Good Morning awesome readers!
This post marks my 100th blog post – can you believe it? I certainly can’t. It seems like yesterday that I started collecting recipes to add to my online repertoire. As a 100th post celebration, I thought it might be fun to write an introspective post, to look back at a few of my adventures since I started blogging.
Why did you start blogging in the first place?
To be honest, I started blogging because I was bored! Justin was in school and I had a lot of time to myself in the kitchen. After trying my hand at several very good recipes, I decided I needed a place to store these recipes, and I figured a food blog would be the best place.
Has the point of the blog changed since you started blogging?
Actually, no. I still find that I hunt down the best local ingredients for my recipes, and as I continue on my food journey, I encounter new producers and begin to use their products regularly.
What has changed since you started blogging?
Life! I’ve gone from being fully employed to married to unemployed to a full-time student. It’s been quite the adventure over the past 2 years. I’ve tried countless recipes, some turn out better than others… and Justin and I have plants two gardens in the past two summers, with this past harvest being extremely successful! I have learned TONS about local ingredients and cooking techniques, and I still feel that my food journey is only beginning.
Share a secret behind Garneau Home Kitchen:
There are a lot more recipes behind the scenes than what meets the eye. I would say that 1 out of every 5 recipes I make end up on the blog. This is primarily due to not having enough time to post everything I make, and to being a little too critical of myself and my recipes. Should a recipe not turn out exactly the way I want it to, it doesn’t end up on the blog.
Share your favourite post from the past 99:
Ok, this isn’t possible, so I am going to narrow it down to the top 5.
*Note, this is just a random few, but I find myself dreaming about these recipes, so they ended up on the top 5 list.
All in all, I have loved my culinary adventures in my 1940s kitchen so far, and will continue to eagerly hunt down new recipes with tasty local ingredients! Thanks for reading and stay tuned for the next 100!
I have been so fortunate lately to be working with some incredible local clients through my business, Plated Public Relations. Ron and Sheila Hamilton from Sunworks Farm have been no exception. We teamed up together to create a food blogger farm tour and dinner that was incredibly informative and very well received by Edmonton’s food blogging community. To begin the tour, Ron described their farming philosophy: Organic, sustainable and humane. I’ve worked in conventional agriculture before and have visited a few conventional farms. Compared to Ron and Sheila’s, I have never seen a farm that was so well maintained, and where the animals were so happy.
Sunworks farm is a multi-commodity farm, producing eggs, poultry, beef and pork. As such, they maintain their quotas for each of their commodities from different organizations (including the Egg Farmers of Alberta, the Alberta Chicken Producers, and the Alberta Turkey Producers.) Each organization regulates their respective commodity, and inspect the farm accordingly.
Sunworks’ egg production is extremely efficient. They have 5000 laying hens that lay 2100 eggs a week. Each egg is hand collected and washed using the above egg washing machine.
Their organic laying hens produce beautiful and flavourful eggs.
In addition to maintaining their large quota, Sunworks Farm is Certified Organic through EcoCert. This means that no pesticides, chemicals, antibiotics and additives are used while raising and packaging their livestock and poultry. Inspections are carried out yearly and evaluate all aspects of their farming operations.
They also use an interesting farming technique I’ve never heard of before. Their broiler chickens are housed in movable barns that are pulled over new grass every morning. This is to ensure that they have access to a fresh bed of comfortable grass every day.
Not only do these barns benefit the well-fare of the chickens, but they also add vital nutrients to the soil. Since converting their land to an organic farm back in 1992, Ron and Sheila have added several inches of topsoil to their land by using this practice.
Sunworks farm is also Certified Humane through the BC SPCA. This not-for profit is dedicated to protecting and enhancing the quality of life for farm animals. They carry-out yearly inspections to ensure that all farming operations meet their organizational standards.
Have you ever seen happier chickens? I know I haven’t.
After the tour, guests were greeted to a beautifully-lain table (if I do say so myself), and treated to a five-course dinner prepared by Chef Kevin Zellweger from the Quarter Section Food Company. They will be opening a restaurant in Leduc soon, so if you like what you see below, go check them out!
