Author Archive

Our Christmas Promise

December 18, 2016

 

When Donald Trump was elected in November, I was gutted. I didn’t sleep that night, and cried more than I’d like to admit over the next 24-48 hours. “President-Elect Trump” kept being repeated, and it felt like salt in the wound. And this is not because the Republican candidate won and I was pulling for the Democrat.  And it was not because I proudly wore an “I’m With Her” t-shirt and button and was rooting for America to have its first female president.

The United States of America had just elected a man who terrifies me.

As an American living in Canada, I can’t tell you the number of times over the last 12-18 months I’ve been asked about Donald Trump. “Is this guy actually going to win?” people would ask. “Why does he have so much support?” At first, I would laugh it off – – “I have more faith in Republicans than for him to actually get the nomination – he’s nuts!” and “Well it’s not like he can actually get elected” I’d reply. I obsessively watched fivethirtyeight as the graph got scarier and scarier, and then less and less so.

As the election day neared, and he was the Republican candidate and debated Secretary Clinton, I watched the debates with a glass (or three) of wine and would get angry. I listened to commentary on CNN and would yell at my radio – – “THIS IS NOT NORMAL” I’d yell. How could this man have such support? So much of what he said was factually false, and so little of it was taken to task. Not even debatable – not “grey” or “half truth,” but just… not based in reality or fact. At all.

I’ve heard it said that Trump supporters took his words “seriously but not literally,” while the rest of us took his words “literally but not seriously.” And I think that really, that seems to sum it up.

And yet, he’s won. He’s going to be our president.

I’ve moved past mourning, and have tried to move into action. I’ve already contacted the Democrats Abroad and am looking to ways I can get more involved moving forward.  Adam and I have vowed to do what we can to make a positive difference and counteract some of the terrifying things we are seeing. My extended family decided to forego Christmas gifts for the adults this year and instead donate to causes in the US that can help. As for Adam and I, we’ve given what we can to:

  1. The Sierra Club – to help protect the environment from a man and administration who believe climate change is a “hoax perpetrated by the Chinese.”
  2. Planned Parenthood – to help protect women’s basic health care and rights from someone who clearly doesn’t have a clue about how an abortion actually works (btw, no babies are “ripped from the womb the day before they are due” – that’s called childbirth).
  3. American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) – to help protect civil liberties and make sure basic rights that Trump doesn’t seem to understand are protected.
  4. Anti-Defamation League – to help fight against anti-Semitism as leaders in the alt right (*cough* Neo-Nazis *cough*) are emboldened and given cabinet positions.
  5. Communities in Schools – to help provide a bridge to education and fight against drop out rates. Maybe a higher educated populous is the biggest thing we need right now.

I’m not sharing this to look good or for a pat on the back. I’m sharing this to encourage you to do the same. We can’t stand back and expect things to change on their own – we have to be that change. We have to get involved – make phone calls (calls to your state and federal representatives *can make a difference*). Voice your concerns and peacefully protest when needed. Make it clear that we will not stand for racism. We will not stand idly by while rights are dismantled. And we must fund the groups doing that work.

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Bread without a Bread Maker

March 15, 2016

We used to have a bread maker and rarely bought bread, opting for homemade instead. The bread maker takes then guesswork out and really means you don’t have to know much about making bread… it does all of the kneading, times the rise times, and even bakes it right in the machine. We loved it!

It stopped working quite awhile ago, but I’ve found a recipe that makes pretty tasty bread pretty easily. Two loaves even! And my family of four can go through two loaves pretty quickly. If you have a stand mixer with a dough hook, it’s pretty fool proof:

http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-basic-whole-wheat-sandwich-bread-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-167267

A few recipes to remember

January 6, 2016

I’ll try to properly post something at some point, but saving these so I don’t forget them..

Gingerbread cake: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2015/12/gingerbread-layer-cake/
So so much messier than she made it, but so so tasty. And I had leftover candied cranberries, so made these for New Years:

Cranberry Moscow Mule: http://girlinthelittleredkitchen.com/2014/12/cranberry-moscow-mule/

 

Antipasto Mushrooms: http://www.food.com/recipe/antipasto-mushrooms-275693
Simple, tasty, easy. A keeper!

