Laurel’s Pumpkin Pie

Yesterday in my Facebook timeline I got the delightful news that Cally’s Teas talented baker, Laurel, would be making pumpkin pie to order for Thanksgiving weekend.

As I was on turnip puff and dessert duty for our family’s Thanksgiving dinner this happy news about the pie made me do my autumnal “I get pumpkin pie and I don’t have to bake it” dance. You will have to be satisfied by reading my dance description:

  • Attire self in nutmeg coloured leotard.
  • Hot glue fallen poplar leaves, Mountain Ash berries and late blooming chrysanthemums to leotard.
  • Lift one leg, point toes, and wiggle leg about, but not too vigorously to prevent injury to knee.
  • Drop leg, lift other leg, point toes, drop leg, massage cramp out of calf.
  • Lift leg again, cautiously point toes, and wiggle leg about.
  • Simultaneously lift both arms towards the sky and praise gourd saints with thanksgiving.
  • Sway back and forth.
  • Grab chair-back. Regain balance.
  • Be a pumpkin. Be a tree. Don’t bend quickly. Save that knee.
  • Rest.
  • Put the kettle on.
  • Eat pie.

Now, my dear readers, you know I rarely have a “short story”, and today is no exception. It goes like this:

Michael is spending Thanksgiving with his Mum and sister in Calgary this weekend. Here in Edmonton, this year it turned out the only people around our Thanksgiving table would be my Mom, my sis and me. We tossed around a few ideas about what to do about Thanksgiving dinner.

My sister volunteered to make the turkey and do the dishes. I volunteered turnip puff and dessert. Mom would get the stuff in between. We were set. Then I read a Facebook friend’s post  about some memory of my sister and a microwaved turkey. When I asked my sister about this she was quite dismissive and vague.

As a society, we have had enough to worry about with the E. Coli. We don’t need to start messing with microwaved turkeys.

And as you can imagine, suddenly a full turkey feast didn’t sound so appealing. We compromised by deciding on taking a Chinese take-out, followed by a late night slice of pumpkin pie, keeping at least a little bit of Thanksgiving tradition.

Now to the pie. Here’s a picture of Laurel’s pumpkin pie. Although at this point in time I have not tried the pie (using ALL OF MY RESTRAINT and repeating the mantra, The Pie Must Be Shared. The Pie Must be Shared), Laurel has elevated baking to levels I have not ever experienced. With Laurel, you know baking is not just a job. She puts her heart and soul in her baking. She’s a happy person. Her baking makes us happy. It’s a grand thing.

And, my oh my, here’s the cream. I think it’s 80% MF (it’s heart friendly because it’s organic). If you squint, you can see where I “tested” it:

This Thanksgiving weekend, I encourage all of you who read this to take pause and think of at least one thing you are grateful for.

I am grateful for many, many things including silicon spatulas, Advil, music, clinker bricks, telescopes and wine. But most importantly, I am grateful for my husband, my family, my friends, and each of my readers, from near and far. This blog has given me exposure to things I never would have dreamed of. It gives me energy and makes me happy. And for that, I am grateful.

Hugs to all of you. xo


Random Post of Stuff

Life has been happening and I’ve had to be responsible and engaged in said life activities so spending time here hasn’t happened.

But here I am! I’m here! If only just for a second. So what can I say about the food world that will tease and tantalize and make  you keep coming back here even when I’m not posting with regularity. (Have I ever posted with regularity? No. I don’t fool myself. But it was nice to say).

Let’s start with a Canada goose. It’s a bit off the topic of food (although I think there was a discussion somewhere at sometime about culling flocks of geese to help feed the poor) (did I dream that?), but I know for a fact, this Canada goose is enroute to Edmonton from Regina and is plotting a sneak attack on an unsuspecting friend. It’s a long story, and you really don’t want to know. Trust me.

This picture of my Mom (left) and Auntie Anna (right) makes me laugh because it reminds me of those wildlife cameras left in the woods and some woodland creature walks right up to it and checks out the lens. Another picture unrelated to food, but both family members are clutching glasses of wine, so on that count, it fits.

