Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Book Club - The Cook And The Gardener by Amanda Hesser

"Despite rain and cold, our minds turn toward lighter thoughts of sun, flowers, fresh air, even the prosaic prospect of wearing less clothing."

"We entered the long, narrow garden through a delicate wrought-iron arch tangled with climbing roses.  Her garden does not open up and show itself all at once.  It is filled with caches and surprises."

"The hunters are given the forest one day a week, but that is all.  It is mushroom season, after all."


I bought this years ago after I read her other book Cooking for Mr. Latte.  I had to special order The C&G and it took months to show up......and it has sat on various shelves ever since.  I read it for the Summer Reading Challenge Category Picked at random off the library shelf, but instead of off the library shelf, if was picked from my own shelf. 
It was ok.  I liked Cooking for Mr. Latte much better.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Something I Like - To Laugh and Learn

I love all the above people and their projects and you might too, if you don't already.
I won't talk about them individually other than to say that Nanette by Hannah Gadsby is so powerful and amazing.  It should be required viewing for EVERYONE. 

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Book Club - Vinyl Cafe Unplugged by Stuart McLean

"The two of them thew their snowballs at almost the same moment, and they both laughed in wonder when they collided in mid-air, spraying snow like a shower of icy fireworks through the silence of the night."

"Dave smiled and looked back at the letter in front of him.
I will go out and visit them after supper, he added
And I will write again soon.
Love, he wrote.
Love, Dave"

"Love never ends."


I bought this book early this year because I thought that one of the stories in it had a quote that I wanted to use for my Mom's memorial folder at her service.
I couldn't find the quote I wanted - I remembered the story wrong, so I put the book aside for a while before reading it.  
When the Summer Reading Challenge came along I picked this one for By a Canadian Author.

Friday, August 03, 2018

The Good, The Good and The Ugly.

I made these muffins to use up some apples that were on the cusp of becoming inedible - I was very pleased with how they turned out, and as you'll see in a moment, they saved my bacon..... 
But first -
I've altered this a bit from a recipe saved from Taste of Home

Apple Pie Muffins

3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 large egg
1 cup buttermilk
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 cups chopped and peeled apples
For the tops -
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350'. 
Beat together the brown sugar, oil and egg.  Mix in the buttermilk. Add in flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.  Stir to combine, and then add the chopped apples.  
Spoon into muffin cups, about 2/3 full.
Mix brown sugar, cinnamon and butter. Spoon onto muffins.
Bake 18-22 minutes until done.

I also made these Brown Butter Cinnamon Crinkle Cookies for a Sunday dinner.  I didn't have any chocolate to make chocolate chip cookies (always the favorite around here) so I hunted down something new, and it was a surprise hit with the fam.  Try them here.

Lastly, I made a batch of Dorie Greenspan's brownies for a bake sale.  The morning of the sale I went to remove them from the pan and they were stuck SOLID.  I frantically pried and chiseled at them for a while before having to accept defeat.  I think a bunch of stuff went wrong with this batch - I should have used parchment paper in the pan, our new(ish) oven is a bit finicky and I think I baked them too long, and I wonder if using up the bits and bobs I had of chocolate - milk, dark, and white - could have factored in?  No idea.  But there was no way I could take these to the bake sale and I didn't want to show up empty handed, so instead I packed up 6 of the apple muffins from the top of the post and took those instead. 

Thank goodness for extra baking the freezer!

Monday, July 30, 2018

Coffee Shake

I don't like coffee. I don't know if I've mentioned that before, but it's true.
 I don't drink hot coffee in any form and never have.
For a while I would have the very rare frappuccino from Starbucks, but not often - they are so rich - and a Ice Cap from Tim Horton's occasionally.

During my last pregnancy we had to drive to Vancouver for some hospital appointments and my treat for having to sit in a car for hours, go get poked and prodded and then drive hours back home was a sausage and cheese mcmuffin from McDonald's and a small ice cap from Tim Hortons. Memories!

While I was on maternity leave I indulged in Ice Caps a little more often, then stopped after the caffeine started making me queasy, but then started up again.
And so here I am, with a kinda sorta Ice Cap habit that I am trying to break for both the sake of my wallet AND my chubby little bod.
Speaking of my bod, a medium ice cap has 360 calories, 15 grams of fat and 47 grams of sugar. Eeeeeeeeeek.
So I've been experimenting with making my own coffee shake at work in the mornings.

I have my Magic Bullet from Christmas 2008 (!!!) base at work  so in the mornings I fill my cup with the ingredients except the ice, which goes into a plastic bag, and then at work I whizz it up.

It is definitely less decadent than a store bought drink, but it still feels like a treat.

1 cup milk
1 tb brown sugar
2 tb cocoa powder
1 tb instant coffee
handful ice cubes

Mix.  Whizz.

I threw the ingredients into a calorie calculator and here's what it said to me - 
192 calories, 6 grams of fat and 24 grams sugar.  

Not bad, and definitely better than the drive thru options.