Winter Warmer’s: LinnieGayl’s Pumpkin Flan

November 14th, 2013

pumpkinsEach year when Halloween rolls around my thoughts go to pumpkins. Not to decorating them, but to thinking of creative ways to use them in cooking. Over the last few years I’ve made pumpkin and peanut butter soup, added pumpkin to steel cut oats, made many loaves of pumpkin bread, and tried making pumpkin stews. But  as Thanksgiving draws closer I generally pull out a trusty old recipe for pumpkin flan.

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I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar

November 11th, 2013
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Katy Perry’s latest, Roar, has been something of an anthem for me the last few weeks. Love the music but especially love the message. We all need to go from zero to our own hero every once in awhile.

- Maggie AAR

Winter Warmers: Caz’s Steak and Kidney Pudding

November 7th, 2013

steakandkidneypuddin_93128_16x9I thought I’d treat you all to the recipe for a classic British favourite. When I asked my esteemed colleagues here at AAR – the majority of whom reside “across the pond” – I was told that steamed puddings aren’t a big thing over there. Well, if that’s the case, then you guys over there are really missing out on the ultimate comfort food which is really tasty and very easy to prepare.

There are different ways of preparing this dish, but here’s the basic one that I usually use.

This recipe will feed four people.

For the filling:

  • 400g Steak and Kidney. If you don’t like kidney, don’t worry. I have to make it without it now, as one of my daughters dislikes it, so I just use 400g of diced beef. Because the pudding is cooked very slowly, you don’t have to use the most expensive cuts – something suitable for casseroles is fine – just trim the fat and cut into cubes of roughly the same size. (If you like, you could add a few chopped mushrooms instead of the kidney) Read the rest of this entry »

NBC’s The Blacklist – Are you watching?

November 6th, 2013
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NBC has a new drama that is surprisingly watchable. The fact that it stars the wonderful James Spader is a draw, of course, and the writing and excellent casting have kept me coming back for weeks. Episode 8 is next week and they haven’t jumped the shark, which bodes well for continuing quality. I don’t often gush over TV shows, but seriously, this one is worth an hour every Monday.

AAR at the Movies: Ender’s Game

November 5th, 2013
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This Sunday, we headed to the movie theater to take in Ender’s GameEnder’s Game is one of those books that I’ve always meant to read but never managed to get around to.* I really enjoyed the movie, and while I understand from reading various reviews that a bulk of the political intrigue that happens on the page has been cut from the film, I now feel no strong drive to read the book. Indeed, given the complexity of the story’s science fiction aspects, I’m rather thankful that Hollywood provided visuals that my sci-fi-challenged brain would never have managed to make so cool. Read the rest of this entry »

Winter Warmers – Haley’s Apple Brickle Dip

October 31st, 2013

I had originally planned a fun Halloween themed recipe to share today. I had two Halloween parties at my house over the weekend, so I tried out a few fun themed foods. I made my recipe I had planned to use for the blog and, well, it kind of bombed. The idea was to make these bone shaped sandwich cookies with raspberry “marrow” filling and dip them in white chocolate to complete the look. Sounds tasty, right? Not so much. They were so sickly sweet no one really wanted to eat them and, even though it was a Halloween party, people didn’t get the whole skeleton theme and thought they looked like dog bones. So, instead, I would like to share a nice, simple recipe that was a huge hit this weekend and is great for fall, Apple Brickle Dip. It is so easy and it is like dipping your apple wedges into a melted candy bar.

Enjoy!

- Haley AAR

Ingredients: Read the rest of this entry »

Trick or Treat

October 30th, 2013

UnknownMy having an October birthday has meant many, many Halloween themed parties over the years.  Then my youngest daughter came into the world on October 30 and we had two in the family born close to that veil between the living world and the dead.  I was actually finishing costumes for my two oldest children when I went into labor.  When each of my children were old enough,  I made costumes and drove my kids to other neighborhoods or attended church events on Halloween.  Unfortunately, the neighborhood we lived in for nearly twenty years was not conducive to trick-or-treaters and in all of those years we had exactly three trick-or-treaters…TOTAL. Read the rest of this entry »

Winter Warmers – Chicken Roast

October 24th, 2013

This delicious, easy chicken dish is made on the stovetop, similar to the traditional pot roast. You have control over quantity, so you can feed two or a holiday crowd.

Boneless Chicken Breasts (3-6 or even more. I use tenders)
Minced Garlic
Chicken Broth (bouillon OK)
Potatoes (chopped into pieces)
Onions (minced or fresh, chopped)
Carrots (peeled and cut. I use packaged baby carrots)
Vegetable oil
Water
Salt and Pepper
Bay leaf (optional)

Heat a couple of tablespoons vegetable oil in a dutch oven on medium. (I use a nonstick spray first)
Brown thawed breasts.
Add garlic and onion, salt and pepper to taste
Add carrots

Fill pot 1/2 way with chicken broth, add water if needed until carrots are just covered. Cook on high to boiling and then reduce heat to slow simmer. Cover and cook for 30 mins or until carrots are about halfway done.

Add potatoes and cook until all vegetables are tender and ready to eat, adding broth or water as needed.

I didn’t provide measurements because the amount needed is subjective. If you’re cooking two breasts, obviously the pot you use and the amount of vegetables will be much smaller than if you’re feeding a large group. That’s the great thing about this dish. I’ve cooked it in everything from a sauce pan to a huge stock pot, as needed. It can be dressed up when serving or dumped into one bowl.

However you treat it, this meal will stick to your ribs!

Crocs

October 22nd, 2013

crocs

I wear crocs from the moment the last of the snow and ice clears in the spring until the first snow flies again in the fall. These comfy, open air shoes are easy to put on and take off, come in a variety of colors and can be worn with practically anything. That is what I love about them – they are just so darn convenient.

I started with one modest pair of taupe crops. They could be worn with most things and were perfect for “hasty” days when I just didn’t have the time to put an outfit together. That lasted three years. Visiting the crocs store this summer was my downfall. I got a pink pair. Then purple. Black. Now my “need” includes a pair of blue crocs. Since it has started to show signs of winter where I am I will hold off on that purchase till summer. Still, I look in my closet and cringe when I realize I have outfits that simply can’t be worn without those blue crocs :-)

Do you wear crocs or do you have another favorite style of easy wear shoe?

- Maggie AAR

New Tricks

October 14th, 2013
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British TV has become something of an obsession with me. First it was Downton Abbey quickly followed by Sherlock and Inspector Lewis. Then Call the Midwife, followed by Foyle’s War. Now I am cheerfully glomming my way through New Tricks. This comedy-drama follows the work of UCOS, a fictional part of the Metropolitan Police Service that concentrates on what we in America call “cold cases”. It is made up of retired police detectives who re-examine old cases when new information comes to light.

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