A Cookie Bonanza with Butter Celebrates! (plus a giveaway)

Butter Celebrates (1 of 1)

As you may well remember this time last year I was wrapping up my 52 Cookies-A New Cookie a Week for a Year feature and you may also remember how I felt about doing such a laborious task. Yet the one thing that stood out the most after this endeavour? I sure know how to throw down batch of cookies when I need to! (I also seem to need to make many dozens of multiple kinds in one afternoon. Cookie me crazy.)

Butter Celebrates (6 of 6)

This is why when I was asked to be apart of a blogger review of the new Butter Celebrates! by Rosie Daykin (Random House) and time became of the essence I knew where my success would lie. Plus my co workers, who reaped the benefits from last year, have been hinting lately they missed my treats.

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You might remember a group review we also this time last year for Rosie’s first fabulous book Butter Baked.  This time around Butter Celebrates! is pages and pages of beautiful classically design sweet treats perfect for every occasions.

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Whether you want ideas for Mother’s Day, baby showers or holiday celebrations Butter has you covered. Cakes, pies, sweet treats and of course cookies burst off the pages making your mouth water. And the furry friends are included too with a whole chapter about Zelda, the Daykin family rescue dog and treats perfect for their sensitive little fur-tummies. Butter Celebrates! is table top worthy with stunning photography however you won’t resist dusting it in flour as you bake up many of these wonderful treats.

Butter Celebrates (1 of 6)

In classic blogger tradition we have banded together again and want to bring you the most amazing of prizes. Enter the contest below and you may be the lucky winner of a Butter Celebrates! cookbook signed by Rosie so you can try these recipes at home. She will also send you a box of goodies from the Butter store in Vancouver B.C. Perfect in time for the holidays.

Butter Celebrates (5 of 6)

Visit each participating blog and check out their review of Butter Celebrates! and get more chances to win. And if you haven’t visited my friends before you really need to check out their blogs. Such a super talented group of ladies.

The Brunette Baker baked a gorgeous Guiness Cake with Pretzels.

Strawberries for Supper made “Hostess” Cupcakes.

Planet Byn tried out the Orange Gingerbread Cake.

Devour & Conquer gets ready for the holiday season with the Christmas Panettone.

Sweet Twist of Blogging gets citrusy with the Lemon Loaf.

Libby Roach gets cute with Gingerbread Guys.

Family Bites follows the cute with Animal Cookies.

Sweet Style CA tried a decadent Chocolate Gingerbread Genoise.

eat.live.travel.write celebrate with Champagne Cupcakes.

Kelly Neil goes classic with Peppermint Nanaimo Bars.

I Sugar Coat It baked the Eggnog-less Bars.

Once Upon a Recipe dazzles with a Banana Pecan Caramel Cake.

Make sure you visit all and enter below for your chance at this amazing prize.

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This giveaway is open to all legal residents of Canada who have reached the age of majority at the time of the contest in the province or territory in which they reside. Void in Quebec. 


Winner must answer a skill-testing question. 


No purchase necessary to enter. 


Giveaway will run from Wednesday, November 25, 2015 at 12:01am to Wednesday, December 2, 2015 at 11:59pm. Winner will be contacted via email and name will be displayed on Rafflecopter widget. Email address will never be given out to any third party or anyone for that matter. 


Prize value is approximately $125. 


* I have generously received a copy of this book free of charge from the publisher Random House. As always, all opinions are one hundered percent my own.

Cookbook Review and Giveaway: Eat Istanbul, A Journey to Heart of Turkish Cuisine

Eat Istanbul (2 of 3)

As we move along on my cross country culinary cookbook journey leaving gorgeous Thailand behind with all it’s spice and vibrancy we head to another country with equally exciting flavours to discover. Eat Istanbul takes us on a journey through a fusion of middle eastern, mediterranean, asian and balkan influences that make up the heart of Turkish cuisine. Kebabs, pilafs and salads are plentiful throughout this book but authors Andy Harris and photographer David Loftus also show us dishes of elegance, using fresh, high quality ingredients.

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Typically not spicy, Turkish food relies on the burst of freshness from zesty spices and warming spices to tantalize your palate and expand your view of this ancient cuisine.With over 90 recipes, Eat Istanbul helps you discover the ease of making the classics and while introducing you to many more delights.

Thanks to the amazing people over at Raincoast Books I’m giving away a copy of this beautiful book.  Head over to my facebook page The Tasty Gardener and like or comment on the giveaway post.


*I would like to point out that I received a copy of this book free from the fabulous people over at Raincoast(Thank you, thank you) however all opinions and photography are solely my own.

