Tonight I participated in my last TRX training class. It was a little bittersweet for me. The 10 weeks of classes totally kicked my butt on multiple occasions. I won’t miss the weeks where I couldn’t walk properly for 5 days after. However, I will miss the huge sense of accomplishment after each class was over. It was also extremely gratifying to notice progress from week to week. I realized halfway through the sessions that I no longer felt dizzy…or the urge to roundhouse kick the instructor for following up our gruelling strength training exercises with the likes of burpees.
I find being on a healthy eating plan is way easier than being on an intense exercise plan. Maybe it’s because I was never a true fan of exercising for the sake of getting in shape. As a kid, my parents decided to put me in a ton of team sports. Therefore, at a very young age, I didn’t correlate sports with actual exercise. Sports meant fun times with friends and perfecting my stick-handling and batting skills. The fact that sports were actually good for me physically was a total added bonus. But I digress…
Don’t get me wrong – clean eating, although easier, can get pretty damn boring. I am always looking for ways to add flavour and spice but not calories. This recipe is perfect. It is absolutely delicious. The amount of veggies creates a great texture, paired with a spicy (but not too spicy) sauce and fluffy quinoa…you simply cannot go wrong with this dish. I Instagramed this dish a few weeks ago and had multiple request for the recipe. So here it is!
June is my favourite month. Summer is in full swing, dinner and drinks on the patio, and my birthday. Yes, my birthday. It’s truly my favourite holiday. I even take the day off work and treat myself to a sleep in, guilty pleasure TV and perhaps even a spa treatment if I’m able to get in. In my friend group there are three of us who have June birthdays, and we had the opportunity to get together last night to celebrate. I figured it isn’t a true birthday celebration without cake, so I decided to poll my friends to see which flavour cupcake they wanted me to make. Well, with a tie between chocolate and red velvet, I decided to mix it up and make these delicious Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Stuffed Cupcakes! I chose right – they were a total hit! There were even a couple loud statements claiming they were “the best cupcakes I have ever had!” You can’t get much better than that. These cupcakes are rich, decadent and moist. A total treat for birthday’s, holidays or any day of the week!
First off, Happy Mother’s Day! This day is quite important to me as I am pretty close to my Mother. Heck, I even named this blog after her! I may be a tad biased, but she is by far the best Mother in the entire world. I am not a Mother myself but I have a huge respect for those who are and the hard work that comes with the role. So to all you fabulous Mom’s out there – thank you for everything you do.
Now onto something absolutely delicious – Frozen Hot Chocolate! Last week I was on vacation in Las Vegas with two of my girlfriends. Lots of shopping and eating was had. I finally had the opportunity to dine at Serendipity 3 and taste their famous Frrrozen Hot Chocolate! I’ve attempted this at couple times in New York City, but failed to make it to the restaurant. It definitely lived up to it’s amazing reputation and $11 price tag.
Here it is above. Yeah – it was huge and so rich and chocolatey! And look at that whipped cream! I had to find a recipe and duplicate it immediately. It’s a pretty simple recipe. I would recommend using a darker chocolate to give it more of a rich chocolate flavour that is similar to the original.
I may have a food blog, but I am definitely not the best cook in my house. If you haven’t already noticed, I am more of a baker. I love to bake! Cooking? Not so much. Part of the reason why I find cooking a little frustrating is because I am one who likes to follow a recipe. Precise measurements and ingredient lists are something I can get behind. I have learned that the best chefs are the ones that can take any ingredients you have in your house and come up with an amazing dish. They love to improvise because they understand the elements of cooking and flavour profiles. I am not so smart in this department. My fiancé, on the other hand, is a genius! He is truly at home when he is food experimenting in the kitchen.
One evening a few months ago, this delectable rib dish greeting me when I came home from a long business trip. The house smelled absolutely amazing when I walked in. A rich, savoury warmth that lingered for a day after we dined on this meal. The meat was beyond tender. It literally slid off the bone. I was in shock – this recipe is so easy! Surely this had to be a joke? Lucky me (and you), it’s not! I guarantee you will love this recipe. Even though I am not a huge meat eater, I still can’t stop thinking about these ribs.
My friend Carly and I came up with a crazy idea to take a TRX exercise class every Monday night. For those of you who don’t know what TRX workouts entail, here are a couple buzzwords I like to use to describe the exercises: absolute hell, pain, and regret. I’m only half kidding. The workouts consist of using your own body strength and weight to suspend yourself in a number of different exercises. It’s tough, but apparently gets better/easier the more you go. Carly and I only did 30 minutes of the workout yesterday and we both can barely function. I literally cannot walk up or DOWN the stairs. Next week is a full hour of training. No pain, no gain, right? Pray for us.
I didn’t want all the energy and effort of working out to go to waste. Therefore, I am trying to eat (and now feature) some healthier and delicious recipes. This salad recipe has been on my radar for a long time. I absolutely love the Santa Fe Chicken Salad recipe at Earls Restaurant and I adore this copycat recipe. It’s one of my “go to” orders every time I dine there. The spicy/smoky flavour of the chicken, richness of the black beans and dates, combined with the sweet and sour flavours of the lime and peanut vinaigrette makes this a delicious, guilt free dish.
