Monthly Archives: October 2017

Sick Day

I dislike being sick; I dislike (sort of) taking days off work because I’m sick. However, this cold is lingering and today, I woke up with a bit of an earache and a bit of a fever. I’m hoping it isn’t an infection, whether ear or sinus. That would really suck. That said, it’s definitely a stay at home and look after myself day.

This past weekend, Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada, was spent looking after everyone else. Saturday was spent finalizing the menu and making as much ahead of time as I could. In this case, that was a batch of Smokey Pumpkin Soup (a recipe that came from my sister, Grace), two pies (a gluten free Dutch Apple Pie and a gluten free Pumpkin Pie… an afterthought), and mashed potatoes, in addition to getting the chicken into a brining solution. I think that’s it. Oh… also a batch of slow cooker stuffing (dressing). By Sunday morning, all that was left to do were the vegetables and the chicken.

After making the soup, I had a full quart of puree left so I decided to bake a pumpkin pie. I’ve never made Pumpkin Pie. I remember my mother made it once and no one liked it. I’m pretty sure the filling was out of a can so that may have had something to do with it. It may have been the texture. After all, I’m definitely not a custard person and, basically, the filling is nothing more than a baked custard. It wasn’t bad, not something I’d swoon over but not bad. With the remaining cup or so, I made a batch of Pumpkin muffins, which really turned out well.

DSCN1302 The Sweet Dumpling Squashes will be dinner another day; I’m still exploring recipes. If you know a good way of doing them, let me know! For now, they’re part of my table/Thanksgiving decor (a fancy word for centerpiece, in this case.

We decided to have our dinner on Sunday, the day before Thanksgiving, because Kristen had to work on Monday. The company she works also has outlets in the US and someone needs to be in the local office on days when we have holidays but they don’t. I didn’t mind as that gave me  Monday to “destress”. So, what do I do to destress? Yup, did more cooking.

The leftover Brussels sprouts (for once, they didn’t all get eaten) were turned into Brussels Sprouts Gratin…. delicious! Basically, it’s just the sprouts with heavy cream, cheese, and a panko topping. What’s NOT to like, right? They tasted much better than plain old reheated Brussels Sprouts.

Some of the leftover mashed potatoes (to which I added half a head of cauliflower that really needed to be used up) went into a batch of potato bread. The chicken carcass was transformed into a delicious chicken noodle soup with dumplings, my new favourite comfort food. I was in bed by 8:30 p.m.

Maybe I overdid it a bit but, I must say, everything turned out extremely well. We had a wonderful dinner, with good company (Kristen and the kids) and no one went to bed hungry. DSCN1306

Categories: Baking, Blogging, bread, Cooking, Health, Holidays, Kitchen, Thanksgiving | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Result?

Well, it was a very successful baking day. Everything turned out great. I’ll let the pictures do the talking.


Sourdough Bread, just out of the oven and looking good!


Oh the smell… heavenly!!

And by this morning?


Ok, a few slices went to my daughter so she can try it to see if she reacts to it like she does to regular bread.


I think this one speaks for itself. I’m glad I made two pies, rather than one large pie.

Categories: Baking, bread, Cooking, Fermentation, Kitchen | Leave a comment

Busy, Busy, Busy

Busy in the kitchen, that is. I’ve been told before that I need to relax on the weekends. I do. Honestly. My happy place is my kitchen. And I can tell you that hot summers are not conducive to cooking and baking. Now that the weather has cooled, I have my happy place back and this weekend has been no exception.

Yesterday, I started a batch of sourdough bread, the kind that uses no added yeast…. REAL sourdough bread. Right now, it’s in its final rise. It’s been a process, let me tell you. It’s taken about three weeks to get my starter to the point where I could use it to bake the bread. Once I had the first stage of the dough mixed last night, I finished the dough this morning and it’s been slowly rising all day today. At the moment, the dough is rising in the bannettons I purchased and primed yesterday.


Bannettons – bread proofing baskets made of willow cane

From the first time I saw these, I’ve wanted one or two (or maybe three or four) of them. They’re made of willow cane and they’re meant for proofing the bread dough. Once the dough is ready for baking, its tipped out of the basket and onto the parchment and into the oven.


Right now, though, there’s a Dutch Apple Pie in the oven and another one is waiting in the fridge. I hadn’t intended on baking two apple pies but, once I had the apples I thought I’d need peeled, there were three left over. I asked John what he thought I should do and his answer made sense….. make two pies!….. so I peeled the remaining apples, and instead of one two crust pie, made two Dutch Apple Pies. Problem solved.


I’ve used three kinds of apples for the pies – Gala, Fuji, and Honey Crisp. And just because I could, I decided to try a little experiment. All of the trimmings – peels, cores, seeds, and stems – were put into a jar with some sugar water. Hopefully, it will all become apple cider vinegar in a couple of months. Why not, right? It seems to be a fairly simple fermentation process and I’m into fermentation experimentation. The only thing I’ll be out if it doesn’t work is about 1/4 cup of sugar and time.


And then there are the peanut butter cookies. I made those yesterday. About a year ago, or so, I bought a recipe magazine (when did they get so expensive, anyway???) from America’s Test Kitchen. In it was a recipe for Peanut Butter Cookies that sounded amazing. You know what? They’re pretty darned good. Crisp, flaky, peanutty and yummy. I still had a little bit of Skippy crunchy peanut butter left, just enough to make a batch of cookies, and I figured I’d best use it up before it went rancid.

Does commercial peanut butter go rancid??

Anyway, I know John loves peanut butter cookies (or any cookies for that matter) and he was thrilled when the cookies started coming out of the oven. Our only point of disagreement regarding cookies is that he likes them “well done” (aka burnt) while I like them on the blonde side so I made sure some of them were “well done”, just for him.

I love my husband.

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