Uncategorized

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
Uncategorized

Grilled Salmon with Avocado Salsa

We found some wild caught salmon in our wanderings today. This looks like the perfect way to prepare it.

The Pantry Portfolio

grilled salmon with avocado salsaTonight we had a salmon feast to round out a week of celebrations!  While we chose to make this week of school vacation a ‘staycation’ it ended up to be filled with day after day of reasons to raise a glass.  Here are just some of the highlights.

  1. On Easter Sunday last weekend we spent the day with both of our parents, enjoying a feast of roasted lamb, with scalloped potatoes and roasted veggies.   It is such a joy to see our parents get along and our evening was filled with laughter and storytelling.
  2. Tuesday was our two year wedding anniversary!  To mark the day, we went to a fancy dinner in town at Alden and Harlow. (If you love good food and you visit Boston I highly recommend this spot!) Instead of bread they give you pickled green beans. They have just the right amount of flavor and…

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Breakfast · Uncategorized

Tropical Pancakes

Nothing puts me in a pancake frame of mind more than a long weekend.  So, inspired by last nights pineapple chutney, and the fact that we still have a few bananas leftover from our “crop” at Casa Madera, I came up with this for breakfast this morning.   Serves 2 – 4, depending on appetites, and can easily be doubled.

 

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For the Topping

2 cups fresh (or canned) pineapple – If using canned, drain and discard liquid

1/2 cup water

3/4 cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 Tablespoons Spiced Rum (optional)

1 Tablespoon Butter

1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

Fresh raspberries

Shredded coconut

Finely chopped mint leaves

Combine first 6 ingredients pot over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved.   Bring to boil, and reduce heat to low.  Let simmer 10 minutes, then remove from heat and stir in lime juice.   Set aside while you cook the pancakes.

For Pancakes

1 batch of your favourite pancake mix

1 banana, sliced

1 teaspoon vanilla

Mixed the pancake batter according to package directions for 2 – 4 people.  Gently stir in vanilla and sliced banana, taking care not to over mix your batter.

Cook pancakes as directed, keep finished ones warm.

To serve, stack 2 pancakes per plate & spoon pineapple syrup  over top.  Top each serving with raspberries, coconut , and fresh mint.

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Uncategorized

Cake for Breakfast

Cake for breakfast makes me smile.

Gray Area Strength

barbell

Today, I missed my workout. Now normally I am pretty uncompromising about my workout time – I feel guilty about it on a regular basis but a bigger part of me knows that it is a non-negotiable if I am to remain somewhat sane. I always used to watch those oxygen mask demonstrations on airplanes and think that they had it kinda backwards when they said that if you were travelling with a child or dependant, put your own mask on and then look after your littles. Now I get it, but I learned the hard way that I must look after myself first or I am no good to anyone.

Anyway, my younger kid has been sick for the whole week and unable to go to school. Not catastrophically ill, but just enough that it would be irresponsible of us to send her into an environment with a lot…

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Uncategorized

What Is Your Storm Preparedness Style?

This is a fun read.

Stuff my dog taught me

emerg-essWhen it comes to snow-storm preparation, there are three kinds of people: Survivalists, Comfort-Junkies, and the Wilfully Oblivious.  

Survivalists are easy to spot because their pantries are filled with canned beans.  Survivalists have a weird passion for brown beans in tomato sauce.  They also stockpile granola bars and those little containers of individualized apple sauce that are a staple item in kid’s lunchboxes.

Survivalists have back-up plans for their back-up plans.  There is a case of Aquafina in their hall closet and a bucket of water sitting ready in the bathtub; lighters and waterproof matches in their kitchen junk drawer; and “family packs” of batteries in a plastic container that sits underneath another plastic container filled with candles.  

Survivalists also have multiple styles of flashlight – big square ones, pocket-sized ones, some with bendy cords that wrap around stuff, and at least a couple that attach to your…

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Beef · Uncategorized

Tex-Mex Shepherds Pie

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Tex-Mex Shepherds Pie

Serves 6.

Yup, this is a comfort food.  You’re welcome.

1 kilo (2 1/2 pound) potatoes, peeled and cut into 2″ pieces

2 Tablespoons canola oil

1 large onion, diced

1 poblano chile, diced

2 stalks celery, cut into 1/4″ slices

2 chorizo sausages, cut into quarters then diced

350 grams lean ground beef (a little more than 1/2 lb)

3 cloves garlic, minced

3/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon black pepper (freshly ground if available)

14 oz can diced tomatoes

1/2 cup chicken (or turkey) stock

1 cup frozen peas

1/4 cup frozen chopped spinach

1/3 cup sour cream or plain yogurt

3 Tablespoons milk

2 Tablespoons butter

1/1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 400F.   Cook potatoes in salted water until tender.

While potatoes are cooking, heat the oil in a large pot.

Add onion,  poblano and celery and cook 5 minutes over medium high heat, until vegetables are softened.

Add chorizo and ground beef.  Cook, stirring often until meat is no longer pink.  3 – 5 minutes.

Stir in  garlic, cumin and pepper and cook 1 minute more.

Add tomatoes and chicken stock, increase heat to high, and bring to boil.  Once boiling, reduce heat to medium and simmer until liquid is reduced by about half and slightly thickened.  5 – 10 minutes.  Stir in frozen peas and spinach.

Transfer to 9″ x 13″ oven-proof casserole & set aside.

Drain potatoes and let cool slightly.  Add sour cream, milk and butter.  Mash well.  Taste for seasoning, add salt to taste.   Stir in cheese and red pepper flakes and mix well.

Gently dollop potatoes over meat mixture in casserole, smoothing a bit with a spoon so there are no gaps between the dollops.

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Thanks to FoodTV.com for the inspiration for this dish.

Bake 30 – 35 minutes until edges are bubbling and potatoes have started to brown in spots.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Serve with a fresh green salad to ease any guilt you might feel from adding all that cheese to the potatoes.