What’s Gaby Cooking: Everyday California Food + Heirloom Cherry Tomato Tart + Win a copy!

Abrams Books sent me a copy of What’s Gaby Cooking: Everyday California Food in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and from the heart. 

Ottawa summers are like Zac Ephron: short and hot. California hot. Too hot to think about what to have for dinner, but too short not to make the most of all of the fresh fruits and veggies in season. Luckily people like Gaby Dalkin have done the thinking for us. The LA recipe blogger from What’s Gaby Cooking just released a cookbook with the same name, and it’s full of everyday dishes designed to be made and enjoyed in an easy, carefree, Cali state of mind. The 125+ recipes use fresh seasonal produce and readily available pantry staples for dishes for any occasion, from a day at the beach or a picnic at the park, to a Mexi-Cali fiesta and outdoor pizza party. Nourishing smoothies and salads and veg-and-grain-packed bowls are balanced with indulgent treats like Strawberry Shortcakes, Gooey Chocolate Chip Cookie Squares (sooooo deelish!) and a Summer Fruit Galette. Here’s a look inside the book and a recipe to try (we did!), the Heirloom Cherry Tomato Tart.  What’s Gaby Cooking: Everyday California Food + Heirloom Cherry Tomato Tart + Win a copy!

Nathan Turner’s I Love California: Live, Eat, and Entertain the West Coast Way + Fish Tacos + Win a copy!

Abrams Books sent me a copy of Nathan Turner’s I Love California: Live, Eat, and Entertain the West Coast Way in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and from the heart. 

Although Nathan Turner didn’t get as much air time as the other stars of Million Dollar Decorators (probably because he stayed pretty clear of the drama), I always wished we’d seen more of his California Casual style. “To me, it means a laid-back room, a friendly host, and a beautiful table with simple recipes and fresh ingredients,” the decorator/author/entertainer and California native says in the introduction to his new book (and my wish come true), Nathan Turner’s I Love California: Live, Eat and Entertain the West Coast Way Nathan Turner’s I Love California: Live, Eat, and Entertain the West Coast Way + Fish Tacos + Win a copy!

The Pesto Cookbook: 116 Recipes for Creative Herb Combinations and Dishes Bursting with Flavor by Olwen Woodier

Thomas Allen & Son sent me The Pesto Cookbook in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and from the heart.

Although I’m rather pitiful with houseplants, we’ve had a few times when our herb garden has done so well that we didn’t know what to do with it all. But now I’ve got all kinds of ideas, thanks to The Pesto Cookbook: 116 Recipes for Creative Herb Combinations and Dishes Bursting with Flavor by Olwen Woodier. Her new book (she also wrote The Apple Cookbook) combines herbs, oils, garlic and other ingredients in a wide variety of pestos, pastes and purées, plus an additional 75 recipes to incorporate pestos in dishes both savoury and sweet. Today I’ve got a peek inside and one of Olwen’s recipes we really enjoyed, the Olive, Thyme and Parsley Pesto.

The Pesto Cookbook: 116 Recipes for Creative Herb Combinations and Dishes Bursting with Flavor by Olwen Woodier

Green Sangria for St. Patty’s Day 🍀

Two Oceans sent me some wine to facilitate this post, but all opinions are mine and from the heart. 

St. Patrick’s Day is usually a slap-dash affair over here with a last-minute run to the dollar store for green hats and sunglasses and whatever else we can find because for some reason not one of us has a single green tee in our closets. The overall effect is as tacky as it gets, but it doesn’t have to be. With this easy Green Sangria you can be quick like a leprechaun and classy too, with layers of jewelled green fruits like the rolling hills of Ireland. Invite your lads and lasses and raise a glass to the emerald isle (and St. Patrick too). May your troubles be less and your blessings be more and nothing but happiness come through your door. Green Sangria for St. Patty’s Day 🍀

Big gingerbread boys with KitchenAid’s Artisan Mini • A merry little recipe and review #gingerbreadforthewin

I received the products mentioned in this post for free from TSC. The opinions expressed in my post are my own and not those of Rogers. 

