Friday, December 30, 2016

New reading challenge for 2017

2016's Reading Challenge


Thursday, December 29, 2016

Marshmallow frosting

The Boy had a honest to goodness real birthday party this year with his friends; 
the first he's had and he loved it and it made me happy to watch him with his pals 
having a great time even though it was expensive and stressful and crazy and 
I've never seen kids hoover up candy so quickly in my life.

I made cupcakes for the party and I had been on the lookout for a frosting recipe 
that wasn't super sweet or full or butter or shortening.  I found a marshmallow frosting 
at King Arthur that fit the bill quite well.  I made it twice; the first time 
I wasn't that impressed with it and had planned to find a new recipe to make instead, 
but then I never did, so I HAD to make it for the party.  
I upped the salt and vanilla and whipped it for much much longer than the recipe 
calls for, and it was way better.  

The recipe irritated me - it tells you to "refrigerate until thoroughly chilled; 
this will take several hours, or up to overnight." and then it says to 
"Beat until the icing is smooth and glossy; this will probably take less than a minute." 
which is what I did the first time, and the results were only so-so.

HOWEVER if you read the Tips below the recipe, it says 
"If you let the icing chill completely in the fridge, it'll be stiff and harder to beat. 
But just keep beating, it'll gradually soften as it warms up."
Well duh, yes I did let it chill completely in the fridge 
Anyway, double the salt and vanilla and beat the heck out of it, 
and you have yourself a pretty good icing.

(Cupcakes iced and stored in my classy dollar store roasting pan for delivery to the party)

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Book Club - I Must Say by Martin Short

"In any case, I learned what would turn out to be a valuable lesson: that something terrible can happen to you,and yet, the day after this something terrible, the sun still rises, and life goes on.  
And therefore, so must you."

Friday, December 23, 2016

Potluck Salad, and Merry Merry

My work hasn't been having regular potlucks for a few years now, 
we are down to one in December. 
We decided to do all appies for the potluck this year, 
so we divided our group into appies, desserts and drink. 

 I was in the appie category and I decided to do a salad. 
 I spent an hour perusing Pinterest and ended up choosing 
one of the first salads I looked at - 
Autumn Apple Salad with a Maple Vinaigrette.  

The recipe makes salad for one, so I made 4 times the amount 
of dressing (which was a lot, but that's ok because it's really good), 
and then just added the other ingredients to a container of
 baby romaine - crumbled bacon, dried cranberries, pecans, feta cheese and apples.  
The salad was AMAZING.  So delicious.  
I made more for The Mister and I on the weekend and he loved it too.  
 This is a super duper keeper.

Can you BELIEVE it's the end of 2016.  
This year completely sailed by.  
It was good and bad for me and my family, just like it probably was for you, 
just like it was for everyone.  
I'm holding tight to the good stuff and trying to let the other stuff flow away.  

Whether you celebrate at this time of year or not, Cheers.  

Be happy, be safe, be loving, be kind.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Sunday Dinner - Onion Soup

This was Onion Soup from The Bouchon Cookbook and it was totally amazing.  
Best onion soup I`ve ever made and one of the top I`ve ever eaten too.

It took a long time, and that is what makes it so good.  The onions cook for hours 
and hours - the recipe says 5 hours, but I stopped at 4 because they looked 
good and also I wanted to go to bed.  
I made cheesy croutons for the tops since our bowls are not oven safe, 
and I like it that way better anyway. 

Just cut up your bread (this day I used a baguette)
 and place on a baking sheet.  
Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil and toss it together with your hands.  
Bake or broil, stirring once or twice until brown and crisping.  
Then when you are ready to eat, push all the croutons close together
 in one layer, sprinkle with cheese, and return to the oven for the cheese to 
melt and start to brown in spots.  Remove from the oven, pull a chunk 
of cheesy croutons free from the mass, and plop onto your soup. 

 Easy and delicious!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Book Club - A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev

Yahoooooo!  I am done!  I finished this one last week.  18 books in 6 months.  It's been years - since before kids - that I have read that much.  To Kill a Mockingbird and Astronauts Guide were my top 2.  I will keep my least favorites to myself.  :)
I will say that reading the last few books took longer than I thought - not because I wasn't enjoying them, but I was getting tired of following a list to tell me what to read next.  I'm looking forward to reading some of the stuff that's piled up around here, both fiction and non fiction.

What's next on your reading list?

