Saturday, January 31, 2015

Avocado Hummus~ And little boy pleasers~

It's Saturday night..and unbelievably..Sunday ,Feb 1rst is at our doorstep..
My niece will turn of our daughters..the baby..will be 38..
Time flies.

I love fact I was  very happy when I read that I had won some gift certificates from Les Gourmandises d'Isa~ It was a  treat to get a FedEx envelope at my door frigid morning this past week.. with coupons and a lunchbag from Sabra..Thank you.
In the interim..I made my own..but added avocado this time..
I love avocado ,so adding it to a hummus only made I had read about them on different blogs..
My recipe is in my head and rapid..I jotted it down below..
Last June..on Max's 7th birthday he received a Boogie Board..I had never really played with one..but while sitting for the boys last week ..Oli asked me to ask him to spell out words..and write down letters and numbers..he was using this Boogie Board..You write what you want(I was brought back to my Etch-A-Sketch days..I LOVED that fact I loved it so..I can still feel the feeling I had with the knobs..a scent..and erasing!)..anyways you write what you want and to erase you press that top button..
I was hooked.I don't have an Iphone or similar..and the mini Ipad is a bit big for some bags..
It is my new favorite way of writing down what groceries I would like to get.I just got the Jot.
Big enough,,flat..fits in my purse..the list got a lot longer after reading blogs..beautiful blogs~
I used to have a paper here..a paper there..the back of a ME day -to- day calendar name it..and often the used ones are in my pockets weeks later.
This is cannot erase just one line..but all you do is cross off.

For our 2  short spells of after school meet the boys at the bus and snack/homework time..
I made that Banana Cinnamon Swirl bread and added chocolate chips like I always do..for the boys.
This I think is the favorite dessert I make to bring over if we sit..
They do like choclate chip cookies too I brought these the next day..
I added a piece of a mini Hershey milk chocolate bar on each...they don't even need it..
So good!My daughter and I give them thumbs up.

I bought Noah a Paddington book..he loved the movie..I kept looking at the cover and took out my watercolor pencils..I am embarrassed to say I have never used them to do a complete little piece.Until now.
I took them out..sat down on a beautiful sunny cold day and played with them and the cover of Paddington..
I can't get the pencils to look like watercolor..yet they just become  little areas of wet color..but how fun is it to draw.. with them..then wet with your brush and off you go.
Paddington's creator is AMAZING to always get his little face to have such adorable expressions.
I am hooked looking at this bear's face..Carol  also made me love him more..both happened simultaneously:)
Do many of you watch..

Parenthood ?

I fell in love with every character..

I am not speaking about Masterpiece..the BBC.. nor PBS etc..You know what I mean:)
Just a regular..mainstream show.
I will miss the Bravermans and all the nights I ended up in tears.
The finale had me holding Kleenex beside my eyes to let the tears fall directly into the Kleenex instead of streaming down my face.
Thanks to Jason Katims,Ron Howard,Brian Grazer for such a wonderful show..years of wholesome amazing stories.The great cast..made even better the last couple of years with the endearing Ray Romano.

Loved you guys♥(theme song and video)here is the original

I have also  taken a shine to Last Tango in Halifax..we just discovered it..even the link here is a huge we are on season 1..Netflix..I love the characters!
I like it because I'll be 61  I think and Jacques will be 74..
It's not Downton..or The Fall..or Grantchester(another new fave)..but it just sits so right with me.
Downton was good last week..but I need to know if Barlow is suffering Clive Owens sufferance in the Knick..or not..I need Edith to have Marigold..I need Isobel to say yes to Lord Merton..and Mary to love Charles Blake.
I need Miss Bunting back to teaching full time with no time on her hands to dine at Downton..And I would like Violet to have fun with her Russian Prince.

  Back to food:)

Avocado Chick Pea Hummus 

1 can  (yes a can)  of chickpeas..drained and rinsed
3 garlic cloves
a splash or Sriracha
2 tbs of Tahini
Extra Virgin Olive oil
2 avocados
I put everything in my food processor  and drizzle Eoo in while processing..I can tell when the consistency is right..
I also add a bit of water to loosen.
on top..some chopped parsley..toasted pine nuts and a few red chili pepper flakes.And a swirl of Evoo.

