Jessica’s Blue Jays Inspired Nails

My first Blue Jays game of the season was back in April (during opening weekend) and I thought not only should I dress in my Jays gear for the game, I should also dress up my nails for the week! 

My fingers are blue and red to match the Blue Jays colours, and my thumb is the baseball - I painted it white, with red “stitches” dotted across. If you change the colours of your nails, you can easily replicate this with ANY other team :)

Go Jays Go!


Jessica’s Favourite European View

I traveled to Europe last fall (Germany, Czech Republic & Austria), and this was one of my absolutely favourite views during the trip.

This was taken above the village of St. Gilgen, in Salzburg, Austria.
If you have never been, I hope this will inspire you to go!


Jessica’s Chocolate Toffee Crackers a.k.a. Christmas Crack

Although Christmas was over a month ago, I realized I hadn’t posted a photo & recipe of one of the most popular treats from over my holidays. Better late than never! 
I made these addictive treats for a work pot luck, as well as Christmas presents for my girlfriends (photo)

What you need:
- Saltine crackers (I used salted Premium Plus crackers)
- 2 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup of butter 
- 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Almonds & Walnuts (or other nuts)
- 1 Cookie sheet
- Parchment paper

How you do it:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Line the cookie sheet with parchment paper & one layer of crackers. (Try to avoid space between the crackers. I cut some so they would fit perfectly to the edges)
Melt the brown sugar & butter in a pan over medium heat until bubbling.
Once boiling, pour the toffee evenly over the crackers.
Bake for 4-6 minutes.
Remove from the oven and sprinkle on the chocolate chips. Once they begin to melt, spread the chocolate evenly over the toffee with a spatula.
Crush almonds and walnuts (or whichever other nuts or goodies you like) in zip lock bag, and quickly sprinkle over the chocolate.

Cover the cookie sheet with saran wrap and place into the fridge or freezer. Once completely cooled, cut the pieces and start munching :)

Be warned: These are highly addictive and very delicious.


Jessica’s Strawberry and Chocolate Tarts with Meringue

I had never made any type of pie or tart, until I recently made these delicious treats. Like most of my baking, I made these for a friend’s birthday, whose favourite food happens to be pie. I didn’t want to make one large pie for a party, so I thought mini tarts would be ideal!

These are very simple to make (especially when you buy the tarts pre-made!) I made 24 tarts. Follow the instructions on the tarts package, and once your tarts have cooled down after being warmed in the oven, add a thin layer of melted chocolate to the bottom of the tart. I microwaved 1/2 a cup of dark chocolate chips, so the chocolate would become hard again once cooled. The chocolate will be a wonderful surprise :)

Next, cut up a bunch of strawberries into small slices (I used roughly 4 cups full), mix and warm them in a pot with 1/2 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon cornstarch. Strain the strawberries, and spoon them into the tarts. 

Lastly, top the tarts with meringue, and quickly broil them in the oven to get that beautiful golden brown look. 

Now it’s time to eat! Yum yum. So sweet and tasty.

Photo Set

Jessica’s Chocolate & Coconut Muffins

I was recently in the States and discovered that coconut M&M’s existed. This discovery inspired me to make muffins that were chocolate and coconut flavour. I took a classic chocolate chip muffin recipe, and added in the flavoured M&M’s in addition to regular chocolate chips, and roughly a cup of shredded and sweetened coconut.

After I scooped them into the greased muffin pans, I sprinkled extra coconut layer on top so they would crisp up. (For the photos, I sprinkled even more coconut on top once the muffins were cooled.)

I thought they turned out really well :) Light and full of coconut flavour! 

Photo Set

Jessica’s Backyard Adventure

I recently went on a mini road trip, and on the way, I visited my Mom’s cousin. While there, I took my camera into her large and stunning backyard. It was full of beautiful flowers, a pear tree, a wonderful vegetable garden, and some little creatures. I was lucky enough to get a shot of a bumblebee hunting for some pollen, and a butterfly posing on the pear tree.


Jessica’s Lemony Potato Salad

One of the most popular summer dishes is potato salad. It’s classic. And my recipe is not much different than the rest.

My recipe uses 6-8 unpeeled medium/large red potatoes, cut into 1 - 1 1/2 inch cubes (boiled for roughly 10 minutes), 3/4 cups of finely cut red onions and crisp celery and 1/3 cups of parsley.

The dressing has 3 simple ingredients: mayonnaise, mustard and lemon (juice and zest.) I intentionally try and change the consistency and flavours each time I make this salad. If you want it to be more creamy, or more lemony, you can adjust the quantities. There are also many different flavours of mustards, and each will change the taste. This particular salad had 1/3 cups of mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon of dijon mustard, and the juice and zest of a full lemon.

Once you create the dressing to your own tastes, stir in the vegetables and parsley and fold it in to the now cooled potatoes.

Cool the salad in the fridge for as long as you’d like. Some like the salad warmer than others. And then it’s time to eat and enjoy!


Jessica’s Bird’s Eye View

The crabapple tree on my front lawn blooms for a very short time every spring. It is June now and the tree has already lost its beautifully bright pink and white flowering blooms.

During this time when the tree was in full blossom, and on a gorgeous and bright day, I took out my SLR camera and my “new” 55-200mm lens to capture whatever was lurking in and around the tree.

I was lucky enough to capture this bird taking a short break after catching a little snack :)

Photo Set

Jessica’s St. Patrick’s Day Green Desserts

Today is St. Patrick’s Day! :) The day people overindulge in beer and everything green! I was no exception. I made bark and blondies and used lots and lots of food colouring. (The blondies were the same recipe as my previous post- except the added in green)

Jessica’s Chocolate on Chocolate Skor Bark

Bark is one of the easiest and most creative desserts you can make. It is so quick to create and there are so many different combinations you can concoct. You can add in fruits, nuts, chocolate bars etc. (Pretty much anything that goes well with chocolate) Here is my recipe —

What you need: 
- Milk Chocolate (6oz)
- White Chocolate (6 oz)
- Skor Bits
- Mini Chocolate Chips
- Green Food Colouring
- Aluminum Foil
- Square Cake Pan (8 or 9 inches)

How you do it:
Line the pan with aluminum foil. Try and make the foil as flat and smooth as possible.
Melt the milk chocolate (I used the microwave because I was getting frustrated about how slow it was taking from the double broiler..) I melted it at 30 second intervals, stirring the chocolate each time. Do not overcook it or it might burn. Once fully melted, pour the chocolate into your pan, and even it out. Place in refrigerator for approximately 30 minutes.
Once the milk chocolate is cool, take it out of the fridge and repeat the steps with the white chocolate, although this time once the white chocolate is melted, you will add in the green food colouring to give it that bright green colour.
Pour the now green chocolate on top of the cooled chocolate and even it out again. Once you’ve done that, sprinkle on your mini chocolate chips.
Place the pan back in the fridge for another 30 minutes. Once fully cooled, take the foil out of the pan, place on a cutting board and cut your bark into pieces. And voila! Easy and delicious.


Jessica’s Blondies

This post will be short and sweet. Pun intended :)
For those who don’t know, Blondies are very much like brownies, but are made with brown sugar instead of cocoa. And just like brownies, Blondie recipes are all very similar.

In my recipe, I decided to use 1 cup of coconut and another cup of chips. I wanted a few flavours, so I created a mixture of milk and dark chocolate chips and butterscotch chips. Not bad for my first try!

These will definitely be made again.