The first course was a charcuterie platter pilled high with Sunworks meat products and Sylvan Star Cheeses (not pictured.) The second was a seasonal salad with local oil and vinegar from Vinesations in Camrose.The third course was a chicken leg comfit atop asparagus and mushroom risotto.The fifth course (my favourite) was the beef wellington. The beef was perfectly rare and the crust was crispy and crunchy, and gluten-free no less! And finally, to end our meal, a triple layer chocolate mouse gateaux and nespresso coffee.
Guests were even sent home work a full bag of sunworks sausages to enjoy at home. Ron and Sheila’s generosity knows no bounds, and I was so happy to have been able to work with them on this project. If you’re interested to see what the other Edmonton Food Bloggers had to say about the event, you can check out my Storify Story.
Good morning all! I’m so sorry that I’ve been MIA recently. Things have been a little crazy over here. We’ve had kitchen renos done! Yay! We now have direct access to the back yard through a sliding patio door, as well as a more open kitchen with a hole in the wall leading between the dining room and kitchen. We also had some more counter space and cabinetry installed. I love it. I am so happy that we finally invested in a more functional kitchen!!
This recipe is from the great Deb Perelman from Smitten Kitchen. I bought her cookbook when it came out and have loved making the delicious recipes therein. For father’s day last month, I asked Justin to peruse my cookbooks and choose a breakfast recipe. He settled on Baked Ranchero Eggs from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. Hmmmm.
First things first, I roasted a can of diced tomatoes.
Baked Ranchero Eggs (Courtesy of Smitten Kitchen)
You will need
1 large can of diced tomatoes (or fire-roasted tomatoes. This will save you a step!)
1 medium white onion
2 garlic cloves
salt and pepper to taste
1 can black beans
1 cup jack cheese
Chopped fresh cilantro
Begin by roasting the tomatoes at 350 for 30 mins, if you weren’t able to find fire-roasted tomatoes. Transfer to a food processor. Add onion, salt and pepper and garlic and blend until smooth. Transfer to a skillet. Add black beans. Cook for 15 mins on medium-low. Add eggs ad cover. Cook until still very soft. Add jack cheese and broil on high for 5 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and browned. Top with sour cream, lime juice and cilantro. Serve with tortilla chips. Enjoy!
I love Chana Masala, and I have John Schneider from Gold Forest Grains to blame. Back when I was pregnant, John introduced me to Remedy‘s Chana Masala wraps, and my life has never been the same since. Seriously. In the last month of pregnancy, I got to the point where all I wanted to eat were these wraps. The subtle spicy and creaminess from the Chana Masala, the crunchy chewiness from the wrap, and the sweet tang from the tamarind sauce gave me foodgasms and left me longing for more the minute it was gone.
This is why I was thrilled when John posted a recipe for Chana Masala on his blog! I’ve only ever found really convoluted and confusing Chana Masala recipes with ridiculously long lists of ingredients online in previous web perusals, making me feel like it was just not worth it, since Remedy made such a good version. Well, I tried John’s and my God, it was just as good as remedy’s (and I don’t say this lightly. See previous paragraph). The thing I missed, though, was that sweet tang from the tamarind sauce, which I was then able to emulate really well with some brown sugar.
Once I made John’s recipe, I decided to try and modify it some more, to make it even more tasty and delicious (as my loving husband would say.) I used coconut milk instead of water. Oh boy. It added another level of depth that just blew John’s out of the water (sorry, buddy!). Unfortunately, I only took photos of the first recipe attempt, so you’ll have to put up with my explanations of the coconut version. Apologies!
Next, add the chickpeas (I used a can of no salt added chickpeas) and water (or coconut milk!) and simmer until chickpeas are tender. This took a really long time (about 40ish mins). If you’re using dried, soaked chickpeas like John did, this step wouldn’t take as long. At this point, add a little brown sugar to emulate the sweet tang from the tamarind sauce. I also threw in a few handfuls of spinach at this point to boost the nutritional value and add another delicious texture.
Here it is, all ready to be devoured! Now, if you can handle spice, go ahead, dig in. But if you’re anything like me and love the idea of consuming copious amounts of spicy foods without having a problem, but in reality, it turns you into a teary mess with a burnt tongue and a hot face, you can add some more ingredients to help you out.
