Monday, October 8, 2018

Thanksgiving

It is amazing how quickly time flies. It was just last week that I was having a discussion with my husband and I utter the phrase "But it's September" to which he responded "It's October"....I wanted to argue the point but it dawned on me that he was right - it is in fact October and Thanksgiving was comping up next week. Yet, here I am feeling like that was yesterday and it's thanksgiving today. 

It has been a hectic, weird time for us and this morning I got a little message via Facebook 
Happy Thanksgiving to you all!!
Just a little message from someone who has been a teacher, mentor, friend and confidant for years - has put up with me as a teenager and supported me through all things in life. Someone who instantly said "do you need to talk" when I said I'm going through a tough time and I know no matter what will be there if I say I need to talk. I am thankful for her being in my life.

I am thankful for all of the people family and basically family that I get to count to be a part of my life. Who lends support, hugs, heart and whatever is needed.

I am thankful for my parents who support me and my family in whatever we need to do. Who are always more than willing to eat my cooking. The sacrifices they have made for me and the help they continue to provide is overwhelming at times. 

I am thankful for in-laws who have provided love, guidance and support to my husband and welcomed me into their life. I am thankful for a mother-in-law who still loves me no matter what and a father-in-law who is always there with his gentled guidance and words of wisdom. 

I am thankful for an amazing daughter who is truly beyond words. I am so immensely proud of her and who she is becoming. She has spent this long weekend doing school work, helping clean the house and baking without needing to demand it of her - she just does it. She even has done her own laundry (all 3 loads) (did I mention she is 12?!) I can't imagine what the future will bring to her as such a young, bride and amazing kid. 

I am thankful for a husband who loves me - all of me - I don't know what more I can say than that's amazing to know. I am thankful to have him in my life. 


Sunday, September 16, 2018

Heading into the Fall

I cannot believe we are already into September and as I type that I realize that we are more than halfway through the month.  We took some time at the end of August and had a week long vacation exploring part of Western Manitoba staying in Yurts at Asessippi Provincial Park. I have to say the experience was amazing and we have already made plans to go back to a Yurt at Childs Lake next summer.  The ability to go back to basics and cook over a camp fire every night was inspiring. I will be writing more later on my campfire cooking but there is a magic derived from cooking over an open wood burning fire that can't be described! 

Time is just flying by. My daughter asked my what my favourite time of year was and I said I don't really have one. Each time or season has different things that I look forward to each year. I

In Spring I love the rebirth, the warmth, colours and smells of spring.  I love seeing the earth and people wake up from under a blanket of snow. Summer is about amazing sunsets, campfires, spending time with family and friends at the lake. There is an enjoyment because the days are long and last well into the night. Everyone seems more relaxed and there is a sense of care free and return to childhood. Fall is about an amazing transformation of colours everywhere, warmth even on cold days. I love the last bit of summer we get in the end of September where temperatures are warm during the day and cool in the evening so you look for comforting things. There is a return to soups, stews and filling, warm and comforting food. There is also the abundance of crops that come in at this time of year - tomatoes, pumpkins, apples all that give you a nice hug.  Winter has the amazingness of snow the ability for the entire world to sparkle after a fresh blanket of snow. There is the time around Christmas and New Years where there is a sense of joy, wonder and endless possibility. I have always found that there is a special type of magic around Christmas. 

Each season and time of year has its own unique aspect that I love and look forward to (except the extreme cold... I could do without the extreme cold but I could not imagine never having snow!) 

So now I'm starting back to cooking stews, soups, roasts and chickens.  As I type I have a whole chicken being cooked sous vide and I'm going to be roasting potatoes and carrots for supper to go with it. I'm also going to be working on sweet potato pie and pumpkin pie. 



Thursday, July 19, 2018

Strawberry Ginger and Basil Shortcake

So with summer here there are so many amazing fruits that come out. Now I have love for many food items - fruit and dessert is chief among those food loves (I mean are you surprised?) I also am in love with homemade pasta - so simple, so easy and so much better.  Anyways I have been hearing about Strawberry Shortcake for a long time and honestly for a very long time all I could think of was the character in a cartoon when I was a kid.  So when I started to figure out and see what these actually were I was sold on the concept - a simple yet sweet biscuit that is served with whip cream and strawberries - I mean yum!


This week has been about basil and using it in different ways. I have also wanted to do a white pepper Strawberry Shortcake (maybe later). In any event I was trying to think about the combination and how I could mix basil with strawberries, plus I was also trying to find ways that I could convince my willing victim to eat a sweet that he doesn't normally love so I set out to Google and I found some interesting drinks that featured a combination of Strawberries, Ginger and Basil!  I was sold especially since I had so much basil! I tried out the recipe below and while they were amazing (seriously amazing) I not sure I'm sold on this form of biscuit - I think I need to revisit the combinations used and maybe add more basil and ginger plus find a biscuit recipe that has butter in it (I mean everything is better with butter!) On a note: I did use a bit more flour just because of the moisture from the basil and ginger but maybe only 1 or 2 tbsp. more not sure - you'll know when you have the right consistency!

Strawberry Ginger Basil Shortcake

Makes 6 servings - takes about 1 hour with cooking and cooling

Strawberry Filling

1 1/2 pounds strawberries, stemmed and quartered
3 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp fresh basil chiffonade
1” piece of fresh ginger finely (grate right into the strawberries)

Biscuits:

2 tbsp sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 tbsp fresh basil chiffonade
1” piece of fresh ginger finely (grate right into the strawberries)

Whipped Cream:

1 ½ cups heavy cream, chilled
3 tbsp sugar
1 ½ tsp Vanilla Extract
1 tsp freshly grated lemon zest
Note: I used Splenda in place of sugar in all parts of this recipe
  1. Mix the Strawberries with 3 tbsp of sugar with the strawberries, basil and ginger. Cover in a bowl and put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes for the juices to develop. I grate the ginger right into the strawberries so that I can get the juices (do NOT use the ginger from a jar it won’t be the same).
  2. Preheat the oven to 400F
  3. Sift together the flower, baking powder, baking soda, and 2 tbsp. of sugar and salt in a medium bowl.
  4. In mixing glass measure out the heavy cream and add the fresh basil and grate the ginger directly into the mixing glass. 
  5. Add the heavy cream mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. 
  6. Either place the mixture into an ungreased 8” square pan and bake until golden, 18 to 20 minutes OR divide the mixture into 6 equal size balls and flatten the top so they look like the size and shape of a hockey puck and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and cook 20 to 25 minutes. 
  7. Remove the shortcake from the pan and place on a rack to cool. When ready to serve Cut into 6 pieces and split each piece if half horizontally. If you made individual biscuits allow to cool on pan and then store in an airtight container until ready to serve then slice in half. 
  8. Spoon some of the strawberries and their juice onto each shortcake bottom. Top with a generous dollop of whipped cream and then the shortcake top. 
  9. For the Whipped Cream: Mix all items in a bowl using a mixer until soft peaks form about 1 ½ to 2 minutes. If you are preparing the Whipped Cream ahead and want to keep its form then add 1 tbsp of skim milk powder to stabilize the Whipped Cream which means it will keep its form and not become runny again. This will not change the taste. I also just whipped the cream without adding anything and it was good like that!