Post-Hump Day Post: Giving Thanks for Never Giving You Up

This week, we gave thanks for . . .

pumpkin-spice-macarons
Part of our Thanksgiving spread: macarons with pumpkin-spice butter creme

> eating pumpkin spice macarons! This is the recipe that we used (but reduce the sugar to less than 300 g! It’s too sweet for my liking.) The Girl figured out her own pumpkin-spice-butter-creme icing recipe.
> not being able to stop watching the Pantsuit Power flash mob. Why is it that we can’t possible imagine any Trump supporters being this happy, dance-y, or fun? So of course, this led to . . .
>
not being able to stop listening to one of the big hits of this past summer. The Kids have loved this for the past few months, and even though I’m reminded of summer nights in the 80s, I have a love-hate relationship with the aching repetition of it. Speaking of hits of the 80s . . .
> learning that Rick Astley is touring again! Unfortunately, we just missed him when he was in town this weekend on his one and only Canadian stop. Here’s a review (with a great title) of another show on this tour. But don’t worry—he never gave up, and we can now all go out and get his new album to mark his 50th birthday. 50! Time flies . . .
> the funniest thing on the radio/tv, which was this age-old debate on buttons vs. zippers (skip to 14:00 if you’re not interested in Superman). Here, we get one of Steve’s best line: “And they said we would run out of topics by season 10. Wrong! We ran out in season 7.”
> little tricks for making the cracks on our glass surfaces disappear. The Husband had found out somewhere on-line (perhaps here) that this could work on eyeglasses. Though he was skeptical, we found that this really worked! I’m loving my restored watch crystals.
>
finding this great web site (thanks to an interview on CBC’s The Current) that contributes to the repair-it-yourself movement. While you’re at it, print this poster to keep in your workshop/home/store/general repair space.
> Also, if you haven’t been to a Repair Café session yet, find one asap at a library or community centre near you and thank them! They really do good, and next week is International Repair Café Week.

Post-Hump Day post: “Without a shadow of a doubt . . .”

This week . . .

> We laughed at Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen, which leads to fan videos like this one. I don’t think it’s catchy enough to be the next Gangnam style, but it passes the time.
long-chayote-squahs> We ate what we think is called long squash (I think some stores mistakenly call this “chayote squash”). One set of our next-door neighbours is always kindly offering us extra vegetables from their garden, and this is our new favourite. I braise or slow-cooker this with diced eggplant, tomatoes, chicken, and a mixture of garam masala, curry, cumin, salt, garlic, chili flakes, and fresh coriander. Everyone in the family loves it.
> We couldn’t stop watching this really sweet, tear-jerking Amazon Prime commercial. They’re really pushing the same-day delivery service lately, which I’m all meh about, but I could watch the commercial on a loop all day. Each time, my desire for a Lion-Dog increases. Much better than the first Amazon Prime dog commercial, where the owner walks a few feet ahead and just seems inconvenienced by his slow canine pal.
> Funniest thing I heard this week that wasn’t on the radio/tv: While cleaning out the kids’ old baby clothes, I held up an item and—yet again—jokingly said to the Husband, “You sure you don’t want another one?” To which he replied, while backing out of the room, “You’re looking through old baby clothes? This isn’t going to end well for me.”
> Our current word/phrase: “Without a shadow of a doubt” (or as the Boy has been saying, “Without a shadow of the doubt”). It’s cute because you know your kid is growing up and this is an improvement upon the previously un-sophisticated, “Nope”.
> We learned that in some school boards, teachers (not with permission from the board) are confiscating lunches and snacks due to their own judgements of what’s “healthy” and “suitable”. Come on! Yes, some of us try to provide homemade goodness, but we do have to rely on a store-bought Bear Paw with chocolate chips or Goldfish, from time to time.
> Our DIY project was neoprene hair ties. I just re-purposed this dollar-store tablet sleeve that didn’t really fit, and was sitting around empty. Like these ones, our neoprene hair ties don’t cause that pinched or pulled-back feeling, and are no-ravel. Unlike those ones, there’s no hefty price tag.neoprene-hair-ties

>
And finally, à propos of nothing in particular, we found this great article about a basket for sale.

Post-Hump Day post: Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!

Things we were doing this week (none of which involved watching anybody/anything royal):

> We played our Movie/TV Title Mash-up Game.
1-orange-skittle> We laughed at this great response to the Skittles controversy –>. A week too late, or perhaps never a wrong time for it.
> We ate oatcakes, oatcakes, and more oatcakes! We included the five recipes that we found on-line, with our reviews.
> We couldn’t stop listening to and thinking about this report that loneliness among seniors is a health epidemic, more dangerous than obesity.
> Our current word/phrase: Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! (Try saying it petulantly like a 4-year-old, kind of like with your fingers plugged into your ears. Or maybe that’s an insult to 4-year-olds.)
> We learned that students in the U.S. are constitutionally-protected if they choose to not stand for the national anthem. The Girl says there is at least one student in her class who doesn’t stand for the Canadian anthem. No one harasses her. Why is American patriotism so strong that it wants to trample on individual rights?
> We made Hollandaise sauce. Egg yolks leads to egg whites, leads to macarons. Summary of our macaron efforts next week.
> And on the topic of loneliness, we found this great article on the topic of female friendships, by the awesome Ann Friedman, and a review of a friendship app that we’ll be interested to see when it comes to Android. (Apparently, there’s also Tea with Strangers, which is not gender-specific.)

