Cooking with Alison

Archive for the ‘Random’ Category

UCC Chef Battles, The Gentlemen’s Expo, and an Interview with Chef Joe Friday

In Random on November 6, 2016 at pm

The Gentlemen’s Expo (November 10-12, 2016)

I can’t even describe how excited I am for The Gentlemen’s Expo! There will be something there for everyone, especially foodies! The line-up of celebrities and entertainment (from the culinary world and otherwise) seems endless. Perhaps one of their biggest attractions will be the Underground Chef Company (UCC) Battle and industry panel discussion. I had the privilege of interviewing the founder of UCC, Chef Joe Friday.

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The National Buffalo Wing Festival (Part 3 – Go for the Entertainment Alone!)

In Random, Reviews on October 16, 2016 at am

The National Buffalo Wing Festival runs every Labour Day weekend in Buffalo, NY. Even if you don’t love chicken wings, go for the entertainment alone. This is part 3 of 3 posts that I’ve shared about my experience at the 2016 festival. (Please see here for more general information about the festival. Also, I tried the food from almost every single vendor reviewed them here (part 1) and here (part 2).)

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The National Buffalo Wing Festival (Part 2 – Reviews of Almost Every Vendor Continued)

In Random, Reviews on October 3, 2016 at am

I had the BEST time at the 2016 National Buffalo Wing Festival in Buffalo, NY. I tried the wings and other food items from almost every single vendor over the 2-day festival. I’ve shared my reviews below. Please see here for Part 1 of the reviews and for more information about the festival. It runs every Labour Day weekend. If you’re thinking about visiting Buffalo, see here for my top 10 favourite reasons to road trip there. (See here for my post about the entertainment at the festival, which was just as good, if not better than the food. And that’s saying a lot!)

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The National Buffalo Wing Festival (Part 1 – Reviews of Almost Every Vendor)

In Random, Reviews on September 22, 2016 at am

The National Buffalo Wing Festival is held in Buffalo, NY (the birth place of the buffalo chicken wing sauce) every Labour Day weekend. In 2016, the festival celebrated their 15th anniversary and they pulled out all the stops! It was attended by over 70,000 people! It was my first time attending and I had the BEST time. I made it my mission to try at least one wing flavour from every single vendor at the festival. The vendors at the festival made the best wing sauces that I’ve ever had in my life – and I used to eat chicken wings at least 5 times a week! Here is Part 1 of my reviews! (See here for Part 2 of the reviews. See my Top 10 Reasons to Road Trip to Buffalo, NY here.)

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10 Reasons to Road Trip to Buffalo, NY

In Random, Reviews on September 11, 2016 at pm

I live in Toronto, ON, Canada, and plan road trips multiple times a year. Before the Labour Day long weekend in September, 2016, I told a co-worker that I was planning a road trip to Buffalo, NY, USA. She looked at me surprised and said, judgmentally, “Why?”. I realized then that a lot of people don’t realize how much Buffalo has changed in the last few years. So here’s a list of my top ten reasons for visiting Buffalo, NY.

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How I Styled my Hutch and Cabinets

In Random on September 10, 2016 at am

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Once it became apparent that John and I would be living in our condo for longer than originally planned, I did some redecorating with storage solutions in mind. For our open concept kitchen, dining, and living area, I purchased affordable bookcases with partial glass paneled doors (see Ikea’s Billy bookcases here). I was so excited to take (some of) my beloved serveware out of storage boxes. It took some research and many tries before I was satisfied with how they were displayed, so I’m sharing some tips on how to style your dining room hutch and kitchen cabinets. I would LOVE to see photos of your arrangements!

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Favourite Toronto Wedding and Event Vendors

In Random, Reviews on April 20, 2016 at am

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John and I got married in September, 2015. The wedding planning process was much more difficult than we anticipated, so in hopes of helping other people with their event planning, I wanted to share a short list of our favourite wedding vendors in Toronto, ON. We were very lucky that all of our vendors worked out, but the ones listed below were truly outstanding or unique. Let me know if you have any questions! (For more wedding photos, check out my instagram account @cookingwithalison)

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Introducing Cooking with Alison’s Social Media Accounts!

In Random on March 28, 2016 at am

Hi everyone! Cooking with Alison is becoming more active on social media!

All accounts will have slightly different focuses, so I hope that you will ‘like’ and subscribe to them.

Thanks very much!

penguin (33)

Twitter

@cookingwithali – I plan to use twitter to tweet about my favourite restaurant dishes, product brands, and wine recommendations.

Facebook

Cooking with Alison – On the ‘Cooking with Alison’ facebook page, you will see current food-related news, cooking tips and tricks videos, and some of my favourite older recipes. Furthermore, all future food blog posts will also be publicized on the facebook page.

Instagram

@cookingwithalison – On the Instagram account, I plan to share photos of restaurant meals, wine recommendations, recipes (old and new), and favourite lifestyle products (e.g. make-up, kitchenware, serveware, etc.). You can also find some of my wedding photos on Instagram.

