April 01, 2015

A Little Change Never Hurt Nobody

New name...

Over the past couple of weeks I have been mentioning that changes were coming to le blogaroo.

I've loved the time that I have spent on AwesomeJennJenn.com, however I knew that there was something missing. I knew I had so much more to offer, to share with you - and myself because I re-read my posts all the time to walk down memory lane. LOL

Insert - Jenn and the City

I have spent so much time pondering what was missing.  What was missing from my space on the net. And then it hit me - share my life. Not just the adventures I go on, but the experiences and everything I learn along the way.
And with all the stuff going on right now – trust me, there will be no shortage of adventures and experiences!

On Jenn and the City, I'm going to continue sharing my adventures, and in addition, I will also be opening up about love, relationships and life and all the experiences in between.
And of course, everything Toronto. I love this city. I love the diversity and all it has to offer. I enjoy finding new, and “new to me” neighborhoods and establishments and thoroughly enjoy sharing them with you!

Jenn and the City is also where I'm going to pull back the curtain even more and let you get an even better behind the scenes look at my life. Be sure to check out the video page and subscribe to my new YouTube channel!

My friends and family often come to me for advice. I also quite often offer it up without hesitation. From dating and relationships, to weekend getaways and where to find the best chicken wings in the city - I love helping others find what they are looking for. So I'll be sharing some of that on Jenn and the City as well.

Really, in a nutshell, Jenn and the City will bring you the same old Jenn Jenn that you already know and love (or tolerate, whatever) - except, I'll be stepping it up a notch or two!

Thanks for sticking around and I cannot wait to share all there is to come.

March 25, 2015

Sustainable Eating With The Green Living Show

Last week I was invited out to the media preview event, The Mindful Plate at Hawthorne Restaurant. The Mindful Plate was the exclusive food preview of the 2015 Green Living Show, which runs March 27-29 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. 

Join some of Toronto's most talented chefs as they re-imagine gourmet dishes using commonly overlooked ingredients: food scraps that never make it to the pan, vegetables that never make it to the supermarket and meat parts that often end up in the bin. 

I needed a little hair of the dog, on account of my St. Paddy's Day adventures the night before, so first up was a sampling of wines from GreenLane Estate Winery, Southbrook Vineyards and Stanners Vineyard

Because, wine - obvs.

The next station was filled with some brewskiis from Steam Whistle Brewing, Black Oak Brewing Co., and Stone City Ales. I passed on these though, and stuck with my wine. 

I was immediately drawn to the Vegan Bread Pudding with Ugly fruit Compote from Chef Daniel Holloway at Urban Acorn because of the bright red sauce drizzled atop.

Urban Acorn also served up some Cred Cow Tongue Sliders with Haitian Pikliz. As much as I am trying to broaden my horizons, and try new things - I did pass on this dish. 

March 20, 2015

We Made It! FriYAY!

Another week under our belts, kids. Is it me or has this week dragged on? 

I blame the mid-week St. Paddy's Day celebrations!

After another busy week running through the six with my woes about town, I can't wait to share all my fun times with you!

Tonight I'm heading to the 8th anniversary party for my friends over at Instigator Communications. I have a few things lined up this weekend as well, but most importantly I'll be heading out to Btown to hang out with the family for a bit tomorrow. #excited

How adorable is my niece!? LOVE HER!

A video posted by Jennifer Decan (@awesomejennjenn) on

Last week I checked out the launch of some new products coming from Vichy. Very excited to see how well they work after a week of continual use. I've slacked on my beauty regime, but apparently that didn't matter too much because someone was utterly shocked by my age on Tinder.

Yeah...I've got a few of these Tinder/dating stories to share with you...stay tuned, because they're hilarious. 

I mentioned a little while ago that some changes will be coming, and believe me - they are on the way. Just working out some final details on the back end of things. 

I really appreciate you sticking along through my journeys over the past year and cannot wait to share this next one with you!

Until then...here are some links from around the interwebs that I found fun/amusing/interesting/blah blah blah.

Don't forget to enter my contest to win a Chef's Platter from Smoque N' Bones! 

Love ya lots! xoxo

Read. Laugh. Enjoy. Share. 

March 19, 2015

Bring On The Meat Sweats With Smoque N Bones!

I want my baby back, baby back, baby back ribs.

I visited Smoque N' Bones awhile back, with Yelp. That night we were given some delicious treats off of the menu to try and I've been wanting to go back ever since! 

