It’s all about the food!

Hi and welcome to my first post. Here is where I hope to inspire you with my ideas and love for food. Friday nights are a great night in our house because it is the official kickoff to the weekend. It also means that it is a time to experiment in the kitchen creating wonderful food experiences.

Tonight’s menu is all about easy appies and wonderful beverage parings with my girlfriend Wendy. Paul is playing hockey tonight with her husband (who also happens to be named Paul) and Miss Em is busy with her friends. So this is a great opportunity for Wendy and I to relax, enjoy some yummy food and sip on a beverage or two until the boys are home from their game. Given that I have a full-time job, all the more reason that the food I serve on Friday nights has to be easy to put together, delicious and doesn’t make me a slave to the kitchen. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind going all out when I’m entertaining but that is not what these Friday night get together’s with Wendy are about. So, here we go!

First up pasta chips!
These are a great snack and such a crowd pleaser. I first came across this recipe a few years ago, in the Food Network magazine for Super Bowl Sunday. So simple and a great alternative to potato chips. For me, this snack always pairs nicely with beer. I am partial to wheat beer or pale lagers but whatever your preference is, I am sure it will pair nicely.


Pasta chips

Here is what you will need:

  • a package of bow tie pasta
  • chili powder
  • salt

How to make the pasta chips:

  • Cook 1 cup of bow tie pasta in boiling water for half the cooking time listed on the package; drain and then pan fry the pasta in 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large skillet over media high heat, turning until golden brown and crisp. Drain on a paper towels. Sprinkle with salt, chili powder and serve.



Veggie rolls
A bit more on the healthy side. I am sure everyone has made a version of these little guys at one time or another.

veggie rolls

Here is what you will need:

  • Variety of sweet bell peppers (red, yellow orange – whatever colours you like)
  • Carrots (cut julienne style)
  • Cucumber (cut julienne style)
  • Hummus
  • Tortilla wraps.

How to make the veggie rolls:

  • First make the hummus: In a food processor add chick peas, salt pepper, cumin and olive oil and puree until smooth. Spread hummus on a tortilla and add sliced veggies. Wrap up the tortilla and cut into pinwheels. Slice and serve.



Bruschetta pizzette
I love making pizzettes. They are so taste and you can do so many different varieties, the combinations are endless (strawberries and basil drizzled in balsamic glaze, caramelized onions and brie – you name it). I love pairing this version of bruschetta with a melbec like Kaiken. Very smooth, light and easy drinking.

brischetta pizzette

Here is what you will need:

  • Naan breads
  • Mini bocconcini cut,
  • Olive oil,
  • Tomatoes cored and chopped
  • Garlic minced
  • Fresh basil chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Balsamic glaze.

How to make the bruschetta pizzette:

  • Preheat the oven to 425. In a bowl combine bocconcini, olive oil, tomatoes, garlic, basil, salt and pepper. Place Naan bread on a pizza pan or baking sheet. Spread bruschetta mixture over the Naan bread. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Take out of the oven and drizzle with balsamic glaze. Cut into quarters and serve.



Last but not least Mexican cups

I love these little cups, they are everything I like about Mexician dip recipes in an individual serving. I think the first time I came across a recipe like this was on Tasty. Everyone loves this and it pairs well with beer, wine, margaritas, even mojitos.

mexician bites

Here is what you will need:

  • Tortilla wraps
  • Refried beans
  • Grated cheddar cheese
  • Guacamole
  • Salsa
  • Sour cream
  • Chopped green onions (optional).

How to make Mexican cups:

  • Preheat the oven to 350. Layer a package of large tortillas on top of each other. Cut the outer edges so that the tortillas are large squares. Then cut the tortillas in half lengthwise and crosswise so that you have 4 piles of smaller square. Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray. Place a small tortilla square in each of the muffin cups. Place a layer of refried beans and sprinkling with cheddar cheese. Place another small tortilla square on top and bake for 15 minutes or until the tortilla starts to turn golden brown. Let cool until you can handle them with your fingers and take them out of the muffin cups. Add a layer of guacamole, salsa and a dollop sour cream. Garnish with chopped onions if using. Enjoy!


