Saturday, December 6, 2014

The 9 Hour Beef Dip

It’s been over a year since I’ve started blogging about the beautiful world of sandwiches and this next creation wins the award for having the longest cooking-time – 9 hours!

This is all thanks to an amazing kitchen appliance: The Slow Cooker, or Crock-Pot, whichever name you prefer.
A must-have for any busy household!
My slow-cooker is on my Top 3 Best Kitchen Appliances List along with the coffeemaker and the Bosch Mixer. I've had one ever since I moved out on my own and needed to learn how to cook for myself. When my husband and I first moved in together, we each had a slow-cooker and sometimes, used both of them at the same time! It was hard to decide which one to take with us to France. His won out, being slightly bigger, so I sent mine home to my parents; there was no way I could give it away to a stranger after all the lovely meals it provided over the years.

Slow-cooker meals are nearly impossible to mess up and when life gets busy, as it always does, it makes cooking good, hearty meals practically effortless. What better thing is there than coming home after a busy day to a delicious smell wafting through the house and your dinner nearly ready? 

The 9 Hour Beef Dip is my first slow-cooker sandwich creation and I was thrilled with how it turned out. After roasting the beef all day, it only took ten minutes to assemble and even less time to wolf down!
Quick prep for some slow cooking!

You will need:

1 Small beef roast
1 ½ Tsp each of thyme and rosemary
3 Garlic cloves, minced
2 Cups beef broth
2 Tsp teriyaki sauce
1 Small onion, chopped
Red and green bell peppers, one of each
Edam cheese
Baguette-style loaf of bread
Small bowls or ramekins for the dipping sauce


1-Work backwards 9 hours from when you want to eat and get your roast in early.

2-Mix all the spices together and sprinkle on your roast, covering it entirely.

3-Place roast in the slow-cooker and cover with chopped onions and beef broth.

4-Cover with the lid and cook on low for 9 hours

5-No peeking! It’ll smell amazing and you’ll be tempted to lift the lid but according to my Fix-It and Forget It Cookbook, “every time you take the lid off, the cooker loses steam…and it takes 20 minutes to regain lost steam and temperature.” Just relax and let it do its thing uninterrupted.

Gorgeous colours and softened just enough.
Sandwich Assembly:

1-About 10 minutes before you take the meat out, sauté the peppers in some olive until soft.

2-Remove the roast from the slow-cooker and carefully cut it into thin slices.

3-Slice the bread loaf and arrange beef slices, peppers and cheese inside.

4-Ladle some of the beef juice into the small bowls/ramekins for dipping.

5-Serve warm and enjoy!

Quick and easy sandwich assembly.

A note about dipping technique:

Submerge the sandwich into the dipping sauce as far as you can. The bread acts like a sponge and absorbs the tasty liquid, which softens the crust ever so slightly. The result is a tasty, hearty,savory, effortlessly made, beef dip sandwich.

Definitely worth every hour of waiting!
The 9 Hour Beef Dip

Monday, October 27, 2014

Cajun Chicken, Chèvre and Veggie Flute

Did you know there are laws in France that dictate where, when and how bread is made and sold?

I didn’t either, until one of my fellow ex-pat friends told me.

Apparently, the law was passed in 1993 and dictates:

“traditional baguettes have to be made on the premises they're sold and can only be made with four ingredients: wheat flour, water, salt and yeast. They can't be frozen at any stage or contain additives or preservatives.” (

Once I knew this, it made a lot more sense that the ‘baguettes’ in our local grocery store look, feel and taste slightly different than the ones from the bakery near our house. They’re not made at the store, they’re bigger and much crunchier and they (gasp!) may have been frozen at one point. For these reasons, they’re not actually baguettes, they’re called flutes.

I know – my mind was all quoi?! too.

But a wise playwright once wrote: That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. Hence French bread, by any name, is still French bread and that means they make très beaux sandwiches.

