Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Summer Bucket List 2017

Yeah, I know.  Everyone else is whipping theirs out, so why can't I?  My family bucket 
list for the summer, that is.  Get your mind out of the gutter.

This started off as a project for The Boy to work on his printing, but now it's our 
official guide to the summer.  Here's what The Boy came up with:

Go fishing
Go to Sun Peaks
Spend the day outside
Go on a nature walk
Have some family days
Have a no electronics day
Go to Penticton
Have a picnic
Join the library Summer Reading Challenge
Do some art projects
Have a pillow fight
Sleep outside
Go to Davidson Orchards
Go to the museum
Go to the movies
Added by me -
Go to Music in the Park
Make ice cream

Monday, June 19, 2017

Book Club - Hollow City by Ransom Riggs

"If my body was cold in the night mist, I didn't feel it.  If the sea roared in my ears, I didn't hear it.  If the rock I sat on was sharp and jagged, I hardly noticed.  Everything outside the two of us was a distraction."

"The darkness closed around us."

Friday, June 16, 2017

Grocery Shop - June 16

Ketchup, apple juice, taco kit, peanuts, fruit bars, ginger ale, beef broth, soup, fruit snacks, ice tea, butter, eggs, sour cream, margarine, granola, potato chips, avocados, mushrooms, butternut squash, snap peas, hot dogs, bread, tortillas.


I didn't realize how long it's been since I did a "Grocery Shop" but with small children around you just want to get everything put away as quickly as you can.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Giant Cookie

It was school fundraiser time again, and so in addition to my annual lazy daisy cake
I also made some mini brownies and a giant cookie.  
I made one of these cookies for a Sunday dinner, and as we ate it, we all discussed the upcoming fundraiser and me doing some baking, and what could I make?  Would you like more cookie?  Here you are.  Hmmm, what to make?  Yes, the cookie is very good, isn't it!  But - back to the topic at hand - what to make for the bake sale?  
Luckily someone finally clued in that we were eating the perfect treat!  

I wanted to jazz the cookie up a bit, so I drizzled it with some milk and white chocolate.  I think it came out pretty nice, if I say so.

Giant Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookie

1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
1 egg
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups chopped chocolate or chocolate chips
3/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut

Preheat oven to 350'
Lightly mist a pizza pan (12") with spray.

Beat the butter and sugar together until smooth and fluffy.  Add the salt, vanilla and egg and mix again.
Add the flour and baking soda and mix until just combined.  Stir in the chocolate and coconut.
Press -into the pan, going all the way to the edges, and smoothing the top.
Bake 18-20 minutes, and cool on a rack.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Adult Summer Reading Club 2017

I know, a lot of book stuff lately.
And more to come - the list is up for the TNRD Summer Reading Club - visit here for details - Adult Summer Reading Club.

Last year there were 18 books, this year only 10 -
Autobiography or Memoir
Graphic Novel or Comic Book
Young Adult/Juvenile
Banned or Challenged Book
Published in the Decade You Were Born
By An Author of a Different Gender
Adapted From or Into a Movie
A Genre You Don't Normally Read
Something You Read During Adolescence
Originally Published Outside North America

Club starts today and runs through August 31.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Book Club - The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F8ck by Mark Manson

"One of those realizations was this: that life itself is a form of suffering.  The rich suffer because of their riches.  The poor suffer because of their poverty.  People without a family suffer because they have no family.  People with a family suffer because of their family."

" 'Don't hope for a life without problems,' the panda said.  'There's no such thing.  Instead, hope for a life full of good problems.'  And with that, he set his glass down, adjusted his sombrero, and sauntered off into the sunset."

"Action isn't just the effect of motivation; it's also the cause of it."


Whoooo!  Another reading challenge done.  I finished this one just before the end of May- 12 books in 5 months.  I'd have a really hard time picking a favorite out of the bunch - Shrill was so great, as was Every Body Yoga and Tiny Beautiful Things.  I really liked |Trans Sister Radio a lot, and Nocturnal Animals too.  The Mare was my least favorite; there was just something about it that I didn't love, however I gave it to my Mom to read after I was done and she loved it, so it was obviously me.  
I'm biding my time until the Adult Summer Reading Challenge is announced, hopefully tomorrow....

