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A surprise posting

Hello everyone,

It’s been a VERY long time since I have posted anything. It’s been crazy busy so I wasn’t planning on doing so anytime soon.


I am starting a cooking binge to help store up food in my son and daughter-in-law’s freezer to shore them over while I am away in England working on a new movie.  I’m only going to be gone, 3 weeks, but they are expecting again. And when I first was told about the movie, I only allowed myself to get interested when I thought I wouldn’t have to start work until a month after the baby was born.

But you know how it is with movies, the schedules change and then change again.  Luckily, I will still be able to be there for the birth and for first 9 days to help out but then off I go.

Hence the cooking storm, to fill the freezer and so even though I won’t be there in person, my love and food with be there helping out.

Yesterday, I felt Dave and Amy out, what foods would be helpful?  What are more trouble than they are worth? The answer: soups, stews, muffins, pancakes, things that don’t require defrosting the night before.

So today, off I puttered to see what was to be had, fresh, local and organic…

I’ve decided to make a large batch of one or two things a day until our new grandchild is born. Slow and steady, to fill up their freezer with vegetarian options for my Amy and my grandson and meat options for my son. To my surprise, today, I came home with a slew of beets?!

Now, mind you, I’ve made a lot of soups in my day, but I’ve never made a beet soup. This was going to be interesting.

Well… I cooked and I mixed and I stirred and I tasted and I added a titch more of this and that and VOILA!  Beet Soup! And when I fed a bowl of it to my husband for lunch, he gobbled it up, asked for seconds and said it was “THE BEST SOUP HE’D EVER TASTED!!!

“Well,” I said jauntily.  Enjoy,  because you know me, I make up something and then I never remember how I did it.”

One thing led to another and I found myself offering to write it down before I forgot so I could make it for him again. My husband was VERY happy.

Once I wrote it down, I thought, maybe some of my readers would like to have the recipe as well, so here it is, as best I can remember:

Meg’s Delicious Beet Soup

Ingredients: olive oil, large onion, 4-5 garlic cloves (more if they are small), 1 leek, 8 medium beets, white wine, white vinegar, beef bullion or the vegetarian option, red chili pepper flakes, thyme, celery seeds, paprika, dill, basil, Kosher salt, black pepper, plain yogurt, Stilton blue cheese

-sauté 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil, chopped large onion, 4-5 cloves minced garlic, sliced, white and pale green part of 1 leek until soft, sort of clear

-add 8 medium beets, peeled and sliced, cook on low heat for around 5 minutes

-add a couple glugs of white wine, white vinegar (2-3 tablespoons total throughout cooking to taste), 2-3 vegetarian beef bullion, 4- 5 cups water, dash or two of red pepper flakes, a sprinkling of thyme, maybe 10-15 dashes of celery seeds, 15-30 dashes paprika,  a light sprinkling of dill, same with basil, add salt (start with around a rounded tablespoon, taste, then add however much more you need, might be another tablespoon, might be two more, might only be another half a tablespoon or no more. Trust your tongue. Do it gradual as you can always add more, but once it’s in there you can’t take it out) and ground black pepper to taste as well.

-simmer with lid on for 50 minutes or so until beets are soft and easily pierced with a fork (you might have to simmer longer or less, depends on the beets, how thin you sliced them etc.

-blend the whole concoction in the blender (do it in batches with a kitchen hand towel over the lid so you don’t get burned) start on a low speed and then kick it up to 5-6.  Not too long, just until smooth.

-then serve with a dollop (maybe a rounded tablespoon) of plain yogurt in each bowl and a sprinkle of crumbled Stilton blue cheese on top as a garnish.

Actually, reading over this recipe, I bet it would taste good hot or cold. Anyway, hope you enjoy it as much as my husband did!

Matthew Edison’s Delicious Hummus!

I’m crazy busy right now, doing the show, organizing a move, selling our Victoria house, an edit my new Penguin YA novel, A Taste Of Heaven, waiting patiently on my desk…

However, this it too good a recipe not to share with the rest of you.  Matthew brought this tasty treat to work the other day and it is truly the best Hummus I’ve ever tasted!  Marinda got the recipe from him and sent it to me and now I’m gifting you with it so you can all go forth and whip up some amazing hummus to wow your family and friends!

I’ve been rather cheeky, because Matthew just calls it Edison’s Hummus, but I think the name he chose doesn’t do it justice, so I’ve re-named it: Matthew Edison’s Delicious Hummus which I think suits it much better.

So… drum roll… here you are!

Matthew Edison’s Delicious Hummus

1. Cut off the top head of a bulb of garlic, drizzle top w/ olive oil, wrap with foil and roast at 400 For about 20-25 min.

2. Drain 1 can of chick peas, keep 1/4 C liquid and put aside.

3. Rinse chick peas, put in a pot & bring to a boil.

4. Once the chick peas have de-shelled, scoop out loose shells with a slotted spoon and transfer the chick peas to a colander. Let drain.

5.  Using a food processor or hand blender add:
chick peas
6 Tblsp Tahini
1 squeezed lemon (or 2 Tblsp)
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp sumac or smoked paprika
1 Tblsp mayo
1 sm. raw clove
1 bulb roasted garlic

Purée while slowly adding 3 ounces of good olive oil until the texture is creamy & silky.
Use remaining 1/4 Cup chick pea liquid to lighten consistency.
Scrape hummus into a bowl and dash with more paprika & olive oil.

