Sunday, October 31, 2010

Trick or Treat!

Tonight, in honour of Halloween, we had an orange menu for Sunday dinner - pumpkin soup, cheese and bacon buns, carrot sticks and mandarin orange slices.

Cheese and bacon buns are a comfort food that I remember from when I was a kid. They aren't hard to make. First fry some bacon, say 6-8 slices, and set aside. Line a cookie sheet with foil, split some burger buns and place on aforementioned foil-lined cookie sheet. Top burger buns with either cheese whiz or a cheese slice; choose the petroleum-based cheese product of your choice. Now cut the bacon into bite-sized pieces. I use kitchen scissors to do this. Sprinkle the bacon generously on the buns (I make 6 at a time). Now set your oven to broil (high) and place the buns under the broiler for 3-5 minutes. I personally like when my cheese gets slightly charred under the broiler. As I learned the hard way tonight, my kids do not. Instead they accuse you of burning their food. I made these bacon-less and tried to sell them as open-faced grilled cheese for the kids and yet they still rejected them. And don't get me started on their reaction to pumpkin soup, which they at least tasted this time, unlike when I served it at Thanksgiving. 'Yuk' was one of the nicer things they had to say...

For dessert I made a chocolate brownie snack cake with spiderweb glaze which the kids liked just fine, of course, but I found somewhat disappointing:

The cake ate fine, and was super easy to make, but my glaze wasn't runny enough so the presentation suffered as a result. Which is kind of ironic, because normally when I'm working with icing sugar my problem is all about the runny, as in I can't make it stiff enough. I blame this on multi-tasking. Because as I was making the icing I glanced out my kitchen window and noticed this:

So of course I had to run out and take some pictures. This maple has granny smith apple green leaves Spring and Summer, then in the Fall, seemingly overnight it turns a brilliant red. We've been so busy I hadn't even noticed it had turned until today. Between this and the need to wear mittens to trick or treat comfortably tonight (we are closing in on about 160 treats doled out), I'd say it won't be long before we get some white stuff visiting the neighbourhood.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Let's Do The Time Warp....

Yes, I'm a big ol' Glee fan. And tonight is The Rocky Horror Episode. I went to a Rocky Horror screening once, when I was in high school. It was bizarre and crazy but theatrical and fun too, if you like that sort of thing. I like that sort of thing but my husband does not. D. thinks Rocky Horror is...horrible. Can't stand it. Hearing even the first few bars of Time Warp are enough to make him start twitching. Same thing happens whenever Queen music is played. So it's likely a good thing that he's at the Leafs game tonight.

My post title is a bit of a fake out, meant to disguise that despite the fact we haven't exited October yet, I want to talk about Christmas food. I know. It's way too early. But I have a reason! I was cleaning up my computer desktop the other day when I found a folder of pictures I had forgotten about. It doesn't show in the directory where all of my other photos are stored - for some strange reason I put it all by its lonesome on the desktop. It was like finding a stray roll of film that never got developed or a packet of pictures at the back of a drawer. I clicked through the pictures, which were from December, and was immediately transported back to Christmas 2009. Time warp!

I was very proud of myself Christmas 2009. After hanging on to the December 2001 issue of Bon Appetit for way too long, I finally made the cover recipe: triple chocolate cake with chocolate peppermint filling. And I took a picture! Which I obviously forgot about, until I uncovered it on my desktop in all its chocolaty, peppermint glory:

This was a v.v. good cake. Seriously good cake. Super moist and incredibly rich. And not that complicated to make. The kids helped me smash up the candy cane pieces with a rolling pin. And I can't quite remember, but I bet we all licked a beater or two. That's the best part of holiday baking. Having the boys in the kitchen 'helping' while the weather outside is all frightful. This cake followed a wonderful Christmas dinner, so we served up small slices to those that could even fathom eating just one. more. thing.

Okay. I've got holiday baking out of my system, for now. Please return to your regularly scheduled season, Fall.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Howja like them apples?

