It’s Gunna be a Bright Bright Sun Shiny Day

Somewhere in the world it will be bright and sunny. I don’t think that will be in our neck of the woods though. In fact the sun seems to be in hiding this month making for quite the dreary March. So we thought for our flashback this week, we’d bring you a little plate of sunshine. You know when life hands you lemons…well, we make lemon tarts! These particular lemon tarts were made in the summer of 2011 when we were cooking recipes from Ontario, Canada, and are easily another one of our favorites. For those of you that haven’t seen this one before, we hope you enjoy! Next week we will post a little bit about what we’ve been up to in our absence, and then we’ll be back, rested, and ready to go! “See” you all soon. Continue reading

A Cure for a Case of the Mondays

We’ve got one more recipe from the Niagara region of Ontario before we head off to a new international destination. This recipe again features the deliciously sweet and wonderfully inventive Ice Syrup, only this time we’re whipping up a dessert…because I need a dessert.

We chose to adapt a recipe from Lynn Ogryzlo who has created 1,400 recipes, most of which are dedicated to the seasons of Niagara. Our choice for this week is what we’re calling a Blueberry Ice Crumble.

We started by beating one egg to be cut into the dough.  Continue reading

Ice, Ice…

Don’t worry. I’m not going there (think 1989 really bad song). I won’t do that to you. Especially because I’m still trying to get the Spice Girls out of my head.

Instead I’ll just tell you how much we love Canada’s ice wines. Mike and I enjoyed our first ice wine in Ontario in 2007. Since then we also drank a wonderful German Eiswein and even found a few ice wines from Michigan that we enjoyed.

So we were excited to try some new ice wines this summer in the Niagara region, and they didn’t disappoint. In fact, I’d say they have even improved the overall quality of the ice wines in the past few years. One of our favorites we came across this year was a Cabernet Franc ice wine from Jackson Triggs. It was so balanced and smooth and had such wonderful flavors. Truly about as close to perfection as you can get with an ice wine in our opinion.

That’s why when we were planning our Ontario meals we knew we had to incorporate some Canadian Ice Syrup. Ice Syrup is derived from the same frozen grapes used for ice wine and which are harvested and pressed while still frozen.

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Oh Canada!

Mr. N in Ontario at 3-years. He couldn’t have been happier – there were Canada flags everywhere!

When Mr. N was about three years old he learned the Canadian national anthem. This may not seem unusual, except for the fact that we don’t live in Canada and we hadn’t taught Mr. N the song. One night, much to our surprise, he began singing the anthem as it played on TV at a sports event. Mike and I were rolling with laughter at Mr. N’s utter cuteness.

Turns out he picked up the song from a Hallmark e-card designed for Canada Day. Back when the cards were free they provided a great source of entertainment for Mr. N who liked to peruse the e-cards and send them to his grandparents – many of them just cracked him up to no end (And I could listen to his laughter all day – best belly giggle in the world!).

So when Mr. N learned that he was going to visit “Oh Canada,” as he called it, later that summer he was beyond excited. His first souvenir: a Maple Leaf flag. It still hangs on the wall of  his playroom today!

While Mr. N’s favorite thing about Canada is still the flag and anthem, he was also quite delighted with the attractions we discovered this summer including the Royal Ontario Museum, the Toronto Zoo and Casa Loma.

The spooky old tunnel to the stables underground at Casa Loma.

Miss A’s favorite thing about Canada, besides the lemon tarts, had to be the Centreville Amusement Park out on the Toronto Islands.

Miss A’s birthday this past summer at the Centreville Amusement Park.

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Quest for the Best Banana Bread – Ontario Style

Like the Falls, our quest keeps on going.

It’s back! Our quest for the best banana bread. This is our sixth installment and we still have a few more recipes to go.  Tonight’s Canadian version was sent to us by A_Boleyn and adapted from Edna Staebler’s Food That Really Schmecks. Edna Staebler is a Canadian author, known for a series of cookbooks which are based on Mennonite home cooking from the Waterloo region of Ontario. It only seemed fitting to include this recipe while we’re on our Ontario cooking adventure.

The recipe began in a familiar way. We creamed the shortening, eggs and sugar in a bowl.

My little sous chef was on hand as usual for the banana bread. She’ll be able to make this stuff in her sleep soon! Continue reading

A Little Plate of Sunshine

A carriage ride for our princess A.

We’re now on to our new international cooking destination. Mike is at the helm this time and has selected our neighbor to the north, Canada. Canada is the second largest country in the world, next to Russia, so we’re breaking it into regions and starting with Ontario.

On our epic road trip, we spent about a week in Ontario between Niagara-on-the-Lake and Toronto. One of our favorite days kicked off with a carriage ride through the downtown area of Niagara-on-the-Lake for Miss A, who was turning three the next day. You should have seen her little smile getting to ride in a princess carriage. 🙂

After our ride, the guide recommended a little place, Balzac’s coffee, for coffee, lemonade and in her words, “an amazing lemon tart.” Sold! Miss A and I both decided that we needed lemon tarts. So while dad and Mr. N enjoyed their beverages, Miss A and I gushed over our tarts. I don’t know if it was because I was hungry, that it was vacation or that this was just really that good; but this was the most delicious lemon tart I ever tasted. Even Miss A finished off her entire tart, and that’s saying something. Continue reading