Lehamin Bakery (Tel Aviv) and Breads Bakery (New York) is an approachable and inspiring guide that will excite both novice and experienced bakers with its inventive twists on classic and lesser-known breads, scintillating photography and clear, step-by-step instructions.  Continue reading “Breaking Breads: A New World of Israeli Baking by Uri Scheft + Win a copy!”