Erin’s Kitchen – Coffee Crisp Cookies

Cookies.  What can is say… I love making cookies! A while back I came across a recipe for Kit Kat Cookies andIMG_6843 thought, now that’s interesting, chocolate bars instead of chocolate chips!  So of course I had to try them.

While I was out to buy my Kit Kat Bars I came across 2 great finds.

One: I didn’t need to buy the bars because they now sell these bags of Kit Kat Bits. Perfect for cookies! Score.

Two: They make a few different chocolate bars as “Bites”. Yay! So I grabbed Kit Kat ones and Coffee Crisp…

IMG_6840The first time I made them I just dumped the bag of kit kat bites in the cookie dough bowl. But when I started to make the cookies with my cookie scoop I could tell that the “bites” were a little bit big. But that didn’t stop me. I made them anyway. And they were good! I couldn’t wait to try them again with the Coffee Crisp Bites.

So a few days later I started making the Coffee Crisp ones. When it came time to add the Coffee Crisp I grabbed my meat tenderizer/ hammer, I let the air out of the bag (re sealed it) put it on the floor an smashed them a few times to break up the balls. Dumped them in the dough and scooped out my cookies! Awesome! They were even BETTER then the Kit Kat ones! (I like Coffee Crisp better then Kit Kat ha ha)

I have now made these cookies at least 2 dozen times.  I send them in large batches to work with my Hubs and I give them to friends. People love them! And the possibilities are endless! Just take any chocolate bar and crush it up a bit and add to your cookies! Yum!

Hope you enjoy!IMG_6853


Coffee Crisp Cookies


1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1 large egg

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cup Coffee Crisp (Bites or Bars)



. Cream butter and both sugars until combined. Add egg and vanilla.

. Add flour, baking soda, and salt.

. Mix until combined. Add crushed up Coffee Crisp

. Preheat oven to 350°. Line cookie sheets with parchment

. Scoop out 2 tablespoon sized balls or use a cookie scoop and place two inches apart on cookie sheet.

. Bake for about 10-12 minutes. 10 minutes will be slightly underdone (the way I love them) but if you like a more done cookie, let them bake an extra minute  or two. Let cool for 5 minutes, and then remove from pans to cool completely.


Post by Erin McLeod


Erin McLeod Head ShootI’m a stay at home mom and have been for a little over 3 years. I have 2 beautiful girls who keep me on my toes! The house is not always tidy… but I’m learning to accept that.

I have a big passion for photography. My dad is a photographer and I grew up playing in his darkroom when I was little. Yes darkroom! Before the digital take over. I also have a passion for cooking and baking. Now it’s a mystery where this love comes from because my mom hates cooking! She does however make some awesome christmas treats.

Hopefully in sharing some of my experience and recipes, I can inspire you to take some time and make something delicious.

From my kitchen to yours, bon appétit.


Sarah Zaharia

A Taste of Thailand

Paris in the springtime and Christmas in New York. There are classic times to visit iconic cities but what about travel in the Sarah in the best hammock in the worldoff-season?

Many benefits are waiting for the traveler willing to explore out of peak season. Few pick July to go to Thailand – a tropical country if ever there was one. But I couldn’t resist.

We stayed three weeks in Thailand, from the start of the rainy season in July until early August. Yes, it did rain at times and it was hot and muggy. But the tropical rain is brief and intense, usually lasting no more than 20 minutes.

Thailand is a huge country, mostly in length than width. With mountains in the North, some of the most beautiful beaches in the world in the South and the bustling metropolis of Bangkok centering it all in the middle.

Bangkok was everything it promised to be. Between cat cafes, 4D moves, Lamborghini dealerships in enormous malls and three separate red light districts, nothing is off limits in the city. Still humming with activity, we got to enjoy smaller crowds in an already crowded city of 8 million people.

Walking from the boat to the beachFlowers garnish everything!Bangkok motorcycleSmells hang heavy in the street with kaffir lime, durian and curry swirl around as you walk. Meat is grilled on every conceivable contraption, from grilled beef off a motorcycle that doubled as a food truck to curry chicken from a wooden boat with a coal barbecue in the center.

Between creative mobile barbecue, soup stands and the pollution of motorcycles and tuk tuks, we often took refuge on rooftop bars. Roofs serve as an oasis in the sky, whisking you up into an atmosphere of Bangkok that is quieter and breezy. Drinking a coconut in the shade of an umbrella makes the urban hustle beneath you melt away.

