Browsing the archives for the Small Town category.

Salt Dough-Wrapped Roast

Domestic, Small Town

Today, I’m linking up with KD Buggie Boutique, Mom Blog Monday and Tough Cookie Mommy for Mingle Monday.

Don’t forget about our giveaway with Keeley Behling Studios! Like the Keeley Behling Studios Facebook page and leave a comment there about something in her Etsy shop to enter. It wouldn’t hurt if you liked the So Very Domestic Facebook page too. šŸ˜‰

I mentioned a few days ago that I borrowed one of my neighbor’s pro cook books and that I was overcome with joy at the concept of baking and cooking my way through a book he used in culinary school?! Insert dramatic gasping here.

This recipe is from that book and it’s one of those recipes that was so weird I had to try it. I mean, I’ve been around a few kitchens in my day (omg who says that?!) and I’ve never seen this or even heard of it. It was super weird to wrap a roast in a big, heavy (but still pliable) sheet of pastry, but it turned out really well! It was extremely moist and juice. Easy to carve and the kids ate it up and asked for more – always a win in our house!

Salt Dough-Wrapped Roast

Salt Dough-Wrapped Roast via The Cook’s Book

1 cup fine table salt
3 cups coarse sea salt
7 cups flour
2 egg whites
2 1/2 cups lukewarm water
large handful of mixed thyme, rosemary, lavender flowers, and sage, chopped
cut of meat, your choice
+ egg wash (2 eggs + about 3 tablespoons water)

Salt Dough-Wrapped Roast
Salt Dough-Wrapped Roast
Mix all but the spices and water in a large bowl. Then stir in the spices.
Salt Dough-Wrapped Roast
Salt Dough-Wrapped Roast
Work the dough on a floured surface for a few minutes until it’s smooth. Then wrap it in plastic wrap and let it rest at least 2 hours before rolling it out to wrap your roast in. Season your roast as you normally would, I cut slits in it and poke small pieces of garlic inside. Once your roast is spiced up, wrap the salt dough around it.
Salt Dough-Wrapped Roast
Salt Dough-Wrapped Roast
Salt Dough-Wrapped Roast
Salt Dough-Wrapped Roast
Use an egg wash to secure the salt dough around the roast.
Salt Dough-Wrapped Roast
Salt Dough-Wrapped Roast
Bake at 400F for about an hour. Let it rest for about 20 minutes after coming out of the oven to it can finish cooking.
Salt Dough-Wrapped Roast
Salt Dough-Wrapped Roast
Then crack it open and toss out the crust.
Salt Dough-Wrapped Roast
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Fancy Fried Chicken with Bacon

Domestic, Small Town

Don’t forget about our giveaway with Keeley Behling Studios! Like the Keeley Behling Studios Facebook page and leave a comment there about something in her Etsy shop to enter. It wouldn’t hurt if you liked the So Very Domestic Facebook page too. šŸ˜‰

When we bought our house last summer, imagine my overwhelming glee, yes, glee when I discovered we moved next door to a professional chef. I mean, what are the odds that a food blogger is going to move in next door to a pro chef? It’s a major bummer for me to report that he ended up moving a couple of months ago BUT we’re still friends so it’s all good in the hood. In the months that we lived next door to each other, though? So fun! He’d eat (and generally approve of) everything kitchen creation I brought over! His kids loved to tear it up in the kitchen with us (we have 3 kid each) and they were all really good sports about eating whatever I made. So sweet!

Anyhooooo, that little story brings us to these decadently fried chicken strips how, exactly? Well, as a professional chef, he has a heap ton of cook books from culinary school. Picture me standing there hearing about this for the first time. Cook books, yes, but cook books that are essentially text books for the kitchen?!?! OMG This book, The Cook’s Book, is huge. It has chapters on everything from sauces to Latin American cooking, from pasta & dumplings to Middle Eastern cooking and each chapter is written by a different well versed pro chef. This recipe is from the poultry & game birds chapter, written by Shaun Hill.

