A Foodie Guide to Halifax

Ahoy!
Once again its been a hot minute since we’ve checked in with all of you (anybody still here…Mom??…Bueller??) For those of you that have stayed with us through our long periods of inactivity we really appreciate it – as I’m sure you can all relate life just gets in the way sometimes and as much as we enjoy blogging and sharing photos and stories with you guys recently we’ve been stepping back and really being present in our “IRL” lives and other projects.

To recap you on the past few months – Erica has been off being a kick-ass Momma to the most beautiful little girl (clearly no bias here) and learning lots about motherhood and living in Kingston. With the excitement of this new phase she has also launched her own blog to share her Momma adventures with all of you, she’s created a really beautiful and knowledgable space over there (again no bias). If you want to check that out here’s the link: The YGK Mom.

As for me, I’ve been plugging away at grad school and working various other jobs on the side trying to “taste all the flavours” and figure out what exactly I want to be when I grow up. I’ll be sure to keep you posted when I figure this one out. In the meantime, one of the very few benefits of being in grad school (#overworkedunderpaid) is getting to travel to conferences and have most of your expenses compensated – which is how my most recent trip to Halifax happened. I tagged along on a friend’s free ride, with cheap flights (out of Hamilton – why isn’t everyone doing this?! It was such a breeze – the 7 minutes from leaving the plane to being out the doors of the airport kinda breeze – I wish all travel was this enjoyable) and the idea of escaping academic life for a few days.

Halifax did not disappoint. It has never disappointed, to be honest. There’s something about this city that has always felt like home to me and I plan on one day making this a reality. But for now, I’ll take my weekend getaways with all of the great food, drinks, waterfront views, and the best kind of company.

Here’s a quick summary of our trip – the must eats and drinks – and where I’m dying to try the next time I go!

Food

  • Black Sheep Restaurant – we went here for brunch and it rocked our socks! The location is kinda hidden off of Dresden Row but its worth trying to find. I had the fish cakes (delish) and they give you the option to do half & half salad and fries (freakin’ genius!)
  • 2 Doors Down – we had dinner here on Friday night and were super glad we did. They have a really fun cocktail list – I had a bourbon based one that I can’t remember the name of (blame the bourbon) and Tia had a beer based cocktail. We shared the calamari to start, which wasn’t really anything to write home about but was good BUT the lobster and crab risotto was AMAZING – there were pieces of smoked bacon, crab, lobster and kale pesto topped with fried scallops. It’s so dreamy you won’t want it to end.
  • Ristorante a mano – Tia was feeling Italian on our second night in town so we found this place online with good reviews. We shared some pizzas which were great but not unlike other wood fired oven pizzas I’ve had in Toronto or Kingston but we had a lot of fun there, we sat at the pizza bar which I would highly recommend – you get to watch them make all the pizzas and we asked a gazillion questions. Also, there’s a starter which is basically a pizza crust stuffed with cheese and truffle oil HELLO. All the heart eyes. Its called the Sgabello GET IT.

Drink

  • Rockbottom Brewpub – This was our first stop in the city, conveniently located right across from our hotel (The Lord Nelson). Not my favourite atmosphere but the beer was great and we had some nachos that were loaded with toppings, just how nachos are supposed to be.
  • Bearly’s – We followed Rockbottom up with Bearly’s to see the Mellotones play – if these guys are playing while you’re in town don’t miss them! I typically wouldn’t be interested in their funk, soul, R&B vibes but they are amazing! Also, Bearly’s is a really neat layout and everyone in the place was dancing up a storm.
  •  Good Robot Brewing Company – Craft beer is really having its time in the spotlight almost everywhere in Canada right now but especially in Halifax, I’m pretty sure Nova Scotia has the most craft breweries per capita AKA a recipe for a good time. My uncle is really into the craft beer scene so he took me for a beer at Good Robot. Great atmosphere and they have a beer and “silent reading” night where you can just go, bring along some reading, and enjoy a pint in complete silence. This speaks to me on a seriously intimate level.
  • Lion & Bright – My uncle also took me here – this would definitely be a place I would set up shop and do some work if I lived in Hali. According to my uncle it also gets very animated when they bring in live music in the evenings – admittedly its hard to picture this when you’re there in the day but I would be down to test this theory. I’d also really like to eat here – it looks tasty AF.
  • The Old Triangle – Always the best east coast music – just go here and email me if you’re mad you did. You won’t be.

