Monthly Archives: August 2016


Weeknight dinners…what to make on a random Wednesday night that doesn’t require a long list of ingredients and isn’t take-out.

The Baker Street Bistro was a wonderful little restaurant in Guelph, Ontario in the 1980’s. Glenna and Alvin Rebick cooked for and charmed the guests, and wrote a cookbook.

The recipe for chilaquiles – a simple, traditional, layered Mexican dish, is on page 42 of The Very Best of the Baker St. Bistro and judging by the food smudges and stains on that page, I have made the dish many times.

As is my style, I simplify everywhere I can so instead of making salsa (as the recipe calls for), I use a jar of it. Instead of frying corn tortillas, I use unsalted tortilla chips. That means that I usually have all the ingredients in my frig and cupboard to whip up this tasty, filling casserole for dinner. Here is my edited, simplified version of the recipe.


Preheat the oven to 350F

2 cups grated mild cheddar cheese or monterey jack, 4 cups unsalted tortilla chips, broken up, large jar of salsa, 3/4 cup sour cream (I use plain yogurt), 2 eggs, 3/4 cup milk.

Put a layer of salsa in the bottom of a casserole dish. Add a layer of broken unsalted tortilla chips. Cover chips with more salsa. Put a layer of cheese. More chips, more salsa and more cheese. Continue until you have used up your ingredients, ending with cheese.

Mix the sour cream or yogurt with the egg and milk. Pour the mixture over the dish. Insert a knife in several places to allow the custard mixture to seep inside.

Bake at 350F for about 50 minutes, until firm.

Serve with additional salsa, sour cream and/or guacamole.

Makes great leftovers and this version is vegetarian and has no gluten in it!





in the event of…

I recently read an article in the financial section of the paper that talked about creating a document entitled In The Event of…

It sounded like a good idea, and though it doesn’t really fit with our blog title of Stuff We Love, I think it could be a sub category of Stuff We Think is Important!

It’s simple. Create a document that makes it easy for your family to access your stuff in the event of…well, I won’t type it but you know what I’m talking about. By stuff I mean bank accounts, passwords to your Facebook account, your phone, etc. all those things that in the event of…would make it easier for your family to find your stuff.

After you create the initial document, the article suggested updating it once a year, (they did it at tax time), save it on a flash drive, put the drive somewhere safe and delete the original from your computer.

I have started my In The Event Of document, it’s time consuming but also kind’ve fun realizing that I have some odd retirement account from a job 20 years ago that NO ONE would know how to access in the event of

While we are on this unpleasant topic, let me make another suggestion. Buy yourself a Road ID bracelet. It is a simple bracelet that has your name and age and 3 contacts to call in the event of…something lousy happening to you while out running, biking or hiking.

And on that happy note, I will end this post. Wednesday will be a happy food topic.




curried chicken salad

We have had a break in the heat and humidity but it still feels wrong to turn on the oven to make dinner. That means getting creative with cold food. Ina Garten’s Curried Chicken Salad is a favourite of mine and hopefully it will satisfy your summer taste buds too!

In her recipe, she devotes a paragraph to roasting the chicken breasts to use in the salad. If that appeals to you — knock yourself out! I prefer those rotisserie chickens at the grocery store!

I usually buy two chickens and chop them up. Then I almost follow her recipe:

Curried Chicken Salad

1 1/2 cups mayonnaise ( I use about 1/3 cup mayonnaise and 1/3 cup non fat Greek yogurt only)
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup mango chutney
3 tablespoons curry powder
1 cup medium-diced celery (2 large stalks)
1/4 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts (2 scallions)
1/4 cup raisins
1 cup whole roasted, salted cashews

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Photo credit: Ina Garten

The recipe says to blend the dressing in a food processor, but then you would have to wash the food processor! Just mix the ingredients in a big bowl, taste and adjust the seasonings and then add the chicken to the bowl and mix well. It tastes best when it has had a few hours in the frig and the flavours have blended together. Serve it on a bed of lettuce for dinner and then use it in sandwiches the next day!


early mornings

If I can haul myself out of bed early in the morning, I never regret it. Especially on a weekend. And when the humidity broke briefly this past weekend, I was thinking about all the great moments that early mornings offer.

