Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas 2013

Christmas Table, 2013

We had a great Christmas, but just between you and me I'm glad it's over.  I'm ready to take down the decorations, clean up the house, and get ready for 2014.  Although seriously, how can it be 2014?!?!?!

We did a German theme for Christmas this year - (see our other themed Christmas dinners and assorted stuff with the Christmas tag)

Sauerbraten - German pot roast, marinated for a few days prior to cooking in vinegar, stock and herbs and spices.

Spaetzle - homemade egg noodles.  Super easy to make.  I had to add quite a bit more water than called for to get my dough to the right consistency.

Grunkohl Mit Kartoffeln - Kale with bacon and potatos.

Roasted Asparagus and Carrots - topped with bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese.

We also had red cabbage, gravy (see roast recipe), sour cream, and mustards on the table.

For dessert we pulled out our stash of shortbread cookies, although I'm certain that only Pax and my mom had any.

On Boxing Day I gave us a day off before leftovers and made this Honey Soy Chicken that I'd pinned on Pinterest.  It was a super good hands free dish which I needed - I was so tired!  Christmas is exhausting, yo.

For Christmas I received the cookbook Smoke and Pickles and I can't begin to tell you how excited I am to start cooking from it.  It's gorgeous and the recipes look amazing and creative.  I thought I was going to have to frisk my parents at the door to make sure they didn't smuggle it out - they seemed as smitten with it as I am.

Now, do I continue to sit here and veg, or smarten up and start taking down Christmas..........

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Cookinotti Christmas

Have you tried cookie butter yet?  
I read an article this fall about how it's the new "It" spread, or some such thing, but I never expected to find it in our stores here.  But lo, I did, and now it's wrapped and ready to go under the tree for a special Christmas day treat.  

We're back to our themed Christmas dinners this year.  Hope to have some good photos and dishes to share with you soon.

Merry Merry.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Masa's Bar and Grill, Sun Peaks

In the summer we took a weekend trip to Sun Peaks resort, about an hour outside of Kamloops. We ate, as we always do, at Masa's at the foot of the ski hill. They have a good variety, not bad prices, and unfortunately spotty service. We shared some appetizers:

Baked polenta sticks with a mustard sauce

Nachos and honey garlic wings
Onions rings

Masa's Bar + Grill
Village Day Lodge
Sun Peaks

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Grocery shop December 22 and Egyptian Hawawshi sandwich

This was hopefully my last trip to any sort of store before Christmas - just for odds and ends.  
I love that the Superstore is open 24 hours a day at this time of year.  I am an early riser, so for a couple of weekends a year I can go and do my shopping, be back home and have everything away before anyone else in the house is even awake.

Coffee, coconut milk, pineapple, english muffins, avocados, lemons, limes, oranges, chicken, sausage, ham, crackers, juice x 3, peas, corn, fruit snacks, granola bars, beef bouillon, jam, smoked oysters, smoked mussels, ginger ale, sparkling water, cream cheese, gingersnaps.



I made the most wonderful dish that I found on Pinterest last week, but my pictures are so horrendous that I can't post them.  
But check out this Egyptian Hawawshi sandwich - ground beef seasoned with veggies and spices and stuffed raw into pita, which is then brushed with butter and baked.

We loved them, and I will make them again.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Paleo (on purpose) Chicken

2013 was not a good year for me, weight wise. I gained back the few pounds I'd managed to lose in 2012 (and maybe even a couple more) and I've struggled this year to find a path I can stick to. 
I went to a hour long nutrition class that promoted low glycemic eating, and later while doing some reading about it, I noticed I was finding lots of mentions of Paleo eating - ie basically eating what the caveman ate - meats, vegetables, fruits - and staying away from grains and processed foods. 
I won't pretend that I know much more about it, but I think it sounds interesting. 
 I could never convince my carb loving family to convert fully, and I'm sure I couldn't either, but I really like the idea of incorporating some of these ideas into our eating. 

