Posts Tagged ‘food’

I was lucky enough to enjoy two Christmas dinners this year with all of the trimmings.  One with my husband’s family on Christmas day, and one with all of my family on New Years Day.

In my family, Christmas is the one time of year when there is not a bit of room in the fridge, and the fridge in the basement gets stuffed full too.  Dinner is always a feast, with lots of leftovers (which we like to call “encore presentations.”)

There are a few creative cooks in my family, and we enjoyed many variations on the theme, with lots of creative dishes featuring key ingredients found in various containers in the fridge. 

But there were still sweet potatoes left over.  I thought of making muffins, but we already had sweet potato bannock as well as several other types of bread.  I thought of making some type of fritter with them (maybe with some finely diced apple and cinnamon?), but as I had just made a batch of fritters with the white potatoes, it seemed like something else would be better suited.  (although I kind of like the idea of an apple/sweet potato fritter and might still try it sometime….)  In the end, I went looking for a recipe for Sweet Potato cookies, as with several cookie monsters in the house, our Christmas cookie selection was quickly dwindling.

I found a recipe, made a few changes (of course) and yum!  We had some beautiful, moist, cookies.  I especially enjoyed them warm for the oven, but they kept well in a cookie tin for a few days (and the sweet potato flavour intensified as they aged.)

Sweet Potato Cookies

based on this recipe

  • 1 cup cooked, mashed, sweet potato
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans

Turn oven to 375.  Mix potato, milk, butter and egg and beat until smooth.  Stir in remaining ingredients.

Drop by spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet (or cook on a non-stick mat).  Bake for 15 minutes. 



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I am very influenced by the books I read and the movies I watch.  I am not sure whether it is because I have such a wild imagination, or if I just love a good story, but I come out feeling like I know the characters personally (or wish I did.)

For instance, after seeing “You’ve Got Mail” I really wanted to open a bookshop (I know, I know, in the movie the bookstore goes out of business, but it didn’t stop me wanting to have one of my own!)

Reading “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy had me wanting to throw on an elven cloak and head out on an adventure. 

And let’s not begin talking Harry Potter….. 🙂

Today, while working on a crochet project, I sat down and watched Julie & Julia.

You have perhaps already guessed what I feel inspired to do.  Read more about Julia Child, try some recipes from her cookbook, write a blog about it (oh, wait, that’s already been done….)

What it really reminded me of was how much I enjoy cooking and reading cookbooks, and how I really would like to do more of it again.  I never actually finished working my way through my Nana’s recipes, and I also have a shelf full of cookbooks with delicious recipes just waiting to try.

Not so long ago, I used to try to make one new recipe each week.  I did this for a long time, but when life is busy sometimes it is just easier to go with the old standbys.  But I am inspired today to get back in the habit of trying new things.  It probably won’t be Beef Bourguignon, but hopefully it will still have me saying “Bon Appetit!”

Do you ever get inspired by a movie?

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Yummy Yogurt Waffles

The other day I was perusing one of my Christmas books, looking for yet more items to add to my ever-growing to-make list, and I discovered a recipe I just had to try.

I do not know why it is that I love breakfast foods so much, but I do.  I could eat pancakes, waffles, muffins, eggs and oatmeal for breakfast, lunch and dinner and be a happy girl.  So I couldn’t resist trying another waffle recipe.  And I’m glad I did.  Compared to some other waffle recipes I have made, these were light, not heavy, more like a pancake in texture than a waffle, staying soft and moist even when fully cooked.  With some fresh fruit, a dallop of yogurt and a drizzle of syrup they were perfection!  Here is the recipe:

Yummy Yogurt Waffles (formerly Sour Cream Fruity Waffles)

  • 1 1/4 cups whole white flour
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt (I used a thick Balkan style)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp. melted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (I think I put in a little more than that and I loved the vanilla smell as they cooked!)

Combine the flour, baking powder, soda and salt.  In a separate bowl, beat eggs and mix with yogurt, milk, butter and vanilla.  Stir into the dry ingredients.  Bake in a waffle iron until done.  I got six waffles out of this batter in my waffle-maker. 

