Friday, July 31, 2009

Country Morning

Jess, Emma, and I took some retail therapy yesterday morning. We headed to Berwick to Wheaton's. Wheaton's is gift/home decor/furniture store. There are four Wheaton's stores now, but I think the original is the best. I love primitive, and you don't see it much in Alberta. But my suitcase is only so large. It is probably best I don't live in Nova Scotia anymore because I could blow entire paychecks at a prim store.

Wheaton's also has Cider Press Cafe. When Emma decided she was hungry, we did too. Jess loves the raspberry lemonade, but I tried (and loved) Kay's Sweet Tea. Whenever I am in NS and we eat out, I try to eat seafood. Seafood in Alberta scares me sometimes. So I got lucky as the special was a haddock sandwich.

It was a small fillet on a soft bun with a rich and tangy homemade tartar. Despite it's size, it was delish. The cream of mushroom soup was great too.

Jess had the mushroom foccacia with house salad topped with poppyseed dressing. I know I stick to my seafood rule, but I really should have deviated from it here. That sandwich was fabulous!!!

The benefit of smaller portions is ample room for dessert. I thoroughly enjoyed the slightly dense, not overly sweet Coconut Cream Cake. It was divine. Jess had the warm gingerbread, which she said was delicious, but no picture.

We cooked up a storm last night. I am BBQ'ing some of the steaks I brought from Alberta tonight and have company coming. So I whipped up a cheese dip, Kahlua fruit dip, a chocolate chip cheese ball, and two batches of baked fudge. The baked fudge isn't for the BBQ, but I forgot the butter in the first batch. D'oh! So I made another. Much better. Butter makes a big difference, trust me.

Check back tomorrow for a recap of tonight's events!
Here is a pic I just took of Emma. What a cutie pie!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Home In My Heart

I haven't lived in my hometown in 11 years, but I still consider it my true home. In my first days of vacation, that's where I headed. The wedding was there, my grandma still lives there, and my best friend Mindy is still there. Mindy and my grandma are good at evading crazed photographers, cause I don't seem to have any pictures of either of them from my visit.

Here is the harbour in fog.

Here is the harbour sans fog.

The wharf is sometimes jammed with scallop boats, but most were out this day.

There are a few must go to places to eat when I am home. House of Wong is my favorite chinese place, and every chinese place I eat at gets compared to it. It has been open for 65 years so they must be doing something right.

Roadside Grill has tasty seafood and great homemade Acadian dishes. We have been going here since we were kids too.

Chez Jean has always been the go to place for ice cream!

The Deed Is Done!

Congratulations Tina and Ian!!!

After all these years, all the stress, all the rain, and all the planning, they finally got hitched!!

It was a great day with a beautiful bride and a handsome groom. The rain stayed away for the outdoor nuptials.

I promise not to ask the baby questions. I already know the answer anyway!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Honey, I'm Home!

Made it to Nova Scotia all safe and sound. Only one steak in the cooler thawed out, and nothing in the suitcase leaked.

My mom, sister, Baby Emma, and my Uncle Mark met me at the airport. We went for breakfast in Enfield, then stopped in to a chocolate shop (more on that later), and visited my Uncle Mark and his wife Cindy. Then off to see Dad! I am going on hour 36 with no sleep, only have to go at least another 6.

I bought Emma some clothes a few months ago. This is the Children's Place Haute Couture Yoga ensemble. It is so incredibly cute!!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Leaving On A Jet Plane

I am all packed and ready to go!

Suitcase is half full of this year's Christmas gifts, and I have 25+ prime Alberta beef loin steaks packed in a cooler. Those lovely Westjet owners better make darn sure my precious bounty arrives.

I had a bit of assistance with packing.

They are always so darn helpful!

So I fly on the red eye and arrive Friday morning!!! So excited. So stay tuned, cause we'll be live from Nova Scotia and it's Saturday Night!

Well, not really, but close enough.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Kung Pao Chicken

One of our favorite recipes is for Kung Pao Chicken. I thought I lost my recipe and tried to recreate it from memory with no luck.

I found said recipe on Saturday!! So of course we had this over the weekend. It is a spicy Asian dish that you can add whatever you like too. You can adjust the spiciness by adjusting the chili flakes in the marinade and the sambal in the sauce. I have added red pepper, green pepper, onion, mushrooms, bean sprouts, carrots. You can add veggies, or leave them out. If you like tofu, add some.

I am not on the tofu bandwagon.