Chana Masala and Coconut Curry Chana Masala (Chana Masala recipe courtesy of Gold Forest Grains, Coconut Curry Chana Masala modified from original by yours truly)
You will need:
1 medium onion
4 medium cloves of garlic
2 medium sweet bell peppers
3 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp tumeric
1 tsp salt
1 can of no salt added chickpeas
1-2 cups water (or one can of coconut milk)
A handful or two of baby spinach leaves
2 tbsp brown sugar
Optional: To tone down the spice, add some plain yogurt and serve on a pita.
Dice your veggies and press your garlic. Add to a large frying pan and cook until soft with a little bit of oil. Next, create your Masala spice mix by curry powder, cumin, tumeric, cayenne and salt in a little bowl and add some oil. Rinse your chickpeas, then add them to the pan. Cover with water (or add your can of coconut milk), then cook, covered, on medium until chickpeas are tender (about 40 mins). You may have to add more water as the liquid tends to boil off with the length of time it takes for the chickpeas to cook. Once cooked, add the spinach and wilt. Add the brown sugar and stir until evenly melted. To tone down the spice, add some plain yogurt and serve on a pita. Enjoy, a lot!
Oh cinnamon buns. They have always been a delicious vice of mine. I’ve also been on a pretty awesome coconut kick lately, using coconut oil rather than butter, and coconut milk over regular milk, in a few recipes. (Mostly for flavour – I promise, I’m not going vegan!)
I’m not sure if I’d fall into the trap of the new coconut oil fad. I mean, there is a time and place for butter that any other oil would not be able to replace (chewy chocolatey cookies, anyone?), but it is a nice substitute when you’re looking for a different flavour.
I decided it was high time to clean out the freezer of some of the bags of flour I had kicking around in there. I had about a cup left each of Gold Forest Grain‘s Soft White Wheat, Einkorn Flour and Red Fife. Since the recipe did not require yeast, I figured: “why not combine them for a whole grain flavour sensation?”
Easy Coconut Cinnamon Buns
For the Filling:
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
2 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted
For the Dough:
2 cups whole grain flour, plus more for rolling out dough
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup coconut milk
5 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted
For the Icing:
1/4 cup cream cheese, softened* If you’d like to make these vegan, omit the cream cheese.
4 tablespoons coconut milk (or whatever was left from the can)
3/4 cup powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 425. Combine filling ingredients in a small bowl, then mix with a fork until well blended.
- In a another bowl, combine flour, sugar, and baking powder. Whisk together the coconut milk and melted coconut oil in a separate bowl, then pour into the middle of the dry ingredients. Stir together until dough comes together. Kneed slightly with your hands until the dough forms into a ball, then transfer to a lightly-floured surface.
- On the lightly-floured surface, roll the dough out long and flat. Add your filling, pushing it right to the ends and covering as much of the surface as possible. Roll into a large spiral and pinch together the end seams. Cut into 2 inch-thick buns. Place rolled buns in a sprayed pan and bake for 15 minutes, or until tops are golden brown.
- Meanwhile, to make the icing, warm cream cheese slightly in the microwave. Transfer all ingredients to the food processor and process until smooth.
- When cinnamon buns are ready, drizzle with icing and serve warm. Enjoy, a lot!
Of all the ways that pregnancy has changed my body so far, one of the most interesting, frustrating and illuminating has been the way that it has changed my relationship with food. From day one, my taste buds and stomach have been altered by this beautiful little life growing inside of me. I’d like to take you on my journey with pregnancy eating, so far.
From the get-go, I noticed a change. I could smell everything, including the good and the bad. There is an urban dairy farm not too far from Parkallen. On days when the wind is right, I can smell the awfully distinguished aroma of dairy cow. Uggggh. But on the flip side, I could time my steam popped popcorn in the microwave (using our handy dandy epicure silicone steamer) to my nose, preventing burnt kernels and maximizing overall popedge.
My taste buds were also exploding! Every bite of food was so much more flavourful and I just could not get enough healthy nutrients (lucky baby!). I wanted dark, leafy greens, like broccoli and brussel sprouts, and nutrient rich whole grains. I remember telling Justin one day that I could “Taste the sun!!” when eating a particularly tasty meal. Oh boy, did I not have a clue of what was coming…
Texture, Nausea and Aversions
I classically began to feel morning sickness and queasiness around 6 weeks. Sadly for me, this fell right around the Christmas holidays. That super strong sense of smell and taste that I loved so much the week before became my mortal enemy, turning my stomach at the slightest whiff of whatever my belly didn’t want to eat at that particular moment. Various complex textures would turn me off so easily: the stringy, chewy texture of cooked chicken or turkey would completely turn me off. Fish, with its strong smell and flaky texture, had me pushing my plate away. I could only pick at rich foods like a honey-glazed ham or a classic comfort meal with all the holiday fixings.
