Happy Friday, everyone! You’ll find me celebrating with a glass of sparkling rosé in hand tonight — because I’m the Food Bloggers of Canada Featured Member this week! I’ve been a member of The Food Bloggers of Canada since the summer of 2015 and they’ve been instrumental in JustineCelina‘s development, growth and success over the past year and a half. I’ve mentioned FBC many times here on the blog and I’ve also introduced you to a handful of fellow FBC members who I’ve formed some incredible friendships with along the way. If you’re a food blogger (or a lifestyle blogger who blogs about food!) I encourage you to check The Food Bloggers of Canada out — this community is absolutely invaluable to me.
Whether you’re new to JustineCelina or a long time reader, you’ll probably learn something new about me in this feature! I answer questions about why I started blogging, my professional background, some of my favourite bloggers and recipes, where I draw inspiration and what’s next. A big thank you to The Food Bloggers of Canada for the feature and also to FBC’s extremely hard working founders, Melissa Hartfiel and Ethan Adeland for their continuous guidance, support, kindness and generosity! Cheers, everyone — I hope you enjoy the interview (and a great glass of rosé!).
Wow, has it ever been a minute since I published a non-cocktail recipe — let alone a salad or bowl! Remember that post I published back in January about sharing things as I feel inspired to, rather than sticking to my very rigid, previously very balanced, editorial calendar? Scaling back on extremely time consuming content in order to get our SPACE REFRESH series off the ground (did you know I test my recipes 3 – 7 times on average and that can translate to over 30 hours of work?)? These changes resulted in a steady stream of cocktail recipes during the first half of 2018 (they’re a blast to create also relatively simple to test!) — one of which landed me my first Style Me Pretty Living feature, so I guess it all worked out! And while my adventures deep into cocktailing this year have been a lot of fun, sometimes you just need to dry out a bit and eat a kale salad — you feel me?!
If you follow along with my Insta Stories, you’ll know I’ve been eating this Vegan Kale Caesar Salad with Gluten Free Croutons almost weekly since I first whipped it up back in April. In the process, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve tested this recipe and it’s since become one of our favourite salads! The best part? There’s no marinating or planning ahead (I’ve really been focusing on keeping it simple lately!) and it can be on your table in 15 minutes. It’s a nutritious, protein packed, plant based spin on a classic that eats like a meal — and I promise no one will know it’s vegan (in a blind taste test, it was praised by meat eaters!). I’m also sharing my secret for flavourful, tender, raw kale! If you’re looking for quick, healthy meal options to add to your summer rotation (or #MeatlessMonday!), I cannot recommend this contemporary spin on traditional caesar salad enough!
Happy first weekend of spring, friends! Wow — what a crazy, whirlwind week this has been. Between publishing our Living Room Reveal on Monday, my Style Me Pretty Living feature on Wednesday (pinch me!), a very exciting FASHION announcement (which has now published!), to a jam packed calendar full of events and meetings, plus 8 rounds of testing for this recipe (and subsequent cocktail ingredient runs before noon!), I’m finally getting a fresh cocktail for you this weekend. Initially this recipe was supposed to publish on Wednesday to welcome the first day of spring, so let’s just say my Spring Equinox Kiwi Elderflower Smash is fashionably late (like our spring weather) — but she comes bearing gifts! I’ve teamed up with Eau Claire Distillery once again to give away a full sized bottle of Prickly Pear EquineOx to one of you lovely Canadians (check out the bottom of the post for details on how to enter!).
After a long, snow covered winter, I’m elated to unleash my Spring Equinox Kiwi Elderflower Smash — a post-hibernation celebration of spring’s refreshing flavours in cocktail form! I figured it was time to pump the brakes on the gin train (let’s be real… there’s been a ton of gin drinking going down here at JustineCelina!) and introduce you to a completely unique spirit to welcome spring’s arrival. Today I’m working with Eau Claire Distillery’s award winning Prickly Pear EquineOx — a sweet, lightly citrusy, barley based vodka incorporating Alberta’s Prickly Pear Cactus with a special blend of spring botanicals. Complimented by a refreshing bouquet of elderflower, kiwi, lime, a kiss of wine, a dash of bitters and a splash of soda, I’ve created a seasonal elixir that pairs perfectly with longer evenings and balmier weather. I’ve also teamed up with 4 talented food bloggers across North America to bring you the Spring 2018 Edition of Connecting Over Cocktails! If you’re looking for some inspired cocktail ideas as we transition into spring, we’re totally got you covered — stay tuned to see what my fellow Food Bloggers of Canada are mixing up for you this weekend!
I can’t believe it’s been nearly a year since I shared a pureed soup here at JustineCelina! And would you believe I’ve never actually published a butternut squash soup recipe? Butternut squash soup is a staple recipe in many kitchens during the cooler months — ours included. Although my Autumn Harvest Soup with Roasted Squash Seeds (published back in my early blogging days!) includes butternut squash, it also features a medley of fall produce — including apples, carrots and rhubarb. So, my standard butternut squash soup recipe remained unpublished over the years — you see, as a food blogger, these staple recipes often remain in my archives because I don’t think they’re exciting or unique enough to share. But, this winter I experimented with one of my favourite gourmet ingredients to really elevate this recipe — and here we are!
