Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Go-To Recipes

I really enjoy cooking for my family, friends or a crowd, and I love to bake! I have a bazillion (true, I counted) recipes that are printed or ear-marked to try. I'm proud of myself because I now throw out any recipe that's less than fantastic. Life's too short to keep so-so recipes on hand. 

In the spirit of sharing, I thought I would share a few with you that are now what I consider go-to recipes. Those that have served me well and pleased many palates. 

If you've had a meal at my house in the summertime, you've probably had Spicy Chicken Taco Salad. This is a fun, and incredibly delicious summer meal. Jeanine Friesen has her own successful blog (thebakingbeauties.com) and is a cookbook author, but this meal she posted when guest-blogging. Head on over and be sure to try it out.  

Some time ago, the Smidge and I stumbled on this amazing recipe for chocolate chip cookies and have never looked back. There's a small difference in the recipe that distinguishes it from others - the preparation of the baking soda in hot water. It makes a big difference with the cookies, and one that we love! Try out these Best Chocolate Chip Cookies - makes a big batch of yumminess! 

You'll think I like chocolate, and I can not lie. I was looking for a chocolate chip muffin recipe to make for a neighbour, and because I've never made that flavour before I needed a recipe. Sally's recipe is incredibly well explained which I found very educational. The muffins were as promised. If I had to criticize them I'd perhaps say there's too much chocolate - I know, a big problem to have! One note: I know my oven is hot but these muffins were done more than 8 minutes faster than they were supposed to be, so keep a close eye. Otherwise, a gold star for Sally's Baking Addiction Chocolate Chip Muffins

Finally, you may very well have heard of no-knead bread already, but I can attest to the ease of making this bread. If you're needing (not kneading) homemade bread, and haven't tried the recipe, do so. 

That's it for today, but I'll most likely have more to share in the future! 

Enjoy. :)

Friday, 15 May 2015

To Blog or Not to Blog

Aaaah, that is the question. I'm feeling rather Shakespearean of late, not because I've read any or even seen a Shakespeare play, but simply because I was in Stratford last week. Influences of Shakespeare everywhere, including the town named for him. I think I'm holding on to the memory because it was the most perfect of days. A mom-daughter day with perfect weather and a fantastic experience seeing The Sound of Music at the Festival Theatre. If you can go, and you're a SOTM fan, you simply must go. It was incredibly. Kudos to all involved on a job very well done. 

Really got off topic there, my apologies. 

Though I haven't had two seconds to rub together, I haven't forgotten about my dear blog. What to say, what to tell you. So little to share when I'm up to my eyeballs in school work. It seems blogging is everywhere these days, so one is acutely aware of how much blogs have become a part of our culture. Even my daughter's musical at school last night, which was about summer camp, was centered on a character who was writing a blog about the experience. It's hard to believe the word traces its roots back to "web log" coined less than 20 years ago. Now, for some of us, blogs are a regular, (almost) daily part of life. 

There are many blogs that I read regularly, that I really miss if I'm not caught up on. One thing that's not fun about summer is that many bloggers wane with their postings in the summer months. Makes for some boredom. 

You may ask how I have time to read blogs. You're right, technically I don't, and shouldn't. But with the ease of reading them, and how quickly one can zip through a post, it seems like not much of a drain of time. 

So, alas, I leave you with not much to report. I have may a teensy bit of headway on my current hooking project, but with so little time to hook, I am apparently left with nothing to blog about but blogging itself.....

Ain't that a corker!

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Random Thoughts

I hate to be (not really) a typical Canadian, but the weather is really getting to me lately. Hail, sleet, snow, and ice – we’ve seen it all in the last day or two. Not the end of the world, but we’d certainly like to see some sustained sunlight and warmth.

I can’t believe I’m admitting this, but I have hooked a total of one strip into my rug in the last six weeks. This school thing is really taking up a lot of time, which of course it should. And it’s worth it. Truly. But boy oh boy does the relaxation time go flying out the window.  So with that said, you know why I have nothing to show you.

I’ve also been busy cleaning up the town with wee Brownies and such. Still working on some other projects as well. Booking summer camps and summer holidays. Celebrating extended family birthdays and accomplishments. Helping the in-laws move next week. So much going on in this life, which is all great.

Hoping that wherever you are, there’s evidence of spring peeking its face around the corner.  We planted a wee little lilac tree that will have glorious blooms one day – looking forward to that. If there are any this year, I’ll be sure to share. Meanwhile, the magnolia is still curled up tight. 

Friday, 10 April 2015

Tickling the Ivories

When I was about 5 years old, I joined the rest of my family (except mom) in taking piano lessons and practicing daily. Being the youngest, I was itchin' to start of course, to be like my big sisters. I don't know how long it took, but probably about a half-year in I was not enjoying myself. But in my day, it was forced upon us. Thou shalt play the piano and take lessons until you complete your grade 8 Royal Conservatory of Music exam. And so, I did. 

Over the years since, I've barely played at all because I'm not naturally talented. My dad was. He could play anything anyone requested, if they could sing him the tune to get him started. Or he could play anything he'd ever learned by heart and with flourish. He would segue from one piece to another with his own invented little bits. He was incredible. He used to thrill small children with his rendition of "Teddy Bears' Picnic". It still brings a tear to my eye when I remember it. 

As an adult, I occasionally wished I had a piano to play, but the urge wasn't so strong that I wanted to get one. I had the family piano at one point in time, but passed it on to my sister when she had kids and they were taking lessons. It's still with them now. I can say I had a teensy part in helping my one niece become the incredible musician she is today, in fact. But that's another story. 

Enter Rocketman and the Smidge and the opportunity to have a hand-me-down electric keyboard. Sounded good, it'll be fun. Well the Smidge took to it immediately. I gave her a few short lessons, and truly she ran with it. She's been teaching herself new pieces, sight reading with almost no problem and playing almost daily with little to no encouragement.

So I asked her one day, would you like to play a real piano (sorry folks, when you're brought up with a traditional piano, the electric keyboard just doesn't cut it)? She said she would....emphatically. And so, the Rocketman and I discussed it,  hmmmmed and hawed. Lo and behold, I explored Kijiji one day and there was a piano available in our very own small neighbourhood in our very own small town. It was fate. 

We hesitated still, but when I heard back from the family that they just wanted it to go to a good home, and be used and well cared for.....well we crumbled. 

The kid loves it, and apparently so does the cat. Who knew?