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We spent the long weekend at home, puttering. Staring at gaping holes in the ceiling and barely (if at all) functioning kitchen appliances and broken windows and walls that are easier at this point to paint than to clean and making a ginormous to-do list for it all. Considering the domino effect that starting to change this and that has on a house, it seems kitchen renos are not only unavoidable, but imminent. Which of course means no kitchen for awhile. TRY NOT TO PANIC. We got used to the idea of eating out by doing it this weekend. Since we were mostly trying to find homes for things, cleaning/organizing/yard work-ing, I didn’t cook a whole lot, but did use up a big bunch of spinach by making gnudi – sort of like larger, lighter, lumpier gnocchi – and sauteing the little dumplings in browned butter. Spring, hello. I love gnocchi, and it’s even fun to make, without the need to own and manipulate aContinue reading

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It’s about time for our mac & cheese of the month, isn’t it? I’m away this weekend, in Toronto and then Hockley, at the very first Food Bloggers of Canada conference, and so in my absence I left some frozen meatballs and a casserole for the boys (which I fully expect to find in the fridge on Sunday), and I’m leaving this mac and cheese for you. My sister texted it to me, having seen it on Food52… she knows there’s a good chance that if she texts me something, it will show up on the dinner table. (See: Shakshuka.) She always comes up with good finds – I should have her curate DwJ on the side. The genius of this particular mac & cheese, besides the fact that there’s no cheese sauce to make, is that it’s baked on a rimmed baking sheet (read: all surface area), making it all crunchy top, no soft innards. If you’re all about the cheesy, crispy bits, you’llContinue reading

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I may have to start a Mac & Cheese of the Month club, considering how many formulas I have lined up on my must-make list. We can call this the official Mac & Cheese of March. March to it. For the past few weeks, Alice has filled any spare time I might otherwise have had – the manuscript was due at the end of February, and I’m now plodding through approximately half a bajillion photos to edit by mid-March. Since meals around here are often whatever I happen to be working on at the time, there have been plenty of tea party leftovers for dinner. Yesterday the boys I live with requested something other than a jam tart – specifically mac & cheese, from a box. I almost relented, but then decided to give this recipe a try – I made the whole thing in a skillet, which allows you to cook up any number of ingredients, from bacon, ham or sausage to veggies (thinkContinue reading

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There hasn’t been much cooking going on this week – much of the past 10 days has been divvied between visits at two separate hospitals, driving between said hospitals, and queuing at their parkade exits. (Everyone is fine! Or will be. Don’t worry.) What I was supposed to be doing for the past 10 days was finishing up a book manuscript that’s due in Two! Weeks! Fortunately there has been enough to distract me from almost certain panic. One silver lining: I’ve been using up all those containers of frozen this and that, most of it unlabeled, that I’ve squirreled away in the freezer. The other day I actually found, without effort, enough space to put a loaf of bread in the freezer, which around here constitutes a small miracle. Some nights it has been a game of dinnertime Russian roulette, we’ve hit a couple drive thrus, and one day, having been present for the arrival of extra cheesy hospital food mac & cheese atContinue reading

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Once in awhile all I want is a shallow bowl of really plain spaghetti with red sauce – like the kind you get in the can, only not as mushy and with more flavour – the sort of thing I imagine would have been served in an Italian neighbourhood eatery in Manhattan in the 1950s. Something I could mop up with crusty, buttery bread and wash down with red wine. Something uninterrupted even by meatballs. (Which isn’t to say a batch of good meatballs wouldn’t do really well here.) Having been MIA for the past three dinnertimes, and about to leave town for 10 days (yes, the boys will join me for some of it) I simmered a pot of red sauce to somehow maintain my presence when Mike inevitably makes spaghetti for himself and W for the next few dinners or so. I know, they could easily open a jar and be perfectly fine, but simmering a pot of sauce somehow alleviates some ofContinue reading

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Sorry for my tardiness – I’ve been busy doing Very Important Things, like having lunch at Michael Allemeier‘s house, drooling over his Le Creuset collection, getting a few of his secret stash of wild strawberries to plant in my own garden, and trying to not let him see my knife skills. (Although my belief is that if you can get an onion into pieces without taking any bits of your fingers with it, that totally counts as knife skills.) When I arrived at his house yesterday, he was proofing bread in his dishwasher. Oh yes. At the very end, when it’s hot and steamy, he set two unbaked loaves on a board on the top rack. The heat! The steam! The brilliance! Why didn’t I think of that? He bakes bread every week, using a starter named Jenny that lives in his fridge. Another story. This penne – so easy, so cheesy – and a great use of leftover ham. We’ve been roasting hams onContinue reading

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Pardon the hasty photo – it was taken as the boys were in the car, waiting for me to go to Banff. About forty seconds after this shot was taken, I poured it into a recycled plastic container with no structural integrity, pouring the peanut sauce down my leg and all over the lemon-blueberry tarts I was also packing to take along. Insert expletives. No photos please. I cleaned up and made it to Banff, and am now all stretched out on clean, dog hair-free sheets and perfect pillows while the boys are at the pool working up an appetite. I have such a soft spot for this place, partly because we grew up coming here on ski weekends, and partly because it’s a castle in the mountains. It occurred to me that this weekend, half the Moms from Calgary and surrounding areas may be there – not just to stay, but for their famous Sunday brunch or high tea. It further occurred to meContinue reading

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So here’s the thing. We’re in Tofino, having decided to take off and find some green over spring break. We found it – lots of it – but also found that construction crews somehow severed the wire that was our internet connection, and the oven is broken. First world problems, I know. But that’s how it came to be that I’m sitting in my car in the rain, having trolled the town with my laptop, looking for an internet connection so I could answer some emails, send some files and post this, what with all the wireless access coffee shops being closed in the evenings. I found a lovely strong signal behind The Shelter – thanks guys! – which means I have a perfectly valid excuse for going for breakfast lunch and dinner while we’re here so that I may check my email. Mike is no doubt wondering what happened to me. Then again not, as he does know me quite well. As always weContinue reading

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I know you guys are all gaga over one-dish dinner ideas, and I’ve got a good one for ya. Everyone devoured this, and Mike asked if there was any way it could be put into regular rotation. It seems to me the sort of thing that might make most husbands happy, if I may generalize here. Again, my inspiration came from desperation – to use the last of two tubs of baby spinach and some mushrooms that had not quite shriveled up and died. It could have taken a handful of grape tomatoes, or some chopped red pepper; any number of wilting veg would do well here. W always begs for cheese tortellini, one of his first toddler foods that still seems toddler-ish in my mind, but not here. It came together in under 20 minutes and the result was like an upscale Hamburger Helper of sorts. It should be noted that it took less time to prepare than HH, and didn’t come out ofContinue reading

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