A.O.K "trial" Gourmet (15) A little help on this one!


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Last week I was looking through my cookbooks and marking (with little sticky notes) some of the recipes that I'd like try in the coming weeks. I'm finding more and more that if I plan ahead of time, there is more chance of me trying something a little more out of my comfort zone (with ingredients that I don't necessarily keep on hand).

On a side note: I'm also finding more and more that planning is KEY in ALL areas of my life... that if I write down the things I want to get done around the house, that if I plan out my meals for the week, that if I make an actual "schedule" for the renovations were doing in the basement... basically if I treat the home management tasks the same as I would my work related tasks... there's more chance of things getting done and there's a much higher likelihood of me being efficient at home (note that I say a higher likelihood... it's not a sure thing!).

So as I was looking through my copy of Jamie's Food Revolution, and salivating through the section on Easy curries, I remembered that a few weeks ago I had picked up a jar of prepared "Rojan Josh" sauce by President's Choice. I quickly located the jar, scanned the instructions found on the back of the label, scanned Jamie's recipe... both of which asked for cubed lamb leg. But I was already thawing some ground lamb. What to do? Then I remembered the lamb kefta recipe I tried back at the beginning of the year...

And I improvised... and figured out my own recipe... I "wung" it (can you even say that?)

The result? We had our friends Shawn and Charlene and their little Lincoln (who is just over 1) join us for dinner. All the kids ate this up without the teeniest hesitation or complaint and Shawn's comment (which I told him I would quote word for word) was "this is the best thing I've eaten all week". YES! I'll take that! Thank you President's Choice, Thank you Jamie Oliver, Thank you Easy Hot & Spicy.

I put together this meal in two steps. Layla helped me to roll the kefta (aka lamb meatballs) earlier in the day. About 20 minutes before dinner I brought it all together to simmer as I prepped the rice and veggies.

1 lb. finely ground lamb (or beef)
1 onion, finely chopped or grated
a small bunch of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1-2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper , or 1 teaspoon paprika
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

To make the kefta: (preheat oven to 400 degrees)

1. pound the ground meat with your knuckles in a bowl. Using your hands, lift up the lump of ground meat and slap it back down into the bowl.
2. Add the onion, parsley, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, and cayenne, and season to taste with salt and black pepper.

3. Using your hands, mix the ingredients together and knead well, pounding the mixture for a few minutes.
4. Take pieces of the mixture and shape into walnut-sized balls, so that you end up with about 16 kefta. (NOTE: These can be made up to 3 days ahead and kept in the refrigerator)

5. Place meatballs on an aluminum lined cookie sheet and bake for approximately 15-20 minutes.

Step 2: Bring it all together

1. Open jar of President's Choice prepared Rojan Josh sauce.
2. Empty contents into saucepan and bring to simmer.
3. Add kefta, toss to coat.

4. Continue heating while you prepare rice and naan bread.
5. Throw a handful or two of frozen peas a couple minutes before serving.

and voila!

...Seriously easy... seriously yummy... and a real hit with the kiddies!

I will be making this one again for sure. Maybe I'll even try to make my own Rojan Josh... maybe.


Praying for a little girl I've never met...

Layla Grace.

I found out about this little girl last night through a random connection on twitter.

I've been thinking about her and her family ever since. And every time I think about this sweet little girl, my tears come freely.

I'm trying to find the right words to share with you, but I'm overwhelmed with emotion... and HOPE.

I'm praying for a miracle for this little girl who share my daughter's name. Layla. Sweet Layla.

And I'm thinking about my husband's parents. They know what it's like to have a child with cancer... because Brandon was diagnosed with leukemia when he was 3 years old.

Brandon's family was blessed with a miracle. He survived... and more than that, he has gone on to live his life with almost no side-effects from the cancer, from the treatments. Sometimes I find myself tracing the scar on his chest from where the infusiport was placed and I think about how lucky I am to have him...

I'm thinking about my own daughters. And I'm realizing how much I take for granted. And how much I have to be so very thankful for.

I'm thinking about life - and how fragile it is. How everything can seem perfect one day... and how everything can be turned upside down the next...

And I'm thinking that I need to start living life one moment, one hour, one day at a time... absorbing, appreciating, treasuring... taking it all in - and thanking God for it all.


You can follow Layla Grace's progress at http://www.laylagrace.org/ or on facebook. I encourage you to pray for her and her family...

