Category Archives: Uncategorized

Please Help Find Amanda

June 15th UPDATE: A message from the family for everyone: We still REALLY need your help. Come to Mandy’s home: 4284 208 street to pick up posters and get a map where you can help us look. Call for more info – 604 209 0987. Place this poster everywhere. Thank you so much…… Mandy’s family

One of our family members has gone missing. She is 16 year old Amanda McPhee. She has been missing since Saturday, June 11th from the Brookswood area in Langley. If you have any information, please contact the Langely RCMP at 604-532-3200. Thanks. Prayers are appreciated. Please pass this on to everyone on your lists.

UPDATE: People have been wondering how they can help and if a public search has been organized. RCMP have stated that there is a group of professional Search and Rescue teams involved, and at this point, although they are appreciating the offers, there is nothing that is being organized. We have to be careful not to interfere with the investigation. The biggest help is to get the posters out as many places as we can. Here is the link to download the poster. http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150272493231341&set=o.126120714136154&type=1&theater. Thanks for all of your help.

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A Quick Bakers Trick

Ever found yourself ready to bake and when you’re about to throw your butter into the bowl you realize it’s supposed to be room temperature? So you microwave it, just a teeny tiny bit, and you’re left with a square of butter with a hole in the center, filled and surrounded with completely melted butter. Then, if you’re me, you let out a childish cry of anguish and throw all your mixed ingredients into the garbage and give up on your recipe completely. Sit on the couch and mope for the rest of the evening. Well, my friends, mope no more! I have a trick for you. And it’s so simple it makes me feel like a fool for ever going through the struggle of trying to warm butter before!

Take your butter. Place it between 2 sheets of parchment paper. Roll it with a rolling pin. It will be warm in no time at all!

Have fun and get baking!

Fantastic Sugar Cookies:

1 1/2 c icing sugar
1 c butter or margarine, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract (I’m not using this- just upping the vanilla)
1 large egg
2 1/2 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar

Beat icing sugar, butter, vanilla and egg.
Stir in the flour, baking soda and cream of tartar until mixed.
Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
Roll out 1/4″ thick and cut into desired shapes.
Bake at 375 for 7-8 minutes.

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113,759 minutes until Summer

Spring is here, and it’s raining a lot.  Of course.  I have mixed feelings this year about spring.  Usually I love this season, but this year, I’m longing for summer more than anything.  There are two main reasons for this:

  1. I have recently found that I enjoy being outside more than I used to.
  2. I love summer food.

As much as I love those wintry root vegetables, I’m so ready for some fresh local fruit.  Nothing beats fresh lower mainland strawberries.  Or raspberries, or blueberries… I’m pretty lucky to live where I do.

I found a chart online that shows seasonal fruits and vegetables in B.C.  Not a whole lot is available locally right now.  June to September seem to be the sweet spot in the year in B.C.

This leads me to a thought:  I don’t make New Years Resolutions.  Just not into it.  But I think right now you are witnessing an amazing Summer Resolution from me:  This summer, I will fully embrace the food, fishing and general awesomeness of the season.

This is huge, people.  This means that I’m going to catch the biggest trout I can, and I’ll take the hook out of its mouth- all. by. my. self.  I’ll get on my hands and knees and U-Pick some fat strawberries.  I’ll go for a hike and I’ll wear the proper shoes.  I’ll make homemade jam with all the fruit I’m going to pick, then make some rollkuchen and eat it all up with watermelon.  And it will be good.

I dare you to think about summer and not get really excited.

(some summer music to put you in that summer mood: Summer Breeze by Jason Mraz)

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Mustard Gravy and Rainbows

My guy and I had dinner with some friends this week.  I like our dinners together- we always end up trying something new.  Sometimes it works, aaaand sometimes it definitely doesn’t.  But this time: delicious.

We made potato pancakes with meatballs and a great mustard gravy.  On the side we had sauteed spinach and corn.  Everything was great and pretty straight forward, but the mustard gravy really stood out to me.  It was sweet and flavorful, but not too strong and overpowering.

We used beef stock, Dijon mustard, fresh herbs (thyme, sage and chives), garlic, salt & pepper, and some cream.  We didn’t really measure, just guessed and tasted until it was right.  Then we thickened it with cornstarch slurry.  I should mention that for dessert we layered Jell-O, English custard, strawberries and whipped cream in wine glasses.  So simple, yet so delicious!

I love cooking!

There’s something else you should know about me:  I rarely see rainbows in person.  You too?  Wow we have a lot more in common than I thought!

Well then listen to this:  A few weeks ago, I saw one of the brightest rainbows I’ve ever seen!  Well just as I thought I had reached my rainbow-sighting-quota for the year, today I saw three!  Triple rainbow all the way across the sky!

