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A few weekends ago the family gathered for brunch, and my brother in law brought a quiche. It wasn’t a frittata, but it didn’t have a pastry crust either – its base was made of hash browns. Brilliance! Eggs and veggies and cheese nested in grated potato, baked and served in wedges. His was asparagus and goat cheese and we devoured it all, and then I went home and made one, just to see. So simple! You grate a potato or two on the coarse side of a box grater, then get it started in a hot skillet, crisping up the bottom, before filling it and sliding it into the oven. You work in a little extra in the way of vegetables, but it’s still starchy – and perfect for people who can’t have pastry. Genius.

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Have you ever had a banavalanche? A mass of frozen bananas unloading from your freezer each time you open the door? Fortunately I have a drawer freezer at the bottom of my fridge now – which means the bananas overflow into the ice cube tray, making all our ice taste like banana. Which is a sign it’s time to bake something. I toss a few whole (solid) bananas in a bowl of warm water to thaw, then squeeze them out one end (like milking a cow) until their super soft innards slither out into the mixing bowl. But I feel as if I’ve finally hit my banana bread quota, and the two of us have to take a break for awhile – and so I dug out a recipe for muffins sweetened with honey that I made out in Tofino one time, and (possibly because we’re typically out there at this time and my subconscious self is homesick for the place) made a batch.

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I realize it’s Monday morning and you’ve likely started the day with something practical, like steel-cut oats, having got all the bacon and whatnot out of your system over the weekend. But we all dream of sleeping in and lounging over brunch, right? It helps to have that golden beacon shining from the end of the week. I seem to be in Easter mode early this year – perhaps because it hasn’t snowed since the day W received his much-coveted snow tube in the mail sometime mid-January (it still sits sadly in the front hall, unused) – and maybe because Easter arrives so early. Two weeks! Easter or not, the warm and suddenly longer days jolt me into brunch mode – and although most weekend mornings I like to spend extra time in the kitchen baking something to nibble with coffee, this past weekend there were more crammed around our little table in the kitchen (even though I (finally!) managed to clear some surface areaContinue reading

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I haven’t made an enormous batch of granola for awhile. I had been missing it. Not so much the jarful on the shelf as the panful on the stove, nibbled from by the small handful over the course of the day. And then I was reading up on turmeric, that brilliant yellow powder that gives curry blends its colour and which appears to be a thing these days – another ingredient people are beginning to recognize for its nutritional prowess and find new uses for – and it occurred to me it would be a good addition to my usual granola. In its powdered form, it’s easy to work with – although fresh turmeric, if you haven’t seen it, looks a lot like ginger – it’s a rhizome; in the same family, but slightly smaller and with brilliant orange flesh once you scrape away the ultra-thin skin – much like an intense carrot. It’s not as sinewy as ginger, and so easy to grate orContinue reading

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You probably won’t be shocked to hear that I tend to use this space as my own personal recipe file, and it always surprises me when I look up something I make with some frequency and find it’s not here. Case in point: these nubbly, crunchy-edged scones, which are made with oats and – red lentils! Which turn a pale yellow as they’re cooked and mimic oats, blending right in as if they were meant to be there. If you don’t tell anyone they won’t even know – I promise. I brought some in to CBC this morning, and even though the topic was pulses, no one guessed they had lentils in them. Of course lentils are nutritional superheroes, bumping up protein and fibre like crazy – far more than whole grains do. And isn’t that what everyone wants for breakfast? A good dose of protein and fibre, but also something delicious you can nibble with your coffee?

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Happy New Year, friends! I’m back, still trying to fix this place up, but it’s an improvement, no? I hear the search functionality is not operating as it should, so I appreciate any feedback you can give as I try to complete this overhaul and get everything in working order. If I could just call a time-out, that would be awesome. But we still have to eat. The week between Christmas and the New Year we traditionally live on leftovers – chunks of cheese and crackers from Christmas parties, chunks of cake and tins of cookies that take up the countertop for the entire month of December, ham and turkey and mincemeat in the fridge. And eggnog – every year I buy it thinking we should have some, and every year no one drinks it. So I use it up in waffles and scones, and it’s perfect for baking with, being essentially sweetened, spiced milk. But here it is January 1 and I still haveContinue reading

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Today seemed like a good day to make pumpkin scones – not only because it’s Sunday, it was a late night (Halloween) and an extra-long morning (daylight savings), but because there was a half a can of pumpkin puree in the fridge, and I will go to great lengths to keep food from winding up in the compost bin. Also, on mornings that require some recovery from the night before, I don’t go running to plates of greasy bacon and eggs, but to soft-centred carbs with craggly edges that I can nibble with copious amounts of coffee. I was not neat when I brushed these with cream and sprinkled them with coarse sugar (I use Turbinado – sugar in the raw) before sliding them into the oven, thus the dark sugary polka-dots. Also, I like splattering things. It’s my attempt at being artistic and Jackson Pollok-y in the kitchen.

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It’s becoming typical of me and my time management skills (or lack thereof) to do things like post my Sunday morning breakfast so late at night that no one sees it until they’re already well launched into their Monday mornings. That said, these aren’t as complicated as they sound, and a batch on the weekend has the potential to produce leftovers that can go from freezer to toaster on sleepy/harried weekday mornings. You can streamline the spice list to just cinnamon, or add a shake of pumpkin pie spice if you have some on your shelf. A dollop of whipped cream wouldn’t be out of place, either.

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Growing up, when our dog (a bearded collie named Sundance) was getting old, I remember my horror when I realized why my mom was buying smaller and smaller bags of dog food. It feels a little like that here… we’re in the final stages of tweaking the back end of the new website and moving everything over, at which point most of the photos won’t fit the new layout, and so posts are getting fewer and further between – more stuff means more to move, and resize. And I’ve been in Edmonton all week – I just got back – but I did bake a batch of muffins on Sunday night before I left, to bring with me in the car on my pre-dawn drive out to Viking, Alberta, and for Mike to tuck into W’s insulated lunch fish (it’s a fish) to relieve some of the guilt I always have over going away. These are good muffins – ones we used to go toContinue reading

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