Glow Juicery – Raw Food + Juice Cleanse

Just recovering from another cold, it seemed a good time to do a top to bottom spring clean of my body by feeding it nutrient dense, raw, vegan food and juice. For three days. For three days, quinoa, cabbage, tofu, miso, squash, nuts, seeds, and leafy greens. For three days. I’m done. I plead mercy, and bow deeply to those people who eat this gorgeous healthy food as a lifestyle choice. You cannot be impulsive to do the Raw Food + Juice Cleanse through Glow Juicery. You need to book it in advance, and also start a pre-cleanse routine before you get your food. You do this by eliminated caffeine, processed food, wheat, dairy, sugar and alcohol two days before your cleanse. And yes, a person could save themselves $165 and just cut out those foods from their diet and feel mighty fine. But what does $165 get you? Three breakfasts, three soups, three salads, three “energy snacks”, bottles of almond milk, bottles of fresh juice, a menu plan and a recommended eating schedule. IMG_3464 The juices are terrific. Absolutely delicious. I am a convert and have felt great since drinking these. They are fresh, tasty, and just plain make me feel good about myself. The food. This was the Day 1 breakfast: IMG_3487 This particular item didn’t have a label on it, so I had to figure out what it was. On the base there, is a grain soaked in probably almond milk. I think I saw oatmeal and quinoa, possibly hemp. The topping was a delicious cinnamon infused fruit (apple or pear) and fresh walnuts. We were off to a good start. IMG_3490 For lunch, it was soup. This item had the ingredients, but did I have to sense to take a photo? Or write it down? No, but that could be because I was getting weak with hunger. All I remember about this soup is the main ingredient, kale, and the texture. And here is where things went sideways. Everyone has experienced overripe bananas right? Some like it, some don’t. I don’t. It has nothing to do with the flavour, I love banana, but it has to do with texture. It makes me gag. So here I am with my lunch. I did a few tentative stirs hoping it would suddenly become a warm cream soup, but it didn’t. It stayed cold and thick and mashed banana like. I took a few tentative licks off my spoon. It tasted great. Fresh. Healthy. A bit of zing. But could I stick a spoonful in my mouth? No. I had soup spoon yips. I’d get the spoon to my mouth, but just could not get it in. So I took tiny licks of soup for about 40 minutes, then gave up. I tried though. I tried. I thought my afternoon snack would save me. Here it is: IMG_3491 The promise of something chocolatey with coconut would warm anyone’s heart. So I was excited when 2 pm rolled around. I took my first bite. Chew. Chew. Stop. Do a few of those chews with the mouth open, hoping either the extra air will help the flavour, or hoping the food falls out. It had a very familiar taste, but not a taste one should be chewing. I thought about it and realized, Vitamin B! If you ever had a bottle of Vitamin B in your cupboard, you are probably aware of the smell. These three balls tasted what Vitamin B smells like. This isn’t a bad thing. It actually helps the whole “Look at me! I’m healthy! I’m eating Vitamin B balls!”. Supper was a pretty salad. IMG_3499 Now about supper. You’d think I’d be starving by supper time, but truthfully I was doing just fine. No, really. I’m not just saying that. In between there I had another juice which can be surprisingly filling. But then, it is Day 1, and Day 1’s are usually always successful for me. It’s about sustaining Day 2…. IMG_3495 Breakfast on Day 2 was a container of something (looked like tapioca), in almond milk. I love tapioca pudding. This wasn’t tapioca pudding. You can just see it there to the right of the red bottle of juice. I abandoned breakfast in favour of a juice, again, because of textural issues. Lunch was a salad. These take me an enormous amount of time and energy to eat. They are tasty. They ooze health, vitamins and energy. I’m a person who is used to tuna sandwiches or left over pasta. I struggled, but I ate it. IMG_3497 And then, supper. Here it is: IMG_3503 Another thick soup… this one was squash based and also very tasty. But the texture. I couldn’t do it. So I thought I’d have Day 3’s soup on Day 2: IMG_3504 No textural issues here, except with the seaweed. And the tofu. This miso based soup was mighty fine, but I gave it up and had another juice instead. Day 3 started with white toast with butter. I’ve packed smokies, white buns, ketchup, a bag of Lay’s potato chips and a bottle of red wine for our trip to Jasper. The remaining juices will be brought along. A raw food and juice cleanse is not for everybody, especially those of you who may have not eaten vegetables with any regularity since childhood. I just warmed up to vegetables in the last 10 years, and even now, they have to be done just right for me to eat them with enjoyment.  This usually means roasting peppers with olive oil, grilling asparagus and topping with olive oil and lemon, or tossing romaine lettuce with a generous glug of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Although I don’t believe in detoxifications as many health sites on the web will promote, I do believe in clean eating from time to time to treat the body to a little rest and relaxation. I am particularly impressed with Glow Juicery‘s core belief that food is medicine and fuel for our bodies. I wholeheartedly share that belief. If my relationship with food was limited to that statement, then I would have one awesome, healthy body. Fortunately, or unfortunately though, I also believe food is meant to be a pleasurable experience of taste and smell (like the smell of roasting meat, the taste of fresh baked bread), something to share with friends and family, and an excuse to open a bottle of wine. That is why my body is a little worse for wear, but I’m willing to make that sacrifice. Clean eating is a lifestyle choice for certain, and I admire those people who are able to do it with regularity. I can do it for a day or two, but the food-is-pleasure culture I’ve been exposed to since childhood usually wins out. Do try it for yourself. You may become a convert. Glow Juicery‘s staff are pleasant and will bend over backward to help you out. If anything, treat yourself to one of their fresh juices and feel better for it.

