Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Pomegranate, Persimmon & Goat Cheese Salad

Things are about to get real honest up in here, fast. During the holidays I plan to eat. That's no-holds-barred eating. Appetizers, sweets, turkey and stuffing - nothing is off limits. Food is one of my favourite part of the holidays, so I don't want to limit myself, anything goes next week!
Now, at risk of sounding like a holiday trash compactor, let me clarify. I've spent the past few months preparing for this moment. I have been exercising, eating healthy, and limiting my casual alcohol intake. Everything in moderation, right?
I've been enjoying meals like Ricotta Stuffed Eggplant, vegetable rich Beef Stew, and blended burgers galore! But one thing that has been on constant repeat is this uber delicious Pomegranate, Persimmon & Goat Cheese Salad. So fresh. So tasty. So healthy!
Pomegranate, Persimmon & Goat Cheese Salad
This simple salad is perfect as a side or light lunch. Crunchy pomegranate seeds add sweetness to this salad, while the sliced persimmons add a nice pop of colour. The simple rice wine vinaigrette is just the right amount of tangy against the creamy goat cheese. An excellent salad to detox with after (or before) the holidays.

3 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
Fresh cracked black pepper & sea salt to taste
2 cups mixed greens
1/2 a persimmon, sliced
1/4 cup of fresh pomegranate seeds
1 tbsp crumbled goat cheese
1 tbsp chopped walnuts

1. Add oil, vinegar, salt and pepper into the bottom of a salad bowl. Whisk until combined.
2. Add mixed greens to the bowl and toss until coated.
3. Place greens on plate and top with persimmon, pomegranate, goat cheese and walnuts.

Tip // When making an oil based vinaigrette, all you have to remember is the 3:1 ratio. Three parts oil to one part vinegar.
I'm obviously looking forward to the food, what are you looking forward to this holiday season?

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Gatherings // Pulled Pork with Real Baked Beans

I like to think that I am pretty simple. And realistic. "J" might try to tell you otherwise... but in my books, simplicity always wins! So when I received a copy of Gatherings: Bring People Together with Food by the talented Jan Scott and Julie Van Rosendaal, I knew this was a cookbook and entertaining guide that was written for me.
Gatherings does an excellent job at simplifying every entertaining occasions, and providing realistic recipe options your guests will love. Less fancy, over the top meals and immaculate table spreads, and more casual, fun, and comforting entertaining. That mean stress-free and easy dinner parties that everyone can enjoy (even the hostess herself!).

When you open the book you'll notice it's organized into chapters that represent real life situations (vs. like recipes that are grouped together). I found this so helpful and intuitive. Everything from a Holiday Open House to a Big Family Gathering, you'll find menu options and entertaining & styling tips to build your hosting confidence and strengthen your relationships over food. A total win in my books!
My house is no stranger to big family gatherings. When I came across this section in the book I was immediately drawn to the rustic pulled pork (pg 180) and real baked beans (pg 185). Now that's my kind of comfy, casual entertaining menu! I can't tell you how incredible my house smelled as I cooked up a storm. The pulled pork slowly tenderized in the crockpot, while the beans baked away in my oven. By dinner I was more than ready to give these recipes a try! The pork was perfectly tender and beautifully seasoned, while the beans had just the right amount of bite. Definitely a meal any family would love!
#GatheringsBook Blog Tour
To support our two lovely friends Jan and Julie, a few of us bloggers thought it would be fun to host a Gathering Blog Tour! This week you can tour around to the 17 blogs listed below and read all about their cookbook experience.

Mardi // eat. live. travel. write
Charmian // The Messy Baker

Amy // Family Feedbag
Jennifer // Seasons and Suppers
Heather // The Tasty Gardener

Isabelle // Crumb Blog
Jenny // The Brunette Baker
Stephanie // Clockwork Lemon
Valerie // A Canadian Foodie

Robyn // Planet Byn
Libby // Libby Roach Photography
Meg // Sweet Twist of Blogging

Christina // Strawberries for Supper
Louisa // Living Lou
Liliana // My Cookbook Addiction
Rhonda // Olive and Ruby
Jenn // Chocolate Shavings

Again, I can't recommend Gatherings enough! It is the complete package and would make for an excellent Christmas present or hostess gift!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

#BeEggsquisite Holiday Appetizers // Devilled Eggs Three Ways

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here! The tree is up, the stockings are hung, and for the first time ever my Christmas shopping is done! All that's left now is the food. This year I will be hosting my family Christmas party, which is no easy feat. With 15 adults, 3 teenagers, 2 kids, and 3 dogs trompsing around my house, it's always an interesting afternoon.
Deviled Eggs Three Ways
I don't know about you, but my family likes to put out quite the spread. Jumbo shrimp, quiche, popcorn, chips & salsa, fruit skewers, veggies & dip, and devilled eggs galore. And sure enough, there is one thing on our family's table that rarely makes it past first rounds; devilled eggs. Seriously, they are gone in a blink of an eye! It's no wonder why; Canada produces some of the world's best eggs. With 6 grams of protein and 14 essential nutrients, eggs are the most complete natural food.
Deviled Eggs Recipes
This Christmas I have one goal in mind (besides physically making it through the day): wow my family with my devilled eggs! There is nothing wrong with the classic recipe, I'm just looking to take it up a notch. Bacon, truffles, smoked salmon, homemade caesar dressing... yeah, we are going to get a little fancy!
Bacon Chive Truffle Deviled Eggs
Bacon, Chive and Truffle Devilled Eggs
Talk about flavours! This twist on classic devilled eggs will have your guests asking for more. The crisp bacon adds a nice crunch to the creamy egg yolks, while the truffle, ever so subtly, makes an appearance. Fresh green chives boost the flavour and add a nice garnish.

