I don’t like chocolate. There I’ve said it. It’s true. I really just don’t get the allure. About twice a year I try some, and at least once a year I end up spitting it out. I know. I’m weird. Personal feelings aside, I get that chocolate makes most people happy, and I like making people happy. So since we are heading into one of my favourite holiday seasons I thought it only right to share a bit of love. Recipes for little bites like this abound and there are about a zillion possible variations, but these are tarted up a bit for the holidays. I won’t join you in eating them, but I do hope they make you happy this holiday season.
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
½ cup carob powder
1 tsp. vanilla 4 dates, pitted and ripped apart ½ cup raisins 2 Tbsp. maple syrup ¼ cup coconut oil 2 Tbsp. chocolate chips
3 (chemical free) candy canes, crushed and powdered
In a food processor (or strong blender) blend all ingredients, except candy canes, until fairly smooth and pasty (the blender will melt the coconut oil). Place crushed candy canes in a bowl. Using your hands make marble sized balls with the batter. When you have several ready, drop them in the crushed candy canes to lightly coat them. Place finished treats on a piece of parchment paper (or tin foil) in a container. Cover and keep in fridge for up to one week. Makes approximately 25 the size of a large marble.
It seems as if almost every post I have written lately begins with some sort of apology for my infrequent blogging. A year of school, days in the garden, summer holidays… lots of reasons and excuses, but enough is enough already. I officially graduate in less than a week so school isn’t an excuse, the garden is (almost) ready for winter, and I’m attending a blogging conference just days from now. Gulp. Let me repeat that, the woman who has averaged about a blog a quarter is attending a conference. For food bloggers. Filled with people who write (and publish!) for a living. Double gulp. With that looming motivation in mind I pulled out my notebook and started looking at the list I’ve been keeping of topics I want to turn into brilliant, informative, funny or tasty stories. But where to start?Continue reading →
When I was a kid my Mom, as most moms do, drove me crazy. As soon as tomato season started every time she would bite into a tomato, and I mean every time, she would swoon. Really. Not just get a bit excited, but the “do you need smelling salts’ kind of swoon. She would take one bite and in a fit of slight rapture she would exclaim “oh….. this is sooooooo good”. “Yes Mom, we know. They are good.” we would say. “No.” she would say, ” but these are SOOOOOOO good”. Sigh. As a teenager it was mortifying.
I love summer. It really is the best time of year. The heat, the humidity, the sun, the fresh vegetables – heaven! The only downside I can think of is that it is usually (hopefully!) too nice to want to spend much time in the kitchen. I want to be at the pool, in the garden or playing bocce with friends. When I do step into the kitchen I want to create meals that are fast, seasonal and adaptable. Like potato salad. Now I’m not talking the mayonnaise loaded salad of our youth but a fresh, zingy, loaded with vegetables one that is a full on meal in a bowl.
If April showers do in fact bring May flowers then Vancouver should have an amazing May. But May is here and while there are lots of flowers the continued rain (and snow in certain parts of the country – shudder) is making me think that perhaps May needs a little reminder what its job is, to be warm enough that we can all get outdoors after a long, cooped up winter and raise our pasty faces to the sun.
Polar vortex or not, it is officially spring. To celebrate I spent my spring break holiday in northern Canada where it is definitely still winter. Despite the winter weather I kept warm with bundled up walks along the ice covered river, days spent on the couch in my pajamas reading and a glass (or two) of restorative red wine.
But, after a relaxing week of warming holiday comfort food, and with optimism in mind, I’m craving the tastes of spring. One of the first crops that is poking up out of the ground this year are the radishes. Continue reading →
Shrove Tuesday, Fat Tuesday. Whatever you want to call it, I call it Pancake day and it’s here!
Traditionally, pancake day is the last day before the beginning of Lent. During Lent, it is customary to give up things we love (think drinking pop or alcohol, tv, or eating chocolate) so historically families would try to use up things like meat, butter, and flour, and thus the tradition of Pancake Day began. As a kid for Shrove Tuesday my family usually went to a Pancake dinner at the church, which was always an awesome excuse to see friends in the middle of the week. These days, as someone always looking for an excuse to have friends around the table, Pancake Tuesday dinners seemed like a great tradition to start in my house.
I remember as a kid we always seemed to be fundraising for something. Girl Guide cookies, raffle tickets or boxes of citrus for band trips. I was never a massive fan of the fundraising but was a huge fan of the arrival of those big boxes of Florida oranges and grapefruit. Growing up in Ontario, Florida was a pretty common winter vacation spot for most of my friends. Maybe my friends got their fill of citrus on holiday, but the closest I ever got, or have been, to Florida was getting those big boxes of oranges and grapefruit. Makes me, almost, miss high school band…
I was a lot older, when I first saw grapefruit growing on a tree. I could not believe my eyes. Tree after tree so overloaded the fruit was falling on the ground around me. I gourged myself on that first trip. It was divine.
When I get home from school I need to eat something. It’s been a few hours since lunch and I’m hungry. But deciding what to eat is the challenge. Too much and I will still be full come dinner hour, too little and I’ll still be hungry wondering why I even bothered. My snack choices usually include something like hummus and cut vegetables, maybe a couple dolmathes and some almonds, or sometimes just a hardboiled egg. But, I can’t lie, what I really want is crackers and cheese. I’m not saying I have it, but that’s what I am usually craving.
Potlucks. Do you love them or hate them? My feelings are mixed. In some ways they make things easier – you don’t have to cook as much, there is less clean up and there are more options for picky eaters. But, it is also possible to end up with a table full of desserts or five macaroni salads. So what’s a girl to do? How do you decide what to bring?