November 11, 2011


I moved two weeks ago and we* still don't have the internet. As a result, my blog posts have been rather sporadic. Ah, who am I kidding? I gave up on this things ages ago--just kidding!

I will be back to semi-regular posting once we have regular access to the internet and I can post to my heart's content. There have been quite a few changes though, ones that I will definitely share upon my return next week. One thing that hasn't changed? My migraines. They're back with a vengeance. Boo.

See you all soon!

*I'm referring to my boyfriend, Sean, and I. After 10 years together, we finally thought it would be a good time to start living together, in a lovely condo near the city.

June 28, 2011


I've known her since grade 5. She became my best friend and partner-in-crime when it came to big summer music festivals. We grew apart in the latter years of high school and university, but Facebook brought us back together. We became baking buddies, later allowing Sean to join our baking club. I can't believe I've known her since I was 10.
I wanted to make something super fantastic for Jessie's birthday. I thought about cupcakes but then remembered a cake I had seen online a few weeks ago. Immediately I knew it would be epic enough for Jessie's golden (or champagne) birthday. I debated whether I should turn the cake into cupcakes since a) they're easier to transport and make (in theory anyway). The cake itself would be a surprise since Jessie had no idea I was baking for her birthday. Here's the unveiling:

My favourite layer and therefore my favourite layer, green:And here's the inside of the rainbow cake:Happy birthday Jessie. I hope your golden (or champagne) birthday is your best ever!

PS: I hope you liked your rainbow cake; the only rainbow cake I will ever make. I wouldn't even make another one for Sean--unless he asked REALLY nicely.

May 28, 2011


I got me a new toy and it's pretty darn fantastic. If you follow me on Twitter you'll know that my enthusiasm for my new toy started a couple of weeks ago. I had a random photo shoot to do and it was the perfect opportunity for me to use my dad's Nikon D7000. I had a week to figure it all out (the manual is thick and thorough) and when the day came, I was a little nervous. Everything turned out great though--especially this random shot of Sean. If you enlarge this photo you'll see the little fibers along the edges of his sweater. It was a complete out-of-the-blue shot and is probably one of my faves using the D7000. It's incredible, absolutely incredible and I never thought I'd say that about a digital SLR.

I've always been a hardcore fan of film photography, even being reluctant to switch to digital during my last couple of years of photography study, but this camera has me thinking otherwise. Since then I've taken a bunch of random photos and the best part? My dad hasn't asked for his camera back. SCORE!

May 21, 2011


It took me a while to settle on my third brownie recipe. I wasn't content to "give it a go" with just any brownie recipe so I let Google do the work for me. I wanted a brownie that reminded me of my childhood. I wanted a brownie that tasted like the one you make from a box; with that perfect crusty top (and edges) but chewy and fudgy in the center and dotted with walnuts. After an hour or two of deliberation, I finally decided to give Brown Eyed Baker a chance. Titled "Chewy Brownies" with a recipe from Cook's Illustrated (the publication of America's Test Kitchen), how could I go wrong?

I immediately dove into brownie-making mode. I started with the chocolate and was then halfway through step #2 when I realized we only had three eggs in the house when the recipe called for four (two whole eggs and two yolks). With only three eggs, what was I to do? I wasn't about to go and ask the neighbours (I haven't spoken to one side in oh, a decade and the other side I've never spoken to since they moved in). It's not that I'm not friendly, I'm just usually rushing to work or rushing into the house when I see them. I decided to hope for the best and go ahead with my version using two whole eggs and one egg yolk. I was a little bit apprehensive; was this going to ruin the chewy, "from a box-mix" texture I had been searching for?

I motored along and after 30 minutes, my brownies were done. A toothpick had yielded moist crumbs and now it was time to wait. Hmph. Time to wait? I wanted my chewy brownies now!

I think eating 5 squares in a day is proof enough that they're amazing. Still not convinced? Check out this photo:A crusty, crackled top reveals the most chewiest, fudgiest, walnut-filled brownies I have had since the box mix kind. I suggest cutting the 9x13" rectangle into 24 squares so you can ration your brownies but since I had five the first day, these brownies aren't going to last very long.The addition of chopped walnuts was a superb addition on my part. It's fudgy and chewy and crunchy when you get a bite of those nuts. I'll leave you with this one photo and if that doesn't convince you to make these brownies, you must be blind.

