The Kitchen Magpie Home of Edmonton Food Blogger, Karlynn Johnston Mon, 27 Apr 2015 12:00:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 10 Minute Eggy Udon Noodles Mon, 27 Apr 2015 12:00:52 +0000 10 Minute Eggy Udon Noodles

These 10 Minute Eggy Udon Noodles are my favorite soup to make right now. Easy, healthy and SO tasty!

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10 Minute Eggy Udon Noodles

Oh, eggy Udon noodles, I do love you so.  I am extremely sad that I won’t be eating this for a few weeks since we are travelling. This is, in all seriousness, our new favorite “fast food” at home. It might take a total of ten minutes tops and is hot, delicious, filling and pretty darn healthy as well.

This supper saves my sanity. There’s no guilt, it’s super fast, it’s SO easy to customize for the picky eaters in the house and I can make it as healthy as possible with vegetables. We were home from Phoenix for three weeks and ate this three times.

Depending on what noodles you use, this can also be a gluten-free supper as well. Soba noodles are thick and made from buckwheat, making them a perfect gluten-free substitution.

You can literally use whatever vegetables you have on hand for this dish and it’s an excellent way to use up leftovers from dinner the night before. I used the leftover asparagus from Easter dinner for this dish but you can use anything from carrots to broccoli. Load it up with whatever your favorite veggies are. If you are really on the ball, make extra the night before so all you have to do is quickly heat them and throw them into the bowl.

I also used duck eggs which are a family favorite. While the ones I got this time around were smaller than some we’ve had, they were scrumptious. Duck eggs are higher in protein and in Omega 3’s than chicken eggs are, so I suggest trying them out. We eat them as much as possible in place of chicken eggs.

I need my own farm..with ducks… then I can have Ducky Eggy Udon noodles all day long.. ah a girl can dream.

For now, I would honestly settle for a bowl of this soup.

Happy Cooking everyone! Love you more than chocolate!



10 Minute Eggy Udon Noodles
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4
  • 5 cups of strong chicken broth
  • 4 (200 gram) packages of fresh Udon noodles
  • 4 eggs
  • steamed veggies of your choice
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  1. Take 5 cups of strong chicken broth & bring to a boil.
  2. Place the noodles into the pot and cook for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Remove noodles and split between four bowls.
  4. Using the broth (which should be boiling) poach 4 eggs (rich duck eggs are amazing and are what I used).
  5. Use a slotted spoon to remove the eggs when eggs are slightly poached -the softer the better. They should just hold their form.
  6. Place one egg on top of each bowl of noodles.
  7. Garnish with chopped old, strong cheddar, leftover veggies (I used Easter dinner asparagus!) and then pour the hot broth over the top.


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Karlynn & Mike’s Excellent Adventures Mon, 20 Apr 2015 17:07:58 +0000 Karlynn & Mike’s Excellent Adventures

With a little bit of panic and packing, we are off on another round of Karlynn & Mike's Excellent Adventures!

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Karlynn & Mike’s Excellent Adventures

I’m not gonna lie, I might just be having a panic attack this morning. Someone pass me a paper bag to breathe into and everything will be ok.

In all honesty while I’m not having a real panic attack (those are usually solely reserved for when I have to fly) I did have one of those random sit up in bed and gasp for air moments in the middle of the night last night. I can’t even remember what I was dreaming about, but it had to do with the trip and with Pyrex. Maybe I had a dream that someone got to a piece of Pyrex at the thrift store in France (do they have thrift stores in Paris?) before I did. That’s what I get for surfing Ebay last night looking for Pyrex pieces while planning the last few details of our trip. Gotta love it when the anxiety courses through your veins at 3 am. (insert eye roll here)

This is my reading room at this very moment this morning.

This actually makes me feel happy. We’ve been packing/unpacking for almost two weeks now, narrowing everything down to ONE suitcase per person. I’m feeling pretty awesome about the fact that the kids can finally handle their own suitcases for the most part. We’ll have to lift them but other than that, those twerps are pulling their own weight, literally, when it comes to our trip.

This is homeschooling this morning.

We have a “hard stop” on the oh-so pleasant homeschooling this morning at 11 am. We have to get all the last finishing touches done on the house and packing. My family will be staying at our house while we are gone so they can visit with my brother and sister in law the new baby so I’ve been cleaning like a mad woman. Bedding, bathrooms, vaccumming , all the stuff that I literally wouldn’t give two hoots about are now on the TO DO list. It’s ok, though, because I’m happy that we have quasi house sitters while we are gone.

The panic is coming from the fact that we are going to be nomads for ten weeks. Phoenix was easy, my mom and dad were already there and we just packed up and moved to another house for three months.

This however is a whole new adventure.

We’re driving from Edmonton to Toronto.

We’re taking a bullet train from New York to Florida.

We’ve booked our cruise to England from Port Canaveral.

We’ve bought and printed out train tickets from European city to city. Mike’s cemented the dates he’s visiting all his clients in each city.

We’ve booked hotels, used HomeAway to rent an apartment in Paris. I just realized while writing this that we still don’t have anywhere booked to stay in Karlsruhe, Germany for two nights. I just booked Amsterdam the other night.

It’s such a long time, you guys. I looked at Mike last night and told him that it really hit me. Holy Dinah, we are nomads for at least ten weeks. We have our suitcases, our laptops, the kids and we are gone.

You’d think with the amount we travel that I wouldn’t be panicking, but whew, you guys, this is crazy. We’re crazy. I’m crazy.

It’s going to be amazing, frantic, tiring, epic, overwhelming. I have no idea how we are really going to get any homeschooling done. We are packing up their laptops and most important textbooks and hoping for the best.

I will have recipes for you, ones that I have been making at home these past three weeks while packing and getting ready but most of my posts the next three months will be full of travel. I can most likely promise around one recipe a week, a few podcasts that Phil and I worked on and tons of travel.

So pack your bags, we are going on a trip again!

Love you more than travel,


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Movie Night Kraft Peanut Butter Snack Bites Mon, 20 Apr 2015 15:13:07 +0000 Movie Night Kraft Peanut Butter Snack Bites

Chocolate peanut butter? Popcorn? Peanuts? I took everything I love that's sweet and salty and put it into a snack!

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Movie Night Kraft Peanut Butter Snack Bites

No bake recipes are my favourite ones to make with the kids because the term “no-bake” usually indicates that it’s fairly easy, not that messy and something that the kids can really get into and have fun with. The new Kraft Peanut Butter Snack Bites recipe is all three things, but it also had an added element of fun; you get to customize it any way you like!

When it came time to come up with a delicious twist on these little peanut butter bites of heaven, I thought about our family and what we like to do. The very first thing that came to mind was movies! Then my mind wandered further, to my favourite snack at the movie theatre which is buttered popcorn and peanut M&M’s. Together. Have you ever tried this? I’ll warn you now that it will replace your usual popcorn at the theater. Sweet and salty bliss, there’s nothing better!

There are many different types of Kraft Peanut Butter out, but since I wanted to make a new recipe riffing on my favourite treat, I used the Kraft Peanut Butter with Chocolate.

I also had a small helper that day, who saw the Kraft Peanut Butter with Chocolate and simply had to know what I was making.

Is this kid mine or what?

This took us a mere 5 minutes to make together. I love recipes that help my kid’s confidence in the kitchen and while you may know that these recipes are easy, the kids don’t. The feeling of accomplishment from simply mixing something and helping you roll it into balls to refrigerate is priceless, in my opinion. No bake recipes are the best way to get your children started in the kitchen.

The fun part of developing these Peanut Butter Snack Bites is that I get to show you how easy they are to make and as per usual, you get a chance to win something!

You can visit sheblogs Canada to enter the Make It Yours Contest and by sharing a photo of your Peanut Butter Snack Bites recipe, you will be entered to win 1 of 4 Kraft Peanut Butter prize packs!

To get some inspiration, head on over to the Kraft Canada website to get some Kraft Peanut Butter Snack Bites recipe ideas. There are so many different things you can add and they all work with whatever type of peanut butter is your favourite. Sign me up please! Make sure to follow the hashtag #MyKPBsnackbite to join the conversation on Twitter and for more Peanut Butter Snack Bites recipes ideas visit

And of course, I did reward my little helper at the end with one of these little nibbles. They are a perfect snack size for kids and adults.

So after seeing my take on the Kraft Peanut Butter Snack Bites recipe, what would YOU put in yours?

Happy no-baking everyone!






Movie Night Kraft Peanut Butter Snack Bites
Prep time
Total time
Salty, sweet and delicious, these snack bites are sure to be a hit in your house!
Recipe type: snack
Serves: 20
  • ½ cup Kraft Peanut Butter with Chocolate
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 cup large flake rolled oats
  • 1 cup buttered popcorn (microwave works the best)
  • ¼ cup salted peanuts
  1. Mix together all ingredients in a medium bowl until blended. Don’t’ worry about smashing the popcorn, it needs to be crunched up while mixing so that the dough sticks together.
  2. Roll into 20 (1-inch) balls, using about 2 Tbsp. for each. Top with a piece of popcorn if wanted.
  3. Chill for 20 to 30 min.
  4. Serve and enjoy as a snack!


Although this post has been generously sponsored by Kraft Canada, the opinions and language are my own, and in no way do they reflect Kraft Canada.

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Classic Weeknight Tacos Sun, 12 Apr 2015 13:20:50 +0000 Classic Weeknight Tacos

Mmm Mmmm Mmm.. I love tacos! For real. They are pretty much one of my favorite food groups.

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Classic Weeknight Tacos

Today will not be known as Taco Tuesday. It will be known as freedom Friday, but still on a Tuesday!

Just kidding. But seriously, can you name the movie that quote is from?

If you guessed the Lego Movie, you are correct. You also probably have it memorized like I do, am I right? That movie is the #1 watched movie of ALL TIME in my house. When we road trip, Mike and I will actually listen to it as well because it’s seriously so darn funny and cute.

