Monthly Articles

It’s Fall Y’All!!!


If the above images give you shivers of joy, then you are officially not my people. Fall leaves are pretty and all, but my theory is that if you absolutely love the change of colour and falling of leaves, then you have not had to rake acres and acres of them for 30+ years. And pumpkin spice latte is not coffee. Enough said.

I have a love hate relationship with Fall because I absolutely LOVE summer. I love heat, beaches, summer cocktails and wearing my dresses too short – which, at my age, you can only get away with when you can literally fry an egg on the sidewalk. Fall means an end to all of my summer loves and the beginning of school, frost at night, and ripping out all of my beautiful summer flowers. In short, it means work. BUT, it also means that it’s cool enough to be drinking specialty coffees such as Spanish Coffee and other beauties that you can find the recipes for in Fall for Our Special Coffee Recipes.  It also means that it’s time to stock up at the last few Farmer’s Markets of the season and get busy making pickles, hot sauce, and finding new ways to use the apples off your 15 apple trees (thanks, grandma). My grandparents lived through war, a depressed economy as well as a new and often rocky life as new immigrants. If you didn’t have the foresight to look after your food needs, a winter of eating cabbage and turnips was a very real threat. Since we now have my grandma’s old house, as well as her fruit trees, I see the need for a bigger freezer in my very near future.

Fall is a great time to tour your local corn maze as well as participate in our other Top 10 Fall Activities.

Best of all, fall means boots, fleece lined leggings, the return of dark make-up and no pink clothes in stores! Every good Dolly knows that you need to go through your closet seasonally to make room for new, or new to you, clothes.  Enter the Clothing Swap Party. Invite friends and random people with awesome style who look like they may be your size – I’m not kidding, although I’m not responsible if you invite a klepto or a mass murderer into your home. Everyone brings a bag of clothes, accessories, shoes and they get dumped organized in the bedroom. All guests pull a number and take turns going to pick one item. When you reach the end, you go backwards through the line up again, so if you had 13 lucky people, the 13th person gets first pick of the second run through. Afterwards, you take the leftovers to goodwill.


As we all know, every party needs some food and drinks, even if it’s a simple one with no real theme. If we ever had anyone over and they didn’t have the opportunity to leave drunk (with a designated ride) and a distended stomach from overeating, then we haven’t done our job – part of the reason why leggings have become my new pants.

In keeping with fall harvest, our spread involved a charcuterie tray and Moscow Mules. Simple and delicious! – R. Dolly





Strawberry Shortcake With Amaretto Whipped Cream


I usually spend a lot of time searching for recipes when I’m looking to make something special. My cookbooks, Allrecipes, Pinterest and some websites that pops up with Google are scoured through . I lucked out and found a vanilla cake recipe that was way more work than I normally put into baking a cake but it was A-MAZ-ING. It was the perfect consistency for a strawberry shortcake. It was a little bit spongy and yet it held together wonderfully after it was topped by the strawberries and whipped cream.

The recipe was originally created for cupcakes and was tested as a cake. I’ll put the cupcake recipe first with the changes that were made to convert it to a cake underneath. My cakes needed a little bit longer than the 19 minute baking time and I didn’t worry about the dome because it was going to be a delicious strawberry shortcake.


Strawberry Shortcake With Amaretto Whipped Cream

Amaretto Whipped Cream

  • 500 ml whipping cream
  • ¼ cup of sugar (or to taste)
  • Amaretto
  • Sliced almonds – set aside to garnish the cake

Whip the cream and add the sugar after it begins to stiffen up. When it’s almost the consistency that you want, add the amaretto to taste and finish whipping the cream.


I sliced half of the berries and set aside. I cut the other half of the berries into small chunks in a Pyrex square baking dish and then mashed them until juicy but still chunky. It’s easier to mash them to the same consistency if it’s in a flat dish.

