Someone Else’s Family Bread Recipe

  A long, long (ok, not so long) time ago, I got sick and a neighbour made me bread. I loved that bread. It was like sourdough but not like sourdough, salty but not too salty, crusty but not too crusty, doughy but not too doughy. You get the picture. Anyway, she swore it was easy to make and the recipe so forgiving, so I begged for the recipe.

The only catch? You have to plan one day ahead to make it. There is no instant gratification here. No siree bob. But this bread is worth the wait.

My favourite part about this recipe? You let it rise for somewhere between 12-22 hours. Think you’re busy? You’ve got a ten-HOUR window in which to bake this bread. Awesome, right?


For 100% White Bread

3.5 cups flour
450 ml water
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp active yeast

For 100% Whole Wheat Bread

3.5 cups flour
550 ml water
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp active yeast


Mix the ingredients. Cover. Let stand for 12-22 hours. During that time, punch the bread down 3 or 4 times. Make sure your hands are wet when you touch the bread because it will be sticky.

When you’re ready to cook the bread, preheat the over to 450 degrees fahrenheit, and flour your bread pan(s).

Fold the dough in on itself a couple of times and divide into as many loaves as you have pans. Sprinkle some flour on top of the loaves and set them to rise for about another hour.

Bake for 40 minutes. Let rest another 15 minutes (if you can).






A Few Thoughts on Living Small

I live in the city in what I consider to be a small (1150 sq. ft.) three-bedroom apartment, with a dog, a teenager, a toddler, and my husband. I often feel overwhelmed by the clutter in our house and the lack of storage space.

However, we do have rooms, plural, as in multiple areas in which we can be apart, and for those, I am grateful. The rest, as they say, is in the details.

After reading this blog post, I feel pretty fortunate for the space that we have and am encouraged to make better use of it. I will renew my attack on the clutter in our house.

I agree with almost everything that the author, Greg, says. Except when it comes to the books, that is. I’m not sure if my reticence to get rid of the books is leftover sentimentality from my youth or something ingrained in me during my years as a Literature major, but I feel there is something… important… about being surrounded by books.

I can’t quite put my finger on why I think having tangible, real, books around is important. It’s something about the great potential for getting lost in those stories. Or it’s about the memories and characters that are triggered by just a glimpse of a book cover. Or maybe it’s about simply not having to sit with my own thoughts for an hour or two.

Nonetheless, there are some great ideas in this article for de-cluttering your space and for focusing on welcoming only multipurpose objects into your home.

Mama’s Beef Stew

Nothing says comfort food like a good old meat stew in the fall. I make beef stew to use up all the vegetables in my fridge, and so my stews always taste somewhat different, depending on what I have on hand. This recipe is for a classic beef stew with more conventional veggies, but feel free to improvise on the veggie front. I’ve even been known to thrown in leftover veggies from dinner the night before. This recipe is very forgiving…


2-4 lbs. stewing beef
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. paprika (preferably smoked)
1 tablespoon butter or oil
1 cup onions, diced
1/2 cup of celery, diced
1 large red or green pepper, diced
3 large cloves of garlic, minced
3 cups broth (Beef broth or veggie broth is ideal. Chicken broth works in a pinch, too.)
3 cups of water (Can add beer, too. Just reduce the amount of water accordingly)
1 large can stewed or diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups of carrots, chopped roughly
4 or 5 potatoes, chopped roughly
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp cocoa powder
Kale leaves, stem removed and chopped roughly

Other optional vegetable additions: Rutabaga, parsnip, squash, canned beans, fresh tomatoes (reduce water accordingly), beets.


Combine the flour, salt and pepper, and paprika in a small bowl. Toss the meat with the flour mixture. Meanwhile melt the butter in a stewing pot on medium high heat. Add the meat and brown the outside of the meat quickly. There is no need to cook it all the way through.

Next, add the onion, celery, and green peppers, and cook gently, until the onions are translucent. Add garlic and cook 1 minute, then add the vegetables, broth, water, canned tomatoes, and spices. Bring to a gentle boil, and then reduce the temperature to low. Cover the pot, leaving the lid partly off to let steam escape, and simmer gently for two hours, stirring occasionally.

Add the kale leaves in the last 20 minutes of cooking. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with bread.

Amazing No-Cook Play-Doh Recipe

I haven’t made Play-Doh in years, truth be told. It’s been about 11 years since my son was playing with Play-Doh and I tried making the old-school Play-Doh in a pot recipe. From what I remember of it, it dried out really quickly and the pot was a mess afterwards. So, I wasn’t keen to repeat that experience.

