Tuesday, March 30, 2021

my shaken brown sugar oat espresso journey (so far)

 Since I mentioned my new favorite drink in this post a couple of weeks ago, I can't stop thinking about it.  It was delicious!  But I rarely leave the house, and Starbucks is pretty pricey, so all I did was dream of it.  And then I saw a video on the Tickey-Toks of a lady making her own, and I was like, I can do that too!

(BTW - another good person to follow on there is The Shaky Barista, who shows you how to make coffee shop drinks at home.)

So I made my own iced coffee at home and - it was pretty ok!

I put a couple of spoons of brown sugar, a dash of cinnamon and a tiny splash of vanilla into my jar, added a cup of hot coffee (6 oz pour from the ol' Keurig), and swished it around to dissolve the sugar.  I added a couple of scoops of ice, put the lid on the jar and gave it a good shake, then added milk to taste.  Not bad at all.

A friend told me about a brown sugar flavored syrup you can buy to add to your drinks, and just like that, I became the kind of person who has a bottle of flavored syrup in her cupboard to add to drinks.  I may also have become the kind of person who has a milk frother, but we'll leave that story for another day (when I've taken it out of the box and tried it). 

 It has a different taste than the actual sugar and cinnamon ingredients, but it's not bad.  

I've also learned there are sugar free syrups out there, 
which I might try once this bottle is gone, but we'll see.  
Who would have thought I'd be so in to making iced coffee?  Not me.

Friday, March 26, 2021

book club 9 - When No One Is Watching by Alyssa Cole



People bury the parts of history they don't like, pave it over like African cemeteries beneath Manhattan skyscrapers.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

black forest tart

 I asked The Mister what kind of cake he wanted for his birthday and after much consideration he was torn between a black forest cake and "I don't care, you pick".  

Of course I wanted him to have whatever cake he wanted for his birthday, but I am not the biggest chocolate cake fan, I've never made a black forest cake before, and they are multilayered, meaning a big cake, which we really don't need.

I did some googling, thinking I could maybe find a recipe for individual cakes or another twist on the dessert and indeed I found the most perfect twist - a tart!

For the tart dough I used this recipe from Tasty, and for the rest I just did what I wanted to.

Since BFC's are usually finished with chocolate shavings or what have you, I wanted to add more chocolate than just the crust.  I first thought I might melt some chocolate and cover the tart bottom and sides with it, but then I worried it might be too difficult to eat, trying to get your fork through a layer of hardened chocolate.  So instead I whizzed chocolate chips in the food processor down to a powder, and sprinkled that over the tart shell.

 For the cherries, I used frozen ones from Costco, which I like to have in the freezer for smoothies or to sprinkle over yogurt.  I thawed them out for a few hours before assembly.

The kids had wandered in "to help" but most of their help was asking when I was going to make the whipped cream so they could have some, and telling me that the cherries looked bad and they didn't want to eat that part.  So helpful.

I had planned to put more cherries than this on, but I was getting tired of listening to the kids telling me how bad it looked and they wanted pieces without cherries.  

Then I whipped the cream with some sugar and vanilla, and plopped it on top to cover the cherries from my childrens view.

My smallest helper and loudest critic stepped up at this point to sprinkle more chocolate over the top, or just dump it by spoonfuls in the same spot over and over.

Lots of whipped cream, chocolate and cherries - what a dessert!  Super easy and super delicious.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

my yellow bowl

When we had my Nana's funeral many many years ago, and her little house was being emptied to be sold, the family had an afternoon where we discussed who would receive what mementos from the house.

I held back from speaking up too much - I lived the farthest away and had seen her the least over the years, and I didn't want to step on any family member toes by trying to claim things they might have wanted themselves.  Besides, the things that I really would have loved were either already spoken for - her little mantle clock - or long gone - her brush and mirror set that she kept on her dresser hadn't been around for years, and her super cool retro dishes that made me think of lunches with her and my grandpa when I was a kid had long been replaced.  

I did of course get some lovely things, and one of the most treasured has become her yellow bowl.


The funny thing about the bowl is that I don't ever recall seeing her use it!  She wasn't much of a baker and meals she cooked were pretty straightforward meat and potatoes.  Perhaps it was used for big family dinners, but us kids were banished from her small kitchen to keep us from getting in the way.


I brought it back to our house in Calgary and it lived on a shelf, unused, until we moved to BC, where it lived up above the kitchen cupboards where I could see it every time I walked in the kitchen but it wasn't easily accessible and remained unused.  When we did a big kitchen cleanup/clean-out last year it came down from its shelf to be washed, and I wondered what I was saving the bowl for, and why I wasn't using it now.

So I made room on my bowl shelf and now it has become one of my most often used bowls.


It's quite large and a good size for bread doughs or meatloafs, and it has a flat spot on one side so you can have it tilted on the counter, if you needed to.


So I use it to make meatloaf, and bread dough.  Muffins and pancakes.  Cookies.  And I think about my Nana and her little kitchen, and her daughter - my Mom - and how much I love and miss them both.


The stamp on the bottom of the bowl reads - 

The "Gripstand" 
Mixing Bowl
T. G. Green & Co Ltd.
Church Gresley
Made in England
Patent No - (the patent number is worn off)


A quick google search showed me that the bowl is from a popular brand and were produced from 1906 to 2007.  The company started in the small village Church Gresley, and the style is called pressed yellow ware and was sold worldwide.

 Here's an article I found, and here is a facebook page about the pottery as well. 

Saturday, March 20, 2021

my favorites the past while

It's been a while since I did one of these; I've been really focusing on falling apart mentally, emotionally AND physically the past while (year).  (or maybe longer).

