Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Medjool Date and Chocolate Oat Bars


 

This is a sponsored post, but as always, all opinions are my own.

I don’t know how it has come to be the last week of August, but here we are. The mornings, at least here in Saskatoon, have a notable chill to them, and some of the leaves have started to turn yellow. It has been a very dry, very hot summer and I’m not sure if this change is due to summer ending or the parched landscape the trees find themselves in. Nevertheless, change is coming and I’m here for it. Over the next few months I’ll be celebrating the launch of my second book baby Vegetables: A Love Story, and I can’t wait to share all of the exciting details with you. Stay tuned! In the meantime, I’m here to share with you an absolutely delicious recipe for Medjool date and chocolate oat bars, which I just so happen to be nibbling on as I type this. I just can’t get enough! 

Saturday, July 3, 2021

Easy Does It: Chocolate and Cherry Cheesecake Jars





Just five days ago, I had to say goodbye to my sweet orange cat, Sunny. If you've been reading my blog long enough, or following me over on Instagram, you know that this little fella was a dear furry friend to me. Found in 2010 when he was just a young one, Sunny was my sidekick for over 11 years. He was a special little guy and I miss him so much. In recent years, he was diabetic. Needles full of insulin twice a day, special food for a special diet, you name it, we did it. He continued to be active and healthy, with a good appetite and spirit. But in the span of a week he stopped running around the yard and trying to snag the bacon off of my breakfast plate, to not wanting to eat, drink or even move. I rushed him to the emergency vet hospital on Saturday and it was there we found out he was very sick with complications to his diabetes and treatment would be very costly and extensive. I made the toughest decision to let him go, as I couldn't bear it if he was suffering. We said our goodbyes curled up together on the cold floor of a dimly lit room. I brushed the soft fur on his belly one last time and told him I'll love him forever. And then my sweet Sunny was gone. Just like that. On the drive home the Saskatoon sky was lit up with orange and pink, and I can't help but think this was Sunny's way of saying his final goodbye to us. The house feels strange now, like something is missing. The other cats have felt it too - not wanting to eat very much, and are looking around for him outside. They never got to say goodbye to their brother, and I know they miss him too. I've been trying to take it easy this week, being gentle with myself and letting the grief come and go. Cats are like family, and I loved Sunny dearly. But, the thing is, we carry on. We live the next day and the next. We laugh to remember and cry, too. Life is full of really great and really sad moments. Taking the good with the bad is the just the way it goes. I'm hoping for more of the good now, please.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Summer Spread: Herby White Bean and Feta Dip


 

This is a sponsored post. While I was compensated by the Ontario Bean Growers, I've been a huge fan of all things bean related for a very long time. All opinions are mine.


While the “official” start to summer is less than a week away, I’ve been feeling those summertime vibes for some time now. It’s another scorcher of a day here in Saskatoon, and with a house that lacks air conditioning, finding meals to cook without generating any heat inside the house is a huge deal for me. Heck, even when I boil the tea kettle, my thermostat goes up by half a degree! Gotta love old houses and the sweat boxes they truly are. Oh what I wouldn’t give for a finished basement and/or the hum of air conditioning right now. Alas, I’ve sweltered in the summer for well over a decade here, and I am more or less used to it. Doesn’t mean I won’t whine about it from time to time!


Saturday, June 12, 2021

First Look: Springtime Risotto with Asparagus and Peas



It's a beautiful June day here in Saskatoon. We've had a decent amount of rain, which means my yard is green and lush, and while the grass is getting too tall, I kind of love it because the cats can scoot around in it and hide like it's their own jungle playground. This totally cracks me up. I love those little critters. The peonies have formed small heads and in about 2 weeks time they'll become the bombshells of the backyard, and honestly, there's no time like peony time! I also love the moisture because it means Dixon's huge vegetable plot is coming along nicely, and for the last month or so I've been enjoying the best springtime asparagus. If you follow me on Instagram you know how bonkers I get about it. I love it so much that it graces the cover of my new cookbook! Isn't it gorgeous? The inside is just as pretty, and I can't wait to share more with you. So much hard work and love and eating went into this collection of recipes. Plus the dishes. So many dishes. One day I will have a dishwasher! 

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Apple Cinnamon Buns with Maple Bourbon Icing




This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own. 

When I was asked to create a recipe using Organic Washington apples, I immediately said yes. I have a soft spot for these apples, and this part of the world, after all. Way, way back when this blog was just a baby, I was invited to go visit some organic fruit orchards in the Wenatchee area, and I had the absolute best time. Washington state is known for being one of the premier apple-growing regions in the world, and the growing conditions make Washington the finest place to grow organic apples. The apple trees grow in nutrient-rich, volcanic soil, perfect for growing fruit. The dry climate and ideal temperatures reduce the number of diseases and pest issues that can wreak havoc on the fruit. Plus, plentiful water and advanced growing practices provide the right ingredients for growing top-quality fruit. I still remember seeing orchards hugging the Washington hillsides, as far as the eye can see. It’s a beautiful thing to witness, and one day I hope to visit the area again.  

Friday, April 16, 2021

Take It Easy: Spiced Ginger Beef




This is a sponsored post. I was compensated by Saskatoon Co-op, but as always, all opinions are my own. 

Everyone likes a quick meal that's super easy to throw together. Right? Right! I'm pleased to have partnered with my local Saskatoon Co-op to help get the word out about their brand new What's For Dinner promotion. Inside each Saskatoon Co-op store, there's a display which is basically a one stop shop to get all of your ingredients for the featured recipe that week. Saskatoon Co-op has really taken the guess work out of grocery shopping by putting all of the items in one display case. No need to run around the store and try to find ingredients, because honestly who has time for that? These days, I want to get in and out of grocery stores as quick as possible. There will be a new featured recipe every week, which will be a great way to introduce something new to the usual meal rotation. And you may find some new favourites you'll want to make over and over again. And honestly, grocery shopping will be less of a hassle and more of a breeze! Look for the What's For Dinner display in your local Saskatoon Co-op store for a new recipe each week. This is a super helpful way for busy folks who want to put supper on the table as quickly as possible, and still have it be delicious and nutritious. 

