My friends on Facebook already heard this news. What good is Facebook if you can’t brag a little about your kids from time to time?!?
This week I tried a couple more new recipes – and they were disasters!
First, I tried to make a dessert using strawberries and rhubarb. The shortbread crust was a beautiful golden colour, but it crumbled when I tried to put it on the plate. And my tart compote wouldn’t thicken. What’s a girl to do?
When the freshly baked cookies crumble, put them on ice cream – jennsmidlifecrisis
The second recipe I attempted was cauliflower fritters. Despite sticking to the non-stick frying pan, the texture was spongy and soggy, and just…wrong! Surprisingly, the one person in our family who won’t eat cauliflower thought they were delicious. My Dad (a fellow cauliflower-hater ) would disappointed!
Cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.- Mark Twain
Thankfully, Little Guy’s baking attempt fared much better.
This week, his class held a Bake-Off! In addition to researching the nutritional value of their healthy meal or dessert, they had to bring in and display their goodies for 6 judges. Here’s where the bragging comes in: Little Guy won the title of Jr. Chef Champion for 2017, which included a chef’s hat and apron, and the coveted Golden Spoon Trophy!
He was pretty excited! Me too! Thank you to Mama Wears Mascara who shared this recipe a few years ago:
Black Bean Chocolate Cupcakes (Gluten Free & Dairy Free)
1 (14oz) can organic black beans
1/2 cup agave syrup or honey, or 3/4 cup sugar
3 tbsp. dark cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 tbsp. safflower or sunflower oil, or coconut butter (melted)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with paper cups.
Drain and rinse black beans well.
Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until beans are fully pureed.
Pour the batter into cups and bake 20-25 min. or until wooden toothpick comes out clean.
I didn’t get to taste a single cupcake! I hope I can talk my future chef into making more!
All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.
-Charles M. Schulz
I know…everyone who knows me is shocked right now because I didn’t write T is for Tea. They know I’m a huge “tea granny” – black, green, red, white, matcha, oolong, flavoured, herbal. It’s the first thing I consume in the morning, and often the last thing too. I have my own kettle and tea pot in my office. I even have a “supplier” who often offers to pick it up for me mid-day. It’s not uncommon for my family to find cups of tea all over the house, and forgotten in the microwave. But writing about tea seemed too easy! This is suppposed to be a challenge!
My next thought was trees. My oldest son has every little boy’s dream job – he climbs trees for a living.
Great idea…no time! The day got away on me, and as supper bubbled on the stove, my eyes roamed around the kitchen looking for quick inspiration. And I found it!
Salt Water Taffy.
Years ago, my grandparents would travel to Florida every March, and they would return bearing gifts, sometimes including salt water taffy. I’d unwrap the white wax paper and bite into the soft, sticky taffy, while Grandpa grinned at me. I would tuck my handful of pastel-coloured treats in a safe place, and savour them for months.
Last year, my parents brought me a bag from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (their March haunt)…and I’ve been savouring them all year!
“It’s strange how memory gets twisted and pulled like taffy in its retelling, how a single event can mean something different to everyone present. – Lisa Unger
It’s a Canadian thing and they are delicious. I look for them at every Fair and every amusement park! Beaver Tails! No, not this!
BeaverTails are fried dough pastries, hand-stretched to resemble a beaver’s tail.
They originated in Killaloe, Ontario in 1978. By the beginning of this year, there were 119 franchise and license locations in five countries: Canada, the United States , Dubai, South Korea and Japan.
They come with different flavours! Last year, Little Guy had one with icing and chocolate cookie crumble. But my favourite is the Killaloe Beaver Tail – sugar, cinnamon and a squeeze of fresh lemon. Yum!
Some things just work together: coffee & donuts, tea & scones, pancakes & maple syrup!
Last night, we enjoyed Brinner (Breakfast-dinner) with fresh oatmeal pancakes (recipe) and homemade maple syrup (I didn’t make the syrup, but it did come from our family’s woods!) I am not Catholic, but growing up we were also excited for Pancake Tuesday, a tradition I’ve kept going with my own family.
Shrove Tuesday (aka Pancake Tuesday or Fat Tuesday) always falls 47 days before Easter Sunday. Traditionally, it was the last chance to use up eggs and lard before beginning Lent, a time of prayer and fasting in preparation for Easter. The ingredients for pancakes also represent 4 symbols at this time of year: Eggs ~ Creation; Flour ~ The staff of life; Salt ~ Wholesomeness; Milk ~ Purity.
