my kind of fest

Short and savory post!

Yesterday evening, with the most beautiful weather, we decided at the last minute to go to my new best festival EVER: PoutineFest!  Oh yeah, you read that right… a festival dedicated to my favorite food, POUTINE!

If you’re in the Ottawa region this weekend, and like poutine, then you have to visit Sparks Street.  Right in the heart of Ottawa, food trucks are lined up, waiting for you, and serving all sorts of poutine.  Brian picked me up after work and we drove downtown with the boys.  As soon as we arrived, we could smell all of that fried food!  I’m a cheap date, you know, since I don’t drink, but if you want to make me happy, buy me a poutine!

With so many choices to choose from, it was hard to decide which one to try.  Plus the boys were getting hungry, so we went for a food truck with a short line.  It turned out to be a really good decision, as it was delicious.

I had deep-fried-curds poutine… I wouldn’t say it was ‘good’, I’d describe it better as saying it was ‘life changing’!  OMG.  Brian had an onion ring poutine, which looked really good as well, but WTF… ketchup on a poutine?  Sometimes I just don’t understand him… oh well.

So we got our poutine from the Golden Fries truck.  The boys had some fries, Pogos and donuts.  Well, I might have had a few donuts as well!

Next time, I want to go with lots of people who can order all kinds of poutine and share.  Here’s some of the type of poutine you can find on Sparks Street this weekend:

-Cinco de Mayo Poutine

-Lobster Poutine

-Pad Thai Poutine

-Pulled Pork Poutine

-Bacon Cheeseburger Poutine

-Deep Fried Cauliflower Poutine

-mini donuts and more!

So if you have a bit of free time this weekend, it’s quick and fun.  Spring as arrived and finally we can spend some time outside; so why not spending it downtown Ottawa eating a poutine while sitting on the sidewalk (yeah, there’s not many option when it comes to sitting and enjoying your poutine… so we picked an open spot on the sidewalk and ate there).  Go have fun and eat an amazing poutine!  If you do, let me know which one you had and if it was worth it!

Have a great weekend!

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easter, we’re ready for you

I am so ready for the extra-long weekend that Easter brings!  We always have a jam-packed weekend, and this year if no different.  Shopping on Good Friday with Jojo, followed by a no-meat-family-dinner at Lulu’s with fish, omelets and poutine!  On Saturday we’re celebrating Easter at my Mom’s with a nice Prime Rib, and Sunday is our annual Chicken N’ Rib feast at Brian’s mom.

The boys are ready to have a few days off, and so am I.  They’re anxious for the Egg Hunt on Saturday and all the chocolate they’re about to eat this weekend (and so am I!)

So here’s a few pictures of a few dessert options for this weekend.  Easy, fun and delicious!  My boys love to bake with me, and they love all the icing colors and sprinkle; cupcake decorating is one of their favorite things to do in the kitchen!  Must be because they get to eat so much sugar while doing it!

As much as I love chocolate, I try to mix it up when it comes to the Easter Basket; and the boys already get so much chocolate from others at Easter.  I always get them summer stuff, like Crocs or shoes, pj’s, books or movies, and of course one candy.  I also try to make one for my husband, so I guess this year he knows what he’s having: Beau’s beer, t-shirt and chocolate!  Maybe I should post here what I want in my basket?!!

So, what’s your favorite Easter tradition?  And your favorite Easter treat?

Remember to have fun this weekend, to spend time with your family, and to drive safe.  Happy Easter everyone!

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keep calm and eat maple taffy

They’re a tiny little gap I enjoy every year between winter and spring; and it’s called Sugar Shack time!  So every year, since as far as I can remember, I went to the Sugar Shack, always on a Saturday night, and always with family and friends, to enjoy some of the finest maple syrup you can find!

I know most of you go yearly, but I’m pretty sure that some of mylemondroplife followers have no clue what I’m talking about!  So, at the end of winter, the maple trees release some maple sap.  You collect and boil it.  It then thicker and becomes something marvelous: Maple Syrup!  It’s basically Buddy the Elf’s dream come true from the Christmas movie ‘Elf’!

So two weeks ago we met up with my family at one of our favorite Sugar Shack and tried to eat as much as possible. Such an easy task!  Before we ate, we enjoyed a nice horse wagon ride in a maple tree forest.  The boys learned all about the syrup and they counted way too many cans.  I love wagon rides, I wish they would last longer.

