Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Happy Wednesday!

Just a quick fly-by post here today to let you all know I'm still breathing.

Been a busy month or so here at the new homestead and it doesn't look like I'm not going to get a break for a least another 2 weeks!

We are ALMOST ready to start moving our things in... ALMOST. I feel like I've been saying that for just about forever. In anycase, it's for real this time! Our kitchen cabinets are just about up. I'm stilllll painting base boards. And we will still need to stain the kitchen cabinets over the next couple of weeks before we can go for an occupancy permit (the joys of building...). 

While just about everything will be finished by the time we're ready to move all our gear in, it looks like not everything will get done. 

Like our kitchen countertops... yup went to order them today... 4 WEEKS WAIT. I seriously nearly died. Sometimes I really hate living on an island in the tip of the continent. Well it looks like I'll have plywood countertops for a couple of weeks!

Hope to get back to my regular blogging soon!


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Happy Thursday,

Weeeeelllll it seems that I may have caught the foodie eye of some of you with my last post ;) I'm glad I could be the devil on your shoulder egging you on to indulge (cue evil laughter).

The title says it all. Today's post is allll about the entree that I hinted at previously.

I'll give you a little warning before I go any further... time is this recipe's best friend. But don't let this deter you, it's worth the effort!

I'm talking about Amy Thielen's Peppered Pork Sandwiches!!!

The recipe has a couple of different components that I've never done before. 1 was making flat bread for the sandwiches. 

The method was a little different compared to the usual way I make actual bread but it still came out lovely. Plus commmoooon! BREAD... carbs make me happy :)

The second was that the recipe calls for the pork to be placed in a brine for a few hours / overnight. I did a dry brine comprised of salt and sugar. I won't get into the scientific reasons why brining is good, suffice it to say that its purpose is to produce a juicy piece of meat at the end of it all. This is particularly helpful for typically easily dried out meats like pork, chicken and turkey. 

I can safely say I am now a brining convert! 

Would you just look at that crispy peppery crust! I have to tell you, I was very skeptical about putting soooo much pepper on the meat initially. I don't do well with spice (I'm a total wimp), so the first time made this I put on about half of the called for pepper. 

I've made this a total of 3 times since first trying it and now I try to get the thickest layer of cracked pepper corn I possibly can on this baby. At the end of the day, you shave the meat so thinly that you hardly taste much of the pepper at all. It just becomes another layer to the overall flavour. (PS: If you have an electric knife now's the time to use it - so much easier than hand slicing every piece.)

This was also my first time grilling flat bread on the BBQ. I couldn't get the picture of the bread going up in flames and burning down the house out of my head. I didn't let this pyro-phobia get to me though. I wacked on a few stretched pieces of bread dough at a time and they came out BEAUTIFULLY! 

 And here we are, the final result. Toss in your favourite green, some parm cheese and flavoured mayo and you've got yourself a winner!

I'll leave you know with the pups. They got a little tried from following me around and around and around while I was running about the kitchen. They are my constant shadows. I can't go anywhere without them following me. That fact makes sleepy moments like these so precious.

Happy cooking!



Monday, June 9, 2014

Happy Monday!

My goodness it's been a busy couple of weeks! I seriously have had next to zero time to devote to the stitchy world. Between house work and actual workplace work, I've been flat out. Needless to say, when I opened my blog reading list and it said I had over 500 unread posts I realized just how much catching up I've got to do.

I did however get a little bit of time to spend in the kitchen :) One of my favourite things to do. As with any hobby, I find I go through spurts of feeling like spending lots of time in the kitchen whipping up something to feed the gob. 

But, BOY, have I ever been on a roll over the last few days. I contribute it all to discovering a new cooking show called Heartland Table. I am now totally and completely in love with everything that Chef Amy Thielen creates. I have never seen a show or read a single cook book where I think I would actually make and eat everything they make. I may LOVE Jamie Oliver for example, but some of his stuff I could take or leave. But this is NOT the case with Ms. Thielen's creations. Everything I have seen her make so far I could gobble down in a second. 

So I spent the last couple of weekends trying some of her creations plus a few extras! I've posted links to the recipes for those that may be a little tempted ;) 

There's far too much to show you in one post so expect a follow up!

For the sake of this foodie post I'm going to show you an amazing appetizer and flavourful (and nutty) dessert. 

Sometimes I actually think I could just eat an appetizer and follow that with dessert and I would be one happy woman. But then again, when you have a show stopping entrée, well WHO would want to miss that. (I loved it sooooo much I'm devoting pt.2 to it!)

First up is Amy Thielen's Fried Onion Dip

Of course, if you're like me, anything involving onions, butter and a fry pan is an equation for success.

Goodness, just look at those caramelized pieces of heaven! I can almost smell them now, even though the dip has long since been devoured...

Seriously, this is one quick and awesome dip. The best part about it? You eat it warm! It's not one of those "cover and refrigerate for 2 hrs" kinda dips. It is tasty cold as well, the flavours I found intensified after a night spent in the fridge. However, I found that I needed to let it rest at room temp for about a half hour before eating because it tends to become more solid when chilled. 

Now onto dessert (Yup skipping the entree for now folks - watch for my next post!)

I hinted previously that dessert would be of the nutty variety. To be exact it's Ree Drummond's Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie.

NO BAKING! Can I just announce that again? THIS PIE DOES NOT NEED TO BE BAKED!

When I heard that I instantly put it on the "to-make list."

As if all this and the thought of peanut butter didn't already have you hooked (I'm a lover obviously), this pie also involves making an oreo crust (which does, in fact, need 5 minutes in the oven but that doesn't really count as baking does it????)

Oh no... my stomach is starting to grumble!

Put whipped peanut butter fluffiness and crispy crunchy oreo crust together and you have a miracle in a pie dish.

