I was craving deep fry insanely bad on the weekend so we did up some potatoes. Whenever we make home made french fries or chips, I'm always amazed at how much food comes from one potato. I'm also amazed at how many potatoes I can eat after they've been deep fried.

Using 5 potatoes, we made 3 into fries and 2 into chips. I used the fancy ripple blade on my food processor to make the chips, the fries we cut up by hand.

Fancy ripple blade
We soaked the ripple sliced potatoes in water and then spun them a few times in the salad spinner to get the excess water off. We patted them dry with paper towels to make sure they were really dry.

Then we deep fried them.
 Salted and full of crunch.

Next we chopped up french fries and got them frying too.

They were really, really good.

Posted by Jen B On Monday, March 31, 2014 10 comments
I am really into pie right now and have been thinking about all the different varieties there are. Fruit,
custard, pudding, sugar... I am really excited about all the options and all the different pies I am soon to make.

For pi Day, my friend Tasha made a lemon meringue pie, which reminded me that I love lemon meringue pie. I've made it before from a box mix, but I tried the real deal this time. There are a few steps to this pie, but mostly it is pretty easy to make. I didn't take any photos of preparing the lemon filling, but check out Tasha's post about this pie, as she has some great step by step photos.

I used my Mom's Lemon Meringue pie recipe, which is pretty similar to the one found here.

The meringue and the lemon about to become good friends
Together as one!
Baked and browned
Posted by Jen B On Saturday, March 29, 2014 9 comments
We bought a 4 inch egg pan a few months ago and I recently learned that it makes fantastic pancakes. You have to make them one at a time, but it's worth it, as they turn out big, round, and perfect. MMmmmm... The first night I made them, I ate a helping of them before the rest of dinner was ready. Just couldn't wait. This second attempt, I kept my appetite in check and had them with bacon, eggs, and toast. Big breakfast of champions. Our house pancake bonus: John doesn't like them as much as I do, so I get any leftovers for next day lunch. Win!

Posted by Jen B On Friday, March 28, 2014 10 comments
Back in December I made some turkey soup stock and froze it for future use.

The stock was frozen in 2-cup portions, so I pulled a couple of them out of the freezer and made myself some soup. I brought the stock to a boil and added what I had on hand: carrots, sweet potatoes, chickpeas, corn, peas, leftover rice, and some spices. It turned out to be a very hearty and yummy soup. The best part was it made enough for three lunches.

What do you like to do with vegetable/chicken/turkey stock? We were thinking of making it the base of our next stew. What do you think?

Posted by Jen B On Thursday, March 27, 2014 8 comments
Our friends, Brendan and Colleen, are doing a really amazing art project to decorate one of the rooms in their house. They are painting cats. All kinds. And lots of them. And they are getting willing participants to paint cats too. A few of us went over last weekend for 'cat painting night' and it was so much fun. I love adult creative play, and it made me so happy that we got together to make some art. We got really into it, too, and there were moments when the six of us were painting in silence, as we were all so focused on our cats. It was a pretty awesome way to spend a Saturday night.

At last count B and C had 54 cat paintings on the wall they are trying to fill. I'm not sure what number they want to get to, but I am really looking forward to painting another cat if they need it.

Below is the cat I painted on Saturday. I called him 'Hipster Cat' as he has a cool scarf and a neat hat. And hipster glasses, obviously.

Posted by Jen B On Wednesday, March 26, 2014 5 comments
Last month I tried making sweet potato pie for the first time. One bite and I was in love. It had the consistency and flavour of pumpkin pie, but with its own unique sweetness.

The recipe I used for the sweet potato pie was excellent, but it had a lot more steps than my usual pumpkin pie. The thing I love most about a pumpkin pie is just how easy it is to make. Whisk the few ingredients together in a bowl. Pour into a pie shell. Done.

I wondered if sweet potato pie could be just as easy.

So I did an experiment where I made my usual easy pumpkin pie recipe, but used sweet potato puree instead of pumpkin puree. I really hoped that it would bake and taste the same, as sweet potatoes are cheap and available year round. If it tasted awesome, I would never have to buy canned pumpkin puree again.

