Sunday, December 30, 2012

Best of 2012

Just before ringing in the new year, I thought I'd look back at a few of my favourite recipes I blogged about this year. I look forward to sharing many more food stories with you in the year ahead and thank you for all your comments and questions - they make this blog worth writing!

It's hard to believe I started writing this little blog back in 2007 -- when I didn't yet know just how much food would become integral to my professional career. What started as a simple passion for making food at home and sharing it with like-minded readers has turned into my full-time occupation. Since starting my job as a Food Specialist for Canadian Living magazine, there are very little days where talking about a  new way to use an ingredient or thinking about a new dish to create isn't on my mind.. and I wouldn't have it any other way.

And now for the recipes, here is 2012's top 6!

{1}Full-On Chocolate Tarts
{2} Seared Scallops with Lemony Parmesan Peas
{3}Steel-Cut Oats with Cinnamon Pears
{4} Pumpkin and Ginger Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches
{5} Grilled Radicchio and Caprese Salad
{6} Shallot and Herb Mussels (with Fries!)

Friday, December 21, 2012

DIY Gift Wrapping

There's something about doing things at the last-minute isn't there? It kind of gets your adrenaline going and forever reminds me of my years writing Political Science essays during college - I've never written so many 15 page papers overnight! And the less time I have, the more incredibly efficient I become -  does this ring a bell for anyone? I also spent last weekend in New York (my long lost love!) which threw me off my schedule in the most wonderful of ways. Here is one of my favourite photos from the trip - a whimsical moment I happened to come across.

My family flies in from Paris today to celebrate the holiday season and I'm knee deep in last-minute holiday shopping. The wrapping supplies, however, I have covered! I thought I would share an easy DIY wrapping idea - which involves washi tape and a simple candy cane.

And here's a little glimpse of my tree this year - happy holidays!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Holiday Cookbook Giveaway Part 2

The holidays really seem to have taken over in our house. Although I grew up in a half Jewish household, we've always had a Christmas tree - there's something so festive about decorating a tree, and for me it's just a symbol of taking the time to reunite with family.

Being here in Toronto and an ocean away from my family in France, it's small traditions like these that make this month of the year feel special (albeit a little stressful at times!). After a trip to Toronto's Christmas market in the Distillery district, I can feel the countdown to a lovely holiday dinner approach. I'm still etching out my final menu. but I know there will be figs, chocolate and good cheese involved!

Christmas Market in Toronto's Distillery District
Now for a little added cheer! Second on my list of holiday cookbook giveaway is Tiny Party Food. This book is perfect for entertaining and filled with clever ideas to make impressive bite-size treats. A few of the recipes that caught my eye are the Tiny Potato Salad Bites, Teeny Chicken Parmesan Crostinis and One-Bite White Chocolate Cheesecakes.

To enter the contest, simply leave a comment and let me know what kind of finger food you usually most enjoy.. The contest ends on December 19th, at midnight. The winner will be drawn at random and you must be a Canadian or American resident to enter. Good luck and I look forward to hearing from you!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Persimmon Chocolate Tarts

Do you remember the chocolate tarts I blogged about a few days ago? These are an easy variation to make homemade tarts that much more of a treat. Every time I see bright orange, plump persimmons at the market, I can't help adding a few to my basket. They are usually only available a couple months a year (on this side of the world anyway!) and are one of my favourite fruit. Slicing a perfectly ripe persimmon makes a quick light dessert, but why not add them to top a chocolate tart?

In the summertime, I would top these with berries, but at this time of year, persimmons are a heavenly switch-up. Just make sure to add the fruit right before serving so it's as fresh as can be. Visit my chocolate tart post for the recipe.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Holiday Treats and a Giveaway!

As the holidays are fast approaching, my to-do list seems ever expanding - everyday I pin another recipe I'd like to try, or DIY project I'd love to tackle. I'm sure many of you can relate to this, but every year I wish that December was a couple of days longer. Between flavoured marshmallows, indulgent cakes and intricate cookies, I know this holiday season will be sweet, flavourful and time-consuming!

To help ease the hectic season and lend a little festive spirit, here is the first of our December giveaways! I have a copy of Rachael Ray's newest cookbook, My Year in Meals. The book is split between recipes and a series of cocktails concocted by Rachael's husband, John Cusimano. If you're looking for a few colourful drinks to add to your holiday menus, this is a great place to start. I already have my eye on the Panettone, a mix of vodka, Grand Marnier, orgeat syrup and champagne - that has to be a perfect way to ring in the new year, don't you think?

To enter the contest, simply leave a comment on this post and let me know what your go-to holiday dish is when you entertain. The contest ends on December 15th, at midnight. The winner will be drawn at random and you must be a Canadian or American resident to enter. Good luck and I look forward to hearing from you!

And for a few stress-free holidays treats, try a few of my favourite indulgences for this time of year!

{1} Almond, Ginger and Chocolate Buche de Noel
{2} Hot Chocolate with Mini Marshmallows
{3} Lemon Bundt Cake
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