I made a lot of different dishes with apples this weekend. A lot. And the whole time I was peeling and chopping, slicing and dicing, I kept hearing Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting in my head; the scene where he bangs on the window to get the attention of an obnoxious college student in a bar who was (also) hitting on Minnie Driver and he says "You like apples? Yeah? I got har numba. Howja like them apples?" Note that this is said with a plummy Boston accent, which I've cleverly related using 'har' for 'her', 'numba' for 'number' and 'howja' for 'how do you'. None of which is relevant to any of the cooking I did, although when I finally stepped out of the kitchen Sunday and sat down at the computer I discovered Matt Damon and his wife had a baby this past Wednesday. Coincidence? Yup, pretty much.

So. Apples. On Wednesday I had a library book due back at the public library, so I dropped it in on my way home from work. As is my practice I scanned the cookbook section to see if anything inspiring was on the shelves. I went away with Lucy Waverman's A Year in Lucy's Kitchen. I'm familiar with Waverman's work, having noticed her recipes in the LCBO Food & Drink magazine and The Globe and Mail. What made me pick up AYILK was the premise - it's a recipe book made up of menus. I love cookbooks that give you menus. I'm not sure I've ever made an entire menu from a cookbook but I love the possibility that I might. Or even that I could. If I wanted to.

Lucy sets up her book by season, so I flipped to Fall and found a Halloween menu that sounded promising. In particular I decided to make Braised Chicken with Apples and Sausage along with the suggested side of Spiced Sweet Potato Fries. Lucy's menu rounds out this dinner with a pumpkin soup; I recently made a delightful pumpkin soup but was more in the mood for squash soup. In particular, a squash apple soup caught my eye in another book I brought home from the library: get cooking, by Mollie Katzen.

If I'm being honest, none of these recipes really wowed me. The squash soup was good, but the granny smith apple it included added a sweetness that I didn't care for, and the addition of lemon juice didn't save the flavour. The chicken was super moist and the apples that cooked along with it were a lovely accompaniment to the meat, but I think I prefer roast chicken. The sweet potato fries were good (P. nearly ate a whole wedge!). But just good. Period. So the meal wasn't bad, it was just a little....unremarkable.

I'll definitely need to aim for remarkable next Sunday since it's Halloween. When I was a kid, we had cheese and bacon buns every Halloween. They were orange (cheese whiz orange...mmmm) and if you were creative with your bacon, you could make your dinner look like a jack o' lantern. We aren't huge on Halloween around here, but we make an effort. Some of us more than others. This is the first year I've gotten the 'mom please let me just buy a costume' speech from my son, after my years of attempting unique homemade creations. So next Sunday will be an homage to Halloween. Here's a preview of the preparations we've done around our house to be suitably festive.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Sort-of Gingerbread Latte

I know that we're still in pumpkin spice latte season but as our calendar has begun filling up with November and December commitments my thoughts have turned to gingerbread lattes.

There are all kinds of 'make it at home' gingerbread latte recipes out there. The one I tried this morning calls for a homemade spiced simple syrup added to steamed milk and coffee. It's not bad - I don't think it is as strong as a genuine Starbucks gingerbread latte but with a few tweaks (more ginger? add molasses for some of the sugar?) it could be. It's no page 821. But it's pretty good. Here's what I did:

Spiced Simple Syrup
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp ginger sugar mix

Ginger Sugar Mix
Combine 1 tbsp sugar and 1 tsp powdered ginger

Combine your ingredients for Spiced Simple Syrup in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and cool. Add 2 tbsp of simple syrup to 1 cup steamed milk combined with 1/2 cup coffee.