Making it HOME (part 1)

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We bought our first house about a year and a half ago.

It’s nothing extraordinary – just a small split-level/bungalow – but from my very first glimpse of the house in pictures on www.mls.ca I was in love. We visited with our agent a couple days later and although the inside was outdated (to say the least) it had a lot of potential. The house was a fixer-upper from an aesthetic point of view – but structurally in very good shape. We didn’t have a lot of time to consider our decision, with 2 other offers being submitted that same day (& having just sold our condo), so we went for it – putting our own offer on the table and praying that it would be accepted...

Less than a month later we got the keys and the real work began. I still don’t know how we managed to accomplish so much in the couple of weeks from when we took possession to when we moved in... Layla was 18 months old and all over the place. I was just barely 3 months pregnant and still feeling pretty ill most of the time. It didn’t matter. We had renovations to do! Every evening after work, every moment of free time, we were at the house... cleaning, pulling up carpet, demolishing the kitchen, installing floor, painting, etc. Thank goodness we were smart enough to pay someone to lay the ceramics and install the new kitchen cupboards!

In those first weeks we managed to 1- Refinish the wood floor that was hiding under the ugly carpets in the main living areas 2- install new laminate flooring in the “1st” basement (split level so we have 4 floors) 3- completely renovate the kitchen... demolition and installation 4- paint... the ceilings, the closets, the walls , the mouldings and trim...

the kitchen was drastically improved... for under 10K thank you!

The den was probably the next biggest transformation after the kitchen...

from dark and somber to bright and playful!

Once all of our main living area was looking half decent we took a break. A short break.

Over the Christmas holidays last year we started the long process of renovating our basement. Ripping out the existing walls and carpet, installing a sub-floor and dry wall; separating what will eventually be our “tv room” and Brandon’s “reptile room” (...Yes. We have a “reptile” room in our house. To be fair it’s more of a walk-in closet when it comes to its actual size. But still. What can I say? My husband has a degree in zoology and he happens to be fascinated with reptiles and in particular snakes. Yes. Snakes. And I refuse to be the wife who won’t “let” him... so yes... we have a reptile room in our house...). We finished the actual reptile room so that we could move all the critters in.

After our holiday blitz we took another break. Another short one.

Soon it was time to start thinking about Layla’s “big girl room” and preparing the nursery for the little one on the way. Although it was mostly a painting and decorating job – these things take time – even if the better part of the time is actually figuring out the decor side of things (and I’m sorry, but what pregnant woman has an easy time making these kinds of important decisions!?!?).

Layla's room (get rid of the carpet, a new coat of paint and WOW!)

Meaghan's room (it's amazing what a little paint will do!)

Once the girl’s rooms were finished we took another break. This break was a little longer. I was getting bigger and bigger. We knew it wouldn’t be easy to do renovations with a small baby.

It wasn’t a real break though... we simply shifted our focus to the “yard”!

...to be continued...

I don't like being pregnant

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(photos by esto-image)

Pregnancy. Ooof. Where to begin?


I had several assumptions about what it would be like to be pregnant before actually experiencing it for myself.
On one hand I was terrified of getting pregnant. Scared of getting fat, scared of all the needles, scared of labour and the dreaded possibility of 'tearing' - eeek - I still don't understand how I only found out about that lovely possibility in my early twenties. I was also scared that it might never happen for me. It seems that more and more people are facing fertility problems these days and in my (and my husbands) particular situation, it was a very real possibility that it wouldn't be easy for us to conceive.

On the other hand, I anticipated the miracle of carrying a child in my 'belly'. I hoped to be one of those "glowing" pregnant women who stayed in amazing shape and never look pregnant from behind (!) I vowed that I would exercise regularly up until the very end. I imagined getting fat in all the right places and what it would feel like to have a baby "kick".


All my fears of what facing fertility issues could or would do to Brandon and me were put to rest on August 8, 2006 when I peed on a little pink and white stick for the very first time in my life. My first pregnancy was a huge surprise. We weren't trying to get pregnant. We weren't thinking of trying to get pregnant. I was close to 10 days late before I finally took the test because I just didn't think it was possible. "I must be stressed", "I can't be pregnant", "it's not supposed to be this easy"... On top of which I had these crazy cramps so I was SURE I was about to get my period.