Serve warm with olives & pita.



* * *

Oh, one more thing.  A word of warning.  Make sure that anyone you want to get close to, eats some of this as well.  When I got home after the show, my tummy happy and distended from ingesting a generous portion of Matthew’s hummus and pita, I snuggled up next to Don.  He sniffed the air rather cautiously and said, “Um…hmm,” a rather odd expression on his face.  “What did you…uh…eat?” 


Ruth’s hot spinach and artichoke dip

I went to my friend Ruth’s baby shower last week.  Everyone brought enormous platters of tasty food, myself included.  I ate more than was required of a polite guest, but then, so did everyone else. 

So, when Ruth mentioned her spinach dip, I gamely went back to the food table, even though I’m not partial to spinach and dropped around a tablespoon-sized blob on my plate, saying, rather louder than was necessary, that “It looked delicious, but I’d better not be greedy, this way there would be enough for everyone to have a taste.” 

Boy, was that dumb!  See, Ruth’s dip was DELICIOUS!  And now, I was hemmed in by my loud, “oooh, don’t want to be greedy,” excuse. 

I should have just taken a smidgen and not said anything, but I did.  And so after my outwardly generous restraint, I couldn’t very well gallop back to the food table, elbow my fellow baby-shower-attendees aside, bellowing, “Get out of my way, an emergency here, need more of that dip, pronto!”

No, I conversed, I played baby shower bingo, I admired all the lovely thoughtful gifts that all of Ruth’s family and friends had assembled to celebrate this special amazing time in Ruth and her husband’s life.  All the while my mouth was lusting after some more of that dip.

Anyway, Ruth, who is patiently awaiting the arrival of her baby daughter, kindly answered my email and included the requested recipe. 

I am over the moon, because not only do I like it, but my boy Will arrives from London in five days and he LOVES spinach and artichoke dip, and this one is the best I ever had, so I am going to make it for him and he will be happy.

Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip

2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 TBS. butter
1/2 onion, chopped
1 bunch spinach, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar or monterey jack cheese
1/2 cup shredded asiago
1 package Knorr vegetable recipe mix
1 can (14 oz) artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 can (8 oz) water chestnuts, drained and chopped
1 1/2 T. of Tabasco sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in a saute pan. Add garlic and onions. Cook till brown. Add spinach. Add salt and pepper.Cook till wilted.
Remove from heat.
Combine the rest of the ingredients except 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese. Spoon into a 2-quart casserole, then top with remaining 1/2 cup of cheese. Bake for 35 minutes or until dip is hot.

Meg’s Fruit Crisp/Crumble Tasty Treat

Hello everyone,

Yes, a wedding blog will be forthcoming, once I can pry a suitable photo from my husband’s grasp. 

But not today. 

Today I am going to post a recipe I just typed out for my friend.  She was having a lot of house guests and was feeling over whelmed and so I made her a fruit crisp/crumble(?) to help out.  I’m not sure what it’s called, just know that it is delicious.

Anyway, one thing lead to another, the guests loved it, wanted the recipe from her, keep bugging her for it, and she has been putting them off, but it was getting embarrassing because she pretended that she made it, so a rather hilarious confession to me was made accompanied by a plea for the recipe.  And I promised to write the recipe down for her to give to them.  Which I have just finished doing, but then I thought, well, if her guests like my fruit-whatever so much… You probably would too!

So, here it is.  Enjoy!

Love, Meg

Fruit Crisp/Crumble Tasty Treat

Preheat oven to 375°
Grease a square 8x8 pan with butter.  (You can use any shape pan.  If you double the recipe of course you would use a larger one)

Place in pan: Approximately 4 cups of fruit.  I eyeball it and fill the pan until it is around ¾ full.  You can use crisp granny smith apples that have been peeled and sliced, or a combination of fresh or frozen berries. 

My favorite is a mix of granny smith apples, and a mix of the raspberries, strawberries and blueberries that I freeze over the summer.  One or two apples depending on what I have in the fridge and the rest delicious berries.

In a bowl mix:

¼ cup white sugar
½ light brown sugar
½ cup of unbleached white flour
½ cup of large flake oats (the baking slow cook ones, not instant or quick cook)
1/3 cup of softened salted butter
1 rounded teaspoon of ground cinnamon
½ level teaspoon of ground nutmeg (up to ¾ if you are making an apple one and not adding berries.)


Chop a large handful of raw almonds, and a large handful of pecans until the pieces are around half the size of a baby’s tooth. 

Add to mixture in bowl and blend.  Then dump mixture onto the fruit in the baking pan and spread until it is covered evenly.

Cook until some of the fruit juices are bubbling through the top and you can plunge a fork into the centre of the crisp and not meet any resistance (i.e. an uncooked/or partially cooked slice of apple.)  The timing really depends on whether you used frozen or fresh (both taste great) and how hot your oven is, since all ovens vary.  So be flexible.  Could take anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour to cook. 

When ready, take out of oven and let sit for a few minutes before you serve it or you might burn your mouth. 