Fancy Fried Chicken with Bacon

Fried Chicken with Bacon via Cooks Book

2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
2 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
pinch cayenne pepper
2/3 cup buttermilk
4 thick-cut slices lean bacon
3 cups fresh white bread crumbs
sunflower oil for frying

Fancy Fried Chicken with Bacon
Fancy Fried Chicken with Bacon
First, slice your chicken into strips and then pound out between pieces of plastic wrap. Then mix the mustard with the salt, pepper and cayenne.
Fancy Fried Chicken with Bacon
Fancy Fried Chicken with Bacon
Brush the spicy mustard on each strip and place them in a bowl. Pour the buttermilk over them. Take care that all the pieces are coated.
Fancy Fried Chicken with Bacon
Fancy Fried Chicken with Bacon
Pour about 1/2″ of oil into a heavy frying pan and fry the bacon in it till crispy. Dry off the bacon with paper towels.
Fancy Fried Chicken with Bacon
Fancy Fried Chicken with Bacon
Crumble the bacon and toss it with the bread crumbs.
Fancy Fried Chicken with Bacon
Fancy Fried Chicken with Bacon
Coat each piece of buttermilk-soaked chicken in the bacon and bread crumb mixture and fry in more sunflower oil. If you need to, keep adding oil to have about 1/2″ in the pan all the time. They should take about 10 minutes per batch and depending on the size of your pan you’ll need a few batches.
Fancy Fried Chicken with Bacon
It looks so amazing with the bits of bacon poking out from the breading! Serve as a main to a meal or with a dip and a salad as lunch!
Fancy Fried Chicken with Bacon
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The Duggar’s Tater Tot Casserole

Domestic, Healthy, Kids, Small Town

I’m participating in Menu Monday at Organizing Junkie and Life as a Lofthouse

I didn’t blog last week because honestly I have been extremely distracted. It’s all been pretty fun distractions though!! Since Christmas we thought we were going to be planning a long distance short-term work-related move. We were extremely excited because it was to a place we’ve always wanted to go. Then last weekend we thought that it wasn’t going to happen after all, only to find out a few days later that it’s going to happen, just not as soon as we thought. For a planner this was at first, extremely painful. However, after a while I have come to appreciate that it can be fun to just live my life as I live it (playing in the kitchen while making sock puppets and cocktails) and let surprises unfold on their own – and in their own time. I asked my husband not to keep me in the loop about this work move. Only to tell me when it’s a sure thing and it’s time to start packing. Which honestly takes a load off. So now I’m focusing on Wee One #3’s teeny weeny Hello Kitty birthday party next weekend. It’s teeny weeny because she only really has one friend, I mean she is just turning three after all!

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that my oven died, thankfully my stove stop still works perfectly so I’ve been cooking quite a bit, and working through my ‘no bake’ recipes but I haven’t been doing any baking at all. Le sigh. I love baking. At first we looked into having it fixed, but it’s not much of a savings compared to getting a new one and then we have a new warranty. Anyhoo, it’s Menu Monday so while we pick a new stove here’s yet another stove top menu!

This Week’s Menu (Feb 27 – March 5)
*I mentioned last week, I make two separate dinners most nights because I’ve made some dietary changes and I’m not pushing it on my family. They tend to join in with a healthy May-style breakfast and lunch and I make their faves for dinner. Wee One #2 has started eating ‘dinner like mommy’ though, so that’s something!

Monday – Chicken with Rice for the fam, Falafels with Rice for me

Tuesday – Tacos for the fam, Butternut Squash Soup for me

Wednesday – Chicken Slovakia for the fam, Vegan Quesadilla for me

Thursday – Beef Romanoff for the fam, ‘Creamy’ Leek Soup for me

Friday – Homemade Chicken Fingers and Wedges for the fam, Tofu Nuggets and Salad for me

Saturday – Stew and Salad for the fam, Black-Eyed Bean and Tomato Broth with homemade crackers for me

Sunday – Hamburgers and French Fries for the fam, Chick Pea Burgers and Sweet Potato Fries for me

This week, I will photograph these meals as I make them so I can blog about them and link back to those posts when I mention them in a future Menu Monday, which you know I probably will!

Today though, since I have no oven and you probably do, I will hit you with this recipe for Tater Tot Casserole so you can make it for me! It’s the ultimate in trashy food (I have a weakness for such things, remember?) I’m not even going to lie to you (though it would save face if I said something like ‘I don’t remember where I came across this recipe‘), this is totally a Duggar Family recipe. Don’t look at me like that! Don’t act like you don’t love that show too! Johanna is my fave little one and I think Jessa is fierce. <3 the duggar's tater tot casserole with homemade tater tots