Strawberry Shortcake


  • Place one of the layers of cake on your serving dish with the dome side down
  • Spread half of the mashed berries, sliced strawberries and whipped cream on the layer
  • Place the last cake layer on top with the dome side up
  • Spread the rest of the mashed berries only and whipped cream on top of the cake
  • Spread the last half of the sliced strawberries on top
  • Garnish with sliced almonds

Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake

Recipe by Stef @ The Cupcake Project

Yield: 16 cupcakes


  • 1 cup (225 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 3/4 cups (175 grams) cake flour, not self-rising
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup (57 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup (75 grams) full-fat sour cream
  • 1/4 cup canola oil or vegetable oil (60 ml)
  • 1 tablespoon pure (not imitation) vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup (160 ml) whole milk


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C).
  2. In a small bowl, combine sugar and seeds from the vanilla bean. (For those of you who are new to using vanilla beans, check out this video to learn how to get the seeds out of the bean.)
  3. Using the back of a spoon, move around the bowl and apply pressure to break up any clumps of seeds and to better infuse the vanilla flavor into the sugar. Set aside.
  4. In a medium-sized mixing bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, mix together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Add the vanilla bean sugar and mix until well combined.
  6. Add butter and mix on medium-low speed for three minutes. Because there is so little butter, you’ll end up with a very fine crumb texture.
  7. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, sour cream, oil, and vanilla extract until smooth.
  8. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined.
  9. Slowly add milk and mix on low speed until just combined. The batter will be liquid. (Don’t worry, you didn’t do anything wrong. It’s supposed to be that way.)
  10. Fill cupcake liners just over 1/2 full.
  11. Bake for 14 minutes and then test to see if they are done. They are done when a toothpick comes out without wet batter stuck to it. The cupcakes should appear white with specks of vanilla bean. They should not turn a golden brown. If they are not done, test again in two minutes. If they are still not done, test again in another two minutes.
  12. When the cupcakes are done, remove them immediately from the tins and leave them on a cooling rack (or just on your counter if you don’t own a cooling rack) to cool.

Converting the Cupcakes to a Vanilla Cake

Click here for the original link  by Amanda @ I Am Baker

I do have some tips to use when converting the cupcakes to a vanilla cake:

  • Right after step number 8 in the instructions (beating the eggs into the flour mixture), I recommend scraping the stand mixer bowl. I didn’t the first time I made this and had a significant amount of unmixed flour and lumpy butter.
  • The recipe yields about 3 1/4 cups of cake batter. So, I divided the batter into two 8-inch round cake pans, using just over 1 1/2 cups per pan. While a perfect dome is essential in a cupcake recipe, it’s not always the best result for a cake maker. I adore this recipe so much that I didn’t want to waste one single crumb, so I used a number of tricks to help create a level cake. Every trick, that is, except leveling the cake with a knife. Did I mention that I didn’t want to waste a single crumb? In the end there was still a slight dome, but that is easy enough to work with.
  • I baked the cake at 350 degrees for 19 minutes in my convection oven. I recommend checking the cake at 18 minutes; simply insert a toothpick into the cake and if it comes out clean the cake is done. Make sure the cake has pulled away from the sides of the pan as well.
  • Allow cakes to cool to room temperature in the pan, then invert onto a wire rack.
  • Since this cake has such a beautiful fine crumb, I chilled my layers prior to frosting. If the cake is too soft when applying frosting, it can tear and crumble. I wanted to avoid that at all costs with this masterpiece!


Tuesday Ramblings

Jekyll & Hyde


My youngest daughter is allergic to puking. As a little girl, she would sit beside the toilet for hours holding in her puke. Trembling violently, head hanging over the toilet, crying, insisting that her back needed rubbing while valiantly holding everything inside. Whoever was on puke patrol would tell her that she’d feel sooooo much better if she’d just get it out of her body. She was a little trooper though, and there was no way she was giving in. We’d end up making a little nest on the bathroom floor with blankets and settling in for the long haul.

To this day, she shudders in horror whenever anyone mentions The Amazing Race. She’s been scarred for life because I happened to be sick with the flu when my husband was working night shift. We’d been watching The Amazing Race when I first became sick. I was in the bathroom, dying on the inside, and I called for Sarah to get me a cold cloth. Little did I know, the reason that I had to yell so loud for her to hear me was because she was huddled up on the couch, knees to her chest, plugging her ears so she couldn’t hear me being sick and rocking back and forth trying to find her happy place. She was only about 4 years old at the time. When I finally got her attention and again asked her for a cold cloth, I could hear her walking down the hallway so slowly that you’d think she was walking to her death while quietly sobbing. This little voice asked me where the cloths were. I said, “In my closet.” She stopped walking and waited a few seconds, sprinted past the washroom I was in, grabbed a facecloth and ran back past the washroom to the kitchen. I heard her running water to wet the cloth and then the whole “walking to her death” scene repeated. I heard her stop walking just before the washroom door and then the cloth came winging at the back of my head as she threw it around the corner in my direction and ran back to her perch on the couch.

