Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Wood vs. Plastic: the epic cutting board debate rages on

After reading a whole slew of articles, essentially, the choice is yours to make.

There are articles in support and against both sides of the coin. Both hold onto bacteria and both are soft enough to not damage your precious knives. Wooden ones work well as trivets (for putting hot pots and pans on) but plastic ones can go into the dishwasher.

Function is really important to me when choosing a cutting board. It MUST be big enough.

There are articles that talk about wood vs. plastic and others that discuss sanitation of your cutting board and pros & cons of various materials like glass. If you are STILL undecided after that, you could read a study by University of California at Davis.

I usually end up deferring to my preference for natural materials, like wood. I also looked at this article on cutting boards and how to season them, as well as this article by TV hosts Anna & Kristina who put products through a rigorous testing. And often when I am unsure about all things food, I defer to Michael Smith.

Whatever it is you are looking for in a cutting board, I know you will find it!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Lazy Cookies

When I was little, my family bought packages of half-cup squares of Parkay Margarine. At one time, I'm ashamed to say, I used to eat it straight up, by the spoonful.

My parents have long since converted to buying actual butter and I thankfully no longer eat margarine (or butter) by the spoonful. My stand-by cookie recipe comes from that Parkay box and if I'm creating a new recipe for a cookie, it often originates here:

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Watermelon Salad

Sometimes kids who come over are uncertain of the strange things that we make. When my niece and nephews came over for dinner on Friday night, we were interested to see how they would respond to dinner.

I roasted carrots and halved mini potatoes in one pan and some fresh dill-covered salmon fillets in another.

For the salad, we made this:

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

An Incredible Artist

My mother-in-law is amazing!! And I'm not just saying that because I know she reads my blog; I truly mean it. She is a talented artist.

Want to check it out for yourself and confirm? You can check out her website or blog. They both contain beautiful images she has created with watercolour, oil, acrylic, textures, pastels, and charcoal, among other things.

Other than painting and drawing whatever she desires, she also has completed quite a number of commissioned paintings, done to the colours and specifications requested by the client. Amazingly, they are really reasonably priced, affordable for all with prices starting around $50.

This fall, she also started taking on art students, teaching various techniques to children as young as seven years old. The number of students per semester tends to be few, but if you are looking for an 8 week art class worth its weight in gold, this is the one!!

Why am I not posting a photo with this particular entry? Because I want you to click on the links above and go see Joanne's paintings for yourself.

Community Lunch Lasagne

When it comes to food and cooking for others, running out is NEVER an option. If there is a fault in this category, it is that we tend to over-do it. So, when we volunteered to help out with food for the Community Lunch after church this last week, we aimed high...

... top of this mountain of twenty loaves of garlic bread, high.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Dog's Breakfast

It's looks like this that remind me - it's all about perspective. My dog eats the same food every morning and every morning she is grateful, delighted, and the breakfast was delicious. It's looks like this that remind me to be content - elated even - with whatever the current circumstances are, even if it's been the same green bag of Costco brand dog food every day for the past 7 years.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Waiting for Spring

Last week was cold and dreary and I started to feel the wear of winter on my enthusiasm. But things brightened on the weekend with the animals of spring all present on Saturday - robins, bald eagles, and prairie dogs. There is hope for warmer weather!

I have picked up speed on my new found hobby - knitting. I went to the local thrift store on Friday and rummaged through four baskets of yarn, jamming my re-useable shopping bag full for only $12. And because I dug through the treasures in those baskets, I only bought actual wool from sheep and alpaca as well as cotton yarn.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Hearty Mushroom Soup

There are times when I want something hearty, meaty, but... meatless. This soup is the solution.

What mushrooms should you use? As many different kinds as you can - variety is one of my favourite spices! I have used white buttonbrown buttoncremini (baby portabella), large portabellaoyster, enoki, and shitake all in this soup.

Friday, March 4, 2011

My 7-year-old's Favourite Seaweed Salad

It's true! My 7-year-old LOVES this salad and it's quick and simple to make.

RECIPE: Seaweed Salad

two handfulls of wakame seaweed, dried
2 tbsp miso paste
1 tbsp soya sauce
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp sesame seeds

> place the seaweed in a glass bowl and cover with boiled water so the water is at least an inch above the top of the dried seaweed
> mix the other 4 ingredients in a bowl
> once the seaweed has re-hydrated, strain out the water and dump the seaweed into the dressing
> toss & serve with sliced tomatoes


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Kitchen: Heart of Our Home

Regardless of the occasion or who is in our house at any given moment, we always end up in the kitchen. I usually end up recruiting my guests to help in the meal somehow, beverage of choice in hand, and we have a wonderful time. Food is prepared, we catch up, memories are made, and friendships deepened.

We wanted the kitchen to be warm and welcoming, with enough countertop to sink a ship.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Sometimes the Mug Makes the Drink

A couple of years ago, my mother- and father-in-law gave us some beautiful dishes from an artesian they know. We received four coffee mugs, a serving bowl, and a salsa & chip platter. They were gorgeous! Because we were in the midst of updating our kitchen at the time, we put them back in the box and tucked them away in a safe place.

This morning's latte
Fast forward two years and two months. The last piece of the kitchen is now done (the banquette) and we have unpacked all the kitchen things we had packed away. Many items will be given away. But not these earthenware dishes, they are too beautiful and precious. We now also have a matching teapot and sugar bowl.

So, instead of curling up on the couch with a warm handmade blanket, my second steamy hot latte, and a good book, I am going into that kitchen and I will make it sparkle! And it is likely that a sparkly kitchen will inspire me, leading to new creations. I can hardly wait!