Monthly Archives: September 2016

friday favourite – the real cowbell

So, my sister is hiking in Italy. Killing me with the pictures. But really, I’m happy she is having a fantastic time. The food. The vistas. The wine.

But the best shot so far was this up close and personal cow, complete with a functioning, purposeful cowbell.


Which just begs for a link to this classic “more cowbell” SNL skit. A Friday favourite any day of the week.


back to the stove

My internal cooking clock has kicked in. Must have been right about when the night temperatures headed back to single digits (Celcius, that is) and the humidity disappeared.

I woke up last weekend and couldn’t wait to get to the farmers’ market. Absolutely everything is in season! I can’t help myself when I see all the local produce sold directly by the farmers in my community. The bag of harvested goodness was so heavy that the handles of the cloth shopping bag cut off the circulation in my hand.

I dumped out my haul – ginger gold apples, new potatoes, carrots, green onion, beefsteak tomatoes, zucchini, wild blueberries, snack sweet peppers, broccoli and more.


By noon I had made roasted vegetable soup and broccoli soup. The freezer is full of lunch-sized servings to keep me going for a week or two.

roasted vegetable soup – my own concoction

Chop up whatever veggies you have on hand. Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and herbes de provence.

  • Roast at 350 degrees for 45 min to an hour.
  • After you have snacked on some. Simmer the cooled veggies in chicken or vegetable stock – I tossed in a few grape tomatoes – for about 30 minutes until everything is very soft.
  • Puree with hand blender. Add a little cream, white wine, lemon juice and season to taste.

creamy broccoli soup Martha Stewart’s Great Food Fast

1 T olive oil, 1 onion (halved and slice), 1/8 tsp nutmeg, 4 cups chicken stock, 1/3 cup rolled oats, head of broccoli (cut into small pieces), salt and pepper

  • In large saucepan, heat the oil and saute the onion over medium-low heat for 5 minutes until softened. Add the nutmeg and cook for 30 seconds.
  • Stir in the chicken broth, 1 1/2 cups water, oats and broccoli. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer 5-10 minutes until broccoli is tender.
  • Puree.

It doesn’t really matter what kind of soup I’m making or eating, I usually add in some kind of cheese – chevre, feta or parmesan.


Fall soups. Yum.



falling for it

One of my favourite sappy movies is You’ve Got Mail. There’s a line in it that I think of this time of year – “Don’t you just love New York in the fall?”

Well it’s not New York, and I don’t see Tom Hanks anywhere in the neighbourhood…but I love fall in southern Ontario. The sweet scent of ripening apples. Morning dew on the grass. The extra weight of the duvet on the bed. Yes, even long pants and socks.

I don’t think I could live in a climate without four distinct seasons. Each one is just long enough.

Fall for me means hauling out all my knitting projects that were cast aside during the summer humidity, cooking soups and stews and meatloaf, making apple crisp (for breakfast!), rediscovering all my winter sweaters, switching from white wine back to red, and hiking through the autumn colours.

What’s on your list for fall?



friday favourite – Armand Gamache

He’s not real, but he totally comes to life on the pages of my Friday favourite – the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series of crime novels by Canadian author Louise Penny. If you ever watched Foyle’s War – for me, the two lead characters share much of the same charm.


I think there are 12 in the series. I am working through them in order – I’ve just started #8 The Beautiful Mystery. It’s worth the discipline and the waiting as I reserve them from my local library.

It might get a little old and tiring for some, I guess, but I love how the characters in the fictitious Quebec town of Three Pines make up the cast in varying degrees in every novel.

Cooler weather is coming…snuggle in with Armand.


yet another zucchini recipe

I don’t grow my own zucchini. If I did, I might not be interested in trying yet another way to use it up. But I have made this recipe three times. It is delicious. I really need to invest in a better, wider vegetable peeler that can handle the ups and downs of slicing zucchini.

zucchini ravioli

4 medium zucchini, 2 cups ricotta, 1/2 cup grated parmesan, 1 egg (lightly beaten), 1/4 cup sliced basil (or dried), salt and pepper, 1 1/2 cups pasta sauce, 1/2 cup grated mozzarella

Preheat over to 375 F, and grease a large baking dish (9 x 12).

Made the noodles: slice two sides of each zucchini lengthwise to create two flat sides. Use a vegetable peeler to slice each zucchini into thin flat strips (bring your patience!). These are the noodles.

Make the filling: combine ricotta, parmesan, egg, basil, salt and pepper in bowl.

Assemble the ravioli: lay two strips of zucchini side by side so they are slightly overlapping. Lay two more noodles on top, perpendicular to the first noodles. This creates a T shape. Spoon about 1 T of filling in the centre of the T. Fold the ends of the strips into the centre – working one side at a time. Turn the ravioli over and place the seam side down in the baking dish. Pour tomato sauce over and around the ravioli. Top with mozzarella. Bake 20-30 minutes until cheese is melting and starting to brown on top.

This is so tasty. Little bit of al dente crunch to the zucchini noodles. Lots of gooey cheesy taste. It helps to have a big countertop to make this one – if you like the assembly line look of the little pillows of ricotta all set out in a row.


take a hike

We are heading to Italy this week for a walking/hiking vacation around Lake Como. The upcoming trip provided a good excuse to go for a hike over Labour Day weekend to make sure our hiking boots didn’t rub somewhere unexpected. My boots were fine, just lacking in some cushioning so I bought some new HOKA boots. (check out our friday favourite from last week to learn more.)

Ten years ago for some birthday one of us had, I bought a book of 50 Hikes in Massachusetts. We cracked it open and chose the very first hike, Alander Mountain, 2,239 feet and a prominent peak of the south Taconic Mountains.

It was a challenging hike with gorgeous views of the Hudson Valley in NY, NW Connecticut and Massachusetts. We enjoyed it so much we hiked Mt Wachusett in central Massachusetts this past weekend. We are fortunate to live only 1/2 hour from Wachusett mountain.

Fall is a perfect time of year to dig out your hiking boots (or buy some new ones!) and go take a hike!


friday favourite – hoka hiking boots

They make me feel like Tigger from Winnie the Pooh…I bounced all over Mt Wachusett last Saturday on the inaugural hike of my new HOKA hiking boots. They have tons of cushioning, were comfortable right out of the box and they are waterproof. All the things you need for happy feet while hiking. They are not cheap but since my last pair have served me well for 10 years, I think they are worth it.

These hiking boots are my friday favourite!