Lots of happy times, some hard times and loads of learning. There were road trips, wine tours and Haida Gwaii adventures. Like the photo above. Our neighbours invited on a jaunt with some of Queen Charlotte’s loveliest songbirds for a Haida Gwaii Radio special. Summary: the happy little day trip involved a zodiac, winter sun, hot cocoa, doggy beach hangs and some good old Christmas carols in an echo-y, rusty, old fuel drum at a former logging camp. Hear the story here at about minute 59.
Fast forward through holiday gluttony (minimum five sugar cookies a day + basting my first 16 pound turkey) and a dusting of snow in the rainforest. On January 1, we headed south to start the year visiting my family in the Thompson/Okanagan/Smilkameen. The kiddo and I travelled to Tulameen with another old friend and her ‘only’ (#only1kidclub). We sledded, gorged on homemade wonton soup and explored the tiny town perched on the the Kettle Valley Railway. Our little entourage included dogs, sleds and very snow-bundled kids screeching with equal doses of glee and despair as we hiked around in knee-deep snow. Read more
Transitions have been a way of life for my family in the last three years. Food has been a constant through our ups and downs, moves, new jobs, new parenthood adventures and new travels. So I wanted to introduce you to one of my new favourite cookbooks, by Kelis of ‘Milkshake’ fame.
We’ve moved a total of five times since October 2014. That’s right: five different houses. I sometimes feel a bit nomadic. Like as in, we should just sell it all and trade our cars for camels or a LandRover and cross continents slowly steeping ourselves in food, culture and language.
But just when my global nomad fantasies were at their height, we landed on a pretty sweet island spot so no more round-the-world fantasies (for now). During life’s transitional moments cooking, baking in particular, is my constant, my therapy, my way of relaxing. As long as I have my cookie sheets, my wee hand blender and some parchment with a well stocked baking cupboard, I’m happy. It’s what gives me a sense of home, when home is changing so often. Read more
That dreaded time of year is around the corner. I’m not talking about speedo-swimming-trunks-bikini shopping season. Nope. This is even more difficult: Valentine’s Day. Like eating Brussels Sprouts, there are two camps when it comes to V-day: lovers and haters. This usually has something to do with whether or not you’re in love or you’re out of love.
My partner and I aren’t a super Valentine’s Day gifty couple, our gift giving tends to focus on experiences more than things. But if we won the Lotto Max tomorrow, besides picking up and buying a cinnamon plantation on Zanzibar, I would love to give or receive any or all of the items on my Valentine’s Day gift list below. I’ve split the Valentine’s goodies into For Real (affordable), Swoon (awesome) and Dream (luxury) categories.
And as a happy Valentine’s Day or Anti-Valentine’s Day to you all dear readers, I’m also offering up a giveaway. Scroll down for details about how you can win a copy of Canadian Poet Susan Musgrave’s A Taste of Haida Gwaii from Whitecap Books.
This time of year I find there are two kinds of people I meet: those who are just starting their festivus-for-the-rest-of-us party circuit or or those who are winding down their winter fun. Because of geography and the my bi-provincial existence, I sit squarely in the former category. We’ve been catching up with friends, attending Sagittarius birthday dinners or Christmasy work functions here in Edmonton. Next week we’ll be eating, laughing and kitchen dancing with more family back in British Columbia.
Throughout all of this I’ve realized just how important it is to keep things simple when it comes to preparing festive foods. Whether you are going to a potluck, hosting a pre-Christmas dinner with the in-laws or just chilling with your family or friends, it makes sense to stay on the easy train, rather than the mega-intricate (and stressful). So grab a glass of your fave festive nog, sit down, peruse and choose a recipe (or seven) from my mini round up below.