Best of May 2020

I’ve read 13 books this month and this was the best one out the bunch:

From Goodreads – “In the midst of a family crisis one late evening, white blogger Alix Chamberlain calls her African American babysitter, Emira, asking her to take toddler Briar to the local market for distraction. There, the security guard accuses Emira of kidnapping Briar, and Alix’s efforts to right the situation turn out to be good intentions selfishly mismanaged.”

It was really tough for me to chose throughout the month because there were a lot of great books in my life but once I read – Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid, I knew. This was the BEST of the bunch. I thought it was beautifully, cleverly written. I was cringing and tense in my belly the whole way though and while that sounds like a bad thing, its really not. Read it. You’ll see what I mean. Highly recommend.

Best song cover:

Now normally, I hate this song – thanks Tik Tok- but this version…oh this version is GOOD!

Best Chef on YouTube-

Bruno makes me laugh and laugh and laugh. He’s got such a quirky charm.

Best Toddler :

My boy! I love this kid. Even if he did throw dirt at me, break the toe off my iron crow and put a banana in my water bottle.

This baby!

I’m getting to know her better, bit by bit. She’s still a wee Sprite. With very strong lungs 🙂

Best Bug:

This ladybug who stayed on my hand for a good 10 mins after I rescued it out of a puddle! So cute.

This Song Dog:

Who I spotted from afar but whom neglected to spot me. I was expecting it to notice me and keep moving. It IS a wild animal after all, it’s senses are supposed to be WAY sharper than mine! Colour me surprised when I came around the corner and it was RIGHT THERE. The poor thing jumped three feet in the air then ran franticly towards the traffic. I stopped walking, went still and the coolest thing happened! The coyote stopped too, turned to face me, then trotted off away from the road. Crisis averted! And a cool animal encounter was had ❤

Best Breakfast:

My Hubs makes the best Eggs Benedict. ❤

Best New Friend:

Meet Skitter! Skitter lives on my ceiling and is such a funny little creature. She likes to make herself completely flat and while I never see her move, she’s all over the place. It’s fun to wake up each day and see where she’s gotten herself to~

Best splurge:

Halibut was on sale, so I bought myself a good chunk and made myself fish and chips for dinner as a treat. Those 4 bits cost 15 bucks but OH WOW, it was worth it! I could eat halibut every day….sigh…if I were rich, ha!

Best surprise:

I was out at the doctor’s and noticed a sign. Thinking it had something to do with COVID procedures I stopped to read it and it said ” Please DO NOT feed the goose!”

Goose?! I thought in a panic and looked below the sign:


Lucky for me, she was busy and not feeling threatened! She didnt pay me any mind 🙂 The video doesn’t show it clearly but her eggs were luminescent! Like pearls ❤ I was so grateful she a. didn’t attack me b. let me watch while she tended to her very important business. It was a special moment ❤ I’d never seen that before!

How about you? What’s on you Best List? Lots and lots of stuff I hope! ❤

Spring Tea Party

Spring arrives in 2020 on March 19.

If you’re thinking to yourself ” That seems early” You’d be right!

According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac this is a thing because of … math. And how our calendar is set up and leap years.

You can read the whole article here. It’s extremely interesting and the author explains things far better than I ever could. Sorry!

Last year, I had a one women tea party to celebrate the occasion ( and as an excuse eat scones with homemade clotted cream) and I’ll be doing the same thing this year too!

SPRING!

FOOD!

CELEBRATING ALL THE THINGS!

Here are some highlights from 2019!

Steamed green beans with wee tomatoes and pesto for dipping. Open faced Tuscan ham sandwiches with dijon ( and butter!) and cucumber sandwiches on top of a tea biscuit. Deviled eggs with capers. Missing are my scones with jam and clotted cream! The scones were Ok but the clotted cream ❤

I used Chef John’s recipe from Food Wishes:

And it turned out really well!

It was insanely good on top of a scone with a good spot of jam. I even froze it and enjoyed it six months later on top of some Swedish pancakes! It was just as yummy then too. I’ll be making this again for 2020.

My next favourite thing were my family famous tea biscuits. This year I’m not going to be making scones because…meh. I prefer tea biscuits and these are pretty versatile. My recipe come from a battered old Purity Flour cookbook:

Well loved for good reasons. I especially enjoy cheese in mine:

There are a million other variations you could do to your own taste! I’ve got some fancy ones in my head for this year. Scones are just too sweet and dry for me. Biscuits are where its at!

