Saturday, April 30, 2011

Giveaway Time!! - Contest Closed

What makes a great blog? 
Is it the content? Is it the photos?  Maybe its the followers that leave wonderful comments to make a person want to continue writing....
I have to suspect that it is all of these things and more.

I received a copy of this great cupcake book, Crazy About Cupcakes which details so many wonderful ideas for flavors, frosting's, decorating tips and more. 
I have used a few of the recipes already and have dogeared many more.  Don't worry, I won't be giving you MY copy!

This is a brand new, never been used copy just for you! It was purchased at Kohl's and I find it relevant to tell you that the proceeds from sales of this book has gone to support kids' health and education initiatives.  Maybe I can get Kohl's to sponsor my next giveaway?

I want to give back to you, the reader, and because cupcakes are superfantabulous!

To the one's that are following me publicly, I love you, you make me realize I am not writing into thin air and this is for you!

For those that read the posts randomly, or have bookmarked my page to come back to whenever you think about it, I love you too - I really really do, however we are a networking community.
I'd like to see and feel your love and I am sure the others who follow would like to know you and your recipes too, so please follow along, it really is very sinple - button is on the right hand side of the page :) click away!


You will need to comment on this post only, detailing your favorite cupcake creation or recipe (you may post a link from something you have created or another website you have used if you wish, but that's more for everyone's enjoyment, it won't help you win).
You can also include how many friends/family you will be sending this giveaway notice to - no pressure....


One entry per follower. 
This giveaway is only available to be shipped in the US and Canada, if you are an international follower I would be more than happy to send it to a friend for you in CA or the US.
The contest will be open until May 15, 2011.
The winner will be contacted through the site and revealed by blog post in the days following, indicating their winning comment and a plug to follow them!

Thanks for being great fellow foodies!
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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Sausage and Pepper Penne and a Side of Crazy

This super easy, awesomely tasty, warm your tummy pasta is always a winner in my books!
In the time it takes to boil your pasta, your sauce is done and ready to combine - which was really efficient today since I neglected my motherly/wifely duties of preparing dinner early.

You ever have that? 
You get sidetracked doing something that seems so important at the time and forget that other people can't seem to fend for themselves and make dinner or even mention to you at say 5:30 "hey, what are we having for dinner" to jog you out of your oblivious state?
Maybe that's just me?

Do you want to know why I was so absorbed?
I have been tirelessly searching vacation rental homes in Florida.

You would think that any vacation is a reason to abolish the need to feed your family but this vacation has a purpose you see.  It is our "destination wedding" location!
So I have been Googling, emailing,  and scrutinizing each picture and ad I see. 
Now for those who know that the wedding isn't until next April and think I am slightly over enthusiastic there is a method to my madness.

My father in law will be flying down to Florida for his annual hockey tournament (strange to leave Toronto to go to Florida for hockey, I know) and will be staying in the exact area that our wedding has been booked.
It not only makes sense to have him scout out possible locations but I would be crazy not to have him do it!
Haven't you ever been somewhere that looks COMPLETELY different from photos??  This is my wedding people, I do not want cockroach, surfer dude infested, slummy areas!!

So sue me, we ate dinner late but again, this meal literally is a 15 minute job, so here's a slice of bread and butter and it will be ready in a 2 shakes of a lambs tail.

I'm Listening to: Jack and Diane - Mellencamp
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Monday, April 25, 2011

MashUp Monday - Blueberry Cheesecake Taquitos

This weeks mashup was inspired by 2 things.
1. My son's adoration of frozen blueberries
2. The Taco Bell dog

That's right, I said Taco Bell dog.  Him and his Yo Quiero Taco Bell, making me crave Mexican food with 4 simple words in my sleeping state (I wont go into details because it was just too weird).  "I love Taco Bell" - pfft
I love MY tacos, MY enchiladas, MY nachos, oh who am I kidding, I do enjoy a fake meaty taco from the Bell once a year....apparently, because I dream about it.

So today is Easter Monday and for many of you with kids that means no school.  Because of the impending rain this ENTIRE week I had wanted to run out and grab some top soil and get my grass seed down before the deluge hit.  Little Ugh was less than thrilled when he got up and I told him to get ready as we were headed out. 
Bribery works well still at 13, so I told him while we were at the store I would pick him up some frozen blueberries, works every time.  Funny how I bribe him with food, and not even chocolate or money.

