Earl Grey’s Royal Gin Fizz

How’s everyone doing? Hope you’re staying home and staying safe ❤️. This social distancing stuff is weird; it’s so opposite of my general nature, I thrive on being busy and social. I’m not going to lie, this isn’t easy, but I know it’s necessary and so we’ve stayed home for the last three weeks or so.

Wanting to feel a sense of normalcy, my bestie Holly and I decided to attempt our first virtual cocktail making hangout. We put the little ones down for a nap, fired up FaceTime on the iPad and crafted a new cocktail for everyone to try! It was fun (except for the part where my bottle of prosecco exploded on me while I opened it 🤦🏼‍♀️ haha).

We’ve been wanting to try a foamy cocktail for awhile now. I’m not going to lie, the idea of adding a raw egg white to my drink made me a little weary, but I can assure you that it’s totally flavourless, it just adds an awesome foamy topper to your drink.

This cocktail was so good. By now you’ve probably already realized I love gin and a tea-based cocktail, so this one was right up my alley! Delicious, refreshing, slightly citrusy–I’ll definitely be making it again!

Earl Grey’s Royal Gin Fizz

Yields 1 drink

You’ll need:

0.75 oz Gin (we used Eau Claire Distillery Parlour Gin)

0.75 oz Earl Grey-infused simple syrup (recipe below)

0.5 oz fresh-squeezed lemon juice

1 egg white

2-3 oz of champagne or prosecco

Handful of ice

Earl Grey tea leaves, finely chopped, to garnish

Directions:

Combine gin, Earl Grey-infused simple syrup, fresh lemon juice and an egg white in a cocktail shaker.

Start with a dry shake: shake the concoction vigorously, without ice, to emulsify the egg white. This will help give the egg a nice whipped and foamy texture.

Then, do a wet shake: add some ice and shake again to help cool the drink.

Double strain into your cocktail glass and slowly top with Champagne or prosecco – about two to three ounces (careful, the drink foams up quickly).

Lastly, add a dusting of finely chopped Earl Grey tea leaves to garnish. Or, a sprig of lavender or a twist of lemon would work great too!

Earl Grey-infused simple syrup

Yields enough for 3-4 cocktails

You’ll need:

1/2 cup water

1/2 sugar

2 Earl Grey tea bags (I used Blue Hour)

Directions:

Boil equal parts sugar and water in a medium sauce pan until the sugar fully dissolves. Remove from heat and steep the tea bags for 5-6 minutes.

Allow it to cool before using. The simple syrup can be stored in your fridge for up to three weeks.

Hope you enjoy our latest cocktail. We’re loving in some crazy times right now, I’d say we all deserve a weekday treat! Stay hone & stay safe and be sure to tag us on Instagram (@alexandtribe @chandeliers.and.champagne) if you make any of our cocktails!

Cheers 🥂 Alex & Holly

Boozy Lucky Charms Milkshake

It probably shows my age that all I can think to write right now is “my milkshake brings all the boys to the yard, and they’re like, it’s better than yours, damn right, it’s better than yours.” I’ve got to say though, the addition of booze to a mint chocolate chip milkshake probably does make mine better than yours. It’s magically delicious!

You didn’t think Holly and I could let a fun holiday pass without making a themed cocktail did you? This one is a double whammy for all the moms out there too, because you get to be the hero that makes your kiddos an adorable, fun St. Patrick’s Day milkshake along with a delicious boozy one for yourself. Win, win!

To make our recipe kid-friendly, all you have to do is eliminate the Bailey’s. To avoid having to wash your blender in between batches, I’d suggest blending together everything except the Baileys, poring some into a glass for the kids’ then adding the Baileys and giving it a quick mix for the adult version. We poured the kids’ into these adorable mason jar shot glasses (as if our 3 year olds need more than that 😂). They were soooo excited when we showed them the final product. This would be a perfect way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at home as a family.

Boozy Lucky Charms Milkshake

Yields 1 drink

You’ll Need:

Directions:

In a blender, combine Baileys, ice cream, milk, vanilla and ice cubes. Blend until silky, adding  in a tad extra milk – or Baileys, lol – if it’s too thick. Serve in an old-school milkshake glass for extra points, top with whipped cream and Lucky Charms marshmallows and enjoy!

Hope you enjoy this decadent St. Patrick’s Day treat. Since it looks like we’ll all be celebrating the holiday at home this year, this is the perfect fun treat for the whole family. If you whip this up this year be sure to tag a picture of it on Instagram!

Sláinte!Holly (@chandeliers.and.champagne) and Alex (@alexandtribe)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Energy Balls

As a busy mom, finding time to eat healthy can sometimes be a challenge. If things are crazy (and let’s face it, with a one and three year old at home, it usually is) I tend to reach for the easiest thing to eat–bagel, store-bought muffin, chips or other junky items.