Oli eats this and loves it.:)

You can add lemon juice..I sprayed mine..I have a little Lemon Spray from an Italian grocery store
and you can add cumin..I didn't in this one.

I forgot to say that I read a darling post this week..I read many many ..but this one caught me.

Have a great week.

Sunday, January 25, 2015



For some reason..I find it hard to believe that I pressed Publish..for the 900th time today since I started my humble little blog.It was just a bit of a surprise this week when I saw how many I had posted.
When my friend suggested I blog I told her I would have nothing to say after talking about a few recipes and my little ones at the time..
I just tried to find my first post..November 2008..I wnet to the next..Lucas was such a tiny thing..and he will be double digits this year'
Santa put Brut after shave in his stocking here this is being put to very good use his mom tells me:)
So much has changed..
Happy I stayed with it.
I enjoy it so much.
Part of my little life.
Food for the soul.
So many nice people♥

I bought tulips for the first time this past week..this winter..Bunches had frozen I transport and they were $2.00 a bunch.
I took care of them and they brightened up the sunroom immeasurably during this yet again cold spell.

I made another of Josée Di Stasio's soups..this time her spinach one.And I am certain her brussel sprout topping had something to do with it~
I loved the green on green and redid it here.
I repainted my favorite chair and liked this trial better.
I cut it out because I made a mess next to it trying calligraphy in the wrong I cut it out and made a gift tag.
I found I enjoyed making gift tags out of  my trials.
That really is my favorite chair here..Perusing seed catalogs in January:)
I stitched the pillow on the left about 100 yrs ago.. and the one on the right was a gift from a friend..many many years ago...I have mentioned this pillow has a button from clothing her mom wore..
She is I am.. a motherless daughter and we have missed them dearly..So this meant  lot..the button..since then I have tried to add my mother's buttons to things too.
I thought it was such a sweet gesture..idea..
Those Ikea chairs are great.You simply put the slipcovers in the washing machine...I really do like IKEA..every time we go..which is rarely ..I do find a little kitchen a cookie cutter..loaf pan..that we just don't find anywhere else..I find the prices good too.
Really at my stage of the game..I don't need we go maybe once a year:)

I made a little challah bread go with soups and chilis..
This one proved so easy and good..I made half the recipe for 1 loaf.
This bread is excellent w/ a little honey butter..
I take my salted butter..add some honey and a bit of icing sugar.
Just put a bit on a slice..and your meal is even better.
I made the dough in the bread machine..then shaped and baked.
Still need a bit of practice on this's not a perfect round..:)
PS..On Saturday I made it again..again halved the recipe to make just one..
Turned out just as well..I think I am getting the curving:)

La Recette for the soup:

Cream of spinach and parmesan cheese

4 portions

2 tbsps butter or olive oil or half and half..that's what I did.
1 leek chopped..white and tender green parts only  or one onion  chopped
2 potatoes sliced..Yukon Gold or Idaho
2 garlic cloves
3 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
4 cups packed baby spinach
Nutmeg to taste
4 tbsps parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

In a pot heat the butter or olive oil.
Soften the leeks or onions a few minutes..
Add the garlic..potatoes and broth..
Cook until the potatoes are tender ap.20 mins.
Add the spinach and nutmeg..(I omitted the nutmeg)
Cook until softened ap. 2minutes
Let cool add cheese and then use your immersion blender..
Check seasonings..
Warm and serve.
Garnish as you please..I blanched some brussel sprouts and topped my soups with them.

Felicity ..another of the pretty words:)

I have written about my daughter putting a special napkin in Noah's lunch every day..From Pre K to K and now grade one..every single day..It amazes me..that I took my watercolor pencils and tried to draw Paddington from a book was fun to try and use the pencils I rarely use them..but I did not get his expression at all..I will show you one day..