You might want to start by just adding 1 tbsp of the simple syrup then add more to suit your taste. And the original recipe called for a scant teaspoon of vanilla, which I forgot to add since I was also putting away groceries while making this. Any coffee will do, but at our house we have developed a taste for Kona coffee, which is grown in Hawaii. Which makes it a wee bit pricey. We first discovered Kona coffee at the Polynesian Resort at Disney. Every morning D. or I would go for a run, stop at the coffee bar on the way back and then relax on our balcony with our morning java until the kids woke up. Our view:

I've since discovered I can get really good Kona coffee close to home through The Fire Roasted Coffee Company. Haven't been able to do much about replicating the view though.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Joy

Sometimes, on a cold fall night, warm oatmeal chocolate chip cookies are the perfect way to end the day.

Every once in a while I come upon a recipe for oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and I start to clip it, print it, download it or bookmark it when I remind myself I don't need another oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe. I have the perfect one on page 821 of The Joy of Cooking. And yet I persist in being drawn in by other versions that inevitably are never as good.

I first made these cookies in 1998, according to the note I made in the margin of page 821. And I liked them. I gave them my highest honours: 'v.v. good'. So why do I entertain other oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipes when I know I have a perfectly tasty, completely reliable, never-let-me-down version on page 821? It's a mystery to me, but I think it might have something to do with what I'll call the 'what if' factor. What if that untried recipe is even better than page 821? What if I only think my oatmeal chocolate chip cookies are the best I've ever tasted? What if I'm missing something by sticking with 'old reliable'? That other recipe has nuts! White and dark chocolate! Cinnamon!

I know. It's just cookies right? But the 'what ifs' can take over other parts of my life as well. So what do I do? I keep clipping oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipes. Usually they just sit in my recipe file until I clean it out, and I re-read the recipe(s) and wonder what made me want to try it in the first place. The novelty, the shine, the 'what if' wears off. And I end up, happily, back on page 821.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 1/4 cups flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup corn or canola oil
2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1/3 cup light or dark corn syrup
1 tbsp skim milk
2 1/2 tsp vanilla

2 cups oats
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 F. Coat cookie sheets with non-stick spray.

Whisk together flour through salt. In separate bowl, beat oil through vanilla until well blended. Add oats and chocolate chips to oil mixture; let stand 10 minutes so oats can absorb some moisture. Stir in flour mixture. Drip the dough by heaping tablespoonfuls onto cookie sheets, about 2 1/2 inches apart. Bake one sheet at a time, 7-10 minutes. Cookies should be tinged with brown all over and centres just barely firm when lightly pressed. Remove and let cookies cool on sheet 2 minutes before transferring to racks to cool.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Chili and Honey Popcorn

Remember this? Well the recipe for Chili and Honey popcorn I misplaced finally revealed itself. No matter that I was actually looking for an AWOL math test (also located, eventually) the important thing is, I can enjoy chili and honey popcorn again. Here's the deal:

3 tbsp unsalted butter
3 tbsp liquid honey
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp chili powder
big ol' bowl of popped popcorn

You know what to do. Make sure you get out plenty of napkins.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Thankful - Birthday Edition

Our niece turned 1 on Saturday, so we headed down the highway for a birthday/Thanksgiving celebration. Just like Thanksgiving weekend, this was another great day for traveling. We spotted a handful of gliders soaring among the fluffy white clouds and enjoyed lots of lovely Fall colour during the back road portions of our trip, when we didn't have our eyes glued to our Nintendo DSi-xls. Ahem.

I was very much looking forward to this dinner since we had lamb with my family for Thanksgiving. Nothing says Fall like turkey! We had a great meal in A&J's brand-spanking new house, which hopefully will host many more such dinners long into the future. Given the meal it produced, the kitchen works just fine!

While I love 'traditional' dinners that feature familiar flavours and dishes, I also like to experiment and try new things to keep special meals interesting. I love that we had roasted potatoes with our turkey instead of the more typical mashed, since it made me think to try a Parsnip Crumble recipe I've had earmarked in my recipe book hungry for comfort, which I've mentioned in a previous post.

Parsnip Crumble has the consistency of mashed potatoes, so I thought this dish would make a perfect complement to the roast potatoes - no competing with mashed. To make parsnip crumble you basically peel and chop 4-5 medium parsnips, boil them for 20 minutes, then mash them with butter and sour cream. Top them with an oat/brown sugar/flour/butter/nutmeg crumble mixed with fresh chopped cranberries. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes and you're good to go.