Places to Try (that I didn’t get the chance to)

My last notes are to please check out the Halifax Public Library it was my first time seeing this space and it blew my mind and also was my number one add to the “list of reasons to live here” that I have going. Lastly, don’t forget to grab a donair before you leave town, its a Halifax staple for a reason.

IMG_6944fullsizeoutput_22e7The fish cake brunch (with half fries & half salad) at Black Sheep Restaurant.IMG_6947Fifth Floor library views – I mean come on!fullsizeoutput_22e9Cocktails at 2 Doors Down.fullsizeoutput_22e8The taste bud exploding risotto also at 2 Doors Down.fullsizeoutput_2264Halifax Farmer’s Market – live music and all.fullsizeoutput_22eafullsizeoutput_2298fullsizeoutput_22ebSad to be leaving – can you tell??fullsizeoutput_22acStaying at The Lord Nelson really ruined me.

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Sticky Toffee Pudding

Ahoy!

Less than a week till Christmas means lots of baking! Usually we pull out the old classics (Snowballs, Thimble cookies, Molasses Gems) but this year I’m trying some new recipes in hopes of stumbling across a new “old classic”. Here my friends is the first of which we will most definitely be adding to the roster.

If you’re in need of comfort food in the form of dessert this is your guy. The recipe can be found here – I didn’t change one thing about it!

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4 Christmas DIY/Hacks on a Budget

Ahoy!

It’s the most wonderful timeeeee of the yearrrrr….  and sometimes the most expensive!

This year I am on parental leave so this means two things- I don’t have much (read:any) extra spending money and I am also home more and have had a bit more time to be creative this holiday season!  So, I thought I would do a post on four inexpensive ways to luxe up your holiday decor!

  1. Think outside the box. This year I used a bunch of outdoor string lights on my tree! I bought multiple packages of these lights back when Target was closing here in Canada for our wedding in 2014. We didn’t end up using them for wedding so the last two years I have been using them as extra lights for my tree!!! They are a softer light, add decorations to the tree AND saved me from going out and buying more lights! Think about other seasonal items you might have in your home- from lights to little trinkets the you might be able to hang on your tree! Or maybe the clearance rack at your local home goods store still has patio lights?!img_7983
  2. Liven up your garland! This year I really wanted luxe live garland to drape on my staircase. Our stairs are one of the focal points of our kitchen and I felt they needed a little Christmas love. To go out and buy live garland in those kinds of lengths (approx. 20 ft) would have cost a fortune! As an alternative I picked up some faux garland from Canadian Tire. We then secured this to the bannister with zip ties and then I cut off branches around our yard of pine, spruce and cedar. I grabbed a package of floral wire (90 stems) for 1 dollar (from Dollarama) and then secured pieces of the live greenery to the faux garland. It now looks super full and dare I say, luxe as heck!  I tied long pieces of scrap beige denim around the zip ties in a simple knot in replace of bows.  Here is the before and after.img_7808img_7957
  3. Dollar store!!!  Take some time walking around your local dollar store to see what you can find. Here are two things I found from the Dollarama near me recently. 1) Willow stems that I styled in a tall white vase for our mantel to add some height. What’s great about these is that they will be able to stay up all winter, not just for the holidays! 2) I was a really wanting some ball garland for my tree this year- I found some great stuff at Home Sense and Michaels.. but either were in the budget. Hello my friend.. Dollarama.. I found these great styrofoam ball strands for a $1.25 a strand. They probably won’t last more than a year or two.. but who cares?! I’ll probably be over them by then anyway!  img_7982img_7981img_7977
  4. A “little” goes a long way. I love switching up my dining room tablescape! One way I am able to do this on a budget are these vases that you see on the table. Originally they were from our wedding back in 2014- all painted gold and originally thrifted from Value Village. This summer I painted a bunch of them white. The key here is that these vases have a super SMALL openings! They can’t take a lot of flowers or plants and thus- saving you money. Think if you had 5-6 of these for your table.. picked up a small bunch of flowers from Costco or the grocery store for 10-15 bucks and then stuck a few strands in each vase! Not bad, right??  For the holidays this year I opted for magnolia leaves because they should last the entire month. I picked these up for under 5 bucks a bunch at Wal-Mart and then styled them in my trusty vases. I used approximately two bunches here.   img_7854

What do you think? Helpful? What are your thrifty DIYs for the holidays?

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Netflix & Snack

Ahoy!