My oldest daughter turned 19 and she invited us to go to the pub with her and her friends. At first, I was honored to be invited to an event that was usually reserved for friends. Honestly, I thought we must have the best Mother/Daughter relationship in the whole wide world!!! Then, I realized that Mamma didn’t raise no fool and she was most likely hoping we’d buy her dinner and drinks. When I asked her if I was correct, she smiled and said, “Well, maybe but I also want you there!” Mhmmmm. I can’t blame her for being so resourceful and ingenious. After all, she’s learned from the best. Her birthday is the day before Remembrance Day and it was also on a Tuesday so we pretty much had the place to ourselves. We had a great meal, my husband had a few drinks and Surprise!…we paid for her dinner and drinks. After dinner, the designated drivers brought everyone back to our house to hang out, play pool and have a few games of beer pong. Out came the Jager Bombs and drinks.

Rachelle’s best friend ended up being the first casualty and was throwing up in the bathroom before her boyfriend could rescue her. I walked in to check on her and he was rubbing her back and saying, “It’ll be okay” while taking selfies with his sick girlfriend. I’m not a psychic but I see blackmail in her future.

I went upstairs to get her water and when I walked back into the washroom, I almost fell over in shock. My puke-a-phobic daughter, who’d also had a couple of drinks, was in the washroom with the puker. Not only was she in the same room as her, but she was also putting her hair up to rescue it from the toilet water. She was tackling this mission with the flourish of a hair stylist on crack who is intent on creating a hair masterpiece. All while singing to whatever song was playing on the stereo at the top of her lungs, shaking her booty and smiling. What. In. The. Actual. Fuck.

It still amazes me what alcohol can do to lower someone else’s inhibitions (My husband and I already know what it does to mine but I just thought I was special.) I warned her to watch how much she drinks because if she was able to put up a puker’s hair with so much unbridled enthusiasm after having a couple of drinks, then there’s no limit to what she’ll find acceptable. – C.U.NextTuesday, C.Dolly


Top 10

Top 10 Ways You Can Ruin Your Family Camping Trip

  1. Not prepackingNOTHING will get your camping trip off to a shitty start more than leaving everything until the last minute. I’m the queen of procrastination so I have life experience with this and know what the fuck I’m talking about. You will start your magical family trip off with anger, stress and hours of wondering “Did I forget anything?” You will have even less patience to deal with your annoying husband who had everything on his list done ahead of time and lets you know it every time you mention that you’re feeling a little stressed. You will tell him to “Shut the fuck up or I’m gonna cut a bitch” and he will laugh and say “That’s okay. I have time to go to emergency because all my shit is done.”  If you have small children, you will not only be frantically rushing around but you will have to deal with: 

“I’m hungry!!!!”

“Lucifer hit me” “

“I lost my marble up my nose!” (In which case, you can tell your husband to take your child to emergency with him since he’s headed there to get stitched up anyways)

2. Not packing appropriately – Depending on where you live, rain gear is essential to having a happy camping trip. Rubber boots, waterproof jackets and waterproof pants are a parent’s best friend. Blowing through every outfit that you brought for your child in 5 hours because of a downpour is hardly conducive to a relaxing trip. Also, forgetting your swimsuit and watching everyone else splashing each other, having fun and keeping cool in the sweltering heat either leaves you swimming in your undies or damaging your children for life by skinny dipping with no fucks given.

3. Not calling ahead to make reservations – Don’t be a douche. Seriously. Pulling into a RV park/campsite and getting pissed off at the person in the office because YOU didn’t make a reservation and THEY have no room to accommodate you is a dick move. It’s not their fault that your poor planning has led to everyone in your vehicle being hot, tired, cranky and homeless for the night. When you make reservations, also ask if there are gates that are locked at night or office hours for check in. Some of the provincial parks have gates that are locked at 11pm.

