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Celebrate National Cupcake Day


Cupcakes AND dog cuddles - what else could you ask for?!

Today is National Cupcake Day - the sweetest event of the year for a furry cause and your chance to flex your creative baking muscles! How does it work? It’s simple - bake your favourite cupcakes, host a fabulous cupcake party, collect donations for those cupcakes and bring the money to your nearest humane society!

 What better way for animals lovers and bakers to unite forces to fundraise to help save lives of animals in their community.

Today my galpal Darcy from D'Appetit Baking and Catering Services is helping the cause by sharing her tip and tricks for decorating puppy cupcakes:

National Cupcake Day - How to decorate dog cupcakes

Seriously, how cute are these?!

National Cupcake Day - How to decorate dog cupcakes

Experiment with Different Piping Tips

This is your chance to be unique. The puppies featured were decorated using decorating tips #18, #21 and #233.

Don't Worry About Being Too Precise with Your Piping

To give your cupcakes the real effect of a dog, remember that dogs, for the most part, are not perfectly groomed so your cupcake doesn't need to be either.

Have Fun with Different Colours to Create Different Breeds

We stuck with vanilla and chocolate icing, but you could add toasted coconuts, regular coconuts or be wild and colour your icing to the preferred colours. We used chocolate chips for the eyes, Smarties for the tongue and shaped sprinkles for the nose, but you can use M&M's, Nerds, or try your favourite candies out!

Practice Makes Perfect

It's a cliche but so true, if you aren't happy with your first attempt, then simply try again!

The Basic of Making a Puppy Cupcake

Step 1:
Start by piping the face, covering the top of the cupcake with your preferred design. Starting from the middle and working your way out works best.

Step 2:
Pipe on the ears - adding any preferred candies for desired ear effect.

Step 3:
Pipe the snout - I used techniques on some, others have just a pile of piped buttercream. Add your choice of nose and tongue accents.

Step 4:
Donate to a local bake sale, eat and enjoy!

National Cupcake Day - How to decorate dog cupcakes

And I couldn't leave you hanging and not show you our new pup Dakota!

National Cupcake Day - Dog

National Cupcake Day - Dog

For more information about National Cupcake Day, visit www.nationalcupcakeday.ca
Rosalyn Gambhir
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Simple Ways to Get a Better Sleep Tonight


Between busy work schedules, social commitments, and passionate side hustles, getting a full night's sleep is no easy feat these days. Luckily, it all starts by finding your toolkit of relaxing bedtime rituals to help you unwind before sleep. Getting into the habit of doing the same few things every night before you go to bed helps clue your body into what's happening. 

Today, I'll be sharing my go-to tips to combat a few common sleep problems. So don't give up, as you'll fall back in love with sleep and drifting off to dreamland in no time. Note that you have control over the quality of your sleep than you probably realize,

so let's get down to it and say goodbye to those nights of tossing and turning.

Simple Ways to Get a Better Sleep Tonight

SLEEP PROBLEM: BUSY MIND

Develop a pre-bedtime ritual to help you (and your mind) wind down.

The first item that my bedtime toolkit includes is taking a warm shower an hour before I hit the sack. This allows me to unwind, get into my cozy PJs, cool down and leaves time to treat myself to a much-needed facemask.

Simple Ways to Get a Better Sleep Tonight

SLEEP PROBLEM: TEMPERATURE

Keep your thermostat set at 65 degrees to sleep cool and stay chill.

This is the perfect time to snuggle up wear your favourite sweatshirt and cozy socks before climbing into bed. And hey, resisting the urge to crank the heat up in the winter will save you money! It's a win-win situation.

Simple Ways to Get a Better Sleep Tonight

SLEEP PROBLEM: ANXIETY

Essential oils can be your best friend when anxiety kicks in and you're having trouble sleeping. The healing powers of aromatherapy is a world on its own that has the ability to balance your mind, body, and spirit. 