That’s why I like to try my best to have healthy, grab-and-go snacks available that fuel my body with nutrients so I can keep up with my crazy brood.

I love eating energy balls either first thing in the morning with my cup of coffee, or right after a workout to refuel my body. These energy balls have just enough sweetness in them too to help satisfy any sweet cravings I may have throughout the day.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Energy Balls

Yields: 20 energy balls

You’ll Need:

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup natural peanut butter or nut butter of your choice
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup chocolate protein powder – I used Aura Complete Protein
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions:

Add all of your ingredients except chocolate chips to a food processor or high powered blender. Once everything is mixed together stir in chocolate chips.

Roll into balls and place in an airtight container in the fridge for at least 20 minutes for the balls to set.

Hope you enjoy this healthy snack!

Alex

Tips for weaning from breastfeeding

Writing this post is bittersweet for me. I’ve officially completely weaned Austin off of breastfeeding at 19 months old.

The time was right for me; I’ve been pregnant and/or breastfeeding since 2015 with no break. That’s about 4.5 years now that my body hasn’t been my own. So, while I’m happy to be able to enjoy a cocktail whenever I want, use skincare products without reading the label and to take the good cold meds when I’m sick, it’s still sad to close the chapter on this phase of my life.

Weaning Austin was definitely a bit more difficult than weaning Colton. My guess is it’s because I went back to work after Colton turned one, so he had that separation from me. Austin is a Stage 5-Clinger with pretty much no separation from me in his short little life, haha.

So, without further adieu, here’s how to wean your baby in 100 steps or less:

1. The first thing I did was to stop breastfeeding on demand. I fed both my babies on demand. It was for me as much as it was for them. Fussy baby? Boob. Hurt yourself? Boob. Overtired? Boob. This was the hardest step of weaning for me. Instead of feeding on demand I cut Austin down to feeding when he woke up, before both naps and before bed. It was sooo hard for me to not nurse when Austin was fussy for no reason or to use it as a crutch when he got hurt.

2. After about a month we moved onto phase two of our weaning journey, which was to quit nursing before naps. This step pissed Austin off; oh man did we struggle with this step. For nearly two weeks Austin barely napped. He’d just sit and cry in his crib until I caved and went to get him. Eventually he accepted his new normal and his naps went back normal.

3. The next step I took was to drop our morning feed. This step was pretty easy for us; Austin didn’t seem to be phased too much by it. The only downside to dropping this feed was that sometimes I would feed Austin in bed and he’d fall back asleep for another hour. I miss that, haha.

4. Finally, our fourth and final step—kicking that bedtime feed. I held out on this one for awhile. Partially because I wasn’t quite ready to be 100% done and partially because I don’t think Austin was quite ready. In the end, I used a 3-night girls trip as the final push to kick the feed. I don’t think Austin was even getting much milk in the end, which I think helped this step go smooth. When I came home I just didn’t offer to breastfeed Austin again, and he didn’t ask.

And there you have it, the end to my breastfeeding journey. All in all, we probably spent about 6 months weaning. I wanted to take my time on each step to try and make it as easy as possible for a Austin.

Hope this helps if you’re starting the process of weaning your baby. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments!

Alex

Tips for a great Dîner en Blanc experience

I’ve never met a theme I didn’t like. I’m always down for a great party, but one with a fun dress code? Even better! I’ve now been to three Dîner en Blanc’s in Edmonton so I feel like I have a good handle on what to expect and how to make it a great night.

If you’ve never heard of Dîner en Blanc before here is a bit of history. The event was started in Paris, 31 years ago when a Frenchman invited a group of people to an elegant picnic and asked them to all dress in white so that they could easily find each other. Now, the event is held in 80 cities in 30 countries around the world.

This year, Edmonton’s event was held on the field at Commonwealth Stadium, where our professional football team plays. Unfortunately, the weather was not on our side. It rained so hard. And not a quick, light shower. It was a torrential downpour, with thunder and lightning and wind. It was a gong show, but you know what, we still had such a fun time. Attitude is everything (refer to tip 4) and our group had a great one.

If you’re getting ready for your first Dîner en Blanc here are five tips to make it a great experience.

1. Make sure you wear white. I know, sounds obvious, that’s the dress code, but there are always people who show up in cream or have another colour on their dress. You stick out like a sore thumb, so look for an outfit that’s all white. Also, it’s a dressy event, so leave the white jeans and sneakers at home.

2. Have fun with your accessories. I love to wear flower crowns, so that’s my go-to for this event, but I’ve seen people in fascinators, white wigs, tutus and boas. It’s not everyday you get to have so much fun with your outfit, so don’t waste the opportunity! Also, ladies, please wear flats. Sometimes the event is held in the grass, sometimes you have a 15 minute walk to get there, regardless you’ll be so much more comfortable in flat shoes.

