Category Archives: Breakfast

most important meal of the day

Still Recovering from St Valentin.

So I’ve kind of gotten to the point where I have so much that I could share, that I don’t know what to share first.

Which leads to me not sharing anything.

Which leads to me realizing that I don’t have enough blogging capacity to share everything that pops into my ever-moving-squirrel(now french squirrel)-brain.

Which leads to me trying to prioritize my sharing.

Which necessitates more thinking.

Which necessitates more procrastinating.

Meanwhile here I am.

Eating Chocolate. And bread. And cheese. And (drinking) wine. And having amusing eccentric little thoughts.

And nobody is hearing about it. That stresses me out.

At least stressed turned around is desserts, and I’m sure as heck not short on desserts. It was Valentine’s Day for crêpes sake. (Ha. ha. see what I did there.)

Let me tell you about Valentine’s Day in Paris. Actually you can probably figure it out your dang self. Just sit there and think about the most fabulously romantical, Valentines-y city possible that, if you could be, you would SO be visiting on February 14th with your significant other.

Me Helping You: Paris. Hi.

It is so true. No one could make up the amount of love diffused through the air in the cafés, parcs, boulangeries and even through the most pee-smelling of metro stations.  Guys, there was no escape.

I wake up to find a romantic poem waiting for my roommate, walk down the hall and bump into a man delivering a dozen roses to a friend of mine, snatch my vélib and head to the galleries lafayette to peruse the gourmet food section. Naturally, it’s Hell-a Heart-tastic too.

To be honest, I’m not too much of a rebel. I can’t fight the hearts and the romance.  Even if there’s no one waiting for me with a love-filled home-made dinner and a freaking cuddle (I would never ask this of you dear roommate).

I embraced the love. Just me… and Paris.

I couldn’t stop myself from buying a delicious coeur de neufchâtel. I totally cut my betteraves into romantic shapes for my own lunch.  I stuck my face against every chocolaterie window.  And occasionally I came out with something super.  And I even forced myself to not express disgust when I saw couples eating eachother’s faces at the corner brasserie. Or on the metro.  You have no idea how many times I faced this one.

Then, Valentine’s Day was over.  But it still felt like Valentine’s Day. By now, I’m pretty sure it’s just Paris.

Paris is like some wildly sappy twist on the classic Bill Murray film “Groundhog Day“.  But sappy in a way that you learn to love to live with.

Perpetual romance. Woah.

So the next day, I had red wine and a delicious cheese fondue with some new Swiss friends.  The next evening I shared a(n other) bottle of wine, a home cooked meal, and some excellent conversation with a new German friend.  The next morning I made decadent chocolate pancakes and went for my usual run around the fountains at the Jardin Luxembourg. Seule. Since then, I’ve gone ice skating at the hôtel de ville, followed by amorino gelato, wine-hopped through le Marais, shared cheeses, bread and snickerdoodles with a lovely international group of amies, shared variations of bitter dark chocolat chaud and chantilly at a viennese pastry shop, and pondered colours, brushstrokes, and insanity at the centre pompidou. (I also learned how to make macarons at a pastry school, but I will for real tell you about that in another post)

Romance is not just for two, and it’s certainly not just for a special occasion.

At least not here. I’m adjusting. These helped.

Yes I greased the pan with artisan french butter. duh.

Romantic Chocolate Pancakes. For One.

adaptedish from The First Mess

a word to the wise.. I have little to no means of measuring things.. and haven’t jumped fully into kitchen scale-ing… so these are all “ish” measurements

  • 1/2 ish cup milk (105g)
  • 1 teaspoon (or smallish spoon) vinegar (I used balsamic)
  • 1/2 ish cup white spelt flour (55g)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons (large-ish spoon in my case) cocoa powder (make it fair trade babe)
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons sweetener (I used molasses, tis all I had)
  • nubbin of a banana.. the size is photographed
  • a few drops of vanilla extract
  • butter for pan-greasing

Mix the almond milk and vinegar together in a small dish, or random residence cup, and let it set to become buttermilky.

Mix the dry ingredients (up to salt) together in a medium bowl.

Mash the banana in another bowl, and thoroughly combine with milk mixture and vanilla.  Add wet to dry and mix until just combined, and pancake it up on a lowish-medium heat frying pan!

