Halifax

Racap: Wedding Season 2018

Now that it’s officially fall it brings “wedding season” to an end. Sure there’s always a few straggler fall and winter weddings but there’s no doubt that the season is summer.

Looking back at this season, it was my busiest yet and by far the most challenging! I took on new ideas and experimented with lots of different techniques. I am incredibly pleased with every cake that came out of my kitchen.

Succulent wedding cake

My largest project this season was without a doubt the couple who wanted an individual cake on each guest table. They had a 2 tiered cake for themselves and the wedding party and ten (10) individual cakes to pass out. I found it funny that their wedding planner had no idea their intentions for the dessert so when I showed up with the load she was very surprised! Needless to say she was a great planner and was quick on her feet to arrange a plan.

Individual wedding party cakes
Donut tower

The most unique wedding I did was these delicious donuts! To keep consistency I ordered the donuts from a local bakery and decorated them to match the wedding colours. For the bride and groom to cut I had a bundt style cake that matched the donuts.

Donut cake

My last cake of the season was by far my favorite. But there was no competition really since it was for one of my best friends. She wanted carrot cake with cream cheese icing and although I’ve been known to compare cream cheese icing to translucent sludge I was definitely able to accommodate to her request.

Carrot cupcakes

The wedding was very intimate and matched the couple’s personality perfectly. I was so honored to be a part of their special day. My phone is full of smiling faces from that evening. It was perfect.

I am starting to book for next year now, getting pricing sorted out for the new year. I am very excited to see what 2019 couples will bring to the table!

Review: Bap House Korean Kitchen

I snuck away from my kitchen over the weekend to check out one of Halifax's new restaurants with some good friends. We tried out Bap House on Quinpool Rd. 

It was a little tricky to see at first, Quinpool can be a little congested but once you know what you're looking for you can distinguish it from the busy street.

Immediately when we walked in we were greeted by a very enthusiastic woman, I'm assuming she was the owner. She took the time to tell us about the menu, how the food is prepared and even how to eat it in an authentic Korean manner.

The menu is short and sweet. They serve Bibimbap as the main course, however due to the nature of the bibimbap you could easily have a different dish every time you visit. The dish is completely customized to your pallet. 

Bap House Menu

This restaurant takes a lot of pride in their food, they don't use any MSG, the veggies used are the ones locally in stock for the season and it's all made fresh.

The presentation of the meal was right out of a magazine, all 4 of the dishes we ordered were arranged just like this.

The presentation of the meal was right out of a magazine, all 4 of the dishes we ordered were arranged just like this.

I ordered the noodle Bibimbap combo which came with Miso soup and I got the dish with beef, egg and spicy sauce- we were instructed to mix it up with the chop sticks and consume it with the spoon (thank goodness I am terrible with chop sticks)

Everything about this meal was delicious, the spice wasn't overpowering so you could genuinely enjoy the taste of every ingredient and the woman came back to check on us a number of times.

She was even generous enough to make us a set of dumplings for free to sample. Let me tell you I could easily eat 20 of those things- Delicious.

My sole critique was that my ahem... hearty North American tummy was not filled by this delicious dish, I could have easily eaten 3 more bowls however for the $14 before tax and tip price tag that really wasn't a good idea. I would recommend coming to this restaurant if you need something to get you between lunch and dinner, around 2PM when you need a snack. Since the food is preservative free and fresh there's no guilt for having a mid afternoon snack here.

Cookie Monster Cake

On Sunday morning at 8 am I recap the week, share what I learned and showcase some of my work!

When a close friend's birthday comes around it's always a great time to experiment with a new cake idea!

How to make a cookie monster cake

I wanted something that would be decadent and memorable so I went with this vanilla cake with chocolate chip cookie dough!

Watch below to enjoy the decorating. I learned a few things with this experiment- mainly that spreading cookie dough is noooot easy at all!

My friends birthdays is a great time to experiment with new cakes! Vanilla cake filled with cookie dough.

I also took the time to make the chocolate chip cookies as well to give it a little extra homemade charm. Nothing beats my recipe! Oreo's however if course were store bought.