So when I was invited out to try out some of the new menu options...I was more than eager.

I will gladly be the guinea pig taste testing new Southern BBQ food. No problem!

Did you know Smoque N' Bones does brunch?! Peach stuffed french toast, anyone? Yes, please! 

Who's up for a brunch date? Anyone? Bueller? No? Awkward. Moving along...

When my sister and I arrived we were brought to our reserved seats right in front of the carving station.  The hot seat! The best seats in the house! 

As soon as we sat down, these bad boy briskets came out. I was immediately worried, (read: excited) that that would be our dinner. One for each of us! LOL

Alas...it was not.

I spoke with Alexandria, Chef Alex's partner in crime. I asked her what cocktails she would suggest. Which was her favourite, and which was a crowd favourite. 

We ended up ordering a Maple Bacon Old Fashioned and a Not So Traditional Bourbon Sour

Maple Bacon Old Fashioned:
Everything's better with bacon, even the original cocktail. Bacon infused bourbon, maple syrup, walnut and orange bitters. Garnished with a cherry and an orange twist.

Not So Traditional Bourbon Sour:
Simple and dependable. An excellent initiation drink for bourbon virgins and die hard devotees alike. Fresh lemon juice, vanilla-infused syrup, Jim Bean Black with a frosted egg white head.

Side note: I saved the bacon in my Maple Bacon Old Fashioned for last and it was a delicious, alcoholic slice of bacon. 


First up was the Cobb Salad. I didn't know they had this, but apparently it's been voted the best in Toronto! So we were excited to dig in! Loaded with avocado, corn, eggs, tomatoes, red onion, blue cheese and chicken - this salad was a meal in itself! 

Chef Alex wanted us to try it because people often forget that Smoque N Bones actually serves salad, apparently. LOL

Next up, Chef Alex surprised with a dish that is not on their menu...yet! Bacon wrapped chicken brushed with their in-house made BBQ sauce.

Yes. Bacon. Wrapped. Chicken.

Heaven...in my mouth. I couldn't get enough! This was so good! My sister and I may have fought over the last piece.

I won. Obvs. #spoiled

Just when I thought I had tasted heaven...Chef Alex presented us with a platter that looked like it was sent down from the meat Gods themselves

My jaw hit the ground.

Bring on the meat sweats!

This massive platter came with half a BBQ chicken, beans...

Collard greens...pork ribs...

Onion rings, mac and cheese, cornbread with sweet butter...

Caramelized onions, beef brisket...and...wait for it...

Beef ribs. Yes. ALL of that was on one platter for us. You can get a Sampler Platter yourself when you visit with your choice of 3 meats, and 3 sides for only $48.90. That's less than $25 a person! You can't afford not to buy it! LOL

As we were busy stuffing our faces eating like the classy ladies we are, I was chatting with Chef Alex. He let me know the beef ribs were new to the menu. He is very particular about what he serves and he only wants to serve the best. So, therefore, he has made a deal with a supplier to supply him with only the best cuts. Trust me - if he has them in stock - order them. 

They were fall off the bone, melt in your mouth delicious.

Chef Alex also let me in on a little secret! They're working on a late night menu, that'll be served until 2am in the brand spanking new bar area they are opening up upstairs! 

In addition to the late night menu, Chef Alex is always working on new recipes and ways to add to their existing menu.

I'm sitting here with my fingers crossed hoping those bacon wrapped chicken bites make it on there! *drools*

You can see the full cocktail menu for Smoque N' Bones HERE

Now, you know I love you, and now you know I love Smoque N' Bones...so...I've partnered with them to offer you the chance to win a delicious Chef's Platter for yourself (and a friend, if you so choose to invite someone along)! 

Simply enter through the Rafflecopter widget below.

Tweet me and let me know if you would pick either beef or pork ribs! 

Good luck, and happy eating!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

March 11, 2015

Fraud Prevention Month with Interac Canada

Did you know that March is Fraud Prevention Month here in Canada? 

Last week I was invited out to The Carbon Bar with Interac Canada to learn about payment security and how we can protect ourselves against fraud when using Interac

As someone who uses Interac debit almost exclusively for all of my purchases, I was very interested to learn more about fraud prevention! Throw in a delicious meal at a restaurant I have been wanting to check out - and we'll call that a great way to spend a Friday evening!

