Tuesday, 29 November 2011

That Other Thanksgiving

My fellow Canadians know how I feel when I say that other Thanksgiving. But I am not sure if my American friends know what I mean because the Canadian media providers probably don't promote the Canadian holiday as much as the American providers promote their own.

What I'm talking about is the fact that Canadians already celebrated Thanksgiving last month! We had the family get together, we ate the turkey, and we got the tee-shirt. There aren't even any leftovers in our fridges now.

At least I hope the leftovers are gone...

So I'm not jealous, we gave thanks already. But I am curious as to why we have different dates for the holiday?

It can't be because Canada is so darn cold, can it?

Yes it can!

Thanksgiving is traditionally celebrated as a time to give thanks for the harvest and the Canadian frost comes earlier than the American frost, so naturally the Canadian harvest follows suit.

That's all there is to it.

But now that I've thought about it... I am a bit jealous... Not about the extra holiday (that would be nice), but more about the fact that Americans are probably chowing down on leftover turkey sandwiches right now....

What would you do for one?

Well, just read a little more and you won't have to do much else!

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice

That's what little girls are made of. And also this recipe. And also Christmas!

Every year on Christmas morning my family enjoys cinnamon buns while unwrapping presents. In the past we have always bought Pillsbury cinnamon buns and just opened the packages of buns before throwing them in the oven. They always tasted great, but I wanted to learn how to make my own to make this Christmas extra special.

I looked around for recipes to use as inspiration, but all I found were complicated recipes that were going to take far too long to rise on Christmas morning.

I could have felt defeated and just bought the regular staple of Pillsbury, but I knew there had to be something out there for impatient homemade cinnamon bun eaters.

Right when I verging on giving up, I found it. I whipped up something similar with items I had in my kitchen and here's the result.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Baby, It's Cold Outside

But it's warm inside... Especially with your oven baking treats!

My favourite time of year to bake is right now. Now is the time I start digging through my collection of traditional Christmas cookies and bars, as well as reading magazines and trying out new variations of recipes I find to add to my collection. 

Soon my freezer will be full of delicious snacks and I'll be able to pull out a few containers to defrost a platter of offerings for months. That's one of my favourite things to at Christmas - snack and share snacks with friends. 

Here is this year's first try at a new twist on a brownie. I know purists may turn up their nose because it's white, but this brownie is a winter brownie and it needs to fit the colour palate :)

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Built in Sauce

I love making dinner easy, but I don't love just popping a ready made meal into the oven every night. 

Once and awhile those dinners are a fantastic time saver, but if there are way too many preservatives and far too much salt to eat them every night. 

Plus, I always find that I want at least two of the so-called "servings", which doubles up my calories too. So I just try and stay away from that kind of easy meal if possible. 

Instead, I like to find easy meals with a small number of ingredients that mostly come from the produce section and the meat section of my grocery store. 

Here's a simple side dish that you can throw together in a few minutes to bake along side a piece of pork. It couldn't take longer than a frozen meal to cook (unless you use tend to use the microwave), it's cheaper to buy, it's healthier (even with the sugar I've thrown in for a treat), and it's got a built in sauce. 

Who could say no to that?

Monday, 21 November 2011

Asian Sensation

Sometimes words mean different things to different people. And sometimes words can go from meaning one thing to something completely different one day to the next.

I'm going to test you with one word now.


So what did you think of?

If you had asked me a few years ago, I might have responded immediately with tea! But over the last few years the word Oolong changed into something different.

What Oolong now means to mean is a little hard to describe, so here's a quick picture to show you.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Cut to the Chase

I have seen people cut pineapple in some of the most odd ways.

Some people don't seem to see that there is a core that runs down the middle, they just want to taste the fruit and slice it up as fast as possible. Some take the top off first and some leave it on for a kind of decoration. Some are particular and want every last bit of the spiky skin off, and some don't care.

My grandfather was one of the people that cared about getting each spiky bite of skin removed and used the scooping end of a potato peeler to help him out. The result looked less than stellar and if we're being honest, slightly chewed.

So here's a way to achieve the (almost) perfect bite of pineapple. And it won't have you going to a can!

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Stir Crazy

Ahh, rainy season. The days of running from my home, to the car, into work, and back again. 

Will I ever get to see sunshine? Will I ever be outdoors (and dry) again? 

The answer remains no, if I continue to live in Victoria, BC. But I do love the lack of snow here, so it's a bit of a compromise. 

So, I guess I am inside and going a little stir crazy for now. But, luckily I have cooking to stir up my day. 

Here's a recipe that needs stirring. Hopefully you're crazy for it. :)

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

All You Need is Cheese

Have you ever rewritten lyrics to a popular song to make them your own? 

I have. And I don't mean just changing a woman's name to Sarah to make the Backstreet Boys sing about how much they love me. I did much more than that!

In a high school biology class my friends and I went all out and changed the lyrics of Sugar, Sugar to tell a story about the cell membrane. We kept the tune the same and it was amazing. 

I won't sing the whole thing, but the chorus went a bit like this: "the cell membrane, do do do do do do, oh the cell membrane."

You know, I actually can't remember much more than that, but I am sure you could recreate it I spent enough time trying. 

Then, there was also the time I created a rap about Magnesium. 

I was a 16 year old white girl and I created my own beat. I think you can guess how that went... And you can probably guess I didn't sit with the cool kids at lunch too...