And last : Deviled Eggs with Capers.

There’s nothing really to them, simply make a basic recipe and add Herbs de Provence , chop up some capers, add them to the mix saving a few whole ones as garnish.

I made it up as I surveyed the contents of fridge and I was so pleased they came out as tasty as they did.

Fancy and pretty to look at, yet different than the usual deviled egg you’d normally eat without tasting too weird. A lot of my “creations” don’t turn out nearly as well! 🙂

All enjoyed of course with a big mug of hot tea. Here is a pretty set up to satisfy you purists:

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

My favourite is Earl Grey with extra Bergamot. How about you?

I’m working on finalizing my Spring menu this year and I’m sure once its all said and done you’ll see it here. How do you celebrate Spring?

Knorr One Skillet Meals -Mediterranean Lemon Chicken w/ Barley – Review.

Knorr came out with something that caught my eye awhile ago. One skillets meals. They intrigued me because A. I’m a lazy ass and one skillet cooking is my jam. B. They use interesting grains like Barley and Quinoa.

My grocery store had them on sale so I picked up two offerings and finally got around to making one!

Behold! Mediterranean Lemon Chicken with Barley

These are meal starters so you’ve got to provide and add your own things. For this one those things are chicken, spinach and carrots.

To start I sliced my carrots- more than the recipe called for because Mmmm, carrots!- and set them aside.

Next I cut up my chicken and browned it in oil. The package tells you to coat your chicken in flour before frying it but I was like “nah” so I skipped this part.

Once my chicken had some colour, I added the carrots and package mix plus the recommended water -2 cups- and I brought the whole thing to a boil. I gave the lot a final stir, covered it up then turned the heat to medium low and let it simmer away for a little over 20 mins.

When the time was up, I chucked in the fresh spinach, covered it back up and took it off the heat. When my greens were wilted to my liking I stirred them in and served the whole thing up, after a quick seasoning of salt and pepper.

HOLY LEMON!

They weren’t kidding about the lemon. That’s pretty much all I could taste. I had to add extra salt just to cut the sourness a bit. It wasn’t horrible by any means but the lemon was very pronounced. It over powered everything.

So if you like lemon, this is a dish for you.

When I had it the next day, the citrus smack upside the head had mellowed and then I was finally able to truly enjoy the dish. I ate it with gusto and it turned out to be pretty tasty on day two.

The ingredients aren’t too bad at all:

and it was simple enough to make. It might be a fun way to introduce a younger person to cooking and if you’re exhausted from work and don’t want to cook much but also don’t want to eat garbage, this would be a decent option too.

I’m looking forward to trying the other one I bought. Look for it here next! Steak & Peppers. Brown Rice and Quinoa.

Happy Eating!

Simple Pleasures: The Zen Of Watching Other People Cook.

Being currently currently obsessed with hiking videos, this >🐥Chick🐥< is on YouTube all.the.time. There be vlogs, gear reviews, tips and tricks of people walking long trails, preparing to walk long trails or talking about their past long trails to watch and it’s an awesome way to pass these cold days . I almost feel like I’m really out there too and it’s giving me great insight into the honest truth of what a big thru hike looks like.

But when I’m not watching people live and breathe hiking, I’m watching cooking videos!

There is something so calming about the simple act of making food.

The sounds.

The visuals.

Watching raw ingredients turn into either works of art, or bowls and plates of homey goodness.

I love to watch people cooking their traditional foods and speak a language I don’t speak too. It’s fun to try and figure out what word means what ingredient! And I think my Spanish might be improving!

Some videos have no music or talking at all.Those are nice too, like being in a library or a place of worship.

The experience of watching these videos feels safe and familiar . Restorative too. I find myself comforted in knowing that, even though the human world is fraught with chaos, there will always be someone in a kitchen, somewhere, making a meal for themselves and their loved ones. Insert happy sigh here. 🙂

Here are a few of my favourite channels:

Peaceful Cuisine.

Di mi Rancho a Tu Cocina.

And then we have the ever sensual Nigella:

And quirky Chef John!

Do you enjoy watching people cook? Do you have a favourite channel or site? Please share!