And how my preferences changed on a dime! No longer could I stomach the smell of dark leafy greens, and I quickly developed a strong aversion to all cooked vegetables. That included my once-favourites: roasted veggies, steamed broccoli, sauteed peppers and baked cauliflower. The smell, sight and texture of each sent me running to the washroom. I also gagged at the very mention of any baked goods – Cake, pie and brownies all turned me off and made me feel queasy just thinking about them…
While it didn’t take away how badly is sucked, my doctor told me it was all 100% normal and that my baby was growing nice and strong. When I expressed my worry about not getting enough healthy nutrients for baby, she told me not to worry about it, that it was temporary and that I was in survival mode.
For me, survival mode meant consuming anything that didn’t make me want to hurl. That meant a lot of starchy carbs that lined my stomach and (partially) kept me full: Crackers, bagels, granola bars, and the dreaded peanut butter toast. I had many evenings where I would try and be a little creative in the kitchen by making what would have resembled a regular Parkallen Home Kitchen meal (like my go-to curry, or an easy pasta), and my stomach would turn, and I wouldn’t be able to finish. Still hungry, I’d turn to go-to stomach stabilizer: Peanut butter toast or a bag of goldfish crackers…
In the first half my my pregnancy, I was always hungry. I kid you not: I would eat breakfast, head to work and be ravenous the minute I got there. I began packing obscenely large lunches just to prevent me from heading down to Timmies for a breakfast sandwich every single day. I got a few gentle teases that my pile o’ snacks at work was getting a little large and that my lunch bag was laughably huge, but hey – what can you do when you’re literally starving one hour after you just ate?
When I gained 8 pounds in a month, I started to get worried that this would become a trend, so my doctor gave me strategies on how to keep my ravenous belly full for longer: eat more lean protein including non-fat dairy and low fat cheeses, reduced fat nut butters and pulse dips like hummus. Also, keep hydrated – a dehydrated belly is a hungry one. Luckily, following her advice and keeping active, things started leveling out and began to improve for me.
New Discoveries and Cravings
I noticed a very curious change to my eating habits through the upheaval: Things that I had never before thought to reach for began to become incredibly appealing. I’ve never been one to crave cookies, but I couldn’t get enough of that that chewy, sweet, melty chocolatey flavour (hence my attempt to make them a little healthier). Another weird craving: Salt and vinegar chips. I am so not a fan normally, but one day, a coworker was eating them and I got a whiff, sending me into a tailspin of “needing to eat them right now.”
I was delightfully surprised when I began to crave a nice cold glass of milk. (While I’ve always loved all dairy products, I have never been one to pour myself a cold one.) I also deeply craved fruit in shapes and sizes, particularly tropical fruit. Bring on the mangoes, papaya and pineapple. I am also loving all apples, oranges and grapes. Baby loves fruit, I guess!
The Light at the End of the Tunnel
At around 13 weeks, I began to feel better and my cravings began to subside. While there were moments that my belly would still keel at the smell of broccoli, and I would get sick over a bag of mini donuts, I was able to stomach a wider range of food, and to put aside the peanut butter toast for a while (thank GOD!). Slowly, my aversion to all veggies began to wane (Welcome back, bell peppers! I missed you! Hello mushrooms! I am so happy to see you!), and I could be creative in the kitchen once again (huzzah!)
While I know that my journey is far from over at only half way there, I am happy to add more variations to my diet and to feed my little one a variety of tasty foods.
Mommas-to-be, what has your experience with pregnancy eating been like? Did you have a rough first trimester? What were your cravings like? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
So here we are: blog post number 200! I honestly can’t quite believe that I’ve been on this epic food journey for the past four years, and have written 200 posts. This is going to be a retrospective post today, as I feel that with important milestones, it is really important to take a step back and reflect on all that’s been created.
