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Holidays

Friends, welcome back!

I hope you’ve had lovely holidays. Some of you may still be on holidays, in which case please sleep a few extra hours for me tomorrow :)

Home is always such a relaxing place for me – mostly because I’m eating so much good food and am in a food coma half the time but spending a few days is always rejuvenating.

I didn’t take too many photos – a little break is always a good thing.  I did on the other hand sneak a few shots of our family dinner on the 25th… mmm

Oh, and here are a few gratuitous shots of some of the family Cats; Zena, Bunny, and of course, our Max.

 

xx!

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Crunchy Chocolate Toffee Bits

Ok. Here’s my warning. These, are wicked addictive.

There are only four ingredients. Yes, four.

And one of them are saltine crackers (ghetto yeah but aren’t those the best kind?) And yes those four ingredients combined make up this delicious, addictive treat you’ll probably want to make over and over but won’t because well, it’s so damn delicious you’ll eat it all every time and get super chunky. Haha yay holidays for giving us the excuse to binge eat yes?

Anyhoo. Keep scrolling for the full recipe…

 

Crunchy Chocolate Toffee Bits (Original recipe found here. Check out more indulgent recipes there too!)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter (no margarine allowed)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 40 saltine crackers (more or less..depending the size of your pan)
  • any extra bits you can think of! Broken candy canes, toffee bits, peanuts, pretzel bits… etc!
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Line cookie sheet with foil and grease with butter.
  3. Lay a flat layer of crackers out on the foil.
  4. Melt the sugar and butter until a boil is reached. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 5-6 minutes or until mixture is thickened and sugar is completely dissolved.
  5. Pour this mixture over the crackers and spread to coat evenly. Bake for 5-8 minutes, or until the toffee becomes bubbly.
  6. After removing the pan from the oven, let it sit for 3-5 minutes.
  7. Sprinkle on the chocolate chips, let them soften and melt, and then spread them into an even layer.
  8. Let cool and, if desired for expediting purposes, refrigerate until hardened. Break into pieces the size of your choice.
  9. Eat them!!  Keep whatever is left over in a Tupperware container and keep chilled.
Enjoy!
xx!
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Easy Chicken Stock

There are a few things in life I feel like everyone ought to know how to do, and Chicken Stock is one of them.  Not only is the store bought stuff full of salt (that’s pretty much all it is) but well, it’s not even real chicken. And guys, homemade chicken stock is so easy to do, and it’s just plain good soul food too.

Here’s the one I make at home.  It differs pretty much every time I make it, but these are the tried and true ingredients – the ones I always make sure to have when I’m ready for another pot of this stuff.

You can go to any butcher and ask for chicken bones. Some nice ones will give them away, and others will charge you about a dollar or 2 for a pound. For this recipe I used 3 chicken bodies and 2 turkey necks.

You’ll Need:

  • 2kg (4 and 1/2 lb) raw chicken bones, preferably free-range or organic. This comes to about 4-5 chickens.
  • 1/2 head of garlic, unpeeled and cut into larger chunks
  • 2 medium onions, roughly chopped
  • 3-4 bay leaves
  • A small bunch of fresh cilantro
  • A bunch of fresh parsley
  • 1 Tbsp pepper
  • 1 Tsp coarse sea salt
  • 3 green onions
  • 6 litres cold water (Just enough to top it all off)

*Some people will add carrots, celery, and other root veggies, but because I add those to my soups after, I forgo in the stock process.  If you’d like one of those recipes, do check out this one.

**You’ll also notice I don’t add much salt. I’ll add more to taste once I’m in the soup process.

Instructions For Slow Cooker:

  1. Place the chicken bones, garlic, vegetables, herbs and pepper in your slow cooker. Add the cold water and set to slow (10 hours).
  2. Close the lid, and forget about it.
  3. Once the time is up, you’ll want to separate your stock from the bones by passing it through a fine sieve.
  4. Allow to cool for about half an hour, then refrigerate. Skim fat once refrigerated.
  5. I usually divide it into smaller plastic containers at this point and use it up in soups and stews.

(Make-ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month.)

Instructions For Stove Top:

  1. Place the chicken bones, garlic, vegetables, herbs and pepper in a large, deep-bottomed pan.
  2. Add the cold water and bring to the boil, skim, then turn the heat down to a simmer.
  3. Continue to slow simmer for 5-6 hours, skimming as necessary – you’ll want to separate your stock from the bones by passing it through a fine sieve.
  4. Allow to cool for about half an hour, then refrigerate. Skim fat once refrigerated.
  5. I usually divide it into smaller plastic containers at this point and use it up in soups and stews.

(Make-ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month.)

 

 

Got any tried and true recipes of your own? Let me know!

