Monday, June 15, 2015

.12 acres: a restaurant review.

a few weeks back, meg and i had the pleasure of visiting the new pasture-to-plate concept restaurant, 12 Acres, in st.albert days before they opened to the public. and let me tell you, we were absolutley blown away!

having this intimate setting for media, family and friends allowed each of us to experience the real concept and feel of 12 Acres. it allowed us to hear the passion of the owners chef nathan and courtney henry and staff, taste the delicious food prepared from scratch, and experience an atmosphere that was like having dinner around my grandmothers farm table back on range road 262 [only more modern and without the napping uncles on the couch]. 
the concept is relatively simple. meat, poultry and vegetables fresh from a local farm straight to your table. that's it. but in a competitive market where food is frozen and bought at the cheapest dollar, this concept if both refreshing, needed, and worth every penny. it's truly a far cry from the frozen stuff and you can really taste the difference. 12 Acres farms, located just outside of st. albert breeds hormone and antibiotic free animals who are all free range, pasture raised. Their laying hens and chickens are not kept locked up only to mass produce eggs, but are allowed to roam freely and are fed top quality all vegetable feed. i simply cannot tell you the quality and love that is poured into this beautiful farm run by the lovely Mendieta family, Jen and Brian. 
aside from the freshest ingredients available, the restaurant itself is comfortable, inviting, far from stuffy, and even kid-friendly. they want to serve you and your family. which is an idea, with my own three kids in mind, very welcoming! we were served a 6 course drool-worthy meal over the course of the night, all of which was made from scratch. things such as homemade pasta, mustard, pickles and even meat smoked that very week. 12 Acres farms will only be producing enough meat to serve the restaurants needs, meaning if they run out of a certain cut, they'll be cooking up something different for that night! even the menus are sustainable by using iPads rather than forgoing the printing costs required to update the menus with this ever changing lifestyle of cooking.
having a sustainable restaurant with this concept in a city growing with chain restaurants is absolutely refreshing. needless to say, i am smitten. i have boughten the juice [freshly squeezed of course!] and want to help spread the word of this amazing new spot in my hometown. you seriously need to check this place out.
|| Thank you to my old friend Brian and his beautiful wife Jen for the invite. We had a blast and will be back to 12 Acres very shortly! cheers to many years of success!
|| all photos via meg / els photography , with hair and makeup [we just came from a shoot for the shop!] by senstudios. 

Monday, May 4, 2015

.gift guide, 2015: mother's day picks.

mother's day this year is kind of a big deal. it's my first as a mother of three; a mother of a toddler and a mother of twins. three! 

and i'll be working. 

but that's okay. i know my thoughtful husband [he really is!] and those sweet little boys of mine will brew up something to make me feel special and loved. i personally hope it's some sort of creative craft which i can just envision them all making together or even a simple dinner that they made, i just want a little effort. it's the one day a year that i truly let it be all about me, and i really do think that's okay. being a mom, while it's the best job around, is also the hardest. we tend to give all of ourselves to our children on a daily basis, without a second thought. so an entire day dedicated to 'the mom' is high ranking in my books. and i'm not afraid to admit that. i embrace it. 

so while it's not my intention to 'casually' hint for my husband to buy me any of these treats, i certainly wouldn't be upset! haha! 
1] may lindstorm skin the honey mud cleansing silk || this is probably the highest on my 'want' list! with it's numerous rave reviews i feel it's truly the perfect rejuvenating treat for my tired skin. i also love the idea that actually taking the time to do this face mask may also truly make me slow down and allow a few minutes of 'me' pampering too! heck, i may even be able to enjoy a warm bath during the 15 minutes of drying time - alone!
[and it's sold from one of my absolute fave online beauty shops Eco Diva Beauty! if you haven't shopped there yet - you must! the ladies who run it are just as sweet as all the products i've ever ordered from them. and this highlighter tops my charts as my most loved beauty products! worth every penny!]

2] gardening gloves || little tomatoes! hello cuteness! i need a new pair of gardening gloves and these would be okay to look at while digging in the dirt. thanks, ikea!

3] mid-century watering can || for those who know me personally, know i very much enjoy gardening.  something about nurturing a living thing seems to ooze from me. its so gratifying to see each plant grow and blossom and i find it so relaxing. out in the fresh air and sun just rejuvenates my soul. and this watering can needs to come home to its new momma!

4] plenty more cookbook by yotam ottolenghi || i have the original plenty, as well as ottolenghi and i love them both. dying for this cookbook to add to my collection [cookbooks are a guilty pleasure of mine! i want them all!]

