It was a beautiful day for a festival in Niagara!  You could even say it was just peachy!!

The peach festival in Niagara On The Lake always brings a crowd.

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Not to mention, lots and lots of fresh peaches!

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Lots of entertainment.  This is The Ben Show.  Not only is he on a 10 foot tall unicycle.  He is also juggling….fire!  He really kept the crowd entertained!  Very funny guy :)

And then there is the food!

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The Epicurion was offering peach pie, peach cheesecake, peach soup, peach muffins and peach croissants.

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That’s the Mr. waiting in the sun in a very long line to get a peach stuffed sausage with spicy peach glaze, while I stood under the shade tree!  They were also offering peach stuffed burgers, peach and prosciutto pizza and a host of other savoury peachy goodness.

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Kurtz Orchards were offering a huge variety of peachy sauces and salsas!  If you are ever in Niagara On The Lake this is a great shop to visit.  And, yes that is Santa Claus in the background.  Remember kiddo’s…he is always watching!  He was at the Christmas Store making his annual summer visit!

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This antique steam machine contraption thingy was pretty neat.  They were serving corn on the cob at this stop, and I think this was serving to cook it!

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Peach cupcakes and muffins!

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Greaves Jams is a fixture on Queen Street!  Today they were featuring their local peach jams, spreads and peach chutney.  All made locally with local ingredients!

And finally, the main reason for my visit to the Peach Festival…

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….to get me one of those giant peach scones (in the top right corner) from Nina’s Gelato!  Not to mention fresh peach gelato and peach sorbet!  This is only one of their pastry cases!  Heaven!

I have a feeling you will be seeing some peachy recipes on the blog coming up soon!

Enjoy your day!

 

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So, we are at the end of the first month of our monthly grocery shopping experiment.

While it was nowhere near perfect, it did make a big difference in how much we spent on groceries this month! You can read all about the experiment here.

The bad news: Went over budget! I grossly under estimated how much milk we use, how much baking I do, and we did a lot of unplanned entertaining.

The good news: I did not visit the grocery store anywhere near the 40-something times I did in June, nor did I spend as much as I did in June!  I still have a few things in the freezer and pantry that I won’t have to buy this month.

So lets review the month of July, shall we:

Food Budget:  $600

Shopping Trip July 7th   $459.66  (Costco, Food Basics, Zehrs & Bulk Barn)

Farm Markets                   $100.00

Total Spent  on planned shopping       659.66

Total Spent on unplanned shopping  276.84

Grand Total  936.50

What I have learned so far:

We still have a lot of work to do but that is why we are doing a three month challenge and not one month!  I knew I would have a lot to learn.

Menu planning makes all the difference!  It was so nice to have meals ideas AND ingredients at the ready when I got home from work.

We have to reduce our food waste.  I bought kale and I really don’t like Kale and didn’t have a plan for it.  I won’t be buying things I don’t have a plan for that I am not 100% sure we are going to eat!

I have to plan better for entertaining!

DO NOT SHOP WHEN HUNGRY!  I gave in to my wants way more than I should have.  I really did not need all that ice cream, chips and pop that I picked up during the unplanned shopping trips.  But when Smartie ice cream is on sale I get weak in the knees!

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Plan for August

We are shopping on Friday evening.  I am still refining my list and have added $50 to the budget this month.  It is, after all, still summer and I anticipate a few more barbecues with family and friends and will build this into my plan.

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I have also allowed an extra $50 for canning!  I plan to do some pickled beans and some blueberry and peach jam.

I have been gathering some recipes on my August Pinterest board and will be repeating a few new favorites from the July plan.

Wish me luck!

Would love to know what your grocery shopping style is!  Please leave me a comment and share your tips or tricks for staying on plan!

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Happy Monday!  It is a holiday Monday here in Ontario, and me and the Mr. are officially on vacation this week!  Spending lots of time around the house catching up on much neglected tasks.  I Whipped up a peach & almond tart yesterday.  Peaches are in season in Niagara right now and the bounty is plentiful!

This peach & almond tart is so easy to make with either fresh, canned or frozen (thawed) peaches.

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The pastry was nice and flakey and the combination of sweet peaches & almond cream is a bit unexpected.  Almond cream is super easy to make and stores in the refrigerator for 3 days, so it is perfect for making ahead!