We were set up in the private dining area, the Green Room and presented with a fixed menu to choose from. As I've mentioned - I'm all up for trying new things nowadays, so I went with the Crisp Frog Legs, Dry Aged NY Striploin and Fried Apple Turnover with Cheddar Ice Cream.

...ribbit, ribbit... 

As we were eating, the team from Interac presented to us and told us all about the innovations and steps Interac is taking to protect our money.

What Did I Learn? 

Here in Canada, only $0.01 is lost for every $10,000 spent. Giving us one of the lowest fraud rates in the world! In 2014, 99.999% of all transactions on the Interac network were legit. That's pretty darn impressive! 

In 2014, Interac debit card holders made 4.9 billion transactions worth $211 billion on the Interac network. In that same time period, Interac debit card fraud (as a result of skimming), dropped to $16.2 million. And, only $3.2 million of that was here in Canada.

That's a decrease of 88% from 2009.

You can learn more about Interac security HERE. 

I've always been hesitant to have an Interac debit card with the "tap payment" option, Interac Flash. I was always worried that if it was ever stolen/lost, someone could ring up excess charges, simply by tapping my card. But, I learned - that is not the case! There is actually a $200 limit on tap payments in any 24-hour period, and $100 for any one-time charge. 

Have you heard of the "dark web"? How about .onion sites? These are the types of sites nightmares are made of! Hackers steal your information and list them on "black market-esque" sites for people to buy. Scary stuff out there on the interwebs, I tell ya! The good thing about using your Interac debit card online is that whenever you do, none of your information is stored - anywhere. It's not shared with the retailers and, heaven forbid something does go wrong - Interac never holds you responsible for your losses if something out of your control happens. That's the benefit to Interac's Zero Liability Policy.

If you want to learn more, and stay up to date on all the innovations Interac is bringing to help keep your money safe - follow the hashtag #FPM2015 on Twitter, and check out interac.ca

March 09, 2015

Top 10 Pantry Essentials

Ok, let's be honest here for a second. We all know I'm not a fan of cooking. This is a well documented fact. 

I'm just not. 

I mean, I know how to cook - I would just prefer not to. 

As of this morning, my fridge literally only has water, wine, and pickles in it. LOL True story

That being said, I know how important it is to have certain things always on hand. A properly stocked pantry with versatile essentials that can be used in a pinch, when needed. Pantry essentials that are perfect to throw together a quick, simple meal or treat. I threw the question out on Twitter, and got a lot of feedback from some of my followers on what they always have in stock in their pantries. 

So, I thought I would share my list of pantry essentials too! Whether it's a simple pasta dinner, a healthy snack, or a nice cup of tea, these are my top 10 pantry essentials that I always have on hand.

Top 10 Pantry Essentials

1. Peanut Butter

I don't care what you say - you are never too old to sit and nibble on a spoonful of peanut butter. Just ask my grandmother, who loves this snack! Peanut butter is healthy for you, and full of the "healthy fat", making it a perfect snack. Plus - who doesn't love PB & J sandwiches? Right?

2. Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a quick and easy breakfast option. I avoid the instant, flavoured kinds because they are loaded with sugar and additives. I stick with the steel-cut oats, which are easy to make and have been shown to help lower cholesterol. You can add fruit or brown sugar to sweeten the dish as well. If you are looking for a delicious breakfast recipe, try this 5-Minute Oatmeal Power Bowl. Because, when breakfast only takes 5 minutes to make, you can sleep in just a tad longer. #winning

3. Frozen Berries

Frozen berries are always stocked in my freezer. Always. I tend to have frozen strawberries, blueberries and raspberries on hand. Frozen berries are one of those pantry essentials that are versatile. You can add them to your oatmeal in the morning, you can make smoothies, and really - almost any recipe that calls for fruit can be substituted with frozen fruit. Plus, frozen fruit doesn't spoil as quickly as fresh fruit, and still holds in all the nutrients and antioxidants.   

Top 10 Pantry Essentials

March 06, 2015

Happy Friday And All That Good Stuff

Ahh, Toronto - as much as I may complain about certain things (who doesn't complain about the TTC though?) - I love ya! 

Happy birthday, baby!

I've had yet another busy week - and I love it! It seems my schedule is backwards, compared to my non-blogger friends. LOL Monday - Friday I'm a busy bee, with work and events in the evenings. Then, come Saturday and Sunday - I tend to hibernate with my bae (Netflix) and stay inside - while everyone else is going out.

