Thursday, October 25, 2012

oliv tasting room...and a giveaway!

A couple of weeks ago, we checked out the Rocky Mountain Wine and Food Festival.  Among all the tables sampling various wines and amazing food, there was the Oliv Tasting Room, giving tasters of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. The balsamic vinegar that I tried was thick and syrupy, like it had been reducing on the stove for a while.  It was amazing!

In the few minutes we spent with the owner, Isabeau, we learned all about their lovely oils made in South Africa on their farm and their amazing vinegars sourced directly from Italy.  She also told us about the various ways olive oil is made and how theirs is a true olive oil, not altered with any chemicals. This means a healthier oil.  The balsamic is also of high quality, and it was apparent with every taste.

In their two locations in Saskatchewan and one in Calgary (100-1130 Kensington Road N.W.) the Oliv Tasting Room has samplings, where you can go in and try out the 60+ flavours of oils and vinegars.

Since taking the balsamic vinegar home, we have tried it on everything - from sweet slow roasted tomatoes to crunchy kale chips.  We even tried it on ice cream!
Want to try some for yourself?  Write a comment either here or on Facebook, or send me a tweet.  Contest closes on Monday, October 29th (hubby's birthday!) at noon.  The winner will have to pick up their prize directly from the store, so Calgary and area only please.  Good luck!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

ghost peppers at mucho burrito

Since we first tried mucho burrito, we have loved it. Put anything on nachos and q will just eat it up.

Last night, we decided to go in and try their ghost pepper burritos. Being the wimp that I am when it comes to spice, I probably should have skipped it. It's a good thing I didn't see this spice diagram before I ordered!

The ghost pepper burritos could be ordered two different ways - Hotter Than Hell and Wimpy. Wimpy didn't sound so bad so I decided to give it a try. The red tortilla was smothered in a fig marmalade then topped with rice, veggies, salsa, beans and meat.  The Hotter Than Hell had the addition of a splash of pure ghost pepper sauce.  Yikes!  Both versions came with ghost pepper bacon which we didn't get added on.

After one bite, my mouth was on fire!   It was so good though that I didn't want to leave it.  The best part was the fig marmalade, and of course that's where all the heat was coming from. The marmalade was infused with the ghost peppers. With extra sour cream, I was able to finish most of it. I know a few people who can take the heat, like my mom, would really love this.

Anyone who loves some spice should try it out. There's one week left to give it a try. Ghost pepper burritos are only here until Halloween.

Disclosure – Mucho Burrito's PR Company sent me a gift card to try out the ghost pepper burritos. Opinions are my own.

Mucho Burrito on Urbanspoon

Monday, October 22, 2012

chocolate cheesecake

We had a small family get together at my sister-in-law's new place last weekend.  When we got the invite from her and her hubby, I offered to make dessert, and cheesecake automatically popped into my mind.  It had been a long time since I had eaten cheesecake, let alone made it.  Q decided we should make chocolate and I willingly obliged.

It was a great afternoon with spending time with family and eating good food. Both the kids and the adults kept themselves busy carving pumpkins. The seeds were scooped and roasted making them a perfect snack to go along with all the carving.
I found this recipe on the Hershey's website.  I didn't have enough chocolate cookie crumbs so mixed them with graham crumbs and it worked out just fine. The cheesecake was a hit.  This can be made into one big cheesecake or mini ones made in cupcake tins.

Chocolate Cheesecake
Adapted from Hershey's

1.5 cups chocolate cookie crumbs
6 TB melted butter

1/4 cup butter or margarine
2 packages softened cream cheese
4 eggs
1/2 cup cocoa
1 can condensed milk
1 TB vanilla

Add the melted butter into the crumbs and blend well.  Press mixture into bottom of 9" springform pan.

Melt the butter and mix with cocoa until smooth. Set aside.

Beat cream cheese.  Add cocoa mixture and mix well.  Gradually beat in condensed milk until smooth.  Add eggs and vanilla and beat well.  Pour batter into pan prepared with the crumb crust.

Bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour and 5 minutes or until set.  Let cool and garnish with whipped cream and chocolate.

Friday, October 12, 2012

rocky mountain wine and food festival

The Calgary Rocky Mountain Wine and Food Festival is back today and tomorrow for it's 15th year.  I know most go for the wine but I am looking forward to the food!  From tuna to brisket, Indian to Mexican, there is something for everyone.  Details are below.  Hope to see you there!!