Don't like chicken? Try pork. Or beef. Or scallops. I serve mine over Farkay's WunTun noodles. I found them at Safeway in the asian aisle. But you could use other noodles or rice. The sauce calls for Sambal Oelek. I found it in asian aisle in a small plastic jar with green lid. If you can't find it, I think you could sub for sriracha.

Whatever suits your fancy. I would love to hear your variations if you give it a spin.

Kung Pao Chicken

3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped in bite size pieces

2 Tbs soy sauce
1 tsp dried red chili flakes
1 tsp corn starch

1/4 cup chicken broth
2 Tbs soy sauce
1/2 tsp sambal oelek
1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs sugar
1 tsp hoisin sauce

1 tsp corn starch, dissolved in 2 tsp cold water (for thickening at end)

Marinate: Combine marinade ingredients in a bowl, and add chopped chicken. Stir to coat and let stand for at least 10 minutes.

Prepare Sauce: In a seperate bowl, combine sauce ingredients and set aside.

Heat 2 Tbs oil in a non stick skillet. Add chicken and marinade. Stir fry until no longer pink. Add sauce and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Add the dissolved corn starch to thicken.

Serve over hot rice or noodles.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Is It Friday Yet?

Not that I am trying to wish my life away.

I will be in Nova Scotia bright and early on Friday morning! I am quite excited if you couldn't already tell. I get to meet Emma and see the rest of my family.

Who wouldn't want to smooch that cute face?

I get to visit with my friends. I will eat lots seafood and downhome good cookin'. I will get to the beach at least once, and my hair will frizz out from the humidity. I get to see the friend I have had longest in life FINALLY get married. They have been going to get married every year now for a few years, but something comes up, and plans change. It is sure to be a good time!

So stay tuned, as I plan to blog as much as I can, post as many pictures as I can, all in an effort to make you wish you were there with me!

Monday, July 20, 2009

The World's Best Dessert

I read a fair amount of food blogs. My blogroll is a testament to that. My favorite blog by far is The Pioneer Woman. I am pretty sure this lady is Superwoman reincarnated. I don't know where she finds enough hours in each day to do all that she does.

She makes a lot of delicious food. My favorite recipe of hers is Baked Fudge. It is the yummiest, richest, most indulgent chocolate dessert I have ever eaten. So on Saturday, I cooked up a batch.

PW tops hers with some whipped cream. I made up a batch of Kahlua Fruit Dip too, so I topped my Baked Fudge with that. Only I ran out of Kahlua, so I subbed Bailey's Caramel instead. I had the fruit dip made before the fudge, so when making the fudge, I had a Bailey's Sense of Adventure moment (you've seen that TV commercial right?). So I subbed the vanilla in PW's Baked Fudge for Bailey's Caramel.

My weekend was full of scrumptious treats!!
I highly recommend you check out Ree's blog at
Here is the Kahlua Dip Recipe.
1 1/4 cup NutriWhip
1 cup milk
1 box instant vanilla pudding (4 serving size)
1/2 cup Kahlua
Whip NutriWhip until fluffy, set aside. In separate bowl, mix milk and pudding until thick. Add Kahlua and mix until combined. Fold NutriWhip into pudding until well combined.
Serve with cut up fruit.
I have also used in in place of whipped cream, like for PW's Baked Fudge, on strawberry shortcake, and on cream pies.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

You know summer is approaching when....

Wendy's Dairy Bar is open! Wendy's is a takeout/drive thru spot about 45 minutes from town that is only open when the cooktops/fryers can supply sufficient heat. So that is usually from about late April till mid October.

Lee used to work in the area quite a bit and became enamored with their food. I have heard from many their fried chicken is the best ever. It is cooked to order and they prefer you call ahead for the family meals to shorten your wait time. At meal times, the place is overloaded with patient customers.

Last weekend, we were passing through and made a point of stopping as we haven't been yet this year. I just love love love their french fries and gravy!

They make milkshakes with real fruit instead of flavoring. The strawberry one is the best. Lee's favorite is the double mushroom burger.

It comes in a super size muffin liner to catch all the drips! Genius! The burgers have their fair share of house seasoning, and are very tasty.

As you can see, we are dining a la automobile. Wendy's only has 3 or 4 picnic tables and this is a popular spot.

Wendy's Dairy Bar is far better than any franchise fast food could dream of being.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Our Fight Night Fanfare

Lee and I enjoy watching mixed martial arts. Personally, I prefer if over hockey! Gasp! How un-Canadian is that??