Other than that craziness, two more things came to mind when I was writing up this recipe.

1) Man, I stinkin’ love tacos. So much. They are so easy and no one in my family complains because they can customize them to their own tastes. Let’s repeat that last bit… no one in my family complains. Miracles do happen.

2) I can’t believe that this is my last recipe as a Campbell’s ambassador!

Where did time go? I’ve had a great time testing out eight recipes for Campbell’s and writing them up on my site to share with all of you. This is my last one for now, however.

I’ve been wanting to make the Classic Weeknight Taco’s since the beginning and the time has now come for me to try them out. Like all of the Cook With Campbell’s recipes they are easily customizable to suit your family. Mike can’t eat peppers of any type, so I’ve omitted them in my recipe and the Rose doesn’t like onion. Fair enough, those two things were omitted but that’s what makes all these recipes so easy and great. It’s all about using the soups as a great base flavor and then changing it around to suit your family.

Can we talk about ground beef for a moment?

Am I the only person who rinses it with hot water and drains it when she makes it?

This is another step that I add to any recipe using ground beef. I don’t like the grease that not rinsing it adds to a meal. You simply cook it, fill your pan with hot water and drain it. It removes a ton of calories and fat from your meal and honestly, it tastes better.

These tacos are saucier than you will be used to, which we loved and as an added bonus, the meat will make a fabulous taco salad topping because of it. The kids both inhaled them (win!)and I loved how easy they were to make.

I’d like to thank Campbell’s for fabulous fun over the last few months of testing out and writing up their recipes, who knows, maybe there will be more in the future!

Happy cooking everyone!




Classic Weeknight Tacos
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Who needs a packet of seasoning when you can make these fabulous tacos!
Serves: 4
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) canola oil
  • 1 lb (454 g) lean ground beef
  • 4 tsp (20 mL) chili powder
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 can (284 mL) CAMPBELL'S® Condensed Tomato with Basil and Oregano Soup
  • ½ cup (125 mL) CAMPBELL'S® Ready to Use Beef Broth
  • 8 hard taco shells
  • ½ cup Shredded lettuce (1 tbsp per taco)
  • ½ cup Shredded Cheddar cheese (1 tbsp per taco)
  • ¼ cup Sour cream (½ tbsp per taco)
  • ½ cup Chopped tomato (1 tbsp per taco)
  • ¼ cup Chopped green onion (½ tbsp per taco)
  1. Heat oil in a large, nonstick skillet set over medium-high heat. Crumble in ground beef; season with chili powder blend. Cook, stirring and breaking up beef, for 5 to 7 minutes or until browned.
  2. Rinse with hot water and drain.
  3. Stir in onion and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Reduce heat to medium-low. Pour in soup and broth; bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring often, for 5 to 7 minutes or until sauce is thickened. Remove from heat.
  5. Fill taco shells with shredded lettuce and some of the beef mixture. Garnish with Cheddar, sour cream, tomatoes and green onion.
Original recipe can be found here.


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Watergate Salad & Weird Parenting Advice Sat, 11 Apr 2015 15:56:40 +0000 Watergate Salad & Weird Parenting Advice

How can I have been blogging this long and never made Watergate Salad? Plus I dish out some crazy parenting advice.

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Watergate Salad & Weird Parenting Advice

If you’ve been reading this website of mine for any time now at all, you’ll know that I have an obsession with pistachio pudding. OB-SESH-SHUN, folks. There’s obviously something wrong me with, but packaged pistachio pudding is seriously one of my favorite guilty pleasures.

Which is why I can’t believe that I’ve never read the package and made Watergate Salad.

Again, there’s that getting back to “something’s wrong with me.” How could I have been ignoring a fabulous retro recipe all these years? Granted, I do only allow myself the pistachio pudding indulgence every few months, otherwise it might get out of control and you’d start seeing pistachio pudding chicken, pistachio pudding beef…it might get a little crazy on here.

When we were at the Phoenix House (which is what it shall be called from here on in) I actually turned over a package in my hands and read the recipe.

My whole family was in town (that town being Phoenix) at that time, and I was making dinner. Let’s remember that I was in the middle of my cookbook as well, working my tail off and taking advantage of the amazing natural light that streams through the windows all…day…long in Phoenix. As I sit here and look out my window at the gloomy Edmonton day presented to me now, I forget the giant spiders and scorpions and wish I was back.

I digress. My point was, I was busy and needed a really fast and easy dessert. This was it, folks. It’s fast, easy and honestly my entire family loved it. It’s so junky, sweet and awesome. When you don’t eat things like this on a regular basis, they become a fabulous forbidden treat.

My little Rose was my photography assistant that day and while her brother definitely loves helping me, she’s the one who loves getting behind the camera.

Sometimes it’s nice to take a moment in the flurry of working on everything and see the joy in what I do, through her eyes. The Rose loves to tell me how she wants to do what I do when she grows up and I’m unsure all the time on what to tell her -other than “sure honey, after you go to University and get a degree”.

Really, what I do is a completely made-up job. No one goes to school to become a blogger, no one PLANS on doing this for a living.

Or do they?

I started thinking that day, when the Rose exulted to me that she wanted to grow up and “have a website and write! And take photos of food!”  about the future of writing and what it’s possibly going to be like in the next 15 years. In 15 years, my girl would be fresh out of college or university, possibly as a writer.  What would my advice to her be?

I was a little taken aback by my first thoughts. My very first thought was that in order for her to thrive, she needed an online presence. Well, blech. My primary goal as a parent who leads her own life online is to keep them offline for as long as possible, away from social media and the like.

Truth be told, writers these days have both offline and online presences but that dynamic is slowly shifting. I started out at around a 50/50 ratio, writing on my website and writing for traditional print. Now, it’s all about the online work. Yes, I’ve built my website up to the point where it’s my income, but I also write for Safeway Canada four times a month online and any other places I’m approached by are all online work.

Not only that, but everyone is online. Doctors, vets, accountants, musicians, small business owners, once you start thinking about it, chances are very high that your child would benefit from having a website for their career.

So I’m going to share something that might sound like the craziest parenting advice ever, but here goes.

You should really think about buying your children’s name, in a domain and keeping it for them. For example, (which I do own of course lol). Of course common names like is most likely taken, but I think if you have the opportunity, you should take it. The cost is around $10 a year to keep renewing it.

We did, and the weirdest part of this whole story is that we only just bought the kids domains while we were in Phoenix. Us, who live and work online.

Once I started that line of thought above, about how SO many careers now – and even more in the future- will need a strong web presence, I couldn’t stop. So we bought the kids their own domains. Sure, my daughter might get married and change her name but the odds of buying a domain 15 or 20 years from now with her name are so slim that it doesn’t even matter. She’ll have her own name in a domain.

So that’s totally weird, right? I feel really weird even typing this out. To help back me up, I do know a couple other web-saavy people who have also bought their children’s names as domains, so I’m not the only one thinking like this.

If you don’t think I am totally crazy and you want to buy a domain, you can do so using this handy box below that lets you not only buy it, but get it free with hosting if you wanted that as well. Who knows, you could start building their website now and don’t think that my son hasn’t asked! I’m pretty sure as soon as Mr K learns how to use WordPress, he’ll have his own website. He wants, of course, to review video games

So who thinks I am crazy? Not only for the Watergate Salad but I also got off on a HUGE tangent, all because the Rose wanted to help me with photos. Sigh. Only me.

Happy Saturday everyone! Thanks for stopping in and listening to the crazy!

Love you more than chocolate,


Watergate Salad & A Parenting
Prep time
Total time
Serves: 6
  • 1 can (20 oz.) crushed pineapple in juice, undrained
  • 1 pkg. (3.4 oz.) JELL-O Pistachio Flavor Instant Pudding
  • 1 cup Miniature Marshmallows
  • ½ cup chopped Pecans
  • 1-1/2 cups thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping
  1. Combine the first four ingredients in a bowl until the pudding has been mixed in completely.
  2. Stir in the Cool Whip and refrigerate.


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The Best Deep Fried Battered Haddock Thu, 09 Apr 2015 17:51:32 +0000 The Best Deep Fried Battered Haddock

I share the secret to making the best deep fried fish given to me by a local chef friend!

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The Best Deep Fried Battered Haddock

I was told the secret for a proper, crispy batter for deep-frying fish a long,long time ago by a chef friend. Indeed, not only a friend, but the head of a culinary arts program at a local post-secondary school.

It’s so very simple.

It’s cornstarch.

While I have sadly lost the recipe he gave me in his cooking class that day (and truth be told, he told me it was an old fisherman friend who gave it to him ) I have always remembered that secret.

So when it came time to try out the new Highliner Simply Fish line of products, I knew that I would be trying the haddock and that I was deep-frying it.

For those of you who like to know where your seafood comes from, Highliner has criteria for their responsibly sourced seafood. It includes important criteria such as being OceanWise recommended or Seafood Watch rated green or yellow.  Their six varieties of fish are sourced from the following places: Atlantic Salmon – Chile, Atlantic Cod – Iceland, Tilapia – Indonesia or Malaysia, Trout – Peru, Haddock – USA and Sole – Canada.

Mike prefers haddock since it’s a nice milder fish and it is one of the best choices for deep frying battered fish. It holds up well and cooks fast.

Look at that gorgeous fish flake.

To be clear, I don’t and most likely won’t ever own a deep frier again, so don’t pass on this recipe because you don’t have one. I used to own one and it was honestly the biggest, messiest most annoying kitchen appliance that I have owned. It smelled and was always greasy on the outside no matter what I did.

I have a large heavy frying pan that I use to deep fry in and let’s face it, deep frying isn’t really something that we should be doing so often that we need a deep fryer.

Being rich in protein and healthy to boot, fish is always one of my top choices, however my family doesn’t always agree. Mike will eat haddock, which is why I chose to do this dish, but he also likes it deep-fried.  Sigh. That man.

