Friday, 23 March 2012

Fashion Friday- Dressing Arizona

I'm well settled into vacation mode right about now and I'll be taking a blog break next week while I'm away. In the spirit of my trip to Phoenix, I've put together a few desert inspired pieces.

Dressing Arizona

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Tangerine Dream

I love Pantone Universe. Their coffee mugs and stationery are a simple, but fun way to add color to every day life. Now, they've teamed up with Sephora to create a Color of the Year collection inspired by this year's Tangerine Tango. The color is warm and vibrant without being too crazy.

I can't wait to add the nail polish and lip gloss to my ever growing collection.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Vegas Vacation

We're off to Vegas tomorrow night until Sunday. I'm looking forward to dinners at Sage and Bouchon, seeing Le Reve and maybe checking out a few off the strip places we've never been, including the Neon Boneyard. It's filled with old neon signs from as early as the 1930's!

After Vegas, we're taking a little road trip for a conference I have in Phoenix. I've only been to Phoenix once, when I was really little, so I'm looking forward to exploring during my free time. Any Phoenix must dos or sees?

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Short Rib Chili

When I knew we were going to do absolutely nothing on Sunday, I had to make a dinner that involved the same amount of effort. Something that would be done in the time it takes to watch two movies. Enter Giada De Laurentiis' Short Rib Chili. I had originally googled short rib chili to try and emulate the dish from our favorite pub, but everytime I remembered it, it was too late to start. Sunday was the perfect day to give it a try and it was awesome.

Short Rib Chili

3 pounds meaty short ribs, with bone
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
One 2-ounce package dried New Mexico chiles (about 8), stemmed, seeded and cut or torn into pieces
2 large dried ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded and cut or torn into pieces*
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 large red onion, chopped
1 tablespoon freshly ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried Mexican oregano
1 cup beef broth (preferably organic)
2 tablespoons dark agave
1 teaspoon instant espresso coffee
One 15 to 16-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
Adobo sauce, from can of chipotle chiles, optional
Chopped green onions
Coarsely grated bittersweet chocolate, such as Lindt
Garnishes, such as lime wedges, sour cream, aged cheddar, jalepenos


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Sprinkle short ribs with 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.

Bring the chiles and 1 1/2 cups water to a simmer in a medium saucepan over high heat. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the chiles are just tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a blender. Holding the top on firmly, blend until the chile puree is smooth.

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the short ribs in batches and brown on all sides, 5 to 6 minutes per batch, transferring the short ribs to a bowl each time.

Add the garlic and red onions to the drippings in the pot. Saute until the onions soften, about 5 minutes. Mix in the cumin and oregano. Add the chile puree from the blender, the broth, agave, and espresso; stir to blend. Return the short ribs and any juices from the bowl to the pot; stir to coat. Bring to a simmer. Cover and place the pot in the oven. Braise until the ribs are very tender, about 2 hours 30 minutes.

Tilt the pot. Spoon off and discard any fat that rises to the surface and pools at the lower end. Using tongs, transfer the ribs and any loose bones to a rimmed baking sheet. Carefully cut the membrane off each piece of meat (try to cut away only the membrane and not any meat). Discard the membranes and all bones. Cut the meat into small (scant 1/2-inch) cubes. Return the meat to the sauce in the pot. Mix in the black beans. Season the chili with about 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. If desired, add the adobo sauce by teaspoonfuls to increase the spiciness. Transfer the chili to a large bowl. Sprinkle with the green onions.

Spoon the Creamy Corn Polenta into deep bowls. Ladle chili over. Sprinkle generously with chocolate. Serve with the garnishes.

*I couldn't find ancho chilis, so I used an equal amount negro pasillas.
**I actually wasn't wild about the polenta. It was a bit bland. When we ate the leftovers I stirred in some aged cheddar to kick it up a notch. Next time I'd probably make corn bread or serve the chili with tortillas.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Ahh the Weekend

Saturday morning marked a return to weekend circuit class at the new and very swanky Inliv facility.  To make up for all those calories burned, I met my sister and niece for lunch at Blue Star Diner. I've been craving a burger for a long time and I think theirs might just be the very best in the city.
No crazy St. Patrick's Day parties for this gal. I was home early and woke up hangover free on Sunday (shame!). After a morning of running around and prepping dinner, we watched Young Adult, The Descendants and the season finale of Walking Dead. A very lazy, happy Sunday indeed.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Fashion Friday- Dress Me I'm Irish

Remember when you were younger and you'd get pinched if you didn't wear green on St. Patrick's Day? Legend has it that leprechauns like to pinch, but they can't see you if you're wearing green. Here's an outfit to keep the little guys away.

