July 29, 2009

I meant to post that I was going on vacation

summer holiday

but that just didn't happen. Sand, beach and hot weather. Oh how I miss it already.

With the hustle and bustle of getting ready, storm aftermath & dealing with insurance and arborists then taking the kids to the exhibition before we left, there was no time for the little ole blog.

We grumbled about coming back and wondered why we didn't book our vacation for longer. sigh. 20/20 is always hindsight.

But I'm back. I should have posts coming up by the weekend or early next week.

July 20, 2009

Olive and White Cheddar loaf

olive & white cheddar loaf

I used to bake up a loaf or two of my own but that aspect of baking has been on hiatus for quite some time. I'll resume back to it soon enough and try my hand on one of the many recipes Chris has tried out on his blog. I'm always drooling at his bread baking challenges!

But, until then, we make a jaunt out to one of the two Italian Centres and we pick up a delicious looking bread and some deli meat & cheeses to enjoy along with it. I feasted my eyes upon a scrumptious looking Olive and White Cheddar loaf. Oh my word! Look at it! Isn't it amazing?

olive & white cheddar loaf diptych

And they didn't cheap out on the olives or cheddar! You will find some in every slice. Though, it wasn't just white cheddar to be found (found some tunnels of regular cheddar) but this really didn't matter to me... there was plenty of it.

Delicious.

---

Italian Center Shop
5028 - 104A Street location
Edmonton, Alberta

July 19, 2009

And I felt like life was getting a bit boring around here...

You used to be able to see the front of my house.


That's what I told my hubby just a short while ago. HA!

Crazy thunderstorm here last night has broken my 50+yr old spruce tree in half, leaving a big mess. The tree ripped out a vent in the roof leaving a hole and mangled all my eavestroughs.

My front door & Side view of my house.

My cat was a bit perplexed about it all. Entry through my front door will be non-existent the next while. Sigh, I don't think the newspaper or mail delivery is going to be so easy, huh?

If I paid you 5 cents to pick up every pinecone from my front lawn, I'd be bankrupt. Millions of pinecones everywhere. Clean up and repair will be annoying but everyone is safe and sound and that is all that matters. I'm just sad because I really, really LOVED that tree.

Next time I wish for my life to be spiced up, I'll eat some hot salsa or buy some spicy peanuts. Yeah.


July 16, 2009

Two years today!

bunching onions

There was this moment, when I was in high school, that still comes to my mind. I was hanging out with my group of friends and I was probably talking about food. My one friend snapped at me "Do you ever not talk about food!" I never really realized that I talked about it as much as I did.

Two years ago, I started this blog. I did take a mini hiatus from the blog but then I came back to it. I'm not certain why I completely started it in the first place. I love to cook and bake and that is an everyday constant for me. Having this blog was a way to have an online recipe box and soon after, it was a way to practice my new photography hobby too.

I think my high school friend would think I'm just as crazy for taking pictures of food or blogging about it too. Or maybe if she came to the ole blog, she too might jump on the food bandwagon.

I guess I never did stop talking about food. I'm sure glad about that.

July 15, 2009

sour cream herb muffins

sour cream herb muffins

As I am typing up, I hear the clang, bang and sweet sound of demolition. It's been a long 7 year wait but our main floor bathroom is finally getting the gut. YAY! We kept putting off the bathroom since we had bigger projects but now it's finally happening. Though we aren't fully prepared for it as we sort of decided that we will start today instead of next month. Nope, we don't have any tile, don't know what color the walls will be but I think the biggest step is usually getting started. This is how we roll, what can I say. I am sooo so excited!

...

When I made the Blueberry Lemon Muffins, I thought I'd try out a savoury muffin too.

My herb garden was needing some pruning and I found this recipe that seemed to fit the bill. Plus, I really like sour cream and buttermilk and find they really are great in baked goods.

You can use any assortment of herbs and the next time I make these, I will probably add even more. And there will be a next time as I really enjoyed these.

...

sour cream herb muffins
makes 12 muffins

2 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
1/4 cup green onion tops
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill (I didn't have fresh dill so I used 1/2 tsp dry dill)
2 teaspoons chopped oregano
Melted butter

Whisk first 4 ingredients in large bowl to blend well. Whisk buttermilk, eggs, sour cream and oil in medium bowl to blend; whisk in herbs. Stir buttermilk mixture into flour mixture. Divide batter among prepared muffin cups. Brush tops lightly with melted butter.