Anyway, this recipe is so easy that I wanted to toss out a challenge. You will have so much time on your hands that you will need it. 

Use the tune to All You Need is Love, but change "love" to "cheese". I don't know for sure, but I think this challenge might be even easier than the recipe!

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Pesto Change-o

If someone asked me to choose my favourite flavour, I would have to think about it for awhile.

Of course there's chocolate, everyone loves that. But I don't think it's my favourite because there are so many flavours I would choose to eat over chocolate; cheese, roast chicken, vanilla, peanut butter, cherries, lemon. I think I could continue listing things forever, but I'll finish up with one of my true favourites - basil.

I love basil and I can easily choose it as my favourite herb flavour. It can go with both savoury treats like tomatoes and chicken, or sweet treats like strawberries.

But today, it's going with walnuts and Parmesan cheese.

You guessed it. I'll going to flip the switch on my magic wand (my food processor) and turn basil into my favourite version of pesto.

Friday, 11 November 2011

A New Me

Over the last few weeks I have been raising money to donate to the Canadian Cancer Society at work. I think the Canadian Cancer Society is a very worthy cause, and so must a lot of other people from my work because I raised a lot of money!

But money won't be all I send in, I also cut my hair to be used to make a wig. I've done the cut three times now, and even though I always look forward to a fresh new look, I'm always a little nervous right before it happens. 

The first time I did the cut I was in high school and I decided I wanted a "cool" style. That was a mistake because I looked like a wannabe rock star. The second time I was just finished university and I let the hairdresser cut my hair far too short. Again, a mistake. This time I didn't even need to go to a hair stylist afterwards, I actually liked it directly after the cut. 

Maybe it's a little like Goldilocks and the Three Bears. The first time I got too hot a cut (the rock star), the second time a cold cut (my neck was bare due to the shortness), but the third time was was just right. 

Anyway, here's my before look:

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

I know it's 10 days after Halloween and I am just getting around to show you what I did with my pumpkin, but hopefully my blood soup helped you enjoy the holiday. It sure tasted great to me!

But I think showing you my pumpkin now will be ok when you see what I turned it into.

I think your eyes will light up like Jack-O-Lanturns, your stomachs will growl like they smell candy apples, and you'll smile like your costume turned out exactly as planned.

So here goes!

Happy Belated Halloween!

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Introducing the Muffie

Remember you heard is here first everyone, the muffie has arrived!

And what is a muffie?

Do you really need to ask?

Obviously it's something edible, or else I wouldn't be interested in it. And obviously it's delicious, or else I wouldn't be sharing it. So clearly it's something you are going to want to know about.

Ok, you don't have to wait another moment.

The muffie has arrived!

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Roll Back

The long weekend, what a beautiful thing.

While I do know this weekend wasn't a true long weekend, it was almost better than an extra day. It was just such an unexpected treat to sleep in or get something done that I wouldn't otherwise have had time to do. 

Plus, the entire next week is going to feel better because I'll be getting up an hour later, biking to work an hour later, and ok, so maybe getting home an hour isn't so great. But you get my point. There are lots of great things associated with the clocks rolling back. 

One thing you could have done with your extra hour was make Cabbage Rolls. Check out my recipe if you're in need of a great one! 

Friday, 4 November 2011

An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

Everyone loves apples. Teachers, dentists, doctors, moms, and fairy tale witches.

Johnny Appleseed walked barefoot for miles to plant seeds so the fruit could be enjoyed by the masses. And Adam and Eve even risked their lives for the forbidden fruit. 

But did you know that the real proverb from the 1800s went like this: "Eat an apple on going to bed, And you'll keep the doctor from earning his bread."

Apples are great for you. They help your immune system, reduce cholesterol, and help to clean your teeth by killing off bacteria. 

But, the phrase was actually coined because, in Old English, the word apple referred to any round fruit that grew on trees. So it meant eat healthy fruit and you'll be healthy.

If we can take this one step farther and use the word apple for any round fruit or vegetable, this recipe will really keep the doctor away! 

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Chick Night

After a long week of work, it's great to veg out in comfy clothes and just laugh with your girlfriends.

Work can be stressful and being with my friends helps me to relax and smile.

You can watch a movie, do pedicures, or just enjoy drinks, snacks, and laughs.

Actually, to be honest, I don't think I've ever gotten together with friends and not had snacks...

One things I always like to serve is a veggie tray because that works for all kinds of diets. But I can't serve my friends veggies alone, so I like to serve the veggies with dips.

If you're ever stuck on ideas, try this one. It's quick to make and tastes great.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

I Vant To Suck Your Blood

I am a straight and narrow person. Most of the time I don't wear a lot of makeup, my skin is 85% covered, and my hair is my natural colour, long, and straight.

But all that changes on Halloween. If I dress up, I cover myself in makeup, depending on my costume the ratio of my clothes and skin may change, and my hair is never the same colour or style.

I didn't dress up this year and sadly we didn't get a single trick or treater, but I did watch the costume parade where I work. And it was great.

Snow White and his Seven Dwarfs marched and sang about being off to work. Four Black Swan ballerinas demonstrated their talents to a choreographed routine. One man dressed as he would normally except he showed off large fangs when he smiled ominously. And then Michael Jackson and his slew of zombies danced to Thriller.

My favourites were the zombies and the vampire because what's Halloween without a little blood and gore?

If you're interested in a little extra blood and gore, try my Blood Soup with Bone Croutons. It's great anytime of year.