Toronto Haul – August 2018

I go to Toronto more than I actually should. Actually this year was the exception to the equation. I usually just go about once a year or something unless something else comes up and well, something else came up. This past weekend was my best friend’s wedding. Her husband is from Toronto so they ended up holding their wedding there. I honestly think I’ve been to more wedding outside of Montreal than in Montreal. Its a weird thought and shows how many of my friends have moved away, I guess.

Either way, it was a really fun weekend. We ate some awesome food, tried out some new places: two of which I’ll do a restaurant overview for during this week. I’ll show more of the wedding stuff in the next Weekly Adventures, mostly because well, it seems we may have skipped the last one. I know I did and it was deliberate.

Before I jump off onto another tangent, let’s check out some stuff I got in Toronto.

Things I Bought Because I Was Forgetful..
Scarborough Town Centre – Yves Rocher & Walmart

Cosmetics and Lotion

First stop on Friday in Toronto was the hunt for everything we remembered that we forgot during packing for the wedding stuff. For myself, it was not exactly all forgot but I don’t use make-up a lot so a lot of mine had expired and I needed to get some new stuff. Nothing heavy since I don’t do eye make-up because it causes eye infections for myself so just some simple concealer to do the job and seeing Fantasia and work destroyed my sleeping schedule, I’m currently rocking some puffy panda eyes and I had forgotten my eye cream. A trip to Yves Rocher was in the stars and the closest we could find on the way to the hotel was at Scarborough Town Centre. I’ll share the eventful moment there in the Weekly Adventures but one of the great things was the great service at Yves Rocher but a lovely lady who gave me some really fantastic suggestions and actually suggested that I changed to the other skincare line as my skin had changed and its why I was having all the blemishes I’ve been having lately. I didn’t get the skincare line seeing as I was away and didn’t really want to spend so much just yet but I loved the service of just sharing the knowledge of it all. So I got some body lotion and the eye care gel at Yves Rocher.

At Walmart, I got a concealer and some nail polish. I actually ended up not painting my nails for the event but I did also pick up this interesting product called a blur stick which I’m still exploring whether its something I could use or not as it felt really oily. I’m not sure the texture works well for my skin type, so I passed on using it and am still researching. If you all know what it is and have any suggestions or dos and don’ts, please do share with me.

T&T Supermarket (2 Trips)

T&T Supermarket

Most of the snacks and such were bought on the first stop. We didn’t think that we would go back but we did end up going again on Sunday. Friday was to pick up a late lunch of dimsum, which I didn’t take pictures of. We stocked up on drinks which I also didn’t take pictures so and they are all consumed. I can tell you that I was on a semi caffeine detox since March where I cut tea out of my life completely. I don’t drink coffee so its a given, I suppose. Either way, this weekend, I drank all the tea that I didn’t drink in the last few months or at least it felt that way. However, the Vita brand which usually is known for its lemon tea and such actually has this Green Tea and Japanese Green Tea which both tastes fantastic and its unsweetened so its the legit ones. Going back to the picture, look at these flavors, its like a world tour of Lay’s flavors.

T&T Supermarket

During the first trip, we saw these pokemon Ocean Bomb sparkling water. Actually when we went back in the second trip, we saw one new one and lost two so I guess I shouldn’t procrastinate so much in buying stuff. Either way, that was a spontaneous purchase although I’m still fairly unsure about trying the Pikachu Cucumber flavor. We also saw this KIM brand drink for bird’s nest drink. I’m not sure how many people know about bird nest’s drinks. Regardless, the happiest purchase here is the black sesame stuff because I love black sesame paste. Its my favorite dessert. I’ve never tried this brand so hopefully it’ll be good. I ended up sharing the bag with my mom.

Big Apple & 401 Brewery

Big Apple

Our always must-stop location is The Big Apple. I love to grab a pie and strudel and my husband loves the brownies. It is quite amazing to see how this location as grown in size and variety of what they offer. I remember stopping there the first time and it was still known but not quite as popular as it is now. I kind of miss the quieter days but they have really diversified and made it a truly Canadian experience with what they offer also.

