Tuesday, April 24, 2012

the scone witch

This little hidden gem just outside the main core of DT Ottawa is such a fabulous place to chillax with family and friends over coffee and a fresh warm scones. It's away from all the noise, but close enough to gather all your peeps for a quick lunch or a weekend afternoon snack.

It's small and cozy, which is why I love to come here on a Sunday afternoon and enjoy some fresh local food. It's always consistent and they even serve breakfast (best meal of the day!)

The Scone Witch offers a wide variety of scones and homemade jam to snack on, scone 'sandwiches' sided with a salad for lunch, and scone 'sandwiches' filled with breakfast goodness such as cheese and eggs as well as fresh ham for those meat lovers (note: they do NOT serve lunch meat!!)

I love when I come across new local cafes with fresh ingredients and not full of tourists. If you haven't tried The Scone Witch, I suggest you grab a friend this weekend (or a good book) and head over there for a delicious ginger scone! Just to note, it's hard to only eat one of these. I usual grab some to go and snack on my way home.

Monday, April 23, 2012

snow in april, what!?

I woke up this morning to this blinding white light outside my window. Thought I slept thru summer and now it's suddenly winter again. It's almost May and it's snowing! Talk about crazy weather. It's just wet, sloppy and plain cruel!

Plus I already packed away the winter boots, scarves, mitts, and jackets with a high hopes, a smile, and a margarita in one hand as it was 75 degrees and sunny two weeks ago.

Check out my walk with Roxy this AM. She wasn't too impressed!

And just last week, I was at happy hour sun tanning with all the patio peeps!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

1,000 awesome things

Recently, I have been spending a lot of time on Neil Pasricha's blog 1,000 Awesome Things because I am such a true believer that life is all about the little things. Sometimes either the smallest thing can get me very upset, or could make me so very happy. It's amazing how life works, and we are so caught up in this busy lifestyle that we never just slow down and take a breath of simplicity.

One of the simple gestures I find fascinating in life is a simple smile. When I was living in Montreal, I remember walking down the street one day in the city (which everyone walks in that city) and realizing how lonely I felt. I was surrounded by so many people, but they were all strangers just passing by. Everyone was either on their iPhone or staring at the ground as they walked by me. Now after moving to Ottawa, almost every time I walk down the street surrounded by people, someone always passes by and says "hi", or simply looks me in the eyes and smiles. You wouldn't believe how much better I feel just by receiving a simple smile. I'm not going to lie, at first, it was so weird to me. I thought, 'do I know you?' Now, I make sure to always smile at people or even say "hi" and a quick "how's it going". Trust me, that goes a LONG WAY in life!

Check out Neil Pasricha's Ted Talk: The 3 A's of awesome

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

update: trimmed my own bangs today

I just wanted to give an update to yesterday's post because I watched this video (many times!), made sure I had all my clips, fine-toothed comb, and scissors (for cutting hair) and now have some results to share.

I tried trimming my bangs today for the first time, and it was a success! I am so happy, because it is a little scary when you're used to going to the salon every month and they do it in less then a minute. At home, it was a completely different experience. First off, that girl cut her own bangs in 2 minutes. Ya, right!? I have the same hair type as the woman in that video, and It took me about 20 minutes (before clean up) to make sure it was done perfectly. You DO NOT want to rush.

I had just washed and blow dried my hair before trimming, and I would recommend this to anyone trying this at home.  Make sure you use salon scissors for an edgy look. One point to take note from the video: make sure you snip in different directions. I snipped very little at a time, and repeated the video's technique at least 5 times. This meant starting in the middle, snipping, the grabbing each side, pulling it all together and snipping again. It's better to snip little by little and repeat the technique several times, instead of snipping a big chunk at once. You couldn't see my mistakes that way because it all blended in and gave my fringe a nice choppy look.

Also, I like my edges (sides of my fringe) a bit longer than the middle, so I snipped them separately to keep the length.