This is a fuzzy shot of our favourite sushi restaurant in Victoria (Japanese Village). That is the famous Sammy-san on the right. I was trying to be subtle about taking the shot, and that is why you have Michael’s shoulder in the picture. I haven’t the guts to boldly walk up to people and say, “Hey I want to take your picture”.

Last trip to Calgary brought us to Jelly Modern Doughnuts (as seen on You Gotta Eat Here). Here are some kid-friendly versions (in shadow for dramatic effect).

Above are the left overs of an afternoon tea-spread at Cally’s Teas on Whyte Ave. I can’t say enough nice stuff about this place. Michael and I both got our own little pot of tea – brewed to perfection and we did not have to fuss with the leaves, that was all taken care of for us – and we selected the most delicious raspberry jam tarts I’ve ever had. They were teeny and adorable and so delicious, we ate them without any thought to saving them on “film” for posterity. For the gents, this place is not all frilly and la-de-dah, and you will fit in quite comfortably with your hairy arms and dungarees (as you can see in the picture).

An important part of my life is about to step through the door at any moment, so I should prepare myself and channel my best June Cleaver. And so you don’t think I’m that domesticated, June and I are both saying the same thing, “I’ll cook, but you clean”. I want her cheekbones. (pause). June is not saying she wants my cheekbones. Just so we are clear.

And to keep this post with the theme of randomness, this picture has me laughing every time I see it.  So I’m posting it here so I know where to find it for future reference.

Cally’s Teas – Still Steeping

Good things take time. And Cally’s Teas promises to be an exciting addition on Whyte Avenue. Cally explained some of her plans, and although I don’t feel at liberty to share the details, let’s just say WE WILL HAVE A NEW PLACE TO HAVE LUNCH that supports local! Three cheers for independents. Three cheers for women in business. Three cheers for Cally!

It’s taking a wee bit more time to get things done just right. Cally explains she has excellent contractors, but “stuff” happens. And as anyone who is involved in construction and the food biz knows, it is a rare thing to have something completed on time.

Sadness is an Empty Tin of Earl Grey Tea (Come on, I want to hear you all say "Awwwwwwwwwww")

So, tea lovers, if you are like me, and just brewed your last few leaves of Earl Grey, you can still reach Cally for tea purchase and delivery by calling (780) 278-3294.

2011 in Review

Today is December 31, 2011. Long gone are the days when Michael and I would head out and celebrate until midnight. Instead, we stay in, eat pizza, drink a bottle of Prosecco, remain in our most comfortable of clothes, listen to tunes, watch a movie, and basically relax. Truth is, it is also the night after our wedding anniversary, and your writer might have celebrated a bit too much if you know what I mean.

But in the dull, lazy haze of the day after, I also had a great opportunity to reflect on the past year. Rather than blather about it, I’ll show it to you in pictures.

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Cally’s Teas is Open for Christmas

Fellow tea lovers, you want the facts. Here they are:

Cally’s Teas
10151 Whyte Ave NW
Phone: (780) 278-3294

Christmas 2011 shopping hours:
December 21 to 23: 11 am to 6 pm
December 24: 9 am – 3:30 pm

True to form, you are warmly welcomed upon arrival, and a hot cup of tea is on the ready – poured just for you.

Cally has her loose teas available, as well as the knick-knacks and tea doo-dads, including the popular and much-loved Polish pottery.

The space is still a work in progress, but one can easily visualize how the place will look once it has been Callyified. If you lack imagination, I have this picture to help you.

(The real thing won’t look so blurry – promise – unless your prescription is old and you have putting off that appointment to see your optometrist).

There’s a bus stop (number 2864) serving routes 4, 7 and sometimes 94 right in front of her shop, and for those with cars, meter parking along Whyte Ave, and plenty of free 2 hour parking along 101 and 102 Streets.

The shop opened just in time for Christmas! With that in my mind, I say to my fellow tea lovers with dangerously low levels of Earl Grey, or those of you looking for cool gift ideas, “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all tea lovers.  For unto you is a tea shop re-opened in the city of Edmonton, which is Cally’s Teas”.