So there we were, in the frozen food section grabbing blueberries when I feast my eyes upon the phyllo.
LIGHT BULB. Yo Quiero taquitos!

I picked up some cream cheese and some mint along with the phyllo, the makings of a dessert taquito are among us.

They were fried, because any good taquito is but I suspect you could also bake this in the oven, and might have to do this again with that method however I am not sure the crispiness would shine through.
MashUp Monday gets 6 thumbs up!

I'm Listening to: Prodigy vs. White Stripes
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Friday, April 22, 2011

Piquillo Pepper Pork Chops

So here we were at the store and on top of the cheese displays there were little jars of this and that, a variety of different salts, pickled this, marinaded that.
Now normally I do not take a second look because when I shop I know what I am after, me and my list and pencil to cross items off, but something was pulling me, urging me to stop and browse around.

I came across some hearts of palm, I was intrigued.
I picked up the jar looked at them and put them back on the shelf thinking to myself "nahh I wouldn't even know what to do with this, another time" and then.....this jar of piquillo peppers stopped me in my tracks!
Like a kid in a candy store finding their favorite sugary treat and mom saying "sure, you can get it", I lit up. 

My initial internal reaction was "I am going to make something stupendous with this" while jumping up and down clapping.
My external reaction must have been different because at that very moment, Mr. BM looked at me and said "Do we need to leave this section?  Did you just crap yourself?"  Maybe my internal reactions showed slightly?

Now I am not too sure why he mistook my happiness to mean I might have expelled gas so I started laughing about it to myself which only made him think more gross things and the giddiness kept coming.

He doesn't share my elation with new foods - he just doesn't get it, so I decided to have a bit of fun and let him think I farted and deeked around the bread display giggling - hehehe I like to mess with heads.  You should have heard our car ride conversation!

So we get home and as soon as the groceries were away I started concocting.
I have never used the pepper before.  I knew that it was much like a roasted red pepper, well, its red, it was roasted and jarred...but I also knew they were actually a chili so maybe a tad bit of a kick?

I pulled out the blender, some shallots, garlic, olive oil and sage - I am going to create a marinade for our stuffed pork chops.
I have to toot my own horn slightly friends, it was REALLY a good one, Mr. MB even took the excess and started dipping veggies in it.

I'm Listening to: Vampire Weekend - Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa
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Monday, April 18, 2011

MashUp Monday - The Benedict Burger

This week's Monday MashUp was inspired by my love of burgers and breakfast.  Throw em together, you've got my heart.

Traditionally eggs benedict is a poached soft egg on an english muffin with either some ham or bacon topped with a hollandaise sauce. 

Now we aren't your traditional fam, we like our Canadian Christmas without snow, it's ok to eat porridge for breakfast, lunch AND dinner (not necessarily on the same day but that's ok too), and combining eggs on top of burgers with an awesome sauce is genius if I do say so myself but we did have to make this as traditional as possible.

Now I make no claim that this meal isn't chalk full of calories however I used ground chicken and oatmeal for the burgers and instead of throwing on ham, we used chicken bacon.
SO you could almost say this meal was all chicken and slightly good for you.

I had never made the sauce before but I knew what it consisted of; egg yolks, water, lemon juice, cayenne, pepper and butter.  Now the question was whether I was willing to try the blender method or the double boiler method.

I have this fear of raw eggs, I even think twice about taste testing cookie doughs and cake batters (my stomach wins that fight every time though, but my brain puts up a good few rounds)
I opted to cook the sauce.
Sure, people use the blender method all the time, I just have this fear that I am gonna eat it and keel over or get some crazy bacteria that will live inside my body for years to come, yup, caraazzzyy ;)

This mashup worked, it was a winner and I would do it again.  It is best if you have an extra set of hands to bbq your burger while you are preparing sauce and poaching eggs but you could do it yourself if you had to.

I'm listening to: Hey We Will Rock You YA - Queen vs. Outkast
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April Snow Showers Bring Chicken n Biscuits?

It's mid April and while last weekend was a balmy 21 with a touch of rain, today we had snow. SNOW!

Snow, you ruined my plans of balsamic glazed bbq chicken, you better not come back until at least December now, I'm warning you!
I just want so badly to bring out the pitchers of lemonade, the pretty summer plates, enjoy a nice leisurely dinner on the deck while the sun beats down.  WHEN?!