Today I’m thrilled to bring you my Truffled Butternut Squash Soup with Crispy Sage — a luxurious, sophisticated twist on a cold weather classic. With just 10 ingredients, this creamy bowl of vegan comfort is a breeze to whip up and makes a great light lunch or accompaniment to dinner. Hearty butternut squash is oven roasted with onions, fresh sage and garlic — then blended into velvety goodness with vegetable broth, coconut milk, fresh ginger and a touch of heat. To finish things off, it’s infused with an indulgent drizzle of White Truffle Oil (my most recent culinary obsession!) and garnished with crispy sage for a restaurant quality soup you can enjoy at home. Thanks to a couple of elevated ingredients, this isn’t your traditional butternut squash soup recipe — but I guarantee you it’s just as simple to prepare! If you’re in the mood for some nourishing comfort food with gourmet flair to help endure these last few weeks of winter, I have just the recipe — and I’m also sharing my favourite source for high quality, affordable White Truffle Oil!
Remember the summer I acquired a taste for gin? It’s since become my favourite spirit. In fact, around this time last year I even ventured to Vancouver Island to track down an infamous local gin unavailable in Alberta (I also made a cocktail with that one!). Although the gin I brought home from my coastal travels is long gone, late last year I stumbled on Eau Claire Distillery via Instagram (their bottles are gorgeous and totally drew me in!). Imagine my surprise to find out we have an incredible, award winning distillery less than an hour from home! Over the holidays I took a trip to the visit their distillery in Turner Valley with my Mom (who loves gin) and my brother (who was home from New York and loves cocktails) for a tour and tasting — and we were all completely blown away by the quality of Eau Claire’s hand crafted offerings and their farm to glass approach. Now that I know they exist (and they’re local!) I actually can’t fathom using anything else in my cocktails! Over the last couple of months, we’ve padded our bar with several of Eau Claire’s artisinal spirits — including their most recent offering, Cherry Gin.
In honour of love day, I’m so excited to share my Rose Infused Cherry Gin Fizz! This feminine, fruity and lightly floral cocktail combines Eau Claire’s stunning Cherry Gin with my favourite Prosecco, a splash of fresh lemon juice and a Rose & Pink Peppercorn Infused Honey Simple Syrup for a contemporary spin on the classic French 75. My Rose Infused Cherry Gin Fizz is a beautiful addition to your Valentine’s Day menu, but can be enjoyed anytime you want to indulge in a gourmet craft cocktail at home! As always, it’s free of dairy, gluten and refined sugar — and bursting with fruity flavours, floral undertones, unique botanicals and a refreshing effervescence. The best part? Eau Claire is helping me share the love this Valentine’s Day by giving away a Cherry Gin Cocktail Caddy valued at $99 to one of my Canadian friends — check out the bottom of the post for details on how to enter!
Remember when I mentioned all the seasonal recipes I have in my backlog? Well, today I’m finally publishing the very first sangria recipe I ever developed — almost 10 years ago (yikes!). I honestly can’t even tell you how many times I’ve made this Classic Winter Citrus Red Sangria with friends and family over the years, but I bet it’s more than 50. In fact, it was this recipe that inspired my sangria craze — it’s the original! It was singlehandedly responsible for a large portion of my 20’s being a bit hazy and escalating some of my favourite entertaining memories (or lack there of!) in our first homes over the years! This classic red sangria never fails to get the party started (now that’s the understatement of the century!) and is my all time favourite beverage to make when we’re hosting or attending a party, especially during the cooler months. It’s absolutely delicious and approved by friends, moms, dads, grandmas, grandpas, cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and inlaws — even the non-wine drinkers rave about it! So, I figured it was finally time to unleash the recipe on the world — however, I will not be held liable for any life altering hangovers that ensue after a few too many glasses (hey, it goes down easy — consider yourself warned!).
My Classic Winter Citrus Red Sangria is the quintessential holiday cocktail, marrying fruity zinfandel and apricot brandy with festive, seasonal flavours of satsuma, lime, lemon, pomegranate and a hint of cozy cinnamon. This better-for-you holiday cocktail is free of added sugar and brimming with clean, plant based ingredients plus a mega dose of antioxidants. If you love to entertain, this simple, jubilant sangria will leave your guests feeling merry and bright! And to help spread some holiday cheer, my Connecting Over Cocktails crew and I are back at it again — and this time, we’re thrilled to bring you our Holiday Edition. If you’re planning a festive celebration and looking to take the party up a notch this year, check out the bottom of this post for 5 gorgeous, seasonal sips from a handful of my favourite cocktail connoisseurs!
You guys, this week has been such a whirlwind! Between spending time in the prairies working ahead on some exciting new projects, capturing tons of content for JustineCelina, publishing 3 blog posts, speaking at a YYC Blogger Babes event last night about The Business of Blogging and attending another event earlier today for a new partnership — I’m totally having a cocktail (or two) tonight as I finish up this post!
If you’ve been following along with my Insta Stories this summer, you’ve undoubtedly seen me whip up a Watermelon Frosé Margarita. She was a fun recipe to test and a fast favourite among friends and family — a pretty, pink cocktail gone rogue! This time, my Connecting Over Cocktails crew and I are serving up an array of seasonal, fruity cocktails for our Summer Edition and I knew I wanted to do something a bit different. Today I’m shaking things up with my Watermelon Frosé Margaritas — an icy sangria 2.0 with an attitude, and tequila on her breath! In true JustineCelina style, she’s made with just 5 ingredients blended over frozen watermelon creating a naturally sweet, feisty summer cocktail that embraces fruity flavours with a margarita essence and a Himalayan pink salted rim! If you, too are in desperate need of a refreshing cocktail this weekend (hellooooooo, heatwave), check out the bottom of this post for inspired summer sips from my mega talented foodie friends!