Happy Friday, everyone! You’ll find me celebrating with a glass of sparkling rosé in hand tonight — because I’m the Food Bloggers of Canada Featured Member this week! I’ve been a member of The Food Bloggers of Canada since the summer of 2015 and they’ve been instrumental in JustineCelina‘s development, growth and success over the past year and a half. I’ve mentioned FBC many times here on the blog and I’ve also introduced you to a handful of fellow FBC members who I’ve formed some incredible friendships with along the way. If you’re a food blogger (or a lifestyle blogger who blogs about food!) I encourage you to check The Food Bloggers of Canada out — this community is absolutely invaluable to me.
Whether you’re new to JustineCelina or a long time reader, you’ll probably learn something new about me in this feature! I answer questions about why I started blogging, my professional background, some of my favourite bloggers and recipes, where I draw inspiration and what’s next. A big thank you to The Food Bloggers of Canada for the feature and also to FBC’s extremely hard working founders, Melissa Hartfiel and Ethan Adeland for their continuous guidance, support, kindness and generosity! Cheers, everyone — I hope you enjoy the interview (and a great glass of rosé!).
Happy first weekend of spring, friends! Wow — what a crazy, whirlwind week this has been. Between publishing our Living Room Reveal on Monday, my Style Me Pretty Living feature on Wednesday (pinch me!), a very exciting FASHION announcement (which has now published!), to a jam packed calendar full of events and meetings, plus 8 rounds of testing for this recipe (and subsequent cocktail ingredient runs before noon!), I’m finally getting a fresh cocktail for you this weekend. Initially this recipe was supposed to publish on Wednesday to welcome the first day of spring, so let’s just say my Spring Equinox Kiwi Elderflower Smash is fashionably late (like our spring weather) — but she comes bearing gifts! I’ve teamed up with Eau Claire Distillery once again to give away a full sized bottle of Prickly Pear EquineOx to one of you lovely Canadians (check out the bottom of the post for details on how to enter!).
After a long, snow covered winter, I’m elated to unleash my Spring Equinox Kiwi Elderflower Smash — a post-hibernation celebration of spring’s refreshing flavours in cocktail form! I figured it was time to pump the brakes on the gin train (let’s be real… there’s been a ton of gin drinking going down here at JustineCelina!) and introduce you to a completely unique spirit to welcome spring’s arrival. Today I’m working with Eau Claire Distillery’s award winning Prickly Pear EquineOx — a sweet, lightly citrusy, barley based vodka incorporating Alberta’s Prickly Pear Cactus with a special blend of spring botanicals. Complimented by a refreshing bouquet of elderflower, kiwi, lime, a kiss of wine, a dash of bitters and a splash of soda, I’ve created a seasonal elixir that pairs perfectly with longer evenings and balmier weather. I’ve also teamed up with 4 talented food bloggers across North America to bring you the Spring 2018 Edition of Connecting Over Cocktails! If you’re looking for some inspired cocktail ideas as we transition into spring, we’re totally got you covered — stay tuned to see what my fellow Food Bloggers of Canada are mixing up for you this weekend!
Remember the summer I acquired a taste for gin? It’s since become my favourite spirit. In fact, around this time last year I even ventured to Vancouver Island to track down an infamous local gin unavailable in Alberta (I also made a cocktail with that one!). Although the gin I brought home from my coastal travels is long gone, late last year I stumbled on Eau Claire Distillery via Instagram (their bottles are gorgeous and totally drew me in!). Imagine my surprise to find out we have an incredible, award winning distillery less than an hour from home! Over the holidays I took a trip to the visit their distillery in Turner Valley with my Mom (who loves gin) and my brother (who was home from New York and loves cocktails) for a tour and tasting — and we were all completely blown away by the quality of Eau Claire’s hand crafted offerings and their farm to glass approach. Now that I know they exist (and they’re local!) I actually can’t fathom using anything else in my cocktails! Over the last couple of months, we’ve padded our bar with several of Eau Claire’s artisinal spirits — including their most recent offering, Cherry Gin.
In honour of love day, I’m so excited to share my Rose Infused Cherry Gin Fizz! This feminine, fruity and lightly floral cocktail combines Eau Claire’s stunning Cherry Gin with my favourite Prosecco, a splash of fresh lemon juice and a Rose & Pink Peppercorn Infused Honey Simple Syrup for a contemporary spin on the classic French 75. My Rose Infused Cherry Gin Fizz is a beautiful addition to your Valentine’s Day menu, but can be enjoyed anytime you want to indulge in a gourmet craft cocktail at home! As always, it’s is free of dairy, gluten and refined sugar — and bursting with fruity flavours, floral undertones, unique botanicals and a refreshing effervescence. The best part? Eau Claire is helping me share the love this Valentine’s Day by giving away a Cherry Gin Cocktail Caddy valued at $99 to one of my Canadian friends — check out the bottom of the post for details on how to enter!