To serve: scoop out a generous portion and drizzle heavy whipping cream over the top and around the serving (sort of like a cream moat.)  Then… devour!


Will is back in school and good Lord the 6:45 a.m. wake up call is something else. 

It’s funny how easy it is to get out of practice.  Seriously, when the alarm jolted me awake this morning I felt like I had been run over by a cement truck.  Like the truck ran me over and then backed up and ran me over again for good measure.

And one would think I’d be used to early mornings after twenty-four years of small children and then larger ones and school mornings of preparing hot breakfast and lunches, the drive to school, but I’m not.  It’s always hard getting back on school schedule and this time seems to be even harder. 

Maybe because I stayed up later this holiday than I normally do to hang out with the children, who seem to go to bed late and rise even later.

I made Quinoa for breakfast.  And for those of you who are unfamiliar with the grain, I’ve plucked this description from an article written by Karen Railey.

Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wah) is an ancient food that is not yet well known in North America. It has been cultivated in South American Andes since at least 3,000 B.C. and has been a staple food of millions of native inhabitants. The ancient Incas called quinoa the “mother grain” and revered it as sacred. Each year at planting time it was traditional for the Inca leader to plant the first quinoa seed using a solid gold shovel! Quinoa was used to sustain Incan armies, which frequently marched for many days eating a mixture of quinoa and fat, known as “war balls.” Beginning with the Spanish conquest in the 1500s, there was a 400-year decline in the production of quinoa. It became a minor crop at that time and was grown only by peasants in remote areas for local consumption.

Now some of you might have had a little splodge of it served up with your fish at a fancy restaurant, cooked perhaps with a little onion and chopped tomato and perhaps a sprinkle of parsley or basil.  That generally the way I’ve seen it.  They serve it at spas and things and I would eat it because I knew it was good for me, not because my taste buds wanted it.  So, that being said, it might seem like an odd sort of breakfast choice for me to make for my family this morning.  Or any morning for that matter.

BUT… when I went on that hiking holiday (that I blogged about in July) with my friend, Dawna, that I thought was going to be a living hell and then I ended up loving it and losing 4 lbs to boot…

They fed us Quinoa one day for breakfast.  I poked at it unenthusiastically with my spoon for a few moments and then I reminded myself that I had a whole day of hiking ahead of me and I’d better eat up because the stuff is incredibly high in protein, and guess what?  It tasted good!

I’m not sure what the cook had put in it, but she used it as the basis of a breakfast cereal rather than a riceish side dish for dinner.  I could taste banana and cinnamon and she’d sprinkled fresh berries on the top.  “Hmm…” I thought to myself.  “I could do this.”

Anyway, here’s how I made it today, but really, with this kind of thing, anything goes, just throw in what sounds good to your tongue.  And if you look it up on the Internet and then read some of it’s history to your children (or reluctant husband/wife/partner) and show them the ancient pyramids and stuff like that it might encourage them to give it a go. 

Quinoa is really, really good for you and if you make it like this, it actually tastes good too.

Quinoa (as a cereal)
Ingredients: Quinoa, a banana, dried cranberries, raisins, almonds, either fresh or frozen blueberries or raspberries or both, maple syrup, cinnamon, honey, vanilla

-place in a pot and bring to a boil 1 cup of Quinoa and 2 cups of water, then turn the heat down to simmer.  Stirring now and then.

-chop one banana into small pieces and add to pot.

-add a sprinkle of salt and some cinnamon (I do around 6 long shakes and I have a big cinnemon shaker, so figure it’s somewhere between 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons)

-add a glug of maple syrup and around a five second squirt of honey (maybe 1-2 tablespoons of maple, same of honey) and a tiny splash of vanilla to the pot.

-place a handful of whole raw almonds in the oven on a cookie sheet at 400 degrees for five minutes, take them out and chop on chopping board.

-chop a fistful of dried cranberries, chop a fistful of raisins.

When the water has been absorbed into the Quinoa, taste to make sure the texture is good.  The Quinoa should have opened up a little and should not be crunchy, but have a nice texture and a bit of a spring to them.  If you look real closely it’s like there they become a little more opaque and have a little “c” along the outside. 

-If it is winter, throw in around two fistfuls of whatever frozen summer berry you have in your fridge.  Once they are warm, serve.

-drizzle a little honey over the top.  Sprinkle on some of the chopped dried cranberries, raisins and toasted almonds.  (If it is summer, this would be when you put the fresh berries on top.)  And then…


I like mine with a drizzle of whole milk.  Don likes his plain.

I hope you like it, and if you don’t?  Well, isn’t it cool to think about all of those centuries of people before us eating this very same grain?  Not only that, think about how healthy it is!  Someone once told me that one serving of Quinoa had (as much?  more?) protein than a steak!

ice cream mush

We made a healthy dinner of halibut, cooked with a little tomato, garlic, olive oil, basil and fresh onion and a little pot of wild rice.  Delicious.  Nutritious.  And virtuous to boot.

After an hour or so of feeling smug, reality hit, and I had to have something sinful. 

The problem was, with Will in England, Dave on the Island and Emily over there too, I didn’t have the fridge loaded with anything that called my name. 

So…I made something up.  And it was really tasty, so here it is.