5] silk dress || since having three kids i find it disheartening to find clothes that make me feel like a lady. i'm usually drenched in spit-up or worse, wearing three day old leggings and an old sweatshirt. this dress would be the perfect outfit for a night out on the town with my main squeeze. sometimes you just want to put on a silky dress and some heels, am i right?!

6] earphones and earbuds set || i'm needing a set of new earphone's and i love the style and small frame of these. might even get a moment of quiet with these bad boys on....maybe....

7] pia wallen cross blanket || my obsession continues, as does everyone else's! i truly thought this was a passing trend, but it seems to be sticking and since I've had my eye on this blanket forever, this might be the time to bite the bullet.

8] black short romper || i thought these were a great one-stop shop for a busy working mom. you could dress them up or down and it's out the door looking done-up in no time flat. my kinda dressing.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

.mushroom, spinach, herb, + cheese crepe filling.

in addition to the previous post for your basic simple crepe, here's an amazing filling to complete your meal! this is an old recipe borrowed from my mother-in-law's previous restaurant, 'flavours modern bistro' and is also an old favourite of mine!
mushroom + spinach + herb + cheese 
crepe filling with tomato topping
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
250 grams of mushrooms, chopped [a mixture of oyster, shiitake, and cremini is her fav!]
250 grams of your favourite ready greens salad mix [small tub of salad mixture - we did a mix of spinach and baby kale]
200 grams of favourite melting cheese [raclette is recommended, but any available mixture - even mozzarella! can be used]
salt and pepper
1 can tomato sauce
fresh tomatoes, chopped into thick chunks
fresh herbs
1] in a large pan heat the oil and onions. cook on medium heat till translucent.
2] add chopped mushrooms and cook till caramelized-stirring as needed and increasing heat if needed. add salt and pepper.
3] take pan off heat and add your greens, roughly torn. the warmed mushroom mixture will wilt the greens for you, no need for extra heat.
4] add the cheese and mix gently till melted. divide the mixture into four and fill the crepes
[recipe here].
5] make warm tomato sauce by adding a can of tomato sauce, chopped fresh tomatoes, and chopped fresh herbs all together in a pan. warm and pour sauce over each assembled crepe.
**you can also add grilled chicken to this recipe too!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

.crepes, three ways.

following my previous post, this is my first monthly tables recipe for january. being the month for france, we obvi had to post a few crepe recipes!! below you'll find three recipes for the crepe, all coming from my mother-in-law zosia, and i'll follow through with a great filling recipe next...again created by my mother-in-law ;)

here you'll find a basic crepe recipe [which makes a herbed crepe recipe and a sweet crepe recipe], and a socca crepe recipe [a fancy word for chickpea crepe!]. enjoy!
basic crepe
2 cups flour
2 cups milk
2 eggs
1 cup mineral water [using this instead of milk makes the crepe delicate and super thin!]
pinch of salt
2 tbsp melted butter
1] first mix the eggs with the salt, add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. *when you lift a wooden spoon from the batter, it should run down but still cover the spoon.
2] separate the batter into two bowls to make the two types of crepes.
1] add finely chopped fresh herbs, like parsley, etc. to one batter.
1] add 1 tbsp sugar and a dash of vanilla to the other batter.
3] heat crepe pan or teflon pan, pour oil or butter and spread around with paper towel - this should be needed only for the first crepe. cook till small bubbles form in the batter.
4] fill with your favourite filling [we recommend this mushroom, cheese and tomato filling!].

socca crepe [aka. checkpea crepe!]
1 cup water
1 cup chickpea flour
2 tbsp olive oil
fresh herbs, chopped
dash of salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1] mix together the water and chickpea flour and leave overnight. 
2] when ready to cook, add the olive oil, chopped fresh herbs, dash of salt and the cumin. cook on preheated iron cast skillet or teflon pan and fill with your favourite filling.
*you can also cut this crepe up into bite size pieces and serve with little bits of the filling!

.monthly tables.

i was browsing around anthropologie a month ago when i came across this amazing calendar of illustrated tables of food from around the world and i immediately thought of my mother-in-law and all the amazing dishes she could teach us to make! and hence monthly tables was born!

each month she and i will get together and spend the day cooking unique foods featured from that region. for example, january's table features the country france! yum!

i plan on adding all the recipes here in detailed form, but also adding a few on my instagram account and then getting those printed off with a chatbooks or something and making a mini cookbook! if you follow me there you may have already seen a few recipes pop up in my feed last month, as i'm a little late posting this here, but i'll spend the week playing catch up to february and all it's deliciousness ;)

so to start things off, here we go! January = France.