Friday, May 31, 2013

Tomato Basil Salad with White Beans & Bocconcini

Do you ever have those days when you don't know what in the world you are going to feed yourself?  I see your heads bobbing up and down so I'm going to take that as a yes.  Lately I've been having plenty of those glassy-eyed glances into the refrigerator.  Chalk it up to a new gardening season going at full throttle and other fun extra-curricular activities occupying a good chunk o'time.  And then there are those days when I just. don't. want. to. cook.  There I said it.  I make a living feeding people and some days I find it hard to muster the energy to feed my own belly.  It's ever-so-tempting to stop by the pizza place on the way home, but I'm cheap take-out is expensive and I'm picky often not very good.  My well-stocked pantry and refrigerator save my bacon many a day, and before I know it a delicious salad like this comes together in under 15 minutesEasy.  And right now easy is good. 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Flourless Banana-Chocolate Pudding Cakes with Whipped Coconut Cream

Sitting here, on this quiet Sunday evening, I find myself a little stuck for words.  No, nothing horrible has happened (yippee!) in fact I'm on the cusp of something fantastic (I think!), though I don't want to spill the details just yet.  Superstition and all that.  And no, it doesn't involve a boy.  This will continue to be a boy-free zone for a good while longer, though I can't remember the last time I shed a tear over the man who was so reckless with my heart.   I'm guessing that's a good sign the heart is in repair, ready for it's final tune-up.  Time really does have magical healing properties, doesn't it?  As does chocolate.  Both work wonders, in their own way.  No.  Good things are around the corner, I can feel it.  Stay tuned for future developments.  In the meantime, today I bring you banana-chocolate pudding cakes and a wee adventure on whipping coconut cream.  Let's dive in, shall we?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

For the Gardener: Chipotle Spiced Lamb & Kale Tostadas

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt. ~ Margaret Atwood

You can't see me right now but I'm totally doing a little happy dance.  Well, little wiggles in my chair, but that still counts.  Nope, not drunk (though I did have the best mango margarita this afternoon), but insanely happy that I've officially started gardening.  I busted out the garden gloves and the trowels and got friendly with some dirt today.  It felt good.  After what seemed like the longest winter in the history of the universe, I never thought I'd be so happy to uproot dandelions.  Just watching earthworms slither along the freshly turned over soil made me smile.  I'm a total weirdo, but after the winter I've had, you'd do the same thing.  I'm also super happy to have my post-surgery strength back, which means I don't have to be so paranoid about lifting anything over 10 pounds.  (Um, my cats are fat over ten pounds so I can finally squish them to bits.  I think this pleases me more than them).  Being strong again means all I want to do is make my yard pretty.  Which kinda means less time is spent in the kitchen, so food has to be quick and dirty.  And that's why today we are talkin' tostadas.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Skillet Cornbread with Goat Cheese & Fig Jam

May long weekend - the unofficial start to summer - is just around the corner, and loads of happy campers are preparing to head to the wilderness for a little escapism.  But not this gal.  Call me crazy but I'm a fan ofindoor plumbing; not sleeping on the cold, hard ground; and I believe in a decent barrier between me and bears.  I get grumpy if I'm damp and cold for too long, and I like washing my hair.  Daily.  I am what would be called a comfort camper, and that's probably why I don't get invited camping a whole lot.  But if you want to invite me to your cozy cottage by the lake (you have a shower, right?), I'd be down with that and even make you dinner.  My culinary skills make me a valuable houseguest - true story.  

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Vanilla Panna Cotta with Strawberry-Lavender Compote

My mom taught me lots of cool things.  Like how to make a mean chocolate chip cookie.  How to plant a garden.  How to drive.  How to persevere.  How to not be afraid of the dark.  How to not take any crap,  from anyone.  How to keep it all together when the world is seemingly spinning out of control.  Mom is one tough cookie, and she had to be, raising four small kids all by herself.  After my dad's sudden death she managed to somehow not lose her mind, and in the end put forth unto the world four strong, smart, kind and good human beings.  My mom is my hero and honestly most days I don't know what I would do without her.  And if you ask my siblings they'll tell you the exact same thing.  Even when she drives me crazy (she's a mom - she's supposed to) my love for her is endless and my heart grateful for all of those times she dried my tears and cheered me on and watched me grow up into the woman I am today.  My love of good food is all her fault too because she let me dig up potatoes, pick the strawberries, eat the cookie dough, stir the pot and lick the beaters, and without those early culinary experiences I wouldn't be the cook I am today.  I learned it all from her. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Win! Warm Lentil, Bacon & Asparagus Salad with Fried Eggs

This is a sponsored post, but there is no shortage of love for lentils on these pages.  And you guys know me - I wouldn't tell you about something unless I really was in love with it.  So here we go!  

First things first.  May is Love your Lentils month (but I'm crazy about them the whole entire year - just scroll through my recipe index and you'll find the love) and to help celebrate Canadian Lentils has created a really fantastic contest.  Here's the part where I tell you about the good stuff:  the grand prize is a trip for 2 to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (my hometown!) and the heart and soul of the world's lentil production.  We love our lentils here.  Not only will you get to hang out in my beautiful city, but also take a tour with famous chef Michael Smith, stay in a posh hotel by the South Saskatchewan River for 3 nights, and you get $500 to spend on fun stuff while here.  All you have to do is enter your lentil recipe - you can be a blogger or a home cook - and just by voting you have a chance to WIN.  I won't bother you with all of the particulars - you can read them here.  But I urge you to enter, and while you're there, throw a vote my way too, because I really, really want to stay in that hotel (and meeting Michael Smith wouldn't be too shabby either.  Oh, and the cash, yeah, the cash, that would be nice.  And I've got a hankering to tour a farmer's field like nobody's business.)  So go vote!  Pretty pretty please and thank you. 

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