 

Traditional Lasagna

July 22, 2015

A recipe from my dad – – he made this at our family Chrismas last year, and we immediately asked for the recipe. It freezes well, so we’ve made it in double or triple batches. Need to get a photo next time we make it, but wanted to put it up here so we don’t have to search through emails every time we want to make it!

Traditional Lasagna:
Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 3/4 lb Bulk Pork Sausage
  • 24 oz tomato sauce
  • 12 oz Tomato Paste
  • 2 pieces Cloves Garlic (Minced)
  • 2 tsp white sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Pepper
  • 3 Eggs
  • 3 Tbsp Minced parsley
  • 24 oz Small curd cottage cheese
  • 8 oz Ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 Cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 9 pieces Lasagna noodles cooked and drained (or buy the ready-to-bake kind, like we always do)
  • 6 pieces Slices provolone cheese
  • 3 Cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions

  1. In large skillet, cook beef and sausage over medium heat until no longer pink: drain.
  2. add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, garlic, sugar, seasonings, salt-and-pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for one hour stirring occasionally.
  3. In large bowl combine the eggs and the parsley. Stir in the cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, and Parmesan cheese
  4. Spread 1 cup meat sauce in ungreased 13″ x 9″ baking dish. Layer with three noodles, provolone cheese, 2 cups cottage, 1 cup mozzarella, three noodles, 2 cups meat sauce, remaining cheese mixture and one cup mozzarella. Top with the remaining noodles meat sauce and mozzarella.
  5. Cover and bake at 375° for 30 minutes. Uncover; bake 20 minutes longer or until heated through. Let stand for 15 minutes before cutting.

Basement Renovation

January 14, 2015

Our blog has been neglected for quite awhile – trying to get back into it as it’s been a great resource for us for re-finding favourite recipes. It’s also a fun outlet for various home projects, and I just found this draft for a blog I wrote a year ago but never published. Our basement renovation, for anyone who may be interested.

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Pad Kee Mao

January 14, 2015

I had my suspicions when Mark Bittman claimed this would “give Pad Thai a serious run for the money,” but I’m sold. This is super delicious, super quick and easy, and satisfied even our somewhat picky almost-4-year-old. We did omit the chilies to keep it kid-friendly, and next time we’ll have sriracha on the side! I’m sure chicken or turkey would sub in fine.

Blogging it so I don’t forget!

Pad Kee Mae (source)

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons dark sweet soy sauce(kecap manis)
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 5 bird’s eye chiles
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ½ cup sliced onion
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • ½ cup sliced bell peppers
  • 12 ounces fresh rice noodles
  • 2 handfuls of holy basil leaves (or Thai basil, in a pinch). [Okay, Mark Bittman… regular basil works fine here!]

PREPARATION

  1. Whisk together the fish sauce, soy sauce and vinegar, and set aside. Roughly chop the garlic and 3 of the chilies together. Smash the other two chilies with the flat of a knife, and set aside.
  2. Put a wok (or a large frying pan) over medium-high heat; when it’s hot, add the oil, the garlic-and-chile mixture and the onion. Cook, stirring constantly, until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the pork and a splash of the sauce. Cook, stirring to break up the meat, until the pork is cooked through, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the peppers and noodles. Turn the heat to high, and add almost all of the sauce (save a spoonful or two to add later if needed). Cook, tossing everything together and separating the noodles if necessary, until the noodles are coated in sauce and take on a slightly charred flavor from the wok. Taste, and add more sauce if needed. Toss in the basil and the smashed chiles, and serve immediately.

S’mores Cake

March 11, 2013

S'mores cake, ready to eat

I’ve been itching to bake lately, and once again Smitten Kitchen has provided the proper inspiration. I put a few tweaks on this recipe and made it a smaller size (well, smaller pans – but it was tall), but generally this is her recipe.

