March Break Kickoff

March Break is upon us! I’ll be home to witness a lot more daytime kitty antics! I’m looking forward to a weekend of sewing (check out the Spool and Spindle destash sale this weekend), cooking, reading and relaxing. We haven’t ever felt we should go away for March Break. I know it would be wonderful but our summers are precious and we make the most of them, so don’t feel sorry for us lol. July will be here soon enough.

In case you want to make the most of cooking this break you can pick up my new magazine pics. I did get the new Milk Street and Bon Apétit but they are quite meat heavy this month. There is a delightful salted caramel chocolate tart in Bon Apétit though so it may have just been worth getting…IMG_3152IMG_3153IMG_3154IMG_3168

I’m excited about the Side-Dishes one especially. As veggies that is often our main meal. It’s also nice to have new sides to offer up guests. I’m looking forward to some of the potato recipes. Maybe the Cut the Sugar mag will help us get summer ready lol!

Jan-Feb Food Magazine Wrap Up

I know I say this all the time but how did 2 months just whip past! It really frustrates me that I don’t have magical powers to slow down time.

Anyways, March mags are cropping up at Costco (I keep forgetting that Costco is a great cheap option for magazines) and Chapters so I better share some of my food adventures from the last couple of weeks. Look out tomorrow for my February sewing make.

First, I finally made a few things from Bake: The British Issue…

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Tradition scone recipe with currants. Noticeably missing the clotted cream. Come on Canada get with the cream scene!

 

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Truthful, I was not thrilled with most of the recipes I tried. What I will keep though is the extended section in the middle of the magazine with “must-hit spots in the capital city”. With my lovely husband being British we are lucky to get to London regularly. My time in London usually involves dragging said wonderful, compliant, trained husband to every foodie shop I learn about in the London area. I don’t think he suffers though because it helps us explore like a local and eat well! On pg. 58 I was reminded to check out Spitalfields Market and on pg. 58 Violet (a little bakery, she also has a cookbook). The scone recipe I tried was nothing to write home about. I STILL MAINTAIN THAT THE BEST SCONE RECIPE IS FROM EDNA STAEBLER’S FOOD THAT REALLY SCHMECKS. Amazon link here, an oldie but a goodie. The Strawberry and Ginger Crumble, pg. 36 was sadly NOT good. Possibly user error but if you know my family you’d know we are crisp connoisseurs! There wasn’t enough liquid, not enough butter in the topping, way too bitter even with the most recommended sugar. The only thing I’ll take away is the idea to put ginger in my regular topping…IMG_3040IMG_3041

I’ll move on to the divine Custart Tart, p.37. Please don’t judge my crust edge. I will definitely make this again. It was creamy perfection. The fresh nutmeg on top was a winner too…

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Keeping with the dessert theme, from The Best Mediterranean Diet Recipes magazine I made the Semolina Pudding with Almonds and Dates p.92. This Middle Eastern pudding treat is right up my flavour alley. Have I mentioned I LOVE saffron and cardamom anything,yup…

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Last, I made one final recipe from the February Bon Apétit. The Wheat Berry Bowl with Merguez and Pomegranate, p.30, minus the sausage of course…

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Excellent!

 

 

 

Quick Veg Sides

For us Veg eaters we often take salads or sides and make them our main course. Last week was a classic example. I made the Bulger Salad with Carrots and Almonds P.33 from America’s Test Kitchen: The Best Mediterranean Diet Recipes magazine…

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This was an interesting recipe because you simplt soaked the bulger wheat in water and lemon juice for about an hour to let it soften. You don’t cook it. All I had was Bob’s Red Mill Red Bulger Wheat. I think it must be a bit tougher because I couldn’t get it to soften completely. At the end of the soaking time I popped it in the microwave for about 5 min and it was perfect. I let it cool after so that I could maintain the cold salad effect. Yum with a nice chewy texture.

To complete the meal I made Harissa Roasted Potatoes from the Milk Street magazine (display until Feb 26 edition). I ADORE Harissa. This North African spice paste is full of flavour and not too, too spicy (you can always adjust the amount to your taste)…

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They were so crispy and yummy. I’m going to have to make them again soon.