Since my 100th blog post, so much has changed! Justin and I got married in June of 2012, we bought our first home in Parkallen, renovated it, and are now living happily and comfortably in our lovely abode. With the new kitchen came a new blog name. Also since that 100th’s blog post, I’ve decided to change careers, went back to school to learn how to take on that career, and starting working in an a dynamic and down-to-earth organization. Life continues to change for us over here at Parkallen Home Kitchen. I’m starting a new job in January, and I’m sure that life will continue to throw us curve balls along the way!
When it comes to the kitchen, however, my philosophies remain the same: I still endeavour to use as many local ingredients as possible in my recipes. I have slipped up a few times on that front, but I am realizing that when life is busy, it’s sometimes tough to make it out to the market. Over the past two years, I’ve learned to truly appreciate my heritage and explored some traditional French Canadian recipes, including Tourtiere, Cretons, Tarte au Sucre and Soupe au Pois (Pea Soup). As part of Ukranian heritage, I explored making homemade perogies with my Baba, (that post now has an incredible 16,870 views!). Justin and I learned how to juice the apples from our yard for the first time, and we undertook our first adventures in vegetable seeding and box-gardening this past summer. They both turned out extremely well!
I’ve also created some stand-out posts over the past two years:
The Blueberry Coconut Popsicles I made last summer were a huge hit! As were the Grainy Chicken Fingers with Lemon Dilly Dipping Sauce (Oh boy – I have to make those again soon!).
Justin’s new favourite ice cream recipe is coconut, thanks to the amazing recipe I concocted, and his favourite recipe, by far, that I’ve ever made him is Taco Pie. We’ve added some new staples to our recipe box, that have been made several times since the first post, including Pad Thai, Homemade Granola, Apple Pie Steel Cut Oats, Revised Devils on Horseback, Moroccan Spiced Cauliflower and Pistachio Ice Cream.
I’ve truly loved creating the past 100 posts for my rock star readers. Thanks for following along with my culinary adventures in my 1950s Parkallen Home Kitchen. Stay tuned for the next 100!
I like chickpeas! They are tasty and add a powerful protein punch to your snack.
Smoky Roasted Chickpeas
You will need:
2 cans chickpeas
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp roasted pepper and garlic mix
1/2 tsp mesquite smoke
1/2 tsp smoky asado spice mix
1/4 cup olive oil
Drain and rinse your chickpeas. Heat oven to 375. Lay chickpeas flat on a paper towel and let drain for 10 mins. Pat dry. Mix all seasoning thoroughly. Roast chickpeas, shaking pan ever so often, until the chickpeas are crunchy. While still hot, toss with oil and seasoning mix. Make sure the chickpeas are evenly coated. Enjoy!
Summer has officially arrived in the Parkallen Home Garden. With summer comes a garden full of fresh veggies. I wanted to give you a little update on how the plants are doing so far this summer.
The strawberry plant is starting to flower nicely.
Even Hubbard is starting to grow big and strong.
All in all, the garden boxes were a fantastic idea. The soil is draining well, and the plants are thriving! I am getting so excited to head into the garden to collect veggies for dinner. I would say we are only a few weeks away from that! Stay tuned for more gardening adventures in our Parkallen Home Garden.
Ok, so I know what you’re thinking: Jacquie doesn’t normally use quite such colourful language when writing her posts. Well, when I made these granola bars, I was seriously channeling some Thug Kitchen, and I had to have it come across. Also, I told Justin that is what they were called, and he made me promise to call them that on my blog. So here we are, with who gives a F%#@ Granola Bars.
Firsts things first, go to your pantry and take a look at all of the grains or pantry items that you have a tiny bit left of. I’m talking oatmeal packs, cereal boxes, puffed wheat, graham crackers… whatever. Pull it all out and get read to assemble.
Jacquie’s Who Gives a F%$@ Granola Bars
You will need:
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup honey
2 cups of whatever dry ingredients you have in the cupboard. (I used cheerios, some old granola, sesame seeds, graham crackers and peanuts.)
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Heat peanut butter in microwave for 30 seconds, until runny. Mix well with honey. Add dry ingredients, stir until evenly coated. Press into a baking pan. top with chocolate chips. Chop into bar-sized servings. Wrap individually with wax paper. Enjoy!