But my daughter did capture  his expression

Every night before she goes to bed..  she makes one ♥
I asked her if he mentions them alot..she said:"Not really..he gives them to his friends:) "
Apparently his friends ask him for them:)
I found a cute cute Paddington Treasury book for him w/ a CD..
I know he will like for me I am dying to take the cello off and look at the images and read it.
But I will wait for him.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Indian Red Lentil Soup~And Dorie's Double Chocolate Marble Cake~

Josée Di Stasios Indian Red Lentil Soup~
We watched her one evening..and when the show was done ..both Jacques and I wanted to try each soup she made.
I started with this red lentil one and it really is very good..
In our continuing minus 0's F temps here in QC..soup is de rigueur~down to -20 F one night..

I made Lady and the Pups fraudulent sourdough bread again but added 1/3 cup flaxseeds and 1/3 cup unsalted sunflower seeds..I make this one w/ my KA stand mixer.
It was perfect for this soup..and for the Chili we had another evening..
Baking wise I made the excellent Double Chocolate Marble cake..and was happy to see it printed out here..  from Baking Chez Moi.I have 3 of her books and each one is a favorite..I can't say that about every cookbook.
Beacuse my blog background is black,,I can't copy and font has to be white..:(
Also I am truly a terrible typist..:)
Hate making mistakes in transcribing a recipe..
This cake is like a pound cake..dense..but not crumbly and dry..The taste is divine.
I used a Hershey Dark chocolate husband seems to collect lovely dark chocolate bars of all kinds..and Callebaut white chocoltae.
You just cannot go wrong with a Dorie recipe..never has one not been grand.
This hits the spot with

I've watched some good movies lately ..I only watch TV at night..8-10 usually.
My fave shows..Downton..Call The Midwife..Parenthood..(I cry every episode)..The Affair is done for now..Spiral is not back on yet..House Of Cards..also done for now..Happy Valley..The Knick..Homeland..The Killing..Orange Is The New Black..Mr Selfridge..Suits..
My tastes run eclectic:)

So we do a lot of Netlix movies and HBO.

Finally saw August:Osage County..Brilliantly acted by Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts.Dark but very good.
Also on the dark side..Olive Kitteridge..Frances McDormand ,Richard Jenkins, Bill Murray,Zoe Kazan...Frances is fabulous.When I was polishing my mom's silver this week..I had  a flash  of Frances cleaning her fridge..and decided to polish..gently and with love:)Being mindful of every stroke:)
Oy..she is something in that movie..The last scene though..felt good to us for some reason.

Was happy to see Anna win a Golden Globe ♥

Was unhappy to see many actresses faces don't move anymore:(
We really fear looking older..why is it that in some countries..aging is to be revered?
Just a passing thought..I just feel some look like caricatures of themselves now.

Not Frances McDormand:)

I loved the artists workspaces in Italy..from well worn   and loved palettes to new ones..I could have spent the day just observing their spaces..their work..their habits.
If ever I go back I will.
And I will come back with some of their artwork.
I played too..sketching then painting my favorite chair ..10 minutes..again..should take way longer and do much better.
My 2014 Susan Branch Calendar is finished..they are never really finished though:) I can look at her pages and try and learn by trying to ..well you know...
My little art photos I took with a mini Ipad..they sure do a lot.
They let you read books..tell the time..gicve you messages..make you learn..tke photos..listen to music.
Tablets are a treat.

La recette~

By the just put everything in a pot and simmer for ap 1 hour:)no sautéing etc..
It works!

1 can..28 ozs,,Italian tomatoes chopped
1/2 cup dry red lentils
1 cup roughly chopped white onions
3 cups of veggie or chicken stock
2 tsps ground coriander
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 good handful fresh coriander
salt and pepper to taste..

Place everything in a pot..bring to a boil..simmer 1 hr half covered.
Let cool a bit..  use your hand blender and make it come to your desired consistency.