3. Prepare for the weather. I’ve been rained on at two out of the three events I’ve been to. Like I mentioned above, it torrentially poured on us this year, so I’m so happy I had my clear poncho and umbrella with me. Yup, you read that right, even your rain gear needs to be clear or white, so make sure you’re prepared in advance.

4. Go into it with a great attitude. I’m not going to lie, this event is a lot of work and planning. They’re also always held outdoors rain or shine. Obviously weather isn’t something you can control, but your attitude is. We got totally rained out but had such a fun time this year. I was with fun people, we had wine and dessert (we made sure to grab both when we sprinted for some cover) what more do you need!

5. Pack light. You have to pack your whole life for this event (kidding, sort of), so obviously you can only pack so light between your table, chairs, linens, food and decor, however be smart where you can. Bring collapsible table and chairs and small but attractive decor (flameless candles, flowers etc). This is even easier the larger your group. We had a group of 6 going this year and divided up responsibilities so everyone was bringing something.

Hope this helps prepare you for your first Dîner en Blanc experience. It’s really such a fun event, you just have to make sure you put in the pre-planning work. If you have any other questions about the event, or some tips of your own please share them in the comments!

À votre santé!

10 Edmonton summer date night ideas

Date nights are a precious and rare commodity when you’re a parent. We’ve only got one babysitter (thanks mom!), so when we do get a chance to get out, just the two of us, I want to make sure we make the most of it.

It’s easy to fall into a date night rut of dinner and a movie, but there’s so many fun things to do in Edmonton in the summer that it would be a shame to waste a date night in a dark, over-air conditioned movie theatre.

To help spark your creativity I’ve assembled a list of 10 great dates to do in Edmonton.

1. Snow Valley Aerial Park. I was so excited when this opened up. It’s actually what Justin and I did on my 30th birthday. The aerial park is a ropes course with more than 100 games/challenges. It was pretty challenging, but so much fun. If you’ve ever seen American Ninja Warrior on tv, a lot of the obstacles remind me of that. For a unique date night visit them on Thursdays in the summer for Thirsty Thursdays. After your climbing adventure you can kick back and relax on a one-of-a-kind patio designed by Chateau Lighting. The patio is at the top of the aerial park, surrounded by nature and has a BBQ Concession running with burgers and hot dogs as well as select local micro-brewery beverages.

2. Couples cooking class. I love cooking classes, and there are lots that are geared towards date nights. My favourite classes are through Get Cooking, I’ve been going for years now and love how the menu is interactive and has wine and drinks paired with every course. Some of my favourites have been the pasta making class, Mexican brunch class and taco & tequila class. There’s pretty much any type of cuisine you could want, check out the course catalogue here.

3. Food Crawl. I love food, eating out is one of my favourite ways to spend my free time. Instead of just having dinner at one restaurant, why not make it more of an adventure and turn it into a progressive dinner somewhere on Whyte Ave, Jasper Ave or 124th street? Start off with a drink and appetizer at one restaurant, go somewhere else for your entree and then end at another restaurant for dessert. We had a date night like this last summer and started at Situation Brewing, followed by Have Mercy and ended our night at Julio’s Barrio. It was so much more entertaining than just going out to one restaurant for dinner.

4. Horse races. In case you don’t know, a brand new horse racing track and casino just opened up next to the airport (Century Mile). I haven’t checked it out yet, but can’t wait to get there. I’ve been to the horse races a couple times and even though I’m really not a gambler, I had a blast betting on the horses. Grab your date and place some friendly wagers. Loser buys dinner!

5. Walk and picnic in the River Valley. We have such a beautiful River Valley with views that can’t be beat. Get out and take advantage of the summer by packing a delicious picnic, some bubbly and hiking to a beautiful viewpoint for a romantic picnic. A few of my favourite views are: the Fort Edmonton Park trail (great field for a picnic near the foot bridge), the Victoria Park East trail and Forest Heights Park.

6. River Cruise. What’s more romantic than a sunset cruise overlooking downtown? Impress your date with a bottle of wine and charcuterie plate on Thursday Date Nights on the Edmonton River Boat.

7. “Golfing.” I don’t know about you but 18 holes of golf is a bit much. I have fun for awhile, but by no means am I an avid golfer. My husband is though; so I found the perfect middle ground, a putting course. I’ve tried both the Kinsmen Pitch & Putt and the putting course at Red Tail Landing (by the airport). My favourite was the one at Red Tail Landing, we had the whole course to ourselves and it was great to be able to go at our own pace.