Casserole: from The Duggar’s Favorite Recipes
*I cut it in half and it’s still enough to feed an army, though it’s so good you might not have any leftovers!
1 lb ground turkey cooked, seasoned, drained
3lb tater tots*
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can evaporated milk
1 can cream of chicken soup
Tater Tots: from Macheesmo
4 Russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 egg
1/2 Cup milk
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 Cup all-purpose flour
the duggar's tater tot casserole with homemade tater tots
the duggar's tater tot casserole with homemade tater tots
First, make mashed potatoes however you usually do that. I toss mine in the pressure cooker and then mash them up with some garlic and butter.
the duggar's tater tot casserole with homemade tater tots
the duggar's tater tot casserole with homemade tater tots
Now add the egg, milk and flour or else they will just be mush in the oil. MUSH. The original tater tot recipe coats them in breadcrumbs and I didn’t. I totally will next time though! This is when you heat a pot of oil and toss these babies in. They only need to be in the oil for like 30 seconds. I had my first few in for about 2 minutes and look what happened!!
the duggar's tater tot casserole with homemade tater tots
They were perfect on the inside, burnt to a blackened crisp on the outside. Whoops!
the duggar's tater tot casserole with homemade tater tots
I had the next batch in for about 45 seconds and that’s all they needed!
the duggar's tater tot casserole with homemade tater tots
the duggar's tater tot casserole with homemade tater tots
Now for the actual casserole part. I just browned the ground turkey (you could use chicken or pork or beef or fake tofu-ish stuff) with a little parsley, garlic and onion though none of those three are technically called for in the recipe, and spread it over the bottom of a casserole dish. Then I put the tater tots on top!
the duggar's tater tot casserole with homemade tater tots
the duggar's tater tot casserole with homemade tater tots
Then in another bowl, I mixed the evaporated milk with the cream soups and poured it over meat and tater tots in the casserole dish.
the duggar's tater tot casserole with homemade tater tots
the duggar's tater tot casserole with homemade tater tots
Bake at 350F for about an hour and OH MY shit this is amazingly good.

If my new oven isn’t chosen and delivered by Friday, I’m going to have to bake a Hello Kitty cake at my neighbor’s house. Oh small town living, you come in handy sometimes.


It’s Looking Crafty Around Here, but it’s Still Tasty Tuesday

Crafty, Healthy, Kids, Small Town

Even though there is only one recipe in this whole post, I’m calling it a Tasty Tuesday and I’m participating in all my favorite foodie link ups – Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays, Tuesdays at the Table, Made From Scratch Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday (@ 33 Shades of Green), Tasty Tuesday, Delectable Tuesday, Tea Party Tuesday, and Hearth ‘n Soul. And since this is a very crafty post, I’m also linking up with Get Your Craft On, Made With Love, Craftastic, Tip Me Tuesday, Tuesday Crafty Confessions, and Totally Tuesday.

Before I even get into what I posted on the site in the last few days or the collection of crazy cute iPhone photos I’m amassing thanks to a ridic app that I can’t stop playing with – I bring you my kitchen. I posted a crooked picture of it when our offer was officially accepted, 90 days before we closed (longest – and somehow also shortest – 90 days ever). So here it is, a much better view of the room I spend the most time in. The other half of the kitchen has the eating area, the cookbook bookshelf and Wee One #2’s play kitchen – and the pantry! That deserves it’s own post. I have never lived in a house with a walk in pantry or one with this many cabinets, so when we set out to buy a house both of those things were on my wish list. What I really love about it, though I know I’ve said it before, is the working triangle of the fridge to sink to stove. I honestly hadn’t even noticed it until my uncle in law was here on moving day (I can’t call him ‘my husband’s uncle’ after being married for 11 years, as I now adore him like my own uncle) and mentioned that it’ll be a great kitchen for cooking and baking because of the triangle! I had no idea it was an actual ‘thing’, I thought it was just something he said till I later read about it.

Anyhoooooo, out the sink window is the ‘main road’ of this wee town, I guess there are actually two main roads in this town and this window shows the corner of them. There is a whole lot of tractor and horse trailer action on this corner. Also, every single house in town (except ours, I’m not lying) has a dog and they all walk it by this window. (Sidebar- yes we are now entertaining the idea of getting a dog and we are trying to settle on a breed, it will likely be a year until we actually welcome one home). On one hand, a curtain would be a good thing so randos can’t peep in, but on the other hand, there are no randos in a town this small and I like waving like an 80 year old Granny at everyone. For reals. The big patio doors are just out of the frame in the second photo, but you can see where they are from the curtain, just beside the stove. Those doors are very high traffic around here, and I can keep mixing while I glance out to do a quick head count and be sure everyone is accounted for. Love!

I will take photos of my pantry this week – I could make an entire post out of all the weird ingredients in there. You never know when you might need actual honeycomb or hazelnuts or oat flour or dehydrated sugar cane or condensed/evaporated/powdered milk! Not to mention of course the stockpile of apple juice – three kids can easily go through a single can a day.