Monday, December 12, 2016

Sunday Dinner - Ham, Ranch Potatos, and Lemon Pud

This Sunday Dinner was a lose, win, lose dinner. The ham was pretty meh - there was 
something odd about it, not sure. It was a Costco ham, and no one complained, 
but I wasn`t happy. The winner was the Cheddar Ranch Potatos from 
Buzzfeed - so easy and delicious.  

The other loser was the dessert from Jamie Oliver - a lemon pud that was 
supposed to separate into a custard layer and a merengue layer and not 
only did neither but also started to burn well before the end of the 
baking time in the recipe.  The dish size isn`t specified in the recipe 
which is annoying.  Baking is a much more exact science that cooking, 
and I get irritated with books and recipes that don`t get specific 
enough.  Is it just me?

Anyway, the potatos were a keeper but the dessert was not, and neither was the
 book it came out of, if you`re not following along over on Instagram.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Book Club - An Astronaut's Guide To Life On Eath by Chris Hadfield

"The Windows of a spaceship casually frame miracles."

"You are getting ahead if you learn, even if you wind up staying on the same rung."

"The shimmering, dancing show of the northern and southern lights; the gorgeous blues of the shallow reefs fanning out from the Bahamas; the huge, angry froth stirred up around the focused eye of a hurricane - seeing the whole world shifts your perspective radically."


For Summer Reading Club - E Book

Friday, December 09, 2016

Beet chips

A couple of months ago I went for a walk downtown on my lunch break and
 ended up at The Smorgasbord.  I wandered and looked at the crafts from 
10,000 Villages and all the delicious foods.  I picked up some tea bags for 
work was about to pay when I spotted the bags of beet chips. 
 I grabbed one for a work treat and headed out.

The next day after lunch I opened the bag and put a small handful on a plate 
to snack on while I worked.  5 minutes later I went back for another
 handful, and a few more after that.  These things are awesome!  
The bag lasted 2 days only because I showed Herculean willpower. 
They are delicious AND a Canadian company - what`s not to love?

Visit them here.

Shortly after that Thistle Farms dropped us off a bunch of small beets.  They sat for a week in the fridge, and then I decided to try to make homemade beet chips. 

It was not completely successful.  But the chips that did crisp up without being burned were quite delicious.  I think my oven temperature was too high - perhaps slow and low is the way to go.
Thistle Farms has gifted us with more beets, so this is something I might be trying again.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Sunday Dinner - Rustic Pizza and Apple Crisp

This was a stellar dinner - Pizza Rustica from Nigella, which isn`t actually a pizza at all, 
but a two crust, deep dish savory pie.  It was very very delicious, even though 
rolling and forming the crust nearly sent me into a panic attack.  
What is it about me and pastry dough?  We just do not get along.

It was completely delicious, and tasted very breakfasty to me, which 
is not at all a complaint.  
It was also delicious with brown sauce, of course.  

Recipe is in How To Be A Domestic Goddess, if you`re interested.

Dessert was a pretty good apple crisp, also from my Instagram testing, from my
 Cooking With Mickey Around Our World book.  As I mentioned on Instagram, I
 bought the book at a book sale because I`m still missing my Disneyland 
cookbook from my childhood, which is long missing.  
The book, I mean.  And my childhood too, I guess.

Cooking from the book has made me think I should use the 
internet to see if I can track down a copy....... 

Update, 5 minutes later.  Huh.  
Well, I`ve ordered it from a seller in the US.  
It`s costing me nearly $40, but it looks like it`s the one I want.  
So I guess Merry Christmas to me!