May 9, 2011


I've been craving brownies for weeks now. Chocolatey, chewy, gooey brownies. About a week ago I made Coconut Swirl Brownies courtesy of Martha, but they were more cakey than chewy and despite being a hardcore fan of anything-coconut, I just wasn't feeling it. The chewy chocolate brownie craving had not been fulfilled and so this evening, I tried my hand at Martha's Double Chocolate Brownies. Her headnote made promises of fudgy brownies on the basis that so many other people had raved about them. I followed the recipe to a tee and patiently waited for the brownies to bake. (I ate a Fuji apple with almond butter to bide my time.)After 25 minutes my brownies were done. In fact, despite the 35 minutes suggested in Martha's Cookies book, I thought my brownies were overdone; a toothpick came out totally clean--not a good sign for a fudgy brownie. I waited the 15 minutes before I took them out of the pan and then another 30 minutes before I cut them into squares. Okay so it was really more like five minutes but didn't I tell you I'd been craving brownies for three weeks?!

The result? Not a fudgy brownie. My brownies were overdone :( They were more cakey than fudgy and I still have not conquered my brownie craving. Don't get me wrong, they taste great--especially with the addition of chopped walnuts--but they're just not chewy. (I didn't include the recipe in the above link because the recipe on the website and the recipe in the Cookies book differ in quantities and ingredients.)

I want a brownie that reminds me of those infamous Two-Bite Brownies. I want a brownie that results in a texture reminiscent of the ones you make from a box--except I want to bake them from scratch.

Is a recipe for the ultimate chewy brownie really that hard to come by nowadays? In order to make my brownies more palatable, I ate it with a couple of small scoops of honey lavender ice cream and extra chopped walnuts. I don't know what it is about lavender, but I just can't get enough--even when it's scooped on top of a brownie square.Even though the combination of chocolate, lavender and honey sounded a little weird in my head, I'll tell you this: it was incredible. Plate-licking good in fact but you'd really have to like lavender in order to do that. I stopped myself just a little short to show you to devoured evidence:
And I'll end with that, continuing my search for the ultimate chewy brownie recipe. I'll see if Google can help me out on this one.

May 4, 2011


  • I'd wake up to a cup of Starbucks' Awake tea latte--grande and half sweet, of course.
  • I'd never have another migraine.
  • I'd be living in a cool apartment downtown with the Mr.--though that's his unofficial title.
  • I'd own a bakery somewhere in the 'burbs.
  • I'd have a dog...ah heck, three dogs: a Shiba Inu, a Chow Chow and a whatever-Sean-wants, which changes weekly. Right now we're thinking Tibetan Mastiff.
  • I wouldn't eat mini Reese's peanut butter cups with the lining still on.
  • I wouldn't crave chocolate as much as I do now.
  • Someone would make me brownies instead of me having to make them for myself.
*an hour later*

Here's my chocolate craving come to life:Excuse the lighting as I typically bake at night, usually starting around 8 or 9. Anyway, these brownies weren't all that great. Yes, they contained copious amounts of chocolate and yes, they included coconut too (which I am all "balls to the wall" about, but they just weren't chewy! They're your classic cakey brownies, which, if I were a fan of cakes, I'd be all over. But I'm not so I wasn't.

The search for chocolate brownies continues...

April 7, 2011


I still haven't blogged about the scallop and leek dish I made about a month ago. The scallops which cost me a whopping $8 each! I won't get into the nitty gritty except to say that the Whole Foods seafood guy did a good job of distracting me ;)

I'm three halos away from completing my Nine Inch Nails collection. I just need Halo 4, 15 and 27, the latter of which I'm pretty sure I already owned but somehow lost--along with my Justin Timberlake self-titled CD. Why I have the case and not the CD, I have no idea.