I was introduced to DoTerra oils last year and now swear by it every night. Diffusing or simply rubbing some onto your skin will help you relax and sleep more soundly. Better yet, mix a few drops of essential oil and water in a spray bottle and give your pillowcase a spritz.

Simple Ways to Get a Better Sleep Tonight

SLEEP PROBLEM: NOT TIRED

Tuck away your phone and pick up a book to bring on the zzz's.

My favourite book currently has been Lagom - a term coined by the Swedish meaning "just enough." With our minds racing and constant to-do lists, the idea of lagom can actually allow you to live more of a balanced life and fits perfectly as an aid to sleeping. Ask yourself - is your bedroom calming? is it cluttered? Take baby steps to create a calming environment by keeping it clean and ensuring a stress-free space. Make sure your sleep essentials are comfortable as well. If you notice any tears, rips, or lumps in your mattress, it might be time for a new one. And! A good pillow is just as important too! If you find that you're constantly fluffing your pillow, it may be time to upgrade your pillow as well.

Remember, your bedroom should be a calming oasis in which to switch off from the stresses and strains of daily life.

Simple Ways to Get a Better Sleep Tonight

Nighty night my lovely friends!
Rosalyn Gambhir
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How to Have a Fabulous & Sweet Galentine's Day


Where my ladies at? It's Galentine's Day! 💕

(Okay well unofficially.)

p.s. if you're unaware of the term - Galentine's started off as a celebration by the hilarious Leslie Knope of Parks and Recreation (seriously just Netflix the show!) Essentially, February 13th is a day to celebrate your sisters, friends and all the other awesome women in your life.

How to Have a Fabulous & Sweet Galentine's Day
Featured: Bread & Butter Bakery Cupcake
In true Rosalyn fashion, what better way to honour this day than by indulging in our sweet cravings around the ladies we can be our true selves around. So hopefully it's cheat day for my fitness gals because we're treating ourselves to a sugar-fueled extravagant night and just one dessert won't do.

To make things easier, I'm sharing my favourite local desserts so what are you waiting for?

Grab your favourite chick flick and call your best gal pals for a cozy night in! And best of all, I've got you covered for all the scrumptious desserts: 

SMALL BATCH CAFE & EATERY

Known for having extra sweet cupcakes, Small Batch caters to all indulgent level. From Nutella-filled cupcakes to vegan ones - your gals will thank you.

Not a cupcake fan? Snag a few adorable Art By Taura mugs (limited quantity) with delicious housemade hot chocolate mix and hand-crafted marshmallows. Get your coziest pjs on and let's snuggle up.

BREAD & BUTTER BAKERY

February's cake of the month is Pink Champagne cake and a MUST try. Take a slice home and get the forks ready!

Want to add a bit of Parisian twist to your night? Try some macarons.

CRAVE Coffee House & Bakery

Calories don't count on Galentine's Day - a matter of fact, these cinnamon buns are big, fluffy, soft and absolutely delicious. Your friends will adore you even more after taking a bite!

COFFEE WAY DONUTS

A foodie staple in Kingston, this shop is known for its fresh, handmade doughnuts made daily.

Better yet, surprise your gals with a layered donut cake. Snag a half dozens of jelly donuts, grab a plate and stack those donuts - easy peasy!

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FARDELLA'S RESTAURANT & BAKERY

This may as well be your meal because Fardella fritters are out of this world. You may need a few extra napkins!

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GOLDEN ROOSTER

The cosiest of eateries in downtown Kingston, you would never know they had home-made jelly-filled Berliner donuts. Better get there before noon as they sell out every day.

BALZAC'S COFFEE

One of my favourite spots in downtown Kingston thanks to its French cafe vibe, treat your girls to a luxurious warm drink. The Parisian Mist and Sweet Love Tea Latte are at the top of the list. 

Happy Galentine's Day to all my fabulous ladies! 

