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I love a classic cocktail sauce or should I say dressing?  Serving shrimp and snacking on shrimp is my favourite dish to make when hosting get-togethers.  I also love vintage cookbooks and this recipe comes from the 60’s Better Home cookbook,  check it out and make it for your next party.  It’s better than the typical cocktail sauce you buy in a jar.   Cocktail Dressing 1/2 cup Mayonnaise 1 tbsp catsup/ketchup 2 tsp lemon juice 2 tsp horseradish 1 tsp paprika 1/4 tsp Worcestershire Sauce 2 drops Tabasco Combine Ingredients; chill thoroughly.  Serve with seafood cocktails. Makes 3/4 cup  ~ ENJOY! ~

The post Classic Cocktail Dressing appeared first on The Mama Ash Blog.

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“I am the fire that burns against the cold, the light that brings the dawn, the horn that wakes the sleepers, the shield that guards the realms of men.” –George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones In anticipation for the finale on Sunday, I am hosting a Game of Thrones Giveaway!   ABOUT THE GAME Exciting strategy game based on a song of ice and fire series by George R.R. Martin Builds upon Catan gameplay with the battle against wildlings, climbers, and Giants Players develop the gift with the help of iconic heroes of the night’s watch The Brothers of the Night’s Watch recognize you as a natural leader as you struggle for promotion within their ranks. You hope to gain recognition by improving infrastructure in the area south of the Wall known as the Gift. Drawing sustenance from this unforgiving landscape offers enough challenges, but you must also man and defend the Wall against the onslaught of Wildlings fighting their way into Westeros to escape the horrors that awaken in the North. Build, defend, and rise above your brothers to become the new Lord Commander. But be wary—the north holds many dangers, and winter is coming. It’s simple to enter,  the game is valued at $80. I’ll announce the winner on Monday as I am sure there will be lots of talks and I may be too numb to pick a winner after the finale.  I am a big fan of the show so I hope you’ll enter this giveaway. I look forward to playing the game as well! A Game of Thrones Catan: Brotherhood of the Watch {Finale Giveaway!} Disclosure: This post in partnership with Asmodee Canada.  All opinions are my own.

The post A Game of Thrones Catan: Brotherhood of the Watch {Finale Giveaway!} appeared first on The Mama Ash Blog.

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After being cooped up all winter, we’re finally getting some nice weather here in Toronto.  Nerf has come out with a super fun collection inspired by Fortnite and if your kids love the game, get them the Nerf collection. It’s time to really play.  My son plays it all the time with his friends so why not get outside, run around and battle it out with Nerf?  They’ll be out playing all day and collecting the Nerf darts to continue their epic battles. They will sleep well after a day of fun like that.  BRING YOUR FORTNITE BATTLES INTO REAL LIFE WITH NERF FORTNITE BLASTERS! The Fortnite Firing Toy Blasters are great for their size as they are small and better for my twins.  Although, don’t get me wrong.  They love the big Nerf blasters as well. The Nerf MicroShots series blasters capture the iconic look of the Fortnite rocket launcher and come in 2 other styles such as Llama and the TS Blaster. The Nerf Fortnite SP-L blaster is super cool and full of power.  That is the one pictured above that my twin is using against her big brother. The detachable barrel customizes different ways to play. Attach the barrel for distance targeting; remove the barrel when you need a more compact look for smaller play areas or when you need to move fast and stay mobile. The Fortnite SP-L blaster has an internal clip with a 3-dart capacity so you can load 3 darts in a row before it’s time to reload.  Trust me when I say, your kids are going to love this. The Nerf Fortnite AR-L blaster is the big winner around here and my son has it hidden in a special place so his sisters can’t get a hold of it, hahahaha.  He likes it that much! Power up the motor, yes.  A motor, so you’ll need batteries.   With the acceleration button, you pull the trigger to shoot 1 dart. It comes with a 10-dart clip and 20 Official Nerf Fortnite Elite darts, enough to fully load the clip and give you 10 backup darts for reloading. Flip up the 2 sights on the top of the blaster to align your shot. From Fortnite water blasters to the original Fortnite blasters, they are fun, light and kids are engaging in fun battles and old school fun and I’m the coolest mom amongst their friends, hahahaha.  This my first time and the kids first time playing Nerf.  It comes highly recommended and it’s even better when the kids are old enough to listen and to respect the rules.  Did you see my Facebook post?  Check out the giveaway below and enter to win, Canada!  Nerf Fortnite Giveaway!  WIN THIS! & NERF Fortnite Giveaway   Disclosure:  This post was written in partnership with Hasbro Canada.  All opinions are always my own and never influenced.  Please read Terms & Conditions linked in the giveaway raffle. 