Contest details:

Contest is open to Canada residents who have reached the legal age of at the time of the contest in the province and territory in which they reside. Void in Quebec.

Winner must answer a skill-testing question.

No purchase necessary.

Winner will be chosen by random using Random Name Picker. (MiniWebTools)

Contest will run for one week starting 12:01am November 09th and ends Saturday, November 14nd at 11:59pm.

Cookbook Review: Thailand, From the Source

Thailand From the Source (4 of 7)

Over the next several months I will be travelling the world in my cookbook adventures. So many great titles have been released that when I realized that the ones I leaned heavily towards were country specific I decided to let you, my audience decide where I would begin my journey.  An overwhelming number of people chose Thailand, which who can blame them; with deeply soulful, exotic flavours Thai food offers dishes for everyone.

PicMonkey Collage_01

Thailand, From the Source (Lonely Planet), ticks a lot of boxes in my list of criteria for cookbooks to make it onto my shelf and importantly to be used in my kitchen.  First the chapters are arranged per geographical area of the country as each point of the compass offers different textures, flavours and ingredients.

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Each recipe has gorgeous photos and easy to follow instructions.  Some of them take a bit of time to prepare while others like this spicy pork and basil take mere minutes.

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And probably my most favorite part of this vibrant book is the stories.  Each one of these authentic recipes are from local residents of Thailand and each person’s story is unfolds as you continue into the recipe. It’s a mystical journey through a beautiful country that happens to include amazing recipes.

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If you want to travel this culinary journey pgo pick up a copy of this stellar cookbook. Get outside your comfort zone and try some of these recipes to wow your guests at home. Or just sit back and read the engaging tales of chefs and home cooks alike. And if you want take your chance to win a copy of your own by entering the contest below. Come back each day for additional entries.

*I would like to point out that I received a copy of this book free from the fabulous people over at Raincoast(Thank you, thank you) however all opinions and photography are solely my own.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Contest Rules:

Open to legal Canadian (excluding Quebec) and US residents.
No purchase necessary to enter.
Canadian Winner is required to answer a skill testing question. Winner will be notified by email on October 12, 2015 and will have 48 hours to respond before another winner will be selected.
Contest runs from October 7, 1015 to October 11, 2015 at 11:59pm.

The Canning Kitchen Giveaway

The Canning Kitchen (2 of 3)

I am not new to canning.  I grew up in a canning household. It took me until recently to start doing it as an adult but now I’m thoroughly enjoying the fruits of my labor as does my friends, family and co workers.  I’m a big batch dill pickle canner.  As in I made over 50 jars a year, in one day actually.  My DH is  a the main reason for the excess; he can kill a jar in a day, however I have discovered through recipients of my pickles that they are truly the best around.

When I heard that fellow blogger Amy Bronee from Family Feedbag had published her first cookbook The Canning Kitchen I was excited not only for her success but also because I knew my group of foodie sisters would be jumping all over this to support her.  I have been promoting the ease and joy of canning to them for a while now and this book is an absolute blessing to get them started. Small batch recipes with simple instructions; over the last several weeks I have been relishing (sic) the news of each of their canning successes. Who doesn’t get excited when they hear the tell tale pop of sterilization.

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The variety of recipes from jams to jellies to relishes and sauces in The Canning Kitchen are ingeniously creative. Apple Pie or Raspberry Cocoa jam. Garlic Rosemary Apple Jelly. Fennel Thyme Relish. Even a experienced canner like myself easily found a recipe to try.  This Triple Red Pickle is a perfect condiment on the side of any dish or garnished on top of some spicy tacos.

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If you are new to canning and want to give it a go this book a try. If you have canned your whole life but want a little creative variety go buy this book. You can also take a chance at winning a copy below.

And make sure you check out these posts from my blogger friends.  Some are newbies while others have had a taste of canning rewards.  All will tell you the same thing.  This is the best resource out there!
Beer Hive Grainy Mustard from Sweet Twist of Blogging
Blueberry Sauce from The Brunette Baker
Bread and Butter Pickles from Planet Byn
Crunchy Dill Pickles from She Eats
LEmon Raspberry Jamalade from My Daily Randomness
Orange and Blueberry Marmalade from The Messy Baker
Peach Jam from Cheslea’s Healthy Kitchen
Peach Chutney with Garam Marsala from Libby Roach
Tomato Red Onion Relish from Devour & Conquera Rafflecopter giveaway

*I would like to point out that I received a copy of The Canning Kitchen free from the fabulous people over at Penguin Random House Limited (Thank you, thank you) however all opinions are solely my own.