This week so much of the additions around here have been crafty! I’ve been baking up a storm of course, but most of the projects I’ve added to the site were in the crafty section. There was one recipe added though! It’s another recipe on the health(ier) side of things, a burger from Jessica Seinfeld’s Deceptively Delicious – with mushrooms and zucchini!

Homemade Plastic Bowls – Am I really writing about a boxed kid’s craft kit? Sorta. I have always been a fan of crafts like these Makit & Bakit type things. The concept of putting plastic in the oven is so alarming and amazing at the same time, I’ve loved it since I made my first record bowl about 15 years ago. These little ‘Makit & Bakit’ crystals were different and I wanted to try them but I couldn’t find them outside of a kit.
Birthday Wishes – My mother has always made a really fun and (often a really big) to do out of everyone’s birthdays. Not just my Dad & my sister, but also my aunts and uncles and close friends have had serious birthdays courtesy of my mother. As is the case with a lot of people who work hard for other people, she hasn’t had many serious birthdays of her own.
Adhesive Bookplates – Finding crafty ideas for teachers can be rough because even after only a few years of teaching, with an average of 20 kids in each class just imagine how many hilariously crafted gifts they already have. Or how many ‘incredibly useful’ mugs they must have! I’m not out to always give the best gift, but I do aim to give each teacher something they’ll actually use.
Crayon Monogram – I am aware that this is one of those teacher gifts that serves no purpose other than being extremely cute but just look at it! Look! I originally found the idea on Tip Junkie, the inspiration post is over here at Keeping Up With the Comptons – it was posted two years ago and I just did it this June. A quick search turns up so many versions of this craft; Two Peans in a Bucket, Well, How Nice, Dollar Store Crafts, Rainy Tuesday Mornings, Creative Mommas and my personal favorite version from Chic & Cheap Nursery.
Fabric Bookmarks – These were part of the collection of things we made as end of school year thank yous to the teachers and staff at the wee ones’ school. These were made for the librarians, who are a retired couple and so sweet with the kids. I have no doubt that between the two of them they have a great deal of bookmarks, but they are so often lost or in need of replacing I figured it was a safe gift. Plus after seeing these ones on How About Orange I had to make some myself!
Deceptively Delicious Burgers, Part 2 – These burgers are the 15th recipe I’ve made from this book. I can’t say these burgers were amazing, because they were not. However, I can say that not one out of all five of us didn’t finish their burger – loaded with mushrooms and zucchini. None of us like zucchini and only one person likes mushrooms. I think that counts as a success, because while no one raved over them, no one complained about them either and we all got a shot of immune system boosting mushrooms, selenium and B2!

I also went and fell in love with the Instagram iPhone app. I fell hard. It’s addicting to have your already super cute phone pictures made extra adorable. See evidence below. There are 16 filters (I think) and the effects range from fading the image slightly to giving it a different ‘mashed potatoey’ feel with a border. My favorite filter is called Nashville, (the first, and last 2 image). I wonder if there’s a 12 step for this sort of addiction??

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New House Dance!

Domestic, Kids, Small Town

We did it. 12 years, 9 addresses and 3 kids later we finally bought a house. It is everything we hoped for and sometimes even more – generally when we discover something we didn’t see before. We are still technically living in the woods, but now we are in an ity bity town in the woods. There are literally something like 40 houses here max, and thank God our next door neighbors are great! We haven’t met anyone else since we got here on Tuesday. Next week, once we’re all unpacked and I’m back to baking up a storm, I’ll make something cute and bring it around to meet other neighbors. Fun!

I could not be more excited – or busy – or eager to blog. Over the next week or two I’ll add links to recipes and how tos I photographed a while ago but haven’t posted. By the time I’ve caught up to what I’m baking and knitting now, I’ll be unpacked! Here’s three for Saturday.

Peanut Butter Balls, made waaaaay back in February, are classified as a cookie in the cookbook I baked them from, but they were not included as a weekly cookie because they’re balls. Not cookies. Ahem. (read)
Mozzarella Sticks (also made in February) really are just battered and fried cheese, but man is battered and fried cheese good – especially when you season your coating. (read)
These Holiday Spice Cookies were the 8th recipe the kids did from the Baking With Kids cookbook. I admit they’re a little random for the end of March, but Wee One #2 picked them, so away she went. (read)

Tomorrow I’ll be back with more and maybe an unpacking update. I am itching to bake and to knit but I can’t stop unpacking until we’re totally unpacked because the half-unpacked mess drives. Me. Crazy. So I have been channeling all of my kitchen powers on dinner. Thursday night was a serious chicken alfredo and last night I made a garlic-stuffed herb-crusted roast. Tomorrow, who knows? Maybe rosemary chicken!