Snapchat

@cookingwithalis – Follow me to food events and festivals through Snapchat!

Pinterest

Don’t forget to keep pinning your favourite Cooking with Alison recipes!

Zomato.com

@cookingwithalison – This is where you will find all of my reviews for restaurants in and around Toronto.

Introduction to Chocolate Tasting

In How-To, Random, Reviews on March 13, 2016 at am
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Chocolate tasting samples at Lake Champlain Chocolates, Burlington, Vermont.

I went to Burlington, Vermont in the fall of 2014 for a family road trip. We ate and drank our way through the city and Lake Champlain Chocolates was one of my favourite discoveries. I really like their dark chocolate, because it doesn’t contain milk products (I don’t like chocolate that has a lactic sour taste). Also, their white chocolate is the best I’ve ever had. The best part about Lake Champlain Chocolates is that they offer complimentary seminars on chocolate tasting. Their chocolate is available for sale at many Whole Foods locations. We really enjoyed their introduction to chocolate tasting and, although I’m a bit late in sharing this information, I hope it helps you enjoy, appreciate, and choose wisely from the abundance of chocolate that this coming Easter is sure to bring.

(On a side note, check out my Introduction to Coffee Tasting here.)

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Cocoa pod, cocoa beans, cocoa nibs.

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Cooking with Alison’s Six Year Anniversary!

In Random on January 29, 2016 at pm

Cooking with Alison was created six years ago, on January 15, 2010!

I know I say this every year, but I really can’t believe that six years have passed since I created this website! A lot has happened in six years, but not nearly enough cooking and recipe sharing!

Given the current economy, it’s looking like John and I will be living in a condo for quite a bit longer than we originally planned, so this upcoming year will be about lifestyle change for us. For example, we are currently decluttering, re-organizing, and trying to live as minimally as one – who’s unwilling to let go of her kitchen gadgets – can. We’re also planning on cooking more budget-friendly (still from scratch, though) and time-saving meals. Finally, we’re trying to adopt a loose adaptation of Alton Brown’s diet into our lifestyle, permanently.

Before I share the statistics on the food blog, I want to say thank you so much for reading my blog! I still appreciate every hit, comment, like, pin, track back, and share! I hope that 2016 brings you all good health and good luck!

The Statistics

(See the one year anniversary stats here, second year anniversary stats here, third year anniversary stats here, fourth year anniversary stats here, and five year anniversary stats here.)

Total number of views:  2,110,716

Total number of posts:  459

The most popular posts to date are:

Four Different Sauces for Mushroom Ravioli

The Best Tiramisu Recipe

Singapore Fried Vermicelli

Braised Beef Brisket, Tendons and Daikon Radish (Chinese Restaurant Style)

My personal favourite posts to date are:

How to Make Puff Pastry From Scratch, the Quick and Easy Way

Chinese Mango Pudding Recipe (mango bo deen)

Duck Tongues Recipe

Best Jien Duy Recipe (Chinese Deep Fried Sesame Balls with Red Bean Paste)

Number of subscribers*:  454

*Unfortunately, I don’t currently have a way of knowing how many RSS subscribers there are.

Thank you, everyone!  Here’s to a more active year of blogging on Cooking with Alison!

The Benefits of Gardening (and How to Get Started Even if You Live in a Condo)

In Grocery Budget Challenge, Mind Your Cents, Random, Uncategorized on January 29, 2016 at pm

Despite living in a condo, I started gardening two years ago. I started gardening because a concussion left me with lingering debilitation, anxiety, and depression; I wasn’t able to do anything else and, serendipitously, a community garden opened up on my street. At the time, I had no idea that gardening would soon be responsible for a very positive turning point in my recovery process. I later learned that garden therapy, also known as horticultural therapy, is an effective supplemental therapy for all sorts of health problems. In the hopes of helping others, I’ve shared my personal experience, some research to explain the benefits of gardening, and a few tips for how you can get started. Don’t worry, you don’t need a backyard or a community garden to do it! As long as you have a sunny window, you can grow food! Note that although this article focuses on fruit and vegetable gardening, flower gardening can be just as beneficial.

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Alison and John’s Wedding Menu

In Random on December 7, 2015 at pm

Hi everyone,

I’m sorry that I haven’t written in a while. I got married in September, 2015, and am still dealing with some health issues. I have lots of recipes that I can’t wait to share with you. Hopefully, I’ll be able to soon.  In the meantime, I wanted to share our wedding menu. John and I hired the best Chinese caterer in Toronto, ON – Dragon Dynasty Catering – to cook a 10-course meal for our guests (menu below). There was also a 10-course Chinese vegetarian option and a 4-course kids meal. The photos below were taken at the tasting. (For more wedding photos, check out my instagram account @cookingwithalison)

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