Friday, December 31, 2010


One of my favorite things to do on New Years Day is get my new calendar ready to put up in the kitchen - to move all the important dates to the calendar, but also look back at what happened in the past year.

The last quarter of 2010 has been really bad for my family.  I am glad to see this year go and am struggling to hold on to hope that 2011 will be better.

I'm not doing that end of year "meme" (ugh) anymore, instead I thought I'd tell you about my resolutions and some other stuff.

Last year my resolutions were pretty much the same as the few years before; lose weight, not worry so much, be more organized.  Shockingly I did not succeed on any of them.

This year my resolutions/hopes are:

Be kind.  To myself. 
Everyone is their own worst critic, but I am incredibly, horribly hard on myself.  I have had a tough few months and my inner critic has made them even harder.  So I resolve to stop it.  And be nice. 
It will be interesting to see if I can do it.

Be more organized.
I completely fail at this every year and it is a source of stress for me.  I am going to try very very hard to fix this.  Supposedly I am a grown up, so I should act like one.

Watch better tv.
I don't watch much tv anymore, what with chasing a 13 month old boy around 24 hours a day, but many nights after the baby is asleep and the house is "clean" and I've done my exercise, I flop in front of the tv and watch whatever is on.  It's an alright way to pass a hour or so, but I'd rather feel enlightened or productive in that time.  I've recently started watching documentaries while I am on our elliptical machine and I am enjoying it.  I saw the first season of  Everest: Beyond the Limit on Netflix and was completely spellbound. These people who risk their lives and the lives of others to climb a mountain! I must admit it's led to a bit of an Everest obsession with me. (PS If anyone knows how I can see/buy seasons 2 and 3 (I think that's it?) of this PLEASE let me know. I can't find them anywhere.)

Read more.
It's hard to read when you have a small kid that you can't take your eyes off of because if you do he'll go stick his hands in the toilet or try to climb up the bookshelf or just fall over and bonk his head. It's been a long time since I've read a book and most of the time I don't even read the paper. I am trying to change that, and surprise surprise, I'm currently reading Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer, which is about Everest.

Get in better shape (lose weight).
I am slooooooooowly working on this and that's all I'll say, because talking about it makes me feel more awkward and uncomfortable that I already am. But I am trying.

Learn stuff. Everyday.
This is a general, all purpose one. I want to watch shows that teach me and read books and websites that interest me. I want to find beauty and joy in life. I am excited to be taking a night class for the next couple of months and I hope that I can further my education after that, even if it's one course at a time.

Huh. That might be it. Well, let's call that it as this has taken me far longer than I thought it would and it's time to turn off the computer and get ready to push 2010 out the door and welcome 2011 with open arms.

I wish you and yours all the best tonight. Be safe.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Reverb 10, Day 26/Christmas Dinner

December 26 – Soul Food What did you eat this year that you will never forget? What went into your mouth & touched your soul? (Author: Elise Marie Collins)

Well I love food and I love most kinds but the best meal that sticks in my head right now is from last night, Christmas Dinner.

If you've read here for a while you know that I've convinced my family to have non-traditional Christmas dinners the past few years. We've had Swedish (2006), French Canadian (2007), Italian (2008), and last year we had Turducken.

This year we went Hawaiian.

Back in 2007 we went on a family holiday to Hawaii, one of the best trips of my life.  We went to a luau and ate at local restaurants when we ate out and really enjoyed the food.  So for our dinner this year I wanted to recreate some of the dishes we had on our trip.

We made Kalua Pig.

Kalua Pig is made with liquid smoke, Hawaiian salt and Ti or Banana leaves.  Bizarrely enough we had Hawaiian salt (from our trip) in the cupboard and banana leaves (from Calgary) in the freezer. 

We bought some decorations from the dollar store.

We started our dinner with Coconut Shrimp and Bacon Wrapped Pineapple.

We had Kalua Pig,

And Chicken Long Rice,

And Maui Ribs,

We also had rice, Cucumber Salad and Pineapple Coleslaw, but I can't find any photos of the salads.

For dessert my Mom made Pineapple Upside down Cake.

The food was all fantastic and over the next week I will share the recipes with you, but the best part was having a great dinner with my family. I am thankful I have them and thankful that they are nice enough to forgo a Turkey Dinner on Christmas Day to play along with me.

(Yep, we've already started on our menu for next year!)

