Tag Archives: Food

Lemon Liberte

I was 20 when I moved out into my own place. I rented the first floor of an old house on Maryland Street directly beside a hole-in-the-wall restaurant that had a bar and live music. I loved it. Scott Nolan played every Wednesday night. My bus stop was in front of a magnificent old church, I was walking distance from my job, there was a thrift store around the corner and I had the most amazing Indian food close by. I painted my kitchen walls orange and called it home.

Since I didn’t own a set of wheels I made frequent trips to the dingy grocery store at the end of my block. It was always a hit or miss. One particular day I was standing in front of the yogurt section deciding what kind I should buy and if it was within my budget to do so when an audible voice chimed in to my internal debate. “You should buy this one” it said. I turned, rather surprised by the uninvited opinion, to see a middle aged man pointing at the expensive Liberté yogurts. I’d never bought the expensive yogurts. “Have you ever tried this kind?” he asked. The man looked fairly normal for my neighborhood, but that’s not saying much. I lived in the quirky, granola crunchy area of the city which was a stones throw from the inner city, so you never really knew if people were going to hug you or stab you or try to sell you drugs.

“No, I’ve never tried that kind” I offered back, hoping he’d be on his way. “The lemon is the best kind. Really. It’s soooo good. You should buy it.” I picked up the carton, my eyes widened looking at the price. I turned it around in my hand trying to look interested but secretly waiting for him to walk away so I could return to my cheaper yogurt purchasing habits. “Well, I do like lemons.”  “You should really try it. I promise you’ll love it.” I hummed and hawed. “You know what? I’m not going to leave here until you buy it.” I looked at him. He was completely serious. This man, right here standing beside me, this total stranger was going to force me to buy Lemon Liberté yogurt against my will. I held the carton for a moment debating if I should just drop my basket and run. Was he some kind of weirdo with a yogurt fetish? That didn’t seem like a far fetched idea with how excited he was becoming trying to get me to buy the damn thing. I was looking particularly cute that day in my pink jacket. Maybe he was trying to hit on me in the most bizarre way known to man. Maybe this was his pick-up line? On the other hand, I did really love yogurt and now I was curious about why a total stranger was so excited about it. I decided the best course of action was to put it in my basket to appease him. My yogurt stranger looked victorious. I thought that maybe I could just ditch it when he walked away but, no, he held to his word. I proceeded to the checkout, the man close behind, and I bought the yogurt.  He went on his merry way as soon as we were done with an enthusiastic “Enjoy!” I left the grocery store reluctantly, hoping he wasn’t around a corner. I’ve had a stalker before and it’s no fun. But thankfully he was gone.

I walked home baffled by what just transpired. Once inside, with my door locked, I started laughing.

Then I tried the yogurt. Immediately the clouds parted and a chorus of birds began to sing. I realized that this man was no mere mortal, he had been sent by the gods to open my eyes to outrageously priced greek style yogurt. It rocked my world. And still does to this day. I often buy it as a treat and my children know if they touch it there will be hell to pay.

So now I ask you, have you tried it? I promise you’ll love it!

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Day 9: Routine

School lunches (clearly not a lot of thought went into today’s menu).

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Diversity.

My sister works as a Sous Chef for Diversity at the UofW. I’ve had privilege of eating at both the university cafeteria and their new restaurant Elements (located in the beautiful science building on Portage) and both have been extremely tasty. I thought this was an interesting clip on Diversity’s ideas and motivations regarding the food they use, where it comes from and why they’ve decided to go against the grain. Feel free to watch and leave your thoughts.

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The Magic Cookie.

 

This cookie is truly magical. Why is this seemingly straightforward and simple cookie magical? Well, other than having the perfect slightly crispy outer layer complimented by the soft chewy inside, it performs the most amazing disappearing act you’ve ever seen. No joke. I see a blur go through the kitchen and *WHAM-BAM-POOF* they’re gone! Incredible.

