22 February, 2008


Hubby has been away this week. I've overdosed on sugar to make it through the day with work, the Monster having an on and off again fever, and being 6 months pregnant. Hey, I can't have a stiff scotch at the end of the day! Therefore, I resorted to brownies and Cadbury's Mini-Eggs. And now I feel it. Time to take a break - after tonight's cookie...

It is also sad to say that with no one to keep company once the Monster was in bed I should have done some quilting or at least something creative. Instead, all I managed to do was soak in a hot bath every night (damn pregnancy side effects - enough said) and work on the binding for a wall hanging while watching reality TV.
It isn't quite done yet, but I'll have time in the coming week to finish and maybe even get my scarf done. We are off to the land of peaches, wine, and cheese - the Okanagan. Hubby's grandpa lives there and all parties were anxious for a good visit. It's a 7 hour drive - with a toddler. Hmm, maybe I'll wait to take a break from sugar.

15 February, 2008

Christmas and Valentine's in One

Valentine's Day is a non-event in our house. Every few years Hubby will surprise me with flowers or a nice dinner. It is truly a surprise as he is quite vocal about his disdain for the Hallmark holiday. He has quite a bit of disdain for a forced pretense of romance. I say that's fine, if you are romantic at other times. Yeah, he isn't all that romantic. But he is a good husband and a wonderful man. I don't need flowers from him to show me that.

I did, however, buy myself a few treats yesterday...

This is my nightstand. These are books I am currently reading, the ones I bought yesterday (standing up), ones in the queue, and the ones I've finished recently. Too much selection. It all depends on the mood I am in. Should I mention the dozen or so that are sitting in the nightstand too? At least if I end up on bed rest again I will have no shortage of books to keep me entertained.

And I went out this morning and spent some of my Christmas gift certificates at the quilt store near me. The Dick and Jane fabric is intended for a bag for the Monster. She is really enjoying the books lately. And she needs a good tote to take her lunch and Hercules, the blanket, to and from daycare. The pile of brights and black and whites is for a baby quilt - for Version 2.0 to arrive in May. I have a fabulous idea and if I start now I might get something done.

Now, to live up to my name and maybe get the binding on a quilt while the Monster sleeps. The house is a mess, the dishes need to be done - nah, I'd rather sip tea and play wit fabric. Or I could sleep too...

10 February, 2008

A Little Bit of Sunshine

It's been freezing ass cold again this weekend. During the storm on Friday I decided to bake something for tea-time. This is a Friday afternoon tradition the Monster and I have. Usually we walk to a nearby coffee shop and she has a smoothie while I savour some carrot cake. Too damn cold this week. Instead, we baked.

Hmm, but what to bake? I have a decade worth of cooking magazines (Gourmet, Martha Stewart, Bon Appetit, Fine Cooking, Cooking Light...) I also have about 40 cookbooks. Lately I've been turning to the Community cookbooks. You know the ones. The church, the hospital, or community association put together recipes from members and the same publisher puts them together in a coil-bound book with white paper and standard pictures to divide the Meats and Main Courses from the Desserts and Pastry. But these are always filled with people's go-to recipes. The daily eats, the ones that make them happy. Sure, we can make fancy stuff, but this is the stuff that gets made and eaten every day.

The one limitation to these cookbooks is that the recipes aren't usually written very well. The contributer assumes the cook just know what they are talking about. You really have to read and understand what you have to do before you start, especially as additional ingredients are often put in the directions, not the ingredients list. And once you decide whether you are for or against the amount of pre-packaged food that these recipes can often contain, you can mine the books for new favourites. This is definitely one of ours.

I strongly recommend the coconut and raisins. The Monster loves these, and will happily spend her tea-time destroying the muffin to selectively eat the raisins. Next time I'm putting in more.

Sunshine Muffins

1 orange
1/2 cup orange juice or milk
1/2 cup oil (I use canola - no trans fats)
1 egg
1 1/2 cup flour (white or 50/50 white and whole wheat)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar (I always have vanilla or vanilla/orange sugar on hand - extra tasty)
1/2 coconut or nuts (optional)
1/2 cup raisins or cran-raisins (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease muffin tin or line with muffin papers.
2. Chop up orange, discarding stem thing (if attached). Puree entire orange, peel and all.
3. Mix together all wet ingredients.
4. Sift together dry ingredients, except coconut/raisins.
5. Add wet ingredients to dry, with coconut/raisins (if using). Stir until JUST blended. Overmixing will result in a tough muffin.
6. Pour into prepared pan and bake 15-20 minutes.


03 February, 2008

Dessert Options?

I grew up in a house that had Sunday dinner with dessert. Now, dessert usually meant tapioca pudding or cookies, but it was still dessert. I can fondly recall our small glass dessert bowls on their short pedestal sitting on the counter with hot pudding in them, a dollop of raspberry jam providing colour and a sheet of wax paper covering it all.

Hmm, maybe I should have made tapioca pudding today... Instead, inspired by Orangette I tried these butterscotch pots de creme. Maybe it was because I couldn't find muscovado sugar at the grocery store today, or it might have been the curse of the world's crappiest oven, but they were merely okay. Not nearly as creamy as I would have expected.

But I needed a change. I couldn't face my defaults of brownies or gingerbread cake. Don't get me wrong, they are wonderfully tasty, but I craved something different. Any easy Sunday dessert ideas out there?

I will, however, share this recipe. Remind me to tell you the best story about a fateful piece of this cake and a car fire...

Peterson Gingerbread Cake
(recipe from my sister-in-law)

1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup molasses
2 1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp dry ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 cup hot, hot water

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 x 8 pan
2. Cream together butter and sugar.
3. Add egg. Beat until light and fluffy. Then add in the molasses.
4. Sift together the dry ingredients.
5. Add the dry ingredients to the molasses mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, alternating with 1/4 water. Beat until smooth after each addition.
6. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 50 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

My sister in law likes to serve it hot with Birds custard, but I prefer ice cream and caramel sauce. It is also good with carmelized apples or pears.