Ice Cream Mush

-Take around a clenched-fist sized piece of peanut brittle and chop it up into chunks that are around the size of chocolate chips.

- Then take a hunk of milk chocolate (I’m sure semi sweet would work as well)  And shave off around the same amount as you have of the peanut brittle.

-Then scoop out some vanilla ice cream into a mixing bowl and sprinkle the chopped peanut brittle and chocolate on top. 

-Mash together with your spoon until blended.

-Now pour some rum in the bowl and stir that in.  Just a glug or two. 


-Place back into the freezer for around 15 minutes or longer to set. 


It’s really good.  I feel quite pleased with my new creation.  Hope you like it too!

oatmeal cookie update

Today has been a lovely day.  My writing went relatively smoothly.  Which is always cause to celebrate.  Then I met up with Gayle Friesen.  We went for a gargantuan walk, even though it was raining, sometimes a little bit harder than others, but we didn’t care.  We just walked and talked and walked and walked.  And it was really fun. 

And remember the blog I wrote about how I’d met her at the BC Book Prizes Soiree and said I liked her.  Well, I never would have guessed that a short two months later we would have found each other’s contact info sort of accidentally through a mutual friend and that we would have actually gotten together.  And yes, I know it might seem like I am name dropping, by saying her whole name because she is an award winning author and all, but really that’s not the reason I do it. 

The reason I write both the first and last name whenever one of my stories or references has to do with an author friend, is because quite a lot of people come to visit my site, and I figure, who knows.  Maybe the next time one of my blog readers are in a bookstore, they might pick up one of my friend’s titles, and that is not a bad thing.  Because most of the children and young adult writers out there are earning a pittance compared to any other job.  If you count the hours we spend at our computers, the months and years it takes to write a book.  And then if you look at what kind of advances most Canadian childrens authors get paid, you’d laugh.  Because seriously, broken down to an hourly salary, an average author would earn far less than the average Joe flipping hamburgers at a fast food joint.

So, that is why, whenever an author friend is a happy part of my day, I mention their full name.  Not because I am bragging and saying “Oh, look at my fancy literary friends,” but because that is what I feel is important for us as authors to try to do. 

Speaking of which… for those of you who are readers, remember when I did that guest blogging thing on The Debutantes Ball, with author deb. Danielle Younge-Ullman.  Well this week end she attended her first Book Expo Canada.  And her publisher, Penguin, printed out 100 advanced reading copies of her first novel, Falling Under, and they ran out!  People grabbed those babies up like hotcakes.  Whoohooo, go Danielle!

Wow.  I just read back over what I’ve written and I went way off topic.

I wanted to tell you about the new futzing I did with the Oatmeal cookie recipe. 

-I cut the white sugar down from 3/4 a cup to 1/2.  The cookies were starting to taste a little too sweet for me.
- And then I minced up 3/4 a cup of pecans.  I chopped it up quite small.  You could also just zap them in a blender for around 10 seconds and it would do the trick, I just like using the old-fashioned chopping board and large knife because it’s the way I do things and besides, there is less clean-up. 
-then I swapped out the raisins for 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Everything else I did the same.

It tastes really good.  Like a not-so-sweet chocolate chip cookie with a really satisfying texture and taste.  You’re kids won’t like them as much as Toll House chocolate chip cookies though, because they aren’t as sweet.  This is more of a modification for my adult cookie eaters.

I’m off to eat another cookie.  Bye!

Delicious Oatmeal Cookies

Tonight is closing night of the musical Will is doing with his school.  There is a party afterwards at the Headmaster’s house and then another party after that.  I find when teens are going to a party, it is a good idea to try to sneak food into their belly one way or another.  Just in case.  Hence, my oatmeal cookies!  Who could resist?

Delicious Oatmeal Cookies

ingredients: butter, white sugar, light brown sugar, vanilla, egg, flour, baking soda, cinnamon, raisins, salt, old-fashioned oatmeal (important, don’t use “instant” or “quick”)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  (If you have convection, you can use it with this recipe to make the cookies even crispier)
Mix in bowl:

-I cup of softened butter
-3/4 white sugar
-3/4 of light brown sugar
-1 teaspoon of vanilla
-1 egg

Mix in another bowl:
-1 1/2 cup of unbleached white flour
-1 1/2 cup of oatmeal
-1 teaspoon of baking soda
-1/2 teaspoon of salt
-2 teaspoons of cinnamon

Blend the flour/oatmeal etc. mixture into the butter/egg etc. mixture.  When all the flour mixture is blended in, sprinkle in to the cookie dough,

-1 1/4 cup of raisins. 

(I like a LOT of raisins, so I get one in almost every bite, but if you like only an occasional one then cut the raisins down to 1 cup or even 3/4 of a cup.  OR you could forgo the raisins altogether, leave out the cinnamon, and sprinkle in semi-sweet chocolate chips and if you really want to get crazy you could chop up a handful of pecans and fling them in there as well.  That’s the joy of being the cook.  You get to decide these things, without an if-you-please to anyone.)

Back to the recipe.

Fold the raisins in, so they are spread out evenly.  Then drop rounded teaspoons of the cookie dough onto a greased pan (greased with butter of course!)  Smoosh the rounded balls slightly with the palm of your hand and bake for 10-12 minutes. 