I had to travel to Toronto last week for a work conference. Over the past 10 years Toronto has become one of my favourite places to visit. Not because I actually love the city (I’m still on the fence) but because Denise, my best friend in the whole wide world, lives there. Since I was a little late on sending her a birthday present (it was in February), I decided to bake her some delicious treats to give to her in person. Denise is one of my biggest baking supporters. Although the distance doesn’t really help her taste most of my baking, she continues to encourage me to create delicious treats in hopes she will one day try them. This past weekend was now her time to enjoy!
I was inspired to make these cookies after a visit to my local Starbucks. I was famished and needed a quick pick-me-up. I tried their Fruit & Oat Cookie, fell in love with it, and immediately needed to replicate it. As I have previously stated throughout this blog, I love baking with brown butter and I wanted to do the same with these cookies. They have great texture with the oats and a nice blend of sweetness with the dried cranberries, apricot and raisins. Most importantly, they are Denise approved. You can’t get a better endorsement than that.
My obsession with Cadbury Mini Eggs continues. I figured you wouldn’t mind if I posted another recipe with these delectable treats, right? Our Cadbury Mini Egg Cookie recipe I posted a couple years ago proves to be one of our most popular recipes, especially this time of year. I figured I should do some experimenting and see where it leads me. Well, I can report that it led me to this delicious skillet cookie! I adapted a skillet chocolate chip cookie recipe from the lovely Bakers Royale. I selected this recipe to adapt because it uses brown butter. I love brown butter. It has such a rich nutty flavour and aroma. Plus, you don’t need an electric mixer for this recipe. Bonus!
This skillet cookie is dense and rich. The Mini Eggs are so delicious with the cookie base. I opted to use a 9-inch skillet for a thicker cookie, but this recipe can easily suit a 12-inch skillet as well. If you use a 9-inch skillet, just ensure you up your baking time by about 10 minutes. I highly recommend you make this recipe for Easter!
Wow time sure does fly. I can’t believe it’s been over one month since my last post. Trust me though, I have a valid reason. Last week, I was finally able to escape our brutally cold winter and head to the sunny skies and warmth of Arizona to visit my parents. I had every intention to do some serious baking with Claudia since I hadn’t seen her in well over a month. Well, my plan sorta backfired. On the second day of my vacation, I got the stomach flu – bad. I spent the remainder of my time in Arizona sick and whining for Claudia to take care of me. Yes, I reverted to a 12 year old girl pretty darn quick. You would too if your Mother was so close to you – trust me.
In any case, I finally have my appetite back and realized I needed to blog ASAP. St. Patrick’s Day is only a couple days away and what better way to celebrate than bake with my two favourite things in the world – chocolate and beer! I have to admit this is by far the BEST chocolate cake I have ever made in my entire life. It is adapted from Deb, the lovely genius behind Smitten Kitchen, which happens to be one of my favourite blogs in the world. She is so brilliant that she just came out with a brand new cookbook which I have been buying for my foodie friends as gifts! This cake is decadent and rich. The chocolate coffee ganache is a perfect touch of velvety goodness. It’s also pretty darn simple to make. I decided to use a Young’s Double Chocolate Stout beer to add to the rich chocolate flavour, but you can use your favourite stout beer (like Guinness).
A couple years ago I was on the hunt for a really great mac and cheese recipe. The first thing I did was do what most people do, search Google. It brought up a lot of recipes that touted “the best mac and cheese recipe ever” title. I didn’t know where to begin. All of them looked great and I couldn’t narrow the search results down far enough to the point where I wouldn’t be making and eating mac and cheese for weeks. I then surveyed my former coworkers. That’s where I was introduced to this beauty of a dish. After scanning the ingredients and seeing that it used 3 different cheese, crunchy panko breadcrumbs and penne pasta (my absolute fav!), I knew this would be a serious contender. My former coworker was right – this is by far the best mac and cheese I’ve ever had. I’ve made it three or four times since discovering, and it’s a big crowd pleaser. I’m confident you will feel the same way.
My favourite thing to do on Sunday’s is bake. Funny how I say that on Super Bowl Sunday. While I’ve heard so many people today state: “I can’t believe this is the last day of football for months”, I (secretly) smirk and think how happy I am to get my Sunday’s back and obtain full monopoly of the TV to catch up on my week of guilty pleasure shows.
Cookies are my favourite treat to snack on when watching my “stories”. I have been known to be a huge fan of Coronation Street and participate in marathons of Dateline NBC. These Cake Batter Chocolate Chip Cookies are the perfect compliment for going through the emotional viewer turmoil of solving murder mysteries and wondering if Tyrone will actually trick Kirsty into marrying him, only to kidnap their baby to get custody because, of course, his name was left off the birth certificate. I could not make this stuff up people! These cookies are on the sweet side. When I originally made them, I used half milk chocolate and half white chocolate chips. I would recommend using only milk or dark chocolate chips, as I found the white chocolate to be way too sweet. Regardless, these are chewy, fun and a great guilty pleasure treat.