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June Reads

June Reads

The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson 3/5 Stars The Vanishing Stair is the second book in the Truly, Devious series. Stevie Bell is pulled out of Ellingham Academy by her parents after the murder of her housemate. They were convinced to let her go back […]

Frozen Berry Sangria

Frozen Berry Sangria

I love Sangria during any season. Change up the wine and the fruit and it works for any party, celebration, or night at home. For these hot summer months, there’s nothing like a cool frosty drink. This Frozen Berry Sangria brings back the nostalgia of […]

What I’ve been making lately – June 16

What I’ve been making lately – June 16

Tacos Al Pastor

Pork was on sale, so we thought we’d make tacos. Not just tacos, but my favourite kind of tacos – Al Pastor. I love pineapple on anything and everything. I was going to just cook the meat in a slow cooker. Ethan wanted to try out a sort of spit method, closer to the traditional cook of the meat. He was inspired by this video by Tasty. We really loved cooking the meat this way. It was really, really tasty. We’d like to try this method with Shawarma too.

Barbecue Grilled Chicken, Sweet Potato Fries, and Fiddleheads

With the warm weather, we’ve been trying to use the barbecue a bit more. For the chicken, we just grilled it with a little bit of store-bought barbecue sauce, and slapped on some more after it was cooked. The sweet potato fries were homemade, but they could have been a lot crispier. I had never tried fiddleheads before, but they came in a produce box. First, I steamed them. Then sauteed in butter and minced garlic.

Strawberry Banana Jam

I had strawberries. I had bananas. Then saw this post on Instagram, and thought that maybe I should make jam. I had never made jam before. This recipe doesn’t call for pectin, so it’s not as firm as a normal jam. I think I may have overcooked it a bit? I don’t know. It was a delicious jam, and I hadn’t had a jam like it before.

Get the recipe here.

Buffalo Wing Dip

I looooove Buffalo wing dip. Really, I love anything Buffalo wing inspired. Living in close proximity to Buffalo, I think it’s in my blood. This dip is super easy to make. I put two chicken breasts in the slow cooker with some vegetable stock, Frank’s Buffalo Sauce, and a little bit of butter. If you don’t have the Frank’s Buffalo, regular Frank’s and more butter will do the trick.

For the dip, I added a couple scoops of the chicken in with a brick of cream cheese, about a cup of plain greek yogurt, some more Buffalo sauce, and shredded cheese. I mixed this around until incorporated, then put in a few French onion soup bowls, topped with cheese, and cooked in the oven for about 20 minutes on 425. We usually have the dip with nachos, but my friend Toni introduced me to using cucumber as a vehicle for this dip and I love it. We also toasted some naan bread from the freezer.

Cauliflower Pasta

I have v much been loving ‘sauceless’ pastas lately. Really there is just a lot of olive oil, garlic and cheese that comes together to make the sauce with help from the pasta water. I was inspired by this Well Plated recipe. I didn’t one pot it, so I didn’t use the chicken stock and made it a vegetarian recipe. You could easily omit the cheese and make it a vegan recipe. My favourite part was the toasted bread crumbs. I’m going to throw those on top of pasta more often.

Banana Pancakes

I was going to make Ricotta Banana pancakes one Sunday morning, but the ricotta didn’t seem too fresh so I stuck to just bananas. I followed this recipe. They were tasty, and crispy, but fluffy on the inside. They were also very banana-y.

Buffalo Chicken Salad

The reason I love doing the Buffalo chicken in the slow cooker is that I can make a bunch and use it for a couple meals. We also used Buffalo chicken in quesadillas. For the salad, I used two kinds of lettuce that came in our produce box, topped it with chopped carrot and cucumber. I then sprinkled on the chicken. Okay, I heaped on the chicken. For dressing, I used blue cheese along with some more Buffalo sauce.

Apple Muffins

We had so many apples. All from produce boxes. I thought maybe I should do something with them. First, I made this 3-ingredient, sugar-free apple sauce. Then, I made some really delicious apple muffins. Ethan doesn’t particularly like apple and cinnamon together (crazy I know), so I wanted to find a recipe that wasn’t cinnamon heavy. I loved the way these muffins turned out and I would absolutely make them again. Find the recipe here.

