be still my cheesecake

Hello long weekend, we’ve been waiting for you!  Although we pretty much stayed home -to relax- all weekend long, long weekends are just the best!  The boys just love spending an extra day with Brian at home.  We went for ice cream with our neighbors, had Thai food take-out, lounged in our pj’s for hours and then had diner at my in-law’s camping site.  On Saturday I bake some cakes and then made a CHEESECAKE… my favorite dessert EVER!  Beside my kids, who doesn’t love a good cheesecake?  If you don’t, well I’m sorry, but we just can’t be friends!!!  I’m sharing my go-to, no bake, easy, to die for cheesecake recipe.

A few years ago, I visited Quebec City with my mom for a few days and during a stroll near Chateau Frontenac, we found the most charming bistro.  And then I saw the most gorgeous looking cheesecake of my life.  And it was the best too!  Fluffy, airy, soft, just like how I imagine eating a cloud would feel like.  Since then, I’ve been on a mission to recreate that said cake.  Pretty sure I’m close now.  Give it a try and let me know what you think.  Here it goes!

What you need:

2 pkg cream cheese light, room temperature

1\2 cup sugar + 3 TBS

1 1/2 tub Cool Whip, thawed

1/2 cup melted butter

1 1/2 cup graham cookie crumbs

How to:

Using a 9 inches spring form pan, place the graham crumbs, 3 TBS of sugar and the melted butter.  Mix until all the crumbs are wet.  Spread evenly the mixture on the bottom of the pan to create and even layer.

With your electric mixer, mix the cream cheese and sugar, until soft and creamy, with no lumps.  Scrape the side of the bowl and mix again for a minute on high.  This will fluff the cheese mixture.  Add the Cool Whip, mix on MED speed for 2 minutes.  Spread the fluffy mix onto the crumbs crust.  Fill the pan and you’re almost done.  Put plastic wrap to cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving.  Remove the side of the spring form pan.  Ready, set, eat!

This cake is amazing with any toppings.  I’ve used our freshly picked blueberries, made a coulis and served it warm on top of the cheesecake.  Also great with homemade warm caramel or with maple syrup and crumble maple leaf cookies.  My favorite topping is obviously raspberries, but any topping on this cheesecake will give you an awesome desert and will make you a happy; well it works for me!

Make it now and enjoy!

 

 

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take me out to the blueberry field

With an already jam packed weekend ahead, I decided that blueberry picking was in order on this beautiful Friday morning.

We used to live on the outskirt of our city, where we literally lived 3 minutes walking-distance away from a blueberry farm. It’s called Canaan Blueberries.  About 25 minutes from Ottawa. It’s a family operated berry farm on a few acre of beautiful land.  Once you enter the fields, you feel secluded from the world.  It’s quiet, and so delicious!

When we lived there, I use to take the boys in the stroller, park them in the field, and give them berries while I did the picking.  This year, they were ready to have own basket to fill, which they both dropped on the ground at one point; hence a small meltdown, oh well, we lived.

It was such a gorgeous day for berry picking.  We filled a basket for us and one for their Papi (AKA Frank!).  It took us just a little less than an hour, but you can easily fill yours in 20 minutes, if you can avoid distractions and meltdowns!!!  We will for sure go back next week.

Once we got home, we made some blueberry muffins and LEMONADE!  Oh, yes… blueberry lemonade.  And I have the recipe for you.

What you need:

SYRUP:

1 cup blueberries (fresh is best)

1\2 cup sugar

1\2 cup water

DRINK:

3 TBS lemon juice

3 TBS blueberry syrup

1 cup sprite or 7up

ice

How to:

Place water, sugar and blueberries in a saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes.  Remove from the stove and let it cool for 5 minutes.

I made this drink by the glass, but you could easily adjust the quantities for a pitcher.

In a large glass, place ice, lemon juice, blueberry syrup and top off with sprite.  Add a lemon slice, fresh blueberries and fresh mint to garnish.  This version is non-alcoholic, but add gin and you’ve got a party!

You will have plenty of the blueberry syrup… for about 10 drinks.  Store the leftover in the fridge and you can warm it up the next morning for your toast.  You’re welcome!

