Launch Party


Two months ago I had the most wonderful summer dinner party to launch the start of this little blog of mine. As we are in the thick of the hustle and bustle that comes with back to school and back to work, I wanted to take this post to look back on this memorable evening with my girlfriends. 

I decided to keep things easy and have a backyard party with a long candlelit table and fill it with food and friends. I have a few pictures below if you would like to take a peak:


One of the most exciting parts of the night was that we had tons of [La Cigale] ice cream to celebrate the big night. La Cigale is located just outside of Ottawa in Chelsea, Quebec. They have the BEST flavours and their in house waffle cones get me every time. La Cigale was kind enough to gift us with a bunch of tubs of ice cream with flavours such as gingersnap and chai, raspberry white chocolate, and butterscotch toffee. I was IN HEAVEN and so excited to introduce my guests with this gem of a local business.



In terms of decorations and activities, wellllllll I made a doughnut piñata. Yes it happened. I used [this tutorial] and made the whole thing while watching Captain Phillips. Note to self: Don't watch a fast pace thrilling movie with sharp scissors in your hand.


I kept things easy and made a whole bunch of veggie pizzas that were all laid out on the table throughout dinner for people to grab a slice. I used my [good old recipe] that I posted a couple weeks back and then added fun toppings like brussels sprouts and blackberries. Two tips when making crazy amounts of pizza
1) Pre bake the dough for about 6 minutes at 500ºF and then just when the guests are about to arrive throw on some toppings and bake for another 6-8 minutes. 
2) Don't be stingy. I repeat don't be stingy, especially with the toppings you should be going into this with a more is more mentality. 

Halloween Costume Ideas


I'm not going to lie, I love Halloween. My inner soccer-mom-with-a-crafting-room comes to life as soon as mid October rolls around. If you're not convinced, just flashback to last year when I was drowning in midterms, essays, assignments, and planning a conference, I managed to hand sew on gold ribbons and buttons for my royal couple costume. #dedication

Below I've rounded up my top five costumes in case you need a little costume inspo this Halloween season.

1. Frat Boys

Arguably the easiest Halloween costume to throw together and excellent in groups, the frat boy ensemble made it acceptable to chug beer and call myself [Mack] for the night. You better believe there was a lot of dabbing on the dance floor.

What you need:
Shorts, button down shirt, baseball cap, red solo cup in hand, loud voice for yelling out fraternity cheers. Optional: large cardboard greek letters for holding and small printed out greek letters for sticking on your shirt.


2. Whoopee Cushion

(the letters aren't backwards IRL, this was a self timer....... no comment)
Definitely not your sexy kitten seeing as I first wore this in grade 7, this costume is pretty awesome. In all honesty, I'm still bitter that I came second to the kid dressed up as a clown in the costume contest. A clown? How original! The whoopee cushion costume is so comfortable and warm if you're going to be outside. Probably not the best if you're going to be inside in a packed house party.

What you need:
Large quantities of pink felt, a black sharpie, and a mother with sick sewing skills. Yes, my wonderful mother just threw this costume together sans pattern. 


3. Royal Couple

A note to all DIY costume makers: it's seven million times easier to make your costume look realistic if you have a picture to base it off of. My friend Elizabeth and I had a blast in these costumes (not pictured are our friends dressed up as lady Di, Prince Philip, Queen E, Pippa Middleton, and even baby Charlotte). Did I say I was committed to Halloween or did I say it??

What you need:
A picture of the royal family, a trip to dollarama to buy ALL the ribbons and gold buttons, a mini sewing kit, and some random clothing that looks somewhat suit ish/something a royal would wear.

4. Tooth Fairy and Toothpaste

I can't even count the amount of times my friend Maggie and I have gone out wearing couples costumes. Who said you need a significant other to pull off great paired costumes??

What you need:
For the fairy - white tutu and a toothbrush and/or wand. Optional wings and crown.
For the toothpaste - a large white sheet sewn in a tube shape and a steady hand for painting on the logo.

5. Martha Stewart
My girl Martha has been an inspiration of mine for years and what better way to pay tribute to your idols than to dress up as them for Halloween! This was kind of a low key costume but it gave me the opportunity to walk around all day in khakis with a plate of brownies.