Friday, June 09, 2017

Dinner at Gui Korean BBQ

A new restaurant has popped up in Aberdeen, where the 5 Guys burgers was - Gui Korean BBQ restaurant. The Mister and I were excited to go - we have never been to a Korean BBQ place before. Coincidentally, there was a birthday in the family, so the 6 of us trooped out for dinner and had a mighty fine time. 

There is a lot to choose from on the menu, but we went with the Combo B - short ribs, beef bulgogi, pork belly, and chicken.  It comes with a bunch of sides - soup, rice, pickled veggies, salad, sweet and sour chicken, and a seafood pancake.
We also ordered some steamed dumplings and Jap Chae - sweet potato noodles with veggies.

Right after I took the picture above, a couple sat at the table and had the most gorgeous looking bowls of soup - I definitely want to try that.
The crispy chicken (below) was one of my favorites. 

The seafood and veggies pancakes were very good - the seafood one had enormous pieces of seafood in it.  Just massive.  

There was SO MUCH FOOD.  4 adults and 2 kids and we took home a lot of leftovers.

The cooking is done on a small surface using infrared or induction cooking (sorry, I'm sure I'm wrong!) which means there is no actual flames at the table - the cooking surface is placed on a certain spot on the table where it then heats up quickly to cook the food.  The lovely staff did some of the cooking for us, and put The Mister in charge of some too.

We had a lot of fun and the staff was nice and helpful and answered all our questions.  
Check them out!

Webiste - Gui BBQ

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Book Club - Heidi by Johanna Spyri

"For the first time in a very long while, he saw the goodness in other people."

"but can a heart forget its sorrow and be happy, even here?"

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Monkey Bread

This recipe is from the Best of the Best Cookbook Recipes that I wrote about on Instagram.  I really wanted to make it as I've never made a monkey bread before, but I knew it wouldn't be the sort of thing I'd make at home (too big), so I made it for a treat for my co-workers.
Those people are lucky to have me.

The recipe can be made in advance and refrigerated, but I didn't read that part of the recipe until 9pm the night before, so I made it all in the morning.  You need a few hours; the dough has its first rise, then you form the balls, dunk them in butter and then sugar and cinnamon, put them in the pan and they rise again before baking.

I had major anxiety about making this at work - I hate it when recipes don't work 
out when I'm cooking for people

It turned out amazingly perfect - the dough was tender and the little buns were sweet but not too sweet.  It was easy and fun and a definite keeper.

I am watching out for a savory version to try - got any suggestions?

Saturday, June 03, 2017

Book Club - Every Body Yoga by Jessamyn Stanley

"Ultimately, yoga has made me realize that happiness doesn't come when we magically become better people.  The practice is a reminder that we deserve to be happy today, in this exact moment, because we are already absolutely perfect."

"So instead of asking 'How do I look?' when practicing yoga, always ask yourself, 'How do I feel?' "

"Embrace the process, accept the gift of slow progress, and revel in an opportunity to truly see the world from another angle."

Friday, June 02, 2017

Something I Like - The Skrapr

Oh look, there's my feet.

If you have kids, or even if you don't, you get.....stuff stuck to your floors.  Food stuff, outside 
stuff.  Hopefully somewhat identifiable stuff.  Stuff, you know?  And you try to get it while 
it's new, but you always miss some, and it gets old and stuck tight to the floor and I hate 
having to use my fingernails to scratch it off. 

A while back I saw a post on some website about this little scraper tool you could buy, but I couldn't find it in Canada, and to ship it from the states cost more than 10 of the scrapers itself.  I kept my eyes open around here, and I was finally rewarded at Canadian Tire when I found The Skrapr.  It's a heavy duty tool with a sharp no-scratch blade that will get the stuck on gunk off your floors, stove, counters, what have you.  I love it and we use it all the time.