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homemade beaver tails, eh?

Beaver Tails… it doesn’t get more Canadian than this!  If you like them as much as I do, well I’ve got you covered.  I’ve made my first batch over Canada Day weekend and we’ve been craving them ever since.  Honestly, it’s kind of easy to do, you just need a bit of time to do it.  Topping possibilities are endless… and that’s really exciting!  So take some time this weekend and try them!

What you need:

1\2 cup warm water

2 packs of active dry yeast

1 tablespoon sugar

1 cup warm milk

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 eggs

1\2 cup sugar

2 cups whole wheat flour

3 cups regular flour

1\3 cup vegetable oil

vegetable oil for frying

How to:

I always use my Kitchen Aid mixer with the hook attachment when making dough.  In the mixing bowl, add water, yeast and 1 tablespoon of sugar.  Let rest for a few minutes, until foamy.  Pour in the milk, sugar, vanilla, eggs, oil and salt.  Mix well with the hook.  Add in batches, the flour.  Mix until nothing sticks to the side of the bowl.

Use another bowl and cover with a bit an oil.  Take the dough from the mixer, knead a minute on a floured surface, then place in the oiled bowl. (I always preheat my oven at 175 and then turn it off and place the dough in, with a damp cloth on top).  Let rise until it doubled in size, between 45 minutes to an hour.

On a floured surface again, knead the dough gently and then roll it out in a rectangle with a rolling pin.  With a pizza cutter, slice the dough in small rectangle about the size of your hand.  Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Cover while you prepare the rest.

Heat oil in a large pot.  You should have 4-5 inches of oil in the bottom of your pan.  One piece of dough at the time, stretch and shape in an oval or like a Beaver Tail.  Gently place in hot oil and fry until golden on both side, turning once.  Take it out, place it on a paper towel and repeat with all the dough.

I suggest doing this recipe with an helper (adult).  Do not let the kids play around you while you do this.  They will have plenty of time to have fun while topping their Beaver Tails later on!  As for my toppings… well I have a thing for Nutella, so obviously mine was chocolate with powdered sugar.  The boys had the classic cinnamon sugar (brush melted butter and mix 1 teaspoon of cinnamon with 1 cup of sugar).  Dip the buttered tail in the sugar and voila!  I’d say that maple butter, or jam or Dulce de Leche from Chocolats Favoris would also be pretty delicious.

You could easily divide this recipe.  It makes around 20 pieces of dough depending on the size of your Beaver Tails.  You can store them, without toppings, in an airtight container for a few days on the counter.

This is a great recipe for a party, where you could have a cute topping bar and where everyone could customize their own Beaver Tail!

So try this, it’s a winner!  Let me know about your favorite toppings, as I’d like to try them all!  Enjoy!

 

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bry’s sangria

Heeeello long weekend!  Well you know what? Although I’m off work for the next two months, summer long weekends are still simply the best!!!  So who’s ready to celebrate Canada 150th anniversary?  Got any plans this weekend?  Well if you do, you should definitely add this recipe to your drink diet on Canada Day.  And if you don’t, well don’t worry, any day of the summer months is a perfect day for my sangria.  Well, I should say Bry’s sangria!  It’s one for the books, apparently!  You will be making this every summer weekend, I swear.

It’s great anywhere, as long as it’s served on ice; but it’s definitely better when drank by the beach, in the pool or sitting on the patio!  For myself, I prefer it with a lots of ice and a side of fresh guacamole.

So it all started two years ago while on a road trip to Toronto and the Niagara region.  Can’t remember the restaurant we stopped at, but we stayed awhile ’cause the sangria was sooo good, according to my sister-in-law and Brian.  The waitress was the best and after many pitchers, she wrote down their sangria recipe for us on our bill (which Brian then modified to his taste, obviously adding more booze to it!)…

On any given summer weekend, you can surely find a double pitcher of this, waiting to be served to our guests.  Brian has been working on the recipe for a while, and he now thinks we have a winner.  So, stock up on the ingredients and make this on the next sunny day… hopefully sooner than later!