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Glow Juicery – Day 3

I apologise to the Glow Juicery people because being sick with a nasty cold is NOT the time to be doing a pre-cleanse or cleanse for that matter. But I am stubborn, and continue with it despite feeling sorry for myself (and at $8.00 a bottle of juice, I made a $48 dollar investment in my self created pre-cleanse, and the remaining three juices expire today. I am not letting that money go to waste).

So here I sit miserable, hoping this bottle of Vitamin G will have a miracle curative property.  Vitamin G is a lovely bottle of orange colour! Brightens even the most sulky of moods. It is made with orange, spinach, cucumber, carrot, lemon and ginger. I’m sure it tastes great, but because my senses are clogged, all I really get is a nice zing note from the ginger.

Here’s what Glow Juicery has to say about Vitamin G on their website (appropriate I thought):

Feeling a bit under the weather? This sunny glass of vitamin-rich juice will give your immune system the boost it needs to stay on top. Think of all those people depending on you, & give yourself a little Vitamin-GLC!

I’m crawling under the covers, turning on Netflix and waiting for the boost.

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Glow Juicery – Day 2

3:30 a.m. Up. Contemplate making sandwich, opt for a dose of codeine cough syrup. Make a second attempt to watch a show on Nova about the Hubble telescope without falling asleep. I fall asleep.

4:45 a.m. Move back to bed. Stare at husband and marvel how he can sleep so well. Give him a little poke because no one should sleep so well. He continues to sleep.

7:00 a.m. Wake up and read through Twitter and Facebook. Try to ignore posts and recipes of French Toast, Eggs Benedict, and best places to brunch in Edmonton and New York.

7:05 a.m. Staring at cursor blink on blog page waiting for inspiration.

7:10 a.m. Staring at cursor blink on blog page waiting for inspiration.

7:15 a.m. Staring at cursor…… husband sneezes! He’s awake! I run down hallway and bounce on bed to make sure he stays awake.

8:00 a.m. Drink Glow Juicery’s Glow Boost. My bottle is red. It is supposed to be green. Give it a good shake and like ancient alchemy the concoction turns green! This juice is made with spinach, kale, cucumber, broccoli, mint and pomegranate. This is the third juice in two-days, and although they are starting to taste the same, still feel good after drinking one.

Last night around supper time I had the Citrus Glow, a lovely mix of orange,  lemon, ginger and coconut water. This one is by far my favourite, but I do have to ignore the chunky bits that stick to the wall of the bottle.

Now that I am well into Day 2, my initial plan of drinking juice and eating salads before The Big Cleanse isn’t going over so well. I supplemented yesterday with a small serving of pasta, followed by cleaning out the small jar of Nutella. Today, by 9 a.m. I felt I could not face the day without an egg, especially after reading the Get Cracking article on their page Eggs 101, How to Fry the Perfect Egg.