Website - The Skrapr

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Book Club - Nocturnal Animals by Austin Wright

'But not yet, first there was only this.  Only their heads were above the surface, laughing
 and encouraging him, as he moved gingerly in the bitter-cold water step by step 
towards them.  It was hard to move, while they waited with such generosity and welcome he 
could hardly bear his happiness.'

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Jamie Oliver's Tear n Share Garlic Bread

Although my bread making has waned in the past month, for a while there I was really on a roll.  Making your own bread is so satisfying to me - fun and easy and nearly always delicious.  

This is Jamie Oliver's Tear n Share Garlic Bread - buns, really, all nestled together snug in a tray, and covered with garlic butter.  Yum!  

I was feeling quite proud of myself until the proofing stage - the recipe calls for 1 1/2 proofing and because our house was chilly, I set them in the oven with the light on.  It was too much of a good thing and they over-proofed.  They tasted fine but they looked awful.

They were, however, the hit of this particular Sunday dinner - this was the  one mentioned here with the super tough chicken that we all hated.  But the table looked nice.

I'd really like to get back into bread baking, but I'm having trouble finding good recipes and finding the time to find good recipes.  I made a "best ever" sandwich bread that hardly rose, and some so-so foccacia.  I still have a big stack of books to go through for my Instagram reviews, so hopefully I can find something in there, but if you have any winner bread recipes, drop me a line!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Chicken Tacos

So easy, so delicious.
Toss your chicken breasts in a plastic bag with some:
ground cumin
chile powder
garlic powder

And mix it all together well.  Let the chicken sit in the spice rub while you prep your taco toppings and any side dishes and preheat your bbq.
Cook the chicken until done, then thinly slice.

Take your tortilla and layer on:
sliced chicken
sour cream
hot sauce

And whatever else your heart desires.

Quick and tasty.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Book Club - Long Way Down by Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman

'Ewan was in Star Wars mode again. "Charley," he told me, "be mindful of your thoughts for they betray you." '

'I gazed the length of the stillness to low walls and the flat envelopes of the desert beyond. The place was beautifully kept with cactus growing in spiky flowers between the silent graves.'

'Time and again we had seen the effects of war and brutality on this trip, just as we had ridden along the Road of Bones in Russia.  We had spoken to mine victims in Ethiopia, child soldiers in Uganda.  Now here again we were in a country that had been ripped apart by war; the genocide of a million civilians that, as Kagame said, had achieved absolutely nothing.  But in each of these countries we also found hope for the future.'

Monday, May 15, 2017

Snapshot - Happy Sunday

This week our Thistle Farms food box contained 2 very pretty carnations; a treat whether you're a mom or not.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Cookie Cups

We have, much to the chagrin of myself and my expanding body, apparently become dessert people.  This has been caused by our Family Sunday Dinners with The Grandparents, so I blame them fully and completely.  It just doesn't seem like a complete dinner without something for dessert.  A terrible habit, which I want to break.  
But anyway, this dessert was for The Grandmother's Birthday!  I wanted to do something small, so there wouldn't be a lot of leftovers, and something a bit different.  I found this on Buzzfeed - cookie cups filled with no-bake cheesecake filling.

The cups were simple enough, although I balked at pressing the (store bought) dough into the muffin tins - I was afraid they would be impossible to remove, because it was taking a heck of a lot of force to squish it into the tins.  So instead we (The Mister helped with 2 before he lost interest and wandered away) flattened them into rounds in our hands and then formed them in the cups.  I don't know how easy they come out the original way, but these ones popped right out after baking and a few minutes of cooling.  

The filling was cream cheese, cool whip, powdered sugar and vanilla. I didn't really follow the amounts, I just tossed in what I thought looked good.  I really really loved the filling.  I could have eaten a big bowl of it as is, but I didn't, thank God.

