A Regal Breakfast


Who could resist this gorgeous royal purple colour!?! And no, despite the coaster, no wine was involved. What you might not know, is that it packs a nutritional punch. For two, I blended:

2 c (500ml) chopped red cabbage

1 chopped carrot

1/3 c (80ml) raw cashews

1.5c (375ml) frozen strawberries

1t (5ml) pure vanilla extract

With enough unsweetened almond milk to fill the blender to the 4c (1L) mark.

Process until very smooth and creamy, and enjoy. I know I am, as I reflect on how grateful I am to have this special day with both my kids and their delightful partners.

Happy Mother’s Day, everyone!

The Zest of Life

We’re off to see our niece and her husband this afternoon – they’re home for a visit from Germany, where Eric had an opportunity to be transferred this year. We will also be celebrating three birthdays – my hubby’s, my sister-in-law’s, and my nephew’s. The surest way to not overeat at a party is to have something healthy in advance – and hence this tasty salad.

For two:

A couple of large handfuls of mixed baby greens, and another of arugula on each plate. Dice half a green pepper, slice four  mushrooms, and drain a can of salmon – layer all this on the greens. Lastly, the dressing: zest half a lemon (keep the zest aside). Squeeze the juice into a small bowl and remove any seeds. Add 10ml/2t of Dijon mustard and stir together. Drizzle this over the salad and garnish with the zest.

  
The upside? We’ll have our cake (a little slice) but we’ll also have more time to enjoy the real zest of life: friends and family.

Comfort = Grammy Food

Storm of the year! Here we are, having been tested by snow, ice and wind. Fortunately so far all is intact, we have heat and light, and we have managed to clear a path to the road.

What made us leave our walk-to-the-subway-and-avoid-the-elements existence? Who knows. But the call of this land is strong and the battle of the wind and water seems to actually strengthen our pioneer spirit. What we do know, is that the pioneers knew sustenance when they saw it. Our Grammy was a comfort food expert, and she always made us feel better by serving this: onion gravy pork chops with mashed potatoes and veg (any veg!)

Travel safely wherever you are, and honour your grandmothers. They’re worth it. And while you’re at it, learn to cook the favourite thing they make. Someday you’ll need it.

>

20140326-203318.jpg

The Feast Continues – Saints be Praised

Our family traditional dinner for St. Patrick’s Day is corned beef and cabbage – or more colloquially, “boiled dinner”. And the feast was had, in all its glory.

20140318-070553.jpg

For many years, we wanted to make Mom’s day-after breakfast, but, mysteriously, the corned beef would always disappear overnight while the young ones lived at home, or be eaten up because we had company. Finally, here we are – empty nest, and we’re making a hash of it!

20140318-070909.jpg

Here’s to the approaching spring – and all your family traditions, whatever they are. Long may they last.

It's a Blue Kind of Day

ImageWhat a wild weather week we’ve had! From knee-deep snow and frigid temperatures, the thermometer dropped yesterday and we had rain and high winds overnight. Now the sun is doing her best to break through the clouds, illuminating spots in the woods with her brilliant gaze. We’ve put the slow cooker on for a pot-roast dinner, and prepared for whatever the blustery day brings with some blueberry whole-wheat pancakes.

Whatever the weather, we’re grateful – for friends, family (thanks for the call last night!), and the good fortune to live with a big garden, great neighbours, and a view of the Bay.

Packaged Goods

What’s a heritage recipe? All in a name, perhaps. When my daughter and I were making these pies, we were discussing the recipes…

“Do you remember your pumpkin pie recipe by heart, Mom?”

“No need…it’s on the back of the label of the E.D. Smith pumpkin”. Other foods that have solidly established themselves in the family repertoire are pie crust (Crisco), and the special squares we make at Christmas (Eagle Brand Condensed milk). For a family that cooks and eats healthy and local, we seem to be more than happy to rely on distinctly non-local influences for the holidays. Many of these were established as packaged foods were just taking off…and some when any food was rationed and out fore-mothers learned to work with what they could get.

20131013-080032.jpg

The last anecdote we shared was probably the best. Daughter and boyfriend were making their first Christmas cookies – shortbread. Each insisted their Mom had the best recipe, and set out to investigate. After their phone calls each sheepishly shared the source of the treasured family recipe – the back of the Canada Cornstarch package. Both moms were using the same “best recipe”.

What does this teach us? That the foods we love have been taken over by huge food conglomerates? That we can’t make recipes up by ourselves any more? None of the above. What it tells us is that love and holidays, for many of us, are bound up in the foods we eat. And sharing them with family is beyond compare. So thanks for the wonderful Thanksgiving dinner yesterday. Cranberry sauce, apple pie, Roxanne’s stuffing and potatoes, Dan’s chocolate cake, Beth and Eric’s salad, Portuguese chicken from Dad and Kath, and more…so good we’ll do another version with Mike and Aline later today. Happy Thanksgiving, all!

Nothing Says Easter like…

…A cup of hot coffee and homemade hot cross buns!

20120408-074208.jpg

Time to fuel up so we can finish making the bunny cake and get to Mass!

Pour on the Sweetness

These tasty squares have been adapted from a number of recipes, sometimes called Southern Bars. Or you may have seen them on cans of condensed milk.

One year, our kids dubbed them “Cavity Squares“, because they are so incredibly sweet. We know they have too many calories (we could also call them calorie squares). But they never fail to please, and someone always asks for the recipe. Your teeth may not thank you, but you’ll definitely keep your dentist in business!

War Cake

20111227-104020.jpg

There is nothing quite like an old family recipe for the holidays. They may not quite conform to our modern dietary habits ( we rarely use lard in our house any more). But our grandmothers knew a thing or two about frugal eating that we would do well to take on board. This tremendous, versatile cake was the result of wartime rationing, when butter, milk, and eggs were rare commodities. The good new is that it tastes so delicious those things will never be missed.

Since we’re not big on fruitcake, we like to add some red and green cherries to this, during the festive season.