I read these articles and say, “phffffft” in my head… I’ve been frying eggs since I could reach the stove top, what’s there to learn?  However, there is always something to learn I tell people, and the best way to learn is to do, so I found myself frying up eggs for breakfast. It was a Big Deal. I usually do my eggs over easy, today I was patient and left them sunny-side up. They were marvelous. The simplest thing in the world is an egg on toast, and so delicious! The sizzled lacy edge of the egg white, oozie yolk, hot buttered toast, and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper. Yum.

5:30 p.m. If life went according to plan, I should be drinking my fourth pre-cleanse juice, but instead a 1.75 ounce pour of Auchentoshan Three Wood found its way into my glass. I did not protest. It’s not a glass of vitamins, minerals, and fibre that’s for sure, but since I’m still fighting this cold bug, there’s some medicinal and cozy warming properties in the alcohol. Cheers!

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Glow Juicery – Day 1

It’s been one of those Saturdays. You the know the sort, I’m sure. The previous week, I was away from home for business for four days, eating pub type food for most of them, all in the spirit of being social. Last week we hosted out-of-towners at work, which included an evening out eating pub type food, you know, to be social. Last night a group of friends and I got together for an evening drinking pints of Guinness followed by a supper and grill show at Japanese Village. Although the food was good (still believe they cook one of the best steaks in the city), the floor show and ambiance fell a bit flat. Being the troopers that we are, our group still had a nice time. But when we left, we carried Japanese Village with us in our clothes and hair. The ventilation fans weren’t working well and we sat within a grease cloud for the hour we were there. When we got home, Michael and I went through a routine similar to what you’ve seen Meryl Streep do in the movie Silkwood. Clothes stripped off, jumped in the shower to hose and scrub ourselves down, clothes in laundry, and jackets on the balcony to air out.

We are both battling our second and third colds of the year, and both woke up around 2:30 a.m. to coughing fits.  It was like duelling banjos.

After the coughing fits subsided (Michael won the duel, as he was able to go back to bed and sleep) I sat in front of the TV feeling hot-cold-sweaty-itchy and soothed myself by watching a week’s worth of Coronation Street on the PVR at 3:00 a.m., spooning Nutella into my mouth wondering why Ferrero even bothers with printing an expiry date on their Nutella lids. I had this thought, “I should be eating better than this”, then found the bag of caramel popcorn from Kernels.

Nothing sets off a healthy eating plan like desperation and despair. As soon as the clock ticked over to 9:00 a.m. this morning I headed over to the newly opened Glow Juicery in Old Strathcona. I bought six bottles of juice, and signed up a three-day raw food cleanse. Because it takes a few days to get the cleanse, I thought a pre-cleanse of juice and salads would be a great launch into my new Healthy Self.

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For good measure, I stopped in at Planet Organic, bought a bottle of apple cider vinegar, a jar of coconut oil, and a bottle of oregano oil. Why? Because health food nuts always have apple cider vinegar, a jar of coconut oil, and a bottle of oregano oil. I feel healthier already just having these items in the apartment.

The oregano oil, says my friend Suzanne, will get rid of my cold, and make me immune to them. I used the dropper and with clinical precision, squeezed four drops into two glasses of water. I took my dose fairly easily, but as the oregano oil floats on the water, got some on my lips, which burned. It’s only natural to think the burning sensation is also burning the sh*t out of the cold germs.

It took Michael a good few minutes to muster up the courage and settle a few pre-gag reflexes before he took his dose. Eventually he did, and we both feel exactly the same as we did moments before taking the shot. Of course, we will give it time and take a few more doses and see if it helps. And next time I think I’ll just squeeze the stuff directly under my tongue as recommended by Suzanne so I don’t go walking around with burning lips, smelling like roast lamb.

Still not feeling healthy, I thought it was a good time to have the first juice of my New Healthy Lifestyle. I selected the Earthy Glow juice, made with apple, beets, carrot, cucumber and ginger. If you are Weight Watchers follower, it works out to 6 points. I gave Michael a taste and he wasn’t all that impressed. See for yourself:

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I, on the other-hand, have become a big fan of the juicing thing thanks to my sister who introduced me to juicing months ago, so I am used to the bitter, sweet contrast of vegetable/fruit juice. I found Earthy Glow quite enjoyable – sweet with a nice zing from the ginger.