Here they are plated up and waiting while we hunted for a replacement candle for the one that broke in transport.  Admittedly they look very plain, but they were very very delicious.  I am not a big fan of cool whip, so I probably wouldn't make this particular filling again (but it was very good!) but the cookie cup idea I hope to remember, because they would be equally fun filled with fruit, ice cream, or even whipped cream.

Monday, May 08, 2017

Gumbo Love by Lucy Buffett

Everyone has that one (or two, or 84) places on their bucket list that they would love to go to - say, Paris, or London, for some - and one of my dream destinations has always been to go to the Gulf Coast - to see the ocean and visit Texas, or Alabama, or Louisiana.  To see the water and the beaches and of course, eat the FOOD.  It's pretty unlikely that I will fulfill that dream to see that part of the world, but I feel a little closer to it thanks to Gumbo Love by Lucy Buffett.

I am going to say right up front - I love everything about this book.  The photographs are gorgeous - food and scenery that leaps from the page to grab you.  Lucy's introduction shares a bit of her life story and her personality comes through.  One of my favorite parts of the book is her "Ten Grateful Ingredients For A Bright Life And A Happy Kitchen".  There is always room for more gratitude and optimism.

And the recipes!  Once you've read the short section on gulf coast cooking essentials - roux, file, stocks and more - you get to Chapter 1 - desserts first!  This made me happy and continues the wonderful tone of the book.  In total there are 10 chapters of recipes and one of menu planning and suggestions.  The book covers a lot of territories - snacks, mains, vegetables, salads,  sandwiches, drinks, sauces, and soups and - yes, lots of Gumbo.

The recipes are clear and easy to follow, with helpful hints substitutions offered by Lucy.  Most recipes are a page to a page and a half long, and none feel overly complicated or daunting.

I wanted to start with a gumbo (of course!) and  we chose Gumbo Z'Herbe or Green Gumbo - loaded with veggies and greens and sausage.  It took about 2 hours to make, and was AMAZING.  Even the kids ate some, which is high praise.  The Mister and I loved it and each had 2 bowls and argued over the leftovers.  It was a dish I was pretty impressed with myself for making - damn, I'm good.

To make the gumbo I also had to whip up a batch of Lulu's Crazy Creola Seasoning.  Simple but has a total punch of flavor.

We also tried the Salted Butterscotch Blondies (without the optional but encouraged icing) which were very easy to make and very very delicious.  I took some to work to share and not only did they disappear quickly, but I had multiple requests for the recipe.

I whipped up a batch of Wow Sauce, a spicy and flavorful sauce to spread on pretty much anything you can think of, and a batch of the Fresh Herb and Garlic Cheese Spread, which was another amazing recipe.  The Mister and I both loved it a lot, but the real fan was the 2 year old, who parked herself at the table and ate the cheese spread on carrots and celery until we feared there would be none left for us, and we took it away from her.

The last dish we tried was the Easy Breezy Island Shrimp Curry, which was so easy and so delicious - everyone loved it. (The book calls for serving with rice or spinach, but we went with noodles for the kids and it was very good.)

That's all we've tried so far, but I have a super long list of recipes I want to try soon, including Honey Ale Pimento Cheese, Garlicky Good-Woman Chicken, Southern Fried Cream Corn, Chocolate Angel Food Cake, and French Onion Soup.  Yum!

Gumbo Love is being released tomorrow, and I really encourage you to buy it. It's a fun, informative and above all delicious book.  It's really great.

Thank you so much, Hachette Books!

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Sunday Dinner - Easter Dinner - butternut squash and apple crisp

I have no photos from our Easter dinner - it was madness as usual, trying to get everything to the table at the same time, all still hot.  As much as I dream about owing a bakery/cafe, I would not be good at the cooking part because I have terrible timing to get things all ready at the same time.

We did a ham, and it was fine.  There were scalloped potatos, and roasted beets, and peas, and some raw veggies too, and a very nice pureed butternut squash, courtesy of Pioneer Woman.
The recipe could not be simpler, and even The Boy liked it, although he did not want to admit it.