Of course, it takes more than just beautiful bread to make a beautiful sandwich, hence the fun I had assembling the ingredients for a warm, juicy, spicy, strong, crunchy concoction that became the Cajun Chicken, Chèvre and Veggie Flute.

Beautiful fresh ingredients make a beautiful sandwich.
It requires:

-chicken breasts, one for as each sandwiches you make
-Flute (or other such loaf-y bread)
-red and green bell peppers
- Chèvre (which literally means goat, so basically goat cheese)
-greens, such as baby spinach, arugula, mizuna, lettuce, etc.
 -Cajun spice
A flute is a bigger, thicker French loaf. Perfect for this sandwich!
-Olive oil
-fresh ground pepper


1-Saute the chicken in olive oil over medium heat.
2-While chicken is cooking, chop up the peppers, slice the chèvre and cut the bread in half lengthwise.
3-Add some Cajun spice to the chicken in the last few minutes of cooking. To check for doneness, cut into the breasts at their thickest. The meat should be white, not pink.
4-Remove chicken from heat and slice lengthwise to thin the meat; it fits better in the loaf this way.
5-Place chicken on the bread, top with chèvre and veggies.
6-Assemble the sandwich and cut in half, if you like.
7-Mangez le sandwich!

Veggies and cheese ready for meat and bread.
What I really enjoy about this sandwich is the variety of flavours and textures: the crunchy, crusty bread, the warm, yet spicy chicken, the strong and smooth cheese and the fresh vegetables. You could also sauté the peppers for another flavour layer; I actually used leftover sautéed peppers and they tasted great.

A word about chèvre: I really love this cheese but it’s strong smelling and has a crumbly texture that’s not for everyone. It really pairs nicely with the Cajun spice on this sandwich but you could substitute it for a mellower cheese, like emmental, if you like.

The Cajun spice is a special blend we picked up at the local market and truth be told, I don’t actually know what’s in it, but the spice man said it’s great for poultry and gives it a Cajun/Louisiana style seasoning. He was right.

For a sandwich that covers all four major French food groups: bread, cheese, meat and veggies, give this one a try! It doesn’t matter if you use a baguette, a flute or a sub, just pack it full of fresh, tasty ingredients and it’s sure to please.

Cajun Chicken, Chèvre and Veggie Flute

Special thanks and credit for this sandwich go out to my fellow Canadian friend Kellen. It's great to have a new friend to talk sandwiches with! 

For more information about French bread, check out these great websites!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Fall evenings with Gouda Grilled Cheese and Spicy Carrot Soup

It’s fall everywhere and it’s a beautiful time of year!

I love finally getting to wear my favorite fall jacket: a dark green corduroy blazer, with matching green leather gloves. It’s time for sweaters, boots and scarves. Fall means mornings with a slight misty chill that turn into sunny afternoons that are still nice enough to be outside for a walk or a coffee on a patio. It’s beautiful colours and smells and it’s time for warm, gooey, spicy comfort food: grilled cheese and spicy carrot soup!

Sizzling and simmering! My Mom made the Bon Appetit needlepoint.
It's perfect for a French kitchen!

A simple soup and sandwich night has been long overdue, especially after such a crazy/busy summer of traveling, moving and living out of suitcases. But no more of that! I have my own kitchen again and all the knives, gadgets and appliances I’ve missed since they were packed up and shipped out, so the time for a lovely comfort meal is here!

I could have gone the easy route with regular grilled cheese and tomato soup and although it’s tasty, we've been there, done that. I like this spicy soup as a beautiful and unique alternative to tomato soup, since it’s still fairly simple, but that also has a touch of the new and blog-worthy. A distinct soup needs a distinct sandwich, so this particular grilled cheese uses special Gouda seasoned with cumin. This soup and sandwich meal may be comfort food, but it’s definitely not ordinary.
Gorgeous fall-colored ingredients.