Maybe the two dishes don’t really go together but it sure was a perfect dinner…

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The Best Mediterranean Diet Magazine Update

As I’m waiting for recipes to cook for tonight’s dinner I thought it the perfect time to update on recipes I’ve been making from America’s Test Kitchen’s The Best Mediterranean Diet Recipes. I’ve been plugging a long and finding some nice little recipes along the way…

First, we were invited to an impromptu evening gathering (when you are younger I think that’s just called a Saturday night lol). Anywho, I decided to make 2 of the dip recipes that I hadn’t been thinking to try. First was the Tzatziki on p.7. I tried it with the beetroot variation. It was nice but I think I put too much beet in for my liking. I think I’d make it again with maybe 4 oz instead of the 6. Actually, I wouldn’t be rushing to make it again, not sure I can put my finger on why. Could just have been because I’d prefer less beet, hmmmmmm, perplexed…

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There is still cucumber in this beet Tzatziki.

The other dip I made was a different story for me altogether! The Muhammara on p.9 was gorgeous. It had a tanginess  from the pomegranate molasses (yes I used store bought and not the recipe at the bottom of the page, deal with it!) and a gorgeous after bite of spice from the cayenne. Loved it!…

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Are those store-bought pitas in those pictures. Well, no, thanks for asking! They are toasted up fresh from large pita pocket rounds. You totally don’t need a recipe to cut these open and drizzle olive oil and salt on top but just in case there are directions on p. 7…

Before we left for that gathering I made the Roasted Winter Squash Salad with Za’tar and Parsley p.24 for dinner. It was delish! If you don’t want it too dressing’y then maybe add a bit more squash. Could eat this one for days…

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Check out p. 25 for the cover recipe. We had that on the past weekend and it was a total hit. Curry and cauliflower can’t be beat in my books…

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John went goo-goo-gaga over this next recipe on p. 64, The Roasted Mushrooms with Parmesan and Pine Nuts. I thought they got a bit dry with the addition of 1/2 cup of Parmesan so just gauge for yourself how much you want to put in. The picture in the magazine didn’t look as cheese coated as mine…

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The neatest thing about this recipe was that you actually soaked the mushrooms in salt water for quite awhile. Odd because we are usually taught to NOT wash these bad boys. It worked though…

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Finally, the BEST recipe so far. The Fig and Phyllo Cookies on P. 90 were truly divine. Now, I lOVE, LOVE, LOVE fig or date anything so I knew I’d like these but I almost ate all the filling before the cookies were rolled, oops! I’m not convinced you even need to use the filling with phyllo (they are a traditional Italian cookie by the way). I think you could do a traditional Date Square with this filling instead. It had hints of orange from the orange syrup and the Sherry is a must…

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That’s Test Kitchen all wrapped up! Let me know if you make any of the recipes. I already know that Moody Little Kitchen has bought the mag to make some of these gems. Find her amazing blog at here.

First Magazine Recipe Meals

A Saturday night spent with friends and new recipes is one of my favourite past times. This weekend was no exception. I tried 3 new recipes from “display until March” magazine, The Best Mediterranean Diet Recipes by America’s Test Kitchen...

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I figured if you’d like to cook along with some of the recipes then I shouldn’t wait to post at the end of the month like I did last year with my monthly cookbook challenge. In this way, you can get the magazine and cook the recipes too! If you do PLEASE let me know what you made.

Last night we started with the Roasted Beet and Carrot Salad with Cumin p.21. I LOVE beet salads and this one didn’t disappoint! The addition of the pistachios and parsley really shined through. Will be my new go-to beet salad from now on I think…

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Roasting the carrots in my new oven.

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Mix the carrots and roasted beets with the dressing to cool and marinate.

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Before serving add the toasted pistachios, parsley and lemon zest. Gorgeous!

For the main we had the Artichoke, Bell Pepper and Chickpea Tagine p.55. I love a Tagine of course and this was a good one. I love kalamata olives in anything so right there I figured it would be good. The addition of 3 cups of roasted artichoke hearts also made it for me. I didn’t cheap out on the chickpeas either. No canned peas for this girl with access to a new Instant Pot (Dad got one for Christmas so I only have to run to the downstairs flat). In 40 minutes I had gorgeous chickpeas, done with no soaking time! Can’t beat the flavour of dried chickpeas, I say…

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Starting the simmer.

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Just before serving you add some greek yogurt. This makes it creamy and dreamy.

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Serve with couscous.