 

xx

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This weekend

Hey happy Monday folks! Hope you had a nice weekend… Mine was definitely full of food again, and some shopping and birthday fun for a friend on Saturday.

Friday was off to a good start with this meal. Sprout and feta salad, with acorn squash and chicken stew. A friend of mine gave me some sunflower and pea shoot sprouts and I’ve been loving them as salad subsitutes ever since…

I had brunch at L’Ouvrier, which is always a nice place to have food. The fried egg sandwich with fries were delicious, as was the french press coffee.  We also made a visit to the Handmade Holiday show and I walked away with some great silk screened Christmas cards from Kid Icarus.

I also made a roasted veggie soup on Saturday based on this recipe.  I added red pepper for sweetness and mushrooms for an earthy kick. The carrots were roasted after as a side since I had few too many.

I spent my sunday sleeping in, and running a few errands. I also made some chicken broth, and will be posting the recipe for that tomorrow. Keep your eyes peeled!

Hope you all have a great start to the week,

 

xx!

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This Weekend

Happy Monday guys! (or well, hey, it’s Monday! for those of us aren’t friendly with this day of the week.)

I’m pretty pumped about my weekend – did some shopping and brunching on Saturday and had a generally great productive day on Sunday – full of food and cleaning and relaxing. And hey, I didn’t do one ounce of work and it felt glorious. Sometimes you gotta give yourself a break right?

Went to Saving Grace (more photos here, and here) for brunch on Saturday. What can I say, it’s always delicious, and yeah the wait is crazy long (like 40 minutes) but Ella’s Uncle is right across the street and they make one mean americano so it’s nice to sip and talk while you wait. You can also check out Ezra’s at the end of the street too – their coffee is wicked good as well.  So many options folks! It’s all about relaxing guys, no need to rush!

I also came home on Thursday (ok not really the weekend but whatevs) with a lovely dress from Topshop. I have a few ideas for this dress and although it looks super sheer in this photo, it’s actually way more socially appropriate in person (unlike this lady!)

And then on Sunday, well it was rainy so it was the perfect time to just get things done at home. The fridge was cleaned out, groceries were picked up, and I made a slew of delicious home-cooked meals including a chicken pot pie, chicken soup with homeade broth, a real caesar salad, and to top it off? An apple pear crisp. Dellll-i-ciousss.

Chicken soup with potatoes, whole garlic, parsnips, carrots, parsley, onions, and croutons.

People, real chicken broth needs bones. and time, and delicious things like bay leaves and garlic and onions, and herbs like parsley.

I’ve used the Tartine Casear Dressing recipe for a while now. It never disappoints and it’s authentic. 

Mmm apple and pear crisp (used this recipe - I halved the sugar, and added 1/2 a real vanilla bean…yum!)

Oh yeah, and max was the cutest all weekend. I love it when he sleeps on his back and his belly spills over and his little paws hang in the air. Adorable.

 

Hope yours was just as nice :)

xx!

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Carnitas

Hi folks. I’ve been playing more and more with the idea of doing more recipes on here, and although doing recipe-related posts is time consuming, I really love doing them.  I’m constantly visiting Wit & Design and noticed she had started posting simple recipes and I love the idea of using Animated Gifs (because I don’t know how to edit video yet…)

A few sundays ago (yeah, this post is long overdue…) Elizabeth and I made some Carnitas from a recipe I found over on Smitten Kitchen – One site I would have added to my list of awesome food blogs if it weren’t for her small photos.

This recipe  turned out exactly as promised and they were soooo yummy.  I took a few photos and turned them into an animated gif for ya’ll, and even though it’s still kinda rough lookin’, I’m sure you can appreciate :)

 

Carnitas

Adapted, just barely, from Smitten Kitchen, (adapted from The Homesick Texan Cookbook)

  • 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder or pork butt, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup lime juice (from about 2 to 3 limes)
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro
Toppings:
  • Tortillas, for serving plus
  • Avocado slices, Manouri cheese, chopped cilantro and fixings of your choice (onions, peppers, lime wedges… )

Place the pork in a large Dutch oven or heavy pot. Add the orange juice, lime juice, garlic, cumin, salt and enough water to just barely cover the meat. Bring the pot to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for two hours. Don’t touch the meat.

After two hours, increase the heat to medium-high and while occasionally stirring and turning the pieces, continue to cook for about 45 minutes, or until all of the liquid has evaporated, leaving only the rendered pork fat. Let it sizzle in this fat long enough to brown at the edges, turning pieces gently (they’ll be eager to fall apart), only as needed.

When pork has browned on both sides, it’s ready. Adjust seasonings to taste and serve on warmed tortillas with fixings.

Enjoy!!

 

xx!