Deceptively Delicious Doughnuts and My New Canon Rebel

Healthy, Kids, Marriage, Small Town

In this post, I’m participating in Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays, Tuesdays at the Table, Tuesday Night Supper Club, and Hearth ‘n Soul.

During the construction of the new site, I was still cooking and baking up a storm in my kitchen so I have about 5 months of recipes to show you! I wont show you all of them at once, don’t worry! I’m going to stick to one or two a day until I’m caught up. Today I posted the 10th recipe I’ve made from Deceptively Delicious! They are cute and tasty mini doughnuts with sweet potato and pumpkin snuck into them! So yummy! Here is the link to the recipe – Deceptively Delicious Doughnuts and here are a couple of photos:


Also during the redesign, just a couple of weeks ago actually, my amazing husband and I celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary. I’ll spare you the painful squinting at my picture to guess how old I am (30) and I’ll save you the math (I was 19 when we got married). Recently my husband bough himself a car he has wanted for years and years and years so for my anniversary gift, he bought me the snazzy camera I have wanted for years and years and years – the Canon Rebel. Since I only got it two weeks ago, most of the upcoming recipes you’ll see photos of were taken with my point and shoot Samsung. I am so excited to share photos from the new camera but I don’t want to spoil surprises for new recipes. What’s an overexcited gal to do? Post pictures of my wee ones of course! Wee ones and silly indoor smores! I haven’t edited these photos in PS at all! They are just raw from the camera. Sooooo lovely. Best gift ever.

Wee One #1 needs a new nickname for the blog because he’s 10 now, and not so wee anymore. He is constantly taking pictures of me (trying to) take pictures of him. His iPod, by the way, he bought with his own money. I am always so proud of him for being such a great saver – but this is the most he has ever saved from allowance and he was so proud of himself when he went out with Dad to buy it. So rad!

Wee One #1

As I have mentioned over and over since we moved out here last year, there is a lake literally across the street from our house. We moved here at the beginning of the fall, and while we’ve enjoyed the outdoors and all the wide open space we have to run around and play we hadn’t been able to play in the water – you know since it’s Canada and all. It’s been nice and warm for the past few weeks though and I’m not exaggerating at all when I say that we’ve been going to the lake pretty much everyday. The kids get off the school bus, run inside for bathing suits and another hit of sunscreen and off we go! We hang out at the water till just before supper, walk back, wash up and eat.

Off to the beach!


I have to be creative with evening meals now since I am at the beach when I’d usually be prepping. So I tend to prep in the afternoon and just assemble when we get home, or I do the whole meal the night before and just reheat when we get back. It’s no fun to have the oven on in the summer anyway. I am super excited our new house has central air conditioning, but I wont abuse it by cranking the oven on a super hot day. I’ll share some of these easy summery recipes after I’ve caught up with my back posts, I promise. Here is a fun dessert we ‘make’ with the kids! I’ll post the quick little how to this week. Indoor smores!!

Indoor Smores

Tomorrow is Work in Progress Wednesday and I have a new sock to show off! Maybe I’ll even have more of it knitted by then LOL.

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Iā€™m baaaaack!!

Crafty, Domestic, Healthy, Kids, Pretty, Small Town

I’m baaaaack!!!

I know I said I’d be back in a week four months ago and as you can see there as been a whole overhaul around here, the blog has expanded to better sort and organize all the content and the really exciting news is in the middle of all of this – we bought a house!! There are a lot of reasons we love the house we bought but for now I’ll give you a sneak peak of our favourite parts – the backyard and of course the kitchen. There’s no way we could buy a house without a serious kitchen.

There will be more pictures as we move in and get settled – which isn’t happening until August anyway. The backyard is huge and has an area already set aside for gardening, and as you may have suspected, will be growing once I get my hands on it. The other thing I adore so much about this house is that it has a pantry – an absolute necessity in my dream kitchen.

The changes to this site have been long in the making and I am so happy to finally be finished and able to show it all off. I’m still going to be posting my weeklies – I love doing them! Just now I’ll be linking to the pages instead of putting the recipe or instructions directly in the blog post – this way I can include more than one if I want to.

Tomorrow, we’ll get back to business as usual, with a few little changes. The weekly line up looks like this now:

Mondays – Menu Mondays from Kate Says Stuff

Tuesdays – Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays, Tuesdays at the Table, Tuesday Night Supper Club and Hearth ‘n Soul

Work in Progress Wednesdays – from Freshly Pieced, Tami’s Amis and Musings from the Fishbowl

Baking with Kids Thursdays – documenting the kids’ cooking and baking through Baking with Kids

Cookie Fridays – perhaps the best day of the week, check out the gallery

Super Cute Saturdays – if I have time for this, so do you!

