MINT & MOJITOS

Despite the recent and unwelcome snow storms, the forecast is finally calling for sunny weather, putting me in full on Spring mode! Aside from planning my warm weather wardrobe, it’s time grab some gloves and a trowel and start thinking about prepping my little garden.

I will be the first to admit that my green thumb is closer to a shade of brown resembling dead grass. Most of the plants in my home are that of the plastic variety, as I’ve never had the best of luck keeping them alive. So I decided to seek the advice of experts and headed out to Kate’s Garden – a haven for gardening pros and newbies (see: me) alike, located just north of Toronto. The goal: Learn how to create a beautiful, potted garden and leave with a tasty new plant for my porch.

Walking in to Kate’s store is like walking into the Secret Garden and you’ll be instantly inspired to create something beautiful. Not only did I learn some great gardening tips (did you know you could eat tulips?!!), but I left with the most darling spearmint plant that I proudly potted myself. I’ve already made a refreshing mojito since bringing my new plant home (see the recipe below) and can’t wait to watch it grow.

Are you a gardening pro? Be sure to leave me your tips in the comments below!

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The Perfect Mojito

  • 1/2 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp fine sugar
  • 3 mint leaves
  • 2 oz white rum
  • club soda
  • ice

1. Muddle sugar and limes together in your glass / 2. Add ice cubes / 3. Pour rum over ice / 4. Throw in the lime slice that you squeezed earlier for the juice / 5. Add club soda / 6. ENJOY!

FROM THE KITCHEN: CHICKEN KIEV BY CHEF’S PLATE

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While catching up with one of my friends over tea a few weeks ago, we found ourselves chatting about Chef’s Plate. I had only seen it pop up on my social feeds, while she had just received her first meals and began raving about what she had cooked up. So I had to find out more!

What was Chef’s Plate? As my friend explained, Chef’s Plate is a service in which you choose from a preset week of meals, then choose a delivery date, and voila – food delivered straight to your door! But here’s where my friend sold me – every item required to make the dish you choose is pre-measured, so even a novice chef, like myself, can prepare gourmet meals with ease.

Each meal serves 2 people (or 2 plates) and the referral code allowed me to choose 2 meals for FREE, so I went for the Chicken Kiev and Gluten-Free Pasta with Fresh Ricotta (more on that one later). The refrigerated box arrived at my door 6 days after placing my order, and I was ready to get cooking!

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Along with the recipe contents comes a handy instruction card that gives you each step required to prepare your dish, along with some helpful little pictures that show you what each step should look like.

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Aside from making my evening meals a breeze to whip up, having everything pre-portioned really cuts down on unwanted food waste. Everything you purchase will be used up! And as an added surprise when I opened up my package, I discovered that the chicken was locally sourced. In my efforts to eat smarter and be more conscious of my eating habit’s effects on the planet, this made me very happy to see.

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My masterpiece not only looked fabulous (if I do say so myself), but tasted fabulous, too! My fella and I both gobbled up every last bite and enjoyed having the extra time together that would normally be taken up by tedious meal prep.

If you want to try Chefs Plate for FREE, click here and redeem 2 FREE MEALS for yourself!

FROM THE KITCHEN: NUTS & BOLTS

A few weeks ago, I was approached by the lovely Victoria of Floral + Teacups to work on a holiday collaboration. We connected via the interweb after the Spark Sessions conference last month, and have been busy tweeting and cooking up a storm ever since.

With Christmas just a few weeks away, we thought it would be fun to do a holiday recipe swap with a twist. We traded family recipes that were special to us during the Christmas season; recipes that our mom’s have been making for years. Victoria shared her family’s Nuts & Bolts – a homemade take on Bits & Bites, which I used to love eating as a child. It was a cinch to make, and the batch that I cooked up has already been consumed by anybody who could get their hands on it (it was that good). Here’s how to make it:

Ingredients

  • 8 cups Crispex (I used Life cereal)
  • 8 cups plain Cheerios
  • 16oz pretzels
  • 3oz Bugles
  • 1/2 lb peanuts
  • 1/2 lb sunflower seeds
  • 1-1 1/2 cups butter
  • 1/4 cup worcestshire sauce
  • 1 tbsp celery salt
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder

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Step 1: Combine dry ingredients.

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Step 2: Melt butter. Add to the dry ingredients, along with the spices and worcestshire sauce.

Step 3: Bake at 275° covered for 1 hour and then uncovered for 1 hour. Stir every 15 minutes. Enjoy!

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If you head over to Victoria’s blog, you’ll see the recipe I shared with her: Christmas Snowballs. These tasty treats have been my mom’s cookie exchange go-to for 20+ years, and it doesn’t feel like Christmas until we’ve eaten a few (handfuls) of them.

A big thanks to Victoria for collaborating with me on this project. It was the perfect way to kick off the holiday season! If you’re interested in collaborating with me, feel free to get in touch via social media or via email.