 

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A LITTLE BIT OF THURSDAY FOOD LOVE

Friends! Good to see you back. It’s Thursday, which means it’s almost Friday and that makes me one happy camper.  And guys, let me tell you something; this happy girl loves good food photos.  I found a bunch today, mainly after trying to clean up my blogroll and failing miserably after finding even more great blogs. Oops.  There’s something glorious about food, and photography, and the combination of the two.  If you have any great food blogs, please please do pass them on. I’d love to find more of ‘em!

Here are just a few super duper, you can go ahead and click on the links on the right to see more of my favourite sites as well.

To start? Island Menu.  I found them on Diana’s blog, and guys, it’s stuuuning. Not only do they have wonderful recipes that encourage organic & local but they also have beautiful shots of Tazmanian beaches (oh hello, it’s because they live there!)

My New Roots is brought to us by Sarah Britton, a holistic nutritionist and vegetarian chef.  Her recipes often include interesting twists to Vegan and Gluten-Free recipes. Oh, and her videos are totally pretty/useful as well.

Always With Butter kinda has the best name doesn’t it? And yeah, all the recipes include butter, which of course I love.

Roost is a sort of journal for Caitlin, who shoots gorgeous pictures of drool-worthy sugar/gluten/dairy/grain-free recipes.

Honey and Jam gives us a blog about good food from a girl who’s only 21. Seriously. Hanna Queen has a great eye and can make the most beautiful food… Jealous much?

Simply Breakfast is a blog based on your most important meal of the day. And can I just say that it always starts mine off perfectly…

Minato isn’t a blog but her flickr food set is full of inspiration.  This little lady if from Japan and what I love about her photos (apart from being beautiful) is that it’s just so cute – as in literally - her food is often in the shape of bunnies or kitties!

And last but not least, Forty Sixth at Grace is run by Nikole Grace who well, started a blog that started a lot of things. See, she makes and sells these beautiful wooden and porcelain cooking accessories like pedestal plates, bowls, and rolling pins. And then she started selling flags for cakes and well, you know how that’s going now, there are flags on everything, especially cakes! Oh, and did I mention that’s she’s from right here in Toronto!!?

 

Got any more for me?

 

xx!

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Elephantine Video Recipes

Good morning folks. I’m taking it easy on account of feeling not so great this morning.  Hope you all had a great Halloween weekend and well, I guess it’s kinda halloween today (Oh, hi Monday) so the fun just keeps on happening!

Found these on Elephantine and love love them so much that I had to share.   Her blog is really lovely but I’m a huge fan of her videos and hope she shares a few more real soon!  You can find more of her recipes here as well. Check them out, her photos are gorgeous :)

 

Mojitos, Chips & Salsa

Apple Gallette

Mall Pretzels

 

xx!

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Curiosities

above picture from Chasse Gardée Blog.

Curiosities was created by Patti Robinson and Preety Mudhar, two bakers who have gained valuable experience throughout Toronto’s food scene.  They’ve combined their baking experience and their desire to create interesting (and yummy) food to bring us their delicious goodies through weekly events at Chasse Gardée every Saturday.

I stopped by after brunch on Saturday and sampled the “Apple Donuts 3 Ways” and yummm could have had a few more bites :)  This week’s selection includes Plum and Frangipane Puffs, Apple Donuts, Spruce Tip Chocolate Tortes, Ginger cookies, and yummy Jams.  Do go and check them out – There’s something for everyone.

 

xx!

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Le Sélect Bistro

Happy sunday folks!!

I had a great weekend, hopefully you have as well.  The weather was gross on Saturday, but we managed to do ok despite the wind and rain. Started the day off with brunch at Le Sélect Bistro on Wellington.

Le Sélect is Toronto’s quintessential Parisian bistro, and having been there before, I’ve always found it to be extremely charming. Elizabeth ordered the Oeufs Bénédicte (poached eggs on croissant with hollandaise), and I had the Oeufs Forrestier (poached eggs on pan-roasted mushrooms, seared polenta, roast veggies). Seriously yummy!  the portions look ridiculously small when you receive your plate, but by the end I could barely finish. Sign of great food?  Americanos are also delicious if you like those :)

We also went to check out the new Joe Fresh stand-alone on Queen and Portland. I was pretty pumped to see that they had perfect copies of the Rachel Comey Mars Boots from last fall, but for a cool $79. Did I also mention that they’re real leather?? (ps I’m so so glad to see that they finally changed their website – much improved!)

And when the weather just got to bad we went to see 50/50, which I have to say lives up to every great comment I’ve heard about it. go see it. It will make you cry but guys, it’s great.

Oh, and did I mention that Jason surprised me with a kitty? She’s the sweetest and most affectionate thing, but we’re still working on her name.  I love her spotty nose too…

 

I’d say that was a pretty successfull weekend, How was yours?

 

xx!!

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