Monday, November 20, 2017

HRC's CC Cookies

I recently came into possession of a slightly damaged but mostly intact copy of the 2004 Better Homes Christmas Cookies magazine.  I note the slight damage because to my disappointment the page containing the first recipe I decided I needed to try had been ripped out by some diabolical person.
The second recipe I wanted to try was Hillary Rodham Clinton's Chocolate Chip Cookies.

I am a fan of hers in many ways and for many reasons.
She is a smart, strong, opinionated woman.

I can't wait to read  her book, and  I will make another batch of these cookies for the Nasty Women in my life, just like I did with the first set.

HRC's Recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Book Club - Reinventing The Body, Resurrecting The Soul by Deepak Chopra

"When you assume nobody is going to change, you have closed the box and locked them in."

"The deeper point is that people will go a long way to protect their comfort zones and to fence out painful reality."

"Embrace every day as a new world."

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Friday, November 17, 2017

Red Cabbage

I've got a couple of pot lucks coming up and I've already started researching some options, which is totally out of character for me.
After I finished up my cookbook shelf purge in August I tried to take another critical look  at all the cookbooks that stayed behind.  Do I really need all of them?  Really?
Well so far  the answer seems to be yes, but I am keeping that thought in my mind.  I am hoping that if I do decide that a book isn't for us, that I will do the right thing and donate it so someone else can enjoy it.
One book I wasn't sure if it should stay or go was The Rest of the Best and More - A Best of Bridge cookbook.  But now that I've flipped through it again I've found a lot of recipes I'd like to try - for potlucks and just eating in general.

I made the Red Cabbage recipe last weekend to use up a half head of red cabbage and also this is the sort of the thing that The Mister loves to eat.  It was easy and we had to tinker a bit to get the sweet-sour yin yang just right for us, but in the end it was delicious.  And even The Boy ate some!
Something about this dish says Fall/Winter to me.

Red Cabbage
from The Rest of the Best and More

3 lb red cabbage
2 green apples, peeled and chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup vinegar
2 TB bacon fat
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup boiling water

Shred cabbage and place in a large saucepan with remaining ingredients.   Bring to a boil and reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1 hour, stir occasionally.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Book Club - The River at Night by Erica Ferencik

"This is my world too; don't I deserve the chance to see it?"

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Upcoming reads and miscellaeney

I received a book store gift card from The Mother In Law for my birthday this year.  The order was broken up into 2 deliveries and I just got the first.  Queso was a total impulse purchase but after reading the first few pages I can already tell it was money well spent.  
I have read in a few places how great we are never meeting in real life is, 
and am looking forward to it.

Some other stuff floating around my head -

I really liked this article - A High-Security Prison Is Offering YTT for Inmates
I am trying to convince my head that it is time to get back to yoga.  It isn't going well so far.

I made this honey garlic chicken a while back and loved it.

If you like chicken and peanut sauce- I do! - then you will love this chicken and broccoli with peanut sauce.

I don't watch much TV any more, but I am excited about David Letterman's show on Netflix.  When does it start?????  I liked this interview from early this year.

I have some childhood memories of visiting my great-nana when I was small; not many - but I remember quite clearly a big plastic photo cube she had on her coffee table.  It had photos of her great grandchildren in it, and I was fascinated by it.
I made one similar this Spring for The Grandmother - I bought a wooden cube and cut photos to size and glued and sealed them on.  It was a cute quick craft.  

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Wedding favor cookie cutter

Recently I was helping my dad clean up some  stuff in their basement, and I came across this favor from our wedding.  I'd wanted to be different, and not do the same  old candy or cookies that everyone seemed to do.  So I chose a cookie cutter and recipe for cookies.
We had to tie each cookie cutter in place with the ribbon, and I can't even tell you what a unfun job that was to do on 100+ cutters.

The wooden desk this photo was taken on was my desk in my bedroom when I was growing up.
After I moved out, my mom used the desk for sewing and knitting projects
and then it became one of my dads art tables.
A few weeks ago we moved it from their house to our house and now it is in The Boy's 
room, covered in lego. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Pork Wontons and Carrot Soup from Shutterbean

Shutterbean is one of my weekly reads. Gorgeous photography, adventures, yummy eats. 
What else do you need? 
I recently made her wontons, which were delicious. I had only small wrappers, so we made a ton. And then ate them all. 

I also  less recently made her carrot coconut soup 3 times in 2  weeks.  Delicious.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

The Kamloops Symphony Book Sale is on!

The Kamloops Symphony Book Sale started yesterday.  This year it's at Lansdowne Centre downtown, between the dollar store and London Drugs.  The crowds were big and there were some good books.  We picked up a handful for The Boy, and I scored the 2 above.  Yippeeeeee!  7 years after first reading it, I now have my own copy of I Like You.