St. Patrick's Day

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Guinness Chocolate Cake with Irish Cream Ganache and Cream Cheese Icing

Sorry for no post yesterday. I was busy lying in a dark room waiting for several types of migraine medication to kick in. Speaking of stressed, overused livers, Saturday is St. Patrick's Day! What better way to celebrate than to indulge in two of Ireland's greatest exports- Guinness and Irish cream. You could even throw some U2 on and go for the hat-trick.

Guinness Chocolate Cake
adapted from Nigella

1 c. Guinness stout
1 c. 2tbsp. butter
2/3 c. cocoa
1 3/4c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. sour cream
2 eggs
2 3/4 c. flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking soda

Preheat oven to 355.

Pour Guinness into a large saucepan. Cut butter into chunks and add to the stout. Stir until the butter has melted. Add cocoa and sugar and blend. In a separate bowl, whisk together sour cream, eggs and vanilla. Stir the sour cream mixture into the Guinness batter. Whisk in the flour and baking soda until just combined. Pour batter into greased muffin tins. Bake for 13 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely.

Irish Cream Ganache

1 c. of semi-sweet chocolate
3/4 c. heavy cream
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. Bailey's or preferred Irish cream

In a small saucepan, heat cream and butter over medium heat until almost boiling. Put chocolate and Bailey's in a heat proof bowl. Remove cream from heat and pour over chocolate. Stir gently until mixed. Allow to cool in the refrigerator. If the ganache doesn't thicken as much as you'd like it to, you can whip it briefly with an electric beater. be careful not to over mix.

Cream Cheese Icing

400g cream cheese
1 1/4 c. icing sugar
1/2 c. whipping cream
Bailey's to taste (optional)

Whip together cream cheese and icing sugar. Add cream and bailey's until it reaches the desired consistency.

 To assemble

Cut holes in the centre of the cupcakes, careful not to puncture the bottom. Fill holes with ganache. Spread icing to mimic the frothy head on a proper pint of Guinness.


Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Big Easy Express

As if there weren't enough reasons to be in Austin for SXSW, they're premiering Big Easy Express. The film follows three incredible bands-Old Crow Medicine Show, Mumford and Sons, and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros- on a train ride from Oakland to New Orleans.

To see one of these bands would be a dream come true, but to see all of them?! Together?! Wow.

Old Crow holds a special place in my heart. Their song 'Wagon Wheel' always brings me back to the days when Eric and I first started dating. We would dance to that song non-stop. This print of the lyrics now holds a spot in our living room.

From Etsy

Monday, 12 March 2012

Ahh the Weekend

What a beautiful weekend! 14 degrees in March? Yes please!

We watched the Flames beat the Jets on Friday night. I'll always cheer for Calgary, but it was impressive to see  how many Winnipeg fans there are in this city. Their loyalty makes it pretty tough to hate on them. I'll still leave you with this little ditty though :)

 Saturday around midnight, Eric and I went west to try and see the northern lights. A solar storm has amplified them making them pretty impressive in Calgary and the surrounding areas.

Photo by Oliver Du Tre just outside of Cochrane, AB. 

Unfortunately, the ones we saw were pretty faint, but it was nice to take a drive outside the city and stargaze for a bit.

My facial at Skoah was amazing on Sunday, but it stripped me of any motivation to do anything but read my book and catch up on some House Hunters International.

I hope you had a good one!

Friday, 9 March 2012

Fashion Friday- Do the Dip

Oh, I love all the dip hem skirts and dresses out right now.

I'm (not so) patiently awaiting the arrival of that ASOS dress as we speak.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Jambalaya and Corn Bread

One of my dearest friends came for dinner last night. I wanted to make something comforting that wasn't too time consuming and would use up some leftover groceries. My mom's jambalaya fit the bill perfectly. Plus, it's just fun to say (although, not so much to spell).

A couple notes about the dinner:

  1. Emeril's Essence is good in just about everything. The recipe will make quite a bit, but save it for later to use in soup, chili, perogies (yes, perogies. Trust me.), etc.
  2. A teaspoon of hot sauce doesn't seem like much, but it makes it just perfectly spicy so you might want to try it first if you're considering adding more.
  3. I added cheddar and green chilies to my cornbread and made it into muffins. The recipe was too much for 2 people so I used half the batter for savory muffins and added blueberries and orange zest to the other half for a weekend breakfast treat. It made just about a dozen of each.


