do you want to build a … lasagna

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I love finding new ways to make something. It just makes me happy… and these mini lasagna sure fit that mold!  You know, not everything I try is worth sharing on my blog… I don’t share when it ends up as a fail… but these are no fail, these are just as cute as they are good!!!

Easy, fun to do with the kids and delicious!  I found these baking dish at my local dollar store.  We love lasagna -who doesn’t love lasagna, come on!!!- but these mini-individual-snowman-lasagna are now a favorite of ours.

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Use your regular pasta sauce (next time I want to try pesto and chicken lasagna), cook the noodles and let cool.  Grate lots of cheese!  You can never have too much grated cheese!  Wrap one large noodle inside, around the baking dish, and then fill up the layers with pasta sauce, pasta, cheese, pasta sauce, pasta and more cheese!  I made the eyes and mouth with black olives and the snowman nose with a mini carrot!  So the veggies make it cute and also help with the guilt of eating pasta again!!!

Bake for 30 minutes at 350 and broil for a few minutes but don’t overdo it, you don’t want a sunburned snowman!

The next few months will be cold, so warm up with this cute diner and watch Frosty or Olaf.

 

 

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i’d rather be in stars hollow

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Exhausted this morning, but for an awesome reason…GILMORE GIRLS!

Yep, I’m one of those!

It was a religion for us…watched it with my Mom and my Mimi and when I was in university, on the phone with my Mom.  Always waiting for the ‘I want to live there’ moment, basically every episode.  I even chose my wedding dress because of that show.  When Lorelai found the most perfect Monique Lhuillier dress in a vintage shop after she got engaged, I knew this was going to be the dress I wanted to wear on my wedding day, even before I got engaged!  Searched it, found it, bought it without even trying it and wore it on my wedding day 7 years ago.  I would still choose that one.  Sadly for her, she never got to wear it as they never got married…

So finding out about a Gilmore Girls remake on Netflix was kind of a dream come true.  I knew there would be a viewing party, my Mom, some friends, pizza, nachos, licorice, donuts, chocolate cake, cupcakes, coffee, drinks, popcorn, more chocolate and pop-tarts!  So we planned it all: Friday night; 4 episodes; 6 hours.  We could do it!

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Made some GG famous faces cut-outs, with creepy eyes, some Luke’s coffee collar, a few prints, and the decor was done!  Also made a t-shirt from a Pinterest idea.  Easy, quick and ready to binge watch!

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SPOILER ALERT

You are warned…

Honestly, I was nervous.  What if I don’t like it, what if the story doesn’t go the way I want.  Well, we went through all kinds of emotions last night.  Four seasons, four chances to get it right!  They got older… well they had too, because I surely got older myself since the last time I watched the show!

Luke and Lorelai are still together, and they still make such a great couple.  Rory, well, she’s all over the place, trying to find herself, not exactly where I pictured her.  But I just love her; I love them all so much. Emily finally found herself, probably one of my favorite story line from last night.  We remembered Richard Gilmore, the good and the bad, but most of all, how much we miss him.

Paris is still stressed and paranoid. We saw Dean 3 minutes, Jess maybe 6, Sookie 2. We love Kurt, Babette, Carol King, Lane and Michel, who was awesome, and is truly a Gilmore family member.  Logan surprised me the most, loved how he loves Rory and wants to give her only the best.

Honestly, I didn’t see enough of the mom and daughter duo, felt like they both had so much on their own, and not as close as they were before. Rory writes a book about it all, about her relationship with her mother; and Rory’s book hurts, in a good way, and Lorelai found the perfect title for it: ‘Gilmore Girls’.  Like they say, full circle.

And then, at the end they threw a curve ball…how could they do this to me?  The only possible answer: another season!  Well, I hope, because you can’t say ‘Mom, I’m pregnant’ and then be done… just like that, after 6 hours, after 16 years… So I went to bed at 2am, wanting more… needing more!!!

But this morning, I realize this may be over for real, and I’m almost okay with it.  As last night was just perfect, and it just made me happy. I enjoyed every moments of it, I laughed, and I cried. The show was and still is awesome, with witty responses, clever lines, and of course, Paul Anka! I could have probably done without the 20 minutes Stars Hollow musical -except that I did love the Waterloo song, just like in Mamma Mia!- but I couldn’t have done it without the part where Lorelai finally gets…

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snow, pj’s and an awesome hot cocoa recipe

Christmas PJ'SWell we got our first beautiful snow storm today, so I guess I can start with my holiday posts!