And then, gobble them up while they are still warm, with a nice cold glass of milk.

(The musical, by the way, was lots of fun, and Will was wonderful, of course!  I should know.  I went to every single evening performance they had.)



Meg’s made up muffins

My brother Ben wrote that he’d made my buttermilk pancakes!  It made me so happy.  I’m not sure why.  I guess because I kind of figured that I was putting these recipes out there, but that nobody was actually making them.  I sort of thought that perhaps people would even scroll past the recipes to the next blog down.  Well, my brother made my pancake recipe, so now I have free rein!  It made me feel so cozy to think of Ben and Joline with baby Claire in her tummy and my little nephew Sam eating yummy pancakes.  I got such a flash of Sam, with that faint flush that young children have, his tiny feet swinging slightly as he chewed. 

Not only that, but if Ben used the pancakes recipe, then who knows?  Maybe other people are playing around with my recipes as well!

So, I’m giving you a brand-new one.  I made up this new recipe on Sunday.  I woke up with a craving in my mouth and no recipe that matched, so I went into the kitchen and started fooling around and…EUREKA! 

Meg’s Made-Up Muffins

Ingredients: butter, white sugar, light brown sugar, eggs, bananas, buttermilk, vanilla, flour, wheat bran, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, apples

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Either grease two sets of muffin tins,( or use cupcake liners )

Mix in large bowl
- 1/2 cup of softened butter
- 1/2 cup of white sugar
- 3/4 cup of light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 ripe mashed bananas
- 1 cup of buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla

Blend well.

Measure into second bowl
- 2 1/4 cup of unbleached white flour
- 1/4 cup of wheat bran flakes
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 6 shakes of nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons of cinnamon

Stir well

- Peel, cut out the core and dice two small/medium apples (If you only have large, than just do one)

Mix the flour mixture into the egg/buttermilk/butter/sugar bowl.  When blended, add the diced apples.  Spoon muffin batter into muffin tins and bake until the tops spring back when you press your finger on them.  (Around 25-35 minutes, depending on your oven.)  Serve piping hot.  They taste good with a slice of butter or without.  They are also good once they cool down to munch on as a snack.

Buttermilk pancakes

I’ve decided to post my buttermilk pancakes recipe.  I got the original recipe from a cookbook, but as with everything I make, I have fine-tuned and changed it a bit according to what my taste buds like.  When pancake loving people come to my house, they always say they are the best pancakes they have ever tasted.  Maybe yes, maybe no, but I’m going to post the recipe just in case our friends are telling the truth about the tastiness quotient.  This recipe makes around 8 four inch pancakes.  It’s enough for the three of us in the morning, but that’s because we have to eat at 7:15 a.m. so Will can get to school on time, and so our stomachs aren’t very hungry.  It’s best if you play with it and see what works for your family.  If you have large appetites or are more than three people, just double every measurement by two.

Meg’s Buttermilk Pancakes

ingredients: unbleached flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, baking powder, butter, buttermilk, maple syrup

(If you like a side of bacon with your pancakes, start cooking the bacon on medium-low, and then start the recipe.  That way the timing will work out and the pancakes and bacon will be done at the same time.)

Put a large pan on the stove on medium-low heat.  (I don’t use a non-stick pan for pancakes.  I use a regular one.  I find that the non-stick makes the pancakes sweat slightly, whereas the regular one allows the edges to get that slight crisp.)

Measure into a mixing bowl.
-1 cup of unbleached flour
-1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
-1/2 teaspoon of salt
-3/4 teaspoon of baking powder
-1 teaspoon of sugar

Mix the above ingredients with a fork.

If you are using a two cup measuring cup, you can mix the next section right in the cup.  (If you are using a one cup measuring cup, then mix the following ingredients in another mixing bowl.)

- 1 and 1/4 cups of buttermilk
-1 large egg


Place 1/4 cup of butter in the hot frying pan.  Keep a close eye on it.  Swirl the butter around so the whole bottom of the pan is greased.  As soon as the butter is melted, pour it into the buttermilk and egg mixture, stirring constantly.

Turn the frying pan up to just a little bit higher than medium heat, (but not to medium-high!)

Then pour the wet mixture into the flour mixture.  Do not over blend! Just a few strokes of the fork until all the flour mixture is mixed in. 

Slip your fingers under the faucet, then dash a couple of drops of water on the frying pan.  If the drops of water skiddle around then the pan is hot enough, and you can spoon out the pancake batter into the hot pan.  (The pan shouldn’t be smoking.  If it is turn the heat down a bit, and remove the pan for just a few seconds to cool it down.)

When there are a least two bubbles that have formed in the cooking pancakes and popped without the uncooked batter filling in the holes then the pancakes are ready to flip with a spatula.  Do not flip before this or you will have raw and gooey middles.  (The second side of the pancakes don’t take nearly as long as the first side.  They brown quite quickly and are ready to go.)

Important! Do not fiddle with the pancakes while they are cooking just leave them to cook.  I see people using their spatula to press down on them all the time and that is not a good idea.  It makes the pancakes heavy. 