Don't get me wrong, I am not one of those gals that can't get wet or bbq in the snow but sometimes Mr. BM is, and tonight was supposed to be his reign with the tongs.  He declined so I amended the game plan.
It was cold and I didn't want to be cold, I want comfort. 

Bbq is to summer like comfort and warmth is to chicken n biscuits.
I will save my balsamic glazed idea for nicer weather, when we can enjoy it fully - outside.

Oven fried crispy chicken with homemade biscuits it is, and so I put on my fleece pants, rolled up my parka and dove in.

I must say that the biscuits, while delicious and flaky, felt like they needed something.  Maybe some herbs or more butter.  I will make them again, just adding some flare.

I'm listening to: Walkin on Sunshine, Katrina and the Waves

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Simplistic Strawberry Ricotta Parfait

If I died tomorrow, bury me with this dessert and don't forget the spoon!
I really have no more words for it unless you let me add in "sweet baby Jesus" at the beginning of each sentence.

I have a love affair with ricotta, always have, probably always will.
When I order cannolis I suck the filling out first, usually at home alone, unless I really want to mess with my kid in public when there are girls around, then I making sucking noises as loud as possible. 
I can be a bit of a sh*&%t disturber.

Always, always, does my lasagna, stuffed shells, and raviolis have to include copious amounts of the good stuff.
Baking with it is super too - the cassata cake I recently made was just so delish!  Highly recommend that one.

Ricotta can be flavoured with so many things but understated flavors for dessert I find work the best, citrus, vanilla...mmmmmm.

Sweet baby Jesus, with the summer season coming this is the perfect ending to a patio dinner :)

I'm Listening to: Arcade Fire - Wake Up because this makes my mouth wake up!
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Monday, April 11, 2011

MashUp Monday - Oatmeal Smoothies

Oh hi Monday!  Thanks for being right on time today, I wasn't quite ready for you but yet, here you are....

No harm, no foul, it brings me to the second post in the MashUp Monday category and I am pretty excited about it so you can stay.

MashUp - in music this can be best described as two different songs by different artists, likely in totally different genres being married together to form one song.  This is generally done by taking the vocals of one and adding it to the instrumental of the other.
In my food depiction, it could be two meals merged together or maybe ingredients that you might have from one meal such as dinner and turning it into a breakfast by adding some traditional breakfast additive or really anything else I might concoct and call a mash up.

I have been brainstorming since the inaugural Release Party post, and I have a few tricks up my sleeve.

This week's Mash Up is Oatmeal that you can drink!

I'm Listening to: Poker Hump - Fergie & Lady Gaga
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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Blueberry Tea Syrup

I have a love of all teas, coffee, not so much. 
You should see me when I visit our local Starbucks.  I stand there silently while the ever so patient server asks me what I would like to order.....silence.....UM, I will have a.....uhhhhh......silence......something that doesn't have coffee or espresso in it, I;ll have a chamomile tea please?  Poor barrista, I'm like a deer stuck in headlights.  Don't worry, if there's a line I let people go ahead of me, they might order something I might like!

I am utterly amazed at the numerous blends and methods and knowledge a barrista has to have to work in a place like that. 
I don't even own a coffee maker and there isn't even any instant coffee in my house for guests!

One time I had a job where the company liked to have coffee brewed for its clients.  Nice touch.
Now, keeping my last statement in mind would you ask ME to make you a pot of coffee?  Ya, it was only requested of me once, let's just leave it at that.

Ask me to make you a tea - absolutely, what kind?
I've got green, mint, chai, English breakfast, all sorts of herbal and berry teas.  I've got bagged tea and loose tea.  What do you like in it?
Me, I grew up on lemon and honey.  Lately however the majority of friends and coffee shops don't have lemon juice on hand so I have adapted and started drinking it black with a hint of honey or sugar.

But thanks to a new foodie friend, Amy @ FamilyFeedBag and her wonderful visit to a local tea shop in her area she inspired me with a post from her blog to have a deeper appreciation for loose teas.
TEA SYRUP! (I revised slightly from hers because it didn't seem to be syrupy enough)

I did a double take too and its such a great idea with the warmer patio season nearly upon us.
I can't wait to make a mojito with it, but for now, a little thirst quenching fizzy tea drink for the whole family.

I'm Listening to: It's Five O'Clock Somewhere
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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Club Sandwich Meet Grilled Cheese - Mash Up Release Party

Ever want to set up your friends because you just KNOW they'd be a good couple?
Don't do it. 
When things go wrong you are the first person who gets blamed, you could lose not 1 but possibly 2 friends and no one wants to double date with you ever again....

