ABC Bees: An Urban Honey Experience

 

When my pal Jolene invited me to attend an ABC Bees Home2Hive bee tour with her I said yes right away. I love learning about how things are made, especially if they’re pretty much in my own backyard and who doesn’t love honey!?

bee-icon.pngBee Fact: There are three kinds of bees in a hive: Queen, Worker and Drone.

Continue reading

What I’m obsessed with… macarons!

Lately I have been seeing macarons everywhere! They’re all over my instagram feed and they look so darn tasty. Who doesn’t want to eat a little pastry that has filling and comes in every color of the rainbow. I think they’re the new frozen yogurt, which was the new doughnut, which was the new cupcake, etc. etc.. I feel like there are more places in Calgary offering macarons. Either that or I was totally oblivious to them before. Since I currently can’t get enough of them I thought I’d share two places I’ve tried macarons and two places that are tops on my list to try, all in Calgary.

Ollia Macarons & Tea

Ollia store victoriadaytoday.com

I’ve seen photos of Ollia macarons on instagram and they always looked lovely, just like the store just off 17th ave, where you can purchase them! I tried three varieties and my favourite was Earl Grey. They also sell tea but I was only interested in the pastries. Ollia also offers a macaron baking class in their kitchen which sounds like a great girls night activity! Photos from www.byollia.com

Ollia mac victoriadaytoday.com

Monplaisir

monplaisir victoriadaytoday.com

Monplaisir is located in the food court in The Core, which is a shopping center in downtown Calgary. It’s kind of hidden away so I wouldn’t be surprised if most people don’t know it’s there. They sell macarons and Belgian chocolate. Even thought these macarons are cost more the Ollia’s ($2.50 compared to $2.00 each) I must say I did like them a teensy bit more. The cookie was more dense and chewy, which I enjoyed. Below is a photo of the three varieties I tried. Rose lychee, peanut butter and jelly, and lavender honey which was my favourite. Top photo from www.monplaisir.ca

macarons victoriadaytoday.com

Made by Marcus

madebymarcus choc victoriadaytoday.commadebymarcus lemon victoriadaytoday.commadebymarcus rasp victoriadaytoday.commadebymarcus victoriadaytoday.com

I’ve heard lots of good things about Made by Marcus macarons and am excited to try some out! They are sold in different venues across Calgary. the closest to me is Bridgeland Market, so it looks like I’ll be taking a stroll over there soon! All the venues are listed on his website. Photos from www.madebymarcus.ca

Yann Haute Patisserie

yann patisserie victoriadaytoday.com

Yann Haute Patisserie is located in a sweet yellow house in the Mission neighbourhood. I’ve also heard great things about their macarons. Looking at the flavours on their website www.yannboutique.com, blackcurrant and Irish coffee are two that I would be interested in tasting!  Photos are from  www.pinterest.com/yannboutique

yann patisserie mac victoriadaytoday.com

conclusion

Where are your top places to get macarons in your town and what’s your favourite flavour?

What to do with your zucchini, or your MANY zucchinis

After taking a little blog break I’m excited for fall and all the great posts I’ve been cooking up to share with you! Fall is my favourite season and it always gets me in the mood for crafting and sewing so stay tuned.

Right now is an amazing time to be checking out farmers markets. There are so many around Calgary and the prices cant be beat! One of the veggies I like to buy lots of is zucchini. It’s so cheap and I’ve found a little goes a long way. I wanted to share some of the recipes I’ve tried and some I’m looking forward to trying. So if you planted zucs in your garden this year and have so many you can’t even give them away this is the post for you!

If you don’t know much about this yummy and versatile veggie here are some interesting facts.

  • One zucchini has just 25 calories (compared to a baked potato, for example, which has 130 calories).
  • A zucchini has more potassium than a banana
  • The word zucchini comes from ‘zucca’ the Italian word for squash
  • Biggest is NOT best. The most flavourful zucchinis are small- to medium-sized.
  • The world’s largest zucchini on record was 69 1/2 inches long, and weighed 65 lbs. Bernard Lavery of Plymouth Devon, UK, grew the humongous veggie

For more facts check out The Food Channel’s Top 10 zucchini fun facts.

Here first are the recipes I’ve tried. Click on the picture for links to the full recipe.

254524

Mexican Zucchini Cheese Soup

This soup was very quick and easy to make. it’s all done in one pot. I always read the reviews for recipes online. I find they can be very helpful and offer useful tips. The suggestion I followed was to use fresh tomatoes instead of canned and I think it was a good choice. I also used one fresh jalapeño instead of the canned chilli peppers. I like a mild to low spiciness and I felt it could of used a little more kick so next time I might add 1 1/2 jalapeños. Id say this is a good amount for 3 or 4 people. I ate it for supper twice and took it for lunch twice.

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins Recipe

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

There are many recipes for zucchini muffins out there. I took these over to my BF’s parents house and they were a big hit! The changes I made to the recipe was I only used 1 1/2 cups of sugar and I cut the oil to 1/2 a cup and added 1/2 cup of applesauce. I also sprinkled chocolate chips and sunflower seeds on top just before baking.

Baked zucchini sticks and sweet onion dip

This recipe is amazing! The site has lots of pics and easy instructions. I followed this one exactly. Just make sure to not cut your sticks too wide. This would be a good recipe for a mid to small zucchini. Save your monster zucs for a recipe where you grate it, that way you won’t waste the center. The dip is so yummy! we ate it after the sun went down on the patio after a hot day.