With less than a week to go, polling shows gingerbread has a decisive lead in the festive treats race. (Check out my last post for cute cookie ideas, a giveaway and up-to-the-minute poling results.) Today I’ve put a few new twists on an old family favourite. It’s a gingerbread boys recipe I think you’ll enjoy. (Of course you can make them girls or stars or whatever else you fancy.) My friend Cathy’s mother-in-law used to make them for her sons and grandsons when they were little (actually she still does). Their giant size thrilled the kids and their heft made them easy to handle and not so easy to break, which is essential when shipping them by post. On those years the grandkids couldn’t make it to see Nonna at Christmas time, she would package the gingerbread boys in popcorn to protect them on their journey, along with all the decorating essentials. I know. So sweet, eh? And isn’t it sweet that while I had visions of sugar plums dancing through my head, TSC had visions of me making cookies. To help me meet the demand for gingerbread boys they kindly sent me a KitchenAid Artisan Mini 3.5-Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer to review, and boy-oh-gingerbread-boy, this baby can dough go!  Big gingerbread boys with KitchenAid’s Artisan Mini • A merry little recipe and review #gingerbreadforthewin

Sheet Pan Suppers Meatless + Win a copy!

I want to say it’s been a real sheetstorm cooking from Raquel Pelzel’s new Sheet Pan Suppers Meatless: 100 Surprising Vegetarian Meals Straight From the Oven but it’s actually been a breeze and delicious too. From soups to pastas, beans, breakfasts, breads and dessert, these one-pan wonders are packed with all of the nutritious goodness you get in dishes with veggies in a starring role and offer plenty of variety for our vegan and gluten-free friends. I tried three recipes and have one to share here with you, plus a copy for one lucky winner. (Thanks to Thomas Allen & Son, who sent me a copy to review.)  Sheet Pan Suppers Meatless + Win a copy!

The Greenhouse Cookbook: Plant-Based Eating and DIY Juicing + Win a copy!

You know when you climb into bed with a great cookbook and wind up equal parts ravenous (‘tho too lazy to get up and fix yourself something), inspired, and more than a little bit charmed? That was my experience with The Greenhouse Cookbook: Plant-Based Eating and DIY Juicing by Emma Knight (with Hana James, Deeva Green and Lee Reitlelman), and I have a sneaking suspicion it’ll be the same for many of you too. It’s the first book from the creators of Toronto’s wildly popular cold-pressed juicery, The Greenhouse Juice Co., and features 100 plant-based, gluten-free meals and drinks that promise to nourish and energize with nutrient-dense delicious goodness anyone can make and adapt (vegetarians and omnivores alike). Penguin Canada was kind enough to send me a copy and allow me to share one of my favourite recipes from the book, the Tuscan White Bean Soup with Dinosaur Kale.  The Greenhouse Cookbook: Plant-Based Eating and DIY Juicing + Win a copy!

Purely Pumpkin by Allison Day + A giveaway!

I’m not exactly a hard sell when it comes to all things pumpkin, so I was delighted when I heard Allison Day was working on a pumpkin-packed follow-up to her wonderful first cookbook, Whole BowlsPurely Pumpkin: More Than 100 Seasonal Recipes to Share, Savor, and Warm Your Kitchen came out last week and it’s the most gorgeous ode to one versatile and nutritious fruit. There’s sweet and savoury pumpkin breakfasts, desserts and everything in between — think sharp cheddar, pumpkin, and pecan scones; vegan pumpkin, onion, and spinach lasagna with white bean ricotta; gingerbread pumpkin cheesecake with pecan oat crust; classic pumpkin pie (naturally!); and several better-for-you takes on the beloved pumpkin spice latte. Read on to learn a little more about the book, get Allison’s ah-MAZE-ing recipe for morning glory pumpkin muffins and enter for your chance to win a copy of the book.  Purely Pumpkin by Allison Day + A giveaway!

A summer splash with Lick Your Plate + Thai turkey sliders with peanut slaw

Summer entertaining should be as easy as the day is long with little time in the kitchen and lots of time in the pool. Especially when you’ve got a pretty flamingo floatie like this fella to play with. I paired up with my friend Emily from The Best of This Life for a pool party earlier this week and really, the hardest part was choosing which recipes to make. Our inspiration: Lick Your Plate, the fun and colourful new cookbook with 160 family-friendly meals from Canadian sisters Julie Albert and Lisa Gnat of Bite Me More. It’s designed for busy bodies who want fresh and healthy (and sometimes healthy-adjacent) meals and desserts they can prepare in a flash. There’s everything under the sun from appetizers you can eat with your hands to quick and satisfying pasta, rice and grains and more salads and veggie dishes than you can shake a carrot stick at (‘tho I’m not sure why you’d do that). Julie and Lisa share tips for saving time, swapping ingredients and using leftovers and they’re funny too. (Funny ha-ha, not funny strange.) Today Emily and I are sharing two of Julie and Lisa’s recipes and a little decor inspo from the book. Let’s take the flamingo a go-go and get to it! Bonus: you won’t have to lift a finger, except maybe to scroll. A summer splash with Lick Your Plate + Thai turkey sliders with peanut slaw