The post Let the kids Nerf it out with Fortnite! appeared first on The Mama Ash Blog.

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Calling all mama’s!  Ok, papa’s too. Imagine peace of mind this weekend with the kids by having your WIFI in the palm of your hands.  Literally, because you can control your WIFI settings through the Deco app on your phone.  But first things first, even though I have Rogers Ignite, with my concrete walls, it’s still hard to have good WIFI.  Deco M4 uses a system of units to achieve seamless whole-home Wi-Fi coverage — eliminate weak signal areas once and for all! I also often work from my bedroom when scrolling my social media and I hate when I can’t comment and engage with you all.  With the Deco Mesh Technology, units work together to form a unified network with a single network name. Devices automatically switch between Decos as you move through your home for the fastest possible speeds.  I’ve only had this for a short time but I’ve seen an improvement and set up is so easy. The Deco M4 provides fast and stable connections with speeds of up to 1167 Mbps and works with major internet service providers (ISP) and modems so I shouldn’t experience any lagging.   I know the minute it lags because my son will come out of his room complaining about the WIFI and boohoohoo….  Aside from not having any issues so far with the WIFI thanks to DecoM4,  I have Parental Controls !  I can set limits to online time and block inappropriate websites according to unique profiles created for each family member.  Deco can handle traffic from even the busiest of networks, providing lag-free connections for up to 100 devices.   100 devices!  My ol’ Linksys couldn’t do that!   But hey, if my husband gave me this for Mother’s Day I’d be like, Yes! I can shut down the WIFI at night and my son would just assume it’s our router, hahahaha, and I get my way in the end!   Set up is really too.  I had it ready in minutes.   Just download the app and follow the steps and you’ll have your own Deco WIFI signal to use. Not only is it aesthetically attractive, I think this is the only router we’ll ever need.   I  can manage my Wi-Fi at home or away in the Deco app, including seeing the connected devices, prioritizing my devices, setting up a guest network and more.  If my husband and I are out and the baby sitter is having a hard time with getting my son off the game, I can easily just shut it down.  Also, it has Voice Control. Pair with Alexa to control Deco M4 with simple voice commands. How much is it and where can I buy it? The cost runs between $280-$350 and shop {here} and online {here}.  So, what do you think?  Pretty good, right? If you’re struggling with WIFI and control as I do and by control, I mean kids & WIFI, this is a step in the right direction.  And if you’re kids are good listeners, I applaud you!  Happy Mother’s Day! Disclosure:  This post was in partnership with TP-Links.  All opinions are always my own and never influenced.

The post Control & improve your WIFI with Deco M4 by TP-Link appeared first on The Mama Ash Blog.

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All of my hair appliances are Conair & I have a fun giveaway for you.  After all, they are a trusted brand for all our beauty needs, am I right?  There’s something magical and so 80’s with the Rainbow Collection from Conair. I love the chrome, the iridescence, the colours.  The inner 10 yr old is screaming, “this is so me!”.  If you’re an 80’s kid this is for you!  I don’t know if you caught my Instastory on the Rainbow collection, even my 6 yr old daughter said: “Mom, your hair dryer looks so 80’s!”  I had a laugh but using the collection, I just wanted to pin my jeans, get my Club Monaco sweatshirt and grab a scrunchie and do some styled pics with their products.  So check out my favourite items below. Rainbow Tourmaline Ceramic Dryer My Inifiti Pro Hair Dryer is great because the buttons are on the back of the handle and smooth so I am not clicking or pushing on anything while I am blow drying my hair quickly and effectively.  It has a cool setting too which I know I’ll love for the summer, 1875 WATTS, 3 heat and 2-speed settings and another favourite feature of mine is the concentrator for a pinpoint blow out and a diffuser for volume and waves.  Next up!  Inifiniti Pro Rainbow Titanium Rainbow Flat Iron.   It just looks so sleek, doesn’t it?  I’ve been straightening my hair a lot and this looks like it would give such a smooth finish.  I’d love this one for Mother’s Day. The rainbow titanium provides even heat which means less damage and frizz with increased shine.  Give me all the shine! Infiniti Rainbow Curling Wand.  Beachy waves please some to be for that effortless, chic look! This curling iron gives even heat that eliminates hot spots so you can style with less damage to your hair!  I have a curling wand by another brand that I bought off Amazon and it just doesn’t work.  Once again, I am swooning over the rainbow collection because I find it so appealing.     Head to my Instagram and enter to win a Conair Rainbow Infiniti Pro Hairdryer!  I’ll announce the winner on Mother’s Day. CDN only. Disclosure: This post in partnership with Conair Canada.  All opinions are always my own and never influenced. 