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Taking Stock - December 4

Making :  lists of potential dishes to cook for the cookie exchange and potluck that I'm going to later this month.  I'm probably going to make these cookies for the cookie exchange.  They are delicious and I haven't made them in years.  The potluck I'm going to is all appies, and I've said I'll bring a salad so there is some sort of veg there.  I've peeked at Pinterest a couple of times but nothing so far.  Help!
Cooking : ugh, nothing interesting.  Wait, no, I made a wonderful Pastitsio last week.  But nothing else of note.
Drinking : too much ice tea, not enough water.
Reading: Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield. 
Trawling:  salad recipes.
Wanting: to clean my house.  Always.
Looking: forward to finishing up my Summer Reading List and moving on to choosing books because I want to read them, not because they fit in a category.
Deciding: to maybe send out Christmas cards this week.  Or maybe not.
Wishing:  there were happier stories out there.
Enjoying:  This Is Us.  We just started watching it and have about 4 more episodes to go before we are caught up.  I am very sad that Hot Dad From The Past dies. 
Waiting: patiently to start feeling mentally and emotionally better about certain things in life right now.
Liking:  my new yoga class I've started taking at the studio. 
Wondering:  if i really will get the in laws birthday/Christmas presents mailed out this weekend.
Loving: not very much about Facebook these days.  People seem so happy to hate.
Pondering: leaving Facebook.  But then no more baby photos from people I almost never see in real life.
Listening:  to nature sounds/music during the day is AWESOME.  I wish I'd started doing it years ago.
Considering:  volunteering for a new organization.  I'm a bit hesitant to reach out to them as I'm not sure their needs and my schedule with jive.  But I guess it's worth a shot?
Buying: myself a treat.  Used my gift card from my birthday a few months back and bought myself a yoga book.
Watching:  TV at night after the kids go to bed.  I should be more productive and get up and do things.  But I usually don't want to.
Hoping:  this month goes smooooooothly.
Marvelling: at some of the poses in the yoga book I bought.  Never gonna happen here.
Cringing: U.  S.  A. 
Needing: to figure out how to drop these lbs.
Questioning:WTF is wrong with Americans.  You're not effing up only your own country, fools.
Smelling:  nothing.  This one is weird.
Wearing: yoga pants whenever possible.
Following:  yoga inspo on Instagram and FB. 
Noticing:  that this week when I decided to go to my lunch time yoga class before leaving work early I nearly called myself "selfish" for the choice.  I backtracked immediately, but I'm still bummed out that that was the word that came to mind during my decision making process.
Knowing: that I can't change people, or make them understand me.
Thinking: about the above one a lot.
Admiring:  Chris Hadfield.  The Boy and I watched some of his space videos yesterday, and I'm really enjoying his book. 
Getting:  ready to kick some butt today, get all the chores done and hope for a bit of quiet time too.
Bookmarking: mostly recipes, some yoga poses and some personal blogs to explore.
Disliking: that Winter is here.  Can't wait for Spring.
Opening: up our boxes of Christmas decorations the other night was fun.  And wow we have a lot of stuff.
Giggling:  not as much as I thought at Gilmore Girls on Netflix,  Watched the first episode last night and was pretty meh.  Also fell asleep 3 times.
Feeling:  amazed at how close we are to the end of the year.  2016 went so fast!  I've been back at work for 11 months already.  Crazy.
Helping:  to expand my waisteline by eating chips and guac last night and contemplating making cookies today.
Hearing:  the songs from Mamma Mia in my head 24/7.  We went and saw the play opening weekend courtesy of some free tickets and it was AWESOME.  I have a crush on Kevin Aichele. 
Pretending:  that i am in Mamma Mia.  If only I'd been born with talent.....
Embracing: peace and love!

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Update on my Mighty Life List

Back in 2009/2010 I wrote some posts about my dream life list, inspired
by Maggie at Mighty Girl.
I kept it updated for a while, but frankly, none of the ``big stuff`` like buying a camper or going to the Smithsonian to see Julia Child`s kitchen was or is ever going to happen.  
So I plugged along at a few of the manageable ones, like giving blood 
(which I still do!  And you should too!), made a Pavlova
but it petered out quickly because, as I said, many were unattainable,
 and some were vague, with no realistic way to complete (cook new recipes every week - for how long before I can say it`s completed?). 

This Fall while we were at the Farmers Market, The Boy saw a few vendors selling ground cherries.  I`d seen them before but had no idea what they tasted like or what you would do with them, so at first I said no when he asked if we could get some.  
He asked and asked, and I soon figured, gosh, if my kid is asking me to buy him FRUIT, is this really something I should say no to???

So we bought a container and they were ok - a bit like a tomato, but a very light flavor.  
The Boy soon lost interest in them, and it fell to the grownups to finish them off, 
but hey, we tried something new!

This morning I updated my list, and crossed off things I have done, 
and things I have done enough of to cross them off. 

Make one new recipe a week - I`ve been cooking from my cookbooks on Instagram for a year and a half now and have cut my book collection by half and tried tons of new recipes.  Done!

Cook at least 10 recipes out of all my books.  
Goes hand in hand with the one above.  I`m calling it done.

Fly a kite successfully.  Done!  Proof coming soon.