Hope these recipes inspire you to be creative in the kitchen – enjoy!

Anginetti Italian Easter Cookies

I love these yummy Italian lemon cookies. My mom use to always make them at Easter but they are great for any holiday or special occasion. I use to always look forward to these cookies and beg my mom to make them throughout the year but sadly it was only at Easter. I guess that is why I love them so much because we only had them once a year. They have a nice fresh taste that reminds me of spring. You can find many versions of this recipe that vary slightly, regardless of the different variations, I know you will enjoy them!

Italian East Cookies


Here is what you will need:

  • For the cookie dough:1/2 cup of sugar
    • 6 tbs of of soft butter (you can use vegetable shortening)
    • 3 eggs
    • 1 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
    • 2 cups of flour
    • 1 1/2 tsp of baking powder
    • 1/8 tsp of salt
  • For the icing
    • 3 cups of icing sugar
    • 1/4 cup of water
    • tsp of lemon extract or lemon juice
    • Coloured sprinkles for decoration

How to make the Italian Easter Cookies:

  • How to make the cookie dough:
    • Preheat oven to 350°and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
    • In the bowl of an electric mixer beat sugar, vanilla, butter until well blended. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
    • Stir in flour and baking powder (dough should be soft and sticky).
    • There are many ways to shaped the cookies:
      • Drop dough on to a cookie sheet with a spoon.
      • Cover with plastic wrap and chill the dough (cold dough is easier to work with)  then break off pieces and roll with floured hands to form into a ring shape (I like this way the best).
      • Spoon dough into a pastry bag fitted with a round tip and pipe 2-inch diameter rings onto the cookie sheet lined with parchment. Press the ends of the rings together with your fingers.
    • Bake for 15 – 20 minutes until the cookies are golden.
    • Remove cookies from the oven and allow to cool.
  • How to make the icing:
    • Whisk together sugar, water, lemon extract (or juice if using) until well blended. Thin with more water if icing is too thick.
    • Brush icing on cookies and decorate with coloured sprinkles.


I hope this recipe inspires you to be creative in your kitchen – enjoy!

Easter Egg Decorating

I love decorating for the holidays, any holiday actually. I have bins full of decorations that Paul pulls out for me whenever there is a holiday approaching. Decorating for the holidays also means craft time and if I am lucky, craft time with Em. I love searching on Pinterest and thinking about new crafts for us to make every holiday.  It’s a great way to encourage creativity, building memories and traditions that will last and be passed down from generation to generation. One tradition for Easter that Em and I like to do is decorating Easter eggs. We have done them several different ways over the years from using shaving cream, food colouring, Kool-Aid, watercolour, wax  and dyes to create beautiful colours and patterns. This year we decided to use purple cabbage and gold paint to create a robins egg blue colour with gold flex. The one thing I will say about using natural dyes like purple cabbage is I find that they take a lot longer to do then the ready to use dyes you get at the store. The pictures below are mostly of me doing each of the steps – Em lost interest when she realized that it was going to take more than 10 minutes for this craft but that’s ok because it is also a great craft to do on your own.

The Easter Eggs


I love the way these look, so pretty and so creative. A couple of things that we did different is that I we used hallow eggs bought from the dollar store and I didn’t leave the eggs in the dye for as long as you would want, to achieve the different shades of blue. Plus, traditional robins eggs are usually speckled where ours have more of a splattered artistic look to them.


Here is what you will need:

  • 12 eggs (hard boiled, hollow or artificial
  • 1 purple cabbage roughly chopped
  • Gold acrylic paint
  • Paint brush  with stiffer bristles hairs
  • 6 cups of water
  • 5 tbs of white vinegar
  • A large Pot


Here is how to make the Easter Eggs:


  • Roughly chop the cabbage ( I only used half of the cabbage)
  • Add the cabbage and water to the pot and bring to a boil.
  • Once the cabbage and water is boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for approximately 30 minutes and then let cool.


  • Once the cabbage is cooled, removed the cabbage from the pot.
  • Add 5 tbs of white vinegar and stir.