Saturday Afternoon with Walsh Cooks

Today I was out and about with a dear friend of mine. The destination was the Muttart Conservatory to stop by Culina so I could get my hands on some of Cally’s Earl Grey Tea.

You see, up until today I had been rationing my Cally’s Earl Grey – so desperate was I to replenish my supply, I resorted to buying a box of Twinings from Safeway to stretch it out.For those of you who don’t know, Cally’s is in transition. Her shop on 99th has closed, and she is moving to her New and Exciting Location on Whyte Ave. But she’s not open quite yet. Watch this blog for news of the opening.

Twinings has a Royal Warrant, meaning it’s approved by the Queen. What they didn’t write on that Royal Warrant, that it is “by appointment of the Queen, but only while waiting for a supply from Cally’s”. Don’t get me wrong. Twinings make a nice cuppa. But it ain’t no Cally’s.

Lots to talk about today, so if you haven’t done so, do yourself a favour and pour a nice cuppa and relax while reading this. I’ll wait.

(LOL – I sat and waited. Seriously. Did a little chair dance to Mr. Scruff’s Get A Move On).

We’re back? Here’s the song, just in case you want to join in on the chair dance.

Let’s talk about the Muttart Conservatory. My friend, an Edmontonian, a well-traveled Edmontonian at that, hasn’t been to the Conservatory for about 20 years. I’m fairly new to Edmonton, so have been two or three times in the last 10 years. But the consensus is the same, the pyramids themselves haven’t changed that much. However, the central part of the building has.

I was expecting to see Culina in the centre of the complex much like where the old coffee shop was. I was pleased to see it just off the main entrance, making it a foodie destination for anyone, even those who don’t want to look at plants. A person could easily stop in and have a nice bacon, gouda and egg panini with nary a view of a hibiscus or Elephant’s Foot plant.

I was also charmed by the little gift store, opposite the restaurant. But the main attraction was what was found in the Culina restaurant. On a shelf, in a beam of light, I might have heard a harp, were little bags of Cally’s Teas. Of course the Earl Grey was there, but there were a select few other varieties as well.  In addition, there were a few jars of jam from the Jam Lady, and other bits and pieces from local producers. So, for those of you who are looking for Christmas gift ideas for the Foodie in your life, and you can’t make a farmer’s market on Saturday, take off during your lunch and head down to the Muttart Conservatory and pick up a few things from there.

Once in the Muttart Conservatory, I was excited to see the much talked about blue pointsettia. A pointsettia. That’s blue!

They had an absolutely lovely display of poinsettias for sale. They had many of the  traditional red, white, and pink varieties, along with some brilliant variegated white-reds that were stunning. Also found was a very impressive variegated purple-white pointsettia, but these were not for sale to the public, but found within the “feature” pyramid. I was with a friend who has a very dominate moral compass, so I couldn’t tuck one of the plants in my coat to take home with me. I wasn’t even allowed to pinch a coffee bean off the coffee plant. I resisted the theft, although I have to add, it is part of my genetic make up to steal from conservatories. My Baba snitched cuttings from the tropical conservatory at the Calgary Zoo and happily grew them in her home for many years. True story.

After a seemingly quick visit to the Muttart, it was time to find lunch. The plan was Mediterranian, and I had the idea to check out the new Greek restaurant on Whyte Ave near 109th Street. We found they didn’t open until 5, and my friend was quickly slipping into North American starvation -meaning, his mood was on the cusp of the slippery slope of grumpiness. So we went to our back-up location of The King and I.

We both agreed that Thai is in our Top 10 favourite food items, and I wonder why on earth I don’t eat this stuff every day. The flavours are amazing.

We started with a chicken – peanut satay, that was out of this world delicious. I’m sure that either one of us, if we were alone, would have licked the plate and/or used the little spoon in the satay sauce to consume the rest of the sauce as a soup.