Catchall Sundays – rando day, for things that don’t fit anywhere else

I have still been doing my self-inflicted challenges, so I’ll be posting them as often as I can to catch up. Right now, I have a lot of fun stuff to share with you!

As far as my domestic endevours go, I feel head over heels for Bakerella’s Cupshakes, which essentially is a milkshake crossed with a cupcake. I also made step by step instructions for eclairs, and chocolate fudge. As part of the Baking With Kids challenge, where the kids are baking and cooking their way through Linda Collister’s cookbook, I made a batch of puff pastry for them to use in the giant cheese straws recipe. I also added the 4th cookie of the year, the playfully pink cowgirl cookies to the gallery.

I have gotten my crafty groove back, though so far I’ve only posted about my stack of facecloths. Ahem. I did add two window shopping posts though, one on Charlene’s Supply Closet and one on The Loopy Ewe, two shops I am moderately to severely obsessed with. I’ve also added two interviews (Krissy of Krissyanne Designs and Megan of Radmegan) plus a book review of yet another new obsession – Martha Stewart’s Craft Encyclopedia. I’ve been busy!

There have been some health-concious related kitchen changes around here as well. I may as well just say it now without outing anyone, but two dear friends of mine have gone vegan. Which means two things really. First of course it means I now know way more than I ever wanted to know about being vegan and what rules there are and what different types of vegans there are which then also means I also know a whole lot about all kinds of scary stuff that even my vegan friends are not interested in. What’s that? SUGAR. Wowzers. White sugar is way worse than I thought and people let me tell you, I love me some sweet treats so what to do? I’ve been testing recipes using other kinds of natural sweeteners (because as bad as white sugar is fake sugar is even worse), and they’re working out pretty well. I mention this because while I am still cooking and baking my way through Deceptively Delicious, and while I am aware that adding veggies to pretty much anything is never a bad thing, I hesitate to call these recipes healthy knowing all that I know now. I am going to keep them in the ‘healthy’ category anyway because they are miles healthier than what used to come out of my kitchen. The second thing that happens when good friends go vegan is that I have to learn to cook and bake for them! I can’t have them coming up for the weekend to eat pasta and lettuce, can I?! I have been learning so much – expect some uber healthy additions to the healthy section in the coming weeks.

In the meantime though, here’s what I have added to that section to start with – Deceptively Delicious Stew (which adds pureed borccoli to a yummy stew), Dr Oz’s Green Smoothie (this is crazy healthy), Deceptively Delicious Mac & Cheese (with cauliflower puree and two kinds of cheese), Deceptively Delicious Applesauce Muffins (with applesauce duh and carrot puree), Deceptively Delicious Brownies (with pureed carrots and spinach), and an old school homemade Garlic, Honey & Lemon Cough Syrup recipe. Very old school, my Granny would be proud.

Aaaaad just like I said I would, I dove right into making a ‘pretty’ section. I’ve become more of a girly girl than ever in the last year so it’s been fun to write about it! I added two window shopping pieces, Body Shop and Mod Cloth, plus a 101 on Lotions, my Make Up Bag Must Haves and my first hair tutorial ever – my Puffy Bun, which literally takes 5 minutes – no more than 10 even with all three wee ones running underfoot at once.

Phew. I hope my little hanful of loyal readers are happy with the changes. Let me know what you think guys!!


Marriage Monday & A Chocolate Tart

Churchy, Domestic, Marriage, Small Town

In this blog post I am participating in Marriage Mondays, and on Wednesday I’ll add this link to Living Well Wednesdays

Today’s an exciting day because it’s the first day of the Good Morning Girls Bible study of the book of James and it’s also the day the first book for the Bloom / (In)Courage book club is announced. No lie, I will be picking up (or ordering) that book as soon as I know what it is!

Don’t worry, I’m not going to drone on and on about scripture (unless you’re interested – email me!), I’ll stick to the theme of marriage and family on Mondays.

I’m going to give you a recipe for a chocolate tart that my husband adored last week – in just a sec.

First a quick note on not freaking out over your husband taking the lead.