Homemade Burgers, Corn with Barbecue Butter, and Buffalo Cauliflower

The burgers were homemade – nothing too special. I used a pound of ground beef with egg, Worcestershire sauce, onion, garlic, bread crumbs and milk. I topped them with cheese slices, onions, barbecue sauce and mayo. For the corn, I was inspired to try something a little different by my latest copy of Food Network Magazine. I melted some unsalted butter in a pan, stirred in some barbecue sauce and minced garlic. Put in a little salt and painted it on the corn. Then topped it with some chives. Ethan made some buffalo cauliflower using this recipe.

Portobello Burger and Greek Pasta Salad

We also got portobellos in our produce box (that was some good value, my friends!) They were grilled on the barbecue for a few minutes. I topped mine with provolone, ricotta, roasted red peppers, and balsamic glaze. These were delicious. For the pasta salad, it was just mixed in Greek dressing with some chopped onions and chives.

Mint Julep

We had bought some mint for mojitos (delicious, btw). So while I was flipping through my copy of Craft Cocktails and found this recipe to use up some more mint. We had everything but the crushed ice, which turned out to be a pretty vital aspect. I had never had a mint julep before, and I believe that they are closer to a snow cone than I was able to make. Get the recipe here.

Check out all of my food posts here.

Follow me on Instagram @hstrong_ to see everything I’m making.

Why I’m Excited for Matt James to be The Bachelor

Why I’m Excited for Matt James to be The Bachelor

The Bachelor has named their new lead, even though Clare Crawley‘s season of The Bachelorette hasn’t even been filmed yet. In an unprecedented move, ABC has announced that a Black man, Matt James, will be their new Bachelor. He may seem familiar, even if he […]

May Reads

May Reads

In the month of May I managed to read quite a few books and make up for my lacking in other months. I’m now on a better track with my reading challenge! Anyway, on with the books. My Oxford Year by Julia Whelan 3/5 Stars […]

What I’ve been making lately – May 30

What I’ve been making lately – May 30

Breakfast Burrito

Who doesn’t love a breakfast burrito? It’s a great way to try and use up what’s in your fridge. I’m looking at the picture and craving this now. If you want the recipe, you can check it out here.

Fancy Grilled Cheese

We ordered some sourdough bread from our local bakery (I am not brave enough to make my own). With this, we thought it would be fun to go ham (pun absolutely intended) with our grilled cheese. We used provolone AND swiss cheese with a slice of prosciutto and a slick of local blueberry jam. We used the mayo on the bread method. I prefer margarine tbh.

Skillet Roast Beef

We put in an order from a local butcher and with it came a 5 pound roast. We cut it in three so we could pull it out when we wanted. Even though the weather got HOT in the last few weeks, I was craving a classic roast. I heavily salt and peppered the meat before hard-searing on all sides in a cast-iron skillet. I then added garlic, vegetable stock and red wine into the skillet before putting it into a 375 degree oven until it came up to 150 degrees for a medium rare/medium doneness. The potatoes and heirloom carrots were slow-roasted in the oven. The gravy and yorkshire puddings were from packages, so I can’t take too much credit for those.

Homemade Pizza

In the aforementioned bakery order, we also got a couple of pizza doughs that we stuck in the freezer for a rainy day. It was literally raining the day we made this. We made a classic pepperoni, but added a few dollops of ricotta throughout.

Smoky BBQ Bacon Burger

We wanted to put these burgers on the grill, but I guess I didn’t add enough breadcrumbs into them, because they started to fall apart. For the burgers, we used ground beef, with egg, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and some chopped bacon. The bacon was cooked, and the onions and mushrooms were cooked in the bacon fat, and then barbecue sauce was added to the vegetables. You can’t tell under all of the stuff, but there is a nice piece of cheddar on there too.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake Bars

Gaby Dalkin posted these bars in her instagram story this week, and I knew I had to make them. I’ve had one pack of cream cheese in my freezer for a while, and was never sure what to do with it. This recipe was perfect for that. I didn’t have quite enough chocolate chips, so I chopped up some Hershey’s kisses that were in the cupboard. These bars were fantastic, and Ethan has been raving about them all week. Check out the recipe here.

