Posts Tagged ‘challenge’

Last year, I had “Read 30 books in a year” as a book challenge. I only got to 26. This year, I decided to keep it at 30 but took it more seriously and I’ll admit — I have several young adult titles in my repertoire because they’re such fast reads. I’m already at 26 and it’s only July!

That being said, the YA books are surprisingly good!  I picked up Divergent and Insurgent and thoroughly enjoyed those books – I’m looking forward to book 3! I was a fan of the Harry Potter, Twilight and Hunger Games series and never thought about them being considered YA so I never looked for others. There are some great stories out there.

Part of me feels like I’m cheating and I should be feeding my brain more intellectually stimulating fare but you know what? Life is too short to read stuff that’s so-called more “suitable”. I never did like rules. 🙂

So what are your favourite reads?

What’s hot this summer (other than Mr. Grey)?


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Remember this post about the LCBO (the Liquor control Board of Ontario) hosting a contest for bloggers who love Ontario wine? Well, yours truly won an honourable mention which consists of a $200 gift basket!

I’m stoked! 🙂

Thanks everyone who voted for me!

I’ll post a pic of my prize when I receive it – stay tuned!

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Lo and behold – the LCBO is holding a contest. About Ontario wine. And wine tasting. And blogs. Really, it was like they were speaking to ME!!

The challenge reads:

Share Your Ontario VQA Wine Country Experiences

Discover a special local VQA vineyard recently?

Partake in a unique tasting event?

Enjoy a particularly memorable meal featuring Ontario VQA wine?

Yes, yes, YES!!!

So I entered 2 of my most recent Ontario wine-related blog entries. And of course, I must beg kindly ask you all, dear readers, to please vote for both of my entries. 🙂  You can do so by clicking on each of the links below, scrolling down to the bottom and clicking on the red VOTE button!

I think you can only vote once, so probably best to all vote for the one entry:   🙂


The 5 blog postings with the most votes advance to the judging round. For those interested in learning more about the challenge, all the details are available here: http://www.lcbogolocal.com/blog-challenge

The available prizes are:

Cool Gear Package

  • Canon T3i DSLR Camera with 2 lenses
    (18–55mm & 55–250mm) & Accessory Pack
  • BlackBerry 16GB PlayBook with Wi-Fi
  • Wireless MiFi
  • Camera Backpack
  • Approx. retail value $2,500 CDN

Niagara Wine Country Getaway

  • 2 Night accommodation for two at the Niagara Fallsview Hilton
  • 2 Tickets to the Icewine Gala, January 13th, 2012
  • 2 Discovery Passes for Icewine Festival Winery Visits, January 2012
  • Approx. retail value $700 CDN

Prince Edward County
Wine Country Getaway

  • 2 night accommodation for two at Huff Estates Winery with breakfast
  • 3-course Dinner for two at a local restaurant
  • Lunch and VIP Tasting for two at The Grange of Prince Edward Vineyards and Estate Winery
  • VIP Winery Tasting for 2 at Rosehall Run Winery
  • Approx. retail value $500 CDN

Ten Honorable Mention Gift Baskets will also be awarded (approx. retail value $200 CDN each).

Thanks muchly!!

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As many of you know, I recently completed a cooking challenge to cook all recipes in a cookbook (I had chosen Back to Basics by the Barefoot Contessa). Since it ended, I still found myself  looking for new recipes in her other cookbooks. I really enjoyed cooking new dishes every week and didn’t want that to end. So, I’ve begun a new challenge. Cook all recipes in all the Barefoot Contessa cookbooks! You can find it on the Cooking-NEW page here. The original one can be found on the Cooking-DONE page.

The previous challenge took me about a year and a couple of months, so the new challenge will undoubtedly take me longer but I’m excited to continue my cooking adventures. 🙂

Live to eat, people, live to eat.

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I never thought the day would come, but here it is. This item on my Life List has been ongoing for over a year and today, I cooked the last recipe. Granted, there were recipes that I didn’t complete (those where I couldn’t find the ingredients or those that included a main ingredient that my husband or I didn’t like). That being said, I still feel that I completed the challenge.

Throughout the whole process, I expanded my cooking repertoire, further developed my skills in the kitchen, made meals I never would have made otherwise, discovered new foods and ingredients as well as gained a new appreciation for others (fennel, butter!!).

Although we enjoyed the vast majority most of the recipes, there were a few highlights that are new favourites and others that have become new standards at our house, including:

  • Cream of fresh tomato soup
  • Roasted tomato caprese salad
  • Mâche with warm brie & apples
  • Easy sole meuniere
  • Mustard-roasted fish
  • Pasta with pecorino & pepper
  • Confetti corn
  • Parmesan-roasted broccoli
  • Pan-roasted root vegetables
  • Garlic ciabatta bread
  • Fresh lemon mousse
  • Affogato sundaes
  • Homemade muesli with red berries

There were some pleasant surprises:

  • White pizzas with arugula (holy moly – these were good)
  • Baked shrimp scampi (delicious)
  • Indonesian grilled swordfish (the flavours are just fantastic)
  • Prosciutto roasted bass with autumn vegetables (again, amazing flavours)
  • Spring green risotto (warm and comforting)
  • Chive risotto cakes (very flavourful and filling)
  • Plum crunch (fabulous dessert, can substitute the fruit with anything in season)

So where do I go from here? What’s next?

Since I’ve been a huge fan of Ina’s for the longest time, I think I’ll continue to cook my way through her other cookbooks, albeit in a less formal way. I enjoyed the experience of cooking new things week after week (and so did my husband!). It’s been quite an adventure and I’m not ready to stop just yet. 🙂

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