snow day in the kitchen

Yesterday was the third snow day in less than two weeks. It’s getting old. The weather forecasters do a pretty decent job of predicting the timing of the storm and amount of snow so I did what everyone else does and stopped at the grocery store in the unlikely event that I would be snowbound for weeks…


…and then spent the day in the kitchen or shoveling!

I sauted onions and garlic for the carrot soup, then bundled up and went outside to shovel a path for the dog. I chopped celery for the curried chicken salad, then cleared another path for the dog. I placed my sourdough bread in the pan for the second rise, then went back outside to fight the losing battle of clearing blowing snow.





The snow is still coming down but we have carrot soup with cumin, curried chicken salad, sourdough spelt bread and a roaring fire. Let it snow!





We love trails of all types. There are the outdoor ones that involve hiking and reading maps. And then there are the other types of trails – the ones that have you following a theme. Like butter tarts or gin. They all require map reading, with the payoff of a great vista, a great pastry or a great cocktail.

Between us, we’ve hiked the Bruce Trail, Cinque Terre, Mt Kuchumaa, Mt Wachusett and countless other trails.


We’ve made and eaten our share of homemade butter tarts.


And now, we’re eyeing up a Gin Trail trip to Scotland. After all, I only have two Scottish gins in my gin collection – The Botanist and Hendrick’s – so it must be time to spread my taste buds to some new botanical combinations. Doesn’t hurt at all that there’s a stop on Shetland.



breaking out of the slumps

We’ve been a little quiet on the blog front the last few weeks. I doubt we’re alone in this slight slump. Anybody else feeling it? That winter-is-almost-over, longer-days-are-almost-here kinda thing.

Here are some of the things we’ve been doing to try and haul our sorry butts out of the winter doldrums.

  1. Take a gentle yoga class.
  2. Take a drive and look for migrating swans and ducks.
  3. Fake it and make a summer salad full of grated veggies.
  4. Give yourself a day (or two) on the couch to just watch mindless stuff.
  5. Sign up for an online course.
  6. Keep moving.

More soon. We promise.



friday favourite – tapping trees

Every spring, it gets me. When the snow starts to melt, and there’s a hint of warmer weather, I stick my noise in the air like the dog because I can smell maple syrup season coming.

We had a great family operation way back when. And the fillings that take up every one of our molars are no surprise given the amount of syrup and maple sugar we would consume during the six or so week season every spring. We had agro-tourism before it was even a thing, selling maple syrup direct from the farm, offering tours of our operation and serving up an impressive menu of pancakes, tea biscuits and johnny cake – as the carrier for some variation of our homemade maple products. Here are a few shots — from the Maplewood archives.


And maple, well, you know it goes with everything and with every meal. Maple sugar goes in my coffee every morning. Maple syrup is the only thing that ever tops pancakes or maple syrup in our houses. And maple butter is often just eaten off the spoon, or sometimes it makes it onto toast. I might just have an entire shelf in my frig dedicated to maple.



when someone else does the prep

It’s not a new idea, but I’ve been enjoying the benefits of somebody else chopping up all the veggies for my salad, lately. If I waited until I bought the lettuce, shredded the carrots, cabbage and kale…well, I’d eat salad about once a month. Or only in the summer after a trip to the local farmers’ market.

This week, I stockpiled my 7 to 10 servings with a pre-shredded mixture of kale, Brussels sprouts, carrots, cabbage and probably some other good stuff. I added in some delicious salmon that someone had kindly baked for me already (the store) and tossed it all in a delicious apple Dijon dressing that was expertly mixed and made by someone else.

There are definitely times when I want to make it all from scratch. And for all those other times, thanks to the choppers and mixers in the backrooms of local grocery stores.



a great cup of joe

I wouldn’t go so far as to say we are coffee snobs…we just happen to love a great cup of java. And the process of making it is as important as the first sip. Not unlike how we tackle a great G & T! When we are on vacation, there’s often a picture of a cappuccino among the scenic shots.

We are both pretty partial to our Freiling french presses. I also have an Aeropress and single cup drip/pour over. They make a slightly different cup for different times of the day.

We just heard about a cool new travel coffee set called Dripkit¬†described as Great Coffee Made Easy that we’ll be trying out on our next trip.

And we’re just as particular about our mugs.IMG_7811


caramelized citrus dessert

Caramelized citrus is a quick and easy dessert that makes you forget it’s still winter!

And if there is any left over, it’s delicious for breakfast and tastes like being in Greece.

Here’s the recipe from the NYTimes:

Spoon a cup of full-fat greek yogurt onto a platter or large bowl.

Peel and slice thickly 3-4 sweet citrus fruits.

Place the fruit on top of the yogurt and put the mixture in the refrigerator.

Make a caramel using 1 1/2 cups of brown sugar and 1/2 cup water. Let the mixture come to a boil slowly without stirring, then lower the heat and let cook for 5-6 minutes.

I found the instructions for the caramel pretty vague…next time I make it I will skip the caramel step and just pour honey or maple syrup over the fruit!

Pour the caramel over the fruit & yogurt mixture. Eat right away or put it in the frig for an hour before serving.

Simple, colourful and delicious!