Wednesday

Roasted Garlic & Red Pepper Cheese Ball

1) In a bowl soften 1 BLOCK CREAM CHEESE, grate small 1 CUP MARBLE CHEESE.

2) Half one RED BELL PEPPER and unwrap 4-5 cloves of GARLIC, drizzle with OLIVE OIL and roast in the oven on high until they are browned/softened.

3) Remove pepper and garlic from the oven, allow to cool. Smear garlic with knife along chopping board to create a paste, it should smell nutty and be brown in color. When dicing the 1/2 pepper it will be very juicy. Avoid adding the juice to the cheese mixture or else your cheese ball will be runny. 

Combine all ingredients together and mix well, create a ball or a log of cheese (using kitchen gloves or plastic wrap) and let it firm in the fridge until serving time. Spread RED PEPPER JELLY on the cheese ball prior to serving and enjoy with crackers of any kind.

*See post, "GALLOPING COWS JELLY" or visit www.gallopingcows.com for the BEST Red Pepper Jelly*

Thursday

I Said YES To The Dress! - A Winchester's Bridal Review

                                              
Despite reading some negative reviews, I went to Winchester's Bridal (Halifax, NS) with an open mind, hoping to find my Wedding dress. I had an absolutely amazing experience. The service was outstanding and the selection was amazing!

For the first time in a long time, I was in Halifax with my own agenda. I had only myself to worry about, but I was looking forward to spending some time with my parents who were also visiting the city. I had no intentions of buying my dress without my sister present, but didn't think a little browsing would hurt, so we decided to sneak into my very first Bridal Boutique. Little did I know, I would find my dress at the first place I visited...

I was greeted by a lovely gal who immediately showed excitement for me knowing this experience would be treasured forever. I actually became emotional right away, walking in and seeing all the beautiful gowns, knowing that I was actually looking for my very own Wedding dress. The lady was very pleasant, asked lots of questions, and was eager to point me in the right direction. After tagging dresses that caught my eye, I was paired up with another lady, Maureen, who had over 20 years experience. She was very passionate about her job and you could tell. Within the privacy of the dressing room, our conversation was comforting and very heart warming. I was emotional and very excited to be there, and she was so patient, having all the time in the world for me. Outside in the showroom when modelling each dress, she was very honest, which made making decisions much easier. She had respect for my Mom and Dad by listening to their opinions, sharing ideas with them and keeping her attention on us without being distracted by other shoppers. My parents were so impressed with her expertise and the undivided attention she gave us. The first few dresses I tried were the kind that I was going for, simple and light weight. As beautiful as they were, they weren't giving me the WOW factor I was looking for. My Mom insisted that I try on a dress for her as she pulled a gold gown from the rack, but I immediately scowled at it. It was very busy and a lot bigger than what I was wanting...

The lady convinced me that I should try it on just to count it out, to make my Mom happy. So I did, and to my surprise, as she was lacing up the back of the dress, I couldn't hold back the tears.

Maureen said she had been waiting for that reaction, as I tired to hold back a nervous laugh and streaming tears. I knew, this was it. This was the dress I would get married in.

I walked out to the show room and my parents had the same reaction; both started crying and insisted that it was the one. I had to agree! I felt so beautiful and elegant. I thought it would be heavy and uncomfortable, but it felt like it was painted on my body. It felt like it was made for me!





I said YES to the dress and stood in the mirror teary eyed as both ladies completed my look with a gorgeous hair piece and chandelier earrings. 
They had ideas that brought my Wedding theme to life, and made me even more excited for my big day. I could not be more grateful, and look forward to seeing them again for my first fitting!



Thanks ladies!


Rach XO

Monday

BLT Dip

 
 
This is one of the first dips I came up with on my own. It's not much of a recipe really, just an experiment with a block of cream cheese that turned out to be genius. You can make this as a dip for vegetables or crackers, or you can stuff tomatoes. It's delicious either way, but served as BLT Bites they are crowd pleaser. 


If you want to stuff the tomatoes, you have to save some time for preparation. Cut off the tops of each tomato, use the end of a spoon or a tiny measuring spoon to gut out the seeds and juice. Put them upside down on a paper towel to drain moisture until you are ready to stuff. Get comfy because this takes some time, and you're going to want to make enough for each guest to have more than one.


Combine 1/2 block of CREAM CHEESE, with 1/2 pound cooked crumbled BACON, 1 generous handful of CHEDDAR CHEESE grated small, 1 bunch of GREEN ONION chopped. Once combined, this mixture will appear quite thick and more spreadable than "dipable" so add a generous squirt of THREE CHEESE RANCH DRESSING to give it the dipable consistency. Finish with BLACK PEPPER (a pinch or three) mix well and refrigerate.

Thursday

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

... And I am four hours from the nearest Starbucks...


The Fall brings out the Hot Apple Cider lover in me, but Winter calls for hot Egg Nog Lattes and lots of them. I have very fond memories of living in the city, meeting up with friends for "coffee" in the evenings although we never ordered boring old coffee. We would grab our Holiday Lattes, sit for a bit then stroll through the city streets window shopping and breathing in the crisp air. It was a must do if I wanted to find my Christmas spirit early in the season.
                                                         
Mom and I hit the road yesterday and on our travels we stopped at a department store. Every aisle was packed with Christmas candy, chocolate, gift ideas, wrapping paper, decorations and Christmas clothing. I realized how many weekends were left (or better yet, how many pay cheques were left) before Christmas. Not many! With this being our first Christmas in the new house and a long list of things to buy, I better get my butt in gear and start shopping.

