Congratulations, Six!

February 10, 2011

Well I’ll tell you why things have been quiet around here. Phase Six Creative has had it’s first subsidiary! Since the end of last year I have been working under a new brand, called Six Modern Paper Goods. Here’s the blurb:

Six Modern Paper Goods offers alternative wedding stationery with fun and stylish designs at a practical price. Specializing in printable invitations, we also offer complete printed invitation suites as an option. Its wedding stationery for sane people who just happen to be getting married.

So this is my first attempt to really focus on ONE thing, rather than try and do everything like I usually do. So far, its going really well! I had my unofficial launch last weekend at the indie wedding show WedByHand, and I got an amazing response! I am excited to focus on this venture for a while – I have loads of ideas to explore. If you want to hear from me, you can check me out at www.sixmodern.ca! There is even a new blog.

So drop me a line if you’re interested in this new line of work, otherwise, thanks for stopping by! It is in my long term plan to update this site, but right now I am focused on making weddings more fun and awesome. Thanks for checking in, hope to hear from you soon!

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Chip Trucks of Almonte!

August 15, 2010

Based on a sudden population explosion of chip trucks in Almonte this spring, Peter and I decided to do a little experiment. We would eat at each and every one of them (at great risk to our health!) and decide which would be our “go-to chip truck” for the summer. We did this on the May long weekend, sorry it took me forever to post about it! There’s still time for chip truck goodness though – go and check it out! Here are our very scientific findings, in order of distance from the 417:

The Hot Potato (JR’s parking lot, near Ottawa and Industrial)

The side of this new’n’shiny chip wagon says “Not your ordinary chip truck”… so expectations were high! Fortunately the friendly fellas working in this truck lived up to them. The chips here are good, although I find them a little light in colour (that seems to be how people like them in this part of the world though.) Peter loves the poutine, and most importantly, THE CHICKEN BURGERS ARE AWESOME!! They bread and fry a flattened breast of chicken, and it is sooooo tasty. Served with tomato, lettuce and mayo, I could eat these every day. If I was a hollow-legged teenager again.  Bonus points for the picnic tables, umbrellas and the nice and clean and bright truck. 5 stars out of 5!!

 

Willy’s Wagon (Formerly Nan’s) Near corner of Ottawa and Martin

Willy's Wagon - An Almonte classic!

Nan apparently passed the torch (or fryer?) to someone named Willy for 2010, and it seems like she passed the recipe box too. The menu is the same as it was, pretty standard chip wagon fare like hotdogs, fries and onion rings. The fries here are Peter’s favourite, but again, I find them too pale. I like mine a nice deep brown! Willy’s gets bonus points for friendly staff, easy parking, and for letting you put vinegar and salt halfway. 4 stars out of 5.

Poutine Queen (Behind the Beer Store, on High near Bridge)

This one stands out, since it is painted BRIGHT PINK! Yes, pink. Here, my favourite thing is the sweet potato fries – they are super fresh! (I saw them cut the sweet potatoes.) There was a surly customer ahead of me in line here who complained that his fries were – wait for it – TOO DARK! He said it was a sign they hadn’t cleaned their oil in months, and I told him (sort of snottily) that they had only been open for a few days. In any case – I loved finally getting me some nice dark fries! And he said he wouldn’t be back, so no worries about seeing Mr. Grumpypants again. Bonus points for marketing (pink!) and student discounts. And sweet potato fries. 4 stars out of 5.

And that was actually the end of the experiment, since my arteries couldn’t take any more. There are more wagons, one at the corner of Mill and Bridge and Mike’s in the “Wee Bee” parking lot on Ottawa St., but we were too full to carry on. So this is not a complete review, but its a start. A delicious start! Come to Almonte, have some chip truck chips!!

PS – Just so you know, I recommend trying these Almonte chip trucks, but no chip truck anywhere in the world will ever be better than Ye Olde Chip Truck chips in Kenora. You can take the girl out of Kenora….

In the somewhat belated spirit of the holidays, I am sharing my Grandma’s best friend Marybelle’s (who oddly enough, is also my best friend’s Grandma) recipe for Ginger Snaps!