This year, we got to meet my cousin’s so adorable brand new daughter Evely and had time to chat up with some relatives we hadn’t seen in a while!  We also ate copious amount of ‘bajoues’, or pork jowls!  These are definitely Brian’s favorite.  I always end up bringing some in my purse for him to eat later.  On top of that, there’s also omelet, ham, bacon, potatoes, sausages, and various pickled jars.  It doesn’t seem sooo special when you say it like that, but the difference it that at the Sugar Shack you don’t just eat all that food; you eat all that food with maple syrup poured on top of it and all over your plate!

I have a tip for you.  The Sugar Shack has so many deserts, but you should always go for the pancake AND sugar pie.  Combined them together and you’ll have the best desert ever!!!  All you need to do is scrap off some of the sugar filling from the pie and spread it on the pancakes!  To die for!

The boys had been great up until it was time to taste the maple taffy.  Then it was all downhill from there, with them doing things they would have never even thought of doing with a normal level of sugar!  So we decided to go burn off some of that energy at grandma’s!

Usually, during the March break, I do maple taffy at home.  We all love it.  The boys love to watch the sugar boiling and becoming syrup; and then we spread it on snow and enjoy.  There’s always a fight for who gets the first piece, but it’s not too long before everybody’s full of sugar and happy anyway!

Hope you’ll get a chance to visit a Sugar Shack this year.  And if you do, don’t forget what I told you about the desert!  You’ll think of me and want to thank me as soon as you take that first bite of that pancake!

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easter edible art

I would have loved this activity as a child.  I saw the ad online two weeks ago and within minutes I had recruited my cousins for an afternoon of fun with our kids.  Two words and they we’re hooked; Chocolats Favoris!

Two amazing things put together: Easter and Chocolats Favoris… marketing GENIUS.  Either online or in store, you can pick out everything you need for this great Easter activity.

Véro picked out the chocolate for everyone in advance, but it would be even more fun to bring your kids to the store and let them pick out their favorite one, and of course, have an ice cream cone while you’re there!  The prices were very reasonable, with an average of 12$-15$ per child.  An outing, a craft and delicious chocolates!  A win for everyone.  Once you have chosen your favorite mold, you pick out a chocolate color palette and voilà, you’re ready to go!

I would recommend a disposable tablecloth, which we didn’t use!  We ended up scrapping off chocolate off my table for ever!

We melted the color palettes in escargot dishes, best idea, because in a plate I would think that the colors would run together…  Within 5 minutes, the 5 kids were busy painting.  We thought it would last two minutes, but surprisingly, they were entertained for over 25 minutes.  They loved it!

I loved that each kids had their own chocolate palette and did whatever they wanted with it.  They were mixing the colors as they felt; you can really see their personality in their work!  Some were really expressive while painting!

It dries really quickly, so you can pile-up paint on paint on paint without ending up with the same color all over your chocolate.  But of course, by the end, there was chocolate paint everywhere.  Liam loved it so much he was licking the table while Jacob and Logan were eating the paintbrushes!  All resisted eating their work of art.  This activity was even more successful than expected.

I’m probably going to do this again before Easter, since it was such a great creative activity (but next time I’m getting one for myself for sure!).  My favorite masterpiece was Logan’s!  It almost looked like a piece of art I would buy.  Finally, the artsy side of my boys is coming out!

I’m pretty sure these will fly of the shelves of Chocolats Favoris stores.  So grab one and run!  All these pretty colors sure made me ready for Spring; so be ready to be flooded with Easter and Spring posts in the next little while.  Cause although I just spent an amazing March break at the cottage with Brian and the boys, tubing and snowshoeing with cold nights and fireplace, I can say that I’m pretty much done with winter for this year and ready for Spring… and so will you once you do this fun family activity!

 

 

 

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pasta carbonara

ALERT pasta lovers, this Spaghetti Carbonara recipe will change your life!  OMG… new recipe that I found this week that you have to make and eat, like, right now!!!

Easy, fast and sooo delicious.

I’ve never craved for that type of dish before… I love pastas, like, I could eat pasta all the time, but I’m not really into creamy white sauce with my pasta… never really made or ordered something like that before.  But God was I missing on something.  Simply to die for.  I feel like I’m overselling it… but can’t see how you’d be disappointed!

The boys ate a big plate and then asked for more ‘Spaghetti à la crème’.  It was a winner for myself and the entire family.  This recipe will now be in our meal rotation.

I based my recipe on a Jamie Oliver online recipe.  He uses pancetta, I used bacon and added cream.