  • Add the eggs to the water and cover with the dye. If you are using artificial or hollow eggs be sure to stir them gentle and frequently because they will not sink to the bottom like hard boiled eggs will.
  • Keep eggs in dye for a minimum of 1 hour up to overnight. The longer you leave the eggs in the dye the darker they will become.


  • Remove the eggs and place on a paper towel until dried. I like to used an empty egg carton to stand the eggs to dry.


  • Once the eggs are dry, tip the end of the paint brush in the gold paint and flick the bristles to create the desired pattern on your eggs.
  • Let eggs dry on a paper towel.

I hope this craft inspires you to be creative in your home – enjoy!




Jalapeño Poppers – Hot! Hot! Hot!

Jalapeno poppers is one of those appies that you either love or you hate because you can’t handle the heat. My better half (Paul) loves all spicy food, so jalapeno poppers are a food that he requests often when I am making appies for guests. Everyone tends to make the usual jalapeno popper (jalapeno smeared with cream cheese wrapped in bacon). I guess because I find myself making it so often, I get board of the same old, same old. This recipe for jalapeno poppers is a bit different because it incorporate my love for bread.

L-A’s Jalapeno Poppers


Here is what you will need:

  • diced jalapenos with the seeds removed, cream cheese, diced cooked bacon, grated cheddar cheese, sriracha sauce (optional), crescent roll dough

How to make the jalapeno poppers:

  • For the dough:
    • 1 cup of warm milk
    • 2 1/4 tsp of yeast
    • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
    • 1/3 cup of margarine
    • 1 tsp of salt
    • 2 eggs
    • 4 cups of flour
    • Mix together warm milk, yeast and sugar in a bowl of an electric mixer and let rest for 5 minutes until yeast mixture begins to foam. Add remaining ingredients and mix until a dough forms. Place dough on a very lightly floured surface and kneed until a smooth dough forms. Place in a butter greased bowl and let rise until it doubles in bulk (1 1/2 – 2 hours). Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface into a 16×12 rectangle.
  • To Prepare the jalapeno poppers
    • Spread cream cheese over dough, sprinkle with diced jalapenos, diced bacon and grated cheddar cheese.
    • Roll the dough into a tight fitting log and cut into 9 – 12 pieces.
    • Place on a baking sheet lined with a silo pad or parchment paper.
    • Bake a t 350 for 20 – 25 minutes (until the dough begins to turn golden.
    • Take out of the oven and let rest for 5 minutes.
    • Drizzle with sriracha sauce if using and serve.


I hope this recipe inspires you to be creative in your kitchen – enjoy and don’t forget to check out my next post on Monday March 19!

Pizza Cake

As you know Saturday is my day to experiment in the kitchen and try new things. This Saturday I made a pizza cake. What I liked most about it was how simple it was to prepare, just like a regular pizza BUT much more filling with just one piece. I have seen different versions of this on the internet, the key thing for me is make it as simple as possible. Hope you enjoy this recipe.

Pizza Cake



Here is what you will need:

  • 9″ spring form pan
  • Non stick cooking spray
  • Pizza dough
  • Pizza sauce
  • Medium or large tortilla wraps
  • Salami
  • Thinly sliced onion
  • Grated mozzarella
  • Any other pizza toppings that you prefer.


How to make the pizza cake:

Pizza sauce

  • One can of diced tomatoes (plus half a can of water)
  • Fresh basil
  • Fresh thyme
  • Olive oil
  • Diced garlic
  • Diced onion
  • Red wine (optional)

To make the pizza sauce: In a small pot heat olive oil and saute the onions. Add the garlic, splash of red wine. Once the onions are translucent (about 5 – 10 minutes) add the tomatoes plus half a can of water (water is the best diluter and will help cut the acidity of the tomatoes). Add the herbs and reduce for approximately 15 minutes. Set tomato sauce aside and let the flavors merry for about 30 minutes.