The post Conair Rainbow Collection- For the beauty influencer in all of us! appeared first on The Mama Ash Blog.

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1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8 All right you last minute shoppers.  As if you didn’t already know and in case you missed my Instastories when I was sharing some of my personal favourite products for Mother’s Day here are some coveted must-haves to either treat yo’ self to or get for your mom. Whether you are looking for something that makes you remember to breathe in moments of stress, to drinking a cup of tea to destress to looking for a toxic-free lipstick that you won’t feel icky when you kiss those you love most to matching jewellery for you and your little one to the perfect studs where you don’t need to worry little hands to be tugging at when you hold them, dear, I think there is something for every one. Huna Apothecary makes the best eye cream in my opinion where I’ve seen results and if you can’t take Mom or your bestie to Palm Springs, Coal and Canary, another Manitoba like Huna that I love makes the best candles.  Have you heard of Boosh?  They too are also Canadian and make toxic free lipsticks that are amazing and for glowing skin, you have to check out Graydon Skincare.  And a gift that truly gives back is JWLS watches.  Each watch purchased goes in support of the Julia Lyons Foundation for Cystic Fibrosis.

The post My Mother’s Day Gift Guide appeared first on The Mama Ash Blog.

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I’m really starting to prepare more from scratch when it comes to prepping meat for my family. From making my own specialty coffees to experimenting with bread making because I am tired of finding soy flour in everything, I’m making fresh pasta at home and grinding my own meat which is a small luxury that I actually look forward to when preparing meals at home and it’s time to get my freezer ready for BBQ season.  I was so excited when I got the Hamilton Beach Meat Grinder!  I also have a vacuum seal by them so I can experiment with my meat blends for burgers and then vacuum seal my burgers or even better, bring them to BBQ’s! But let’s face it, it just tastes betters when you grind at home.  It’s a major upgrade in flavour and quality.   My friend is a Red Seal chef and she said I made her the best burger she ever had and that she was going to rethink her take on prepping and making burgers.  Have you ever thought of getting a meat grinder? Below I’ll share some benefits but do you remember the “pink sludge/pink slime” that made the news a couple of summers ago and Jaime Oliver going on about it?  He was right! I think we really need to back to the old fashioned way of preparing our food even in our busy lives. How many recalls do we need to experience? There are a few benefits to grinding your meat at home: – Quality of meat used and being able to create your own fat ratio – Cleanliness – Reduce e-coli contamination – Taste –  It’s fresher – Cost is lower I actually bought prime rib on sale and ground it up to make a delectable prime rib burger for my husband.  I like a mixture of chuck and prime rib and the cut was like $10 so I figured, let’s see what this little machine is made of.  It was an awesome burger, let me tell you.  I was chatting with my cousin in law and a friend of his about some other combo’s that are good such as sirloin with pork butt,  ground sirloin with miso paste for a nice tang and a combo of chuck, sirloin and short rib is really good too.  The suggested ratio is 80/20 combo and there are loads of recipes to try as making burgers is something I do a lot of(and enjoy) and we cook our burgers rare for my husband and rare/medium for me and medium for the kids.  If you grind your own meat, you can cook it as you like.  Imagine Kobe burgers?! I grew up watching my grandmother grind meat.  She had a hand-powered meat grinder that clipped on to the table where with this, you plug in and push a button. It’s great!  I bet she would have loved the Hamilton Beach Meat Grinder!  This also has a sausage maker function that I can’t wait to explore.  I need to head to the butcher and try my hand at sausage making.    But with the Hamilton Beach Meat Grinder, it has two parts that you can grind through. One is a regular grind and the other is a finer grind. TIP: Season your meat if your making burgers/meatballs so your seasoning blends through Some tips to grinding meat at home: Put the metal parts in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.  I think it’s better cold especially when grinding fattier meats.  So when you chop it up, put it in the freezer for about 15 minutes before grinding. To clean, run a slice of bread to push the remainder left over meat out and wash with warm soapy water. Features: Powerful 500 watt motor (5/8 hp), grinds up to 2 lbs. per minute Twist lock head with release button, Forward and Reverse operation 2 stainless steel grinding plates for medium and coarse grinds Includes stuffing funnel, stainless steel grinding knife, and meat stomper Includes a 5 year limited warranty from Hamilton Beach  You can grind chicken, salmon, lamb, pork, beef, shrimp (hello, wonton meatballs!) thanks to the fine grind setting and now you can make the best meatballs and sausages too.  Using the Hamilton Beach Meat Grinder ($99) is very easy and as mentioned above, easy to clean too.  It’s the secret behind restaurant burgers and meatballs.  Most chefs grind their own meat and I hope you’ll give it some thought, the next time you see the ground meat at the store.  Also, you may think meat is ground at the grocery store daily but it’s not always the case.   As the meat sits on the counter in the fridge at the store, day by day it loses flavour, and could even become contaminated.  Let’s slow down and get back to basics and make it convenient for our families to eat quality meats, ground by you for a healthier meal and skip all the frozen patties you can find if you love burgers as much as my family does.  But it’s not just burgers.  I have a cookbook called 125 Best Ground Meat Recipes that I am reviewing so stay tuned for that and you’ll be seeing more of my meat grinder in action. Disclosure:  This post was in partnership with Hamilton Beach and as always, all opinions are my own.