Bake muffins 20 minutes in preheated oven at 350°F. Brush tops with butter. Continue baking until golden on top and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 15 minutes longer. Turn muffins out onto rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

recipe adapted from: sour cream and herb muffins, Epicurious website.

July 14, 2009

blueberry lemon muffins

lemon blueberry muffins

These are great for breakfast or a snack. I had some lemons kicking around and thought I'd give these muffins a try, though the original recipe called for oranges. But, I've never been one to follow a recipe exactly as written.

It got me thinking when that happened. I'm sure that as a young adult, when I was new to cooking and baking, I probably followed every recipe as written. But, I think with time and experience, I've gotten comfortable with my skills and don't usually flinch when I see that I don't have certain recipe ingredients.

It's gotten to the point that I will try new recipes all the time and my guest will be my guinea pigs. Books will say that you should really only make things you are comfortable with or have made over and over again -the tried, tested and true recipes. But, my guest and I will be sitting around the dinner table all wondering what the food tastes like.

Though there have been a few times I was left with a dud recipe. I think there as only been one dinner party where I can say that a dish was a total flop. Tasteless and boring. There was another time that I used soybeans (edamame) with the shells intact, thinking they would be like peas in a pod, but nope, they were certainly not. The shells are not really edible and I admit I was embarrassed that my guests had to shell each of those darn pods to eat them. A sit down dinner and everyones is using their fingers or mouths to open up the shells. Sigh. Forget napkins, I had to get wet naps out for everyone!

lemon blueberry muffins 2

But no worries, these muffins turned out swell.


...

blueberry lemon muffins
makes 12 muffins

3 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
zest of one lemon
Juice of one lemon
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1.5 cups frozen blueberries(do not thaw)

In a bowl, whisk together eggs, buttermilk, lemon zest and juice, oil and vanilla.

In a second bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Take 2 tbsp of the flour mixture and mix it with the blueberries to coat them.

Add dry ingredients to the wet. Mix until just combined. Gently fold in blueberries.

Spoon mixture into prepared muffin tins, right to the top. Bake at 375F for 25 minutes. Cool on rack for 15 minutes and remove muffins from tins to cool completely.

Recipe adapted from: Blueberry Orange Muffins, Published in Edmonton Journal Newspaper.

July 12, 2009

Pimp my ride...

raindrops

Holy shmoly! I feel all weak and ill. I've been pretty much without a computer since my last post. Can you imagine? I haven't visited anyone's blog or processed any photos :(

My computer up and died. Needed a new motherboard. At least it wasn't the hard drive again! But I got this hubby who's a computer geek (he actually is a programmer, not a computer hardware guy but he'll do it if he HAS to, though he really, really hates to) and he fixed my computer. Not only that, he really pimped my ride. He basically upgraded me... it's like I have a new computer. It's so fast!!! It doesn't grind when I'm working on photos! Plus, I got a new keyboard, mouse and speakers. What a guy. woot!

On another note, my fellow Edmontonians, hasn't the week of rain done wonders for your gardens and grass. Wow. I'm sure the farmers are all rejoicing too. I'm so glad the rain finally came.

July 9, 2009

I found the chocolate almonds...

chocolate almonds

If it's one thing that I don't have impulse control over, it would be chocolate.

I actually get my hubby to hide all chocolate related items. Hence, that's how I "found" them. First off, I try not to buy it but somehow it finds it's way to my house.

There are times when eating chocolate might hit some of those guilt neurons hanging out in a certain hemisphere of my brain and get me to ease up a bit but that was certainly not the case today.

I've been a bad, bad girl.

July 8, 2009

DMBLGIT- June 2009 Winner


Look Ma! Look what I got!

(I keep trying to get my mom on the computer so that she can read my blog at home but it is a work in progress... soon enough, I hope!)

dmblgit_red june 2009

It's been a long time since I entered any photos into a contest so when I stumbled upon the deadline for the Does My Blog Look Good In This - June edition, I thought I'd send the below photo in. And I won a badge in the Edibility Category. How exciting!

Marija from Palachinka hosted June's DMBLGIT. All the winners are found here.

vegetarian salad rolls with hoisin/peanut butter dipping sauce

I'm not one to usually toot my own horn but... TOOT TOOT! [*insert blushing cheeks here*]

July 7, 2009

bacon & caramelized onion asparagus

bacon & caramelized onion asparagus

bacon. caramelized onion. ranch dressing. asparagus.

