father’s day menu

…for your Dad. Cause mine doesn’t eat carbs.

It’s like going for dinner with your most annoying girl friend. Oh, that comes with potatoes? Can I sub a salad? Can I get the steak sandwich without the bun? No dessert, thanks.

Except I can’t give him the side eye because he’s diabetic and really keeps his levels in check by adhering to a strict diet of oatmeal and salad. Every.Day. fathersday

Dad! You do not make friends with salad! Unless it’s this one. There’s so many things in it I don’t know what to call it. Chicken salad with potatoes, beans, shallots, celery, toasted almonds, and dried cranberries with a lemon-tzatziki dressing is a little wordy, ya know? Not yo’ grandma’s chicken salad? Make-this-for-Dad-and-he’ll-surely-slip-you-an-extra-$20-even-though-it’s-Father’s-Day-but-we-all-know-you-can’t-visit-without-him-giving-you-a-little-cash? Shoot, that’s more wordy.

Is your Dad all “no, no, your love is enough; I don’t need a tie/book/BBQ tongs/socks”? That’s my Dad. Though teaching him “the Jays are en fuego” is more valuable than a tie-clip. Mostly because he doesn’t wear ties. But also because it’s fun for sister to experience via email the hip things I teach him. Jays fan? He’ll be stirring it up any day now.

(he learned “cash money” all on his own)

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Full disclosure? I made these both for myself this past weekend before the lightbulb moment…ah…these would be PERFECT for (someone else’s) Father’s Day lunch. Or dinner.

First up, the salad I’m eating all week for lunch. And yes I use store bought tzatziki. (Galen Weston, I love you and your PC tzatziki dip. It’s amazing and I don’t know how I lived this long without buying it)

salad recipe

If I used sweet potatoes (which, puke) or no potatoes (which, why?) maybe my dad would eat it. Also tzatziki would magically just be called greek yougart with some garlic cause my Dad is weird about stuff that’s different. He doesn’t like avocados. I don’t know what to do with him.

Having a BBQ? bring this salad. And some watermelon. And cherries. Will you make your Dad barbecue for you? I play that game all the time. Dad, let’s have burgers! BTW, you have to barbecue them. Yay fun. He loves me the most.

Or, make tacos. Known as “hot meat and veggies served with lettuce/cabbage and cheese” in the Bridgman family. Daaaaaad. C’mon.

But he gives us cash money to eat at Cactus Club while out West, so there’s that. tacorecipe

TACOS!

Or known as: my dinner this week.

Other than their obvious deliciousness, wanna know the best part about both? They can be made in advance. The only thing I wouldn’t do in advance is make the slaw because the cabbage can get a little soggy. I have the mango pre-cut and just shred the cabbage and pour in the liquid at dinner time and mix mix mix. Tortilla, a little melted extra-old cheddar, pork, slaw, torn basil (cause I’m going through a phase and it needs to be on/in everything; I’m also in a shallot phase, feel free to use onions if you’d prefer).

Then shove in face. SHOOOOVE.

Like, I was short of breath Monday because I ate them so quickly. Whoopsie. No regrets.

SO GOOD.

fathers day

Make a little room on the dresser for the “favourite child of the year” award.

cherry muffins

cherrymuffins

I have this feeling you’re thinking “ummmmm, do you just watch an obsense amount of TV, scour the internet for fun links, and bake things?” And the answer is yes. While in full hibernation mode (aka: November – March) my hobbies include baking things, making soup, binge watching TV series’, and sleeping for 9 hours a night. Pure grizzly bear on the inside. Rawr.

Supposedly spring starts Friday. I’ll believe it when I see it. Ontario is still hovering around freezing with the potential for flurries every few days. Damn you west coast. Like my Dad says every so often in our group BBM (we so cool), “God hates Southern Ontario”. Yah, well, jokes on him. He gets back to Canada the first week of April and it’ll still be cool. Sucker. Sis is laughing at both of us. Stupid beautiful rockies and their stupid warm winter and stupid spring-like spring.

So, muffins?

If you’re lucky enough to live in a spring-like Province or State, I hate you. No no. I mean make these to celebrate!  And since all my food likes to talk to you, these are saying “hey cool kids that live in desirable climates! I’m full of (frozen) fresh cherries and would make a great morning snack and even better treat on a picnic! I freeze well and am delicious when warmed for 20 seconds in the microwave and slathered in butter.” Not a cool kid that lives in a desirable climate? These just might make you believe spring IS around the corner.

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Cherry Muffins
(makes 10-12 muffins)

what you’ll need:
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 cup milk
1/3 cup oil (I use canola, vegetable, or sunflower)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups frozen cherries (do not thaw)

how to:
Preheat oven to 375°F
Line muffin tin with liners and spray with non-stick spray
In medium bowl mix flour, baking soda, salt, and sugar
In large bowl, mix egg, milk, and oil.
Stir dry ingredients in wet, do not over mix. Fold in cherries.

Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Allow to cool about 10 minutes, transfer to wire rack and cool completely before storing in an air tight container (I kept 5 in a cookie tin for a week) or freeze in ziplock bags. Defrost one or two at a time on the counter overnight.

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One more note about these. Last summer, when cherries were $0.88/lb I stocked up, pitted and froze them thinking I’d use them for smoothies (I loooooove frozen cherries in smoothies). Then I went through a thing and I hated smoothies. Happy bags of fresh frozen cherries sat in my freezer till late February – freezer burn free – until they could reach their full potential in muffins. So, very very many months before cherry season, let me remind you to buy all the cherries your heart desires, pit them, and freeze them to use in muffin recipes all winter long. Or smoothies if that’s your thing. I can’t do smoothies when it’s -40 outside.

