Coffee Boozed Up

When someone gifts you with homemade coffee liqueur and you are a coffee lover. That.

It reminds me of my parent’s parties back in the day, when liqueurs were so popular.

I love the smell of coffee. A fresh ground roast wakes you up and helps you roll into your day. Its like a warm hug. Booze that up, even better.

So put it on ice and sip it on the patio. Would I say its a summer beverage? Everyone’s drinking those cold coffee’s anyway. It’s one I would drink anytime of the year.

How fun would it be to make your own liqueur at home? What a great hostess gift for parties and summer BBQ’s! You can even bottle them up in cute little jars. The thing is, will they make it out of the house?

Coffee Picture

Here are a few recipes to try in your own kitchen:

***lots of sugar-just warning you now, so moderation.

***and, please, please use good vodka


  • 4 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups instant coffee crystals
  • 4 1/2 cups vodka
  • 8 cups sugar
  • 2 vanilla beans


Mix together water, sugar and coffee crystals. Heat and stir until dissolved. Let cool to room temp. Add vodka and stir. Pour liqueur into 6, 12.5 oz. bottles. Cut vanilla beans into thirds and drop bean into each bottle. Put the lids on and set aside for 2 weeks. After the 2 weeks is up, strain, remove beans and pour the lovely stuff into the bottles of your choosing.

And an even easier version from the special person who gave me the gift:

  • 1 quart water
  • 2 12 cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons instant coffee
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 12 cups vodka


  1. Boil water, coffee, sugar.
  2. Simmer for 3 hours (stirring frequently).
  3. Let cool and add vanilla and vodka.
  4. Bottle and cap tightly.

Summer Berry Love

So this is the thing, I have hardly been in the kitchen. I can think of every excuse in the book, I’m too busy, I prefer someone else’s food, food block (not unlike writers block which I also suffer from at times). All excuses.

Heading to a cottage for a few days, I try to decide what to take. The regular suspects, wine, munchies, bacon and things of that sort go into my bag but what about something sweet? I could buy a pie (lazy I know). I needed to put some effort into this.

So…… its summer and there are berries. Easy and delicious right? And I have everything I need. I decided to whip a little blueberry/strawberry crisp together and there you have it, something sweet.

I always have fresh fruit. As well I also make sure to have some frozen (smoothies) and in this recipe I had a bit of both.


My crumbly topping is basically like buttery oatmeal cookies, I prefer nutmeg to cinnamon and I use whole nutmeg for the best flavor.


For this recipe I used a small loaf pan (only two of us), which provides enough of this goodness for breakfast on yogurt.

Before oven

Easy Berry Crisp

4 cups of berries (your choice)

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/4 cup of sugar

2 tablespoons of lemon juice

3/4 cup rolled oats

1/3 cup flour

1/3 cup brown sugar

4 tablespoons butter

pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 375.

Mix the first 4 ingredients and put them into a prepared loaf pan. Mix the rest of the ingredients until crumbly and spoon it over top of the fruit. Bake for 40 minutes.


final Berry Crisp

Any berries, fresh or frozen. Use what you’ve got. This is an easy one.

In Search of the Perfect Brew

So I’ve taken to beer drinking. I have always loved beer, but tend to safely sway toward wine, because I know about wine (or so I like to think).

I also cringe at the carbs and calories that come with beer, so like my friend Katy Watts from Sheltered Girl Meets World I pay beer tax in order to enjoy it. Beer tax is simply time at the gym in order to drink the beer I want. I also love low carb beers like Sleemans Clear which was introduced to me by a good friend this past year. Clear is a light and refreshing, easy to drink (this is a must for me), citrus on the mouth brew.

But when I’m on the patio I prefer pale, wheat beers, Belgian style in particular. I have always loved Hoegaarden, but most recently discovered Shock Top, a pale again, citrus brew that is going to be perfect for the summer.


Now the beer purist may think, “she has no idea what she is talking about” and hey, they may be right, but this is a new journey for me and as friend in the industry always says, “drink what you like”. So, I drink what I like.

I suggest trying this lovely brew, or better yet come for a visit and we’ll sit on my patio and drink it, cause I’ve always got some. And I’m open to suggestions, throw me a few ideas on what I should try this summer.

***Shock Top fact sheet here.


Food Coma: Memories of Charcuterie

Okay maybe not the most appropriate title for this post, but it was that time of year.

I’m not talking turkey. I’m talking the apps, munchies, and beverages that fill you up and fill you out over the holidays, but are so delicious. In particular, Charcuterie. My theory, don’t deprive yourself. Pay the tax the next day (or the next four whatever it takes).

Charcuterie (“shar-KYOO-ter-ee”) is the art of making sausages and other cured, smoked and preserved meats. In addition to sausages, other charcuterie items include pâtés, terrines, galantines, confit and crèpinettes. It’s not a new thing, it’s been around for a while. It’s meat plain and simple. Good stuff.