 

Disclaimer: I did use my regular cookie dough recipe for the filling which means there was raw eggs since I was making it for myself and some close friends AND it was kept refrigerated until it was served I did not worry too much about the raw eggs in the dough.

For any clients I would NOT use a cookie dough that included raw eggs to avoid any risk of salmonella.

Below is my recipe for my favorite chocolate chip cookies (the ones that contain the eggs)

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Lifestyle Change

I've always been proud of my love of food. I come from a strong professional background and it's without a doubt that I'm considered a foodie. However now with my new found success it's come with a lot of sitting at a desk while in the past I'd be on my feet for multiple hours at a time. This has started taking a toll on my poor body and giving my busy schedule it didn't take long for things to get out of hand.... While filling out some paperwork for life insurance I realized that I was about 10 pounds away from being considered "overweight" for my height which was a harsh reality that I'd really did a number for myself. 

The busy lifestyle comes with a lot of eating on the go of course which is a factor in my weight gain along with hours of sitting at a desk and of course the worst of all SNACKING ... on everything bad for you! Haha SO now that I'd found the reasons I had to make a plan to combat it.

I am terrible for saying "I don't have time to work out I have to do ....." or "I'm just too busy today, I'll get back on track tomorrow..." it's all fun and dandy once in awhile but when it's happening daily you have a problem!

I have watched many friends and coworkers try various diets and weight loss techniques and I've seen almost all of them fail... Those trendy diets (in my experience) just lead to a little loss and then when you stop the diet you gain more than you initially lost... This was really not a road I wanted to go down as well... The people I've seen that have been successful have gone with the simple theories; burn more than you consume. A healthy lifestyle and smart meal planning (and maintaining it as a lifestyle NOT a diet) seems to be by far the most effective way to be the person you want to be in the mirror.

I know it's so simple so why don't we all do it? Because burgers are delicious that's why! Discipline is going to be the biggest challenge for me I know because I can justify pretty much aaaannythhiiiiing if it tastes delicious... Or if I'm in a rush.... Or if it's the weekend... Oh god this is going to be hard haha.

To help the adventure I have a pretty purple fitbit that yells at me if I've been sitting for too long, and a promise to myself that I will make this a priority which means of course putting a couple other things on the back burner so I don't have an excuse. This was also a difficult realization because that means I need to take time away from growing my business by dropping ads and controlling how much work I take on, as heart breaking as it was, this was important enough to make it worth it.

Fitbit Charger 2 selfie

Now for the part I've been dreading... The before photo... Oh god so giggly... So soft... 

IMG_9982.JPG

I am grateful that I didn't go too far down the rabbit hole before realizing I needed to make a change, I know there are women out there that are in much worse shape than I when it comes to rebuilding the body you want. I also have the benefit of never having children.... Yeeep all those stretch marks I did with poutine!!

So I've been yammering off for awhile now I guess it's time to make the plan. 

1. Calories In VS Calories Out: As much as it's annoying I am going to watch the food that goes into my body to better understand exactly how many calories I am consuming on the daily.

2. Activity: Watching my menu is nothing without a little burning. At minimum I want to do 30 minutes of activity at least 5 days a week.

3. Cheat Day: I love food. I love flavor. I will not deny myself a good meal at my parent's on the weekend.

4. Be smart: Again, I love food... I love bread and I love cheese. I don't want to ELIMINATE anything my goal is to moderate it. I will be smart and allow a modest amount of everything that I love. I'm lucky because I don't crave an excessive amount of grease (like chicken wings etc) so this can work for me. This part of the plan may not work for everyone.

I hope you will join me on my adventure. The plan is to report back on Sunday mornings to see how the week went.

Wish me luck!!

Halifax Burger Week 2017

This years burger week is just around the corner. While I'm anxiously awaiting the voting for the burger ambassador (which of course I was born to be) I wanted to look back at last years favorites and misses.

#hfxburgerlove

#hfxburgerlove

Below is the old blog post (from my blogspot days) ranking the burgers I got to try!