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Carrot Cake with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Icing



If you're looking for a show-stopping Easter dessert, this carrot cake should do the trick. It's one of the most-loved recipes from my first cookbook All the Sweet Things, and I'm always getting notes and messages on how much people love to bake it. Here's why: there's moist and aromatic carrot cake, creamy brown butter icing, and a layer of crunch from the maple pumpkin seed brittle. If you love regular cream cheese icing, this recipe will make you downright giddy. It’s smooth and creamy, with the lovely caramel nuttiness that brown butter is known for. The carrot cake is rather wonderful in its simplicity—no pineapple, raisins or nuts to be found here, just straight-up carrots. Feel free to make the cakes a couple of days ahead. They freeze well, too. The middle layer of crunchy brittle may feel like an extra step, but it’s one you want to take. As my friend Lindsay said while testing this cake, the brittle makes it. 

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

One Pan Only: Quick Sausage and White Bean Cassoulet



This is a sponsored post. While I was compensated monetarily by the Ontario Bean Growers, I've been a huge fan of all things bean related for a very long time. All opinions are mine.


I can't believe I'm writing this, but spring is right around the corner. Hooray! It has been a long winter, that much is true. Snow is still piled up in the front yard, but the birds have been chirping a happier tune, and so have I. My editor has sent me the interior pages of my second cookbook, and I've been scrolling through the final page proofs, checking for errors. It's quite the task, going over every detail, but it means that Vegetables: A Love Story is getting closer to becoming real and I can't wait for it! The pages are so very pretty and vibrant, and it's truly awesome seeing my photos and recipes (and stories!) come to life. I can't wait to share more with you soon! In the meantime, these busy days mean that simple and speedy suppers are what I need, and this quick version of cassoulet, bursting with tomatoes, sausages and white beans, is so very good. Plus I added kale, because greens are good! 

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Brighter Days: Caramelized Banana Cream Pie




Hello friends, I am just popping in here for a quick hello, and to tell you about this luscious pie I concocted recently. Dixon and I devoured slices while watching Meghan and Harry spill all of the tea during their interview with Oprah. Holy cow! There is so much to unpack there, but two things stuck with me: 1) I am so glad they got out and 2) Oprah is the queen when it comes to interviewing. Her questions were spot-on, and their answers more than a little shocking. So much drama there! While there is no drama over, there most certainly is pie. I wonder if Meghan and Harry bake pies?

Friday, February 12, 2021

Upside-Down Apple Ginger Cake


 

This is a sponsored post. While I was compensated monetarily, all opinions are my own.


It’s been a cold, cold week here in Saskatoon. The temperature has barely crept over -30C, so yeah, that’s very, very cold. I’ve largely been hunkering down inside my little house, and the oven has been working overtime. There have been roasts with herbaceous veg snuggled up beside them; cookies with puddles of chocolate; muffins burst with bananas. But, my favourite thing to come out of my gas range has been this Upside-Down Apple Ginger Cake, made with beautiful JAZZ apples. I am super thrilled to be included with a group of talented creatives across Canada this year with JAZZ Apples to create recipes incorporating their delicious  apples. This year, we made a recipe based on a “mystery ingredient” chosen for us by another group member. Mine was ginger, selected by the incredibly talented photographer/stylist/blogger Debi Traub from @simplybeautifuleating from Toronto, Ontario. 


Friday, February 5, 2021

Ten Years Later: Lemon Ricotta Cake


 "You never knew which split second might be the zig zag bolt dividing

all that went before from the everything that comes next." ~ Barbara Kingsolver

  

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Snacktime: Apple Crostini with Whipped Ricotta



This is a sponsored post. While I was compensated monetarily, all opinions are my own. 


If your house is like my house, snacktime is important. Whether it’s a second breakfast around 11 am or a bedtime snack around 11 pm (I’m a nightowl), I like a little something to nibble on while I work or binge watch a current favourite show (lately, it’s Broadchurch). These crostini made with Cosmic Crisp Washington Apples fit the bill perfectly. Toasted slices of baguette are slathered with a whipped ricotta spread, then topped with crisp and sweet slices of Cosmic Crisps, drizzled with honey and garnished with toasted walnuts. 

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Golden Year: Orange-Glazed Cranberry Cream Cheese Bread




Happy New Year, friends. I hope your 2021 is off to a smooth start. After the shit show of 2020 I think we're all holding our breath just a little, unsure of what this bright and shiny new year has in store for us. Fingers are crossed that it will be a golden year, but honestly, you never really know. Rather than leap ahead into Maybe Land, I'm trying to enjoy the present moments as much as possible. We got a new TV for Christmas - one that conjures up Netflix and Amazon with just the press of a button. I really love good tv, hence I've watched a lot of it this fall and winter. I even posted my favourites on my Christmas card this year, with Fleabag, Ozark and Fargo in the top three. After discovering that Golden Girls (the entire series!) is on Amazon, there is no way I'll be leaving my house unless absolutely necessary. Oh wait. There's a pandemic happening. This is what I'm supposed to be doing! I love Bea Arthur so much. When I was a kid, I would stay up late and watch reruns of Maude. Maude was strong and funny and didn't take any crap from anyone. A good role model for a 12 year old girl if I do say so myself. Same with Dorothy. Her dry wit and sharp tongue make me laugh, all these year later. Right now I think we need all of the GG we can get. 

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