Cover your pancakes with romance.  Or peanut butter and bananas.

p.s. I just bought a kilogram of the finest Valrhona chocolate available from G.Detou near Les Halles. Throw me rope. A life boat. A glass of water. A freaking bag of spinach. Throw me anything. Just not chocolate.

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Filed under Breakfast, Food, Paris, Travels

Today is special – mini vanilla coconut cream scones

It’s Coralie’s birthday.  She’s a best friend.

For sure.

I want to tell you about the 52Xinfinity different reasons why she is one of THE MOST awesome individuals ever to be synthesized from the genetic material of two other individuals ever, but I’m kinda sorta studying right now. I am. I will be.  I am.

I’ll be succinct. (which is one of my best words by the way)

If you ever get the chance to be friends with Coralie Ullyett, take it. Run with it.  Don’t look back.

It’s like you invested in apple in the 80’s.  And you’re freakin rich now.

That’s how I feel.

Best. Return. On. Investment. Ever. (see, I’m studying)

She makes friendships.  I don’t mean like she makes friends, but like she makes the friendship.  You must know what I mean, you must have come across one of these friends before.

I hope you kept them.

They’re the kind of friend who always makes you feel all loved n junk. Like somehow, even though you know their life is busy because they’re probably off saving the world (or environment), they always take time to think about you. And they find a way let you know.  Sometimes it’s a text, an email, a phone call, or even a freaking postcard. Postcards are the bee’s knees.

Magic, these friends.

They’re the ones who teach their friends how to be friends.

I’m both jealous of their friendbilities, and crippling-ly grateful that I wound up on the receiving end. Yes, gratefulness can be crippling. And crippling can be manipulated into the word “crippling-ly”. You saw it.

I’m working on spreading more of this friend magic myself.

Coralie, be prepared. There will be text messages. There will be tweets. There will likely be some random facebook links on your wall.

And there will be birthday scones.

She loves Coconut.

I love (mostly) everything, SO, coconut it is.

Continue reading

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Oh baby I’m Fallin’

Fast.

For Fall.

Finally.

For Fu ….. I’m going to stop that alliteration right here.  Nobody wants vulgar poetry.

But really, I have been waiting for months for this season. Like, probably, for two months. I’d say.

When I was still at home in August the weather was turning.  It smelled like leaves.  The days were getting shorter.  I stalked weatheroffice.com never saw a number bigger than my age in the forecast. That’s 20 for visitors.. fyi.  Also that’s Celsius for farther away visitors.. fyi.  Anyway, the dropping temps weren’t killing my spirits. I’m extra used to change.  I even started getting nostalgic.

Just a warning.. I get nostalgic about non normal people things.  Or like.. non south of 60° people things.

I’d go outside and my nose would run because it was chilly. (My nose is like a meteorologist)

I’d get giddy.

I’d see cranberries reddening between wilted leaves.

More giddy.

I’d break out the 3/4 length running tights.

Woah giddy.

Then I left Whitehorse and flew on down to Ontariario.

Hey there 35°C and humid. What.  Yeah.  I was alright with an extra week a vitamin D.  Of course. No complaints.

Snag some more tomaters from the farmers Market.  I’m not a whiner.  BUT, the whole not being able to sleep under my covers thing was a serious bummer.  I’m sure some of you are with me.  Gotta have the weight of the duvet, otherwise, insanity.  I thought this might last a week, then give way to fall.

No.

It lasted until 3 days ago.  Thats 4-ish weeks, brethren. 4-ish.

I am a cold weather animal.  Overheat me and I get all gross. Red. Blotchy. Salty. Ew.  Training was not pleasant.  I had a “no sitting on furniture after your run” rule. For myself only.  Nobody wants salt marks on their new futon cover.

So to the non-negative part.  About 3 days ago it became fall.

I ran with a long sleeve shirt and NO pit stains.

I slept comfortably UNDER my duvet.

I wore a freaking sweater.

I slipped on a rock covered in red and yellow maple leaves while running and nearly face-planted into the buttocks of the person running in front of me while twisting my ankle. No one saw.

It made me happy. It meant fall.

So I bought three cans of pumpkin and hit up bulk barn to stock up on spices.  Like all of the other twenty year olds. duh.

I might be pumpkinsane. I aalways tell people that there are a billion people just like me out there on the internet who hoard pumpkin and loose their shite for farmer’s markets and coconut butter. FOOD BLOGGERS.

Sure Britt, sure.  What ever helps you sleep under your duvet at night.