Friday, December 24, 2010


A Happy Holidays to you all. I hope you have a wonderful time with your loved ones.

The Christmas Dinner Plan!

We are working on getting our dinner ready. This is probably the biggest dinner we've prepared. There will be 5 meats. Yeah, I said 5.

Peace and love. Stay safe!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Bread Baking Babe-aversary

The Bread Baking Babes anniversary is coming up in February and we'd like YOU to pick the Anniversary Bread recipe for February 2011.

* What's your favorite bread?
* What bread haven’t you ever been able to get to turn out the way you want?
* What bread scares you the most?
* What's the bread recipe you’ve baked the most?
* What bread do you dream about baking?
* What bread do you...?

Scour your bread-baking cookbooks, recipe boxes and bread-baking sites to make your choice. We’ll ask you to submit your desired recipe soon. And after we've narrowed the list down to a manageable number of choices, we’ll ask you to vote on one for us to bake and post for our anniversary in February.

Please email your bread recipe/link to me at iliketocook AT shaw DOT ca


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Reverb 10, day 22

December 22 – Travel How did you travel in 2010? How and/or where would you like to travel next year? (Author: Tara Hunt)

Let's talk about my boy, who took plane(s), train(s), boats and automobiles this year.  We didn't go anywhere exotic, but we did have a good time.  
Pax visited Vancouver and area, Sun Peaks, Salmon Arm, Calgary.......that might be it.

He saw the ocean.  He had his toes dipped in the lake.  He met my aunt and uncle (his great aunt and uncle).   He saw his Grandmother and his aunts, uncles and cousins.  He met some of his parents old friends.  Some of his grandparents friends too.  He wore his little tux onesie when his best auntie and uncle got married. 

We have no illusions of exciting trips in 2011.  I hope for at least 2 trips to Calgary to visit family, that's it.

3 recipes you should try

We had a pre-Christmas dinner at my parents house on the weekend, so we could all get our turkey fix before our nontraditional dinner on the 25th.  Of course I didn't take any photos, and I'm steamed about that because it was fantastic and delicious.  They made turkey, carrots cooked in mango juice (I think), brussel sprouts with bacon, mashed potatos and raisin bread stuffing.  And gravy.  The stuffing and the potatos were the best of a stellar bunch.  I found the recipes on
I'd never had stuffing with meat in it before, and didn't think it was very appealing, but this was really really good. The only think I personally would do differently would be to cut the sausages smaller.

Also I squeezed in one more tasty treat after my 3 cookies I shared with you. I made Saltine Cracker Candy and it was amazing! Easy and delicious.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Nigella's Rapid Ragu-ish

I am in a new area of what kind of food I am cooking - it has to be cheap/I have most of the ingredients already, and it should be something that the baby can also eat. I thought I had a package of ground beef in the freezer so I marked Nigella's Rapid Ragu to make last week. I don't eat lamb, but I knew this would be tasty with beef. Turns out we didn't have any ground beef but there was some ground turkey, so I used that.

Also, you can't buy jarred caramelized onions here, so I just made my own from half an onion, and I didn't have green lentils but red. And I didn't use Marsala, or have cheddar cheese. But other than that it was just like hers!

It was really really good, all 3 of us liked it and I will make it again.  

Reverb 10, day 20

December 20 – Beyond Avoidance What should you have done this year but didn’t because you were too scared, worried, unsure, busy or otherwise deterred from doing? (Bonus: Will you do it?) (Author: Jake Nickell)

I am in many areas of my life, horribly unorganized.  We have a little office at home where we keep the bills, paperwork, important stuff, etc.  I am mostly in charge of it and it always looks like a cyclone has just shot through the room.  Every once in a while I get it almost clean, almost completely put together but I just don't get is quite all done.  And then it all gets messy and crappy again.  It makes me tired.

Will I do it?  Keep it clean and tidy and organized in 2011 and beyond?  Let's hope so.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Reverb 10, Day 18

December 18 – Try What do you want to try next year? Is there something you wanted to try in 2010? What happened when you did / didn’t go for it? (Author: Kaileen Elise)

I had started thinking in the summer that I'd like to take a class in....something, but wasn't sure exactly what.
I'm happy to say, as you've already read if you're following my reverb posts, that next month I am taking a night class at the university, and I hope to take another one in the early spring, if I can.  I am excited.

