Pizza Wednesday

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Hello folks,

Man, I got a cold that ended up walloping me this week!  Completely unexpected..but alas, sometimes the immune system doesn't hold up.

Immune system or no immune system...today is wednesday. For some people, it's wine wednesday.

For me: Pizza Wednesday.

Yeah...it's not as catchy is it? (I promise, it's just as yummy!)

Or, maybe you could have wine and pizza wednesday!

Cuz who doesn't like pizza? (Besides my four year old.)



When we have time, we like to make the crust from scratch. This is just not within the time limits, for supper, on wednesdays. So, to save time, during the week, I use pre-made crusts.

There are so many options available at the store now for pre-made crusts, but A. prefers thin pitas and I prefer the thicker, greek pita.



We make personal pizzas, because we have a difference in meat and cheese preferences (A. likes chicken and does not care for cheese, besides parmesan. I go veggie and I make up for the lack of meat, in cheese! Wahoo!).

I make our pizza sauce base from scratch.  It's so easy and is so much more flavourful with fresh herbs and garlic!

You just use a can of tomato paste or tomato sauce (depending on how thick you like it), add fresh or dry herbs (fresh basil and oregano for us, today!) and fresh garlic (fresh garlic is the way to go for pizza).

(look at this cute piece of pottery I found this weekend at the Pubnico yardsale this weekend for $1)
Oregano from our meagre herb garden 
Anthony Bourdain would disapprove, but I prefer a garlic press for equal garlic distribution.

Stir together and spread on your crust!  This amount is enough for four personal pizzas (we make extra for lunches).


Usually, when people think veggies and pizza, we limit ourselves to traditional veggie toppings: onions, peppers...and that's about it..(bring on the bacon! bring on the cheese!)

But honestly, just about any veggie, is awesome on a pizza...and when you start combining, you start increasing your veggie consumption per day, increase your fibre and increase your vitamins..blah de blah blah blah...

The short of it: veggies + bread product + cheese = love!

Ok and maybe you can feel somewhat good about the consumption of veggies in your diet and feel good about how well it combines with red wine.

Today, I had onions, peppers, snow peas, baby carrots, broccoli and tomato. I added salt and pepper to the tomato and topped with parmesan (the real stuff is the way to go as opposed to the shaker canister) and some (un)sophisticated marble cheese. Nom!

We get the big parm chunks from Costco
Des tomates from the farmer's market!



Consider adding more veggies to your pizza next time!

Maybe it will help your immune system..here's hoping for me!

K.


1-2-3-Lausbua

Monday, 28 September 2015

Good morning!

How's yer Monday? I am battling this cold that keeps going. The l'il miss too.

Speaking of l'il misses! Today, we are sharing our experience with a local, Yarmouth based, German born, mom/teacher extraordinaire's clothing company:

123 Lausbua  
                                                                    


123 Lausbua is the brain-child of Petra Eyre. I met Petra when E. was a wee babe...we bonded over the fact that we both had experienced the "spirited" little newborn/toddler girl.

Petra gave me advice on what got her through, as well as shared her daughter L.'s clothes with us! Haha. Clothes and kids...what could be more fun?

I love when kids clothes are more sophisticated than your average clothes.  I know a lot of people might argue with me on that point. But when you are interested in fashion, it kind of crosses over into the clothes that your little people wear!

Petra has always dressed her kids in clothes that are unique and they definitely stand out. So, when she started her own kids clothing line, this year, I definitely paid attention.

Petra started this company after she struggled to find modern, hip birthday shirts for her kiddos...and 123 Lausbua was born. Petra's daughter, L. helps design the prints and Petra hand-stamps the clothing herself!

123 Lausbua is a tribute to Petra's german heritage: Lausbua loosely translating to "rascal".

I love that Petra allows the buyer to choose their print, colour and clothing medium (tees, tanks, cardis, long sleeve, onesies..) I have to admit I took my time to pick a print and medium that I knew E. would love. We went off road and chose the star print and the long sleeve raglan.

