Friday, December 28, 2012

serendipity 3 (las vegas)

After Q and I spent a week in Texas, we met hubby in Vegas for a few days.  It was fun for Q to see the lights and he was pretty great when it came time to outlet shopping.  When driving the Strip, I noticed Serendipity 3 outside the Caesar's Hotel.  I had always wanted to go to the original in NYC, but knowing I wasn't going there anytime soon, I had to go while in Vegas.

Made famous in the movie Serendipity, and then even more so by Oprah, I knew I had to try the Frrrozen Hot Chocolate. The place was packed and we had a bit of a wait but it was worth it.

We ordered the drink for two and it was huge!  The three of us shared but we could have easily shared with three more.  It was a chocolatey blend of icy goodness topped with whipping cream.   So good!  As we sipped the yummy concoction, we got chunks of chocolate shavings while we sipped.

Would I go back for more? Most definitely!

Serendipity 3 on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

tony thai (houston)

During our recent trip to Dallas, we squeezed in a quick one day visit to Houston to visit family.  It had been years since I had seen my cousins and I had never met their kids.  With them being so close in age to Q, I really wanted to get them together and meet.  It didn't take long for them to form a bond, and in no time, they were playing with trains and drawing on their ipads.

We went out for dinner later in the evening to their favourite thai restaurants, Tony Thai.  We got there just before they were going to close but they welcomed us in for a quick bite.

We started with soup, Tom Yum.  The spicy broth with all kinds of seafood was delicious.  We also had some Thai wings as a starter which were the most delicious wings I had tasted.  The breaded wings had a sweet and spicy sauce that we just couldn't get enough of.  They were a huge hit and we had to order another round.

The fried rice was tasty with chunks of chicken and loaded with veggies.  This went perfectly with the chicken in red curry, a spicy sauce fragranced with coconut milk.  The greens were delicious as well, with lemongrass and garlic - a tasty way to eat your veggies.

We ended the meal off with a delicious creme brulee.  Although there for just a day, it was wonderful to spend time with family.

Tony Thai on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Happy Christmas!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Wishing you and your families a safe and happy holiday season.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

bombay chopstix (dallas)

I was really excited to finally make a visit to Dallas. Q and I tagged along with my parents to spend some time celebrating my aunt's huge accomplishment in obtaining her masters degree (her second!).  It was so great spending time with her and her husband and finally meeting my cousins.  Though a lot younger than me, we had a great time bonding, especially over burgers at In and Out

No celebration is complete without a meal so we grabbed a quick bite at one of their favourite places, Bombay Chopstix.  Tucked away in a strip mall, they served Indian Chinese food.  This is the type of food we had a few times in India and it definitely reminded me of past trips.  Chinese dishes with indian influences and spices.

We started our meal with soup, Corn and Hot and Sour. Knowing that most of the meal would be spicy, I opted to stick to the mild corn soup.  The corn was sweet and it was a fantastic way to start the meal.  Everyone else at the table loved spice, all adding some hot chilis to the already spicy food.  I was definitely the spice weakling of the group.

This was followed by the Chicken Lollipops.  Pieces of chicken drumsticks with the meat pulled up, making it into a chop. I think this was my favourite part of the meal.  The breaded chicken was tossed in a spicy szechuan sauce - so good. My second favourite part of the meal was the Pepper Salt Shrimp.  Breaded and seasoned with chilis and garlic, it was gone in no time.

We also had some Chili Chicken which was super spicy.  Thank goodness for the rice which absorbed some of the heat.  

All in all, it was a great place with good food, reasonable prices and great service.

Bombay Chopstix on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

holiday baking

We had a chance to get away and didn't hesitate for a second about not spending the holidays at home.  The trip just meant that I had to be extra organized and get all our holiday baking done early.  It's always fun to spoil our friends and neighbours with a box of goodies, and this year was no exception.
It was hard to decide what to put into this year's goodie box but here is what I decided on.  Click to find out recipes for these tasty treat!

Rice Krispie Squares

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

chocolate dipped walnut shortbread and the great food blogger cookie swap

I was very excited to participate in this year's Food Blogger Cookie Swap.  In it's second year, this swap is hosted by Love and Olive Oil and The Little Kitchen.  It's a great concept - send a dozen cookies to three fellow bloggers and three dozen will be sent to you. 

