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Red Savina Hot Sauce 

Thinking I need to try this one.

Cast Iron Dan

The other day, I had someone on Facebook ask me what I do with all those peppers that I grow. That’s a good question, so I guess I should share what I make with all of that hot fruit! I make habanero hot sauce! The variety of habaneros that I grew this year are called Red Savina, which are about twice as big and twice as hot as the normal orange habaneros. Some of the peppers this year are over two inches in diameter!

I’ve been making this sauce for 5 years now and every time I think that I should change the recipe – I end up deciding to leave it just the way that it is! It is smoky, sweet, savory, citrussy and very hot… but not too hot! It doesn’t take much, but its a great condiment for tacos, burgers and most everything else. My youngest daughter…

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Arugula Salad with Apples and Walnuts

What can be better than apples and walnuts together.    My version is pretty close to the original.  Why mess with perfection?   I served alongside Za’atar chicken breast, and some pan seared veggies.  Serves 4 as a side.

arugula salad
Arugula Salad with Apples and Walnuts

3 Tablespoons plain unsweetened yogurt

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

1 Tablespoon honey

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

pinch of salt and pepper

4 cups arugula, any tough stems removed

3 leaves romain, torn

1/4 cup parsley leaves and tender stems, roughly chopped

1 apple, thinly sliced

1/3 cup walnuts, chopped

1/3 cup dried cranberries

2 Tablespoons unseasoned sunflower seeds.

Combine yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, honey, cinnamon, salt and pepper in small bowl, whisk to combine.

Toss arugula, romaine, parsley and apple slices together with the dressing.   Sprinkle walnuts, cranberries and sunflower seeds over greens and serve.

 

 

 

 

 

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Vacation is over

I am back from an 18 day whirlwind tour of my home town, Wetaskiwin, Alberta,  and parts of Saskatchewan.  Did you know that Watrous, Saskatchewan boasts a salt water lake?  My sister did and it was she who planned our quick trip to Watrous and ultimately, Moose Jaw.  She even did most of the driving which made it a very relaxed trip for the rest of our little group as we watched the prairie landscape roll by us.

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Just like the Great Salt Lake to the south of us, Little Manitou Lake in Watrous is, apparently,  impossible to sink in it.  For a non-swimmer like me, this is very good news!   The water is rich in naturally occurring mineral salts and legend has it that they are also curative.

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Being September, it was too late in the season for me to be taking a dip in the actual lake, but water from the lake has been diverted into a heated indoor pool so the benefits can be enjoyed by everyone all year round.

Watrous 2017

So what does this have to do with a food blog?   Quite a bit, really.  Not only are vacations a time for recharging and discovering, they also seem (for me anyway)  to be a time of constant eating!  Whether dining out,  eating at someones home, or grabbing a quick bite on the road, there are always fresh ideas on the plate, along with old standbys which make our trips home that much more memorable.

Watrous trip 2017

Speaking of road food, those who know me may be shocked to learn that I  discovered a new junk food that now competes with Hawkins Cheezies for space in my suitcase home!  Its true, Snyders Sweet and Salty Caramel-Flavoured Pretzel snacks are dangerously addictive.  I highly encourage anyone looking for a new snack food to give these a try.  ( I won’t include a link to this wonder food because the only one I found takes you directly to a link to purchase and that is not what this is about. )

In the coming weeks, I will be working to recreate and publish some of the old favourites I was lucky enough to eat with friends and family back home.  Meanwhile, I notice this weeks menu has quite a Mexican spin …  it is good to be able to call 2 countries home.

 

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Farmer’s Market Shopping List: Apples, Eggs, and Self-Importance

I love going to the markets when back in Alberta. This trip, a new one for me – the Thursday market near 124 st. This authors take on her last visit to her local Market made me smile.

Stuff my dog taught me

farmers-market-humour

I love the local Farmer’s Market.  I go almost every Saturday morning.  That said, I am a middle-aged white woman.  I also enjoy restaurants that specialize in brunch, home décor shops that also sell scarves, and places where you paint your own coffee mugs.