I think this dish travelled well, and it tasted fine, but next time out I would add more butter/sour cream and do a better job mashing. My parsnips had lumps, which weren't necessarily bad...I just would have preferred a smoother base. Parsnips are actually quite sweet, so the addition of the butter and sour cream cuts that a bit.

I think the real star of the dinner table were the roasted potatoes. Sure, they made a complete mess of a couple of baking pans, but the men were up to the challenge of soaking, chipping and generally rehabilitating said pans. Or at least I think they were. I wandered off after doing some (light) after-dinner dish duty to the more delightful task of hanging out with my niece for some girl talk. Luckily I was able to get the recipe for the roasted potatoes from my SIL so I can attempt to replicate their wonderfulness. They are an Ina Garten recipe from Food Network:

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes
  • 1 1/2 pounds small red or white-skinned potatoes (or a mixture)
  • 1/8 cup good olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoons minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary leaves
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the potatoes in half or quarters and place in a bowl with the olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and rosemary; toss until the potatoes are well coated. Dump the potatoes on a baking sheet and spread out into 1 layer; roast in the oven for at least 1 hour, or until browned and crisp. Flip twice with a spatula during cooking to ensure even browning. Remove the potatoes from the oven, season to taste and serve.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Fall Flashback - Pumpkin Cheeseball

I was poking through pictures from October 2009 last week when I came upon this one:

If memory serves I was cutting up veggies for a veggie tray when I was suddenly inspired to stick a broccoli stalk into the top of a cheeseball I had made to make it look like a pumpkin. And since I always take things one step further than I likely should, I then decided to try and turn my pumpkin cheeseball into a jack-o-lantern cheeseball. Which I accomplished with cucumber pieces. The final product was served on the one piece of genuine Fiesta-ware that I own, courtesy of my maternal grandmother.

I realize I am not unique in my cheeseball-as-pumpkin concept. has a recipe for Mini Cheese Ball Pumpkins that I could totally get behind if I wasn't, well, lazy. And I am very intrigued by this Savory Pumpkin Cheese Ball recipe from ifood, which actually contains pumpkin.

We ate our pumpkin cheeseball with plenty o' crackers and a yummy homemade roasted squash soup on a cold Fall Saturday afternoon.


8 oz pkg cream cheese
1/2 cup cheese whiz
1/2 cup grated cheddar
1 tbsp grated onion
few drops wooster sauce
few drops tabasco sauce
1 cup chopped walnuts

Using an electric mixer beat cream cheese, cheese whiz and grated cheddar until combined. Add onion, wooster and tabasco sauce. Scrape mixture out of bowl onto waxed paper. Roll in walnuts (optional).

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

4 cups peeled butternut squash
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp finely chopped shallots
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups milk

Place squash in 2 qt baking dish coated with cooking spray. Lightly coat squash with cooking spray; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes in a 375 degree oven. Melt butter in dutch oven over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic to pan; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add squash and broth to pan; bring to a boil, cook 2 minutes. Stir in milk. Reduce heat and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Place 1/3 of squash mixture in blender. Remove centre piece of blender lid to allow steam to escape. Place clean towel over opening in blender lid to avoid splatters. Or burning your hand. Blend until smooth, pour into large bowl.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Thankful - cupcake edition

On Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend we got to visit with D.'s side of the family (or most of them!) which was a treat, because we aren't often all together much any more. The weather was beautiful Sunday - a rare Canadian Thanksgiving treat of warm sun and soft breeze. I was asked to bring dessert to the potluck table and wanted to bring something suitably festive. I immediately thought of cupcakes for a couple of reasons.