 

Oatcakes, oatcakes, and more oatcakes!

oatcakes
Ate our oatcakes too quickly, before photos could be taken. These nice crisp-looking ones are courtesy of House and Garden UK.

Now that the memories of our Great East Coast Adventure of this summer are fading away, we really miss not having Scottish oatcakes readily available here in central Canada.

In the Maritimes, you can find oatcakes in many places, especially in Nova Scotia, and especially, especially on Cape Breton island, of course. I remember that years ago, VIA train served wonderful complimentary oatcakes on the leg between Montreal and Halifax (don’t know if they still have them). Now, even select Tim Hortons out there have oatcakes on offer alongside the doughnuts, which are overly-sweet by comparison.

Of course, now that we’re no longer there, we had to look for the perfect oatcake recipe to bake for ourselves at home. After a lot of sifting through on-line recipes and discarding ones that seemed like they had too much sugar or an oat-flour ratio that wasn’t quite right, we came up with the following five recipes to try. The sixth one is from the Clucking Hen Café and Bakery near St. Ann’s Bay along the Cabot Trail on Cape Breton. (It should be noted that our preferred oatcakes were from the High Wheeler Café in Baddeck, but unfortunately, they didn’t give away their recipe conveniently on a bookmark like the Clucking Hen.)

Take a look at the recipes below with our review notes, and bake up some simple deliciousness for yourself!

Note 1: We slightly modified the recipes by substituting butter whenever the original recipe called for lard, shortening, or bacon fat.
Note 2: We ground all our oatmeal until it was fine, but not quite as fine as flour.
Note 3: In all recipes, sift/mix dry ingredients first. Then pulse in the butter, then water.
Note 4: Unless otherwise stated, bake at 350° F for 15 minutes, turning over halfway through.

1)
http://www.food.com/recipe/cape-breton-oatcakes-334468
·         2 cups rolled oats
·         2 cups flour
·         2 tsp. baking powder
·         ½ tsp. salt
·         1 cup brown sugar
·         1 cup butter
·         ½ cup cold water

Review: We couldn’t taste the oat taste as much as in the other recipes, and with a cup of sugar, this one was the sweetest among all—a tad too sweet for our liking. The dough was also much softer than the others—almost too soft to work with.
2)
http://localfoods.about.com/od/Cookies/r/Nova-Scotia-Oatcakes.htm
·         2 cups rolled oats
·         1 cup flour
·         ¼ tsp. baking soda
·         1 ¼ tsp. salt
·         ¾ cup brown sugar
·         ¾ cup butter
·         ¼ cup boiling/very hot water

Review:
Not as sweet as #1, and it had a nice buttery and oat-y taste. The dough was easy to work with, and because we rolled ours out extra thin (thinner than the photo on the original site), the texture was the nicest and crispiest among all. Really good, and was the first to disappear.
WINNER!
3)
http://thetravelbite.com/travel_and_food_blog/nova-scotia-oatcakes/
·         2 cups rolled oats
·         1 cup flour
·         ¼ tsp. baking soda
·         ½ tsp. salt
·         ½ cup brown sugar
·         ½ cup butter
·         ¼ cup boiling water

Review: This was very buttery and oat-y, similar to #2 (note the oat-to-flour ratio). Because it had slightly less sugar than #2, it ultimately lost by a nose.
4)
http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/520634/scottish-oat-cakes
·         225 g rolled oats
·         60 g flour
·         ½ tsp. baking soda
·         1 tsp. salt
·         ½ tsp. brown sugar
·         60 g butter
·         60-80  mL hot water

Review: This was one of the two savoury oatcakes (note the small amount of sugar).  Because we prefer our oatcakes with a bit of sweetness to them, we didn’t go crazy for these ones. For some reason, these weren’t as good as #5.
https://caperfrasers.wordpress.com/2010/08/14/cape-breton-oat-cakes/

·         2 cups rolled oats
·         1 cup flour
·         2 tsp. baking soda
·         ¼ tsp. salt
·         2 tsp. white sugar
·         ⅓ cup butter

Review: The second of our savoury oatcakes, this one had one disadvantage in that the dough was just too crumbly to roll. We had to bake it in a silicon pan, and that worked out fine, as we dug out crumbled chunks to taste. Strangely addictive, these savoury ones were better than #4.

Clucking Hen Café and Bakery (400° F)

·         3 cups rolled oats
·         3 cups flour
·         1 tsp. baking soda
·         1 tsp. salt
·         1 cup white sugar
·         1 cup butter
·         ¾ cup cold water

Review: Finally, we didn’t make these, since we had some directly from the bakery and could make our review notes based on those. These weren’t as crispy and oat-y and yummy as the High Wheeler Café’s. They weren’t even as yummy as our winner, #2, but if we’re ever in the mood to re-live our Cabot Trail memories, we’ll grab this recipe.

