This recipe is so basic it takes all variations. Add nuts, seeds, spices. I suppose I prefer to leave out the cinnamon.


3 cups rolled oats (not instant)
3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup small-dice dried fruit
1/2 cup coarsely chopped raw or toasted nuts or seeds

Total Time: 40 mins

Makes: About 3 cups


1. Heat the oven to 150°C and arrange a rack in the middle.

2. Place the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl and
stir to combine; set aside.

3. Place the honey, oil, and vanilla in a small bowl and stir to
combine. Pour over the oat mixture and mix until the oats are
thoroughly coated.

4. Spread the mixture in a thin, even layer on a rimmed baking sheet.
Bake for 15 minutes, then stir and continue baking until the granola
is very light golden brown, about 5 to 15 minutes more.

5. Place the baking sheet on a wire rack and cool the granola to room
temperature, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. (Note: It will
harden as it cools.)

6. Add the fruit and nuts or seeds to the baking sheet and toss to

Store the granola in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Eggplant Ravioli OMG!

eggplant ravioli

GDMF cooking group winner 6 Dec 2013
Eggplant ravioli OMG!

Filling: roasted eggplant, taleggio, lemon thyme
Topping: sun-dried tomatoes, capers, black olives, garlic, olive oil, pecorino nero

Semolina egg pasta

Cut eggplant into pieces, drizzle with olive oil and roast. You want it cut into pieces in order to get rid of moisture. Remove the skin after it’s roasted.
Smush the taleggio into the eggplant with a fork until it’s in small pieces. It will melt.

Rehydrate dried sun-dried tomatoes and cut into small pieces. Add capers. Finely chop (or use a plain black olive tapenade) the olives. Press garlic and fry until brown and add the garlic and oil to the chopped ingredients. Top the ravioli, and then add grated pecorino on top.

Paste e ceci

19oz. can of Chick-peas
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon chopped rosemary
1/2 teaspoon chopped sage
3/4 cup canned Italian peeled plum tomatoes- drained
3 cups of broth
1/4 pound Dittalini pasta
salt and pepper
3 Tablespoons chopped parsley
lemon to sour

Peel the chickpeas

Put the olive oil and the chopped onions into a large saucepan and turn on the heat to medium. When the onion turns pale gold, add the garlic, rosemary, and sage. Stir once or twice. When the garlic turns very pale gold, add the tomatoes. Cook, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes.

Add the chick-peas drained of their liquid, stir, and cook for another 5 to 6 minutes.

Puree everything and then add the broth and turn on the heat to medium-high.

When the liquid comes to a boil, add the pasta, cover the pot,and turn down the heat to medium. Cook until the pasta is al-dente- tender, but firm to the bite. Taste and correct for salt and add a few grindings of pepper. Turn off the heat, stir in the parsley, lemon, and serve with freshly grated cheese on the side.

bbq mushroom steamed buns

Korean BBQ Mushroom Steamed Buns (10-12 buns)
Make the pickle and put in the fridge
Chop up the garnish
Make the bbq sauce
Make the mushrooms
Steam the buns

Quick Asian Pickle

1 cucumber (thinly sliced)
can add bell pepper, onion, hot pepper
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cane sugar

Place the cucumber slices into a canning jar. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the vinegar, water, salt, and sugar. Pour pickling liquid over the cucumbers, close lid, and refrigerate for at least an hour and up to a week.

Chop peanuts, chopped green onion, and cilantro, maybe some bean sprouts

Roasted Red Pepper Korean BBQ Sauce

2 medium roasted red peppers (stemmed, seeded)
1 tablespoon cane sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sambal
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
one clove of garlic, equal amount of ginger, chopped
1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
pepper to taste

Whirrrrrrrrrr in the food processor, blender. Can keep up to a week.

500 g mushrooms
Brown the mushrooms in a tablespoon of oil (2 tsp veg, 1 tsp toasted sesame) on one side and then toss and let heat through. Add in the bbq sauce and coat, then remove from heat.

Italian Turnip and Rice Soup with Parmesan Cheese

Thanks to this post, Italian Turnip and Rice Soup with Parmesan Cheese, but I’m saving it here so I have it myself (serves 6)


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound of turnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 3 pints (48 ounces) of chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/2-cup arborio rice
  • salt & pepper
  • parmigiano-reggiano cheese
  • parsley (optional)


  • Melt the butter and oil in a large sauce pan and bring to a froth
  • Toss in the turnips and saute until brown, about 5 minutes
  • Pour in the stock, bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook covered for about 10 minutes
  • Stir in the rice and cook, covered over medium heat, for about 15 minutes
  • When ready to serve, add salt & pepper to taste, then parsley, then grated cheese

Whole Lentils with Garlic and Onion

4 tbsp vegetable oil

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped

8 oz/75g onions, peeled and chopped

7 oz/200g whole lentils, washed and drained

1 1/4 pints / 750 ml water

1 tsp salt

1/8 – 1/4 tsp chili powder


Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan over a medium flame.  When it is hot, put in the cumin seeds.  A few seconds later, put in the garlic.  Stir and fry until the garlic pieces turn a medium brown colour.  Now put in the onion.  Stir and fry until the onion pieces begin to turn brown at the edges.  Put in the lentils and the water.  Bring to a boil.  Cover, turn the heat to low and simmer for about 1 hour or until the lentils are tender.  Add the salt and the chili powder.  Stir to mix and simmer gently for another 5 minutes.