Where do you find your Christmas spirit?

Rach XO

Saturday

Cheeseburger with Special Sauce Recipe


MAKE THE PERFECT HAMBURGER:

In a large bowl, mix together 1 LB GROUND BEEF with 1 PKG ONION SOUP MIX, a few splashes of W SAUCE, FRANKS HOT SAUCE, an EGG and a pinch of PEPPER. Add a handful of OATMEAL if you think the mixture is too wet.
*When making a patty, make sure it is as big as the bun you are using. Make it as thick as you want it, and stick your finger through the center of each patty. Creating a hole keeps the shape and thickness even during the cooking process.
FRY or BBQ the hamburger patty, melting sharp CHEDDAR CHEESE (and lots of it) on top for the last few minutes of cooking.

MAKE THE SPECIAL SAUCE:

In a small mixing bowl, combine the following ingredients for the perfect sauce for your favourite burger... Homemade Big Mac Sauce!
1/2 cup MAYO or MIRACLE WHIP DRESSING, 2 TBSP MINCED ONION, 2 TBSP GREEN RELISH, 2 TBSP FRENCH DRESSING, 1 TBSP VINEGAR, 1 TBSP SUGAR, 1 PINCH OF SALT.
This sauce is even better if it sits in the fridge for a few hours before burger time, and it can keep for a week in the fridge in a sealed container.



Enjoy!





Cape Breton Corn Chowder

Growing up you couldn't pay me to eat chowder. Warm, milky, chunky soup was not appealing to me at all until I gave it a whirl myself. I knew I had to try it, because G loves it, and as his gal I needed to impress him with some home cooked favorites. Right? Well, it turns out I can make some damn good corn chowder... Here's how it's done...





Peel and cube POTATOES and add to boiling water to cook until they are almost fork tender. Drain.
In a crock or large pot, combine potatoes, 3 LG CANS CREAMED CORN, 1 TSP GROUND THYME, 1 TBSP FRESH CHOPPED PARSLEY, 3 CUPS MILK or HALF AND HALF. Mix and allow it to cook low and slow while you cook 1 CUP CHOPPED ONION in 4 TBSP BUTTER in a frying pan. Add cooked onion to corn mixture. Use the same frying pan to cook and crumble BACON (there is never too much bacon). Add bacon to the Chowder but leave some for garnish.
Simmer for 1 hour, allow flavors to combine and potatoes to fully soften. If soup is too thick for your liking, add more milk. Garnish with bacon and PEPPER.


*Can't take all the credit, recipe inspired by a recipe!*

Wednesday

Put your arms around me and I'm home.

I am snuggled up on the big chair beside the wood stove in the big room. This is where I will spend the entire winter, as snug as a bug on a rug. My entire right side is hot to touch from the fire burning beside me, but it's so lovely considering how cold it is outside. It's a dark fall day, the wind is blowing so hard that the draft in the stove is whistling and the tree branches are scratching against the windows. The chill in the air would have you believing that snow is soon on it's way. Home alone, I am nestled into my happy place with the computer on my lap, the TV set on the Food Network and a pot of tea steeping on the stove. G is out with friends.

I look around and reflect on my life, where I'm at and how I feel. I have grown to love our new home so much, despite it being set in quiet hills and distanced from our friends and family. I never thought I would love the quiet so much. I've never thought I'd feel so at home. Is it the house, is it the stage of life I am in, or is it him? Thinking about that I get emotional. I think it's him. I think it's the love I feel for him, the feeling of security he's provided me with, the feeling of safety and the hopes and dreams we have for our future. Looking around at the space we created together, the space I feel so attached to, I know it would follow us no matter where we go... Those feelings of warmth and contentment would be with me no matter where we were. As long as we're together, I'm at home.

Now, to take sappiness to another level, a song to reflect my mood...




Tuesday

Rachel's Guacamole Recipe








YOU WILL NEED:

2 Large ripe Avocados
1 Pkg Guacamole Dip Mix or 1 tbsp Epicure Guacamole Dip Mix
Juice from 1 Small Lime
1 Basket of Cherry Tomatoes (I like lots of Tomatoes in every bite, you may want less.)
3/4 Block of Cream Cheese softened to room temperature.


I am assuming everyone knows how to open an AVOCADO and remove the pit. Other prep involves chopping the CHERRY TOMS either in half or quarters, soften CREAM CHEESE if it isn't already at room temp and role your lime to release the juices.


Mash the AVOCADOS in your go to dip dish with a fork, add CREAM CHEESE and combine well with a spatula, add DIP MIX PKG, squeeze LIME juice into mixture and combine. Fold in the CHERRY TOMATOES.


I like to serve this dip chilled. Leave the avocado pit in the dip while it's chilling to keep it fresh and prevent discoloration.


Enjoy!


*Update*
Since posting this, I've come to enjoy Guacamole all sorts of ways and rarely ever follow a recipe. Half the fun of Guacomole is that you can experiment with flavors and eat it with almost anything. Sometimes I add sour cream or even the littlest bit of cream cheese to thicken it and give it a creamy texture, and other times a sprtiz of lime and a little heat is all it needs. This recipe still kicks ass, but when it comes to Guacamole, I totally recommend winging it.
When you're having a bad day, so bad that you feel the need to tweet about it, and your Food Network crush tweets back at you...


"Roger Mooking @RachelEmmilee Eat chocolate, apparently women love that for everything. Hehehe" 
 

... When you can actually take his advice because downstairs on your counter there's a Swiss Chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting waiting to be cut into...


... It's safe to say, things aren't that bad.