So Halifax does a wonderful thing every year. Many local restaurants will put on a featured burger where proceeds will go to Feed Nova Scotia! For 2017 there was an incredible amount of amazing burgers.

Halifax Burger week 2017

Halifax Burger week 2017


This year's was March 23rd to the 29th and I managed to grab 5 awesome burgers.


Here are the 5 in order of enjoyment.

Armview

 

#5 The Armview: The Hot Mess

Armview.jpg

 

A good start to burger week, beef patty, mac and cheese and onions with a special ketchup... It was missing something I still don't know what but it was missing something.

#4 Clay West: The Smash Burger

Clay West.jpg

This one would have done better but the service at Clay West was less to be desired... They are definitely not used to that sort of traffic.. Double beef patty smothered in cheese sauce and topped with onion rings and pickles... and extra pickles.

#3 Big Leagues (No name)

Big Leagues.jpg

 

I good classic burger! Beef patty seasoned with taco spice topped with Monterrey Jack cheese, fried onions and a deep fried pickle along with some traditional burger toppings. Very tasty.

#2 Bubba Rays: The Pepperoni Burger

Bubba Rays.jpg

 

This one looked like garbage on the website HOWEVER the actual burger itself blew my mind! Beef patty topped with lots of pepperoni and cheese with a chipolte dipping sauce for it. The sauce put this one in the rankings for me!

#1 Tempo: The Pizza Corner Burger

Tempo.jpg

 

TOP NOTCH and the best burger I had all week. It was the second stop all week so all other burgers had heavy competition. This was a donair burger (spiced perfectly) topped with donair sauce on a pizza pun with fried pepperoni on top. Everything about this burger was amazing. They win burger week!

Tempo

This year I have been planning for this week every since the last burger week ended. Time off work has been booked to optimize my restaurant visits. Look out Halifax!! I'm coming for you!

Review: Vernon's Diner

Every Wednesday I take some time to review a product, place or experience in hopes I'll inspire someone to try something new! 

After running some Sunday morning errands we found ourselves hungry in Hammond's plains so what better time to finally get to try out Vernon's cafe for some breakfast.

Review-Vernon's Diner.jpg

 

This 50's style diner is a work of art. You can tell the owner spared no expense with this design. Everything was planned out to the tee. It's been a while since I've been to a brand new building with a brand new restaurant (While we frequent new establishments often- there's something about a fresh building) There wasn't a thing out of place, a scuff on the floor/ walls. No rips in the seats or chips in the table and the place was CLEAN, it was an absolute breathe of fresh air!

Showcased on the roof and in the main entrance as you come in is 2 beautiful vintage T-bird cars.

Vintage car at Vernon's Diner

We arrived at 9:30 and was immediately greeted by a smiling host and were seated at a clean booth. Shortly after being seated we were greeted by another warm and smiling waitress who promptly got us some much needed coffee! (Some tasty local fair trade coffee.)

Vernon's diner review

The breakfast menu is a one pager, and prices are good.

Vernon's menu

 

I got myself a breakfast poutine and Mike grabbed the cinnamon roll french toast (which he devoured so fast I never got a photo of- it looked like a diabetes paradise)

The breakfast poutine is essentially a skillet with cheese curds with hollandaise sauce poured on top like gravy. That to me seemed a little bit of a rich overload so I got the hollandaise sauce on the side (it was a good idea)

Breakfast Poutine

 

The food came very quickly and was very tasty. I would have loved there to be more spices on the potatoes but that is really my only critique.

The waitress made her way over to check on us multiple times during our visit.

 

The Verdict...

Overall Atmosphere: 10/10

The space was new, clean and well lit. There was fun music which was low enough that it wasn't annoying but you could still hear it. Nothing negative to say about the overall atmosphere.

Service: 10/10

The host was on point, the server was on point. My coffee cup was never empty for long and the server wasn't afraid to give us recommendations. Bonus points for the fact that everyone seemed genuinely happy to be there.

Food Quality: 9/10

I would have really liked some spices on the potatoes but other than that everything was great.

