February 29, 2012

Shane turns 28!

Shane's birthday weekend was a whirlwind!  There were breakfasts, runs, chinese food lunches.  There was baking and grocery shopping, (multiple times) coffee and cards.  Everything led up to the poker game.  Rented chairs, borrow tables and a big cash prize.  I made food, lots of it, which was all promptly devoured.  In the end Shane won, he's elated!  He tripled his birthday money!  I foresee a lot of snowboarding in his near future.
Whiskey cake in a jar.
Breakfast sandwich for the birthday boy!
Thyme seedlings! 
No pictures of the rest of the food, but this cheesecake was awesome!

February 22-26

Wow. Yes. Okay, I've been absent.  I don't know why, I just didn't feel like posting.  I still took pictures though and now I'll share my last week with the world.  I know right? Who cares?  Well one of my favourite things to do is look back a year and see what I did exactly a year ago.  So skedaddle if you don't like it!
Buds on the cherry tree downtown.
Orange and Oat Scone.  Seriously delicious!
Frozen Grand Marnier Torte with Dark Chocolate Crust and Spiced Cranberries.
This potato, shallot and goat cheese tart was really good!
I received two awesome letters over the past week! I love the stamp.
Free cyclamen!
Beans and tofu.
I got my new running shoes!
I ate more scone.  (Wouldn't you?)
Shane had a bad head/chest cold so I made really good homemade chicken noodle soup.
Couch cleaning sucks.
I got a great deal on these picture frames ($2.50 a piece!) and hung them up here.  Above the stove. Without a hood vent. ??

February 22, 2012

Family Games Night!

Family Game Night! Turned into half-the-family game night.  Mom and I rolled sushi, Shane brought the alcohol and the three of us wasted no sushi on children, (which we ate with our fingers, I forgot the chopsticks!)  We played a few games of Racko and Hunter joined us for a game of Sorry.  I'm only sorry we didn't get a in a round of dutch blitz.  We're not that violent.

February 21, 2012

I've got a problem...

There is a sugar bug in my brain, I swear.  I'm not normally this irrational about my sweets.  Every thing I see is an excuse to bake more.  Peanut butter cookies? I've been craving those for weeks!  Date night, I guess I need cupcakes! You invited us out? I suppose you deserve peanut butter crispy bars!  Mom needs cookies? Chocolate chip, coming up! Coming over for breakfast? Orange and oat scones it is!  And finally the most bizarre: 3 cups of whip cream going to expire today? I'll make a Frozen Grand Marnier Torte with Spiced Cranberries.  Because making dessert for twelve on top of all those other treats make sense because AT LEAST I SAVED THE WHIP CREAM! 

I'm not exaggerating when I say all of those were made in a twenty-four hour period.  I'm a glutton, sue me.
Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies from Cooks Illustrated
Gluten and Dairy Free Chocolate Chip Cookies for mom, Babycakes Book.
Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes, Cook's Illustrated.
Orange and Oat Scones.

February Date Night

We went bowling!  Shane loves to bowl so I included in the envelope a picture of a cupcake, a five dollar card for coffee and an all-you-can-bowl gift certificate.  We had an awesome time.  Shane had been asking me to make him a Boston cream pie cake for months and I kept putting it off.  Since this date was a gift to him I finally made them, but into cupcakes.  They were delicious, no doot aboot it.  Success!

February 18, 2012

Right now:

I'm listening to the tink tink tink of rain on the tin chimney top.  
I'm dreaming of hot sun and cold margaritas in Mexico, and peanut butter cookies.
I'm snacking on granola, I only wish I remembered which recipe I used, I'd like to make it again.
I'm remembering the bean burritos I made yesterday and how darn good they were.  
I'm debating wether to eat the last piece of cheesecake now or later.
I'm wishing for a massage, my shoulders are tight!
I'm glad for an upcoming weekend full of fun plans and good food.

February 16, 2012

Yesterday I:

photographed the flowers Shane bought me
purchased a shovel
spread compost
planted primulas to decorate the doors
scrubbed floors
celebrated erin's birthday
made the best mac and cheese +1 jalapeno

February 15, 2012

Valentine's Day

We had a fantastic Valentine's Day.  Regardless of what we would have done it would have been great, Shane hadn't really been home since last Sunday, working nonstop.  I ran to the store in the morning after making an awesome maple-apple crumble for breakfast.  I grabbed two lattes, an indulgence for us, we don't go out for coffee anymore.

We got in the car and made the traffic heavy drive to Vancouver.  We found our first stop; Thomas Haas for crispy raspberry chocolate cake and a hazelnut hot chocolate.  Yum! I love Valentine's Day chocolate!

We picked up bread at Terra, picked out running shoes at the running room and picked out cheese at Les Amis De Fromage for dinner.  Then we drove to lunch, Memphis Blue BBQ Restaurant and indulged in a bbq platter ($44!) and beer.  We ate until we could eat no more and then rolled ourselves out the door, down the stairs and into the car (take out containers in hand!)
When we reached home I started right away on a chocolate tart and cheesecake for the following day's dinner.  Even though we weren't hungry we made our fondue at seven.  We roasted some fingerling potatoes and made balsamic pearl onions.  emmentaler, gruyere and appenzeller made it into the cheese pot.  Of course we ate until we couldn't move then proceeded to lay on the couch eating chocolate tart until we fell asleep.

