stepping back

I can't believe this blog has been around since 2005. I started because I wanted a record of the things I was making and giving away as gifts, and of the food I might want to make again.  I came to really enjoy sharing that personal thrill of creating something. And when you fine folks let me know you liked it or found it useful, well, that felt great too.

But somewhere between having kids and just plain time going by, my online notebook isn't as much of a priority. In the long periods between posts I get a little self-consious about what to say and for the first time, I'm finding my heart's not in it. So I'm giving in, rollin' with it, and officially signing off.

Many many thanks for stopping by, friends. I really appreciate it. It's been grand.


*Like our new wall art? Painted birch rings by earthartbywendy over at etsy. I love staring at them until I can't possibly decide which I love best.


salmon-potato cakes

Borrowing from this Jamie Oliver recipe and this random recipe from Food.com (there are a ton to choose from), I made salmon-potato cakes. In the spirit of it all, adapt to your taste.

salmon-potato cakes
makes 8 cakes, serves 4

2 russet potatoes, cooked and mashed (approx. 2 cups mashed potatoes)
1 213g (7.5oz) can of wild Alaskan salmon
small handful of fresh parsley, chopped
2 Tbs onion, minced and sauteed in olive oil
zest of 1/2 lemon
1 egg, lightly beaten
less than 1/4 C flour
3/4 C breadcrumbs
salt and pepper
lemon wedges for serving

After mashed potatoes have cooled, combine all ingredients. Evenly divide and form into cakes, then fry in a little olive oil over medium-high heat. Even though the salmon and potatoes are cooked, there's raw egg in there, so be sure to cook through (4-5 minutes per side). Also, a crispy golden crust is nice. Serve with a spritz of fresh lemon.


quinoa cakes

Technically, this is a baby food recipe. But who cares, when everyone in the family likes them. They're small so they are perfect for the littlest fingers, but a few at a time make a fine snack for the rest of us.

And I'm not sure why I was getting excited about this while I was making them, but they would make good airplane food. A portable, healthy protein that's not string cheese or almonds? What's not to get excited about?!

The basic recipe can be made savoury or sweet with your choice of seasoning. Cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom are all good.  I want to try cumin or thyme next time.

Ack. Bad lighting. I can't wait for the 'someday' that my kitchen will be flooded with natural light.

I got this recipe from a friend, who got it from a friend, and well, I have no idea where it came from. So, Original Source, please forgive me for not crediting you.

quinoa cakes
makes 25-30 cakes

1 C quinoa
1 ripe banana
seasoning of choice
2 Tbs butter

Rinse quinoa in a fine sieve and put in bowl. Add cool water until quinoa is covered by about 1/2" of water. Cover and leave to soak overnight in fridge.

In the morning, put soaked quinoa into a blender with banana and puree, adding a little more water if necessary, until mixture is the consistency of pancake batter. Add a pinch or two of whatever seasoning you want.

Heat a non-stick pan over medium-high heat and melt butter. Add batter by the spoonful to form mini pancakes. Lightly brown on each side. Cool before serving.

These freeze well.  To freeze, place in single layer on a cookie sheet to freeze individually, then store together.


mushroom fontina pizza

Do you love mushrooms? Yeah, me too. And Jeff is a completely reformed mushroom-disliker. Since the kid digs 'em too, mushroom pizza is a clear winner.

Head over to Annies Eats for a fantastic recipe (and waaay better pictures.) I simplified the recipe a bit, but hers is great inspiration.  I used my go-to cornmeal pizza crust recipe.

I guess she largely borrowed from this recipe over at Pink Parsley. It was that blogger who said that this is a 'wine-worthy dinner'. I agree. Not that beer can't be fancy, but this pizza, with its roasted mushroom pesto and sauteed mushrooms topping, is definitely more involved than the average pizza n' beer night.

But the hassle is relatively minor and was worth it. It makes for a deliciously salty, earthy pizza that, by the way, goes great with a simple arugula salad.

Which reminds me. I love arugula. It's so bitter and peppery and I find that it complements a lot surprisingly well.

But I digress. Mushroom fontina pizza. Yum.


handmade christmas: thumb-print cards

We had fun making these cards. My tot and I thumbed out penguins, frogs, mice, rabbits, elephants, and more.

I have been thinking about other animals to try ever since -- ladybugs, hippos, giraffes, hedgehogs, deer... oh my.


handmade christmas: socktopus

It's kind of funny to me that the main reason I haven't done any knitting these past several months (my baby) received the only knitted gift I made this year.  

This little socktopus is a fun pattern from knitty.  I put a couple of bells in the head/body so it softly jingles when the baby is whippin' it around the room, but mostly it just gets sucked on. All those feet are good for wee teething gums. 


handmade christmas: cross stitch

Life in pixels!

My family got pixelated portraits this year for Christmas. This was my first attempt at cross stitch since high school and I am hooked. When I had completed my family, I kept going with one for the in-laws. (Thanks to good ol' Martha Stewart for the idea.)

The stitching is very therapeutic. (Unless of course you are stitching while bouncing on an exercise ball with a sleeping baby strapped to your chest. I can't recommend that too much.)

But actually I had the most fun with the design phase of these. Trying to capture an age and stage in just a few pixels was fun, even though I went through quite a bit of graph paper to get the details right. In some cases I still fell short (that darn baseball cap! glasses look like unibrows!) but I'm happy with the results overall. Hairstyles make a big difference, as does choice of shirt.

But man, you think you know someone until you try to remember the details... what colour are their eyes? what colours do they usually wear? on what side of their head do they usually part their hair?

I have one more in mind to make for another sweet family, but then I'm not sure where to go with this new addiction. I don't really like a lot of the cross stitch patterns I see. I mean, I love the stuff Wee Little Stitches does, but what to do with all of it when you're done? I don't really see myself with lots of cross stitches hanging on my walls. So watch out family and friends, that means I'll be giving it away.

my brother's sweater vest, my favourite detail 


for the love of cardamom

I love cardamom and I like butter so I tried to make these cardamom shortbreads. I must've done something wrong  (not measure out enough butter?) because my dough was a crumbly mess.

I ended up pressing it into ball-like shapes, rolling in powdered sugar and baking that way because the dough just laughed and fell into a million pieces when I took out my rolling pin. Even though the flavour was fantastic, the texture of the final cookie was still disappointingly crumbly and dry. Sad.

Still, I'm excited to try other recipes on that Remedial Eating blog -- lots of beautiful pictures of stuff I want to eat.

My craving for cardamom cookies not yet satisfied, I went for this Martha Stewart recipe. To quote my now-three year old, 'That's what I'm talkin' about!' Now I have a recipe that I can haul out year after year.  Happy. 


cruciferous veg

Have you ever hearrd a two year old ask for more brussel sprouts?

Yeah, neither had I. In fact, I had never asked for more brussel sprouts. But we received some little beauties from our farm share and I was forced to try them again. Dee-licious. (Have you ever seen brussel sprouts growing on their stalk? Funny looking things.)

Okay, boiling or steaming is absolutely not the way to prepare these in my opinion. Not after you've tried them roasted in a little lemon juice, minced garlic and plenty of salt (Elise's recipe here). This is much like the cauliflower recipe on the same recipe blog, which we've made a few times.

Sorry, no pictures. We ate them too fast -- and that's the honest truth.

Head on over to Simply Recipes to see 'em and make 'em.



Pomegranates are in the stores again. Happy day. 

You probably know this trick already, but to seed a pomegranate without getting squirted by juice, immerse the halves in a bowl of water and gently pry the seeds out while they're under water.  No mess, no fuss.