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Sunday, September 30, 2018

Perfect Beautiful Slow Cooker Italian Pomodoro Sauce

Ever wish you could have that fancy restaurant pasta sauce at home but the canned or jarred stuff just ain’t cuttin it? I’m here to save the day!!
This does require a slow cooker for absolute perfection but you may be able to get away with using a saucepan or Dutch oven on low heat as long as you are very careful of burning on the bottom. (Bitter sauce is bad sauce)
Straight to it! Serves 4-6
10-12 ripe Roma tomatoes 
1 small onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 c. Olive oil
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano 
2 tsp sugar
Pinch of cayenne or red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper
1.) Bring a large pot of water to boil. Slice an X into the tops of all the tomatoes then add to boiling water for about 2 minutes. Remove quickly and let cool. The skins should peel right off. Chop the peeled tomatoes roughly and add to slow cooker. 
2.) Add all other ingredients and turn slow cooker on to low. Cover and let cook for 12-14 hours, stirring occasionally. (I know, long time but it’s well worth the result!) 
* I highly suggest starting this sauce the night before so that a majority of the waiting is done in your sleep ;) 

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Mango Coconut Pancakes (gluten and refined sugar free)


This year I wanted to treat my pups too so after heavy research I created these dog AND people friendly delicious mango and coconut pancakes. Everyone was very happy in this house this morning!

Makes 5 thick pancakes 


1 cup gluten free rice flour

1/2 cup gluten free oats

2tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 egg

1 cup skim milk

2 tsp honey 

2 tsp olive or vegetable oil + more for cooking

1 mango, thinly sliced without skin

Toasted coconut shavings or desiccated coconut for topping

Pure maple syrup 

1.) In a bowl, mix the first four dry ingredients. In a separate bowl lightly beat the egg then stir in the milk, honey and oil. Gently fold the egg mixture into the dry ingredients till just combined. (Do not over mix) Transfer to a pouring measuring cup. 

2.) Grease and heat a large skillet over medium. Pour about 1/3 of the batter per pancake onto the hot skillet. Place mango slivers on top of each pancake and wait for small bubbles to appear around the edges before flipping. 

3.) Allow the mango side to cook for a couple minutes then flip once more to check for doneness and transfer to a serving plate. Top with maple syrup and coconut then serve! 

* For dogs give half a cooled pancake to smaller dogs and full one to larger dogs. Add only a light drizzle of maple syrup and small amount of coconut. 

Thursday, February 8, 2018

My 5 Tips and Tricks for Spring Cleaning Success

It’s that time of year again SPRING CLEANING TIME....well not technically spring but I like to be one step ahead of the game and the beginning of the year is a perfect time to get organized and de-cluttered because it’s the one time of the year that everyone has their “super motivation” panties on and you’ll have a clearer idea of what you really want to achieve and get rid of. It’s time to get our zen on!
Rule #1 START SMALL. Don’t wreck yourself by trying to do your entire abode in a single day. I know when I tried to do that once I ended up half assing most of it and really regretting the quick build up soon after. The best thing to do in my opinion is start with the little niggling things like junk drawers, medicine cabinet and desk drawers. I actually have 5, count em junk drawers in my house. Well I say junk drawers but they are filled with some useful things in accordance to the room they’re in (eg. rubber bands, pens and sticky notes in the kitchen, hair accessories, creams and ointments in the bathroom...etc) Anyway, it took me a good 2 hours to finish all of them. I was left scratching my head afterward when I was hauling away a full black trash bag. I guess you should never underestimate just how much stuff those drawers can hold!

#2 SET ASIDE A FULL DAY FOR’re going to need it. Closets are basically the Hoover Dams of junk storage. Get a big box to fill with donatables and a big black trash bag for garbage and broken junk. Be determined to get rid of anything you haven’t used in the past year (in some cases few years). This can also be a good time to install shelving or a book case if you haven’t already. This will give you more room for organization and order.
#3 TACKLE THAT KITCHEN. As a cook, nothing stresses me out more than when I can’t get to an ingredient easily due to over stuffed, messy cabinets. We’re all guilty of it. A funny memory from my childhood was helping my grandmother clean out her pantry and finding a box of cereal from was 1996. Everything needs to go through the keep it or toss it process, even spices. Free up some room for fresher (probably healthier) ingredients. It’ll also inspire you to cook more when everything is in its right place, ready for use.