My first dish I made was Lime and Coconut Chicken "Rice" from Quick and Easy Paleo Comfort Foods. The "Rice" is shredded cauliflower, which I've had before, and it's cooked in a deliciously simple coconut sauce. 

Cauliflower "Rice"

The finished dish 

It was a little more soupy that intended, but I started dinner late and it was nearly 7 and the small one was making too much of a fuss to wait any longer.

|This was great!  I loved how easy and flavorful it was. 
Any Paleo lovers out there got any recipe/reading suggestions?  Let me know!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

I made Chex Mix!

I have long wanted to make Chex Mix but I could never find Chex cereal in our stores. Is this a new thing to Canada, I wonder? Anyhoo, I spotted a box of Rice Chex on my Sunday morning shopping. Super cool! 

The box had ingredient lists (recipes inside the box) for 3 different kinds - 2 sweet and one savory. I also picked up some peanuts and pretzels and dashed home... 

I wasn't too interested in the recipes inside the box, so I decided to change the original recipe I found online to suit us. 

My version of the mix - 
4 cups Rice Chex 
1 generous cup peanuts 
1 generous cup pretzels (I used hand broken pretzel sticks for that artisnal feel) 
65 grams butter, melted 
1 tb Worcestershire sauce 
3/4 tsp seasoned salt 
1/2 tsp onion powder 
1/2 tsp garlic powder
 Preheat your oven to 250' 
Toss your cereal, nuts and pretzels together in a large bowl. 
Stir the Worcestershire, salt and garlic and onion powder into the melted butter and mix well. 
Pour the butter mixture over the dry ingredients and stir until all the dry ingredients are coated. 
Pour onto a parchment lined baking sheet. 
Bake, stirring every 15 minutes, for 45 minutes total.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Potlucks and Lis' Antipasta Squares

We've somewhat revived our potlucks at work, and have had 2 in the past few months.  For the first one I was on dessert duty, so I busted out the great recipe for Chocolate Valentino Cake from the February 2009 Daring Bakers challenge.  It's a very simple recipe that results in a decadant cake that was a hit at the lunch.

No photo.

Since I heard the news about Lis passing away I have visited her blog a few times, reading random posts, bookmarking a few recipes to try.  Last week we had our Christmas appetizer potluck, and I decided to make one of the recipes I saved from her blog - Antipasta Squares.  It's one of her very first posts, and it made me smile to read it.  

I did a test run on the recipe, using the meats and cheeses she suggested.  It was good - but a little too meaty and eggy for me.  I decided that for the potluck I would change the meats to ham and turkey, and use marble cheese.

The night before the potluck I found some home-roasted bell peppers in the freezer, so I thawed them, chopped them and stirred in some salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar.

We are lucky to have an oven at work so I baked the squares about an hour before the lunch started.  I layered the ham and turkey on the bottom crust, topped with the cheese, and sprinkled a layer of the roasted peppers on.  The second crust went on, and into the oven it went.  They turned out quite well, other than being a bit ugly to look at (so no photo!).  My co-workers ate more than I had expected, but luckily there were a few squares to take home for snacking.

The possibilities are truly endless with this recipe; you are limited only by your imagination for your filling.  I'll be coming back to this recipe again.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Clay Pigeon

I visited Victoria this fall for the first time in many many years. 
A highlight of the trip was breakfast at The Clay Pigeon - 

The Clay Pigeon 1002 Blanshard St, Victoria

Monday, December 09, 2013

Angel Hair Pasta with Peas and Bacon

I saw this recipe online in the late summer/early fall when Michael Symon's newest book was being promoted.

I love, love, love, peas and pasta together. Just a great combination. 
We tried out the recipe and I was very happy with the dish. 

My only quibble with the recipe is the measly cup of peas. Not enough!  I upped it by about half a cup, and next time will up it again.  But the flavors of the peas, bacon and mint were just terrific.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Eden Bento Cafe

A true gem in Kamloops is the Eden Bento Cafe, a very small restaurant in a strip mall on Lansdowne Street.

I do mean small - only a handful of tables, but you can order takeout as well.

