Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy Ending

This will be my last post of 2008, so I wanted to end the year on a happy note. My friend, Alex, posted this on his blog.

I want to wish everyone a happy, healthy & prosperous New Year!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Feast

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas this year. Ours was very nice and my favorite part of the day, enjoying good food with family & friends, was the best.

Michelle & Joe came to partake with us. (Look at Jim in the middle. He's got a drink in each hand! I never noticed that until now. What the heck?)

Mama Rita & Jade also joined in the fun. One of things I served as an appetizer was bruschetta from Dynise's upcoming book, "The Urban Vegan: 250 Street-Smart, Animal Free Recipes"
This earned rave reviews from everyone.

Michelle says "Yummy!"
Michelle & Joe helped with some of the dinner by making a couple of dishes at home and bringing them with them. If you notice a large cardboard box in the background of the photos (like here), it's not part of my usual decor - it's what they used to transport the food, which included a turkey that Joe roasted for the meat-eaters.

Here they are overseeing some of the preparations.

"Someone" who wasn't really in the mood to have a picture taken. HAHA!

Simon was excited to have everyone come visit, but very well behaved. Michelle & Joe both said he was the best behaved dog they had ever seen. He did his mom proud. Of course he had to have a cuddle from Jade.

And he wanted to show off one of his presents from Santa. A Leafs practice jersey. He is so ready for the next game.

Dinner was ready and everyone was anxious to eat!

The cranberry sauce on the table this year was also compliments of Dynise. Quince-Cranberry to be exact. This is a recipe I tested and it is so freakin' delicious, this will be my go-to cranberry sauce every year.

My plate, starting at 12:00 - stuffing (kept out of the bird) made by Joe, mashed potatoes with fake turkey gravy, Quorn roast, made by Michelle, quince-cranberry sauce, turnip puff made by Michelle, roasted carrots & in the middle, brussels sprouts with hazelnuts.

Everyone ate lots. Jade especially liked her dinner. Can't you tell by the look on her face. She's such a ham!
Michelle says enough is enough with the pictures already, let's just eat.

Jade's boyfriend, Aaron arrived to have dessert with us, which was yet another recipe test.

Berry Tart! Did Aaron like it?

Looks like it.

Everyone else seemed to enjoy it too. It was very easy to make and looked so elegant. It wasn't too heavy either which made it a nice ending for a big meal.

A great time was had by all and we looked forward to Boxing Day. It's so much more relaxing.

Simon spent a lot of the day chewing his new toy. "Santa" appears to be a Leafs fan. Let's hope the 2nd half of their season is better than the first. We've got tickets for the game on Jan. 3. Leafs vs. Ottawa. There's a big rivalry there so it should be wild!

Friday, December 19, 2008

I'll Be Seeing You Mr. Adams

WOOT! WOOT! I got me some tickets to see Bryan Adams at Copps Coliseum in March. Floor Seats, Row 11!
NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA, (sing it) Cuts Like a Knife......

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Pay It Forward

I got in on the Pay It Forward Challange with Amanda at Walking the Vegan Line. The rules are very simple....I will send the first three people who leave a comment on this post a special little gift/treat with a Canadian theme within the next 365 days (that seems to be the kind of time frame everyone is using) I am willing to post anywhere in the world, so don’t let that stop you from commenting. The catch is that you have to have a blog and be willing to do the same thing....And since I can't send everyone who comments a gift, my gift to the rest of you are two recipes of your choice! Obviously these would have to be something that you've seen on my blog already. ( Dynise's test recipes are not included in this since her book hasn't even been published yet)

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Three Little Pigs

These 3 are disgusting. What they are trying to pull off makes me & millions others sick. Look how smug Jack Layton looks. Canadians - your thoughts? Please!

Monday, December 01, 2008

More Recipe Testing

December 1 - WOOT!! This is one of my favorite months. Yeah, it's crazy busy for most with all the Christmas preparations going on, but I really enjoy it. Jim & I are hosting dinner this year and while it will be just small (4 of us), I want to make it special. I've got my menu planned, some food shopping has been done & almost all of my gift shopping done. Now I'm going on a cleaning blitz. Blah!
I've managed to get in quite a few recipe tests for Dynise's upcoming cookbook The Urban Vegan: 250 Street-Smart, Animal-Free Recipes. Here's a sampling of what I've made.

Sloppy Joes! These are freakin' delicious - better than any I've tried. Simple recipe, all ingredients are pantry staples & I had enough leftovers for lunch.

Here we have Risotto Milanese. I had a bit of trouble with this - mostly because I've never made risotto before. It's got a lot of saffron in it, so if you don't like saffron, this wouldn't be for you, but I like the flavour. I want to try this again & see if I can manage to get it right. So this is not a recipe issue, but the cook's screw up.
What kind of a tester would I be if I didn't sample some of the drinks?

John's Copacabana Caipirinha! I had a couple of sips out of the glass before I remembered to take a picture. Caipirinha is the national drink of Brazil. It's a mixture of limes, sugar, ice & cachaça. Cachaça is a clear alcohol that is made from sugar cane. It's usually found on the shelf with rum. On a hot day (or a cold one) this sweet/sour drink is really refreshing.

I took a bottle of this wine, mixed in a bit of sugar & some fruit, let it sit over night and voila!
John's Summer Sangria. This was really nice. I've had sangria's before where inexpensive wine is used. It's really not that great. I figured since the wine is the main ingredient in this, why not use something relatively decent. This bottle at the LCBO is around $15.

It's hard to see the fruit pieces because the wine is so dark, but trust me, when you drink this down, you'll have lots of alcohol soaked fruit to eat.

Cold weather calls for comfort dishes. How about Balsamic-Roasted Vegetables? What a great way to get in a few veggie servings in one dish.

This has been Jim's favorite so far Enlightened Vegetable Barley Soup. He raved about this and a week later is asking if I'd make it again. It is, by far, one of the best barley soups I've made. A secret little ingredient added to the broth makes it super-rich tasting. Want to know what it is? Ahhhhh! You'll have to wait for the book!