Fresh fish is always, always better, especially when you are deep-frying it in batter. Frozen fish will have extra moisture no matter how you defrost it! To that note, the Highliner Simply Fish are fresh in the package and you can find them in the fresh seafood department at No Frills, Superstore and Maxi. The cuts are very high quality (made from their finest cuts of fish) and are perfect for package to pan cooking. I also liked that they come in the exact right size for Mike and I to eat.

There are a few secrets that you have to adhere to in order to make great battered fish.

1. The oil temperature MUST be at 375 degrees. Hotter and it will burn and you will have raw fish inside and cooler will make the batter soaked in grease.

2.  No milk and no egg in the batter. This is as plain as you can get. You can sub in half beer and half water for sure, if you want.

3. Use only thin and fresh fish filets, like the  High Liner Simply Fish haddock. Do not use frozen.

So who’s in for giving this recipe a shot? I am so excited, it passed the “Mike test” because I swear he is the pickiest person I know when it comes to battered fish. So if he gives this a thumbs up, you know it’s a great recipe!

Happy cooking everyone!

Love you more than chocolate,


The Best Deep Fried, Battered Haddock
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
How to make the best battered, deep fried fish at home!
Recipe type: dinner
Serves: 4
  • Batter Ingredients:
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup cold water (or half beer!)
  • 1 tbsp dill (optional but amazing!)
  • dash of pepper
  • 2-4 High Liner Simply Fish Haddock Filets, patted dry with a paper towel

  • For flouring:

  • ½ cup flour
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  1. Combine the batter ingredients and mix until smooth.
  2. Preheat 2-3 inches of oil in a heavysauce pan to 375 degrees F.
  3. Combine the "flouring" ingredients together in a small bowl.
  4. Dredge the filets through the flour, then the batter until covered with a thick coat of batter.
  5. Cook two at a time in the hot oil, for approximately 4 minutes per side or until a medium golden brown.
  6. Remove and drain on paper towels.
  7. Serve and enjoy.

Disclosure: I am part of the High Liner Simply Fish Blogger Campaign with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.


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28 Days With Garnier Ultra-Lift Miracle Sleeping Night Cream Mon, 06 Apr 2015 15:03:10 +0000 28 Days With Garnier Ultra-Lift Miracle Sleeping Night Cream

My recap of using Garnier for 28 days!

The post 28 Days With Garnier Ultra-Lift Miracle Sleeping Night Cream appeared first on The Kitchen Magpie.

28 Days With Garnier Ultra-Lift Miracle Sleeping Night Cream

It’s twenty-eight days later and I’m back for a recap of the Garnier Ultra-Lift Miracle Sleeping Night Cream that I’ve been trying out! No video this time, just a post. I have been actively using it while paired with the Garnier Ultra-Lift Miracle Sleeping Eye Cream while travelling to California and back, then on our four-day road trip home.

In that time, I also turned 39. I was talking to Mike on the long drive home about how I am really lazy when it comes down to taking care of my skin and that I guess I better start. I vividly remember my mom and her ritualistic night creams when I was younger and I guess it’s my turn to start. Better late than never! Am I the only one who has these vivid memories of their Mom’s love for night cream? To this day, she still takes care of her skin nightly.

I think that the Garnier Ultra-Lift Miracle Sleeping Night Cream is doing a good job on the skin don’t you? Here’s a non-photoshopped photo of my eye area this morning. Not bad for 39, eh?

A recap of the product details:

The cream contains 7 active ingredients that are powerful alone yet transformative together such as Hyaluronic acid, LHA and Lavender Essential Oil and the texture is auto-smoothing for anti-aging results and doesn’t transfer onto your pillow. Of course, you are going to get the best results using nightly with Garnier Ultra-Lift Miracle Sleeping Eye Cream as well. You can buy both of them in retail stores across Canada, avg. retail price $24.99 CAN.

I also love love LOVE the Garnier Ultra-Lift Miracle Sleeping Eye Cream. I think it’s doing a fabulous job on the under eye area!

It’s time for the 5 of you readers that won this fabulous cream to enter the Garnier Ultra-Lift Miracle Sleeping Night Cream Grand Prize Giveaway! If you were one of the 5 lucky winners, leave a comment below with what you liked about your Garnier Ultra-Lift Miracle Sleeping Night Cream and you will be entered for a grand prize draw for a Garnier Prize Pack!

For those of you who haven’t tried it, make sure to read the comments below to see if it’s the right product for you. Then you can click here  so you can experience an overnight miracle of your own!

Now, the Prize Eligibility:

  • Must have won and sampled the product awarded in the blog post Part 1 contest
  • Must leave at least 1 comment with positive feedback about Garnier Ultra-Lift Miracle Sleeping Night Cream
  • Must provide full name originally used to enter the contest in blog post Part 1
  • Must leave a comment by Thursday, April 9, 2015, 12 pm EST.
  • Full contest Terms & conditions are available HERE.

Good luck and congrats to my winners! I am so excited that five of you won this great product and now you get the chance to be an even bigger winner!



Although this post has been generously sponsored by Garnier Canada, the opinions and language are my own, and in no way do they reflect Garnier Canada.

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Visiting Bar Tartine in San Francisco (Plus win a signed copy of their new book!) Fri, 03 Apr 2015 16:01:25 +0000 Visiting Bar Tartine in San Francisco (Plus win a signed copy of their new book!)

If Bar Tartine in San Francisco isn't on your food bucket list, put it on there now! I'm giving away a signed copy of their award winning cookbook as well!

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Visiting Bar Tartine in San Francisco (Plus win a signed copy of their new book!)

Oh, San Francisco I do love thee. Your beautiful waterfront, your hip vibe, your famous restaurants…how can you not leave your heart here when you have to go home?

I also love thee more when I don’t have my kids with me. Sorry kids, but San Fran is a whole new ball game when Mama has some time alone.

I’ve been to San Francisco twice before, but always with the kids. Don’t get me wrong, it is one of the best family vacations that we have ever taken. There is the California Academy of Sciences, the Pier and so much more for families to do that you could happily spend time there with the littles.

However this trip without kids let Mike and I eat wherever we wanted…when we wanted..hit whichever bars we wanted..sleep when we wanted. While we did have three days of work meetings while we were there as well, we had 4 glorious free days to do whatever we wanted in San Fran.

I wanted to visit Bar Tartine.

Bar Tartine is a famous for its innovative, multi-layered-taste creations. Their dishes are so complex and deep in flavor, mainly because they make everything from scratch. The bread from scratch, their own sauces, spices and dried herbs, everything in done in-house.

We made reservations for brunch (highly recommended, the line up was crazy long at opening and I was glad that we had reserved seats) and were seated at the front window when I asked if we could.

For the natural lighting, of course, so I could take the best pictures for you all!

A strong coffee started Mike out for the day, while I had the Beet Mimosa. Tangy, earthy and bright, it suited the chilly,cloudy San Francisco morning perfectly.

We ordered the first four items, sliced bread, Kefor butter, Liptauer cheese dip and the fruit preserves to start us out. We had made sure not to eat a thing that morning so we could try as much as possible by the time they opened for brunch at 11. These alone would have been a spectacular brunch. The cheese dip was hands down our favorite part of this, followed by the Polenta Porridge Bread. When you put them together? A culinary masterpiece.

The moment my eyes scoured the menu and lit upon the chicken liver pate and egg open-faced sprouted rye bread sandwich, I knew two things. One, it would be mine. Two, it would be mine alone because Mike doesn’t enjoy liver in any form.

Spectacular. This sent shivers down my spine with how brilliant they are with their flavors. The rich chicken liver flavor was cut perfectly with a tang of what I assume is an in-house mustard. When you added in that bite of yolky egg, you see how important that mustard really is. Without that acidity, it’s far too much, however with it, you have the perfect combination.

We then proceeded to the shared plate that we had ordered, the Braised Bacon with stewed beets, mushrooms and poached egg. The bacon intrigued us, at first bite it seemed too chewy, but the more you proceeded to chew, the better it became.

Knowing that it was our first time visiting, the kitchen at Bar Tartine sent out a dish for us to try, for which I send in return thanks beyond measure. We skipped over this dish on the menu, I am embarrassed to say that it never really crossed my radar when I looked at it.

Sprouted lentil croquettes with coriander and kefir. Sure, it sounds good but it wasn’t something I would have chosen.

That first bite I took of this dish was one of THE BITES, those bites of food that will stay with you forever and you will always remember. There aren’t many of those in a person’s life, but I’ll bet you have some yourself.

Light as air (unexpected) with the spices dancing on your tongue just slightly, tempered by the kefir and the beets.

One of the best things I have ever eaten. Period. I wish I had remembered to take a picture of the inside for you but alas, we were seriously swooning in delight and I forgot everything else.

A gorgeous repast.

There are two things I suggest you take home with you from Bar Tartine.

First, a loaf of the Polenta Porridge Bread. This is something not to be missed. We took this back to our hotel room and ate it with butter for two days. It was glorious.

Second, a copy of any of their books, which are signed if you buy them at Bar Tartine. I picked up their newest book, which just won the Chefs & Restaurants Category in the International Association of Culinary Professionals 2015 Food Writing Awards AND it’s up for a James Beard award!

One word of warning, we did order the cheesecake (top right below) and it’s NOT a sweet cheesecake. I didn’t even think of asking as it was listed under desserts, but don’t order it expecting sweetness.

The best part of this whole trip? I picked up another signed copy for one lucky reader to win! Oh, it’s gorgeous and divine and it has the recipes for those amazing sprouted lentils.

This book is hours upon hours of reading, of gloriously immersing yourself into the techniques they use at Bar Tartine. Spices, sauces and oh so much more. This is a food lovers dream come true. You will never look at food the same way again after reading this cookbook, I guarantee it.