I was hoping to cross a few more things off my life list.  Although I know many of them are pipe dreams that will never happen (going to Spain, Italy, Churchill, etc), but here are a couple of things I hope to accomplish in 2011 that are either on my list or related to it.
Run the Terry Fox run in September.
Make a baby blanket for my will be born in May nephew
Make cheese
Take the Mondo Beyondo Class

What are YOU going to do in 2011?

Cooking Book 5 - Project Notebook.

5 more recipes from Book 5 -

Well this is annoying.  I'm not actually sure which recipe this is.  Until I figure it out, let's call this "Chicken".

Nope, not embarrassed about that all all.

Aha!  I know this dish - Thai Pineapple Fried Rice, Young Thailand Cookbook.

So very very delicious. This is a cookbook to be owned, people.

Chinese BBQ Drumsticks, source unknown

1/2 cup bbq sauce
2 tb hoisin sauce
1 tb sesame oil
12 chicken drumsticks
1 lime

Preheat the oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with foil.
In a bowl mix the bbq sauce, hoisin and oil. Add chicken and toss to coat.
Place chicken on baking sheet and drizzle with remaining sauce.
Bake for 40-45 minutes.
Squeeze lime over the chicken and serve.

Broccoli Cheese Soup, Me

1/2 small red onion, chopped
1 tb oil
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 bunch broccoli florets, chopped up
1/2 cup milk
170 g shredded cheddar cheese

saute the onion in the oil until soft.  add the broth and broccoli and simmer, covered, until the broccoli is tender.  puree with an immersion blender or a regular blender.  return to low heat and stir in the milk and cheese.  stir until the cheese is melted.  season with salt and pepper if desired. 

Thai Chicken Fried Rice, Young Thailand Cookbook

Just like the other fried rice recipe above from the same book, so good. My 2 new favorite ways to use up leftover rice.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

bbb fail!

i can't believe i did it, but i did.  i totally forgot about the december bread baking buddies bread this month.

my apologies to all, especially to Ilva, the kitchen of the month.

please visit the babes, listed over there on the left to see their beautiful "Taralli Pugliesi".

Friday, December 17, 2010

Whipped peanut butter

A couple of months ago I received a jar of the newest peanut butter from Kraft, Whipped Peanut Butter. This stuff is pretty awesome, I have to tell you. It has a lighter and fluffier consistency than regular peanut butter. It's easier to spread, feels lighter in the mouth and mixes into other ingredients super well.

I abstained from peanut butter while I was pregnant and then nursing, so my favorite way to eat this is pretty much straight out of the jar! I really do like how easily scoopable and spreadable this is.

In addition to giant mouthfuls, we also made sandwiches and smoothies and pizzas with the new peanut butter.

Choco-pb smoothie

1 cup milk
1 frozen banana
3 tb chocolate syrup
2-3 tb whipped peanut butter
handful of ice cubes

Blend in a blender. Makes 2 glasses

Thai Chicken Pizza

I mixed the whipped peanut butter with hoisin sauce and spread it on a pre-baked pizza crust.  Then I topped it with sliced red bell pepper, slices of cooked chicken and shredded mozzarella cheese.  Bake until the crust is brown and the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Kraft Whipped Peanut Butter would also be good in these other recipes of mine:

Thursday, December 16, 2010

3 Days of Christmas Cookies

Day 3 - Vanilla Shortbread

1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup soft butter

Sift together the cornstarch, icing sugar, salt and flour. Blend in butter and vanilla until a soft smooth dough forms. Shape into 1" balls and chill 30 -60 minutes. Place 1 1/2" apart on a cookie sheet and flatten slightly with a floured fork. Bake 300' for 15-20 minutes. Transfer to a rack and cool.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Reverb 10, Day 15

December 15 – 5 Minutes Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2010. (Author: Patti Digh)

My Mom and my boy, Dec 2010.

I know there are those out there who would say my answer is "such a cliche" (I know this cause I've seen them complaining about others on Twitter) but my answer is all about my family.

Watching my boy grow and change from a little immobile slug to a crawling, nearly walking ball of terror (in a good way).
Watching my parents light up every time they see the baby.
Watching Scott's mother with her grandsons.
Watching my big guy and little guy together.

We've had some shitty (oh, so shitty) moments this year that I'd love to forget. But the amazing moments outweigh them by a jillion.