Warning, I always use metric – and no variation of 1 1/4 pints = 750 ml!

Serve over rice.  Mango chutney is nice.



Reims 2011

gargoyle on front of cathedral at reimsSo this is what my French is like.  I am standing on the sidewalk by the cheapo apartment hotel where we spent the night with all the normal vacation stuff plus bags of half-eaten groceries because we cooked our dinner last night, while Pat fetches the car from where it was parked for free down the block.  A man approaches.  I know he is going to say something.  He does.  “Blah bla blah blahbla bla bla”.  It seems agreeable.  I agree.  “Oui”.  He walks on.  My brain starts working and a minute later I piece together that he’s said, “So, you’re at the end of your vacation”.

We hop in the car because why walk for twenty minutes when you can use Tom (the TomTom GPS [yes, we are that literal]) to navigate your way to the center of an old city and park right by the door.  So we spend the same twenty minutes driving around and around, missing turns and finding weird roadblocks, approaching the cathedral from all directions but not actually getting there.  And then bingo, we are on the right track, the cathedral is smack dab in front of us, and we have parked as close as we can.  For EUR 2, because that’s the coin Pat has.

The cathedral is big, but not huge.  I have seen enough of them that I am not particularly impressed.  It is nice.  I take pictures.  We are done.  We get back to the car, and the meter maids are checking.  Good thing we paid.  I comment that I like France in August because everyone is gone.  To the beach, I surmise.  In any event, they are not here, and we were not overrun by busloads of anyone.

The whole reason we went to Reims is that the toll road is nice, but boring, so let’s add a night to the trip and drive home through the Ardennes.  Good idea.

song of the day

I’m a little slow. This just made it on my radar. Even though it was already on my mp3 player.

lcd soundsystem – all my friends

Happy Birthday to Me.

I just finished celebrating the first anniversary of my 40th birthday. I’m not freaking out about being over 40, I just didn’t like the way 41 sounded. Whatever.

I threw myself a birthday party, which I haven’t done in years and years. Dinner with husband? Yes. Dinner with friends? Yes. But not a come-over-to-my-house-and-I-will-provide-you-food-and-drink party. I chickened out a little and made everyone bring something to eat, and just for fun, they had to give me the recipe.

Here is a picture of the best, most unexpected dish. The recipe is as follows, and is of unknown origin:

1 box vanilla wafers
sesame seeds
1 box Keebler Grasshopper cookies
3/4 c. coconut
white, yellow and red frosting with decorator tips to dispense
1/4 c. Karo syrup

Place coconut and a few drops of green food coloring in a plastic bag to mix. Set aside.

Place vanilla wafers on wax paper, top side up. Brush with Karo and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Set aside.

Place 40 more wafers flat side up on cookie sheet. Add a dab of white frosting on each, then place a grasshopper cookie on each. Brush cookie with Karo. Sprinkle coconut and swirl red and yellow frosting on each. Take the tops you made earlier and add those to the top. Viola!

me and my burger


Oh, and I also got myself a Sally Hanson give-yourself-a-french-manicure, polish-in-a-pen kit at Walgreens, and I think for $12 it looks pretty decent (and there’s plenty more for next time). And it wasn’t much more difficult than painting your fingernails with whiteout used to be. But prettier.

For Artyom

I don’t know the real story behind what happened in Tennessee and I honestly don’t expect to. I listened to an adoptive mother on the radio today who said that she could understand the emotions that led to the woman putting her son on that plane to Russia and I was conflicted. I have described the experience of adopting/becoming a mother as “setting your family on fire”, so yeah, it’s hard. I get it too. But what she did with her emotions, and the choices she made from that point are unfathomable to me, and unforgivable.

Approximately 1% of all adoptions are disrupted. That is to say, ended, annulled, undone. For whatever reason, the parent(s) decided they could not continue to parent the child.

Let me be clear. Children do not disrupt adoptions. Their behavior, disability, habits, previous trauma – or anything else they say or do – does not make them unparentable or unlovable. The parents could not continue to parent. Whatever the circumstance, it is an avoidable tragedy. A child, who through no fault of their own and who has already lost ties to one family, is again set adrift.

And let me be clear on this.As the adult in the parent/child relationship, it is our duty to provide this. It’s what we sign up for, in whatever way we become parents.

That being said, nobody can fully prepare for what happens when you bring a child into your world, whether by birth or adoption. Every mom I know did her best to prepare. From “What to Expect when You’re Expecting” to “Toddler Adoption

Every child deserves a loving home and a caring family surrounding him or her. Period.

: A Weaver’s Craft”, from Lamaze to pre-adoption counseling, we sought out information to help us transition.

The reality of parenting is that you are, in the simplest relationship scenario, an adult and a child coming together with two temperaments, personalities, preferences and experiences. This is as true with a newborn as it is for a child of any age. This is why second children/second adoptions seem only incrementally easier. Nothing is different but our expectations.

Human relationships are complex and fluid, and all relationships take work and take time. That is the message we need to be sure that all first time parents get. That and the reminder that the parent is the adult in the relationship and the burden of making the relationship work is on you.

That is what I would like to say to the woman who pretended to be Artyom’s mother. That, and SHAME ON YOU. YOU WERE THE ONE WHO HAD OPTIONS, INFORMATION AND CHOICES.