401 Brewery

In the building, they have the store for 401 Brewery. We’ve never had anything from there before. Seeing as we didn’t manage to pick up anything at LCBO this time, we decided to grab some ciders. We picked the traditional apple cider and then a peach cider and a pear cider to try. We also saw a sparkling oaked cider which seems like it could be a nice smoky taste sort of experience. We are looking forward to trying it out eventually.

That wraps up this shorter Toronto haul as I get things into order!

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My Weekly Adventures #51

My Weekly Adventures

Hello everyone!! Welcome to the next Weekly  Adventures! This will be a slightly shorter one with less fluff or serious stuff mostly because tomorrow is going to be the October marathon announcement or kick-off or whatever! It was why I slightly hesitated to do a Weekly Adventures however, why not, right? Overall, it was a pretty chill half a month. The first week of it didn’t really have anything in particular however the last weekend to this one has been a little more eventful.

Rock ‘N’ Roll Oasis Montreal 2017

In celebration of the Canada 150 and the Montreal 375, this year’s Montreal marathon took place over two days instead of just the Sunday. Obviously, I only was a part of it because of my friend who usually needs me to help with drop off and moving the car downtown where the race ended. This year was pretty cool as because of the event closing a wider area, I ended up having to change where I parked which came with its problems such as discovering where the boundaries were and figuring out where to get some tea in the new area. I work in Montreal however I don’t venture quite as much in the area near the LaFontaine Park surroundings so wasn’t quite so familiar however, I did end up finding some breakfast near the Berri-UQAM metro at the bus station and for the first year, ended up watching the race in the middle of the course. It was pretty nice with a live band and water stations and everything. Anyways, it also happened to be the hottest weekend of the summer, hitting the 40s Celsius in humidity and the full marathon was cancelled. However, the weather really took a turn around and I think because of the heat, everyone wanted to just mentally find that extra gear to get to the finish a lot of faster. Still, the event was cool as usual.

Baking Date

Last Friday night, I hung out with my baking and travelling friend. Its always nice to hang out with friends after a long time and we had decided to the weekend before due to her acquisition of many apples because this is the apple picking season. The original plan was to make apple pie however due to time running late and whatnot, we ended up making these little apple galette and I learned what pate brisee was and that was super cool. I’ve always wanted to make them and never did but they turned out to be pretty simple. Plus, its always fun to hang out with this friend. Hopefully, I’ll get my finances in order and we’ll be able to head on another foodie adventure to Toronto soon.

Battle of Ingredients Gathering

This month’s Battle of Ingredients will go live at some point next week. However, we had our gathering for it. We decided to do an early fall BBQ event. The weather’s definitely dropped since the last month and that weekend before with the  40+ Celsius temperature. We’ve been in the single digits the last few days so its been a sudden hit of cooler weather. Either way, this is coming up and we had a little Moon Festival twist since that’s also next week. Look out for that if you’ve been following it! 🙂

Moon Festival Early Celebration

Moon Festival is officially next week however, we got together earlier for an early celebration as my husband has work during dinner time on the day of. However, I will still have one more dinner with my mom on the day of. Its always nice to get together for dinner.

Cute Kitty Pic

Upcoming:

  • HALLOWEEN MARATHON!!!

Sorry for the late post today!
I’ve been plagued with migraines all weekend, so not as productive.
Thats it for this adventures!

Halloween marathon starts next week with little bits of random non-Halloween posts
The announcement post tomorrow will cover everything from whats the franchise I’ll be working on and such!
What have you been up to?

Dessert: Apple Crumble Tart

A gloomy (and busy) Sunday brings on a nice simple post with a delicious recipe!

Its a little delayed as always but I did make this Apple Crumble Tart about two weeks or so ago, again from the Made in Quebec book that I had bought which looks at the Quebec harvests per season and shows some cool recipes (in case I never talked about it before). We bought a ton of apples from the Atwater Market and it was the last thing from that shopping trip that I hadn’t used yet so I looked at making something simple and to use up the pie shell sitting in my freezer.

