christmas cake…everyday cake

Are you full?  I bet you are… I know I still am!  But there’s always a spot left for my all-time favorite chocolate cake!

We had a really good Christmas this year.  We visited family, had fabulous meals with the ones we love, exchange presents and waited for Santa to come visit us -way past our bedtime- at the Woodbury Christmas Eve réveillon.  I can’t believe it’s already gone, makes me so sad having to take away our tree and decorations; but I think I’ll keep them for another week (or two)!

Since I’m not ready to say goodbye yet, I’m sharing this amazing chocolate cake recipe with you.  You can make it year round and you will not be disappointed, it really is a crowd pleaser!  It was our Christmas Day dessert this year (and probably will for the next 50).  I melted some Wilton White Chocolate Candy Melts in the microwave and spread it on a large parchment paper.  Let it cool at room temperature, melted a few chocolate chipits and then brushed the ‘bark’ with a small paintbrush.  Takes less than 15 minutes….very easy.

For the cake and icing, I’ve adapted a recipe from Marilou 3 fois par jour: Mon gâteau au chocolat préféré.  I took out the chipits from the cake and changed the icing for it to be a little more buttery.  The original is amazing -just like everything else she does-, but I really love the changes I made… suits my liking!

what you need for the cake:

butter to grease the cake pans

2 cups of flour

3\4 cups of cocoa

1 teaspoon of baking soda

1\2 teaspoon of baking powder

pinch of salt

3 eggs

1 3\4 cups of sugar

1 teaspoon of vanilla

1 cup of mayonnaise (I use Hellman’s Olive Oil)

1 1\3 cups of water

what you need for the icing:

1 lbs of unsalted butter (oh yes, one pound!)

1\2 lbs of salted butter (I guess one pound was not enough; but like I said, it is buttery!!!)

3\4 cup of cocoa

3 cups of icing sugar

how to:

Heat up the oven at 350.  Grease the 2 cake molds (9 in.) with butter.

Mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl.  Put aside.

In the mixer (I use my Kitchen Aid mixer, but you may use a hand held mixer) add the eggs, sugar and vanilla.  Mix for about 3 minutes until the mixture is frothy.

In another separate bowl, mix the mayo and water.  Add to the mixer, alternating with the dry ingredients.

Pour into the cake pans, place in oven for about 30 minutes.  Let the cake cool down completely before icing.  I also suggest to freeze the cakes.  It’s easier to frost when it’s frozen, plus you can make your cakes in advance and unfreeze them the day your serving it.

For the icing, using your mixer again, mix the room temperature butter until fluffy.  Add the cocoa and icing sugar.  Mix on low setting until the icing is smooth and delicious!  Place your cakes on a nice cake stand, adding some icing between the layers.  Frost any way you like.  This frosting will be the best one you’ve ever tasted, I swear.  If you don’t like it, call me and I’ll come eat the entire cake!

I added the white chocolate bark all around the cake and placed a few decorations.  Theses were my great-grandma vinyl cake decorations… probably the only thing we have of hers… yet, we use them every year!  This cake needs no decoration at all, but it’s fun to dress it up for the occasion!

This IS simply the best cake EVER!  ENJOY!

 

 

 

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christmas eve eve

Excitement is in the air, stores are full and we are ready to party!  It’s Christmas Eve eve and our household could not be more excited about the next couple of days!

We got our Christmas cards done in time, the cake is ready, all the presents are wrapped up and we are listening non-stop to Christmas music!

The boys got to go to Brian’s workplace this morning while I slept in, tidy up the place and went for some last minute errands.  Once we all got back home, it was time to decorate our store bought gingerbread cookies (no time for the real deal this year)… but so what… as long as we got sugar and candies, right?  And boy we did!  I think that more icing sugar went into the boys than on the cookies!  I gave them little paintbrushes for helping spread the icing… by then end, they were painting themselves… fail!

I found some of the cutest Rudolph’s gingerbread at Bulk Barn… and I had high hopes for these pretty cookies… but no, it seems like we have no future in cookie decorating!  At least they’re delicious!

So tonight for Christmas Eve eve, we are staying in, watching Home Alone and Elf for probably the 500 times this month (but for the last time this Holiday season, I swear), while finding one last thing for our Elf Willy to do before he leaves for the North Pole tomorrow, until next December.

Wishing you all a great Christmas week, with all the food, the drinks and the signing that makes the Holidays so special.  Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

The best way to spread Christmas Cheer is signing loud for all to hear

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christmas petites boulettes

Les Petites Boulettes… a Christmas tradition that you can’t have enough of!

I can’t remember a time when we didn’t have our ‘petites boulettes’ or little meat balls for Christmas or any important gatherings.  These are my cousin Luc’s favorite thing in the world; you would always find him with a mountain of them on his plate!

Over the years I’ve developed a genius technique not to look too piggy once they’re being served; it’s real easy, and I suggest you do the same (that’s why I’m sharing the recipe with you): you just need to be the one who prepares them so you can eat as many as you want while you go in the kitchen to heat them up!!!  They’re addictive!