There’s nothing better than watching snow falling, listening to Christmas music, in your pj’s, close to a fire with awesome hot cocoa!

You already know I have a thing for matching pajamas, and this time, as a bonus, I even found the most awesome hats to go with them! I have to control myself, if not they’d be wearing them  everyday until Christmas!  Festive pj’s are a SERIOUS addiction of mine!

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I’ve got an amazing hot chocolate recipe for tonight, tomorrow or anytime during this great season that is upon us!  I even got the cutest little snowman marshmallow from Chapters!  This hot cocoa recipe is a rich, thick and delicious one. You may add some whipped cream and crushed candy cane for added deliciousness!

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What you need:

6 oz. of Chocolats Favoris milk chocolate (or Lindt or you favorite chocolate)

1 1\2 cups of 2% milk

2 tablespoons of cocoa powder

2 tablespoons of sugar

2 tablespoons of corn starch

How to:

Melt chocolate with 3 tbs of milk on medium heat.

Once melted, add the rest of the milk, cocoa powder, sugar and warm up without boiling.

Mix the corn starch with 2 tbs of the milk in a small bowl until all the lumps have disappeared.  If you don’t like thick hot chocolate, skip this step.  It will still taste amazing!

Add the corn starch mix to the melted milk/chocolate concoction on the stove and keep on simmering until thick.

Once its coating a wooden spoon, it is ready!

Pour in your favorite Christmas cups, garnish and enjoy with the people you love most in your pj’s!

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Hot cocoa

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california dreamin’

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I remember, years ago, dreaming about going to Hollywood with my friend Annick to visit the land of our all-time favorite movie, Pretty Woman, renting a convertible and cruising down Rodeo Drive!  Well, sadly it never happened, but at the same time, Thank God we never went, because after spending a week there, let me tell you one thing: what a freaking mess it is to drive in LA!!!

So, we decided to travel to California and Las Vegas back in January.  I love planning trips, the excitement, the dreams and all the things you will do!  I never imagined LA was going to be this BIG!  We had a great flight, the boys were awesome; they just love going on a plane. They were so quiet, and happy, and relax, and sleepy.  Don’t worry, I did not exaggerated on the GRAVOL, I just followed their Doctor’s recommendation, or course!

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So we arrived in LA, all excited, ready for our big trip.  Once Brian got our minivan keys, we were ready for our driving journey!  My mom had rented a AirBNB for the week near Venice Beach, so that’s where we drove first.  We had guacamole and drinks, talked about our flight, about LA, and then we left to explore the city!  First stop: Venice Beach.  The beach was just gorgeous, with water for miles, beautiful sand, and a perfect gleaming sun.  We walked on the beach and Logan face planted the moment he started running for the Ocean!  It was hilarious!  They had a great time finding the smallest of seashells and just being pushed by the waves.  We should’ve spent more time at the beach on that first day, but we thought we would have time to come back; which we didn’t.  Next we explored the Venice Beach Boardwalk, an experience in itself.  Let’s be honest here, Venice Beach is not what I expected… let say there’s nothing glamorous about that place.  It was first on my list and now it may be last if we ever go back to LA.  We had snacks and walk for a few miles and then we started to get jet lag.  We had seen enough, so we drove to Anaheim, where we were actually staying.

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The boys fell asleep within 30 seconds, Jojo within 10 minutes, and we made it to Anaheim in no less than almost 2 hours with the never ending traffic.  We found our room, we unpacked, we freshened up, and with a second wind, we were now headed to Downtown Disney for a great diner at Napoli’s and a very late night on the town!  We had been up for almost 24 hours by the time we went to bed that night.  But after a short night of sleep, we spent the day at Disneyland.  One of my favorite place on earth.  When can I go back?

On Saturday, we had the chance to attend the most beautiful wedding ever.  Betsy and Andrew got married in LA.  The church was beautiful and the venue was out of this world.  We will never experience anything like this ever again.

