Friday, July 27, 2012

want to go to the CNE for free? i'm giving away passes! *giveaway*

I’m giving away passes to the 2012 CNE in Toronto! What does this has to do with food, you ask? How about the awesome FOOD building?! Plus, this year, there's going to be a Food Truck Frenzy inside the Princes' Gates!!

Each of the following actions will get you ONE entry into the giveaway:
  • Follow this blog (leave a comment on this post telling me you're a follower). Don't forget to leave an email where I can reach you!
  • Follow me on Twitter @kitchenfrolic (leave a comment on this post with your Twitter handle)
  • Tweet about this giveaway. You must mention @kitchenfrolic (so I can see the tweet) and you must link to this post
  • Leave a comment on this post and tell me where or what you want to eat first at this year's CNE. Don't forget to leave an email where I can reach you!
Each winner will receive two Grounds Admission Passes to the 2012 CNE (Each pass admits one person to the 2012 CNE one time only and does not include rides, food or anything else). Winners will be chosen with and will be announced on Tuesday, July 31 at 10pm EST. 

The 2012 CNE is open August 17 to September 3, 2012. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

pork dumplings (potstickers)

My mom is a great cook. I know a lot of kids grow up thinking this way, but what I love about my mom is that she still makes a lot of traditional Chinese dishes, even though she's been a Canadian citizen for over 40 years. She even makes many traditional dishes that her friends and family don't bother to make any more at home because they're too time-consuming (like zong zhi, turnip cake and Fa Cai Hao Shi).

Now that I've decided to become a better cook myself, I've been shadowing my mother in the kitchen, in the hopes of picking up some of her recipes so that I can try making them myself. A lovely idea in theory, but, as many of you know, moms who are great cooks never seem to have a "recipe" - they just throw in the ingredients and it magically comes together. Whenever I ask my mom for measurements, I get a shrug and an "I don't know, it'll just look right". Yeah, thanks mom. That doesn't help me when I 'm trying to make the dish on my own (or trying to write a recipe blog post!)

I finally managed to nail down (I hope) my mom's pork dumpling recipe. These are probably better known as "potstickers", but I've never referred to them as such, so prefer to continue calling them dumplings. They have that nice crispy brown bottom and I you can exchange the pork for another meat (or shrimp), but my mom has always made these with pork (she does, however, sometimes sub in another green for the Napa cabbage). 

Make sure you get dumpling wrappers, and not won ton wrappers (they're square and thinner) so that these hold up to the steaming and frying.

Monday, July 23, 2012

my week in food photos, july 16-22, 2012

It was a quiet week in food photos...not sure if it's because I didn't do anything particularly exciting this past week or because I didn't feel like pulling out my phone as often as usual.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

kawartha cravings in peterborough

Last week I had four glorious days off from work so Paul and I scooted up north to relax and do nothing (well, Paul continued building a deck, while I relaxed). In between the sunning, napping and general laziness, we actually went to Peterborough a couple of times, including a trip on Saturday with Paul's brother, Mike, and our future sister-in-law, Alex. I was happy to discover that there was a Kawartha Dairy store in town so (of course) we headed there so I could continue my conquest of the Kawartha ice cream menu board!

I already had my next flavour chosen before I got to the counter (although I still had to take a look at everything on offer). I only went with one scoop this time and tried Muskoka Mocha - "mocha flavoured ice cream with mocha fudge sauce, mocha crumb, and chocolate fish". Yes, after the little chocolate turtles from the Caramel Snappers, I went with little chocolate fish this time. This ice cream is a nice subtle taste and the chocolate wasn't too sweet, with a hint of mocha. Loved it.

Paul ordered a scoop of Black Raspberry Thunder - "a smooth white chocolate ice cream with the tangy taste of black raspberry marble and white chocolate chunks", which I've been told is a very popular flavour. We can understand why. This flavour is now one of our favourites - a nice, strong raspberry flavour with the softness of the white chocolate. Definitely one that we'll be ordering again in the future!