Have you ever eaten there? What did you think?

Good luck everyone! Enter the contest below!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post Visiting Bar Tartine in San Francisco (Plus win a signed copy of their new book!) appeared first on The Kitchen Magpie.

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White Bean Ranch, Bacon & Cheddar Dip With Breton Popped! Beans Cracker Chips Wed, 01 Apr 2015 15:09:59 +0000 White Bean  Ranch, Bacon & Cheddar Dip With Breton Popped! Beans Cracker Chips  

This white bean dip is a fabulous appetizer...and lunch. We might have eaten it for lunch one day...

The post White Bean Ranch, Bacon & Cheddar Dip With Breton Popped! Beans Cracker Chips   appeared first on The Kitchen Magpie.

White Bean  Ranch, Bacon & Cheddar Dip With Breton Popped! Beans Cracker Chips  

I think that my favorite part of working on my website is getting to try out all sorts of new products and coming up with recipes using them. I love recipe development, there’s nothing that inspires me more than coming up with a new recipe for you guys using products that you can readily buy yourselves from the store shelves.

This time around, I am working with Breton, trying out their new line of gluten free Breton Bean crackers and Breton Popped! Beans cracker chips. There are quite a few of you readers that ask me for gluten free recipes on a regular basis, so I knew that this was an important one. I needed to make this dip healthier, but still delicious and most definitely gluten free so that all of you looking for a delicious gluten free recipe can enjoy it!

So let’s get into the details of the new crackers before I get to the recipe. They are most definitely gluten free, certified by the Canadian Celiac Association. There are two new flavors in each type, Breton Bean Crackers come in Breton White Bean with Salt & Pepper and Breton Black Bean with Onion & Garlic and they boast 3g fibre and 2g protein per serving

Breton Popped! Beans cracker chips come in Breton Popped! Beans Sea Salt & Pepper and Breton Popped! Beans Sweet Chili Cheddar. Made from a blend of chickpeas and red beans, these have 2g fibre and 2g protein per serving.

Try out these new gluten-free crackers or find out more information by visiting the Dare Foods Website or give them a like on their Facebook page.  For those of you who love prizes and a chance to win, make sure to visit sheblogs Canada. You can RSVP to the #BretonBean Twitter party and check out the upcoming contests on Instagram and Twitter where you could win cash prizes and Dare Foods products!

With beans as the main ingredient in the new Breton Bean crackers and Breton Popped! Beans cracker chips, I decided to up the protein and make a white bean ranch dip with bacon and cheddar. This dip exists in a cream cheese and sour cream form, but I wanted something that was loaded in protein and deliciousness. White beans make a fabulously creamy dip that is much healthier for you than sour cream and cream cheese. Yes, there is still bacon, but we have to have some vices. Bacon is mine.

We tried all of the new products with the white bean dip and I must say that my favourite one is the Breton Popped! Beans Sea Salt & Pepper. It lends itself to so many flavor combinations and goes perfectly with this dip as the ranch flavor is very powerful.

As always, make sure that your ingredients are gluten-free, your ranch dip (there are tons of gluten-free ones available) plus your bacon and cheese. You will have a perfect snack that is completely gluten-free and is seriously SO delicious! It’s top on my list for the perfect party snack now for any gluten-free guests that I might have.

We also might have eaten this for lunch the day that I made it, I’m not copping to anything.

Happy cooking everyone!



White Bean Ranch, Bacon & Cheddar Dip With Breton Popped! Beans Cracker Chips
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Gluten free and delicious! This white bean dip is full of protein, bacon and ranch flavor, a trifecta that makes the perfect party appetizer! Or lunch. We might have eaten this for lunch...
Recipe type: appetizer
Serves: 6-8 servings
  • Recipe
  • 2 (15 oz) cans of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ⅓ cup water
  • 1 package Ranch Dressing
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 5-6 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped
  1. Combine the garlic and olive oil in the bottom of a medium sauce pan. Cook over medium heat until garlic has browned. Add in beans and water. Heat for 5-7 minutes, stirring and smashing beans slightly.
  2. Remove from the heat and puree the beans together with the ranch dressing.
  3. Place in a casserole dish and top with bacon and cheese.
  4. Heat in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or until the cheese on top is bubbly and starts to brown. Remove, cool slightly and serve with Breton Popped! Beans Sea Salt & Pepper.

Although this post has been generously sponsored by Dare Foods Limited, the opinions and language are my own, and in no way do they reflect Dare Foods Limited.


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Cheesy Beef Lasagna Sat, 28 Mar 2015 00:49:16 +0000 Cheesy Beef Lasagna

The Rose liked homemade lasagna. Hallelujah! This is a fabulous lasanga recipe and it's a keeper!

The post Cheesy Beef Lasagna appeared first on The Kitchen Magpie.

Cheesy Beef Lasagna

My daughter, for all her pickiness, is a lasagna connoisseur. I do believe she is a reincarnation of that orange cat we all loved in the 80’s, Garfield. She will always eat lasagna, unless, of course, it’s seafood or vegetable. That kid loves beef lasagna and don’t you dare try to feed her anything else.

This time around for my latest recipe for Campbell’s I tackled their Cheesy Beef Lasagna.

She ate it. It’s a win.

I always use whole wheat noodles when it comes to homemade lasagna and I urge you to do the same. They never overcook and become soggy, they are healthier than white pasta and they honesty lend this toothiness to the lasagna that makes it perfect. I hate soggy noodles.

Try it and see. I doubt anyone will even notice that you used whole wheat in the middle of all the sauce and meat!

I found the lasagna really filled up my 9×13 pan, so I placed it on a baking sheet when I cooked it. Use a higher edged 9×13 for sure with this recipe, it’s large and in charge!

The best part? You have leftovers for the next day. Lunches, dinner, whatever you want it’s already made for you!

I think a lot of people are intimidated by the thought of homemade lasanga and there’s no reason to. It’s SO easy. I mean, really, really, super easy you guys. It’s one of the easiest meals to make! You can customize the ingredients to your liking (no mushrooms, more onions) and it bakes up so beautifully.

Happy Cooking everyone! What are your weekend plans? We are packing up to come home, ugh it’s a 4 day road trip starting Sunday for us.

So make sure that the snow is gone, ok? I’m wearing my sandals all the way home…seriously.



Cheesy Beef Lasagna
Cook time
Total time
This easy and delicious lasagna is sure to be a hit with the entire family!
Serves: 12
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) olive oil
  • 2 cups (500 mL) onion, chopped
  • 2 cups (500 mL) mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 lbs (1.3 kg) lean ground beef
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) chili powder
  • 3 cans (852 mL) CAMPBELL'S® Condensed Tomato with Basil and Oregano Soup
  • 3 cups (750 mL) CAMPBELL'S® No Salt Added Ready to Use Beef Broth
  • Cheese Mixture:
  • 4 cups (1 L) light ricotta cheese
  • 3 cups (750 mL) mozzarella, shredded
  • 1 cup (250 mL) Parmesan, grated
  • 2 eggs
  • 12 oven ready lasagna noodles (uncooked)
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) black pepper
  1. Heat oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add the onions and mushrooms and sauté for 5 minutes until the vegetables caramelize.
  2. Add the garlic and ground beef and continue to sauté for another 5 minutes or until the beef is well browned. Add the chili powder and continue to sauté for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the soup and cook for 5 minutes. Add broth and continue to cook for 10 minutes or until the meat is cooked. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese, half of the mozzarella cheese, eggs and black pepper. Mix Well.
  5. Preheat oven to 375°F. Spread 2 cups of the meat sauce in the bottom of a 9” x 13” pan. Layer 4 lasagna noodles on top, overlapping noodles slightly to cover the bottom.
  6. Spread half of the cheese mixture over noodles. Layer with 2 ½ cups of meat sauce and 4 lasagna noodles.
  7. Spread the remaining cheese mixture on top of the second layer of noodles, layer with 2 ½ cups of meat sauce and 4 lasagna noodles.
  8. Spread the remaining meat sauce on lasagna noodles, top with parmesan cheese and remaining mozzarella cheese.
  9. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes at 375°F.
  10. Uncover and continue to bake for 15 minutes until the top is golden and bubbly. Let stand for 5 minutes before slicing.

“Disclosure: I am part of the Campbell Company of Canada Ambassador program with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.”

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Saving Money With My New Frigidaire® Freezer! Fri, 27 Mar 2015 17:39:42 +0000 Saving Money With My New Frigidaire® Freezer!

Money saving with my new freezer! What are your tips n' tricks for freezing meals and food?

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Saving Money With My New Frigidaire® Freezer!

Part of the reason I was so darn excited to be a Frigidaire® Ambassador and talk about the benefits of owning a freezer (or in my case, a secondary freezer) is that I am a huge “putting up” kind of girl. At the end of summer, there’s nothing I like more than canning up a storm (and a storehouse) worth of beets, carrots and jams.

I’m not sure if you knew this, but I am darn cheap, er, frugal at times. We aren’t rich by any means and as you know, our vice is travel. We love to travel. Travel equals money. So there are ways that I like to save money in other areas and a huge one is growing  my garden and then canning food for the winter months.

That said, there are some things that are better frozen and not canned. Having a secondary freezer reminds me of my Grandma who had two large freezers full of everything from frozen wild fish, her dainties, (baked goodies) and of course, her fabulous Strawberry Freezer Jam.

Freezer jam has to be my favorite use of my freezer, bar none. Capturing the incredible taste of June/July bearing strawberries when they are in their peak and then freezing them in a simple jam is something we do every year. The taste is perfectly preserved because you don’t cook them however that means that in order to keep them from spoiling you must freeze the jam.