(I don’t own some fancy contraption to pit cherries so I just cut them in half, remove the pit, then lay them flat on a cookie sheet and put in the freezer. Once completely frozen I transfer to a ziplock bag attempting not to stain my white appliances with my purple stained fingers)

easy gifts: rosemary pecans

pecans

I think these are perfect for just about any occasion. Afternoon snack? Check! A creative way to say thank you? Check! A sweet (and salty) surprise tucked into a knapsack? Check! Happy housewarming? check!

See? Perfect.

I first came up for these for my dad and sister as a Christmas gift. While I didn’t invent sweet + salty + herb spiced nuts (I probably did); I do think this particular combination says “hello, I’m very sophisticated. Have a seat in my dimly lit den; let’s sip some bourbon and talk about politics!”

What? Your nuts don’t talk to you? Mine do! Look what else they’re saying:

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So, in the spirit of easy gifts – these couldn’t be easier.

6 cups nuts (I always use pecans cause they’re the best, but they can be expensive, use whatever you like)
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons oil (I’d recommend a flavourless one like vegetable, canola, or sunflower)
2 tablespoons minced rosemary (lately I’ve just wanted a hint of rosemary and add a bunch of full sprigs instead of mincing)
salt

Pour everything but the salt into a bowl, mix mix mix.
Line a cookie sheet with tin foil and spray liberally with non-stick spray
Bake at 350°F for 10 minutes, stir, then another 5-10 minutes.
WATCH THEM! No one likes burnt nuts!
Sprinkle with salt as soon as they come out of the oven.
Cool on baking sheet and store in a ziplock bag.

Pack them up in a little snack bag and share the love.

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This “recipe” is easily adaptable. Don’t want 6 cups? I recently made it with about 2 cups pecans, a healthy squeeze of maple syrup, a splash of canola oil, and a few sprigs of rosemary. Same baking time.

[treat bags from Target]

oatmeal banana chocolate chunk cookies

March. Snowstorm. COOKIES.

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When we chatted storm snacks last week I had these cookies in mind. I’ve actually been searching for a cookie with some staying power but not a “healthy cookie”. An afternoon snack that makes you dip your sneaky little fingers into the cookie jar just once instead of 17 times and is sweet enough to curb the 3pm chocolate craving. You know the one.

Enter banana. Enter oats.

In between moping because of the snow and answering the occasional work email and staring at ripening bananas I should have eaten days ago I made these once my internal dialogue reached “ugh. snow. need cookies”.

They’re big and dense, but like hearty dense not omgthesecookiessuck dense. And for the love of all things delicious, please cut up a chocolate bar into chunks. I don’t know if I’ll ever use chips again. Some of the little chocolate slivers are dispersed throughout the cookies and the chucks, oh the chunks. Well, they’re chunky. Chunk chunk chunk. And when you burn your mouth eating them hot out of the oven (or heat them in the microwave) there are big globs of chocolate. And if that doesn’t satisfy the 3pm craving I don’t know what will.

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Oatmeal Banana Chocolate Chunk Cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup oats
3/4 cup softened butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 mashed ripe banana
100-150g chopped dark chocolate

In medium bowl, mix together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and oats.
In large bowl cream butter and sugars until smooth and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla, then mashed banana.
Add dry ingredients to wet a third at a time until fully incorporated.
Stir in chocolate chunks.
Refrigerate dough about 30 minutes.

Scoop out just smaller than 1/4 cup or 2-3 tablespoon sized balls (don’t flatten) and place on non-stick baking sheets (they spread a little).

Bake at 350°F for 15 minutes. Do not over bake. Allow to sit 10 minutes then transfer to cooling rack. Makes about 2 dozen large cookies. For smaller cookies, scoop dough into 1-2 tablespoon sized balls and bake at 350°F for 9-12 minutes.

ps: these freeze really well

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These would make a great snack for March Break activities or a weekend hike in the Rockies. Or maybe tucked into a picnic basket if you’re lucky enough to live somewhere warm. Do you like raisins in your oatmeal cookies? I do! Reincorporating these into a trail mix-banana-oatmeal cookie would be good, too. Super hearty.

Ill take mine warmed in the microwave with chocolate chunks alongside a cup of coffee late in the afternoon.

heart cookies for two

I made us cookies.

OK, I made me Valentine’s Day cookies, but I’ll share. Come here, closer, closer, just push the extra pillows out of the way; let’s spend a lazy weekend in bed sipping coffee and watching movies and reading magazines and talking about cute boys and eating cookies.

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Oh yah, there’s chocolate covered strawberries, too.

There’s definitely no better day to have cookies for breakfast – and strawberries, fruits! it’s health food! – than Valentine’s Day, especially when said day falls on a Saturday and it’s during a long weekend that celebrates family and none of yours is currently in the same province and you have no plus one and you could really use a back massage. Pass the cookies.

One more….they’re small.

Ok, one more. Single and over 30 and all. Thanks for the reminder, grandma.

One more cookie.

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The cookies! After last week’s little fight with butter (the curd) then butter reunion (the biscuits) I decided to try out another one of Christina‘s small batch recipes. Again, because even though dozens and dozens of sugar cookies would be swell, less than 12 is sweller.

I followed this recipe (minus the almond extract because I didn’t have any) and it was perfect! Instead of using the same recipe for icing I dipped them in melted white chocolate (and white chocolate with red food colouring). It’s not too pretty but it sure is tasty.

I like the mini ones best….mostly cause you can have twice as many.

And YES, that’s the 2013 issue of People’s Sexiest Man Alive. I’m not saying I kept it because it would look good in sad single girl blog photos about cookies, but I’m not not saying that either. (wink wink)

 

ps: have you listened to my Valentine’s Day playlist yet? It’s kind of the greatest and not sappy.