AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: bloggers, books, cocktail deeva, fabulous, family, kids, lifestyles, review, Toronto

    Comments Off on May the 4th Be With You…


    1977, 1980, 1983…I was 6,9 and 12 and used my allowance money t head to the theater to see what are, in my opinion, 3 of the best movies ever made. AS a kid I was a huge fan of the Star War series and at the time had no clue I would be able to relive that through my children two more times.

    1999,2002,2005… The next three Star Wars installments arrived, although not my favorite in the series. Non the less, it rekindled my love for the movies and introduced the phenomenon to my eldest two children and started them on their Jedi journey.

    2015 … My love for the Star Wars of old is once again renewed and my two youngest children, who of course we well on their Jedi journey to many rainy day Star Wars marathons. Got to experience the magic of seeing the Millennium Falcon hit warp speed on the big screen.

    To get ready for May the 4th we thought about watching all the movies again but my 8 year son asked if we could have a Star Wars Lego video game marathon instead. Not gonna lie…this option would not be my first pick, I am not much of a gamer.

    Instead we compromised with these amazing books from DK Books Canada.



    These books are filled with really cool Star Wars knowledge, fun facts, mixed with the fun and sillyness if the Lego Star Wars Video game and cartoon characters. They were a huge hit with my crew and they sat for hours..yes hours…reading through them, laughing and chatting all things Star Wars and all things Lego…


    I…poured myself a large glass of red wine and sat and enjoyed watching them …Be sure to check out DK Canada’s Heroes and Villains Boutique for more great titles.

    To celebrate May the 4th Be With You…DK Canada has fun downloadable Star Wars activity pages for free. With coloring and trivia it is the perfect way to brush up on your Star Wars knowledge before the big day.

    Of course we ended a fun day of reading, learning and playing with a tribute to the original masterpiece…



    Looks like someone is already working on her Dark Side …


    Thank you to DK Canada books for sending us such a great surprise …It was a huge hit!




    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: baking, bloggers, celebrity chef, christmas, cocktail deeva, cooking, dinner party, entertaining, fabulous, family, giveaway, Holiday, home, lifestyles, Party, recipe, recipes, review, social media, Tips, Toronto



    Over the past few months Canola Eat Well for Life has been traveling across Canada cooking up a storm from coast to coast. I had the great pleasure of hosting the grand finale at Olde Bridge Place in my kitchen with some amazing people and an FABOOSH baker.

    Cook book author Charmain Christie known as The Messy Baker joined us to give us the 101 on baking with Canola.



    We set on a an afternoon journey of baking 6 amazing recipes all using Canola…

    The Messy Baker used the Canola in these recipes like you would any other oils or butters. No fancy changes had to be made and the finished products were just FABOOSH. Not to mention that Canola is a good fat. Love the ‘Fat Chart’ they provide on their site. They also have a very handy Canola Oil baking conversion chart...Which is great when you avoid doing math at all costs like myself.

    Here is a fun chart I now have posted in my pantry for easy use.





    The day was filled with tips, tricks and so much knowledge. Both about baking and Canola itself. One of my faves came from The Messy Baker herself.

    “If you’re baking with sticky ingredients like honey or molasses, measure the canola first, but don’t scrape it all out. It will grease the measuring cup so that the sticky ingredient slides right out.”





    So simple right! This will save me so much frustration and RE-washing of measuring cups. I knew Canola was a healthy choice in my cooking but had no idea it was versatile in baking.

    Another thing I learned that day is that not all Canola is created equal. Just like many oils and fine wines there are different grades of Canola and we had the pleasure of baking with some Pristine Gourmet Canola that is a pure virgin oil. This oil has a more robust flavour and is a favourite for chefs. It has the lowest saturated fats of all oils and can be used in raw or cooked recipes.


    And what is a party without GAMES…

    I love learning new things and today was all about the “Canola Crush”..Which is a simple as it sounds. You crush the Canola seeds and VOILA..You have oil. And we could not have asked for a more picturesque place to do it than on the front lawn of Olde Bridge Place on the banks of the Grand River by the Kissing Bridge.




    Look at this crew of freshly inspired Canola bakers… HUGE thanks to Canola Eat Well and Charmian Christie The Messy Baker…We are all ready to head into the holiday season inspired to make delicious and healthier treats for our loved ones.

    This would not be a proper baking post without sharing some screen licking worthy pictures of our finished products…

    Cranberry Pistachio Baklava


    Chocolate Chip and Walnut Cookies ( better than my moms but don’t tell her)



    Poppy Seed Bars with Citrus Icing


    You can find all the recipes along with so many more both cooking and baking on the Canola Eat Well website. They have a great section right now featuring Holiday baking from Coast to Coast.

