Leons Hello Holiday

This year, we had the honor of contributing to Leons Hello Holiday Magazine. You can pick up your free copy at an LCBO with Food & Drink Magazine, or at any Leons location. If it's cold out and you're not going anywhere, HERE is a link to an online copy.
Tons of talented Canadians poured their hearts into this magazine, and it's full of holiday inspiration for your home and entertaining this season. Enjoy!

Grandma Josephine's classic holiday recipe with a modern twist
We know the holiday season has arrived when the rich scent of Grandma’s delicious almond cake fills the kitchen. Every year our family waits for a taste of this warm Torta di Mandorla straight from the oven. She makes her bundt cake with a classic royal icing drip, so we decided to honor the simplicity of her tradition while adding a fun and modern topper to make it extra beautiful.

Grandma’s Almond Cake | Torta di Mandorla
For the cake, you will need:
  • 2 1/3 cups ground almonds
  • 1 3/4 cups of sugar
  • 150 grams of salted butter at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 7 eggs, yolk & whites separated
  • Bertolini Lievito Vanigliato 16 Gram Packet 
  • 1 shot of rum
• Preheat over to 350F.
• With electric mixer cream butter and sugar together adding one egg yolk at a time.
• Beat 15-20 minutes with a mixer until very smooth.
• Beat egg whites in a separate bowl for 1 minute.
• Add flour & egg whites.
• Beat for a couple of minutes
• Add ground almonds, Bertolini packet, and rum.
• Mix until incorporated.
• Coat pan generously with non-stick spray
• Bake 1 hour
**Because every oven is different after 60 minutes check the cake by sticking a long skewer in it. If it comes out clean it's ready, if not add other 10 minutes. Do not exceed 80 minutes.
• Let the cake cool for 25 minutes in the pan before removing it.
Cake Assembly:
  • 1 mini gingerbread house kit
  • 2 cups of icing sugar
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons tbsp of half and half
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Fresh or dried greens and flowers
  1. Bake cake according to Grandma Josephine’s recipe above.
  2. While your cake is in the oven, build your mini gingerbread house according to box instructions.
  3. Make a powdered sugar glaze by sifting icing sugar, and mix in the melted butter. Stir until combined, then add half and half and vanilla until smooth.
  4. Once the cake has cooled, pour glaze over the bundt cake.
  5. After the glaze has dried, place your gingerbread house on the cake and embellish with greens and flowers.
  • Bertolini Lievito Vanigliato 16 Gram Packet can be purchased at Italian food stores.
  • Even if you're tempted to take a peek, don't open the oven until the 60-minute mark.
  • Bake on the middle rack of your oven on Bake, not Convection.
  • Grandma bakes from memory, she doesn't follow a written recipe. We created this by watching her bake the cake, documenting her process, and testing it ourselves. Each time Grandma makes her Torta Di Mandorla, it's a little bit different.
*This is a sponsored post

Weekend Vibes with Bed Bath & Beyond

I hope you're having a wonderful long weekend!

I've partnered with Bed Bath & Beyond to share some fun and affordable outdoor entertaining pieces with you. this fabulous cooler cart is so convenient for patio parties, and way prettier than my bulky blue cooler.  I also found this amazing pineapple picnic blanket, which is so fun hanging as a party backdrop. This stuff is clearly the beyond part of Bed Bath & Beyond. It folds into a blanket with a built in handle. So fancy.
I also found this shatterproof flamingo stemware and marble tray which helps keep the glasses cool in the sun.
I'm a sucker for marble, so I had to pick up this wine holder. Today, it's a vase for flowers. So pretty right?
I had no idea Bed Bath and Beyond had some stylish home decor pieces. I am contemplating using my new gorgeous pouf inside once weather gets cold. 
I hope you're all having a beautiful long weekend. 


*This post is in partnership with Bed Bath & Beyond. All opinions here are my own.

Simple Summer DIY with CBC Life

Hi! Mercedes here, I know it's been a while and I miss you tons. Sharing this simple floral pineapple DIY with you for your next party! 

Here's what you'll need:
  • Heavy duty kitchen knife
  • Cutting board
  • Large bowl
  • Water
  • Floral foam block (can be found at stores like Walmart and Michaels)
  • Fresh florals and leaves
  • One large pineapple
Here's how to do it:

  1. Stand pineapple up on your cutting board and use a large knife to carefully remove the crown, cutting on an angle.
  2. Remove remaining pineapple fruit from inside with knife.  
  3. Soak floral foam block in a large bowl of water as per directions on label.
  4. Cut floral foam block with knife until it fits snugly into your pineapple.
  5. Grab fresh florals and trim off the larger stems before carefully sticking them into the floral foam block. Arrange and add florals until you achieve your desired look.

XO Mercedes

Canada is 150!

Happy Canada Day!

If you're looking last minute ideas to celebrate Canada's 150th this weekend, check out the ridiculously stereotypical Canadian table scape I created for CBC Life.  All the details are over on their blog. 

My favourite Canadian dessert are BeaverTails®, so made my own version of the fried dough pastry. If you want this recipe to take no time at all, pick up a a pre made pizza dough from your grocery store. I stretched out the dough to the shape I wanted, fried in vegetable oil, and topped with classic BeaverTail® toppings!
Hope you have a beautiful long weekend, Canadian friends. :-)

Leons Hello Sunshine is here!

If you follow The Party Parade on Instagram you've probably seen my sneak peaks of the she shed TJ and I created for Leons Hello Sunshine Magazine. Well today, beautiful copies are available at LCBO locations (with Food & Drink)!
It's obvious how much love and hard work went into the magazine from the creators (Autumn & Melissa), to the brilliant bloggers who have featured their room makeovers in it.  It's truly a visual treat, and a great read thanks to Sabrina Smelko.

Click through the magazine HERE or better yet head to your nearest LCBO and grab a hard copy. Flip to page 10 and read why my she shed was brought to life by TJ and I.

I also suggest you read until the end because on the very last page you'll learn how to
WIN A $3, 000 ROOM MAKEOVER created by bloggers featured in Hello Sunshine Magazine, courtesy of LEONS! 
Say what!? Can I enter?!
Much love, 


*This is a sponsored post.

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