Mike couldn't resist ordering his absolute favourite flavour, Moose Tracks, but was kind enough to also tack on a second scoop of something I hadn't tried before (see the sacrifices my family makes for my blog?). Seeing how he loves his chocolate and peanut butter combo, his second scoop had to be Chocolate Peanut Butter - "chocolate ice cream with peanut butter cookie dough pieces and a ripple of peanut butter". Moose Tracks is still number one. After an initial hit of peanut butter, the rest just didn't have enough PB taste to really leave an impression. Verdict? Moose Tracks is still #1 for him.

After taking a look at the choices, Alex settled on Heavenly Hash - "marshmallow ice cream and chocolate ice cream combined with chocolate covered peanuts". Not exactly the same as other Heavenly Hashes on the market, the chocolate covered peanuts really stand out and make this an enjoyable flavour. For all your purists out there though, this definitely isn't the same as the traditional Heavenly Hashes.

Of the four new flavours we tried, Paul's Black Raspberry Thunder was definitely my favourite of the day and is also one of my favourites overall.

Whew! FOUR more flavours off the list bringing my total up to 14!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

my week in food photos, july 9-15, 2012

A little while ago, I tried to showcase random photos from my Flickr stream ("Flickr Frolic Fridays") but then stopped doing it because Fridays always seem to fly right past me without stopping and before I knew it, I was doing the "Friday" post on Sunday, or Monday. So instead, I've decided to try "recapping" my week with some food-related snapshots that I've taken with my iPhone during that time. Some weeks will obviously be more interesting than others, but I hope that it will always be an interesting little (wordless) post. And yes, I agree that my phone doesn't have the best camera out there, but it's always with me and so is the best medium for an actual recap of the things that happen to me during the week.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

sharing my love of canadian beef

Earlier this year, I was chosen as a Brand Ambassador for Canada Beef Inc, which I am totally excited about (Paul's pretty excited too). Not only are we both big beef eaters, we generally feel pretty patriotic whenever we're travelling and see "Canadian Beef" on the menu (which has happened in London, Cuba and Hong Kong!).

So, for the past month, I've been learning more about Canadian beef and already have my in-laws asking "Is it Canadian?" every time anyone buys beef for a family dinner. However, being a city girl, I don't really know much about where my beef comes from, so I thought that this would be a great opportunity to not only try new recipes involving beef, but also to learn more about how this product ends up from a farm to my table.

Since being chosen as an Ambassador, one of my go-to sources for all things beef is the Canada Beef site at Not only is it full of eye-opening information about beef and the beef industry, there are also tons of useful tips, recipes and useful tools on the site. For example, there's a Virtual Beef Nutrition Counter where you can see the nutrition values for various cuts of beef (I must admit, I played with this for awhile), a Make It Beef Club that lets you sign up for an e-newsletter, and lots of ways to connect to other beef-lovers!

(photo credit: from the Canadian Beef Facebook page)

And since I'm a little nerdy when it comes to facts and figures, check out these impressive stats about Canadian beef:

- There are 83,000 farms and ranches with beef cattle across Canada with a total of 4.27 million beef cows (Statistics Canada, Jan. 2011)
- Beef production contributed $24.6 billion to Canada's economy in 2010 (Canfax, Statistics Canada 2010)
- In 2010, Canada exported 50% of the total beef and cattle produced in Canada (Statistics Canada, Canfax, AAFC 2010), making it the 5th largest beef exporter in the world (excluding live cattle exports)

And my favourite factoid: On average, Canadians are eating 44.5 lbs (20.2 kg) of beef per person every year (Statistics Canada 2010). 45 pounds of beef! On average! That's quite a bit of beef!

Well, if I'm going to be eating that much beef in a year, I'd better make the most of it and make sure I'm cooking it properly! So, one of my favourite areas of the Canada Beef site is definitely the Cooking Lessons section of the site. This area not only gives you lots of beef-related recipes, but also has videos and step-by-step lessons on how to cook beef in various ways (ie. oven-roasting, broiling, grilling, etc). 