The morning I took the test, Brandon left for work while I was still in bed, but asked me to text him with the results. I believe my groggy response to him was something like this... "I had cramps all night. I'm sure I'm getting my period. Don't worry about it.". It was enough to convince him not to take his phone with him.

And then I took the test. It wasn't like on TV where you have to wait for 5 minutes for the results. That second pink line popped up right away. I gasped. I laughed. I cried. Then I got ready for work and spent 1/2 the day being the only one in the world who knew that a new life was had begun... and it was growing INSIDE ME!

I was scared how Brandon would react. This wasn't our plan. We weren't ready for this. Would he be upset? Would he be scared? His reaction was incredible. When I told him I was scared he said "why? I think it's great. I always wanted to be a young dad, but if you had asked me if I was ready I would have said no. But now it's not up to me. Now I'll get to be a young dad!".

And soon I learned how much I DON'T enjoy being pregnant...

After the initial surprise wore off and after we started to share the news with our family and close friends (I do not know how people can keep it a secret until the 3-month mark!) I worried, like most pregnant women, about the chances of miscarrying. I also worried about the fact that I had been drinking before I knew I was pregnant, about what I was eating, about vitamins and exercise... etc. etc. etc.

About 2 weeks after that I started to feel ill. Can someone please explain to me why they call it morning sickness? I felt sick (without actually being sick which I think... I think... is a blessing) ALL DAY, EVERY DAY. I drank ginger ale, ate soda crackers, added protein to my diet. The only thing that seemed to help a little was eating. So I ate. A lot. So much for gaining nothing in the first trimester. Good thing I started out this pregnancy on the "skinny" side!

At the 12 week mark everything got better. I saw the baby and heard it's little heart beat for the first time. Wow. I started to feel better. Fantastic. I started to enjoy being pregnant.

All good things must end. Is that how they say it? At around the 5-month mark I started to have sharp pain in my groin. It got gradually worse until I could barely walk, turn over in bed... basically MOVE... without shooting pain between my legs! I was diagnosed with symphysis pubis dysfunction (sounds lovely doesn't it?). I was prescribed a support belt that I had to wear as tight as possible around my hips. I don't care how thin you are, any pregnant woman is going to have a pretty decent "muffin top" when they wear this kind of thing. So much for being fit and slim and beautiful. Sigh. The weird limp didn't help things either!

And that's not all! At about 36 weeks, with just under a month to go, I got itchy. Everywhere. Not just my belly. Not just the parts of me that were rapidly expanding. EVERYWHERE. There was no rash and nothing strange in my blood work. But my hands, my feet, my ankles, my legs, my wrists... and of course my belly, were ridiculously itchy. It got so bad that I would scratch until I was bleeding. In my attempts to find relief, I would take cold baths in the middle of the night and rub calamine lotion all over myself to try and soothe my skin - hoping that I would fall asleep before it started again.

In the end, it was the itchiness that did me in. I desperately wanted to avoid being induced but when my little baby wasn't showing any signs of coming at the 40 week mark, we scheduled the induction and my doctor assured me that the itching would end as soon as the baby came out.

Oddly enough... I don't mind labour(!)

My first labour experience, induction and all, was drawn out and long - but good. The nurses and my doctor were incredible. The only one I really took issue with was the anesthesiologist as I almost passed out when they gave me the epidural (which didn't really do much to numb the pain for me). In the end I pushed for close to an hour and a half but I came out of it with one stitch and beautiful little girl who we named Layla Rose.

And about two years later, I did it all over again.

My second pregnancy was almost an exact replica of my first. It was a surprise. yes. again (... we have no clue what we're doing... obviously... we're going to need to be a lot more careful this summer if we're serious about not being sure about a little #3!...). It was almost exactly the same time of year (my due date was 2 weeks later than with my first). I experienced all the same symptoms (except, thank God, the itchiness!) but most were worst than the first time. I even carried both babies for the same amount of time... 40 weeks and 3 days!

My second labour experience was completely different, but still good. Instead of being induced, I experienced the contractions that got gradually closer together... gradually more and more painful. Instead of having my water broken, it broke all on it's own. Instead of being long and drawn out... it was quick and intense. There was no time for me to get the epidural to numb the crazy pain so I experienced it all! And then I got to hold my second beautiful baby girl, Meaghan Marie.

Even though I don't like it - It's still a beautiful thing!