Another money-saving tip is that there is nothing I like better that FREE berries. Yes, we are talking about my beloved Saskatoon. Berry picking is something that has been ingrained into my soul thanks to my Grandma. From wild blueberries to strawberries to chokecherries to Saskatoons, you picked in season and then you made jam, froze the berries or made wine. (pretty much the only thing I like to do with chokecherries)

Saskatoons are around $15 a bucket at U-Picks, so when you can pick a winter’s haul yourself, you’re saving a ton of cash. I use them all winter long to make my White Chocolate Saskatoon Scones or my Grandma’s Saskatoon pie.

Raise your hand if you have uncontrolled bananas in your freezer.

I am proud (sheepish?) to say that I have a dedicated drawer for overripe bananas in my new Frigidaire® classic slate freezer. This however means that I’m not throwing out banana’s and I’m keeping them to bake with. Again, more money-saving for me.

If you want to learn more, head to Frigidaire’s website and read their cheat sheet on how long items can keep in your freezer!

While most people (like me) choose to keep it in their garage, it’s so darn pretty and modern that I wish I could have fit it into my house somehow. I was rather sad to miss out on the fridge ambassador portion of working with Frigidaire® since we are gone travelling, because a secondary fridge is top of my list now! Side by side in the garage. Perhaps next year! We have a nice insulated and drywalled garage that we use for more than storage, so it’s the perfect place for an extra fridge and freezer.

I talked about how I also pre-make tons of meals, like cabbage rolls in my last post, which helps save money as well. It’s amazing how it adds up, you guys! All these little tricks, dollar by dollar!

Another thing that really matters to me, is that it saves time. Oh, you all know that I am about saving time. Loading up on meals and pre-making food is the best thing you can do to save time.

Have fun with it as well! I love getting together with my mom and sister to pre-make a bunch of food for my freezer.

What type of food do you pre-make and freeze? Soups? Lasagnas? Do you use your freezer to “put up” after the summer bounty?



“Disclosure: I am part of the Frigidaire® Canada Ambassador program with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.”

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These Thoughts of Mine On Writing A Cookbook Thu, 26 Mar 2015 19:10:05 +0000 These Thoughts of Mine On Writing A Cookbook

My thoughts on this whole writing a cookbook deal AKA what I wish more people wrote about.

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These Thoughts of Mine On Writing A Cookbook

I’ve noticed a trend, it seems, when a blogger makes the transition from writer to cookbook author. There is a huge announcement post – not unlike the one I have written myself- and then a very large period where nothing is said. A lull, it might be called, in the posting of anything cookbook related. Sure, busy bloggers keep up on their blogs, like I have, mainly because some of us do it for a living. However I always want to read about the experience while it’s happening. I always wanted to live through them vicariously while trying to figure out if I was even going to take the leap into the hallowed grounds of cookbook writing.

To all of those that I have followed and thought to myself “Blast it, write! Write more! I want to hear it! What’s it all about? What’s it like?” I apologize for any dark thoughts I might have once had.

Truth is, if anyone told you what writing a cookbook was like, we might not have many cookbooks out there. I knew this coming in, however, and that’s why it’s taken me until this point to make sure that I am ready. Completely, utterly, ready with every fibre to make my first cookbook happen.

Sure, we all hear how authors rush at the last-minute, how you make 12 recipes in one day and shoot all the photos, but what about that lull time? What’s happening then?

I’ll tell you what’s happening.

You are in a constant state of recipe development, which is not unlike food blogging for a living. You can’t walk into a store without thinking that something would be a great ingredient/prop/idea/cake/cookie flavor/you name it. This is a state that I am used to by now, after doing this for almost 6 years. This is cool. I like it.

You agonize over what recipes to put on your blog. I have always had complete confidence in what I post on The Kitchen Magpie but now when I develop a new recipe, I think “Is this cookbook material?” and if the answer is yes, then I write it up for the book and I keep it from you guys.

I know, right? I’m keeping things from you guys. That feeling is new and I’ll admit it, very uncomfortable. I’m not the blogger who has been stockpiling recipes on the side, waiting for the day that she was going to write a cookbook. I’m the one who’s been sharing it all with you (sometimes too much, I swear) because it’s my goal to bring you the best of the best when it comes to recipes. The internal battle when I have to set a fantastic recipe aside for my cookbook and not share it with you guys is all too real, I’m afraid.

This cookbook has brought out the Type A in me like you wouldn’t believe and I knew that it would, because I know myself well.

I am pulling out recipes and replacing them with others almost daily, which makes me laugh. I sent my chapter outline in to my publisher and by the time they had responded to me, I had changed around five recipes, all for the better, of course.

I am going to bed dreaming of recipes and waking up cranky because all I could dream about was rattlesnakes in the kitchen. (I’m guessing this is from working on my cookbook in Phoenix. Does anyone have any other guesses? Any deep meaning there?)

I am incredibly happy and satisfied one day, then my artistic temperament takes over and I am wailing that I hate pies. Oh, you should have seen the temper tantrum I had on a pie one day. I could NOT get a slice for a photo that worked. Let’s just say that there was a knife and a whole lot of therapeutic hacking and stabbing involved, followed by cursing and a pie in the garbage. It was a pie murder scene.

I am having so much fun hunting for photo props. This time I have spent in the States has been very productive in finding amazing photo props.

With that being said, I can’t wait for this book to come out, but then again, sometimes I’m so terrified of letting everyone down that I can’t sleep.

I’m not writing this the traditional way. I’m writing this cookbook knowing that there are so many of you out there who have been with me for years now, some of you for the whole time I’ve been around. Your exultations of happiness and excitement when I announced that I was (finally, according to a lot of you) coming out with my first cookbook have me thinking of you, my readers, every single step of the way.

You’re the backbone of my site. You’re the ones who helped me reach this point in my career, the ones whom I get up every morning for and cook, write, share and talk to. Sure, sure, there’s that whole family of mine, but really, every day I wake up and you’re my job. Could I get luckier?

Every recipe I write-up I look at critically and think, “Is it good enough for them?” because (I hope) you are going to spend your hard-earned money on this book when it comes out. Every photo I want to be a work of art for you. I want you to gift it at Christmas to your loved ones, I want you to be able to sit in bed and read my cookbook like I do at night with my favorite cookbooks. I can’t let you down.

That my darlings, is the unexpected part of this. I knew that it was going to be a lot of work, which is why I waited until the point in my life and career that I could really take on the project of a cookbook and not just bang one out. There’s a photo for every single recipe – almost unheard of nowadays – and that alone time wise is an incredible job, not to mention all the other photos I plan on including.

But I didn’t know how much I was going to fuss about letting you all down. And I know that you’ll tell me not to fuss and that I won’t let you down (see how well I know you all?) but you know me. I’m so emotional about everything and this cookbook is no exception.

To sum up, this cookbook is a rollercoaster of pie stabbing, happiness, glee, stress, rattlesnake dreams and lots of sugar.

Until August 1, when my manuscript is due, it’s going to be that rollercoaster. I’m trading in rattlesnakes for The Eiffel Tower and the Tower of London for two months. I’ll be travelling and writing my cookbook at the same time, so recipes might be scarce on here for a while. I have my recipes testers lined up for when I’m gone, to make sure that you’re going to get my best. Then a month of last-minute edits…and it’s time to hand it over. Eeek.

So hang in there. I promise tons of travel posts, perhaps some more talk of cookbook writing. The recipes may be scarce, but I’ll take you to England, Ireland, France and Amsterdam with me this spring.

Thanks for hanging in there with me, I love you more than chocolate.



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Blueberry Apple Swiss Salad with French’s Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette Sat, 21 Mar 2015 16:42:20 +0000 Blueberry Apple Swiss Salad with French’s Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette

Fruit, cheese and a tangy-sweet maple mustard vinaigrette? Major yum!

The post Blueberry Apple Swiss Salad with French’s Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette appeared first on The Kitchen Magpie.

Blueberry Apple Swiss Salad with French’s Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette

This post was brought to you by the makers of French’s Dijon Mustard. I received compensation to write this post through the French’s Easter Program … all opinions expressed are my own.

Let’s play some word association. I’m going to say two phrases and I want you to tell me in the comments below the first thing that pops into your mind, ok?

French’s Dijon Mustard and Easter dinner.

I am going to bet my purple Easter hat that you thought of ham, didn’t you? I’m going to admit it, I thought of ham right off the bat as well when I was contacted to create a recipe using French’s Dijon Mustard for my Easter dinner. A juicy, gorgeous ham with a sweet Dijon mustard glaze…pure heaven.

However, while I fully encourage you to put a fabulous mustard glaze on your ham this Easter, I went completely in the other direction for this recipe.

I absolutely love that this website of mine gives me the opportunity to work with companies whose products I use on a regular basis and French’s mustard is no stranger to my refrigerator. Mike will only eat French’s mustard as his one and only topping for any BBQ sausages in the summertime.

With the thought of how heavy Easter dinner can be, my thoughts turned to lighter fare to use the French’s Dijon Mustard in. I love using mustard in a vinaigrette for some acidity, the many taste layers of mustard add much more to a vinaigrette than vinegar does.

Now, please don’t be scared of the fruit in this recipe because yes, apples and blueberries aren’t the usual salad fare. However, everything in this salad combines to make a sweet, savoury and tangy salad that doesn’t make you feel like you’re eating rabbit food, which is always my goal when I’m creating a salad recipe.

This salad is the perfect side dish for your Easter meal to balance out the ham, potatoes, pierogis and other assorted heavier dishes. I would personally prepare each one in a small salad bowl and serve at the beginning of the meal to whet everyone’s appetite!

What’s on your Easter menu this year? Who’s making a big ol’ ham with mashed potatoes and the works?

Happy Cooking everyone!