Rosalyn Gambhir
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7 Places in Kingston To Indulge in Charcuterie Boards


Cheese. 🧀 Oh, the glorious simplicity of something so flavourful and comforting, especially when paired with the perfect glass of vino or maybe even a cured meat or two. Throw in some sweet honeycombs, nuts and jelly and you've got the perfect shareable with your BFF or date night with that special someone.

Image by Stone City Ales

Thankfully, as a foodie hub Kingston is filled with amazing cheese and charcuterie options, so let's enjoy some nibbles: 

TANGO NEUVO TAPAS & WINE

Grab a glass of red sangria and order yourself a board filled with a delicious selection of cured meats, local and international artisan cheeses with house-made crostini.

SAPORI BOTTEGA

Want a truly authentic Italian cafe experience? Sapori is the go-to spot for samples of Italian cheeses and meats!

STONE CITY ALES

Enough to feed a small army, this charcuterie board won't leave you hungry. Be sure to pair it with one of the many house-made beers, or my favourite a bottle of cider.

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RED HOUSE

This pub's board features local meats and cheeses, roasted olives, fresh fruit, gherkin, pepperoncini, grainy dijon and bread. Don't forget to order a side of their crispy buttermilk chicken bites and a refreshing Liefmans Fruitesse. The perfect trio to enjoy a night out!

LE CHIEN NOIR BISTRO

While it may be hard to resist ordering a French main or two, this bistro offers a mouthwatering selection of local and house-made charcuterie and artisan cheese.

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BELLA BISTRO

Get ready to indulge in a board filled with local goodness! Available on the weekends - a Bella Board is worth every bite and leave room for dessert!

OLIVEA

One of my favourite Italian restaurants in downtown Kingston, Olivea's board has meat served with Italian condimenti cheese alongside nuts, truffle honey and preserves. Oh la la!


Cheers to a delicious charcuterie and stay tuned to learn how to make an awesome board at home!
Rosalyn Gambhir
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That Time a Vegan Cynic Became a Vegan Sympathizer


This is for all my lovely vegan friends out there. As we all know, restaurants in Kingston offer vegetarian options, but sometimes vegans aren’t so lucky. Fortunately, there’s a new spot in town where vegans can feel at home. No matter what you order, you won’t have to scrutinize a list of ingredients first.

Kingston's very own Atomica in collaboration with Knifey + Spooney has launched a brand spanking new vegan menu that will make a debut on February 1st.

Best part, the new menu includes comfort food favourites that satisfy off-diet cravings along with more refined delights.


Atomica and Knifey + Spooney Launch Vegan Menu

THAT TIME A VEGAN CYNIC BECAME A VEGAN SYMPATHIZER

Introducing a guest post by Kelly Keates:

Being a stubborn cynic for most of my life, I find it hard to change my way of thinking without testing the waters first. I have always been a hardcore omnivore, enjoying the tastes and textures of smooth cheeses and hearty meats. In my mind, vegan food just could not compete and I shouldn’t even give them the time of day. I was wrong.

Going into this experience, I was excited, yet apprehensive.

I had never eaten vegan cheese or meat in my life. How was this going to go? I consider myself to be an adventurous eater, but I just could not see how this could live up to my high standards.

Worse: what if I LIKED it? 

Atomica Kingston and Knifey + Spooney Launch Vegan Menu

After taking a seat and ordering some drinks (a Moroccan Ruby for me – potent stuff), our first course was brought out rather quickly. Having come into this tasting menu late in the evening, the servers had the routine down pat and spouted off what was on the plate in front of us:

‘Charcuterie’ board with zaatar-almond chèvre, lomo di vegano, MacKinnon Brother's mustard, tomato jam, crostini, pickled onion and fresh berries. 

Looking at the board, I was a little worried about everything would go together. I decided to try the lomo di vegano (essentially vegan pepperoni) first. I was floored. It tasted nearly exactly as pepperoni. The texture was the only thing standing in the way. It didn’t quite hit the meat texture mark, but I could overlook that. I decided next to just load up a crostini with all the fixin’s and have at it. I was amazed! Everything worked together in perfect delicious harmony. And the chèvre! I had to keep reminding myself that it was not actual cheese because it was nearly indistinguishable from a soft cheese.