Try Absinthe - removed from the list as I don`t drink any more. 

Watch the sunrise from a beach.  Done!  Photo to follow.

Be able to donate to worthy causes - Not even remembering that this was on my list, I signed up last month for payroll deductions for a local organization.  It`s a very small amount, but I`m doing it.

Forgive and Forget - I was so terribly hurt by the person I wrote this about. 
 I hardly ever think about her anymore.  Go me. 

Have a family portrait taken - thank goodness for cameras with timers. 

Have a header designed for my blog - this one got crossed off twice - a reader designed 
me one from the kindness of her heart back in 2010, 
and then when I came back to blogging last year, I designed one myself.

Add the baby to the family tattoo on my arm.  The gang is all there. 

Volunteer at a mission or church kitchen to serve a holiday meal - what a great day that was.

Have a margarita tasting - heh.  Removed.

Have a bonfire on the beach - Done!  

Make a handmade toy for The Boy - The Mister did this one, so we`re crossing it off.  

Look at that - 12 things off the list!  That`s a total of 18 of the 110 things on my list.  I`ll never get to Spain, or have my house cleaned professionally, or go the the Great Wall - although I know someone who was there this year and saw photos of her on it - does that count????, or fly First Class, or visit New Orleans, but I can make some stuff out of paper, and go to the Icefields, and play cards, right?  

Monday, November 28, 2016

Sunday Dinner - Yassa Chicken and brownies

Another delicious Sunday Dinner! 
 Both of these recipes came from the Eat Street cookbook - 
Yassa Chicken, a Senegalese dish with olives and peppers, 
and Chewy Caramel Brownies, although I didn`t make the caramel sauce. 

They were both wonderful, and both will be made again.

I sat down this morning to do some menu planning for next week before my yoga and shower, but have managed to waste nearly an hour messing around on the internet instead.  
Cooking has so little appeal to me lately, it`s just another chore that must be done. 
I think part of it is that cooking for kids is very unrewarding.  
They like nothing and complain about everything.  Very tiring,

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Blueberry Oatmeal Waffles

Here's two things I love - blueberries, and waffles. No, three things - add Vegan.

 I LOVE vegan waffles and pancakes, they are always so delicious and so easy to make. 
I like to make waffles on the weekends and freeze the leftovers for
 breakfasts and snacks during the week. 

The kids and I love our waffles with maple syrup, but The Mister almost always goes for peanut butter on his.

 Like I said, these were easy and delicious. 
Oats in waffles are my favorite - hearty and good for you. 
 Give these a try. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Sunday Dinner - Gado Gado Salad with bread

I found this recipe in an issue of Yoga Journal, part of an article on fermented foods.  I mentioned it to The Mister and he was on board to make it for Sunday Dinner.

It's similar to Niciose salad, or at least our version was, in the way that we lined up all the individual ingredients in bowls and on platters so everyone could mix their own salad.

The dressing was definitely my favorite part.  Made from kimchi, peanut butter, maple syrup, and some other stuff, it was amazingly delicious.  And the best part was, it wasn't spicy at all, so my mom and the kids could enjoy it too.

The bread was another good recipe, made from a bread baking book I bought this summer off the discount table at Coles.  It's by Paul Hollywood, one of the judges from The Great British Bake Off.  It was easy and very tasty.  I'm looking forward to baking more from the book this winter.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Sunday Dinner - stew and cookies

Well, Blogger just ate the cookie recipe link, but it wasn't that big of a loss as 
I wasn't going to highly recommend them anyway.

The rest of the dinner was delicious - beef stew with mashed potatos and buttered cabbage.  
We've gotten a few heads of cabbage from Thistle Farms this fall, and so far 
this was my favorite recipe using it.

The stew was extremely unappetizing to look at - The Mister cut the beef pieces too small, in my opinion, and it got a bit mushy - but it tasted very nice.  I added some extra veg, 
and if I were to make it again, I would add even more.  

Friday, November 18, 2016

Whole Grain Breakfast Cake

This was one of those recipes that makes me want to give up cooking or 
baking for my family ever, ever again. I still do not know why they turned their 
collective noses up at this wonderful cake but they did.
 Not one of them liked it and I ate some and took the rest to work where it was devoured in minutes. My family is insane.

I have a lovely friend who has the opposite problem with her family - she simply can't keep the baking around for long, they pounce on it and it vanishes.  
What a problem to have!