One of my goals for 2011 has been achieved:I finally made a balloon animal! After a VERY failed attempt--before, during and after which Sean probably thought I was completely certifiable--I decided that I was going to try again with balloons purchased at a grocery store instead of a dollar store. An extra 75 cents should do the trick, right? Well they did! Do not underestimate good quality balloons. I made that balloon dog all by myself and yes, I was quite pleased with myself. In fact, so much so that my high-pitched squealing was a bit too much for my dad's old-man ears.

Jenna's recipes are probably the only ones I'll make more than one a week. They really are that good. Just check out her recipe for pumpkin whoopie pies and more recently, these double banana chocolate chip breakfast bars:Sometimes it's dangerous to have a fully-stocked baking pantry. Seriously.

Out of our four cats, we have one who totally acts like a baby (wants to be cradled, meows until you pick him up, etc) and I kinda like it.

It absolutely melts my heart when he gets up on my desk when I'm sitting in front of my laptop and gives me eskimo kisses with his wet nose.

March 31, 2011


Just a couple weeks ago, my purse contained:
  1. Practically empty bottle of water
  2. Makeup case
  3. Anna Sui mascara
  4. Tylenol Extra Strength
  5. Mail polish (from the Beiber collection--oi vey!)
  6. Pouch full of essentials (meds, lip balm, subway tokens (??), glasses cleaner, tea bags, Tide Pen, etc)
  7. Hand cream
  8. Apple
  9. Loose foundation
  10. Receipt
  11. Hand balm
  12. Pen
  13. Banana
  14. Coin purse
  15. Prescription meds
  16. Wallet
  17. Starbucks coupons (that didn't work at the Starbucks I went to, WTF?!)
  18. Face primer
  19. Dark chocolate with bergamot (best $5 I ever spent)
  20. Lip gloss
  21. Microwaveable popcorn
  22. Face cream
  23. iPhone
  24. Pack of tissues

March 28, 2011


Thanks for growing out faster than I had anticipated after I got all antsy and decided to get some bangs earlier than I should have. I regretted the decision very shortly after it was made (read: a couple of days) and started growing "them things above" and now the rest of you below are a lot longer than before.

However, I'd really appreciate it if you could grow about, oh, eight more inches overnight so I can rock this totally awesome look:
(Taken from this month's Loulou Magazine, the hair--done by John Donato of Donato Salon & Spa--is a look I've been coveting for years but never had the guts to attempt. Now that I'm 28, I figure I only have my late 20s to rock this look so it's kind of now or never.)



This is what I've been up to...

Sean and I went to a Toronto Raptors game a couple weeks back. It was my first ever basketball game and I had so much fun! We got tickets from a family friend and boy am I glad we did because we're poor and would never have been able to afford those awesome seats! I could even see everything on the court because there were two much shorter kids in front of me. Score! Or "winning" as some people are now saying. Oh, but the best part of the game, is this:Despite the fact that I don't look crazy excited, I've been wanting a foam finger for just about forever! I picked one up after the game. It was pretty fun poking Sean in the nose, in the cheek, in the bum...just about everywhere possible--until he got mad and threatened to take it away :(

I fell asleep twice while attempting to watch this:You're right if you guessed The NeverEnding Story. Unfortunately I started coming down with a cold during the first attempt and the cold was in full force during the second attempt. Sean decided to go ahead and watch the rest of the movie during our second attempt. He realized another attempt with me was futile. (I told Sean that we are totally naming our cream Chow Chow Falcor. He said we could only if I watched the movie without falling asleep.)

Little known fact: I bake when I'm stressed out. This past week has been really stressful so not only did I bake Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Muffins from How Sweet It is, I also baked Torie's Cherry Chocolate-Chunk cookies from Martha's website. They both turned out fab:It was a relaxing afternoon baking muffins and cookies. And because I was then stress-free (sort of), I decided to eat two muffins and four (or so) cookies. I lost count after the fourth one.

Tylenol Cold is my best friend. I'm pretty sure I blogged about this a year or so ago but really, this is my one go-to when I have a cold. I tried the Echinacea tea and the whole "feed a cold" thing but it didn't work. Absolutely nothing worked until I popped the magic, blue nighttime pill and then another yellow daytime pill in the morning. I don't even get colds that often--I usually contract them from co-workers--but nothing works like Tylenol Cold. Tylenol should make me their spokesperson.