3 Days of Christmas Cookies

Day 2 - Buttery Almond Lace Cookies

Buttery Almond Lace Cookies - from Chatelaine

1/2 cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp orange juice
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten
1 cup sliced hazelnuts or almonds
1 tsp grated orange peel

Position oven racks in top and bottom thirds of oven. Preheat oven to 350F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat. Whisk in sugar, orange juice, flour and salt. Then whisk in beaten egg. Stir in nuts and orange peel. Mixture will be wet.
Drop 1 tsp batter for each cookie onto prepared sheets, about 2 in. apart. Batter will spread. Bake in top and bottom thirds of oven, switching and rotating sheets halfway through, until edges are golden brown and centres are light golden, 6 to 7 min. Repeat with remaining batter.
Cool cookies on baking sheets for 2 min. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week or freeze up to 1 month.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My 3 days of Christmas cookies

Day One - Nutchos

Nutchos from Best of Bridge

2 - 10 oz packages semisweet chocolate chips
10 oz package peanut butter chips
2 cups salted peanuts
7 oz ripple potato chips, coarsely crumbled

In a double boiler, melt chocolate and peanut butter chips. Stir in peanuts and crumbled chips. Drop onto cookie sheet and leave to cool. Store in refrigerator.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Reverb 10, Day 13

December 13 – Action When it comes to aspirations, it’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen. What’s your next step? (Author: Scott Belsky)

What's my next step?  My next step is next month when I begin to take the first of what I hope is many night classes at the University.
Go me! 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Some recipes I'm not making from Book 5

Not that there is anything wrong with these recipes, but I'm skipping making them for reasons of time, cost, seasonality, or just general I don't wanna.

Kir Royale, Barefoot Contessa.

Mango Sorbet, Barefoot Contessa.

Crisp and Spicy Snack Mix from Cooking Light

Fava Bean and Pasta Toss, Vegetarian Times.

Blood Orange Bellini, Mario Batali.

Reverb 10, Day 11

December 11 – 11 Things What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life? (Author: Sam Davidson)
Instead of saying what I DON'T need in 2011, here's 11 things I do need -

Eat less junk food.

Drink less fluids that are not water.

Worry less about what people think of me.

Concentrate more on what I think of me - in a positive way only.

Work on becoming more organized (again) and getting my sh*t in order.

Get a good budget going, and bills under control.

Build a wardrobe of clothes that I look good in.  Or decent.  Or passable.

Read.  Everyday.

Take a class in something.  Anything.

Be active everyday.

Be oh so thankful for all i have.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Cooking Book 5 (Project Notebook)

HA! I bet you thought I'd abandoned this project like so many before. Nope. It's just that this one is a little labor intensive, with having to match up the photos to the recipes in the book and write about it. Well, it's labor intensive for me.

Here's another 5 -

Mexican Bean Dip, American Heart Association

I made this up as a filling for quesadillas. It was easy and delicious.

Mexican Bean Dip
American Heart Association

16 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped parsley and cilantro
2 tb salsa
2 tb lime juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp chile powder
1/2 tsp cumin

Blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender until fairly smooth.

Creamed Spinach, unknown source

I'm glad I don't know the source for this as it wasn't very good. I won't make this again.

White Bean and Pasta Soup, American Heart Association

I made some changes to this to use up what I had on hand. Absolutely delicious. We've made variations on this a few times in the past couple of months.

Bean and Pasta Soup

1 15 oz can beans (I use white, kidney or black beans) rinsed and drained
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup diced tomato
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
3/4 cup small pasta shapes
parmesan cheese for serving
optional ingredients:
greens (like kale or spinach)
meat (i love chorizo)

Stir together the beans, broth, tomato and herbs in a pot over high heat. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Add the pasta and cook, covered, until the pasta is tender. If you are adding cooked greens or meat, add a couple of minutes before the pasta is done to heat them through. If adding raw kale, slice thinly and add at the same time as the noodles.

Marinated Grilled Beef, Young Thailand Cookbook

This was good, nothing spectacular. Slices of beef marinated briefly in soy, garlic, pepper and sugar, then grilled.

Shrimps with Chile and Basil, Young Thailand Cookbook

This is such an excellent recipe. I am not a huge shrimp fan (unless, sadly they are battered or breaded) but I enjoyed this very much.