As the title suggests, they are not snappy – they are actually kind of chewy, but we always called them ginger snaps, so just go with it. The cookie that they are most similar to is actually the Ginger Cookie at Bridgehead, but mine are better – homemade from scratch! Also, I gave them out as Christmas gifts this year, and they were a hit all over, so I am feeling pretty confident now. My bus driver Preston loved them! This recipe is dedicated to you, Preston. : )

Marybelle’s (UnSnappy) Ginger Snaps

  • 2 c. Flour
  • 3/4 c. Margarine (Can be reduced to 1/2 if you are into that – Also, can use butter instead)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 c. brown sugar (Can be reduced to 3/4!)
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1/4 c. Molasses
  • 2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp. Cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. Ginger (Fresh is good!)
  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Cream together margarine or butter with sugar. Mix in egg. Add remaining ingredients and mix.
  3. Roll into balls (around 1″ diameter) and roll in white sugar to coat.
  4. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet 8-10 minutes until tops are crackly.

(Note – I have just about doubled all of the spices on the list in past batches and they were still really tasty, but use your judgement.)

Marybelle hopes you enjoy! These cookies are festive, but they are really easy and delicious all year. Resolve to eat better cookies in 2010!

Based on the popularity of my “10 Things to do In Kenora” post, I’ve decided to make it a series! And my adopted hometown of Almonte Ontario is next on the shopping block. (Har dee har.) So here we go!

10 THINGS TO DO IN ALMONTE ONTARIO (By a proud Almonte resident of  nearly one year!)

1. The Almonte Riverwalk

View of Almonte from the Riverwalk

The Almonte Riverwalk is actually pretty spectacular. At the top of the hill is a bench they made from an old millstone (yes, its a mill town!) In the summer there is a little ice cream shop at the end of it, a reward for your trek. (Your 2 block trek!)  Best to start at the Old Town Hall, and head down along the river, as then you have gravity on your side. There’s a boardwalk and series of bridges that lead along the various sets of falls. The water is shallow and you can see little fish and fun condos from the back. Grab a root beer float from the ice cream shop (Waterfall Delights!), then continue down Mill Street and across Almonte Street and down to the boat launch, which has a pretty great view at sunset.

2.Mill Street Shops!

If you have time, turn it into a shopping expedition! There are loads of cute shops, but check out some of my favourites:

  • Find fun vintage clothes and housewares at Vintage Wear/Ware
  • Browse books and games at the Miller’s Tale
  • Stock up on gourmet condiments and chocolates at Foodies Fine Foods
  • Blackbird and Design by Destination have uber cute gifts, notably gorgeous housewares at the former and fantastic import scarves at the latter!
  • Then run one of my favourite errands: Buy a birthday card from Robin’s Paper Thin, head over to the Groundz Cafe (Now the Palms Cafe) for a coffee and panini, and write your birthday wishes from Almonte! The post office is just across the street. Buy a fancy stamp – those always make people’s days.
  • Summer 0f 2010 Update – We now have a Creperie! Check out the Mill Street Crepe Company in Heritage Court at the bottom of Mill Street. Yummm….

3. Festivals!

North Lanark Highland Games - Almonte Fairgrounds 2009

North Lanark Highland Games - Almonte Fairgrounds 2009

Almonte takes it’s festivals pretty seriously. Really – there’s one about every two weeks. So chances are, if you’re by in peak season, there will be a festival to check out! The ones I can think of:

Surely I am missing some… They are nonstop! But this should give you a good start! Check the Calendar at missisippimills.ca before you come. Also there are ongoing events like:

And so on and so forth. The days are just packed! Check it out!

4. Take a bike ride!

Bicycle Month Sign

Bicycle Month Sign

Almonte people like to bike. Take a scenic (or challenging!) ride around the country roads – here is a handy map of some different routes that they put together during Mississippi Mills  Bicycle Month! You can check out bridges, an alvar area, a handful of cemeteries. I recommend working an iced coffee  from Equator Coffee Roasters into your route! Its on Houston drive, down the street from the Independent Grocer’s.

5. Cross country skiing at Mill of Kintail (Or hiking in summer!)

There is a network of great trails all around a beautiful creek and this old building, which was once the studio of Dr. R. Tait McKenzie, and is now a museum with his works. Its a beautiful piece of land – people get married there! There’s nowhere in Almonte (that I know of?) to rent skis, but you can rent them from Bushtukah or MEC. Then, maybe a hot chocolate at the Groundz Cafe?