Also important While you are waiting, I know it is tempting, but do not stir the sitting batter in the bowl.  When you spoon it out into the frying pan, do not re-stir the batter either.  It takes the fluff out of the pancakes. 

When the pancakes are cooked serve them up, piping hot with a slab of fresh butter and real Canadian maple syrup.  That’s what we had this morning, and it was good.

Living dangerously aka/Black Cod with miso

Stephanie and Todd just left.  They arrived yesterday afternoon for the Sidney Crosby game… Okay, well, it wasn’t “The Sidney Crosby Game” per se.  Seeing as how he would have looked pretty ridiculous gliding up and down the ice by himself, slamming his body into the boards and dodging pretend opponents, darting in and out, weaving and bobbing and then scoring on an imaginary Luongo!  So, let me rephrase.  Stephanie and Todd arrived from Seattle to attend the Pittsburgh Penguins/Vancouver Canucks hockey game at which Sidney was playing. 

How does Meg know all this fancy information, one might ask?  Well…it would be a gross understatement to say that my husband is a wildly crazed Sidney Crosby Fan.  Do I need to say more?

I, by the way, was saved from having to attend the game ( I don’t like the fisticuffs) because my son, Will was singing in a Christmas concert with his school choir and of course I wanted to be there.  I watched beaming from the incredibly hard pew of the church where they were performing, and since I told the woman next to me that he was my son, both her, her husband and an elderly friend that might have been a father of some sort, watched and beamed proudly at my son too.  (They weren’t parents there for Will’s school choir.  They had come to hear the processional singers that the school got to perform with.)  So my son had a whole row of listeners proudly beaming at him.  Surrogate family for six songs.

Anyway, our friends arrived.  Came for the game, bearing gifts.  Thoughtful gifts!  Like really thoughtful.  I’m a horrible gift buyer.  I get all anxious, like whatever I get it’s going to be dumb or not fit or they will have no use for and it will clog up their cabinets and be an albatross around their neck.  I’m about as good at gift buying as I am a clothing shopper.  I have no idea.  It’s not that I don’t love the people that my gifts are so uninspired, it’s just that some people have some talents and some people have others.  Sigh.

On the rare occasion when I get corralled into entering a store with a family member or friend, I try to deal with that slight panicky claustrophobia that set in, by watching them closely, trying to figure out what they are going to like, holding up suggestions.  But what people like seems to change with the seasons, and what was a home-run last year is a oh-god-mom-never-in-a-million-years look this year.  It changes too fast.  I get overwhelmed in stores.  That’s why I avoid them.  Get in, buy what I have to.  Get out. 

Actually, that’s a lie.  My scenario is more like, walk in, look around, get overwhelmed, talk myself out of needing what I drove down for, by saying something like,  “Hey, these boots are only 7 years old, the soles aren’t worn through and no one can see that the tiny triangle of stretch elastic at the top is unraveling when you’re standing up.  And if they noticing that when you’re sitting down, well…Why are they looking at your feet anyway?  Your feet don’t talk.  If they are looking at your feet they must have a foot fetish and then that’s their problem to deal with not yours.”  And then I feel quite relieved to turn around and walk out of the store.  Quickly, I might add before, god forbid, someone asks me if I need some help!

Whoa!  I went way off topic there.  Back to the recipe.  I decided we are going to live dangerously my dear bloggers!  I am once again going to post a recipe that I have never tasted.  I am going to post it because Stephanie has impeccable taste and so I feel that if she says this is an amazing recipe, and since the salted chocolate caramels from Fran’s that she and Todd brought me from Seattle were yummy, this fish will be yummy too.

Nobu’s (and Stephanie and Todd’s too because they wrote it out and brought it!) Black cod w/Miso

1lb black cod (sable-fish)
1/4 cup white miso paste
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp. mirin

-Marinate for 24-72 hours.
- If the fish is sliced thick, bake for 5-8 minutes at 370 degrees. 
-Then broil fish, skin side down, as close to the broiler as you can get until done (around 7 minutes)
You can adjust the amount of sauce when cooking depending on what you like.  some places serve it very dry, we we like it “saucy”  Enjoy!
Love, Stephanie and Todd. (I put the love Stephanie and Todd part in, they didn’t write it on the recipe, and they don’t even know you bloggers like I feel I do, but it seems cozier this way.  So I went the “artistic licence” route and added it!

sponge cake

The wonderful thing about having a blog is that last night when I was still reeling from what-the-hell happened?  I was able to look back at my life for the last little while.  And reading my entries from the start of this whole disaster at the end of October all the way up to now, gave me some sort of perspective.  I felt comforted somehow, by visiting back to those past times.  I did the best I could.  Nothing else to be done but to step off this emotional roller coaster. 

When I woke up in the middle of the night…now that was a different story.  I wasn’t feeling comforted at all.  The thing about those middle of the night rampages where every fear or worry gums you to death, is that there are no distractions.  You put one worry down and another one leaps into the gap. 

Anyway, enough of that.  It’s out of my hands.  Move on.  As I was reading back over the last month and a half, I noticed that right before all this happened I promised that I would post my favorite cake recipe.  I love this cake because unlike angel food cake, you use the whole egg and it’s not as sweet.  I find angel food cake too sweet for me.  I’ll eat it if there is absolutely nothing else around, but I far prefer sponge cake. 