Pizza Dough

  • 1 2/3 cup of AP flour
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp of active dry yeast
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of tepid water

Put water and yeast in a large bowl and mix together. Let stand for 5 minutes until it starts to foam. add the four and olive oil and gradually work the flour until a soft dough forms. Sprinkle more flour if the dough feels sticky but make sure not to dry it out. The dough should be pliable and smooth.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and kneed to about 5 minutes. Sprinkle flour as needed. Rub some olive oil over the dough and return the dough to the bowl. Cover and let rest for about 1 hour or until it doubles in size.

Remove the dough to a lightly floured surface and roll to desired size.

Preheat the oven to 425. Spray the spring formed pan with cooking spray. Place the dough in the pan and gently press the dough to make sure that it fits comfortably in the pan.

Spread a layer of sauce, toppings and cheese. Place a tortilla wrap flat on top of the pizza toppings. Spread another layer of sauce, toppings , cheese and tortilla wrap, repeat until you reach the top of the pan. The last layer should be sauce, any remaining toppings and cheese. If there is pizza dough hanging over the edge of the spring form pan, gently fold the edges over to create a boarder or crust on the inside of the pan

Bake in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes or until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbly and melted on top.

I hope this recipe inspires you to be creative in your kitchen – enjoy!







Tis The Season For Strawberries – Almost!

I love strawberries! If you have been followed my blog this week you would know that this weeks posts are all about the wonderful world of strawberries. They are a romantic fruit, a sweet sensation and very versatile. I love dropping a plump juicy strawberry into a glass of procesecco on a hot afternoon in the summer.  This week I have shared with you a recipe for strawberry sauce that I have been know to eat right out of the jar with just a spoon, a strawberry crisp recipe that is so simple and easy yet divine, to this coffee cake recipe that you can enjoy any time of day because it is not too sweet for breakfast or afternoon coffee and can also hold its own as a dessert. whatever your desire, if you love strawberries, you will love this recipe.

Strawberry Coffee Cake


Here is what you will need:

  • For the topping
    • 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon
    • 2 tbsp of granulated sugar
  • For the cake
    • 1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar
    • 3/4 of a cup of Miracle Whip
    • 1/4 cup of milk
    • 3 cups of all purpose flour
    • 2 tsp of baking soda
    • 1 tsp of baking powder
    • 2 tsp of ground cinnamon
    • 1 tsp of ground nutmeg
    • 1 tsp of salt
    • 1 pint of fresh strawberries hulled and coarsely chopped

How to Make the Strawberry Coffee Cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 9×13 rectangle pan.
  • To make the topping stir together cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl and set aside.
  • To make the cake, in a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium- high speed, beat the eggs and sugar for 1 minute. Add the Miracle Whip and milk and beat on high speed for about 2 minutes. The batter will be think and pale (thick like banana bread batter).
  • In another bowl stir together, the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nut meg and salt.
  • Turn the mixer to low and add the egg mixture. Beat until thoroughly blended.
  • Add the strawberries and any of their juices and using a large rubber spatula fold in the strawberries, just until evenly distributed. Do not over mix.
  • Spoon batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Sprinkling topping evenly over the cake batter.
  • Bake for 60 minutes or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes our clean.
  • Let cook for about 5 minutes, run a knife around the sides of the pan. Cut into squares and serve with homemade whip cream or sprinkle a dusting of icing sugar if desired before serving.

I hope this recipe inspires you to be creative in your kitchen – enjoy!

My Strawberry Is Your Strawberry

If you are following my blog, you will know this week I am focusing on my 3 favorite strawberry recipes. Monday I posted a recipe for a strawberry sauce (Strawberry Fields Forever )- so yummy! Today is a recipe for a strawberry crisp. Most strawberry recipes pair strawberries with rhubarb and not that I am not a fan but sometimes I want to enjoy the taste of just the strawberries. This recipe does just that.