It goes to say that the only change in this recipe is that I didn’t make the pie crust myself but used a frozen one. Other than that, this  one didn’t have any changes to it.

Here’s how it turned out!

Apple Crumble Tart

Apple Crumble Tart
(from Made in Quebec: A Culinary Journey by Julian Armstrong)

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

Pastry for single- crust, 9-inch pie
2 tbsp butter
5 cooking apples, peeled, cored, and cut in 1 inch pieces
1 tbsp granulated sugar
pinch ground cinnamon
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 2/3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup butter, cut in small pieces and softened

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. In a large, heavy frying pan, melt butter over medium heat and cook apples, turning to saute on all sides just until golden and caramelized. Combine granulated sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over apples. Transfer to pie shell.
  3. In a bowl, mix together brown sugar and oats, then add butter and mix into oat mixture with your fingers.  Spead oat topping over apples in pie shell.
  4. Bake for 25 minutes or until topping is crisp and lightly browned. Cool on a rack to room temperature before serving.

One of the hardest parts of making apple crumble tart (and it isn’t really a hard recipe) is to find the perfect texture for the apples and find that good balance between the tartness of the apples and the sweetness along with making a good topping with a nice bite to it. I’ve done a few of this recipes and sometimes, I don’t post everything. While I didn’t use the pie crust from this recipe that they specified, the apples were done really well. Usually I wouldn’t cook them first so I find recipes that take the easy way  out however, I did realize that cooking them first and getting them caramelized was a good move. It helped flavors it more. It is definitely a step a plan to take again.

This didn’t particularly take a long time to make and honestly, I’d even use this as an apple crisp recipe if I didn’t have the crust. It would still work out, I believe. Maybe I’ll try that out again. Its been ages since I’ve made apple crisp anyways.

Begorrathon 2015: Irish Apple Cake

Welcome to another little entry for Begorrathon in celebration of Ireland month over at The Fluff is Raging and 746 Books.

As you may have realized, I’m a little rusty on everything Irish.  The only think I know is St. Patty’s Day and that is today 😉 And that a ton of people like to go to the Irish pubs here and drink. Well, I’m not going to drink tonight since I do have work tomorrow but last night I did manage to make a little desserts.  Pinterest called it an Irish Apple Cake so I’m going to assume its traditional to some sense and that it works for this 😉 I’m thinking of making an actual main dish this weekend, just because its really kicked up some cooking and baking juices that I desperately have been needing.

IRISH APPLE CAKE

Serves: 12

Irish Apple Cake

Fresh out of the oven

Irish Apple Cake

The crumbly texture and abundance of apples

You can find the recipe here: http://thekitchenmccabe.com/2014/03/07/irish-apple-cake-with-custard-sauce/

The original cake is supposed to be in a cake pan but last night, my cake pan vanished.  Nowhere to be seen.  Maybe I moved it to my own home.  So I took the what I think is called the Angel food cake pan.  Still, it did the job, right? It did have a little accident as I tried to put it on a plate and broke apart but all is well, still edible 🙂

As usual, there are few changes:

  • Flour: gluten-free flour
  • Ground cloves replaced with allspice
  • 3 (instead of 4) Granny Smith apples: probably because I didn’t chop them into small enough pieces
  • Milk: Cashew milk (trying this new one from Earth’s Own)
  • Omitted custard sauce (we’re not huge fans and I need someone to actually eat the cake)

Irish Apple cake

Irish Apple Cake works extremely well with gluten-free flour.  If you haven’t used GF flour before, its a lot drier than all-purpose and thats why making fruity cakes work really well.  Maybe not exactly dried fruits but I mean, fresh fruits.  This one was so abundant with apples that it actually kept the flavor well.  I’m going to admit that the Robin Hood Gluten-Free Flour I’m using now and that whole beetroot base is definitely an acquired taste (I’m still working on acquiring it).  Which comes to my point that because this one had so many apples, it didn’t have as much floury taste and that worked to its favor.  I also love the crumbly texture and its even more so because its with the drier GF flour.