A few years ago I got this book for my birthday. Cupcakes are a pretty big trend right now, so let me just point out that the publishing imprint of this title is 2006. Cupcake love has existed around our house for many years, likely a consequence of having young children and a mummy who has a thing for serving foods in small, contained, individual portion sizes. You should see my ramekin collection. But that's a story for another day. For Thanksgiving I decided to make Carrot & Cranberry Cupcakes with Cinnamon and Spice Frosting.

Thanksgiving Carrot and Cranberry Cupcakes

1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 cup grated carrots
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix flour, baking powder, salt and spices together and set aside.

Using electric mixer, beat oil and both sugars until blended. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until smooth. Add flour mixture and blend thoroughly. Fold in carrots, walnuts (if using) and cranberries.

Fill cupcake papers about 2/3 full. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.

Cinnamon and Spice Frosting

1/4 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves

Cream butter and cream cheese together until light and fluffy. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating until smooth. Add vanilla and spices and continue beating until frosting is good for spreading.

As yummy as these cupcakes sounded, I knew I also had to bring something chocolaty to the table, since my family thrives on a little bit of chocolate apres dinner. So I whipped up a batch of homemade ONE bite brownies. I started making these two years ago when friends gifted us a great little cookbook called Grazing by Julie Van Rosendaal. The only special equipment you need to pull these off is a mini-muffin pan. I have a silicone one by KitchenAid.

One Bite Brownies

1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 large egg
2 large egg whites
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp instant coffee granules, dissolved in 1 tsp water
1 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large bowl, mix together butter and sugar until well combined. Add egg, egg whites, vanilla and coffee and stir until well blended and smooth.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Add to the egg mixture and stir by hand just until combined. Spoon the batter into mini muffin cups that have been sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until puffed but soft to the touch. Do not over bake! Cool in pan on wire rack.


Last week was pretty awful around here. I have a miserable cold, and I am not a good sick person. So it made the week feel pretty long, likely for everyone at my house, although the prospect of a long weekend was some comfort. When I'm sick I tend to cook what I think of as 'comfort food' dishes. Often, particularly in the Fall/Winter, that means soup.

Last weekend I made pumpkin cookies for the boys and was left with a half can of pureed pumpkin. I thought about making another batch of cookies, or some pumpkin bread, but decided instead to see if I could make pumpkin soup. Not finding any pumpkin soup recipes in my print cookbook collection I turned to the web and found what seemed like a winner on

I like community-based recipe sites like AllRecipes. They remind me of community cookbooks, which aren't entirely extinct but probably less popular than years past, when family favourites were typed up and spiral bound and sold as fundraisers for hockey teams and Girl Guide troops. The Internet take on community cooking is of course, not a passive experience, because people can comment on your recipe, recommending variations that can lighten, sweeten or flat out change (for better or worse, depending on your perspective) the original. Take the recipe I found for Cream of Pumpkin Soup. It had a high overall rating (4 and 1/2 stars) but when I went in to read some of the reader reviews of the recipe the comments showed that those who made the soup tweaked it to their own taste, then appeared to rank the soup based not on the original recipe but on their adapted version. Those who did not tweak the soup ranked it quite low - the 2-3 star range. So I had to puzzle together, based on the numerous suggested tweaks, what would be my recipe for Cream of Pumpkin Soup. Here is what I ended up making:

Cream of Pumpkin Soup

1 cup chopped onion
2 tbsp butter, melted
30 ounces chicken broth
15 ounces pumpkin puree
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ginger
2 pinches nutmeg
1 shake cayenne pepper
1 cup skim milk

Saute onion in butter in medium saucepan until softened. Add half of chicken broth, stir, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Transfer broth to blender, process until smooth. Return mixture to saucepan. Add remaining broth, pumpkin, brown sugar and spices. Stir well, bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add milk, stir and simmer 5 minutes. Serve.

