Saturday, January 29, 2011

And the Winner is...

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Mexican Hot Chocolate Giveaway.

The winner is...


Congratulations Kelli!  I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.  Please message me your address and I will get it in the mail to you!

Happy Saturday Everyone!

True Random Number Generator  1

Monday, January 24, 2011

Home {Sweet} Home

We're home!

A cancelled flight, an unexpected night stay in Mexico city,  and an extra flight to Montreal... {Oh, the joys of traveling on stand-by}... We landed safe and sound in Toronto with 2 exhausted kids, a broken suitcase, and a smile on our faces!

Tired.  Happy.  Sad to have left, but so overjoyed to be home.  

There truly is no place like home.

We spent the last 10 days at my Grandparent's house, in a small town called Tehuacan {Mexico}.  My Mother was born and raised there, before immigrating to Canada when she was only 18.

I love Mexico.  The food.  The people.  The culture... (I guess I'm a little biased having a little Mexican blood in me). 
 One of my favorite places to eat is a restaurant called "El Tizon".  If you're a foreigner, you are pretty much guaranteed to get sick if you eat these.. But in my opinion, it's well worth it!  :)
Tacos al Pastor
Bistek con Queso (Steak & Cheese Tacos)
I love the familiarity of Tehuacan.  We spent most of our childhood holidays visiting family and spent 2 years living there when I was a little girl.
I treasure the time spent there, but I always return to Canada feeling a little more blessed.  Seeing some people struggle to make a living saddens me.  (Don't get me wrong, I know there are people that are struggling here as well and that saddens me too.)
Meet the Tortilla ladies from Coapan.  In the past, the ladies would run barefoot from their little town of Coapan to Tehuacan, carrying approximately 10 kilograms of tortillas on their back
They line up outside the market selling their Tortillas
10 pesos ($0.82 USD) will buy you 30 handmade tortillas.  Amazingly, they retain their heat in these containers and they are still warm when you purchase them.
Meet Sergio.
Sergio has been polishing shoes for 10 years.  At 15 pesos per pair ($1.24), he averages 150 pesos per day. On a really good day he will bring in 210 pesos ($17.41 USD), to feed his family of 6
When I see little kids selling things, it breaks my heart.  Working at such a young age, selling Mueganos to help support his family.  Is this young lad not too cute for words?  His toothless smile melted my heart.

With the extreme cold weather we have been experiencing this past week, I thought it would be fitting to give away something delightful to warm you up.  I will be giving away two packages of Mexican Hot Chocolate.  Delicious, Chocolaty, goodness in a cup!  
To Enter:
1.  Leave a comment in this blog post (please remember to leave your name).

2.  To double your chances, hop on over to this facebook page and leave a comment there as well.  

3.  Contest closes on Friday January 28th at midnight and the winner will be chosen by  

Thanks for entering, and good luck!

Please note:  Nestle has in no way sponsored this giveaway or is representative of this blog post.
Customs regulations may prevent shipping to some countries.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Picture Perfect

"Buying a Canon doesn't make you a photographer.  It makes you a Canon owner".  ~Author Unknown

It has been a couple of years since I got my new camera, and since that day, the owners manual has remained closed... in a box... in the basement...

Truth be told, the basement is home to all of our owners manuals.  In a gargantuan box that's never opened.  

I may have a problem.

I am certain that in that box, there are manuals for items that I no longer even own.

Hmm... does that make me an owners manual hoarder??  

Back to my camera... 

As my camera is presently set to automatic (and I use it as a basic point and shoot), I figured now is as good a time as any to dust off the old instruction book and try to learn a thing or two.  

I mean, I am on vacation, relaxing at my Grandparent's house {Tehuacan, Mexico} without a whole heck of responsibility.

In the meantime... Here are some camera cookies for you!
Wish me luck!

Friday, January 7, 2011

90 Reasons to Celebrate

"It takes a long time to become young." ~ Pablo Picasso

A couple of months ago, my {Step} Great-Grandmother Gladys, celebrated her 90th Birthday.  

She was so excited.

I'm telling ya, If I were 90, and as healthy, and full of life as she is, I would be pretty darn excited too.  

{At 80 years old} She was the Grandma who was down in the basement playing hockey with the boys.    

Her energy is remarkable.

To this day, she never misses bringing her famous cabbage salad and 2 pumpkin pies to every family function.

Always smiling and laughing, she has a genuine heart, and a real zest for life.   

Couldn't we all be so lucky to be like her when we're 90... She is truly inspiring.

To celebrate her Birthday, I made 3 cakes with Mousseline Buttercream, decorated in pink and white (as requested by the birthday girl).

(Please excuse the photos as I was still using my iphone camera at the time.)

Mousseline Buttercream Recipe
If the eggs are cold, place them in a bowl of hot water for a 
few minutes to bring them to room temperature
Separate the eggs.  You will only need the egg whites for this 
Mix sugar and water over heat until sugar dissolves.  Once the sugar mixture starts to boil, DO NOT stir anymore or sugar will crystallize.  Cover the pot.  Periodically remove the lid and brush the sides of the pot with water using the pastry brush (so the sugar does not crystallize).
Once the bubbles begin to slow down and the sugar mixture begins to thicken, remove a small amount of the sugar mix with the spoon and place it in the cold water.  If the mixture forms a ball between your fingers, it is ready to go.  
In the meantime start mixing the egg whites and sugar to soft peaks
Soft peaks.
When the boiling sugar mixture starts to get close,  turn your mixer on high until
your meringue gets to stiff peaks.
 When the sugar mixture is done cooking, turn the kitchen aid to low and quickly, and cautiously (it is extremely hot) pour in the sugar mixture in to the meringue.
Keep the kitchen aid running until the meringue cools and thickens
Once the meringue is completely cooled, add the whipped butter.  If you add it too soon,  the butter will  for sure melt and make a total mess of your Buttercream.  Trust me on this one...It's not pretty!
Your finished Meringue Buttercream
Allow your cakes to cool completely
Slice each cake into 3 or 4 slices

Brush each layer with simple syrup (a cooked sugar syrup made of equal amounts of sugar and water) 
Fill each layer with Buttercream
Add a thin layer of Buttercream to "Crumb Coat"
Adding a "crumb coat" seals in the cake crumbs so your top layer of 
Buttercream can be pretty and smooth
Refrigerate until the crumb coat is cold
Add your final coat of Buttercream and smooth out the sides using a 
 bench scraper
Smooth out the top with an off set spatula
Happy Baking!

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