So easy, you can do all the prep while the pasta is cooking.  Within less than 15 minutes you have an amazing week night meal.

What you need:

3 egg yolks

5 slices of bacon

1 box of spaghetti

1 garlic clove

1/2 cup of 35% cream

salt and pepper

How to:

In a large pot, cook spaghetti in salted water until al dente.

Meanwhile, in a large pan, cook the bacon slices until crispy, once cooked, remove the slices and cut in small pieces.  Leave the bacon grease in the pan and crush the garlic and let it flavor the bacon fat.  You should have about 2 Tbs of fat, if more, remove from pan.

In a bowl, mix the egg yolks, Parmesan cheese, pepper and cream.

Once the pasta is ready, keep 1/2 cup of cooking water and drain the pasta.  Quickly place the pasta in the pan, adding the cooking water, bacon and the egg mix.  Mix well and serve immediately.  Serve with more Parmesan cheese and freshly cracked pepper.

I served this dish with a light arugula salad with a lemon and olive oil.

This is now a favorite of mine.  Hope it becomes one of yours too!

Enjoy!

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st-patty’s roots and recipe

Since the day I met him, Brian has been telling me -and reminding me over and over every chance he gets- that he’s Irish… so every time he does I make fun of him saying he’s not anymore Irish than I am, and every time he goes on a rant about how his grandpa Woodbury’s family came from Ireland, and on, and on…

I’d say that the only Irish thing about my husband is that he loves beer and own an old Ireland t-shirt that he wears once a year!  So every year I play along comes March 17th and I let him believe he’s Irish as much as he wants.  This year, for St-Patty’s day, I’m making him some AMAZING onion soup with some beer from his favorite brewery, Beau’s.  (I’ve already tried it before, so that’s why I know it’s going to be amazing!).  Most of you from the Ottawa region should know Beau’s by now, but for some that live further, Beau’s is a local all-natural brewery that seems to be making almost everything right, including, or especially, craft beer!

So I made this soup in the fall and it was a huge hit.  This time I’m trying it with the Strong Patrick, their special St-Patty’s Day brew!

Here’s the recipe, I just changed the kind of beer I used.  You may use your favorite and I’m pretty sure it will taste great.  The key for me is not really which beer I use but the amount of cheese on top!

What you need:

3 tablespoon of butter

6 cups of thinly sliced yellow onions

1 tablespoon of sugar

1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar

2 cloves of garlic, minced

3 tablespoon of flour

2 cups of Beau’s Strong Patrick

5 cups of chicken stock

thyme, to taste

salt a pepper

slice bread

cheese, lots of cheese (I used Swiss and Mozzarella)

How to:

Melt the butter and add the onions on high.

Cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add sugar, vinegar, thyme, salt and pepper.  Then add the flour, mix well, for 2-3 minutes.

Add the beer and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the broth and let simmer for 30 minutes.

Prepare bowls, bread and cheese.

Fill up the bowls, add the toasted bread and cheese.

Broil for a few minutes.

You got to love onion soup this time of year!

So this year, whether your Irish or not-so-Irish, I’d say that for St-Patty’s day you make this soup and you enjoy it while pretending to be!  And then you enjoy a Strong Patrick while wearing your Ireland t-shirt that’s now a little bit too tight for you.  I guess I’ll know now if my so-called Irish husband reads my blog!

Sláinte, and bon appétit!

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all you need is…ice cream

All you need is love… and a few sweet snacks!

I had a few things planned for this weekend but with yesterday’s blizzard, some of our plans fell through.

On Saturday, we finished our valentine’s day cards and made some Red Velvet Whoopie Pie.  FAIL.  Not everything we do is a success.  They looked sooo good, but the taste was very disappointing.  The texture was actually like baked play-doh, and it tasted as bad as it could have been with a LOT of sugar!

So we tried another new recipe while watching the snow storm yesterday.  Homemade ice cream sandwich… and we’ve got a WINNER!  This one will be hard to beat.  And it was easy to make, quick, and delicious.  I’m a big fan of ice cream sandwich, but these were something else, and homemade, which obviously add to the fun!  Light, moist and delicious cookie with strawberry ice cream… AMAZING!

I can foresee myself doing this recipe many times next summer for everyone to enjoy at our pool parties, and of course for myself as well!  I used a heart-shaped cookie cutter… perfect snack size… and perfect for the occasion!