Do I feel healthy yet? No. All I want is a plate full of French toast, dripping with butter and maple syrup, followed by nap wrapped up in a fuzzy blanket and a sheet of Kleenex rolled up into a point and stuffed up my perpetually dripping left nostril. But it is only a half day into Day 1. I’ll give it some time.

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Enchiladas, Or Are They?

Friend Michelle Peters-Jones of The Tiffin Box shared The Kitchn’s recipes this morning via Facebook for 17 Budget-Friendly Meals That Don’t Involve Pasta. I was immediately drawn to Slow Cooker Enchiladas.

Before I embarked on my Enchilada Fiesta, I was concerned as I sometimes get about Truth and Knowledge. “What is the difference between an enchilada and a burrito?” I asked Google. Or, ¿Cuál es la diferencia entre una enchilada y un burrito? if we really want to get in the spirit of things.

I learned burritos are made with flour tortillas, and enchiladas with corn tortillas.

So what did I make? It is safe to say I made a baked dish vaguely flavoured with ingredients that can be found in or near Mexico.

Did Mexican grandmothers use slow cookers? Did they use the microwave to heat the tortillas for easy folding? Did they used a jar of President’s Choice salsa? Bags of pre-shredded cheese? I think not.

Here’s what I did (I opted to use the oven instead of the slow cooker because I learned via the Kitchn the results in the slow cooker can be mushy – I’m not opposed to mushy, it ends up mushed anyway, really, but as it happens I didn’t allow enough time to give it the 4 hours it would need on high):

I cooked up onion and green pepper in some olive oil. I added a can of rinsed black beans. To this, I added cumin, chile powder, and hot paprika. I set this aside. Had a nap. Went swimming.

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When I got home, I took out a glass casserole dish, put a thin layer of salsa on the bottom. Then I took a flour tortilla, heated it up in the microwave for 10 seconds (for easy folding said the comments at the Kitchn’s site), put about a third of a cup of the bean mixture in the middle of the tortilla, added a sprinkle of cheese, rolled and tucked it, then placed it in the casserole. I did this until I ran out of bean mixture. I wondered why I had two tortillas left over, then realized I forgot to add a cup of frozen corn to the mix, which would have bulked it enough to make an even 10 flour tortillas filled with bean things. The corn is going to be served as a condiment. There will be corn! I bought it especially for this dish you see. I even said to myself, “Don’t forget the corn!”. So I promptly forgot the corn. I do that from time to time and wonder if I shouldn’t be subscribing to Luminosity to help strengthen my brain cells.

Once the casserole was snuggly packed with flour tortillas filled with bean stuff, I poured the rest of the large jar of salsa over top, then emptied the entire bag of pre-shredded cheese over top.

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I put it in the oven at 350F where it will remain until it is hot through and the cheese is bubbly.

How’s that? It is as easy as it sounds. It is budget friendly. It’s in the oven right now and smells awesome.

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The thing is….

Michael is not too fond of hot (as in spicy heat) food. Um. Well, we’ll just have to see how it goes tonight in that respect. I added a very hot paprika to the bean mix. I did shout ¡Ay, caramba!  when I gave it a taste. The salsa is also labeled HOT, and to top it off the bag of pre-shredded cheese has spicy jack cheese. I do have cooling sour cream to serve on the side, which should help the more sensitive taste buds in the room.

(Michael just proof read this for me and argued that he does not in fact mind spicy heat, but it depends on the amount and strength and what it’s in etc. We’ll see. I might be eating a lot of left overs this week at work for lunch).

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MEAT for Dinner

I’ve heard rumblings about MEAT for Dinner, located in Old Strathcona on the West side of 104th Street, between 82 and 83 Avenues. I also heard it was one of those places that doesn’t take reservations and you sometimes have to share tables with complete strangers. In my head I gave this tom foolery a dismissive wave. When dining, I am not a fan of waiting for a table. I recognize that for some it can be fun social event mixing and mingling with other hungry people. But when I’m hungry and wanting a pre-dinner cocktail, I’m a royal bitch and my face will show it, and will suck the joy for anyone within 2 m of me. As for dining with others, well, I’m sure the majority of people have manners, but some don’t, and it is usually those who don’t have manners who sit next to me – just like I attract  babies who find airplanes have a laxative effect, popcorn bag rustlers in movies, and men in enormous white trucks that spew black exhaust who tailgate me, then roar past in a huff.

