More on Cupcakes in Montreal

Over the years I’ve eaten a lot of cupcakes around town, written a few posts about them, and kept my ear to the ground on the general cupcake scene.

People have both loved and hated what I’ve written, but the opinion is still mine to share, and I continue to do so.
Recently I had the opportunity to write an article for the popular Montreal food blog, Ici et Here. Curated by Jackson Wightman of Made Here, the Fait Ici blog (and many other online venues), Ici et Here is a blog about Montreal and the fascinating way food is woven into the fabric of life in this city.
It was my honour to contribute to the already stellar content of the blog, and I chose cupcakes as my topic. Perhaps to ruffle a few feathers. Perhaps to show that these mini confections still have a solid fan base in this town.
From the post:
“Alright, I know the cupcake is on more ‘out’ lists than Lady Gaga is on ‘in’ lists. Local Chowhounders label them as “pervasive”; food snobs scoff as they pass the (many) shops; heck, in merely mentioning on Twitter that I was writing about cupcakes, I received a snide @reply asking, “Are cupcakes still a thing?”
Granted, they really aren’t. The new sweet trend is macarons or pie, depending on whom you talk to, and the cupcake hype is a thing of the past. However, in or out, it’s my firm belief that they still hold court in the Montreal food scene.”…

Head to Ici et Here to read the rest of the post and get my recommendations for the best cupcakes in town.

I had great fun contributing to Ici et Here. A big thanks to Jackson for the opportunity!

Cooking and Eating with Kids


Ah, February. With your icy snow, brutal winds and gray mornings, no wonder we turn our backs on you and set up camp in the kitchen.

Cooking and eating with kids has been an unofficial theme over at Simple Bites this month (well, that and sympathy meals). It’s only natural to hit the kitchen when it is nasty outside.

It started with a guest post on healthy snacks for kids. Cindy’s easy recipes for Apple Chips & Sun Butter Bites showed how easy it is to reform snack time. Even I was ready for an update.

In another post, I shared how winter is the best season for encouraging kids in the kitchen and Noah made a Baked Apple-Gingerbread Pancake almost completely on his own.


Simple Bites contributor Lynn then gave us a thorough post on baking with kids, not to mention a fantastic giant oatmeal cookie recipe. She provided a simple breakdown with doable steps and tons of super smart tips. She is not called The Cookie Baker for nothin’.

On a similar note, I guest posted over at Food for My Family on the (much discussed, often heated) topic of picky eaters. I give 5 Tips for Surviving with a Selective Eater and try to avoid pointing fingers at the parents. Seriously, can we stop giving parents guilt trips and just accept that kids are kids?


Last weekend, Danny, the boys and I ate nothing but pancakes as we were taste testing five varieties of homemade pancake syrup. There was no complaining to speak of from the picky eaters.

Look for a few new pancake recipes coming up just in time for Pancake Tuesday.

Frosting for the Cause


Happy New Year!!

Twenty-Eleven launched a sweet project that is particularly personal for me.

Beginning January 1, 2011, a total of 365 sugar cookie & cupcake bakers/decorators and bloggers from across Canada and the United States will take turns doing a guest post at Frosting for the Cause.

By signing onto this project every guest baker/blogger has committed to not only donating a batch of their cookies or cupcakes to their local Women’s Hospice but they have also committed to making a personal $25.00 donation to either the Canadian or American Cancer Society to be directed to research projects that are working diligently to find cures specifically for cancers that affect only women.

The ambitious project is spearheaded by Paula Bourque of Vanilla Bean Baker (who also happens to be my aunt!).

It’s an incredible honour to help kick off this noble project. My rather personal post is featured today and in it I share one way I’ve been touched by cancer, plus a cupcake tutorial you won’t want to miss.

Frosting for the Cause is an absolutely genius idea to use our blogging voices and baking talents to raise funds for cancer awareness and cures. If you haven’t yet signed up, I hope you now do so without delay.

Head here to read my guest post on Frosting for the Cause.

DIY: Homemade Yogurt


My sister, Haidi, was kind enough to pass along her method for making homemade yogurt to me. Since hers is the best I’ve ever had, it’s only fair that I share it with you. All I ask is that you, in turn, pass it on to someone else.