What: The Calgary Rocky Mountain Wine & Food Festival is back for two days of indulgence, offering a little something for everyone. The Grand Tasting Hall will be bustling with more food and beverage exhibitors than ever before, leaving taste buds seduced and craving more. The Festival offers the opportunity to sample an extensive variety of world-class wine, scotch, premium spirits, import and micro-brewed beer along with gourmet culinary creations from local restaurants, hotels and food purveyors.

Liquor Depot will once again feature an on-site liquor store, where attendees can purchase their favourite finds from the night. Liquor Connect will also be available to demonstrate how can help find sensational sips after the Festival. Additionally, Sunshine Village  will be sponsoring the Grand Prize All-Inclusive Weekend Getaway including two nights’ accommodation at Sunshine Mountain Lodge, VIP parking, $100 gift certificate for food and beverages, a couple’s spa treatment and next day lift tickets.

Who: Wine, spirit and beer enthusiasts, food lovers with healthy appetites will unite to indulge in a tasty selection of mouth-watering delights. It’s a weekend of excitement and flavourful fun for those who are passionate about wine and food.

Why: To celebrate the art of food and beverage creations brought to light by talented local restaurants, hotels and food purveyors, as well as wine, spirit and beer providers. The weekend presents Calgarians with an exclusive night of indulgence, sampling and savouring with friends, family and co-workers alike.                        

When: Friday, October 12, 4-10 p.m; Saturday, October 13, 3-10 p.m.

Where: Stampede Park BMO Centre, Halls D & E  

Tickets are available online at

Monday, October 8, 2012

thanksgiving and an apple tart

Happy Thanksgiving!  Hope everyone had a great weekend enjoying some quality time with their loved ones.  We had a great weekend but boy was it busy!  We celebrated with a feast on Sunday at my in-laws house, after a really crazy day.  That plate full of turkey, stuffing, potatoes and gravy was a great reward at the end all our running around.

The day started with Q's first day of hockey, meaning a 6 am wake up time!  It was great though watching his progress on the ice after only an hour.  Hard to believe he's into hockey already and that I'm a hockey mom!
The afternoon was spent celebrating a dear 2 year old's birthday.  His mamma pulled out all the stops in making his day special with a Seuss-themed party. 

Although our day was crazy, I still wanted to take something for Thanksgiving dinner that evening.  Only having about a half an hour in the morning, I searched for something quick. I found this great recipe for an Apple Tart by The Pioneer Woman

It took only minutes to prepare and was cooked in under twenty minutes!  I did make a few changes, decreasing the sugar and adding some cinnamon, and it was a great success!  I will definitely making this again.

Apple Tart
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

1 sheet puff pastry
1 apple
juice from half a lemon
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch salt

Slice apples thinly and place in a bowl. Add lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon and salt to the apples and stir until combined. 

Cut one sheet of puff pastry into two rectangles.  Arrange apple slices in a row in the middle of the rectangle, overlapping the slices.  Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes. 

Sprinkle with icing sugar and serve warm.

Friday, October 5, 2012

sweet naan bread

I can't believe it's already October!  There is a chill in the air but it's hard to believe that summer is gone, especially when I see these little guys every day.  I'm sure we won't be seeing them for much longer.

The best way to warm the house, I find, is by baking.  This is one of my breads to make.  It's super simple and is quite impressive to look at.  My favourite is eating it warm with a pat of butter.  Q likes it best when it's converted to rusk - sliced and baked again until it's nice and crisp and then dipped in milk or tea.

This is not your typical naan.  This is more like a bread rather than the usual flatbread. You get the nice flower shape by dividing the dough into seven balls and placing it in a 10" springform pan, letting the balls grow into each other before baking.

Sweet Naan Bread

Step One:
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp yeast
pinch salt
pinch sugar
1/2 cup warm water

Mix the above ingredients together and let it sit for ten minutes.

Step Two:
3 oz warm butter
3 1/2 cups flour
2 eggs
pinch of yellow food coloring
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp fennel seeds
Up to 1 cup warm milk

Mix the first six ingredients in step two together and add the mixture from step one.  Bind the dough together with milk until it comes together.  Divide the dough into seven balls and arrange on a sprinform pan, being sure to leave enough room for it to grow.  Let it rise in a warm place for four hours.  Use an egg wash on top of the risen dough and sprinkle with sesame seeds.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes.
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