Paris 2016

I won a trip to Paris. Yes, nurse you read that correctly. In fall 2016 I was entering contests every day, a result of the fact that one of my friends won a trip to Jamaica. I thought to myself: “If she can win a trip (something which is completely up to chance), I can win a trip too!” Although this was poor logic, I won. Of course, since winning this trip, I have continued to enter contests when I see them, hoping for a similar result.

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The trip was offered though Grand Marnier and was a simple series of information boxes to be completed online. A random draw, a simple math question and I officially had won a trip worth $10,000. The prize was a trip for two and included airfare (business class, oh la la) and four nights accommodations, three in Paris and one in the Grand Marnier Chateaux in Cognac. GC and I extended the trip three extra nights to really enjoy Paris and we were off.

Business class is amazing, ridiculous and indulgent and everyone should experience it: they check your coat, provide you with proper table settings and tablecloths, a glass of champagne before people in economy have even boarded and you are essentially in your own pod, able to fully recline and sleep during the flight. The luxury, food and service established the tone of the entire trip.

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Our first days in Paris were filled with strolls through historic streets, visits to see priceless pieces of art and of course, food.

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I had a few struggles with Paris:

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1. As someone who lives in a major city, you don’t expect to be completely shocked by how expensive everything is. The galleries and museums were very reasonably priced but the food was ridiculous. Paris is easily the most expensive place I have visited and made me realise why people think Spain and Portugal are reasonably priced.

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2. There are so, so many people in the city. And so, so many tourists! Paris is the busiest place I have visited, beating out Rome and London,and we were told that tourism is down 20% since the attacks! We left the Louvre in the early afternoon and the galleries were filling with people who only care about Mona Lisa and when we were at Versailles, the actual palace was filled with people throwing elbows, trying to take photos of every bust in the place. I cannot imagine visiting or being able to enjoy Paris at the height of tourist season.

3. Things are either very posh or very not. This of course happens in every city: in Toronto there is a difference between Yorkville and St. Jamestown but in Paris this disparity seemed even more apparent. Right now there is a huge number of Syrian refugees in the city and it is absolutely heartbreaking seeing young mothers huddling their infants in the streets while people just walk by not caring. And pee. It smells like pee EVERYWHERE. I get it. It’s a city, men can pee standing up but I have never experienced this in any other city. Maybe it has something to do with all the parks?

1134394. The food. French food is obviously delicious, no one is denying that but when you live in a city where you can get almost every type of food whenever you want it makes the lack of variety a little difficult. My next visit to France would include more visits to markets (both for price and variety) and seeking out more of the variety France does have to offer: Middle Eastern and North African food.

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5. I just didn’t love it. Paris is beautiful and filled with history, art, culture, wine, food and so many things I love but I just didn’t connect to the city like I thought I would. Paris is a city of neighbourhoods (or arrondissements) and this made it difficult for me to feel really connected to the city. Our hotel for the first half of the trip was in the first arrondissement which is primarily a business and administration area. I started to enjoy the city and its neighbourhoods more once we moved to our AirBnB in the sixth arrondissement; a neighbourhood known for being expensive but with a bohemian and intellectual vibe. This was a neighbourhood I could see myself living in with my local bakery and flower shop on the corner, the metro less than a 10 minute walk away and historic sites literally being across the street (our apartment was across the street from a building that Gauguin and Modigliani had lived in).

But there were things I absolutely loved about Paris and France in general:

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1. Cognac. If you visit France, you must visit the south/wine country/outside of Paris. The train ride alone was gorgeous, passing fields of farmland, vineyards and thousands of wild poppies. Once we arrived in Cognac we learned so much about the history, the process of making cognac, the barrels and importance of wood and soil, and the difference between Grand Marnier and other cognac. I am officially a huge fan of Grand Marnier, having switched from my token gin and tonic to GM and tonic and cannot say enough food things about this company and the people who met who work for this company.

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2. The seafood. I loved walking past restaurants and smelling the ocean. The seafood in Paris is fresh, salty and brining from the ocean because it was literally in the ocean that morning. We visited Restaurant La Coupole and both ordered ridiculous platters of seafood. It was some of the best seafood I have ever eaten.

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3. The parks. I love the public parks and amount of green space in Paris. It makes you feel like you aren’t even in the city. Our apartment was about a five minute walk from the Luxemburg gardens which were expansive and beautiful. My favourite thing about the parks in Paris is they have hundreds of green steel chairs set-up in every park and no one steals or defaces them. They remain in the park for everyone’s common enjoyment.