6. Take a pottery class at Almonte Pottery Guild! I haven’t actually done this yet, but once I finish upholstery at My Upholstery Shop, I will! Almonte has a great community of artisans (check some of them out during the fall Crown and Pumpkin studio tour!) and there are loads of classes. This one I am excited about, because I find pottery to be pretty much like therapy – its so relaxing. You could also try jewelry classes from Kehla Design or fine woodworking at the Rosewood Studio.

7. Saturday Morning – Breakfast and a Farmer’s Market

If you can make it out early enough, the third Saturday of every month, the Almonte Legion hosts an egg and bacon breakfast for $5. It is pretty much the best deal around! You get eggs, bacon AND sausage, pancakes, homefries, and coffee and juice! They put a sign out front on the Friday before, or I guess you could call them to make sure that its running. : )  It runs from 8-11AM usually. More importantly, every Saturday morning during the summer in the library parking lot, there is a small but spectacular Almonte Farmer’s Market! Check it out for delicious baked goods, local produce, meat and eggs, and bedding plants and cut flowers. It is my new favourite farmer’s market.

8. Lunch at the Barley Mow Pub during High Water

This is one of my favourite places to bring visitors, just because it has a great view and a very relaxed atmosphere. The serve brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, and it is pretty good! Also there is loads of patio space in the summer, so lots of room to while away a summer evening with a pint. More importantly, if you come in the spring, the water rushes past the windows in the hall where you walk to the back room, and it makes you feel like you’re in a boat heading upstream. Its a very cool location! And last time I was there the waitresses were super nice.

9. Visit a SugarBush! And Pakenham!

There are several sugar bushes around Almonte (did you know Lanark County is the Maple Syrup Capital of Ontario? It IS!) but the closest one is Fulton’s Pancake House. Its actually closer to Pakenham, but hey, we’re amalgamated now! They are open all year, and have pancake breakfasts throughout the winter. The day we went, there was live music, which was fun to eat pancakes to. There’s a gift shop, a maple taffy stand and sleigh rides. All the maple goodness!

While you are in Pakenham, stroll over the 5 span bridge (one of Lanark’s Seven Wonders!) and go to the General Store. I have also heard great things about the Copper Kettle, which is a little restaurant run by a Hungarian (I think) couple. Call ahead, but it sounds pretty amazing. The same friends also run Riverbend Campground in Pakenham if you want a scenic place to pitch your tent (or RV?). Play a round of horseshoes on the banks of the Mississippi!

10. Play in Blakeney falls

Probably you won’t want to play in the falls when it looks like this, but in the summer, its very fun to hop along the rocks and try not to soak yourself. There is a short trail and some bridges, as well as a grassy picnic area. To get to the falls from Almonte, you take Martin Street West to Blakeney Road (South).

Well that should give you a start on getting to know my little town! I hope you like it as much as I do.

Marble Drumstick Cheesecake

October 6, 2009

This is an adaptation of my mom’s most popular dessert ever. I made it the other night because I really felt like having cheesecake for some reason. It is pretty super! And if its homemade, its good for you, right? Riiiight? This is, as the cookbook title below reveals, a great thing to bring if you want to be a popular guest at a Potluck. You have to plan a day or so ahead though. Worth it!!

Drumstick Cake

(Adapted from the Kenora City Hall Potluck Pleasers Cookbook and my mom)

BASE:

  • 1-1/2 c. Graham Wafers, crushed (Or Graham cracker crumbs)
  • 1/4 c. Melted Butter
  • 3 Tbsp.  Crunchy Peanut Butter
  1. In small bowl in microwave, melt butter and peanut butter. Add remaining ingredients, mix.
  2. Press 3/4 of the mix into a layer in the bottom of a 9X12″ cake pan.
  3. Set aside rest of mix for top.

CAKE:

  • 24 oz. Cream Cheese, Softened (I used light, to make myself feel better. Mmmm, guar gum!)
  • 1/2 c. White Sugar
  • 1/2 c. Peanut Butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • 6 squares Semi-Sweet Chocolate
  1. Heat over to 425 degrees F.
  2. Gently beat together cream cheese, sugar and peanut butter until smooth. (Try not to get too much air in)
  3. Beat in eggs one at a time, then fold in vanilla.
  4. Now we divide the cake mix into chocolate and vanilla. Melt chocolate in another medium bowl, then add half of the cake mix to it, mixing well.
  5. Drop alternating spoonfuls of white and chocolate mix onto the graham crumb base, then drag a spoon or butter knife through to create marble effect. Smooth top.
  6. Sprinkle with reserved crumbs.
  7. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes with a pan of water on the bottom rack of oven. Reduce temp to 250 and bake 1 hour longer. Run knife around edge of cake. Allow to cool, then chill in refrigerator.