We flew to Montreal to attend UFC 97. Despite the main event being a lackluster performance, most other matches were great to watch. I am a huge Chuck Liddell fan and it was great to see him in what was possibly his last UFC match. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame last night which was a testament to his devotion to the sport. If you enjoy MMA, Chuck has written a book which I found to be a good read. Lots of insight into his start in MMA and the birth of UFC.

Fight Night can be a big deal at our house. We skip dinner and have a big munchie cookout. Wings are a must, and we have cheese dip, chicken wing dip, chips, salsa, guacamole, and a host of other yummies.

Last night was no different. We just did wings though last night. I was in the Hat with Tina most of the day and we brought take out from a awesome Chinese place. I make my own honey hot sauce which is our favorite. I usually make honey garlic too, but found a awesome store bought sauce that I use for that.

Sorry, I don't have a picture of the hot and fresh wings from last night. We got them done just as UFC was starting and I forgot to get some shots. Here is my Honey Hot Wing Sauce recipe.

1/4 cup Frank's Red Hot or Louisiana Hot Sauce

1/2 cup honey

1/2 tsp garlic powder (or to taste)

1/4 cup butter

Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan and heat to boiling. Pour over cooked wings. Toss and serve.

The recipe can be doubled or if you find it too hot for your taste, just add more honey. And don't skip the butter! It does produce a different sauce.

Friday, July 10, 2009

It's The Weekend!!

Happy, as always, to see the weekend arrive. Anyone got big plans for the weekend? Lots going on here this weekend. Tina and I are going to the Hat tomorrow. UFC 100 baby!!! Tomorrow night, we are doing a wing cookup and other yum yummies I hope to share with you all. Sunday, we are hoping to get to a theater to see Bruno. I wasn't at all interested to see Borat, but Bruno looks hilarious!

Last weekend, we went to see Public Enemies. I love Johnny Depp! He is such a versatile actor, who excels at any role he is given. It was a great movie, but don't expect the whole movie to be shoot 'em up action scenes. Don't get me wrong, there is lots of gunfire in the film, but it is more about the life and story of John Dillinger. I loved the film, Lee would have like more bank robberies.

So, tonight we dined in Royal Chinet style. BBQ steak and onion potatoes! Onion potatoes is something I learned from my Mom. She does hers by fanning the potatoes. I prefer to dice mine.

Simply dice some potatoes and place a couple handfuls onto a large square of foil. Sprinkle generously with onion soup mix powder and dot with butter or margarine. Fold foil into a packet and place in preheated oven or BBQ. I cook mine from anywhere to 30 minutes to one hour, depending on the size of the dice. Tonight was large dice, and they took about an hour. When I am pressed for time, I will dice a bit smaller for quicker cooking.

While eating dinner tonight, Lee says to me "I love that we met,"

How sweet!!!!

"cause I would have never known onion soup mix potatoes otherwise!"

I guess I will take that as a compliment?

I love that we met too......cause otherwise I would have never tasted his mom's homemade bread!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Tammy's Mars Bar Squares

Tammy's Mars Bar Squares are synonymous with potlucks. So much so that we no longer ask Tammy what she is bringing to the potluck. We just know what she will bring. Then we salivate until she puts those delicious morsels on the table.

So I decided to make some today and share it here. Here are the ingredients.
4 Mars Bars, 3 cups Rice Krispies, 1 cup milk chocolate chips, block of margarine.

Line an 8x8 or 9x9 pan with tinfoil and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, add chopped Mars bars and margarine. Tammy's recipe calls for 1/2 cup. That is the whole block. I used 2/3 of the 1/2 cup block. I suck at math, so I will let you figure that out.

Stir until melted over medium low heat. Mine has always kinda separated a little, but if you keep stirring, it becomes smooth. Add the cereal and stir till combined.

Dump the mixture into the tinfoil lined pan and press evenly with the back of the spoon.

In a small saucepan, add the chocolate chips and margarine. Melt over low heat. Tammy's recipe calls for 1/4 cup of margarine. I just used the remaining 1/3 of the 1/2 cup block I started with. I also used 1 1/4 cups of chips. You could probably do this in the microwave too, if you prefer.

Spread melted chocolate over the cereal mixture and refrigerate. Once they are hardened, remove the tinfoil from the pan and cut into squares.

They are absolutely tasty and they are like Lay's. Bet you can't eat just one!

One tip I have, don't be like me and use cheap chocolate chips. Mine tasted funny. Tammy's doesn't. Can never beat the original!