This is not a recipe that I made up however.  I got it from my grandmother’s old Betty Crocker’s Cookbook.  The first edition.  It’s funny how much these cookbooks have changed over the years.  (In my mind, not for the better.)  Anyway, this is an old-fashioned cake.  You can serve it with any icing you like.  My family is partial to my butter icing, but I like this cake best with sliced fresh strawberries and a generous dollop of freshly made whipped cream.  I make this cake a lot once strawberries come into season, filling the front section of the grocery store with their summertime fragrance.  But sometimes if I’m desperate, I’ll make it in the winter with imported strawberries that taste faintly of cardboard, and I have to squeeze half a lemon over them and sprinkle them with a little bit of sugar.  Or I’ll make a compote with the frozen summer berries I have stored away in the freezer.

                        Glorious Sponge Cake (that’s what it’s called.  Honest.  I didn’t make that up.)

ingredients: flour, sugar, 6 eggs, water, cream of tartar, salt, (now the recipe calls for 1 tsp of lemon extract and 1 tsp of grated lemon rind.  I don’t do this.  I use vanilla, which is what I’ll write here, but really, it’s your choice.  What do your taste buds prefer?)

-heat oven to 325 degrees (do not use convection.  Use regular bake)
-separate 6 eggs, plopping the yolks in one large mixing bowl and the whites in the other
-beat the yolks on medium speed
-gradually add one cup of white sugar
-then add alternately one cup of white flour
-and 1/4 a cup of cold water
-add one teaspoon of pure vanilla
-turn blender on to medium high speed and blend for a total of 5 minutes

In a whites mixing bowl
-add 1/2 tsp of cream of tartar
-1/2 tsp of salt
-Beat on high speed until the white form stiff white peaks (this means that when you turn the mixer off and dip the beaters into the mixture when you take them out it makes little snow-capped mountains designs

-fold with a rubber spatula 1/3 of the white mixture into the yolk mixture.  Repeat this 3 times until the whole white mixture is in the yolk.  DO NOT OVER FOLD!  Just fold it in enough so that it is uniform in color.

-pour into an ungreased 10” tube pan (Another description for an angel food cake pan)  Or, if you don’t have an angel food cake pan, dump the mixture into a 13X9’ oblong pan(on this pan you grease ONLY the bottom on the pan.)  It doesn’t look as fancy but it still tastes great!
-put in the oven and bake for 60-65 minutes for tube/angel pan, 35-40 for oblong pan.
-Cool tube/angel cake pan upside down.  Cool oblong pan right side up, like a regular cake.
-Cool throughly before serving with whatever strikes your fancy.

In writing this recipe I realized that I have made this recipe my own as well.  It not written at all like the book and I’ve changed some of the ingredients and tweaked the order and blending process.  Funny.  I never realized it before.  I thought I was doing it verbatim!

my yummy corn bread

I lost 5 pounds while I was away.  It’s funny, when I’m away from my family, eating is harder somehow.  Not so much fun.  Anyway, the minute I arrived home I was suddenly ravenous and have been indulging my belly ever since.  And tonight, rather than make a bit of pasta to serve the pot roast over, I had a craving for my yummy corn bread.  THIS IS NOT A RECIPE FOR DIETERS!  If you are trying to lose weight, don’t walk, RUN away from this recipe! 

For those of you who are not on a diet, feel free to continue reading.

I am posting this recipe because my husband said, “What did you do?  This is my favorite corn bread you’ve ever made!” 
“Um…I’m not really sure,” I said.  “I better go write it down on my blog so I don’t forget.”  See that’s what happens to me.  I play with recipes, find a mix of things that everyone loves and then, the next time I go to make it, I have no idea what I did.  Either that, or I forget the recipe entirely and it never graces our table again.  So this posting is as much for me as for you!

my yummy corn bread

ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, buttermilk, eggs, bacon, ham, onion, Parmesan cheese, sharp cheddar cheese, fresh rosemary, 9x13 glass baking pan.
-pre-heat oven (if you have convection, use that for this recipe.  If not, no worries, plain bake will do) to 425 degrees
-fry 5-6 slices of thick bacon in a pan over medium heat until nicely browned on both sides.
-Remove from frying pan and dice.
-pour bacon grease into a mug for later.
-dice 1/3 an onion and fry in the bacon pan on low.
-strip the rosemary off a sprig, mince and add to onion in pan.  (It should be around a tablespoon, don’t bother measuring, just eyeball it.)
-grate sharp cheddar cheese, so that when you cup both your hands together both hands are full and it heaps into a gently sloping hill in your hands.
-grate Parmesan cheese, until it fills both your hands cupped together but is flat like a plain instead of rounding.
-remove onion and rosemary from pan and set aside to cool.
- dice 4-5 slices of ham.
-pour some of the bacon grease into the baking pan.  Make sure you grease the bottom and sides well.  Pour excess grease back into the mug.
-put the greased pan into the oven.

mix together in a bowl
- 1 cup of flour
-1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
-1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
-1 tablespoon of white sugar
-1 teaspoon of salt
-3/4 cup of cornmeal (Make sure you use cornmeal and not cornflour!  Big difference in the texture.)
-mix the above ingredients well.
-mix in the cheddar, Parmesan, onion & rosemary, diced ham and bacon.

mix well in another bowl
-1 1/2 cup of buttermilk
-2 eggs
-around 2 tablespoons of bacon grease. (Just eyeball it.  I just poured a dolp in and am guessing as to how much it looked like.)