I took pictures of them, but of course they looked terrible.  I think rainbows have a secret sense: they dim when a picture is being taken of them.  Sneaky little guys…

It’s been a good week.

*I’m listening to “Meteor” by The Bird and The Bee

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Local for Lent

Lent has been upon us for a short while now… though it may seem much longer to those of us who have given up something we love.  I’ve never really participated in Lent before, but I like the idea of making a sacrifice in order to better ourselves.  So this year for Lent, and maybe beyond, I’ve decided to only buy local foods.

This first presented a struggle when I was itching for some raw veggies, and learned that broccoli and cauliflower are Californians!  Luckily this was early on in my Lent experience, and I still had some delicious foreign veg to snack on.

It hasn’t been all bad though.  BC is home to some amazing apples, honey and wine.  As long as I keep my cravings in check, I think I can make it through Lent!

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Tea Party for One

One of the best purchases I’ve made lately was the Westpoint Naturals Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour mix.  I got a 2 kg bag of this stuff from a local health store for $13.99.  It is basically a mix of white rice flour, potato starch and tapioca flour.  If you have any recipes you’d like to make gluten free, just substitute one cup of this for each cup of regular all-purpose flour.  I did learn, however, that to keep all the ingredients together, one must need some xanthan gum.  I literally gasped out loud when I saw that a teeny tiny package of this stuff (like 1/2 cup worth) was about $10.  I asked the clerk at the store if there was a smaller package or good alternative, and she recommended guar gum.  It was much cheaper, and does the job pretty much the same.

So enough of fancy talk about gluten free things.  Let’s get on to the goods!

I used this flour today to make some cute little thumbprint cookies.  I always get nervous baking gluten free, because I know that many times, texture and taste are compromised.  But!  These turned out deliciously if I do say so myself.  My taste buds were very pleased to experience a sweet crunch in the mouth, and they do not taste gluten free!  This almost gets me nervous- did I accidentally have a brain malfunction and use regular flour?  After doing a triple check on the ingredients sprawled out on the counter, I determined that nope, this was just a keeper recipe.

They not only tasted good, but they look great too, so I decided to have a little tea party outside in the beautiful spring sunshine.  Sure it was all by myself, but common, wouldn’t you want to hoard all those cookies to yourself?  I have friends, I promise.  I’ll make another batch for them.

Gluten Free Thumbprint Cookies

¾ cup butter, softened

2/3 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 ¼ cup ground almonds (I coarsely ground mine in the food processor- not too fine, it gives it nice crunch)

2 cups gluten free all purpose flour

1 tsp guar gum (or xanthan gum)

½ tsp cinnamon

pinch of salt

jam of your choice (I chose to do half blackberry and half apricot- yum!)

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350°.

Cream the butter and sugar together until nice and fluffy.  In a bowl, crack 1 egg and 1 egg yolk, saving the other egg white for later.  Into the egg, mix 1/3 cup of ground almonds, gluten free flour, cinnamon and salt.

Add this mixture to the butter mixture in two parts.

Beat the reserved egg white with 1 tbsp water in a small bowl.

Also, you’ll need the rest of the ground almonds in a small dish.

Create little balls from the dough, dip in the egg mixture, and follow with the ground almonds to coat.

Flatten the balls slightly on a cookie sheet and put a cute little thumbprint in the center.  Follow up with some jam in that cute little thumbprint and get it all into the oven.

Bake for 15 minutes, or until you have some nicely golden cookies.

Cute!

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Picnic!

I bought a shoulder of pork (also known as the ‘picnic’ in the butchering world) and slow roasted it for six hours.  I smell like pork.  My mom smells like pork.  Everything we own and our cat smells like pork… and we couldn’t be happier.

I’m on a bit of a pork-kick, so you will all have to bear with me through this.  Pork is spectacular!

Before the slow roasting, I turned the skin into honey-glazed cracklings.  Smokey, sweet and salty.  These are the perfect snack to have with a cold drink and a good movie.

Next, I scored my picnic and coated it with olive oil, salt and pepper, and paprika.  After a low and slow six hours in the oven (and some thoughtful basting), the meat was falling off the bone.  I dressed it in a mixture of olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano and fresh red chillies.  I had meant to serve this with salad and mashed potatoes, but ended up snacking on meat out of the pan until my guy and I were stuffed.  The best part?  I still have pounds of pork left!

Since then I’ve made a meal of grilled pitas stuffed with BBQ sauce, pork, corn and mashed potatoes as well as individual pizzas with pork, red peppers, corn, onion and goat cheese.

My new slogan for pork- in replacement of ‘the other white meat’ is…

“Pork:  It’s no chicken.”

(I’m listening to the album “Seeds” by Hey Rosetta!)

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