RECIPE | Getting Wild With Wild Blueberries

getting wild with wild blueberries

Alright friends, gather ‘round – it’s story time!

Many (many) years ago, I worked in the nightlife industry. I had various jobs: server, bartender, even shooter girl! Go ahead, get the laughs out now, guys.  

Anyways, there was this one night that I was working a shooter girl shift. It was a random Tuesday night and I thought to myself, “Tonight won’t be too busy.” So I decided that I would make the most of (what I thought would be) a boring night and only drink tequila. #rookiemistake

Ahh, to be in your early 20’s, eh?

Well, about an hour and a half into my shift, quite a few of the regulars started showing up. Slowly but surely, the tequila got the best of me and I had to go home…early. LOL

The next day I was green in the face and felt about a million times worse than I looked. And believe me when I tell you – I looked awful. That awful feeling continued for longer than I care to admit and the smell of tequila making me nauseous – even longer. Like, 10+ years. Seriously.

But that all changed a few years ago when I was finally able to drink tequila again. #blessed

Now, tequila is my go-to spirit of choice and I like to experiment with new and different cocktail recipes. That’s the bartender in me coming out again!

If you follow me on social, you will have known I was recently sent a goodie bag full of Wild Blueberries deliciousness. One of the items was a bottle of Van Dyk Blueberry Juice, and when I got that bartending itch – I decided to play around with some cocktail recipes. After some trial and error, I came up with a simple, refreshing cocktail that’s so easy to make, you literally can’t screw it up! I call it the:

Minty Blue

wild blueberries cocktail recipe glass

Ingredients

1.5 oz blanco tequila (My preference is Cazadores Blanco)

3 oz soda water

2 oz Van Dyk Blueberry Juice

5-7 blueberries, muddled

2 sprigs fresh mint

Dehydrated blueberries

wild blueberries cocktail recipe
Directions
  1. Muddled the fresh blueberries and the leaves from one sprig of mint in a shaker
  2. Add the fresh blueberry juice, followed by the tequila
  3. Add a few ice cubes and shake
  4. Strain and pour the mixture over ice in your cocktail glass
  5. Top with the soda water and dress with a fresh sprig of mint and a few dehydrated blueberries

Cheers!

CONTEST | Enter To Win The Spice Tailor Canadian Line

The Spice Tailor Contest

Have you EVER met a picky eater? Are YOU a picky eater? What’s YOUR definition of picky eating?

When I was a kid, I was THE pickiest eater. Like, not the type who won’t eat a certain food because of the texture…no, the type who didn’t have a cucumber until I was in my 20’s.

True story.

I remember a time that my mother made simple white rice to go with our dinner. Simple, Uncle Ben’s white rice. A classic, right? However, there were white onions in it. Don’t ask me why…or how it worked (because, spoiler – IMO it did not) but, alas, this is what was served. I couldn’t eat it. I just could not.

Literally me right now as I’m typing this – I gagged.

Even just the thought of it…the memory…ugh. *shudders*

And, from that moment on I couldn’t eat onions. I was THAT picky of an eater.

Fun Fact: MY grandparents used to make these amazing pasta dishes. And they would always make a smaller batch on the side, without onions…just for me. Grandparents are the best, eh?

Anyways, I’m rambling. (Shocking, I know. LOL) But yeah, big-time picky eater over here.

It really wasn’t until I started blogging and going to these amazing restaurants and events that started to broaden my horizons. I mean, if you’re going to a 5-star restaurant for their launcg, and the head chef personally serves you…say, bone marrow – you just don’t say no.

(Unless your allergic or don’t eat something for personal/religious views – then that, I get)

But years later, I can still list off some pretty “normal” or “average” things that the everyday person has at least tried that I have never consumed.

Like what, you ask? Well…let’s see.

I’ve never had a slice of tomato on a sandwich or burger.
I’ve never had a dollop of sour cream on my tacos (or anything).
I’ve never had a fig…or a simple peach.
I didn’t even try Indian food until a few weeks ago!

And the only reason I did try Indian food for the first time was because a couple of weeks ago, my friends at The Spice Tailor sent me over some #bloggermail filled with (what I would soon find out were) delicious goodies! They sent me the entire Canadian line – which is 6 products: 4 sauces and 2 daals! I mean, that’s a lot of food!