To make Spicy Carrot Soup, you will need: 
1 kg of carrots, peeled and chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 knob of ginger, around the size of your thumb, peeled and chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic, either minced or chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
4 cups of vegetable broth or the equivalent in instant vegetable stock
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1 tsp* red pepper paste, found with Cajun/Creole ingredients (It won’t look like much, but trust me – it’s enough! You can add more but only if you want it really, really spicy! You can substitute the paste for red pepper flakes)

Blender method is worth a try.
1-In your soup pot, sauté the ginger, garlic and red pepper paste/flakes in the olive oil for a few minutes.
2-Add the carrots and red pepper and keep sautéing, until everything is slightly softened.
3-Add the broth.
4-Bring the soup to a boil, then simmer on low for around 20 minutes.
5-Carefully scoop out small portions to puree in a blender until the whole soup is pureed. Let simmer on low while you make the sandwiches.
6-Enjoy with a side of sandwich!

To make the Gouda Grilled Cheese, you will need:
-sliced sandwich bread, in this instance, I used a Boule, a type of French bread that’s round, like a ‘boule’
-slices of cumin-seasoned Gouda

Bread, Gouda and Butter.

1-While the soup is simmering, heat some butter in your skillet and assemble the sandwiches.
2-Keep the heat on low and press the sandwiches into the skillet with your spatula.
3-Carefully flip each sandwich until the bread is grilled golden.
4-Remove from heat, slice and enjoy with a side of soup!

Zing! This is not a bland vegetable soup!

Its bright orange color might seem mellow and soothing but look out – the combination of ginger and red pepper paste makes this soup nice, hot and spicy! As I mentioned before, be careful with your quantities, unless of course, you like it that hot. A generous dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt also adds a cooling sensation, without taking away from the overall taste. All spiciness aside, this is one of my favorite soups because it’s so flavorful and simple to make. Plus, it’s ridiculously healthy! This was the first time I used the blender method, as opposed to an immersion blender, and although slightly less convenient, it worked out just fine.  

As for the sandwich, I really liked the cumin in the Gouda and I’m glad I tried it for a new twist on an old classic. It adds a rustic, slightly smoky flavor to the sandwich. It was a nice, relaxed touch to a spicy and satisfying fall meal.

Gouda Grilled Cheese and Spicy Carrot Soup

For a meal that’s as healthy as it is hearty and warm, it’s hard to beat the soup and sandwich combo. Play with the flavor combinations to find one that’s comfort food without being boring. Then enjoy those chilly fall nights, listening to the wind while you’re curled up with your hot bowl of soup and gooey grilled cheese sandwich.

Bon appétit!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Paris Picnics

Paris: the City of Lights and of Beautiful Picnic Places.

In the first month of living here, the weather’s been lovely (sorry, Alberta!), the grass and the trees are still green, and I’ve been exploring as much as possible. It’s a rookie move to explore on an empty stomach and it’s so easy to just grab a baguette or a croissant on the way to the metro station and eat on route to the next museum or monument. Why not? Like I said in my previous post, carrying around French bread is a true stereotype here!

But another stereotype with some truth to it is how the Parisians don’t like to rush their meals, even during the work week. This explains their long lunch-hours and how the cafés are always packed in the middle of the day. While the city is bustling, the people like to take their time. That’s something I’m trying to remind myself – I don’t need to rush to places that have been there for hundreds of years! I can relax and enjoy the journey. And thankfully, there’s no shortage of amazing places to visit in this grand city, and lots of delicious food to keep me going.

So picnics are the way to go! They’re the perfect blend of the Parisian way of taking one’s time to enjoy the food and to take in the moment, which is what I did on three separate occasions at the Eiffel Tower, the Luxembourg Gardens and the Tuileries.

Eiffel Tower Picnic:
One of my husband’s coworkers and his fiancée chose their temporary apartment to be less than 500 meters from the Eiffel Tower. So naturally, that’s where we went for our first Paris Picnic!