Here's my version with a few changes

3 tb oil
1 tb minced garlic
1 pinch (or more) of dried chile flakes
16 good sized shrimps, peeled and deveined
1 red bell pepper, cut into squares
3 tb soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
4 tb water
1 tsp hoisin sauce
10 fresh basil leaves
1/2 tsp cornstarch
1 tb water

Heat the oil over high heat. Add the garlic and the chile flakes, shrimp and bell pepper. Stir fry for 1 minute. Add the soy sauce through hoisin sauce. Cook 1 minute more. Shred the basil leaves and stir them in. Mix the cornstarch and water and stir in. Cook until the sauce has thickened.

Tomorrow, a list of some I'm NOT making from the book.

Reverb 10, Day 10

December 10 – Wisdom. What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out? (Author: Susannah Conway)

My ongoing decision to get healthier.  I make this decision 18575474869 times per year.  Right now though, I feel like maybe it's sticking.  It's still a battle, because I'm an emotional person (and eater), but even though the progress is SLOW, I think, I know I'm making progress.  

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Reverb 10, Day 9

December 9 – Party Prompt: Party. What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans. (Author: Shauna Reid)

There was only one, because we are the farthest things from party-ers that there is. My sister and brother in law got married at the end of June.

Wedding Pie!

I was the MC for the event and I was petrified.  But after my first little speech I relaxed and started having fun.  If I might say, I was the hit of the night.  In fact a couple of months later when we were visiting the family again, my brother in law began to introduce me to a friend who interrupted him and said he remembered me as the funny MC from the wedding.

Funny ha-ha, not funny peculiar.  I assume.  I hope.


Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Reverb 10, Day 8

December 8 – Beautifully Different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful. (Author: Karen Walrond)

Ooof. I am not a person who can easily think positively about myself, especially lately. I've been struggling with this one since last night and finally I can do it, with Wordle's help.

I have a food blog. It isn't the best one out there but it's mine and I love it.

A "Word Cloud" from my blog 12/8/10

Monday, December 06, 2010

Reverb 10, Day 6

December 6 – Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it? (Author: Gretchen Rubin)

This is a bit of a coincidence as at the brunch we went to yesterday we made sugar scrubs! I was planning to share it with you, so I can do it now.

This is a super simple craft from Martha Stewart. Mix salt or sugar with a carrier oil (I used olive oil), scent with essential oil and color with food coloring if desired.
I made 3 - a blue scented with peppermint, pink scented with anise, and what was supposed to be a purple but ended up more brown with cinnamon (which is kind of fitting).  
I am putting these by the sink in the kitchen so I can give my hands a decadent scrub whenever needed. 

 I would really like to make a blanket for my will-be-born-in-May niece or nephew.  Besides not having time, I also can't knit, crochet or sew.  But still, I hope to actually do this project. 

Fruit Dip

We went to a Christmas brunch yesterday at a family friends house, and our contribution was to be a fruit salad. I am not a huge fruit salad fan as I think they always taste mushy. I looked briefly on the internet for a fruit salad recipe but I couldn't find anything that sounded appealing. Scott suggested doing a fruit tray with dip. What a clever man!

We did grapes, pineapple, apple and banana. The banana was sliced at the last minute to keep it from going mushy.

We made a fruit dip to go alongside.

Raspberry Friut Dip
adapted from Fit It and Enjoy It Healthy Cookbook

1 cup raspberries
1 cup light dessert topping
1 small container (approx 175 g/6 oz) raspberry yogurt
1/2 tsp or to taste ground ginger

Place the berries in a bowl and mash with a potato masher. Stir in the yogurt and topping. Add ground ginger to taste. Serve with fruit.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Reverb 10, Day 5

December 5 – Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why? (Author: Alice Bradley)

This is something I'm still working on.  Letting go of expectations of other people.  
People do not do, say, act what/how you think they should.  Just because someone is your friend/family/whatever does not mean they will always hit the bar you think they should.  

Don't expect it, and you may be pleasantly surprised.  And if you're not, then you're not getting yourself upset or mad about it.  Hopefully.  At least that is what I'm working towards. 

Saturday, December 04, 2010

December 4 – Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year? (Author: Jeffrey Davis)

Are you kidding? I live in a sense of wonder. Look at this guy.

Deep Dish Pizza

For years now we've wanted to try deep dish pizza. From what we'd seen from magazines and tv this kind of pizza was nothing like we'd had before. A sturdy, deep (of course) crust with the toppings put on in an unusual order - meat first, on the bare dough, followed by the cheese and then the tomato sauce, but lots and lots of it, not a thin layer. It sounded interesting and delicious. I found a recipe that was simple and we gave it a try.