The book sale runs until November 25.  Go often!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

There is always something to be thankful for

It is easier, some times, to be negative than to be positive.

Let's focus on the positive today, shall we?

I am eternally grateful for The Mister.  Sometimes he drives me crazy, 
but I know I drive him nuts too. We got it going on.
I am grateful for what a good big brother The Boy is.  He is almost always kind and 
patient to his little sister.  I hope they will always be a team.
I am always grateful for my parents, and I am thankful we moved from Alberta to be closer to them.
I am thankful to be Canadian.
After this blast of cold weather I am grateful for scarves and slippers and heating pads.  

Friday, November 10, 2017

French Onion Chicken

This one popped up in my facebook feed last weekend and it looked SO delicious I made it that very night for dinner. The kids were fairly indifferent about it, but The Mister and I really really enjoyed it.  It wasn't a super quick dinner - you have to cook those onions down for a long while, nice and slow, but it was worth it.  This could be a make ahead too - cook the onions in advance, I bet that would work well.
I forgot to buy some nice bread so we had our with roasted potatos which were also excellent.
The only change I made from the recipe was to skip the broiling in the oven as I was trying to get dinner on the table as fast as I could.  This is a definite make again!

Recipe - Cheesy French Onion Chicken

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Blueberry mufins for G

Every weekend I make a batch of blueberry muffins for The Grandfather.

They are one of his favorite things ever.

These are serious muffins - low in fat and sugar, and high in fiber.
My kids are not fans.  What a shock!

I've taken my mom's recipe, which she has noted on the paper came from the local hospital, and made a few changes over the multiple times I've made these.

Blueberry Muffins for G

1 egg
1/2 cup milk
3 TB vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp grated lemon or orange zest
1/2 cup Bran Buds cereal
1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups frozen blueberries

Preheat oven to 350'.  Line 12 muffin cups with liners.

Beat egg, stir in milk, oil, vanilla, zest and bran buds.  Let stand 5 minutes.
Stir again and add in flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir until just combined.  Gently stir in berries.
Spoon into prepared cups and bake for 18-20 minutes.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Chicken curry

This is from Rick and Lanie's  Excellent Kitchen Adventures,which I cooked from for my bookcase clean up back in .... 2015.  Oh my lord.  
At that time we tried 3 recipes - biscuits, meatballs and chicken donburi.  I still dream about the biscuits.
I made two more recipes a couple of weeks ago - a chili which I altered A LOT so I can't really say it was theirs, but it was fine.
This curry was more than fine.  I made it on a Sunday for dinner on Tuesday.  Even the kids liked it, which is completely and utterly amazing as they are pretty much the most picky beasts on the planet and like practically nothing, so this is a keeper.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Creamy Potato Soup and Davidson's Orchard

We took the kids to Davidson's Orchards in Vernon this Summer and had lunch at the little cafe.  They had a soup on the menu that I thought The Girl might eat - probably chicken noodle - but after I'd paid they told me they had just run out. They had 2 other choices, one of which was spicy, so I chose the potato soup and lordy it was delicious!  I mean, The Girl didn't eat any, but The Mister and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I started googling to find a similar recipe - creamy, with veggies, not pureed, but the potatos were starting to fall apart.....and I found a very very good one at Cooking Classy which is very close to what we enjoyed that day.

I've made it twice since, and everyone (ok, everyone who is not my child) loves it.

And some photos of our day - 

Monday, November 06, 2017

Menu Plan -Nov 6-10

It's been a while since I've written about menu planning, but I still hate it.

Hold on to your hats, this is a wild week. And by wild I mean boring.
I had no alone time (aka before the kids got up Saturday morning) to really sit and plan and look up ideas, so we have a pretty dull dinner week ahead.

Monday - Beef Dip sandwiches, raw veggies

Tuesday - dinner at Costco after shopping

Wednesday - Spaghetti and meatballs

Thursday - Soup and sandwiches - still figuring out what the soup will be....

Friday - Fish and chips

dreaming of mini doughnuts this morning......

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Dreaming of warmer days

Man, did we get walloped by Winter this week.  Tuesday, Halloween, was cloudy and cool; a bit rainy, but the drizzle stopped by dinner and the kids had a beautiful, not too cool night for trick or treating.  (One of the houses across the street had special effects lights and sounds and it scared The Girl; now every time she sees the house, she says "Fooky house!  OOOOOO!"  and holds her hands up Frankenstein monster style.)

Wednesday was a beautiful sunny day, but before I turned off the computer for the night I saw there was a weather advisory.  Really?  I thought, and toddled off to read scroll Instagram for half an hour.
Thursday morning I woke up to a howling blizzard and a shit load of snow.  WTF.  The wind screamed and it snowed all day and into the night and Friday morning I was out first thing trying to get rid of the snow drifts that were waist deep behind the car.

