Life at No.71: A Year In Review


It may be a good 6 weeks into 2010, but we we’re marking a year in review of our blog. We started blogging at Life at No. 71 back on Feb 12, 2009, and we thought it might be a good time to take a look back at our year of postings. What were some highlights?

In the last year, we’ve been to California twice, witnessed my brother getting married and gained a great sister-in-law, mourned the loss of Adam’s grandmother, watched our friend’s little one go from very wee to not so wee, honed our gardening skills (though we still have a lot of learning to do!), gotten the hang of canning and preserved some of our garden goodness, and enjoyed a countless number of great meals both at home and away.

A year in, here are some of our favourite posts:

Baking/Cooking Highlights:

  • Feb 12th, 2009: The Perfect Muffin
    Our very first blog post was inspired by the “perfect” muffin – a Blueberry Cream Muffin, that we’ve made dozens of times over the past year. We also happen to know it’s a favourite of the Neumans!
  • Mar 21st, 2009: Friday Night Challah
    Since we first experimented with homemade challah, it’s become our usual contribution to family shabbat dinners, held every other week. Even though we’re still convinced it tastes best with butter, we’ve tried many successful attempts with margarine and sometimes even with whole wheat flour. Mmm, challah.
  • Mar 22nd, 2009: Homemade Hamburger Buns
    Come BBQ season, these were a huge hit. Unlike the spongy buns we were used to buying at the grocery store, these were… real. We ended up using them not only for burgers, but also for many sandwiches over the summer. Come to think of it, we should really make another batch soon!
  • Oct 11th, 2009: Toasted Coconut Lemon Meringue Pie
    We’ve always been the bearers of pies for the Miller/Czutrin Thankgiving dinners, and this year we wanted to branch out from our regular apple + pumpkin pies.  This pie was a huge  hit, and super tasty. Definitely one to make again.
  • Dec 28th, 2009: Triple Ginger Cookies
    These cookies used three types of ginger: candied, ground, and fresh. They provided just the right amount of heat, and were nice and soft – and super tasty.
  • Dec 29th, 2009: Black Forest Sandwich Cookies
    These were adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s homemade oreos (which we’ve since made in their original form and love), and were a big hit. It was also our first and only post to be featured on WordPress’s homepage for a whole day, which got us a gazillion hits and comments.  Woot woot!
  • Jan 1st, 2010: Pita from Scratch
    Another contribution to Adam’s parent’s anniversary dinner. And now that we know how easy pita is from scratch, we’ll definitely do it again.
  • Jan 31st, 2010: Buttermilk Waffles with Dark Maple Syrup
    All I will say is that if you don’t already own the Joy of Cooking – go now and buy it. And make their Buttermilk Waffles. And use lots of butter. Trust me.

Events @ 71:

  • Mar 2nd, 2009: A Sunday Roast
    When Emilia Neuman was just three weeks old, we hosted a Sunday Roast. The idea was to have people over in the early afternoon and gradually bring out various tasty dishes. Not everything turned out as well as we’d hoped, but there were a few recipes we’ve made again since, including the Potato, Garlic, & Smoked Mozzarella Strudel. Mostly though, it was a great day with great friends and most people hung out through the evening. We’re hoping to do a repeat of this event in coming months (maybe with an actual roast?)
  • May 9th, 2009: Thursday Night Barbecue Club
    We came up with an ambitious idea last summer: hosting a barbecue in our backyard every Thursday and accommodating anyone who showed up.  The trouble with this idea was that some weeks we’d end up with more than 10 people and other weeks just the two of us.  That said, we had some great barbecues and enjoyed the time spent with friends.  We may do this sort of thing a little differently next summer.
  • Nov 23rd, 2009: US Thanksgiving Dinner Part 1Part 2
    After 2 years of going the Butterball cook-from-frozen turkey route, this year we decided to keep things as real as we could. We found a good local source for fresh turkey, and picked up the monster 21lb bird the day before our big meal. Perhaps a bit of a test for Cari in her soon-to-be-meat-eating-ways, it was definitely an interesting challenge. The real highlight of this, however, was a great meal with our friends at our 6th annual US Thanksgiving dinner.
  • Jan 1st, 2010: New Year’s Eve
    This year we decided to have an intimate New Year’s just the two of us… and we ended up planning so much food, that we ended up having two meals out of it. A great night, which included homemade cheese, seared tuna, truffles, cheesecake, and (of course) champagne.
  • Feb 7, 2010: Twisting our Tastebuds
    Our most recent event featuring miracle fruit. An event we won’t soon forget.

Restaurant Highlights:

  • Mar 5th, 2009: Sidecar Bar & Grill
    Located on College Street, this was one of our favourite restaurant discoveries of the year. We enjoyed cocktails and great food to celebrate Cari’s birthday.
  • May 3rd, 2009: Omonia Restaurant
    Omonia Restaurant has been one of our favourites for years, but ever since they renovated, they’ve really stepped up their amazingness. Adam’s birthday dinner with his family was there this year, and it was a definite highlight. Adam ordered the Stuffed Lamb Exohiko, and considers it one of the top things he’s eaten all year. In fact, when Cari’s mom was here over Christmas, he ordered it again.
  • June 6th, 2009: The Stockyards
    Stockyards has become one of the most popular barbecue places in town. So popular, in fact, that even though we’ve been a half a dozen times, we still haven’t tried the pastrami or barbecue chicken because it’s always been sold out. Still tasty, though.
  • June 7th, 2009: The School
    We’d heard a lot about The School and our first visit definitely lived up to expectations. We’ve been back since, and look forward to returning again soon!

Canning Highlights:

  • Aug 31st, 2009: PICKLES!
    Our most successful/ambitious canning project to date: 30lbs of pickles in one weekend. A pretty crazy feat, but we’re still eating these tasty pickles, and should have enough to get us through until we get another great deal on cucumbers next summer!
  • Sept 10th, 2009: Señor Miller’s Homemade Tomato Salsa
    Once we decided that our garden was on it’s last legs, we decided to get every last tomato and make a batch of salsa. It came out great, and we’ll definitely do it again next summer.
  • Oct 11th, 2009: All Things Apple
    Obviously going to an apple orchard with a group of friends isn’t enough for us. We had to make an entire day out of turning these collected apples into all sorts of delicious things. With the help of our friends, we made apple pies, apple butter, and apple preserves. Unfortunately our attempt at hard cider didn’t quite work out… but we do hope to revisit that someday.

Misc. Highlights:

  • April 18, 2009: Green Barn Market
    This was probably the biggest local discovery for us in the last year, and we can thank Adam’s sister Melissa, who doesn’t even live in this area, for it! Green Barn Market is only about a 20 minute walk for us, and runs year round on Saturday mornings. Through them we’ve discovered our favourite local coffee roastery, bought fresh vegetables, cheese, and more recently, meat. We make a point of going every other weekend when we can, and it’s always a highlight.
  • May 10th, 2009: Soapnuts
    People may give us weird looks when we tell them we wash our clothes with something that resembles bark, but we’re almost a year in and still swear by our soapnuts. Our clothes come out clean, soft, and chemical-free. It’s also definitely saving us money – we’ve *maybe* spent $40 in the past year on soapnuts, and still have at least 6 months worth to go.

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