Monday, October 29, 2012

I Confess: Roasted Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese Croutons

 As the years pass, I am coming more and more to understand that it is the common, everyday blessings of our common everyday lives for which we should be particularly grateful. They are the things that fill our lives with comfort and our hearts with gladness - just the pure air to breathe and the strength to breath it; just warmth and shelter and home folks; just plain food that gives us strength; the bright sunshine on a cold day; and a cool breeze when the day is warm.
~ Laura Ingalls Wilder 

Over dinner a while back, the conversation turned to guilty pleasures, of the food variety.  Seeing as I was sitting with other food writers, it was a little I tell them the truth?  Do I tell them what has, on occasion, brought me great joy and comfort?  Do I spill the beans about my fondness for....Cheez Whiz?  I did and no one shunned me for the rest of the night, as everyone else listed something sinfully similar.  But it's true.  A jar of the orange stuff has been known to find its way into my fridge every couple of years, if I see it's on sale. (I like a good bargain.)  But before you lose all respect for me, be assured I don't spread it on celery or toss it on hot macaroni.  No, the only way I eat it is on hot, heavily buttered toast, as a bedtime snack while I'm in my pajamas and slippers and something trashy is on the television and maybe I have PMS.  Something about this cheezy toast makes me happy - it was a favourite when I was a kid and my mom would even pack it in my brown-bagged lunch, where it was devoured in the noisy lunchroom at noon.  Maybe I like that it takes me back to simpler days, when my glasses were big and I had a crush on Scott Baio; when I would rush home from school and watch Little House on the Prairie, then afterwards join my siblings around the dinner table, where we'd dish the details of our day and my mom would dish out hot, delicious food. Those days are so long ago, but somehow a little processed cheese takes me back there.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Perfect: Upside-Down Pear Gingerbread Cake

At its point of perfection, an apple shouts, a pear whispers.  ~ Nigel Slater

I don't need to tell you what's happening in two months time.  If you've poked your head into any retail outlet, harmlessly looking for boots or pillows or cat litter, you've seen the signs for Christmas 2012.  In the olden days, you wouldn't see such stuff until after Halloween, but it's seems like every year the goods are coming out quicker and quicker.  Some of you may have already started (or finished!) your shopping, to which I give you a high five.  I'm not, nor will ever be one of those people.  Most days I'm lucky if my to-do list gets crossed off, and then I reward myself with tea and cake.  Fair deal.  

Friday, October 19, 2012

Sprouted Kitchen: Braised White Beans with Leeks & Bacon

My email inbox is often full of surprises.  Sure there are the requests to pimp out products, and hey, have you heard blah blah blah is happening, and hey can I advertise on your site, and so on and so forth.  Then there is the really good stuff, like when sweet strangers comment on a recipe, and when I was offered a job doing this, and when I was invited to go here, and when a classmate from over 30 years ago (I'm old, okay) dropped me a line to say hi, because she saw me making these on TV.  And then there was the biggie, the email that pretty much took my breath away, the one thing I still think about almost every day.  Email.  Almost like Christmas morning.  Almost.  So you can imagine my delight when I received an email from Ali at Ten Speed Press wondering if I would like a review copy of The Sprouted Kitchen cookbook to check out.  Yes!  Please!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Give Thanks: Maple Cream Cheese Pumpkin Roll

Everyday I give thanks.  For little and big things, like the butter on my bread.  The wet nose of a fat grey cat.  The voice of my mom, reassuring and kind.  The squeaks and squeals of my wee nieces, when I walk in the room.  The fit and feel of a sexy dress.  The sky above and the ground below and everything in between.  My hands and legs and knees and shoulders, who work so hard and are finally telling me to slow down.  Coffee, with cream and honey (I can't quit you).  A friend, cancer free.  Warmth of wool, wrapped around my feet.  Arms of my handsome man, wrapped around me.  It's these things that make my life full - though hardly perfect.  There are concerns and complaints that bounce around too.  Sometimes I don't know how to deal.  Sometimes I just bake a cake and do the dishes.  Sometimes I just pick up the orange cat and dance.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Wonderment: Washington Organic Fruit Tour

 Bosc Pears.

Just over a week ago I returned from Washington State, after a four day excursion that saw me climb around orchards; tour an apple packing plant; get a preserving lesson from a pro - in Whole Foods no less (my first time there!); dine out in some of Washington's finest organic restaurants; hang out with some of this country's finest (and funnest!) food writers; and wander around Pike Place Market in awe and fascination, wishing I could take it all home with me.  And in a way I have.  I'm still tasting that organic Gala, picked off the tree, so sweet and crisp.  I can still smell the sweet apple pie preserves, bubbling away on the stove.  I'm still wishing I could find flowers here, like I saw there, with baby cabbages in them and everything.  And the coffee.  My God the coffee.  So delicious.  I have so much to tell you, but be warned!  The post is HEAVY on photos and text.  Like, I hope you don't get bored.  Please come along for the ride - it was a good one.

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