We are seriously considering buying a snow blower.

I am not a winter person at the best of times.  We don't ski or skate, although I am hoping to try snow shoeing this  year or next, depending on many circumstances.  I would much rather have the sun and heat than snow and cold and ice.  But what can you do, this is where we live.

Saturday, November 04, 2017

Why make muffins when you can make cookies?

Here is my nicest photo of these cookies - artfully styled on a kleenex on my desk at work.  
So classy.

I planned to make some muffins or a  quick  bread  from the leftover pumpkin from the pie, but then I found some cookie recipes and that solved that dilemma.

I used this recipe and they were quite nice - cake like and full of spices.

Friday, November 03, 2017

Book Club - Sitting Kills, Moving Heals by Joan Vernikos

"The state of health in the world is deteriorating.  In the United States, two out of every three people are unhealthy.  This alarming trend must be stemmed and reversed or it will cripple personal health, national vitality, and resources."

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Thanksiving - cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie

We had a small quiet Thanksgiving this year. We roasted a turkey breast, 
mashed some potatos, steamed some brussel sprouts. 
 Made boxed stuffing and amplified the gravy with packaged dressing. 
 It was all good, but we missed The Grandparents big time. 

We got some cranberries from Thistle Farms and so I made the cranberry sauce from scratch. 
 4 ingredients - cranberries, orange zest, brown sugar and water. Easy. 
The berries were super tart though; I definitely could have added more sugar. 

 I wanted to do something special for The Mister so I made him a pumpkin pie.  I planned to make the pie I made for Thanksgiving ages ago but the link no longer works so I did some searching and we chose another Anna Olson recipe.

It was delicious! 

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Nablopomo 2017

I've tried to Nablopomo three times before and a quick peek makes it look like I was successful twice- once in the traditional November and  once in July.

I've missed being here but I haven't had any time or anything good to say. I think many of us could chalk  2017 up to being a pretty crappy year.  Are you with me?

I don't  know how far I'll get, but I'll try.  

Stuart Wood, October  28

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Book Cub - They Left Us Everything by Plum Johnson

"There's already too much grey in the world....why would I want to add to it?"

"You need to believe in something." Mum said.  "Something greater than yourself.  It helps to hand your problems over."

"Accept what you cannot change."

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Grocery Shop - September 9

iced coffee, coconut milk, tomato sauce, apple sauce, coffee, baby corn, chicken noodle soup, 
penne, creamer, iced tea, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, 
mozzarella, watermelon, salami, ham, 


Saturday, September 23, 2017

Book Club - Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

"Please don't tell me you're fighting over that piece of paper." said Ed.
"He's not sharing!" screamed Chloe. "Sharing is caring!"
"You get what you get and you don't get upset!" screamed Fred.

'No woman should pay for the accidental death of that particular man.'

Monday, September 18, 2017

Memories of Calgary - Ginger Fried Chicken

If you've ever been to Calgary and had Chinese food, there is a good chance you've been introduced to Ginger Beef.  Ginger Beef is a Calgary institution, and a big deal there - or at least it was when I lived there all those years ago. 

Near the end of my time in the city, I worked not too far from a place with very very good GB, and my co-workers and I would occasionally go for lunch buffet, and my least favorite co-worker would always get bent out of shape and complain if they did not have full containers of GB and pot-stickers.  I am sure they just loved to see us walk through the door.

Ginger Beef it turns out, is not as well known here as it is there.  Shortly after we moved we went for lunch at a Chinese food buffet here and we were thrilled to see Ginger Beef among the offerings.  Sadly it was nothing - NOTHING - like what we had left behind in AB.

So basically we have been Ginger Beef-less all these years.  I mean, we are managing just fine, not pining away or anything, but it is one of those fond memories that sticks with you, you know?

Yet again, I have been working on purging my recipe collection.  I went through my collection of papers and tried to see not only what else could go, but what in there I actually wanted to cook.  Because why else am I keeping this stuff, right?

In there I found a recipe I found and printed in 2012 - Calgary Style Ginger Chicken!  I was so excited about finding the recipe that I made it the next night - and for me, that is moving fast.

The recipe is easy to make and is very delicious, and reminded me a lot of our old Calgary Ginger Beef.  I left out the chili peppers in the hope that the kids would eat some, but I am looking forward to trying it again soon with some spice.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Things with tomatos

Our garden is complete crap this year, as usual.  It is wickedly hot here, very dry, and the smoke from the forest fires has kept us hidden inside for what feels like most of the summer.
We got a few thumb sized tomatos off our plant before it shriveled up into brown twigs, but nothing worth getting excited about.  My parents, on the other hand, are having a booming tomato crop.  We have been graciously helping them out to make sure none of them go to waste.