The post Benefits of grinding meat at home with Hamilton Beach Canada appeared first on The Mama Ash Blog.

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  “Delivering barista quality performance using a 54mm portafilter with 19 grams for full flavour and an automatic steam wand for milk texturing that delivers true handsfree microfoam at the right temperature, just as you would see from our top of the line the Oracle Touch.  With a 3 second heat up time from a cold start, along with instantaneous transition from extraction to steam, you can make a coffee even faster.” – Breville Canada I just upped my coffee game!  Thanks to the Breville Bambino Plus this little machine is a dream to have and use.  I can make cafe quality cappuccinos at home now.  I can offer my guests a better cup of java than the regular drip and my kids are even enjoying it.  How? Warmed milk, Chai lattes(caffeine free, of course), hot chocolate too.  It’s so easy to use and warming up milk with froth is amazing. I love making my Americano’s,  Mocha Lattes and Mocha Cappuccinos too.  I even get a good froth using Cashew milk and a plant-based creamer.  I always get a little bent outta shape ordering a cappuccino at cafes because it ends up being a latte.  From my days as a barista at the various cafe’s that I worked at when I first moved to Toronto, I was taught that cappuccinos require foam.  Now apparently they don’t???  I never get the foam so I wanted to see what this little Bambino Plus could do.   Well, check out my cappuccino, below.  Does it look good? This little machine delivers in quality.  Some of the things I adore is the automatic steam wand allows you to adjust the milk temperature and texture to suit your taste.  It also has the Innovative Thermojet™ heating system achieves the optimum extraction temperature in 3 seconds. You can pack 19 grams of espresso for full flavour and café quality coffee and with its low-pressure pre-infusion gradually increases pressure at the start and helps ensure all the flavours are drawn out evenly during the extraction for a balanced tasting cup. So what do you think? Sounds pretty awesome, right?  I haven’t had any issues using my Breville Bambino Plus and I love making myself a cappuccino every day as it’s a special treat for me and luxury. I always rinse it out with hot water after every shot of espresso to keep the lines clean and it’s very easy to maintain. This week, I’ve partnered with Breville and we are going to give one lucky winner a Breville Bambino Plus($699). Just in time for Mother’s Day!  Giveaway is open to Canada only(excluding Quebec) and I’d love to hear from you!  What little luxuries do you do for yourself or why do you want a Bambino Plus? As you can see, the size is perfect for our apartment sized kitchen!  Good Luck! Breville Bambino Plus Giveaway

The post Coffee made better with the Breville Bambino Plus appeared first on The Mama Ash Blog.

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I love the weekend.  It’s a lazy day for me on the couch watching the Food Network and reading through my cookbooks for inspiration for meal planning and getting snacks made for the kid’s lunches.  One of my go-to cookbooks is Best of Bridge.  I love their books because it’s a Canadian classic and it’s nostalgic for me as a lot of my mom’s recipes were used from Best of Bridge. Crater cake? OMG, the best!  I loved that when I was a kid.  It’s so good and I think I need to make that again!  So The Best of Bridge has a book called The Best of the Best. It’s great!   I came across an Apple Cheddar muffin recipe and I thought it would be great to make for the kids.  It’s been a hit!  Find the recipe below and give ’em a try.  I love them reheated and I was short on apple juice so I used apple cider instead and it was lovely.  I used organic Ambrosia apples, so good! Cheddar Apple Muffins 3 cups Flour 2/3 cup Sugar 4 tsp Baking Powder 1 tsp Salt 1 tsp Cinnamon 2 cups Grated Cheddar Cheese 2 Eggs 1 cup Apple Juice 1/2 cup Butter (melted) 2 cups Peeled, finely chopped apples Preheat oven to 375F.  Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl.  Mix in cheese and beat eggs in a medium bowl.  Add apple juice, stir in butter and apples.   Add all at once to flour mixture, stir just until all moistened.  Fill greased muffin tins.  Bake for 25-30 minutes.  Makes 2 dozen.  

The post The Best of Bridge: Apple Cheddar Muffins appeared first on The Mama Ash Blog.

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