4. Not packing supplies for emergency repairs – Make sure the spare tire on the back of your trailer/motorhome is in good shape. Things like tarps, extra tent pegs, tent patches and air mattress patches are essential for tenting. Also, make sure you have a fully stocked first aid kit for when you or your husband get hurt from flailing around, cursing and all but throwing yourself down on the ground in a tantrum while trying to successfully repair something.

5. Food poisoning – Dealing with vomiting children while vomiting yourself is hell. Sorry, I mean it’s HELL!!! If you’re camping in a trailer, it’s pretty much like being at home except you have nowhere to hide and pretend that you’ve disappeared so your partner has to take a turn on vomit patrol. If you’re tenting, well, you’re fucked. Ain’t nobody sleeping while the air mattress is moving like the sea in a storm because someone on the other side is violently hurling over the edge.

6. Tenting – Tenting, for me, is akin to willingly taking a family road trip to Hell for a week. Fire and brimstone raining down upon you as you canoe down a river of lava that is filled with big-ass hungry spiders who have been waiting for your arrival so that they can: #1 – Eat you and #2 – Lay their eggs in your corpse to hatch. A bit dramatic? Maybe, but that’s what the definition of “tenting” should be in the dictionary. No matter what you put underneath it, the air mattress sucks up every bit of cold from the earth until you can barely sleep because your body has become hypothermic. However, once the sun even begins to rise, your tent is like a fucking incinerator. There is no happy medium.


7. Lopping off a body part – Any sort of medical emergency while camping can put a damper on the festivities. Laying back and relaxing in your anti-gravity chair, drinking wine and eating some delicious junk food that only seems to be purchased for camping trips is completely ruined by your husband or child running up to you holding a finger from their left hand in their right hand. Sometimes you’ll luck out and they’ll only lose the tip of a finger. Fingertips are like lizard tails, they grow back. At least that’s what I told my kids and they could be hand models now, so I wasn’t wrong.

8. Obnoxious neighbours – The best camping trips are those that you take with friends and family. You expect to hear: kids playing, laughing and crying; music playing in at least one campsite; and boats and Sea-Doo’s razzing around on the lake. Obnoxious parents who have 8 obnoxious kids, ranging from late teens to small children, that run around with their spawn playing hide and seek underneath your trailers and trucks, running behind the lawn chair that you’re sitting in and almost pulling you over backwards because they grab onto it so they can crouch down to hide, peeking in everyone’s windows, their kids stealing someone’s canoe in the middle of the night and then abandoning it part way down the lake at the end of a trail are the neighbours we once had and that you hope to avoid. People also need to respect occupied campsites. Don’t be a dillhole and walk through the middle of an occupied site. Take an extra few steps and follow the path to your destination.

9. Not having enough things to keep busy – “I’m bored!!!” Two words guaranteed to destroy that nice relaxed glow you’ve got going on. We always hauled the girls bikes with us when we went camping and we had a dvd player for the car so they could watch a movie in the tent/trailer before bed or if it was raining. Most kids are pretty good at seeking out others of their kind and we’d quite often see the horde of bikers grow with each lap they made around the campground.

10. Underestimating your alcoholic needs – This is a biggie. Especially if you encounter any of the above situations. You would sell your soggy, vomiting, bleeding 9-fingered children for just one glass of wine. I mean, I wouldn’t because that’s WRONG! I could probably get a whole bottle for one of my kids. This is why I love camping in places that aren’t too far from a city. You run out of booze? ROADTRIP!!!! ~ C. Dolly


Jungle Juice


While looking for an easy drink to offer our guests, we decided on an easy peasy, lemon squeezy alcoholic punch with a shit tonne of booze in it. That’s what’s necessary when you’re serving a simple menu made up of peanuts, corn nuts, chips, pickle ‘sushi’ and twinkies.

The original post from that we found on pinterest suggested serving it out of plastic baggies with a straw and a string around your neck for hands free drinking. As awesome as that sounded, we decided on serving it from a stainless steel spaghetti pot and a ladle since we are known to be pretty clutzy and had visions of the bag opening up and us wearing our precious drink – R.Dolly

  • 4 cans of frozen lemonade concentrate
  • 1 cup of cranberry juice
  • 46oz Hawaiian Punch
  • 2L ginger ale
  • 1 46oz can of pineapple juice
  • 2 lemons, thinly sliced
  • 750ml Citron vodka
  • 750ml vodka
  • 2 cups triple sec
  • Ice