Pasta e Olio with Ricotta and Prosciutto

I have been LOVING ‘no sauce’ pastas lately. I find them so easy and satisfying. Pasta e Olio is incredibly simple. We were guided by this recipe, but made sure to follow our hearts. My heart told me to stir in some ricotta cheese at the very end and top it with prosciutto.

Check out all of my food posts here.

Follow me on Instagram to see everything I’m making @hstrong_

What I’ve been watching this week – May 29

What I’ve been watching this week – May 29

The Challenge Not only have we been watching this current season of The Challenge, but we have been going back and watching some older seasons in our boredom. Ethan has shown some interest in the show during his first season of viewing. I asked on […]

Just a really solid Breakfast Burrito

Just a really solid Breakfast Burrito

As a child, I hated breakfast for dinner. As an adult, I have completely embraced it. Sorry mom! We had exactly two large tortillas left that we wanted to use up, and I thought that breakfast burritos would be the way to go. These are […]

Eulogizing The Bachelor Presents: Listen to Your Heart

Eulogizing The Bachelor Presents: Listen to Your Heart

Did I think I was going to watch Listen to Your Heart every single week? I mean, I probably was. Pandemic or not, I do love content.

Did I think I was going to love Listen to Your Heart? Definitely not.

Yes, I loved the show. I was excited to watch it every single week. I thought it was a fun way to fill the void. It took a couple episodes for the show to get into the swing of things, and I think there are a few changes they could make to improve the show. But for a first go at things, I thought it was good and it felt in line with The Bachelor franchise.

The first two episodes, where everyone met and some more people were brought it felt very Bachelor in Paradise and not super musicy. These were probably the two worst episodes of the season. It felt pointless to bring in new people because new connections weren’t really made. I felt like they should have just started off with an equal number of people, and just have pairs a la Bachelor Pad.

I wanted to see everyone sing and perform. We lost out not seeing everyone perform. There could have been some sort of show at the end of every episode, and couples could have been voted out based on that. I’m fine with losing two couples a week just to get the numbers down.

I loved the mid-point where people had to go on dates with someone else. This was a great move, and this could be used effectively in Bachelor in Paradise too. There needs to be more opportunity for switch ups in the parings along the way – another reason why the cast should stay bigger for longer.

The cast was genuinely talented for the most part, and I really looked forward to the performances each week.

It sucked that people had to be in a strong relationship to stay, as the relationships could have been built along the way. In the finale we saw Matt and Rudi leave (my favourite couple!!!!) because they didn’t feel like they were far enough along to be at the end. Which is dumb!! It was like a producer was in Matt’s ear telling him he should tell Rudi he loves her to set them up for a win. And Matt was not in love with Rudi and felt like he had to leave or fake it. It seemed like they were both at a similar level of really liking each other, which is fine by me!!

They seemed to shoot themselves in the foot by losing this couple so close to the end by pressuring people to be in love. I’m not sure how long filming lasted, but it couldn’t have been THAT long. It’s sensible for a guy who has clearly never seen a minute of this franchise to not get how to play the game. I’m positive Nataschia and Ryan would have gotten married if it meant they could stay, even if they just liked each other as friends.

In the end, Chris and Bri were crowned as champions of Listen to Your Heart, despite the episode trying to tell us they had a few issues. They are still happily together, which is great.

I’d be glad to watch another season of Listen to Your Heart, and I liked quite a few people enough to see them on a future season of Bachelor in Paradise.

Check out my podcasts coverage of Listen to Your Heart on

What I’ve been making lately – May 18

What I’ve been making lately – May 18

Vegan Carrot Coconut Soup We ended up with a lot of carrots in a farm box we picked up, so I thought a carrot soup was in order. It was a very filling soup that has a lot of room to put a spin on […]