4 10 18 19 24 26 44 474. The food. French food is delicious and I ate the most amount of cheese in a week that I’ve probably ever eaten. And probably should ever eat. We enjoyed French cuisine the way the French do, rich food over long meals with good wine and better conversation. Our best meals were in Cognac but I loved the atmosphere and energy in the French bistros and cafes, perfect for people watching.

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5. The art. I saw Mona Lisa in person for the first time and I absolutely feel in love with her. I likened seeing this painting to seeing pandas in person for the first time: you want to hate it, you want to think it is overrated but in reality, it is worth the fuss. Mona Lisa is beautiful, so vibrant in colour and energy and not as small as you think she is. You can get close enough to have your 30 second moment of her and then you are off to see the thousands of other priceless works in the Louvre. The highlight of the trip for me was the Musee de l’Orangerie which houses 8 massive paintings of Monet’s waterlilies. It left me breathless and in awe.

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6. The Queen’s Hamlet at Versailles. Yes, Versailles is epic, overwhelming and the embodiment of the ridiculousness/amazingness that was Louis XIV. The palace itself is beautiful and ornate but GC and I were both more impressed with the palace in Madrid. The garden at Versailles are incomparable but unfortunately, the fountains were all off when we visited. The Queen’s Hamlet is the most perfect picturesque place I have ever seen, looking like the town right out of Beauty and the Beast. I was so in love and at peace in the hamlet, able to actually stop for a minute without getting elbowed by an eager tourist and take in the history and beauty around me.

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I would visit Paris again, for a few days between cities or on an extended layover. Several people I have talked to have said they didn’t fall in love with Paris until their second visit. Maybe Paris is like a stinky, strong, French cheese: at first you are overwhelmed and confused by what you are tasting but then the taste grows and builds on your palate, revealing layers of flavor, passion and history.

Grignotant heureux! Or happy munching!

New job… new life.

People view the new year as an opportunity to create goals and resolutions, try to reflect on the past year and move forward, buy whether that be emotionally, personally, physically or professionally. I had one goal for 2016: to find a new job. I had been working for the same company for almost 4 years and I was disinterested, unchallenged and frustrated. In January 2016 I made a concerted effort to take control over my own career and make a change. I fortunately was able to do this fairly quickly, finding a new job by mid-February and starting this job within the first week of March.

IMG_5657As my 2016 new year’s resolution is already complete, I am viewing this new job as an opportunity to create more personal goals to not only achieve in 2016 but to maintain as a new lifestyle change to coincide with this new job:

  1. Write more. Simply put, writing makes me happy. I like having a place that chronicles my thoughts and feelings towards food and my daily life in the city. And this makes for such an easy reference to have on restaurant and recipe ideas. There is a study that indicates that if you take photos of your food prior to eating it, you enjoy it that much more. Imagine the enjoyment in a meal in writing about it after?
  1. Exercise more. If I love food as much as I do, I need to take care of my body more. A few weeks ago when the weather was very briefly tolerable I went for my first run in MONTHS and it was expectedly horrible. But, I know I’ve been there before and can push through it again and make this a part of my routine. Part of pushing back in the initial frustration of exercise is finding new exercises or workouts that are fun. This past weekend I rediscovered skipping (as in rope, not hopscotch) and apparently, skipping rope burns the equivalent calories to that of running an 8-minute mile? Whether or not this is true it is fun and it can’t do any harm. And of course, whenever exercise is discussed, the topic of learning to ride a bike resurfaces.
  1. Eat less bad food. I don’t mean this as eat less food that is bad for me. No. That will clearly never stop. I mean eat less food that is just bad. Fast food, junk food, delivery. Why get fat eating things that don’t even taste that good?
  1. Do more. The idea of doing more encapsulates the three points above and reinforces the idea of being active and engaged in life. In the winter it is easy to fall into the habit of being a lump on the couch, binge watching hours and hours of tv/movies but as the weather improves, there are no excuses. GC and I have agreed to spend more time outside, take walks each evening after dinner and just be more active in the city.

Here’s to 2016 and all the new challenges, opportunities and adventures it has to offer!

Coffee

For a long time there was a common misconception that I didn’t like coffee: I don’t drink coffee every morning, I don’t own a coffee maker and my hot beverage of choice is tea.

IMG_3395Latte from Buds Coffee Bar in The Beaches.

IMG_5154Latte from Sorry Coffee Co. in Yorkville.