Timing: 10/10

We were in and out within 30 minutes from when we sat down and left. The food was fast and hot and the server checked up on us many times.

Price: 10/10

Cost in ratio for quantity and quality was great. 

Location: 8/10

It's not exactly a hop skip and a jump from our house in Dartmouth but for anyone in Tantallon/ Bedford area this is an easy stop for a good meal. Parking was awesome. Lots and lots of parking.

... 57/60

We'll be back.

Review: FabFitFun Subscription Box

Every Wednesday I take some time to review a product, place or experience in hopes I'll inspire someone to try something new! 

FabFitFun Review

A couple of my coworkers have been getting this box for a little while so I decided to give it a try!

FabFitFun

 

Essentially it's not like other subscription boxes, it gets sent to you every season as opposed to every month aaaand ... it's $50 USD BUT you receive $150-$200 worth of products. I managed to get a promo code for my starter box which made it $20 USD for the first box.

After a long week my starter box arrived! ... With $14 in handling charges at the post office... That was a bit of a surprise but we are still within a good deal for the product value I've received so I stayed optimistic.

 

The box included $146USD in products.

- A foldover Clutch in ... Burgundy? 

- A nude lip liner from Tarte

- An exfoliating sponge with soap infused.

- A face mist

- Promo codes and coupons for a few other companies.

FabFitFun Review

 

The clutch came in black, I mean the colour doesn't really matter but why mention a colour in the description at all if there's multiple colours... And it's kinda weird. I don't know what I will end up using this for. This is pending a useful use.

FabFitFun review

EDIT: I've realized this bag is the same size as my laptop. I now have a laptop bag.

FabFitFun review

 

A week or two before signing up for FabFitFun I was talking to a coworker about Ipsy, the makeup subscription box and how it lost it's luster after a few months. We really didn't need another nude lipstick...

tarte nude lipstick

Ironically the first makeup sample I get is a nude lipstick!! It's... Nice? It's a nude lipstick... It can only be so much. This is pending a useful use....

 

The sponge I think is my favorite, the scent is nice and it works well. It's not overly abrasive but exfoliates nicely and it seems to hold it's soap well. This is useful.

FabFitFun Review

 

The face mist initially confused me... The words out of my mouth were literally "what does this do" I gave it the benefit of the doubt and tried it a couple of nights and it does make my face look nice? I'm still confused over what it does but it works.

FabFitFun Review

 

2 out of 4 products I found useful. On top of the price I'm less than impressed with this box. I'm going to give it one more delivery and if I'm still not convinced I'll be cancelling.

FabFitFun Review

 

There was also a couple of promotional coupons in the box that I plan to investigate more.

FanFitFun gets 2.5 our of 5. 

EDIT: Hello fresh promo card appears not to work in Canada...

Holiday Baking

Every Sunday morning at 8 am I recap the week, share what I learned and showcase some of my work!

Or in this case, it's all about the showcase!! The holidays are fast approaching and you know that you won't have time to do all the baking you dream of. So let me help you! I will even let you take the credit ;) 

Here are a few mouth watering and traditional favorites for the holidays from years past.

Chocolate cake with Reese's Peanut Butter cups, Reese's pieces, and chocolate drizzle on top! This mouth watering design will get you every time: Chocolate cake covered in chocolate icing topped with chopped mini Reese's peanut butter cups and Reese's pieces drizzled in chocolate.

 

Looking for more of a classic dessert? How about a traditional linzer torte.

linzer.jpg

A little history on Linzer Tortes: Named after the city of Linz, Austria it's a holiday classic in Austria, Hungary, Sweden, and Germany and mainly seen on the dinner tables at Christmas time. Linzer tortes can be made in many sizes and shapes from cookies, tarts and tortes. I chose the torte for my experiment to make sure the baking times worked for the oven.

Or perhaps you prefer cookies!

sweater.jpg

A great way to show off some cheer is with these colourful cookies!!

snowmen.jpg

I also specialize in cupcakes and can pretty  make any treat as long as sufficient order time is given.

See something you like? And live in Nova Scotia, Canada? Message me for a quote!