I spent years hunting down the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe and after exclusively using this recipe for quite some time it’s safe to say that I’ve found it. I’ve had numerous people comment on how perfectly delicious these cookies are…some even go as far as saying they’re the best (thanks Rhys and Ammie). I was on the fence for some time trying to decide if I should share the recipe on my blog and then I realized that something this good should not be held with a death grip. I love sharing my baked goods with people so why not take it a step further and share my favorite recipe, right? Here you go:

The ‘Magical’ Chocolate Chip Cookie

1 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup butter/margarine softened

(now, if you are planning on making these cookies ahead of time then by all means take your butter out and bring it to room temperature. I really do notice a difference with how the cookies perform when you have room temperature butter but it won’t ruin your cookies if you just soften it in the microwave)

2 eggs

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp salt

3 cups flour

1/2 cup chocolate chips

  1. Cream white sugar, brown sugar and butter together in a large bowl. Add in eggs and vanilla (if I know that it will only be my nut-tolerant family consuming these cookies I will put a few drops of almond extract into the dough at this time…try it, I dare you! But don’t if there are nut allergies.) Mix until you have a nice smooth batter.
  2. In a separate bowl combine your baking soda, cinnamon, salt and flour.
  3. Add half of the dry mixture into the wet mixture. Mix well. Add the rest of the dry mixing well.
  4. Add chocolate chips, stirring to mix. (Chill for 20 minutes if dough is really really soft.)
  5. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto cookie sheets about 2 inches apart.
  6. Bake at 375. 11 minutes for the first tray and 10 minutes for all subsequent trays. Bake until there is the SLIGHTEST browning of the edges and remove to finish baking on the cookie sheet on top of the stove. This will ensure you have a nice chewy cookie. Take them out even if the middle looks like it could use another minute.
  7. Let cool and enjoy with a big glass of milk!

I’d love to hear your thoughts if you decide to give this recipe a try! Enjoy!

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The Perfect Sugar Cookie.

Obviously there will be people who disagree with me over this being the perfect sugar cookie. I fully realize that some people may like a firmer more crisp cookie, or even a more shortbread-ish cookie. That’s fine and all, this is just what I would consider the perfect sugar cookie.

Truth be told, there are some things that I bake where I’m just not all that thrilled with the outcome…sugar cookies have been one of these things (and brownies). Usually this happens because I’ve had one of these morsels somewhere where it’s been baked to perfection and I can’t seem to replicate it. This bothers me to no end. A few years back I had the most scrumptiously delectable sugar cookie known to mankind. It was soft and fluffy…almost cakey actually. It had some height to it and was iced beautifully. From that moment on no sugar cookie could live up to that. I tried and tried and tried different recipes and nothing came close, until now. James comes from the school-of-thought that sugar cookies should be on the firmer side, which is too bad for him I suppose since I’m 100% sold on this new recipe. I’m beyond thrilled that I found this simple recipe right before I go into mass production (with Halloween, Christmas and Valentines Day just around the corner). So, with all of that build-up, here they are and here’s how to make them!

{It was actually Rhys’ idea to make some cookies that he could use cutters with. He decided to make pumpkin shapes and have orange icing on them. I added pumpkin spice into the icing…perfect for ushering in Thanksgiving!)

Traditional Sugar Cookies

3 cups of plain flour

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 cup of butter

1 cup of white sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 egg

1/2 cup milk

  1. Sift (very important step, don’t forget it) the flour, baking soda, baking powder and nutmeg together in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Beat (with a mixer if you have one) butter, sugar and vanilla until creamy. Add in the egg and mix well.
  3. Alternate adding your flour mix and the milk into the butter mixture until you have a soft dough.
  4. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for no less than 30 minutes (this is an important step as well, especially if you’re using odd shaped cookie cutters like cows and elephants).
  5. Turn on your oven to 350. Roll out your dough on a lightly floured surface and stamp with cutters.
  6. Bake for 8 minutes. Take out your cookies when you can see just a bit of brown and place them on top of your oven. Remember, they keep baking after they’ve come out so if you leave them for even a bit longer you’ll end up with a crispy cookie.
  7. Let cool before icing.

