Thursday, May 15, 2014

Yay for Birthdays!!

Sorry for the lack of posts the past couple weeks! I'd been busy getting things ready for my 23rd birthday party! 
I'm not the kind of person who usually has a big party, in fact I can't really remember the last one I had. I usually just have a small get together with family, or would have one or two friends come hang out, or have a sleepover when I was younger. The last birthday party I had with a lot of guests was probably in elementary school, when you'd have to invite your whole class. Remember those? Were they fun? I think I just liked all the presents haha. 

But this year, I was in the mood for a party! Nothing too fancy, just drinks, snacks and games at my place and then out to a bar. We gathered some snacks; I made my delicious homemade pretzels, my boyfriend made salsa and we got some yummy mini cupcakes! (Which I obviously forgot to take pictures of..I was too excited!)
I didn't know anyone when I moved to Toronto 4 years ago, so I've adopted a lot of my boyfriends friends as my own. The guest list wasn't huge, but it's still really nice that people care enough about to you to come to your house and get drunk in celebration of your birth haha! I also had a couple of my own friends over, my buddy Susan, who I'd actually met 4 years ago to the day, on my birthday! She told me she'd figured that out on her way over, I was surprised to realize I'd known her for that long. The beer might've been making me a little nostalgic and emotional.

After many drinks were poured, some of us (that didn't have babies at home, or have to work the next day) decided to head out to a bar. Our original choice had a huge line that no one felt like waiting in, so we ended up at Cake. It's a bar/club in downtown Toronto, that I think is actually meant for birthdays. With my glorious 'Birthday Girl' badge worn proudly, we marched in and I wished a happy birthday by a lot of random people. I had a really great night, with lots of dancing, shots, and more dancing. 

Of course, real fun started the next morning with a lovely hangover and a pigsty for a home.

What are some of your favourite birthday memories? 

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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Homemade: Soft Baked Pretzels & Donair Sauce

 Hey guys!
I was in the baking mood the other day and had a bit of a craving for pretzels. So I got my handy Google-ing machine out and started on the hunt for a good recipe. 

I decided on this one, I was a little nervous to make the pretzels: 1) because I'd never made them before, and 2) because I'd never worked with yeast before. As I was dissolving the yeast, I'll admit I was starting to doubt how they would turn out; the texture didn't seem like the recipe described it to be.. But I carried on anyway.
And I'm actually SO pleased with the results! They're a little misshapen, but for a first attempt they taste damn good! Pardon my French.

Just look at how beautiful they are! I'm so proud hahah!

I feel like a proud mother. ..A mother who eats her young.

Sexy oven shot.

I also made my first ever batch of homemade donair sauce. What is donair sauce you might ask? Well it's rumored to have been invented in Halifax, Nova Scotia (near where I'm from). It's a creamy, sweet, garlic sauce that it most often served on donairs. What are donairs? I hear to asking; well they are a pita/sandwich type dish, with spiced meats (kind of like pepperoni, but with different spices) onion, tomato, sometimes lettuce, etc. It's derived from a Greek dish I believe. 
I'm not so much a fan of the donairs themselves, but I LOVE the sauce, and I've missed it so much since moving to Toronto. Every time I go back home I have to get a cheese panzarotti  with a big cup of donair sauce to dip it in. I figured it would go perfectly with my pretzels (which it does..spoiler), so I looked up the very simple recipe and smothered my pretzel with it. 
I was in heaven.

If you want to make donair sauce yourself, it's SO easy:

1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup white vinegar
1 tsp garlic powder

Mix all three ingredients together. It takes a bit of time to mix the vinegar into the milk, but just keep stirring. Put it in the fridge to set and thicken a bit, and voila! You have a delicious Maritime delicacy to brag about to your friends. Donair sauce goes great with pizza too!

As a little bonus:
I also made a really easy mango/peach smoothy! I was thirsty after my yummy pretzel and was still in a cooking/creating mood.

I'd bought some frozen mango pieces, and just let some chunks thaw out in the fridge.
Added some peach yogurt. (You could use non fat if you wanted, I wasn't too concerned about it)
And a bit of milk, depending on how runny or thick you like your smoothies. 
Blended it all up and presto! (I'm so multilingual today)

Delicious, fairly healthy drink/snack. A snrink! 

I think the moral of the story is not to be afraid to try new things, because they often turn out delicious!