Macaron & Cookie Diaries – Petite & Sweet Bakes

Petite & Sweet - Candy Coated Culinista

Petite & Sweet – Candy Coated Culinista

Place: Petite & Sweet Bakes
Location: 718 Queen Street East, Toronto, Ontario, M4M 2H5 (647-748-7704)
Hours: Monday: Closed; Tuesday- Thursday: 11am – 8pm; Friday & Saturday: 11am – 10pm; Sunday: 11am – 7pm
Prices: Macarons: $2.50 each; Cookies: $2.75 each.

I was on the way to the gym and I took a different streetcar which forced me to start walking from Broadview & Queen or wait for the next streetcar. It was a nice evening so I decided to take a walk. I made it all of 10 steps from the corner when I was greeted by Macarons. Needless to say my next few steps found me in the Petite & Sweet Bakes shop. This tiny storefront is done up in a luxe, upscale motif, with little tiny & adorable decorations throughout with pops of colours with a high gloss shine. I went to the case and saw the offerings: French Macarons, Cake Pops, Mini Cupcakes, Truffles, Turkish Delights, Brownies, Meringues, Cakes, Cookies and finally Speciality Coffee’s. When I was looking through I noticed some of the cookies I was eyeing looked strangely familiar. You see, even though I have never had the pleasure of tasting one of these cookies before, I knew them from their distinct look. “They are selling Moo Milk Bar Cookies!” Moo Milk Bar is on my Quest list to go visit but getting out to Queen Street East & Woodbine Avenue is a little much when it is not spring or summer. I plan to get out there for sure in the summer with Mr. C as I must try their flavoured milks and more of their cookie flavours. Today I ordered the passion fruit macaron & cowgirl cookie (espresso powder, pretzels, toffee bits, semi-sweet chocolate chips & oats) for Mr. C., and for myself I got the peppermint macaron and the red velvet cookie (a hint of cocoa with white chocolate chips).
After finishing up my post I realized I know this logo from somewhere, but where. I watched a show on Food Network Canada called Sugar Stars about the ups and downs of an events planning company, which is the other half of Petite & Sweets Bakes.

We both loved our treats. Mr. C. didn’t have much of a comment but he finished them. I thought the macaron was sweet, refreshing & cooling, a perfect treat in the winter season. I found it was a little sweet as my sweet tooth acted up, but I still enjoyed it. The red velvet cookie was so good, it was crunchy, chewy, thin & sweet and the first words after I ate it were mmmmmm so good.

Strawberry Scones with Compote

Strawberry Scones with Compote - Candy Coated Culinista

Strawberry Scones with Compote – Candy Coated Culinista

Another cooking club challenge that I decided to try, just to see how much this recipe varied from my Lemon Merignue Cranberry White Chocolate Scones with Lemon Glaze recipe.

From Chatelaine

Yield/Serving: 12
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 15 – 17 min
Difficulty level is: Easy

• 2 cups all purpose flour
• ¾ cup granulated sugar
• 2 tsp baking powder
• ¼ tsp salt
• 1/3 cold unsalted butter, coarsely grated
• 454g tub strawberries, diced, about 2 2/3 cups, divided
• 1 tsp lemon zest

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
3. In a large bowl mix together, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
4. Using a fork mix in the grated butter until the mixture is just crumbly.
5. Now stir in the cream and half of the strawberries until the dough just comes together.
6. Don’t over mix.
7. Scoop ¼ cup of the mixture and shape into a 1” high round scones on the prepared baking sheet.
8. Bake for 15 – 17 minutes until the tops of the scones are golden.
9. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
10. In a small saucepan add the remaining strawberries and sugar along with the lemon zest over medium-high heat.
11. Cook for 15 minutes until the sugar has dissolved, stirring often
12. Serve warm with scones

• Add more cream 1 tbsp at a time if needed.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This was just okay for me and they really didn’t look like scones. Since making my Lemon Merignue Cranberry White Chocolate Scones with Lemon Glaze I know what scones look like and these did not resemble scones to me at all. When I formed them they didn’t rise and they spread out and had a muffin or cake consistency more. When they started spreading in the oven I moved a few to muffin liners so they would at least be round and not flat. Another cooking club member mentioned she had to do this recipe twice. I have a policy on this I don’t do magazine recipes twice when they are triple-tested to get into the magazine. I don’t want to waste more ingredients to possibly get the same result. No thanks.