Little Guy didn’t want a history lesson – he couldn’t wait to dive into his pancakes!
Blood is thicker than water, but maple syrup is thicker than blood so technically pancakes are more important than family. – Anonymous
Last week I promised to share “Holly Homemaker: The Prequel” but I have been scratching my head ever since to figure out just when Holly began whispering “house & home” suggestions in my ear…
My Mom was never a “domestic goddess” and I don’t think she’ll be offended for me saying so. We ate well, our house was clean and our clothes were always pressed. She sewed “little house on the prairie” dresses and skating costumes for me. She taught me to bake bread in a brick oven and how to embroider. And she tried new, “home-y” things too. We were a happy family.
But looking back, I suspect Holly tortured my Mom before me, with her sweet cinnamon-scented promises of profuse public praise of her skills from her friends and family. So, with motherly wisdom, she tried to protect me from the sad reality that I wasn’t destined to be a domestic goddess either!
I remember asking for an easy bake oven. Whether it was a money issue or fear that I would be creating burnt offerings at too young an age and become discouraged, I never got one. What I did get was a few tiny baking pans and a couple of mini cake mixes, which my mother patiently helped me mix and bake…and smother in chocolate icing to cover that underlying scorched flavour.
My Mom tried cake decorating for awhile and even entered a contest. As I wandered among the creative confections creations, I asked my Mom, “can I do this too?” She paused and looking at me with a smile, said “no”.
But I did learn a few things about home-making from my Mom…how to time my meals so I don’t have soggy veggies with my meat, why I shouldn’t leave plastic items in my oven, and how to beat down a smoke detector with a broom. I moved away from home 21 years ago, and I still open the oven door before I turn it on…even though I NEVER store or hide anything in my oven in the first place. See? I learned…
BUT the lesson I most need to stick, I haven’t seemed to sear into my brain…yet. Just how to oust the skank that invades my home in the Fall. Since posting the things Holly has convinced me to do THIS year, I have baked 2 dozen apple spice cupcakes with brown sugar & cinnamon buttercream icing and a chocolate chip banana cake with cream cheese icing – from scratch! I’ve also made hummus (which my kids won’t eat) and I’m tackling ricotta-filled ravioli tomorrow. Lord willing. Don’t ask about my diet. Just. don’t.
Seriously though, what is wrong with me?
Thanks Mom, for trying to impart your wisdom. If I burn the house down tomorrow, know that I love you!
Binge watching My Kitchen Rules (MKR) is having a serious effect on me. Last night, instead of admitting we were having leftovers again, I described our meal as the following:
Roast beef with brown gravy and sautéed red capsicum and mushrooms, together with sweet potato mash. For dessert, warm apple cranberry crisp.
So what if the roast had rested in the fridge for 3 days now? It was resting in gravy! So what if the mushrooms were a little wilty when I started? So what if the crisp wasn’t crispy anymore? It sounded more appetizing than leftovers…again!
Last weekend, I decided to learn how to make pasta. I know…me with all the cooking disasters and crime scene photos! But if I can’t travel to Italy this year,( especially after studying the language for the past year)…surely I could learn to cook like a nonna. And I reasoned that my bread baking skills were proof that I could be certain of success! If not success, than a really great blog post on what NOT to do.
I have been waiting to try my new pasta machine since my birthday, which was in April, but with the brutally hot summer that hasn’t given up its grip yet, I’ve had to keep waiting. And I could wait no longer.
Last Saturday was the “Day“! I spent the morning reading an excellent article on the “hows” and “whys” of making perfect pasta. Then I cleared off my dining room table and spread out my grandmother’s pastry mat, still dusted in flour and remnants from the last time she used it. I set out my bowls, my flour, and my eggs. I set up my iPad with step by step instructions (with photos). And then I stood there, holding Nana’s rolling pin and saying a little prayer…
* * *
If you were expecting a long-winded tantrum on my terribly traumatic flop with flour…for once, you will be disappointed! Sorry!
Everything went scarily smoothly. My egg nest blended together. I only broke a slight sweat kneading the dough. Hubby manned the crank on the pasta machine for most of the dough, and boiled it up for supper (60-90 seconds per quarter batch of dough). We even tried all the attachments, so we had options: fettucini and tagliolini.
Next time, I’ll cut the pasta threads in half before boiling so it’s easier to dish it up. Or I’ll take on the challenge of ravioli!
And I’ll make a double batch because this one…didn’t last long!
Buon Appetito e weekend felice!
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