Category Archives: Food



Today is a good day for hermits in more ways then one. The blowing snow we went to bed with last night turned to rain as we slept and left a slushy mess on our doorstep this morning. After watching numerous cars slide down our street I decided it would be a good day to stay put indoors.

I will never shun a chocolate chip cookie but I much prefer a “healthy” cookie made with whole wheat flour and spices. Today as I was milling over the index of cookies in the Joy of Cooking it dawned on me that what I was really looking for was posted on the refrigerator. Nanny’s Hermits, ah perfect!

Oven- 375′

1/2 c. butter

add gradually:

1 c. packed brown sugar

blend until light and fluffy, beat in:

1 egg

1/2 c. yogurt (or sour cream or butter milk)

mix together:

1 c. whole wheat flour

1/3 c. wheat germ

3/4 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. cloves

1/4 tsp. baking soda

mix into butter mixture and stir in:

1/2 c. raisins, candied fruit

1/4 c. chopped nuts

zest of 1 lemon

drop onto cookie sheet and bake for 15 min.

Makes 2 dozen.

I used 1/2 the amount of sugar, added a sprinkling of ginger and used raisins, dried cranberries and chopped dried apricots. I omitted the nuts so Frances could try some. I’m not so crazy about a lot of clove so if I remember the next time I make them I will cut that in half.

Frances turned 15 months old on Saturday. She is so wonderful and amazing and I just love her to bits! Josh and I are having SO MUCH fun with her as she is growing into such a good little person.


Crafting and baking.



Ah… finally we are back to our old tricks. Josh has gone back to work , Frances and I have settled back into our comfortable daily routine and I am finishing the last of the holiday eggnog. It feels good!

While making the Christmas birds I realized that I love felt. The possibilities for it are endless and it is so easy to work with. I have plans for more birds but they are rather time consuming, so I am thinking of less elaborate things to make with it. Today I was working on some felt balls sewn together with a blanket stitch. I love the way this edging looks.

For Christmas Josh gave me some requested silicone muffin pans. I finally got around to making a batch of whole wheat banana raisin muffins today. So good, and the house smells divine!

Yes, all is good in my world!!

Our Christmas.


The only bottle this little lady would take was that of a single malt.

Ah Christmas, the most wonderful time of the year. I find it so anticlimactic. Sure it’s great in the thick of things, we all had a marvelous time. Up at 7, excitedly tearing into our stalkings filled with treasures. Frances would have been happy if the only things she got were the traditional orange and apple, no surprise there, but she did enjoy the paper (Paper, Paper, Paper!!!) A nice family breakfast of scrambled eggs and bagels. Oh and coffee for mom and dad. Then on to more presents from under the tree. With a little guidance Frances lead and we followed, trying to get as much out of each present as possible before moving on. I think the whole operation moved along nice and smoothly with no melt downs what so ever. Wanting to stay as close as possible to the tracks of our daily schedule, I was anxious for some of the grandparents to pay their visits. With Lucy the dog in tow(antlers and all), my parents showed up with more surprises. I guess Santa left some stuff for Frances at their house as well. More paper, paper, paper and she got all the things her mother had wished for. A Wheely Bug to ride around on and some new Robeez boots. Have I ever told you how much I love Robeez? I absolutely love these shoes, they’re made in Canada eh! Franny even got her very own Lucy. Soon Josh’s dad arrived with more goodies. Poor Frances was fading fast. We had a nice visit with everyone, ate some lunch and finally down for a good long nap.

Now time for mother to move on to making dessert for the big Christmas feast. Poached pears stuffed with raisins, walnuts and honey and a custard sauce. With no double boiler a little improvisation was called for, which seemed to take a little longer. Note to self: ask Santa for one next Christmas. Just as I had finished cooking, Frances awoke as bright and cheerful as usual. Now on to dinner. We all made our way over to my parents house for the recreation of a family classic 1970’s James Beard inspired Christmas dinner. After a brief discussion a few months back it was decided that my mother would make the Christmas “pie” we had when I was a child. My fond memories of Christmas past were stirred up with the excitement of tasting this treat. I love how food can take you back to a favorite time or place in the past. It was everything I remembered it to be and better. I stuffed myself to capacity, saving room for dessert of course and when we were all through I couldn’t move.

Frances was the perfect child all day. She loved her dinner as much as I and couldn’t get enough of the pie. Mmm… she said! When we had all finished eating Nanny sprang her from the table and took her to the piano (peananno) for a little play. She loves this and waits with anticipation every time we have dinner over there. A jolly end to a wonderful day. We all crashed when we returned home and spent the following day unwrapping more surprises and playing with all the new toys.

Mellow mama.

Marshmallow heaven.

Marshmallow heaven.

Have you ever eaten a real marshmallow? I think I died and went to heaven, and I don’t even believe in that stuff! It was like eating a cloud or a pillow filled with the finest goose down. In the second that one of these lovelies passed my lips and touched my tongue, I vowed to never eat a mass produced marshmallow again! Oh my goodness, pure ecstasy!!

The growing independence of a young eater.

The independent eater.

The independent eater.

In the past I bragged about how my perfect child would happily devour every morsel of food I put in front of her. First it was plain vegetable or fruit purees, then more flavors and textures were added. As Franny’s dexterity for feeding herself improved more finger foods were added. It was so exciting to offer new and delicious foods, every spoonful accepted with pleasure.

Well, things have changed! By no means has Frances become a picky eater, maybe just an independent eater. Anything that approaches her mouth on a spoon is rejected. The face scrunches up and the head turns. Sometimes I can get food past those pursed lips with a dessert fork, but even that is proving a challenge. I can’t blame her, I like to control the food that enters my mouth as well, but it makes meal times a little messier. How does one eat soup or porridge? Yes, hands make a great utensil, but I think Frances- much like her mother- has a bit of an aversion to stickiness on her hands. I guess this is the end of baby food!

Making a meal of finger foods isn’t hard, but for some reason it just doesn’t feel like a meal to me. I’ll have to get over that, along with the messy hands and floors! It was easy to add flavours to baby food with sauces and spices, but how do you add flavor to a piece of broccoli or a carrot stick. I really feel that it is important to keep lots of different flavours in the mix, I cringe at the thought of a child who will only eat plain pasta, cheese and water crackers. How do I make finger food exciting? How do I get Frances excited about food?

Ok mothers (non mothers too, I’m sure you are wise as well!!) impart your wisdom.

Apple goodness.

Apple butter

Golden sweet delicious apple butter.

With so many apples and little time for big productions, apple butter was just the thing to cook up this past weekend. My lovely assistant Josh helpfully peeled and cored two dozen apples while Frances and I sat and watched.

Approximately 24 apples peeled, cored and roughly chopped.

3/4 cup apple cider

Cook until apples are soft then puree.

Throw in a cinnamon stick and enough maple syrup to your taste (I used about 1/4 cup)

cook on a very low heat for a few hours stirring every so often. (I cooked mine for about 5 hours.)

It is essentially a high concentrated spreadable apple sauce.

After using 1 cup of the apple sauce for Thanksgiving dinner, I ended up with 12 small 125 ml. jars with a little extra to sample.

Gobble gobble!

Pecan pumpkin pie, oh my!

Pecan pumpkin pie, oh my!

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you all have eaten well and are sufficiently stuffed!

Don’t forget to vote tomorrow if you live in Canada!