The first time I brought them to Christmas Eve in Brian’s family, years ago, uncles and aunts were not too savvy about it at first, but let me tell you that once Uncle Paul started to eat them one after the other while moaning at almost every bite, it was not too long before there was none left!  So now they’re a yearly tradition and one of the favorites in the Woodbury Christmas Eve’s feast (and of course I still volunteer year after year to be the one who goes in the kitchen and heat them right after midnight, come on!).

So I’m sharing our family recipe with you!  Double or triple the recipe, you won’t regret it.  They’re easy to make, but you could find it a bit lengthy to roll all these small meatballs.  I usually cook them in advance, freeze them, and then heat them up on the special day!

What you need:

-for the meatballs

1 lbs ground beef

1 lbs ground pork

1/4 cup of breadcrumbs

1/4 cup of parmesan cheese

1/2 teaspoon of bifteck spices

2 tablespoon of oil

2 eggs

salt and pepper

-for the sauce

2 cups of brown sugar

1 1/2 cups of vinegar

1 can of tomato soup

1/2 cup of ketchup

1 cup of water

9 tablespoon of cornstarch

1 teaspoon of dry mustard

1 teaspoon of ginger

1 teaspoon of garlic salt

How to:

Mix together all the ingredients for the meatballs.  Roll out mini meatballs (2.5 to 3 cm diameter).  I bake them in the oven on a lined baking sheet at 400 until golden.  My family cooks them in oils in a pan.  I like to think I have the HEALTHY version!!!

While the meatballs are cooking, in a large stock pot, add the sugar, vinegar, tomato soup, ketchup, the spices and half of the water, cook on med-low.  Mix the other half of the water with the cornstarch.  Add to the stock pot.  Continue to simmer on low for 20 minutes and then add the meatballs.  Cook on low for another 30 minutes and VOILA!  Enjoy!

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first blog giveaway

 

And the winner of the first ever mylemondroplife.com giveaway is… Tanya Marion-Chapman!  One of my fabulous co-worker and blog followers!

Thank you Tanya for your constant encouragement and for sharing my blog.  You will receive an amazing bottle of Young Living ‘Christmas Spirit’ essential oil.

Thanks to everyone who participated in my first blog giveaway.

I had a lot of fun doing this, so stay tuned for the next one, I plan on doing another one very soon!

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elf problems

I love traditions, old and new.  Especially when it comes to special occasions and holidays.  And one thing I love about Christmas or about the time leading to Christmas is our Elf on the Shelf.  I really do.  Our boys are really into it, trying to be nice and all because the elf is watching them on behalf of Santa…

But this year, Willy –yeah, our elf’s name is Willy after the elf that falls in love with Elizabeth Bank in the movie Fred Claus– is causing me more trouble than I can manage!  (That little f*cker!)

I bought our Willy in the States before the elf craziness on Facebook when I was pregnant with Liam.  I loved the story behind it, loved the thousand ways you can plan for his next move and I really wanted one in my house for his first Christmas.  My kids are in the middle of all the magical things that surrounds Christmas and I couldn’t love it more… except that because of this freaking little Elf, our house can’t sleep anymore!

I’ve never had any problems putting the boys to bed or keeping them there.  But since December 1st, boy oh boy, I’m lacking sleep.  Logan is either stressed or super excited, but he wakes up at night saying he saw Willy the Elf playing in his room, flying around or putting something in is advent calendar mitten…

Yep, we have a advent calendar mitten ‘tradition’; I know, another one… but this is such a great one that the boys just love!  I’ve never really been a fan of the chocolate calendar, and I guess Brian figured that one out as he didn’t get me the Chocolat Favoris advent calendar I specifically told him I really wanted… oh well!  So for the boys, instead of the usual advent chocolate calendar, my mom made them a string of mini mittens with number 1 to 24 on them that I’ve attached to the headboard of their bed –they are GORGEOUS– and every night, Willy brings them a treat if they’ve been good… just a tiny little treat, a toy, candy or thingy.  It’s a hit!  So in the morning, the first thing they do is look in their mitten for their treat, then they run through the house to go find Willy, and then they eat their little chocolate from their chocolate calendar that my mom got them… Yes, we now have 3 morning rituals and it’s killing me!

So half the time, somewhere between 11pm and 4 am, one of them is either looking for a treat in the next day mitten, or looking for the elf, or coming to our room asking us why there’s still nothing in their mitten as they’re pretty sure they were nice the day before…. SHUT UP and go to bed!!!!!!! Well I don’t say that, I actually tell them that I don’t know when Willy’s going to come, but that if they don’t sleep when he comes to their room, then he won’t go and there’ll be no treat in the morning!  So they happily go back to sleep…until couple hours later when the other one comes swearing he just saw the elf flying over his bed!!!