The menu offers a variety of delicious Japanese/Korean dishes.  I have been there twice, and had the same dish both times, it was so good - Miso soup and Chicken Katsu Donburi.

Both were delicious - the miso soup is hands down the best I've had in Kamloops.

Service is friendly and fast and along with the food has pushed Eden Bento to the top of my favorites in the city.

The only downfall (for me)?  They are closed on Sunday.
 Eden Bento Cafe
223-450 Lansdowne Street, Kamloops

Saturday, November 23, 2013

For Lis

Lis, the author of La Mia Cucina and co-founder of The Daring Kitchen passed away last week.  She had turned 46 only a few days earlier.

Lis began blogging in 2006, the early days, when food blogs were more simple and straightforward.  She was one of the most fun, hilarious, and positive people I'd ever met.  Her writing was joyful
and real, and she welcomed everyone into her world with open arms.  

We talked, laughed, shared and cooked together, as she did with so many of her other friends around the world.

I am so sorry that she is gone.  I will miss her.

In your memory Lis.  

Cinnamon Cake

Sunday, August 11, 2013


Soooooo, one of the people that was at the birthday dinner for my sister in law was super impressed with the zucchini tots at dinner, so much so that as they traveled on to their next destination they told the Story of the Tots. The hostess, who knew the guest would be back my way (Confused yet? Too bad.) gave that person a present for me - a giant zucchini. 


I shall call her Tiny.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Side dishes and dessert

My In-laws (The Calgary Guys, as my boy calls them) were out camping in BC recently. To celebrate my Sister in Laws birthday I packed up a feast and hauled it out to them.

 In addition to steak and potatos I also took:

Coolio's Really? Corn Salad? Which was a huge hit.

I've made these Zucchini Tots a couple of times over the past weeks and just love them. I baked a triple batch for the dinner, and the few that were leftover were nibbled on with breakfast the next morning. You should try these.

I had a fancier cake in mind to try, but time was not permitting, so I went with a two layer cake iced with cream cheese icing, and topped with finely grated white chocolate. 

It's such a cliche to say, but oh my god, this summer, this Year, is just sailing by.  So few of the things I had planned for this summer have or will happen, but what can you do?

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Cat and Joe's Pig Rig

Unless you live under a rock, you've probably experienced or read about the explosion of food trucks, well, everywhere. Food trucks are on the streets, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. There are shows and books devoted to them.

Kamloops has 3, and we visited our first one recently - Cat and Joe's Pig Rig.

They caused quite a sensation when they announced their arrival in the city. Barbecue in Kamloops???? But from what I've seen on Twitter and Facebook, they are doing it right.

We found them up in Aberdeen one Saturday.  We parked the car and on the walk over we talked about what we wanted to try.  We'd read the menu a few times,and everything sounded good.  Once we got up to the truck though, we found out that that day they were only serving one dish - brisket.  A bit of a let down that we couldn't try more than one dish, but the air smelled so amazing we thought we would survive.

We ordered 2 briskets to go, and headed home.

We got brisket, slaw, cornbread and beans. 

The brisket was good - nice and tender, and the sauce was very good.  One of our orders had a massive chunk of fat in it, which made it a bit difficult to eat and cut down on how much meat there actually was.  I was surprised at how light the smoke flavor was, but overall, good.

The cornbread was good too.  It would have been nice to have a touch more sauce to soak into the bread, but it was good on its own.  The slaw was a letdown.  It was a generous portion of cabbage, with nothing else really noted, and it tasted like...cabbage.  No flavor of a dressing at all.  
The beans though, were the best part of the meal.  They might not look like much but they were absolutely delicious.  It was a shame the portion was so small.

Cat and Joe's is a welcome addition to Kamloops sometimes tired food scene.  I look forward to going back to try the pulled pork and definitely more beans!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Meatballs and spinach and baked oatmeal

I finally got around to making these Lion's Head Meatballs, and they were so worth it. Very flavorful. I rinsed a couple off for Paxton, as he declares pretty much any unfamiliar food "Too spicy!" so I didn't think he would enjoy the coconut curry sauce. The grown ups did though. 

