Stationary Drifting


2 Comments

Eating: Apple Cider Caramels (more from homemade holidays)

apple cider caramelsI LOVE smitten kitchen, I’ve posted stuff of Deb’s many times (like here, here, and here). The recipes she creates are low maintenance, usually from things I have around the house (depending on if I have groceries at that particular point), and always delicious. I had the pleasure of flipping through her cookbook a while back and lemmetellyouwhat. Its amazing. I can’t wait to get my grubby little kitchen hands on it.

I made these Apple Cider Caramels as part of my homemade holidays challenge. My step-dad is a hard guy to buy for but he does love candy because he can’t eat chocolate anymore. They went over well, he was touched I made something for him and happy with the gift. Their fanciness to time ratio is awesome. People are pretty impressed by all the individually wrapped and handmade candies, though I think it took me less than 2 hrs to make and all with common ingredients.

These were straight forward to make, even without investing in a candy thermometer. Mine turned out a little soft so maybe I need to reduce them down a little more next time. They were ridiculously delicious though and much appreciated in my house and my mom’s. Mars was a little sad that I didn’t make any for him so I snuck a few in his stocking.


2 Comments

Best Of: February

best of_feb collage
For such a short month February sure seemed long. I always feel this way about February though, when I’m dying from the cold and grey. February is the month that I most want to hibernate. Its too far past the holidays to still have that excitement in my system and too far from spring to feel like winter might possibly end. I still had an interesting month regardless of that. Mars and I took a short trip to Ottawa, I started swimming a few times a week to beat the trap of living and working in the same place and the inertia that came with that. I started thinking about what it means to be truly happy in what I do (no answers to that yet though, I image it will take more than a month), Mars and I had a really cute, at home, homemade Valentine’s day. It snowed A LOT. I baked a fair bit. February in a nutshell.

Here are some highlights:

Life:

pool triptech

Mars and I drove up to Ottawa for the weekend. He took me on a date to a pool hall and we both discovered we are far FAR worse at pool than either of us imagined (and I had no illusions of being a pool shark). It was super funny and I think we scandalized the other patrons by laughing so much…and kissing.

I’ve been working on creating a schedule for myself so that I am in a routine. Working from home is a trap of constantly flexible time and its easy to sleep in really late, get groceries at 9pm, clean the house at 3pm on a wednesday, etc. I’m trying to create a work/life/play schedule that is regular and consistent. I hear that that’s good for me or whatever. Part of this is getting exercise so I started taking myself off to the pool 3 times a week to swim 45mins of laps. Its a nice quiet time where I can kind of zone my brain out and remind my body that as much as I’d like to be hibernating, I’m not that kind of creature. Mars and I have been huge homebodies this month, partly because we’re broke and partly because its winter. We’re both working away on projects, watching a fair bit of netflix and having couch dates. Sometimes its nice to not go out for a while.

Crafts:

With the exception of massive amount of sewing I started on the night of the last day of Feb (and am therefore counting as a March activity). The only thing I think I made this month was the crochet heart mobile for Mars’ Valentine’s day present. Which I mostly made in January anyway. It was a variation of this pattern but I’m not much for following patterns (with the exception of lace, I don’t toy with those patterns!) so I can’t exactly say out to make it. Basically I made a bunch of hearts of different sizes, then made a crocheted top part (based kind of on this collar pattern). I attached the hearts to the top and to each other with crochet chains. That’s it! It took a while to make, partly because I was hiding it from Mars but it was nice to do in front of tv shows at night (I’m not super good at just sitting and watching tv without doing anything else).

Sorry for the fuzzy phone photo, its all I have.

Photo 2013-03-03 2 19 18 PM

Books:

I’m still reading White Teeth by Zadie Smith on my kobo. I’m going to have to pick up the pace a little if I want to reach my reading goal for the year. I’m enjoying the book but I have been busy with other things (and reading things on the internet). I mostly only read when I’m on the metro.

Photography:

I’ve recently become a huge fan of astronaut Col. Chris Hadfield who is currently in space and is taking absolutely incredible photos of the earth. He posts several a day to his facebook page and I check them every day. They are humbling and beautiful. A daily reminder that the world is a really special place.