While I will not make this Wholegrain Strawberry Breakfast Cake again, I can wholeheartedly recommend it to YOU - maybe you have better taste than my family.......

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Book Club - Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

` ``You think I`m going into the zombie apocalypse sober? ` I shook my head.  ``I don`t think so.  Plus, alcohol is a good disinfectant.``
``I`m pretty sure butterscotch schnapps isn`t ideal for wounds.``  He knew me too well.  `

`Like my grandmother always said, `Your opinions and valid and important.  Unless it`s some stupid bullshit you`re being shitty about, in which case you can just go fuck yourself.`

`Then I realized I hurt too much to use Twitter, and that`s when I knew I was dying.`


For Summer Reading Club - A book `everyone`has read.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Brining a turkey

Ooooh - isn't that arty?

I call it "Forest in the Winter".

No, actually I call it "Salt and Stuff in a Bucket To Brine a Turkey".

We decided to brine our turkey for Thanksgiving last month, and we also decided it at the last minute, which sent us scrambling to find a recipe to use, and a bucket to brine in.  With no thanks to the employees at the local sporting goods store for their complete lack of help, we found one and whipped up a brine from Nigella Christmas for her Spiced and Superjuicy Turkey. 

Confession - I've only cooked maybe 3 turkeys in my life, so I was quite nervous about the whole thing.  Would I be able to clean up the mess from washing and brining the turkey so I wouldn't sicken my entire family?  Would the turkey stay cold enough in the garage so I wouldn't sicken my entire family?  Would I cook the turkey long enough so I wouldn't sicken my entire family?  
Yes, there was a theme.
I've always been afraid that I will undercook turkey and make people sick.  I have no idea why as to my knowledge none of my cooking has ever made anyone sick, but there it is, and it's a real fear.  

Anyhoo, as you can guess, the kitchen cleaned up nicely, the turkey stayed cold enough in the garage, and I cooked it to an acceptable temperature. We all lived!

Another quick confession - I am not a huge fan of turkey - it's usually dry and tasteless and you need to add too much butter and gravy and salt to make it taste good.
This bird was juicy - very juicy -  but I still didn't think it had any flavor, which was disappointing.  What's the point of adding onions and oranges and ginger and spices to a brine if you're not going to taste them even a little?

I would definitely try brining again, another recipe next, to see if we can improve the flavor.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Sunday Dinner - Hasselback Chicken and cookies from the freezer

I've mentioned before that I follow the Tasty food videos on Facebook, and here's another one that we made - Hasselback Chicken with Spinach and Artichokes.  

It was really easy to make and the filling was spectacular.  
My only quibble was not with the recipe but with the chicken I bought - the breasts were too big, and so the ratio of delicious, delicious filling to chicken was not as even as it should have been.  If you're going to make a dish like this, look for smaller breasts.  

I can't imagine what creepers are going to end up here via google searches after those last two sentences.

Recipe (and 3 of versions of Hasselback chicken) here.

Dessert was the last of the World's Best Chocolate Chip Cookies. 
I am so excited about Dorie Greenspan's cookie book coming out.  I've been saving a gift card to Chapters so I can buy it.

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Taking Stock - November 5

The lovely Maggie at Mighty Girl recently posted a "taking stock" list inspired by Pip, and I've seen other versions around, so why not join in too.

At the link above, Pip has a blank template you can fill in if you so desire.

Making : more time for yoga.  I took 5 classes this week, and I loved them all - mostly.  I wish my studio either offered more classes at times I could take, or that I could retire and go to all the ones I want.  Taking the 5 was awesome, but also only happened because The Mister was ok with me coming home late one night, and another 2 days because I left work early.

Cooking :  has been pretty low key the last couple of weeks.  I'm out of steam for it.  I sat down this morning to work on next weeks menu plan and instead I am doing this list.

Drinking :  ice tea, as always, and water.  Pretty much the only 2 things I drink.  I've weaned myself off my ice cap habit.  I had one this week and felt terrible afterwards, so that reinforced my decision that this is a good thing.

Reading: Furiously Happy for my book club list.  I have only 3 books to go and I'm done!

Trawling: Instagram for yoga inspiration.

Wanting:  to clean out every inch of this house. 

Looking:  forward to packing up some old clothes and stuff to take to the donation center today.

Deciding:  how energetic I will be this weekend.  Could I do the regular cleaning plus some purging?  Or should it be a lower key weekend?