When I was in high school and everyone was starting to drink coffee, I made a conscious decision to not become a coffee drinker. I didn’t want to become reliant on coffee. I didn’t want to wake up and be a zombie until I had a cup of coffee. I would enjoy the sugar-packed, whipped cream covered coffees from Starbucks on late night coffee dates with the girls but no other coffee.

IMG_3422Flat White from Early Bird Espresso & Brew Bar on Queen West.

IMG_5219Americano from Portland Variety on King West.

In university I spent hours in Second Cup but again, not drinking coffee. Al worked at Second Cup and would fill espresso cups with whipped cream, caramel sauce and chocolate shavings – if and when I get diabetes, I will clearly point to events like this. Coffee was still a vehicle for ridiculous, sugary toppings and not about the coffee itself.

IMG_3435Latte and cranberry scone from I Deal Coffee, uptown.

My love for coffee began with my love of brunch. I switched from orange juice to coffee in order to take advantage of free refills and longer brunches. One cup of coffee slowly turned into two or three and sometimes even coffee before brunches.

IMG_3590Latte and biscotti from Fabricca at Shops at Don Mills.

In 2015 my brunch habits changed. It wasn’t financially viable or healthy to continue with my excessive brunching ways. While I still brunch more than most people, I have taken to going for coffee on weekend mornings with Giancarlo. We are discovering the city, grabbing coffee and visiting different neighbourhoods.

IMG_3920Chai latte from Boxcar Social in Summerhill.

IMG_5388Latte and empanadas from Odin Hus on King East.

Anyone who knows me, knows I don’t go east of Yonge. But lately, you can find me there on weekends. The East side of Toronto has so many more coffee shops and the coffee shops are not all clean, simple and modern. They future coffees brewed with local blends and treats that go beyond your typical scones and croissants. They are big, lofty spaces, conducive to long sits alone or with someone.

IMG_5486Flat white for him and chai latte for me from Boxcar Social in Riverside.

IMG_5430Flat White from Crafted Coffee on Ossington Avenue.

We are working on our coffee game at home. We have the traditional Italian Moka machine and a larger espresso maker. We are making espressos and lattes. I want to take a latte art course and buy a coffee bean grinder to make the freshest coffees. I want to perfect my biscotti recipe (actually, find a biscotti recipe and make it my own) and constantly have some sort of treat to accompany a good cup of coffee. I want our house to be the type of house where people can randomly drop by and there will be coffee and pastries/desserts to be enjoyed.

IMG_5492My relationship with coffee has revealed how great coffee can be. Coffee can be sipped from a huge mug while snuggled on the couch with a good book. An espresso can be enjoyed in the backyard in the summer while looking on to a homegrown tomato garden. A latte can be clutched while strolling in and out of vintage shops on Queen West or Queen East.

The city can be discovered through good cups of coffee.

October 11, 2014.

After 7 and a half years of dating, GC and I tied the knot on October 11th, 2014. The weather was gorgeous: it was sunny, clear and crisp. It was the perfect fall day. Our ceremony took place in the gardens at the Columbus Center, an Italian community center close to our house that GC took various lessons and classes at as a child.

audrey&giancarlo0217I walked down the aisle with both of my parents to “We’re Going to Be Friends” by the White Stripes, a song that encapsulates our relationship as more than just boyfriend and girlfriend but as best friends and falling in love as kids in university.

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Autumn 2015

Autumn is my favourite season. There is so much to love about this season. The changing colour of the leaves and how the trees look when it rains and the bark turns a deep brown against the fiery leaves. The damp, thumb fresh and cold smell that comes with leaves. The soft, pills crunch with each step while walking through a park littered with fallen leaves. Taking hikes in cool weather with knitted scarves and toques. Walking through orchards, medicine wandering through rows and rows of trees, picking apples and other fresh fruits. Long crispy days spent outside followed by long evenings warming up by crackling fires.

