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Today seemed like a good day to have a pot of beans simmering on the stove. As a sort of comforting reminder that we’re home, that the house is being warmed from the kitchen out, steaming the cold windows, and that we have time to let them take their time. And because a pot of beans provides potential for more – for a pot of something bigger and more nourishing that will feed a handful of people who are important in our lives. It means a starting point for me to experiment with without any particular plan. Yes, I can read a lot into a bean. What happened to this particular pot of beans had, as usual, a lot to do with what I had in the fridge. The thing about kale is that three and a half bunches of it take up a lot of space in the crisper, but you can cook it down to hardly anything. And the thing about leftover crustyContinue reading

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As the daughter of a gastroenterologist and fibre enthusiast, I have long been a fan of the bean, pea, chickpea and lentil. My BFF and I schemed up and wrote a book about them, in fact. (That I may or may not have ever mentioned won a Taste Canada award for best single-subject cookbook that year.) So I’m very excited that the World Health Organization has officially declared it the International Year of the Pulse – which is kind of a big deal. And a great thing for our Alberta pulse growers – did you know they grow in the prairies? In fact, Saskatchewan is the world’s #1 exporter of lentils. It’s true! (I love this Resolution of the General Assembly, with its very sincere and official-sounding words leading into each reason the world should love legumes: Noting, Desiring, Recognizing, Believing.) Which is why I just got back from a couple days in Toronto – I went to help celebrate the launch yesterday, and catchContinue reading

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We’ve become hooked on short-haul trips to small towns we’ve never explored in our own province. W asked if we could go on another adventure as soon as he finished school, and so we obliged by packing up the car and driving to Medicine Hat on Friday afternoon – as good a place to go as any when the forecast tipped beyond 30 degrees. The temperature in southern Alberta this weekend ranged from about 34-38 – no better time to hunker down in a hotel that has air conditioning and a water slide. (Also: no obligation to cook, do dishes or laundry.) We beat the heat with a visit to Tino’s drive-in (hilariously thin burgers, but people apparently go for the chili fries, and the ice cream was cold) and Swirls Ice Cream (my fave). Because I’m a full-on coffee snob, Mike walked across the street to Tim Horton’s while I went in search of a proper cappuccino. The Station Coffee Co in downtown MedicineContinue reading

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W lives in Minecraft world, where even when he’s not attached to the screen everything revolves around swords and armor and pickaxes and protecting oneself from creepers. The creepers in my world are the cinnamon buns that I have to bake in the morning for a photo shoot, and then sit lustily on the countertop, warm and needing to be eaten. The succession of recipes to be tested and photographed – the pizza straight from the oven, the baked cheese and waffles and pasta carbonara that I have to make and shoot, still steaming, before it gets dark. The lunch meetings and restaurant openings, the rationalization that I need to eat all this, in the name of research. It’s my job, dammit.

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Amid a flurry of baking – I have another book manuscript due in a week – I decided that we should have something that’s not a scone/cookie/cinnamon bun to nibble on (crazy, I know), and I’ve been meaning to make another batch of roasted chickpeas since having the very best ones I’ve ever eaten at Rostizado in Edmonton. I could have happily eaten their crunchy/spicy/tangy bar snacks all night, and when I asked what made them so crazy good, they showed me a bottle of a Mexican spice blend that as far as I could tell contained merely chile powder, salt and lime. I could do this. Roasting chickpeas is really easy – all you do is drain a can really well and pat them dry as best you can – moisture is what keeps anything from getting nice and crispy – then sread them out on the darkest baking sheet you own (it will conduct heat more efficiently than lighter ones) and drizzle withContinue reading

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Guys! I dunno.. my paper wall calendar says it’s October. I think it might be broken. We still have no kitchen.. our makeshift dining room kitchen now has a slow cooker and an electric skillet, which take turns on the chair closest to the one electrical outlet that is currently occupied by the microwave and coffee machine. Apples are in, butternut squash is in.. and sausage is always in. This is something you can chop on a rolling cart and make in a slow cooker – even without a kitchen. Update soon! Promise.

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Two years ago I baked a couple loves of white bread using Julia Child’s recipe. They were nothing particularly special as far as breads go – the kind with the not-too-crusty crust that’s shaped like a caricature of toast when sliced. Soon after I made a peanut butter and jam sandwich on the aforementioned bread to pack in a school lunch (no allergies!), and it has since become referred to by W as My Favourite Bread. He asks for it by name, with butter or peanut butter or poached eggs or as a sandwich, and always quietly smiles when I have a loaf of it, or he sees me making a batch. But at one point I started to feel guilty for doling out so many thick slices of white bread, and figured I’d best inject some nutrition into it. In the form of pureed white beans, of course. They’re starchy, thick and have very little flavour on their own – they literally blend rightContinue reading

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Black bean tacos
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Ah, January. Everyone’s so busy making this our Best! Year! Ever! And to that and, I know many of you are juicing it up, pumping it up, sweating it out, paying your holiday penance by eschewing fat/carbs/protein/solids or being exclusive to any of the above. As for me, I downloaded a “good habit” app and instructed it to remind me to drink more water, and now I turn off the alarm on my phone several times a day and feel guilty about the fact that I should be drinking more water. I’d like to say I’m immune to it all, but I do get caught up in the healthy eating vibe, and post-cookiepalooza is as good a time of year as any to realize that Almond Roca for breakfast is not necessarily a good life habit, and a dramatic drop in food-centric parties and epic 8 course dinners makes it a bit easier to wean oneself off the literal gravy train. Most years, instead ofContinue reading

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It should not be chili and fuzzy socks weather. Alas, it is. I made this chili a few weeks ago for some sci-fi celebs, and pulled some leftovers out of the freezer today. The day also included (not necessarily in this order): errands, editing, glittery blue nail polish, ice cream cones and Brazil. (Did you know Robert Di Niro is in it? Fact.) So back on the day when I made this, the first guy who came into the gold room – who had that famous movie star air about him but I have no idea who he was – surveyed the spread, and when I offered up myriad vegan options, laughed and said “no, I’m going for the chili!” Fast forward twenty minutes and he was walking out as I gave my chili elevator pitch to Michael Dorn, who’s vegan. He overheard the description of the chili and stopped, then turned around. He: “That chili was vegan?” Me: “Yep!” He: “No way. That didContinue reading

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