It’s Strawberry Season!

It’s officially strawberry season in BC which means there are fresh, juicy, ripe, local strawberries everywhere!  Road-side stands, farmer’s markets, even the big-chain grocery stores are selling them.

At the same time, our school teachers are on strike which means my boys are missing the last two weeks of school. I’ll admit, it’s a mixed blessing; it’s nice not to be packing lunches and rushing off to school and activities everyday, but it also means the kids are underfoot and full of energy.

What to do?

Pile into the car with some friends and head out to the fields. IMG_1265

We drove out to Emma Lea Farm in scenic Westham Island, Ladner BC.  It was our first time there, but they clearly know what they’re doing.  A playground, tractors to climb on and ice cream for sale and, of course, fresh fruit to be picked and purchased. Once our buckets were weighed we set off to the fields. The boys did a great job of filling their buckets with the odd berry tasted for quality control purposes, of course.

Now that we have all these delicious, juicy, strawberries, it’s time to try out some new recipes such as these moist Strawberry Muffins and these flaky, Strawberry Scones. Both recipes are easy to make with great results.

Do you have a favourite strawberry recipe?




Weekly Photo Challenge: From Above

My take on the WordPress weekly photo challenge:  From Above

I hadn’t realized that I take so many pictures from above, but I love the view from up here. Family. Food. Feet.

Which one is your favorite?

Weekly Photo Challenge: My 2012 in Pictures

As a final post before the new year begins, I thought I’d participate in the weekly photo challenge of “my 2012 in pictures”.  As I looked back, I was surprised to see how much we travelled.  Not quite the same as before kids, mostly local trips, but still away from home somewhere almost every month!

I was also surprised by the number of photos of food I took this year – food that marked special occasions, vacations, birthdays, holidays, and class treats for school so I’ve decided to post those photos instead of our various trips.  Let me know what you think!

Turkey leftovers? Here’s some inspiration . . .

After several days of holiday meal planning, baking, prepping, and cooking; it’s officially time for leftovers!

Now don’t get me wrong, I love turkey dinner leftovers especially when I had back-to-back Christmas dinners and was treated to prime rib with my in-laws last night.  But rather than just recreating your turkey dinner out of tupperware containers, try this delicious recipe from Jamie Oliver!

"It's not a pretty-boy pie; it's a proper, old-school pie that everyone will be over the moon to see on the table."  Jamie Oliver

“It’s not a pretty-boy pie; it’s a proper, old-school pie that everyone will be over the moon to see on the table.” Jamie Oliver

He featured it on his Christmas Special last week and we had a test run with chicken. We liked it so much we both went back for seconds!

This time, I’m making two and popping one in the freezer.  Because we didn’t have any, I substituted pancetta for the bacon and left out the chestnuts, otherwise I wouldn’t change a thing, just be sure you roll out the puff pastry so it’s not too thick.  Enjoy!


Baking with Gram

Those were the days.  You could lick the spoon, clean off the beaters and no one ever said “No!  You’ll get sick from raw eggs!”.

I used to spend a month every summer at my grandparents house in the Lake of the Woods region.  They would take us to the beach, fishing on the lake, blueberry picking and I loved it!  Now that I have 2 kids of my own, we travel there every year to visit their great-grandparents.  I look back fondly on those days and hope to be able to create memories that my boys will cherish, too.

Some of my best memories of those summer days are the times I spent baking with Gram.  She taught me how to make pies, cookies, muffins, and butter tarts.  I remember her original cookbooks, all worn, yellowed and sometimes sticky; the hand-written recipes for some of my favourites.  The coloured Pyrex nesting bowls and the well-worn wooden spoon.  She always wore an apron and made it all seem effortless:  mixing the ingredients, timing the baking, even the cleanup.  I would help measure and stir and then lick the batter off the spoon, mixers and out of the bowl!  Delicious goodness.  (I still prefer uncooked batter to the finished product and my recipes never seem to make a full batch!)  I was never told to “just eat one” or “save some for later.”  It was pure pleasure!

Over the years, I collected Gram’s recipes and must admit, they are still my favourites.

Now that I have kids of my own, we often bake together: muffins, banana bread, cookies, weekend waffles or pancakes.  But only recently have I given them the utensils to lick clean!  There’s a lot of deep breathing involved as I’m not as patient as my Gram was – the flour all over the floor and counters, the fingers always reaching or grabbing for something – but I try to relax and enjoy our time together.  It’s great to have home-made treats for lunches and snacks, knowing love was an essential ingredient.

I hope my boys will look back fondly on these times spent together or at least think of me when they order pancakes at a restaurant or buy a muffin to go with their morning coffee!

Meal Plan Week Three
February 4, 2012, 10:33 pm
Filed under: family, food, ideas, organized | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

It’s been a busy week; nothing unusual – the kids, school, groceries, activities, dance class, birthday party planning, lost time on Pinterest and trying to spend some quality time with my husband at the end of the day.  But, I’ve been gently scolded for not posting my meal plan this week – I just never had time to sit down and type it in.  So if you’ve been following along, here is last week’s menu – I’ll be working on next week’s tomorrow and will get it posted by Monday!

Monday:  Steak with Mushroom Risotto and Steamed Green Vegetables

Tuesday:  Thai Yellow Prawn Curry with Jasmine Rice (we didn’t get to have it the week before!)

Wednesday:  Pork Tenderloin with Apples & Onions served with Garlic Beans and Spinach

Thursday:  Spicy Lamb Stew

Friday:  Spiced Snapper with Tomatoes & Onions with Steamed Green Vegetables

I an also excited to have found a new notepad to go along with my grocery list; it’s a magnetic weekly menu – perfect for posting on the fridge!  I smile at the sight of it.

Organized with a side of Yellow

Delicious Asparagus Risotto
January 24, 2012, 2:53 pm
Filed under: family, food, ideas, organized | Tags: , , , , , , ,

This is one of my favorite side dishes – simple and delicious for a weeknight dinner, yet elegant enough for guests.  And since you’re eating the entire asparagus stalk you get the health benefits, too; apparently, asparagus is one of the most nutritionally well-balanced vegetables — high in folic acid and a good source of potassium, fiber, thiamin, and vitamins A, B6, and C.  Tonight we’ll be having this along with some grilled pork chops after the kids are in bed; they can have some leftover “green rice” tomorrow!

Here’s the version I use from my favorite cookbook, The Food of Italy: a Journey for Food Lovers, published by Whitecap.

Asparagus Risotto, Serves 4 – 6

  • 2 lb 4 oz asparagus, washed and stems removed
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 2/3 cups risotto rice (Arborio)
  • ¾ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 tbsp thick cream (I often use 2% milk or whatever I have on hand)

Cut the tender asparagus tips and cook in boiling water for 1 minute, drain and refresh in iced water.

Cook the remaining asparagus spears in boiling water for 8 minutes, or until very tender. Drain and place in a blender with the stock. Blend for 1 minute, put into a saucepan, bring to a boil and maintain at a low simmer.

Heat the olive oil in a large wide heavy-based saucepan. Add the onion and cook until softened, but not browned. Add the rice and season; stir briefly to thoroughly coat the rice.

Stir in a ladleful of the simmering stock and cook over moderate heat, stirring continuously. Continue like this for about 20 minutes until all the stock has been added and the rice is al dente. Add the parmesan and cream and gently stir in the asparagus tips. Season with the salt and pepper and serve hot.


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