Blueberry Apple Swiss Salad with French’s Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette
Prep time
Total time
Sweet, tangy vinaigrette made with French's Dijon Mustard tops this healthy yet deacadent salad. Make sure to use a creamy Swiss cheese, it adds an amazing texture to the salad!
Recipe type: salad
Serves: 4-6
  • • 1 (6-8 cup) bag of spring salad mix
  • • 1 medium apple, thinly sliced
  • • 1 cup blueberries
  • • ½ cup creamy Swiss cheese, diced
  • ⅓ cup toasted hazelnuts or almonds for sprinkling
  • • French’s Dijon Mustard Maple Vinaigrette
  • • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • • 1 tbsp French’s Dijon mustard
  • • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  1. Divide the greens between 4-6 salad bowls. Top each bowl with apples, blueberries and Swiss cheese. Sprinkle each with hazelnuts. Combine the vinaigrette ingredients in a jar, shake well, and then drizzle over each salad bowl. Serve and enjoy!


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I Left My Heart in Sedona Fri, 13 Mar 2015 12:00:28 +0000 I Left My Heart in Sedona

My day trip to magical, mystical and downright gorgeous Sedona, Arizona!

The post I Left My Heart in Sedona appeared first on The Kitchen Magpie.

I Left My Heart in Sedona

Sedona, Arizona is amazing. Breathtaking. Utterly majestic and magical.

Full of mysterious magic that lures you into the arid desert, heeding the siren call of the red rocks that beckon you to wander into the mystical forever of those iron-dense hills until all that’s left of you is your sun bleached bones that some poor hiker finds in 2 years. And they think oh, that’s what happened to Magpie.

Or you could just take a Jeep tour, like we did.

When our buddies Phil and Robyn Wilson came out from Edmonton to visit us a few weeks ago, Sedona was on their must-do list. Which was a short list really. consisting of :

  • Sit on our deck and drink in the sun
  • Jeep Tour in Sedona
  • Eat some Phoenix Food
  • And do some more deck sitting/drinking

I am happy to confirm that as hostess-with-the-mostest we manged to cross everything off of their list.

Sedona is one incredible place. While theories abound of UFO’s, mystical properties and magic, there truly is something that pulls you closer. I’m not sure if it’s simply the sheer beauty of the location or if it is the real magnetic properties that are there, but I’m sad that I only had one day. 

The jeep tour took us into Dry Creek Basin to see the historic Van Derin cabin, on its original homestead. The land was ranched by only one family until the land could no longer sustain cattle anymore.

It’s so remote, so hot, dry, barren and they were the only family out there, for miles and miles of desert.I can’t imagine forging a life out here. The house was considered pretty fancy for the times, with two sections to it and a space between.

I looked at all the cracks in the house and freaked out thinking of all those creepy crawlies, snakes and more. Shudder.

There IS rain in the desert and you could see pools of it around the creek area. Gorgeous, earthy, rocky areas that are so unlike areas back at home in Alberta that I just can’t help but be amazed by it.

Breathtaking, mystical and most certainly echoing with a siren call that explorers & adventurers have never been able to resist.

We had such an excellent day that I can’t wait to go back. I might even be convinced to do a helicopter tour of the area since it is one of the most spetacularly beautiful places that I have ever visited. Yes, me, the girl who is afraid of heights.

Let’s remember that *might* was the operative word there. I’m thinking about it. While we don’t have time this trip to Arizona to visit again (and this time take the kids with us) I am putting Sedona on my list of somewhere I want to go back and spend 3 or 4 days exploring the area. I barely even saw the town but of course, found the requiste touristy fudge shop! No surprise there.

Have you been to Sedona? What did you think?



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Red Velvet Cake Batter Pancakes Wed, 11 Mar 2015 00:03:27 +0000 Red Velvet Cake Batter Pancakes

These are basically cake and icing for breakfast and I've never been happier about something!

The post Red Velvet Cake Batter Pancakes appeared first on The Kitchen Magpie.

Red Velvet Cake Batter Pancakes

So… I totally fed cake to my kids on Monday morning.

* ducks as the Super Parents start throwing things at me *

Now, what’s really funny about this is that I totally contradicted myself. Or lied? Did I lie?

I posted a while back, perhaps two years ago on my Homemade Funfetti Pancakes recipe that

There are few truths in this world that I can truly say I will stick to resolutely, but this recipe definitely covers one of them.

I will never feed my children cake batter in the morning and then send them off to school.

I remember almost everything I write but I also admit loudly, freely and unashamed, that I contradict myself all the time.

It’s ok, you know, to contradict yourself. Your opinion changes so very much from year to year and it’s very hard when you lead a public life like mine and write everything on the internet for everyone to see, all the time. I’m totally flawed and I like it that way.

Sure, I could have erased that part of my post, but then I couldn’t have had all this joy making fun of myself, now could I? Just keepin’ it real. I don’t erase my past contradictions, mainly because I suspect my website would be empty…

(make sure to check out these babies, they are SO amazing!)

Listen. We were back to homeschooling after two weeks off and those two weeks included Disneyland. Ugh, okay? There’s just no explaining how bad it was. Not only that, Mike took off to Salt Lake City for the annual Adobe Summit that he always covers as media and I am stuck with all my work, homeschooling both kids, trying to write my cookbook, start packing to head home to Alberta (NO! NO! You can’t make me come home!) and…sigh.

Let’s face it. It’s all about trying to keep my head above the water this week. Mr K is a week behind in homeschool, which means that I am trying to just get him to this week, never mind tackling the work that this week brings with it. That is the one thing I am hating about homeschool is that we aren’t setting the pace ourselves. That’s a rant for another day, but I’m pretty sure that we are going to do parent-led next year. I need to set my pace, because the teacher led pace is not cutting it for me.

So all the above “poor me” brings me full circle back to the fact that I fed my kids cake for breakfast. And my sister-in-law. And myself. We are all guilty.

It also brings us back to me asking, did I really lie? I “technically” sent the kids to school. Homeschool. So if you take that side of it, yes, I lied and contradicted myself.

But Holy Dinah you guys, I NEEDED CAKE!

Is there a stressed out mom clause when it comes to contradicting yourself? I mean, just LOOK at these pancakes! Gah! They were little cakes! Look at that crumb! And icing!

You guys, they were so good. You can sub in any regular boxed cake mix as well, whatever is your favorite.

So there you have it.I’ve been caught lying and contradicting myself.

It is, truthfully, a very overwhelming week. Mike and I are heading back to California to work mid next week (I know, it’s hard) but in fact this is going to be hours upon hours of work for both him and I for his website. (and then I still have to keep up on my work)

We have a lot of amazing travel coming up, combined with a major workload that comes with it. I try not to complain because !TRAVEL! but there does come a point where working for ourselves and trying to do it all catches up with us…and that point might have been yesterday when I ate cake for breakfast hahah!

All I really need to know is that if we can invent a Stressed Mom Clause that works like a get out of jail free card. Does that sound good? Let’s do this.

Do I get out of jail free?

Love you more than cake for breakfast,


Red Velvet Cake Batter Pancakes
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Cake batter pancakes that will work with any cake mix you choose. Perfect for kids birthday parties or Monday mornings. Definitely the best thing for a Monday morning.
Recipe type: breakfast, dessert
Serves: 14-16 pancakes
  • one package of red velvet cake mix
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • 1½ cups milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • oil for greasing the pan

  • Cream Cheese Icing
  • ½ package of cream cheese
  • ¼ cup of butter
  • 1 cup of icing sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla if wanted
  • 2-3 tbsp cream or milk
  1. Combine all ingredients into a large bowl, mixing until all the lumps disappear. If the batter is too thick, add more milk. The batter should be just spreadable, unlike normal pancake batter, and not runny.
  2. Heat a griddle to a medium high temp.
  3. Using a ¼ cup scoop, measure out enough pancakes to fill the griddle.
  4. Cook until browned on the bottom slightly and the edges are cooked. Flip and cook until the other side is done.
  5. Combine the cream cheese icing ingredients together using beaters until creamy. Add more milk or cream until desired thickness is achieved.
  6. Serve with cream cheese icing or syrup!


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Chicken Tetrazzini Sat, 07 Mar 2015 17:01:40 +0000 Chicken Tetrazzini

I loved this super easy, spinach laden cheesy casserole!

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Chicken Tetrazzini

I love a good, quick and easily customizable casserole recipe. This latest recipe from my stint as a Campbell’s ambassador is exactly that. I customized it for the tastes of my family easily and it turned out fabulously delicious.

I upped the spinach and the cheese on top, nixed the breadcrumbs because my kids don’t like the texture and it turned out to be a super cheesy, vegetable filled casserole.

I love how my kids think that a cheesy, gooey shot of the casserole is THE BEST PHOTO ever. My daughter was my helper shooting the photos (I swear she’s going to be a photographer and cook, she’s turned into my little shadow lately) and she insisted that a cheesy shot was the best.

She’s most likely right.

I think that my favorite part of this whole casserole is the spinach. I absolutely adore spinach in hot dishes, yet it’s probably my least favorite green to eat in a salad raw, unless I have a super fancy dressing and other things to hide it.

So again, another winner from Campbell’s! I have another delicious one coming right up, so just wait for it!

Happy cooking!



Chicken Tetrazzini
  • 2 cans (568 mL) CAMPBELL'S® Condensed Low Fat Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 3 cups (750 mL) roasted chicken, shredded
  • 1.25 cups (310 mL) milk
  • ½ cup (125 mL) parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) onion powder
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) garlic powder
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) Italian seasoning
  • 6 oz (170g) mushrooms, sliced thin
  • 1 cup (250 mL) fresh spinach, loosely packed
  • 4 cups (1 L) hot cooked penne (about ½ of a 1lb package)
  • ¼ cup (60 mL) bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup (60 mL) mozzarella, grated
  1. Combine all ingredients except bread crumbs and mozzarella in a large bowl and mix well. Transfer to a 3 liter casserole dish.
  2. Mix bread crumbs and mozzarella and sprinkle evenly over dish. Transfer to a pre-heated oven and bake for 20 minutes at 375°F (190°C) or until casserole is bubbling and topping is browned.
  3. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Check out the original recipe from Campbells here

“Disclosure: I am part of the Campbell Company of Canada Ambassador program with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.”