8. Rec Room. This option is a great one for a rainy day. There’s tons to do at the Rec Room from arcade games, to bowling to ax throwing. My husband and I love the old school games like skee ball and the one where you throw balls at the clown faces. There’s two Rec Rooms in the city, South Edmonton Common and West Edmonton Mall.

9. Canoe or Kayak down the river. This one is on my wish list. I think it would be so much fun (and a great workout to boot), to paddle down the river. There’s a couple different companies in the city to rent boats from including Canoe Heads and Haskin Canoe.

10. High Level Bridge street car. This one is a fun day date option. Start your day with brunch on Whyte Ave (Under the High Wheel and Rooster Cafe are great options) or pick up some goodies for a picnic at the Strathcona Farmers Market (if it’s Saturday) and then catch the street car from the Strathcona terminal. Find the schedule and terminals for the street car here.

Hope this list is a good starting point for you to plan some summer dates. Honestly, it’s just a fraction of the things you could do in our city. What are some of you favourite things to do in Edmonton? Anything great that I’m missing?

Charcuterie Gin Caesar

Happy May long weekend everyone! How fitting is it that the Thursday before May long is National Caesar Day in Canada.

As Canada’s unofficial, official drink, the Caesar is a tried and true summer classic. With so many variations, my girlfriend Holly, of Chandeliers and Champagne, and I decided to try our hand at making our own go-to Caesar as the next drink in our summer cocktail series.

A key ingredient in Caesar’s is clamato juice. To all my American friends, you have to try a Caesar, a Bloody Mary is just not the same, trust me on this one.

Unsurprisingly, we had to make our garnish over-the-top; but what can I say, we’re a fan of flair. We’re also a fan of charcuterie. Hence the smorgasbord of delicious treats we topped our drink with. Now, let’s get mixing!

Charcuterie Gin Caesar

Yields 1 cocktail

You’ll need:

  • 1.5 ounces gin 
  • Mott’s Clamato, to fill 
  • 4 dashes Worcestershire sauce 
  • 4 dashes hot sauce (our preference: TABASCO) 
  • 1 tbsp pickle juice
  • Salt, to season
  • Pepper, to season
  • Ice 

Rimmer: 

  • Celery salt or Caesar rim spice 
  • Lime

Garnish: 

  • At a bare minimum, you’ll want celery, however if you ask me, there’s nothing more depressing than a Caesar garnished with only celery
  • We also added: a pepperoni stick, pickled bean, salami, pickled asparagus, sharp cheddar, pickled carrot and a pickle spear

Directions:

  • Rim a pint glass with citrus and celery salt. Fill glass with ice and add 1.5 ounces of gin.
  • Top with Mott’s Clamato. Add four dashes of tabasco, four dashes of Worcestershire, two shakes each of salt and pepper, and a tablespoon of pickle juice.
  • Stir well and garnish. Enjoy this great Canadian classic, Fingers crossed you can enjoy it on a sunny day at lake, but we are Canadian, and it is May, so chances are it might snow! 

Hope everyone has a great long weekend. Be sure tag us if you recreate our drink using the hashtag #yegsummercocktail.

Check back soon, as Holly and I will be concocting fun cocktails all summer long!

Cheers, Alex and Holly 

The last firsts

Being a mom is such a mixed bag of emotions isn’t it? On one hand there’s nothing more rewarding than watching this little human you created grow up, learn things, reach new milestones and develop into an actual person. On the other hand, it’s almost heartbreaking having to watch them grow up. To wake up another day older, every single day.

From the moment you see two pink lines on that little stick your life becomes full of exciting and momentous firsts. The first time you hear that tiny little heartbeat, or see his button nose on an ultrasound or feel him kick. His first time crawling, walking or talking. The first year is such a wild ride.

I’m one of those people who absolutely loved the newborn and baby stage with my boys. I lived for the snuggles and lazy days of them sleeping on my chest and having their needs so easily met. You’re crying? Here’s a boob, problem solved! Ha! I wish I could have a newborn for a couple weeks a year every year, but I guess it doesn’t work like that. Has anyone seen those Huggies commercials with the moms and their newborns in the hospital? Oh man, they get me every time!

Austin is very likely our last baby and with him just about to turn one, I’m just over here, feeling sad for myself that I’m never going to get those firsts again. That first moment when you meet your baby and the doctor places him on your chest. The first time their teeny, tiny little hand reaches out and grabs your finger or strokes your cheek. The first smile or laugh or coo. Those moments are just so, so good.

I know there’s still going to be lots of first ahead of us…and I’m sure those will be just as exciting, but there’s just something about first birthdays isn’t there? Boy do they have a way of making you emotional about your baby growing up. The baby stage is just so short in the grand scheme of life.

So, for now, I’m going to pour myself a big ol’ glass of wine, scroll through baby photos and mourn the end of the baby phase. That saying ‘babies don’t keep’ sure feels true tonight.