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That all said a friend of mine managed to survive a visit to MEAT and gave a glowing review of the garlic fries. Garlic fries? Yes please.

I went the first time last Saturday. If you recall dear Edmontonians, it was a sunny beautiful day, the Crashed Iced finals were going on that evening, and everyone in the neighbourhood seemed to be feeling groovy. We arrived around 5:30 pm, and already all tables were full, but, before RB (Royal Bitch) could make an appearance, we were offered a space at the bar. We accepted and beers were ordered. We were given the spiel about how the place works, and we were off! Food was ordered, devoured. Then a round of bourbon was ordered (isn’t that a great word? I love the sound of it. BOURBON). This finished supper perfectly.

I explained all this to Michael who holds the same trepidation as I do about loud communal dining, but when I explained HOW INCREDIBLY AWESOME the food is, so awesome it would be worth sharing a table sitting in a noisy place shouting at each other to have conversation. So we went.

Yes, twice in three days, I went to MEAT. From a food blog writers perspective it gives me a chance to really truly see what the place is about, and if the service is consistent.

It was.

Michael and I went on St. Patrick’s Day because it is one of Michael’s favourite days of the year. It is also an anniversary for us (we are the sort of couple that have anniversary dates for all sorts of things… first this, first that….). But honestly, you don’t need an excuse to go to MEAT. Just go.

Let me get this part out of the way. They do have a vegetarian sandwich offering on the menu. The rest of it, meat. Glorious meat.

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Meat is ordered by the half pound, pound, quarter, half, whole, or link, all dependent on what sort of meat you are ordering. There is beef brisket, pulled pork, chicken, sausage, and a smoked special (which happened to be shrimp). There are sides. For those who insist on greens, there is a salad on the menu, but the rest is things like garlic fries (absolutely incredibly amazing), mac ‘n cheese, yams, coleslaw, and for the love of god pickles. Never understood the attraction to pickles, and shake my head at the offering of “pickle brine” added to a drink. To each their own.

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A paragraph is warranted to their offering of bourbon. Michael was having a hey-day trying all the bourbon based cocktails offered on the menu. He was in heaven. From bitter to sweet, he tried the spectrum, and loved them all, declaring at the end of the evening how much he loves bourbon (you can’t slur the word bourbon). I had a beer with supper, and a bourbon to finish things, and although I do love bourbon, I love saying the word more. Say it with me now: BOURBON. As in, “I’ll have a Four Roses Single Batch bourbon neat please”. They added an ice cube. I worked through this, and forgave them.

As my pal observed on my first visit, the food is simple, but simple is sometimes the absolute best.

MEAT’s website is pretty awesome too. It’s easy to navigate, no fiddly things that take time to render, great photos, accurate menu.

What you need to know before you go to MEAT:

  • 8216 – 104 Street, Edmonton
  • No Reservations
  • Street parking (some free, some metered, good luck)
  • Lot parking nearby (fee)
  • Underground parking nearby (fee)
  • Open at 5 pm, 7 days a week
  • Brunch offered at 11 am on Saturday and  Sunday
  • Sturdy metal chairs – at the bar and at the tables
  • Be prepared to share your table. Your space will be cordoned off by a divider of sauces.
  • It can get noisy, in a friendly comforting sort of way
  • Coat hooks available
  • Come hungry, this place isn’t for dainty appetites
  • Try a bourbon
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These bottles divide your space from their space. It is a border of sauce.

 

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Churchill’s British Imports Ltd.

Old Strathcona has a little bit of Britain in its midst. And thank goodness. A person can only go so long without good thick cut bitter marmalade.

Churchill’s British Imports Ltd. has opened in the quaint little indoor mall found at 2-10015 82 Avenue NW Edmonton.

