So when I saw how in love Jessica was with this Vietnamese Caramel Pork Stir Fry dish I knew I had to try making it! I love LOVE love stir frys!!! I remember from a young age my mom in the kitchen with her huge red Wok, slicing and dicing while my brother and I threw in all the vegetables. I think they are honestly the perfect meal; satisfying because you get you meat and veggies covered in delicious sauce and filling because you get that carb fix (which every Italian girl needs!!!).
Also Caramel Pork sounds ridiculously good. I tend to get stuck in a bit of chicken-or-beef-rotating-rut so this was going to be a nice change on the protein side. Also, confession. I’ve never made my owe sauce! I always use the packages or something bottled. And lets be honest, we don’t all have time to make every dinner from scratch and those little short-cuts are a major help in our busy lives (is that enough justification??).
How did it go?
I do have to state that this dish took much longer than 30 minutes for me to make! Maybe on the 3rd or 5th try I’ll get it down to that, but I’d say I spent about an hour in the kitchen reading carefully, chopping, mixing, cooking etc. It wasn’t that expensive to get all of the ingredients either.
So then, how was it?
UNBELIEVABLE!!!!!! This dish delivered. And like Jessica, between me and my partner we ate everything! Not. A. Crumb. Left.
So if you, your partner, or your family are stir fry lovers you have to try this dish! It will become a regular, that I am sure.
Two weeks ago I snuck away for a mini-holiday with my partner to Quebec City.
We went for the Quebec Winter Carnival or the Carnaval de Québec a festival held in Quebec City every winter beginning end of January and ending mid-February. I have always wanted to go. Not only is it a quintessential Canadian festival where one can get experience the unique French-Canadian culture in a stunning city. But because over 30 years ago, my mom and dad, in their early twenties met for the first time at Carnival on a college field trip.
Carnaval de Québec first began in 1894, however it was not until 1955 that Carnaval was held uninterruptedly. That year Bonhomme, the mascot of the festival, made his first appearance. Up to one million people attended the Carnaval de Québec in 2006 making it one of the largest winter festivals in the world
The most famous attractions of this winter festival are the night-time and daytime parades led by mascot Bonhomme Carnaval. The parades wind through the upper city, decorated for the occasion with lights and ice sculptures.
Numerous public and private parties, shows and balls are held across the city, some of them outside in the bitter cold, testimony to the Québécois’ fabled joie de vivre. For me I was most excited to try dog sledding, eat lots of maple and poutine, and see the magnificent ice sculptures.
Overall we had an amazing time. Even though it was freezing if you dress warm you’re in for a great weekend you won’t forget. The city is unbelievably romantic. It’s certainly delivers on those essential elements of Europe that we love – charming shops, historic architecture, beautiful language, delicious gastronomy and vibrant night-life- without crossing the ocean. I definitely plan to return in the summer where I heard its even more parisien with artists lining the streets painting and the patios of cafes and bistros are full of people and music fills the streets! Sounds so enchanting….
Right now American’s everywhere are planning their copious menus and setting their tables with festive décor for Thanksgiving. Ohh, and they have a shorter work week for the long weekend festivities. Now I know I have no right to really complain, north of the border up here in Canada, we celebrate Thanksgiving in early October. I love it as I have always viewed it as the official kick off of autumn.
As Canadians prepare for thanksgiving we start to see the leaves changing from green to hues of gold, copper and crimson. The weather, in my opinion, is prefect. There is a definite crispness in the air, but we welcome it as it allows us to don our leather jackets, flannel button-downs and wrap ourselves in hand knit scarves. While we know the bone chilling cold is closing in on us, summer has healed the wounds of winter past, and we can blissfully enjoy this season for what it is. Rich. Cozy. Bountiful. Rustic.
I guess I am really just reminiscing of this past thanksgiving as it was so splendid. I thought I would share the décor and menu I went with to serve as inspiration in case you are still looking for some inspiration.
I honestly don’t know if I was more excited to set the table or to cook the food. I think I would go with excited to set the table (décor comes easy for me) and anxious to cook the food (cooking elaborate meals without my mom or grandma’s help scares the s@*! out of me). There really is nothing worse than spending your time and money on something only for it to turn out bad.
Overall I’d say everything turned out pretty perfectly. I opted to roast a chicken instead of a turkey because it was only two of us and there would have been way too leftovers. It turned out moist and succulent. My first pumpkin pie was also a success. I also made these delish, super fancy looking twice baked sweet potatoes with roasted marshmallows on top. And to start I make awesome little raspberry, brie and puff pastry appetizers.
All in all, we were stuffed. But isn’t that the one of the best parts of the holidays?!
Right now William Sonoma has such amazing thanksgiving dinner plate sets that would add festive flare to any holiday table.
Below is a collections of my everyday make-up must-haves that can create the perfect flawless complexion suitable for everyday in 15 minutes without caking on pounds of make-up.
Lancome Primer – Love this primer! It goes on so smooth and and feels moisturizing. Exclusive Lancôme Elasto-Smooth technology refines skin’s texture and diffuses light to visibly reduce imperfections
Cle de Peau -A perennial makeup-artist favorite, Clé de Peau Beauté concealer is highly editorialized and continues to win major awards year after year. I actually bought both Ivory (a shade lighter then my match) and beige (my match). I use ivory when I have really dark circles and want a bit more brightness under my eye. Beige is a great concealer but I sometimes also use it as a spot corrector for any blemishes or red patches. With the two of these I’m set, and can often just skip the foundation!
Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation – Once again this is a perennial makeup artist favourite; in fact, most the the make artists for the Kardashian’s and some of the best beauty blogger all use the foundation. It honestly is amazing and worth every penny. The oil–free fluid glides on seamlessly, offering hydrating all-day coverage that can be layered for a personalised finish. The more you put on, the more airbrushed you look! I highly recommend using a beauty blender to get the most flawless, dewy finish you ever did see.
Urban Decay Flushed – Urban Decay just came out with Flushed – there powder based contoured, blush and highlighter kit. There are four different tones to choose from: Streak, Native, Naked and Strip. I use the Native Set. What I love it that I am able to contour my entire face with light powders instead of heavy creams and liquids.
Naked Eye Shadow (Palette 3) – I love Naked 1 but I think I’m more in love with Naked Palette 3 just because of how wearable it is. I can do a softer taupe/rose look for during the day and then amp things up later at night with the darker/shimmering hues. I pretty much use the palette everyday. It’s a great investment!
Benefits Cosmetics They’re Real! Push-up Liner – Eyeline is amazing! It hugs the lash line and it’s so bold that you would think that it’s liquid liner. Furthermore, the fountain tip allows for easy application.
L’Oreal Volumous Butterfly Mascara – I’m super picky about mascara. I love the look but I hate washing it off at night. Furthermore, I don’t like mascara that clumps my lashes together or that really heavy-thick-look. I just love a perfect fan of lashes that doesn’t look like 30 coats have been applied. This mascara is great because it literally grabs every lash! Making a beautiful fan.
M.A.C. Cosmetics Lipstick – So I have at least 20 of these bad boys and I truly love them all. I actually feel bad picking favourites because it’s kind of misleading. Honeylove is my go-to everyday and Diva (or Ruby Woo) is my vamp-night-out go-to. I love them!! Feel great, wear well. I highly recommend buying the corresponding lip liner and lining/color-in your lips with that first. This will just allow for longer wear with less re-application!