When I return from a trip, I take a moment to think about what I really loved having on the trip and what was a waste of space. Having just returned from 8 days of hiking in Greece, it seems like a good time to do this exercise and make it our friday favourite!
I think I did a good job of packing since there were only two pieces of clothing that I didn’t wear. I had a long-sleeved SPF shirt that never made it out of my suitcase since the temperature was in the mid 90s (35C) and a sleeveless top that I didn’t wear because I didn’t have enough time to shower and change before dinner. We were kept busy!
What made the most favourite list?
A turkish towel that my soon-to-be-daughter-in-law gave me a few years ago. It’s 100% cotton and was useful as a beach cover-up or shawl. Plus they are very popular in Greece so I felt like a local! (Thanks Maddie)
A Tilley hat. They are guaranteed for life, they float, have a secret pocket and block 98% of the sun’s harmful rays. And they are made in Canada. I owned one years ago but it never fit me right. This time I took my time to get the right fit and really appreciated the sun protection in the 90+ degree heat!
A cross-body bag for evenings. Just enough to carry my phone, passport and money and have it close to me when in a busy tourist area.
A bandana. Easy to pack and so many uses!
Let us know if you have something that you always take with you when travelling.
Summer is hanging on, but my internal clock says it’s time to start roasting pans of various veggies in the oven, slathered in olive oil, salt, pepper and perhaps a little herbes de provence. Seasonal veggies are the best, and I just did Brussels sprouts, chunks of carrots and some meaty cremini mushrooms – roasted at 375F for about 35 minutes, until tender.
And when I couldn’t imagine making any more tomato sauce – but still had part of a half bushel of market fresh romas staring me down…I remembered a Michael Smith recipe from years ago for roasting tomatoes. I cut the last 24 tomatoes in half, sliced up two onions in half rings, added a couple garlic cloves, olive oil, salt and pepper, and slow roasted for about 75 minutes until everything started to caramelize (well, kinda burned on the edges but I guess that’s just an extra dark caramel). I froze them to add to a hearty something in the deep of winter…when I’ll remember how warm and humid September really was.
I took a summer vacation from the Wednesday night yoga class I’ve been doing for more than 15 years. Apparently, I’m a creature of yoga habit. It was a little freeing at first, giving me a night off. Then it wasn’t.
My Friday favourite is that this week, I got back on the mat with a regular yoga class here.
I was walking the dog last night after work. Summer has returned to Ontario in that perfect way that only happens near the end of the season. Warm, sunny days and almost duvet nights.
As I coaxed the dog along with a steady supply of liver treats, I was thinking about how much I love this time of year. I was making a list in my head and thought I’d share them here.
- the bugs are done
- my brown-eyed susan patch adds more brightness to the shortening days
- butterflies are scurrying around to fill up on energy from the butterfly bush
- the first time you need to put a sweater on as evening falls
- shifting meal ideas to soups and stews and roasts
- dusting off my knitting that sat quietly in the corner all summer
- canning tomatoes and beets, and freezing endless cobs of corn
Enjoy the waning summer days, wherever you are.
Since becoming empty nesters, I keep way less stuff in the cupboards. Last week when I really wanted to bake something but realized I had no flour…I had to get creative.
It didn’t take long to find a recipe from Smitten Kitchen for Salted Peanut Butter cookies that had only 4 ingredients – peanut butter, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla! A quick scan of the cupboard and I knew I was in luck.
Here’s the recipe:
1 3/4 cups (335 grams) packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups (450 grams) smooth peanut butter
Coarse-grained sea salt, to finish
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the light brown sugar and eggs until smooth. Whisk in the vanilla extract, then the peanut butter until smooth and completely incorporated.
Scoop the dough into balls. Place on prepared pan. Place the tray in the freezer for 15 minutes before baking. (My cookie sheet doesn’t fit in the freezer, I just put them in the frig)
Sprinkle the dough balls lightly with coarse-grained sea salt just before baking. Bake for 15-18 minutes.
These tasted like very grown-up peanut butter cookies. They were chewy and intense and the flavour improved with age. I brought some with me on our flight to LA last weekend and shared them with family. My daughter-in-law liked them so much she made a batch in the house we rented and even though the oven didn’t work and she had to improvise with a toaster oven, they were delicious the second time around. Try them and let us know what you think!
My friend Lisa and I have been walking every Saturday morning for 16 years. We take silly pictures of ourselves and post them on instagram with witty hashtags like #lisaheatherwalk or #wehaveprobablytalkedaboutyou.
And then Lisa fell and broke her knee cap. Sounds like something that happens on HBO, not to my walking partner.
She is my friday favourite because she is being such a good sport about this injury. She needed surgery to wire her knee cap back together. Two weeks later she learned that one of the wires had broke and they had to repeat the surgery. She has been out of commission for 7 weeks. She is upbeat and accepting and not whining. She’s amazing and her outfit even matches her cast!