Next was the Jackfruit Bao Buns with ginger hoisin, sriracha, cilantro and cabbage slaw. 

Atomica Kingston and Knifey + Spooney Launch Vegan Menu

This was the dish I was most excited about as I had been seeing this jackfruit business all over the internet and had to know what was up. I couldn’t fathom how anything but a pig could possibly satisfy my pulled pork needs. I was – again – wrong. I couldn’t believe the flavours and textures that were in this taco-like bun. This dish was a table favourite. I’ll probably be going back to Atomica just for this little slice of vegan heaven.

Next came the Knifey + Spooney Flatbread with calabrese ‘salami,’ funghi ‘bacon,’ la bomba tomato, cashew mozzarella, kale and caramelized onions. 

Atomica Kingston and Knifey + Spooney Launch Vegan Menu

I was surprised that it was actually quite large and everyone at the table got their own flatbread. I will admit: coming after the jackfruit, this was a bit of a letdown. It wasn’t bad per se, just your generic flatbread. It honestly did not taste any different from any other flatbread, which I suppose is the purpose of experimenting with vegan foods. It would seem that the vegans are always trying to trick us omnivores into thinking the vegan version of something tastes exactly the same as the original.

The fourth course consisted of a Cashew Mozzarella Gnocchi with smoked almond parmesan-basil pesto, roasted cremini mushrooms, funghi ‘bacon,’ roasted garlic & red peppers, and ‘bottarga’ di tofu.


Atomica Kingston and Knifey + Spooney Launch Vegan Menu

I have to say, coming after the flatbread, this was a little much. I was already stuffed by the time this course came around and I don’t think I got to appreciate it fully. Overall it was delicious, but I found the sauce to be a little overpowering. I adore pesto more than my future unborn child, but sometimes you can have too much of a good thing. I think that this dish would have done better on its own as a main, being just a touch too rich for the 5-course menu.

Lastly: DESSERT. Who doesn’t love dessert? 

Atomica Kingston and Knifey + Spooney Launch Vegan Menu

Set in front of me was a Chocolate-Chia Pudding with coconut whipped cream and chocolate-covered espresso beans. 

Until this moment, I didn’t think about how the dessert was going to work sans dairy. I mean, dessert is essentially a combo of all of the best non-vegan things: butter, eggs and cream. As it turns out, dessert can exist without these things. I know! I was shocked too! But this chia pudding was actually delicious. My only caveat was the initial texture, which was not what I was anticipating. The chia seeds thicken the pudding to a similar consistency of tapioca pudding – something I am not a fan of. With the coffee beans and coconut whipped cream, however, this dessert works. I didn’t even miss the dairy.

As my first real experience with any true vegan foods, it went well. I am proud to say that I went in with an open – albeit skeptical – mind that was delightfully changed by the end. This does not mean, however, that I am about to run out and buy some vegan pepperoni and cashew mozzarella to throw on my next pizza. I still like my dairy and meat. I do see the appeal now, though, where I didn’t before.

In my book, that’s a win for the conversion column. 

Photography by Claire Bouvier
Rosalyn Gambhir
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[name=Rosalyn Gambhir] [img=http://i1139.photobucket.com/albums/n543/Rosalyn_Gambhir/Rosalyn_1.jpg] [description=Rosalyn Gambhir is the gal behind the blog The Staycationer. Whether its exploring the local food scene with her foodie partner-in-crime or taking in the view from her favourite cafe, Rosalyn is always a tourist, looking for the next exciting adventure. The Staycationer allows you to rediscover hidden gems in your very own backyard.] (facebook=https://www.facebook.com/thestaycationer) (twitter=https://twitter.com/rosalyngambhir) (instagram=https://www.instagram.com/rosalyngambhir/)

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