Sunday Dinner: Aged White Cheddar & Poblano Turkey Lasagna

This experiment in the kitchen turned into a masterpiece, if I do say so myself!  Using an aged white cheddar and poblano soup to replace the sauce in this lasagna was the best decision ever.  This recipe is a keeper!

You’ll need:

2 cups Aged White Cheddar & Poblano Soup

1 Package Fresh Lasagna Noodles

500 ml Ricotta Cheese

3/4 cup Parmesan cheese

3 cups shredded Mozzarella

1 lb ground Turkey

1 bunch Spinach

2 zucchini in long thin slices

1 eggplant, thinly sliced

1 cup mushrooms, coarsely chopped

1 cup onion, coarsely chopped

1 tbsp chopped garlic

1 teaspoon thyme

1 teaspoon italiano seasoning

1/3 cup chopped fresh basil

Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper

Directions:

1. Brush zucchini and eggplant slices with oil and season with salt and pepper.  Bake for 20 minutes at 375 degrees (F) flipping them after 10 minutes.

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2. Saute coarsely chopped onion, mushroom and 1/2 Tbsp garlic for 5-7 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside.

3. Brown ground turkey, season with dried thyme and season with Italiano seasoning and S&P.  Combine mushrooms and onion mixture with Turkey and set aside

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4. Saute Spinach with 1/2 Tbsp garlic until wilted (4 min).  Spoon Spinich mixture into cheese cloth or paper towel & squeeze to remove excess liquid.  Finely chop spinach.

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5. Ladle 1/2 cup of white cheddar & poblano soup to coat bottom of casserole dish.

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6. Add 1 layer lasagna, then spread 1/2 of the ricotta cheese on top, then layer spinach, 1/2 of turkey mixture, 1 cup mozzarella cheese, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese & sprinkle of basil

7. Ladle 1/2 cup soup over dish, then add another layer of lasagna noodle.

8. Add the rest of the ricotta, then remainder of turkey mixture, a layer the eggplant, layer the zucchini & add 1 cup mozzarella, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese & sprinkle of basil

9. Ladle 1/2 cup soup again, another layer of lasagna noodles, another 1/2 cup of soup topped with the remainder of the Mozzarella & Parmesan cheese & one final sprinkle of basil!

10. Bake in 375 degree F oven for 35 minutes.  Don’t forget to cover with foil for the first 30 minutes.  Remove cover and broil for 5 minutes.

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YUM.

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Seriously, YUM. Go and make this. What are you waiting for??

 

 

Holiday Gift Guide

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I’m pleased to share the 2013 Holiday Gift Guide that the ladies over at Girl Around Town asked Champagne & Lollipops to contribute to as Toronto editor!  All of the editors have put together their favourite gift ideas to share this  season.  Check out all of the gift ideas HERE including my top 5 gifts to get yourself for the holidays (you’ve earned it)!  Red lips, sparkly accessories and rest & relaxation are some of the things that top my list.  What’s on your wish list this year?

Top 10 things to do in Paris that you won’t find in a guidebook

1. Visit the local Monoprix or La Grande Epicerie, and buy all the cheese, baguettes, and charcuterie you can eat.  Grab a bottle of champagne and some truffle butter if you’re feeling really fancy.  Have a picnic!

2. Find a bistro (there is one on every corner) and order a Croque Madame.  You can thank me later.  You should probably have a bottle of Rose with that.

3. Take super silly photos in front of the Eiffel Tower.  Extra points if you stand on your head.

4. Visit the Eiffel Tower at night. Super romantic and every hour on the hour it sparkles!! (be sure to video this)

5. Have dinner at Jim Hynes house, the longest running supper club in Paris. More on that later.

6. Walk in the rain.  So romantic.

7. Take silly kissing photos in the nearest Metro station.

8. Check out a new trend in Paris dining. Bistronomy.  I would recommend L’Afriole.

9. Have a glass of wine on the terrace of Notre Dame Cafe, overlooking the Notre Dame Cathedral. Great spot to write some postcards and try to figure out which sketchy character is a pick pocket.

10. See Paris from the Siene river by one of the many boat cruises. Definitely go for an open air boat, and buy some wine from a shop nearby to share with friends.

 

DIY: Paint Dipped Basket Hack

I’ve fawned over paint dipped baskets in high end boutiques selling for $50-150 or more… so when Micheals had a 60% off sale on baskets I picked up this big beauty, regular $34.99.  I paid $13.99!  Steal!

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Though it looks great on its own, I decided that this basket was destined for something greater, and would look fabulous paint-dipped.  I plan it to be a new home for an extra blanket, slippers and other cozy items in our living room.

Here are some photos that inspired me:

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The first step was to tape off and protect the parts of the basket I didn’t want painted.  I used frog tape and a recycling bag.

