Posts Tagged ‘entertaining’

Lettuce Wraps

January 3, 2011

Well I guess the holidays are over and it’s back to the grind tomorrow morning. Did Christmas really happen? Is someone playing a joke on me? Seriously?

In all honestly, I really needed the break. From catching up on glorious sleep to spending time with family and friends, I’m feeling pretty good.

One of the highlights of my Christmas break was having the chance to catch up with two of my favourite people, Maija and Anna. For dinner I decided to make my version of Asian Lettuce Wraps, inspired by a meal that I had ordered from a restaurant a few days earlier. While the restaurant version was really great, I definitely thought that it was something I could easily replicate at home. With a simple marinade and some fresh veggies, the meal came together really nicely.  It was so good and so easy, that I made it again for dinner tonight.  


  • 4 tbsp soya sauce
  • 2 tbsp Chinese black been and garlic sauce (found in the Asian section at the grocery store)
  • 2 tbsp Oyster sauce (found in the Asian section)
  • 3 tbsp Hoisin sauce (found in the Asian section)
  • 1 tbsp ginger, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 chili or 1 jalapeño, chopped (discard the seeds if you don’t like the spice)
  •  Juice of 1 lime


  • Thinly sliced chicken or beef (shrimp also works well, but needs less marinating time)

Toppings (use whatever you like)

  • Lettuce leaves
  • Bean Sprouts
  • Carrots, julienned
  • Cucumber, julienned
  • Cilantro
  • Rice
  • Chili or peanut dipping sauce (store bought)

Stir the marinade and add your sliced protein. Mix to coat. Let the meat marinade in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours.

When ready to cook, simply heat some oil in a frying pan (or wok) and place the meat (with the marinade) in the pan. Cook through and serve with your favourite toppings. Roll this all up in a lettuce leaf and you are good to go!

***I added sliced peppers to the mix and cooked up some rice so that I can have a killer stir-fry lunch tomorrow at work.

 Countdown to my next vacation is on! And GO CANADA GO!


Miss Claus

December 19, 2009

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Every year for Christmas, my girlfriends and I organize a Secret Santa gift exchange. The punch flows, the holiday music plays and the stories are shared. I am truly blessed with the best friends in the world! This year, everyone had to buy something that fit within the theme of “patterns” and each gift was so unique and really amazing. 

It was a busy week so I asked everyone to bring a little something for the buffet. Michelle and Lara brought shrimp, a cheese platter and delicious phyllo treats, Carly and Lisa brought Edamame (which we actually didn’t end up cooking because the table was too full), Tricia brought her delicious pita chips and hummus, Wesleigh  brought Prociutto wrapped asparagus (yum!), Liz and Elyse brought chips and pretzels and Ariana brought the most AMAZING homemade mini strawberry shortcakes.

I decided to “kick it oldschool” and stick with some of the easy classics. Chip dip and bruschetta…mmm.

Chip dip has been a tradition of ours since the beginning. I mean who can resist a good layer dip with nachos? Here’s how I make mine:

  • 2 containers light cream cheese
  • 4 tbsp light sour cream
  • 4 tbsp light mayo (adds a nice tang)
  • Salsa
  • Chopped bell peppers
  • Chopped green onions
  • Grated cheese

Mix the cream cheese, sour cream and mayo (I use a food processor, but a hand mixer also works well). Spread evenly on a platter. Add a layer of salsa, followed by the chopped veg. Top with grated cheese. Easy as 1…2…3.

(Someone snuck a bite before I could get the beauty shot!)

I love bruschetta. Especially when it’s made fresh, with good ingredients.

  • 6-8 vine ripened tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 tbsp chopped onion
  • 3 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 3 tbsp chopped basil
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all the ingredients together and it’s ready! Serve with a fresh baguette, curstini, crackers or tortilla chips.

The spread was truly fantastic. I think we all agreed that we should have a Secret Santa every month. After all, who doesn’t like presents!


Tea Time!

December 13, 2009

I just had the most amazing Sunday ever!

I was graciously invited to go to my good friend Carly’s 25th, girls only, birthday party. She had decorated her party room with traditional tea sets, cups and a buffet of decadent desserts. We each had a place setting, complete with a loot bag and access to a “make your own headband” craft station.  Clearly, this is every 25 year-old girl’s dream come true! Too much fun!

I offered to bring along a little appetizer. I thought about what would be a good accompaniment and I immediately decided on tea sandwiches and devilled eggs. I blame this choice on the many memories I have as a child eating this exact same thing at old Latvian functions (apparently, it was a very nostalgic type of day).

The sandwiched tasted great, but I wasn’t happy with the presentation so am not going to share them with you this time. Man… is it ever  hard making each one the same size, getting all the crusts off and getting them to stick together (it’s a lot harder than it sounds, trust me). I made three different varieties – smoked salmon with cream cheese and chives, cheese and salami and cucumber with cream cheese. I even used a brown bread layer and a white bread layer to try to add some visual appeal, but they just weren’t quite what I had envisioned. Oh well!

Devilled eggs on the other hand, are super easy. They don’t smell amazing, but do taste good.

For mine, I kept it super simple…

  • Boiled Eggs, cooled, shelled and sliced in half
  • Mayo
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Splash of White Vinegar
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
  • Chives and Paprika for garnish

Place all the yolks in a food processer and add mayo (I used about 3 tbsp for 8 eggs), 1 tbsp Dijon Mustard, 1 tbsp White Vinegar and Salt and Pepper.

Mix until smooth. Add more mayo if needed to adjust the consistency.

Scoop back into the egg white halves, or use a pastry bag (I don’t own one).  Garnish with paprika and chives.

Thanks so much for the party Carly! It was so wonderful!

Here’s a shot of my own personal creation. Carly supplied all the hairbands, ribbon, feathers etc. and everyone came up with something so amazing and so unique. I think some of the works of art could have passed for Dior.

For more pics from the party check out Carly’s very own blog : )