Instead, fill your hankering of fix ups by creating a food Mash Up.
The end result really benefits you more and the only thing hating you afterwards could be your stomach.

I think I'm going to start a "Mash Up Mondays".  Goes with the whole food and music deal too...
OK, that's Monday it begins for real.
But since I made a great mash up for lunch today, pretend this is my "release party" and I'm showcasing what's in store.

What you'll need:
Butter for outer bread
2 slices light rye bread
4 slices cheddar cheese
4 slices pre cooked bacon
4 slices roast turkey breast
tomatoes(if that's your thing....its not mine)

Butter the outers of the bread, place one piece butter side down in the skillet.
Layer 2 slices cheese, bacon, mayo, turkey, lettuce, 2 more slices of cheese and top piece of bread.
Cook in the pan over medium heat to allow the cheese to melt slowly into the other ingredients, about 2-3 minutes, flip and wait another few minutes.
Serve with a salad or soup.

I'm Listening to: Numb Mash Up Live, Linkin Park/JayZ
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Cassata Cake and a Sigh

The past 4 weeks have been, well, ridiculous.
From Little Ugh's b-day to the birth of my new nephew the following day, from baby showers (3 of them) to birthdays (5 more). Games, prizes, cupcakes, cakes, cookies, cards, want the full list?

I guess being a domestic engineer has its benefits.  I am not sure I would have been able to accomplish everything had I been out in the "real world".

Wait, retract that!
I could have, I have in the past.
I just think I enjoyed it so much more this time around because even though knowing things had to be done I had time to plan them out.
I like to plan.  Its who I am.
Sticky notes galore, napkins or receipts with scribbles volcanoing from my purse, alarm bells on my phone and ipod.
Hmmm, this sounds more like I need a day timer now doesn't it?  You should see our home office!

You know when the last episode of Friends aired and you were all choked up, hiding your shed tears, fearful that another sitcom will never come to bring you that half an hour of enjoyment?
Maybe that was just me, well, I sorta felt that way about the ending of March.

The last cake of the month....SIGH
It needed to be special.  3 very special ladies were celebrating with great friends.
I had to have it be the perfect ending to a wonderful month of fun, friends, family and fiascoes - I think it was.

The Cassata

I'm Listening to: SemiSonic - Closing Time
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Monday, April 4, 2011

Marinated & Grilled Baby Bok Choy

Bok Choy, every time I say it I think of the Cadbury Bunny.
Bok, Bok, Bok, Bok, Bok CHOY, happy Easter?
A little unconventional twist to egg hunting this year would be to go around and hide veggies instead of chocolate.  I wonder how everyone else in the house would feel about that?  I might just do that.....

My brain works in mysterious ways when I am tired, forgive me.

I picked up some baby bok choy at the store on the weekend and while I was super excited about it, the others in the house were less than thrilled.
(there's that bunny again)

Normally I steam it briefly and then saute it with some butter and garlic but since it was the most BEAUTIFUL weekend and I had already concluded  it was going to be a bbq day, I wasn't about to turn on the stove so plan B.

The marinade was something that just sort of popped into my head for our chicken but it worked really well on the bok choy as well.
A little oil, lime juice, heat from some peppers, Dijon, the grilled version was born.

I'm Listening to: Daft Punk
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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Roasting Garlic 101

Until recently I must confess I had bought roasted garlic in jars.
I'm not too sure why I never made it before, it really is so simple.

I guess the only reason I can muster up for you is that if you aren't using your oven for anything else it is a tad waste of electricity.
The reward of about an hour of oven use however is warm, soft, creamy, roasted greatness!

Garlic is a wonderful bulb that has been used not only for cooking but for medicinal purposes as well.
Did you know that the stickiness on the insides has been used to mend porcelain and glass in China?
I'm not too sure why I know this, Jeopardy perhaps?

I actually have bulbs already sprouting in my garden as I type and I have to say I am pretty excited!  I went out the other day to clean up the yard and noticed some sprouting action.
I didn't realize it was so hearty (darn cold winters that drag on and on and on here in Ontario)

The roasted garlic is a great accompaniment to the plain mashed potato, using them in dips is superb, even making dressings with it punches up the flavors.  Really, anything that you make with regular chopped garlic you can substitute with the roasted kind.
Experiment and Enjoy!

I'm listening to: Snow Patrol

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