Embracing winter with Apple Pie Baked Oatmeal

During an interview, a podcast host once asked me if given the choice, would I prefer to stay in a cabin in the woods or a chic hotel in the city. You can probably guess my answer.

I find cities to be draining and nature is where I recharge. This is why I carved out an urban homestead for our family, even though we live in Greater Montreal suburbia. This is also why we jumped at the chance to hibernate for a few weeks in the deep woods when our extended family offered up their mountainside cabin to us last month.

I haven’t decided if I’m going to write about our trip to British Columbia yet (it would mostly be photos of mountains and the ski hill), but the decision to share this baked oatmeal recipe was inspired by those slow cabin mornings.

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Hazelnut-Apple Power Bars

For months now we’ve been talking about making the trip to Ottawa to skate the length of the Rideau Canal.

It’s the world’s largest rink, if you didn’t know, with views of our parliament in the distance, and hot chocolate stations scattered along the winding canal. One can skate for hours without stopping, although you may be tempted to slow down for a poutine or beavertail break. It’s a Canadian thing.

Back in early January we settled on a weekend to go, booking accommodations with family and clearing our schedules. As a family, we tend to cultivate contentment in the little things, giving ourselves over to an occasion be it a mere afternoon skate or sled, so there was much anticipation around the event. [Read more…]

Crunchy Apple-Pear Salad with Pomegranate, Pine Nuts & Yogurt

My garden has been dormant for only a few weeks yet I already miss the crunchy, sweet carrots, bundles of kale and bouquets of fragrant herbs.

Salad planning has to much more intentional now that winter is here, and I have to load up on even more vegetables on market days if I want to have fresh salads throughout the week.

Last week, when I was all out of leafy greens, I  found inspiration in a case of jumbled assorted apples and pears that we had in our cold room. I know I’m forever adding apples to salads around here, but this one is extra special, believe me.

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Autumn Apple and Kale Salad with Parmesan and Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

I know, I know, another kale recipe. It might seem as though my recent posts are all part of a calculated recipe flow that balances cheesecake brownies and maple-glazed pork chops with nourishing soups and salads, but there is no way I am that organized.

In truth, kale and herbs are the only greens thriving in my garden right now and the kale recipes are an honest example of how we are eating in November – simple, seasonal and featuring ingredients we have on hand.

This salad was born in the garden, on a sunny late morning last week…but wait, we have the photos to tell the story.

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Sparking Vanilla-Scented Apple Cider Party Punch

Last week, I gave in to the chilly weather and started wearing socks and sweaters. I simmered two pots of soup, made a pie and roasted off a few butternut squash for future baking projects.

October arrived, as did a carpet of ochre oak and maple leaves on our forest floor. Yes, fall is here to stay, and it’s getting me in the mood for Canadian Thanksgiving next week.

Because of our large extended family, we will celebrate Thanksgiving with a couple of events here and there over the holiday long weekend. Then on Monday, Danny and I are hosting twenty people for a mid-day turkey dinner around our table. I’m still finalizing the full menu (so many favourite dishes to narrow down!) but I have settled on a punch to serve.

I have a go-to party punch for spring and summer – a raspberry rhubarb collins – and it serves me well for a range of warm weather occasions. But truth be told, I didn’t have a favourite punch for fall until I started testing in earnest quite recently.

Spices. Spirits. Syrups. Sweeteners. There are a dozen different directions one can go when it comes to creating a crowd pleasing drink. In the end, I stayed true to this blog’s mantra and kept things simple; today’s recipe for Sparking Vanilla-Scented Apple Cider Party Punch is my pick for pre-Thanksgiving dinner cocktail hour.

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