I used my guru Martha Stewart recipe for the cookie.

what you need:

1/2 cup melted butter

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup flour

1/4 cup cocoa powder

how to:

Preheat oven at 350.  Butter a jelly-roll pan and cover with parchment paper.

Whisk together the melted butter and sugar in a large bowl.  Add the egg, vanilla and salt and mix.  Add the flour and coco powder and mix well.  Spread the mix on the parchment paper.  The mixture is thick, you will need to spread it out evenly.

Bake in the oven for about 12 minutes.  Once it’s baked, let it cool for 5 minutes, then cut hearts with the cookie cutter.  Take out the ice cream. Let the cookies cool for another 5 minutes.  Then add a dollop of your favorite ice cream and add another cookie on top.  Press gently.  Once they’re all done, place the baking sheet with the sandwiches in the freezer for one hour.

It won’t take an hour to eat, so grab one as fast as you can and ENJOY!

This recipe gave me 12 sandwiches.  I guess you can have more if you don’t use the cookie cutters and do square ones; less waste.  But they are so much more fun to eat when they’re made of your favorite shapes!

Hope you have a great Valentine’s Day.

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super bowl worthy pretzels

 

Beside beers and wings, I’d say that pretzels are now pretty high on my list of must have for the Super Bowl.  Homemade pretzels, of course!  I found this recipe online, adjusted it, and now I’m telling you, you’ll never crave for ANY OTHER PRETZELS once you’ve tried these ones.  This is one AMAZING recipe.

I may not be a huge football fan, but I love the Super Bowl!  I have not missed one since I’ve been 8, or so.  I remember, during my first year of university, we threw a huge party in our apartment… we lived in a duplex, and we had installed 3 TV’s in our living room, with so much junk food, it was crazy!  I, myself, had made more than 200 wings.  I’d say we were close to 50.  Everybody came.  People were eating in the stairs, on side tables, on desk, on the floor… we couldn’t walk, people everywhere!  It was great.

Of course, the best halftime show still belongs to the King of Pop.  Nobody as never came close to beating Michael Jackson XXVII show.  But I’m crossing my fingers Lady Gaga will be just as good!

So if you’re watching the game (Go Pats/Go Brady) or even just watching the halftime show, what you NEED is some of these Pretzels.  I guarantee you will love them and your guests too!

What you need:

1 1\2 cups warm water

2 tbs brown sugar

1 package active dry yeast

1\4 cup melted butter

2 tsp kosher salt

4 1\2 cups flour

vegetable oil

2 liters of water

1\2 cup baking soda

1 egg yolk

sea salt

How to:

In you stand mixer with the hook attachment, add the warm water, sugar, butter and yeast.  Mix and set aside for 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, mix the salt and flour and add to the yeast.  Mix on low for 5 minutes.  If the dough is too wet, add a bit more flour, one tablespoon at a time.  Remove the dough and knead for 2 minutes.  Place the dough in a greased bowl (vegetable oil), cover with a damp cloth.  Place the bowl in a warm place (I preheat my oven at 170, then turn it off and place the covered bowl in there for about an hour.  The dough should be soft and have doubled in size.

Once the dough is ready, throw a bit of flour on the counter and roll out the dough to form a rectangle.  I cut long strips with my pizza cutter.  Make a pretzel shape, knot or strips, place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and let rise for another 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, boil the water in a large saucepan.  Once it boil, add the baking soda.  Put 3 or 4 pretzels at a time for 30 seconds.  Do this for all the pretzels and put them back on the baking sheet.  Mix the egg yolk with a bit of water and egg wash the top of the pretzels.  Sprinkle with sea salt.  Bake at 425 for 12-15minutes.

I serve my pretzels with sriracha aioli or mustard.  Eat on the same day… but that shouldn’t be a problem!

So who’s coming over on Sunday?  Everyone’s invited.  As long as you cheer for our team!

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pink cinnamon buns…of course

Bring me all the pink stuff!!!  Valentine’s Day is around the corner and everywhere I look… pink heart-shaped everything are calling my name!

Of course I’ve already decorated my house for Valentine’s Day.  Well, I like to decorate for every occasion.  So for the next few weeks, my house and my blog will be flooded with pink!

Last weekend I made pink cinnamon buns, and like he always do when he loves something, Logan said ‘dell-licious’ after his first bite.

I’m sharing the recipe from www.sprinklesomesugar.com but you can use your own favorite recipe and just add some pink food coloring!

