Sunday, September 11, 2011

Red Velvet Momma Loves, Loves, Loves Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa

*** I'll be posting some of my favourite things on my blog.  I haven't received compensation or incentive to review any products.  Some of these goodies are found in the USA, so for my Canadian friends - you'll have to hunt these down!  Some products are uniquely Canadian. ***

After having read about this product on-line, I knew I had to try it. Now it's the only baking cocoa I will use. It has a deep chocolate flavour and darker colour intensity. I've used it for cakes, hot chocolate, frosting, cream cheese dark chocolate frosting (!), and for ice cream. I really wish that it was sold in Canada. But until they do, I'll be buying multiple packages on my cross-border shopping treks.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

My Walt Disney World Resort Dining Reviews.

I've used the internet for all my Walt Disney World Resort planning. Back in 2007, when we were planning our very first vacation, I found an overwhelming amount of information on the web. The Walt Disney World Resort website was a good beginning, but back then there wasn't much information about dining. There was information on the Disney Dining Plan but not the individual restaurant's menus. That's when I found The DisBoards and the wealth of information on the discussion boards.

I've been posting my Disney Dining Reviews over there. You can check them out here and here. Stop by and have a read! I'd love to hear any reviews you might have also.

Since then Disney has begun updating the official website with the actual menus and the ability to make reservations on-line. It's a great way to research and time-saver when making reservations.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Melted, Roasted and Cooked at Walt Disney World (and that's not just the food!)

We decided to take a trip to the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida for a Star Wars Weekend and beyond. Here is my story:

(Giggle *snort* - that sounded really dorky!)

We love going to WDW (this is what I'll be using instead of typing the entire name out, is that okay?) We've only been going since 2007, neither Fred nor I had ever visited as kids, but we always enjoy it. We've had favourite moments on all our trips, and we're always planning our next trip. Even while we're still there!

More Disney Magic, after the jump:

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Did you think I had been abducted by Aliens?

Whoops! I have haven't posted in a while. I'm shocked at how long it's been. There are many reasons for my absence, a three week vacation, homeschooling, summer and just plain laziness. I have so much to share with you, our vacation at The Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, and later on our week in Montreal. I've been making ice-cream big time, there was a sale on 1/2 & 1/2 and the expiry dates had a huge factor in when I made the ice cream. I'll be posting the recipes later, though there are no photos. I also have a 10-day dining review for our Disney World trip. See you soon.

Friday, March 11, 2011

We're going to the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida!

It's time for a vacation.  Fred has been working ridonculous hours, and we've been saving up!  Of course there are many places we could go to, but we all agreed that it would be the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida!  (Just for ease of use, from now on I'm going to refer to it as WDW, okay?)

Originally we had planned on going to California this summer, from San Diego to San Francisco and everything in between.  But with Cars-Land opening at the Disneyland Resort in 2012, we decided to postpone that trip.

The last time we travelled to WDW was in December 2008.  It was time we went again.  This time though, we're going to make the drive home part of the adventure.  Wait a minute!  Did you say DRIVE?  Yes, yes I did.  We drive to Florida from Toronto.  It's all part of the adventure.  This time though, instead of driving straight through to go home we're planning on making two stops.  One at Patriot’s Point near Charleston, SC and one on Delaware Bay, somewhere.

Patriot's Point is an aircraft carrier/museum that Fred and I have wanted to visit for while now.  On our way home from Myrtle Beach, SC (a pre-kids trip) we visited Battleship North Carolina and we really enjoyed it.  (This was also the first time I saw a Piggly-Wiggly Store & an Alligator living in the wild).  We thought this is sorta-kinda on the way home, so why not?  Since we're homeschooling now, it seems like a fun field-trip.

The big deal for us though is going to Delaware Bay to help with the census/survey of Horseshoe Crabs.  We watched "Nature" on PBS a while ago and the kids were mesmerized. You can watch the full episode here.  I think I've found the best place to see and help with the horseshoe crabs, and now have to plan our stay.  We're all really excited, and I think it will ease our transition from WDW to home.  I think this is going to be a highlight for the kids too.  We've read so much about the Horseshoe Crabs, and to make it a "real" activity is going to complete one of our homeschool tasks for this year.