12 medium shrimp peeled, deveined and chopped
4 oz. chicken breast, diced
1 tbsp. Emeril's Essence (or Cajun seasoning but this is better)
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
1/4 c chopped celery
2 tbsp chopped garlic
1/2 chopped tomatoes (I use a can of diced tomatoes with the juice)**
3 bay leaves
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp hot sauce
3 cups chicken stock
3/4 cup rice
5 oz. Andouille sausage, chopped (or hot Italian)
salt & pepper to taste

In a large bowl combine shrimp, chicken and Emeril's Essence and work in seasoning well. In large saucepan heat oil over high heat. Add onion, pepper and celery and cook 3 minutes. Add garlic, tomatoes, bay leaves, Worcestershire and hot sauce. Stir in rice and slowly add broth. Reduce heat to medium and cook till rice absorbs liquid and becomes tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. When rice is just tender, add shrimp and chicken mixture and sausage**. Cook till meat is done, about 10 minutes more. Season to taste with both s & p and Emeril's Essence.
**If using a can of diced tomatoes with the juice, adjust the chicken broth to 2 cups. You may need to add more as the rice is cooking to get the consistency you want.
** I cook the chicken and sausage ahead and add it with the shrimp, cooking it just till the shrimp is cooked and the meat is heated through.

Emeril's Essence
5 tbsp paprika (sweet)
1/4 c salt
1/4 c garlic powder
2 tbsp black pepper
2 tbsp onion powder
2 tbsp cayenne
2 tbsp dried oregano
2 tbsp dried thyme
Mix together well and store in air-tight container. Makes more than you'll need for one recipe of Jambalaya.

Buttery Cornbread

2/3 c butter, softened
1 c sugar
3 eggs
1 2/3 c 2% milk
2 1/3 c flour
1 c cornmeal
4 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

In large bowl, cream butter & sugar until light and fluffy. Combine eggs & milk. Combine flour, cornmeal, bp & salt; add alternately with egg mixture to the creamed mixture. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 pan. Bake at 400 for 22-27 min or till toothpick comes out clean. Serves 12-15.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

A Bedroom Re-imagine

We're pretty pleased with how our home is decorated. We've managed to incorporate both of our styles while still making it a cohesive space. This is true for every room except our bedroom. There's really no rhyme or reason to anything in there. I want our room to be a place we look forward to relaxing in instead of just a place to sleep. I love the serene feel of neutrals in these rooms while the pops of color add a bit of whimsy.


Tuesday, 6 March 2012

The Big Taste

Formerly Dine-Out Calgary, The Big Taste gives diners an inexpensive chance to try restaurants downtown and in the beltline. Participating restaurants have created 3 course lunches ($15 or $25) and dinners ($25 or $35). It's a great reason to eat out until March 12th. Most of the menus are available online so you can pick your restaurants based on what you like or just make a reservation and let them surprise you.

I've got a reservation with a friend on Thursday at Home Tasting Room. I've never been and can't wait to try it.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Ahh the Weekend

You know it was a good weekend when Monday rolls around and you don't even mind.

Friday night was spent eating charcuterie and drinking wine. Saturday we met a friend for lunch at Without Papers, checked out the Crossroads Farmers Market and Village Brewery. The brewery was closed, but we got to try their Blacksmith India Black Ale at the Pig and Duke. It was sort of like a lighter, easier to drink version of Guinness. Sunday was for sleeping in, walking around on 17th Ave. and nestling into the corner of the couch to catch up on City Palate and The Art of Fielding while drinking blood orange mimosas. Tough life.

Friday, 2 March 2012


Oh Friday, I'm so happy you're here!

What's up for the weekend? My new favorite Saturday ritual is walking to Kawa for coffee and coming home to make breakfast sandwiches and I'm seriously looking forward to tomorrow morning.

We don't have big plans this weekend so I think we'll spend it doing things we've been putting off forever. I want to check out Village Brewery and since I bought Eric a beer making book for Christmas we've been dying to try making beer of our own. We're using the book and kit from Brooklyn Brew Shop. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Have a good one!

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Cashew Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

When a friend asked me to bake her chocolate chip cashew cookies for her birthday, I decided to get a bit creative.

Cashew Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
3/4 c. cashew butter
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. chocolate chips

Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and mix until smooth.
In a separate bowl, sift together flour and salt. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredient and mix until just combined. Add chocolate chunks. Form the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.

Preheat oven to 350. Form the dough into balls (about 2 tbsp.) and place on a cookie sheet. Press each ball with a fork to flatten slightly. Bake for 8 minutes, rotate your pan and bake for another 8 minutes.

I still made her original request using the Anna Olson recipe from the chocolate chunk cookie bake off and added cashews and Skor bits. Delish!

Happy Birthday Erica!

Happy birthday to my amazing sister!

This is us eating the most incredible ramen during our trip to Japan a few years ago.