A simple but effective soup. I served it at our Thanksgiving Saturday and those who tasted it (no one under the age of 9 was interested) liked it a lot. Some of the less adventurous in the crowd (you know who you are) thought the soup would taste too much like pumpkin pie, so refrained. I'll admit to being curious if that would be the case but it wasn't. The soup tasted very similar to squash soups that I have made/tasted in the past. No pie-ish taste at all. Being dulled by a cold didn't lessen the taste of this great soup which I will definitely make again. Being dulled by a cold did make me forget to photograph this particular creation so here is a shot of our Thanksgiving table instead.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Homecoming, a new toy, school lunches and pudding

As is pretty typical around here it has been a jam-packed weekend. D. and I attended a Homecoming event at Western Libraries for donors on Saturday morning. It was a cheese tasting led by Louise McNally from Saputo Canada and it was *amazing*. We tasted cheeses from Ontario, France, Quebec and Italy. News flash - buffalo mozzarella cheese is indeed made from the milk of the mighty buffalo. Milking a buffalo? Add that to the list of jobs I would never want to try. The cheese was great. All of it, even the stinky, strong stuff.

Last week the kids were super bummed to discover that a package delivered after school was not their promised Halloween costumes but a new toy for the kitchen:

I. Know. Up til now I've dabbled in sandwiches in a very amateur way. With my Breville Ikon Removeable Plate Grill I can up my game considerably. We're going grilled, baby. I haven't had time to even open the box yet but I figure after Thanksgiving the fun will start. Any leftover turkey chez Robinson is going straight into a panini sandwich. Likely with bacon, maybe with cranberry sauce, possibly with both. I had mentally added this to my Christmas list and then last week D. discovered he had won an award at work which consisted of gift certificates from his choice of a ton of stores. D. scanned the list, saw nothing related to hockey and gave me control of the keyboard. So it's a win-win situation as he will certainly benefit, I hope, from whatever I manage to produce using my new grill. Last weekend I made a roast beef sandwich with grilled pineapple, melted jarlsberg cheese and A1 sauce on ciabatta bread that made D. swoon (albeit slightly). If it had been grilled who knows how he might have reacted? Full swoon?

I hate packing school lunches. There are only so many foods that my kids will eat and many of them don't do well packed into a lunch. So every Sunday I find myself in the kitchen trying to figure out what I can make that is halfway nutritious and will actually get consumed instead of suffering the ignoble defeat of coming back home untouched. This September my go-to was muffins. Banana muffins, apple muffins and this week, to start off October, cranberry oatmeal muffins.

P. won't touch muffins with what he calls 'jam' in them. He doesn't like raisins, nuts, or any sort of chunked fruit cluttering up his muffins. Plain banana suits him just fine. My older son D. is actually a little more adventurous with muffins and I have discovered he quite likes cranberries (fresh, not dried). These cranberry oat muffins are from a recipe in hungry for comfort: the pleasures of home cooking by Rose Murray. This is one of my favourite cookbooks. Rose Murray is a food writer from Southwestern Ontario and I've bought/consulted several of her recipe books over the years. Three words to describe her food/recipes: simple, reliable, delicious. These muffins are amazing hot out of the oven and I know will get consumed by one hungry little boy at lunch time this week. (For the record, I also made banana for P.) I'll round out his lunch with cereal mix, fresh fruit and a sugary treat like a granola bar or wagon wheel. I also, without fail, put carrot sticks in his lunch box which some weeks come back untouched and other weeks get gobbled up.

Tonight we had lasagna for dinner which suited, since it has been a cold and rainy weekend. For dessert we had chocolate pudding, since P. specifically requested at the beginning of the week that I make chocolate pudding for sunday dinner this week. I think chocolate pudding is one of those things you should have a go-to recipe's a classic and nearly everyone loves chocolate pudding. So here is a quick and easy recipe for chocolate pudding, which I have dubbed Patrick's pudding for obvious reasons -

Patrick's Pudding

2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tbsp flour
1/8 tsp salt
3 cups 1% milk
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine first five ingredients in a saucepan; stir. Gradually add milk, stirring with a wire whisk until well blended. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla.

Spoon pudding into six individual dessert dishes. Cover with plastic wrap; cool to room temperature. Chill at least three hours.