Spoiler alert: It's adorable.

And E. loves it. (Especially when I told her we were going to do a fashion shoot in it)




She's got model potential, no?

Petra hand delivered the item herself, and it came with a sweet note!



What more could you ask for: hand made, local and super-modern.

Petra just added a new Christmas design pre-order to her shop!  Now that I am over the fall-slump hump, I am started to get super excited for Christmas! Go check it out!

Enjoy the day :)

K.

Buttermilk-Hacked Biscuits

Saturday, 26 September 2015



 Hi,

What a weird Saturday it has been in this house. Fall really showed it's true colours today. Busted out the boots. Could have busted out the mittens in the morning.

When it's a weird day, it's never a bad idea to do some baking. Plus, Andrew is doing the Gran Fondo tomorrow, in Clare, so I was helping him do some carb loading. Such a supportive spouse, I am. Always thinking of him. :)

So I made some biscuits by Deb Perlman of Smitten Kitchen. See the recipe here: The Biscuits Dreams are Made of!

ooh baby

The recipe calls for buttermilk. The cow was a bit off today so there was no fresh buttermilk to be had.

Luckily, one can make buttermilk themselves!

Or a hacked version of buttermilk.

Same difference right?

It's super simple: use one tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar (basically, an acid....hahahaha get it?  base...acid....nevermind) and add it to one cup of milk. I had 2% on hand. I have done it with whole and 1% milk as well.

Let the milk and acid mixture sit or a few minutes.  You will see the milk start to curdle a bit. That's the goal here, folks.

Once you have the curdle, continue with your recipe and add the "buttermilk" as planned!

The acid in the buttermilk reacts with the baking soda and acts as a leavener (as well as the large amount of baking powder in this recipe)!

Great results with this biscuit recipe! One of us topped a biscuit with butter and raspberry preserves; the other butter and molasses.  Cuz hey...part of the support is to sample the carbs.



Have restful rest of the weekend..

K.

Books and Preschoolers

Friday, 25 September 2015

Hello all!

How's your week been?

Ours at the Perkins's house has been pretty good despite a visit from a mild cold virus.

We have been soaking up this wonderful weather and I have been hanging on to wearing dresses without tights. Days with tights and boots will come soon enough I am sure.

On beautiful evenings in the summer, we often try to get Emma out of the house..to tire her out before bedtime, to avoid time on the iPad, get fresh air and get active.  For some reason, in the summer, it's usually to the park or to the soccer field. Our trips to the library become few and far between. The other night, I told myself, we should make a family trip to the library. So we did!  And I was so glad. It's an activity I really have to take advantage of more often.

I myself am not an avid library user. I have an e-reader and will often find free or buy e-books. I know some people prefer to have the "real" book, but for many reasons I really don't mind having a kindle. Again, as mentioned in previous posts, I like reading articles on the internet and also enjoy magazines.

As a result, I often forget about going to the library for Emma!

We read books to Emma every night, outside of the nights that she may be up late. In a way...one of the main reasons I don't go to library as much with Emma is because it's so easy to get your hands on cheap books in the south west!

I scour Frenchy's, yardsales, flea markets, scholastic book orders and even facebook yardsales for awesome children's books!

In my job, we actively promote (and preach?) early literacy and pre-literacy skills.

We always encourage reading with your child.

But did you know there are "preferable" books and "non-preferable" books for preschool children (IMO)?

Don't get me wrong...if your child is into a certain type of book...that is definitely a preferable book....but there are definitely books that I like to stay away from for our general preschool population. Even more so for children that may have delays or disorders of speech and language.

Usually books that are not preferable for preschoolers are books that have a lot of words per page. It's fairly unusual to find a preschool book that is too short. It is very common to find a preschool book that is tooo loong. It's usually related to the number of words (sometimes paragraphs) on one page.

As a parent or caregiver, when you are reading these books that have a lot of words and/or paragraphs, the child can get lost in the language processing, lose attention or both. Books can become tedious and non-enjoyable for anyone involved.