Italian Meatballs

C.C's Homemade Italian Meatballs - Candy Coated Culinista

C.C’s Homemade Italian Meatballs – Candy Coated Culinista

I have wanted to make my own meatballs since I tasted homemade meatballs from How Bout Those Meatballs at the T.O. Food Fest. I have visited here two years in a row now and always bring back Mr. C. his own sandwich because it’s just that good. The recipe used is well no particular recipe at all, Sebastien, the owner just makes it with lots of love and it always turns out great. I took this approach when I was making my meatballs as this was my first go at it and I have been so excited to make some meatballs.

Yield/Serving: 30-40 1” sized meatballs
Prep Time: 35 min.
Cook Time: 20-25 min.
Difficulty level is: Medium

• 1lb ground beef
• 1 lb ground pork
• 1 lb ground veal
• ¼ cup Italian breadcrumbs
• ¾ cup Panko breadcrumbs
• 1 tsp sea salt
• 1 tsp season salt
• ½ tsp ground black pepper
• 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
• 1 tsp onion powder
• 1 tsp chipotle mango seasoning
• 1 tbsp dried basil
• 1 tbsp dried oregano
• 1 tbsp dried rosemary
• 1 tbsp dried thyme
• 1 tbsp dried sage
• 1 tbsp dried parsley flakes
• 1/3 cup parmesan cheese
• 6 cloves of garlic, minced
• 4 eggs

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Combine the ground beef, pork and veal until well combined by hand in a large bowl.
3. Using a medium bowl whisk all other ingredients and pour into the ground meat until well incorporated.
4. Shape ground meat into balls and place on a baking pan and bake for 20-25 minutes.

• You can freeze the meatballs and save for later.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I made these to freeze for future recipes. I usually buy a huge bag of meatballs, but now that I can say mine taste so much better than the store-bought I will be making my own. These meatballs were flavourful; which the store-bought variety lacked and with the cheese inside I really enjoyed them. The hardest thing for me was keeping the meatballs the same size.

Homemade Tomato Sauce

Homemade Tomato Sauce - Candy Coated Culinista

Homemade Tomato Sauce – Candy Coated Culinista

After my adventures with my Sweet Pepper Coulis went so well, I was on a high. I had a little bit left of my coulis and thought, “Let’s make pasta for dinner and a special homemade tomato sauce.”

Yield/Serving: almost 1 litre
Difficulty level is: Easy

• 3 tbsp of olive oil
• 3 medium carrots, rough chop
• 2 small red pepper, rough chop
• 2 small orange pepper, rough chop
• 2 small yellow pepper, rough chop
• 1 medium onion, rough chop
• 1 garlic bulb, rough chop
• 1 cup white wine
• 1 tbsp basil
• 1 tbsp oregano
• Sea salt pepper to taste
• Black pepper to taste
• 1 can, crushed tomatoes (796 ml, 28 fl. Oz.)

1. Put olive oil into a pot and let heat up on medium high heat.
2. Add the carrots and let them cook until they are lightly browned.
3. Now add all the other vegetables with a ½ cup of wine and let simmer for 15-20 minutes.
4. Puree the vegetables with an immersion blender.
5. Add the basil, oregano, salt, black pepper, crushed tomatoes and the remaining wine to the pot and let cook for 30 minutes.
6. Stir frequently as it will bubble.

• Freeze remaining in some Mason Jars and remember to leave some space for expansion. (Use mason jars or any thicker walled glass jar that can take freezer temperatures)
• You will need an immersion blender. If not a blender will work just as well.

Please Enjoy

Mr. C. enjoyed it very much, especially since I promised pasta Aglio Et Olio and I went in a totally different direction, he was pleasantly surprised. I also gave a sample of my tomato sauce to my Italian co-worker with some pasta for lunch and a jar for when she makes pasta at home. Her review was “Don’t ever tell my mom but that’s one of the best sauces I’ve ever had!” She quite frankly told me she didn’t expect it to be that great and I didn’t even know how to take that comment. Is it because I’m not Italian? or she’s tasted the best and nothing can top that? Whatever the reason was it sure made me laugh.

My thoughts
I really like this sauce and it’s healthy. It would be great for kids as all the healthy stuff has been pureed so no little eyes can point out any evil yucky veggies. Let’s face it; it’s also good for the men in your life that still have their aversion to all things vegetable in nature.

