Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday Mussing

Bites and Nibbles @ {the newly renovated} Kelsey's

Three Fridays ago, my colleagues in the marketing department threw a "thank-you-and-don't-think-you-can-get-away-from-us" lunch for me before I move on to my new role in sales.  For this impromptu festivity, we went to the newly renovated Kelsey's along Queensway. I passed by this restaurant several times already but I never thought the place was Kelsy's because of the artsy design of the building. Inside was even more different from the "regular"  neighborhood bar and grill Kelsey's that I know. The vibe was more upbeat, hip and modern catering to young adults and working class looking for a place to unwind after work.

By and large, the food was OK - I enjoyed the crispy wanton nachos and the Asian inspired lettuce-chicken wrap. The guys gave thumbs up to the Holy Blank 7-layer-burger {what is it with guys and burgers?}.

If you are looking for the "old" Kelsey's atmosphere for a weekend family lunch or dinner, mom and dad may have some adjusting to do. I wouldn't mind going back though.

Kelsey's Queensway
1011 The Queensway

Kelsey's on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Project Life | Week Seven

Here's another post on my Project Life album. I am actually up to date in creating my weekly spread but I don't have the time to take photos of the layouts. Lately, I get home from work later than usual therefore the lighting in my craft studio is not ideal. To say the least, I am still having fun working on this project.

Week seven captured our Valentine's Day to Family Day weekend getaway in Ellicotteville New York.

I combined store bought journals and my own designed inserts. I worked on it digitally then print and add embellishments. And viola!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

My Kind of Store : St. Lawrence Market

Once, I chanced upon  an article entitled 'It's Always Market Day Somewhere" where the author shared her love for visiting various markets around the world. Every place from all corners of the world has something to offer - from the fruits of the field to the jewels of the sea and everything in between. I felt the writer's passion about markets for the simple reason that I love going to markets myself.

It started many moons ago. While other kids my age found joy in  going to candy stores, I am drawn to wet markets. I remember tagging along with my mom or my paternal grandma Lola Tacing every weekend in various markets for fresh produce, seafood, meat, and sweets. I was fascinated by how serious the discussions were over a piece of meat or a kind of fish that will go well with a particular dish. The sweet scent along the fruit isle when "langka" {jackfruit} is in season will forever be part of my sensory treasures.

As an adult, my fascination for markets is more alive than ever. Traveling to various places around the world added fuel to my passion. When in town, I will always find a reason or two to visit one of the best markets I've been to - the St. Lawrence Market in the heart of Toronto.

On Saturdays, this place is a shopping mecca for foodies - antipasti, cheese, jams, fresh oyters and even free wine tasting from Peller Estates Winery {their Private Reserve Baco Noir is good}.

Searching for game meats or turtle meat for your recipe?

Sometimes I wonder if there is market in heaven. If none, I'm glad I am enjoying my "piece of heaven" on earth. And I am even more thankful that it is always market day somewhere!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Bites and Nibbles @ Debbie's Boutique Café

After a very late Friday night out with hubby, there is nothing more beautiful to my ears than him saying "Let's not prepare lunch, let's just have  brunch outside" the following morning! Out we went and tried Debbie's Boutique Café in Ajax.

We were greeted by Debbie herself  and introduced me to her selection of fine teas. I am sold after that!

The place has an eclectic, homey feel specially the back end area. The tea (I had vanilla and jasmine) was delicious and I really enjoyed the fresh fruit bowl (banana, strawberry. kiwi and apple) topped with Greek yoghourt, crunchy granola and drizzled with pure maple syrup.

I saw a round dining table at the very back of the room decorated with dainty tea cups. Maybe I will book this table one afternoon with some girlfriends for an afternoon tea!

On the glass counter was a great selection of cupcakes, squares and tempting tarts. I almost gave in to the temptations but decided to reserve them for our next visit - maybe an after dinner treat on a Friday night.

 Debbie's Boutique Café
94 Harwood Avenue South
Ajax, Ontario

Debbie's Boutique Cafe on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Where in the world : Winter in Ellicotteville New York

Ellicotteville is quaint village in Cattaraugus County in western New York. This place is a mecca for skiers and and other sports enthusiasts. We are not skiers ourselves but had a great time enjoying the beauty the vibes this town has to offer! 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Melt Squares and Smokey Bacon

It all started with a quick trip to Hy-Hope Farm on a cold Sunday morning ....


.... for a big cup of hot apple cider, freshly baked bran and nut muffins, tomato salsa, butter tarts and this smokey bacon.


Since we were bracing for another polar vortex warning that day, I was craving for a comfort food where I can use the smokey bacon. I fried it to a crisp and thought of eating it with hot boiled rice with lots of ketchup - oh the comfort food of my youth! But then I decided to make something fancy out of the Campbell's tomato soup I found in the pantry. Instead of plain croutons, I topped the soup with grilled Chedar cheese melt squares and smokey bacon crisp.


The saltiness of the cheese melting in between the crusty grilled bread complementing the sweet and creamy tomato soup is tried and tested comfort food. But the smokey flavor of the crispy bacon made this dish a true gustatory delight!

Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Melt Squares and Smokey Bacon

Tomato Soup

2 small cans Campbell's condensed tomato soup 
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup  milk
1/2 tsp dried  rosemary or tarragon
1 tsp ground pepper

Heat the soup, water, and milk in a medium pot over medium heat until the mixture is hot and bubbling, stirring occasionally
Season with herb and ground pepper
Serve in individual bowl topped with grilled cheese melt squares and crispy bacon
Best wine pairing : Sauvignon Blanc
Grilled Cheese Melt Squares
4 tbsp butter
4 pieces sandwich bread (I used Country Harvest ancient grain), trim off crust
3 ounces coarsely grated Chedar Cheese (or 2 slices thick Chedar cheese if using singles)
Butter all the bread slices on one side only.
Put twos lices of bread, buttered side down, on a cutting board.
Distribute the cheese over the bread slices.
Top with the remaining bread, buttered side up.
Heat a large nonstick pan or griddle over medium-high heat for 2 minutes.
Put the sandwich on the griddle cook until the cheese has just begun to melt and the bread is golden brown, about 2 minutes.
Turn the sandwich, pressing each one firmly with a spatula to flatten it slightly.
Cook the sandwich until the bottom is golden brown, about 1 minute.
Turn it  once more and press with the spatula again to recrisp the bread, about 30 seconds. Cut the sandwich in quarter to make 4 little squares

Crispy Bacon

Separate 5 bacon pieces from each other and place them side by side in the cold skillet.
Place the skillet over medium heat.
The bacon will begin to sizzle and turn translucent.
Keep turning the bacon frequently for even cooking until both sides are golden brown.
Remove from pan and transfer on a paper towel to drain. 
Cut in small pieces.

Project Life | Weeks Five and Six

Welcome to Project Life!

My Week 5 ...

The month of February started with lots of cheers shared with friends - both young and the not so young :-) . I still love mixing handmade and store-bought journal cards in my spread. I also started introducing big -sized photo (6x10) on the spread just to add another element to the project.

My Week 6 ....

Week six captured the weekend when there was nothing on our calendar - which is very rare. Our weekends are normally filled with travel plans, dinner or lunch to go to, or errands to attend to. We simply just "chill" out (literally and figuratively). We found the time to watch Frozen and fell in love with Olaf. 

With Project Life, it is easy to  include  keepsakes like movie theatre tickets into the layout.

Life is beautiful specially when shared with a person that is worth melting for!

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