7c5d86128f6cf83a60c562d86e18f32cPhoto Credit: From Up North

639a4ec0048f764e9adc178ae8cac4a9Photo Credit: Source Unknown

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With cooler weather comes hearty meals indoors. Meals indoors around harvest tables and surrounded by friends. Meals that start with beautiful charcuterie boards laden with cheese, olives and figs. Your belly warms up with fall soups full of roasted vegetables and then puréed into silky goodness. The prominent flavours of the season are pumpkin, roasted vegetables, flaky pie crusts, and spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and star anise. Heavy, rich meals that are followed by hot drinks and cocktails. It is the perfect season to enjoy the outdoors and to enjoy all the bounty of the harvest.

fall-dinner-partyPhoto Credit: Camille Styles140829_Halloween_Lars_845Photo Credit: The House That Lars Built

kinfolk-magazine-autumn-vintage-rentals-props-styling-seattle-sarah-rhoads-scout-blog-13Photo Credit: A Blog Named Scout

15812678425_4f1439dd62_cPhoto Credit: Will Cook for Friends

39da095b6282fd0234e5bea74586ad68Photo Credit: My Darling Lemon Thyme

Inspiration_Automne4Photo Credit: Fraise et Basilic

Sleepy+Hollow+CocktailPhoto Credit: The Jewels of New York

9c24d780a31315693d4bc9b77f1ca72ePhoto Credit: Luxx Culture

 

 

My Relationship with Brunch

1Photo Credit: Lovely Lady Sarah Samuel

My relationship with brunch can be summed up by the following interactions with friends:

1. I ran into a friend a couple of months ago and he said “I assume you are always going to or coming from brunch.” This was at 1 o’clock in the afternoon during a workday.

2. I was at a party on Friday night and was asked “Where are you going for brunch tomorrow morning?”

3. I was sent a link to the below shirt saying, “I feel like you may need this.”

0d93ad54a8b024cad0202eb16dffe0e1I love that I am known for my love of brunch. That people ask for suggestions or want to talk about their favourite brunch restaurants in the city and if I’ve been there. But this wasn’t always the case. I used to hate brunch and breakfast foods in general.

2Photo Credit: Ann Street Studio

When I was a kid, there was exactly two breakfast foods I craved: toad in the hole-style eggs and crepes. I would make my own toad in the hole- style eggs, using different cookie cutters to allow my eggs to sit in a nest shaped like hearts or stars. My favourite part was the cutout, buttery and crispy, the perfect piece of toast for breaking into an egg. My dad’s specialty was making crepes. He would use the “Quick & Easy Breads” cookbook because it had step-by-step photos with the instructions. The pages with the crepe recipe were, of course, covered in flour and would stick together with egg because of how often these pages were used.

3Photo Credit: Life Style Asia

As I got older, my parents switched from going to church on Saturday evenings, to going on Sunday mornings at 8:30. Like any good Catholic, I was bribed to attend the early morning mass with the promise of breakfast afterwards. My parents would go to this small restaurant on Main Street called “The New Grenada.” My dad would order the egg’s Benedict (this probably explains where my love for this dish comes from) and my mom would vary her order. I would order chicken fingers and fries at 9:30 in the morning.

4Photo Credit: Martha Stewart

I didn’t start to enjoy breakfast until the summer of 2008. This was my first summer living in Toronto and my first summer dating GC. He lived in the Annex and we most weekend mornings we would go to Mel’s. Mel’s had been around forever and was a neighbourhood institution. It was your standard diner but it had this great patio that was on the side street, just slightly overlooking Bloor. Their toast wasn’t served with your standard strawberry jam, it was an in-house made rhubarb jam that was tart and sweet. It was the perfect little patio to fall in love with brunch and GC.

When I graduated university, I moved back home to live with my parents for 2 years. Every weekend I would come down to the city to spend time with GC. Unfortunately, he worked weekend shifts that were 3-11pm, restricting our time together to weekend mornings. Brunch was the obvious way to spend our mornings together. We would brunch, then discover new neighbourhoods until he had to go to work.

I moved in with GC in March 2012 and the brunch routine was a holdover from our “long-distance” days. Even once GC switched to a regular schedule and no longer worked weekends, it became an unconscious habit to wake up on a Saturday or Sunday morning and reach for my phone to scroll through a list of possible brunch suggestions. We continued to brunch most weekends.

5Photo Credit: ASC Public Relations Toronto

I’ve been brunching at least once a month for the past 5 years, or at least that is what I can remember. I have been working from various lists and because of this, somewhere along the way brunch was no longer about the meal or the company, it was about the lists. I rarely return to a brunch spot, regardless of how much I like it because of this sense of dedication and urgency to “the list.” I’ve tried so many restaurants and spent so much money on food that was good but not great and usually okay, not good because of these lists. I’ve tried a huge number of brunch restaurants in the city and I am sure I will try more, but I am done with brunch as my main focus for food and dining out. The BlogT.O. Top 50 list was too ambitious to be completely solid and despite only having 2 more restaurants left to try, I have decided that I am not going to complete this list. One is Ed Levesque which has somewhat changed since the publishing of this list and more importantly, is in the east end which is a pain to get to. The other is Hogtown Vegan which although I have no problem with vegans, brunch is for pork products and eggs.