 

The Spice Tailor is new to Canada and created by British-Indian celebrity chef and 8-time cookbook author, Anjum Anand.

 

I’m not gonna lie…I was nervous! Not only had I never tried Indian food before, let alone cook it all on my own! Thankfully, the meals from The Spice Tailor are so super easy to make. It’s a matter of three steps and adding your protein. Easy-peasy. Even I couldn’t screw that up!

So far we have tried out the Classic Butter Chicken (which I made and holy smokes was it ever tasy) and the Original Tikka Masala (which Mike made for dinner one night and used shrimp with and again, delish). I’m excited to try the other dishes! I think I’ll check out The Spice Tailor Recipes for a little inspiration!

The Spice Tailor

…but, now I also want to give YOU a chance to try it for yourself!

 

Enter below to win the entire The Spice Tailor Canadian line (6 products: 4 sauces and 2 daals).

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

The Spice Tailor is now available in Canada at:

  • Sobeys Ontario   
  • Urban Fresh Ontario  
  • Select Foodland Stores Ontario
  • Longos
  • Select Federated CO-OP stores in Western Provinces (Manitoba, Alberta, Saskatchewan, BC)
  • Calgary CO-OP – Calgary and vicinity
Bonus Entry: Leave a comment on this blog post telling me your fave Indian food dish!
PS: Don’t forget to check my social feeds for more bonus entries daily!

 

*disclaimer: this is a sponsored post and I was paid and/or gifted products…but, as always – all opinions are always my own.

CONTEST | Enter To Win A Dinner For 4 From Rose’s Family Meals

Story time! A little while back, Mike went away for a week to visit one of his best friends.

My initial reaction was, “OMG – A WHOLE WEEK BY MYSELF?! HOW WILL I SURVIVE??” Then, my thought process (somewhat) quickly changed to, “OMG – A WHOLE WEEK TO MYSELF!!”

I mean, I knew I was going to miss my babaganoosh, but a week to myself wasn’t the worst thing either. I was getting excited! I was going to fill my calendar with events and hangouts with friends. I was going to drink white wine and have Mr. Noodles for dinner – just like I did far too often in my single days. Ha. I was going to enjoy some “me-time.” It was going to be fabulous.

busy gif

While I did go out and about and do a bunch of fun stuff, like check out Medieval Times with a group of new blogger friends (more details on that coming to le blogaroo soon!) – I also stayed home and did a little at-home pampering on myself.

Sometimes you just need a night at home to rest, relax, and take care of you. You know? I waited until the very last night of my solo week to do this, but hey – better late than never. LOL

So, what exactly does one need for a night of relaxation? For me, it’s easy.

JennJenn’s Checklist For A Solo Night Of Relaxation
  1. Wine, duh.
  2. Delicious food.
  3. A 90s Playlist
  4. Netflix
  5. Cuddles with Dusty

Rose's Family Meals

I REALLY wanted to focus on the relaxation part, so I did not want to cook AT ALL. So when my friends at Rose’s Family Meals offered to send me over a nutritionally-balanced, delicious multi-course meal – I didn’t hesitate to take them up on the offer.

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#JJCooks | Garlic Parmesan Potatoes & Broccoli Recipe

We take our BBQing serious in our house. Like, seriously serious. So serious that the first day the snow somewhat melted in February, we had our first BBQ of the year.

We host people weekly for BBQs. We invite friends and family over, make a feast and everyone always eats too much. It’s fabulous. Even our date nights usually consist of BBQing at home and then cuddling up to watch some good old fashioned wrasslin!

 

We’re actually moving into a 3-bedroom house in like, 2 weeks. Actually, less than 2 weeks now…I guess I should start packing, eh? Anyways, we’re going to have SO much space, and honestly – the thing we’re both most excited about is the massive backyard. It’s going to be great for Dusty to run around in, but also for us and our love of BBQs! 

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RECIPE | Mini Egg Chocolate Chip Cookies

Mini Egg Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

When I was a little girl – Easter used to be such a big thing. I mean, obviously the big bunny would come and visit, but we used to also always get fancy new dresses. We’d put bows in our hair and head to my grandparents place. The whole family would get together and we’d have a big feast. Turkey, potatoes, stuffing, veggies – the works.