This time, I decided to go a no-cook route, and I’m glad I did!

Here is the recipe I used. I coloured it moss green, and it looked fabulous. The only thing I didn’t like was how quickly the dough went mouldy (1 week), but that may have had something do with the humid climate we live in and how hot the weather has been lately. I’ll keep it in the fridge next time.

No Cook Play-Doh Recipe

  • 2 cups plain flour (all purpose)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 2 tablespoons cream of tartar
  • Up to 1.5 cups boiling water (adding in increments until it feels just right)
  • food colouring (optional)
  • few drops glycerine (optional- adds more shine!)
  • Mix the flour, salt, cream of tartar and oil in a large mixing bowl
  • Add food colouring TO the boiling water then into the dry ingredients (colour optional)
  • Stir continuously until it becomes a sticky, combined dough
  • Add the glycerine (optional)
  • Allow it to cool down then take it out of the bowl and knead it vigorously for a couple of minutes until all of the stickiness has gone. * This is the most important part of the process, so keep at it until it’s the perfect consistency!*
  • (If it remains a little sticky then add a touch more flour until just right)

It turns out I’m not the only one…

…to think that this blog is amazing! I’ve been following it for several years now, and I’ve found some of my all-time favourite recipes there.

I highly recommend reading it, preferably at night with a glass of wine in hand… or whenever you have time to cook something. I guarantee you’ll want to.

“After a While”

My mother buys me knick knacks all the time. For most of my life, for holidays and seasons and sometimes no reason at all, she would buy me sweet, often rather thoughtful objects to decorate my home with and up-cycle or give away in a year or two. These mementos tell me she thinks about me even when I haven’t called in a while. For a long time, I hated being burdened by stuff and more stuff, but now I find it’s a comfort that, every time I see her, she sends me home with a bag full of thoughts and love. Those bags won’t always be there for me.

My all-time favourite trinket from my mother is a wall hanging of a poem that she gave me when I was a young girl. I loved the poem so much that I wrote it out and carried a copy of it in my wallet for most of my teen years. A coming of age poem, it guided me then even as it does even now.

The poem, “After a While” by Veronica A. Shoffstall, is like a breath of fresh air for me, whenever “the world [becomes] too much with [me]; late and soon.” –W. Wordsworth

After a While

After a while you learn
the subtle difference between
holding a hand and chaining a soul
and you learn
that love doesn’t mean leaning
and company doesn’t always mean security.
And you begin to learn
that kisses aren’t contracts
and presents aren’t promises
and you begin to accept your defeats
with your head up and your eyes ahead
with the grace of woman, not the grief of a child
and you learn
to build all your roads on today
because tomorrow’s ground is
too uncertain for plans
and futures have a way of falling down
in mid-flight.

After a while you learn
that even sunshine burns
if you get too much
so you plant your own garden
and decorate your own soul
instead of waiting for someone
to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure
you really are strong
you really do have worth
and you learn
and you learn
with every goodbye, you learn…
Train Tunnel – Princeton, BC

Best Crab Cakes

Crab cakes are one of the many sinful foods I adore, but since crab is expensive as well as high in cholesterol, I indulge in them far too seldom. The other day, I was in my local favorite fish market, 7 Seas, to buy some lovely halibut, and ended up drooling over their crab cakes. I couldn’t quite bring myself to pay the almost $4 per cake, but the very helpful guy at the counter kindly pointed out that they also sell frozen crab meat. So, of course, I had to make crab cakes!

Best Crab Cakes
Note: Recipe is adapted from one I found at Teri’s Kitchen.

2 tbsps. freshly chopped parsley
1/4 cup very finely minced onion
1 clove very finely minced garlic
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 lb. cooked crab meat, flaked
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs, more as needed
Panko breads crumbs for dredging
Half butter and oil for frying
Lemon wedges

1. Mince garlic, onion, parsley.

2. Pick through crab to remove all shells & extra bits.

3. Combine parsley, onion, garlic, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, mayonnaise, lemon juice, eggs, salt and pepper, and crab meat and mix well.

4. Add regular breadcrumbs, and forms into 1/4 cup patties, almost like round balls that are only slightly flattened. If possible, let cakes sit for 30 minutes in the fridge to help them bind together.

5. Dredge cakes in the panko crumbs and fry with butter/oil on medium high heat for approximately 4 minutes on each side, until the cakes appear golden brown.

6. Serves cakes while warm. I enjoyed these cakes on a salad with just a squirt of lemon and a dash of olive oil as dressing.