There’s a whole lot to love about this Irish Apple Cake.  I’m guess if I cut the apples into smaller pieces, I’d have 4 apples and it would work out even better. Although a little more time consuming because you need to cut the butter into little pieces (maybe because I don’t have those fancy tools).  It could also use with a little less sugar.  Maybe half cup would do if you don’t like baked goods too sweet. Pretty much, this recipe is relatively easy to make.  Just budget some time in to cut in the butter and peeling and chopping the apples, everything else is straight forward.  Believe me on one thing, when the house smells like this apple cake, all the prep work is worth it 🙂

Any other recipes to suggest? What fresh fruits do you like in baked goods?

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

Mother’s Day Baking: Morning Glory Muffins

Good morning! Not so great because its Monday? How about some sweet smelling baked goods to wake you up?

I’ve been really taking it easy on the baking.  It mostly has to do with the fact that other than renovating my new place, its been a lot of shifting and sorting through my stuff taking up most of my weekends. The intention is always there.  I’m a baker at heart.  Nothing quite replaces the feeling of whipping up a batter of sweetness. Its my dream to become a successful baker but time is rather scarce right now.  Any event is a good excuse to put my other duties aside and get out the spatula and preheat the oven.  My mom already baked a bunch of stuff so I decided to bake a batch of muffins for my boyfriend’s mom. After some thought, I remember that she loves carrot cake/muffins, etc.

I recently got this new cookbook with lots of delicious recipes that I’ve been dying to try out.  This book is called Butter Baked Goods by Rosie Daykin.  In the carrot ingredient, I had a choice of a carrot cake (that required too much work) so I went for the Twice-a-Week/Morning Glory Muffins.

Morning Glory Muffins

Fresh out of the oven!

I made a few small changes but here is the recipe:

Makes 12 muffins

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 3/4 cups granulated sugar

1 tbsp cinnamon

2 tsp baking soda

2 cups grated carrots

1 cup sultana raisins

1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1 cup chopped pecans

1 large apple, peeled, cored and grated

4 large eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

1 tbsp pure vanilla

Morning Glory Muffins

Close-up!

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, carrots, raisins, coconut, pecans and apple and mix well.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil and vanilla.
4. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
5. Use the ice cream scoop to divide the batter evenly between the paper liners
6. Bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes.
7. Remove from the oven and allow the muffins to cool slightly in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Morning Glory Muffin

The first bite! 🙂

As mentioned before, I made some little changes here.  Most of it includes swapping lacking ingredients and excluding others.  First of all, I excluded raisins (because I don’t have them) and apples (because I was tired of grating).  Second, I replaced chopped pecans with slivered almonds because thats all I  had. Also for the baking time, depending on your oven, I suggest for you to lower the baking time by just a little.  Mine were ready in about 25 minutes.

Phoebe @Starry Traveler dropped by to hang out a bit and she’s not a huge cinnamon fan.  This muffin has more than usual amount of cinnamon but somehow the variety of ingredients balances out the taste really well and she liked it.  I wasn’t too sure how removing the apple and raisins would be for the recipe but I actually like the taste that it gave.  Plus, its more focused on emphasizing the carrots and sweetness and adding a nice chewy part with the coconut shreds and crunchy with the almonds.  Very nice for the taste buds!

The only thing time consuming about this recipe is grating those carrots.  I’m not much for grating anything so my inexperience made me incur some slight cuts.  Be very careful! Other than that, have fun and enjoy! It is truly a heavenly mix and I’m not much of a muffin person, so that says a lot 🙂

Lets hope I start getting back into my foodie and baker lifestyle.  I seriously missed it a lot! 🙂

Are you a muffin person? How about carrots and/or cinnamon? What do you think of this?