Monday, April 23, 2018

New Eats

A couple weekends ago we made a whole bunch of new recipes.  There was the fresh pasta, beet gnocchi, and cappuccino pavlova, but that was just half of our cooking/baking adventure.

We made a new breakfast casserole:


It starts with a layer of Italian sausage (cooked):


Then cheese:


An egg mixture:


And a layer of frozen hash browns (or tater tots):


Then it goes into the oven, and it wakes up your senses as it cooks:


We each had a slice, and then had breakfast for the start of the work week.


Find the recipe here.

Another new dish we tried was slow cooker Moroccan chicken, and we loved it!  We are huge fans of olives, and the lemon also made this so flavourful.  We served it with brown rice.


The raisins really added something to it; if you make this, I would not recommend eliminating them.  I think the dish needs all the elements.

For dessert I made a batch of chocolate chip Oreo cookies.


I really enjoy desserts with Oreo in them, and these instantly caught my eye.  They were easy, and a perfect recipe.  I'd make them again for sure.


And if that wasn't a delicious enough weekend, we also tried a couple new cheeses and some walnut sausage that we found at the grocery store down the street.


Spring has finally appeared, and it is beautiful!  We walked to dinner at dusk this past Saturday evening to really enjoy the evening weather, and it felt so good to be outside.  I can't wait to spend loads of time outdoors in the coming months.

How was your weekend?  What did you do?  Did you get outside at all?  Have you cooked/ baked anything new recently? 

Friday, April 20, 2018

About Last Weekend ...

Last weekend was super windy, and just not very nice.  We decided it would be a great weekend to stay inside, hang around, visit, and try cooking some new dishes.

Christopher's parents bought us a pasta maker a few months ago, so we were excited to try it out!  Neither of us had ever made our own pasta before, so last Friday night we got down to it ...


Once we got it set up, it took a few tries running the dough through to get the hang of it, but I think we've got it figured out now.

We made fettuccine for our first try at pasta, and then threw together a carbonara sauce too:


It was really good, and we're looking forward to practicing with the pasta maker again.  The more we make it, the faster we'll get at it, although it really didn't take that long to make (and the boiling time is next to nothing).

Breakfast last Saturday was an omelette with herb potatoes and bacon:


For dinner that evening we made gnocchi for the first time.  Instead of just going with regular gnocchi, we decided to sass it up with beets (we're obsessed with putting beet into everything if you haven't noticed).


Much prettier than regular dough 💗


We just did a very simple browned butter sage sauce, as we wanted the flavour of the beet to come through.


Dessert was a cappuccino pavlova.  I made the a pavlova right after our coffees in the morning, and let it cool in the oven all day (baked it, then turned off the oven, but left it in there without opening the door).  After supper I whipped the cream and topped it with that and a sprinkle of cocoa.


Crunchy, chewy, marshmallowy texture, with a lovely cappuccino flavour.

It was a tasty weekend, and that was only part of it (more in the next post).

Have you ever made homemade pasta?  Gnocchi?  
Are you a pasta fan?  What's your favourite type of noodle? 

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Back at Home

When we got home from Mexico we didn't have much for groceries, but there was enough food in the house to pull together breakfast before heading out to pick up supplies for the week.


All the meals we planned were very veggie-centered, so organic vegetables made up a good portion of our grocery bill.  We also got a lot of fruit, and a few cartons of coconut water for smoothies.


It was nice to have all day Sunday at home before heading back to work, so we could pick up all this stuff, unpack, do laundry etc.

Our lunch on that Sunday included avocado toasties:


And cauliflower rice - jazzed up a bit:


For dinner we had a crispy tofu, yellow Thai curry:


The next morning we were back at work after a relaxing week off, and were looking forward to doing a bunch of cooking at home, and getting back into routine.  For breakfasts all week I had coconut water smoothies, with a banana, a bunch of greens, and either blueberries or mango.

Our dinners for the week included a green veggie stir fry:


Salmon with kale salad:


Ramen with miso-glazed chicken and kale:


And a green coconut curry:


This past weekend it was super windy (and now it's snowing 😒), so we stayed inside and cooked/baked some new things.  More on that to come!

I find that after a vacation we are always super inspired to cook.  We miss the kitchen when we aren't in it for days on end.  Does the same thing happen for you?

How was your weekend?  How is your week going so far?
Is it snowing where you are? (what a lame spring).

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Mexico Evenings

Evenings at Excellence Riviera Cancun are so fun, and absolutely scrumptious!

