July 23, 2014

Candy Kabobs

Candy kabobs are a treat that will forever take me back to my elementary school birthday party days. My mom and I would go to Bulk Barn, pick out all our favourite candy, skewer them together and wrap them in cellophane for all my guests. Not only do they look cute, but they are delicious (it's candy, what's not to love?!)! I hosted a little BBQ a few weekends ago and decided it would be the perfect occasion to re-create this childhood summer staple. They were a huge hit and they even matched perfectly with the other bright party decor. The best thing about them is that they require literally two elements: candy and skewers. Go wild! 


July 10, 2014

Mini Peanut Butter Cheesecakes

I knew Brandon's birthday treat would have to combine his two favourites: cheesecake and peanut butter. Since these treats are so decadent I opted for mini versions as they just seemed less intimidating than diving into a whole cheesecake. Although they seem complex they were actually quite simple to make. And are so indulgent!  If you are looking for a rich, peanut buttery, chocolately treat look no further! 

recipe adapted from Oh My God Chocolate Desserts 
makes: 12-14 mini cheesecakes 

Oreo Crust Base:
1 cup Oreo cookie crumbs 
2 tablespoons melted butter

Peanut Butter Cheesecake:
2 bricks (16 oz) of softened cream cheese
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter 
2 eggs
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Chocolate Ganache:
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1-2 tablespoons powdered sugar

7 Reece's Peanut Butter Cups chopped 

1. Line cupcake tray with cupcake liners. I also sprayed the cupcake lines with non-stick spray to ensure they would pop out easily.
2. Mix together the Oreo crumbs and the melted butter. Spoon 1/2 tablespoon of this mixture into each cupcake liner, pat down with back of spoon. 
3. Bake the crust at 350 degrees for 5 minutes.

4. Using an electric mixer, beat the softened cream cheese and peanut butter until smooth. Add the sugar and beat until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, then add the cream and vanilla until combined.
5. Spoon cheesecake mixture on top of baked crusts. Fill to the brim.
6. Bake again at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes. When finished let cool and then place in refrigerator for roughly 4 hours to set. 

7. In a microwave safe bowl combine chocolate chips and cream. Microwave until melted using 15 second intervals, stirring in-between, so you don't burn the chocolate. Add powdered sugar to thicken.
8. Remove cupcake liners from cheesecakes. Spoon ganache over cheesecakes and top with chopped Reece's Peanut Butter Cups. Place in fridge to set until cooled.  


July 09, 2014

Scenes of Summer

Is it just me or is summer really flying by? I feel like every year when I realize this I try to make a conscious effort to slow down the days, but a new week always seems to come too soon. If you follow me on Instagram you will have seen some of these summer scenes. I have been basking in beautiful peonies from the garden, enjoying pool days and trips to the farmer's market. It also seems Brandon and I have also started a new tradition of going to the Niagara on the Lake area for long weekends. It is so peaceful and relaxing down by the water, and there is plenty to do. On our last visit, besides relaxing vine side, we went antiquing and bought copious amounts of freshly picked fruits and veggies. It's all about the simpler things! And I can't forget trying some fabulous new (to me) restaurants in the city. Some of these include Pizzeria Libretto, which is probably the best Neapolitan pizza I have had outside of Italy, and Bakerbots Baking (the ice cream sandwiches are incredible). And any trip to Port Colborne isn't complete without a stop in a The Smokin' Buddha. Hope you all are enjoying your summer, and my recent posts from our travels! 

July 07, 2014


{admiring the tile work at Park Güell}
So you're going to Barcelona and you're not sure what to see or do. Not to worry, I'm going to break down the must-see spots in this beautiful, laid back, yet sophisticated city! To be honest, I really didn't know that much about the city before we got there so I was surprised to see how large and modern it is. We managed to squeeze in a lot in just two and a half days, and I already dream about the day I can return and indulge in some tapas while exploring more of the city's hidden gems. 

To see:
La Rambla- One of the main streets which is beautifully lined with trees, shops and vendors. I don't recommend eating at any of the restaurants on La Rambla, as we were advised they are mostly tourist traps. Walk down and enjoy the atmosphere and Spanish charm. 
La Sagrada Familia- It's even more grandiose and eccentric than I could have imagined. We bought tickets before we left Canada and avoided the dreadful hour+ wait in line. 
Casa BatllóCasa Milà- We were short on time so had to pick between these two of Gaudí's  buildings, which are seriously pieces of art. I'm happy we chose Casa Batlló. It was beautiful - the wrought iron, the ceramics, the stained glass windows, there are so many elements of his designs that you can't help but be amazed by (scroll below to the "House of Bones" pictures and you'll see what I mean).  
Park Güell- Not only a park, but a garden and home to more of Gaudí's architectural wonders. I really would have loved to take a peak into this man's mind! It is a bit of a trek from the city centre but it's seriously worth it, and it offers a beautiful view of the city.

To eat:
La Flauta, Cerveceria Catalana- You must have a typical Spanish tapas dinner while in Barcelona, and these two restaurants were amazing! The tomato bread, the olives, the fried artichokes! YUM. Also- you have to eat dinner after 10 pm to get an authentic experience!  There are so many incredible options in this city, paella, tapas, churros; whatever you fancy! 
La Boqueria- Waking up and walking over to La Boqueria market for some fresh juice, fruit and nuts turned out to be my favourite activity! I'm so happy our hotel was situated a few minutes walking distance on La Rambla. The market is amazing. You must venture inside and take have a healthy snack... or some chocolates.  

One word- Zara. You can't go to Barcelona and not step foot in one of the many Zara's around the city. You will also find great shopping areas on Passeig de Gracia and Avinguda Diagonal.

If you have more time, definitely check out Montjuïc and the Olympic stadium, Barceloneta Beach and El Barri Gotic (the gothic quarter). 

{fresh fruit at La Boqueria}
{climbing up the many stairs to reach Montjuïc}

{inside La Sagrada Familia}

{indulging in sweets at Chok}

{Casa Batlló}

{tapas at Cerveceria Catalana}
{exploring Park Güell}

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