I'm definitely going to be learning a lot during my time as a Brand Ambassador! I hope you'll join me as I wrangle up some beef at the market and experiment with different beefy recipes (like these juicy homemade pesto burgers!)

Disclosure: I am a Canadian Beef Ambassador and have been compensated for this post. However, all opinions expressed are my own and have not been influenced in any way by my association with the program.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

treat petite: blueberry muffins

UPDATED: For my first "Treat Petite" challenge from Stuart (aka Cakeyboi) and Kat (aka The Baking Explorer) , I'm using one of my favourite past recipes - blueberry muffins. The theme for Treat Petite No. 1 is 'No Theme', so anything goes!  :)

I had a couple of extra days off from work last weekend so I was planning on whipping up a double-batch of banana crumb muffins (after I made them for the first time, there were a lot of complaints from family members who saw the photos and didn't get to try any so I was trying to bake enough for everyone).

While I was getting everything prepped, I noticed a HUGE bucket of fresh blueberries on the kitchen table. Apparently, my mom's friend had spent the weekend "picking-your-own" blueberries and ended up with too much, so gave us some. They were incredibly small (and juicy) and I immediately jumped on the internet to find a simple blueberry muffin recipe.

I ended up baking two batches of banana crumb muffins and one batch of these delicious blueberry muffins. The original recipe (on included a crumb topping, but I just used the same crumb topping that I use for the banana muffins.

Note: Crumb topping is always amazing if you eat the muffins on the same day as they're baked. Otherwise, they get soggy by the next day. If you aren't planning on eating these right away, I'd suggest skipping the crumb topping and just making simple blueberry muffins (Paul requested that I leave the crumb topping off one muffin for him and you can see from the photo above that it's still stunning).

Either way, these muffins are perfect for breakfast...or dessert...or a snack!  :)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

another weekend, another kawartha dairy scoop

We spent Canada Day weekend up by Pigeon Lake again and, as always, there was lots of eating, socializing and sunning to be done. Did I mention the eating? More than once, someone was heard to comment, "It feels like all we do is eat up here!" How true.

But, not to fret - in between noshing on Nathan's hot dogs, thick steaks and homemade chorizo, I did manage to convince Paul to take a quick trip to Bobcaygeon so I could cross another flavour off my Kawartha Dairy checklist (actually I crossed off THREE flavours!)

Bobcaygeon was full of people, walking around and enjoying the hot, sunny summer weather (apparently we had just missed the Canada Day parade). The only disappointment was that our favourite place to get butter tarts was gone (after years and years of business) and its replacement...well, let's just say that the price was still high, but the butter tarts were much smaller and not as good.

Good thing I had my double scoop of ice cream as consolation! This time around, I definitely went with a caramel theme and tried Caramel Snappers (on top)  - "caramel filled chocolate turtles in toffee flavoured ice cream twirled with thick English Toffee" and unLOCKED and loaded - "caramel flavoured ice cream complete with a milk chocolate ripple, chocolate coated peanuts and sugar cone pieces". Both were pretty good, but two scoops of caramel-flavoured goodness ended up being a little too much for me. The Caramel Snappers was really sweet (a little too sweet for me), but the caramel filled little turtles were adorable. I liked unLOCKED and loaded more, and Paul enjoyed the sugar cone pieces (although neither of us understood where the name came from).

Paul surprised me again with another unusual ice cream choice. This time he went with Mango - "a smooth and creamy ice cream with that distinctive Mango colour and flavour". I've had mango-flavoured ice cream before, and usually it's never as good as the real fruit. This one was pretty much the same - the flavouring is a little too artificial, although it did resemble mango. Definitely the least favourite of the new flavours we've tried so far.

Unfortunately I didn't get a shot of the Mango ice cream, but here's one of the adorable little chocolate turtles that were scattered throughout my scoop!

So, for those keeping track - here's how I'm doing with my Kawartha Dairy ice cream challenge!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

long weekend = food

We just celebrated Canada Day long weekend and it seems that all we did was eat! Check out some of the food we noshed on these past three days....(more detailed posts involving Kawartha Dairy ice cream and blueberry muffins coming soon!)