Smoky Scents and Sips | smokey

It certainly seems like the typical rainy and dreary November weather is here again. When the colourful and showy leaves of October turn dusty and faded in November it’s time to start cocooning again. That means warm clothes, warm food and drinks, candles and wood fires. One of my favourite scents is a wood smoke scent.

Before this year I never had a favourite scent to wear. I had lots that I liked but I always tired of them quite quickly. That is until I found Déclaration by Cartier which has become my absolute favourite scent. (Never mind that until today in doing research for this blog post I didn’t know it was categorized and marketed as a man’s scent.) I still love it and the reason I do is because of the notes of a wood fire.

This got me searching out other wood smoke scents which led me to a Diptique candle my sister gave me last spring that I had never even lit but, it too, is now one of my favourite scents. I now look for woody, smoky scents and tastes wherever I could find them and the following is a short list of what I consider the best smoke scents around.

diptique candle

Diptique Feu de Bois candle found here.

Cartier declaration

Cartier Déclaration found here.

Nest hearth candle

This Hearth scented candle from Nest Fragrances can be found here but I got mine at Murale which is owned by Shoppers Drug Mart.

You can’t talk about smoky scents without talking about smoky tastes too. One of the first things that comes to mind when asked about smoky tastes is scotch. Apparently a smoky taste is equivalent to a peaty taste and the best and most peaty scotches come from Islay.  These “Peat Monsters” are considered to be the best: Laphroaig, Coal Ila, Talisker, Lagavulin, Bunnahabhain and Bruichladdich

Smoke ’em or sip ’em if you got ’em or in some cases, if you can afford ’em. All are available through the LCBO or the NSLC.

This gorgeous single malt scotch glass is hand cut on the Halifax waterfront by Nova Scotia Crystal and can be found here.

scotch glass


Pumpkin Spice Smoothie | Smoothie

pumpkin spice smoothie

This morning I was a rock-star mom. Homemade bran muffins were in the oven by 6:20 and a homemade smoothie was on the table to round out breakfast. Isn’t that annoying?

Bran Muffin

My son is off breakfast at the moment, he says it makes him sick to eat that early. I have a real problem sending him off to school empty so the challenge is to find something that he’ll actually eat. I made a bran muffin recipe last night the batter of which is meant to stay in the fridge until you want fresh muffins. The recipe is from Trish Magwood’s book In My Mother’s Kitchen. This smoothie recipe has all the decadent richness of a coffee shop drink but is made without chemical flavourings. He ate both with gusto but who knows what will happen tomorrow morning.

Pumpkin Spice Smoothie

  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 cup ice
  • 1/4 cup water

Blend and enjoy.

pumpkin spice smoothie ingredients

Bridge Night Squares | squares

cream cheese brownies

Am I alone in feeling like bridge parties and bridge nights should come back? Let me just make a case… you get together regularly with friends to play cards, you have a cocktail, eat some little sandwiches with the crusts cut off, eat some delicious squares and have coffee. Where is the downside to that?

OK, so the only drawback to the whole scenario might be the actual bridge part, but let’s say you substitute any card game instead. Poker, Hearts, Euchre or if you’re from Nova Scotia you could play Forty Fives aka Auction.

A lot of my Mom’s cookbook (which I’ve written about before here) is dedicated to squares. Those lovely, tasty little bites that we were never allowed to sample other than the edges that she cut off so as to have a prettier presentation for bridge night. I have fond memories of Mrs. Bishop’s Squares, Honeymoon Squares and Pineapple Orange Squares but the granddaddy, the most favourite of all squares were these Cream Cheese Brownies with Maraschino cherries.

I think there’s a reason why book clubs have become so popular – they have replaced the card party. Right here I’m starting a social movement to bring back the card party.

You can find out a whole lot about a person by how they handle a rough game of cribbage.

Cream Cheese Brownies

  • 1/2 cup cream cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 cup Maraschino cherries chopped

Beat cheese and egg well. Blend in sugar and flour. Stir in cherries. Set aside.

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Beat the eggs well, add the sugar, flour and salt. Melt the butter and mix in the cocoa. Add to batter and stir. Spread about 2/3 of this mixture in an 8 x 8 inch pan. Carefully spread the cheese mixture on top. Cover with the rest of the chocolate mixture note the cheese mixture will not be completely covered. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.