The Strawberry Crisp


Here is what you will need:

  • For the filling
    • 2 quarts of strawberries hulled and quartered
    • 1/4 cup of granulated sugar
    • 2 tbs of corn starch
    • 1 cup of all purpose flour
  • For the crisp topping
    • 1/2 – 1 cup of old fashion rolled oats
    • 1/3 cup of white sugar
    • 1/3 cup brown sugar
    • 1/2 tsp of cinnamon
    • 1/4 tsp of salt
    • 1/2 cup of melted butter

How to make the strawberry crisp:

  • Preheat the oven to 350° and spray a pie plate with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Toss the strawberries in a 1/4 cup of granulated sugar and 2 tbsp of corn starch, place in the pie plate.
  • In a separate bowl, mix oats, flour, 1/3 cup of granulated sugar, 1/3 cup brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
  • In a sauce pan melt butter and add to the oat mixture and mix well.
  • Pour the oat mixture over the strawberry mixture and bake in the oven for 30 – 35 minutes.
  • Serve with strawberry sauce or vanilla ice cream.

I hope this recipe inspires you to be creative in your kitchen – enjoy!

Strawberry Fields Forever

I love strawberries, they are amazing on their own, in food and even in beverages. Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamins C and K as well as provide fiber, folic acid, manganese and potassium. They have a wonderful aroma, bright colour, beautiful texture and smell so sweet – what’s not to like. Next to apples, these are Em”s and Clarence’s favorite fruit to eat every which way you can think of. This week my blog will be focusing on 3 of my favorite strawberry recipes Strawberry Sauce, Strawberry Crisp and Strawberry Coffee Cake.  Hope you enjoy them as much as my family does. So lets get started with the strawberry sauce.

Strawberry Sauce

Here is what you will need:

  • 1 quart of fresh strawberries
  • 1 tsp of good quality vanilla,
  • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar.


How to make the strawberry sauce:

  • Cut the heads (the green leafy part) of the strawberries off. 
  • In a medium sauce pan over medium heat add the strawberries, vanilla, sugar and mix well. As the strawberries warm they will begin to sweat, continue to stir every couple of minutes.
  • After about 5 – 10 minutes, the strawberries will be mushy and there will be lots of strawberry juice int he pan.
  • Take strawberries off the heat and cool slightly. Pour slightly cooled mixture into a blender and pulse 3 to 4 times (mixture will be slightly chunky) or to the consistency you desire.
  • Pour mixture into a glass jar and let cool. Serve with anything and everything you like strawberry sauce on.


I hope this recipe inspires you to be creative in your kitchen – enjoy!

All Wrap Up

I am always trying to find ways to eat healthier. If anyone is following my blog, you would know about my menu board in my Saving money momma post, where I plan out our dinner meals for the week, not only to save money but also to try and eat a bit healthier. One of my favorite meals on the healthier side of things is shrimp lettuce wraps. We usually make these when we find shrimp on sale. They are like a healthier versions of tacos – easy to prepare, fun to eat and surprisingly filling.

Shrimp lettuce wraps


Here is what you will need:

  • Iceberg lettuce leaves
  • Cooked shrimp (peeled, cleaned and deveined)
  • Cooked vermicelli noodle tossed in sesame oil
  • Shredded carrot
  • Bean sprouts
  • Finely chopped green onion
  • Peanut sauce

How to make the lettuce wraps

  •  For the shrimp: Melt 1 tbsp of butter, 1tbsp of EVOO in a frying pan over medium low heat and add the shrimp. Cook shrimp until they start to turn pink, turning them over once. Add 1 clove of minced garlic and cook until the shrimp are pink on both sides (be careful not to overcook the shrimp or they will taste rubbery).
  • For the vermicelli noodle: Cook noodles to package directions. Drain the noodles and while the noodles are still hot, toss in 1 tbsp of sesame oil and set aside.
  • For the peanut sauce: Place 3 tbsp peanut butter, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 1-2 tsp lime juice
    1 tbsp sesame oil, 1minced garlic clove and crushed red chili flakes to taste in a bowl. Add 3 tablespoons of water, and whisk until a loose sauce forms.
  • To assemble: Set out the lettuce leaves on a serving platter. Fill lettuce leaves starting with the noodle, then layer the carrot, bean sprouts, shrimp, green onions. Drizzle with peanut sauce and serve.