Wishing:  for peace.  A terrible thing happened here last night - a teenage girl was killed in a hit and run not far from us.  I am shocked and so horribly sad for her family.  Every time I think about her mother, her family, I am in tears.  I hope they find the bastard who did this.  I hope the family will be okay.

Enjoying:  the new stages The Girl is in.  Giving big hugs, her overuse of the word No, in her teeney cute voice.  The Grandparents gave the kids Halloween gifts (???) this year - The Boy got $10 for his wallet, and The Girl got a purse, which she LOVES and must take everywhere.  Last night we walked an endless loop between the kitchen and living room while she carried her purse and said goodbye to her brother and father over and over.

Waiting: for Spring.  I am not a Winter person and can't wait for it to be over, even though it hasn't even begun yet.

Liking:  how I have convinced myself that my Bob's shoe's go with everything - including dresses and skirts for work.

Wondering:  what will happen next week with the American election.  This might be the craziest thing I've ever seen.

Loving: soup.  I'm heading into a big soup phase, I can feel it.

Pondering:  how can I lose these pounds that I've put on since I went back to work?

Listening: to flow/meditation/nature playlists on 8 tracks.  I love them.

Considering:  how we are going to rearrange the house and make space for an office area once we move The Girl into her own room.  We need to purge and declutter big time, and make a space that will be kid friendly and won't cost big bucks.

Buying: nothing but essentials.  Our bank account is low, yo.

Watching: Orange is the New Black when no one is around (so, never), Westworld (which makes me sad and uncomfortable), Speechless (LOVE) and Life in Pieces.

Hoping: that one day my children will sleep in on a weekend morning.  Ha!

Marvelling: at the book Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed.  I bought it months ago, and this morning when I was moving some stuff around I opened it and read a page.  Whoa.  I can't wait to get to it.

Cringing: at Americans and their election.  Holy Shit.

Needing:  to clean out the fridge and see what needs to be used up.

Questioning:  what I can do to make this world better.

Smelling: nothing.  My nose does not work well since my last pregnancy.  The Mother In Law very generously bought me a new diffuser from Saje for my birthday, but I can hardly ever smell it.

Wearing: more colors and patterns.  Trying to get away from all black and baggy clothes.  It's hard.

Following:  lots of yoga people and celebrities on Instagram.  I deleted my Twitter a while back, and started up a new one that only follows news, weather, traffic, and Chrissy Teigen, but I only check it if I'm looking for something.  So over Twitter.

Noticing: how awful my skin has been lately.  I've been breaking out almost daily on my face and neck.  Ugh.

Knowing: i need to also clean out our pantry and get rid of all the chips and candy.  We were good for so long - what happened???

Thinking: about buying some new indoor plants.

Admiring:  Jenny Lawson.  Even before Furiously Happy.

Getting: overwhelmed by thinking about the next 2 months.  Birthdays and Christmas = $$$.

Bookmarking:  yoga poses to try, and blogs I hope to love.  I need some new blogs to follow.

Disliking:  the time change tonight.  WHY do we still do this???

Opening:  drawers and closets in this house gives me the chills.  So much stuff.

Giggling:  doesn't happen enough.

Feeling:  too much anxiety lately.

Helping: The Boy with his reading is a lesson in patience.

Hearing:  yelling and complaining and tattling.  The kids are up.

Celebrating: the kids birthdays this month and next.

Pretending:  I'm a good singer.

Embracing:  my family.

Something I like - Peppermint soap

A super fun side effect that stuck around from my last pregnancy was a sensitivity to "smells" - like perfumes, cleaners, air fresheners, hairspray.  It can give me a short lasting mild headache to actually becoming physically ill.  Super.   Fun.
We've replaced air fresheners and laundry soaps and softeners with more natural varieties and doing the same with cleaners is a work in progress.  I mostly like the Method brand, although some of the scents are still too strong for me.  
I've wanted to try these Dr Bronners soaps for years and I finally bought a bottle of peppermint - one of my favorite scents.  I've been into aromatherapy for a long time, and peppermint can often cure or aid what ails me.  The soap can reportedly do it all - clean your body, laundry, bathroom and windows.  I've mostly used it as hand soap in the bathrooms (diluted about 50-50 and put into an old soap bottle for "foamy" soap) and in a spray bottle, again diluted about 50-50 for spot cleaning and quick wipes.  It cleans well and the smell is easy to take.
If peppermint is not your thing, they've got scents like rose, eucalyptus, lavender and unscented too.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

One Pot Pasta

I'm falling back in love with one pot pasta dishes. Well, not that I ever fell OUT of love, but more that I forget how delicious they can be.
This one is even easier, as you use cheese tortellini, which need only a few moments to cook.  Yay!