Bry’s Sangria

What you need:

1 bottle of white wine (we use Bodacious White for the high level of sugar)

4 oz. of Malibu Rum

3 oz. of Triple Sec or Cointreau

2 oz. of your favorite Rum

1 cup of pineapple juice

3 cups of raspberry lemonade

top with sprite

1 or 2 tablespoons of sugar (depending on the amount of sugar in the white wine)

fruits: lemon, lime, orange, raspberry and strawberry

How to:

Slice your fruits and squeeze some of the juice in the pitcher.  Add the sugar with the fruits in the pitcher.  Add all the liqueur and juices.  Stir.  Leave in the fridge for about an hour or two before serving.  Once cooled and ready to be served, add the ice, the sprite and mix well.  Serve over ice with some of the fruits.

Beware, two can EASILY get tipsy with only one pitcher.  So enjoy responsibly and have fun on this special day.  Happy Canada Day all!!!

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strawberry jam forever

It’s official, we’re on vacation.  And what did I do on my first day of vacation?  Wake up super early and went strawberry picking.  Dragged the boys, as I thought they would like it, but within 5 minutes they were already bored.  Turns out they really like jam but not as much working for it and picking up berries.

So I woke one minute before my usual 6:10 am alarm.  Way to go.  Lounged with the boys and then got ready to visit Les Jardins Lamoureux in Hawkesbury.  Jojo, Lulu and my Mom tagged along.  Within one hour we had 7 huge baskets filled to the brim.  It was a gorgeous morning, perfect weather, but boy, picking strawberries is not easy!  I will now have much more appreciation for the berries that I will buy at the store!

Logan had a meltdown.  He picked about 11 berries before he called it quit.  So I decided to fill his basket for him, but as soon as I started putting some in the basket, he started balling.  You can’t touch his food; I should have known better!  Well, nothing like a 4 years old meltdown in the middle of a strawberry field.  He kept on saying ‘I only want 11’.  Oh well, too bad.  I filled the rest of it!

We came back home and took our first summer vacation nap.  Two glorious hours of sleep and then waking up to the smell of strawberries in the entire house.  Heaven.

I think we made 5 batches of jam in a 12 hour period.  The boys didn’t liked the strawberry picking, but making the jam, they loved it… with all the licking and the sticky fingers and the happy faces.

I used a Club House envelop.  The recipe is on the packets but I’m sharing anyway!

No Cook Strawberry Freezer Jam

What you need:

4 cups of strawberries

1 1/2 cups of sugar

Club House Freezer Jam packet

Glass jars

How to:

Wash jars.  Chop the strawberries and place in a large mixing bowl.  Add sugar and mix.  Let stand for 15 minutes.  Even though they say not to, I blended the berries.  I’m not a fan of chunky jam.  So at this point, I used a hand held mixer and blended the berries.  Sprinkle the gelling powder and mix well for 3 minutes.  Let stand for 5.  Stir again before pouring in the jars.  Seal tight.  Store in fridge for up to 6 weeks or in the freezer for a year.

So now I think we have more jam than what we’d probably be able to eat over the next 3 years… so if you’re in a jam, drop by our place and pick up a jar!

I know what’s for lunch today: Strawberry sandwiches.  Our fav!  Now, if only the warm weather would cooperate it would actually feel like a vacation and I could enjoy some freshly picked strawberry outside by the pool.

Have an awesome week mylemondroplife followers!

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hello pesto

Oh pasta!  How I love you.

Yeah, it’s clearly one of my weaknesses!

Not sure why I hadn’t done this before, but for the first time last summer I made homemade pesto.  Basil, oil and cheese.  What’s not to love!

So easy, everybody can, and should, make this recipe instead of buying premade from the store.  The boys call this recipe ‘spaghetti vert’, and we all can’t get enough!

Summer is here and I’m planning on planting so much basil plants that my yard will smell Italian!

Meanwhile, buy your basil at your grocery shop and pesto away!

What you need:

1 cup of packed basil

3/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

1/4 pine nuts

2 gloves of garlic

salt and pepper

How to:

You need a food processor or a magic bullet type of thing.  Roast the pine nuts, watch them, they burn quickly and at that price, you don’t want to waste them!  Place everything the food processor and pulse.  It’s that easy!

