Soule Inspiration

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This week, I was inspired by Amanda Blake Soule’s post about her family’s backyard skating rink.

We also considered making a skating rink this year but never got around to it. But really, there’s no need for a backyard rink when the city maintains a beautiful skating park two minutes away.

Saturday morning we made our way to the rink. It was our youngest son’s first time skating. He wore two-blade skates for boots. It was our other son’s first time out on skates this winter. Lucky for us, the  chalet comes with red balance bars for kids. We had a great time. My husband and I didn’t get to do a lot of skating but the kids loved it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We came home and had hot chocolate and kettle corn. If you haven’t tried this, you should.

Kettle Corn (Food Network Magazine)

3 tbsp vegetable oil

3 tbsp sugar

3/4 cup of popcorn kernels

Put all ingredients in a large pot with lid. Shake over high heat until the kernels stop popping so frequently. Salt and serve.

It is the best salty-sweet snack. Great for warming up on the couch after a morning of skating in the cold.

Now the weather has turned on us. The temperature has warmed up much to the chagrin of us skaters.

Rain, Rain, Go Away…my family and I want to skate today!

V-day in the sticks

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Welcome to valentine’s day!! Are you glad it’s almost over? sad it’s almost over? such mixed emotions on a day of love!

We are not big valentine’s day people but you know, once you have children, everything changes. So this year I decided to celebrate a bit, first off by following sistah2’s advice and made this gift for our daycare provider:

 

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So cute!

I decided for supper to make some tomato soup a la jamie paired with some sandwiches. Why tomato soup? Because it’s red of course!!

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First step, lots of veggies!

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Then throw those roughly chopped veggies into some warm olive oil and cook it.

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Once the onions are soft and veggies are shiny and delicious, the tomatoes and stock goes in

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Seriously, who wants to buy canned tomato soup ever again?

Boil those veggies

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And purée it into goodness once it’s cooled ( adding some fresh basil- I love the smell of fresh basil!)

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Results?

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And the taste test

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The bowl was empty and the sandwich gone. I would say it’s a hit.

Next up, opening up the v-day treat.

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What else is in there?

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Ohhh, he likes it!

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The best part was watching him chew and chew on jelly belly- beans.

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And chewing….

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And now using his finger to try to dislodge the sticky jellybean!

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And to finish off the night, one of Nigella Lawson’s fairy cakes.

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So delicious, you may end up with some on your face,

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Agh, a successful valentine’s day after all. And the best part of all, some beautiful flowers to brighten up those February days. Wishing everyone a Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Baking bread with Habs’ forward Max Pacioretty

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I was sick this week, with a head cold that made me sound like one of Marge Simpson’s chain-smoking sisters.

Stuck in the house, I decided to make some bread. Luckily, I had some help from Montreal Canadiens‘ forward Max Pacioretty. He was sick too: sick with shame from the way Montreal lost to the last-place in the NHL Eastern Conference Carolina Hurricanes at the Bell Centre in Montreal on Monday night.

We used the basic bread recipe from the Tassajara Bread Book. I love that cookbook. It takes 13 pages to explain in extreme detail how to bake the bread. Max read it quickly so he understood what to do.

While he explained how it was possible for Montreal to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-0 on Saturday night, yet be humiliated by the Hurricanes two days later, I mixed and kneaded the dough.

Max was very impressed by how high the dough rose.

He was so anxious to eat the bread that he wanted to start before it had even been baked!

Max couldn’t believe that it still had to bake for another 30 minutes.

Finally, the bread is done. Max is 6 feet, 2 inches tall, yet this bread towers over him.

Nutella on homemade bread is just the thing a hockey player wants to eat on his day off. Max said he wants to bring a whole loaf of bread and a jar of Nutella to the locker room on Wednesday night to give the Habs the power to beat the Boston Bruins. I know you boys can do it Max!

They Never Cease to Amaze Me

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Love is a many splendored thing, isn’t it? But when is love really love? My 5 year old strongly believes in love. He already claims to have a number of girlfriends. He seems to have a preference in looks. He only likes blonde-haired girls, or so he says. I don’t take too much of what he says too seriously. I mean, he also strongly believes in Santa Claus, leprechauns and cupid.

This week he told me, “I’m not going to school on Valentine’s day.”

I asked, “why not?”

He said something in French that I didn’t quite get.

He said, “you know the boy with the bow and arrows. He hits you with arrows. Those hurt. I’m not going to school!”

Holding in my laughter, I tried to explain that cupid shoots magic arrows that don’t hurt. They just make people fall in love.

He countered with, “My heart is already broken. Lori-Kim broke my heart.”

I didn’t know what to say to that.

What is the right advice for the broken hearted?

Cupid, this year. Take pity on my son and aim wide!

Golden cake with chocolate icing

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Our local grocery store has recently begun carrying Betty Crocker Gluten-Free products. Having tried many, many, many gluten-free mixes over the past eight years and been very, very, very disappointed, I didn’t have very high hopes for this cake.

But Betty proved me wrong. This was a great cake, with just a handful of ingredients: rice flour, sugar, potato starch, leavening (baking soda,  sodium acid pyrophospate, monocalcium phospate), xantham gum and salt. You add eggs, water and butter (we used our old friend, Earth Balance margarine).20120208-193934.jpg

We made the icing with Earth Balance, cocoa, icing sugar and rice milk.

Mmmm, leftovers!

A forgotten snack

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You all may have a favorite appetizer, I know I do. Well, I did. I use the past tense because I haven’t made it in a couple of months. It wasn’t until a good friend told me what she was having for lunch when I was like: OMG! I totally forgot about that! And so I was motivated to make it again (do you like my omg? Makes me feel young and hip).

So let me tell you the story of how I started making this…..
For those of you who have had the pleasure of visiting Kingston, Ontario, you may have visited a delectable bakery/restaurant called Chez Piggy. Everything is so delicious in there, definitely worth a stop!!

So one day I stopped into this bakery to buy a snack for work and decided to buy a small container of olive tapenade. Now, I’ve always disliked olives- blech. But, being open minded, decided to try a bit of this on a fresh baguette and ahhhhh…… It was love at first bite. How can I not love a salty snack when my favorite thing of all time is to sit down with a bowl of chips and lick all the salt off??!!

So here it is, thanks to my friend (you know who you are!), my little version of olive tapenade.

Ingredients: olive oil, olives (without pits), lemon, pepper, garlic, capers, and sun-dried tomatoes (the lovely thing with this appie is that you can add/delete what you would like!)

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Drain the olives, throw them in the processor with a splash of olive oil, some garlic, a squeeze of lemon, couple of spoonfuls of capers and some of those oil infused tomatoes.

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And pulse that appie. I like some texture to mine so I pulse it for maybe 30-40 seconds tops.

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Oh yummo!!!! It’s 10pm and I’m drooling. Next step, some fresh bread and dig in!

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The lovely thing about this is that it is super easy and is a hit at parties – Bon appetit!!!