I recently put together a Charcuterie platter for a friends party, mostly made up of treasures from Seed to Sausage. Yes this business has a little gem of a general store located right in my neighbourhood. If you haven’t tried it or heard of it, you should get some. And also where have you been?

This product is not inexpensive. It is also some of the best out there and well worth the cost. This board in particular cost about $100 to put together, but fed 40 people.

Isn’t it a thing of beauty?


TLK Here We Go Again

Over the last year some major, busy things have happened in my life. Planning events across the region, ongoing work in fund development, also some necessary lifestyle changes.

One thing kept coming across, how much I missed writing about food and being involved in the local food community. Many of you emailed and commented when I stopped writing and announced I was setting TLK aside, I appreciated and was grateful for all of your input.

There is so much going on in Ottawa it’s an amazing culinary destination, with so much to offer. It’s exciting and I want to continue being part of it.

So things have quieted a bit for me, a nice easier flow is happening and its time. Its time to spend more time doing things I love. And someone special reminded me The Lemon Kitchen is one of them. So I surrender, lets do this!

What will be different? I’m going to continue to talk about adventures in my own kitchen, food events within the community and following my favourite Chefs, but I want to experiment. I am going to learn more about cooking beautiful proteins, which really go hand in hand with my Paleo lifestyle. I will be working with local producers, and food artisans discussing their products and the industry. As well, I will be adding guest posts.

So I’m hoping you are willing to join me on this new journey. If you have an idea, share it. Want to do a guest post? Ask me. Looking forward to a great 2015.

Tracey Pic Blog

This is What I Know

I know its time. As hard as it is to admit it, instead of slowing down my life is gearing up and headed in a new direction, and I have to say goodbye to my lovely lemon kitchen.

I’m sad for a thousand reasons, but despite all my promises, I have been neglectful and know there is no time to play catch-up.

I have had more great opportunities then I can count because I started a blog almost five years ago. I have met good, good people some of whom are my closest friends today. I have met some great Chefs and been involved in great events. Things I would not have necessarily been part of.

I realized this quite clearly over the past several weeks, at the opening of a new restaurant (NEXT) by my favourite Chef and friend, Michael Blackie, at a lovely union of two people I heart (you know who you are) and helping to celebrate a new winery being opened by people I respect and care about, Three Dog Wine. All because I met them through the lemon kitchen.

I also love this adopted city of mine, Ottawa. I know that it is far from the “boring” place it has been labelled. There is so much going on and so much to do. Full of amazing culinary talent and events our weekends (and most times weeknights) are full. Great Farmer’s Markets and local businesses supplying the best possible product.

They also give, and give endlessly. I know this because I work in the charitable sector and I endlessly ask. They work together and support each other like no other place I have seen.

I feel lucky that I have ended up where I am. Thanks for listening and for all of your great feedback. Keep on trying new things, going to new restaurants, supporting our Farmer’s and making your own kitchen as lemony and delicious as you can. I’ll see you around.


PEC Indulging Again

Indulge Wine Glass

I haven’t been posting. I have a million reasons. Number one and most significant, I have started a new business, TAG Events with my daughter, Cait Lafleche and between building our website, meeting with clients, and preparing for our official launch its been busy (and exciting).

I was also reminded by a reader and fellow blogger I haven’t been posting as much recently. The truth hurts but I knew she was right. I often wonder why we let the things we truly love slip to the sidelines? So with younger sister as my traveling companion we happily headed off in anticipation of some good times, good food and great company to Indulge PEC (round 2).

I grew up not to far away from PEC, in Northumberland County on the lake so it kind of feels like going home every time I am there. I also have no great knowledge of wine, but I know what I like and I know what foods to pair with wine. I grew up in a home with a wine lover, someone who appreciates it, so I had been exposed to it from an early age.

We landed in Bloomfield at Angelines a lovely inn, where we could refresh and rest our heads on brand new pillows in brand new beds. We were treated very well by our hosts, who had just completed renovations. I plan to stay there again this summer.


First stop the Agrarian for a taste of Maple-licious, grilled cheeses, homemade waffles served with salted maple cream, covered in blue cheese were just some of the delicious offerings. It was where we met the people we would be spending this short, sweet weekend with. It was a lovely start to a perfectly indulgent two days.


Next stop the Indigo Yoga Centre which is home to John Squair (formerly of Sandbanks Winery now of Three Dog Wine) our host and planner of this event and his partner Sacha Clarke-Squair. John was spot on with this part of Indulge, he brought the wineries to us, brilliant! A few hours of enjoying wines, chatting with winemakers and other bloggers, and the super special treat of Seed to Sausage perfection. Those of you reading most likely do not have to be told about Seed to Sausage, but just in case, they create wonderful meat (sausage, award-winning salami, pancetta, deli meats) all by hand in Sharbot Lake Ontario. Who could ask for more? Their tagline, local.ethical.humble pretty much explains everything. Their just good people, the kind you want to support. Where can you find their products? Right here.

Karlos Wine

Seed to Sausage

Afterward a trip to stretch our legs and get some fresh air visiting local artisans was just the trick! Then off to dinner at Pomodoro.