Remember when I mentioned all the seasonal recipes I have in my backlog? Well, today I’m finally publishing the very first sangria recipe I ever developed — almost 10 years ago (yikes!). I honestly can’t even tell you how many times I’ve made this Classic Winter Citrus Red Sangria with friends and family over the years, but I bet it’s more than 50. In fact, it was this recipe that inspired my sangria craze — it’s the original! It was singlehandedly responsible for a large portion of my 20’s being a bit hazy and escalating some of my favourite entertaining memories (or lack there of!) in our first homes over the years! This classic red sangria never fails to get the party started (now that’s the understatement of the century!) and is my all time favourite beverage to make when we’re hosting or attending a party, especially during the cooler months. It’s absolutely delicious and approved by friends, moms, dads, grandmas, grandpas, cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and inlaws — even the non-wine drinkers rave about it! So, I figured it was finally time to unleash the recipe on the world — however, I will not be held liable for any life altering hangovers that ensue after a few too many glasses (hey, it goes down easy — consider yourself warned!).
My Classic Winter Citrus Red Sangria is the quintessential holiday cocktail, marrying fruity zinfandel and apricot brandy with festive, seasonal flavours of satsuma, lime, lemon, pomegranate and a hint of cozy cinnamon. This better-for-you holiday cocktail is free of added sugar and brimming with clean, plant based ingredients plus a mega dose of antioxidants. If you love to entertain, this simple, jubilant sangria will leave your guests feeling merry and bright! And to help spread some holiday cheer, my Connecting Over Cocktails crew and I are back at it again — and this time, we’re thrilled to bring you our Holiday Edition. If you’re planning a festive celebration and looking to take the party up a notch this year, check out the bottom of this post for 5 gorgeous, seasonal sips from a handful of my favourite cocktail connoisseurs!
You guys, this week has been such a whirlwind! Between spending time in the prairies working ahead on some exciting new projects, capturing tons of content for JustineCelina, publishing 3 blog posts, speaking at a YYC Blogger Babes event last night about The Business of Blogging (yes, that series will be launching later this year!) and attending another event earlier today for a new partnership — I’m totally having a cocktail (or two) tonight as I finish up this post!
If you’ve been following along with my Insta Stories this summer, you’ve undoubtedly seen me whip up a Watermelon Frosé Margarita. She was a fun recipe to test and a fast favourite among friends and family — a pretty, pink cocktail gone rogue! This time, my Connecting Over Cocktails crew and I are serving up an array of seasonal, fruity cocktails for our Summer Edition and I knew I wanted to do something a bit different. Today I’m shaking things up with my Watermelon Frosé Margaritas — an icy sangria 2.0 with an attitude, and tequila on her breath! In true JustineCelina style, she’s made with just 5 ingredients blended over frozen watermelon creating a naturally sweet, feisty summer cocktail that embraces fruity flavours with a margarita essence and a Himalayan pink salted rim! If you, too are in desperate need of a refreshing cocktail this weekend (hellooooooo, heatwave), check out the bottom of this post for inspired summer sips from my mega talented foodie friends!
The grass is green, the trees are blossoming (finally!) and I think that’s cause for celebration! If you’re looking to treat your taste buds to something refreshing after what was quite possibly the longest winter in Canadian history, embrace spring’s bountiful produce with my Spiced Strawberry Watermelon Gazpacho. This pretty, pink (yep, still riding that Spring 2017 Pantone Fashion Color Report wave), chilled soup is the perfect menu addition for your next spring soirée, baby or bridal shower, or anytime you’re hosting your girlfriends and want something fuss free, fresh and festive!
My Spiced Strawberry Watermelon Gazpacho is so simple, I almost can’t call it a recipe — but I’ve been meaning to publish this one since last summer! I popped over to a new organic market that just opened in my neighbourhood on Friday and was so inspired by the beautiful strawberries, basil (I picked up a gorgeous basil plant… let’s hope I don’t kill it!) and mini watermelon that I knew I had to channel them into this recipe. With just 10 ingredients (seasonings and garnish included!) this fruity spin on traditional gazpacho comes together in just 10 minutes! So grab a delicious glass of rosé (I’m enjoying a Spanish Rioja!) and kick back with me tonight for the details on this modern, seasonal spin on a classic Spanish dish while I catch you up on a few cool things that have been happening the scenes lately — I can’t share a lot right now, but if you followed along with my Insta Stories last week, you may have an idea!
I spent a few days in the Vancouver area last month — and today I’ve partnered with American Tourister to share my first ever TRAVEL GUIDE here at JustineCelina! I’ve traveled with Samsonite luggage for many years, so when their sister brand American Tourister got in touch last month, I jumped at the opportunity to test drive a piece of luggage from the range. This fun iLite Max 25″ Spinner was the perfect travel companion on this whirlwind trip to the west coast!
Anytime I visit a new destination, I’m asked for my list of must sees and do’s from the area and have always compiled a list of recommendations — ready to send out for anyone who requests one. Since I’m asked for these recommendations often, in 2017 I’ll be sharing this type of content here at JustineCelina, embracing the opportunity to make my TRAVEL GUIDES more comprehensive and easily accessible. See the Vancouver area through my eyes today as I share packing tips and trip highlights — including my favourite neighborhoods, restaurants, coffee shops, wine and spirit recommendations, shopping hotspots, off the beaten path locales, quirky boutiques and a day trip to the island (I’m even taking you along to a cookbook launch!). If you’re looking to temporarily satisfy a case of wanderlust or are simply craving a change of scenery, come along as we venture to Canada’s west coast in style with Samsonite!