Friday, August 29, 2014

Flashback Friday - Camping in Maine

I went to law school in New Brunswick and so one summer we went camping in Bar Harbor, Maine.  We went with our dear friends Brad and Melissa.  We lost Brad to cancer a couple of years ago, and so the fond memories I have of this trip are even more special.

We set off after work on Friday afternoon.  Dave and I took our own car and headed down to meet Brad and Melissa who had already set up their campsite.  We had packed our car with our camping supplies and food for the weekend, grabbed some take out and set out.  At the border, the customs agent asked if we had any vegetables or meat in our possession.  Dave says yes, thinking of course of our hot dogs, bacon and pork skewers.  I said to the agent, "no, we ate that already", gesturing to our fast food wrappers on the floor in front of me. The agent frowns, and must think Dave, or both of us, are pretty silly, and says "no, you don't need to declare food you've already eaten."  So we continued on our way and it wasn't until Dave reminded me of our food in the cooler, did I actually remember we had meat with us.  I certainly wasn't trying to pull a fast one on the border agent, but I managed to and we had no issue with our food.

That is until the middle of the night.  For some reason we thought it would be okay to leave our cooler outside on the picnic table.  The raccoons also thought that was okay.  They woke us up in the middle of the night.  Dave crept out of the tent with our ax, wondering what he was going to see.  The little bandits took off, and left this behind:

We also found our cheese slices off in the woods. 
In the morning we set out to Bar Harbor to go shopping (including, now, grocery shopping), and play miniature golf.  Bar Harbor is a very quaint little town, and very touristy, but that's okay since we were the tourists. 

I actually still use the place mats that I bought there.  I also bought a North Face winter jacket while I was there.  On our way back across the border, I didn't declare it and for some reason we got stopped at the border for a search.  The border agent found the jacket and asked where the receipt was.  I launched into a rambling speech about how I bought it in Halifax and yes, I did bring a winter jacket camping in August.  She somehow decided to let us go without penalty, but that was the last time I didn't declare something going across the border, even if I've had to pay the tax.  I still have that jacket though.
We do enjoy camping and have been several times since this trip.  We were supposed to go twice this year but had to cancel both times. Maybe next year we can get back in the habit of camping.  

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Apple Cupcakes

E's day care is having an end of summer party today, and some of his friends are going to be "graduating" from preschool.  They usually order pizza but most of the parents bring something too.  I signed up to bring apple cupcakes.  I saw the recipe here: Momfessionals. Andrea said they were great for back to school and getting into the fall spirit.  I agree.

Here is the recipe:

1/2 cup butter, softened 
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
4 eggs at room temperature
1 1/2 cups apple sauce
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves

1) Preheat oven to 350 and line mini muffin tin with cupcake liners.  A good job for a little helper!

2) Cream together the sugars and butter.

3) Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.

4) Add applesauce.

5) Add dry ingredients (mix just until combined).

6) Place 1 tbsp of batter into each liner

7) Bake for about 10 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

8) Remove from pan and cool on a wire rack.

Then make the Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting.
1/2 cup butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 brown sugar, packed
2 tsp vanilla (I only have vanilla bean paste,  it added those nice specks to the frosting)
4 cups powdered sugar

1) Beat together butter and cream cheese
2) Add sugar, vanilla, powdered sugar. Beat until smooth.
3) Pipe onto tops of cooled cupcakes.  I used a Ziploc bag with a hole cut in the corner.  For years I have been looking for a fancy piping bag with the correct attachment for frosting cupcakes, who knew a plastic bag and scissors would be all you'd need?!

I made mini ones too so they would be easier for the kids to eat.

They turned out pretty well. Let's hope the kids enjoy them! 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Want it Wednesday - Nail Care

For my birthday this year, I got a Clarisonic.  It is amazing.  It don't think it has visibly changed my appearance, but it does make my skin feel cleaner.   I recently saw they make this version of a Clairsonic for your feet:

I love getting a pedicure, but I rarely have time to get one.  I don't like going out in the evenings, and my weekends are usually spent running around with E.  If I had this, I could get the benefit of a pedicure without having to leave the house.  It is expensive, but maybe it is worth it?!

I saw these nail polishes advertised in the paper this week (yes, I actually get and read a newspaper) and I knew I wanted to try them.

Nars Nail Polish.  I love this black with blue sparkles for my toes.
And this mint one for my toes. If you know me, you know I love mint green.
Maybe one of these days I'll have some time to get a professional pedicure but in the meantime, I'll see what I can do myself.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Weekend Recap - Real Life Stuff

Dave was travelling for work last week so we didn't make any big plans for the weekend.  We wanted to relax at home for the most part.  The weather during the day on Saturday wasn't that great so we were content to watch some TV and do some errands in the morning.

