Life, Loaf

‘Tis The Season

December 11, 2012

‘Tis the Season for…

Stress?

Sickness – cold/flu?

Finals?

Baking?

Miracles?

The Christmas season is a time when many things seem to occur like clock work. Everybody gets sick at the same time, every student is stressing over finals and end projects, and in the midst of it all we are all hoping and praying for a miracle during this holly jolly season of ‘anything is possible’

I can say this past week I have been beyond stressed. Adam and I are now officially moved into our new house as of Saturday night, after many back and forth trips, that also included returning our couch that was deemed too small for the space. Adam’s brother in law has been quite sick the past two weeks and still struggling with a flu type sickness, and last week began what I dub the week of no eating and no sleeping. I am officially finished this semester of the PDP teaching program and passed my final and practicum, and this last week was a wind-down week of bringing together the loose ends and preparing to gear up for the long practicum beginning in January. Now, it wasn’t exactly a stressful week in terms of school but in terms of my personal life it was quite a difficult week.

They say moving is one of the hardest, most stressful thing you can go through in life.

As I googled “moving is stressful” the top site hits were:

Moving house is one of the most stressful experiences you’ll have” – Where one man said he had moved 26 times and finds it hard to believe it is stressful – an answer to which one man replied “Is your house a caravan?” Well noted.

As well as “Moving is the third most stressful event in life, following death and divorce.” This I can agree with because I have already experienced two of the three (no divorce here). Funny how life goes, as this week as we were moving in I also had a shockingly stressful week because of a terrible loss in my extended family. While I still believe Miracles may happen, this season our family was not afforded a Miracle. I won’t go into the details, but just want to remind everyone what this Season is truly about – Family and Friends and gathering together to celebrate in whichever way this may be for you and yours.

Embrace the joy of being with Family and Friends as often as possible. Don’t let the small things get to you (as my mom and Adam are constant reminders to me.) I am terrible at thinking of every small thing at once and turning it into a large thing to focus on.

‘Tis the Season for miracles if you are lucky enough to experience one.

I am constantly reminded how many days there are until Christmas through e-mail reminders, and how many short days there are left to buy presents. Just a reminder that presents aren’t everything. Just being Present in your families life is a large enough gift.

I also missed out on my last day for the semester with my PDP family and our get together, for which I optimistically baked this loaf for. Baking and cooking are a huge stress reliever for me. I think due to the whole not eating/not sleeping properly last week my stomach has taken quite a beating with the stress and is now taking it out on me. It’s been in knots, quivering, and nauseous the past few days and kept me at home. I made some chicken soup with rice for dinner, and enjoyed a bowl for breakfast as well. Instead of sharing this loaf with my school family, I’ll share it with Adam and his co-workers this week.

Lainey did her job as a therapy dog (her original purpose), and kept me company while I wasn’t feeling well

Cranberry Orange Loaf

Recipe adapted from: Just a Taste
and
Joy of Baking

Ingredients:

1 large egg, well beaten
3/4 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
4 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup fresh cranberries, rinsed and thoroughly dried
1 Tablespoon turbinado sugar (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan with butter or cooking spray.

In a small bowl, combine the beaten egg with the orange juice and vanilla extract.

In stand mixer with paddle attachment, mix together the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda. Add the pieces of butter to the flour, blending the ingredients together until butter/flour resemble pea sized pieces.

Add wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and then stir in the cranberries. Pour the batter (will be thick) into the prepared loaf pan and sprinkle the top with the Turbinado sugar (optional).

Bake the bread for 50 or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, may add additional 10 mins to cooking if needed.

Let the bread cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Christmas

Bruschetta

December 7, 2012

As I write this my fingers smell of freshly diced garlic and fresh basil.

And I’m ok with that because this appetizer is delicious and as an Italian we’re pretty much born with basil in our blood.

Many Italian recipes begin with simple ingredients like tomatoes, basil or parsley and garlic. While I was in Italy this summer I had some of the best homemade pasta dishes in my life that had under 5 ingredients in them for the sauce. Fresh is always best. And, as my Nonna says ‘Italy is the best.”

My Nonna is one of (I say one of and not THE only because I have a feeling all Italians think this way) the most committed Italian citizen with an undying love for her country. Although she’s lived in Canada longer than she lived in Italy by now, she remans utterly loyal to everything Italian. From food to home furnishings, if it’s not Italian it’s not worth its salt.