So over here on Anchored to the East we are VERY excited about the Gilmore Girls revival. We’ve been fans since the show first aired, have watched the re-runs and often dream of a life in Stars Hollow. In preparation for our viewing party- which much to our dismay is not until a week after the release date – we are testing out some “Gilmore-approved” recipes for our marathon. First up- pop tarts!

I looked at a few recipes online- but came back to our favourite site, Smitten Kitchen. For the most part we followed their recipe (linked above) but with a few minor additions and added commentary here to make it a little easier for you to follow along and make these yourself.

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We only made the brown-sugar filling ones but next time I may attempt the jam filled as well. If I do that, I’ll add notes back here on how to process with jam. UPDATE: We have now made the jam-filled and they are THE-BOMB-DOT-COM! Look for the italicized edits below to make the jam-filled and scroll to the very bottom for photo!

Ingredients

Pastry:
1 cup of salted butter, chilled and cut into smaller, thin pieces.
2 cups of flour
1 tablespoon of white sugar
1 egg, beaten with 2 tablespoons of milk
1 egg beaten (for brushing dough)

Brown Sugar Filled:
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons of cinnamon
4 teaspoons flour

Jam Filled with Frosting:
your favourite Strawberry jam – we used a jar of strawberry freezer jam gifted to us
2 cups icing sugar
2 1/2 tablespoon milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract 

Hook up the dough blade in your food processor. Combine flour + sugar into the bowl of your processor. Add the butter and turn on the food processor.Blend until you see a bead like texture. Twice during this process I stopped the processor and used a spatula to scrape the excess flour from the sides. Near the end you will see small pieces starting to lump together to form a dough- this is when you know you are done. Pour mixture into a large mixing bowl.

Add the egg/milk combo and stir with a fork until combined.

On your countertop or larger cutting board dust surface with flour, place your dough onto this surface and sprinkle with more flour. The dough at this point is quite sticky. I kneaded it through until it formed a more obvious, less sticky dough and then formed a ball. Don’t let the kneading intimidate you! This is not like kneading bread or anything, just simply working a bit more flour into the dough with your fingers. Cut this ball in half.

Roll each half into a large rectangle (roughly 9×13). Cut each rectangle into three pieces. I used a pizza cutter. You will want your pieces to be similar in size because one of these will be your top and one the bottom of your pastries – each 1/3 will be top or bottom to 3 pop tarts.

Brush three (bottom pieces) with your second beaten egg. Spread the topping into three rectangular shaped sections with a gap in between to create an edging for both tarts. Each tart takes 1 heaping tablespoon of filling. Place the other rolled pieces onto the top of the filled sections and with your fingers press all around the edges of the filling to create  sealed pouch. Using your pizza cutter, cut each section into your three tarts.

Edit: if doing the strawberry jam filled version- place about 1 tbsp of strawberry jam and spread into a rectangular shape, still leaving space around the edge to close off the tarts.

With a fork press around the edges. Place tarts onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Prep your oven at 350 degrees. I always use convect bake on mine just because I find it more consistent, but you will know what’s best for your oven.

After 30 minutes, take your tarts from the fridge and pierce multiple holes in the top to allow steam to escape. I used a toothpick for this, a fork works too!

Bake for 20-25 minutes until lightly golden brown. Mine took about 23 minutes. Let cool in the pan, on a rack and enjoy!!!

Edit: For Strawberry version – while your pop tarts are cooling mix together 2 cups of icing sugar, 2 1/2 tbsp of milk and 1/2 tsp of vanilla to make a spreadable frosting. Once they are fully cooled, spread not he frosting and top with your sprinkles immediately. After  a few minutes the icing will set and you can store them. We stored them between parchment paper in an airtight container. 

Here are pics I snapped of the process to go with my instructions above!

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Hoodies for the Win

Ahoy!

So I posted a funny little insta-story on Sunday night making fun of my new sweater looking like a costume for a paper-towel “super hero”.. despite this obvious fact a LOT of people have been asking me where I got it! So hey, I wasn’t totally off the mark. This past weekend I picked up two cozy sweatshirts from the Gap’s Gap Fit collection. I wanted something toasty that I could wear around the house and outside with a vest. My clothing needs have changed a lot since having a babe and being home at the farm a lot more.. thus the sweatshirts!

What drew me to them was last year I picked up a very similar one on the clearance rack in a bright red colour and I wear it ALL THE TIME. So when I saw these beauties.. I knew they had to be added to my wardrobe. Here are pics of the two I picked up.