 

#821: Stinging witticisms

jeopardy-contestantAs already mentioned, we love Jeopardy! in this household. While watching it recently, the Boy nonchalantly made this observation out loud, “Ever notice how there are usually two people who are pretty close in score, and then a third one who’s probably saying to himself right now, ‘Maaaaybe I shouldn’t have applied to Jeopardy!'”

Ouch. A wittier way of saying what we were all thinking.

#822: Playing games; #movietvmashup

Sometimes car rides are long. The Girl says that one of these is her most relaxing times of the week, when she can sit back and “contemplate”. To fill the time, we also like to play games. This is one that the kids and I have played on and off over the years: Movie/TV Title Mash-Up.

fault-in-our-star-warsObjective: Find two movie or tv titles that have been put together, with one word in common (or one very similar word) linking them, based on the clue of the modified plot line.
Example:
Two teens with cancer try to fight an evil empire
The Fault in Our Star Wars

The following are ones that the whole family contributed to, over the past couple of days. Scroll down past #20 for the answers.

1) Zombies try to comfort a prisoner on death row
2) The saviour of the world boldly goes where no man has gone before
3) On the outside, he’s a monster; on the inside, he’s just another man suffering a mid-life crisis
4) 70s sitcom about a racist blue-collar man and his clan, trying to find the top 10 answers on the board
5) An older man falls in love with a younger woman in a foreign country, while fighting dinosaurs and aliens
6) Young female fowl tries to return money that her boyfriend owes to gangsters
7) Sick people try to escape a theme park full of dinosaurs and zombies
8) Three escaped prisoners solve crimes in a tropical U.S. state
9) A group of clones make an undercover documentary investigating animal cruelty in aquariums
10) Two male models buy an animal sanctuary / Matt Damon stars in this sweet comedy about buying a male model
11) A woman with Alzheimer’s falls down the rabbit hole
12) A hacker enters his robot in a battle arena
13) Two guys and a kid join a top secret government sector to fight aliens
14) A time traveller investigates the murder of an animated bunny
15) A whistleblower tries to save the world from Nazi Zombies
16) A top-secret government sector fights aliens while also fighting each other for the top spot in the ballet company
17) A personal security officer and his band of misfits (including a rodent and a botanical specimen) fight to save the universe

Extra-challenging ones (which don’t follow the rules of the game exactly, but you’ll get it when you see the answers):
18) A dysfunctional animated family joins a biker gang
19) An explorer lost in the woods becomes a small superhero
20) A documentary about a frightening clown rehearsing for his last concert tour

. . .

Answers:
1) The Walking Dead Man Walking
2) Jesus Christ Superstar Trek
3) American Beauty and the Beast
4) All in the Family Feud
5) Land of the Lost in Translation
6) Chicken Run Lola Run
7) Jurassic World War Z
8) Hawaii Five-O Brother Where Art Thou?
9) Orphan Blackfish
10) We Bought a Zoolander
11) Still Alice in Wonderland
12) Mr. Robot Wars
13) Two and a Half Men in Black
14) Dr. Who Killed Roger Rabbit?
15) Dead Snowden
16) Men in Black Swan
17) The BodyGuardians of the Galaxy

18) The SimpSons of Anarchy
19) The RevenAnt Man
20) This is It

 

Post-Hump Day post: KFC (Kentucky Fried Chickpeas)

beanbag-toss-animal-board-gameThis past week . . .

> We played on our homemade beanbag toss board. This was originally made for Christmas 2004, and it has been a fun family project this summer, as we re-painted and restored it after damaged in a musty and mouldy basement.
> We listened to Michelle Obama’s impersonation, and her discussion of final days at the White House. (skip to 4:50).
> We ate KFC: Kentucky Fried Chickpeas! A couple of weeks ago, we (successfully) recreated the colonel’s famous fried chicken using his leaked secret spice mix. This week, for something different, we took the same spice mix and applied it to chickpeas, then roasted them in the oven. Minus the flour, and it’s mmm . . . KFChickpeas!
> We couldn’t stop watching (catch-up) of season 1 of Better Call SaulSome in our household even say it’s better than Breaking Bad. Don’t know why we weren’t into it originally as it was being broadcase, but we’re slowly catching up to season 3 . . .
> Our current word/phrase: “Chinjury”. There was an injury in the household. It involved the chin and surrounding tissue and skin. It was, according to the Girl, “weird . . . and gross”. The Boy portmanteau-ed it into “chinjury”.
> Funniest thing we heard on the radio/tv: paraphrased from a morning radio host’s chatter (but I can’t remember which one): “Since his dad has hair like cotton candy, and tells Whoppers of lies, it’s no wonder Donald Trump Jr. has candy on his mind” re the Skittles Twitter controversy.
>
We learned how something like Lacroix sparkling water becomes a trend (not as big yet in Canada).
> We made
> And finally, we found this great web site, Not Far From the Tree, that connects private growers and pickers. Bookmarked it a year ago, but only started picking this year, with invitations to pear, apple, grape, and nut picks so far. Such a fantastic, simple concept. Wish there was a NFFTT in every city!