Author Archives: stuffwelove123

friday favourite – grandma’s slippers 2.0

These are so quick and easy, each slipper is the equivalent of one episode of whatever you are bingeing on with Netflix! They are a custom order for a friend of mine. Her adult children were nostalgic for the slippers their grandmother used to make for them. We went to our local yarn store and selected colours for each of her daughters. And then I knit them. It took a week and I binged on Fauda, a drama about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — the more intense the drama, the faster I knit!IMG_3167Then I had some fun arranging the slippers for a photo shoot!IMG_3176IMG_3177Creativity comes in many forms!

HAR

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grilled eggplant salad

This eggplant salad was easy and a big hit on Sunday for our family backyard gathering.IMG_3626It’s a Melissa Clark recipe from the NYTimes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large eggplant (I used 2)
  • 1 plum tomato, diced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley (I forgot to add this)
  • black pepper
  • capers, for garnish, optional

Heat grill to medium high. Prick the eggplant all over with a fork, put it on the grill and close the cover, cook, turning occasionally, until the eggplant is very soft and skin is blistered, about 15 minutes.

When cool enough, scoop out the insides of the eggplant and coarsely chop. Transfer to a bowl and toss with tomatoes, vinegar, salt and garlic. Stir in oil and parsley, season with pepper and more salt if needed. Garnish with capers. Serve with warm pita bread.

HAR

 

return of the chopped summer salad

It’s hard to want to spend much time at all in the kitchen with the extended heat wave that seems to be just about everywhere.

Then I remembered how easy it is to just chop up all the local veggies that are showing up at my local farmers’ market. Last week’s haul included shelling peas, green beans, green onion, cherry tomatoes and multi-coloured carrots.

So I chopped, shredded and tossed, added in some cooked quinoa, local apple cider Dijon dressing and feta…and voila.

What are you cooking in this heat?

CJR

 

startups

When somebody puts themselves out there¬† – taking a risk, seeing an opportunity to start a little business…I love supporting them. I admit that when I go to my local farmers’ market I feel a little tinge of guilt because I can’t buy something from everyone. I don’t need that much food in a week and really am working at curbing food waste to do my little part.

I’m lucky that my town seems to be a magnet for opportunities to buy from little local startups. And I love to hear the backstories. When I don’t know them, I sometimes just imagine what aligned the business plan, prototypes and marketing ideas to bring something to market.

I don’t have to drive or walk for more than 15 minutes to get clothes, shoes, local food groceries, amazing sourdough bread, locally-grown flowers, beeswax candles, rustic signs on barnboard and now…pizza.

I’ve been in marketing and advertising for decades, and I love watching these startups use simple, smart and free social media tools to spread the word to attract consumers that will hopefully take them to success – however they measure it.

Completely by accident (not really if you are Instagram) I heard about @piebynightguelph. They describe themselves as four young cooks making great pizza in the heart of Guelph. They are using the local bakery’s space on a Sunday to whip together amazing pizza pies.

I hope Sunday night’s pizza pies get this startup where they want to be. It’s deliciousness and hard work that I’m happy to pay for.

CJR

 

 

friday favourite – old pictures

Almost all of our old family photos are in the form of slides. Since few people have a way to view slides anymore, I asked my mom to select some so I could have them saved on a flash drive.

The photos were ready today and I have been lost in nostalgia all afternoon. I can’t stop sending photos to my siblings!

Find a local photo shop that can convert slides, photos and old VCR footage to flash drives and save those old memories. And then share them with your family and crack up! You never know what you might find…like this beauty of HAR and CJR!Head and Jane in matching outfits by barn

HAR

when canning season starts

There’s a heat warning outside but that’s not stopping me from steaming up the kitchen with my third batch of gingered rhubarb jam with honey. It’s canning season.

I couldn’t wait to get started. And rhubarb is the first harvest of the season that was calling my name. I love that the rhubarb and honey are both local. This recipe has a lemon and a tart apple to give it a little hint of a marmalade-style jam.

 

The recipe is from my one and only canning book that seems to have it all – The Complete Book of Small Batch Preserving

Here’s the full recipe from an earlier blog.

And to top off the new canning season, cool new dissolvable jar labels. Have you ever stood in front of the sink with a scratch pad, hot water and old canning jars trying to get the old label gum off? Me too! I’m hoping my new find will live up to its name.

CJR

 

 

 

 

salt

My go-to place for souvenirs when I am traveling is the grocery store. I usually find small gifts that are local and edible so they leave no trace! My latest favourite gift to bring home is salt. The flavour is very regional and is fun to experiment with once you get home.

IMG_2768Several years ago we were in the southern Portugal region called the Algarve. I noticed huge piles of salt on the beach, similar to the way we would see sand piled up to spread on the road in winter. I bought some salt to bring home with me and loved using it- it was a wet, mild salt.

Last fall when I was in Botswana, I brought home salt from the Kalahari Desert. I purchased it in the airport and had already checked my bag so I threw it in my carry-on. When I went through customs at JFK, they opened all three bags of salt and tested it, causing me to almost miss my flight. My advice? Buy your salt in time to put it in your checked bag! The salt from Botswana was very dry and in large pieces which meant it was more concentrated, not great as table salt but perfect for cooking since you only need a small amount to get the taste right.

 

I have salt from Marblehead MA that lists the location it’s from on the jar. Just recently when we were in the Azores I went to the grocery store to buy my local salt. I found Azorean salt and was thrilled to find Algarve salt too! I bought several different varieties, plus a handmade ceramic salt dish!

I recently made a batch of salted peanut butter cookies and the big decision was which salt to sprinkle on top! I went with the Marblehead Salt Co.

A friend of mine recommended the book Salt: A World History and I am actually going to get it out of the library. The enticing blurb about the book says… as the only rock we eat, salt has shaped civilization from the very beginning, and its story is a glittering, often surprising part of the history of humankind.¬†No wonder I love salt!

HAR