It's obvious that I'm not one of those women who would just love to be pregnant forever - goodness no! I'd be miserable!

HOWEVER - I do know enough to count my blessings.

I don't like pregnancy because I'm extremely uncomfortable when I'm pregnant. But I'm blessed that my only problem was discomfort. My babies were never in danger. I carried them to term - both were healthy and strong. And despite the fact that I didn't enjoy being pregnant, I was and am still amazed at how the body works and transforms to carry a child, at the feeling of a baby moving inside my womb, at the strength that I was able to muster to bring each of them into the world. And although I wasn't the super fit pregnant lady that I hoped I would be, I don't think I've ever received more compliments on my body!


A.O.K "trial" Gourmet (14) I have ramekins!

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Ramekins. They have been on my list of "things to buy for the kitchen" for a while now. To be more specific... since I fell in love with creme brule a couple years ago. On a recent trip to the Maxi & Cie (a local grocery store chain that now boasts quite the household, kitchen, and even clothing sections) I finally picked some up. I love President's Choice products and these babies were a steal!

When I brought them home I was thinking chocolate mousse, creme brule, cute little breakfast dishes. Alas...with the usual business of life, the ramekins got put away on in the kitchen cupboard and forgotten about for a couple weeks. It wasn't until I was looking for something to do with the scallops thawing for dinner last week that I finally got to use them.

My search (gotta love google!) lead me to this recipe for Mini Scallop Casseroles on the Taste of Home web site. With a review of 4 out of 5 for this healthy (and easy) recipe. I decided to give it a try.


3 celery ribs, chopped
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms (I didn't actually include any mushrooms, but added extra vegetables for bulk)
1 medium green pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 teaspoon pepper
2 cups fat-free milk
1 pound bay scallops


1 cup soft bread crumbs
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese


1. In a large skillet, saute the celery, mushrooms, green pepper and onion in butter until tender. Stir in the four, salt and pepper until blended. Gradually add the milk. Bring to a boil, cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.

2. Reduce heat. Add scallops. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes or until scallops are firm and opaque.

3. Divide mixture among four 10 oz. ramekins or custard cups. In a small bowl, combine crumbs and butter, sprinkle over scallop mixture.

4. Bake, uncovered (I put the ramekins on a cookie sheet in case of spills) at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle with cheese and bake 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.
The result?

I really liked this recipe.

Very creamy. Very yummy. Very easy... though not as quick as what I usually look for in dinner preparation and cooking time (but worth the extra time!). Great for leftovers - I thought they tasted even better the next day!

However... I did specify that "I" liked them because they weren't as appreciated by the rest of my family. With that said - if you (and your family) like chicken pot pie and are fans of scallops, I'm convinced that these mini casseroles will be a hit.



... & it's time to say good-bye...

If you're a parent you know that the first year with a new child is nothing short of amazing. The first few months are kind of blur with the challenges and lack of sleep that characterize the arrival of a tiny new life in the home. the next few months are incredibly sweet as you watch that little life start to really interact - but without the need for constant supervision because quite simply - they aren't very mobile yet. Soon after the 6-month mark, it becomes a true sport (and the time seems to start passing more quickly) as you watch them learn new things and become more and more agile... and before you know it, you're coming up to the end of that first magical first year.

My second child... my baby... sweet little Meaghan, will be 10 months next week. And it's hitting me that we're coming up on the end of her first year, the end of my maternity leave... the end of a special time. And now it's time to think about weaning and daycare options. It's time to say good-bye to our current "routine".

This week I officially started the process of weaning.

With this being my second time around, I was surprised at how hard it was to consciously decide 'I will stop nursing her at lunch time today' - and physically do it.
I've been thinking about it since Christmas (since that was about the time I cut out the first "nursing" feeding for Layla, weaning her slowly over the course of a few months) but it took me until almost the middle of February to actually do it. It's kind of funny because now that she's been taking her lunch milk feeding from a bottle for about a week - now that the process of weaning is underway - and my little Meaghan who refused to take a bottle until just recently is taking to the new routine - I'm fine with it. Really. I'm even starting to wonder when we'll offer a second daily "bottle".

It may seem odd that it's even an issue - but with every "last time" of something (be it nursing, cutting out the 3rd nap, no longer swaddling, putting away toys that she's too big for...) and every "new step" (introducing foods, watching her crawl to me and stand herself up using my leg for support, teaching her to eat with her fingers... and watching her explore...) I am happy and excited on the one hand but a little sad that my baby is less and less of a baby with each passing week.

And on a side note...

Let's not even start to think about the post-nursing-baby-#2 boobs that I have to look forward to. Sigh. Although I was totally okay with how my girls looked after nursing Layla, I've been told by many many mommy friends that the outlook is pretty bleak the second time around. Can I cry...? now...? Seriously.

Sigh (yes, again)... Another topic for another time...

And daycare integration is right around the corner too.

I found out this week that a spot will become available in the next 2 weeks. Which is amazing - as the timing falls just over a month before I return to work. Around here - with government subsidized daycares that have incredibly long waiting lists - I am so fortunate to have found a place for not just one, but both girls in the daycare located at my place of work (not beside, not across the street... AT). So it's not an option for me to put off daycare until just before I return to work. The integration will be slow, a couple hours here and there for the first while. But... the beginning of daycare is just another symbol of the end of something else.

So... 2 more weeks of our current "way of life".
The countdown is officially on.

Wow. Where did the time go?


A.O.K "trial" Gourmet (13) Chocolate Espresso Snowcaps

Remember by pre-christmas cookie-swap party?

Well, I have been meaning to post this cookie recipe since then! But I seem to keep getting distracted and have consistently been writing about other recipes, other epiphanies ... other stuff!

Finally – I’m taking a moment to sit down and tell you about a yummy cookie I discovered in my search for a good holiday treat to contribute to my swap.

Drum role… and… here goes…


Chocolate Espresso Snow Caps

In comparison to the chocolate chip, peanut butter and/or molasses sparkle cookies that are baked the most often in my house - Martha Stewart’s chocolate espresso snow caps were not the simplest cookie to make. There are a few extra steps – like letting the dough chill and then rolling the little cookie balls in confectioner’s sugar – twice. It was messy - the dough was pretty sticky and about half way through rolling my cookie balls my hands were sporting a thin layer of goopy chocolate cookie dough.

The response to these cookies really varied. Coffee lovers (like me) enjoyed the strong coffee flavor and if baked just under the recommended time, the cookies had a wonderfully soft and almost gooey centre. No one didn't like them - but a few people (my husband included) complained about the thick layer of icing sugar coating the cookies. The icing sugar did tend to fall off, creating quite the mess... and someone complained that they inhaled the powder, almost choking as they bit into the cookie.

So if you're missing the Christmas baking or you just want to try a new cookie... here's the recipe (originally from Martha Stewart):


(for 18 cookies)

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

4 teaspoons instant espresso (not instant coffee, Nescafe sells a great espresso powder)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

2/3 cup packed light-brown sugar

1 large egg

4 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled

1 tablespoon milk

Confectioner's sugar, for coating


In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, espresso, baking powder, and salt

Set aside

With an electric mixer, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy

Beat in egg until well combined

Mix in cooled chocolate

With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture

Beat in milk until just combined

Spread out a piece of plastic wrap and flattened dough into a disk and wrap it

Freeze until firm - about 45 minutes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper (a great idea for all cookies!)
Shape dough into 1-inch balls

Pour confectioner's sugar (about 1/2 cup) into a medium bowl
Roll balls in sugar two times, letting them sit in sugar in between coatings

Place on prepared baking sheets, 2 inches apart
Bake until cookies have spread and coating is cracked, 12-14 minutes

Cool cookies on a wire rack

An inspiring and "tasty" way to donate to Haiti relief!

My good friend (and the person who first introduce me to the world of mommy and foodie blogging) Aimee is part of an incredible project - a book of recipes!

But not just any book of recipes. This one is special.

Blog Aid: Recipes for Haiti is a compilation of 72 recipes from a diverse and talented group of chefs, food writers and bloggers - Chef Michael Smith, Julie Van Rosendaal and my dear friend Aimee among them.

100% of the proceeds of this book will go to the Red Cross and Doctor's Without Borders to assist their relief work in Haiti.

For more information, check out Aimee's post or go directly to Blurb to take a peek.

What an amazing project. What a great way to give to people who need it... and get something very tangible in return!

I'll be ordering my copy in the minutes to come...


Pretty Woman (or at least the potential!)

It all started when I noticed a facebook status update -

"Doppelganger week! During this week change your profile picture to someone famous(actor, musician, athlete) you have been told you look like...and repost this".

