Get Walking! You’ll See Your Neighbourhood from a Whole New Perspective

 The milder weather seems to be making a comeback. Hurray! For me, the best thing about that is the fresh perspective I’m able to get, every single morning. People who live near the ocean often comment that the view is always changing…as if they have a lock on that. I can tell you having lived in both places, that there is just as much change when I get out and about in beautiful #Toronto, as there is in a house by the sea. Whether it’s the pinky-hued sun peeking up in the distance, or a view of new construction, seeing City Hall from the rearward aspect, or glimpsing my favourite weather-light on the top of the Canada Life Building, there’s always something intriguing to see.

(Do you know how the weather light works?) The Beacon’s lights go upward when the temperature is rising, and down when it is falling; they stay steady when there is a constant temperature. There is also a light at the top, that is red for cloudy, flashing red for rain, green for clear, and flashing white for snow. I have to admit the past couple of times, I haven’t seen the top light turned on, but the temperature indicators seem to be working just fine.

Another sight that always catches my attention is this condo – the Jazz, which retained the original facade while building a tall building above. I’m always happy to see heritage buildings honoured while adding much-needed density.

What do you love seeing, as you walk around your city? Please share!

Fuel Me Once…

Yesterday’s meetings finished late enough that we didn’t get home until the slush in the driveway had frozen into a rutted, slippery mess. So on today’s agenda, scraping and hacking. Lots of it. Clearly, fuel is needed, so this paradise rye French toast fit the bill. Paired up with a Full Steam coffee and some Acadian Maple syrup, and we’re ready to face what nature has doled out.

Thanks also to Krista Oland at Morning Sun Pottery for making these beautiful mugs!

Good Friday Grill


We spent part of Good Friday in our usual way, praying and contemplating with friends, the darkest point of the Easter story. After driving home from Mass along the seaside, watching the sun glinting off the ocean, we spent most of the afternoon doing yard work. It truly feels like Easter – small signs of life are revealing themselves all over the garden. After an incredibly fierce winter, this rebirth will really be welcome.

Most Fridays we feature fish on the menu, as much out of habit as custom, but on Good Friday we do make a special effort. The combination of sun and fresh outdoor air begged for the grill, and we had just the fish for it – halibut. We served it perfectly cooked alongside a medley of potato, carrot, and some baby leeks we found hiding under a cover of leaves in the garden.

Into the Inky Blackness We Go

The days are getting longer, and yet it gives us an increasing perspective on the night. When we leave for work in the dark, and arrive home in the dark, it is hard to appreciate that time when the indigo sky highlights the trees and there is a time of beautiful contrast.

On the “official” first day of spring, we had the trifecta of indigo light, wind, and waving trees. In celebration, dinner consisted of an inky squid pasta, combined with the season’s veg…celery, carrot, onion, hothouse pepper, and some Altantic salmon. It was a great combo that fed our tummies and souls.


A Zippy Start for Your Day

After a week of wild weather, it appears the sun is making an effort to shine. We are definitely planning to take advantage of that. To get ready, a big mug of Full Steam coffee, and a delicious goat cheese-cranberry-lime panini. Here’s how we made it, for two:

Mix 2oz/60g goat cheese, zest and juice of 1/2 lime, 1T/15ml chopped cilantro. Spread on 4 slices whole grain homemade raisin bread. Add 2T/30ml cranberry preserves to each, spread, and assemble sandwiches. Our preserves came from a Nova Scotia business, Terra Beata.

Butter both sides and cook on a panini press, grill, or in the frying pan until golden. Enjoy!


Stormy Day Chowder

We’ve been under a blizzard warning today and haven’t even ventured outside. Here on the east coast we know what to do during stormy weather – keep calm and make soup! The key to managing when roads are impassable is to have a good stock of staples on hand at all times. Had we lost power, we might have subsisted on tuna, or peanut butter, or dozens of other “in a pinch” choices. But this time we were fortunate to just have to hunker down and keep warm.

Our easy, delicious chowder was made from ingredients we always have on hand: frozen fish fillets, potatoes, onions, carrots, celery, and a few other flavours.


For two:

Place 240g/8oz fillets on a plate to thaw enough to safely dice. Meanwhile…

1 peeled potato
1 medium onion
1 peeled carrot
1 stalk celery

Bring to boil and simmer in 250ml/2c water until tender.

Add diced fish and:

2 bottled or canned anchovies, chopped
2 ml pepper

Simmer until fish is cooked and will flake.


1 can evaporated skim milk

Heat through and enjoy with crackers or whole meal bread. We did!

Warm and Filling

20121210-210907.jpg The first winter storm threatened with its presence today. Hard, driving rain and wind, mixed with a little snow. The kind of howling night that makes you want comfort food. But after a day of work, how can slow food be not so slow?

We had some delicious white beans, pre-cooked, in the freezer. A couple of pork chops. And some San Marzano tomatoes. We put the chops in a casserole, topped with the beans and chopped rosemary. Over that, a couple of tomatoes each, and a little juice. More rosemary and pepper.

After 45 minutes in a 400F oven, covered, a delicious tender dinner was waiting. We finished the plates with a handful of greens. Pure comfort.

Happy Halloween!

20121031-212654.jpg First Halloween in the new house, we wondered if any kids would scale the big hill for treats, and they did! A few brave young souls came up to receive a chocolate reward. We finished off with an orange-themed dinner…baked squash, carrots, and a little poached cod. Simple and delicious.

Change of Seasons Chicken


Yesterday we had a typical Canadian spring shock to the system. After days of gloriously mild weather, it turned very chilly, gray, and windy. Since we spent the day running around (Alliance Française for French class, some lunch, then the Canada Blooms show, then errands…whew!) we wanted a warming sort of dinner.

We made this easy chicken and pasta dish, which serves 3 (leftovers for Sunday lunch, with a salad).

Cook 100g (3.5 oz) whole wheat spaghettini.

Meanwhile, in 10ml (2 t) olive oil, sauté a leek that has been sliced and rinsed (white and light green parts only) until it starts to become translucent. Add 125 ml chopped cauliflower (1/2 c) and two spears of asparagus, sliced into bite-size lengths. Put a lid on this and give it a couple of minutes to release a bit of liquid. Then stir in a diced tomato, 30ml (2T) pesto, and 60ml or 1/4 c of pasta water. Lid, turn down the heat, and let it simmer til the pasta is done.

Drain the pasta and mix into the veg. Put the lid back on and let the whole thing sit on very low heat for 3 or 4 minutes for the flavour to develop.


I'm Dreaming of a White (Bean) Christmas

20111221-192955.jpg White Christmas? Think what you will about Canada, but in these parts, snow this week is an unlikely prospect. However we did have a wonderful life filled with freezing rain and other niceties today.

The cupboard is pretty bare…shopping is tomorrow. So we made a great warm-up dinner. For two, we cooked 3 ounces/90 g of whole wheat spaghettini. At the same time we sautéed a red onion in some olive oil. We chopped and tossed in a couple of small pepperoni. Then we added a 2c/500ml jar of diced tomatoes, put up in the summer. When it was simmering, we added 2c/500ml cooked white beans from Better Bulk (check our recipe page for baking beans). After the pasta reached al dente, we stirred it into the sauce, turned it to low, and simmered for 4 or 5 minutes. We served it with some thinly-sliced basil on top, and a nice glass of Cab-Shiraz.