Massages, specifically foot massages, were shockingly cheap. It is common for an hour long massive to cost less than $10 Canadian, meaning it can be a daily ritual when visiting the city. Another benefit of off-season travel, you rarely have to wait in line.

Getting around in Bangkok is best done like a local. Avoid the stand still traffic and take the Skytrain, or if you’re feeling lucky, get on the back of a motorcycle taxi. If there are traffic laws in Bangkok, these bikes break all of them to get you there faster than you thought possible. Ask for a helmet (optional) and be sure to keep your knees tucked in as you wind through traffic.

Outside the city in the island-dotted South, transport is an adventure for different reasons. Your longtail boat won’t always pull into a dock. You may be left to walk in waist-high water to get in. For this reason and others, bring a backpack, not a rolling suitcase.

The reasonable prices were made even better by off-season specials. We stayed in enormous suites in some of the most exclusive resorts for little over a hundred dollars a night. Restaurants feed locals and expats and we never had trouble finding a seat.

We quickly slid into a slow island pace on the beaches of Railay and Ko Yao Noi. Between the pools, endless drinks with orchids as a garnish, it really was impossible to resist.

So when planning your next trip, try something totally different. Off-season travel has more benefits than inconvenience.Longtail boats wait to take you to your next destination

Sarah Zaharia

Eating in Cars – Erin’s Ford Adventure

photo 2Have you eaten a Ford lately? As of last week I can say I HAVE! (sort of!) Last week I had the chance to attend an amazing lunch put on by Ford of Canada.  It was a wonderful meal with ingredients that make your mouth water and help build your car! Prepared by the amazing Chef Rob Thomas this lunch was outstanding.

Well planned out with items like:

Soybeans, which taste great and also make up a Soybean based foam used in all vehicles produced in North America in seat cushions and backs, head restraints and headliners, saving over 2.2 million kg of petroleum annually!

Sweet Potato, which are delicious, but also produce Plastic made from sweet potatoes that is being for durability in interior applications such as the door map pockets and more!

And my favourite ingredient, Coconut! Byproducts of coconuts such as husks and shells are being studied as reinforcement additives for moulded plastics and can already be found in the Focus BEV and the F-150 truck.

Many other great byproducts and oversupply are being used or tested such as corn, sugarcane, rice hulls, dandelion and wheat. I can’t imagine what they will think of next!

Now on to the best part…. the FOOD!

flower dishDrinkchicken dishChef Rob Thomas’ menu had my mouth watering just reading it as I sat and waited for the presentation to begin. And as the cocktails began to roll out I wasn’t disappointed.

Refresh Cocktail: Cain juice, coconut water, pineapple, mint and lime

First Course: Ginger pork belly sugar cane skewers with tamarind syrup, edamame, sweet corn succotash and grilled sweet potato

Second Course: Beet Salad with dandelion greens, fried paneer, candied pecans and masala roasted tomato vinaigrette

Entree: Cornmeal crusted snapper OR Mango chipotle chicken with cilantro lime coconut rice, mango salsa, catalo and jerk prawn

Desert: Fried coconut dumplings with brulé banana, pineapple gelato and dolce de leche gelatophoto 1

This was an amazing experience and I was happy that I was able to attend! The only down side was that I didn’t win the free weekend with the awesome Ford C-Max Energi.. Maybe next time!


Post by Erin McLeod


Erin McLeod Head ShootI’m a stay at home mom and have been for a little over 3 years. I have 2 beautiful girls who keep me on my toes! The house is not always tidy… but I’m learning to accept that.

I have a big passion for photography. My dad is a photographer and I grew up playing in his darkroom when I was little. Yes darkroom! Before the digital take over. I also have a passion for cooking and baking. Now it’s a mystery where this love comes from because my mom hates cooking! She does however make some awesome christmas treats.

Hopefully in sharing some of my experience and recipes, I can inspire you to take some time and make something delicious.

From my kitchen to yours, bon appétit.


Sarah Zaharia

Across The Board – Winnipeg’s First Game Cafe

Sarah mastering KerPlunkWe all want to have a job that doesn’t feel like work. There are endless books, posters and quotes telling us to follow our dreams and live our passion. But Clinton Skibitzky and Olaf Pyttlik have piled one dream on top of the other. Partners in the audio production company Dacapo Productions, they have once again partnered up to open Winnipeg’s first game cafe, Across The Board.

