Nova Scotia

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

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.

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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.

Homemade Croutons

Saving that $2 for a bag of croutons adds up!

Saving that $2 for a bag of croutons adds up!

Ok so one thing that bothers me an oddly large amount is paying for croutons. Essentially you are paying money for stale bread that's been seasoned. I was especially peeved the other day when I spent money on croutons that were very obviously made from stale rye bread sooo I trashed them and made some myself!

I'm sure you have a couple o rolls in your freezer that you've forgotten about... Ample crouton making material!

I'm sure you have a couple o rolls in your freezer that you've forgotten about... Ample crouton making material!

You want those cubes to be bite size remember!

You want those cubes to be bite size remember!

You want that glorious golden finish

You want that glorious golden finish

Homemade Croutons

Store them in a cool dry place in a sealed container for up to 2 weeks.

I also want to take the time this week to make sure you're enjoying fall! Whatever you like, pumpkin spice, apple picking or pumpkin carving... Embrace it! This is such a great time of year!

Fall portraits

Here's also a great Ghostbusters cake! You can watch the creation here!

Ghostbusters cake

50th Argyle Birthday Cake

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

I don't have much to share this week due to going through a move (I hate moving) so I'm showcasing a great cake!

The instructions were... Something elegant, with nice colors... And THIS written on it!

Celebrating a 50th Birthday the right way

Who says your 50th should be a somber occasion. These ladies understood how to celebrate: with a couple of laughs. You have accomplished quite a bit at this point after all! It should be embraced with class and a little humor. This cake says it all with the crisp argyle pattern and very forward writing.

 

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Checker board cake inside I was able to sneak into the establishment to take a look at the inside to make sure it worked out as it should... Nailed it!

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Aside from the writing I really loved this cake, it was the first time experimenting with argyle patterns and cutting the fondant to make the pattern. I hope to do something like this again.

An elegant birthday celebration

An elegant birthday celebration

Review: Antonio's Italian & Canadian Cuisine

I’ve been driving on Hwy 101 literally my entire life. My family is from Meteghan River which is almost as south as you can get in Nova Scotia. Completely unaware this entire time I’ve been driving by a little hidden gem of a restaurant.

Antonio’s Italian & Canadian Cuisine can be found right off Hwy 101 just after the Digby exit (coming from Halifax) They’ve been in business for 22 years (so literally I’ve been passing this place almost all my life) and it’s owners are the only cook and server in the place.

Coming home from a long weekend my boyfriend and I found ourselves starving around 3pm and just happened to see the fish and chips sign on the side of the road… So we decided to stop!

Full disclosure: it looks like a hole in the wall when you first get there BUT within seconds of arriving we were welcomed by the owners, and were just made to feel so at home! You can tell they invest in their service and their food as opposed to the décor but I’m perfectly ok with that.
Known for their FRESH fish and chips that's exactly what we ordered and it was amazing, the batter on the fish was incredibly light and flaky. Portions were large and price was great. 
They've been in business for many years and the pride this couple has for their restaurant is amazing. I even had a conversation with the cook about his recent potato order. 
You need to stop here! Just watch their hours, on weekdays they only open at 4pm-8pm (understandable considering they manage and run it themselves) but on weekends they're pretty much open all day! (12pm-8pm)

You need to stop here, it’s worth it if you’re in the area! You’ll feel so at home.

They have a great reputation on Trip Advisor, some amazing reviews and photos can be found there. If you do end up there, make sure you give them a great review. They will really appreciate it!

 

I also wanted to take a little space to showcase one of my cakes this week. With the theme of fish and chips here is a blob fish birthday cake!

Said to be the ugliest fish in the sea!

Said to be the ugliest fish in the sea!

A real blob fish!

A real blob fish!

Homemade Chicken Strips

Ever crave a chicken strip or a chicken tender but cringe at the thought of eating all that batter and preservatives? I do weekly so to curve that craving I started making homemade chicken strips! They are easy and tasty.

Start off with a chicken breast, cut it into desired strip size (you be the judge- but the smaller they are the faster they cook)

 

Next up is prepping your breading factory! Crack an egg and mix in a small dish (large enough to cater to your chicken) and a shallow plate full of bread crumbs. Here I used pre-season ones but if yours are plain, throw something in there! I recommend oregano, basil, cilantro... Something bold that you'll appreciate! Or even better grab the chipotle spice for a real kick! 

 

Dip each strip lightly in the egg mixture to coat and then lightly again in the bread crumbs to get a lovely (and manageable) coat of breading on your chicken. Once all the chicken is battered you can prep your pan, coat the bottom of a large frying pan with oil and let it warm up on med heat for 1-2 minutes, afterwards placing chicken strips into the heated pan.

 

Using a set of tongs, flip the pieces every 2-3 minutes to ensure an even cook. Chicken is done once you can cut open one of the larger strips and it's white and fluffy inside.

 

Once fully cooked, throw them on a piece of paper towel to soak up any excess oil (or don't- it's up to you) let them cool for a minute and enjoy!

They are great hot and fresh but they also hold up cold in a wrap or a salad!

They are great hot and fresh but they also hold up cold in a wrap or a salad!

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Volunteering at the Dartmouth SPCA Thrift Store

The SPCA Thrift store opening soon!

During the past couple of weeks I've volunteered to help set up the SPCA's new thrift store located on Windmill Rd! All the money that's collected at this thrift store will go straight to helping the SPCA and all the wonderful fur babies there. The grand opening coming very soon so I was excited to help them set up and get ready. The products available are listed below. Shopping at a thrift store is a great way to give life back to gently used products! One man's trash is another man's treasure!

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Every year in February I participate in National Cupcake Day (Or the NS SPCA calls theirs Bake Sales for Wagging Tails) to help raise money through cupcake sales to further help the efforts of the SPCA, in the past 3 years I have baked for this wonderful cause totaling close to 600 cupcakes baked and over $1300 raised!

The years gone by! 2017 totaled $400, 2016 totaled $500, and 2015 totaled $411!

The years gone by! 2017 totaled $400, 2016 totaled $500, and 2015 totaled $411!

The animal shelters are close to my heart and National cupcake day allows me to help in the best way I know how!

If you want to Donate click here and volunteering can be found here!

Welcome!

Welcome to a peaceful place with craft, baked goods and cats. You can practically smell the cinnamon right through the page right? Whether you stumbled upon my site by accident or are genuinely happy to be here I hope you enjoy you are about to embark on my journey through life with me. It's not much but it's mine!

For a background on myself: my name is Nicole. I was born and raised in Nova Scotia and I'm still happy to call this province home. Working with my hands and creating is what keeps me sane in the soul chipping 9-5 life. I am looking forward to learning as much as I can over blogging and helping me create an environment I can be proud of!

I'm going to start with a confession: I'm a terrible writer. The thoughts are bouncing around in my head but it can be a struggle to get them down in text so that will be a huge thing I will be working on is trying to tell the story I have in my head. Any positive advice will be more then welcome!

 

Myself and the furry one. She goes by Princess Peach- or princess for short.

Myself and the furry one. She goes by Princess Peach- or princess for short.