Enjoy!  They are also good reheated in the toaster!


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I know I haven’t been writing here as much as usual.  Thanks to all of you who have stuck with me through this busy time and still read my posts.  You mean the world to me!

We have been extremely blessed this year with an abnormally mild fall.  Usually by this time my garden is frost-bitten and gone, except for carrots, but this year we are still harvesting lettuce, spinach, herbs and celery.  Oh the celery we grew this year!  Seriously, if you live anywhere close by and you would like to have your own bunch of fresh-from-the-garden celery, please let me know!  I am happy to share from our bounty.  I’m also considering sending all my friends bouquets of parsley and dill – what do you think?  🙂

This extended warm spell has also given me lots of time to harvest most of the herbs I grew this year (other than the basil, which faints at the first sign of cold, but luckily I already had most of that made into pesto weeks ago.)

I am pretty simple when it comes to preserving my herbs.

I pick them.

I brush off any dirt that might be sticking to them.

I freeze them in glass jars.  (We have a plethora of glass jars because they aren’t recyclable here, plastic bags would work too.)

I enjoy them all winter long.

That’s it. 

I make pesto with basil, and this year I tried to make a parsley paste of parsley and oil, which I froze in small clumps as I do with the pesto. 

I decided to try to do this with a mortar and pestle, because I heard that it is better for the colour of the herbs when you do it this way.  Next year I will go back to using my food processor.  The end result was not quite as “pasty” as I would have liked it, more like clumps of parsley suspended in oil.  However, when I’m tasting that fresh parsley flavour in our winter cooking I won’t be worrying about consistency.

Anyone else out there enjoying a mild fall?  How are you preserving your garden harvest?

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The nights are getting cooler, the leaves are starting to turn, and my garden is starting to look a lot more brown than green.

It is time for the fall harvest.

After another two frosty evenings in a row, some plants in the garden are finished for good.

I went out in the garden and harvested all of our tomatoes.

Red – Northern Delight and a few Beefsteak, destined for salsa, bruschetta, and BLT sandwiches (where the “B” stands for Basil – yum!)  I already canned the bulk of them as salsa and stewed tomatoes. 

Green – not even enough to make green tomato mincemeat!  I might try to half (or quarter!) the recipe and at least make a small batch for winter desserts.

I also harvested all of the Mystery Keeper tomatoes, which will keep us in garden-fresh tomatoes for at least the first few months of winter.

The green and yellow beans are finished, but I did manage to have a snack of fresh green peas while I was poking around the garden.  This is my absolute favourite way to eat peas, in fact, they rarely make it into the house (there’s local eating for you!)

Our soldier beans are not quite dry yet (and with the wet season we have had, many have rotted away), but I did collect a small bag of the first of the season.  These will be made into baked beans (Hubby’s favourite!) throughout the winter, as well as substituted for other varieties of beans in burritos, nachos, soups and stews. 

And what would a garden harvest be without a zucchini or two?  We almost missed out on these with our cucumber beetle attack, but one plant survived and I have been able to harvest enough for fresh eating on pizza, in omelettes, and stuffed, and have frozen some of the bigger specimens, pre-grated, ready to keep us in muffins (and more muffins!) for the next few months.   I also discovered a wonderful recipe for zucchini waffles which I made yesterday and loved!  Kind of like a waffle version of zucchini bread.  I added orange juice along with the milk in mine for extra flavour. 

I pulled out the pepper plants which are no longer producing, and harvested jalapenos for salsa and jalapeno cheese sauce.  I like to cut them in half, seed them, and then freeze them for later.

The carrots, squash, lettuce, spinach, chard, and potatoes are still growing nicely.  The onions are curing on our deck, although I must admit I have already started cooking with some of them, I just couldn’t resist!

Most of the herbs are still flourishing, except for the basil which I pulled out by the roots yesterday and incorporated every leaf  into making pesto, which I also freeze for later, some in ice cube trays and some in small glass jars.  I of course saved a few plants to go with the delicious tomatoes all over my counter, but their season is almost done. 

