Current Happenings

Plains & Pastures Bike Tour (2013)

I'm so proud to live here! Fredericton folks are just AMAZING!!!  Thank you one and all!!  My team raised over $2000.  The support was humbling.  What a great place to be!!!

Mind you, the journey isn't about me - it's about people who fight this horrible disease on a daily basis.  If you're reading this now, I hope you'll come back and sponsor me in the ride next time. 


Bike for Breath

Many thanks to everyone and their generosity.  The amazing people in my life supported me to the tune of $377.  Some days it is just great to be here!   (Fall 2012)


Entries in Comfort Food (3)


Painful lessons

I swear I never learn.  I know the answers, I know the consequences and I still keep making poor choices.

My husband retired and we had a party.  (Well YEAH!)  This is not a problem.  I had a responsible amount of celebratory refreshments and healthy proportions of food on my plate.  My dinner plate that is.....

Given that he’s probably only going to retire once, I convinced my daughter to bake home-made cinnamon buns.  She is a genius in the kitchen and her cinnamon buns are scrumptious.  Since we’ve been on this healthy kick, we haven’t had them in years.  Literally a couple years.  So PARTY TIME = Once in a blue moon cinnamon buns.

And given this is an incredibly rare occasion, and they so absolutely amazing, didn’t I just pig right out and have a couple of them, not just one.  You really haven’t lived until you’ve experienced one of my daughter’s cinnamon buns hot out of the oven.  YUM!

Yeah, well, the next morning was NOT so yum.  Every single joint in my body ached, no muscle pain, just EVERY single joint.  It was exactly the way I felt 3+ years ago when I thought I had arthritis.  Was it the wheat?  Was it the sugar?  Either way it was a bad idea!!!  

When I stepped on the scale it was 6 pound difference from the day before.  My normal daily fluctuations are 2-3 pounds - not 6.  The body was clearly NOT happy.

I wish I could claim that we cut out wheat on the basis of knowledge.  We didn’t.  We cut carbs and the only way to do that is to cut out sugars and flours of all descriptions.  This massive re-introduction netted me a allergic type of inflammatory response in all my joints.  Sigh.  I knew this would happen.  Re-introducing allergens when you’ve been “clean” will often yield an exaggerated response compared to previous constant exposures.  And that is exactly what happened.  Sigh.

Chalk it up in the lesson department:  No more indulging.  It’s really not worth all the pain the next day.


I like Green Eggs and Ham

Take all notions and preconceptions about food and throw them out the window.  For example:  Green Eggs and Ham

I hold to the “what’s in the frig” method of recipe development.  Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.  It’s usually edible, although I do have to admit it doesn’t always yield a product worth repeating.  This is where Alan and I differ in the kitchen.  He views recipes as gospel and I view them as suggestions.  But give the man his due, sometimes he follows the experimental philosophy and comes up with something......

Breakfast today was dictated by leftovers.  We had zucchini and spinach left over from supper, and a single lonely pork chop.   A handful of fresh baby kale from the porch garden rounded out the greeneries.  Eggs & cream followed the greens into a blender.  Chopped pork chop was added and the mix met the frying pan.  (OK not exactly ham, but pretty close.)

Aficionados and picky people would probably fret about the proportions of ingredients.  People like me just dump in leftovers.  The recipe below is pure chance.   Similarly aficionados and picky people might have cooked it in the oven like a proper quiche.  Pragmatists and hungry people scramble it in a frying pan and head out to enjoy breakfast in the morning sun.

Either way Sam I Am - green eggs ARE yummy!!  Added bonus: all the veggies were grown on our front porch so they were tasty, young and fresh.  In total the recipe was low carb while packed with all the goodness of eggs, spinach, kale, etc.  We sat on our front porch with hot coffee and our green eggs.   I do indeed love sundays, even if there’s no Post.

Breakfast - August 11, 2013        
Foods Calories Carbs Fat Protein
Zucchini - cooked, 25 g 4 1g 0g 0g
Spinach - cooked, 20 g 5 1g 0g 1g
Kale - cooked, 5 g 1 0g 0g 0g
Eggs (whole egg), 2 large 185 1g 14g 13g
Whipping Cream - 35%, 1 T 15ml 40 2g 5g 1g
Pork chop - cooked, 41 g 50 0g 2g 9g
Butter - 0.5 tbsp 51 0g 6g 0g
                                   TOTAL: 336 5g 27g 24g



Comfort food: Chicken Liver Pâté

I like to think I’m not a picky eater.  Alan is wrong to accuse me of it.  I’m NOT picky.  I just know what I don’t like.  ((He says “nearly everything” and that’s how that particular fight starts ...... ))

The Coop recently sourced some chicken livers.  They are apparently rare commodities.  Who knew?  I thought EVERY chicken had one but the friendly guy in the meat dept. tells me they’re actually hard to source.  So when I saw them just before Easter, I grabbed several packets.  Why?  For liver pâté of course.  What else?

The notion of what else brings a smile to my face.  Growing up on a farm, you had your own chickens for dinner and you wasted nothing.  All the edible bits of organ meat from anything were used in main dishes if you had enough of them, or chopped up in gravies if you only had a few, like from a single chicken.  In the warm and fuzzy glow of selective memory, it’s comfort food.

That smile gets a wry little quirk to one side when I think of my summer in Quebec City.  I didn’t have a steady job, and not speaking french all that well at the time, I couldn’t seem to land one either.  So I kept on being a student (it kept the student loan from coming due).  Unlike many other places, Quebec City has a thriving nighttime system of free, open-air concerts.  And extremely unlike anywhere else, the liquor laws are different.  So the starving student that was me would go for the free concert, and when it was over, she would fill up grocery bags with empty bottles and cans (all that could be carried walking home).  Bottles were heavy but bigger refunds, cans were light but only a 5 cent refund.  Cans were taken to a grocery store with a machine to crush them & spit out your refund receipt. Then you took that receipt and bought groceries: chicken livers and onions were both extremely cheap.  Chicken livers now evoke warm and fuzzy memories of music from the likes of Paul Piché and Marjo.   

What does one do with a pound of chicken livers?  Lots of things, but in my mind none of them for a full pound of it!!  So I cooked a mess of garlic & onions, and then all the liver.  Then I minced it all together in the food processor and folded it into a dish.  My plan was to take smaller amounts of the liver pâté base at a later time, adding different ingredients and spices in different batches.   So far so good.  The base worked out quite well, and tasted fine.  Unlike beef liver, chicken liver isn’t really all that strong and the flavours of the onion & garlic come through nicely.     

However, the smaller-batches-later concept, doesn’t work for all scenario’s.  Most spices need cooking to spread evenly throughout the mixture.  Part of that has to do with the heat itself, and part of it has to do with the gelling that happens when it’s cold.  Spices like curry for example would add a nice flavour (had it been warm).  It’s really hard to mix that spice in well enough when it’s cold.  Pockets of curry in your mouth are distinctly unpleasant.  So: lesson here?  If you’re doing cold run batches then make sure you’re adding things you don’t mind tasting in “chunks” like tiny bits of fresh chives or something.  Other than that, resign yourself to washing another set of dishes to make small warm batches of new flavours.  Even more annoying, resign yourself to putting it back in the frig to set up all over again before you can use it.