7Photo Credit: lindszv Etsy shop

I am not done with brunch completely, just done with being confined to a list and eating at restaurants I have little to no interest in eating at. There are a number of brunches I am eager to try: Big Crow, Colette, and the Ritz Carleton to name a few but I am excited to expand my dining options to lunch and dinner and to perfect my brunch at home. I want to host more brunches and save going out for brunch when it can be a leisurely activity, not some sort of highly militarized mission that I sometimes make brunch into. I want to return to some of my favourite brunch spots in the city and order dishes I’ve had before and remember how good brunch can be. I want to return to enjoying brunch and eating brunch for brunch’s sake.

 

A Year in Review: 2014

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Photo Credit: GC – Praia de Luz, Portugal

2014 is over! This has been one of the craziest, busiest, most amazing year of all time. Between the wedding, honeymoon and everything in between, I don’t even know where to begin with a look-back on the year. Below are the resolutions that I set out for myself for 2014 and how I did with them.

Life resolutions.

  1. Knit more. I literally did not knit anything this year but did acquire some lovely homemade knitted pieces from my uber talented sister Liz. This counts right? It obviously doesn’t but I swear, I will knit in 2015.
  2. Exercise more. I did this! I ran a 5K in September and was doing a series of exercises at home. This was working up until the wedding and then two weeks of eating rich, decadent food in Spain and Portugal threw all this by the wayside. Unfortunately, all progress and evidence of fitness has disappeared. New year, new goals, new exercise.
  3. Read more. My reading has picked up but has been mostly limited to biographies by IWs and food-related things. I am currently working through The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? and The Trouble with Brunch. The 2015 reading list is shaping up. Any and all suggestions on reading materials are welcome.
  4. Write more. I was writing more but then of course I didn’t write from July until November. Eek. Next year I plan to be more up-to-date on my writings so when you read about a restaurant it hasn’t closed.

Food resolutions.

  1. Bake more. I did not do this. My Christmas baking was limited to 3 types of cookies instead of the traditional 5 (at least!). Given that I am trying to be slightly healthier in 2015, I will likely be refraining from excessive baking.
  2. Use cookbooks more. Pinterest is a dangerous, dangerous thing. Instead of referencing the dozens of cookbooks I have, I refer to Pinterest. I am placing a moratorium on the cookbook-buying so please, gift me cookbooks. Or suggest pins from Pinterest.
  3. Host more. We hosted our own rehearsal dinner (horrible idea, I would not recommend this to anyone), our first annual-Christmas party and 2 Christmas brunches. 2015 promises more cocktail parties, craft beer nights and brunches.
  4. Try more. I ate urchin this year. That’s as weird as it gets unfortunately.
  5. Read more. In keeping with food-related reading, a new list I will be working off is the James Beard award-winners list for Best Book: Food and Literature.
  6. Master more. I have made ice cream but haven’t mastered it, I did not make jam and I haven’t made a mint julep. I have however, mastered the homemade brunch, macaroni and cheese and your 15-minute weeknight dinner. Going forward, I have deemed 2015 the year of the cocktail. I recently fell in absolute envy with a bartender at 416 Snack Bar who was able to make any drink on demand with elegance and simplicity. My goal is to master the gimlet, the Manhattan, the Old-Fashioned and the martini in 2015.

Have a safe and happy New Year’s Eve and all the best food, drink and celebrations for 2015!

Christmas 2014

I’m back! And it’s Christmas time! After a three month hiatus you get to read about what I am eating and cooking again. I know, contain your excitement. We have entered into that magical time that GC and I have been looking forward to for months: AFTER THE WEDDING. Yes, the wedding was magical, beautiful and everything we had dreamed of and we are so happy to be married but it was also all-consuming. So bear with me, you will be seeing foods I ate three months ago when it was warm and beautiful outside. But for now: Christmas!

This weekend I kicked off my Christmas 2014: Saturday was spent in Newmarket at the Santa Claus Parade, then in Bradford at the greenhouse followed by fondue which always makes me feel festive. Sunday was a lazy day of brunch,  another Santa Claus parade and then yoga.

Below are my photos from the Bradford Greenhouse. If you live in the area you have to check it out. It is a magical winter wonderland!