And then, of course, there would be even more sweet treats for us waiting at Grandma and Grandpa’s. The Easter Bunny would make two stops for us kiddies – and we were not going to complain about that! LOL My grandparents used to ALWAYS give us these chocolate eggs which would have our names written in cursive in icing on them.

Nowadays…Easter really isn’t that big of a deal in our family. There aren’t as many kids around – really, just my nieces…and even they’re “getting too old for all of this.”

So, when a last minute Easter Sunday dinner was planned this year – I was excited, to say the least. While the Easter Bunny may not have visited my house (well, technically – he did, as I surprised mike with a treat that morning LOL) and I didn’t get a new dress (although I REALLY wish I did) – I took this last minute dinner as an opportunity to whip up some delish sweet treats for the fam.

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CONTEST | The Green Living Show, Canada’s Largest Eco-Healthy Living Show

What exactly is The Green Living Show, Canada’s largest eco-healthy living show, all about?

green living show 2018

Green Living strives to provide consumers with information about companies and organizations making the world a greener place.

Sure, sounds good – right? Of course it does! Creating a greener world is something that everyone should strive to work towards.

Whether you’re a superstar green living human already, or want to learn more – I highly suggested heading out to The Green Living Show!

…if not anything other than the delicious food!

green living show 2018

Join 20 chefs, breweries, cideries, and wineries in the Delicious Local Food & Drink Pavilion. Celebrate the diversity and cultural traditions the make up Canada’s food landscape.

Green living show 2018 maple butter ale

Using local and sustainably sourced Ontario ingredients, chefs from Canada and around the world will showcase old family recipes and favourite dishes that best reflect their heritage.

Join us as we applaud the community, vibrancy, and diversity of our country through the many tastes and smells of its global kitchens.

FUN FACT: The chefs at The Green Living Show will not only cook with local Ontario produce, they will also be using 300lbs of donated misshaped organic veggies from Pfenning’s Farms that didn’t make it to the grocery store.

green living show 2018

credit: greenlivingshow.ca

With the upcoming legalization of cannabis, the discussion on integrating it into your health regime and how it can be used as medication has continued to evolve.

At The Green Living Show, you can check out the Aurora Cannabis educational feature exhibit, and the Cannaspace stage to get all of your questions answered.

The Green Living Show Details

Location
Metro Toronto Convention Centre, North Building
255 Front Street West, Toronto, ON M5V 2W6

2018 Show hours
Friday, April 6: 12:00pm – 9:00pm
Saturday, April 7: 10:00am – 8:00pm
Sunday, April 8: 10:00am – 6:00pm

Buy Tickets Now!

Green Living Show 2018 tickets

I want to give you a chance to check out the Green Living Show! Enter below to win one of 8 pairs of general admission tickets to the Green Living Show.

Please note: Winner will have to attend the show to pickup their tickets!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What I Devour | The Best Chicken Parm Has Been Found At North York’s Hidden Gem – La Traviata

Have you ever had one of those meals at a restaurant where every single thing was delicious. I mean, like each thing you put in your mouth was better than the last?

…get your mind out of the gutter, guys.

Anyways, I had that type of meal last Friday and holy smokes, I’m already counting down the days until Mike and I can go back to La Traviata for another date night.

The bruschetta was a “build it yourself” dish, which worked out perfectly because I like to control the amount of toppings on mine. (I’m not a fan of overflowing tomatoes 🤷🏻‍♀️). The calamari was battered and fried to perfection. Then, when the mains came out – holy smokes. Honestly, I think this was the best chicken parm I have ever had…and I have had a lot of chicken parm.

la traviata

la traviata

The key to a good chicken parm, in my humble opinion, relies on a few factors.

