Sunday, March 24, 2013

Chocolate Chip and Banana Muffins

Easter is sneaking up on us very early this year. One can't even be fooled by the weather into thinking Easter is near, given that Spring still appears undecided about exactly when it will make an appearance. I know it's going to be Easter soon, though, since Easter treats are everywhere I look. Mostly the tiny packaged chocolate kind (Easter - it's the new Halloween!).

Given that Easter is next week it's clearly time once again for hot cross buns. It's difficult when the majority of your household loves hot cross buns but one lone (but still very important) individual does not. He doesn't get the least bit excited when the the kitchen takes on a yeasty, cinnamon-scented perfume. The drizzle of icing that frosts the buns with neat little crosses also ceases to excite him in the way it does the rest of us. Knowing that he wouldn't be interested in the ritual of the first hot cross buns of Spring I decided to make Patrick his own special treat to enjoy - Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Peanut Butter Gingersnaps

I really expected that these would go over big at my house. We love our gingersnaps and we're pretty sweet on peanut butter anything. So I was surprised when they were met with...indifference. The boys liked these cookies, but they didn't necessarily love them. I think they are quite brilliant. Neither flavour dominates, and they are chewy but firm. I think they'll make a return appearance to the cookie jar.

Monday, March 11, 2013


March Break has arrived in all its wet, wet glory. I should be happy to see grass and sunshine and hear birds singing while I walk to work, but my palate hasn't adjusted. This weekend our Sunday dinner came down to one of two choices: Rockwell Bake (basically turkey strata) or gnocchi. Yup, my body is still craving cold weather meals, despite this (likely brief) respite from Winter weather. I decided to go with making gnocchi, since I've had my eye on Smitten Kitchen's recipe since receiving the Smitten Kitchen cookbook for my birthday. I was once intimidated by gnocchi (well, all home-made pasta, actually) but there is something about SK that gives me confidence to accept new culinary challenges. So Sunday I discovered just how easy it is to make gnocchi.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Mahogany Beef Stew with Red Wine and Hoisin Sauce

Stew is one of those dishes that I struggle with, because it never tastes quite as good as I think it should.  But David loves a good stew, particularly in the heart of Canadian Winter, so it is always on the menu a few times in the early months of the year. I've decided the secret is cutting up an actual roast for stew meat rather than buying the pre-cut cubes that are labelled as 'stewing beef' in the meat section. Or at least, that's what we tried with this particular recipe and it was one of the best stews I've had in a long time. As with other stews I've known and loved, this one is even better the next day if you can manage leftovers.

We're moving in to Spring soon; I actually made this dish weeks ago at the height of the worst of our Winter, which in truth hasn't been all that bad this year. We had a few weekends in a row of conditions that were pretty perfect for tubing / tobogganing and we made the most of it. Then we came inside and had stew.