Feel free to email me or post a comment if you have any questions, or you tried this DIY bang trimming for the first time at home too.

It was scary at first, but now I will be doing this at least once a week to keep my fringe looking fresh.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

how to keep those bangs trimmed and clean

This short clip is all you need to Do It Yourself and keep those bangs out of your eyes.

I trim them every two weeks. If you keep that short schedule, you don't have to cut so much off each time and it's less risk you will make a mistake.

Check it out!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

blueberry buttermilk muffins & my new muffin top pan

I was so excited to try out my new muffin top pan my mom brought up to Ottawa last weekend. It's almost the size of small pies, but it magically makes muffins! I love blueberry muffins and wanted to try adding buttermilk and oil to the recipe (instead of butter and yogurt).

The result was perfect! Large, golden brown, scrumptious muffins that pop berry in your mouth in every bite.

What you will need to prepare:

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup white sugar (optional)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon 

1/4 teaspoon salt

Zest of one orange

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup safflower or canola oil

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup (plus more) of fresh blueberries 

What you will need to do:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Position rack in center of oven (or top for non-convectional ovens). Spray the muffin top pan, lightly.

In a large measuring cup or bowl whisk together the egg, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla extract.

In another large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and zest. Add the blueberries. With a spatula, fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir only until the ingredients are combined. Do not over mix the batter.

Fill each muffin top cup, fill it to the top with batter. Place in the oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 20 - 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for about 5 - 10 minutes before removing from pan.

Makes 9 large muffin top  muffins.

eh viola!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

the manx

There are 2 resto/pubs I hit up once a week because they have by far, BY FAR... the best food and drinks in the city (in my opinion!).

I will post the other pub soon...

But first, The Manx. Yummm, this place is just awesome. It's a small little hole in the wall basement under an aparatment on Elgin Street, and I seriously missed this place driving by the first time I ate here. It doesn't even have a website (but I found a menu here). Yes, it's that good. It doesn't need a website, because it's full of locals (of all ages) and the atmosphere is so fun and relaxed.

It's small, so there is always a wait. On a busy night, you usually have to wait 45 minutes for a table. But don't fear because they feed you beer while you're waiting in the small doorway, chatting it up with other locals. I have had some pretty interesting conversations with complete strangers during my wait to eat at the Manx.

I am not a writer, so the best way I now how to describe just how delish the resto is, IS...by posting pics. Please drool over these...

BTW - the menu is small (which isn't a bad thing) but they have a chalk board full of daily specials when you walk in the place. I recommend the specials. You will go home happy, full of good beer and good food. And... maybe a new friend :)

Curried Sweet Potatoe, Tofu, and Veggies over Noodles - Sepcial of the Day

Grilled Chicken Wrap with half Potatoe Wedges and Salad (dress is a good vinigarette) - On Menu

Codd Burger - On menu

Grilled Chickpea Wrap - On Menu as Chickpea Burger

Salt & Pepper Tofu Chickpea Wrap grilled with Tomato Asiago Soup du jour - Sepcial of the Day

Can`t forget the Mill Street local beer - Cheers!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

my first trip to gatineau

This past weekend, my hubby and I were on a search for Gouda! My family is coming up to Ottawa this weekend for Easter and instead of the typical Easter chocolate eggs, I thought it would be fun to shower them with cheese (and some good old fashion maple syrup I found at Farm Boy!). So what better place to go for cheese then across the border to Quebec! Really...there isn't a border, just beautiful tiny bridges all over Ottawa connect the two cities.

We didn't find any Gouda but we did look around and I must say, Gatineau is just wonderful! So much nature, and fresh air, I felt so alive! We stopped by the Marina in Aylmer to chillax with a fresh baguette and a coffee we got at the little tiny cafe and just had an AH HA moment. I can't wait until the summer to check out Gatineau Park! Now...if only I had a cottage!

Pics taken at the Marina

How cute is this Timmy's? So cozy!