I have had a great start to 2011 in my teeny tiny little town. The teeny tiny little town in the woods that I never in a million, billion years would have chosen to move to. My husband has been trying to get me to move to the middle of nowhere for years, but since neither of us drove it wasn’t really feasible until the summer of 2009 (when he got his license and a car) and I really wasn’t feeling it. Up to this point I had handed most major decisions to my husband without any trace of weirdness but this decision just felt too much. It was crazy. I’m a through and though city kid. I took streetcars and buses to school! I loved walking everywhere. I have a real affinity for the Toronto Public Library system. Most of all, I’m a seriously social creature and most of my dear friends either live in Toronto or pass through it a couple times a year. If I’m totally honest, that last point is the one I held on to the longest.

Eventually, I started to see that he wanted to live in the woods even more than I wanted to stay in Toronto. Friends reading this probably don’t believe that, but it’s true. He was borderline miserable. And now? Now that we’ve been here for 4 months I feel like so much in my life is better than it was. Don’t get me wrong, I miss my friends and the ability to take the streetcar to the library (or, well, anywhere), but I don’t miss the reality of three kids on a packed streetcar AT ALL.

I have found something out here that I never would have found within my life in Toronto. I have found a new, deeper connection to my husband, I have found that my priorities were not at all in line with really nurturing my family and I have found…wait for it…a desire to slow down. I still do a million things in a day, but I used to do 2 million. Now, when I look out the window while in the middle of the day’s ‘to do’, I see nature and God’s creation everywhere! I know He’s present in Toronto too, but out my old kitchen window I saw a concrete backyard, a neighbour I longed to avoid and rows upon rows of similar houses with hardly a few feet between them. Out this back window, I see snow. Lots and lots and lots of snow, and some days it comes down in such huge beautiful flakes that I have to just stop. I stop and I take my coffee to the big patio doors and I just stand there and watch it fall. So there we have it. He was right, and to put that better, he knew something I didn’t know, something he never could have explained to me. I had to experience it to know that it was better.

And now, onto the chocolate tart! Hilariously, I the title of the blog post that introduced me to this tart is No Bake Chocolate Tart for a Happy Husband. Ha!! It’s a brilliant recipe because it only has three ingredients (unless you count the ingredients for the crust which is only another 6 anyway).

Pate Sucree (Sweet Tart Dough) – from The Art of Simple Food via Shoots & Roots

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg yolk, room temperature
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (unbleached)

It’s pretty self-explanatory but here goes. Cream the butter, then add the sugar and beat till fluffy. Add the salt, vanilla & egg yolk, mix till combined. Now add flour and mix until the dough is crumbly and most of the flour is mixed in. Mix the rest by hand until the dough forms a ball. Pop it in the fridge for 4 hours before you roll it out. I’ll wait here.

Of course once you take it out of the fridge you’ve got to let it warm up a little, say 20 minutes or so before you roll it out between parchment paper (or on a floured surface if you must) and pinch it into a cute tart pan, or pie plate.


Chocolate Tart (for a Happy Husband) – also from The Art of Simple Food via Shoots & Roots

6 oz dark chocolate, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
baked and cooled sweet tart crust

First, warm the cream in a stainless steel bowl (I set my bowl over a frying pan of simmering water but there are much fancier ways to do it), when it’s scalding add the chocolate. I took it off the frying pan of water for this part (because, as you probably know, water + chocolate = bad).


Once your chocolate is all melted and mixed in well with your scalding cream, pour it into your cooled tart shell. Pop it in the fridge and wait – forever. Ok, so technically it’s actually 2-3 hours, but when your husband is in the fridge every few minutes poking at it, it seems like forever.


Then, naturally, you take it out an hour early and have the first slice when it’s all gooey and not set up yet. Whoops! Yummy anyway! Hours later, once this treat is completely set, take another slice for photos and then eat that too. šŸ˜‰



Work in Progress Wednesday

Crafty, Domestic, Kids, Small Town

In this post, I’m participating in three WIP Wednesdays; Freshly Pieced, Tami’s Amis and Musings from the Fishbowl.

I am aware that it’s already well into the evening on Wednesday, but I really wanted to check in with my Christmas knitting progress and still blog about some tasty creations in the morning. šŸ™‚

This morning was Wee One #2’s last day of school before Christmas vacation, so I packed up her teacher’s Socks of Kindness, that I blogged about earlier. I also packed up a few of the mini stars and tree cookies I made last weekend for her kids (she has three also), but she wasn’t there today! Bummer!! Hopefully she checks in before the school is officially closed for two weeks (kindergarten is only a few days a week out here). Anyhoo, here’s her little package!

Since my last knitting post a few days ago, I’ve finished a stack of facecloths and one mitten. I posted about the first two facecloths here. They’re all knit from the same pattern, Mock Cable Facecloths, in three colours of Shine Worsted. Clementine is pretty obviously the orange pair, Wisteria is the light purple and Green Apple, of course is the green. I really adore this yarn and will be using it for more facecloths for the fam and for gifts!