You had me at bacon. Yes!

Need I say more! I'll take all of the above ingredients, separately or together or in any combination really!

We've made this twice in the last couple of months. Even easier if you have extra bacon leftover from breakfast.

happy eating :)

...

bacon & caramelized onion asparagus

1.5 lb fresh asparagus spears, trimmed
3 slices bacon
1/ cup chopped onions
1/3 cup ranch dressing

Steam your asparagus either in the microwave or on stovetop. Set aside.

Cook bacon until crispy. Remove from pan and set aside. Remove excess bacon drippings if needed.

Put the onions into the pan and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in ranch dressing.

Top the asparagus with the onion mixture and crumble the bacon on top. Serve.

Recipe adapted from: bacon & caramelized-onion asparagus, Kraft what's cooking Spring 2009 magazine.

July 6, 2009

Asparagii

asparagus bunch

I was thinking the other day how I really like green vegetables. Asparagus, sugar snap peas, swiss chard, lettuce, green beans, spinach and don't forget all the herbs! I would say that as a child or even as a young adult, I didn't appreciate green vegetables enough but now as I've gotten older I've come around. Though I have to say, while I think green peppers are ok, I won't usually go out of my way to eat them.

When asparagus came into season, we ate it almost non-stop it seems. For breakfast with some eggs. Prosciutto-wrapped for appetizers. Dinner with some barbequed steaks. At lunch on some pizza. Then I had enough. ENOUGH. I told my hubby to not even think about picking it up when we would go to the grocery stores as I didn't even want to see it until next year.

But, now, well, I've changed my mind. See, I took a long enough break that I'm almost craving them again. And I stopped by costco and was sad to see none. I wasn't really expecting to see any there but now I'm going to have to hit another grocery store and bring some tender little stalks home.

I was just wondering. Asparagus refers to one stalk but what about a bunch of them? We jokingly call them asparagii for the plural form. I think it goes :) Anyone with me on that?

July 2, 2009

strawbery & raspbery cobbler

strawberry & raspberry cobblers

As I was sipping my morning coffee, I realized that we are in July. JULY! Where did the time go? July, then August, and then my kids are back in school and summer is over.

OVER!

It hardly feels like it began here at all! (I'm talking about the weather because really, it feels like my kids have been home for at least two months now, but that's an entire post of its own!)

Yes, we had one good week of weather but holy moly, it's been chilly the last while.

Wow, two months and summer is officially over. So, I guess we better enjoy it to the fullest. And if you are into cooking and baking, that means enjoying all the produce to it's fullest capacity.

The strawberries have been so good the last while. Oh so delicious! I bought a huge batch of them to make the these cobblers. I had my family over a short while ago and made individual ramekins instead of one large dish. There is something so lovely about individual ramekins! Glad I'm using them!

strawberry & raspberry cobbler

This was a pretty easy recipe, similar to a crisp. Unlike some of the cobbler recipes I've seen, where you make the dough, roll it out and cut it into circles to put on top of the fruit, this one is just spooned on top. I like that. I love pretty looking desserts but I'm not that interested in anything that requires a lot of steps. I will definitely be making different varieties of cobbler this summer season.

Enjoy your produce and summer!

...

strawberry & raspberry cobbler
serves 6

filling:
5 cups total of strawberries & raspberries, any ratio you prefer
1 tbsp lemon juice
3 Tbsp sugar (I used splenda)

topping:
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1.5 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar ( I used splenda)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
6 tbsp cold butter, cut into 1/2- inch pieces
1 tbsp sugar mixed with 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375F.

Filling:

Mix the fruit filling ingredients together. Spoon into 6 one cup ramekins. Place ramekins on baking sheet and into oven for 10 minutes.

Topping:

In a bowl, stir together buttermilk and vanilla. Set aside. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add butter pieces. Mix on low until large, coarse crumbs appear, like the size of peas. Slowly pour in buttermilk mixture and mix until just combined.

Drop the dough by heaping spoonfuls onto hot fruit. Sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar mixture.

Bake in the oven for about 30-35 minutes until fruit is bubbling and topping is browned (or at least until toothpick comes out clean). Transfer to rack and cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Adapted from: Fruit Cobbler, Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking.

July 1, 2009

Happy Canada Day!

Happy Canada Day

(This picture was taken last year when we attended the Pancake Breakfast at the Alberta Legislature)


Hope some of you are able to take part in the festivities, be it in our city or elsewhere!

Happy Canada Day!
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