The navy one has a huge funnel neck which will be awesome for colder days and the white one has a turtle neck that converts into a hood!! Both sweaters came in a few colours.. linked below.img_6324img_6348img_6359img_6439img_6449img_6462My entire outfit with the navy sweater is from The Gap. The jeans were purchased last summer and the shoes were a clearance purchase from like 3-4 years ago. Here is the link to the navy sweater. It comes in a few other colours.

The white sweater is only coming up here in Black but I’m sure you can find it in White at your local store. I got this one in Kingston. My leggings are Lululemon from two years ago and my rain boots are Aigle from Fancy That in Kingston.

Sizing- I bought the navy in Small because I wanted it to fit a bit longer and the white in XS because it has a wider fit and didn’t want too much bulk for wearing under vests. I am approximately 5ft 7.5 inch tall (with a longer than normal torso).

Sunglasses from both outfits were a recent sale purchase from Loft. They are showing up on-sale in this link online, but I actually got mine for 10 bucks in store (Markville Mall in Markham, ON) – so if you live near a Loft, check them out in store.

PS- super happy about my half bun here.. every other time I try to get it to work it looks limp and sad.. yay for decent hair day Monday’s!

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Chunky Knits + Blanket Scarf

Ahoy!

This cozy sweater and blanket scarf from RW&Co are perfect items for the classic Canadian autumn wardrobe. The cut of this sweater makes it a lot more flattering than your average chunky knit.

Over the last week we have gotten over 100 mm of rain in our area so I had assumed that most of the beautiful fall leaves would have hit the ground in our back acreage.  When we got home this afternoon after a weekend away we ventured back and were pleasantly surprised how beautiful it still looked!

Enjoy the pics and full outfit details are below!

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Sweater: RW & Co / Scarf: Was a gift but from RW&Co / Boots: Aiglefrom Fancy That in Kingston / Jeans: Zara (last season), similar

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“Date” Night…or Morning

Ahoy!

We had some extra dates hanging around in the cupboard and what better way to use them up than classic date squares. I feel like date squares get a bad rep for being the last guy at the party, but these ones are not dry and full of flavour! They’re called Date Breakfast Squares because the original recipe called for whole wheat flour, raw sugar, and had the option of using coconut oil – healthier alternatives that help make these squares a breakfast option. We didn’t have whole wheat flour so I just used white, and olive oil for my wet option.

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Apple Pie of My Eye

Ahoy!

Wishing you all a Happy Canadian Thanksgiving with lots of apple and pumpkin flavoured treats!

My long weekend kicked off with a Friendsgiving potluck celebration and my contribution were these mini apple pie cookies I found on Smitten Kitchen (my go-to for never disappointing recipes).

Let me warn you now that you’ve got to have a good chunk of time on your hands to get into making these or lots of helping hands! They’re a lot of fun, super cute, and delicious but definitely a time sucker.

The homemade crust is the best part of these so definitely don’t skip on that as they don’t have much filling because of the size so the flavour of the crust really matters and this crust recipe really knocks it out of the park (baseball reference re: Blue Jays win last night!!!!).

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My Uniform

Ahoy,

When you get a high twenty degree weather day at the end of September you take advantage of golden hour and you chase the sunlight.

I just came across this light knit sweater from H&M and I love it. My go-to outfit for fall weather is a pair of my favourite jeans and a loose flowy top. This sweater is a perfect addition to anyones closet. It comes in a variety of colours, is super affordable and that high-low profile is great for covering up the top of your bum making it very flattering.

Happy Friday Y’all and links below!

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Sweater: H&M / Jeans: Gap (last summer), similar / Boots: Franco Sarto / Necklace: J.Crew (old), similar 

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Bargain Cold Shoulder Top

Ahoy!

So this top… I ordered it back when I was pregnant and since having Nora I have worn it a number of times. I had never ordered from SheIn before and was skeptical but since the prices were so cheap- I HAD to try it out. I was pleasantly surprised!!!! I ordered this top and one other, and the quality of both were well beyond what I expected.

This shirt is shown on the website with the model wearing the slit in the front buttt.. after having a baby I’m not ready to rock the front slit quite yet- so I just wear it reversed!  I highly recommend this top.. the fit is true to size and there is a lot of extra fabric so you wouldn’t want to go a size up because I believe it would look too bulky. Direct links below!

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One other note- as you shop through the site they will post up promo codes for % of your first order, or other various things- use this to bring your price down even further. I ended up getting both tops for around $30 CDN. Only downside was shipping took a few weeks (2 1/2 I think?).

Top: SheIn / Jeans: Maternity, Gap , Shoes: Zara (old)

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