The perfect icing for the perfect cookie:

1 cup of icing sugar

1/4 tsp vanilla (or more depending on what you want)

1 tbsp warm water

1/4 – 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (optional)

A few drops of food colouring of your choice (2 drops of red and yellow each to get the perfect pumpkin orange).

I hope you guys love these cookies as much as I do. We also cut out elephants and covered them with pink icing for Amelia…she was thrilled! Enjoy!

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A berry yummy day.

Every summer I plan to go berry picking and every summer it doesn’t happen. The last time that I graced the fields of a strawberry farm was when I was 8 months pregnant with Rhys and come to think of it, it wasn’t so graceful. Last summer I had a day picked-out and planned to get strawberries with a friend but she decided to have a baby instead. Oh the nerve of some people. Anyways, my mom and I actually followed through this year and we even brought the little ones along thinking they would be good helpers (we were way off).  Amelia had a strawberry feast. It was amazing just how many strawberries she was able to pack into that little frame of hers. She’d find a nice plump berry, pick it, hold it up and exclaim, “It’s a beauty!” Then she’d chow down.

Thankfully my mom and I picked our 6 boxes fairly fast and were done just in time for the kids to start complaining about going to see the petting zoo. We decided to head-out to Boonstra Farms just north of the city. I’d heard it was a good place for kids because they’ve got washrooms close to every field, a concession stand (for those people who don’t plan ahead and feel the need to stop at a Tim’s for coffee and Tim Bits every time they leave the house), a playground and a petting zoo.

Mmmmm….so tasty.

I ended-up feeling really bad for Amelia. At the table where we paid for our berries there were a couple of little plastic baskets and inside the baskets were little kittens…just sitting there…looking horribly cute. Now, I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before but Amelia is OBSESSED with cats and what’s cuter than a kitten in a basket? I don’t even like cats and I was gushing over these little guys so you could imagine what was going on inside of Amelia’s mind. I’m at the table purchasing a basket with strawberries inside…she’s at the table waiting to purchase a basket with a kitten inside. I started feeling bad that I’m insanely allergic to her feline friends but there’s not much I can do about it (and kitten’s eventually turn into cats and I’ve only ever met one cat that I’ve liked…Minnie, my sisters cat that acts like a dog). So we carried on and walked to the petting zoo and Amelia found a million more adorable kittens and she was in heaven.

Come to think of it, I was in heaven too. There were goats. There isn’t anything cuter than baby farm animals in my mind and goats are probably my favorite. Look at me, look at that smile on my face! Man, I was born to have a hobby farm! Amelia walked into the petting zoo with a bunch of dandelions she’d picked out in the Strawberry fields. She was so proud of these flowers and I’m sure she was planning to bring them home so you can just picture her shock and amazement as she was watching Bert, the largest goat in the petting zoo, make some lunch out of her pretty bouquet. I wish I’d gotten it on video.

We figured we’d go all-out and pick Saskatoon’s as well. We drove to a little Saskatoon farm and spent about an hour filling-up a couple of buckets. This is where Rhys caught-up with Ammie on the whole ‘eat your weight in berries’ contest. His lips and teeth were purple by the end of our stay. I came home and cleaned, sorted, froze, and packaged our day’s bounty. I made Strawberry Jam and Saskatoon Syrup (although apparently not enough since we ate most of it on waffles last night). I’m thinking about going out again and getting some more berries. It’s just so exciting, all the possibilities of what I can bake! So many pies! I think I’ve got berry fever.

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Today.

TODAY…

We put on our rubber boots and went for a walk splashing through puddles and running down sidewalks.

We inspected leaves and played with sticks.

We held hands and looked both ways.

We baked some yummy Baklava. Then we ate some yummy Baklava.

We coloured a picture of the royal family.

We played on the floor with zebra’s and cow’s.

We made a line with potatoes.

We even designed spaceships and satellites.

Today we did lot’s of different things.

Today was a fun day.

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