Check out the recipe here. 

The recipe calls for using meatballs and I had planned to do it, but was running short 
on time, so I just cooked the ground beef as is.  And I liked it.  
The second time I made it I subbed in a jar of premade sauce and 
some water for the crushed tomatos. 
This is a super recipe that you can play around with, and with the cooler weather here (sad face) it makes a fast comforting meal.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Instagram - 100 books reviewed

100 books down, and I think 77 are staying.  I don't believe I got rid of any without cooking from them that wasn't documented.  
I'm hitting a bit of a wall in 2 ways right now - I'm stuck on a couple of books that I really want to keep but am finding that there's not much in them that I want to make, and I'm struggling with food and cooking right now - I hate it, hate menu planning, hate shopping, preparing, eating.  
And yet, somehow I've also gained weight, which makes me sadder than it should.  
The fact that some of my pants and sweaters are now too tight just makes me want to eat more and lie down, not eat better and move more.  
WTF, brain and emotions. 

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Craft time - Floating Candles

Guys, these are SO cool, and SO easy!  I saw this video on Buzzfeed a few weeks ago and showed it to the Mister.  How to make floating candles out of cardboard tubes. 

Well, he thought they were hilarious, and over the next couple of days he made us 3.

They look so awesome in the window at night!  The Mister AND The Boy are already arguing that they should stay up through Christmas.......

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Book Club - To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

"...(he was now positively allergic to my presence when in public)..."

' "Cry about the simple hell people give other people - without even thinking." '

' "Don't fool yourselves - it's all adding up and one of these days we're going to pay hell for it." '

' :....we had given him nothing, and it made me sad." '


For Summer Reading Club - Award Winner

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Apple butter

We had an abundance of apples in September and I'd come across an easy to make apple butter recipe, so we gave it a try. Very easy and very very good. 

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Farmers Market yesterday

Yesterday was the second to last Saturday Farmers Market, and it was a gorgeous day to be outside. 

We finally stopped by the Terrior Cheese stand and ate a whole bunch of samples.  It was all so delicious.  We bought a smoked cheddar and I think I'll be back next week to buy one or two more cheeses for the last hurrah.

We also stopped for the first time at the Kombucha stand and sampled it.  The guy was pretty busy and wasn't able to chat much so we tried our samples and bought a small bottle of strawberry agave.  I found this article this morning about making your own Kombucha when I was googling, and it was pretty interesting.  Not that after sampling the stuff one time yesterday I want to dive into making it myself, but it was one of the only websites I recognized in my search, so I went with it.

We also got some beef jerky.  

Last night we cut the sprouts off the stems in preparation for tonights Sunday dinner.  They are so small and adorable!  I am so tempted to try growing sprouts in our garden next year.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Sunday Dinner - French Onion Chicken and Chocolate Loaf Cake

I've stopped taking photos of Sunday Dinners apparently. 

So this was a dish I've had saved for ages - French Onion Chicken.  The Mister and I 
love a good French Onion soup so I've been wanting to try this for a long time.  
Having company over for Sunday dinner is a good time to pull out 
these fancy sounding recipes, right?

This dish - recipe here was amaze-balls.  Delicious!  Pretty to look at!  
Even the kids ate some!  A miracle in a serving bowl.

I made 1 1/2 times the amount of sauce, and I would do it again - I'm a sauce 
girl and this was  a good one.

The only thing we did differently was we didn't top the dish with the cheese and bake in the oven - we simmered the chicken a while on the stove and then passed the cheese at the table.  

Dessert was Nigella's Chocolate Loaf Cake.  It was ugly but good, and the leftovers disappeared pretty quickly.  I'm not sure I'd race to make it again, but if I ever must make a loaf cake of the chocolate variety, I would return to this recipe.  Check it out here.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Book Club - Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

' I am ninety one years old, and almost everyone who was once in my life is now a ghost. '

' "Yes I do.  I believe in ghosts."
"Do you think they're...present in our lives?"
Vivian fixes her hazel eyes on Molly and nods.  "They're the ones who haunt us." She says.  
"The ones who have left us behind." '

"Now then.  Where shall we begin?" 