Ain’t No Shame, In My Game!

We can blame thank a pregnant lady for this tasty combination! I would be remiss in sharing it with you because while some might cringe, they who set aside their judgements will be in HAPPY LAND indeed!

First you grab a bag of salty pretzels:

Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

Theeeeen, you grab a can of vanilla frosting. Yes, you read that right.

Have you guessed where I’m going with this? YES, YOU SMARTY PANTS YOU!

You dip your salted pretzels in the frosting and it is fucking divine.

One would think…”Ew! Too sweet!” But au contraire mon ami! The salty pretzels cut straight through the sugar. The fat – GLORIOUS FAT – in the frosting leaves you feeling satisfied too. A few bites will do ya good.

Enjoy!

Monday Ramble, Leaves, Eating ALL THE THINGS!

Happy Monday! How was your weekend? Did you get up to anything fun? Tell me all about it!

Mine started off with a bang! Well, actually mine started off with a baby and a friend. I met my pal for coffee and got to meet (and cuddle) her new baby boy. He is the sweetest little guy and while I’m not interested in having any more of my own body, biology had me aching for him. I miss him still, lol. Give me all the babies!

Saturday had me shopping for home security stuff because on Thursday evening, two young people broke into the neighbours house. They walked up to the front door boldly like they owned the place. I dashed out quickly to investigate but they got themselves into the house lickety split! Another neighbour took over from there and they were caught but still…UGH! So the Hubs and I did some stuff to our doors and my house is now near impossible to get into -without making a huge racket- I feel slightly better about it and am grateful the assholes inspired us to upgrade some things but still…it makes me SO mad. Over the next couple of paydays we’re going to light this place up and get a few cameras. Just try and get in here…just try it! It sure does feel satisfying when I lock my doors now, ha! “Ker-chunk” go the deadbolts. I love it!

II made this lovely thing:

Parmesan Zucchini Bread. You can get the recipe HERE. It turned out pretty good! I was so proud of how pretty I made it. We were supposed to have it with Chicken Corn Chowder for dinner but we ended up having A&W at 3pm SO I couldn’t bring myself to make the soup after all! The Gouda Buddy Burger was technically my second lunch so yeah…you’ve gotta draw a line somewhere! I did have a slice of bread, slathered thickly with butter for an evening snack though. Yum! My brain is going crazy with all the cool combinations I could do using this recipe as a base. I seem to get really creative in the kitchen this time of year. I made Peanut Butter Banana Brownies the other day….

Fall is such a cheerful time. Haa!
@ me & Sarah.

Seriously, that’ll do it! Will swoon for food.

The weather is still most lovely here! I think it’s supposed to be 16C today and the leaves are still their colourful, gorgeous selves on all the trees..It looks like this is the last real day of awesome weather so I’ll be spending today finishing up the garden stuff.

I hope your Monday is AMAZING and please, enjoy the heck out of your week ❤

Matzo Ball Soup Mix Review.

You might remember, way back in Lune, that I bought myself some soup as part of my 30 day present extravaganza.

In the past I’ve bought the Matzo Ball mix but never with the soup. I like to make my soup myself. Soup from a mix didn’t seem all that appetizing.

Well, obviously I am dumb Dumb with a capital D because this mix was AMAZING. No. Seriously. Read on.

This is what it looked like:

I got the mix at Save on Foods in their World Foods section. (Don’t we live in the world too? ) Right next to the East Coast stuff ( Aren’t the Maritimes a part of this country?)

You mix up the matzo meal with two eggs, some oil and water according to these directions:

Give it a chill and roll them into balls.

You cook the balls in the soup mix until they puff up like this:

And enjoy!

The whole process couldn’t have been easier. I enjoyed them on a wet and dreary day and they were just the thing. They are economical too. This one package which cost me 6 dollaroonies or so, fed me for 3 meals.

How did they taste? Divine!

That soup mix was SO good. Perfectly seasoned without being salty. So clear and clean tasting with a very nice celery flavour. I didn’t end up using all the soup and I thought nothing of adding the remainder to my precious master stock. The matzo balls were weighty and satisfying without being too dense. They were creamy and flavourful. I do believe, this is my favourite soup of all time. It’s well worth the try.

What’s your favourite soup? Is it from a can or mix, or homemade?