Of course we had a few bumps on our way to the church!  We had an hour drive to the wedding, and as always, we were tight on time.  The boys were loud and agitated all morning long, but luckily for us, we had a dvd player in our rented minivan and the boys were really into that new movie we had bought that morning: Star Wars Lego, so we didn’t hear them for the first 45 minutes.  The last 15 was completely different thought.  Liam started to feel sick, while on the highway, right before our exit: ‘maman, I think I’m going to be sick’… Brian just said ‘F***ck…’ and looked at me in despair, knowing what was coming.  We were in our wedding attire, the boys were in their wedding attire, we had no wipes, no water, 2 pj’s and one plastic bag from Target because of that Star Wars dvd we had bought earlier that day!  So yeah, well said, f*ck

I got out of the passenger’s seat, unbuckled Liam, brought him in the back seat, I sat on the floor, my dress gathered around my waist, taking him out of his clothes as he was now so pale… and then it came all out… most of it in that Target plastic bag, all of this while driving at over 75 mph!  It was a nightmare.  I took one of the pj’s and wiped him with it!  Thank God we were only minutes away.  So we made it to the church, got out of the minivan, found a wedding guest who was nice enough to give me a bottle of water, cleaned him up, and dressed him up.  In no time he was top shape and we were ready, with even 5 minutes to spare before the wedding!  It was such a beautiful ceremony.

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Before going to the reception venue, we had an hour or so to burn, but I had a plan.  An In-N-Out plan!  So Logan and I got ourselves crazy good burgers while I took one of my favorite picture of the year!  Boy I could use one of these right now!  In-N-Out burgers are the best.

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We ended up in Santa Clara and drove by the ocean, until it was time to climb up that mountain to get to the reception.  That’s when I found my new fear of heights!  Ouff… we had to stop at least 5 times while driving there, as I had to put my feet of the pavement and take a few breaths.  But once we got there, it was paradise.  Felt like a movie.  Wedding out of dreams, at the Blackberry Creek Farm, where California meets Italy.  The food, the flowers, the dishes, the sky.   The bride and groom were gorgeous.  We dined under the lights in a valley surrounded by big trees.  All the details were thought of.  The boys played in a tree house, with a chandelier inside… my kind of playhouse!  And my kind of wedding!  In the end, we had such a fabulous time.  Thanks again for having us!  This place was just perfect: http://www.kellygulch.com/

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On Sunday morning we drove to Beverly Hills.  We snapped lots of pictures of boutiques, street signs and famous places.  I finally drove down Rodeo Drive (not in a convertible thought, but in our nice minivan!).  Then we visited Griffith Park and Observatory to see the Hollywood sign.  That new fear of heights reached another level that day while driving up there, and I was not able to enjoy the view from atop the mountain.  So we drove back fast enough to sea level, where I’m very comfortable!

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We made our way to Santa Monica Pier.  Wow.  The sky was clear, the sun was bright, it was so crowded, with music and people everywhere, yet, at the end of the pier, everything seemed to be so calm, and so peaceful.  This was Brian’s favorite moment of the trip, he seemed so happy to be there.  I have tears thinking about that moment  we spent over there, just staring at the never ending ocean.  It’s like we were alone in the world, it was just breathtaking.ca15

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We then played a few arcade games, won a few Shopkins for the boys, and watched a few performers along the way.  The beach was too crowded… we tried to swim, the boys wanted to go in the ocean again, but the waves were too strong.  We just stayed there for a few minutes and then packed up our stuff with a few pounds of sands in our swimsuits and we were on our way back to Anaheim.

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We had diner at The Cheesecake Factory… it’s good thing we don’t have one of those here…I would live there.  DELICIOUS food, and those cheesecake, huh… just kill me now!!!  No let me eat my cheesecake first, then kill me!

Monday was our last day in California.  We went to Disney California Adventure.  You can read about our time at Disney in one of my previous post.  The boys are now asking daily when are we going back there.  I don’t have an answer.  But I know it will happen again, eventually!  We had such a great trip, but we didn’t even have time to see half of what we wanted to see.  Next time we’ll have a convertible, lots of time, and we’ll drive from Napa to Disneyland!

Sunsets and palm trees, we love you.

 

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brunch, harry potter style

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When I read; I dream!  So when I read Harry Potter, I was really into it, like as if I lived the Hogwarts life…  I imagined myself with them, the 4 of us, going through all of these adventures together, living the sorcerer’s life, while being Hermione’s BFF!  I was flying on my broom in Quidditch match, sleeping in the Griffindor dorm, while, of course, using as much as possible my very own wand… I just love those dreams.

Well last Sunday, it was kind of one of my dream come true!

I’ve heard 3 weeks ago about some sort of Harry Potter Brunch in Montréal.  Googled it, saw how cool it looked, and knew right away I had to attend.

But of course, I’m not the only Harry fan, and the tickets were sold out; I was devastated.  Finally, they added a few more brunch date options, and, oh yeah, guess who got her 2 tickets!!!

Brian was nice enough to attend with me… he’s not into Harry at all… so, well, let say we were at the complete opposite end of the excitement chart going into that event.  So I didn’t asked him if we was dressing up, but I would have loved to!!!