Breakfast Smiles
E literally played for more than half an hour with these boxes we got in the mail.

High Park playground

We let E explore by himself rather than follow him along.  I told him that as long as he checked to make sure he could see us every once in awhile he would be okay.  I went to check on him a few times, but he was fine running around by himself and talking to other kids.
Someone was a little tired and sweaty after the playground

On Saturday night we tried a new restaurant, Farmhouse Tavern on Dupont in the Junction. 

A beautiful night out on the patio, we only have a few summer nights left!


We started with the heirloom tomato tart.
And the ploughman's platter.
I had the Farmhouse Burger.  Topped with pork belly, goat cheese and egg. Very yummy.
And the piece de resistance, a quail for Dave, complete with feet and head. 

E enjoyed the tomatoes and several things off of the ploughman's platter. He also had some of my fries and dessert.  He was not interested in the "chicken" we offered him.  Great little place.  We'd like to go back to try out the brunch too.

Monday, August 25, 2014


I decided to become an Independent Consultant for Arbonne and so I signed up last week.  It is something I have thought about doing for awhile and so I finally did it.  I have realized I have a lot to learn and I'll be sharing some more about this new venture in the coming weeks. 

I had heard of Arbonne a few years ago when I attended a party promoting the products but at the time I didn't think it was for me. Then my cousin Emma became a consultant last year and she introduced more of the products to me.  Not to sound too frivolous but I fell in love with the products and I've slowly incorporated many of them into my regular routine.  Dave has used the shaving cream, and E used the diaper cream exclusively the whole time he was in cloth diapers.  The kids stuff is really great, especially considering the other products out there.

I am really looking forward to getting involved with this company.  Not only do I hope to make some extra spending money and get my own discount on the products, I will be learning more about sales and marketing which will actually help me in my law career.  Maybe this isn't a surprise to you, but I was surprised to learn early on that sales is a big part of being a lawyer in private practice.  Too bad they don't teach basic sales techniques in law school.  Conflicts of laws - yes, sales - no.

Anyway, leave me a comment if you'd like to learn more about the products or about becoming an independent consultant yourself.  I always think it is fun when people try new things and take on new adventures.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Flashback Friday - New York

Last fall Dave and I went to New York City for the first time.  We did lots of things, typical tourist things, but we really enjoyed the restaurants we visited so I decided to write this post about the places where we ate.  Some were just regular places, but some were spectacular.  I didn't take pictures of everything we ate, but I did get a few.  Links to these places are also included. 

We stayed at The Chambers Hotel.  It has its own momofuku restaurant, Ma Peche. We ate there the first night when we arrived in town.  It was not your typical hotel restaurant, and we enjoyed trying a few new things and some fun cocktails.

Our first stop was Bouchon Bakery in Rockefeller Plaza for breakfast.  If you watch the Today show, it's the coffee shop that is always in the shot when they are outside.  This day I had an almond croissant, but when I went back a few days later to see the Today show, I had a ham and cheese toasted croissant and it was amazing. 

That night we headed to the Village to find a place to eat.  We had done some research about some good restaurants, but they don't take reservations so we knew we were taking our chances.  We finally decided on The Spotted Pig.  It had a two hour wait list, but we didn't have to stay there the whole time so we had drinks at The Orient Express and then walked around the Village.  The Orient Express was really neat, it is a tiny place and the idea is that it is like the inside of a train car.  Cool atmosphere and an inspired cocktail list.  Our meal at the Spotted Pig was great.  I would go there again. 

On Saturday we went to the Chelsea Market. If you are in New York, go here.  It not only has some really neat food shops, it has some clothing and antique stores.  We did buy E some mittens, but not much else.  I wanted to buy everything though, art work, jewellery, scarves, etc.


One of the stalls with their multitudes of spices.

The most adorable cookies.   We bought a couple for ourselves and some to take home.
When we were planning our trip to New York, I asked for some suggestions.  Someone suggested doing a food tour of Greenwich Village.  This tour was worth every penny.  It takes place over three hours, we visited 8 shops/restaurants, learned about some of the history of the Village, and were stuffed at the end of it.

Rice ball.  I didn't know what this was and I had always assumed it would it be similar to sushi rice, I was so wrong.  It is soft risotto rice, with cheese, deep fried.  We ate it with our hands, but you could also dip it in marinara sauce.

At one of the restaurants, they were having a private party in the main dining room, complete with pig.

Fresh, warm cookie
That night we went to Dos Caminos.  I don't think it was the most trendy of their locations, but it was busy, we could walk from our hotel, and the food was good.