12 hard boiled eggs
4 pieces thick cut bacon, cooked until crisp, crumbled
4 tbsp mayonnaise
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp truffle oil
2 tbsp chives, finely chopped

1. Prepare hard boiled eggs as per expert instructions.
2. In a bowl combine crumbled bacon, mayo, Dijon, truffle oil and chives. Mix until incorporated.
3. Cut eggs in half and remove yolks; arranging egg whites on a platter. Add yolks to bowl with bacon mixture. Stir until well combined.
4. Spoon or pipe yolk mixture back into egg white. Garnish with fresh chives.
Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs
Smoked Salmon Devilled Eggs
So fresh tasting, this smoked salmon devilled egg is a nice surprise your guests will never expect. The salmon blends perfectly with the creamy egg yolks, while the capers and dill brighten every taste.

12 hard boiled eggs
4 oz smoked salmon, chopped
4 tbsp mayonnaise
2 tsp capers, chopped
2 tsp dill, fresh and chopped
2 tsp dijon horseradish mustard

1. Prepare hard boiled eggs as per expert instructions.
2. In a bowl combine salmon, mayo, capers, dill and mustard. Mix until incorporated.
3. Cut eggs in half and remove yolks; arranging egg whites on a platter. Add yolks to bowl with salmon mixture. Stir until well combined.
4. Spoon or pipe yolk mixture back into egg white. Garnish with fresh dill.
Caesar Salad Deviled Eggs
Caesar Salad Devilled Eggs
Everyone loves classic caesar salad, so these devilled eggs should be a hit! Homemade caesar dressing makes this devilled egg taste extra fresh. Garnished with romaine, shaved Parmesan and bacon, it's like a caesar salad in every bite.

12 hard boiled eggs
1 large clove garlic
1 small tin of anchovies
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 a lemon (squeeze of fresh lemon juice)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated
1 tbsp mayonnaise
2-3 slices thick cut bacon, cooked until crisp
Parmesan cheese shavings
Thinly sliced romaine lettuce

1. Prepare hard boiled eggs as per expert instructions.
2. In a food processor add garlic, anchovies, Dijon, and lemon juice. Blend just until combined. With the processor on low, slowly drizzle in olive oil. Throw in Parmesan cheese during the last 15 second. Reserve 3 tbsp of fresh dressing; pour remaining dressing in mason jar or airtight container. Refrigerate.
3. Cut eggs in half and remove yolks; arranging egg whites on a platter. Add yolks to bowl. Stir in 3 tbsp of fresh ceasar salad dressing and 1 tbsp mayo. Stir until well combined.
4. Spoon or pipe yolk mixture back into egg white. Garnish with bacon, Parmesan, and romaine.
Deviled Eggs

Join Me for a #BeEggsquisite Twitter Party!
‘Tis the season! I'm super egg-cited to be celebrating the holidays with Egg Farmers of Canada and special guest Lynn Crawford on Wednesday, December 10, 2014 from 9-10 p.m. ET. There will be tons of prizes and lots of time to chat about eggs! Make sure you RSVP on the Food Bloggers of Canada website!
See you there! I'll bring the devilled eggs! ;)

Disclaimer: This was a paid post for Egg Farmers of Canada, however all my opinions and devilled egg recipes are my own. Because I truly love eggs I was excited and honoured to take part in this campaign, I mean, who doesn't love the opportunity to create 36 devilled eggs while drinking homemade eggnog!?

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Christmas Bulb Placeholder & Favour

I am a traditions kind-of-girl. Whether it's visiting the pumpkin patch or touring the Elmira Maple Syrup Festival, year-over-year I tend to stick to my familiar traditions. 
One tradition I have always taken great pride in is hand-making Christmas gifts and favours for my family. From clay tags to a jar of honey cinnamon butter (which is still highly requested by my family), thoughtfully crafting a gift and passing it to a loved one is the best feeling in the world!
Since "J' and I will be hosting Christmas dinner with my family on Boxing Day, I wanted to create something that would serve two purposes; a placeholder & a favour. This Christmas bulb does just that! The plastic fillable bulb makes this project highly customizable. You can fill the bulb with almost anything - toys, candy, greenery; making it a truly unique little take-home for your guests.
I think what I love most about this project is it doesn't take a lot of time to pull them together - one afternoon spent crafting is all you need. Another added bonus is that each bulb costs about $2.50 to make (depending on what goodies you put inside), so it's relatively inexpensive. Here's what you will need to make your own:

  • Fillable Plastic Bulbs
  • Pinecone Pick
  • Red Berry Garland
  • DecoArt Snow-Tex Paint 
  • Ribbons
  • Gift Tags + Glitter Tape

A few bloggers (myself included!) were so excited about the upcoming holidays we decided to put together a little DIY blog tour. For the next 12 days, the great blogs listed below will be sharing fabulous Christmas posts – and every project costs less than $24! Visit all the links below to discover amazingly crafty Christmas ideas!

  1st Day // DIY Passion

  2nd Day // Little Red Brick House

  3rd Day // Fynes Designs

  4th Day // My Daily Randomness (that's me!)

  5th Day // Houseologie

  6th Day // The DIYDiary

  7th Day // The Bold Abode

  8th Day // Canary Street Crafts

  9th Day // Here Nor There

  10th Day // Making it in the Mountains

  11th Day // Elizabeth Joan Designs

  12th Day // Maddex Musings

Happy Christmas Crafting Everyone!