I must admit I have a certain satisfaction in knowing that our freezer and store room are starting to fill up with the food that will take us through the winter.  Food that started as just a tiny seed in the ground only a few months ago.  Growing your own food is a wonderful thing! 

What are you harvesting from your garden?

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I wanted to try something different today, so for this blog post I bring you….

My first video!

On which I share with you one of my favourite kitchen tools (I can just see you jumping up and down with excitement right now!!  Andi’s talking about kitchen tools – woohoo!)

Seriously, though, I do love my mortar and pestle, and for a relatively small investment it can dramatically change the flavour of your cooking. 

Check it out:

Not bad for my first video, right?  (Humour me, ok?) 

As well as spices you can also use a mortar and pestle to make pastes from fresh herbs (like pesto) without turning the leaves brown, pounding garlic, or breaking up nuts into small pieces.  I’ve also found that I’m not alone in my love of the stone over ceramic,  many chefs agree that the weight and roughness of the stone makes for the best pounding and grinding action. 

And this tool has certainly stood the test of time.  There are apparently references to its use in Egypt in 1550 B.C.  I wonder if the food processor will make it that long…..

What’s your favourite cooking tool?

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Doing What You Were Meant to Do

Hubby has this framed picture in his office.  It’s a picture of him, sitting at a desk, with the name of his own engineering company posted as a sign over his head. 

He drew it when he was 13.

His parents saved it and presented it to him just after we were married and he decided to leave his job and start his own company. 

It was a sign that he was truly doing what he was meant to do, what he had dreamed of doing when he was younger (even if he didn’t remember it!)

 I had a similar moment this week.   Nothing quite as profound as hubby’s, but a gentle nod that yes, here I am, week after week, doing what I have always loved to do.

It came in the form of these.


When I was young both sets of grandparents spent the winter in Florida.  Several times my parents took us there for a week to visit them.  These are the journals I kept (on the request of my teachers) during those visits.

And here is the part that made me laugh right out loud.  Look at this entry:

Yes, that’s right.  My elementary school former-self was a food blogger years before she knew such a thing existed!

And then there is this one from when I was even younger.

Three years later, my writing has improved, but my topic has stayed the same.

I am sure we did something else other than eat on our trips to Florida, but you wouldn’t know it from reading this journal.

This one in particular makes me giggle. 

Who could imagine paying 14.99 for steak and “other stuff”!!!  🙂

Have you had one of those moments?  A reminder that you are on the right path, doing what you were meant to do?  If you have children, have you seen it in them?  Those little snippets of  passion that makes you wonder….hmmm…is this what they will be doing when they grow up?

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A Swing and a Miss

Ever have one of those recipes that you just can’t wait to try?  In fact, after hearing just the title, you can almost taste it, and it is good!  In your imagination you savour every last bite.  And then you get all of your ingredients together and the excitement builds.  It looks beautiful going into the oven, smells heavenly while cooking, and looks perfect when it comes out of the pan. 

And then you taste it.

And it doesn’t live up to its expectations.

And your husband doesn’t want to eat anymore (and he loves dessert.)

And the perfect dish now sits in your fridge sad and unappreciated. 

Has this happened to you?

This weekend I was flipping through old magazines and found a recipe for Upside Down Pear Gingerbread Cake.  I LOVE gingerbread and thought the pear part sounded delicious.  And it certainly looks good, doesn’t it?

It will get eaten (because I hate wasting food) and then I will move on to another intriguing recipe and hope that the results are better. 

(And perhaps I can apply what I learned from Pete the Cat: Did Andi Cry?  Goodness no!  She kept on going and singing her song….knowing that there is another, better,  gingerbread recipe out there just waiting to be found!)

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I like to keep a magnetic pad of paper on the fridge for recording grocery items we need to buy.  This makes it easy to write down what we need, as we run out of it.  Otherwise I am bound to forget on grocery day just what it is we ran out of during the week. 