Dinner earlier tonight was roast organic chicken leg with spicy green beans and white rice. My stomach didn't like something about it and decided to expel it. After my stomach settled itself, I decided to make Spaghetti with Lemon and Olive Oil--but with fettuccine. It wasn't pretty but it sure was tasty:
I don't know if I ever mentioned that Sean and I went to Corey and Bree's house to make caramel apples back in October, a couple weeks before Halloween. This is Sean attempting to eat his caramel apple and it makes me smile:
This is me when I was oh....two and a half, I think? My parents loved to dress me up in pink and red. Like LOVED! I think their morning conversations were like this (but in French): Mom: What should we dress Dominique in today? Dad: Pink dress and red tights? Mom: What about red dress and pink tights? Dad: Nah, we did that yesterday. Mom: Oh yeah, let's switch it up today.
They'll still tell you that pink and red are a match made in heaven.

March 27, 2011


Someone ate the two really ripe bananas that I was going to use to make muffins earlier this afternoon. A little stumped, I walked right back up to my room, sat in front of my laptop and contemplated my next step. I browsed through my bookmarked "muffins" folder and nixed all the ones involved healthy ingredients like ripe bananas and applesauce, and then came across these Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Muffins from How Sweet It Is. Could it have been a sign? Did someone eat my ripe naners on purpose; so that I could fulfill my life-long dream of baking these muffins that taste like oatmeal chocolate chip cookies? I scanned the ingredients list, knew that I had all of them on hand and got to work. (Seriously, what good baker doesn't have 2lbs of butter lying around at room temperature on a Sunday afternoon?)

I quickly got to work, mixing all my ingredients together:Less than 30 minutes later (including baking time!), I had 16 muffins that smelled like something my grandma would have made me. Or, maybe. Actually, I'm pretty sure my grandma baked no such thing as it was my grandfather who did the cooking in that household and I don't actually ever recall him making anything other than savory food, but whatever. I digress. Check out my muffins:Complete with a delicious, crunchy layer of turbinado sugar. There's nothing butter than a baked good with a hefty, I mean, healthy layer of turbinado sugar:I ate two or three before deciding it was time to leave the kitchen and immerse myself in other activities in fear of devouring every single one of those muffins. The next day I decided it was time to take Jessica's advice and enjoy said muffin with a pat of butter:
I am so glad I did. Reheated in the microwave for 15 minutes and with a pat of butter, it was the most delicious thing I've probably eaten in a week. Maybe since that seared scallop and leek dish I have yet to blog about.

March 6, 2011


+ Stassen Jasmine Green Tea. After searching high and low for over a year (possibly two years) for Stassen Jasmine Green Tea, I finally found it at Foody Mart when I totally wasn't looking. I had even checked Foody Mart for Stassen's tea before but couldn't find it. Anyway, I totally bought a box (of 100 bags) and then went and bought another box the next day (just in case). This tea is anything but subtle and I love it, despite having a major hate-on for anything jasmine-scented--especially perfume. The trick is to brew it for a short period of time and the tea bag can be used twice, which means it's only half the cost (I paid $5 for my entire 100 bag box, not the insane price on Amazon).

+ Deflated double chocolate meringue cookies. I made meringues and decreased the amount of sugar that was mentioned in the recipe with the intention of decreasing the sweetness. What resulted was this:But it turns out that these meringue cookies taste just like chewy chocolate chip cookies and they're gluten-free! It's "winner, winner, chicken dinner" for anyone who follows a gluten-free diet. The trick is to pull them straight from the oven after 18 minutes. Plus, at 30 calories a pop, you won't feel guilty after you shove the fourth one into your mouth. The giraffes totally approve. I really need to post that recipe.

+ OPI's Teenage Dream nail polish from the Katy Perry collection. This came out in...ummm...early-January, I think? Anyway, I got my hands on it a week after that and then it was sold out for ages! I recently got a back-up bottle and managed to snag a couple extra bottles for some co-workers and I absolutely love this crazy sparkly, pink polish. It's totally work-appropriate--at my workplace anyway.