You may notice that I have parsley for mine..which makes it way less Indian..But Jacques is not crazy about coriander..I can get away with a bit of ground coriander..but the handful of fresh would have not pleased him.
My kids on the other hand would love it the original way.
You can garnish this w/ a dollop of whipped crem that you have added curry powder to for a lovely effect and tatse.For some reason the small amount of cream I chose to use ..did not whip:)

I found a site ..forget where..before Christmas..that had beautiful words..I printed them up..they are..
they roll of your tongue..hoping I can remember many..
The first..
Ailurophile: A cat lover:) I know a few ..:)

PS..Donna..  has lost her reading list with Blogger..I know I have lost it on my has been months..on my other pc and Ipad I still have it..but it has disappeared and come back..
Anyone have any hints for Donna (See below in comments) to get her reading list back?
No fun..been there done that..

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Powdered Citrus,date squares..and housekeeping.

Many have picked meaningful words for 2015~
I read them here and there..and enjoyed reading what I saw..
If you could peek below the fairies and would see a glass etched ornament given to me maybe 4 years ago by my friend says ..HOPE.
So I am picking..have picked that♥

Christmas hibernated here  January 9th..
It involved a whole lotta organization and cleaning..

It takes one full day to ready for Christmas..and one full day to do a system restore.
Putting up Christmas is way funner,
Putting Christmas to sleep involves more cleaning:)and is way less fun..
I don't mind's a ritual for me..

Hand made ornaments go in one bag/box..breakables in another..see above:)Little porcelain faces.. glass balls..etc..confiserie types..

OLD ones..not antiques..just old since our wedding .in another..etc etc..

I don't wrap them..or it would take 2 days..they are gently placed.They look haphazardly placed..but no..they are fine..the ones that look haphazardwere place on the top of the tree..I needed the ladder and the rest had been placed~

Everywhere feels younger...lighter..yet less ZEN...and then again..more Zen.Like a makeover.

We had days with minus 20 F temps..  some snow..some freezing rain..

I busied myself in the kitchen..making those powdered infusions of clementines and meyer lemons..
The idea and recipe was found here..I could not find a better way of showing you the finished product than by gleaning(copying) almost  exactly how she showed us..
It was the best way to share..
Basically peel your oranges..(organic..)lemons..limes.. being careful to peel up the least bit of that is the very AMER..bitter part..If they are not organic make sure you wash the citrus carefully..I use a mix of vinegar and water..I am fine with that..
Then I put them on parchment..and baked in a slow oven..she recommended 100 C  for 1.5 took mine longer..keep want that when you pulse in your coffee grinder(I have one specifically for herbs and spices)..there is no moisture and you get a fine fine grain/powder.
The scent is suerb!
Perfect addition to zest up muffins..  cakes.. icings..pancakes..cookies ...even date squares.

I have baked since New Years and 2 trials were absolute shambles..blueberry baked donuts..oy..
not pretty not good ..
That little silicone mold will have to wait a while before I venture that route again..
And really beautiful stuffed cookies made in a moon cake mold.
I had tried no avail last when I saw cookies ..I thought .."I have found THE recipe" for my molds..
Not so much.
My cookies were rock hard..the impression faded at baking..FLOPS.

I did make this for dinner one night ..adding mushrooms I had pan sautéed first..I had to bake longer because I used skin on ,bone in.. legs..We rarely if ever have skin on ..bone in..but some cases the 2 are needed..
It was quite good for a quick and easy meal.

So  as far as baking went..since the new recipes were being so stubborn.. ..I made a tried and true..
Date far as I know..Jacques and I love them ..and Frédérick..
So I brought some over.
We all probably have as many date square recipes as banana bread recipes..but a friend lost his aunt during the holidays and he had given me her recipe..
So I made those thinking of him..and her..
The secret he and she said..:" Is love..and the freshest dates you can this case and their cases..Medjool from Algeria."

La recette~

And they qualify this recipe as no different from many others..the sole reason they are so that they are made with love~

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour(I put 3/4)
1 cup butter in small cubes
2 + cups of rolled oats
450 grams of fresh dates..pitted.
1 cup water or orange juice

Now I grate the butter.. she says/ he says.. to cut the butter in small pieces and blend into the flour..I grate the cold butter and with my extremely clean fingers..I blend the butter into the flour and then add the brown sugar and oats that I have pre-blended.
It makes the crumble..Work it gently but thoroughly so the butter is well incorporated.
After pitting the very fresh dates..cook them in one cup of water or orange juice..(I do half half)..