I made a good apple crisp too; not too sweet, which is the way we like it.  I made it ahead of time and then after the ham was out and the oven was off I put the crisp back in the oven to warm up while we ate.  There was vanilla ice cream and coconut whip cream on the side.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Something I Like - The Leather Special

"My dad, like, has MS and is in a wheelchair and it's, like, I'm just psyched I can fucking move.  How are you going to complain? Shut the fuck up. You're alive. You can move. You feel good!"

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Tiny Happy Tuesday

Hillary has started Tiny Happy Tuesday - what are you grateful for today? 

I'm moving slow this morning - The Boy threw up at 3am, the second time in 4 nights this has happened.  WTF?  He has no symptoms of anything.  By the time we got him and everything else cleaned up (shudder) and laundry started, there was no point in going back to sleep.

I wish The Mister was up right now to make me another breakfast taco, like this one that he surprised me with the other weekend.  Lookit!

The Boss snuck out and bought us doughnuts from PDK Cafe, which I haven't been to yet and if my pants ever stop hurting I will have to check out.  This was toasted coconut and it was amazing.

Yesterday morning the sunrise was so beautiful and strong while I was practicing my yoga.  I turned off the lights so it was just me and Mother Nature.

I had to stop mid pose and grab my phone to take this one.

And then again, a couple of minutes later.  Come on!  So pretty.

(I am also grateful for our new washing machine as it cleans up the boys sheets and blankets and towels after our night.....)


Saturday, April 29, 2017

Sunday Dinner - Chicken Mamou and excellent bread.

This was a super delicious Sunday Dinner - the sort where everything was perfect and went great. And then the next 3 weeks of Sunday Dinners were all disasters.

Let's talk about this one first - this amazing bread is from
The New Best Recipe and I was so proud of it.
 Look! Artisanal Bakery Perfection.

The pasta was from Guy Fieri's Family Food and was called Chicken Mamou.
It was delicious and made a ton - we ate it for days.

I don't recall dessert - might have just been ice cream?

It was all downhill from there though.

The next Sunday I made a turkey sandwich from the same Guy Fieri book and it wasn't very good.  It had an orange cranberry spread that was too sweet, too sour and too harsh all at the same time.  It overpowered everything else.  Disappointing.

The next Sunday I tried to bounce back with a chicken dish with a creamy sauce.  The sauce was amazing but the chicken was awful - so tough we couldn't chew it.  Everyone was discreetly spitting out wads of partially chewed chicken, as discreetly as one can do that.  I was MAD.  Next Sunday would be different! I vowed.

Well, it was and it wasn't.......
We tried the New York Times version of the Mississippi Roast, but with a sub for roasted peppers instead of pepperoncini, which is fine, but we had kid activities, and then needed to do some shopping, and by the time we got home we were running low on time for cooking.  The roast got the minimum cooking time, but it needed more.  The flavor was nice, but it wasn't very tender.

I don't think I'm a super amazing cook, or anything like that, but 3 less than stellar Sunday Dinners in a row was a kick to the pants, yanno?

Well, back to the grind......

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Book Club - The Gatecrasher by Madeline Wickham

‘Congratulations, young man,’ said Johnny. ‘I despise the game of golf and everything associated with it, but congratulations nevertheless.’

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Book Club - Counting Back From Nine by Valerie Sherrard

The voices in the back of my brain will not stop.

hinting, probing, whispering words that
cannot be true and do not belong.

I hate them because I know they
are false - must be false and yet
they will not leave me no matter
how many times I
tell them to go.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Book Club - As Always, Julia

"I am absolutely overwhelmed by the amount of work you have all put into this.  Swept off my feet.  Knew before how good the book would be but never felt it quite this way before.  Masterly.  Calm, collected, completely basic, and as exciting as a novel to read.  This can't be just my own reaction because I'm nuts about food - I think many, many people will feel the same way."
Letter to Julia Child from Avis DeVoto, 1954, 7 years before the cookbook would be published.

Saturday, April 22, 2017