-Pour the liquid mixture into the dry mixture.  And blend just until all the dry mixture is moist. (Don’t over blend, it’s supposed to look a little lumpy.)
-take the piping hot pan out of the oven (Don’t worry if it’s smoking a little that’s good) 
-Pour the cornbread mixture into the hot pan and spread it out so it’s sort of even and pop back into the oven.

It should take between 20-25 minutes to cook.  Take it out at 20 min.  and poke a fork, or a little wood skewer into the middle and if it comes out clean, cut corn bread in to squares and serve pipping hot!

I hope you enjoy this as much as we did tonight.  I’m embarrassed to admit that I ate three huge squares of it and I was trying to be restrained!

(And for all you vegetarians out there.  Just delete the bacon and ham.  Maybe jack up the onion and use 1/2 instead of 1/3.  Use an oil to grease the pan, and when you take the hot pan out of the oven, throw a tablespoon of butter on it before you add the batter.  And use 3 tablespoons of melted butter in the liquid mixture instead of the 2 tablespoons of bacon grease.  Also I bet you could chop up a little jalapeno pepper and throw that in as well, if you wanted a bit of a zing.)

Dream Pie Update

I got back from my reading with Richard Scrimger (author of Into the Ravine, and a million other books) and there was a little white plastic bag resting on my bed like a present.  Hmmm… I thought, what could this be?  Felt kind of like Christmas.  It didn’t even enter my mind that it was Maureen’s dream pie.  When she didn’t show up at the theater, I figured life ran away with her, as life is apt to do and there simply wasn’t time for dream pie.  But no.  There was, two containers, lids and all, encased in two ice packs so if I came back late I wouldn’t get botulism.  Another example of Maureen’s thoughtfulness.  Inside was a note saying that she forgot to say in the recipe that instead of regular cream cheese she uses light cream cheese and skimmed milk.  I stood over the hotel bathroom sink and scooped out fingerfulls into my mouth, thinking “I can’t believe something that taste this rich, could be so low in calories!”  And the taste of the Cool Whip brought back memories of my grandmother, who passed away in 1988.  And how I visited her when I was 7 and she served me oatmeal, but she didn’t have any milk because she was was allergic to it. 
“What about Cool Whip?” I said.  “You eat that.  We had it last night on our Jello.”
“Oh,” she said “Cool whip isn’t made from dairy.  It’s an oil product.”  And I was flabbergasted! 
“So…“I said tentatively, “If you wanted you could eat Cool Whip on your oatmeal” 
She laughed. “I guess so.”
I paused, working up my courage.  “Grandmother?”
“Could…I… would it be okay if I had a spoonful of Cool Whip in my oatmeal?”
She thought that was a real funny idea, but then after thinking about it for a while she said, “I don’t see why not.”
So we both had Cool whip on our oatmeal and she wrote to me when I returned home and told me that she eats Cool Whip with her oatmeal every morning and thinks of me.  And I felt so proud.

And I was thinking as I was eating Maureen’s Dream Pie that this is a perfect recipe for someone who is trying to lose weight and yet still craves rich, fluffy desserts.  And if somebody else wants to say, “Calories be damned!”  Then they could substitute butter for margarine, use regular cream cheese, whole milk, and real whipped cream instead of Cool Whip.  What a versatile recipe!  I was also thinking sliced bananas on top would make another delicious addition.

Thank you Maureen for your thoughtfulness and the memories of my Grandmother. 

Maureen’s Dream Pie

Maureen’s Dream Pie has arrived!  And even better in her note, she said she is going to drop some off at tomorrow’s reading for me!  How lucky is that?  I think what happened is she read my blog this morning and thought, “She sounds a little bit sad.  I think I better whip that girl up some of my Dream Pie!  That’s just the kind of comfort a woman needs.” 

I’m feeling wonderful now, but the good thing is, the fax was already delivered, the promise made.  So even though I’m feeling jaunty…I still get Dream Pie!  Yes.

Maureen’s Dream Pie

1 1/2 C. graham wafer crumbs
1/4 C. sugar
1/4 C. margarine
Mix and pack on bottom of 13” x 9” pan.  Bake at 375 degrees for 6-8 mins.  Let cool.

1 - 8 oz cream cheese
1/2 litre cool whip
1/2 C. icing sugar
Whip together well and spread over layer #1.  Cool completely. (HINT: dip knife or spoon in hot water)

2 large pkg. pistachio pudding (Jello)
2 1/2 C. milk
Whip together and let set for 5 mins.  Spread over layer #2.  Cool

Spread remainder of Cool whip over layer #3.  Garnish with shaved chocolate.  Let set in refrigerator over night if possible.

** Cool Whip 1 large or 2 small.

Thank you Maureen.  I’m looking forward to tomorrow with a smile!
Now I’m off to a home cooked dinner at Cynne.  It doesn’t get much better than this!

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