This was followed by, for him, Matsaman Nuea – spicy red curry laced with cumin and peanuts, stewed with tender beef and potatoes. For me, the lady, the delicate flower of a lady that I am, I had the tiger prawn curry – tiger prawns served with fresh, sauteed vegetables served in a spicy green curry. Both were served with coconut rice.

And that sprig of black in the middle you see? See? That is pepper my friends. Pepper. Pepper I usually put in my peppermill. Hot. Pepper. My dining partner ate through that and didn’t even break a sweat. Me, the delicate flower of a woman that I am choked on the heat. Of course I hoped my cough and sputtering would have been interpreted as having had tickle in my throat, but the truth is, I couldn’t handle the heat.

But all that green curry you see, with my tiger shrimp swimming happily, is a bowlful of delicious happiness. I’ve not been so happy eating out in ages. As I said, I wonder why I don’t eat this every day.

Our day concluded with a nice cup of tea. And that, my dear readers, is the best way to end any day. With a nice cuppa tea.

(another pause)

Unless of course, you opened a bottle of red wine and got engaged writing a blog and listening to some awesome music, and drank too much wine, and do a lot of chair dancing and wear yourself out to the point you can’t wait to get into bed, a bed you have ALL TO YOURSELF, so you can have one of those nights where you can sprawl, toss, turn and snore to your hearts content without worrying about disturbing your partner. Don’t get me wrong. I miss my bedwarmer with all my heart and soul. But sometimes a night of not worrying if my elbow hits a face is a treat. A treat indeed.

(another pause)

… are there royal warrants for blogs? I am a fan of the Queen’s son’s Duchy Originals Cheese Nibbles. That should count for something. 😉


Specialty Tea

Regular reader of my blog? You know I love tea. New to my blog? I love tea. My usual is Cally’s Teas Best Earl Grey, because, it is simply the best Earl Grey tea on the planet. I’m letting you know this in case you are wondering what to buy me as a mid-summer just-because present. Cally hasn’t opened her new shop yet, but remember, you can call her at 780.436.5038. And until her new shop opens, she delivers, right to your door!

With my last order, she included a very tasty sample of Luxury Freeze Dried Pineapple. Not only would it give astronauts on the Space Station a very tasty treat for their Hawaiian Night parties, it is also very good added in cereal, muffin recipes, or as Michael and I like to do, eat it right out of the bag. Cally explained that the pineapple retains it nutritional value during the freeze drying process. Amazing considering how much it shrinks:

My good friend, who recently got me excited about playing boardgames again, sent me a link to some fun specialty teas. Now, Cally does not sell these at her shop, but they are available at the Neato Shop.  No offense to anyone I work with who is reading this, but my personal favourite is the Get Along with your Co-Workers Tea.  🙂

Click the pictures to read the small print.



Cally’s Teas

Between now and April 30 you must pay a visit to Cally’s Teas. The quaint and eclectic little store at 8608 99 Street is closing. I’ll give you all a moment to absorb this news.

*insert pause*

But before you shed any tears, Cally will still be in business!! Her exact location will remain a mystery for a spell, however, she will be available for tea orders until she finds somewhere to weigh anchor. I will post details here closer to May 1.

Today I stopped in after work to stock up on my Earl Grey Tea. Refer to my post Cally’s Teas Celebrates Earl Grey’s Birthday to learn more of Earl Grey. If you click this link you will also see a picture of the beautiful Rose-Eva who has been the source of today’s information, and my reliable and pleasant tea merchant whom I love to spend time and chatter with while sipping my tea and perusing the glorious treasures in the store. Sadly for us, the end of April also marks the new beginning of exciting things for our Rose-Eva, and of course, I wish her all the very best of what’s to come her way (and silently hopes she remembers me when she’s in Italy and takes a picture of a vineyard or some lovely food for me).

In the meantime, please stop by this unique little shop. Right now, all things that aren’t tea leaves are 15% off. As we get closer to the end of the month, the discount increases. But don’t wait! If you want that perfect tea pot, go now before it’s scooped up. Just keep your hands off the lovely brown Betty with removable strainer in the window next to the Elephant tea pot. It’s mine. 🙂