Hot Polka Dot


October is a month that's all about welcoming Fall. Baking pies and roasting turkeys for Thanksgiving. Raking leaves into neat piles, jumping in them and raking them all over again. Stringing up cobwebs, carving jack-o-lanterns and donning your creepiest costume for Halloween.

October is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month and and that's a fact we shouldn't easily forget. In support of this wonderful cause Tic Tac Canada has donated $25,000 to The Breast Cancer Society of Canada and released a yummy new Tic Tac flavour called Strawberry Fusion.

Guess what my new favourite flavour of Tic Tac is? You guessed it! They're tart, sweet and bursting with two levels of strawberry goodness.

I was so happy with my sample of Tic Tacs that I was inspired to make something strawberry and pink in support of this most auspicious month. I sandwiched light and airy strawberry mousse between layers of vanilla bean cake and fresh strawberries then topped it all off with vanilla bean whipped cream. It's tasty, it's luscious, it's pretty, it's pink!

So I suppose there's one more colour to add to the vibrant list of Fall colours and it certainly is a sweet one.


Paint With Chocolate; Sculpt With Orange.

I made it! Challenge four! Thank you so much to my loyal readers and new friends who took the time to vote for me. I appreciate all your support and words of encouragement.

“Sure, you can take a pretty picture. But your task here is to go above and beyond and use photography to create a step-by-step, instructional photo tutorial. It could be anything from how to bone a chicken to how to make your favorite recipe, but your photos need to guide the reader through the steps. For this challenge, you'll want to go well beyond the 2 photo minimum with at least 6 photographs.”

More often than not food blogs are salt and peppered by impossible yet beautiful photographs. Fantastically layered slices of cake. Intricately detailed lattice pie crust. Perfectly frosted cupcakes. Food bloggers present their subjects in such a way that they transcend food and transform into art.

Edible art.

Like any art form it can be broken down into steps and taught. As an artist I've always believed that art is both a talent and a skill. Those that aren't born with the ability can learn it.

Andy Warhol, Salvador Dali and Leonardo da Vinci. Helene Dujardin (Tartelette), Heather Baird (Sprinkle Bakes), and Hannah Queen (Honey & Jam). All artists with different styles and subjects.

For those of you who bitterly complain that you can't draw a straight line or sculpt mashed potatoes I give you this tutorial. Follow these step-by-step photos to create your own masterpiece.


Mousse and Other Nonesuch Things.

I have a few pet peeves. Ok maybe more than a few, but I won't make you labour through reading all that, so here are just a few:

Dried toothpaste in the sink. A sticky nightmare to clean off and you just know it's been in someone's mouth.

The word flimsy. It sounds too much like my own name. Call me crazy, but I don't like it.

When people mispronounce or misspell words we use everyday like supposebly for supposedly, presentating for presenting and know for no. That's no way to communicate people.

A sink filled with dirty dishes next to an empty dishwasher. No further explanation is necessary.

Soap scum. So getting clean somehow makes the shower dirty. Really? How fair is that?

Bugs. Just get your creepiness out of my house! Nobody likes you!

Fingerprints on my glasses. Call me obsessive compulsive, but I prefer to see out of those things.

When you peel the lid off an open tub of cream cheese and the last person to use it has left the metal seal on it.

That sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach when you experiment with a completely new recipe for the first time and you're sure something horrible is going to go wrong.

The best part is when that bad feeling is replaced by a good feeling that causes you to pump your fists in the air and jump up and down. Yeah, I love me some good feelings.

The whole afternoon I was worried about how the mousse layer would turn out in my Lemon Blackberry Mousse Sponge Cake. I'd never made a mousse layer in a cake before. It would surely be a catastrophe. I nervously opened the fridge dozens of times to check on it and I fretted over it when I gingerly poked the parchment paper with my finger. I was sure that when I peeled back that parchment paper that all heck would break loose and my mousse would come pouring out like some unstoppable force. Then I'd have to cry in a puddle of my own purple failure.