Sweet Pepper Coulis

Peppers were on sale and I bought too much (the over-eager shopper that I am). I decided to make steak for dinner with some mixed vegetables and a wild mushroom rice. The question was “what am I going to do with all these peppers?… I know I will make a sauce or a coulis (a thick sauce made from pureed vegetable or fruits) for the steak”. My inspiration for this sauce was from an entrée I had at The Keg Mansion for our 1 year anniversary. I choose the top sirloin with roasted red peppers and feta cheese. I can’t believe I still remember that meal today over 3 years later. I guess I must have really enjoyed it, and my dish was just as tasty if I say so myself.

Yield/Serving: 250 ml
Difficulty level is: Easy

• 1 tbsp of olive oil
• 1 small yellow sweet pepper chopped
• 1 small red sweet pepper chopped
• 1 small orange sweet pepper chopped
• 2 cloves of garlic chopped
• 1 small tomato chopped
• 1 small onion chopped
• ½ tsp kosher salt
• ½ tsp black pepper
• 1 tsp dried basil
• 1 cup dry white wine

1. Add all the ingredients into a pot to boil.
2. Once the vegetables become tender, reduce temperature to low to simmer for 15-20 minutes. (Or until liquid starts reducing.)
3. Remove pot from burner and use immersion blender to mix the ingredients.

• I had leftover Sweet Pepper Coulis, so I re-purposed it into my homemade tomato sauce I made the next day.

Please Enjoy

Mr. C. said “very very tasty. It added a nice tang to the steak also when mixed with the rice it was awesome. “

My thoughts
This was a really surprising concoction I came up with; and it all came about because I had too many peppers. I love when my cooking experiments work out well. (I’m not talking to you Cheesecake Fudge)

Homemade Lasagna

Homemade Lasgna - Candy Coated Culinista

Homemade Lasgna – Candy Coated Culinista

Italian or Greek food is the food I could have every day for the remainder of my life and I’d be quite content. Lasagna is my absolute favourite food and I have tasted it many places. I finally decided to make lasagna from scratch even though I know this is a time-consuming burden. This may be my first and last time making this dish as I may just not want to have to go through this process again.

Yield/Serving: 1 – 9” x 9” dish & 12” x 9” dish
Prep Time: 1hr & 30 min.
Cook Time: 45 min.
Difficulty level is: Medium, time consuming

• 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 1 large onion, diced
• 6 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
• 1/3 pound ground beef
• 1/3 pound ground pork
• 1/3 pound ground veal
• 1 tsp sea salt
• 1 tsp season salt
• 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
• 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
• 1 tbsp dried basil
• 1 tbsp dried oregano
• 1 tbsp dried rosemary
• 1 tbsp dried thyme
• 1 tbsp dried sage
• 1 tbsp dried parsley flakes
• 5.5 oz (156 ml) tomato paste
• 1 {28 oz} can Whole San Marzano tomatoes, crushed
• 3 cups ricotta
• 2 eggs
• 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
• 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
• 4 cups {16 oz} mozzarella cheese, grated
• 3 cups spinach, blanched
• 3 cups swiss chard, blanched
• 16 Flat “No Boil” Lasagna Noodles

1. In a large saucepan sauté onion in a tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat until softened.
2. Add in the garlic along with the ground, beef, pork, veal along with all the spices and stir until meat is browned.
3. Add in the tomato paste and crushed San Marzano tomatoes including the tomato sauce from the can. Stir and combine.
4. Reduce to low and let simmer for 45 minutes.
5. In a medium bowl combine ricotta, eggs, parsley and a half cup of parmesan and mozzarella cheese and place in fridge until needed.
6. In another saucepan sauté the spinach and swiss chard for a few minutes and then squeeze out excess water.
Lasagna Assembly
7. Spray a 9”x13” and a 9” x 9” baking or casserole dish with cooking spray and preheat oven to 375°F.
8. Spread one cup of the meat sauce on the bottom of the baking pan.
9. Lay four noodles, then add some spinach and Swiss chard and spread 1/3 of the ricotta mixture on top of the noodles.
10. Spread 1 cup of meat sauce and sprinkle with a half cup of mozzarella cheese.
11. Repeat steps 8 and 9 until you have reached the top.
12. Bake for 30-45 minutes and then let rest for 10 minutes.
13. Serve

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
If I had an Italian nonna she would be so proud. My first attempt was a huge success. I used my homemade pasta sauce and everything. I just think I needed more pasta sauce even though I had added a lot, I think it needed more. Also a deeper casserole dish would be great my lasagna. I made one dish of lasagna to freeze as I wasn’t going to make just one and gave it to my dad to enjoy. I really had a sense of accomplishment making my most favourite dish ever.