  1. The chicken itself. It needs to be pounded out to an even thickness throughout. This will help with the cooking process, ensuring it’s cooked evenly.
  2. The breading. A good chicken parm will have a perfectly seasoned bread crumb breading that compliments the chicken and sauce and cheese.
  3. Which brings me to the cheese. Like I said – I’ve had my fair share of chicken parms in my life, and I’ve seen it all. I’ve seen a restaurant try to pull of a chicken parm using cheddar cheese. Excuse me while I dry heave. NO THANK YOU. Do it right, with mozzarella and parmesan, or don’t do it at all. Mmmkay?
  4. A good chicken parm will have enough sauce to ensure every bite gets a little bit of everything, but not too much sauce that it’s drowning and causing a soggy cutlet. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
  5. The sides are crucial too. I mean, if it’s a chicken parm sandwich – that’s a completely different story. Then the bread would play a huge factor. But serving chicken parm as your main means you have to have the right sides. Pasta is an obvious choice, and in my opinion – the right one.
  6. The breading. A good chicken parm will have a perfectly seasoned bread crumb breading that compliments the chicken and sauce and cheese.
  7. Which brings me to the cheese. Like I said – I’ve had my fair share of chicken parms in my life, and I’ve seen it all. I’ve seen a restaurant try to pull of a chicken parm using cheddar cheese. Excuse me while I dry heave. NO THANK YOU. Do it right, with mozzarella and parmesan, or don’t do it at all. Mmmkay?
  8. A good chicken parm will have enough sauce to ensure every bite gets a little bit of everything, but not too much sauce that it’s drowning and causing a soggy cutlet. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
  9. The sides are crucial too. I mean, if it’s a chicken parm sandwich – that’s a completely different story. Then the bread would play a huge factor. But serving chicken parm as your main means you have to have the right sides. Pasta is an obvious choice, and in my opinion – the right one.

la traviata

La Traviata knocks it out of the park on all counts. The chicken was the perfect portion, and the breading, cheese, and sauce were not only delicious – but evenly distributed meaning every bite got some of the ooey gooey deliciousness. The side of pasta was perfectly al dente and a savoury companion for the main event.

BRB – I’m drooling on my keyboard.

Now that we live midtown-ish, it takes a lot of effort to go downtown. So to find this amazing hidden gem only a 13 minute drive from our place is a god send! 🙌🏼

So, if you’re ever up in North York – hit up La Traviata and thank me later. Even better – bring me with you!

La Traviata
416.635 8891
852 Wilson Avenue
North York, ON
M3K 1E5

To be 100% honest, Mike’s friend owns this restaurant – but none, I repeat none, of this is sponsored. I wasn’t asked to write this post. We paid for our dinner, and are eagerly planning our next visit.

PS: I HATE that my numbered list capped out at 9…I may come back and randomly add something to make it 10, because #ocd. 

So, You Forgot Valentine’s Day…Here’s An Easy Sugar Cookie Recipe To Save The Day

Ok, I get it. Valentine’s Day can sneak up on you. Or…you could just not give a shit about Valentine’s Day. If so – booo, because I looooove it!

Maybe you’re looking for gift idea that’s a little different?

Maybe you decided you wanted to make something yourself for this lovely day celebrating love.

Or heck, maybe you just want freshly baked cookies to devour.

…no judgement.

Easy Sugar Cookie Recipe

Whatever the reason – I’m here to help you with an easy sugar cookie recipe that will result in a large batch of deliciousness.

Seriously…this recipe makes like, between 45-50 cookies. 😲

First and foremost, get your ingredients together. You’ll need:

  • 2 3/4 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1.5 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup of unsalted butter (softened)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Note: Be sure to get unsalted butter. I once accidentally used salted butter when making muffins and ummm, yeah…they were ridiculously salty and not so good. Oops. 🤷🏻‍♀️

Easy Sugar Cookie Recipe

Got everything? Good. Now comes the fun part!

1. Crank up the heat. Get your oven preheated to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Stir together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a small bowl and set it aside.

2a. Pour yourself a glass of wine. 😉

3. In a large bowl, cream the softened butter and sugar together. (This is why is must be softened…I just let it sit out on the counter for awhile.)

Note: The first couple of times I made these cookies, I manually creamed it all together. This is a great way to get in an arm workout…but, if you have a stand mixer – you can use that and it’ll be a life saver!*

4. Once the butter and sugar are nicely creamed together, beat in the vanilla and egg. I encourage you to do this with Beat It, by Michael Jackson is playing very loudly.

Easy Sugar Cookie Recipe Hamilton Beach 7 Speed Orbital Stand Mixer

5. SLOWLY blend in the dry ingredients from Step 1. Add a little bit and blend….add a little bit more and blend again. Keep going until the whole bowl of dry ingredients has been incorporated.