As with most British shops found in Canada, it offers us a free copy of the always interesting The British Canadian newspaper, as well as:

Sweets – here we are talking about the delightful boiled sweet, or a “hard candy” as you probably know it if born in Canada, as well as liquorice, mints, jellies, and chocolate. Boiled sweets are available in little tins that you can keep loose nails and screws in afterwards, or, you can opt to buy a few of each of the multiple flavours kept behind the counter in large jars, which will be scooped out onto a scale, and put in a little paper sack which is convenient to tuck in your pocket.

Crisps – or potato chips. If you watch Coronation Street, you will have seen boxes of crisps be delivered to the Rovers, which are kept behind the bar. Patrons of Coronation Street seem fond of the little package of cheese and onion flavour. You will find these same brand of crisps at Churchill’s, along with other unusual flavours such as Guinness, Marmite, ham and pickle (as in Branston pickle), and beef and onion, to name just a few. I love that the British kept with the smaller bag of chips to keep the portion manageable.

Biscuits – which means cookies, not something you eat with your stew. The British know biscuits best, but that is because they know tea best. And although there is nothing like a good cup of tea on its own, it’s always better with a biscuit. At Churchill’s you will find Mark and Spencer brand biscuits, which tugs on the heart-strings of this Canadian who fondly remembers the days when we had Mark and Spencer department stores here. They always seemed to carry pleasant, practical things, from handsome wool clothing to delicately scented soaps, to delicious frozen dinners to nice functional stationery.

But back to our local Churchill’s – here you will find rows upon rows of chocolate, soup, beans, oatmeal, soft drinks, tea, frozen locally grown pork products (Irvine’s farms), and a few shelves of marmalade! I am a huge fan of marmalade, and the older I am getting, the more bitter marmalade I want. Here at Churchill’s you will find a decent assortment of English and Scottish marmalade, thick or thin cut, bitter or sweet.

If you yourself are a British import craving a bit of home, or anybody who is tired of the same old on our regular grocery shelves and want to try something new, stop in at Churchill’s. You will feel welcome and will be thrilled by the variety of goodies available.

Churchill’s British Imports Ltd.
2-10015 82 Avenue NW Edmonton
780-438-0049

Open Tuesday – Friday 10 – 5, Saturday 9 – 5. Parking available in front of the building on 82 Avenue at meters, and timed free street parking on 100th street and 81 Avenue.IMG_3149_2 IMG_3150_2 IMG_3151_2 IMG_3153_2 IMG_3154_2

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Chai Rice Pudding

Subtitled, “Wait! Don’t eat that Cardamon Pod!”.

Deeply satisfied with my rice cooker, I happily make rice several times a week. Sometimes I get over zealous and make too much rice.

For the last two days I’ve had left over rice in the fridge, staring me in the eye every time I open the door, mind-melding with me and telling me to “Do something useful with me! I was not grown to be thrown out!”.

Tonight I listened to the rice, and made a rice pudding. A regular old rice pudding, but then I thought, “Chai Rice Pudding!”.

This is what I did:

1.5 cups cooked white rice
1.5 cups milk
Slightly less than 1/4 cup sugar (could have gone way-lesser – my teeth sang like a musical saw)zaag_1-MED
Knob of butter
A handful of raisins
Cinnamon (a bit less than a tsp – or to taste)
Cardamon Pods (more than two, less than four – or to taste)
Cloves (more than three, less than five – or to taste)
Vanilla (just a scant amount)

I tossed it all in a pot and simmered on the stove for about 25 – 30 minutes. Stir often.

IMPORTANT: Remove the cloves and cardamon pods. If you used dark raisins, this could be more difficult than it sounds. Someone could lose a tooth on those pods.

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Chai Rice Pudding – with bits of spice things removed.

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Cardamon pods and cloves safely removed from the rice pud. Only a few rice grains were sacrificed.

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Cottage Pie aka Shepard’s Pie aka Apartment Pie aka Busy Cubicle Dweller’s Pie

Walsh Cooks:

This is a re-post, only because a) I made Shepard’s Pie for supper tonight and b) I’m too lazy to write out a new post. This time however, I added extra fortification in the vegetable front – added extra carrots, celery and mushrooms. The potatoes, instead of russets, used Ninja Golds (that is not the name, but I forget … they start with N and do not appear on the Canadian Food Inspection list of Potato Varieties list. Perhaps I have some rare imported potatoes? Whatever they are, they are yellow fleshed and very substantial. I apologise to my potato supplier in case I’m giving up his gig.

