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I forgot to mention the chocolate chip cookie dough truffles. (Yes, I did contribute to the potluck!) On Friday night my 13 year old niece, Emily, came over to hang. To sit on the kitchen counter and talk about soccer tryouts (the provincial team! so proud) and boys, mostly. She wanted to bake. Often we make buns, but it was getting late, so chocolate chip cookies were decided on. For the dough, mostly. As we mixed and gabbed she decided to melt some chocolate chips and dip small pretzels into it, like those chocolate dipped pretzels you buy at the store. We sprinkled coarse salt on some, which wasn’t really necessary since the pretzels were covered with crunchy salt to begin with. We were eating the dough, commenting on its vast superiority to baked cookies themselves, and then decided to chill rolled balls and DIP THEM IN CHOCOLATE. The result, of course, is a crisp chocolate shell with soft cookie dough inside. Hello, my love.Continue reading

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We did it! We had ourselves a potluck! People came! Even the sun showed up. It was a potluck miracle. I’m still a little breathless about it. I don’t know where to start. How about at the beginning, when I hopped in the shower just as the doorbell rang? Turns out I told some people 2, and others 3. My mind, of course, was set for 3. I was so unusually completely on the ball. But then again not. So I got to meet everyone with sopping wet – and then varying degrees of dry-ish hair. Somehow it seemed appropriate. It was so great to meet so many of you in person, and to have you all meet each other! I’m so glad you all were up to coming to a house full of people you had never met – at the house of someone you had never met. We were all kind of in the same boat. The Prosecco helped. My only regret isContinue reading

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I went to W’s school this morning and built a potato condo with his kindergarten class. I highly recommend doing this if your kids’ teacher lets you – I brought a copy of Two Old Potatoes and Me to read beforehand, then the kids got to scoop dirt and plant potatoes, and all thought it was very cool. I love that the knowledge of how to grow their own potatoes is now somewhere in their wee brainpans. Maybe some of them will go home and ask their parents to grow their own potatoes in their own backyards or on their balconies. Maybe they’ll teach their kids how to grow potatoes. And so on. We made our own last week, which once you drill holes in the bottom of your garbage bin takes all of about five minutes. I keep eluding to it on twitter, and people keep asking what the hell I’m talking about. So let me explain the concept of a potato condo, andContinue reading

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So yeah, let’s have that potluck. It turns out I’m quite the procrastinator, even when it comes to things I’m really excited about. Probably more so about things I’m totally nervous about. Shocking, I know. My plan for months – especially since that potluck in Tofino – was to have one here and invite all of you. As my mom used to say – immediately, if not sooner. (Generally this phrase was used in reference to our getting some chore done that should have been done eons ago.) I didn’t want to interrupt anyone’s long weekend, plus I had this silent auction dinner. Next Saturday night, it turns out, I’ve committed to judging a salsa contest. I’m not sure I could duck out of the potluck for a couple hours without anyone noticing. Also: Mike might kill me. The weekend after – which according to my calendar is the first week of JUNE – I’ll be in Texas. Yes. I’m going on a business trip,Continue reading

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Awhile ago I was auctioned off at a live auction – at a fundraiser for Neighbourlink Calgary – and so today I made dinner for 10 for the highest bidders. On the menu: potato, lentil and spinach samosas with fruit chutney, Gouda gougères, curried mango chicken in wonton cups. roasted tomato and red pepper soup, caramelized onion and cambozola flatbread, chicken tagine with spring vegetables and couscous, spinach salad with purple onion, oranges and pumpkin seeds, and roasted asparagus. For dessert, ginger crème brûlée with caramelized pears and brown sugar-vanilla shortbread. Just got home. Am v. tired. Luckily Sue was here this afternoon to be my artichoke wingman as this was my very first attempt at this particular tagine, which was made with skinless, boneless chicken thighs, onion, lemon, fennel and artichokes, trimmed and quartered and choked and bathed in lemon water as they waited to go into the pot. It was all very simple (once we navigated our way around the artichokes, which I’veContinue reading

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I’m back to my McGyvering ways, this time orchestrating a meal around two leeks that I did not want to compost. I tend to get stuck at potato soup when I come across a leek, but this time the sight of them triggered the memory or a recipe I had set aside. I found it. I had Gouda! I had bacon! I started to make it, cooking the bacon, then the sliced leeks, until crispy, thinking it was essentially a frittata, wondering why it was called a pancake and why I had set it aside, anyway. Then I noticed the flour in the batter – ah yes, a pancake. A light, eggy pancake, something similar to those puffed apple pancakes, only savoury. Exactly the sort of thing I’d file away in my mental card catalog.

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Oh how I wish I was the type to fall in love with working out. I do it, but I do not love it. I never regret it though – and generally regret not. Funny how easily I forget that part. I went to a step class tonight with one of the Eyeopener’s Live Right Now workout groups. It was on the other end of the city, and didn’t start until 7:30. I SO BADLY didn’t want to go. I was tired and headachey. My eyeball hurt. I procrastinated until the minute I should have been walking out the door, then couldn’t find my shoes. (They were buried under a pile of reusable grocery bags.) I grabbed my wallet, trying to pretend that it didn’t occur to me that I’d be alone and Peter’s Drive-In is on the way home. I went. I did it. I kept up. Did I feel great afterwards? Only from stopping all that stepping. Am I glad I went? HellContinue reading

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So yeah, the Rocky Mountaineer is totally all that and a bag of Doritos. Better than I imagined, even. I’ll tell you more about it, but I have far too many photos, it’s getting late and I’m trying to do laundry and repack for Banff tomorrow. The trip wrapped up last night when we pulled through the rail yards and into Vancouver, and were delivered by motorcoach to the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. And so we stuck around for much of the day – I couldn’t bring myself to get to Vancouver and then hop on a plane back home, what with all the dogwoods and cherry trees in full bloom. So we walked down to Gastown for a phenomenal dinner at L’Abbatoir (Dungeness crab and chickpea toast – toasted brioche, light crab custard, carrot pickles; Confit of albacore tuna – smoked pork fat, egg, crispy bits; Scallops and oxtail dumplings – beech mushroom, asian pear, spiced jus; Pork shoulder cooked in milk – baby turnips,Continue reading

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I didn’t cook today. And that’s what we had for lunch. We spent a long, fantastic day on board the Rocky Mountaineer from Calgary to Kamloops, and tomorrow to Vancouver. Although we’ve made this drive through the mountains a few times yearly for almost as long as we can remember, it’s great to get a new perspective of the Rockies, away from the highway, without the distractions of driving. It’s also pretty rad to be able to drive directly through a mountain, in a tunnel just slightly larger than the train itself, out on the vestibule (everybody said that word a lot today) – the little platform you can go stand on between cars. We hopped on board in Calgary at the base of the tower – early – check in time was 5:30-6. By 7:30 we were in the dining car, eating warm croissants, fruit plates and eggs Benedict with Montreal smoked meat and tarragon Hollandaise. The dining car was exactly what I expectedContinue reading

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