So we’re at day-14 now and here’s what we’ve learn so far:

1- Logan lies about seeing the elf flying in his room

2- 5am chocolate feeding = meltdown before 7

3- Next year, no chocolate calendar OR chocolate treats in the mittens due to the now almost-daily-morning-meltdown

4- You can bribe them and get pretty much ANYTHING you want with an Elf

5- Elf nightmares are real: ‘no Liam, your brother didn’t kidnapped Willy and TOUCHED him during the night to kill its magic’… yeah, that wonderful crisis happened 2 nights ago when Liam started crying at 3am saying Willy was gone for good because Logan had just touched him!

I like I said, I LOVE our Elf Willy and I hope the boys will continue to believe in its magic and laugh every morning while trying to find him for many more years to come, but man… this year, Willy brought way more trouble than I wished-for when I got him 6 years ago!!!

Do you have an Elf?  What’s the worst thing your Elf did?  As I am fishing for some inspiration!!!

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christmas spirit giveaway

To all my-lemon-drop-life followers, it’s time for my first giveaway!  YAY!

Some of you know that I’ve been using and preaching for Young Living essential oil for almost 2 years now. I just love it! I will soon post a blog on my favorite oils, on how I use them and why I love them so much.  I have two diffusers in my home that I use daily, and I can’t wait to add more. I need one per room!

I want to share my love for essential oils and why not start with the best one of the season: ‘Christmas Spirit’. It’s a hard one to get, as it gets sold out in just a few hours every time it becomes available, but I got one for you! So this awesome festive essential oil can be yours! All you have to do is subscribe to my blog (if you haven’t already) and share one of my Christmas blog posts on Facebook (Ian Christmas Adventure Park, Snowman Lasagna or Hot Cocoa Recipe). The more you share, the best are your chances to win!

The winner will be picked on December 15th and I will send you the prize so you can enjoy it by Christmas time!

If you want more information about essential oils, let me know; I can also order some for you if you are interested in trying it.

Thanks for your support and constant encouragements. And thank you for looking at my blog, I’m having so much fun doing this so far!

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o christmas tree

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Christmas tree, hot cocoa and reindeer’s… all favorites of mine!  All found at one of my favorite places: Ian’s Christmas Adventure Park.

I always wanted to see real reindeer’s, you know like the one Mariah Carey pets in her Christmas album… well I found them at this beautiful Christmas Tree Farm!

When Liam was one and Logan only a few months old, I started to search for Christmas Tree Farms in our region. We always had real Christmas Trees that we bought from a local merchant, but that year I wanted to go out and cut our own tree and take pictures with the kids. So I found many places where you could cut your own tree, but the most interesting one of them all was definitely that cute place I found in Beckwith, ‘just outside of Ottawa’ I told Brian.

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I remember Brian not being really enthusiastic about going there the first time.  He did complain for most of the drive there, saying he couldn’t believe we were driving 2 hours to get a tree… but last weekend marked the 5th year in a row that we go there on the first Saturday of December to get our Christmas Tree, and now it has become a family tradition that he wouldn’t miss. Ian’s Christmas Adventure Park is not that far, it’s about 30 minutes from downtown Ottawa, so one hour from home.  But I would easily drive 3 hours to get there, I just love this place!

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The family that owns the farm is the best.  They make you feel like old friends. Remembering you, remembering your kids, and remembering that you want the biggest tree you can find!

The farm is huge, you can visit Santa workshop, you can skate, go through candy cane lane or a hay maze, tubing, warm up in a cabin or by the outside bonfire, all while sipping your hot cocoa.  Tractor wagon rides take you to one of the trees lots, where you will find your perfect tree, cut it, and then bring it home.  It’s never an easy job, these things are sturdy… and it’s quite a workout… well that’s what Brian tells me!

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We have a corny tradition… we look for the tree we want, and once we found it, we put little surprises under it for the boys to find.  We walk away for a minute or two, and then we bring them back closer to it so they can find the surprises and our tree by themselves… and that’s how they pick our tree every year!  They love it!  One year they found Rudolph and Clarice stuffed animals, then some Elf on the shelf ornaments.  They know they’ll find something for them when they spot our magic tree!  Last year, the magic even brought me some chocolate… I just loved it! (Thanks Mom)a4

The first couple times, we went with the boys, then the 3rd time we brought my Mom and Frank, last year Mom and Frank and Jojo and Lulu came; and this year Brian’s dad Joe was added to the group.  Just like Brian the first year, he couldn’t believe we were driving that far to get our tree, but I’m pretty sure he’ll be back next year!  We love to have our family with us.  It’s the perfect early December/holiday activity.

The best part for me are the reindeers.  They are gorgeous.  I could spend hours just looking at them.  The horns are spectacular.  We even got to bring 3 horns home in the last few years… perfect Christmas decorations!  We take a LOTS of picture, we laugh and we smile all day long!a23

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Once we get home, we put the tree up, then Brian spends at least 20 minutes making sure it’s going to stay up (something we forgot do the first couple year!!!), and then while I prepare a big pasta diner for everyone, they all decorate our beautiful tree. Family is the best, Christmas is the best and Ian’s Christmas Adventure Park helps make the perfect memories.

You should definitely visit… the holidays aren’t even started yet and I can’t wait to go back to that place next year!

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