Their apartment is also above a bakery. I know – it’s a hard-knock life! – but it made getting picnic provisions very simple. For this kind of picnic, (which anyone who doesn’t live less than 500 meters from the Eiffel Tower could pull off) we gathered the following:
Simple, eat-with-your-hands picnic food.
-a demi-baguette and a few pains aux chocolat from the bakery
-some cheese (Laughing Cow or La Vache qui Rit worked well since we didn’t have any utensils; Baby Bel or some pre-sliced cheese works too.)
-some fruit, specifically grapes and strawberries

This food is simple and ready to eat with one’s hands. Just rip off a piece of baguette, ‘sandwich’ a piece of cheese inside and voila! A perfect picnic snack and the view is unbelievable -the Eiffel Tower is truly amazing!
The amazing Eiffel Tower! 

When Mike and I visited Paris two years ago, he told me I wouldn’t fully appreciate how huge it is until I was there and he was right. It’s enormous! I also have a hard time believing it only took a little over two years to be built (it was finished in 1889 to mark the 100 anniversary of the French Revolution) and it was supposed to be a temporary structure for the World’s Fair. Thankfully, it stayed. Can anyone imagine Paris without it?

While I love going to the Eiffel Tower, a dark side to its appeal is how it’s hot-spot for pickpockets and scam artists. We didn’t let that stop us from enjoying ourselves though; we just kept our bags close and were watchful of the crowd.

It was a bit overcast and we felt a few raindrops but otherwise, sitting on the grass, at the base of one of the world’s most iconic structures and eating our delicious lunch was a great first Paris Picnic!

I had to practically lay down to get this shot!
Luxembourg Gardens:
I joined another Canadian friend and her two little ones on a beautiful sunny day at the Luxembourg Gardens. This place is one of my favorite green spaces in Paris. Green grass, immaculate flower beds and trees, ornate sculptures, gorgeous fountains – it’s a lovely sanctuary in the middle of a crazy metropolis.

Beautiful Luxembourg Gardens
Some interesting history to note is Luxembourg Palace was the residence of Marie de’Medici, the widow of King Henry IV. The gardens were designed to resemble parts of her native Florence, Italy. Today, the French Senate meets in the Palace and the gardens are full each day of people relaxing on the grass, strolling through the grounds, exercising and generally just enjoying its beautiful sights and scents. 

For this picnic, we bought our food on route on Rue Daguerre, a really fun market street. Since it’s a bit of a walk to the Gardens, I suggest checking out somewhere on your way to get what you need. Our picnic consisted of:
Baguette, salami and pickles: all this delicious sandwich needs

-baguette sandwiches (jambon et fromage, salami)
-croissants and pains aux chocolat (fresh and still warm from the bakery! I just love their buttery, flakey, melt-in-your-mouth texture!) 

My sandwich was salami and pickles, which surprised but delighted me. So simple, so good! That day was also a historic moment for my friend as she had never had a pain au chocolat before – a rectangular croissant with thin strips of chocolate baked inside. Needless to say, she loved it! Picnic-ing at Luxembourg Gardens is great for families because kids can run and play on the grass and enjoy the ducks and fish in the fountains. It doesn’t feel as commercial/touristy as the Eiffel Tower; it’s just beautiful there.

Tuileries: What's that sticking up in the left over there?
This was another day spent strolling around a huge garden in the middle of the city. The Tuileries is a huge expense of land that runs from the Arc de Triomphe to the Louvre and through the Place de la Concorde. 

L'Arc de Triomphe du Carrosel, the gateway from the Tuileries
to the Louvre
From my chair in the shade of some nearby trees, I could see the impressive Arc de Triomphe du Carrosel, in front of the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower was poking up behind the hedges.

My friend and I met there at the Tuileries metro station on line 1 and went looking for a quiet place to eat and catch up with each other. It was really sunny that day and I think that was the day after the snow hit back home. It was hard to imagine that while wearing shorts. Again, sorry Alberta!