Whatever guys, don’t call me weird until you’ve had these pumpkin cinnamon rolls.

They’re extra soft because pumpkins contains traces of a very important ingredient called magic.  You should try it.  It worked wonders for Neville.  I know you were all wondering how he got so badass and good-looking.

Hey there Neville.

So make these pumpkin cinnamon rolls and maybe you’ll score a date with that stud.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls.

adapted from Love and Olive Oil

Dough:

  • 1/3 cup soymilk (or whatever kind of milk floats your boat)
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 Tbs sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 large free range egg (beaten!)
  • 1 pkg active dry yeast
  • 1 cup AP flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat bread flour

Filling:

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 Tbs melted butter
Icing:
  • brown sugar
  • butter
  • vanilla
  • icing sugar
  • soy milk

For dough, combine milk and butter in a saucepan on medium until butter is aaalmost melted.  Combine pumpkin, sugar, and salt in a large bowl and mix in butter/milk mixture. Beat in egg and yeast, and in a separate bowl whisk together the flours.  Incorporate half the flour mix with the pumpkin mix and beat until fully incorporated, lots of bowl scraping.  Add remaining flour mixture and mix/knead into a soft dough.  Put the dough into an oiled bowl and cover it at room temperature for an hour or until doubled in size.

Punch down the dough, kneading until smooth and roll out onto a lightly floured surface.  I used a piece of parchment instead, challenging for rolling out, but easier for rolling the dough up after.  Roll into a rectangle about 10inX12in.  Brush the dough with melted filling butter, leaving a margin around the edges to seal.  Mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle across dough.  Roll tightly beginning with the longer side of the dough.  I used the parchment paper to help me roll it tightly.  Seal the seam along the roll my pinching it together.  Cut into 12 1-inch thick pieces with a serrated knife and place in greased 9X9 baking pan, cut side up.  Let rise for 30 minutes.  Bake at 350° for 20 ish minutes!

While they’re baking, I didn’t record a recipe for this, but I put a couple of Tbs of butter in a saucepan, and when it bubbled I added a couple Tbs of brown sugar and a bit of vanilla.  Then I added 1/2 cup or so of powdered sugar, and added milk until it was drizzle-able.  Drizzle. Eat. Share. Maybe.

Oh and please.  Spill the milk while you’re photographing your buns.  It’s great. So is hardwood.

And for future reference, nearly falling into michael’s butt means nothing about the change in seasons.  I was referring to the leaves.

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Today is brought to you by the colour green.

I told you before that green is my favourite colour.

I love everything green.

My nails are green. Mint green.

Avocados are nature’s butter.  and they’re green.  Disregard the strangeness of this combination.  Some one suggested it to me.  It was good.  Also, they’re are green.

My favourite new pashmena that I bought brand new for $1 at a garage sale is green. Ya. $1.

My iPod is green.  Shiny and green.

My wicked California bed-shirt that I stole from my step-dad is green.

My shower gel is green.  It’s also made sustainably because it’s for “earth lovers” :-).  And it makes me smell like apricots, which smell nice.

My favourite placemat is also green.

Everyone has a favourite placemat. Shh.. Continue reading

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I don’t steal – and zucchini bread pancakes

I could never have passed as a rebel in grade school.

Yes, I was sent to the principle’s office frequently between the ages of 7-11, but Ms. Robbins would explain that it was because of my above-average energy level and disruptive in-class behaviour.  And I didn’t do my homework.  And I wouldn’t wear socks.  My mom was called to school on occasion to bring her daughter a pair of socks. Just because it was “-40°C”.  Pansies.  Of course I dressed myself.

So I was flitty, attention-seeking, and hated socks.

You know, I still think it’s a bit ridiculous that I was grilled so hard. I could have been committing real misdemeanors, like, beyond the disposal of the pair of socks I was sent to school with.

I could have been stealing… like my one friend.

Actually, I guess that’s not true.  I stole once. with that friend.  It still haunts me.

We were in grade four.  It was a pack of three different types of sprinkles.  She told me that there were no surveillance cameras in the bathrooms… so we could take the sprinkles out of their packaging and stuff the individual containers in our pockets while pretending to use the loo.  We did it. We left the store and ran home.  We ate the sprinkles (ew).

I never stole again.

Oh god that was cathartic. Please never make me re-live the trauma.