Now, where to stay?  I guess I'll be checking out TripAdvisor tonight, while Fred's at work and try to find a great hotel, that doesn't cost an arm and a leg.  I love planning vacations - wish I could do it more often.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Homeschooling. The Beginning.

I've been homeschooling the kids for the last month or so.  One day I'll go into detail about the reasons, but for now I'll say that we're very unhappy with our local school, the administration and many of the children that attend the school.  The administration also refused our request for a transfer to another school.  We can't afford a private school, and I'm not sure that's a solution we would like anyway.

So, we're homeschooling.  It's a decision we didn't take lightly.  This means that I won't be able to work outside the home, and with Fred's travel/work schedule this means very little, if any “me” time. 

I truly think we've make the best decision.  The Padawan is enjoying what we're doing, even if I have to remind him that we're homeSCHOOLING, not just playing video games and building with Lego.  The Princess really liked school, so I have to try a little harder to make it interesting for her.  She also likes that we can do whatever we want to, or not do each day.

I've been browsing many homeschooling websites, and took the advice of many sites to not buy too many things all at once.  I have quite a collection of small workbooks that we've used before, and took advantage of a few websites printable worksheets; but we finally went to an educational store and bought math workbooks and English workbooks comprised of Canadian curriculum.  We've also used the Library and internet for many resources. 

The kids have chosen topics they would like to learn more about.  They've also decided that planting a garden (flowers in the front and veggies in the back) would be a great idea.  We're also going to buy a membership to the Science Centre and use that often.  We’re also going to the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida in May and plan to include a stop at Delaware Bay on the way back to participate in the Horseshoe crab census/survey, this is something that the kids have wanted to do for a while.  We watched a documentary about the relationship between Horseshoe Crabs and Red Knots (birds) that has stuck in their minds for over a year.  Fred and I are pretty excited about this too!

But getting going in the morning is a challenge.  I have to focus on getting our school-work done in the morning, first thing.  The kids are most productive then, and there's less arguing about what needs to be accomplished.  It seems like we've had so many distractions lately getting in the way.  We took an impromptu trip to Montreal, while Fred was working there.  (We did learn quite a bit, stuff we wouldn't have been able to do if we had been stuck at home)  The weather hasn't been cooperating either.  I was hoping for a few days of snowy perfect weather, to use for animal tracking.  But lately it's been miserable and raining.  We go outside when we can, but I can't wait for Spring. 

Most days I feel like I have no idea what I'm doing!  But the kids are happy, they're learning and we're taking this one day at a time. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Red Velvet Momma Loves, Loves, Loves Quebec Maple Syrup

*** I'll be posting some of my favourite things on my blog.  I haven't received compensation or incentive to review any products.  Some of these goodies are found in the USA, so for my Canadian friends - you'll have to hunt these down!  Some products are uniquely Canadian. ***

It's that time of year again!  Spring!  (Well, almost) Here in Eastern Canada that means Maple Syrup.  Cabane à Sucre.  Sugaring Off.  Sugar Shack.  Whatever you want to call it, it means lots of scrumptious, sweet, Maple Syrup.

I love a great day at a Cabane à Sucre in Quebec.  Where you eat until you have to undo your pants and everything is covered or baked with Maple Syrup.  We're lucky here; the beginning of Spring not only means mud, the smell of dog poop and crocus buds.  But sugary confections baked with Maple Syrup.  I prefer the "real" stuff.  Not "sirop de poteau" (fake syrup - telephone pole syrup!)  

As soon as I see displays of these glorious cans I stock up!  I only buy Quebec Maple Syrup.  The Ontario stuff just doesn't taste the same to me, and yes Vermont has some great Maple Syrup - but it too pales in comparison to sirop d'érable.