I made the Jamie Oliver pea and spinach recipe to go with the meatballs. It's such a great and easy side dish. I noticed that the link I provided to what I thought was the original recipe actually has some changes, so I thought I'd give you a quick low down of how I make it (which again is slightly different than the original). 

Heat a spoon or two of butter in a pan with the same amount of olive oil. Finely chop 3-4 green onions, add to the pan, and cook over medium heat for a few minutes to soften. Add a good cup or more of frozen peas, stir, and let cook for a few more minutes. Pour in a cup of vegetable or chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Add some big handfuls of spinach and stir into the pan until wilted. Serve.

 My boy was quite interested in the can of coconut milk I bought for the meatballs and asked every day if he could drink some. I used up the rest of the can to make my first ever batch of baked oatmeal, then poured some regular milk into the can, swished it around, and poured it into a glass for him. He drank it and then asked coconut related questions for the next hour.

 I am reserving judgement on the baked oatmeal until breakfast this morning. It doesn't look like I expected, and last night even after I let it cool for a while the texture wasn't what I had hoped for. I can't stand oatmeal - so soupy and mushy - but I know it's good for you. So I'm hoping this will be a way to make it more palatable. Hang on to your seats, and I'll report back later.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Bites V9

Back in December 2012 a new restaurant opened on Victoria Street downtown - Jay's Good Eats. It was a small place in a little food court, and served mostly sandwiches, and also dogs and ribs.

Sadly and shockingly, the owner Jay passed away in April 2013. I ate there once, and below is a photo of my beef dip sandwich.

 I was served by Jay, a very friendly guy, and I enjoyed my meal very much. I had planned to go back with Scott and Paxton one Saturday but, just a couple of weeks later, they were closed.


We went to Calgary in May.  Just a 5 day trip including travel days, so not much time for anything.  We had an early family party for my Brother in Law's 40th birthday, did some shopping at stores we don't have here in Kamloops (I love you, Ikea and Old Navy!) and spent time with family.  I also caught a cold and got sick.  Quite sick.

We (Scott and I and Paxton for one meal) got out for 2 lunches.  The first was for Vietnamese food, which is one of my very favorite cuisines of all time, for ever and ever.  It wasn't one of my favorite restaurants in Calgary; this was more of an emergency lunch to make sure I got some Vietnamese food on the trip so Scott wouldn't have to listen to me complain until the next time we went out of town and there was a possibility of Vietnamese food for me.

Anyhoo, the food was fine.  I've had better, but beggars can't be choosers. 

Then the next day we left Paxton with his grandmother and cousins and went and did some shopping.  We ended up at Chinook Center at lunch time.  I had done some googling on my phone and discovered that on Sundays all the Vietnamese restaurants in the area were closed.  So we ate at the mall, at Chachi's Sandwich Bar.

I love pickles, so we had a great big pickle. 

This was pastrami or corned beef.

And this was bulgogi or something similar.

They were good. 

Also on the trip, the family took us to Crossiron Mall just outside of Calgary.  We ate lunch in the food court and I had Lebanese food.  In a food court!!!!  Here at our "best" mall you can walk by the empty spots in the food court and have a burger, or Chinese food, or a hot dog. 


My parents came over for Mother`s Day dinner this year, and I made a turkey burger from Bobby Flay.  It had a vinaigrette and bacon and blue cheese, and was delicious. 

I forgot to take a photo of an actual burger, but here`s the table all set up so everyone could top their burger as the liked.


I bought a pack of portobello mushrooms and had planned to grill them and serve them on buns.  But my evil husband decided they should be pan fried, perhaps with a breading, so they would be crispy. 

So we did the flour, egg, breadcrumb, pan fry in oil routine, then sliced them and piled them on a bun with mayo, cheese and tomato and oh my GOD.  This very poor photo does it no justice.


I NEED the weather to cool down so I can make this recipe.  I am obsessed.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

9 years 1000 posts the last

These are the last 3 dishes I made for my blogs special special day.