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15 Minute Chicken Mushroom Udon Noodle Soup Sat, 07 Mar 2015 04:34:06 +0000 15 Minute Chicken Mushroom Udon Noodle Soup

This 15 Minute Chicken Mushroom Udon Noodle Soup is fast, easy and my new comfort food. Where has this been all my life?

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15 Minute Chicken Mushroom Udon Noodle Soup

I was craving homemade ramen.

Ok fine, this isn’t homemade ramen (but that is coming darn soon as well) this is Udon noodle soup. I had shopped hungry the past week and grabbed all sorts of fresh noodles, in the hopes that I would be able to make some soup that the kids would eat. We’ve had company from Calgary this past week and the girls joining us are just like my little Rose, meaning they are.. oh, how shall I say it… let’s go with “selective eaters. ”

I enlisted my three “selective eaters” to help make the soup. Contrary to all the parenting advice out there, having children prep the meal will NOT have them wanting to eat it every single time. It doesn’t work, I’m sorry. Having two children who both were “selective eaters” and being the cook that I am, trust me, it doesn’t work all the time. That said, it IS very important to have your children learning to prepare food, even if they aren’t going to eat it.

That’s what I figured was going to happen here. I had three girls to entertain, so I gave them knives and had them chop chicken and green onions.

Yes. Come visit me and I’ll give your children knives. Butter knives, for the littles, but my Rose uses real knives at this point to chop.

It was prepped, cooked and ready.

And everyone ate it.

With smiles.

With quizzical looks as to what these crazy new noodles were.

One kid loved the noodles only.

One liked the noodles and chicken.

One kid loved the noodles, chicken and gave me a thumbs up on the shiitake mushrooms.

The fourth kid ate the whole thing.

What I’m trying to get at, was this soup was a HIT! You guys, four kids ate this soup and everyone loved it. This is the perfect meal for a family, because it’s very customizable. Rare is the child who doesn’t like delicious noodles in a chicken broth. You might even get some chicken into them as well!

Make sure you try this out! Buy a rotisserie chicken and make use of the chicken for this recipe, it makes it so much easier! You can pre-cook chicken breast beforehand as well, to make it an easy meal for the end of a busy workday.

Happy cooking everyone! I couldn’t wait to get this written up for you guys!

P.S. Use soba noodles and gluten-free stock for an amazing gluten-free version!




15 Minute Chicken Mushroom Udon Noodle Soup
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Quick, easy and delicious homemade chicken mushroom Udon noodle soup! This is now a new family favorite!
Serves: 6
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 cup fresh shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 pre-cooked roasted chicken breasts, sliced in large, long slices
  • 3 packs fresh Udon noodles
  • 1 cup green onions, diced
  1. Heat the sesame oil in a large pot over medium heat;add the garlic and ginger, and cook for a few minutes until softened. Add the soy sauce and stir to combine.
  2. Add the chicken stock, mushrooms and chicken. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the Udon noodles and cook for 3-4 minutes (or according to package directions).
  4. Stir in the green onions.
  5. Serve and enjoy!
With the stock, a stronger flavor is better. Weak stock makes for a weak tasting soup. DO NOT add salt until you taste it at the end, then season if you want. The chicken stock is usually salty enough!

DO try and use fresh Udon noodles, it makes all the difference!


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Garnier Ultra-Lift Miracle Sleeping Night Cream Giveaway! Tue, 03 Mar 2015 16:02:48 +0000 Garnier Ultra-Lift Miracle Sleeping Night Cream Giveaway!

Check out my first Vlog AND enter to win Garnier Ultra-Lift Miracle Sleeping Night Cream!

The post Garnier Ultra-Lift Miracle Sleeping Night Cream Giveaway! appeared first on The Kitchen Magpie.

Garnier Ultra-Lift Miracle Sleeping Night Cream Giveaway!

I’ve mentioned before that the desert air here in Phoenix is so dry that I swear I’m turning into an alligator. It was nice to have my notions reaffirmed by a Jeep tour guide here, who told me that the arid climate literally sucks the moisture out of your body and that most tourists don’t even realize that they need a gallon of water a day just to stay hydrated.

So one can only imagine what it’s doing to my skin! Now, I’m going to be honest, I’m really bad at skin care. I don’t always remember to wash all my makeup off – I know, I know- and I forget to moisturize all the time. I make my make-up blogging sister in law just crazy with the lack of care.

So when I had the chance to try out Garnier Ultra-Lift Miracle Sleeping Night Cream and do a Vlog for you all, I thought hey, it’s time to redeem myself. I could check out if it visibly reduced signs of fatigue, wrinkles and rejuvenated my skin over the first night’s use.

Now, the product details! The cream contains 7 active ingredients that are powerful alone yet transformative together such as Hyaluronic acid, LHA and Lavender Essential Oil and the texture is auto-smoothing for anti-aging results and doesn’t transfer onto your pillow. Of course, you are going to get the best results using nightly with Garnier Ultra-Lift Miracle Sleeping Eye Cream as well. You can buy both of them in retail stores across Canada, avg. retail price $24.99 CAN.

You can try the Garnier Ultra-Lift Miracle Sleeping Cream Night Cream HERE so you can experience an overnight miracle of your very own. To see the results from others as well, make sure to follow the hashtag #morningselfie on Twitter.

Now my darlings, you know that I love doing these campaigns because you all get a chance to win!

Make sure to enter your name, email address, and city of residence below for your chance to win Garnier Ultra-Lift Miracle Sleeping Night Cream. Lucky winners will be chosen and invited back on Apr 6, 2015 to comment on my Garnier follow-up blog post for a chance to win a grand prize!

Make sure to check out all the ways you can win below!

Be sure to watch my Vlog talking about trying out the Garnier Ultra-Lift Miracle Sleeping Night Cream and let me know what you think! Eeek! I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to get any type of video up on the site, so take it easy on me, it’s my first one!

Good luck everyone, don’t forget to enter the contest! Although this post has been generously sponsored by Garnier Canada, the opinions and language are my own, and in no way do they reflect Garnier Canada.

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Your Disneyland Food Bucket List! Mon, 02 Mar 2015 20:27:11 +0000 Your Disneyland Food Bucket List!

Your Disneyland Food Bucket List! The best food at Disneyland and California Adventure with a printable list for you to print & take with you!

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Your Disneyland Food Bucket List!

**Make sure to read through to the bottom of the post to get your printable list that I’ve made for you! Simply print it and take it in your bag to Disneyland!**

As you all know, I’m addicted to Disneyland. It’s ok. I can admit it freely now. I’ve gone through all the steps and have finally reached “acceptance”. I have a Disneyland problem and instead of fighting it, I’m just going to embrace it and take you all with me!

While I have talked about food before, (check out my Disneyland section!) I can’t believe that I have never written a Food Bucket List for you all! How did I miss this one?

While this isn’t the end all, be all list, this is a list of what I personally have tried on my trips over the years. I can back up the deliciousness of this food. These are my favorites at both parks, Disneyland and California Adventure.

First of all, I still find it hard to believe that there is really good food found at a theme park. I guess if anyone could do it, Disney would. While there are definitely some stinkers (read my review of the Carnation Cafe) every time I visit Disneyland I’m still amazed at how good some of the food is.

To help you avoid those stinkers, here’s my list of my favorite foods at Disneyland!

1. The Clam Chowder Bowl at the Pacific Wharf Cafe. (California Adventure)

At $9.99, I consider this sourdough bread bowl filled with clam chowder to be one of the best deals at Disneyland. Three of us girls ate this for lunch this past week and it’s honestly some of the best clam chowder I’ve ever eaten. I know, right? At Disneyland? Yes. This was so seriously amazing that we all agreed that it was the best food that we’ve eaten at Disneyland. Don’t like clam chowder? There are other choices such as the seasonal soup which was an equally fantastic loaded baked potato soup that my husband Mike happily enjoyed.

You can also find chili bowls over at the Golden Horseshoe in Disneyland, another great deal.

2. Anything Starbucks and Caffeinated from The Market House in Disneyland or the Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Cafe in California Adventure.

If Disneyland wasn’t the happiest place on earth for me before, it sure is now. There’s no place on earth that I require more caffeine at than at Disneyland. The fact that they now have amazing coffee loaded up with sugar and deliciousness for me in the morning makes me so, SO happy.

Even if they never spell my name right.

3. The Mickey Mouse Shortbread Cookie at Starbucks (both parks)

This light lemony shortbread cookie with a yummy chocolate icing has now become a first day at Disneyland breakfast tradition. There’s something just perfect about the flavor and it’s Mickey Mouse. ’nuff said.

Pair that with my sugary coffee? Mama is goooood for the day!

4. The Mickey Shaped Beignets at the Mint Julep Bar in New Orleans Square (Disneyland)

I am ashamed to say that I hadn’t tried these until just this past trip. These gems are hidden in a back corner of New Orleans square and are something that you simply must ferret out on your trip. Hot, delicious, bready powdered sugar delights, you get a small taste of New Orleans in the middle of California.

5. The Chicken Fried Chicken at The Plaza Inn (Disneyland)

This is some of the best fried chicken out there and it’s my top choice for lunch when we are in the area. At$15.99 it’s large enough for a couple to share with 3 pieces of chicken, a biscuit, a pile of potatoes and green beans (and perhaps with a dessert added on!). I’ve also shared this with my kids.

6. The Pot Roast at The Plaza Inn (Disneyland)

While we are at the Plaza Inn, I have to mention the pot roast. This is Mike’s favorite meal and it’s scrumptious. Slow cooked until it falls apart, it’s a super protein packed meal for $17.49 that again, is big enough for sharing.