When it comes to books for preschoolers...less is more!

Less words on a page supports better auditory memory, language processing and gives you the opportunity to talk to your child about what they see or what might be happening.

Examples of some of my favourite "less is more" books:

The Little Mouse and the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear (STELLAR BOOK!)



Sheep in a Jeep or Sheep Out to Eat  (Bonus points for lots of rhyming)





The Very Cranky Bear (I am noticing a bear theme)


Piggy and Elephant books! (there are alot!) by Mo Willems





The other common thread amongst these preschool books is that they have a setting, a problem, and a solution. These are things that you can talk about with your child (e.g. Oh wow the mouse just picked the strawberry by mistake! what should he do?/ The sheep made a biiig mess in the restaurant! do you think someone will be mad?)

It is less common to see that type of book set up in my other non-preferable type of preschool book: the "character" book! (i.e. the Dora book, the Bubble Guppy book, the Ninja Turtle book).

This is a type of book that little ones are drawn to because they know/love/are obsessed with the character in it ("But Paw Patrol/Minions/Princess/Spiderman is my favourite!").

These books are typically a nightmare to read (sooo long) and have little/no storyline that follows the setting/problem/solution formula that children have to learn how to identify in the early school years.

Take home msg: when you look for a preschool book at least have a few books that  have a storyline as well as one with fewer words in it!  You won't be sorry. It makes for a more enjoyable reading experience for caregiver and child. I also find these are they books that I don't mind reading over and over and over again when E. asks....as opposed to her Dora the Explorer Winter Princess book.

Happy story reading!

K.


Etsy finds

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Hi all,

How's your week plugging along?

Well at work, my comrades at the N.S. Hearing and Speech office and I are doing an ugly cry, daily, because fall is here.


Actually, I am being kind.

We probably look more like this..


With slightly less bangs.

I know.

You like your sweaters. You like your soups and stews. You like your pumpkin spice everything. You like your crisp weather.

I feel ya.

If fall was followed by summer, I would be down with fall.

I prefer denial.

It's an easier place to be than winter...especially with tax season a snowball's throw into the winter season...

But alas, I am getting ahead of myself!

Here is my attempt at making the transition to fall easier.  It has to do with shopping (was there any doubt?)

Here are some absolutely tacky fall things I found on Etsy this week (to cheer myself up)!

Can you tell I am feeling a bit cranky this week?


There are no complementary words



The holy grail of ugly holiday sweaters

You could rock some turkey earrings at Thanksgiving

For the man in your life

For the lover of cats and holiday decor

Some S & P shakers to dream about





There! I feel marginally better!

Apologies again for the cantankerous mood. Hoping Wednesday brings better feels.

What makes for a wonderful fall for you?  Give me some ideas! Please!

K.



Peach and Pecan Coffee Cake

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Jeez!  This blog seems to be turning into a baking blog! Who knew that the only thing I do that is interesting is bake (and that's debatable!).

Emma begged to purchase fresh peaches last week at the Yarmouth farmer's market.  We bought them from a lovely Acadian gentleman, whose name I can't remember(!). We buy apples from him every year.  He is so friendly to the kids and gives free apples away all the time! He has a hobby farm and grows peaches, pears, apples, crabapples, potatoes..He self identifies that he is retired and is a farmer, only because he loves it. (Heart that!)

Well, Emma begged and then decided she didn't actually want peaches with her lunches this week. #typical

I am not a raw peach super fan.

What's a girl to do with quart of peaches?

Make cake of course.

(On an aside: Until I started recently blogging, I never really thought too much about recipe development....and my lack there of. Google makes recipe access soooo easy.)

In future, I definitely love the thought I doing some recipe development...but until then...
We always have Ina Garten aka the Barefoot Contessa. She's like this sweet, little grandmother figure with remarkably dark hair..ahem.

She is a food and baking rock star in the U.S.

Having said that...I have never made this recipe before.

With every recipe that one hasn't done before...there is an element of "risk". The risk that the end result, will tank. That there will be a loss of time and butter. A mess in your kitchen with no reward.