So go ahead, make some maple baked goods, pour it on your pancakes, eggs, bacon and sausage.  Dip your finger in the liquid gold or pour a little in a shot-glass and enjoy!  Spring only happens once a year . . . 

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Gingerbread Cheesecake = meh.

I've never baked a cheesecake before.  I've eaten many kinds of cheesecake.  I love cheesecake - as long it's not covered in sickenly over-sweetened strawberry goo.  I thought I'd try this recipe I saw in Kraft Canada's What's Cooking Magazine.  Gingerbread cheesecake recipe at   I thought it would be a great idea, Christmas themed, and since my son doesn't like cheesecake that tastes like cheese (!) would be a good non-cheesey option.

The verdict and the tutorial after the jump . . .

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Shortbread Cookies or Bring on the Butter (Part Deux)

As I mentioned in my previous shortbread cookie post; I was thinking of tweaking the recipe to add more flava-flav, more zing, more oomph! I went a little nuts and used vanilla bean paste. I know what you're thinking; whoa, she's nuts, she's gone off the deep end! Well I did and it was delicious. I also doubled the recipe:

1 cup cornstarch
1 cup icing sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
4 squares Baker's chocolate (dark)

Wait?! What did that say? Chocolate? What is that for? Umm, for dipping the butter filled cookie goodness in of course!

I've never baked with vanilla bean paste and I can't believe the difference it makes. It adds the vanilla bean speckles that everyone loves so much, and intense vanilla flavour without diluting the dough. It smells wonderful also.

The result was a much better tasting shortbread in my opinion. I really wasn't happy with the previous recipe, it was definitely lacking in flavour. Then I really went nuts and melted the chocolate in a double-boiler and dipped half of each cookie and let it cool. Next time I will dip the entire batch. It was that good. I might even try to find a better quality baking chocolate (cross border shopping anyone?!) I think it would be much better with a richer, more high quality chocolate taste.

(Did I take any photos?  Maybe, but the camera is with Fred in Texas at a gig, so I'll post pics if there are any . . .)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Red Velvet Momma Loves, Loves, Loves Luzianne Iced Tea Bags

*** I'll be posting some of my favourite things on my blog.  I haven't received compensation or incentive to review any products.  Some of these goodies are found in the USA, so for my Canadian friends - you'll have to hunt these down!  Some products are uniquely Canadian. ***

I love sweet tea.  From south of the Mason-Dixon line.  I live north of the Mason-Dixon line.  I live north of the border.  You can't get sweet tea here.  You can have hot tea, almost too many varieties really.  Tea Lattes, green tea, white tea, tea in ginger ale; is it really too much to ask for a decent iced sweet tea?

When we travel south I can't wait for even a McDonald's sweet tea.  I'm that starved for the yummy sweet caffeine slurp from a straw!  So I looked for "recipes" for sweet tea and found out about Luzianne.  It's from Louisiana, hence the name, and it's made for iced tea.  I lucked out when I found it at the SuperTarget at Mall of Millenia in Orlando.  And it was on sale!  I bought six boxes, and now whenever Fred travels south for work or we head down to Walt Disney World, I stock up.  And I make it almost all the time.

Yum.  Going to brew a pitcher now.

Ugh, I really want to blog - but I can't find my Mojo . . .

I'm having a really hard time finding my mojo.  I want to blog my little heart out, and I've started a bunch of new entries but I've yet to complete them or post anything in ages.

Christmas has come and gone, I baked/cooked/slow-cooked/ordered-in until my fingers ached, yet I can't seem to find anything to say.  So I'll start with baby steps and post a couple of little things while I sit here and catch up on my PVR'd episodes of Coronation Street (from now on I'll refer to this as "Corrie" or "The Street").  Corrie has been my guilty pleasure since high school.  I'm still baffled as to why the CBC broadcasts episodes 9 months behind the current UK episodes.  I find this most irritating.

So here we go!  New post to follow - thanks for sticking with me.