Here's some of the stuff we've made -

First, because it was one of the best - Avocado Feta Crack Dip which was wicked goooooood.  We ate it as a salad.  I could eat this every day and not get tired of it.  Our was too hideous to take a photo of it as I was not a gentle mixer, but it tasted damn fine.

 We also tried, as part of my cookbook purge on Instagram, Spaghetti Con Salsa Fresca from The Urban Vegan.  Big hit.

I have a few recipes written out from Move Over Santa, Ruby's Doin Christmas! by Ruby Ann Boxcar; and let me tell you that this is a really, really, REALLY good dish.  If only the price of bacon wasn't so ridiculous, I would buy more corn and bacon and make it again today.

Faye Faye's Fried Christmas Corn Dish Delight
altered slightly from Move Over, Santa - Ruby's Doin Christmas!

6 strips of bacon
1/2 small onion, diced finely
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped finely
kernels off of 6 ears of corn
1 large tomato, diced

Chop bacon into small pieces and fry over medium heat until crisp.  Removed to a plate.  Add the onion and bell pepper to the bacon fat and cook until softened and just starting to brown.  Add the corn and tomato and cook until hot.  Season to taste.  Stir in the bacon and eat!

I am really considering trying the Soda Cracker Pie from the book- basically egg whites, sugar and cracker crumbs.  Has anyone tried it before!  Yes/no?

I made Gwyneth Paltrow's roasted salsa out of her last book It's All Easy.

Our oven is on the fritz so i nearly burned the veggies, but I just pulled off the worst bits and it was fine.  (As I wrote this I suddenly remembered that when I cooked some tomatos from another one of her books, I nearly burned them too.....whoa - 5 years ago!)

The Kids don't like spicy food much, so I left out the peppers.  It was good! 

This one was amazing too.   God, I love when tomatos are in season! We all loved this  

We are nowhere near done - I have an enormous tub of tomatos sitting on the counter, and there are more ripening in The Grandparents garden as we speak.  I need to find some more recipes asap.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Cajun all the things! Ok, a few things.....

One of the last books that I cooked from for my cookbook shelf purge was a sushi book. Like in all other cooking and eating, I am not that adventurous, and so it was a bit tricky to pick some recipes that we would all eat.  I chose a spicy salmon roll for the boys because I knew The Mister would like it for sure, and I was surprised that the spicy element came from cajun spice.
When we were making the sushi, The Mister was in charge of the salmon roll,  and i portioned off some cream cheese for him into a bowl.  I was struck with the urge to try the cajun spice with some cream cheese, and it was delicious!  I set aside some of the sushi rice, and after we had finished making the chosen rolls, I made some veggie Cajun sushi bites - a bit of molded riced topped with a smear of Cajun cream cheese and cucumber.  It, along with the other veggie sushi, was my favorite part of dinner.

During clean up The Mister set aside some of the leftover cream cheese to make himself a batch of shrimp dip and he also made a little container of Cajun cream cheese.  Make some buttered toast, spread it with this cream cheese, and top with sliced tomatos.  Oooooooh yas.
And also?  There is a stand at the farmer's market that sells the most amazing soft pretzels.  
Even more terrific toasted with some CCC (cajun cream cheese) on it.

A few days later I made chicken burgers for dinner, and while they were grilling, I mixed some Cajun spice into mayo for a topping. I was also making some pan fried zucchini coins - sliced about 1 inch thick, tossed (and sort of squished) into some fine bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper - and then fried in a bit of olive oil over medium heat. I was cooking in 2 batches, so while the second batch was frying, I grabbed one of the cooked ones, dipped it in the spicy mayo and ate it. DELICIOUS! I was almost happy when The Boy kicked up a fuss about eating his zucchini, so I could "help" him out. 

The Boy is slowing staring to enjoy spicy foods, so there could be a cajun chicken sandwich, or cajun fettuccini in our future.  The Girl hates spicy food; well, actually she pretty much hates food in general, so we've got some work to do there.

Do you use cajun spices in your kitchen?  What's your favorite recipe to use them in?

Monday, September 04, 2017

Book Club - The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

"He had a horrible thought that the cakes might run short, and then he - as the host; he knew his duty and stuck to it however painful - he might have to go without."

"He fought the real battle in the tunnel alone, before he ever saw the vast danger that lay in wait."

For Adult Summer Reading Club - Adapted From Or Into A Movie

Monday, August 28, 2017

Book Club - Moloka'i by Alan Brennert

"They could see Ruth's eyes on them and know that they were the first things she had seen in this life; and they could hope that some part of her might remember that."

"Aloha wale, e Rachel, kaua, auwe!

For Adult Summer Reading Club - By An Author Of A Different Gender