Guilty Pleasure and a Healthy Treat

It is the holiday season and the date squares are a welcomed treat. I came across a quick and easy recipe that has a different spin on a date treat.

The ingredients are simple:

  • Medjoul dates
  • chunky peanut butter
  • Semi-sweet chocolate
  • Unsalted butter
  • Salt
Fresh dates 😋🥰

This recipe is for 10 treats.

Pit 10 dates by carefully slicing them in half, length wise. You will find a thin seed between the core fibre. Take the tip of your knife and pry it out. The seed should come out easily.

Scoop a teaspoon of chunky peanut butter and place it in the centre of the date. You can also add chopped peanuts to the centre, for extra crunch, too. Tightly fold the date halves together and press like it’s a peanut butter sandwich.

To make the chocolate topping, use a double boiler and melt the semi-sweet chocolate and 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter. Mix together well.

Once the chocolate is smooth coat each peanut butter date with chocolate and place on parchment paper or a cookie sheet. Sprinkle salt (I recommend sea salt) to the top of each treat and let them rest in the freezer for 1 hour.

Just out of the freezer

Serve as a delicious dessert. I have to admit they really do taste like Snickers bars! You can pretty them up a bit more. Mine were a bit rushed with my sons over my shoulder, but either way it is a healthy alternative to a guilty pleasure chocolate bar.

Vacuum Sealing

I finally used my FoodSaver machine and I can’t lie, it was super fun. My mom had one in the ’80s and it hasn’t really changed lol. I managed to seal some bulk ground beef from Costco and some mixed food for the dogs. My mind is racing and thinking about all the things I can seal.

I did make a video of the process so you can watch and listen to my ramblings.

Enjoy and have a fantastic day!

🎬 Full video:

https://youtu.be/FDv6Mkx9CCs

Much love,

Stiletto S.

Takeout food almost killed me!

Hello my friends and I hope you are all doing well. So let’s talk about home cooked meals. As a mother of 6 children I have been challenged with coming up with quick and easy ways to feed the family. During this current pandemic and the most recent 4 week lockdown here in my city, even ordering food can have risks. A few weeks ago, I had a fight with some food poisoning after ordering some takeout. Some people may have slight fevers and other not so pleasant discomforts in the stomach and bowels. However, due to my ever complexing Multiple Sclerosis disease, food poisoning can be a full on battle.

Yes I had tons of life stress that contributed while also concealing what was happening with me. My stomach started feeling and looking swollen. I noticed but wasn’t too alarmed as my disease, meds, stress etc. can cause some bloating. I started feeling fatigue, also a common symptom of MS, and my stomach had a burning feeling and THEN the real pain began. My lower back started hurting, I could hardly walk. The pain was so bad and I was so weak I opted to buy a wheelchair to help. I was mostly bedridden and I was tired of staring at the walls. I started feeling hot and cold chills and with the state of the world as it is, I did not want to go to the hospital unless it was absolutely necessary, but something was urging me to do something about it. I called my neurologist because I was going downhill fast.

After having so much pain walking and simply moving my legs, my neurologist asked me questions, did some physical tests. Before I go on, I would like to point out that these physical tests are freaking hard! There’s pulling, pushing, walking, eye testing, coordination testing, balancing, reflex testing and trying to remember all the concerns I had.. I digress. We looked at my recent brain MRI and he didn’t see any new nor active lesions. At the end of it all we discussed steroids.

As much as I love to be pain free, I take steroids with my Ocrevus infusion every 6 months and I really wanted to avoid the side effects as much as possible. For example, “roid rages”, eating like a bottomless pit but most importantly over time my bones will become brittle. We discussed our options and decided to do a full panel blood test, get a new spine MRI and then decide what the next step is pending the results. The wait sucked really hard, but what the blood test revealed was pretty shocking.