Random, but amusing, nonetheless. LOL

Anywho...it's been awhile since I did a Friday round up of some of my favourites from across the web....so I thought I'd throw another one out there. 

Don't forget to Spring Forward this weekend! 

Read. Laugh. Enjoy. Share. 

March 04, 2015

Oh, Hi Guys!

Oh, hi guys! Just wanted to give a minor update...

I haven't been posting as often here because I am in the middle of redesigning the site. There are going to be some changes coming to the old blog-a-roo soon. Not just the design, but also in what content I share with you. I can't wait to share these changes with you!

I'm so excited!

Anywho...tonight I am off to learn about fraud prevention with Interac at The Carbon Bar. I'm almost exclusively use Interac debit for any and all purchases...so, this should be interesting! Oh - and I've been dying to try out The Carbon Bar too...so, win win!

Tomorrow night I'm heading to Smoque N Bones for a private dinner. Chef Alex is going to whip up my guest and I some delicious treats, including some of the new menu items! #BringOnTheMeatSweats

See you on the flip side! 


February 25, 2015

McClelland Premium Imports at Origin St. James

Last week I was invited out to Origin St. James for a private, intimate dinner with McClelland Premium Imports. Never having been to Origin, and only trying limited McClelland Imports, I was excited to see what was in store. 

I was the first to arrive, and if you know me - you know that NEVER happens! So I took some time to capture some shots before everyone else showed up. We had a private room in the back of the restaurant set up for our event. This worked out well later on because Guy McClelland, of McClelland Premium Imports was the one walking us through the seven (yes, seven!) course dinner pairings. 

Having the private area made the whole event more intimate.

The beginning of the night...clean, clear table...

As I mentioned, dinner was a whopping seven courses! Now, another fun JJ fact, and if you know me or follow me on Twitter - you'll know that I have been somewhat of a picky eater. I haven't tried many different dishes and this is something I am actively trying to work on. So I went into this dinner thinking to myself, "Whatever comes out - you're trying. No more hesitating!" And that is exactly what I did! I tried, and ate every single one of the dishes served. 

Next I want to try Indian food!

Loaded lobster potato skins + Delirium aioli paired with Stiegl Lager

First Course

A loaded lobster potato skin and Delirium aioli paired with a Stiegl Lager. Well, of course the first dish would be served with something I despise (mayo). But, alas, I dig in anyways and to my surprise - I didn't hate it! LOL

Stiegl Lager is an award winning Austrian lager made in accordance with the Bavarian Purity Law of 1516. Meaning - it only has 3 ingredients: barley malt, hops and water. 

February 18, 2015

Cheers to the Ladies of The Oscars

The Oscars are coming! The Oscars are coming!

Time to get ready for one of the most fabulous red carpets of the year...oh, yeah, and the show itself, I suppose. LOL

Over the years - I have hosted a couple Oscars viewing parties. I can't think of a better way to watch The Academy Awards than sitting at home, surrounded by friends and sipping delicious cocktails. Gossiping exchanging thoughts on the dresses, the speeches and memorable moments that are bound to happen. And of course, checking in on Twitter to see what everyone else is thinking!

But, as delicious as a good vodka-soda can be, how awesome would it be to step up your cocktail game and impress your guests with some specialty cocktails inspired by the leading ladies of The Oscars themselves? Well, rest assured - because my lovely friends at Iceberg Vodka have created some delicious cocktails for this occasion!

"Today’s leading ladies continue to impress, bringing a complexity and depth of talent to their performances worthy of a celebration."
Be sure to follow along on Twitter using the hashtag #Oscars and let @AwesomeJennJenn, @Iceberg, and @TheAcademy know which of these delicious cocktails you'll be sipping on and, of course, who you think is best dressed. Obvs. 

Iceberg Vodka Cocktails

Marion Cotillard: The French Kiss

This cocktail is an ode to Marion’s French elegance with striking colours that mimic the iconic hue of her red lips.

2 oz. Iceberg Vodka
0.5 oz. Chambord
1 tbsp. Simple Syrup (equal parts boiled water and sugar)
2 tbsp. Cranberry Juice
3 Raspberries
Lime wedge

Muddle four raspberries in a cocktail shaker, then add ice, Iceberg Vodka, Chambord, simple syrup and cranberry juice. Shake well and strain into a rocks glass with ice.   Garnish with raspberries and lime wedge.  Enjoy!