After hosting a regular game night in their homes to test the market and seeing the trend in other cities, they knew the time was right for Winnipeg. Olaf has been collecting board games for years and some of the options in the 700+ game library at Across the Board are from his private collection. It is the perfect outlet for his love of playing and buying games.

As with any cafe, location is key. After searching for a year they found the perfect spot set up. Ninety-three Albert street, formerly Fyxx Cafe, has been restored and is a bright and open home for gamers and diners alike.

When you arrive at Across The Board you’re invited to survey the games and choose whatever you’d like. For a fiveThe game library is waiting dollar fee you have access to everything in their library. Not sure what to choose? No problem, you can talk to a  game consultant. Always at the ready, game consultants are there to help you choose a new game you might enjoy, explain the rules if you are a bit rusty and settle the occasional dispute between players!

A small and open kitchen serves up weekly specials for lunch and dinner keeping things interesting even for the most devoted regular. The Bahn Mi Sandwich is the top seller and I love it. The perfectly seasoned and tender pulled pork is nestled on a baguette from Tall Grass Prairie, making it the perfect sandwich. Another popular menu item is the tomato soup. With pesto cream drizzled over the roasted garlic croutons, this is not your grandma’s tomato soup.

Pizza with house pickled vegetables and a surprisingly good thin crust go perfectly with Fort Garry and Half Pints beer. Popcorn satisfies the snackers and desserts from Lilac Bakery take care of the sweet tooth. All your bases are fully covered.

Colosseum PizzaTomato SoupBanh Mi SandwichBut while Across The Board is a great place for a bite to eat, everything has been designed around games. The tables are custom built longer and wider to accommodate your board game along with food and drink. The tables’ finish makes dice tumble quieter and keeps them from rolling off the table. Made by Wood Anchor, the beautiful reclaimed Dutch Elm tables hold up your games.

So when you are looking for that perfect first date activity to break the ice or a night out with your family, turn off the TV, forget the movies and head down to Across the Board. Passionate gamers are waiting to introduce you to your new favourite or help you get reacquainted with an old friend.The afternoon crowd

Sarah Zaharia

Carbone – Authentic Italian Coal Fired Pizza

The Isabella PizzaDowntown Winnipeg is changing for the better. There is some debate about what finally turned it around. Was it building the MTS Centre? The return of the Jets? More condos in the Exchange District? Or the redevelopment of Waterfront Drive? One thing is certain, the tides are changing and more people are spending time and money downtown.

Carbone has been coal firing pizzas on Taylor Avenue since 2010 and they recently opened a second location downtown, at 260 St. Mary Avenue. It has a sophisticated vibe, beautiful staff and great food and drinks. Moving away slightly from the more family-style atmosphere at their Taylor location, downtown they have DJ’s who play on the weekends and are open until 2am Friday and Saturday night.

As much as I love the pizza, what I really love is slinging my own pints! For the first time in Winnipeg, we now have self-serve taps to go along with our coal fired pizza and wings. There are about half a dozen options and they will be rotating throughout the summer. Servers give beer lovers a magnetic button that when applied to the tap measures pours by the ounce and you are cut off after two rounds.

With the SHED (Sports, Hospitality and Entertainment District) and the new regulations from Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries in full swing I hope we see more firsts in our downtown.

Pizza's are being prepared for the lunch rushMade fresh daily dough flyingJoe pulls pizza from the coal ovenJoe Paletta, head chef for Carbone, told us a few stories about how the communal tables combined with the self-serve taps change the atmosphere in the restaurant. “Customers are pouring pints for each other and talking” it forces diners to interact in a really fun way.

This downtown location has a simple menu and is designed around the Italian-imported coal oven. Burning Anthracite coal, this amazing heat source bakes at 850 degrees and has a short blue mostly smokeless flame. All of Carbone’s signature dishes are baked this way and it makes for a unique flavor.

Pizzas are king at Carbone and you are encouraged to get creative. Their topping lists are grouped by price and the possibilities are endless.   If you are looking for a sure thing try the Nostra Pizzas: signature pizzas designed by Carbone.  They are fantastic.  I loved the Isabella with roasted red onions, artichokes (my favourties) arugula and goat cheese.Joe Paletta at work

Drink specials abound and you will be hard pressed to find better prices on wine during their feature Tuesday Wine Night. You can order cocktails off their menu or let the bartender follow their inspiration, I was impressed by both.

Get down to their 50 seat patio to enjoy these dog days of summer.


Sarah Zaharia