I serve with pasta and steak on the side, but you can serve it over chicken, or with bread and charcuterie.  I would say it stores well in an air tight container for a month or so in the fridge.  It taste just like ‘summer in a jar’, so go buy some basil and try this next weekend.

Enjoy!

 

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goat cheese pizza

And the sun is out!  Finally!!!  So, patio time now?  Oh well, I wish, but not for us… we still haven’t started painting our deck, so our time being outside and enjoying the sun will be quite short for now, or until that task is done; because at the moment our backyard is a mess… and we just don’t know where to start!

Anyway, I’ve made up this awesome, quick and delicious pizza/naan bread recipe last week and can’t wait to make it again, and again.  It takes a few minutes to make, all the ingredients are easy to find, and everybody loves it.  I didn’t follow any recipe, so you can change the goat cheese for whichever cheese you like most.  For me it’s not an easy task to decide which one to use… as I love all of them!  But goat cheese, on a pizza, it’s just sooo good!!!

Easy Goat Cheese Pizza Recipe

What you need:

-garlic naan bread

-fresh tomatoes

-olive oil

-goat cheese

-fresh pepper

-fresh basil

How to:

Heat the oven to 350.  Place the garlic naan bread (if you don’t have garlic naan, use regular naan and add fresh garlic to the olive oil) on a baking sheet and drizzle olive oil on it.  Slice the tomatoes and place on the naan.  Place chunks of goat cheese on top and sprinkle with freshly cracked pepper. Put in the oven for 15 minutes and then broil for a few minutes.  Keep an eye on it.  You don’t want to forget it in the oven!  Once the cheese starts to golden, take it out.  Dressed the pizza with some fresh basil and voilà!  Cut in pieces and eat it while in the pool or in between sangrias!

Enjoy this pizza this weekend and have fun!  You won’t regret making this.  Cheers!

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chipotle corn on the cob

Who doesn’t like corn?  I mean, aside from Logan, I don’t think I’ve ever met someone that doesn’t like corn on the cob!

I bought corn and I have to say that it was pretty good for not being in season.  I got a new recipe book last week called ‘Summer Table’, in which I found a great corn on the cob recipe for my Mexican week.  I might be clueless, but it required some Chipotle Adobo sauce, which I had never heard of before.  So I looked it up, and it’s actually smoked and dried jalapenos in a sweet tangy purée of tomato.  Sound delish right?  Well it was!

So again, very easy to prepare.  Remove the husk from the corn… I didn’t entirely removed it, I decided to tie it at the other end for prettier pictures!  Then pour the sauce on top of the corn and wrapped it up in foil, leaving the husk on the outside.  Here’s the recipe.

Chipotle Corn on the Cob

What you need:

12 corns

1 can peppers in Adobo sauce (found at my local Food Basics)

1/4 melted butter

2 cloves of garlic minced

1 pinch of cumin

2 TBS tomato paste

2 TBS honey

2 TBS oilive oil

2 TBS sugar

Garnish:

cilantro

mozzarella

hot chili peppers

How to:

Preheat the BBQ at 400.  Remove the husk, leaving it hanging and tie it with twine.  Mix all the ingredients together and pour over the corn.  Wrap four corns with foil, leaving the husk on the outside.  Repeat for all corns.  If you put too many, turning them on the grill will be difficult.  Place the foil packets on the BBQ, placing the husk toward the outside of the BBQ, and close the lid.  Cooking time should be between 20-25 minutes, turning the corns once after 10-12 minutes.  Once they’re ready, remove from foil and let them roast on the grill for a few minutes.  But watch them carefully, if not you’ll end up with popcorn.  Remove from the grill and garnish with mozzarella cheese, cilantro and hot peppers.

The taste is very different than regular boiled corn on the cob, but delicious.  The smokiness from the Adobo plus the grill is amazing.  Perfect for BBQ nights and Cinco de Mayo!

So I’ve discovered a new recipe as well as a new sauce… will definitely try some chicken marinated with this spicy Adobo sauce soon!