    Happy Holidays and Happy Baking to you and yours.. CHEERS

    The Messy Bakers book makes a fabulous Holiday or Hostess gift!!


    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    *The wonderful Photography by Jeffrey Chan courtesy of Canola Eat Well.

    *This is a sponsored post and I was the host of the event.



    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: beer, bloggers, cocktail deeva, cocktails, recipe, recipes, restaurant, restaurants, review, signature cocktails, social media, Tips, trends, wine

    Comments Off on Great American Whiskey Trail…WASHINGTON Edition

    I don’t often write about Whiskey. Not sure why, possibly because it is something I have not developed an appreciation for.  I do however write about travel so when I had the opportunity with the American Distilled Spirits Council to learn more about American Whiskey and visit the places where it is made…How could I say no!

    The new hot travel trend right now is Distillery Travel …Wineries have long been hot travel destinations, but with the rise of the cocktail culture people are flocking to see where there favorite spirits and beers are made. Just ask Forbes who posted this great article on “The top 10 American Whiskey Distilleries to Tour Now…”

    First stop…

    Washington DC!




















    I head to George Washington Distillery at Mount Vernon to see how they made whiskey back in 1797.















    Over time this distillery fell into disrepair and was closed. That is until 2005, with a two year rebuild. Including an archaeological dig to uncover actual artifacts and the historic placement of the distillery back in 1797, it once again open it’s doors in 2007. Walking through the buildings and the grounds you would think this place has been standing and untouched since 1797. The rebuild is AMAZING and the fact they still make the whiskey the same way they did in 1797 is more so.

    PicMonkey Collage


    I even got to mash up some mash myself, not an easy job.















    The amazing people at Mount Vernon not only rebuilt the historic distillery, they rebuilt the “Gristmill”.




    Mount Vernon’s master miller, Steve Bashore, describes the 18th century milling process used by Washington in his gristmill on his plantation.

    There is something very different about doing a spirits tasting when you are in the place where they make it. All your senses are alert, you now know the process, the ingredients, the history. It is unlike any other tasting you will experience guaranteed.




    Every few months Mount Vernon produces a small batch of whiskey from this historic one of a kind distillery. Needless to say it is in very high demand. So much so they have created a “Whiskey Notification List”…So if you are interested in tasting some of that history you need to sign up!

    You can read 10 fun facts about this amazing distillery here.


    If you have made your way to George Washington’s distillery you are absolutely not aloud to leave until you visit Mount Vernon itself and it’s incredible grounds.



    I learned so much about the history of this amazing space and the amazing women who saved it.  

    I have never been a history buff, hell I am not even American. However, there is always something very special special going on at this place that is sure to fascinate anyone no matter your interest. Not to mention the killer views off the back lawn.



    When your tours are done and your head is about to explode with all the amazing sights and learning it is time to EAT!

    Mount Vernon Inn Restaurant is the perfect end to the perfect day. The menu us vast, well priced and appointed and offers everything from braised lamb, roast duck to shrimp and grits.

    And my favorite part…I got to wash it all down with Mount Vernon’s own beer!


















    The only thing wrong with this visit to Mount Vernon, was that I wanted more time to explore it! I can not wait to plan a Washing trip with my family and go back and spend more time in this amazing space.

    To find out more about Mount Vernon and George Washington’s Distillery be sure to check out their website. It is full of amazing history, videos, trip planners and of course beautiful pictures. From amazing wine festivals one of a kind artifacts to being able to trick or treat at the mansion on Halloween. There is something for everyone.

    If you are a spirits enthusiast like me, shake on over to the Distilled Spirits Council of Americas website and check the amazing things they are doing to preserve the history of spirit making in the United States and the American Whiskey trail.

    When planning your next vacation be sure to do some research and see what is made in the area you are visiting. You will me amazed and the unique tours you will find. It is always a good thing to think outside the bottle.

    Cheers happy travels.

    On a Whiskey side note. After all that is the main reason I was there. I happen to find a whiskey I really enjoyed during our tastings.



    Wigle Craft  Whiskey is an American whiskey that was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. However it has a great Canadian connection as the idea for it came about during a family visit to the Shaw festival in Niagara on the Lake back in 2010.

    This grain to bottle distillery produces amazing flavored whiskeys using organic grains and also a selection of deevine organic bitters perfect for any cocktail. They also get my vote for the prettiest labels.

    Be sure to check them out and read their story here…



    Here is my Fave Whiskey recipe from the Wigle Whiskey recipe page…

    Whiskey Bramble

    Screen Shot 2015-10-02 at 11.51.55 AM


    Cheers and Party Safe…