Are you ready for this one?! I had E.coli poisoning!! My nurse called to check on how I was feeling and tried to assure me that it should clear up on its own. My neuro said the small infection is exacerbating my MS symptoms, kinda like hiding in plain sight.  We went ahead with getting another spine MRI just to be sure.  My family physician and nurse contacted me and prescribed 1 dose of fluoroquinolone.  A few weeks later, my spine MRI showed no new nor active lesions and I was starting to feel better each day after.

What this whole ordeal came down to is food.  All the risks and trust we put into others to prepare our meals is incredible.  It made me really think about my family and how we have all consumed this food and could have ended up in a full disaster if my children were effected.  Now I’m a lot more cautious of what I and my family eats.  I’ve gone back to my roots, cooking, baking and creating different recipes that my kids are so happy with.  My most recent creation was a 5 layer lasagna.  I made the noodles and layered the dish while I watched Dr. G Medical Examiner.  Perhaps watching her show made me hyper aware about what goes on inside our bodies and contributing factors to deaths.  The best thing that I’ve done, as a direct result of using quality ingredients and home cooking, is leading by example.  My children love to watch and help me cook and bake.  Their eyes brighten up when I make their favourite treats and dishes, but even more so when they know they helped me.


I hope this post gives you some cooking inspiration and health awareness.

Take care!

SS

Alright this Saturday Night

My children wanted to learn our traditional dish of Filipino Lumpia. In a short description, they are small egg rolls usually made as appetizers, snacks, sides etc. I had so much fun teaching them how every piece is made with care and love. It was a nice bonding moment shared with my young men. I hope they will pass this recipe and technique to my future grandchildren.

I remember helping my mom and aunties make hundreds of these egg rolls. I was responsible for carefully pulling each wrap away from the other making sure they didn’t rip.

Overall, I’m proud to say that, despite the efforts to cut corners, they did a wonderful job and it’s nice to have help to make these traditional treats. The delicious Homemade Lumpia was devoured.

Enjoy the video! There will be more recipes and adventures soon!

Stiletto S

Restaurant Review: Crossing’s Pub & Eatery

It was Sunday morning and I woke up craving a nice homestyle Sunday Brunch.

After finding out the local restaurant was closed, I ventured around the corner and found the Crossing’s Pub & Eatery.

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It resembles a Victorian farmhouse converted into an “inn style” pub, complete with seating on both the main and upper levels of the building.  Our server mentioned that the top floors could be reserved for more private dining and parties.  The overall atmosphere was welcoming and felt like “Home”.

It was a difficult decision, but among all the delicious options I decided to order the hearty flat iron steak and eggs.   When it arrived I was pleasantly surprised by the presentation, the steak was cooked to perfection and full of juicy flavourings, the scrambled eggs were fluffy and the added touches of fruit and garnish added charm to this handsome looking plate!

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This is a great place for anyone from family to business, their customer service made my stay pleasant and welcoming.  I highly recommend this restaurant for those Sunday Brunch cravings and I can’t wait to go back to try their dinner menu.

Cheers to a fabulous Sunday Brunch!

Click here for more info on Crossings Pub & Eatery

Restaurant Review: Garlics of London… A Gem in the City

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I had the pleasure of having lunch in this beautiful restaurant.  Despite the seasonal construction on the way to my reservation, the location is central and easy to find.  In addition to the beautiful modern European decor the customer service was impeccable!  The server explained that all the ingredients in every dish is made from locally grown vegetables, meat and honey; the pasta is made the evening before to provide the freshest meals.  True to her word, from appetizers to dessert and even my mimosa, everything tasted fresh and flavourful.  I personally recommend the Bacon Wrapped Bocconcini for a starter, you won’t be disappointed! 

Located in the heart of London, I highly recommend visiting Garlic’s of London

Twitter: Garlic’s of London   Facebook:  Garlic’s of London

Back with the old?

Tea Time

This weekend seemed to keep me more busy than I had anticipated.  It was full of cooking, cleaning and a lot of deep random thoughts.  Watching episodes of Law and Order Special Victims Unit brought some realization of how serious life can be and it eventually lead me to think of the “simple” times.  In particular, it made me question what and when is the correct “tea time”?

