All the things that I love. Outfit by @joefresh. Image credit: mara shapiro/@chickymara
A few weeks ago, on an absolutely perfect spring weekend, I was lucky enough to join the team from Loblaw and President’s Choice for a luxurious cottage weekend. Along with Joe Fresh and Shoppers Drug Mart, we were treated to the ultimate escape. We chilled out, ate delicious food prepared by Chef Andrea Buckett, and enjoyed the perfect start to what’s bound to be the perfect summer.
The weekend was so jam-packed with fun that it’s hard to choose the highlights. That’s because they were all highlights—from the moment we walked into our delicious dinner prepared by Loblaws Executive Chef Mark Russell to being sent home with dinner after two days of heaven, each treat was better than the one before it.
The cottage on Lake Rousseau was extraordinary. I’ve been in a lot of nice homes this one takes the prize winning ribbons. In fact, I’ve been in hotels that aren’t as nice. Whoever owns it (btw I figured it out, but it’s in the vault. All I can say is that I had a crush on the guy when I was in 9th grade and used to crank call him regularly. Yep, I was a teen who ran in the right circles) knows how to treat himself. My favourite design element in the cottage, besides the high ceilings, abundance of windows, and maritime-inspired bedrooms, were the window seats. I’ve always wanted to read in a window seat, and not only did each bedroom boast one, but they were also scattered in the upstairs hallways.
The mancave had every table game, a bar with barstools made of real leather saddles, and a full band set up complete with stripper pole.
Watch my video for more highlights.
Amazing, right? While the scenery was gorgeous, the hospitality was even better. It was all about the food. From the thoughtful uses for everyday products to the amazing assortment of sauces and condiments, we didnt’ stop eating (nor did we want to). Highlights? Well, the Lime kefir ice cream pops were really yummy. I adored the bison burger and new Loads of Caprese Chicken burgers. And the ice cream cake challenge was a blast.
You can see that I tried to use the new double decker burger buns with these full thickness burgers. User tip: my eyes are bigger than my stomach. And my mouth.
Photo credit: Mara Shapiro/@chickymara
Drooling, right? Did you know President’s Choice has beer? Sometimes a Cerveza hits the spot.
President’s Choice beer photo credit: Mara Shapiro/@chickymara
They put me to work. But you know, this is my happy place. Right here.
There were so many delicious recipes (like Haloumi and Strawberry Salad, Wafflemaker rosti, Chipotle taco salad) and I’ll be sharing them with you in future posts. But to get you started, how about some breakfast! And a salad that makes itself!
Sour Cream Strawberry Swirl Muffins (recipe courtesy of PC.ca)
Sour Cream Strawberry Swirl Muffins Image Credit: Mara Shapiro/@chickymara
I’m not usually a big fan of muffins. They’re just sugar, and calories to me, and I’d rather eat a cupcake. But these ones were particularly delicious—moist, full of flavour, and not too sweet. They’re perfect for early breakfasts at the cottage. You could probably make ahead and freeze, although they were so good warm from the oven.
What You’ll Need
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cp PC black label Brititsh Columbia strawberry fruit spread
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup PC Black Label Normandy-style salted cultured butter, melted
1/4 cup canola oil
What You’ll Do
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray muffin pan with cooking spray or line with paper liners.
Sift together flour, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside. Place fruit spread in a small bowl and stir until soft and almost pourable. Set aside.
Whisk together sugar, sour cream, butter, oil, and egg in large bowl until well combined. Add flour mixture. Using wooden spoon, stir gently until almost combined. Spoon fruit spread over batter in large dollops. Fold in until ribboned through (do not overmix). Scoop batter into prepared muffin cups.
Bake in centre of oven for 18-20 minutes or until golden and skewer inserted in centre comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in pan. Transfer to rack to cool completely before serving.
Tip: You could mix the wet and dry ingredients separately the night before and reserve so that you’re ready to bake in moments.
Cauliflower and Sweet Pea Salad
Cauliflower and Sweet Pea Salad. PC.ca Photo credit: Mara Shapiro/@chickymara
What I loved most about the salad besides how good it was is that you can use the frozen veggies as ice packs. Then, once they’re defrosted, you can whip up it up in no time at all. Thanks Chef Andrea for the tip. Preslice all the other veggies before you leave for the cottage. Less time in the kitchen, more time on the docks, folks!
What You’ll Need
For the salad:
1 Bag PC frozen cauliflower, thawed
2 cups frozen peas
1 cup each thinly sliced celery and radish
1 tbsp chopped tarragon or dill
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tsp each salt and pepper
For the dressing:
1 tbsp PC whole grain dijon mustard
3 tbs Black Label honey & ginger condiment
4 tbsp PC New World extra virgin olive oil
What You’ll Do
Combine all salad ingredients in a bowl. Whisk dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Pour over vegetables and toss to combine. Delicious as a side for BBQ.
Tip: Add drained canned tuna, grilled shrimp or chicken for a quick complete meal. Jazz it up with good quality feta.