 

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I am off to enjoy the day before the rain sets in this afternoon!

Thankfully there is one slice of this yummy tart left!  Perfect for a gray afternoon.

 

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Enjoy!

Peach & Almond Tart

Ingredients

  • Pie crust (either frozen pie crust or pastry from your favorite recipe)
  • 1 cup almond cream (1 1/2 cups almond flour, 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 egg, 1 egg yolk)
  • 6 fresh peaches sliced thin or 2 cans peach slices packed in juice
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup apricot preserves

Instructions

  1. Prepare pie crust and fit into 9" tart pan or tart ring, trimming any excess
  2. Prepare almond cream by creaming together butter and sugar, add egg and mix until smooth, add egg yolk and beat again until smooth, stir in almond flour until well incorporated.
  3. Spread 1 cup of the almond cream over the pie pastry.
  4. Arrange peach slices over the almond cream.
  5. Brush tart with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes until tart is well browned along the edges.
  7. Brush with apricot preserves.
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The Lavender Shortbread winner is

Barb in Lee, NY!

Barb check your email and get back to me as soon as possible.  I can’t wait to get your cookies out to you!

In keeping with the theme in this post, I have decided to make this a monthly giveaway!  Sharing my baking with someone special makes me happy and each and every comment I get is special!

Comment on any post from August 1st through the 31st and each comment you make this month will get you an entry to win a dozen homemade shortbread cookies!

August 31st I will randomly choose a winner to receive a dozen pecan shortbread cookies!

Subscribe to Red Cottage Chronicles and never miss a post (and a chance to enter!)

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Did you ever have a penpal when you were young!  I remember having a couple.  A couple were cousins living far away in another province, but I also had a few from abroad!  It was way before the days of internet and texting and email.  It was so awesome to get home from school and get a letter in the mail from one of my pals!

Imagine my delight when I somehow stumbled across Foodie  Pen Pals over at the Lean Green Bean!  Penpals and food, all wrapped up into one.  I signed on and registered a few days before the cutoff date, which is the 5th of each month!  A couple of days later I got my penpal match!

Now the fun part!  My package arrives!  I was paired with Kym, a fellow Canadian, who wrote the nicest little note to tuck in with my goodies!

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I had exchanged addresses with my foodie penpal through email, as well as any likes, dislikes or dietary restrictions!

Who doesn’t love to open a little present now and again!?  My box was literally packed full of the most fun foodie stuff I have ever seen!

There was chocolate!  2 bars to be exact!  Urge Chocolates – Orange with Gogi berries in dark chocolate AND Endangered Species Chocolate – Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt & Almonds!

There was also wheat and gluten free snickerdoodle cookies, Cocomama Quinoa Cereal in Wild Berry and Banana Cinnamon, Hemp Hearts, Mighty Leaf Tea, Four O’clock Fruit Sangria tea, Olives to Go, Organic dried cranberries, Seasnax roasted seaweed snacks.

And I can’t forget the U Raaw Munch Better Mix!  A trail mix/cereal chocked full of raisins, banana chips, oats, and coconut!  I can’t wait to make up a batch of muffins with this goodness!

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Oh!  And the cutest little Larabar ever!

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I can’t wait to see who I get paired up with for August!

It is easy and so much fun to participate!  You can read more about the program here and fill out the form to register your name.  If you are from the US you will be paired with a US pal, and if you are from Canada you will be paired with a fellow Canadian!  There is a limit of $15 or less to spend on your box and you have to commit to shipping it out by the 15th of the month!

You do not have to be a blogger to participate, but if you do blog, simply post about your foodie box on the 31st of the month!

To say I was happy with my food box is an understatement!  You can bet I have already signed up to participate again in August and cannot wait to see who I get paired with this time!

Although I absolutely love getting presents to open, I equally love shopping for foodie stuff for my penpal!  This was my first month participating and I sent Kym some of my local favorites and whipped her up a batch of these vegan lavender shortbread cookies!

Thanks so much to Lindsay at the Lean Green Bean for facilitating this fun exchange!

So, what are you waiting for?  Go register.  I might just end up being your Foodie Pen Pal in August!

And while you are at it, why not subscribe to Red Cottage Chronicles and get updates every time a new post goes up!

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