I hope this recipe inspires you to be creative in your kitchen – enjoy!

Staying Afloat: DIY Wooden Buoys

DIY projects can really show how creative we all are. They also can say a lot about people by the type of project and colours that we choose to how patient or inpatient we are by the steadiness of our hand or the rush of a brush stroke. As I stare out my front window at the thaw of the winter almost behind us, I begin to think of the crafts and projects that I want to do for the summer ahead. I usually start by thinking about what craft projects I completed last year, is there anything on my list that I didn’t complete or that I loved so much I would want to do again this year. One project that comes to mind that I thought was worth sharing, is the wooden buoys that I made last year out of leftover 4×4 fence post. Last year we had had to replace a section of fence and Paul had some leftover fence posts. Once Sunday morning I was surfing Pinterest and came across wooden buoys and thought to myself, I can do this and it will look so good by the pool.

Wooden buoy


Here is what you will need:

  • 1 4×4 post, skill saw, 120 grit sand paper, acrylic paint, paint tape, paint brushes, number stencil, drill, decorative rope

How to make the wooden buoys

  • Cut wood into blocks and make two diagonal cuts with a skill saw. Drill hole for rope with a hand drill to desired size. Sand wood until it is smooth and you feel no rough patches. I divided mine into three sections of colours using paint tape. Paint the larger sections first, you may need to apply two to three coats for a solid coverage. Once painted, carefully tape the number stencil to the wood and paint desired number sequence. Let dry before removing stencil. You may need to clean up the outer edges of the numbers when you remove the stencil if the paint seeped under the stencil. Place rope through hole and tie into a knot at the end – viola!

I hope this craft inspires you to be creative in your home – enjoy!

Beautiful Bread

There is nothing like the smell of homemade bread wafting through my house as it bakes early on a Saturday morning. Making bread from scratch use to scare me until my parents bought me a bread machine. Don’t worry, this post is NOT about baking bread in a bread machine but it is unfortunately how I started to learn how to make bread.
There is something gratifying and therapeutic about making homemade bread. I don’t think I’ve bought a loaf of store bought bread for about 3 years – it is just that good!
The big differences that you will find with homemade bread vs. store bought bread are taste and shelf life. The taste of homemade bread is out of this world and is probably one of the most comforting tastes you can have when a warm slice has been cut and smeared with butter…just heavenly! The other difference as I said, is shelf life. Fresh bread only lasts a few days before it starts to dry out and you need to find other uses for it, such as croutons or bread crumbs.
The recipe that I am sharing with you today is one I use all the time and use it for a variety of different things, such as crescent rolls, hamburger and hotdog buns, as well as simple white sandwich bread. The reason that I like the recipe is because it makes either  2 loaves of bread or a loaf and 6 buns or 12 buns – whatever your need is.

Bread loaves and buns


Here is what you will need:

  • 2 cups of warm milk
  • 1 tbsp of yeast
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 tbsp of soft butter
  • 1 egg, 4 – 5 cups of flour
  • 2 tsp of salt

How to make the bread:

  • In the bowl of an electric mixer stir together milk, yeast, sugar and left proof for about 5 minutes. Add the salt, egg, butter and 2 cups of flour. Mix on low speed to combine. Add two more cups of flour and mix until the dough is soft but not sticky or stiff and starts to pull away from the sides of the mixer.
  • Place on a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, approximately 8. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1-1/2 hours.
  • Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide dough in half. Shape each into a loaf. Place in two greased 9×5-in. loaf pans. Cover and let rise until doubled, 30-45 minutes. In the first picture above, I took each half, separated and shaped them into three balls (three balls per dough half) and placed them into the prepared pans.
  • Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool.

If you have a bread machine and it has a dough setting, you can place all the ingredients in the bread machine and set it to the dough setting and it will prepare the dough up until just after the first rise. After that, you can then punch down the dough, knead,  shape it and prepare it for the second rise in your bread pans. I like doing this because it allows me the time to walk away and do other things without worry, especially if I have a very busy morning and still need to bake my bread for the week.

I hope this recipe inspires you to be creative in your kitchen – enjoy!