Enjoy! If you drink it with red wine, it keeps your blood thin. 🙂

I stumbled across this playlist on ISO50, the site of very talented designer Scott Hansen, where I get all of Peter’s t-shirts. The man makes a mean t-shirt! Apparently he is also a musician, AND he listens to very addictive music, because I couldn’t get enough of this playlist. So check that out at your leisure, but I think my next few song’o’the weeks will be related to it. First!

Light Powered by Deastro

This is uber housecleaning music, and as one blogger put it: “Full of grand bouncing Zelda like electronics, it was hard not to like.” I pretty much can’t put it any better than that! I am usually not crazy about electronica, but this has so much personality! Love it.

Enjoi, and stay tuned…

Would I lie to you? As promised, a delicious recipe for Strawberry Rhubarb Pie, just in time for the END OF STRAWBERRY SEASON! I know, its so sad. But we soldier on! Alors.

This recipe is from one of my favourite cookbooks, The Golden Anniversary Cookbook by the Ukrainian Women’s Association of Kenora. I think this recipe might be from the little old Ukrainian lady who lived across the street from me when I was a kid, but its hard to tell because it says “Mrs. T. Brykailo” in the book, and I never knew her husband’s name. I’m happier assuming it was her though, so lets say it was. : )

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

  • Pastry for Double Crust Pie (I use the recipe on the back of the Crisco Box – classy!)
  • 3 c. sliced Rhubarb
  • 3 c. hulled, washed and sliced Strawberries
  • 4 Tbsp. Flour
  • 1/2 tsp. Nutmeg (I used Allspice)
  • 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 3 Tbsp. Butter
  • 1/2 c. Sugar
  • dash of Salt
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Line a 9″ Pie Plate with pastry. Combine fruit and dry ingredients in bowl, put into pie shell. Dot with butter.
  3. Cover with other half of pastry, flute edges and make slits for steam to escape. Brush top with milk and sprinkle with sugar.
  4. Bake in 425 degree oven for 15 minutes, reduce heat to 375 degrees and continue baking 20-25 minutes until fruit is tender and crust is golden.

We made this two weekends ago with fruit from the Almonte Farmer’s Market and it was delish! It was pretty good for my sister’s first pie. I hope you enjoy it, maybe next summer when the strawberries come back. I will try to come up with some more seasonally appropriate recipes soon.

lunch hour snap: feral houses

September 1, 2009

I just wanted to drop a quick note in here, because I was just completely struck by this post I saw on NotCot :

The Feral Houses of Detroit  (via Sweet-Juniper)

Maybe its just because I often like to think about how long it would take the bridges to fall into the rivers and the trees to grow through the pavement if something apocalyptic ever happened. I guess its that designer-ey visual mind… Apparently it wouldn’t take long though! Crazy.

That is all. Stand by for a kickin’ Strawberry Rhubarb Pie recipe!

I had a realization the other day. Falafel is basically hummus, minus the tahini. And it has the added bonus of being fried. No wonder I love it!

Falafel Pita is the easiest dinner for these summer nights when you are only home once a week, and its actually pretty good for you, if you load the pita with fresh veggies. Delicious vegetarian bachelor chow!

Falafel

  • 15 oz. can of Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 medium Onion, chopped finely
  • 1 tsp. chopped Garlic
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh parsely or Cilantro
  • 1 tsp. Coriander
  • 3/4 tsp. Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 2 Tbsp. Flour
  • Olive Oil for Frying
  • Lemon Juice to Taste
  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor.
  2. Form into 1-1/2″ balls, then flatten between hands. (Add water or flour if necessary to get a moist, firm ball.)
  3. Fry in batches in a heavy pan with a thin layer of oil over medium heat.
  4. Serve about three rolled in a warm pita with lettuce, tomato, red onion and tzatziki.

I know Peter doesn’t think of this as official bachelor chow, so to make it more b-chow-ish, you can serve it with McCain SuperFries, but I can’t say I recommend it!

Enjoy your busy summers, mes amis!