What you need:
Preferably a blonde bob, khakis, a pastel button down, an apron, and handcuffs (too soon, Martha?). Optional: Baked goods to hand out.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN KIDS!!!!!!! 

Pizza Dough (+NEWS)


You know when you want something so badly but it's so insanely unlikely to happen that you kind of let your dreams fade away? Well that was me and the dream of owning my own wood-fired pizza oven. See what I mean by unrealistic?? I'd say I'm pretty ambitious with goals and dreams but there was no situation in the near future that involved moving a three thousand dollar monstrosity into my backyard.

But then something beautiful happened. Some could even call it a Thanksgiving miracle. I found out that there is a wood-fired pizza oven at [Bayshore Park] in Ottawa that is open to the community every few Saturdays a month!! *dances around the room with pizza* You bring your own dough, or pie, or whatever baked good you've made and then you can cook it to wood-fired perfection. I'm super excited to try it out and lucky for you and me they're open tomorrow, October 8th from 1-2:30.

To celebrate I'm sharing my favourite pizza dough recipe that I make ALL THE TIME.

Ingredients

1 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 cup warm water
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt

Preparation

  1. In a bowl add the yeast and sugar, and then the warm water. Give it a little mix to make sure all the yeast is wet and then let it sit for five minutes until the mixture foams on top.
  2. Mix in the flour and salt with a wooden spoon. 
  3. Add the flour to the yeast mixture and then knead on a floured surface for a few minutes.
  4. Next, pour a little olive oil in a clean bowl and then place the dough in it. Cover with plastic wrap.
  5. Let the dough rise for at least an hour in a warm area (like the oven with the light on, but no heat). I like to let mine sit for a couple of hours so it gets nice and light and fluffy.
  6. Roll out the dough, add your sauce and toppings, and then bake at 500ºF for 10-15 minutes.
  7. This dough also freezes super well!
For more details about the wood-fired oven you can check out their [Facebook page] or subscribe to their [newsletter].

// recipe from Ricardo Cuisine
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Apple Pie



One of my favourite holidays is coming up this weekend. You guessed it, Canadian Thanksgiving!! When I was studying at Bishop's, Thanksgiving was the best thing ever. I can remember being in first year and being stupid enough to bring a WHOLE DUFFLE BAG of books home to study lol. I actually had to recruit a random passerby to grab a side and help me carry it to the bus stop. And to think I was going to get any studying done during my favourite time of year in the capital. I always made sure my Thanksgiving weekends were filled with hiking in beautiful scenery, and tons and tons of pie! Speaking of pie, here is an amazing apple pie recipe to share with your loved ones this weekend. And do me a favour, tell them you love them and how thankful you are for them.

Okay, now let's get down to the real talk. That fancy pie crust was wayyyyyy easier than it looks. And trust me when I say that you shouldn't let all the myths that pastry is finicky get in the way of wowing your guests with the apple pie of their dreams. I turned to Pinterest and Instagram to get some ideas and then I was off! All it takes is determination and a heck of a lot of butter to nail this recipe.


Ingredients

Pie Crust
2 1/2 cups flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter
1/2 to 1 cup ice cold water

Pie Filling
8-9 small/medium apples (I used cortland apples, but granny smith work well too)
1/2 cup butter
3 Tbsp flour
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla

Preparation

Pie Crust
  1. I have used this pie crust recipe since I baked my very first pie. It requires a gazillion steps but it's reliable AF. Here we go! Fill a cup measuring cup with water and some ice to get it supppppper cold. 
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, a tablespoon of sugar and a teaspoon of salt.  
  3. Grate a cup of cold butter into the flour mixture. This is the easiest way to get all your ingredients integrated. 
  4. Use a fork, or your hands to mix everything together. 
  5. Drizzle half a cup of cold water into the mixture. Mix together and then add in more water a tablespoon at a time till the dough holds together.
  6. Knead the dough and then divide it in half. One half will fill the pie plate and the other will be used to make your fancy pie top.
  7. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and then chill in the fridge for at least an hour. If you're in a pinch you can pop it in the freezer for 10 minutes.
  8. After chilling, roll out the dough into a thin layer and then fit into a 9 inch pie shell. Tuck the excess that hangs over the edge under to create an even and pretty edge.
  9. Cover with plastic wrap and then pop it in the fridge again for about 30 minutes this time.
  10. Roll out the other half of the dough. At this point you can stop and watch netflix and call it a day. OR you can get your pinterest on and measure a rectangle that is 10 inches in length. Cut out strips for your lattice top. They can all be the same width or you can use my example and create all different widths and even braid some.
  11. Pop these guys into the freezer on a flat plate or baking sheet for about 15 minutes. This way they keep their shape.
Pie Filling
  1. At some point during the pie crust process (like when your dough is chilling in the fridge), you can make the filling for your apple pie. In a medium pot, melt the butter and then mix in the flour to create a paste. 
  2. Add in the rest of the filling ingredients (sugars, spices and vanilla). Let this mixture boil for a minute or two until it thickens slightly.
  3. Peel and slice the apples and then toss with the sauce you made.
  4. Pour the apples into the prepared pie shell and then top with your lattice crust. I made tiny leaves out of pastry to go around the edge of the pie shell. I get that that's a bit excessive haha and you can totally skip this step.
  5. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes at 425ºF. 
  6. After that, reduce heat to 375ºF and bake for 40 minutes. Take the aluminum foil off for the last 10 minutes to let the crust get all golden.


//Pie crust recipe via America's Test Kitchen & filling adapted from Audrey's Apron.

Shakshuka with Challah


A couple years ago, when I was studying in France with my best friend, Maggie, we became the best cooks. Not because we were studying at Le Cordon Bleu or using the best ingredients (although that did help), but simply because our kitchen was so tiny that we had to learn how to be resourceful. We also wanted to limit our grocery bill during the week so that we could save our pennies for indulgent weekends away eating pannenkoeken in Amsterdam, paella in Barcelona, and gauffres in Brussels. 

After cooking for four months using only a mini fridge, one hot plate, no oven(!!), and an airplane-sized sink, I came back to Canada with tips and tricks to last me a lifetime. One of my favourite stove-top dinners was shakshuka. At the time, I didn't know that it was being served up in mini cast iron pans at almost every trendy brunch spot. To us, eggs in tomato sauce was simply the easiest, cheapest weeknight dinner. 

I recently remembered how good this recipe was and scavenged the web for some yummy challah that I could make (now that I had the luxury of oven access) to go with my dinner. Take a look below if you would like:


Ingredients

1 Tbsp coconut oil (for frying)
1/4 red or yellow onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
14 oz (half a can) crushed tomatoes
2-3 eggs
Crumbled feta or soft goat cheese (optional)
Chives to garnish

Preparation

  1. Heat coconut oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. It doesn't need to be cast iron but I've always made it in one cause gosh it looks so pretty and it has the right height in the sides. 
  2. Sauté the onion, red pepper, and garlic until soft.
  3. Add in the spices (paprika, cumin and salt), mix well and let cook for a minute.
  4. Slowly pour in the tomatoes and let simmer for about 10 minutes to let it thicken.
  5. If you're feeling fancy, you can add in your choice of cheese. I like mine with goat cheese.
  6. Make little wells in the tomato sauce for your eggs and then crack them in.
  7. Turn down the heat to medium-low and put a lid on your skillet. Let the eggs cook until the yolks have just set, about five minutes. Garnish with chives.
  8. Serve with on toast or if you're channelling your Jewish roots you can make your own challah.

Challah Recipe

I have made [this recipe] twice and it's pretty fool proof. I have the BIGGEST fear of making bread because yeast freaks me out. I'm so scared that it will fail, but believe me this recipe is made in a ziploc bag and although it's time consuming it's super straightforward and people are so so so impressed by fresh homemade bread. I brought this challah to a dinner party once and you would have thought I brought a new born baby or the first draft of the Harry Potter. 

**I'm also going to put in a plug for our very first Cookbook Club happening TOMORROW. Get cooking ladies and gents, this is going to be good! More details [here].