7. The Monte Cristo Sandwich (Disneyland)

The most famous of all Disneyland foods (excepting perhaps the Dole Whip) this sandwich is something you havet o try at least once. You can have it in the Blue Bayou or the Cafe Orleans. The only difference is that the one in the Blue Bayou also inclueded a creme Anglais sauce when I tried it and you only receive preserves in the Cafe. I prefer the cafe however, because you can also order the fries (read on below).

Let me warn you; you cannot eat this yourself. It’s huge and too filling. You seriously have to share it! The cheese only version is also delicious, you can’t go wrong with either one.

8. The Parmesan Pommes Frites w/ Cajun Spice Remoulade (Disneyland)

While a lot of food is, of course, overpriced, these fries are a good value at $6.49. You get a large, in charge basket of really scrumptious fries. Pair it with the Monte Cristo above and I kid you not, it feeds three of you.

9. The Dole Whip (Disneyland)

I honestly think this treat is why the Tikki Room stays in Disneyland. (there’s always rumors floating around that it’s shutting down). On a nice warm day you grab your Dole Whip (the line is always shorter on the Tikki Room side!) and then head into the Tikki Room to enjoy the show. I almost always get the float, which is a lovely pineapple juice topped with the tangy pineapple whip. I think this is my favorite pineapple treat ever!

10. Smoked Turkey Legs (found throughout the parks)

My sister and I might be addicted to these as well. There’s nothing like a hit of smokey protein in the middle of the day. They are perfect for sharing and I honestly can’t remember a single trip where we haven’t eaten one of these. It’s beyond tradition, it’s a must.

11. The Alla Vongole at The Golden Vine Winery (Caifornia Adventure)

This fettucine served with clams, parsley, garlic, olive oil, chili flakes, and white wine was seriously amazing! While the other pasta was just good, this was one meal that I loved. The best part? You can get a glass of wine with your meal as well.

12. Assorted Seasonal Treats (locations throughout both parks)

Don’t miss the seasonal treats that are only available for a limited time! I especially love the holiday treats like this Halloween cupcake….

… and the Mickey Mouse Bat cookies found at Starbucks during Halloween.Every season will have treats, so hunt them out!

13. Anything at Ghirardelli Soda Fountain & Chocolate Shop (California Adventure)

Besides the fact that every family member gets a free chocolate as soon as you walk in the door, this is a must-eat place in California Adventure. I love the sea salt caramel and chocolate sundae…and anything with mint…eh, it’s all amazing!

14. Churros! (carts throughout both parks)

Beloved by young and old, we can barely turn our backs on my Dad before he’s found a churro cart for us to snack at. Disneyland also makes some of the best churros out there so make sure you try them!

And that’s it! While there are many runners up – corn dogs, corn on the cob, etc – these are the most delicious things at Disneyland!

Make sure to print out the list below and take it with you when you head to Disneyland!



Disneyland Food Bucket List

  1. The Clam Chowder Bowl at the Pacific Wharf Cafe. (California Adventure)
  2. Anything Starbucks and Caffeinated from The Market House in Disneyland or the Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Café in California Adventure.
  3. The Mickey Mouse Shortbread Cookie at Starbucks (both parks)
  4. The Mickey Shaped Beignets at the Mint Julep Bar in New Orleans Square (Disneyland)
  5. The Chicken Fried Chicken at The Plaza Inn (Disneyland)
  6. The Pot Roast at The Plaza Inn (Disneyland)
  7. The Monte Cristo Sandwich (Disneyland)
  8. The Parmesan Pommes Frites w/ Cajun Spice Remoulade (Disneyland)
  9. The Dole Whip (Disneyland by the Tiki Room)
  10. Smoked Turkey Legs (found throughout the parks)
  11. The Alla Vongole at The Golden Vine Winery (Caifornia Adventure)
  12. Assorted Seasonal Treats (locations throughout both parks)
  13. Anything at Ghirardelli Soda Fountain & Chocolate Shop (California Adventure)
  14. Churros! (carts throughout both parks)

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Dreaming of a Trip to Texas Wed, 25 Feb 2015 16:00:20 +0000 Dreaming of a Trip to Texas

You can help me win a trip to Texas! Check out what my dream vacation would be!

The post Dreaming of a Trip to Texas appeared first on The Kitchen Magpie.

Dreaming of a Trip to Texas

There’s been a lot of Texas talk on my website lately since my podcast partner Phil has been going on and on about all the amazing food he ate when he went to Austin. Indeed, he and his wife go to Texas just so that they can eat their way through the local food scene, which to me is a pretty awesome idea. So I’ve been hearing nothing from him but barbeque, restaurants opened by Top Chef winners and of course, beautiful weather!

I’ve been to Texas once, fleetingly before I caught a cruise out of Galveston. We stayed overnight in Houston before we left and it was a tease. I was taunted by all the amazing things to see and do, to eat and experience and knew that one day, I was coming back for a longer stay.

Needless to say, when the chance came up to work with Texas Tourism and write about my dream Texas vacation, I started dreaming!

And I like to dream big, just like the Lone Star State.

To start my planning, I went to the Texas Tourism website to check out everything they have on there to help you plan your dream Texas vacation. Now, you all know that I do a lot of travelling (understatement of the year) so I have looked at a lot of websites while trying to plan our trips. I am really impressed with how well this website is put together. You can download their Free Texas Travel Guide and also sign up for their newsletter to help you make those plans. Their interactive passport is fun and allows you to plan your trip easily and customize it to your liking.

So now, you guys, here’s something really important to me. You can help me win a trip for two to the Lone Star State in the Texas Photo Roundup Contest!

I am so darn thrilled! Vote for me, if you feel that my photos represent your ideal vacation in Texas. By voting for me, you are also entered to win a chance for a $1000 prize! The participant with the highest number of votes will win a trip for 2 to Texas this spring 2015 and one lucky audience voter will randomly be selected to win the cash prize!

I would love to win this trip and oh my word, if one of you could win that cash prize? Eeeek! How exciting would that be?

You can vote once per day for me and the contest ends March 24th, 2015 at 11:59 PM EST. It’s open to Canadian residents only (excluding Quebec). See the exact full contest terms and conditions below.

So after perusing a ton of photos, I have chosen my top four that I think represent my dream trip to Texas. I honestly took far too long hemming and hawing over what to choose, but I finally have narrowed it down to the perfect family vacation.

My choice for what I would want to do is the Grapevine’s Grapefest, which shouldn’t surprise any of you.  Wine tastings? Yes please!


For those kids of mine, it would have to be the Texas State Fair. Oh, I looked at pictures of the Texas Zoo and the Texas State Aquarium, but I knew that for my twerps their top choice would be the State Fair. I also have to admit, I’ve watched too many movies and one day I would love to attend an American State Fair, just to see what it’s like. I want to go and eat State Fair food, go on rides and just see what it’s all about.



I’m going to be sneaky and try to pass this choice off as Mike’s, but it’s really for both him and I. We are avid fisherman, as you all know, and we would love to learn how to fly fish. As soon as I saw this picture, I knew that it was what Mike would want to do above all else in Texas. Texas is so diverse, with seven geographic regions with different landscapes such as beaches, forests, rolling hills and canyons. It’s pretty amazing that we can get active and fly fish/kayak/hike/rock climb one day and travel to the beach to relax the next! Speaking of the beach…..


 Last but not least, the beach. There’s something about the ocean that calls to my soul and living landlocked where I do, I love visiting the beach as often as I can. Texas has over 600 miles of coastline and fabulous beaches, so off to the beach I would go!


And there we have it, my dream trip to Texas!

I would love it if you can all vote for me and help a gal out! Can you send me to Texas, pretty please? I promise you that you can pack your virtual suitcases again! I’ll be tweeting, writing and sharing pictures as per usual and taking you along virtually with me!

If I throw in some Texas sunrise and sunset pictures as a bribe, is your vote a done deal? I know you guys love them!

Thanks you guys and good luck to you…and to me! Let’s win this!

Love you more than travel,


Although this post has been generously sponsored by Texas Tourism, the opinions and language are my own, and in no way do they reflect Texas Tourism.


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Magpie’s Tasty Tangerine & Gin Mon, 23 Feb 2015 14:00:41 +0000 Magpie’s Tasty Tangerine & Gin

Magpie's Tasty Tangerine & Gin cocktail! Smash a strawberry and mint in there and you are in business!

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Magpie’s Tasty Tangerine & Gin

A word of warning, make sure you like tangerine juice first before making this. I know that it seems like a silly thing to say, but you would be surprised how many people don’t like tangerine juice. It’s not the most popular for a reason. It’s hard to describe, but I would call it a mix between orange and carrot juice…am I right, tangerine lovers? There’s something very savoury about it that brings forth a taste of vegetable juice as well.

This gin drink came about because I had tangerine juice. I had strawberries. I had gin. I always have mint. There were no recipes out there for anything like it, so I smashed it all together and prayed for it to work out.

It worked out quite darn well!

I quickly posted this recipe on my Facebook page last week when I whipped it up spur of the moment and now I’ll post it here for everyone to enjoy.

You are either going to love or hate the mint in this drink. I love mint in everything, so there was no way I was leaving it out.

I was shocked that Mike liked this drink as well, let’s face it, he’s picky. I handed it to him for a taste test and the resulting raised eyebrows with a “Hey, that’s good!” had me raising my own eyebrows in disbelief. I had totally pegged him for a tangerine juice hater.

Then again, doesn’t gin make everything better?

Happy cocktailing!



Magpie's Tasty Tangerine & Gin
Prep time
Total time
A delicious combination of tangerine juice with gin and smashed strawberries is my newest drink love!
Serves: 1
  • 2 oz tangerine nectar
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • one large strawberry
  • 1 oz gin
  • 2 oz club soda
  • ice to fill
  • Mint only if you like mint in everything like I do.
  1. In the bottom of a whiskey tumbler or short glass, smash the strawberry, brown sugar and mint (if wanted) together. Pour in the gin and mix. Add ice to fill then pour the club soda over it. Stir and serve with a strawberry on the side as garnish!


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