6. Time to make the cookies! You can roll rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls, and place onto ungreased cookie sheets. If you want to be a little more festive and make them into heart shaped, or whatever tickles your fancy – go for it. If you want to use cookie cutters, I’d roll them into balls first then maybe mold them in the cutters. I don’t know for sure if this will work, but this way they’ll all be the same size and cook evenly. 🤷🏻‍♀️

7. Throw (not literally) those bad boys into the over for between 8-10 minutes. It’ll vary depending on your oven, to be honest. I’ve made these MANY times, and after some trial and error (and one time even forgetting I had a batch in the oven, oops) – I found my happy spot was 9mins, 15seconds.

IMPORTANT: Be sure to let the cookies stand on the cookie sheet for two minutes before removing to cool on wire racks because they kinda finish cooking like that. When you take them out of the oven, you’re gonna be like, “Oh man – Jenn lied to me! These cookies are sooooo not done!” But be patient. Let them hang out another couple of minutes, then move them over to cool on wire racks. TRUST ME!

As they’re resting, can sprinkle some white sugar on top for an added little zing. I once even threw a couple chocolate chips on them and they turned out great too!

If you try these cookies out, be sure to share your results with me here or on social media! I mean, if you wanna send me some cookies too I won’t say no to that. 😉

*shoutout to Hamilton Beach Canada for hooking me up with this amazing 7 Speed Orbital Stand Mixer. My belly, and my rested arms, thank y’all! It makes making these delicious cookies (among other recipes that you’ll just have to stay tuned for) a heck of a whole lot easier! Especially with the nonslip suction on the bottom so it stays put!

#JJcooks | Easy Peasy Stove-Top Chicken Pot Pie

#JJcooks stove top chicken pot pie

I don’t know about you, but as the days get shorter, and the weather gets colder – all I crave is good old fashioned comfort food. And one of my (and Mike’s) all-time favourite comfort foods is most certainly a classic – chicken pot pie.

But after a long day at the office – the last thing I want to do is spend hours in the kitchen, hunched over a stove cooking. I mean, I always have a glass of wine in hand while cooking…but even that’s not enough motivation for me to spend hours in the kitchen on an average Tuesday night. So that’s when I start looking for quick and easy alternatives to some of the classics, and I recently found a recipe that’s now a new favourite in our house!

Easy Peasy Stove-Top Chicken Pot Pie

my easy peasy (and quick!) stove top chicken pot pie recipe on le blogaroo! <link in bio>

A post shared by Jenn and the City (@thejennandthecity) on


This recipe is not only easy – but it’s also quick. Using a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken really cuts back on cooking time. Seriously – with prep and everything, we were seated with a piping hot bowl of deliciousness within 40 minutes. I made some slight modifications to the one I found online, and like I said – it’s a new favourite in our house…especially on those cold days. Which, if you’re living up here in Toronto like us – are quickly approaching!

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Oh, Hello October – Nice To See You Again

Can you believe it’s already October? Honestly, it feels as though 2017 and is just flying by. I don’t know what it is…maybe time just seems to go by that much quicker the older we get?

*sigh*

Whatever it is, I’m making a genuine effort to slow down in my day to day life and make the time to enjoy the moments, both small and big.

This past week or so was no exception. Between birthday celebrations (not mine, yet), fun events, and an impromptu date night – it was definitely one for the books!

Celebrate good times, come on!

celebration gif

Last weekend, I took Jen out for a celebratory birthday dinner. Jen is one of those friends that while we met each other later in our lives (like, seriously – only a couple of years ago) – we instantly clicked. SHe’s become one of my closest friends, and I am incredibly lucky to have a friend like her in my life. Anyways, enough with the mushy gushy stuff! We headed out to Marben for our girls night, and there was wine, there was delicious food, and there were glasses of bubbly. Throw in the great company, and what more could a gal ask for!?

On Tuesday evening I invited my friend Shannon out to check out the media paunch of the new brewhouse, Northern Maverick Brewing. First off – the space is gorgeous. I absolutely loved the open ceilings, and you can see the tanks where they brew their in-house brewskiis. Not only are their in-house brewed brewskiis delish – but they also make some ahhhhmazing cocktails. There were A LOT of people at the media launch, so I didn’t get a chance to fully experience the restaurant – but I’m def looking forward to heading back. I hear the burgers are legit some of the best in the city…I’ll just have to try it out for myself and report back!

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