For Summer Reading Club - Recommended by a friend.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Garlic Bread, revisited

The Mister bought some stunning garlic at the farmers market this summer and I wanted to do more with it than just chop it into a sauce, so I tried my hand again at a bread recipe from long ago -  Dan's Garlic Bread from my hardcore bread baking days.

I had forgotten how time consuming bread baking could be - this one took ages with all the folding and resting and turning, but man, what a bread.  So delicious.  

The weather is so much cooler now that I've been doing more baking - one of the few good things about the season change.  I've got a couple of new-ish to me bread books I'm hoping to dig into soon.
What's happening in your kitchen?

Monday, October 17, 2016

Quilla's Restaurant

For years and years there was this great restaurant in town called Chapters Viewpoint.  It was a steak/Mexican restaurant sitting on a beautiful viewpoint overlooking the city.  Quite the fancy joint.
As far as I know, it was a well liked popular place.  We didn't go there a ton, but they had 2 completely amazing items on their menu that drew us back again and again - the Chapters Salad, a scrumptious salad of lettuces with Monteray jack cheese, slivered almonds, and a creamy, dreamy dill dressing; and the sopapillas - fried dough served with honey butter.  The combo of the 2 was actually a lunch special and was the perfect meal. 
Anyway, the restaurant closed down a couple of years back and I've been 
dreaming of sopapillas since.  
This summer a friend and I tried out Quilla's Restaurant on Victoria - one of the few Mexican places in town because they have sopapillas on the menu.

The restaurant was quiet, but the service was terrible - slow and scattered. Our food took forever, drink refills were non existent, and the food was mediocre at best.  The worst past was the sopapillas - thin, dry disks as hard as rocks.  A completely disappointing meal.  

If you're in the 'Loops looking for Mexican food this is not a place I would recommend.


Thursday, October 13, 2016

Yoga. And stuff.

 I know, you've been worried since I posted about my 40 days of yoga challenge and then never mentioned it again. Sorry.  

So, let's talk about it.  Did I do yoga every day for 40 days?  No.  Did I come close?  Er....close-ish.
Did I enjoy myself?  Yes.  Do I feel better?  Some days I do.

I practiced at home, and I started going back to my studio at the end of August.  
The first 3 times I went were emotionally very difficult - the first time I was 
shaking and nearly crying from being so panicked about returning.  
And nothing bad happened - I didn't hurt or embarrass myself, no one laughed or told me to get out.  After a few "easy" classes I returned to my regular classes from the Spring.  
The sky didn't fall!  
I am obviously well out of practice, my sore shoulder makes some of the moves 
difficult/impossible, and my anxiety likes to pop up each class and remind 
me how much I suck and that no one likes me, 
but I'm doing it.  I'M DOING IT.  
I'm practicing pretty much daily now at home, and taking at least 2 classes a week.  

I've been reading a lot online, trying to establish a home routine, but so far I've just been doing what feels good, and what I can sneak in in the mornings before work or the kids getting up.
If you're reading this and you have any yoga books, websites, 
pose or any recommendations, drop me a line!

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Sunday Dinner - Pizza and Make Your Own Sundaes

This one is from last month - The Last Sunday Dinner Before Grade Two (2!!!!!!) Started. 

The Boy chose pizza for dinner and I suggested homemade pizza and make your own sundaes for dessert. Done! 
 I used my favorite Guy Fieri pizza dough. 
 We made one half pepperoni and half pepperoni and tomato, and one ham, artichoke heart and olive. 

I think The Boy's favorite part was going to the bulk store and picking out the sundae toppings.

Loaded up! 

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Food boxes from Thistle Farms

In the summer we signed ourselves up to try the food box delivery from Thistle Farms. The deliveries are made up of organic fruits and veggies local when possible, delivered once a week to the door. Here's some of the boxes we've received.

Plums, tomatos, broccoli, potatos, pears, beets, carrots, nectarines......
Side - zucchini, grapes, carrots, green onions, cherries, strawberries...

Kale, cherries, strawberries, grapes, potatos, zucchini, plums, carrots, beets, green onions.....

Bananas, tomatos, lettuce, peas, yellow squash and zuke, strawberries, broccoli, half a cantaloupe, potatos...

Carrots, lettuce, bananas, peas, cherries, beets......

Thistle Farms is also a big presence at the weekly Farmers Market. Check out their website here.