My routine at the market is repetitive.  I buy an over-priced coffee on my way in and dedicate the next 30-45 minutes to stuffing food in my face.  I convince myself that locally-produced bacon, organic eggs, and bread baked by a Mennonite woman are “health foods”.  I sample enough cheese to keep me constipated for the rest of the weekend and I eat ALL the cinnamon buns I intended to take home to the family.  Then I fill my re-usable grocery bag with vegetables, pay twice what I would pay at the grocery store for them, and go home.

I don’t over-think the experience.  It is…

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Chile Peanuts and Pepitas

The perfect combination of salty and spicy and very addictive.  The original recipe, from Bon appetit August 2014,  called for baking in a 400 F oven for 7 minutes.    It is summer.  I don’t know about yours, but my kitchen is hot enough already so my instructions are for stove top cooking.  I have reduced the salt by a third to suit our personal tastes.

 

1 cup raw peanuts, removed from their shells

1 cup raw pepitas (peeled pumpkin seeds)

2 Tablespoons cooking oil

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 teaspoons kosher salt

Heat oil in deep sided frying pan until shiny, medium high heat.    Add nuts, salt and cayenne pepper and stir well to combine.   Reduce to medium and cook, stirring frequently to prevent burning, until pepitas are popping and peanuts are starting to turn a nice golden colour.  About 10 minutes in total.  Allow to cool completely before serving.

 

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Dear Hipster Dude in the Coffee Shop Line Up

This made me laugh out loud. Had to share.

Stuff my dog taught me

dear-hipster-dudeDEAR HIPSTER DUDE:

I respect that you have strong beliefs about coffee industry practices. Before making your purchase, you need to confirm that the beans have been ethically harvested and that every worker in the farm-to-store process has been properly compensated for their efforts.  Good for you! 

I am in a bit of a rush to get to work and your conversation with the disinterested-looking fellow behind the counter is slowing things down a bit, but it is nice to have an educational opportunity so early in the day.  I am learning things about Guatemala and Mexico that I did not know before, so thanks for that!

I personally apologize for the lack of gluten-free options in the display case.  Kudos to you for using this moment to promote your friend’s new organic-vegan-gluten-free-nut-free-quinoa-only baking business.  I am not entirely sure that the disinterested-looking fellow behind the counter has the…

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Muffins and Quick Breads · Uncategorized

Pumpkin Muffins

Victoria Day!   That means the home office is closed and a long weekend for us.   How better to use some of that free time to work on my baking skills.

These turned out much better than anticipated when I poured the runny batter into the muffin cups.  Actually, I am thrilled with the results and I think our current guest will enjoy them with her afternoon tea.

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Pumpkin Muffins

Pumpkin Muffins

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 1/2 cups – minus 2 Tablespoons whole wheat flour

2 Tablespoons corn starch

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 eggs

3/4 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed

3 Tablespoons molasses

1/4 cup canola oil

1 cup canned pumpkin puree

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3/4 cup milk

unsalted pepitas for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 400F.   Place paper liners in muffin pans and lightly spray the liners with non-stick cooking spray.    Set aside.

In medium bowl, whisk both flours, corn starch baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, allspice and nutmeg together.

In large bowl, whisk eggs until well blended.  Add sugar, molasses, oil pumpkin and vanilla, milk and whisk to combine well.

Whisk  flour mixture into wet ingredients, stirring until everything is just combined.  Careful not to overstir or your muffins will be tough.   Batter will seem a bit runny, and there should be no lumps.

Pour batter into prepared muffin cups and top with pepitas, if using.

Bake 20 minutes, until tester inserted into center of muffin comes out clean.  Let cool on wire rack for 20 minutes.  Run a knife around each muffin if needed to loosen from pan and turn out onto rack to finish cooling.

The original recipe was by Ellie Krieger from FoodTV, and substitutions were made as written  here to suit what I had on hand in my own kitchen.

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Pumpkin Muffins