Not much makes me happier than fresh guacamole and a lime margarita on the rocks.

On Sunday morning, we went to the Loeb Boathouse for brunch.  This was the place in 27 Dresses where the sister wants to have her wedding.  It was very posh, maybe a little overpriced, but a great experience.  We loved Central Park, and would definitely stay close to there again.

This is the candy store part of FAO Schwartz.  We didn't buy anything here because we had just left Dylan's Candy Bar, which is an amazing three storey candy store owned by Ralph Lauren's daughter.  Word is she is opening a location in Toronto, can't wait!

That night we headed back to the Village for supper and a comedy show.  We had drinks at The Blind Tiger.  This is the site of one the oldest bars in the Village. Then we ate at Home.  Both the bar and restaurant were recommended during our food tour.

The next day after attending a taping of Live with Kelly and Michael, we took the subway down to SoHo for some shopping.  We had lunch at Olives which is just a sandwich counter really, but very fancy yummy sandwiches. 

A fan of Felicity, I had to search out a Dean and Deluca.  This one was in Soho.

We didn't eat here, but Sex and the City fans will recognize this as "Scout", the bar that Aidan and Steve opened.  It's not actually on Mulberry Street, but it is a few blocks away.
Our last night in New York, we had kind of a weird dinner.  First we went to the John Dory Oyster House for their happy hour special of oysters and champagne.  After a few rounds of that, we went back up to Rockefeller Plaza to see if the Christmas tree was up yet (it wasn't) and got a cookie at Bouchon Bakery.  Then we got take out from The Burger Joint and ate it in our hotel room.  The Burger Joint is located behind a curtain at Le Parker Meridian, conveniently down the street from our hotel.  You'd never know it was there unless you were looking for it, but it has been there for years. The burgers and fries are greasy, but great!  It's a little like the Soup Nazi, you have to know what you want when you step to the counter, their menu is small, and you can't ask for substitutions.
I hope you've enjoyed this little food tour of New York.  I know we barely scraped the surface of New York, but that's just an excuse to go back again. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Summer Fruit Crisp

The peaches and cherries are in full swing here in Southern Ontario.  I bought a few peaches and cherries at the market last week and although I love eating them just as they are, I also like to bake with them.  There is nothing easier than whipping up a fruit crisp, and it is even easier if you make it in the microwave.  Here is my recipe for fruit crisp.

Fruit Crisp

5-6 cups of fresh fruit (I used a combination of cherries and peaches this time, apples work, or blueberries, raspberries etc.)
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup quick oats
1/2 cup white flour
1/2 cup butter
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

Spray a microwavable dish.  Pit the cherries, chop or slice the peaches or apples.  Place the fruit in the dish.  Cook on high for 3 to 4 minutes or until the fruit is slightly soft.

In a separate microwavable bowl, combine brown sugar, oats, flour, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. Mix in the butter so it is crumbly.  Cook on high for 2 to 3 minutes or until hot and bubbly, mixing halfway through.  Spread over fruit.

Cook everything on high for 5-7 minutes until the fruit is soft and the topping is bubbly. 


I like to pour cream over the top of my crisp, I think this is Nova Scotia thing.  Of course, whipped cream or ice cream works too. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Want it Wednesdays - Anthropologie

One of my favourite stores is Anthropologie.  I am lucky to live in a city that actually has an Anthropologie but I never get to go to one.  They are at Yorkville, Shops at Don Mills, Yorkdale Mall and Oakville.  Those places aren't in my normal areas for shopping so it is always a special occasion when I do go. 

I have several dresses from the store and although they can be pricy, I wear them out so I get my money's worth.  Usually it starts as a dress I wear to a wedding, then I wear it to work, and then I wear it on weekends.  I love being inspired to try new styles and patterns when I'm in the store.

I've been perusing their website for some new fall clothes and this is what has caught my eye.

Chelan Dress.  I love this pattern, so bold.

Afternoon Abroad Tee. Cute t-shirt, good with jeans or a maxi skirt.
Acreage Dress.  I love this pattern and the length.  I'd have to try it on though to see if it worked for me.
Glinted Taffeta Midi Dress.  This would be great for a Christmas party. I've had dresses this style before and have loved them.

I also love their home goods and have purchased many gifts for people and stuff for my own home.  Here are some cool things they have now.

Tindari Quilt.  Dave has been saying we need a non-"granny" quilt. This could do.
Egg Crate.  This is great when baking and you need eggs sitting at room temperature for awhile.

Voluspa Maison Jardin Candle.  I've purchased these candles before.  They have nice scents and are so pretty.
I've got to get to this store ASAP!! I even have a gift card I can use.