I can’t sleep. And now I can’t see, because I’ve gone and plucked my contacts out, and my glasses are so old and scratched and bent that they hardly count anymore. I can’t move my head without them falling off, and ordering new ones seems to slip down my list of priorities as fast as my glasses slide down my nose, so if I decide to read or type anything after making that final commitment to blind myself at bedtime, I do so with my face an inch and a half from the screen. Which leaves me with a neckache, which doesn’t help with the not sleeping. I blamed afternoon iced lattes for awhile, and a large snoring dog who’s starting to smell more strongly of river, and pre-dawn wakeups (kids can’t fall sleep when they’re overtired, right?) and now I’m wondering if this is just the way it’s going to be from now on. I went downstairs and ate a bowl of Cheerios, evenContinue reading

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cream of mushroom soup 2
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I have an odd confession to make: I’ve never eaten buttered crackers before. Peanut buttered, yes – my mom used to sandwich saltines with peanut butter, and some of my clearest childhood memories are of squeezing them together so that it oozed out the holes on top, and that the all-natural just-peanuts butter my parents bought never squirted out as smoothly as the Skippy of my dreams. So why did I start, after hearing sad tales of friends downing entire sleeves of crackers with cold butter on the couch in front of the PVR? Do I need another buttery carb in my life? No… but I do like to know what I’m missing out on. So I utilized some of my stash of unsalted butter – which I like for eating, not necessarily for baking – and a sleeve of salted crackers, and got to nibbling. And so I tweeted about my snacky new find, and someone tweeted back: don’t stack them in the bottomContinue reading

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On this day in 2011, I saved a recipe for African tomato and peanut soup with chickpeas, and it has been among the 400 or so others in my drafts folder ever since. This morning, I saved another recipe for African peanut soup with chickpeas. Cycles, anyone? I think I may be becoming predictable – requiring thick, spicy soup in early January as a physical and psychological ballast against the chocolate high that was December. I like that this is hearty and creamy without being cream-of-mushroom-soup-y; peanut butter enriches it and the sweet potatoes, which have been cooked to the point of falling apart, easily melt with the push of a spoon, making a thick base for the chickpeas to hang about in. It could be done on the stovetop, but I tend to overuse my slow cooker when it’s out, rather than clean it properly and put it away. I’m lazy like that – peeling and chopping multiple veggies is somehow easier than washingContinue reading

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French Onion Soup

As a kid, I looked forward to the arrival of Canadian Living in our mailbox every month. I’m pretty sure I was the only one in my group of friends who read it. I cooked as much as I could, and read about food, and flipped through recipe boxes on my babysitting gigs. My idols were food writers; not the glossy celebrity chefs of this generation, but the home cooks who shared recipes in newspaper columns and magazines – the ones with the cheesy headshots you could write letters to and request recipes of, back when a Google search wasn’t an option. At a time when career choices seemed limited to Teacher, Nurse or Firefighter (and, crazily enough, my guidance counselor’s evaluation determined I should be either an English teacher or a DJ), I wanted to be Elizabeth Baird when I grew up. I even schemed to dye my hair silver and cut straight bangs, but my mom wouldn’t let me. I found comfort inContinue reading

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pumpkin soup w goat cheese
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It seems everyone loves a good squash soup recipe. While I’m out in Jasper, I thought I’d share a really simple soup I made last week – roasted pumpkin and pear – not earth-shattering, but simple and delicious, especially topped with crumbled goat cheese, which kept its shape and then melted into the hot soup. This version is sweet and plain, but you could spice it up with a spoonful of curry paste, and of course swap any thick-skinned winter squash for the pumpkin. Butternut’s nice, and easy to peel. If you find yourself with a particularly nubbly-skinned squash, roast it in wedges – the flesh will peel away easily once cooked.

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Dill pickle soup

I love what I learn from Twitter. I toss out questions into the Twitterverse and see what comes back. I ask how people use ingredients, what their favourite things to eat are, and settle dinnertime debates – the most recent: do they call it Kraft Dinner in the states, or just macaroni & cheese? The answer: KD is all Canadian – and we eat more of it than they do. My mind = blown.

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Tom Ka Gai
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When I was pregnant, I didn’t have cravings – I had aversions. I envied those women who craved cheeseburgers and ice cream and got a free pass to eat them in stretchy pants at their leisure. For me, the smell – or even thought – of most food, and particularly meat, was nausea-inducing. I finally understood how those people who could go through a day and forget to eat felt. I didn’t want much of anything, except perhaps the occasional slurpee and sour things, like lemonade. A friend who had gone through the same sent a list of foods that weren’t as bad coming back up. Among the worst: roasted chicken and chicken soup. Totally not fair. One day while grocery shopping in Vancouver, a lady passed me with her cart, slumped over the bar, pulling apart and eating a deli chicken with her fingers. I had to run, not walk, to the loo.

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Eva’s Heritage Borscht 2
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We did it! Remember back in February, when I put out a call for help to come make soup to be photographed for a cookbook to benefit the Soup Sisters? (It’s a Calgary organization (now national) that brings together groups who along with a guest chef instructor, gather to cook together, eat together, then package up the pots of soup they’ve prepared to deliver to women’s and children’s shelters.) You came. You chopped. One of you brought ski goggles to protect yourself from the onions. And look what happened – we helped make a book! It’s beautiful, and full of delicious soups contributed by chefs and volunteers who have helped with Soup Sisters events. I made 10 L of soup this morning – sweet potato, carrot and red lentil – for the book launch at Model Milk Bistro this afternoon, but this recipe seemed seasonally appropriate to share, what with its cabbage and beets and carrots and green beans – and because it needs moreContinue reading

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It’s going to be all soup all the time for the rest of this month, so what’s another pot among friends? Tomorrow is Soupapalooza (you should see the shopping list in front of me), so there will be plenty to share. But I made this one two days ago and sipped the last out of a mug at my desk this afternoon, and it’s almost better than coffee. The chickpeas make it thick, and pureeing them make it sippable. Peanut butter enriches it – peanut butter may be my new favourite soup ingredient – but you can leave it out. It’s soup – you can do anything you want. Also? It’s even better the next day.

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