Triple Chocolate Raspberry Cake!

I hinted at this recipe on the blog yesterday!  I got it in my Foodie Penpal box all the way from British Columbia.  It is a cake that Tamara makes often and I can see why it doesn’t last long.  It is melt in your mouth moist and delicious. I am so happy she agreed to let me share it with you!


What is really fun is I got to share it with family visiting all the way from Nova Scotia!  So this cake has made an impact from one side of the country all the way to the other!  It was a real hit at a barbecue my sister was hosting from my cousin and  his wife who were having a stop over on their way from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Cold Lake, Alberta to begin a new military posting.


Oh.  Did I mention how easy it is!  The batter whips up thick and it was tempting not to eat the bowl of batter alone!  Lets just say I got to lick the bowl!  (I know, raw eggs…..I have done it all my life and so far so good!)






Aren’t you glad she agreed to let me share her recipe for triple chocolate raspberry cake!



Triple Chocolate Raspberry Cake

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 60 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: 12-16 slices


  • 1 box chocolate cake mix
  • 1 (4 serving) package instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 (4 serving) package instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (milk, semi-sweet or mini)
  • Raspberry Syrup
  • Fresh raspberries (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease and flour (I used a combo of cocoa and flour) a bundt pan.
  3. In the bowl of electric mixer combine cake mix, pudding mixes, eggs, water and oil and mix on low for 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium and beat for two minutes.
  4. Add chocolate chips and stir to combine.
  5. Pour mixture into prepared bundt pan and bake for 60 to 65 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Slice and drizzle with raspberry syrup and fresh raspberries
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After such a great match up in July I decided to sign up for a foodie penpal in August too!  What a perfect match it was!  I was matched with Tamara from British Columbia. The one thing I like most about the foodie penpal program is connecting with a fellow foodie from somewhere else in the country.  I have to say my match in August was a near perfect match!  Not only were our food interests very similar, our other interests were also very well matched and I think I made a new friend that it will be fun to stay in touch with!

Of course the food boxes are amazing too!  As soon as I opened my box from Tamara, which was so nicely packaged up in colorful tissue and well protected with crinkly shreds of paper, I could smell a subtle scent of sweet cedar.  My interest was piqued and I dove in with both hands.


Talk about thrilled!  Fruit syrups in blueberry, blackberry and raspberry and jams to match!  All from a local berry farm.  I cannot tell you how much I love that.


And chocolate.  Not just any chocolate but Truffle Pig peanut butter, milk chocolate hazelnut, dark chocolate peppermint and one I ate so fast I cannot remember what kind it was!


Not only did it have all these amazing goodies but it also had a book called Edible that was full of local information and recipes all featuring area businesses and products.  I have really enjoyed reading it from cover to cover and plan on featuring a recipe or two in the future.


Nestled right on the bottom was a cedar plank which smelled so amazing.  You can bet I will be grilling something on this in the near future.  For now though I just keeping picking it up and breathing in that sweet smell.

She also included a couple of recipes that I can use some of the syrups.. The very next night I made this luscious triple chocolate cake with raspberry syrup!


Talk about rich and decadent!  I took it to a barbeque at my sisters and it was a big hit!  I have to admit I was a little light handed with the raspberry syrup as I wanted more for me to enjoy on some ice cream at home!  No one seemed to notice though :)

I felt a little unworthy of what I sent to Tamara after seeing this wonderful box arrive!  Her email address hinted at a reference to (what I thought) the Royal family, so I immediately knew I wanted to do a British theme.  I hit up the Scottish Loft and picked out a bunch of things that are endorsed by Her Royal Highness the Queen of England.  There were some travel sweets, mustard, Yorkshire pudding mix, some chocolate and a few other goodies.  I also included a jar of peach jam I picked up during the peach festival from Greaves Jams.  When I showed my daughter what I got, all proud of myself, she said to me “what if she is a fan of the Kansas City Royals and not the Royal Family?”

I hadn’t thought that one through very well, had I!?

Thankfully, she went on to explain her love of the Royal Family (another thing we have in common) and I am glad I went with my hunch!

I am really am thankful I have made her acquaintance and hope to have formed a long and lasting friendship.  She has even given me the okay to share her amazing cake recipe and I will be sharing it on the blog tomorrow, so make sure to check back then!

So, what are you waiting for?  Head on over here and sign up for your September foodie penpal!  You too could be receiving a yummy box of goodies like this one!


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canadian coupon 3

It is no secret I am trying my darndest to come up with a plan to save money on our family grocery bill!  I have always been a bit envious of my neighbours to the south and all the amazing coupon opportunities.  I have no desire to be an extreme couponer because I really don’t need a cart full of Gatoride or dental floss, but never thought it possible to save deeply on things I would normally be buying anyway.

Turns out there is such a thing as Canadian couponing!  I came across this site, which got me motivated to try a little harder to find good deals in Canada using those few coupons we do get every month or so.   Coupons combined with rebates and price matching really can add up to significant savings.