Luckily that was all in my imagination. I mean, look at it! I don't like to brag, but come on really, It's perfect! You know how much I like to make things pretty and I'm proud to say this is one of the prettiest things I've ever created. Pretty and pretty tasty to boot.


Good For What Ails You.

I get the hiccups. Quite frequently. It's an annoyance. It's a curse.

Now let me be clear. We're not talking those aw-isn't-that-cute-she-squeeks-like-a-mouse kind of hiccups. We're talking feels-like-I've-been-kicked-in-the-throat-by-a-workhorse-gasping-for-breath-like-I'm-drowning kind of hiccups. These are grown up hiccups people.

The man to hold the world record for the longest case of hiccups is named Charles Osborne who had the hiccups for a full 69 years. That's right. I googled it. Experts estimate he hiccuped 430 million times in that time period. By my calculations that's approximately 17,300 hiccups per day and 12 hiccups per minute. I don't think I've ever had hiccups for longer than 69 minutes and a mere 10 minutes into it I was already about ready to rip my hair out.

I know all the remedies. Oh, you think you're so smart. You think you have one I've never heard of. You don't. I've swallowed spoonfuls of sugar with no results other than a mild sugar rush. I've rather awkwardly attempted a headstand which only ended in falling in a heap on the floor and bruising my knee. I've drank glass after glass of water upside down and backwards which only seemed to make it worse. I've had people scare the crap out of me repeatedly and the hiccups always return. And so on and so forth...

My problem is I have hiccup days. I hate those days. Most people get hiccups once, they cure them and they don't have to worry about it for the rest of the day. That would be nice. With me I seem to go days without getting the hiccups and then one day I get them several times. The hiccup fairy comes and goes as she pleases all the while driving me batty. It's like a cruel joke. I rejoice in curing one case of hiccups only to have to deal with yet another half and hour later. Even worse, the cure I used on the last case of hiccups doesn't ever seem to work on the next bout.

The only similarity between all those hiccup remedies is distraction. Of course if you drink a glass of water upside down you're going to be more concerned with spilling water all over yourself than the hiccups you're curing with it. If you eat a slice of lemon you're going to be too busy making that attractive puckered sour puss face to worry about your hiccups. If a certain someone throws out their arms and screams at you suddenly in their thundering baritone voice you're going to be trying so hard not to pee yourself you're not even going to remember you had hiccups.

I've heard you get hiccups from worrying about something. That might explain it. I get hiccups once and I spend the rest of the day worrying so much about them returning that they do. It's a catch 22. Curse you hiccups! Why must you plague me?

Now onto something less crazy and more tasty. These White Chocolate Apricot Mousse Lace Cups are the polar opposite of those cursed hiccups. Well sort of. They aren't annoying. They aren't embarrassing. They aren't downright uncalled for.

They are pretty. They are adorable. They are definitely delicious.

Perhaps they are the unsung cure for hiccups. Only time will tell.


Spring Shenanigans.

I'm sitting out here in the sunny backyard, my computer in my lap and my White Chocolate Strawberry Dessert in hand. Sounds dreamy doesn't it? Yes, yes it is. The birds are singing. The sky is blue. The grass is turning green. The breeze is lazy and refreshing. The temperature is perfectly mild. It makes me sleepy it's so relaxing. It also makes me consider planting my very own herb garden.

The three of us went to the park the other day. I can't tell you how good it feels to finally be able to walk around in jeans and a light sweater and not have to worry about getting frost bite. That might not sound warm enough for you, but that's my favourite weather. Spring is my favourite season by far. We just hung out on the swings and made a ruckus on the play structure then we got slushies. It was the best afternoon.

It's hard to believe that this time next week we might have snow on the ground. Mother Nature should just make up her mind already. Is it Winter or Spring?

I am so looking forward to fresh local strawberries, blueberries, cherries and peaches. That's my favourite time and those are my favourite fruits. For now it's imported strawberries for my Strawberry Curd.


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