Healthy Diaries – Greenhouse Juice Co.

Healthy Diaries - Greenhouse Juice Co. - Candy Coated Culinista

Healthy Diaries – Greenhouse Juice Co. – Candy Coated Culinista

Place: Greenhouse Juice Co.
Location: 5 MacPherson Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M5R 1W7 (Between Rosedale & Summerhill subway stations)
Phone: 416-546-1719
Hours: Monday-Friday: 7:30 am – 6 pm, Saturday: 8 am – 6 pm, Sunday: 9 am – 6 pm

I had an early morning errand to run and knew Greenhouse Juice Co. was in the area. At 7:45am I went in and I asked a very helpful associate to explain to me and suggest to me some juices. She explained that the juices are cold-pressed, which makes the juices nutrient packed, raw and unpasteurized. I was even gave me a few taste samples to help me decide what I wanted to purchase and when I made my selections I was given a menu for next time and I was on my way to work.

My selections were:
Deep Roots – $8-250ml or $11-500ml – beet, carrot, apple, celery, lemon
Benefits – Lung kidney & liver cleansing, bone strengthening, heart healthy, antioxidizing
Rabbit Run – $7.50-250ml or $10.50-500ml – carrot, apple, ginger
Benefits -Immunity & metabolism boosting, anti-inflammatory, stress reliever
Tumeric – $5.50 for a shot
Benefits – anti-inflammatory, antioxidizing

These juices were really healthy and tasty and I could detect all the ingredients in each juice. I didn’t care for the turmeric at all even though I know the health benefits are great. I poured half a shot into my deep roots and it overpowered the whole juice. Turmeric is very pungent to me and also gave me a stomach ache and I didn’t even consume that much. I have heard others get the same reaction to turmeric also and maybe I have to build up a tolerance, or for me I’ll just stay away as I prefer my raw healthy juices to be less spicy.

I do find that it’s too overpriced as I could make it at home, but doing the cold-pressed process is what makes it a little different and attributes to the price. However, if you’re on the go, don’t have time to juice vegetables at home or own a cold-press juicer it’s worth it just not all the time. Each juice comes in glass bottle which probably helps to increase the price; but I expect no less than a glass bottle. To me the whole idea is to be healthy and having plastic bottles wouldn’t be healthy to the environment, or our bodies.

Keep in mind that these types of juices have a very short shelf life but that’s to be expected, so don’t purchase too many at once and also arrive early as there is a tendency to run out of those popular flavours before the end of day. Next time I will try the nut-milks and keep in mind that it’s not cheap eating healthy for sure.

Marshmallow Pecan Fudge

Marshmallow Pecan Fudge - Candy Coated Culinista

Marshmallow Pecan Fudge – Candy Coated Culinista

Chocolate, marshmallows, pecans, cream and sugar … who can resist right?

From Ricardo Larrivee

Preparation Time: 25 min.
Cook Time: 15 min.
Difficulty level is: Medium

• 1 ½ cups pecan halves
• 1 cup cream (35 %)
• 1 cup sugar
• 8 oz semi sweet chocolate
• 2 cups mini marshmallows

1. Toast the pecans in the oven or in a skillet.
2. In a saucepan, bring the cream and sugar to a boil.
3. Reduce the heat and add the chocolate, stirring constantly. Melt completely.
4. Simmer until a candy thermometer reads 112 °C (230 °F).
5. Remove from the heat and pour the fudge into a bowl.
6. Add the marshmallows and pecans and stir with a wooden spoon for 10 to 15 minutes.
7. Spread the fudge into a parchment paper lined 13 x 23-cm (5 x 9-inch) pan.
8. Cool completely, then cut into cubes

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I was really happy with how this turned out and I could see pecan chunks with each bite. It was a nice mix of crunchy, chewy and soft. The second time I made this it was a Lemony Letdown. It was a humid day when I attempted this and making fudge on a humid day is always a bad idea, so I re-purposed the fudge.

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