February 13, 2012

February 13

Today was:
An apple cake that didn't work out
a beautiful sunny run
a cup of coffee at a round table
braided hair
one luscious tangerine.
I finished this book.

February 11, 2012

February 11

What should we talk about?  Can we talk about the beautiful weather that has left us?  The warm sunny days that called me outside, warming skin that so badly craved sun.  The vivid blue skies that exploded above our heads every time we walked outside.  Now the damp grey skies envelop us once again, the branches drip with fat rain drops as the  water hangs in the air.

I've made gluten free bread and delivered jars of summery apple-peach jam.

We ate brioche toasted, fresh and cooked into pudding.  You can find me baking bread pudding over here.

I've been running, rain or not.  We've snowboarded soaked down to our skivies, freezing our pants to the seat on the chair lifts as we swayed in the cold wind back up the runs.
We've been spending cold evenings curled up with books or watching our favourite tv shows until our eyes grow heavy.  Isn't that the way of winter?

February 8, 2012

Heidi's Millet Muffins

I hadn't meant to share these, heck I hadn't even meant to bake!  But they are too perfect to pass up, not to share.  You need to know about these, I know for sure I will be making them again, they were delicious!

The muffins are light, with a very delicate crumb.  They are sweet but not sugar-y, in fact they are made with only honey.  The recipe called for whole-wheat pastry flour, I used white pastry flour because that is what I had on hand.  But if you used honey and whole wheat flour you might be able to get away with eating these for breakfast.  Okay, who am I kidding? I ate them for breakfast anyway.  The raw millet in the muffins was a crunchy little surprise.  Not crunchy-break-your-tooth, but crunchy like a little pop!  I found millet in the bulk food section of a local store, so if our little town has it, it shouldn't be a problem to find.

As with all muffins the add-ins are very versatile, put in whatever you want.  I had apples and dried strawberries from last summer.  Along with a little lemon zest I had a spring-ified muffin which on these beautiful sunny days was very very welcome.  You could swap out the apple for any fruit you wanted.  You could add other dried fruits; nuts and spices could make these a dramatically different muffin.  What are you going to add to yours?

Millet Muffins

Source: adapted from Heidi Swanson's Super Natural Every Day (you can find an online recipe here)
Serves: 12

280g (2 1/4 cups) whole wheat pastry flour
60g (1/3 cup) raw millet
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
225 g (1 cup) plain yogurt
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup barely melted butter
1/2 cup honey
zest of one lemon
2 small apples, peeled, cored and diced
1/2 cup dried strawberries

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.  Whisk together the flour, millet, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.  In another bowl whisk together the yogurt, eggs, butter, honey and lemon zest.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until the flour is just incorporated.  Fold in the diced apple and strawberries.  Divide the batter among the muffin cups, portioning evenly. Bake for 16 minutes, until the tops are browned and just beginning to crack.  Cool in the pan for 5 minutes before placing on a rack to cool down completely.  

February 7, 2012

Vancouver, overnight

I met Shane at his work with coffee and brownies, a great start for a great night.  We plodded along a busy highway, stopping with traffic as we jammed our way onto a too-small bridge.  It was 4:30 when we realized I forgot to pack Shane's tie, and 5:00 when we reached the hotel.  We checked into a pre-paid 19th floor ocean view room (score!) and cruised up the elevator with two of Shane's co-workers.  "It starts at 6?" They asked.  We thought it was 8.  We hustled.  
The room was beautiful, high above the city.  I snapped pictures as the sun set and the fog rolled in faster than I could run.  We hurried into our evening best and slapped on a little make-up.  Luckily we are the type of people to be ready for a fancy evening in fifteen minutes.  We met a few others and scampered through the cold damp air to the restaurant.  My bare legs were cold.  
The drinks were endless and so we drank.  I tired to keep names straight and we sat down at table 13.  The food was fine, the company questionable and the service spectacular.  It was a nice night, even though table 13 started eating their steak at 10pm, one hour after table 1 finished.  We didn't win an iPad as Shane lamented, very disappointed in his luck.  
At 11, it was time to go, the people were starting their bad habits.  We got our taxi and left.
Morning arose cold and bright.  We skipped from the hotel, a cool walk to breakfast.  We had a great time at Scoozi's, somewhere we'd never been and at 9am on a Sunday morning, the perfect place to be.  We lingered over coffee enjoying each other's company, sipping from glass mugs between sentences.  It's a beautiful thing to be along in a city, Sunday morning before the world wakes up.  The roads belong to you.  We dragged our feet all over the place until at last we settled on our destination.  
The hot chocolate at Mink was incredible!  For the oh-so-humble price of $6.50 for a small mug I got to drink dark chocolate-salted caramel-rosemary bliss!  It was very very good.  We looked at books in the book stores and spent $10.50 on potatoes at the market.  Lunch was dynamite burgers at refuel (our second favourite burger place.)  We made it back just in time to drop me off at work for my evening shift. Our 22 hours in Vancouver were an awesome bonus, the miniest-mini-vacation if you will.