Spoiler alert: This cake is amazing.


Follow the link for further info! : Ina Garten's Peach Coffee Cake recipe

 Some changes that I made with no ill effects:

- I ran out of sour cream after about 3/4 c and substituted the rest with plain greek yogurt
- I had small peaches and used about 6 instead of 3 large peaches
- I used table salt rather than kosher because I find kosher sometimes ends up with a saltier tasting product, and less distribution within the product, as the granules are bigger.
- My cake wasn't done after 50 minutes in the oven.  Took an extra 15 mins (65 minutes total).  Just bake it until a toothpick comes clean

The cake batter. A. and I ate a ton of it. The cake should probably be bigger.

Layering 1/2 batter on the bottom of a 9inch square pan and then 1/2 the peaches

Then topping the first layer with cinnamon/sugar mix.

More batter, then topping with the last of the peaches, cinnamon/sugar and adding chopped pecans

The cake after sun tanning in the oven for just over an hour.

This recipe came together super easy and we. Just. Can't. Stop. Eating. It. Even the "fournager" is indulging.



The plan was to bring it to work, but it may not make it.

Take home message: Take baking risks! 

Your butter will thank you. And maybe your husband/spouse/child/co-worker/cat. 

(A. says this cake is way better than banana bread, because it tastes like awesome cake, without the taste of rotten bananas....Thanks? I think it means it's a thumbs up.)



Have a good week!

K.


These days

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Hey!

I made it to 3000 views on my blog in about a month and a half!  I am pleased as punch.  I should probably deduct around a hundred from that total due to my own views, cuz I consistently double check to make sure stuff looks good or get A. to read it to make sure it sounds ok. But either way...I know for sure I haven't looked at it 3000 times, so someone must have taken the time to take a peek :)  Thanks so much for following along!

I would never consider myself a writer (I did mediocre, at best, in English in high school and university) and I certainly am not very literary or philosophical (I have a really hard time enjoying dense reading material); however, writing these posts have been entirely reflective, fun, and a new way for me to relax. Nothing bad about that, so onward and forward (cuz to me upward implies that I haven't been happy with how my blogging experience has been so far).


A hazy day on the waterfront in Yarmouth

Some people have been asking how the house building plans have been going and I must be honest: they are at a bit of a stand still. After meeting with contractors we decided to draft some plans from scratch, in which we approached one of Andrew's childhood friends who just graduated from his Masters in Architecture from Dalhousie. He is extremely excited to help and we are thrilled to have him on board. His name is Adam and he is wonderfully talented...so much so, that when I searched his name in google I realized you can view his thesis here: www.dalspace.library.dal.ca . It kind of blows your mind to realize how much time this must have taken. It is visually stunning, as well as ridiculously well researched. Can you tell we are so proud?

Either way, plans take time and then comes the fun part again..quotes. GAH! (I still am not sure I have recovered from the sticker shock from the first round of quotes.) I hope that we will be ready to break ground when the snow and ice melts in the spring (Dear gawd... winter.)

Some blackberries ripening on our piece of land. NOM

I get lost down thought-process-holes when I start thinking about all the decisions we will have to make down the road; compromises, details, mistakes and hopefully a few design triumphs. While certainly not earth shattering decisions...stressful, none the less! A home is an investment: financially and emotionally.

I hope that I can look back at this post in a years time and we will be on the other side of something! Whatever that may be..who knows!

Have a lovely evening followers and thanks again for sticking around :)

K.




Lemon Meringue Pie

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Hey guys!

How was your weekend? Mine was pretty low key, which we kinda needed around these parts! I think I was asleep by 10 pm both nights.

But! I had my Sunday planned out!

Some time ago, a friend of mine told me that she was going to have serious surgery. She's not a cake person, but a citrus and pie person. I told her I was gonna make a lemon meringue pie for her from scratch, for a pick me up, after she was through it all.....something I had never done before (eek)!

