Wednesday, 27 March 2013

I have the silly gown....

This is a collection of some of my favorite dresses. Some are really old school but I love them none the less. These are images that I HAVE to stop and stare at every time I see them. These women are all beautiful but these gowns give them a luminous quality that you can't get in jeans and a t-shirt. What are your favorite dresses?

The Red Dress

I always saw, I always said
If I were grown and free,
I'd have a gown of reddest red
As fine as you could see,

To wear out walking, sleek and slow,
Upon a Summer day,
And there'd be one to see me so
And flip the world away.

And he would be a gallant one,
With stars behind his eyes,
And hair like metal in the sun,
And lips too warm for lies.

I always saw us, gay and good,
High honored in the town.
Now I am grown to womanhood....
I have the silly gown. 

Monday, 25 March 2013

Muy Caliente!!!!!

Happy Monday!!!! I love to support local businesses when I can and I am super thrilled to share this yummy find with you. I was able to catch the Ottawa Home & Garden Show this weekend at the Ernst & Young Convention Center and tour some of the booths selling all manner of home improvement wares. After walking the floor for about an hour, we came across a booth that I was really excited to see..... of course it had to do with FOOD! The booth was for Island Spiced sauces and marinades made locally and with all fresh, natural ingredients by Chef Carlton. We sampled several sauces with pita bread and corn chips and after many tastes we decided on 3 sauces to take home for $20 Cnd (not a bad deal at all). The sauces are Caribbean inspired and range from mild to HOT (think Jerk hot). We took home the Coconut Curry, Beer Spiced BBQ Sauce and the Rum BBQ Sauce. They can be used as a marinade, a cooking sauce, an accent flavor or used to baste your favorite meat dishes.

We tried the Coconut Curry sauce and made this AMAZING dish! Here is what you do:

Take chicken legs (skin & bone in) and marinade in some of the Coconut Curry sauce for a couple of hours. Place the chicken in an oven safe dish and pour the remaining marinade on top. Place in a preheated oven at 350 F for an hour. Use some more of the Coconut Curry sauce to baste the chicken about every 10 mins. The fat from the chicken will bake off into the dish and can be used to baste as well (it makes it crispy). For the last 10 mins we turned up the temperature to a Low Broil and basted with the juices in the dish. Oh my..... this was the result:

 These are the super juicy, flavorful chicken legs. The meat fell off the bone! 

So yummy! If you like Coconut Curry, this is a MUST try!

Sorry for the poor picture quality, they were taken with an iPhone but I think you can still tell how succulent and golden brown these chicken legs turned out. And the flavour; OMG! I love this type of Island dish and it was a mild spice with real flavour, not just heat. Since we were eating dark meat with skin, we served these legs with just some steamed kale to up the healthy quotient and keep the calorie count reasonable. But these legs would have gone really well with any kind of rice.

If you enjoy island inspired flavors and want to add some excitement into your every day cooking, I highly recommend you support a local business and check these sauces out. You can find them at another favorite establishment of mine, Farm Boy.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

I'm in Heaven!

I struggled about putting this in an Eat Here Before You Die post but I think I will save those for actual restaurants. If you live in the Ottawa area, you are familiar with the grocery store chain, Farm Boy. Well a new location opened up at the Train Yards in Ottawa this weekend  which is right around the corner from my office and I couldn't be more excited. Mainly because they have a killer salad and soup bar!

 Photo Source: Pat McGrath, Ottawa Citizen

 This was my salad creation: it had spinach, arugula, Thai noodles, Greek salad, chick peas, edema-me, corn, marinated steak slices, shrimp and half a hard boiled egg topped with Greek Dressing and a couple dollops of Ancho Chili Dressing.  Oh my God! Amazing Amazing! There were so many choices, it could make your head spin. There were tons of chopped veggies and other toppings along with a Hot Dish bar that I didn't try this time but maybe next! All of this and a bottle of water came to $13 Cnd (you pay by weight), which to me is reasonable. This salad would cost at least that much in a restaurant.

I wanted to try a little bit of everything and it was all fantastic but next time I would stick with just greens, veggies and steak. The shrimp were a good size but didn't add too much flavor and since you pay by would be a skip for my next visit. The steak was flavorful and the Thai Noodle salad was delish!

As I am doing Weight Watchers I am very happy to have this healthy alternative close to my workplace. Most days I bring my lunch but occasionally I don't have time to pack a lunch and I have been complaining about how there isn't a spot close by that offers salad and soup. I am a huge soup fan and will be trying that next time too, if you are in Canada you know that it is still soup weather :-( 

This Farm Boy location also had a lovely seating area to enjoy your meal. So if you are in this area, I really encourage you to check this out! 

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Style for Days

For this edition of Style for Days, I am going to focus on the less fair sex :-)

With Justin Timberlake hosting SNL last weekend and appearing on Jimmy Fallon all week, I thought it would be perfect to feature his fashion sense. And he has it, in droves! 

Justin always looks effortlessly polished, sophisticated with a boyish charm no matter if he is wearing jeans and a T-Shirt or a Tux.

His style is casual cool and he creatively lends his fashion sense to his own line of clothing called William Rast, named for a combination of Timberlake's grandfather's first name and Trace Ayala's (JT's partner) grandfather's last name. The label is best known for their denim and some have said that these jeans fit a woman's ass like nothing else :-) I personally don't own a pair..... yet!