Don't let these terrible photos deter you, this is  good pizza!  I used my new favorite pizza dough recipe from Canadian Living and we were very happy with the results. If you want to try deep dish pizza and aren't on a diet, this is the recipe to start with.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Reverb 10, Day 3

December 3 – Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors). (Author: Ali Edwards)

I have had many alive and happy moments this year, but one of the first I thought of was a day in April, when Scott and the baby and I were in Vancouver. We were in Stanley Park. The sun was shining, the sky was beautiful and blue. The air smelled perfect. And I was with my boys. 

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Daisy's Holiday Cooking

This is another book that I can recommend for gift giving for the holidays, Daisy's Holiday Cooking, by Daisy Martinez.

If you or someone you know loves to entertain and loves to have not just the same old, same old, this is a book you'll want to have.

Daisy's Holiday Cooking is full of delicious recipes, with a Latin twist, for the holidays, or any kind of celebration. There are 10 menus in the book, each with a variety of mouthwatering recipes. Each section contains the recipes, notes (on ingredients, preparation and what to do with leftovers), and a preparation schedule which shows you how to easily prep and make the food without having a breakdown in the kitchen. Most recipes come with a picture, for your end result goal.

The book contains a wide variety of recipes from drinks to salads to soups, to much fancier dishes such as Achiote Rubbed Turkey with Manchamanteles. A lovely little book with lots of fun inside. Definitely a winner.

We tried 4 recipes:

Pumpkin Spice Mantecadas (pumpkin muffins). I can't find my photos of these. They were delicious little muffins, full of spice and wonderfully flavored with pecans.

Lime Hollandaise

Unfortunately this one didn't work for me.  It separated.  The recipe, as all, is clearly written and easy to follow, so it's hard to say if it was me or the recipe.  This was my first time making a "real" hollandaise, as I usually make either from a packet or the blender method.  However, the addition of the lime was really interesting and fun.

Turkey Bacon and Avocado Panini

You can't go wrong with a panini, and this one has a delicious sundried tomato mayonnaise. Simple but decadent.

"Casa de Steak" Salad

A lovely salad with bacon and radish, and an easy to make blue cheese dressing.

Thank you, Simon & Schuster!

Reverb 10, Day 2

December 2 – Writing. What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it? (Author: Leo Babauta)

I am the queen, The Queen, of procrastination.  I used to be so organized and on top of everything.  But the past few years, well before the baby, I slowly slid into the form of a Grade A procrastinator.  How does this affect my, ahem, 'writing', as it is?  I sit down in front of the computer to write a post and I spend all the time aimlessly reading news, emails, twitter, blogs, recipes, gossip sites...anything but write.  I don't mean to, but it just happens.  Every time.
Can I eliminate it?  Who the hell knows?  All the piles of papers, jobs and semi completed chores around here suggest no time soon. 

Reverb 10 Day 1, a day late.

I came across this project - reverb 10 on Twitter. It is a month long assignment for December, to mull over the past year, and to look forward to 2011. Every day this month there is a prompt - a question - to answer however you'd like; through a blog post, an update on twitter, a photo - the way you are inspired.

So tonight I signed up.

This has been a year of various struggles for me. Good and bad. I hope that taking part in this will..... I'm not sure. Help me continue to clear my mind? Restore some spirit and confidence? Feel inspired and calm? We shall see.

Taken on a family trip to Davison Orchard in Vernon.

Day 1

December 1 – One Word. Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you? (Author: Gwen Bell)

The minute I read this, a thousand negative words flooded my head. I was trying to choose which one to use when I stopped. I didn't let myself be negative about a year that was both wonderful and difficult. So I made myself choose a positive word instead.


Our families have been wonderful, helpful and supportive this year. We've been blessed to spend lots of time with both sides, both here and in Alberta. I don't know what we would do without them, and I am thankful, so very thankful to have them. 

What word do I hope will encapsulate 2011?

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Breakfast Wafflewich

Ooof, this is old. Months and months and months. I made a big batch of waffles so I would have some to reheat for fast breakfasts in the mornings to come. (Like my own batch of Eggos!) Sadly this particular recipe didn't reheat very well. Some I fed to the birds, but I turned a few into breakfast sandwiches.

