Monthly Archives: November 2012

christmastime

Just a few pictures of how things are looking around my neck of the woods. Here’s to a new month, a new season of advent and the joy that christmastime brings. Cheers.

ham & lentil soup

My mother graciously gave me some delicious leftovers from her Thanksgiving feast last week. In my lot, I received a large serving of ham from the pig she cooked. Okay, it wasn’t a live and squirming pig from the farm. She got the ham from the store, but she cooked it up–  in addition to two, TWO(!), turkeys. And to answer your question, there were 15 of us gathered around the Thanksgiving dinner table. My mother outdoes herself year after year. She labors and loves and whips up the most soothing casseroles, rich meats and hearty vegetables.

She serves dessert (one can typically choose from three or four various homemade pies, a homemade ice cream dessert with fudge and whipped cream, and usually a variety or two of cookies or bars) and coffee after every meal, including breakfast (ask my sister-in-law, Emily, about this), so it is inevitable that… Continue reading

the best whole wheat chocolate chip cookies

It’s trying to snow outside right now. Enormous snow globs (too large to call them flakes), too wet to stick to anything. But hey, I’ll take it. Funny story: Two nights ago Graham and I decided to watch Elf for the first time this holiday season. I say first because I know there will at least be 2-7 more viewings. Opening scene (and no spoiler alert) a jolly red and white Santa delivering gifts to tiny children in an orphanage, ambles over to a plate of cookies. Not sure the kind. But he takes a cookie and eats it. And that, that was enough for Graham to stop in his tracks, or get up from the couch, and declare that he was going to make us some cookies.

Of course I happily consented, for I’ve only heard that declaration a few other times since we’ve been married. So I went… Continue reading

baked pumpkin spice donuts

The stars aligned for me this past week and my desire to make donuts finally came to fruition. You see, we have this little thing called a grocery budget. And typically, everything I place in my grocery cart has a destiny, a meal it will soon be a part of. There ain’t no room for fluff (or Fluff® for that matter) or any other item that isn’t on one of my little recipe cards back home. But it was Thanksgiving week and I wanted to make something pumpkin, darn it. (Sorry to get worked up.) So I veered from the list and threw in a can of Libby anyway. Wait, that sounds bad. Especially since I just started watching The Walking Dead… Let me rephrase. I threw in a can of pumpkin and knew I’d find good use for it at some point during the week. Every day… Continue reading

cookie cake (take two)

I just wanted to share a few tips about this giant cookie pie here. I originally posted the recipe for this whole wheat cookie cake a few months back. Since then, I’ve made it a few more times. And improved the recipe! I have my mother-in-law to thank. When Graham and I were visiting her last month, shortly after I posted the recipe, she made us this cookie cake for breakfast one morning. (I know, we have it rough when visiting her…)

After trying a wedge (or three) of her pie, I immediately assumed she added an extra stick of butter. Not so, she said. Well what did she do, I asked? She baked it in a 9-inch glass Pyrex pie plate (I had been making mine in an 11-inch tart pan), and instead of using the full 1 cup of chocolate chips, she halved that amount and used 1/2… Continue reading

chicken salad with fennel fronds, raisins & pears

I tried a new recipe this week. Well, okay I tried a few new recipes this week. One was for this chicken salad and another was a chicken dish consisting of little foil packets filled with fennel, carrots, red onion and large chicken breasts. Yes, large chicken breasts. I’m honestly a little grossed out at the largeness of most chicken breasts these days.

I’m sure I’d find some lovely AA size chickens grazing nearby at a local farm, but here at my neighbourhood Wegmans, they’re more like (rather definitely) DD’s. Because of their enormous size, ninety-nine percent of the time I cook with chicken (they say breast is best), I halve them, or butterfly them, to yield more appropriate and human-portioned fillets. Then, and only then, can I tolerate them, cook with them and eat them.

As I was saying, the other night for dinner we ate huge chicken breasts.… Continue reading

iced pumpkin applesauce cookies

These cookies make me so happy. My mother made them for my brother, sister and me every Thanksgiving and it was something we always we looked forward to. Like Christmas, they came but once a year, and they were oh so fancy with their beautifully iced tops. One after dinner, or perhaps a time of play, was all that was needed to cause the world to pause. Yes, that sounds dramatic, but I revere these cookies that much.

I hadn’t made these cookies in a very long while, and this time I decided to switch up a few of the ingredients (my usual: swap out half the all purpose flour for whole wheat, halve the sugar, replace some of the butter with applesauce and throw in a few of my favourite spices for good measure). You may ask why ever would I tamper with such a perfect recipe, and one… Continue reading