We made it to the Old Montreal, and as soon as I saw a red-vintage-English-style phone booth outside a restaurant, I knew we found the place.  From outside, le restaurant Les Intraitables is just so beautiful and elegant, but as soon as we made it inside, that’s when the fun began.  The place was turned into the Great Hall, with floating candles, long black tables, house flags and overflowing food!

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Some people were dress like Hogwart students, some like certain characters, and then there was Lord Voldermort.  Once we were all seated, ready for our brunch, he came down the stairs with a HUGE snake.  A real snake.  From afar I was okay, but then he came closer, and closer, until he was standing right over my head… that when my knees started shaking.  Lord Voldermort was a VERY good actor.  He never cracked, and played the role to the perfection.  He could see that I was not enjoying this, yet he came inches from my face, so I close my eyes, but as soon as I opened them, he was right there and HISSED loudly right at me.  He surprised me, he scared the shit out of me, and of course I screamed as loud as I could have!

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Then we enjoyed a delicious brunch, waffles, sausages, ham, quiche, meat pies, squash potatoes with bacon, croissant, chocolate croissant and for dessert, donuts, pumpkin bites and the best chocolate frogs ever!  Always eating while looking out for him as he was going up and down the stairs.

So the second time he came back, I was not looking at him, at all, I didn’t move, hoping he’d just ignore me, but no, that evil piece of sh*t stayed right behind me for a very long time, waiting for me to turn around, which I didn’t do, but which I should have done, cause I can honestly say that I thought I was going to die when he started petting my hair…

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I do NOT like my hair to be touched by anybody,  Especially not by him.  Brian was laughing at first, but that’s when I saw in his eyes that he was becoming less and less comfortable and that he started to move away from me that it was not Voldermort hand playing in my hair anymore, but that fuckin python right on my head.  I had chills, I screamed, I was just terrified.  I still can’t believe that happened to me.

But then, I rewarded myself with a Butter Beer (the one for students of course!!!).  I was excited about it as I didn’t get the chance to have one when we visited Hogsmade in Orlando 2 years ago… It was delicious!

Overall, it was such a fun and very well organized activity.  I heard they may have a Harry Potter Christmas ball!!!  If they do, I know I’ll be there, with Voldermort present or not.  Until then, I’ll continue flying and playing wizard in my dreams… Wingardium Leviosa!

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our spicy chili

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I didn’t eat chili growing up, as it’s never been part of our family food rotation.  And honestly, I can’t say that I was keen to even try it.  But I first had it on a cold winter day at my mom’s place about 3 years ago.  Frank, my step-dad, had made a batch and it smelled too good to resist.  I tried it, and God it was good!!!

So, yeah, obviously, I stole his recipe (well he sent it to me), and then I started making it at home.

It’s good, and easy to make, so I’m sharing it with you!  I always make a double batch, easy to freeze and heat up anytime we need a bowl.  This recipe is a huge hit for any get-togethers or family gathering, especially on cold days, and also now a tradition for Brian’s hockey pool draft night!  We especially need a double batch and double spiciness for that one!

Special thanks to Brian’s colleague Josée for the distinctive spiciness of our chili as she gave us a unique homemade hot sauce her husband prepared from the 2000 ghost peppers that grew in their back yard… that thing could kill ya, literally.  Brian has some sort of true story about a squirrel or a skunk collapsing and dying in front of her colleague right after she fed the him that sauce in her rock garden!  So, I have to be careful, but I know now that if I put one tea spoon per batch it’s going to be perfect!

Spiciness and garnishes are our favorites: sour cream, cheddar cheese, chives and BACON!

What you need:

1 lbs of ground beef

1 tbs of olive oil

1 medium diced onion

1/2 cup of chopped celery

2 crushed garlic cloves

1 can of diced tomatoes

1 can of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 can of regular Clarks beans

1 can of chick peas, drained and rinsed

1 can of mixed beans, drained and rinsed

1 pouch of Chili mix

Salt and pepper

Chili peppers and hot sauce to taste

How to:

In a large pot, on med-high, heat oil.  Add ground beef and season with salt and pepper.

Once the meat is almost browned, add the onions, celery and garlic.  Cook until well browned.

Add chili mix and chili peppers.

Add all the beans and tomatoes and simmer for 2.5-3 hours.

(Then we add the hot sauce to the mix).

Dress it up with the fixings, serve with fresh bread and enjoy!  So, do you like it spicy or extra spicy?

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