I hope you will try some of these Mexican and spicy recipes I’ve share this week.  So far, all three would go great together!  And if you have your own favorite Mexican recipe, please share!

Salud.

 

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who wants some taquitos?

So for my second day of awesome Mexican recipe, I’ve tried a new one.   And I will definitely make it again and again.  Great to make in advance for some lunches; or you can cut it up and serve it as appetizers; or even serve for diner with some lime and cilantro rice.  Beware: lots of spiciness!  I used some jalapeno in a jar… and I thought they’d be less spicy, but boy oh boy, was I wrong!

Here the recipe for the awesome Creamy Jalapeno Taquitos!

What you need:

4 boneless chicken breast

8oz cream cheese

2 TBS of pickled jalapeno chopped

pinch of cumin

1 TBS garlic salt

salt and pepper

12 tortillas

tex-mex cheese

sour cream

How to:

Preheat oven at 400.  Place chicken, cream cheese, jalapeno, cumin, garlic salt, salt and pepper in a baking dish.  Mix well and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven, mix well again and replace for another 20 minutes.  Meanwhile, grate the cheese and set aside.  Remove the chicken and let cool for 5 minutes.  Shred the chicken mixture.  Prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Take a tortilla, place some cheese in the middle and add a few spoonful of the chicken mixture.  Roll the tortilla tightly and place on the parchment paper.  Repeat for all the tortillas.  Heat up (at 400) in the oven until golden.  Serve with some cream cheese, fresh jalapenos, lime wedge and cilantro.

I’ve stored the leftover taquitos in a Ziploc bag, ready to be heated up for lunch.  Once again, these are spicy, so beware.  If you’re not a fan, cut out half of the jalapenos or leave them out entirely.  But these are so good with the full 2 tbs of chopped pickled jalapeno!!!

Enjoy!

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pineapple salsa fit for a fiesta

 

Finally, May is here. That means I’m getting ready for Cinco de Mayo!  I love, love, love Mexican food, and finally (and hopefully), the boys do too!

It took a while but we now have Taco Tuesdays at our house.  And this next Friday we’re hosting a little Cinco de Mayo get-together where I’ll be cooking some of my favorite Mexican recipes.  So this week, my blog will be all about delicious, flavorful and spicy food!

At the top of my list: GUACAMOLE! This was the first recipe posted on my blog, which you can find here.  Always a crowed pleaser, so you should double the recipe if you ever try it for a small group of people. Try it, you’ll know what I mean!  Awesome with nachos, but also great with chicken, tacos, fajitas, toast and more!

So this week’s first recipe is a Pineapple Salsa.  It tastes so ‘fresh’, it will make you think of summer.  And I bet you’ll want to eat it all summer long as well.  Great with nachos, baked tortillas, or on top of some grilled chicken.  Great for pool parties, diners or just for a snack.  It’s really healthy, well, until you add the chips!!!

This recipe calls for an entire pineapple; you may think it’s a lot, but once you’ll start to eat it, you’ll wonder why you didn’t used two!

Pineapple Salsa

What you need:

1 pineapple, cut into small cubes

1\4 cup of fresh cilantro

1 jalapeno

1 small red onion

2 tbs. lime juice

1 small tomato

salt and pepper

How to:

Really easy.  Cut everything into small cubes.  Place in a bowl.  Add the chopped cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper.  Mix well.  Place in the fridge for about an hour before serving.  You can keep it in the fridge for at least 4-5 days in an airtight container.  Serve with nacho chips, or on top of anything really!

This week’s recipes are really spicy.  I will be using a lot of jalapenos, but if you’re not a fan of the heat, use less jalapeno or just leave them out of the recipe. My kids are not fans of the spiciness, maybe because I’ve had a bit too much of Frank’s Hot Sauce while pregnant (but I was craving for it), who knows!  So all these recipes can be kids friendly without the peppers/jalapenos.

So, if you are into Mexican food like myself, you should really try this recipe.  It’ll make you feel like you’re in Mexico enjoying the beautiful Mexican sun, while here in Ottawa it’s freezing and pouring rain outside all day long.

Oh, and don’t forget to let me know what you think of this awesome pineapple salsa me amigo.

Salud!

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