#4 CONSIDER A LIGHT REDECORATING. Tired of looking at that same old dusty vase and fake flowers you set up 5 years ago? How about that cheesy print you bought at TK MAX? Or that IKEA side table that’s on the verge of collapse if you set one more thing on it? Don’t forget to treat yourself to some refreshed surroundings. It doesn’t have to be an extreme home makeover, just choose a handful of things to change out and keep it within your budget. You can find amazing new inexpensive decorations by checking the online SALE sections of home decor shops or hit up the next flea market nearby. Most vintage things were made with much better quality than new things AND you will most likely find that “one of a kind” centrepiece that’ll be the envy of visitors.
#5 FINISHING TOUCHES. Once everything is done and dusted, do a walk through and make note of all the little bangs and scratches around the house. By this I mean things like a stuck drawer, creaking door, crack in the paint, peeling wallpaper, wobbly desk or burned out light bulb. It might seem like a pain in the ass but these are the little things that disrupt the good energy flow within your household. Once all fixed up you’ll notice a definite calm and tranquility and let’s be honest, it won’t take that much time to take care of these little annoyances.
Happy cleaning!

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Our trip to Champagne and tour of the House Bollinger

My husband is a HUGE champagne fanatic. It’s always his go to libation and it can be quite funny when we go out and I order a bourbon on the rocks and the server automatically sets my drink down in front of him and we have to politely swap.

I did however develop an appreciation for the bubbles after Steve and I attended champagne school at Barry Bros and Rudd a few months back that left us both really wanting to visit the Champagne region asap. So for a little New Years getaway we packed up the pups and headed for the rolling valleys where the good stuff is made.


The first place we stayed in was a little village called Ay which is south of Reims and is pretty much the center of all the vineyard and big champagne house action. We loved our long walks through this picture perfect town. It felt like nothing has changed there since the early 1800’s and every corner you turn is another sweet reminder of simpler times. We didn’t realize that appointments to visit all the champagne houses and cellars had to be made well in advance but luckily we received an extraordinary invitation from House Bollinger!

We arrived at the glorious gates at 10:30am for our 3 hour private tour. Our incredible guide, Caroline, started out with a brief history of the Bollinger family then walked us over to a gated tiny plot of land containing the only remaining grape vines that weren’t effected by an insect called phylloxera that completely destroyed all other crops in champagne in the early 1900s. The bottles of champagne made exclusively from this plot are extremely special because you’d be drinking from the same vines and soil as they did nearly 200 years ago! It’ll cost you €900 to go back in time but I’m sure it’s worth every sip.

Next we went over to where they keep all the oak barrels of aging wine and learned all about how they make the barrels (without glue or screws!), the process of aging the wine before it’s put into the champagne bottles and the insane job of the “Cellar Master” who’s duty it is to sample from these barrels almost everyday and decide when they’ll be done aging and what other barrels they’ll be mixed with to created the classic Bollinger taste.

Once the formula is correct the wine is bottled in magnums and put into the underground cellars which is where we went next. The Bollinger cellars or “caves” are a network of underground tunnels spanning over 6km. The tunnels are maze like which helped them to hide a lot of the bottles when the nazis invaded during WWII. We spent a good hour wandering the seemingly endless walls of champagne bottles as Caroline explained the unbelievably complex process of these final stages. I definitely understand the hefty price tag on a bottle of Bolli!

We finished our tour with a tasting of Special Cuvée, Bollinger Rosé and La Grande Année 2007. We happened to have a bottle of the 2007 at home saved for a special occasion so it was pretty cool to get a sneak peak. All in all this tour was the highlight of our trip to Champagne and we left feeling in awe but also extremely fortunate because this isn’t a tour that’s open to the general public, it’s by special invitation only to food or wine professionals. Gotta love the perks of my job!