Here’s an example from yesterday of the southernmost tip of Canada (click the photo to be taken to the source):

Recipes:

(photo belongs to smitten kitchen. Click to be taken to the site/recipe)

I love soup in the fall/winter and this carrot soup with lemon tahini and crisped chickpeas from smitten kitchen is my new absolute favourite. The lemon tahini is what really makes it. The light lemon flavour and the creaminess of the tahini in the soup is amazing. I had some difficulty with the chickpeas because they kept popping like pop corn in my oven and I was afraid of causing a fire so they didn’t get as crispy as I would have liked them. But still a nice texture. I made it with this flat bread (also from smitten kitchen) instead of pita because its fast and a staple in our house. We eat it a couple of times a week usually.

Music:

I was introduced to songza this past month and have been obsessed with it ever since. Its a curated site of SO many playlists. Basically when I log in it asks me what kind of mood I’m in then suggests playlists that work for that mood. I’ve been discovering lots of new (to me) music in between listening to hours and hours of 90ies jams. I’ve been on songza about a week and have a whole bunch of playlists saved. I think songza is my favourite new music this past month but here are some individual artists that got me toe tapping.

Nerina Pallot

Haim

So long February. Looking forward to March, I can feel the spring in the air….


2 Comments

Eating: Peanut Butter & Chocolate Ganache Bars

I have one helluva sweet tooth. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned that yet. Don’t let the nice bread and humus recipes fool you. I would live off baked goods if I could manage it. Anything with chocolate, whipped cream/icing, and cupcakes is a-okay by me. I’m the person who reads the desert menu first when I get to a restaurant, meals are often means to a (desert) ends. I love eating and good food of all kinds but give me a dense, sweet baked good any day. Just ask my parents, I could put away a box of chocolates in an hour without getting sick. I can still do that now, I just try harder not to.

Case in point. I made this chipotle flourless chocolate cake twice last week (which I found over at the Kitchen Sink). Once for Felicia’s 30th birthday party. It was a hit there by the way, gone before I could take a picture. And once just for me and M, where it was also gone in about a day before I could take a picture again. It’s really really good, especially warm out of the oven. I highly suggest taking the recipe makers advice and getting good ingredients because there are so few of them. I used a block of semi-sweet calibault chocolate (again, I love living near Little Italy). I couldn’t find chipolte up here, which I found weird. So I used regular chili, which was still good. The sweetness of the cake coupled with the burn of the spices is incredible.

I also made these Peanut Butter Brownies, from Smitten Kitchen the other week around the time of the soul food night. I’ve been have a lot of late night baking urges recently and this was one of those times. I was surprised how easy making ganache is. Its the perfect top to contrast the salty peanut butter bottom. They lasted a bit longer than the cake and made excellent evening snacks for a little while.

This baked up super fast. Though I think I over cooked it a little bit (my oven runs hot) because it was a little dry-er than I hoped. Its good enough to put in rotation in the baked goods tupperwear though. I took it to my friends’ for dinner and they fought over who got the bigger piece.

Off to get more butter for more baking.


Recently Made and Eaten: Flatbread!

I made Smitten Kitchen’s Rosemary Flatbreadfor the first time a couple of weeks ago and we have been obsessed ever since. The dough pulls together really fast, under 10mins, and requires no kneading whatsoever. Just mix, roll out, bake for 8mins and enjoy! We’ve been snacking on it with my humus, using it for sandwiches and fighting over who ate more of the warm, salty, rosemary goodness. Highly recommended. I made it without changes to the recipe at all, though I do tend to roll them a little thicker and bake less so that they stay soft-ish instead of cracker-like. Also, I’ve found that spreading olive oil all the way to the edges before baking helps keep the thin edges from burning.  Anyway, go check out the recipe. I’m going to roll out more tonight.

one negative note: the dough separates if left too long so its hard to make ahead of time.

this time I made a triple batch

rosemary deliciousness

all rolled out and ready to go. Also check out my new rolling pin! Its the first one I've ever owned and its so.great. No more rolling with jars, glasses, hands!

crispy goodness

flatbread, humus, avocado and mint tea for dinner