Growing up, lemon meringue pie was a treat, as my father is allergic to eggs.  Whenever we had pie, it was usually one we could all eat. When we did, of course we always used a Newfoundland favourite..Sheriff lemon pie filling.  Not this time.

Lemon meringue pie has been on my baking bucket list for a while.  The lemon curd always appeared to be challenging to make, whenever I watched someone on tv make it. Usually the enviable baker: Anna Olsen.



Lemon meringue pie has a lot of eggs in it. Eggs can be very tricky. Cuz if you aren't careful...you may have a lemon scrambled egg pie. Yea...doesn't have the same ring to it.  

So recipe for the crust?  You know the drill: Click on these words to head to the pie crust by Smitten Kitchen!  Anna uses a different crust recipe which you can find on her website. Traditionally, lemon meringue has a short bread style crust. But.. I just love Deb Perlman's so much!


I used half the recipe to create a blueberry galette and half for the base of this pie.

So you have to "blind bake" this crust for the recipe.  I have to admit. Blind baking is a bit of a pain in the butt.

Basically, you place the crust in the pie plate. Follow these tips to prevent crust shrinkage: www.thekitchn.com



Then you cover the crust with parchment paper and use pie weights, beans or something in heavy multiples to keep the crust from fluffing up and preventing loss of shape of the crust.  I use dollar store marbles!!



Bake the crust for 20 mins at a preheated oven of 400 degrees. Then remove the parchment paper and weights and return to the oven for 10 more minutes.



Take out of the oven and brush on egg white to "seal" the pie crust.  This will help the moisture of the curd from penetrating and keep the crust, crisp. Let the crust cool to room temperature before starting the next part of the recipe.

The next part of the recipe is straight from Anna Olsen:

The lemon filling:

- Juice of approx. 2 lemons to create 1/2 cup of lemon juice
- 6 egg yolks
- 1 cup of granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup of cornstarch
- 1 cup of cold water
- 2 tbsp of cold unsalted butter




In a medium pot, whisk together sugar, cornstarch and water. On medium heat, whisk constantly, until mixture turns glossy and thick.  You basically will be like...when is this gonna thicken up?  And then all of a sudden....It's THICK!



Remove the pot from the heat momentarily, and take a cup of the glossy mixture and add it to a bowl with the egg yolks in it, while whisking constantly. This is called "tempering" the eggs. You don't want to add the yolks directly to the hot pot because you will end up with scrambled egg yolks. Ick.

The easiest way to separate eggs. Pour the whites one at a time in a larger bowl.


Once tempered, add the egg yolk mixture back to the pot and return to the heat. Whisk until it comes to simmer and add the lemon juice.  Whisk for one more minute until it comes back to simmer and remove from the stove.  Add the cold butter. Whisk until melted.

This part of recipe, Anna doesn't do.  I learned this trick from Laura Calder of "French Food at Home". Anytime you make a curd or custard, you want to strain it through a fine sieve. This removes any bits of egg that may have cooked, resulting in a super smooth texture. Laura indicates that this is paramount in any French recipe...So I did! (One doesn't argue with a French chef!)



Pour the lemon curd into the cooled pie shell and cover the hot curd directly with plastic wrap.  This prevents a film from occurring on top of the curd.


        

Immediately prepare the meringue:

- 4 egg whites at room temperature
- 1/2 tsp of cream of tartar
- 1/3 cup of granulated sugar
- 3 tbsp of icing sugar

Whip the egg whites and cream of tartar with a mixer until foamy. While mixing on low, slowly add the sugars. Then return to high whipping until meringue has soft/medium peaks.



Remove the plastic wrap from the crust/curd and spread on the meringue. Create pretty peaks with a spatula or knife.



Bake in a 325 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until meringue is browned.



Cool until room temp and chill in the fridge for 4 hours.

Snarf.

But I haven't snarfed yet. I have to wait until tomorrow! To snarf with my friend (who is doing great :) )

If it tastes as good as it looks, I think it will be a successful recipe. Now, I must lick the lemon curd off the plastic wrap, before I clean up.

Have a great week!

K.