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I wanted a subtle colour and love the look of metallics on baskets.  Part of me wants to paint EVERYTHING this copper colour!

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Use a few light coats, ( I did 2) keep your hand at least a foot away from the basket and keep the can moving.  This will ensure an even coat and no drips.

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Drying time was about 30 minutes (it was a nice sunny day today!). Et Voila!  An easy upgrade for a simple basket.  We’ll use this one in the living room to hold extra throws, pillows or slippers.  A home for all things cozy for the cooler months 🙂

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Gratuitous close up. ooooooooh so pretty!

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I’ve been spray painting a few other projects and enjoying the sunshine!  How was your long weekend?

Thanksgiving Decor That Doesn’t Scream Turkey!

Thanksgiving came early for us this year, as we held a family dinner last weekend so I thought I would share some ideas for table decor that don’t involve any turkeys, any cornucopia or any pilgrims (it was a near miss, more on that below).  I wanted to go with a theme that was Autumn inspired and fresh as opposed to “traditional Thanksgiving”.  I had previously grabbed a few vintage candle holders, vases and one pilgrim-y tea towel from a local thrift shop that I hoped to incorporate because I LOVE the colours in it, however it just didn’t work with everything else so I will have to save that for another project.  Check it out:

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Totally awesome/kitschy right?  Got that bad boy for $0.99.  Now I’m on the hunt for a great project for it.  Let me know in the comments if you think of anything fab!  But, I digress.

I gathered up all of my decor items, and started working on a plan for the overall layout.  I got the 2 white table cloths as well as the burlap table runner from Marshall’s on our recent Buffalo trip.  It even has some tiny gold flecks in it which I thought was really nice.

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Add some nice fall scented candles from Bath & Body Works.  They now come in mason jars this season (These were a gift from my mom, Thanks Mom)

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Then!!  This lucky lady received some gorgeous autumn blooms that set the stage for the table (Thanks babe!).

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You can also see the vintage candle holder I picked up from Salvation army.  I LOVE IT.  I paid way to much at a thrift store at $5.99 but I have paid more for a coffee so I figured it was a worthwhile investment.  The green vase is from a lovely bouquet from my bestie Kate (Thanks Kate!) and the yellow vase is also a thrift find, $1.99 at Salvation army.

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I picked up some tiny gourds – who doesn’t love a baby gourd??  It’s kinda on par with hating puppies or kittens….

Anyhoo, we were seating 12 for dinner in our small home, so we decided to bring our patio table inside to serve as an extended dining table.  I knew I would be covering the entire thing in table cloths so I figured this was a good trick for a large seated dinner in a pinch.

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I laid out the table cloths and started playing around with the formations and placement of things.  I had made some candle lanterns out of mason jars for our summer party so I threw those in because… really, what DOESN’T go with mason jars?

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It was around the time I took this photo that I noticed how wrinkly these table cloths were from being folded up in their package.  Grrr.  I decided I couldn’t have that, and promptly busted out my iron & ironing board.

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And VOILA.. a full hour later after cleaning up some water when I dropped the iron on the floor… I had slightly smoother but still pretty wrinkly table cloths.  *sigh*  Oh well. You win some, you lose some.IMG_1029 IMG_1042

Originally, I thought I would just put candles in the green and yellow vases. But it felt like the centre of the table got all of the love, and the rest looked a little bare.  So outside to our herb garden I went, after the mans had a brilliant idea “How about using some sage & rosemary in the vases?”  GENIUS!  (Thanks again babe).IMG_1049 IMG_1048 IMG_1046

Not only did these look freakin adorable, they smelled delicious!!  Things really started coming together after that!

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Another trick for dinner parties in small spaces is to use the chairs you have, mix them up a bit so that it looks like you did it on purpose!  we used the leather club chair from our living room, an extra set of green leather dining chairs from my old dining set and a zebra printed chair from the bedroom.  I think in the end it looked super cool and even kind of like we meant it to be mix-matched.  Better in my opinion than if we had 10 matching chairs.  We also had 2 small folding chairs for the kiddies stowed away. (Next time I am doing a kids table for sure, I always loved the kids table when I was young at those big holiday dinners, didn’t you?)IMG_1064 IMG_1063

I took this final pic after I completed a quick napkin ring DIY with some twine and corks I found in our junk drawer.  (You can see more on that in my last post: DIY Cork Napkin Rings)

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Turned out pretty sweet if I do say so myself!  I wish I had taken some pics later when everyone was over or at least when I had the candles lit.  Once everyone started arriving, things got kooky and crazy!

Hope you all enjoy your Thanksgiving weekend this weekend here in Canada!  For my friends in the US, maybe this will give you some ideas for your own table this November.  A few more bonus Thanksgiving theme posts coming up this weekend!  Enjoy time with your family and friends.

xoxo