I’m on a serious Knit Picks bender lately, this time using Wool of the Andes Worsted in Dune Twist. These mitts are for the kids’ school bus driver. He’s a new addition to our list of gift recipients since we have moved out to the woods! He’s a very nice guy and the kids always say that he’s not a yeller! I’ve never taken the school bus to school personally, but I always heard about mean school bus drivers. Glad to know he isn’t one! Also, wee one #2 tends to move slowly in the snow and he never gives her a hard time about waiting for her so he deserves something special. He’ll get a tin of treats too of course!


I will be baking a whole lotta cakes and cupcakes in the next three weeks to catch up on my self-inflicted cake challenge. Which may prove extra tricky since we’re away for 5 days, but I can do this! I made a little dent tonight with cake #45, Candy Cane Cake. No adult could stomach this. Maybe Andrew. Maybe. Don’t take that as a challenge, I even tried it in milk and the peppermint still knocked me on my butt.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Peace on Earth Challenge, Week #2

Churchy, Kids, Marriage, Pretty, Small Town

In this post, I’m participating in Peace on Earth and Marriage Mondays

Last week’s challenge was to read the story of the birth of Jesus in Matthew 1, 2 and Luke 1,2 and to have a serious bubble bath. I opted for a serious pampering night instead, but with the same mission. Time to think about life and love and God and time to reflect on whole reason we celebrate Christmas!

This week’s challenge was amazing timing for me because my husband bought me a big box of goodies from Sephora so I had new gear to pamper myself with. I’m going to go on an unrelated rant for a quick minute here. As you know, we live in the woods, and I rarely leave the house. When I do it’s usually to the post office. My husband actually likes running errands (I know, he should be studied), so I never have to go to the grocery store or Walmart or anything like that unless I want to, which is pretty much never lol. Also, visitors are few and far between, the mail is dropped in the box at the end of our (ridiculously long) street, and the kids take the school bus to school. That’s all to say that for fairly long stretches of time, the only people that see me are my husband and our children. You can stretch that to include the bus driver waving to me as he drops the kids off and the lady at the post office every Tuesday when I pick up and drop off packages. And yet, every day since my Sephora package arrived, I’ve done a full face (with false lashes, no less) and not left the house. In part it is for my husband and kids, sure. I want them to see that their wife/mother hasn’t frumped out because that’s the easier thing to do. More than that though, getting all sparkly and dolled up just feels good. I think it’s wonderful that Courtney has included ‘me’ time in this challenge, of course to read your Bible and think about God and the meaning of Christmas, but also to just shut out the rest of the world and have a moment with yourself. I used my pamper time to blast away sore muscles, do my nails and think about how we can happily mix wish lists and Christmas parties with the birth of our Savior and how I can really instill that in my children.

Ok, rant over. Moving on. I recently came upon a blog that I am instantly in love with, A Holy Experience. They have made a beautiful Advent calendar with prayers and readings to count down to Christmas with – and it’s free. Amazing. Clearly a lot of work went into making it and I adore it. This, in addition to the introspection time I had on my pampering night has led me to look at Christmas a little differently this year and I think honestly, all of this thinking and reading has peppered my outlook on life in general.

I will still keep on baking my 300+ Christmas treats, but I will do so with the spirit of giving in my heart as I knead and roll and bake. My kids play in the kitchen with me quite a bit, but I will be sure to include them even more than I usually do when baking for others. This year, we’re also choosing a gift from the Samaritan’s Purse catalog for a child and their family in a developing country, in additional to our annual Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. Generally, when we do shoeboxes we include more ‘hygiene items’ and school supplies than toys. As much as I’m sure they’d adore a little Winnie the Pooh toy set, having pencils, paper, a toothbrush, toothpaste and even underwear is far more treasured, you know?

If the idea of this appeals to you, but you don’t have time to pack a shoebox yourself, you can make a financial donation. Some of that money will go to pack more shoeboxes and some will go to the transportation costs involved in getting all our boxes to the children that need them!

Now, this week’s challenge is to schedule a night when we go to bed early! Take a few minutes to read your Bible and get a connection and then actually go to sleep early. This too is in good timing, as I started feeling sick on Saturday night and actually had a 3 hour nap after the kids were in bed. I woke up to a silent house, did some knitting and put myself back to bed again. I’m was still sick, but much better than if I hadn’t taken the rest when I could get it! I think I will make Thursday night my bed early night this week. What a great challenge!

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