What you need:

Dough

-1 packet of active dry yeast

-1 cup of warm milk

-2/3 cup of sugar

-1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

-2 eggs lightly beaten

-1 egg yolk, lightly beaten

-4 1/2 cups of flour

Filling

-1/2 cup unsalted butter

-1 1/4 cups brown sugar

-2 tablespoon cinnamon

Frosting

-4oz. cream cheese, at room temperature

-1/4 cup unsalted butter

-1 cup icing sugar

How to:

In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the dough hook.  Add yeast, warm milk and 1 tbs of sugar.  Stir and set aside for 10 minutes.  Add the rest of sugar, melted butter and beaten eggs until combined.  Add 3 cups of flour and then add one tablespoon at a time until you have a workable dough.  The dough should be sticky, do not add to much flour.  Mix for 5 minutes.  Place the dough in a greased bowl in a dry place to rise.  For about one hour.

While the dough is rising, mix the ingredients for the filling.  Once the dough is ready, place it on a floured counter and roll it out to form a rectangle.  Smear the butter mixture on the dough, and then roll the dough.  I made heart shaped buns by rolling both side until they meet in the middle.  Cut and place in a baking pan, creating hearts.  Allow the dough to rise again for 30 minutes.

In a 350 degree oven, bake the cinnamon buns for 25 minutes or until golden brown… or in this case, golden pink!

For the frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth with no lumps.  Add the icing sugar.

Spread the icing onto the warm buns!  Dell-licious!

Enjoy with your loved ones.

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3 resolutions and a recipe

Sadly, our Christmas break is over.  On monday morning, the three of us were back at school.  Bittersweet, because it’s fun to go back to our routine and see friends and coworkers, but it was sooo much fun to spend those last 2 weeks at home with the boys.  I’m now counting the days till our March break! (then I’ll start counting the days till our Summer break… I guess I can’t complain!)

So, 2017, did you make any resolutions?  Usually I don’t.  But I’ve decided that I should try to improve myself, so there is goes.

#1 Be more patient… my Mom and husband are probably overjoyed by this first resolution.  I’m not always very patient, I like things my way and I like order; and I have two beautiful boys who are testing my patience daily.  So I want to try to make more time for them, listen to them and be more present, and when it won’t go the way I want it to go, I’ll try to take a breath and go forward without necessarily making them do it or act the way I want.  So to be more patient, flexible, agile and understanding with them.  We’ll see how it goes!!!

#2 Be more healthy.  Last year, I ran my first 10k race.  I was really proud of myself.  I trained hard and I did it.  After that, I kept running once or twice a week but with no other race in mind.  Unless you count the Disney Run… which is my dream race, and yes I’m planning on doing it soon, but right now there’s nothing ahead that I have to train for… and yeah, sometimes it’s hard to get motivated to go out and run just for fun… well that was in 2016… cause in 2017 I’d like to always have a race scheduled ahead, a goal, so I have a reason to go out and run!  So I want to register for the Ottawa 10k again but improve my time.  I also want to eat more healthy and make better nutritious choices for my family.  Less restaurant, fast food and treats.  More fruits and veggies, more homemade meals and plan more our weekly meals.  It’s 2017, it’s a new year, and I need to kill it with #2.

#3 Be more organized.  Organize our home, cupboards and pantries, closets, cars, basement, backyard and GARAGE.  Being more organized in my mind, setting goals and getting there.

All of these are doable.  I’ve been trying to become that better version of myself for years now, but in 2017, I will.  Never too late to change, and I feel like it’s time to stop trying or wishing for better and to just do it.

Do you take any resolutions?  I’d like to know what they are!  Inspire me! (for next year thought, as I have enough already for 2017!!!)

So for today, I’m leaving you with a restaurant worthy ham and cheese panini.

Easily the best sandwich I ever made, fresh, explosion of flavour and lots of cheese.  You can never have too much cheese, right?  Yes, I know what my resolution #2 is… but what do you want me to do with all that cheese I bought in 2016, it won’t eat itself, so I will!

Ham and Cheese Panini

Heat up your panini grill or a skillet.

Butter some rye bread.

Mix a tablespoon of Dijon mustard with a tablespoon of maple syrup.  Spread on the rye bread.

Add some slice aged cheddar cheese, shaved black forest ham, a few thinly sliced Granny Smith apple slices and some more CHEESE.

Place on the panini grill until the cheese is melted and the bread is golden brown.

Cut in half and serve with a lemon and oil arugula salad.

Enjoy!

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