The picnic was small and simple, yet still so tasty and filling. I brought with me to share:

-a simple sandwich of baguette, butter and gruyere cheese
-strawberries from the fruit stand near our apartment (so sweet and ripe!)
-pains aux chocolat (there goes our pact to only eat them on the weekends!)
Another simple picnic lunch, this time at the Tuileries
-Cherry Coke (which you can’t find in North America anymore, unless it’s at Dadeo’s in Edmonton) 

While we ate, we caught up each other on our respective housing situations (we’re both waiting for paperwork to go through on our permanent places) and shared our plans for other places to explore. We checked out the many statues around the grounds and we also cooled off by the Fountain of River Commerce and Navigation at La Place de la Concorde.

I'm looking forward to this view in the fall!
I’m still getting used to the history attached to these statues and places. It’s amazing to be able to stand, here in 2014, in these places that have existed for hundreds of years and that hold so much history. Back home, an old building is 50 years old – here, that’s practically brand new!

I’m learning more about my new city every day and I’m thankful for the time I get to explore and the people I explore it with. It’s easy to get swept up in the flurry of activity that surrounds these popular places but I’m learning to pace myself.

How will the City of Lights and Picnic Places look in fall colours? I’m excited to find out.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

La Baguette de Notre Dame


I moved to Paris, France two weeks ago and the first bite I took of that crusty, crunchy yet soft, so-fresh-it’s-still-warm baguette, I exclaimed:

“Yes, I think I can live here.”

I don’t even think I’d swallowed that first bite yet when I said that. I was jet-legged and fighting a cold I’d had since mid-July, but hell if I was going to let that hold me back from appreciating the wonder that is the French Baguette.

In Paris, you are rarely ever more than a block away from a boulangerie and the one French stereotype that actually has some truth to it is the French carry their baguettes everywhere. Seriously - by hand, poking out of the shopping bag or purse, stuffed into a bicycle basket – baguettes are everywhere! They are made so fresh and taste so good that they don’t last longer than a day, which is why the French carry them everywhere because they buy one every day.

Then, there are the French sandwiches! 

Beautiful French sandwiches at Sur le Pouce.
The most common sandwiches are a demi-baguette (half the length of a regular baguette) stuffed with the simplest of ingredients: some meat, some cheese, one or two vegetables and some butter. That’s it. I was surprised at the lack of condiments from the place that invented Dijon mustard but with such fresh bread as the heart of the sandwich, you really don’t need much else – just a place to relax and eat your sandwich.

Somewhere like the great Cathédrale de Notre Dame.

La Cathédrale de Notre Dame.
Following my exploration of Papier+, a pristine stationary shop on rue de Pont de Louis Philippe in Le Marais, I was getting hungry. I remembered a small snack/sandwich café near Notre Dame from another day of exploring and I realized I knew how to retrace my steps back to that place, so off I went! I hopped back on the metro at Saint-Paul, got off one stop later at L’Hotel de Ville and crossed the Pont d’Arcole towards Notre Dame. I found Sur le Pouce, the restaurant I noticed from the other day and admired the beautiful sandwiches at the street-side counter and I chose Jambon et Fromage. Then, with my sandwich tucked under my arm, I set off to find a place to sit near the cathedral.

Across the main square, I found my spot and perched myself on a cement corner near some bushes and munched away. Surrounded by tourists taking photos of themselves and the one of the most famous churches in the world, I was nearly flat on my stomach, trying to get the perfect shot of my sandwich nestled on the bushes with Notre Dame in the background.  I had to laugh out loud but I got some good photos for my efforts.

Money shot!
 Notre Dame is impressive from any angle but I love to admire it from the front. It’s so grand and majestic, it makes the swarms of people around it look small. My sandwich done, I headed back to the metro station but not before I bought some lemon sorbet from Sur le Pouce and ate it in front of L’Hotel de Ville. Yum!

Not a bad view of L'Hotel de Ville. 
Turns out eating lunch and desert in front of some amazing historic buildings makes for a pretty great day. 