February 25, 2011


Happy birthday to me! Earlier this afternoon, I celebrated my birthday with an afternoon high tea at the Windsor Arms hotel. I was accompanied by none other than Jessie and Sean, two of my funniest dining companions. Our reservation was not until 1pm, but of course, we were 30 minutes early so we sat in the car opening four birthday cards from Sean and some presents: tickets to the Sleigh Bells concert in May (wahoo!) and money (for a future camera purchase, double wahoo).

Upon entering the Windsor Arms tea room, we were given a choice of tables and I chose to sit at a table near the windows (better for photo-taking). Jessie and I chose to sit on the booth seats which were plush but a little too low; Sean sat in one the chairs which looked really comfy. Our room was bright and airy, with gold-framed paintings on the wall (none of which I remembered to take a photo of). In the corner there was a display of hats which Jessie and I found quite amusing:

Along with our individual tea, we each opted for the full tea which includes scones:sandwiches:
and petit fours:
Our meal began with a mini goat cheese and caramelized shallot quiche:

This was a really great way to start the meal. The caramelized shallot really made the quiche and I'm not even a fan of quiches (from an overload of them back in Switzerland with Jessie in 2001).

Scones included raisin and plain, served alongside devon cream and strawberry and raspberry jam. Check out the mini jams:

Our assorted of finger sandwiches included cucumber with sundried tomato paste and dill cream cheese:

smoked salmon and wasabi sour cream with salmon caviar:

and grilled chicken, grany smith apples, citrus mayonnaise and greek yogurt and chives which I don't have a close-up photo of because I never ate of them (non-organic chicken). I'll try and snag one from Jessie's iPhone.

Here's another shot of our assortment of petits fours (courtesy of Sean):Individually, they were (as described to us by our server) a dark chocolate fudge (for Jessie):

a raspberry or strawberry mousse in a dark chocolate tea cup (it was raspberry and delightful, obvi mine):

an Opera cake ("they just call it Opera cake" for Sean)

a blood orange mousse with sponge at the bottom and blueberries (mine):

a lemon meringue tart (check out that awesome toasted meringue for Sean):

and a white chocolate something (that's pretty much all our server said; Jessie had a hard time figuring it out but it came with a cherry with gold leaf and had a hard, crisp texture on the bottom.):

The presentation on this one was amazing. I wish I liked white chocolate so I could have tasted it but I find white chocolate too sweet. I even find milk chocolate too sweet sometimes. Oh well, c'est la vie.
Then we also had strawberries and cream:At first glance, it didn't seem like a lot of food but it was. I didn't finish one of my scones and by the time I got around to eating my strawberries and cream, I felt like someone was forcing me to eat it. It was a little bit sad. I had the face that I always have when I can't eat but feel like I have to finish it. I ended up just having a taste of the cream (it looked like ice cream, I had to try it) and finishing off my berries.

Oh yeah, about the tea. Jessie chose the Black Velvet which includes ginseng, peppermint, licorice and black tea while Sean chose the Chai Arms which includes ceylon, cardamom, cinnamon, glove, ginger and black pepper. I chose the Tibetan Tiger which includes black tea with vanilla, chocolate, butterscotch and caramel (though I don't remember reading the description of the last two). Our teas came in fancy tea pots:


High tea at the Windsor Arms was definitely a memorable experience. At $30 per person it wasn't terribly expensive but it is cheaper Monday-Friday. During the weekend it's $8 extra and higher during the holidays, I believe. There's also a sherry or sparkling wine option for an added $5. I'm not partial to either (sulphites = migraines) but it would have been a fun option, especially during a celebration of sorts. There was two other parties celebrating birthdays and the server brought out other chocolate petit fours for each party to enjoy along with a candle while singing "Happy Birthday." I would have enjoyed it but honestly, I had consumed so much food already that the thought of more wasn't going to leave me with the most pleasant of birthday memories.

Here are some fun photos throughout our afternoon lunch...
Sipping our tea:

Sean being the server:

Sean and Jessie enjoying their scones:

Before and after scone-eating: