Party favours!

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It’s no surprise that my blog is called “Any Excuse for a Party”! Yes, it’s my mantra and I tend to always be looking for ways to celebrate… every day! But I also like to make the smaller moments feel special too; not every occasion is a party, but you can make it feel like one. I love brightening up a dinner party (or a dinner out) simply by providing goodie bags for guests.  They are easy to assemble and don’t really cost a great deal. I buy the organza bags at the dollar store (they usually are 4 for $1.50). Fill them with treats of your choice: chocolates, tea bags, mints, etc. Your guests will love them… and suddenly, it will feel like a party is going on!DSC_0021

Remember to create any excuse for a party!

Stylin’ Salad

Salad is not a meal, it’s a style. (Fran Lebowitz, author & public speaker)

I have to say that Fran has a point. Salads are all about style and they can make or break a meal. I love “the look” of a salad, especially when there is colour involved… but nothing outranks taste and this salad delivers on all counts.

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Roasted pepper and pecan salad

Ingredients:  

Mixed greens (any type or style you like)

Red, yellow & orange peppers, roasted with salt, pepper & olive oil, until tender. Slice into strips.

1 cup roasted pecans

Goat cheese or feta cheese, depending on your preference

Avocado (optional)

Dressing: Mix 1/4 cup olive oil with 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 2 Tsp. ground mustard & 2 Tbsp. maple syrup. Pour over salad and toss.

Serve either as an appetizer or an accompaniment to your meal. Freshly warmed Focaccia bread is a nice side as well. Pour a glass of your favourite wine and enjoy!

Westholme Tea Farm

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“Yes, that’s it! Said the Hatter with a sigh, it’s always tea time.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

A visit to Westholme Tea Farm is a necessity if you happen to be on Vancouver Island and if you also love tea, hand-crafted pottery, and delightful baked treats. Owned by Victor Vesely & Margit Nellemann, this amazing little tea farm nestled in the Cowichan Valley is a must-see on your Island bucket list.

The cozy little shop also sells Margit’s pottery, an added bonus when visiting the farm. Our table featured an eclectic selection of pottery for afternoon tea! We also sampled a fantastic array of white, black & green teas, not to mention the tasty scones, Raw Brownie Bars, Cranberry Turtles, and Matcha Cheesecake! IMG_5077

It was great to meet Victor, who is a very attentive host in the tearoom and extremely knowledgable about the tea farming process. He was also kind enough to agree to a photo op!IMG_5084

I would highly recommend checking out this wonderful little farm in the Cowichan Valley – it’s well worth the visit. Be sure to stay for tea!

Check out this short video feature on Westholme Tea Farm.

Chocolate Decadence Cake

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Did anyone say chocolate?

Who can resist a chocolate cake that is filled with chocolate chips, drizzled with melted chocolate, and covered in bits and pieces of your favourite chocolate bars? Also known as “Death by chocolate” this easy-to-make chocolate cake won’t disappoint.

Ingredients:

1 box Devil’s Food Cake mix                1 – 3 oz (102 gr) pkg. vanilla instant pudding

1 cup sour cream                                     4 eggs

1/2 cup oil                                                  1/2 cup water

Mix all ingredients together and beat for 2 minutes using an electric beater. Stir in 2 cups (12 oz) of chocolate chips. Bake in a greased bundt pan at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Once cake has cooled, remove from pan and drizzle melted chocolate over bake. Use chocolate chips (white & dark), Skor bits, pieces of any type of chocolate bar to embellish the cake. Use as many types of chocolate as you like until you reach the desired effect.

Call up your friends, put on the coffee, and enjoy! Prepare to be in “chocolate heaven”!

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