Soon to be repeated, no doubt!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tuna Melts and Hiking in Scotland

Scotland is the land of beautiful, breathtaking scenery, friendly, storytelling people and great food. 

We were unbelievably lucky to experience all three of these highlights on our recent trip to Oban just a few weeks ago. We explored the islands and the town, toured the Oban Distillery, tasted whisky (mine was heavily watered-down!), drank delicious local stouts and ales, and on an epic hike to see some castle ruins, we stumbled upon the most charming tea house where we enjoyed some of the lovely local cuisine -  Scottish sandwiches!

It was an uncharacteristically hot day when we set out from our B & B in Oban – the cozy Roseneath Guest House – and hiked to Kerrera Sound to catch the ferry to the Isle of Kerrera. We were excited to view the ruins of Gylen Castle, on the south edge of the island. We loaded up with our camera, water bottles and lots of sunscreen and were off!

Sunny hiking trail!

The hike was a beautiful trek through the lush, green hills spotted with dozens of plump Scottish sheep. As we were coming over a particularly steep mound that was on route to the castle, we spotted the white cottage of the Kerrera Tea Garden and Bunkhouse. 

Kerrera Tea Garden and Bunkhouse:
pleased to serve hungry hikers and their dogs!

Right there, in the middle of all those never-ending hills, was that ever a sight for tired eyes! You can even stay the night in their bunkhouse!

We were instantly hungry and stopped for a quick lunch.  At a quiet spot in the welcome shade of a patio umbrella, we ordered two tuna melts, lemonade and a ginger beer and reapplied our sunscreen. With my fair skin and red hair, I blended in with the locals!

It wasn’t too long before we were joined by a friendly couple from Manchester, who were delighted to learn we were Canadian and insisted we tell them about the Calgary Stampede (“What is the purpose of a Stampede in the middle of a city?”), how we met and how we survive our Canadian winters (“Absolutely ghastly weather! And yet, your summers are glorious!”). True that.

I love traveling for the simple joy of talking to complete strangers about completely random topics.

Our tuna melts were tasty and hit the spot. Sweetcorn is a common additive to tuna sandwiches in the UK and I liked how it gave the sandwich a different overall texture. I also enjoyed the crisp salad with its balsamic dressing and we found ourselves recharged and energized for the rest of the afternoon.

Tuna Melt and Salad with Balsamic Dressing. 

Next stop, Gylen Castle!

Gylen Castle was originally built by the MacDougall Clan in the 1500s and was eventually besieged and then abandoned. It was recently restored in 2006 and now many visitors venture there to see it, impressively perched on the cliffs overlooking the coast.

Even from far away, the view is amazing.

With its stony peak jutting into the bright blue Scottish sky, it was a beautiful sight to see as we approached from below. The terrain was rugged and the climb was challenging but once we got to the top, the view made it all worth it.

Gylen Castle, Isle of Kerrera, Scotland.

A lovely hike, a friendly chat and a tasty lunch - suffice it to say, Scotland has some pretty glorious summers too.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Made In Canada

Happy Summer Sandwich-Lovers, and I hope your Canada Day 2014 was wonderful!

Canada Day has always marked the beginning of summer with some sort of party or BBQ. When I was growing up, my family of teachers would almost always head down to my grandparents’ house in Olds to celebrate the end of the school year and my cousin’s birthday. Now as a teacher myself, I appreciate the gloriousness of July 1 even more and the party/BBQ tradition has continued – I have even hosted! Canada Day is always a great day to get together with friends and family, wear the red and white and eat/drink all in the name of summer and patriotism.

Since my husband and I are moving to France next month, there is a good chance this July 1 marked the last Canada Day we’ll spend in Canada for a while. This upcoming move is definitely an exciting opportunity for us both and the support from our family and friends continues to be amazing.  We are definitely looking forward to the adventure but still, it’s a bit bittersweet.