Not only did this substitution work, it worked awesome! The pie was easy to make, tasted great, and because the sweet potatoes are a little sweeter than pumpkin, no whipped cream was needed for the top. Just completely perfect on its own. Rad. So from now on, all pumpkin pies will be sweet potato pie.

'Easy as Pumpkin Pie' Sweet Potato Pie, recipe slightly adapted from Eagle Brand.

2 cups sweet potato puree (about 3 small sweet potatoes or 1.5lbs)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 eggs
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp salt
1 unbaked pie crust (9 inch)

To make sweet potato puree, steam sweet potatoes until soft. Cool slightly, then add to food processor and puree until smooth.

In a large bowl, add sweet potato puree, spices, sweetened condensed milk, and eggs. Mix with a whisk until blended.
Pour into pie crust.

Bake for 15 minutes in 425°F oven. Turn oven down to 350°F and continue baking for 35-40 minutes. Pie is done when knife inserted 1 inch from crust comes out clean.

Posted by Jen B On Tuesday, March 25, 2014 10 comments
I was not a big fan of January or February so I wanted to celebrate them finally being over with a big, yummy meal. March has already shown warmer temperatures and way more outdoor time for me, so I am overjoyed that we are finally getting out of this winter. Also, any excuse to make a turkey is kind of how I roll.

We just picked up some old fashioned bacon and John suggested we put some over the breast of the bird while it roasted. I gave it a shot and the turkey and gravy tasted great. It didn't really taste like bacon, but I think it basted the bird with awesomeness. I even got some crispy snackin' bacon while the turkey was settling on the counter. Mmmmm...snackin' bacon.

Posted by Jen B On Friday, March 21, 2014 6 comments
Something we love to eat but don't buy very often is fresh salmon. It can be more expensive than other main dishes, so if we ever do buy it, it's usually on sale and frozen. Recently we had some grocery store points saved up and decided to spend them a nice salmon dinner. We were so happy we did.

John prepared our salmon with some garlic and lemon pieces, adding an infusion of flavour.

He also added various spices (dill, chives) to make our mouths water even more.

I prepared whipped potatoes with butter and chives, and we had an explosion of awesome tastes on our plate.

Yum! Sometimes there really is nothing better than a wonderful home cooked meal.

Posted by Jen B On Thursday, March 20, 2014 4 comments
So this winter has forced me to accept a new reality when it comes to what I believe to be cold. Since we have had so many days that were -20°C or below, my body has come to think of warmer temperatures (-5°C or above) as actually warm.

This winter has also led me to believe that spring/summer aren't actually coming. We just live in Westeros now, winter came, it's going to last years, and we all need to suck it up and move on. So this is me moving on.

This is my -5°C or higher "day at the beach" zone. The backyard still has 3 feet of snow in it, so this is my drive-way hangout. I've got books, hot chocolate, my sunnies, and a few layers of winter outerwear. Reading with mitts on isn't the best, but seriously, I'm taking what I can get at the moment.

Posted by Jen B On Wednesday, March 19, 2014 6 comments
I have been on Twitter for about a year now and a new thing happened for me on Friday: I got a bunch of retweets. I'm pretty sure it all had to do with the magic combination of posting the right thing, at the right time, with the right hashtags, and having a cool photo. The tweet was for pi day and my blog post about it. I posted it around noon on Friday (pi day) and was really excited by the response it got.


Throughout the afternoon I got 37 Retweets and 21 Favourites. This was a new record for me to say the least. My biggest amount of RTs previously was 5. So even though the pi retweets wasn't quite an Ellen Oscar selfie, getting as many as 37 was pretty cool for me.

The RTs also had an effect on my Blogger stats, as I linked to my blog in my tweet. In six hours, I got more page views on the pi day post than most of my other posts get in a few weeks. So cross posting to social media made a huge difference for me on pi day.

UPDATE: (March 22, 2014): Last night I got an email from the Twitter team with my weekly stats. I've never gotten an email like that before, so maybe it had to do with all the action around this tweet. Not only did the tweet get all the retweets I previously mentioned, but the photo itself got almost 15,000 views. Holy shit!!

Posted by Jen B On Tuesday, March 18, 2014 2 comments
This past weekend I wanted to make a treat for gaming night that had a little St. Patrick's Day flare. Cupcakes are always a great go to for me, and I took to Google for some ideas, as I didn't have any shamrock accents (sprinkles, cookie cutter, etc.)