We appreciated the ability to have some extra time the next morning, before a trip to Waupoos Estates Winery for a delicious breakfast, visit to the sugar shack and wine tasting. Then whisked off to 66 Gilead Distillery for a vodka and gin tasting (my first ever), where I fell in love with their whole wheat vodka. This beautiful second empire house was built in 1874 by a wealthy Hops grower, Bert Cooper, during the County’s Barley Days. The house is also available in the evenings for special events.


A big thanks to Jeremiah from Taste of the County. His love of this place he grew-up and its history added even more depth to this adventure. He and John are the perfect ambassadors.

The planners spoil us. They also make us want to tell everyone and share this amazing place with the world, and so we should. The feeling you get in the County is like no other place. It’s not stuffy or pretentious. Its welcoming and warm, a place you want to be. The work of everyone who lives there seems effortless, it flows so naturally. But we know it’s not effortless, that it’s a lot of hard work, because it’s a labour of love and that love for the place shines through in big beaming rays.

I want to live there too.

Getting it Right: The Empire Cookie

I heart empire cookies. The proper ones, iced with jam filling. Did you hear that everybody out there? ICED. Also, the cookie itself needs to be like a yummy melt-in-your-mouth shortbread.

I have had them un-iced, filled with marmalade, a dark spicy cookie, covered with sugar. These are not a true empire, they are your version of an empire.

I have always been a fan of the Sticklings Bakery empire cookie. The texture, the sweet white icing and nice jam filling have always been a real treat.

This Christmas things changed. My friend Jillian brought me a tin full of her homemade empires. I have never quite had anything like them. They are sweet little gems, with the smoothest, softest cookie. Her icing is light and creamy (it’s not thick or hard like some). They are a good size (not huge, but average cookie size) They are in fact what I think is the perfect cookie.

Recently she came over with a tray, so we made some tea and took some pictures. She made them tea-cup shaped. This reminds me of how extremely thoughtful she is.

Thanks Jillian for helping me set folks straight on what an empire cookie is.

empires 2

Oh and I will not ask her for the recipe. Ever.

Getting Your Greens (well some of us)

So I don’t have a juicer. If I want to make any type of drink that requires blending I use my food processor. I love my food processor and if I buy one more small appliance (blender/juicer) and try to fit it into this kitchen the size of a large bathroom, well lets just say, we would have to move.

I’m fascinated by those who regularly juice and drink smoothies for the health benefits. Who sneak in their greens and use magical protein powders. I’ve been doing some reading and thought that it was time to try them out myself.

I wanted to share, so I knew in my attempt to create a tasty beverage thats full of greens to feed the meatatarian I live with would be quite a challenge. He only eats carrots, mushrooms and peppers. True story. His idea of vegetables growing up was anything the Green Giant made in a can and he wouldn’t eat it. So it took him a long time to come around to CMP (yeah thats what I call it). What I do like about his changes is that he prefers organic or shopping at local farmer’s markets.

So I thought lets try kale. I love kale, sauteed on top of the stove in good olive oil with fresh garlic, in a salad, even baked as a chip. He however would not touch kale with a ten foot pole, the closest he gets is spinach hidden in lasagne (and I mean not visible).

I knew it must be sweet, over powering any taste of the good green stuff for him to even try. I forgot about the colour. So I happily whizzed together pineapple, banana, water, some coconut milk and some kale. I realized it looked similar to a shamrock shake, just with green flecks and that I may have a challenge in front of me, but I presented him with this lovely glass of goodness. There were no words. There seldom are anymore when I offer anything vegetable. Just a shake of the head. I didn’t even say anything. I just tipped it back and drank it myself, describing to him how delicious it was, and it was. After 18 years, I still occassionally try and once in a while he surprises me, but not this time.

Guess I’ll have to keep these gems to myself, that is unless you want to try……


Green Goodness (2 servings)

1/2 cup pineapple
1 banana chopped
1/2 cup chopped kale
1/2 cup low-fat coconut milk
1/2 cup water
some ice

Throw it in the blender/food processor and blend to desired consistency.

Taking Tea

I come from a long line of tea drinkers. I used to sit in my Grandparents apartment and sip milky, sweet orange pekoe cup after cup. There was a quiet joy about those tea times with Nan and Gramp, my ten year-old self knew then they were special. My Mother swears that a cup of tea heals anything and can always make you feel better. My daughter is a loyal David’s customer.

I can’t survive my morning without coffee, tea just doesn’t cut it for me. I take my tea in late afternoon and before bed. In the afternoon I prefer a steamy cup of Earl Grey, often with some honey or if I am out I will often grab a London Fog. In the evening it’s Chamomile and depending on my mood it can be clear or again, with a little honey. Every mouthful holds a memory for me.

I also like to drink from a proper tea cup, and in the afternoon from this little gem below which I received as a gift when I was 13 from a Brownie group I volunteered with. It makes me smile.


How do you take your tea?