A Beginner’s Guide to Vegetable Gardening + A Giveaway

Starting any new project can bring on doubts and concerns.  When it comes to planting your first vegetable garden those thoughts can be double fold because at the end of the day your reward is tangible.  Fresh, juicy, sweet homegrown vegetables. Flavors not like any you tasted before.  So of course you want to succeed. And I’m going to give you some tips on how to be the most successful beginner vegetable gardener around.  I’m not going to get all detailed and scientific on you.  Just some realistic, common sense tips to help you on your way.  Only you know how much sun your location truly gets or what type of soil you have and even if you have stacked all the right cards in your hand Mother Nature will still be your ultimate judge.

So many varieties of lettuce can be planted for the best salad around.

So many varieties of lettuce can be planted for the best salad around.

1. Keep it Small

When you are first starting out don’t go digging an acreage of soil and picking 50 different varieties of plants to grow.  You may decide you don’t like gardening after all and an over ambitious idea will get you to that decision sooner.  A simple 8 x 8 is sufficient for a handful of plants.  You can always expand as you get the hang of it.  And don’t rule out using containers for vegetables.

2. Pick 3 or 4 vegetables that you actually eat.

Don’t start growing celeriac or kohlrabi if you have no intentions of actually eating it. Look at what you normally pick up at the grocery store. Try growing some of those. Lettuce, tomatoes, sweet peppers, beans and carrots are probably your safest bet the first time around.  And go to the garden center and buy already established plants.  I want you to get the hang of growing successfully before you venture into seeds.

Can't go wrong with carrots!

Can’t go wrong with carrots!

3. Know your location

Vegetables need three important things:


Compost rich and well draining is the standby.  If you have thick clay or loose sandy soil you will have to do some work to fix it.  This is also where you could consider using containers your first time around since bags of perfect vegetable growing soil can easily be purchased.


Don’t dig your garden way in the back forty of your property.  Vegetables need water to survive so make sure you can easily obtain it for your garden. And water will be very important because you need lots of hot, drying sun. They need about 1 inch of water per week but if you are in a heat wave and the plants look parched give them a drink.


Remember this equation: sun = sugar. What that means is the more sun your plants receive the sweeter and tastier they will be.  There are cooler, shadier vegetable varieties out there but the majority prefer bright sunny days.  Once again containers are movable and can help you get the amount of sun you need.


4. Accept that nothing works as planned.

Despite all our good intentions things may not go according to plan.  The summer may be abnormally dry or wet. You may go away on a last minute vacation and the garden can get forgotten. Things happens, plants die.  Yet by keeping your investment small and manageable the loss may not be so huge.  And if you end up with an abundance of delicious tasting vegetables after all bravo my friend you have done it!  Time to think about expansion.

Thanks to my friends over at Raincoast Books I want to help you have even more success in your garden.

Tomatomania is THE resource you need on growing tomatoes in your garden.  From practical growing advice to recipes and cooking tips you can’t learn enough about this perfect beginner plant. And I want to give one lucky winner there one copy to enjoy. Enter below and leave me a comment telling me what you have or want to plant in your garden this year.

Happy Gardening!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Contest Rules:

Open to legal Canadian (excluding Quebec) and US residents.
No purchase necessary to enter.
Canadian Winner is required to answer a skill testing question. Winner will be notified by email on July 2, 2015 and will have 48 hours to respond before another winner will be selected.
Contest runs from June 22, 2015 to June 29, 2015.

*I have generously received  Tomatomania free of charge however all opinions are entirely my own.

It’s Giveaway Time!!!!

Brunette Baker Giveaway

I’m so excited to be apart of this giveaway with a group of my favorite people.   This is the first time I’ve participated in any kind of contest and it couldn’t be more perfect then doing it with friends.  Ms. Brunette Baker is celebrating her birthday month, yes the whole month and because of her selfless and genereous spirit she wants to share the wealth with this amazing $200 Prepaid Mastercard.To be spent any way you wish.

So me and these awesome foodie friends, Christina at Buffy and George, Meg at Sweet Twist of Blogging, Isabelle at Crumb, Rhonda at Olive and Ruby, Melissa at The Baked Equation and of course Jenny at The Brunette Baker are all coming together to give our readers a chance to win this prize.  Make sure you check out each of their blogs for amazing food ideas and great stories.

collage brunette baker

This contest is open to all residents of Canada, the US and the UK.  Just enter below. Simple as that.  GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!


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