I posted the question on Twitter and I received some helpful information as to when the hour is for “High Tea”.  I did some research as I was curious as to Why? What? and When?  Tea time existed.

In the United Kingdom during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Afternoon Tea, also known as “low tea”, was celebrated in the late afternoon predominantly as a social event for upper class women as a bridge between meals.  Tea with finger sandwiches, scones, fruit, etc. were served at low tables and comfy chairs and sofas.  It was a social time for women complete with everything lace and dainty.  However, the working class had a different budget and schedule which meant most of their dinners were served later in the evening after 6pm, High Tea became a necessity.

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High Tea was usually celebrated between 3pm and 4pm as well but with a more substantial menu.  Tea, potatoes, crackers, cheese, meats and pies were served and the tradition still continues now, with the addition of more delicious pastries and treats.

As I was packing my children’s lunches today, I thought about how their meals are broken up while they are at school and how famished they are when they get home between 3pm and 4pm of their modern day schedule.  The kids come home and snack here and there, but I think it’s time to change things up so, with that in mind, I’ve decided to bring “High Tea” time back and incorporate it into my daily life.  I’m going to try “High Tea” time as a household experiment and see how it affects the children and my grocery budget.  This should be fun!

Now… how do I make scones…?

SS

Restaurant Review: Sushi Fanatics… truly FANTASTIC

As a foodie, I am always looking to try different food and restaurants.  While out doing errands with my friend, she remembered seeing a new sushi restaurant close to our destination… the mall.   😉

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Above was our view from our beautiful round booth, we adored the decor from the chic colours to the classy chandeliers.  Our server brought us their all-you-can-eat lunch menu/order sheet which made ordering easy and fast.  We ordered some familiar things off their menu as well as some sushi rolls we were familiar with.  We were more than impressed with what we received.

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For me, presentation is always key and they did not disappoint.  I would have to say, the highlight of my meal was the Bacon wrapped asparagus.  It looked fairly simply, but WOW!  The flavour was outstanding, the bacon had a smokey taste and with a touch of red balsamic vinegar… I was completely blown away!

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The staff was courteous and professional and the food was nothing short of gourmet!  In speaking with one of the owners, I had a chance to get a feel for the care and forward thinking he had shared with his brother and where they saw their restaurant going.  They took great strides to listen to their customer dynamic and how to keep them coming back for more.  The restaurant is both adult and family friendly.

Now, typically my friend and I love to document our excursions via selfies and such, it was nice to know that the staff did not make us feel uncomfortable and seemed to be proud of their establishment.  That’s an extra bonus for me!

Overall, I believe I have finally found my go-to spot for affordable gourmet quality food.  I was encouraged to come back for their dinner menu which I definitely will!

 

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Please check out their site for directions, hours, specials and their fabulous menu:

http://www.sushifanatics.com/index.html

I can’t wait to go back for their dinner!

Happy Nomming!

SS

Restaurant Review: Marienbad Restaurant & Chaucer’s Pub

After an extremely busy day, I decided to indulge in one of my city’s most well-known and respected restaurants.  The last time I had been to this restaurant was over 10 years ago, so I think I was more than due.  I arrived just after a little rain drizzle and the outdoor patio tables were so inviting.  There are two entrances to this restaurant; there is the Chaucer’s Pub side (which serves the same menu) and there is the Marienbad Restaurant side both have an old world European ambiance.  The restaurant and pub is located in the heart of downtown and is known to get very busy during the evenings and weekends before and during bar hours.

Marienbad Pub

I chose the Marienbad Restaurant side for some peace and quiet after an extremely busy day.  I was relieved to be welcomed with some 5 star service that is so rare and seems to be fading away these days.  My server was pleasant, helpful and courteous; he didn’t bother me with so many questions throughout my meal, which seems to be the norm with most of the newer restaurants I’ve been to lately.  Clearing plates and bringing drinks on a timely basis… my kind of service!