Yes - You want this NOW!

Now go feed your gob and come back in a day or two for the next foodie installement :)

Happy cooking!


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Happy Thursday!

BOY! Has this ever been a whirlwind of a week. I cannot believe it is almost Friday and the weekend is on the horizon.

It's been a while now since I last gave you all a peak at how my house is coming along.

We're getting into the finishing touches now with only the small stuff (except the KITCHEN) needing to be done.

The last couple of weeks we've been staining in preparation for installing the stairs. Needless to say I think all our DIY efforts have not gone astray :)

The actual stair treads themselves are not fully installed yet but they are well on their way!

Next up is the gorgeous tile floor my mom picked out for my front entrance. The fiance and I went out probably a half dozen times trying to figure out what kind of tile we wanted to lay, but liked NOTHING. I was so sick of trying to find a tile to suit that I delegated the task to my lovely mama who as more than a serious nack for interior decorating! This stuff comes from bella Italia! A little piece of place I love so much right as you come in my front door :)

I think the tile also complements the rustic characteristic of the hand-scraped hardwood we chose to lay.  

And here's my dining room! All finished, even if it's a little bit dirty. Thank god I have amazing superhero like carpenters for family :) Absolutely IN LOVE with the wainscoting. You might notice that there is no wall paper on the walls like I had originally planned. Let's just say THAT is a whole other post... but in the end I'm really very happy with how everything turned out, especially my perfect purple ceiling (YUP you read that right).

Outside of my ongoing housey project I have been getting some stitching time in. 

I need it for my sanity.

We are all burning out a little at this point, so some leisure time is well needed.

Until next time!


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Happy Wednesday Everyone!

After receiving a couple of messages asking for a recipe for these beauties:

I decided a quick post was in order so I could share it with all of you!

I should warn you however, the recipe is more of a guideline for me than actual rules for baking bread. I often fiddle with how much liquid/flour I use or how long I let them rise, constantly trying to prefect. 

One day I might only let the first rise happen for 45minutes and the next day I might let it rise for 1hr+! It's all about the way it looks and feels. This also means I may not use all the dry mixture or I may even add a bit of extra flour if I feel it needs it. So feel free to fiddle!

The following recipe is my Grandmothers Dinner Roll recipe - always a huge hit in our house and at family gatherings. It's gotten to the point that if these little treasures don't make it to the plate that it feels like something is missing! Brings reality to the saying 'savour the little things' :)

Nan's Dinner Rolls


  • 3/4c. Milk
  • 1/4c. water
  • 1/4c. butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 + 3/4c. Bread Flour (or all purpose if you're in a pinch)
  • 2 tblsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp of active dry yeast (I also sometimes use instant yeast/bread machine yeast... just because I'm a kitchen rebel)

  1. In a saucepan add the milk, water and butter together. Heat over low/med heat until the butter is JUST melted and the mixture is lukewarm to the touch. If the mixture is too hot it will kill the yeast so this is THE most important step to master. Too cold and the yeast will not activate. (A bit of "damned if you do and damned if you don't" isn't it?!) If you feel that your mixture is a little too hot simply transfer to a large mixing bowl and leave it for 5 minutes or so until it cools down (been there done that!).
  2. Transfer lukewarm milk/water/butter mixture to large mixing bowl and stir the sugar. Once the sugar is desolved, sprinkle the yeast onto the surface of the mixture and leave for 5-6 minutes to activate. After this time, the yeast should look creamy and slightly bubbly if you're using the active dry yeast. FUN FACT: The sugar will help feed the yeast :)
  3. While waiting for your yeast, in a separate bowl, mix the rest of the dry ingredients.
  4. Pour half of the dry mixture into the liquid mix in the large bowl. Add the egg. Vigorously stir the ingredients together until they have combined. Add more of the dry mixture (handfuls at a time) to the large mixing bowl until the dough starts to come away from the sides and can no longer be mixed with a spoon. In other words, the dough is too thick to work with a spoon now and you need to use those two hands God gave you! Time to get dirty! 
  5. On a flat surface sprinkled with flour (don't forget to flour your hands too!), kneed your dough (adding more of your dry mixture little by little) for 7-10 minutes until you can easily form a ball and the dough is not overly sticky to the touch and is smooth and free of dry floury lumps. 
  6. Place the dough into a large greased bowl and lightly grease the top of the dough as well. Place a tea towel over the top and let rise in a warm place for 45mins-1hr, until the dough has more than doubled in size. The longer you let your dough rise the lighter the final product will be.
  7. After this time, punch the dough and let rest for 5-10 minutes. 
  8. To make the rolls you cut palm size chunks from the dough and either (a) form them into small balls and place into medium sized greased muffin baking sheet. Don't over work the dough when making the balls. If they're not perfect no worries! OR (b) form them into little knots like the picture above. Start by greasing a large cookie sheet. Then cut palm size chunks of dough and roll them in your hand to make it cylindrical. Roll them out until the dough is no longer than the length of your hand. Tie into knots and place on the cookie sheet. Spacing at 1/2 an inch each.  No matter which method you use, let rise for 45mins-1.25hrs or until doubled. 
  9. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  10. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the tops and bottoms are golden brown.
  11. Let cool on a cooling rack and using a paper towel to lightly butter the tops of the buns while they are still hot. This is best done as soon as it's been taken from the oven and placed on the cooling rack. DO NOT WAIT! The butter will be absorbed by the bread and create a lusciously soft exterior.

Makes 12-14 rolls.

NOTE: Because this mixture contains milk and eggs it will only be good in a sealed bag on the counter for a couple of days. I recommend freezing any extras after this time. These rolls hold up excellently in the freezer. Once thawed and reheated you'd never know that they weren't fresh from the oven!

Until next time!


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