I started making yogurt when my youngest, now seven, started eating solids. Feeling uncertain about the benefits of store-bought, pasteurized milk, I decided that the least I could do was give her something which I knew was beneficial for her developing digestive system. Cultured milk products contain “good bacteria” which help build a healthy immune system and aid digestion.

Besides, I am not a milk drinker, but I do love yogurt. So anyway, my eldest ate yogurt. I’m happy to say that she still enjoys yogurt because I mixed everything you could think of into it. I should qualify that statement: everything healthy.
She ate it with chopped sprouts, grated carrot and cucumber, brewer’s yeast, minced parsley, finely ground seeds and nuts – oh, fresh fruit as well.


I have made yogurt countless times over the last few years, and I would say I have fine-tuned the process. I usually make a gallon, which lasts our family about two weeks. I have used all kinds of milk including raw cow and goat milk. My preference is for raw milk, but if that is not available, I try to use organic. If I find it on clearance, all the better – I bring it home and make a batch that day.
So without further ado, here is the recipe.

Haidi’s Homemade Yogurt

  • 1 gallon milk
  • 1 cup good-quality plain whole-fat yogurt

In a large pot, slowly heat the milk to 180 F, stirring occasionally.

Turn off the heat and allow to cool to 110 F. As the milk is cooling, I measure the starter (yogurt) into a bowl to allow it to warm a little.

Wash 5 quart jars and lids and fill with hot tap water.

Prepare your method of incubation:
There are many ways to incubate yogurt. I have used these two with good success.

The first is a small down comforter which I put in my laundry basket and line with a dishtowel. The second is to use my camping cooler.

You will no doubt come up with your own method which is most convenient for you. In the center of my incubator of choice, I place a couple of quarts of hot water (120 F) to help maintain the heat during the incubation process.


So, the jars are ready, the incubator is ready, the starter is sitting out, and the milk is cooled to 110 F. Take a ladle-full of the milk and stir it gently into the starter. Now pour the starter into the pot of milk and stir again. Empty the jars of hot water into the sink ( I use the water to wash my yogurt dishes) and pour the milk into the jars.

Wipe clean, screw on lids, and place in incubator. The yogurt should be ready in six hours.

If it still seems thin when you tilt the jars, leave for a couple more hours. The cooler the temperature of the incubator is, the longer it will take to set, which will also produce a tarter flavor.

If you accidentally let your milk get too cool, just turn it back on and carefully bring it back to 110. If your yogurt doesn’t turn out perfect the first time, don’t be discouraged. It will still make great smoothies. Try a different brand of yogurt starter and see if that makes a difference.

I have converted several friends to making their own yogurt when they saw how easy it is, and how much money it saves. Besides, it’s so much fresher than store bought.

Homemade – it’s the best!

* All photos by Haidi. Written by Haidi.

For Your Weekend Reading Pleasure (and ‘Thanks’)


My laptop has been getting plenty of use lately. A series of rainy days made it easier to crank out a few guest posts, as well as the usual content for my two food blogs.

Can I just say? Thanks for reading. I don’t usually talk numbers much around here but I see that well over 13,000 of you are popping by on a monthly basis and that makes me very happy. Really.

It’s still a pleasant surprise to find that my sporadic recipes and copious photos of my (ridiculously cute) kids holds your interest. Hey, it even lands me on lists like this, which brings even more readers (and a whole heck of a lot of email spam, apparently. Ick.).

Another list I was super tickled to make was the popular Bullet List from The Mother Huddle.

I didn’t have to think twice when founder Destri invited me to participate and I dedicated my list to Jamie’s Food Revolution in support of his efforts to teach children how to cook.

Kids and cooking was the topic of choice this week. I also guest posted for Kim Vallee, Montreal’s lifestyle and entertaining expert, while she jaunted around Japan with her husband.

Oh, and Ready Made decided they loved Simple Bites:

I’ve been spicing up Simple Bites with my Spices 101 series. In case you’ve missed it here where we’re at:

OK! That’s probably more than enough weekend reading for you! Now get outdoors and enjoy Mother Earth. It is Earth Week after all.