Originally posted on Walsh Cooks:

I was thinking about this. Cottage Pie has been around in name since 1791. Shepard’s Pie is the newest kid on the block, arriving on the scene in 1877.

I can imagine the scene it caused at the time. Daily Telegraph paperboys shouting at London street corners, “Shepard’s! Baked in pie! Shepard’s! Baked in pie!”. The terror it must have caused in the UK at the time.

Naturally, it didn’t help when the Daily Mail’s paperboy was shouting from across the street, “National Sheep Association Concerned about Henry Plumb! Henry Plumb not seen for Weeks!”.

My timeline might be a little skewed, but you get the idea.

Here we are in 2014, 137 years after ….  (I did the math. Look….)

IMG_1955… and we are still calling it Cottage Pie. Or Shepard’s Pie. In our fast-paced society, it is time to modernize the name of these simple, yet delicious…

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Duchess Bake Shop – Cookbook Launch

One does not attend the beautiful surroundings of Duchess Bake Shop (especially when a string quartet is playing) when one has a red, raw, drippy nose, wads of damp Kleenex up sleeves, in pockets, in hand) and a cough that sounds like a sea lion arf arf arfing for a fishie at Sea World. No indeed. One stays at home and employs two drinking buddies (albeit social media junkies and food lovers) to go in their stead.

@habanerogal (Laurel) and @super_su (Suzanne) seemed keen, so off they went. Their mission? To be the first to see the Duchess Bake Shop’s new cookbook, sip champagne, and getting a behind-the-scenes tour of the Duchess kitchen.

While at home in my ugliest pajamas, a corner of tissue rolled to a point and stuffed up one nostril, I kept an eye on the Twitter feed to see what I was missing. I wanted to weep. The pictures, as you can see, are amazing. And I wanted to weep not only because I was missing the event, but because I was so proud that Edmonton has such an elegant, tasteful shop within its heart. And Duchess just isn’t pretty to look at. The products it produces are beautifully created and, the best part, taste absolutely sublime.

I’ve been going to Duchess since it opened and have always been partial to their lemon tart, key lime pie and pretty little macarons. At the last Earl’s menu launch, fellow food appreciator Gail Hall and ladies washroom partner (you know what I mean…. we ladies go in pairs) of Seasoned Solutions was explaining that Duchess has The Best almond croissants. Tell me this…. how can you hear the words, “Best Almond Croissants” and not rise to the challenge? How? I know some (perhaps a lot) of you can, and that’s why you are at a reasonable body weight. But when I hear “best of” I think impossible! How? Let me be the judge!

Early the next morning I was in the car zooming off to Duchess to be there at opening to see/taste for myself. Did I buy one? Heavens no. When judging, you must buy two, just to make sure the quality is consistent! And it was. My toes curl as I type… the kind of curl toes do when the body is in rapture.

Anyone who goes into Duchess will feel special and will reach for their heads to make sure their crowns and tiaras are in place. The service and attention you receive at the counter is consistently polite, efficient and eager to please. You will feel part of the beauty of Duchess.

Lucky for us, Duchess has captured their recipes in their new cookbook. I have not seen it myself, but have seen some of the recipes they are sharing, like one of life’s pretty treasures, Vanilla Madeleines. Other than having a special Madeleine baking tray (you more than likely have a friend with one that has it buried in the back of the cupboard and if you ask nicely would lend it to you), these are super simple to create in your very own kitchen.

So friends….if you are in Edmonton and haven’t been to Duchess yet, please go. It is perfect when you want a place to have coffee with a friend, when you want to gain friends and influence people by sharing a Tarte Montreal at work, or when you want to take home almond croissants to have with coffee in your pajamas in front of the TV.

Here’s some great photos @habanerogal took from the event. Kudo’s to both @super_su and @habanerogal for doing an awesome job of taking in the ambiance, sampling the food and drink, and giving me the swag bag (you two are real pals. If it were me, I would have kept it run off to Mexico) and reporting back! Good work, both of you!

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