Not that you need a recipe for couscous but the Tagine recipe does direct you to use the one on p.85 called Simple Couscous. It gets you to brown the couscous in oil for a few minutes before adding the liquid. Careful, it can spurt up!

Let me know what you decide to make from The Best Mediterranean Diet Recipes Magazine. On sale now until March.

New Year’s Resolutions!

I NEVER made New Year’s Resolutions until I met John. In fact, I thought they were pretty pointless and ridiculous. But…after years of seeing they are possible to carry on and that they can add enjoyment and focus for your life I decided to give it a try! Of course mine are not quite as serious or focused on success and self-improvement. I needed to find a fun way to make myself do MORE of what I love! Thus, 2 years ago I decided to not buy any clothes for the whole year so that I would wear more of the clothes I already had that I liked. Didn’t hurt that it saved money to spend while travelling. It was an interesting experiment. Last year, I vowed to make more recipes out of my cookbooks. I chose 1 book a month to make as many recipes as I could.

It’s taken me time to nail down this year’s fun but I think I got it sorted…

1. Make at least 1 finished garment a month. This could be for me or someone else. Like cookbooks, I also seem to have collected an impressive amount of sewing patterns, paper and digital. I WANT TO MAKE MORE!

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Just some of the patterns I hope to accomplish this year.

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My gorgeous custom sewing area.

You can see a pile of gorgeous fabric waiting in the wings! The first project is actually for a dear friend Anne. I hope to work more on my fitting skills so making things for different people will be a fun challenge. I also hope to move away from simple projects like shift dresses and make more tailored pieces.

2. Cooking Magazines. I feel like this next challenge is very reminiscent from last year but…I seem to also have a small problem with reading food magazines and never making any of the recipes! Part of me feels it’s totally ok to just enjoy reading the articles and looking/drooling at the pictures but once I get a couple piles like this I start to feel a bit guilty…

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When we lived in the UK I went on a crazy magazine organizing scheme in the hopes that I’d actually cook from all the recipes I’d cut out, no house is big enough to keep years of magazines right! Possibly crazy but I still think my headings are clever!…

Most pre-made recipe folders have meat headings so what are us veggies to do. In case you organize in your head like this too…these categories seem to describe everything I’ve cut out of magazines:

  • Salads
  • App like recipes
  • Soups (Chilies, Dahls etc.)
  • Other (Nuts, Snacks)
  • Drinks
  • Dips/Sauces/Dressings
  • Mains-Pasta
  • Mains-Pastry
  • Mains-Other
  • Veggies Solo
  • Baking-Savour
  • Baking-Sweet
  • Cakes, Tarts-full size-showstoppers
  • Puddings

Once I make a recipe I write the name and quick rating on the front of each folder. Since the initial culling of the magazines I realised that I haven’t done it again since, eek. Hence…

I felt incredibly guilty over all the money spent on these until I sorted them and saw that more than half were Waitrose mags which are free with your Waitrose store card. For those that haven’t been to the UK and shopped at a Waitrose all I can say is we are missing out here in Canada! Waitrose and M&S food halls are 2 of the things I miss most about the UK lol! Think gourmet, higher end but EVERYWHERE! The Waitrose magazine every month is dreamy and I miss that John isn’t travelling to and fro anymore to get them for me, snurp.

For the past week I’ve felt overwhelmed with going through every issue again to cut out recipes to file away…soooooooo…I’ve decided to donate the mags I have to school and move forward with more intention. If/when I buy a new food mag I vow to make some of the recipes and then keep the ones I try and like.

I also wanted it to be fun and interactive in case anyone else wants to follow along and make the recipes I make too! I’m not going to go nuts buying new mags all the time but I usually do buy a few a month just for fun, or as time killers on car/plane trips. I’ll post them as soon as I buy them so you can decide if you want to play along.

I ENCOURAGE YOU TO LET ME KNOW IF YOU MAKE SOMETHING FROM A MAGAZINE I POST SO THAT I CAN HEAR YOUR REVIEWS TOO!

I’m going to started with these…

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These looked good in the store today. Test Kitchen mags are always a good read and bonus because it’s January diet food lol. This Milk Street mag just looks nice to look at and Bake British issue, well that’s a must.

Milk Street and Bake are Jan-Feb issues and Test Kitchen Best Med recipes is displayed until March so lots of time to buy these and make.

Sound good…happy cooking!IMG_2276.jpg