  • Making a ridiculously precise cup of java and sipping it in silence outside
  • Walking the dog around the block before the neighbourhood wakes up
  • Doing a quick sketch to bring some creativity up to the top
  • Checking out the garden to see what is growing

Hope you have a great week!


friday favourite – home grown tomatoes

This week we are celebrating tomatoes, particularly home grown ones, and especially ones you grew yourself! I have several large pots of tomatoes that have done very well this year. The chipmunks left them for us to eat. I have a variety of planters, and the one I really like is this one from Gardener’s Supply Co.

The little cherry tomatoes don’t have a chance of making it to the kitchen, they are eaten immediately. The other ones are delicious layered with mozzarella cheese and fresh basil!



And they are fun to sketch too!



clear-the-crisper summer salad

I can’t help myself when I stand in front of the vegetable stand at my local farmers’ market. There are so many delicious things in season that I want to buy one of each. The idea would then be to remember to eat them throughout the week, before the next Saturday comes.

Last week, I cleared out the crisper and made a fresh, colourful chopped salad. It’s an easy way to eat your veggies, use up what’s in the fridge (like our fridge frittata and empty-the-vegetable-drawer soup) and get ready for a new installment of what’s in season.

This version had chopped tomatoes, grated carrot, green onion, orange peppers, cucumber, fresh sweet corn, chopped parsley and feta. I didn’t make my sister’s salad dressing, but used the next best option – a local apple cider Dijon dressing from Fraberts Fresh Food.

There’s still lots of barbeque season left. Chop up whatever you have and dress it up with some feta or chopped olives for a great side salad. Add in some leftover grilled meat to make a second and third meal out of it.


new ways to letter

We both might just be a little bit hooked on online sketchbook courses. We just started a 30-day class that focuses more on making cool lettering to go with our sketches.

I think we both have pretty interesting handwriting, but this course by Andrea Joseph is giving us a ton of new ways to play with how our letters and writing appears, and ultimately adds to our sketchbooks.

After week one of four, here’s some of what we’ve practiced so far.



friday favourite – speed river bicycle

So my mountain bike was pretty hot shit when I bought it, ahhh, 20+ years ago. Or so I thought. I paid a good price from a local bike shop and while I don’t ride a lot, it always had a nice warm home on my front porch (to give the illusion that I hopped on it every morning to ride to work) or tucked away in my new backyard shed.


My trainer has been encouraging me to pull it out of storage and get back on. I did a few weeks ago. Loved it. And then the front shifter wouldn’t let me get out of low gear – I thanked it for not sticking in high gear.

I rode it to the local bike shop, feeling a little sheepish at its age among all the shiny new things. They politely said it would need the full tune up.

I just picked it up and rode home in smooth style. For $85 and a smile, my old bike is all tuned up. The sales guy even added “it’s a good bike.”


I especially loved the line on the receipt that said to give it a “clean up and make nice” which is probably mostly what it needed.


Thanks Speed River Bicycle.


fruit crisp

Fruit crisp is one of those desserts that is pretty easy to make and always seems to be a hit. It is adaptable to a wide variety of fruit and the leftovers make a great breakfast!

I have made various crisp toppings that called for oatmeal or granola, but the one that I keep returning to is from The Best Recipe by the Editors of Cook’s Illustrated. My edition is from 1999, though a newer version exists from 2004,  The New Best Recipes .

I made two crisps last week with blueberries and a few over ripe plums thrown in.


To prepare the filling, mix about 2 1/2 – 3 lbs of fruit with about 1/4 cup sugar, some lemon juice and cinnamon.

To prepare the topping, pulse in a food processor: 6 tablespoons flour, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup white sugar and some cinnamon and nutmeg. Add 5 tablespoons butter, chilled and cut in 1/2″ pieces. Pulse about 10x. Add 3/4 cup coarsely chopped nuts (I have used walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, or a combination of all of them) Pulse 4-5x.

Put the fruit mixture in an 8″ square pan or 9″ deep dish pie plate (or anything that looks like it will fit and can be put in the oven) and cover with the topping. Bake at 375F for about 35-40 minutes until the topping is nicely browned. Enjoy!