The buffet is not open at supper, but there are nine a la carte restaurants, the Sports Bar, and room service available for dining options, and reservations are not required or taken anywhere.  If you go at 6:00 ish, you never have to wait anywhere, but we had a short wait at one restaurant when we went around 7:30 (between 7-8:30 they can get a bit busier at some of the restaurants, but they give you a vibrating disc, and you can go to the martini bar, or wherever until a table is ready for you).  The restaurants are open really late, so you can go pretty much whenever, or double-dinner, or eat an appetizer at one place, a main at another, and dessert at another.  The options are really endless, and the menus are big, with so many choices.

Earlier in the evening most people are getting ready in their rooms etc., and it's a great time to snap a few photos when nothing is too busy yet:


We love the French restaurant Chez Isabelle, and dined there once.  We started with the lobster salad, and then I had the 24 hour braised pork, and Christopher had rack of lamb.


There are so many things on this menu that sound amazing that we want to try, but just not enough time to get to them all.  It is a very popular restaurant at the resort.

Many nights we went to the Spanish tapas restaurant, Flavour Market, just so Christopher could get one little snack - their anchovies in vinegar.  He cannot get enough of them.  We either sat inside or out, and sometimes only ordered the anchovies as a late night snack, or an appetizer before going somewhere else, and other times we had a few other little bites.


The servers always brought little toasties out, that were topped with a variety of delicious toppings.  The octopus was fantastic!


They remembered us from our previous visits, and were excited to see us coming back over and over on this trip as well.


We went to one of the Italian restaurants that we hadn't been to before, Toscana.


They brought out delicious bread with oil and vinegar, and cheese to start:


As well as this yummy plate:


I had pasta with a lemon caper sauce, and Christopher had ravioli with duck, berries, pistachios, sage, butter, and fontina cheese.


All the noodles are made in-house, and were so good!

We went back another night, and had the in-house made gnocchi with Gorgonzola sauce, candied orange, and parmesan cheese, and the salmon with olive polenta and veggies.  I couldn't decide between the shrimp or the salmon, so they just brought me some shrimp on my plate too.


The gnocchi was pillowy soft, and the blue cheese sauce totally hit the spot for Christopher, but was a bit too blue cheesy for me, although I still had to have a few bites because the gnocchi was so good.

We weren't going to have dessert, but when we saw that they made three kinds of cheese ice cream (Gorgonzola, parmesan, goat cheese), and two kinds of sorbet (balsamic and olive oil) in-house, we were intrigued.  We asked for a very small taste of each.  They were all absolutely perfect, and not weird tasting at all.  They were all beautifully made, creamy, and refreshing.


Next door to this Italian restaurant is an outdoor restaurant, Oregano, another Italian place, that is open for lunch or dinner.  We've been before, but didn't dine there on this trip.


One of our favourite places is Basmati, the Indian restaurant, and we visited it twice.


Once we went to the Asian restaurant, Spice.  My pad Thai was really good, and Christopher had a nigiri plate.


We still have yet to try the teppanyaki experience at this restaurant!

On our last evening we dined at the Lobster House, where we just shared some coconut shrimp and the lobster risotto, which was delicious, and had so many huge, perfectly cooked chunks of lobster inside.


This restaurant, like the others, has so many other dishes we want to try.  We never made it to the Mexican restaurant, steak house, or sports bar for dinner on this trip, and never got room service for dinner, although the odd time we got a late night snack to the room.

The martini bar and entertainment areas are always busy and fun at night.  There is live music every evening both inside around the martini bar, and outside on the stage.  Then the musicians take a break and there is a show, which is always excellent!  After the show the musicians start back up, and there are always people dancing and mingling outside, and just through the glass doors inside too.

 

The areas above were typically packed and energetic from about 8 pm - midnight.  Each night there were different themes and events too, such as a Mexican fiesta night, a casino night, etc.


The Sports Bar had karaoke every second night, with a great selection of songs.  We did that one evening, and were out late.  It was packed, but only a handful of people were singing, so we both sang a bunch, and had a blast!  It was a younger crowd, and everyone was super fun.

Overall we had an amazing trip, and are looking forward to returning to this wonderful place again.  It is pricier than other five star resorts, but it is the epitome of the saying, you get what you pay for.  We've been to a few other five star resorts, and have extensively researched numerous others that we haven't been to, and nothing compares to this place, at least for us.  It has everything we could ever want, and we are more impressed each time we return.  It is worth every penny.


Email me if you want to know anything more!

How was your week?  What are you up to this weekend?