These are the recipes I want to try out next.

 

[IMG_7560.JPG]

Stuffed zucchini

Oven baked zucchini chips

Zucchini cheddar hushpuppies

conclusion

I hope these recipes have got you inspired. I know i got my stomach growling! Let me know what your fave zucchini recipes are or which you want to try out.

What I made today… Oatmeal raisin cookies

DSC04190

These cookie bars are really good! Unless your one of those people who don’t like chewy, raisiny, moist, oatmealy fantasticness. If that sounds like you then DO NOT make these cookies! You’ll absolutely hate them!

I got this recipe off allrecipies.com. It’s the first place I look when needing a recipe. What makes this my fave recipe site are the reviews. Thanks to the helpful reviewers, their tips and substitutions can take a dish from ho hum to oh yum! For instance, in this recipe I took Chef Tara’s advice and boiled the raisins in the microwave to make them super plump. I also used LizL’s tips for adding a 1 teaspoon of baking powder because I didn’t have self rising flour and doubling the amount of cinnamon. Reading what changes can be made gave me ideas for a few of my own. I only used 1/4 cup each of white and brown sugar (it was plenty sweet for me) and added shredded coconut on top.

Click HERE for the recipe if you want to make up a batch of your own! And read some reviews for suggestions that would work well for you and the people you want to share them with.

DSC04183

conclusion

I enjoyed these cookies a lot, but I wonder what changes I can make next time? Maybe chocolate chips or a nut of some kind. hmmmm….

Orange you glad?

For Christmas this year I received a Cuisinart blender, thanks mom! The idea behind wanting this handy machine was that because you can blend directly into a travel cup I would be able to make myself healthy breakfast drinks to be consumed on the way to work. In this fantasy I must have forgotten that I get up hellishly early and usually am running out the door to catch the bus! Maybe one day i won’t hit snooze 3+ times, ahhhh wishful thinking.

In the meantime I came across this delicious drink that I’m kinda addicted to. I found it on allrecipies.com and it’s name is Orange Smoothie. How descriptive!

DSC02728

In the photo I made this smoothie for breakfast (on a day i didn’t work) and paired it with some hot cross buns. Happy Early Easter! The reasons why I like it SO much are: it tastes a lot like an Orange Julius, the ingredients are easily found (probably in your kitchen right now), and it’s quick!

Here’s the recipe as seen on allrecipes.com:

Ingredients
  • 1 (6 ounce) can frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 10 cubes ice
Directions

In a blender, combine orange juice concentrate, milk, water, vanilla, sugar and ice. Blend until smooth. Pour into glasses and serve. Serves 4

DSC02685

The first time I made this I followed the recipe exactly. It came out a lot sweeter then I liked but other then that I was impressed. If i don’t want it as sweet I just add about a tablespoon of sugar for a single portion. Blends up nice and frothy for a fraction of the price of an Orange Julius from the mall. Not to say I won’t buy an Orange Julius again, but for at home convenience this is a close second!

DSC02702 DSC02710       

Now that I’ve blended this so many times I just make a single portion and eyeball the measurements. Turns out tasty every time!

DSC02726

Conclusion

Yum yum! Now to experiment with different flavours. Maybe peach, grape, or fruit punch?

It’s Borscht, Baby!

After going to the dentist the other day I had an intense craving for borscht. Not too sure why. So I phoned my mom to request her recipe, which turns out to be her mother’s recipe! Yea Grandma!

Even though I don’t really like to cook, I am able to when the need arises and when I put my mind to it, can produce some pretty yum-tastic chow! After picking up the ingredients at the grocery store I was ready to get started.

DSC01344

Continue reading

Crosswords, cupcakes, & commercials

I wanted to share some of the highlights of my weekend in this post, enjoy!

On Friday I thought I was going to be a hermit but fate, or rather Marissa, had other plans. And I’m so glad I didn’t end up being a recluse! I went with Marissa, Taryn, and Robin to Extreme Bean Cafe located at 3303 3 Ave NW. The plan was to just meet there and go for a stroll along the river, but the weather had taken a turn, as I have learned is the norm in Calgary, and we decided to have coffee inside. It’s a good thing too, or we might never have discovered how, when we put our brains together. we can achieve amazing things. Like completing the FFWD crossword!

CIMG0042

To some this may seem like no big feat, but I suck at crosswords and was impressed with our determination. We stayed till the end! And my mochachino was pretty tasty too.

Saturday I was off to work. Even though it is still winter we have some flowers at work to remind us that spring is on the way. They came from Twigs, look gorgeous, and smell amazing! I think they’re hyacinths?

CIMG0069

CIMG0074

Another perk of the day was that there was cupcakes shared by Kristen and candy hearts!

CIMG0066

Sunday was totally devoted to relaxation. Armed with a large mug of coffee and some leftover cheesecake I settled in too watch Super Bowl commercials. I’m the kind of person who likes watching the previews before the movie and appreciates a well made commercial, especially if it makes me laugh!

My 2 favourite’s are both from Volkswagen. Perhaps that’s a sign….

 

 

 

I also downloaded John Mellencamp’s album, The Best That I Could Do from iTunes.  I have my Mom to thank for introducing me to Mellencamp and a lot of other great musicians. His song’s remind me summer when I was younger.

 

John Mellencamp performs Pink Houses live at the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony in the Grand Ballroom at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City March 10,2008

 

Conclusion: This weekend was brought to you by the letter ‘C’.