I wasn't too sure what to make so I had to do some experimentation.  I finally settled on shortbread and this great recipe from Family Circle.  Little disks of brown sugar shortbread with walnuts and dipped in chocolate.  Easy and super delicious, I've made them a few times since the first trial.

These delicious little cookies went to Elizabeth from A Sweet Baker, Kelsey from K&K Test Kitchen and Celeste and Alicia from The Chronic Masterbakers.

It was really fun and exciting to get boxes of cookies in the mail.  I lucked out and got three amazing cookies!  Thank you ladies!!

The first box to arrive were the Double Chocolate Espresso Cookies from Savour Sisters.  These were moist and chocolatey and so delicious.

The second to arrive were shortbread from The Goodie Girl. I loved the little balls with chunks of chocolate and pecans.

I also received a box of thumbprint cookies from the Gourmet Housewife. Another classic shortbread filled with raspberry jam, so good!

It was a fun swap to participate in.  Looking forward to next year's!

Chocolate Dipped Walnut Shortbread
Adapted from Family Kitchen

2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup toasted walnuts
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted

In a bowl, stir together flour and salt.  Beat together the butter, brown sugar and vanilla until well blended.  Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture until well blended.  Stir in the walnuts.

Turn dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and roll into a log.  Wrap securely and refrigerate for several hours.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the chilled dough into slices and place on parchment lined baking sheets.  Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Once cooled, dip the shortbread into the melted chocolate.  Let stand at room temperature until chocolate is firm.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

mint and chocolate

Mint and chocolate.  What a perfect combination. It works well with coffee (peppermint mochas, yum!), cookies and definitely dessert.  It was the inspiration for some cupcakes I made a couple months ago for hubby's birthday.  Although I had made some ice cream cake to celebrate at home, I thought it would be fun to send some cupcakes for him to celebrate at work.  Hubby's co-workers were treated to After Eight Cupcakes - chocolate cake topped with peppermint buttercream.

The combination worked well and so I made them again this weekend. Instead of using the chocolate as a garnish, I used candy canes.  The Candy Cane Cupcakes were made for the Food Blogger Bake Sale.

A Holiday Edition of the bake sale was created to raise funds for Meals on Wheels.  Fellow food bloggers Vincci and Dan have worked hard in planning and promoting this event - you guys are awesome!  When I went down this morning, the tables were full of yummy goodies and creative packaging.  The event has been extended to tomorrow so be sure to go down to Casel Marche, try some wonderful baking while benefiting a great cause.

Monday, December 3, 2012

mint chocolate cookies

I am excited to participate in this year's Food Blogger Cookie Swap. What a fun way to bring together food bloggers from around the world!  You'll see a post on December 12th as to what I made, and sent to three fellow bloggers.  There was some testing along the way and this is one test that was pretty tasty.

Chocolate and mint just go so well together, so when I saw this recipe on Foodess, I knew I had to try it.  The cookies turned out so good!  The only reason I didn't use them for the cookie swap was that they were on the soft side and I didn't think they would be great for shipping.

These cookies were so yummy!  They were soft and quite rich, so they paired perfectly with a cold glass of milk. The taste combination is perfect for those wanting to do some Christmas baking. They are definitely on my list of things to make this year.

Mint Chocolate Cookies
From Foodess
1 cup butter, softened
1¾ cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp peppermint extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips or dark chocolate chunks

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. 
Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar in large bowl until well blended. Beat in eggs and peppermint extract. Gradually add flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt and beat until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips. Form dough into 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Flatten balls slightly. 
Bake cookies until edges begin to firm but center still appears soft, about 9 minutes. Cool on baking sheets 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to racks and cool completely.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

calgary food blogger bake sale - holiday edition

Hope you can all join us for the Holiday Edition of the Calgary Food Blogger Bake Sale!  It will take place on Saturday, December 8th from 10 am to 4 pm at Casel Marche.  Go to the Facebook page for more details and a list of all the fabulous bloggers participating.  Proceeds from this one day event will go to Calgary Meals on Wheels.  See you there!
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