I have to admit I like the idea of candy apples much more than the apples themselves; the caramel variety is almost impossible to get a grip on, the caramel slipping across the smooth apple skin as you plow it with your teeth. And I’m never quite sure how to approach the hard red candy kind; there is no way to be delicate when sweet shards are shattering all over your face, sticking to your cheeks. That said, I can’t let Halloween go by without making them. While we’re being honest, I may as well admit that I don’t generally make the caramel kind because those little square caramels and I have a history; namely I was completely and all-encompassingly addicted to them a few years back. It was right after W was born, when people kept saying to me “you’re breastfeeding – you can eat whatever you want and you’ll totally lose weight!” Bollocks. I of course wanted to believe this and so putContinue reading

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For as long as I’ve had the faculty of memory, and for as long as he was alive, my Grandad ate butterscotch or caramel sundaes for dessert. Sometimes it was a variation on the theme; bananas sautéed with butter and brown sugar (add some rum, stick a match to them and you could call it bananas Foster) were the biggest request when my Grandma was gone and my mom went to stay with him. It’s difficult to imagine anything simpler or more of a comfort than bananas sautéed in butter and sugar and spooned over ice cream or warm pancakes or wrapped in a crepe. On regular weeknights he had vanilla ice cream with butterscotch marble, or a dish of plain vanilla with butterscotch or caramel syrup drizzled over top. During one visit my Dad attempted to impose his own healthy eating habits on him; since Grandad never dished out his own ice cream – my Grandma would go serve it up while he stayedContinue reading

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I planned to let you all know yesterday that I was pregnant. I found out the morning of Canada Day, thinking it would be smart to pee on that stick before the onslaught of parties and Stampede, and having just brought home 23 cases of beer (from the CBC beer pool). Instead, the pregnancy ended. It was early – between 6 and 7 weeks, and it was only for 10 days that we believed a new baby would be arriving in March, but I can’t seem to sit down in front of the keyboard and spin tales of what we ate as if it was just another day. I’m glad it was so early – my first pregnancy ended the last day of my first trimester – and I know it’s common. It still sucks. (For those keeping tabs: that’s a new roof, $3000 worth of dental work, a tax audit, a he-nearly-died medical emergency (not mine) a pregnancy and a miscarriage in a littleContinue reading

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I know better than to separate a whack of eggs at once without using a little dish as a buffer, in case I should nick one of the yolks and taint a half dozen whites. But I always get a little smug when I need to separate a lot of eggs into whites – it’s like my own private version of bungee jumping – and as if it’s a big deal to add one teeny more dish to the overflowing sinkful, I always just go ahead and live on the edge. And so the other day as I was making a hundred teeny pavlovas for my little cooking show at Stampede, I broke a yolk five eggs in. I tried to scoop out the offending yellow with a piece of cracked shell and thought I got it all, but those whites refused to reach their full potential and I was left with a bowl of flaccid meringue and nothing to do with it. So IContinue reading

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I lie in bed at night and think about food. (It’s a shock, really, that I have any kids at all, between that habit and this blog. You’d think I’d have developed a George Costanza-esque association with food by now.) Every day some idea sneaks into my head, or I get a craving that I can’t shake, or read about something I want to try, or I remember something I haven’t made in a really, really long time, like these Whoopie Pies, which are as close to homemade Jos Louis cakes as you can get. (Except for the dipped in chocolate part – it would require a helluva lot of chocolate.) Something or other triggered a memory of these, which then rattled around my brainpan for a week or so before I gave in and baked the cookies last night with the intention of bringing them along to a barbecue that I knew would have a dozen or so kids in attendance. As is myContinue reading

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I don’t know about you, but I get unreasonably excited when I see those Two Bite Brownies set out at parties or other events for which people don’t want to bake. I end up spending my time coming up with all sorts of diversions to ensure people don’t notice how many I’ve eaten. Because it’s kind of rude to come to a party and eat all the Two Bite Brownies. But really, it’s survival of the fastest, isn’t it? And have you tried them frozen, on ice cream with warm chocolate sauce? So naturally I had to come up with a homemade version that was slightly lower in fat. (If you thought they were good out of the bag, try them warm out of the oven.) They are better for kids’ parties than cupcakes, I think, requiring no frosting; if you wanted to you could press a Smartie, or a Junior Mint, or a mini Oreo cookie into the top of each one as soonContinue reading

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I realize this is neither wintry nor particularly healthy.. but when I went to buy some eggs for my Seven-Minute Frosting yesterday, carrying nothing but a box of eggs home with me I couldn’t stop thinking about egg salad sandwiches. And so this morning I boiled some eggs – you know, just in case – and at dinnertime I couldn’t summon up the gumption to make anything but. However. I didn’t have any celery or green onion, and my chives are currently lying dormant under snow and frozen-solid Lou poo. Rooting through my fridge I did come up with some fresh (sort of – revived in a glass of water like a teeny bouquet) basil, and… drumroll please… bacon. Bacon and egg salad sandwiches! How have I never thought of this before? So I chopped a few strips, cooked them and crumbled the chunky bits into my chopped hard-boiled eggs along with some low fat mayo, torn basil and lots of pepper. I’m pretty sureContinue reading

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Dinner tonight: pita pizzas again I’m afraid, made this time with a Spolumbos Italian sausage (from the freezer) cooked up with a thinly sliced onion, some mushrooms I found in the back of the fridge (frozen on the inside, wrinkly on the outside) and some frozen spinach. These babies were load-ed. I’m sorry it isn’t very inspiring, but I am sticking to my no-shop agenda. I even managed to bake chocolate cupcakes for book club tomorrow using what I have in the cupboard. (I may, however, need to duck into the corner store for some eggs to make Seven Minute Frosting to go on top.) But before I go – I want to introduce you to someone. His name is Dr. Walter Willett. He’s a world-renowned Harvard-based researcher and chairman of the Harvard School of Public Health’s department of nutrition, and he has been working since the 70’s on the optimum diet. (By diet I mean way of eating in general, not a weight lossContinue reading

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