F*ck Up Friday – Pea Shoot Smoothie.

Happy Friday!

Here’s a short but gross tip for you today…

A person might think pea shoots would taste AWESOME in a smoothie.

That person would be wrong. Pea shoots in a smoothie would be a mistake!

Why?

Well, pea shoots in a smoothie taste exactly like opening up a can of the cheapest store brand peas, cooking them in their can liquor for an hour and then whizzing them up with a banana and yogurt.

DIS-GUST-ING!

As gross in looks as it is in taste. Baby food is thy name.

So yeah…maybe don’t do that.

Love and squishy hugs!

Monday Ramble – Suffering, Love, Food, Family, Dogs.

Happy Monday?

Happy Monday!

Life is so strange. One day you can be so sad it comsumes your every thought and effects how your brain operates. The next, you’re laughing and playing with a four year old, having the best time.

That was my weekend. I know life is just like that. There is suffering and there is joy and the two are not mutually exclusive…it’s just always so weird when I experience it!

My friend is dealing with cancer that’s metastasized and it’s doing awful things to her body. I just learned of said awful things and …ugh. I don’t want her to suffer but she is, and she will further. In the midst of all that, we had a beautiful conversation about death and life and love and our friendship. I was sad and full of heart at the same time.

The next day we had Miss. Sassafras and four year olds are always such a hoot! She wanted to through rocks in a pond so that’s what we did (after hiking through Mill Creek Ravine and dragging around trees! )

The day after thaaaaat, we had everyone over for dinner and that was really fun. I got my wish and EVERYBODY was over. All the kids, all the spouses- former AND current-. YAY us! I made FOUR chickens, which everyone found hilarious for some reason, and my daughter in law brought us a cheesecake from The Italian Centre. Woot Woot!

I’ve got Hurricane Baby coming today and my heart is just full of all the things! Soft and sweet, hard and bitter. It’s a challenge to wrap the mind around it all 🙂

Ha Ha Ha!
Bloody dogs and their barking!
Something to consider….

Seems I was thinking about dogs!

I hope this day finds you all well ❤

A Nice Lunch Out.

You know when you’re grocery shopping and you just want to get the job done so you’re doing your thing but, there are people casually strolling through the aisles looking at everything and blocking you at every effing turn?

Annoying right?!

I am that annoying person.

Sorry.

(I’m not sorry)

In my defense I only do it at certain stores and one of those stores happens to be: Italian Centre Shop.

This place is a small chain of locally owned- Edmonton, AB- and operated grocery stores that sell Italian products AND…they carry stuff from around the world.

The world!

It’s the coolest place ever. I almost never go unless I have a good stack of bills because I will BUY ALL THE THINGS and I don’t want lack of cash to limit any of my choices. There are so many choices! They have an amazing deli, bakery and café. They bring in locally sourced items and have specials and deals and events and are active in the community.

Prices are reasonable, products are interesting and of quality, service is friendly and efficient. It’s basically one of my favourite places. Ever!

I’ve been a fan for almost 9 years and while we usually grab sandwiches from the café to go, we’ve never actually ordered a full meal and sat down for it.

We – the Hubs and I -did just that on a cold day in February.

Our location of choice? The southside on 104a Street. The lunch? Soup and sandwich.

It was the daily special and if memory serves me, it was only 9.98. That golden bowl of loveliness was Chicken & Rice and that deceptively looking simple sandwich was … I can’t remember. Sorry! It had sausage, fresh mozzarella , artichokes, a pepper spread … (CALABRESE! That’s the name of the sandwich. Calabrese! ) and lettuce. I could eat 900 of those things…

The soup was thick with rice, veggies and real chicken. The broth was rich and fragrant with just enough seasoning to be satisfyingly salty but not overdone. It was juuuust right. The sandwich had a nice mix of creamy, crunchy, salty, smooth, spiciness that seems to get tastier and tastier with each bite. I could have done without the lettuce. I found it added nothing really and was annoying to bite through. This is probably a personal thing! Some people like it, some people don’t … I couldn’t be bothered to pull it out though so it obviously wasn’t horrible.

ANYhoo, it was a great meal at an affordable price in a busy little neighbourhood café . It would benefit your stomach and soul to stop in sometime. And if you just want to shop, I promise to try and be more mindful of my surroundings!