Monthly Archives: February 2017

friday favourite –

My friend Leslie, who lives near San Francisco and knows about all the cool stuff, sent me some pens from the store Muji last year. One just opened in Boston and I went there this week. The store is open and light and organized and has so many fun things…it’s my friday favourite!



the second cup

I don’t know if this holds true for the tea drinkers in the audience…but the first coffee of the day is like none other. The aroma is more intoxicating, the taste is indescribable and the ritual is, well, perfection.

But then there is the second cup. And on a weekend, for me, that is sometimes a homemade latte. And it comes awfully close to the perfectness of cup number one. It’s a ritual. It’s lighter. And there is no rush to get the caffeine in my veins and working.

Here’s what the process looks like – which is almost as important as the first sip.

  1. Brew a strong cup of java. I have lots of options for this – my newest is the Aeropress. I love that you can so easily alter the strength of the coffee. And it’s a fun gizmo.
  2. Gently warm up milk and get it ready for the French-press “low tech” style frother.
  3. Coffee, meet your frothed milk.
  4. Top with powdered maple sugar.


maple trees

Nature seems to know just what we need about the middle of February. A general grumpiness is evident in many people you meet and there’s really no point in talking about the cold, dark winter weather any longer.

And suddenly. Magically. The sun shines again, warming up the snow, awakening the mud and sap starts to flow through the veins of the sugar maple. Ahhh…maple syrup season is here.

It started this past weekend in my area. And as I stepped outside I could just imagine the smell of the steam billowing from the evaporator in our maple bush to signal the start of the short, sweet season of syrup.

In the heyday of our small hobby farm, we had 1,000 maple taps and a pioneering farm market retail business during the hectic six weeks that made up our every spring season. It was the best job I ever had – making pancakes, selling (and consuming equal amounts of) maple sugar, slathering homemade tea biscuits with maple butter, and bringing consumers to the farm to learn about how one of the best agricultural products I know of is made.

Our maple operation started small – and here I am (not yet enjoying my best job ever) selling coffee, syrup and maple sugar out of our drive shed. It got better and bigger from there…and I started to smile as I greeted customers!


If you are looking for ideas on how to use maple syrup – check out these recipes from the Ontario Maple Syrup Producers Association.



friday favourite – yoga, again

I just looked back to find my blog post about yoga…it was posted on February 29th, 2016, almost exactly a year ago. I guess it’s that time of year when everything looks grey and dreary and getting out the door at night to go to yoga is challenging. But then I go. And I am so glad I went. In case you need a push out the door to go to yoga, our Friday Favourite is yoga. Go. Breathe. Namaste.


The yoga pose is not the goal. Becoming flexible is not the goal. The goal is to create space where you once were stuck. To unveil the layers of protection you’ve built around your heart. To appreciate your body and become aware of the mind and the noise it creates. To make peace with who you are. The goal is to love, well…you. Come to your yoga mat to feel; not to accomplish. Shift your focus and your heart will grow.


soup swap update

My fellow furloughed co-workers and I met last week for a soup swap. Between the four of us we had three delicious soups, a loaf of bread, and a salad; but not many leftovers!

Carole made a NYTimes recipe: Mushroom-Spinach Soup with Middle Eastern Spices. It had a delicious almost smoky taste and great texture due to coarsely pureeing the mushrooms. I am definitely making this one.

Alison brought a Curried Lentil Soup with chutney butter. She used two types of green lentils and the juice of 2 lemons for a tangy curried lentil soup. The interesting addition was a dollop of chutney butter on top!

I made Red Lentil and Pumpkin soup. You can find the recipe in our Dec 7th, 2016 post.

The swap was a great way to taste some new soups. If the plan is to have some to take home, you really need to double the recipe since by the time we all tasted the soups, there really wasn’t much left to take home! We’ll get it right next time!


friday favourite – wallaroo hats

You know the dilemma of needing to protect your face and neck from the sun but wanting to look a little bit chic…?!? Someone just told me about Wallaroo hats, I wish I knew about them before my last trip when I was still wearing a baseball cap for sun protection.

They sell colorful UPF 50+ crushable fabric hats.


Colorful. check

UPF 50+. check

Crushable for packing. check.

Wallaroo hats are my Friday Favourite.



oat crackers

I love oat crackers. Those dry, crumbly, slightly sweet biscuits that taste delicious with cheddar cheese. There is a local brand I discovered in a specialty food store called Effie’s which are delicious but expensive. We have stayed at the London House B&B in Guelph and the owner, Melanie, serves a great oatcake with breakfast and gave me her recipe. I have made it several times and have been perfectly happy with the outcome. The other day I was browsing through the latest Ina Garten cookbook, Cooking for Jeffrey and came upon her recipe for English Oat Crackers. So I made them. They were delicious. Here’s a link to the  recipe – hope you like them!


friday favourite – dig inn

We recently had brunch at Dig Inn on Boylston St in Boston. It’s a delicious restaurant (that has numerous locations in NYC), serving grain and salad bowls with regionally-sourced ingredients and a mission to build community through food. Just inside the front door was this sign with Dig-Isms…they are a variation on Michael Pollan’s Food Rules: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. but with more community spirit. Dig Inn and their dig-isms are my friday favourite!  HAR


new food ideas

So it’s Wednesday. And that usually means we have a food blog, an idea for dinner or a new recipe to share. Well, it’s also the middle of winter. Blah.

How are you meant to keep to ideas of balanced eating when it is dark and dingy and cocooning weather?

For the last two weeks I’ve been trying to come up with a new food idea – which might just mean planning a meal before it’s 6 pm. It’s been on the night I see my trainer. It’s a good night to plan a healthful meal because I usually am craving chips on the way home from a workout.

This week I bought two pieces of marinated salmon, baked them in the toaster oven. I ate one the first night. And then tossed the second one with sautéed mushrooms, green onion, broccoli and red pepper with orzo, a little marinade sauce and white wine…and topped with a sprinkling of parmesan.

I still want chips, but looking for some new ways to eat a more balanced meal at least a few times a week.

Do you have any ideas for mid winter dishes?