...for  a little over 5 minutes until you get a type of jam consistency (my words)..
In an 8 x 8 pan..(I add a piece of parchment that overhangs so I can lift the whole square out and put on a board to cut into ind. squares or triangles.)  place half the crumble and don't press down hard..

With a spoon ..spread the date mixture over all..and top with the rest of the crumble..
I added a smidgen of my orange powder to the date mixture..
Bake at 375 for ap 30 minutes..Check because they said 45 minutes and really after 25 mine were check you will know when they are ready..they brown and they just look cooked/ you can see every oven is different.

My notes..I used a 9x9 silicone pan..
So nice w/ tea/coffe/milk.
A classic in the kitchen.

The ones I usually make are from Ann Lindasy..If you scroll down to Best Ever Date Squares you will find the recipe here..
I also like Blueberry Oat bars..these are my faves..

Tomorrow..I am seeing Jersey Boys with my daughters ..♥

I'll let you was my Christmas gift from them..The tickets said:" Lunch and a show with your girls".

Friday, January 9, 2015

Nutella Brioche~

So nice to have one of our favorite shows back on.
We kept telling our kids they would love this..finally three seasons later they tried it and fell in love with the show too..They even have tea during the show..
Imagine my surprise when my daughter handed me a gift when she walked in Christmas morning..and this was in it..cute little DA box..and inside this's maybe 2 inches across..
and if you push on the highest tower..the lights go on and the theme score plays♥
I thanked her ..quite more excitedly than that ..and she said..Fred bought it for you..
A little booklet with the primary characters with quotes..

So maaaaany classic quotes..
Not all from the book..

"Get back in the box Miss Sharp"
"Do I look like a frolicker?"
"Oh dear ,have you swallowed a dictionary?"
"What is a weekend"?

I can hear all their voices when I read quotes from the show..

Definitely Downton Worthy is  this brioche..

In December..I happened to see Jamie's Jam Brioche on her wonderful blog~
I had seen these here and there on Pinterest..but they seemed..quite impossible..I guess I never really read into them..just looked and lusted.
Jamie made it sound doable and her ethereally gorgeous brioche made me do it:)
The link to the video helped too.
We were having the boys for a sleepover New Year's Eve..I was either going to make them Krusteez Waffles ;) or Eggos..or this..
So NYE day..around 9.30 AM I started this..
I have a very bad habit..I skip parts of recipes..I gather the general gist of a recipe and immediately step into the process..Don't do as I do:)
So I never saw that it could take up to 4 hrs to rise/proof..
And it was frigid cold here..we don't heat our homes to 70F in QC in the winter...we dress warmly even.. indoors~
So..I finally finished the brioche at 4.30..dusk..right when the boys were arriving so I snapped 38 photos in dusk in 10 mins max:) my brioche to a chair in the dining room(west facing) by a candlelit window..
So the photos are misrepresentative.
It actually looked better in person.
And it was so good!
So go see how Jamie did hers..I swear my mise en place was a lot messier..

I ran out of Nutella..God Bless Jacques he went out and came how w/ a similar spread by Laura Secord..and she is an institution here.
I was gloating when I saw my brioche..not even as feminine and perfect as Jamie's..but still I gloated inside myself.
It's sinceriously fun and challenging... to make..minimally challenging.. but don't think you can say..I will make these for breakfast QC in the winter..
Unless your yeast is on steroids.Or you have an oven w/ a proof setting.
To me the rolling out the dough was the felt like I didn't have enough dough..but I did..and knowing how much the boys love Nutella..I put too much so some of my ends even after repinching..split a bit..but still quite divaish I found.
Breakfast was super easy..yogurts with the flower on it plse(vanilla)..banana..and brioche..I warmed up pieces for them in the microwave..just like 10 seconds.
I LOVED making this.
Thank you Jamie for the inspiration for the boys NYday breakfast and my fun NYE day.