At first I wasn't going to participate in the latest facebook game... but having been told on numerous occasions, from a very young age that I look like Julia Roberts...

... I did a good image search and posted "pretty woman" as my profile picture. Apparently my own mom was tricked and thought it was just a new profile picture -- of me.

While I don't actually think I look like Ms Roberts, I'll admit that I can see where people are coming from. I have a big toothy grin. Brown eyes of a similar shape. A pointy-ish nose. But I've gotta say - She looks way better at 30 something (in the picture above) than I do at 20 something (in the picture below). And I'll bet it isn't just that she has a better make-up artist than I do. Sigh. Whatever. I'll take the compliment and run with it!

So - after posting my new profile picture - and now with "Julia" on the brain - I started clicking around the Internet. I read a story about her encouraging woman to "take off their tops" for Valentine's Day (I'm certain some husbands will be thanking her for that one!) and declining the opportunity to do a take 2 of "Pretty Woman" because "no one needs to see an old hooker" (Well said Roberts! Well said!). I eventually wound up on Youtube... curious whether I would find any of her older movies.

My Best Friends Wedding... nope.

Pretty Woman... yup. All of it. And in pretty decent quality too.

A little more than half way through the movie, grinning and smiling at the charming hooker and the sweet chemistry developing between Viviane and Edward - I started to think and wonder.

Not usually a good thing - Andrea - thinking AND wondering!

"I wonder if anyone actually became a prostitute after seeing this movie...?"

"...in hopes that their super rich and handsome prince charming would magically appear...?"

"...in hopes that someone would look at them and see all the POTENTIAL...?"

"...this movie isn't really about a hooker and a rich guy... it's about any girl... it's about any guy..."

Pretty woman is a movie about possibilities. It's also about obstacles. It sheds some light on how judgemental and self-righteous people can pull others down. It's a movie about seeing past social norms and outer appearances to the very real and vulnerable person under the layers of status, occupation, brand names and everything else we use to "judge".

And I'm not just thinking about how people judge those who've somehow ended up on Hollywood Boulevard to make a living. I'm also talking about the assumptions that we make about the people who seem to have it "made" - like Edward.

In my experience - people have often been under the impression that I have it all together. That I'm a strong and confident person. That I'm never a "mess" on the inside. In my experience it's pretty rare that I have felt like the person people think I am.

So the lesson(s) I walk away from my latest viewing of Pretty Woman is not a new one... but it's one that keeps coming back. People aren't always what they seem. Not as strong, not as weak, not as smart and/or stupid.


You'll only ever get as close to someone as they will let you get. Only I know what I'm thinking inside my head. Only I can decide what I choose to share and how I choose to share it.

And finally...

Don't judge a book by it's cover.


A.O.K "trial" Gourmet (12) Yummy goodness in a big glass bowl!

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Cream cheese, whipping cream & strawberries... Does it really get much better in the world of desserts?

This "Cheesecake Trifle" recipe was introduced to me by a friend (who is also known as the queen of desserts in our small circle) - Arlene Hills. Arlene has spoiled our taste buds with a variety of cheesecakes, mousses, home-made ice-cream... and dazzled us with her creativity and talent in the presentation of the desserts she prepares. From birthday cakes to mini-desserts - she's a dessert artist! (She's currently working on a web site to showcase some of her work and I can't wait to show you what she does).

As for me... I love and appreciate good food presentation - but I'm really not that good at it (my naturally low patience level may have something to do with that). But here's the great part about making a trifle - you can't make it look bad unless you TRY to make it look bad!

Not only is it incredibly EASY to make... it is a HUGE HIT at any party or get together. This trifle is light and fluffy, the perfect combination of creamy, fruity and sweet.

Trust me when I tell you that you won't need to worry about left overs! You'll secretly be hoping...

A few important "notes:

#1 - Although the original recipe gives instructions for making your own graham crackers, I just buy a box at the store and break them up to make the cracker layer - don't use graham cracker crumbs (like you would for the base of a cheesecake). Part of the goodness of this dessert is the cracker pieces soaked in cream and strawberry!

#2 - I actually use light cream cheese to make the filling - but I also double the filling part of the recipe.

#3 - If you have a little extra filling - make a couple small portions to share with your hubbie - he will love you forever!

#4 - Just because it seems light and fluffy... doesn't mean there's anything "light" about it!

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