I thought I might celebrate the one year pandemicversary by trying to claw my way OUT of the hole I've fallen in to/dug for myself, and since today is the first day of Spring (can I get a yeehaw),  it seems like a good day to start fresh.  Let's start by sharing some favorites.

Ready?  Let's go!

The Haunting of Bly Manor - I don't like scary shows, and I HATE jump scares, but this was SO GOOD.  And SO SAD!  I cried so hard at the end.  And it introduced me to Rahul Kohli who I now have a crush on, and so then I had to watch.....

which made me crush even more.

I will never stop being angry at Netflix for canceling this.



Essential oils - always a part of my daily life.  Peppermint oil is truly a miracle. 

Journaling - I feel like this is something that could be good for me, and while none of my attempts over the years have stuck, I think I've found a system that might work.  I've fallen off the track with it once again but I'm working to get back on and might share my plan here one day.


TikTok - oh boy, I've really become hooked on the Tickey-Toks, as I call it to torment The Boy, who would eat, sleep and breathe on the app if we let him.  I am sure I will never make a video on there but I do enjoy all the mindless scrolling that can waste literally hours if I let it.  If you happen to be on the Toks, check out Kallmekris - she is HILARIOUS and also from BC!  Woot!  My other favorite is ghosthoney.  I adore him.  

And from the Tickey-Toks I discovered my new favorite drink that I've had once so far but it was so good - Iced Brown Sugar Oat Shaken Espresso.  So delicious.


Friends, I hope you have a good day.  Do something nice for yourself today, and if you can, for someone else as well. 

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

cookbook cleanup book 21 - Baking

 The next book up is one that I've had a long time, one I got because of my blog - Baking by Dorie Greenspan.

I've baked a lot out of it over the years and everything is always delicious.

This book is packed with nearly 300 recipes, so you can definitely find something to try.

We tried:

Great Grains Muffins - the family ate the batch in two days.  A record here.

My Best Chocolate Chip Cookie

Chunky Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Chocolate Chipsters

Espresso Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

Chocolate Spice Quickies (photo below)

Blueberry Crumb Cake


Brown Sugar Bundt Cake

All so good.  A very good book for the bookshelf!

Cookbook Cleanup results so far - Back on the bookshelf - 12  Donated -9

Saturday, March 13, 2021

book club 8 - The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian



 One time she saw a quote written in blue and yellow chalk on a blackboard outside a clothing shop in the West Village: "Remember that person you wanted to be?  There's still time." She wanted to believe that; she wanted to believe it almost desperately.  She wanted to be different from what she was - to be anything but what she was.  But every day that grew less and less likely.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

grocery shop March 7


I didn't get a photo of the groceries before they were put away, so here's a photo of part of the pantry after a major clean out a couple of weeks ago.  We bought some little bins from the dollar store and they made such a difference!

On to the shop.....

spinach, coleslaw mix, snap peas, avocados, broccoli, salad kit, carrots, cherry tomatos, potatos, apples, veggie straws, jello, strawberry yogurt drinks, mac and cheese (kd), dark chocolate chips, heavy cream, rice cakes x 2, cheese x 3, granola bars, fruit snacks, ichiban, yogurt x 3, butter, sodium reduced soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, lemonade, strawberry lemonade, peach lemonade, kombucha x 3, eggs, italian sausage, beef jerky, honey twist snacks, buttermilk pancake/waffle mix, greek goddess salad dressing, dr pepper, apple juice, sour cream, ground beef


Sunday, March 07, 2021

2 smoothies, one photo


I've been trying to get back in the habit of smoothies for breakfasts.  They are quick and an easy way to get some fruit or veg into the morning.  I've been using some protein powder too, although I'm still looking for one that tastes good and doesn't overpower the whole drink.  Does such a protein powder exist???

I sometimes will just throw in whatever I can find in the fridge or freezer -  leftover fruit from the kids, expired yogurt, some spinach or beets, frozen berries.  Milk or water to get it going in the blender.  They don't always taste great, but it's fine.

A favorite I came up earlier this year is a good one that makes me feel like I treated myself at a coffee shop - 

Coffee Protein Smoothie

Into my blender I throw - 
Couple of scoops of ice
1 cup milk
1 cup hot coffee
1/2 to 1 banana
1-2 Tb cocoa powder
1 scoop protein powder
Whiz until smooth

A new favorite is in the photo above - Carrot Cake Smoothie from Well + Good.

I've done it withe a combo of pineapple and mango too, which is just as delicious.

recipe - carrot cake smoothie

Tuesday, March 02, 2021

Sunday Dinner - french onion soup casserole

 I made a really good soup in the Fall, and, drunk with power, I announced that I would be making soup every week to have for a quick dinner, or a fast lunch, and I think that lasted one week.  Maybe less?  Part of the problem is that my work days are long and by the evening I am fighting to stay awake and the idea of sitting and looking up soup recipes is not appealing.  I also try to not leave the house as much as I can, so my ingredients are often limited for a spur of the moment soup, unless they involve noodles and cans of tomatos, which seems to make up 70% of the pantry.

Then once you factor in allllllllll the foods my kids hate, and.....what's the point.

 They also hate onion soup, but the grown ups love it, so when I found this recipe for an onion soup casserole, I thought maybe the tiny tyrants might like it if it looked slightly different?

The answer was NO, of course but the dinner was still pretty good, even with all the complaining.  

I added more stock than the recipe called for, because The Mister and I thought it should be a bit more soupy, and I think we made the right call.  This was easy, pretty fast (other than cooking down the onions) and we will definitely make this again.

Recipe - french onion soup casserole