I briefly toasted 2 waffles per sandwich, just enough to get the chill off them. Then I layered cheese and ham between them and toasted again to fully warm and melt some cheesy goodness.

An egg, or some tomato slices would be welcome additions.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Holiday Gift Ideas - Food

Buy it:

make a sushi kit - package together a sushi rolling mat, bag of sushi rice, nori sheets, wasabi and a bottle of soy sauce.

beer glasses and 6 pack of imported beer.

make a cheese plate - buy a pretty plate and a few (3 to 5) different cheeses.

Make it:

homemade pancake mix. pour into a jar, attach instructions with a ribbon. gift with a bottle of maple syrup, if you're feeling fancy.

flavored salt - lavender, citrus (finely grated citrus peel,dried, mixed with salt), roasted salt and pepper.

bbq rub - i like this rub from Bobby Flay.

yule wreath -very pretty and delicious.

fudge wreath from Rachael Ray. I've wanted to make this for a while now.

salted caramels - i would like to try to make these too.

shortbread cookies, of course.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Holiday Gift Ideas - For Babies and the Parents Who Feed Them

If you are buying a gift for someone who's expecting or already has a little one, consider food related gifts for the baby.  They gotta eat too!  Doctors recommend starting solid foods at 6 months.  If your friend or family is considering making their own baby food (as we did), here's some stuff they could use.

Baby Food Books - this is vital if you don't know what the heck a baby should eat (we didn't).  My favorite is Cooking for Baby: Wholesome, Homemade, Delicious Foods for 6 to 18 Months. This was my bible the first few months Paxton ate solid food. There is so much information in the book on what foods to introduce when, what to hold off for a while, allergies, and lots of simple and healthful recipes. Pax is a year old now so we are working him towards more "grown up food", but I still use the book as a guide, especially for allergies as Scott's family has some.

Equipment - you don't have to go crazy for equipment but there a a couple of things you should have -

Food processor - this is important, especially the first couple of months when the baby is eating thin smooth food. You don't have to spend a million dollars, but get a good sturdy one that can be used for other meal prep too. Stay away from those ones designed only for baby food, unless you are rich or something. If a food processor is more money than you planned on spending, get others to chip in or give a gift card with instructions for the money to go to a processor.

Cutting boards - for, you know, cutting up the food before cooking and also for finger food. They're not too expensive so you could buy a few and wrap a ribbon around them. Buy plastic so they can be scrubbed and tossed in the dishwasher.

Steamer insert - the first couple of months most of the baby's food is steamed or baked. Buy a silicone steamer that can be tossed into any pot to steam fruits and veggies. 

Potato masher - when the baby starts moving to thicker textures, use a masher to leave some lumps behind. This one is pretty cute.

Storage trays - I am a big fan of Baby Cubes. They work very well. They are freezer, dishwasher and microwave safe, have a holding tray and attached lids. They just make the job easier. And now we use them to also store his cut up finger foods.

Ice Cube trays - if you don't want to go the route of the storage trays, buy some ice cube trays. Load up with food, cover with plastic wrap and freeze, then move the cubes to zippered storage bags.

Floor Mat - Lord, I wish we had one of these. Kids make a mess when they eat, it's just the way it is. Buy a mat like this to go under the highchair, or better yet if you are crafty, make one.

Tableware - plastic and inexpensive. Paxton loves to lick his plates and bowls, then hurl them to the floor. We've got these Kalas plates and bowls. We used this silicone spoon for the few few months, and now use ones that are still plastic but a little more sturdy as Pax likes to use the soft spoon as a catapult for his food.

Bibs. Lots of bibs.

Facecloths - we have an enormous pile of facecloths. When Pax was a little little guy we used them for wiping his face, cleaning up spit ups, and poop removal. Now we was his hands and face (obvs) in the am and pm as well as after meals; bathtime, and we use them as wipes during mealtimes. They also make fun play hats.

If the baby you are buying for is ready to eat now and you think it would be appreciated, think about making some basic foods yourself, freezing and delivering them. There are lots of good websites out there. You can't go wrong with purees of apple or yam or pear.

Or give the intended a coupon good for one baby food making session. Then show up with a bag of appropriate fruits, veggies etc, make sure you have all the necessary supplies, and fill the freezer up!