Five things

I’ve been feeling badly for not posting last week’s highlights earlier but now that it’s Throwback Thursday, it’s totally legit! Don’t you love when things work out like that?

five things march 21

1. I thought IKEA would be mobbed last week with everyone around for March Break, but last Monday it was surprisingly quiet. (Ahh!) I restrained myself from bringing home more kitchen goods and picked up a few things from the Paper Shop instead. (Oh and meatballs, of course.) Have you seen IKEA’s new stationary, gift wrap and party decorations? I love!

2. Tuesday we woke up to more damn snow. Which was pretty and all, but for crying out loud! Enough!

3. I’m not a fan of artificial flowers, but Urban Barn is bringing me around. The downtown store was abloom with gorgeous bouquets last week when I stopped in for the Spring decor workshop.

4. Who knew falafel were so easy to make? Hubby tried Chef John’s recipe on Saturday and they turned out awesome! Have you ever made them?

5. And what a fun surprise to see my Instagram photo in the new issue of Today’s Parent magazine! (And the Spaghetti Nests with Bocconcini “eggs” are really delicious, if you want to try them.)

I’ve got another book review and some great recipes to share with you in the next couple of days. Talk soon!

Five things

Today I’m borrowing from the best with a new format for my Five Things series (the same one Samantha uses for her Five Things, Meg for her Weekend Update, and Elizabeth for her Week’s End). The collage of photos up top means less scrolling and a quicker read for you, and a fresh look for me. I hope you’ll like it!

four things collage blog

1. I’m back to #Girlboss after a brief hiatus to read Etta and Otto and Russell and James, Funny Girl and Lost & Found and it’s so, so good. Can’t wait to read Elsie’s take on it when I’m finished. Have you read #Girlboss? What are you reading now?

2. I made Chatelaine’s slow-cooker French onion soup to enter into the magazine’s photo contest, only to see afterwards that I’d missed the deadline by a few days. Duh. This month’s challenge is this sweet Dutch baby pancake.

3. My son took this selfie this week at Starbucks while his sis was having her piano lesson. I love this half-hour we have together every week with just the two of us. Do you have a weekly ritual with someone special?

4. You know what makes a great hostess gift? (No, not a cat, ‘tho we do love ours.) Magazines! My girlfriend knows I don’t drink wine, so when she brought her family over for dinner last week she gave me some of my favourite mags instead. Such a great idea! What are some of your faves?

5. My giveaway has ended, but why not try your luck at these: Aneta has a $150 Visa gift card up for grabs; Helene is giving away a KitchenAid stand mixer (woot!) and Elizabeth is drawing for a gorgeous print.

Have a great week, everybody!

Five things

You know those rare moments you desperately want to capture on camera only you can’t take a decent photo to save your life? That. I’m just home from the most fantastic, unusually glamorous week in Toronto and I have maybe two or three pictures I’m happy with, dammit. Pictures are all! I would have loved to show you great shots of the makeover station, smoothie bar and festive tablescapes at Wednesday’s special event for Target REDCard holders at the Toronto Stockyards, but they’re just, I don’t know, meh. This is the best I’ve got. Fortunately it was also the highlight. I mean, Sarah Richardson! Woot!

photo (51)

The accomplished decorator, designer and television host signed copies of her new book, Sarah Style.

I also attended the fashion and beauty blogger conference, Spark Sessions, saw a taping of CityLine and a live show of The Social and snapped up some great goodies from the new TOMS for Target line. (One for one for all!)

The week before, my favourite flower shop, Bloomfields, was just starting to introduce a few holiday items into the mix. Among the gorgeous hand-tied bouquets and cactus in the cutest little pots were the most charming Christmas ornaments, the little foxes in the drawer. Don’t you love?

Bloomfields collage

The kids asked for seconds of this Easy Skillet Chicken Parmesan, so we’ll add it to the rotation.

campbells easy chicken skillet 2

Influenster sent us a copy of the new Monopoly Jr. to review (more on that in another post).

monopoly junior for blog

And my latest DIY was published on So Fawned Lifestyle (formerly So Fawned). Will you try my DIY mason jar cake plate?

cake plate final

Or maybe just the doughnuts. That’s fine too.

Have a great weekend, everybody!