Cookbook Club


Chocolate Chip Cake


Something is happening, guys. The air is crisp, school buses are filling the streets, and coffee shops are serving pumpkin-flavoured everything. And although I'm still not completely done with summer, the cool air tickling my toes on my walk this morning made me want to jump into bed with a book, a hot cup of tea, and a piece of my aunt Nini's chocolate chip cake. 

This cake has made its fair share of appearances at Patenaude family gatherings because it is so dense and delicious. Its bundt shape and lack of icing or fancy toppings aren't going to win any awards for looks, but I can assure you that it's been my favourite cake since I could say "one more piece please". 

If you don't have a bundt pan, don't sweat it, I'm sure you can make it in a rectangular pan or even a large loaf pan. Just be extra careful about checking it while it's in the oven. 

Ingredients
1 cup melted butter 
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
2 tbsp milk
1 tbsp vanilla 
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup milk chocolate chips

Preparation
  1. Blend together the butter, eggs, and sugar. Add in sour cream, milk, vanilla, and mix well. 
  2. Then add flour, baking powder, and baking soda.
  3. Once all is mixed, add the chocolate.
  4. Pour into a greased and floured bundt pan. 
  5. Bake at 350ºF for 40-50 minutes. Allow the cake to cool slightly and then flip it out onto a plate.
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Avocado Strawberry Caprese



Happy Friday, friends! I just tried my first recipe out of the Love & Lemons cookbook and I can't stop raving about every dish and each beautiful photograph within its pages. Love & Lemons is a mostly vegetarian cooking blog that recently came out with the best book filled to the brim with fresh, easy, colourful recipes. Just to give you an idea of how wonderful this book is, the blog has won Saveur's Best Cooking Blog Award (basically the Oscars of food blogging) and the New York Times Book Review said that "happiness itself is tossed into every bowl". Serisouly. So. Good.

The cookbook is organized in alphabetical order by main ingredient (apple to zucchini) which I love because when I'm thinking of what to cook for dinner I usually start by thinking of one main vegetable or fruit that I have in the fridge and then build off of that main ingredient. Some of the recipes I'm really excited about are:

  • Blackberry Basil Bruschetta
  • Brussels Sprout Breakfast Tostadas
  • Carrot Gazpacho with Lemongrass
  • Grilled Mexican Corn Salad
  • Butternut Squash & Black Bean Enchiladas
... and so many more!! I think this book is going to need a more permanent spot on my cookbook shelf.

Today, I made the Avocado Strawberry Caprese Salad and it was the perfect light lunch. You could serve it on a bed of quinoa or kale if you wanted a heartier meal or how good would it be alongside a yummy quiche for brunch?

Ingredients

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar 
1 cup sliced strawberries
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1 cup halved mini mozzarella balls (I just tore up a big ball of fresh mozzarella)
1 ripe avocado, pitted and diced
1/3 cup pecans, toasted
1/3 cup loosely packed basil, torn
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

  1. In a small saucepan, bring the balsamic vinegar to a high simmer over medium heat. Stir, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until the vinegar has thickened and reduced by half, 8 to 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. Place the strawberries, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, avocado, pecans, and basil in a shallow bowl or on a platter. Drizzle with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Gently toss. Drizzle with the reduced balsamic. 

Travel Guide: London


A couple of months ago I had the opportunity to go present a paper I wrote in London, England. I was super excited because a) Someone other than my mother wanted to hear about the research I'd been pouring my heart into for the past year, and b) I could try out ALL THE BRITISH FOOD.

I've been to London before, during my fall break while I was studying in France in 2014, but this time I had a better idea of what the city had to offer. 

I used Excursion, my all time favourite free travel app, to save 135 restaurants and sights on an offline map (seriously, that app is a LIFE SAVER!!) and then narrowed it down depending on my location and mood. Now I want to share my list of the best things I did while in the city of double decker buses, high tea, and the Spice Girls.

Iced Matcha Latte 101


If you have spent any time in a coffee shop and/or on the internet in the past few years, you will most likely have spotted a couple bright green drinks floating around. Well, I'm here to tell you all about my love affair with matcha. 