Times sure have  changed from when I was going out in a sequined halter top and palazzo pants on New Years Eve.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

A New Year~

During the holidays..
I read ..a lot..
Cookbooks:)  and fiction..
Baking Chez Moi... Dorie Greenspan...   My French Kitchen ... Mimi Thorisson
China Dolls..Lisa See..Still Life  With Bread Crumbs..Anna Quindlen~

I love perusing cookbooks and thinking what I would like to try next..and I love getting lost in books..fiction..non fiction..thrillers..biographies..poetry etc..
Reading How The Light Gets In..Louise Penny..
Penny at Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen recommended Louise Penny..I have read one..and will figure out which one..but Gamache is her style of writing..this one is in QC..Montréal is featured and I was hooked at the first few pages..
Her prologue is so sincere.. that the prologue itself is worth the read.
How The Light Gets In are lyrics from a Leonard Cohen song..she approached him to be able to use these words and asked about the fee..
He said FREE.
A Free Fee from a great artist/composer/person.
Imagine that..and not at his most financially rich moments.
J'aime beaucoup beaucoup ce genre d'histoire.
During the holidays..
someone did something a little similar for me.
No relation..nothing.
A Free Fee out of caring  .

We had unusually mild wet weather..which caused most of the snow to quite literally disappear ,which is rare for Qué postal service lady told me it was the first time in 74 years it left no snow for snowshoeing or xcountry skiing..
It did start to chill up around the 29th..frigid.
But still no snow~
So reading took centre stage..
And baking bread of course..
and I have no idea what happens to me in between Christmas and New Years...I always feel like organizing..and with this weather? I positively felt like Spring cleaning..Our bedroom got a top to bottom everything..mattress..sheets ..pillow covers..cases..pillows..floors..curtains..were dusted washed pressed within an inch of their lives..
I still hang on to those pillowcases..I must have cross stitched them 20 years ago..
They have stayed so nice!

It looks and smells and feels so good.April in December.
A new desktop calendar is out..the same one I get every year.One year I did not have one..and the year was not the's so handy beside the phone..and I love the quotes.

Looking forward to the new Season Of Downton...

Nevertheless.. during the holidays..everything felt Christmasey at our daughter's for Christmas eve..
We had quite a little feast..We were all there..Caroline..Frédérick,Mylène..Alain ..Jacques and I..the 4 Alphabet boys and Giulianna and Adamo.
I brought an appetizer and a salad..
My appetizer was lovely and disappeared..
I made a beautiful Pomegranate cheeseball..
You can find the keeper recipe here..
Chris and Scott shared it at their CafeSucreFarineBlog:)
I knew it would be delicious on it's own..but I had just just made their Sriracha pepper jelly:)
So I brought some along and served it w/ the crackers and cheeseball..

I also was in charge of the salad..and brought this magnificence..
So so pretty and delicious..pomegranates..and cranberries and pistachios just sing We wish you a merryChristmas to me..
Keeper too.
Thank you so much ..for these wonderful ..festive..beautiful dishes..

My daughters had made great desserts..and Mylène an app we love .little curry olive bites,,good....and my son-in-law had once again outdone  himself w/ melt in yout mouth lamb..Jerusalem artichoke chips served on the smoothest mashed potatoes..caramelized tri color roasted carrots and gorgeous asparagus.

Christmas morning was carb fare I would say..with Bagels and smoked salmon and cream cheese..and these fantastic scones..

You know what I did?
I made them..and before adding the egg wash/sugar..I FROZE them.Baked them frozen after adding the wash..and then added the OJ sugar glaze.
They rose high and flaky and between you and I..looked even better than the ones in Ina's recipe:)
Just remember when baking frozen scones you will have to adjust the time and check..don't be dismayed it they seem unsightly at one point..keep baking until they look puffy..flakey..and gorgeous.
The oj glaze on top..yum.

Jacques made his pecan praline bacon..from Epicurious.. we had maple syrup muffins.. croissants..cretons..mimosas..etc..
The boys opened their gifts..the adults too.
I would say the hits of breakfast was the bacon and the scones:)
New Year's Eve was my kind of party..
We had the boys for a sleepover.

And in a heartbeat..Christmas and New Year's  came and went~

May 2015 comfort you.


Did I mention Downton?:)
I love that Mr. Bates.