This post is dedicated to all of my friends who travel across Canada and want to get a taste of my hometown. This is a completely biased list of things to do in Kenora! This is what I would do, if I were there with you. In no particular order!


  1. Buy some chips from Ye Olde Chip Truck (either one!) and eat them on the town docks. Watch out for seagulls. And no ketchup!! Only loads and loads of vinegar. All the vinegar you can drink…
  2. Rushing River Provincial Park

    Rushing River Provincial Park

    Go to Rushing River Provincial Park (1/2 an hour southeast of KTown) and play in the falls. There’s a little gully near the bottom that acts like a whirlpool when the water level is right! When its wrong, you go tumbling over the edge and get all scratched up. Fun stuff! Bring some BBQ and use one of the grills and have some lunch, or you can even camp here! Also, about three minutes down the road there is a pretty sweet (read: ghetto-licious) miniature golf course. Check it out!

  3. MS Kenora

    MS Kenora

    Take a spin on the MS Kenora! I recommend a dinner cruise which gives you a nice sunset view of everything. Tour the stars homes, see an eagle’s nest and possibly an eagle (we are pretty sure its stuffed) The food is kind of overpriced and somewhat hit and miss, so if you are on a budget, skip the dinner and head straight to Hap’s when you get off the boat! (See #4) You will get the best seat on the patio because you will be there earliest. Very important.

  4. Haps Patio is a must-do Kenora experience. It doesn’t have much of a view, but the locals can be pretty entertaining. Get a seat and grab a Little Amik (A frosty mug of beer with a shot of gin and some bar lime) and some chicken fingers (with the best dill sauce ever!) Make sure you aren’t driving home. Mom’s house is within walking distance! Watch out for bears.
  5. So now you need some morning after breakfast… there are a few choices, but the old standby is the restaurant across from the Tim Horton’s on Hwy 17 W. I think its called Pattie’s now. Get the perogies on the side! While you’re in the neighbourhood, you can take Mikana way to Anicinabe Park and go for a quick swim! There’s also a nice golf course nearby, if you are into that.
  6. Go shopping! Yes there is some good shopping in KTown. You will be surprised! I like Indira on Second Street for clothes, and kericFunk a little farther down has nice jewelry and bags. Go to Abundance and get some Lake of  the Woods Sunrise Soap! It is the greatest. The Blue Heron is also cool. Lots of souveniers, if you are collecting. And while you’re downtown:

  7. Tour the Lake of the Woods Museum! It has lots of info about the history of Kenora, the aboriginals, the lake, the mining and fishing industries and its cheap. Its little, but there’s a lot to read, and partway through the summer they have an amazing quilting exhibition. Its cooler than it sounds!! Its also a nice thing to do if its raining. Just behind the museum is the Wharf Marina, where you can get an ice cream and sit on the dock! Yes, we do a lot of sitting on docks. You can also see the Grace Anne II, if she is in.
  8. Now to spread out a bit – go to Keewatin! OK, Norman. There is a nice trail, the trailhead is just on the side of the road (Hwy 17 between the Super 8 and the Bridge before the Husky). You can see the dam and lots of water rocks and trees! Its about a 1 hour hike, depending how fast you are and which sections you do. This is a map of what it will be like in the future – the trail part is right! Maybe you can find a better map in town, or just ask someone.

  9. Still haven’t had enough nature? Rent a Kayak! You can paddle around the lake and see the sights from up close, or take Laurenson’s Creek – watch out for the jail at the end! Rent kayaks at The Hardwear Company on Main Street. You can paddle to Coney beach and go for a swim. Its also a good place for some frisbee golf! Or, if you are tired from all the awesomeness, take a boat taxi from the Wharf Marina.
  10. You’ve worked hard. Time for dinner!
    Husky the Muskie, Kenora Ontario

    Husky the Muskie, Kenora Ontario

    Wait, one more thing. You have to walk over to the Huskie the Muskie and take your picture under it. Something to show the grandchildren. NOW! Go to the Plaza for dinner. It is my favourite restaurant on this earth. Try the Kalamari Appy, the Chicken Souvlaki and DEFINITELY the Avgolemono Soup.

And that is basically everything I try to cram into a Kenora visit. That and a giant family to visit. I see now that its a lot of eating. What can I say, they have good food in Kenora! Good luck, and send pictures!