I basically made 2/3 of her recipe – upping the graham crumbs a bit and reducing the all purpose flour a bit. I kept the chocolate amount the same, and I added some marshmallows… because while a toasted meringue is good, it’s not the same as marshmallows. Next time I think I’ll do a 1/2 a recipe, with her proportions exactly, and see if it would be a bit saner of a size. Of course, a cupcake version may be more realistic…

If you want the original recipe, go buy the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook – every recipe we’ve tried so far has been a winner.

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Lemon Pudding Cake

August 26, 2012

Lemon Pudding Cake

We were looking for a good weeknight dessert. Something not too decadent, but still tasty. A nice end to a weeknight dinner. We pulled out our Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites cookbook (which has sat on the shelf far too long), and found this gem, which exceeded our expectations! Oh man is it full of flavour. It’s got a great lemon punch, and the textures are awesome – pudding on the bottom, sponge-y cake on top. The recipe says you can serve it warm or cold, but we found fresh out of the oven warm to be the best bet (of course), but warming up leftovers is highly recommended… didn’t work quite as well cold for us.

The beautifully puffed-up top did deflate a bit after it sat, but it still was a great treat a few days after baking. It’s fancy looking enough that it would for guests as well, but simple enough for a weeknight as well.

The recipe:

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Tortilla Pie

August 25, 2012

Tortilla Pie

We first had this with some family friends, and after we insisted they email us the recipe. It’s since become one of our staple dinners – make once and we easily get two meals out of it. We haven’t tried, but I bet it would even freeze well.

This is basically a Mexican style lasagna using tortillas instead of pasta and beans instead of meat or ricotta. The original recipe calls for a prepared tomato sauce typically used for pasta, but we’ve actually found we prefer it with just canned tomatoes as most prepared sauces are a bit too seasoned for this.

Tortila Pie
Serves 8

Preheat oven to 350.

Use a springform pan, oiled.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbspn. Oil
  • 2 tspns. Minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onions
  • 1 cup chopped red peppers
  • 1/2 cup chopped green peppers
  • 1.5 cups chopped tomatoes (canned is easy)
  • 1 cup canned corn
  • 1 tspn. Dried basil
  • 1 tspn. Chili powder
  • ½ tspn. Ground cumin
  • 1.5 cups canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1.5 cups canned chick peas, rinsed and drained
  • 1. 5 cup shredded cheese (you pick flavours; feel free to mix 2 or more)
  • 2 tbspn. Grated parmesan
  • 5 x 10 inch tortillas
  1. Heat oil in frypan- medium heat. Cook garlic and onions 4 minutes, stir some. Add peppers and cook for 3 minutes, stir some. Stir in tomato sauce, corn, basil, chili powder and cumin; cover and cook 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
  2. In bowl combine beans. Mash roughly, stir into veg. mixture.
  3. In small bowl, combine all cheeses.
  4. Place tortilla in pan. Spread with1/3 of sauce. Sprinkle with 1/3 of cheese. Repeat layers twice; top with final tortilla. Cover pan tightly with foil.
  5. Bake 20 minutes or until heated through and cheese has melted. Cut into wedges with sharp knife.

Tortilla Pie
Yum!

Macaron from Ruelo Patisserie

July 11, 2012
Image

A hint of the selection from Ruelo’s website.

While we don’t have much experience with macaron, we understand it is one of the most difficult French pastries to make. We stumbled upon Ruelo Patisserie and couldn’t resist giving them a try. We were impressed by the fun selection of flavours they had – including green tea sesame, creme brûlée, earl grey, and pistachio raspberry. Upon visiting their website, we’ve found a few flavours we need to go back for – including rose lychee raspberry, balsamic vinegar, and wasabi grapefruit. They had a black truffle as well (as in the mushroom, not a chocolate), but we couldn’t justify a $5 tiny cookie since we’d never even tried this place before. $16 later we left with a selection of 6 to try, and we weren’t let down.

The price means this will be a bit of a special occasion treat, but we were glad to have that treat this weekend. Give it a try if you’re in the Yonge & Eglinton area – and let us know if you do. Not being macaron experts – we’re curious what others may have to say (or other places you’d suggest!), but for now we’re happy to have found Ruelo and expect to return.