Matcha comes from ground green tea leaves, which means that you get all the nutrients that usually get thrown away when you take your green tea bag out of your hot water. For this reason a nice matcha drink is absolutely loaded with antioxidants, which are great for anything from preventing cancer, to boosting your metabolism. I'll take three matcha drinks, please and thank you!

But aside from all this healthy business, I love love love a nice cold matcha latte on any hot day. Although it's expensive, I bought a tin of it back in January and it's still going strong because you only use at most a teaspoon every time. I'm almost positive there is a more traditional way of preparing this green cup of goodness, but if you know me at all you know I'm not willing to drop $20 for a specialty bamboo matcha whisk (If you have one, I applaud you). Here's my step-by-step guide to making THE BEST SUMMER DRINK!!!


Ingredients

1/2 tsp matcha powder
2 Tbsp + 1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1/2 cup milk (I've tried it with almond or cow's milk, both are good)
5 ice cubes

Preparation

  1. Measure out 1/2 tsp of matcha powder into a bowl. I sometimes use a whole teaspoon if I'm feeling bold. 
  2. Add in the 2 Tbsp of water. You want your bowl to be big enough to whisk it like no one's watching.
  3. Start whisking until there are no more chunks and little bubbles start to form on the surface.
  4. Add in the 1/2 cup of water and continue whisking. You add the water in two parts because it's easier to get those stubborn chunks to dissolve when there's less water.
  5. Add in the sweetener of your choice or if you're sweet enough skip it! I used maple syrup.
  6. Pour into a glass filled with ice.
  7. Add in as much milk as you would like to fill the glass. Sometimes I'm digging the earthy taste of matcha and other times I want a smoother, milkier drink. A lot of people even replace the water entirely with milk. Go with your gut, I trust you. 
  8. Stir or shake and serve immediately.

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Honey Lavender Ice Cream


First of all, welcome! This feels so crazy to be writing to you because I feel like this blog has kind of been a secret for so long. I had the official launch party this past weekend so now that the cat is out of the bag I'm so crazy excited to share all that I've been creating (slash eating) this summer. I will also be posting all the details of my debut dinner with you folks in the next little while so stay tuned because I made a doughnut piñata and seven different summer pizzas so good things are coming your way.

I've been wanting to create a new blog for a while but I guess it took me closing one huge chapter/opening another chapter of my life (graduating from university and moving back to Ottawa) to give me the inspiration and final push that I needed. I love my old blog Breakfast at Midnight and it's not going anywhere but I will only be posting new recipes on Breakfast and Business and transferring some of the most popular recipes over to this bad boy. Trust me, you're not the only one that goes insane for my famous ginger molasses cookies

So let's kick things off with a recipe I tried the other day after chatting with a local ice cream maker. She let me taste some of her honey lavender ice cream and I went bonkers and rushed home to make my own version. But I was craving something with a little less cream and a little more ease so I turned to my tried and true banana ice cream recipe with some snazzy new additions. 


Ingredients

2 bananas
1 tsp lavender
1 tsp honey

Preparation 

  1. Peel and slice bananas and place in a parchment lined air sealed container. If you're going to pile the sliced bananas pieces up, lay a sheet of parchment paper between the layers.
  2. Freeze for at least five hours (sorry guys, It's a rough life)
  3. Blend the banana mixture in a food processor. At first it will look crumbly but just keep blending away as the ice cream magically starts to look like soft serve ice cream.
  4. You can add some milk of your choosing if it is hard to blend together but try to keep at it without milk to get that optimal ice cream texture. 
  5. Add in the lavender and honey! You can find cooking lavender in your mother's garden, at farmers' markets, at specialty food stores or spice stores, and online. Most people like to grind it up with sugar in baked goods, but I like just chucking it in to give the ice cream little bits of life.
  6. This recipe is also half vegan because some vegans still eat honey, while others don't. So just clear that up if you're making this for your animal loving friends!
(see my original recipe for step by step pictures)

Enjoy!

One more thing, if you are interested in what I'm cooking check out #gabyblogs.


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Launch Party








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