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2014 – Halfway Through…

IMG_0745IMG_0552 IMG_0554 IMG_0565It’s July and we are halfway through the year. I don’t know where the year has gone and it feels like I haven’t accomplished as much as I would have liked. Here are the resolutions I set out for myself back in January:

Life resolutions.

  1. Knit more. I haven’t knit anything. The only time this year I have touched yarn is to make a wreath. When it is already winter it seems silly to start any projects and now that it is hot outside it seems ridiculous to knit. As we get into September, October I will start knitting. I swear. GC’s neck warmer still sits unraveled in a basket somewhere.
  2. Exercise more. Surprisingly enough, this is the one resolution I have been very successful with. I started Couch to 5K and I am currently on week 5 of the program. I have signed up for a run in September at the Toronto Zoo with GC and my friend Claire and I am very excited about it. This is the most active I’ve been in almost 10 years. Grade 9 gym is really the last time I was remotely physical and I use that term very loosely as my high mark in that class is attributed to the health portion of the class. I have been doing a series of ab work outs too: sit-ups, crunches, planks and leg lifts. All of these exercises have made our newest hobby, hiking, easier and much more enjoyable. We are slowly discovering all the trails and waterfalls in the area. In a few weeks, we will be going camping in Bon Echo Park. I am very physically different then I was at the start of the year and I love it.
  3. Read more. I suffered through Sense & Sensibility, trekked through Orenda and now I’m reading something a little lighter, The Phantom Tollbooth. My reading this year hasn’t been great but with the warm weather comes more reading outside on my lunch hour. If you have some book suggestions, please let me know!
  4. Write more. Looking through my old posts it would appear that I have been writing more. I have been including the fun parts of my life (i.e. wedding plan, hiking and city adventures) and writing more generally about food rather then just what I eat. In the immediate future, I have a few posts inspired by summer and I’m already looking forward to the numerous posts related the wedding and our honeymoon. Hopefully you are too!

Food resolutions.

  1. Bake more. I have been baking slightly more. Now that is summer I plan to make tarts and pies on a regular basis and the people who are closest to me will benefit from this.
  2. Use cookbooks more. Most of my cookbooks are still collecting dust on my shelf and have new neighbours… I am going to have to go on a cookbook cooking spree in the second half of the year.
  3. Host more. I have mostly been hosting family but as summer goes on, I hope to have people over more regularly for barbeques, sangria and pops. We are currently debating the idea of hosting our rehearsal dinner in the backyard but keep flipping back and forth due to the fact that October doesn’t always have the nicest weather. And with the wedding comes wedding china and I will be looking for excuses to use that as we approach the holidays at the end of the year.
  4. Try more. So far this year I have tried Cuban food, modern cocktails, proper afternoon tea, blood pudding, kale chips and a Scotch egg. I hope to try some interesting meats (summer is the perfect time to try emu and kangeroo in the form of burgers), infusing my own alcohols and all the delicious foods of Spain and Portugal when we are on our honeymoon.
  5. Read more. Again, I haven’t been reading. I have started reading Food & Drink for the articles and that’s as far as I’ve gotten.
  6. Master more. I have my burger recipe down. I learned how to make Ninni’s pasta sauce this past week. I can make a mean big batch cocktail. I can whip you up a feast for beakfast in bed. And I can make a pie crust comparable to my mom’s. As the summer goes on I want to master the following things: ice cream, jam (even if it is just freezer jam) and the mint julep.

Reviewing your goals and resolutions halfway through the year is a great way to refocus and reflect on how much you really have achieved. My cooking, baking and exercising are on track to where I want them to be and I just have to shift some of my efforts on reading and knitting. I think I can do that. Take time to remember what you set out to achieve this year and remember, you are only halfway through.

Happy munching!

Canada Day 2014

Oh, Canada! Here is a round up of delicious Canadian-inspired cookies and other treats!

DSC_0220-300x300 Sugar cookies byBrant Cookies.Kodomo Cookies I Kodomo Cookies IIKodomo Cookies IIISugar cookies by by Kodomo Cookies.

Beaver CupcakesBeaver cupcakes from Canadian Living.

Sweet Treats N Healthy EatsSugar cookies by Sweet Treats ‘n Healthy Eats.

maple-bacon-cupcakes-plainMaple bacon cupcakes by Make Fabulous Cakes.

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Red and white tablescape from Savvy Mom.decorations3-canadaParty buffet table from Luxury Homes.party-idea-of-the-month-stylish-canada-day-party-0Canada Day outdoor barbeque from HGTV.