Unfortunately, I do not have much luck with magnetic pads.  In many cases the magnets stick to the fridge, but the paper doesn’t, pulling right off the magnetic back, so I have a whole collection of pads of paper and their corresponding magnetic backs, but still nothing on my fridge. 

This past year the problem was temporarily solved with a snowman paper pad I was given at Christmas that stuck perfectly.   The only downside to this was that Hubby, who does most of the grocery shopping, did not like walking through the store in mid-summer with a large piece of red-hatted snowman paper.  Unfortunately for him, I wasn’t about to give up a pad that worked so he suffered through (dear man.)

But I used the last snowman today.  😦

I also make more than one list as there are several places that we shop for food so I am constantly adding new pieces of paper to the fridge with the plain black magnets torn from the back of our useless paper pads.  Functional, but not pretty.

Looking at the pile of magnets and un-sticky paper pads this morning gave me an idea.  I set about reusing the magnets to make labelled paper holders for the fridge.  Check it out!

Now I have a list for everything, and no more papers falling off the fridge!

Here’s how I made them.

I began by tearing the cardboard backs from the useless pads of paper off of the magnets.

I then raided the scrap bin for fabric that coordinated with the kitchen.  This would also be a good project for scrapbook paper scraps, but I thought of the fabric first.

I then found some Mod Podge, a foam brush, a piece of fun foam leftover from a school project (although this would also be a good project for reusing cardboard), and a glue gun. 

The foam pieces were cut so they were just a little bigger than the biggest magnet.  Even though the magnets differed in size, I wanted the finished magnets to all be the same. 

I then cut the fabric scraps to be a bit bigger than the foam pieces. 

I used the Mod Podge to glue the fabric to the foam, wrapping it like a present to keep the corners neat. 

I used a glue gun to glue the magnet to the back of the magnet, covering the folded edges of the fabric.  (Handy Hint: make sure you glue the magnet magnetic-side up, instead of upside-down like I did….)

While the magnets were drying, I went down to the computer and printed off the names of the different lists in a pretty font.  If I had return-address sized labels I think they would have fit perfectly, but since I didn’t I used the shipping labels I already had and just cut them apart. 

I then stuck the labels to the front of the magnets and put them on the fridge. An easy way to use what I already had and be a little more organized.

And Hubby will be happy that he doesn’t have to take a snowman to the grocery store anymore!  🙂

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This fall has been busy, and with holidays fast approaching, it is going to get busier still.  Multiple creative projects are calling my name, begging to be worked on, but this week-end I knew I would have to put them off for another week.

When life is busy, things get piled up, pushed off, or left undone.  And that’s ok.  But every once in a while I need to take some time to regroup and reorganize.  Today was that day.  (and inviting friends over for games after dinner kept me going…nothing like a little motivation!)

I cleaned the kitchen closet. 

  Taking before pictures would have been a good idea –  it wasn’t horribly messy, but difficult to find what was needed, and there were plastic bags everywhere from when I went looking for one of a particular size one morning and left the others where they fell (turns out I didn’t have any in that size).  Now everything is neat and in order again.  I spent time organizing printed recipes into binders so that I can find them easier, and the second shelf has two piles of recipes that I want to try (no more printing until I work my way through those!  Do you think I can do it?) 

I cleaned out the fridge and re-organized the freezer.  No need to clean out the big freezer, this freezer inventory has saved my a lot of time in that respect. 

I made stock with the chickens and veggies piling up in my stock bag in the freezer. 

I tidied up the piles of books that were everywhere and folded up all the blankets on the couches. 

I revitalized my kombucha and kefir, and prepared the ingredients for making sourdough muffins and fruit and nut bars tomorrow morning. 

In between it all I baked bread and tried a new recipe for dinner. 

Despite a work-intensive today I feel refreshed and renewed by this cleaner, calmer space, and comforted by the knowledge of a full freezer and a pile of home-baked goods on the counter. 

Tomorrow I tackle the outside…. with the exception of the root vegetable box, it will probably be my last gardening day until the spring.

How do you keep things organized at your house?

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