 JT sporting his famous "Suit & Tie" Source:

I am guilty of not completely loving Justin's new single, Suit & Tie Feat. Jay-Z. I first thought it sounded a little too elevator-music-like. But the single has grown on me and I have an appreciation for the sound he was going for. Are you excited about Justin's return to music?

I think that someone is trying to copy JT's look here, don't you? Source:

Justin's confidence is his best style feature, in my opinion. He really has helped steer men's style away from frat-boy sloppy to chic, put-together looks without looking like he is trying to too hard.

Let me know what you think about JT's style in the comments!

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

The BEST recipe you will ever make!

Ok, I can't even believe that I am sharing this recipe because it is my go-to, crowd pleasing, oohhhing and ahhhhhing masterpiece. Anytime I have made this, I have been praised and even kissed because it is THAT good. Is this dish good for you? Hells no! It is meant as a special occasion side dish so save up those calories when you make it.

I have given this recipe to those I love countless times so I am sharing it with you as a way to show my appreciation for those that have been reading my blog. If you make this, I warn you, you may be required to make it at any dinner event for years to come (as I have)!

The Love Gnocchi

4-5 Shallots roughly chopped
3-5 Cloves of garlic roughly chopped
4 Tbsp butter, add more if needed
½ jar of sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil (get the kind that are chopped already)
1 cup of heavy whipping cream (get the pint sized in case you need to add more cream if your sauce gets too thick)
1 package of Fontina cheese diced
½ package of pine nuts
1 package of Gnocchi potato pasta
Salt and pepper

1) Heat the butter in a large non stick pan over medium-low heat; add about a tablespoon of the oil from the sundried tomato jar (or add your own oil) to raise the burn temp of the butter. 
2) Once the butter is melted and just bubbling, add the shallots and cook for 5-7 mins until soft. Meanwhile, start a pot of water to boil as per the directions on the Gnocchi package.  
3) Add the garlic and cook for another 2 mins. 
4) Stir in the sun-dried tomatoes and cook for another 5 mins until everything is well combined and the shallots are golden brown.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
5) Add the cheese and a small pour of the cream (a couple of Tablespoons should do it); stir frequently. You may raise the heat a little on the stove to help the cheese melt but make sure that nothing is burning. 
6) By now your pot of water should be boiling; cook the gnocchi following the directions on the package. The pasta takes only about 5 mins to cook; it is ready when the gnocchi floats to the surface. 
7) As your gnocchi is boiling into little puffs of heaven, in the pan add the rest of the cream and cook on MED heat until all of cheese is melted and the sauce has thickened (about 7 mins). Keep stirring to help the sauce combine. Add more cream if your sauce gets too thick. It shouldn't be runny but it shouldn't be goopy either!
8) Drain the pasta and transfer to an oven safe casserole dish. Pour the sauce over the gnocchi and lightly toss. 
9) Sprinkle the pine nuts over the top of this pasta until covered and heat under to the broiler in your oven until golden brown and bubbling and don’t take your eyes off it (about 2-3 mins).

This is the final product! 

This pairs beautifully with a nice Filet steak and any robust red wine (like a Shiraz). The sauce is gooey and rich and the gnocchi are like fluffy decadent bobbles that melt in your mouth. I hope you enjoy my special Love Gnocchi. If you have any questions, please leave a comment and I will get back to you!

Monday, 11 March 2013

Vacation Bliss

Ahhh, it's been over a week since I have returned from vacation but I am still dreaming off my time on the beach in the Turks & Caicos. As promised, I have some more pictures to post. There aren't many as most of the pictures include other people that were on the trip with me and I didn't want to post their image without their permission. But here are a few shots to give you a taste of this glorious island!

 Me enjoying some e-reading by the pool

 This was taken on a boat cruise that we took to snorkel and dive for conch, the national fish of the Turks & Caicos. This was the conch shell that I cleaned (but didn't catch) and took home.

 This is the conch that was removed from the shell. The crew prepared it as a delicious ceviche for us to eat. So fresh tasting!

 Our first-mate, Licky. He's a happy-hard-working lad!

 This water was warm, clear and the bluest blue I have ever seen. Can you tell how happy I am?

 Also while on the boat cruise we stopped at an uninhabited island to clean the conch shells, enjoy the ceviche and we came across this Poppa and Mama Iguana. The hole in the middle is their home.

Turks is known for their amazing fish and seafood and this almond crusted grouper didn't disappoint  The sauce and veggies were prepared perfectly and really complimented to bold taste of the fish 

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Isn't it Ironic...Don't you think?

Me: So I am going to get back on track with my Weight Watchers eating plan. Nothing but healthy meals: oatmeal, spinach and berries. Yay me!

Universe: F*&$ you! Here's a cupcake.....

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

I'm Baaaaack!

Returned from the beautifully stunning Turks & Caicos Islands! Trust me this picture does not do this view justice. This was taken from our balcony while staying that the Alexandra Resort in Providenciales.

Everyday I would wake up and pull the curtains open to see this magnificent beach and be astonished that something this amazing even existed. Every. Single. Day. The water is gin clear and the sand is as soft as powder.

I will post more pictures for my next blog entry and give some more detail as to what to do and see while in Provo. I mainly tanned, walked on the beach and read (which was pure bliss) but I did manage to partake in a few activities and outings. I will also post some cute summer dresses that I picked up while shopping that I am dying to wear. Too bad I have to wait like 3 months before the weather will allow for it in Ottawa :(

I hope this gives all a little mental vacation to paradise during this final stretch of winter!