I am, and always will be, a proud Canadian and moving away from the True North Strong and Free won’t change that. We will find new ways to celebrate - there’s a rumor that the Eiffel Tower is lit up red and white on July 1 – and we’ll make new traditions. But I am certain there’s one thing that will never change, regardless of where we are and that’s the tradition of eating great food with great people.

To mark this special Canada Day, I made a delicious sandwich of all-Canadian ingredients and my favorite Oh Canada Cookies.  Enjoy!

All-Canadian Ingredients for this sandwich!
The Made In Canada Sandwich needs:

Dempster’s Whole Grain Canadian Bread
Maple Leaf Natural Selections Turkey and Ham
Maple Leaf Bacon
Sobey’s Sensations Canadian Cheddar
French’s Mustard (not actually a Canadian brand but it works to honour French as one of our official languages)
Lettuce and Radishes (from our own garden!)  

1-Cook the bacon according to your preference for crispy/soft. Drain on paper towels and set aside. (Remember, don’t pour the grease down the sink!)
2-Toast the bread.
3-Spread the mustard on one piece of bread, the mayo on the other.
4-Layer on the turkey, ham, cheddar and bacon.
5-Top with radish slices and lettuce.
6-Slice and serve with some Oh Canada Cookies and your favorite cold beverage.

The recipe for the Oh Canada Cookies is a basic sugar cookie recipe from an old issue of Inspired, the free magazine Sobey’s used to put out a few times a year. I like this recipe because it’s really simple and easy to adapt to make other kinds of sugar-cookie type cookies.

All these Maple Leaves need is their red!
You will need:
2 butter sticks, or 1 cup of butter, softened (I leave the butter out for several hours to get really soft)
1 cup white sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 egg (the original recipe says it should be warmed to room temperature, but I don’t think it makes a huge difference either way)
2 ½ cups of flour
Electric or stand mixer

Cookie Prep:
1-Combine the butter, sugar and vanilla and mix until smooth.
2-Add the egg and continue mixing*.

*It’s very important to add the egg BEFORE you mix in the flour. I learned this the hard way and ended up with very flaky and crumbly dough. It ended up being alright eventually, but it meant I had to spend more time kneading the dough so it wouldn’t crumble when I tried to roll it out.

3-Add the flour and mix until a dough forms.
4-Knead the dough in the bowl with flour-covered hands until smooth.
5-Place dough ball in a covered bowl and chill for at least 20 minutes.
6-Roll dough out to desired thickness. (Some people like to cover the dough in parchment paper to do this. It’s up to you.)
7-Use a Maple Leaf cookie cutter to cut out the beautiful cookies. Leave some space between each cookie on your baking sheet  
8-Bake at 350F in the middle of the oven for 10-12 minutes.
9-Transfer cookies to a rack to cool completely before decorating.

Oh Canada Cookies with red maple butter cream icing.
While the cookies bake, make the Red Maple Butter Cream Icing:

1-Mix ½ cup softened butter with 2 cups icing sugar.
2-Add ½ tsp maple syrup (more if you like!) and 2 Tbsp milk or water.
3-Mix until desired smoothness; add more icing sugar or liquid if required and 3-4 drops of red food colouring.

To 'set' the icing, I recommend chilling the cookies in the fridge for 15-20 minutes.

The sandwiches and cookies were devoured while we watched the newest music video from Canada’s favorite astronaut, Col. Chris Hadfield and his brother Dave. If you haven't seen it yet, you're in for a treat! 

Then, we went to Telus Field to watch the Edmonton Prospects baseball game with some friends. Our seats also gave us prime view of the fireworks and the much anticipated light-up of the Highlevel Bridge.  What a show!

It was a spectacular summer night celebrating this amazing country that I will always call my home no matter where I am.  Next summer, we will celebrate Canada Day in Europe. We’ll wear our red and white, we’ll play some Rush or Tragically Hip, and we’ll be with friends - Canadian and European.  I hope they will enjoy this small taste of Canada.

I hope you enjoy it too. Je t’aime, Canada! Cheers!

Made in Canada Sandwich and Oh Canada Cookies.