 Jamie Oliver is another favorite of mine, especially his old books.
 Flipping through The Naked Chef Takes Off to find a new recipe to try, I found many more recipes I want to try this summer. Love this book.
 For this, I made Jamie's Scallions, Sweet Peas, White Wine and Spinach.
I loved everything about the dish. Quick to make and super delicious.
 Recipe here.

The Working Family Cookbook will forever have a special place in my heart, the cookbook my grandmother bought me many many (many) years ago. I made a recipe the I've had marked for probably as long as I've had the book -Chicken with Coconut Sauce.

Lastly, my search for a good baked donut recipe continues. I thought I'd found a winner recipe and tried it last month. It was only ok. I skipped the glaze recipe provided and made my own with maple syrup, icing sugar and a splash of milk. And then I posed them with our Canada Day napkins and cups because, well, donuts and maple syrup!

Speaking of Canada Day, we went down to Riverside Park for the annual party. It was HOT and busy. Paxton loved the water park and none of the adults complained too much when he dragged us in to play. We had lunch there, honestly one of my favorite parts of the day. I love all the cultural food booths that are set up only for July 1. Everything from Italian to Thai to Filipino. This year we had a plate from the Thai stand, which we also had last year, and a plate of butter chicken, vegetable korma and rice from the Indio Canadian stand. The korma was outstanding. After another trip to the water park we headed home for a nap and then into the backyard so I could keep working on developing my sunburn...

Monday, July 01, 2013

9 years 1000 posts continued

Here's another 3 recipes I made for my 9th anniversary.  Enjoy.

I bought my copy of Rebar modern food cookbook at the cookbook company store in downtown Calgary in the early 2000's. 
 I hadn't heard of the restaurant in Victoria, I just loved the sound of the recipes as I flipped through. Rebar is considered by some to be one of the best restaurants in Victoria, on Vancouver Island. 
I became instantly infatuated with this Brie Bagel Melt. I took all the ingredients to work for a special breakfast treat one morning and it was the highlight of the day. Brie, nuts (I used walnuts) and honey on a warm bagel. 
 You won't believe how amazing it is. 

One of my most favorite treats is these brie and prosciutto rolls that I wrote about in 2004.

This time we used Westfalian Schinkenspeck ham from Erik's Sausage and Meats stand at the farmers market.  It's just the best ham, tender and lovely.

The crescent roll dough is topped with ham and brie and rolled up.

And brushed with a mixture of honey and grainy mustard.

And then baked per the package direction. Let cool for a few minutes before eating.

I love  Pasta with Butter and Myzithra Cheese. This time I made it with fresh spinach pasta from Fratelli Deli downtown. Love love love.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

9 Years and 1,000 Posts

I know!

9 years.  1,000 posts.

Ok, fine, other people have written 1,000 posts a lot faster.  But they're not me.

9 years!!!!!

I'm not going to get all sentimental, or do an in depth retrospective or anything.  It is what it is.

When I realized that these 2 milestones were upon me, I went back through my early archives for some inspiration.  (Mmmmmemmmmmorieeeees!)

I made a few recipes to share.  Some new, some old.

I started with Cauliflower Gratin from the Bouchon cookbook by Thomas Keller.  I got the book for Christmas in 2004, the same year I started this blog.  After all these years, I do believe that including this recipe I have cooked a total of 2 recipes from it.

This gratin is a crazy, labour intensive recipe that makes an absolutely stunning dish.
Recipe here.

I adored the BBC food series  The Best and had to have the book.  I used the book in an early WCC challenge in 2005.  In 2013 I made Ben's Tomato and Herb Spaghetti. 

There is NO WAY I could leave Sandra Lee out of my celebration. 

I made her Dijon Chicken and Mushrooms from Semi Homemade Cooking.  We were fans of the tasty sauce of mushrooms and mustard, and the freshness of the tomatos added right before serving.
Recipe: here

I'll be back soon with a few more recipes made especially for my 9th celebration.