I found a fun recipe on allrecipes, that had a burst of colour inside a white cupcake. I had my winner.

I started with a white cake mix, which I substituted unsweeted applesauce for the oil. I always do this when I make a cake mix and I love the flavour of the finished cupcakes/cake.

After mixing up the batter, I put 2/3 of it into baking cups (about 21 baking cups).

The remaining third of the batter I dyed green and piped it into the middle of the cupcakes.

Using a resealable bag as a makeshift pastry bag, I snipped off the end and added a baking tip, so I could accurately squeeze the green batter into the center of my cupcakes. I actually used a baking tip that was far too wide for this purpose, and the green batter rushed out faster than I was expecting. Because of this, adding the green took very little time but some of the cupcakes got green batter on more than just their middles. I decided I could fix it in post (with all the icing on top, I was sure no one would really notice).

I made my favourite icing, marshmallow buttercream. If you haven't tried it yet, do give it a shot. Really, really, good.

In the baking cup
Surprise! It's green inside!

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Hope you are having a great day!

Posted by Jen B On Monday, March 17, 2014 4 comments
It's Pi Day! And that is a great excuse to make a pie and carve a mathematical symbol into it!

My favourite pie right now is Raspberry Pie, and this one was made with a pre-rolled Pillsbury crust, which was waaaaayyyyy to easy to use. Might be my go to from now on, if I'm not feeling up to tackling a crust myself.

Making the pi pie was really easy. I just printed out a pi symbol, cut it out, and placed it in the center of my pie so I could carve around it.

And believe me, this pie was mathematically delicious!

So Happy pi day friends! Are you doing anything pi oriented?

Posted by Jen B On Friday, March 14, 2014 10 comments
One of my favourite aspects of being part of a RPG group, is that I get to bake and share treats with my gaming friends. I love making sweet things for this particular group of people as they all genuinely enjoy yummy treats. My friends are also very open about how much they appreciate the goodies too - which always makes me feel great. I was raised to see food as love so I am happy to have so many wonderful people to share my baking experiments with. This is the good life! :)

Our most recent get together I made Snickers Bar Squares. This recipe is slighly adapted from the amazing yoyomax12. Definitely check out her YouTube Channel. Her videos are awesome.

This is a no bake recipe that has four layers, each of which has to set in the fridge before you can start the next layer. I was marathoning Breaking Bad when I made these, so each layer was made between an episode, or about every 45 minutes.

Line an 8x8 pan with parchment paper and set aside.

Layer One: Chocolate
2/3 cup milk chocolate chips
3 tbs butterscotch chips
3 tbs peanut butter

Add ingredients to microwave safe bowl. Melt in microwave, stirring every 15 seconds, for 1 minute.

Pour into prepared pan and place in fridge to set.

Layer Two: Nougat
3 tbs margarine
2/3 cup white granulated sugar
3 tbs cream
1 cup marshmallow fluff
3 tbs peanut butter
2/3 tsp vanilla
1 cup chopped salted peanuts

Add the margarine, sugar, and cream to medium saucepan on medium heat. Stir and cook until it begins to boil. Continue to boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter, vanilla, and marshmallow fluff. Stir in chopped peanuts.

Spread nougat over the chocolate layer and place in the fridge to set.

Layer Three: Caramel
200g caramels (about 28)
2 tbs cream

Unwrap the caramels (*note: unwrapping them is the worst*), and place in small saucepan with cream over low heat. Stir until completely melted and smooth.

Spread over nougat layer and place in the fridge to set.

Layer Four: More Chocolate
This layer is the exact same as layer one.

2/3 cup milk chocolate chips
3 tbs butterscotch chips
3 tbs peanut butter

Add ingredients to microwave safe bowl. Melt in microwave, stirring every 15 seconds, for 1 minute. Spread over caramel layer and leave in the fridge to set.

Once hardened, cut into delicious squares.

Share with friends and enjoy!

I cut these a few hours before taking them to gaming night and found the caramel got a little unruly, and oozed a little out of the squares. Next time I might add a little less cream to the caramel layer to make it a little firmer.

Posted by Jen B On Thursday, March 13, 2014 5 comments
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