{ Giueseppe making sauce }

It was quite the experience to go to Italy this summer with her to visit where my father was born. My Nonna makes the trip almost every single year back to her home country, and this year we met in Southern Italy for two weeks. It was amazing, and as my Nonna kept reminding me “You better eat a lot because you won’t find this in Vancouver!”

She was definitely right. However, I’d like to think I can still try and cook fresh delicious Italian cuisine in my own kitchen, even if it is a pale comparison to my Nonna’s authentic cooking in Italy.

If you’re looking for a little Italian apply to bring with you this season, this Bruschetta is a delicious, fresh appetizer that takes no time at all.

It’s easy to create with no baking (unless you make your own Crostini.. but my poor planning to go to a WalMart with no bakery, and no Baguettes, forced me to buy pre-made..Don’t tell my Nonna). And of course it’s seasonal colours, red and green.

Tonight I’m going to a girls Christmas get together, and after the week I’ve had I am in dire need of a little partay. I’m eagerly looking forward to the holiday season and all of the get togethers with family and friends we have lined up.

To Make Fresh Bruschetta You will Need:

Fresh Basil

 Grape Tomatoes

Diced in half

Finely Diced Garlic

Chopped basil

Fresh Bruschetta:

  • Olive Oil (2-3 tbs)
  • Grape Tomatoes ( 2-3 packages )
  • Garlic  ( 3-4 cloves )
  • Fresh Basil
  • Salt/Pepper to taste
Directions:
Chop the grape tomatoes in half and place in medium bowl. Dice/chop the garlic and add to tomatoes. Chop or tear (like I do) the basil into small pieces and add to bowl. Drizzle a good amount of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and mix well. Set aside in bowl on counter to marinate – do not refrigerate.
To make Crostini, pre-heat one to 400 Degrees.
Slice baguette into thin slices and place in single layer on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil on both sides and bake for 10-15 minutes, and turn to bake additional 5-10 mins on other side. Remove from oven and let cool. Slice a piece of garlic and rub onto cooled crostini. Top with Bruschetta!

 

Home

Home is Wherever I’m With You

December 5, 2012

{Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Adam and I’s ‘song’/motto}

So this past weekend Adam and I picked up the keys to our brand spanking new house =)

There was a lot of boxes, truck loads and trips back and forth between our parent’s house’s and his work storage to bring back all our belongings that have been nestled away for the past 5 months.

It was a very exciting weekend to finally be homeowners again. We are hugely grateful that Adam’s parents let us move back into his old (train wall paper covered) bedroom while we waited for our new house to be finished being built! It was like Christmas morning unpacking all of our home furnishings! …. I actually forgot how many Pie plates I own (FYI It’s about 7).

We haven’t fully moved in yet – Our bed is still at his parents, and right now our Washer and Dryer are sitting in our garage instead of in the third floor closet (long story short, Thank you The Bay…) And I am still in school for another week so we have been working/schooling during the day and driving back and forth between houses for deliveries/unpacking. We hope to have a bed and (Fingers Crossed) a washer/dryer by Friday so we can OFFICIALLY move in!

Here’s some snippets of our move this weekend! A Big thanks to everyone who helped !!

Adam and I driving to our New House Saturday morning

Had to have a big red bow on the front door asap. Merry Christmas to Us

A sign: since I was young the #6 was my ‘lucky’ number. Those who know me would remember I was always #6 on my baseball team, I grew up on 6th Avenue, I am born in the 6th Month of the year and I am a little OCD about even numbers..

Our bedroom waiting to be filled up

Master walk in closet (i.e. My closet..) and into the master bath

Had to do the picture in the mirror thing to show off my new baby (Master shower in back, rain shower head and frameless glass doors)

Messy kitchen with large balcony (kitchen island love)

Kitchen / Dining / Living open concept = love. So nice and bright

Dining area

Our adorable niece was helping unpack the kitchen pots/pans

 The great table entrance: Realizing the door from garage is 1” too small we (read: the men) had to go around to the front door that was an inch larger to fit our 84” solid wood dining table

Carefully sliding/carrying it up the stairs after angling it through the door

.. it was about this time we realized the legs were bolted on and probably could have taken them off…oops

Lainey, enjoying our new cow hide rug.