Nextie: Tools and gadgets.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Holiday Gift Ideas - Cookbooks

It's that time of year again.  Do you struggle  to find the "perfect" gift for your loved ones?  Fear not!  The next few days I'll share some kitchen and food related gift ideas.  The perfect gift for someone may lurk within...


I am a HUGE cookbook-aholic, although most of mine come from charity book sales and secondhand shops.  Here's some books I love AND some books I wish I owned:

Nigella Lawson's Kitchen - click to see what I thought of it. In summary though, a gorgeous book with delicious recipes. On Amazon.

Bobby Flay's Throwdown A fun show turns out a really fun book. My family are STILL having throwdowns. I think they're addicted. On Amazon.

Canadian Living Vegetarian A brilliant book for everyone, not just Vegetarians. My favorite book this year. On Amazon.

The Little Saigon Cookbook: Vietnamese Cuisine and Culture in Southern California's Little Saigon I bought this because they're are NO Vietnamese restaurants in Kamloops and it's my favorite food. I really like this book, informative and easy to follow.

The Sweet Life in Paris: Delicious Adventures in the World's Most Glorious - and Perplexing - City A fun book to read if you've ever dreamed about living in Paris. Delicious recipes too.

And here's some books I don't own but I wish I did but I know they'd make great gifts:

Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan. I borrowed this from the library and was immediately sad that I had to take it back. What a book! A gorgeous collection of French home cooking.

I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence by Amy Sedaris. I borrowed this one from the library too and it was hilarious.

Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People by Amy Sedaris. How can this not be excellent?

Next - Cookin' with for babies.


A couple of weeks ago Emmy from Vegan Diva tweeted a photo of her Foule Mudammas she was having for breakfast. It reminded me that I've been wanting to try this dish for literally years and years.

1 can chick peas
1 tsp cumin
1/2 bunch parsley
3 garlic cloves
3 tb lemon juice
5 tb olive oil
1 large tomato, diced
salt and pepper

Place the chickpeas and their liquid in a frying pan over medium high heat, until simmering.  Add the cumin, and mash the beans with a potato masher until lumpy.  Finely chop the parsley and garlic and place in a bowl.  Stir in the lemon juice, olive oil and tomato.  When the beans have thickened, stir in the parsley mixture.  Simmer until hot, taste and season with salt and pepper.  Serve with pita bread, tomato slices and feta cheese. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I am a humongous fan of Nigella Lawson. I enjoy her books and shows, and think she's a wonderful speaker and writer. I love the use of language to describe food.

Kitchen, Recipes from the Heart of the Home is her latest, and 8th book. This a a massive book, 500 pages, with 13 food chapters as well as lists, hints and help. The book is gorgeous and the photography is lovely as usual for her books. Each recipe has at least one photo of the dish which is always helpful to know what your end result should look like.

Many recipes have notes at the bottom of the page for instructions on making the dish ahead, as well as instructions for freezing and reheating. Some recipes also have companion recipes to use up the leftovers. Great idea.

We tried 8 recipes from the book:

Papparedelle with butternut and blue cheese (pg 333)

I have never had pasta with blue cheese before. It took me a few bites to like this but once I did, I really did. Excellent and impressive.

Tomato Curry (pg 108)

This dish fell flat for us. I had high hopes but in the end I just didn't think there was much flavor.

Lemon Meringue Fool (pg 168)

A quick dessert that is also delicious.

Korean Keema (pg 76)

Ground turkey stir fried with a spicy sauce. Fast and tasty.

Spicy Sausage Patties with Lettuce Wraps (pg 421)

Fun finger food.

Fiery Potato Cakes (pg 387)

This is the "leftover recipe" from the Tangy Parsnip and Potato Mash recipe. Lovely little cakes with a kick.

Crustless Pizza (pg 26)

An easy little dish that reminded me a little of a Yorkshire pudding. That's a good thing.

Pumpkin Scones (pg 451)

Surprise ingredient: Parmesan cheese!

As all the other Nigella books that have come before this, I love this book. It's gorgeous, packed with beautiful pictures of mouthwatering food, and of course Nigella's writing style is stunning. However having said that, my one complaint about the book is this. Many of the introductions to the recipes are long. Like, an entire page long. I found myself getting slightly irritated and thinking "get on with it already!". Right now is not a time in my life for lounging with poetry-style cookbooks, which is a shame. But that is a small quibble to have with such a lovely book.

Thanks, Random House!