Marienbad decor

 

Above is some of the beautiful decor I adore so much…

 

Doorway to the Attrium

 

Above is the calm before the dinner rush and shows the doorway to the enclosed atrium dining room.

I started with an Irish coffee which was elegantly served with a raw sugar stick… it was so yum! For appetizers I went with the Calamari and the Antipasto Di Casa…and WOW!  The calamari was crisp and I could taste the quality of its preparation, the antipasto contained fresh fruit, high grade goat cheese, as well as excellent cuts of meat and alfalfa sprouts.

It took me a while to decide on what to order as every plate description made my mouth water.  I decided on the Chicken Paprikash…

Chicken Paprikash

 

The Chicken Paprikash contained boneless chicken served on top of a portion of haluska or small noodle dumplings and covered with a lovely paprika sauce.  It is nothing I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating and I’m glad I picked this hearty dish.  The chicken melted in my mouth and the dumpling noodles tasted light, yet filling.  I thought it was a perfect summer dish for an early evening dinner.

Now, on to the dessert…

With an order of a steaming hot cappuccino made from their classic looking machine…

Specialty Coffee maker

 

I decided to try the Strawberry Palatschinka…

Strawberry PalatschinkaYES!  This tasted just as good as it looks!  It contains vanilla ice cream wrapped in a perfectly made crepe with strawberries and whipped cream on the sides.  My tastebuds were definitely jumping with joy for this dessert!  The strawberries had just enough tang to cut through the delicious sweetness.  The presentation alone made me smile from ear to ear.

Now the great thing was, my friend wanted a dessert with mint and they accommodated the request by adding peppermint schnapps and chocolate ice cream.  The server in turn asked me to name the new dessert, so if you ever decide to go, try the “Fresh Mint Creme Palatschinka” 😉

Overall, this is indeed the classic restaurant it always was.  The service superb and the food was breathtaking.

This restaurant also is a hub for many special events as well as Murder Mystery Dinner Theatres.  I hope you all have the pleasure of visiting this treasure of my city.  You won’t be disappointed!

For their various menus and further information visit their website:  www.marienbad.ca

Happy 5 star nomming! 🙂

SS

 

Local Fancy, but Flat.

I had to get so much done today but I managed to sneak in some food at a local pub I used to go to in my younger years.  It was completely renovated with the ambiance of a fine wine type restaurant, which I was completely underdressed for.    However, I was welcomed very professionally and seated right away.

I ordered the Coconut Shrimp as an appetizer… and wow!  The presentation was as yummy as it looks!  I’m not a huge fan of spicy sauces, but I tasted a bit of it and it wasn’t too spicy hot, but still too spicy for me haha.

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For the main course, I ordered the Chef’s Special Red Snapper on Grilled Lemons and Tomatoes with Rice and Black Beans.  This was a huge disappointment.  It’s my preference to have my main course on one plate so when they brought out these two dishes by two different servers… I was confused….one brought out this hot wood and iron plate.  I felt like I was getting served from an iron frying pan.  The next server brought out a bowl of white rice and black beans.  Yes, I was confused.  Like, why the great presentation?  I was waiting for a band or something to pop out of nowhere.  When I inspected the tomato dish it looked really good, but the fish was burned to the bottom of this “frying pan” platter, so of course the fish was dry and tasteless, basically it was dry fish on salsa.  I tasted a fork full of the rice which, you guessed it, it tasted like plain white rice and black beans.  I was completely underwhelmed.  Completely.

 

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On that note, the overall presentation was great but, damn…it seemed like such a waste.  I finished my iced tea and asked for the bill not even looking at the dessert menu.  It was a very confusing experience, but an experience nonetheless.  I probably won’t be coming back to this place anytime soon, but maybe I’ll give them another shot in a few more months.

Until the next restaurant…happy nom noms! 🙂

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