I also signed up for Checkout 51 and downloaded the app.  If you are not familiar with Checkout 51 I encourage you to check it out.  In a nutshell it is a rebate site that offers  rebates on a new batch of products each week.  Some rebates are only 50 cents, but I have seen them as high as $3.00.  You have to reach $20 total before you can “cash out” and they will mail you a check.  There are also bonus offers that enter you into draws to win $500!!  Not too shabby.  Plus, you get $1.00 rebate just for downloading your first receipt.  Free money.  Yes please!  While they offer many products each week, I am not one to buy something just to get a rebate, so even it takes me 2 months to reach $20 it is still worth the few seconds it takes to download my receipt.

I am not looking to make a stockpile of any significance, but just to get a few staples to have on hand when they are on sale.  I also have no desire (or time for that matter) to spend hours every week searching for deals, and if things get too complicated I loose interest real fast!

My motto is slow and steady wins the race!  So while I only picked up a few items, these are things I would normally buy anyway and buy them at full price simply because I need them at the time.

Lets take a closer look at what less than 15 minutes preparation got me.  Since I am a multi tasker, I was actually cutting the coupons on the way to the store!  Don’t worry, I was the passenger!!

canadian couponing

I shopped at Target for these few things and used the Superstore flyer to price match the Crest toothpaste and Resolve!

3 Crest toothpaste $1.49 priced matched to.99 cents combined with a coupon for $3.50 off any 3 crest products =  FREE

2 Secret deodorant on sale for $1.99 minus coupon for $2.00 off any 2 Secret products  =  $2.00

1 Resolve Oxi-Action stain remover crystals $5.49 price matched to $4.97 combined with rebate coupon for $6.99 = FREE

2 Dawn dishwashing liquid on sale for $1.97 minus coupon for $2.50 off any 2 Dawn products combined with $1.00 rebate at Checkout 51 = .50

Total $3.50 + 13% sales tax  - $1.00 Checkout 51 rebate = $2.95

Had I gone in without price matching, coupons or rebates total cost would have been $20.20 including tax

Total savings $17.25!

Keeping the grocery bill manageable is a daunting task and one that we can all work together to share our tips and tricks! Would love to here your tips for using coupons and keeping sane at the same time!  Please leave me a comment and share your money saving ideas!


Every Christmas my sister and I would wish for Santa to put a big jar of dill pickles in our stocking….and we must have been very well behaved children because without fail we would each wake up to a big jar stuffed into the toe of my dad’s work socks!  All our own!  An entire jar of dill pickles AND the juice!


When my brother in law started canning dilled green beans a few years ago I actually turned up my nose and had no desire to try them.  My girls however loved them.  And to make matters worse my brother in law served The Mr. a ceaser with dilled beans.  My fate was sealed.  I was going to have to make some dilled beans.

Before I committed to this whole process called canning, which I have avoided like the plague, I had to try one of these beans for myself to see if my effort was worth it.  What was I thinking….these are amazing, and the juice….  Where do I sign up?!

Armed with my dill, garlic, vinegar, jars and lids I spent the day at my sisters where my brother in law and I got to work!  I was so fortunate to have a neighbour who was getting rid of all her canning jars and I was the lucky recipient.  Plenty for me and lots left over for my brother in law!  He was also doing salsa and eggs too.  Thank goodness for the sanitize cycle on the dishwasher.  There were a lot of jars!


Sadly, the flowers were not a reward for all my hard work!  Just a treat he bought for my sister at the market!

I decided to do a half bushel, which I expected would get me about 13 quart sized jars.  I actually got 17 jars.  My brother in law was a bit more ambitious than me and settled on 2 bushels. For those of you who are local to Niagara, we got the beans at Quiet Acres on Lakeshore Road.  They always have loads of fruit and veggies picked right from their own farm!


My half bushel seemed daunting….until I looked out saw the other 2 bushels soaking in water.


Every single one of those dang beans needed to have the stem snapped off.  That’s a lot of snapping!

After prepping all my beans, I lined up the jars, put in the dill, garlic and secret spice then packed the beans in nice and snug!






The brine was heating up on the outdoor gas burners.  Two HUGE pots full!  Once it had come to a boil we poured the boiling brine into each jar to just slightly overflowing and set the fresh seals in place, and finally screwed on the ring lids!


As the jars cooled, the lids sealed down good and tight.  Now they just have to rest for 6 weeks to let those beans soak up that dilly brine!


Not a bad days work!  I got 17 jars, and my brother in law got 35 jars + a huge bowl left over for freezing.

I don’t know why I waited so long to try canning.  I actually really enjoyed the process.  I think my brother in law would have been happy to stop after getting my batch done, but I just kept on going getting work getting his beans done,  so he no choice but to keep going as well.

Since my brother in laws dilled green beans recipe is a top secret family recipe passed down to him, I promised I wouldn’t reveal it!  Sorry, but that is the only way he would give me the recipe!  I won’t leave you hanging though!  I did find a few similar recipes here and here.

Now that I am hooked on canning I would love to know what you are canning this season!  Leave me a comment and let me know what I should have on my must-can list!

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.

Peach Festival 1

Not to mention, lots and lots of fresh peaches!

Peach Festival 9

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!

Peach Festival 2

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

Peach Festival tim

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.

Peach Festival 8

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!

Peach Festival 4

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!

Peach Festival 7

Peach cupcakes and muffins!

Peach Festival 5

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…

Peach Festival 6

….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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