To this day I want to drop in unannounced and pay Super A $3 for the sprinkles.  Yes by now the store ownership has changed.  And yes by now I don’t quite look akin to a 5 year old boy (like I did at age 9), so they likely wouldn’t make the connection.  And yes, the cashiers now were probably still in diapers when the crime was committed. SO not the point.

I’m a good kid. My conscience is like an inoperable tumor.  It’s ALWAYS there. Always.  And it’s occasionally crippling. You would have to threaten me with harmful pesticides and bovine growth hormone-ridden milk to force me to lie to my mother.  You would even have to roofie me to get me to bend the law.

Unless we were in Northern Ontario.  And the speed limit was freaking 90km/h. But that’s neither here nor there.

Also, I don’t know whether I can say that the same goes for my brother.

M seems pretty comfortable stealing other peoples belongings.

Though his level of discretion and choice of target still has a few wrinkles.

At least he’s got a get away car (read: slowgreyminivan).

If you scuff my wellies again, M, say goodbye to your breakfast bakes.  And say hello to more dejected, guilt-ridden trips to the swing set. Continue reading

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Resolutions and Muffins

I think every year really has two beginnings, the first one is in September.

Maybe it’s a student thing.  I have been a student for… as long as memory serves.

But it makes sense doesn’t it? I’d say September makes more sense than January.  Even if you aren’t one of  us, making ourselves start a new school year.

All else equal, September marks a distinct change in season.

We’re right on the cusp in September.

It’s time to make the best of the last trickle of warmth, and put on your big boy pants – prepare for change.  Nobody wants the winter to get us down, we want things to look forward to.

We want motivation.  It’s not about just surviving the new seasons.  It’s about showing them who’s boss.  We aren’t pansies, cooler temps won’t get us down.

Time to toughen up and turn over a new leaf. (er… loaf.. ha… ha)

(ok so, it’s easy for me to blog about being hard-as-nails. I’m blogging in a hammock.  Beside a sunflower.  It’s 25°C , sunny, there’s a gentle breeze … I’m like Iron Man… so.. tough)

ALSO: more proof that September should be the New Year, “new leaf”? Right? Fall?

Yeah.

Anyways,  I know you.  You’ve all been subconsciously milling over the things that you were going to make happen come September for the last… probably month or so. How organized you’ll be.  How you’re going to actually do your suggested readings ahead of time (Good one guys).  How you (or your whole family) are going to eat so healthily that there won’t be any spinach left at superstore for all of those other  healthily optimistic families.  How you’re going to get Ryan-Reynolds-jacked. Yeah you.  Don’t worry, I’m not saying you won’t.  Maybe, how frugal you’ll be.  And yet, somehow, how damn fashionable you’ll be while you’re being frugal?? Bonus points for resolutions that contradict each other.  Those ones always pan out.

I’m a huge resolutioner, so obviously September is my time to shine.

I write lists on my ipad.

But I’m a sharer, so here are a few of mine:

– Buy all of my produce at the Sunday farmers market until the end of growing season.  Unless recipe emergency dictates otherwise. (Let’s not set ourselves up for disappointment here)

– Stick to ethically sourced meat until I go ex-pat to France.  Then I’ve gotta be flexible.

– As soon as the sun goes down, the fruit-gummy-vitamin-D goes up.

– Play my guitar. Every. Day. In fact, in order to hold myself to this, I will force myself to share my non-skills with you via video by the end of November. Incentive to not be a failure and an embarrassment, hopefully only an embarrassment. Remind me.

– DO NOT BUY A STITCH OF CLOTHING. except for 1 perfect amazing gorgeous dress for our winter charity ball. And I hereby do not forbid myself from buying socks.. or underwear.. just if you were worried

– Don’t stop running fast

– Listen to French podcasts, Day of reckoning in: T- 135.. ish, best be prepared

– Volunteer for NFPs involved in sustainability. Yay Hippies

– Keep connected to the people I love

– Blog 3 days a week. This one’s for you guys. Told you I was spreadin’ the love

– Drink Wine (preparation for France) Continue reading

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Living alone… with middle-aged painters

Preamble:  All things that I talk to you about will have happened.. two weeks-ish ago.  You see, summer has proven to be busier than the school year was (how?)…

you know my deal.  I’ve whined to you about the far-too-many-things-I-take-on before.  I’m merely scraping by on my blogger duties this summer, and I sort of kind of expected this.  Be forewarned, I’m going to be blogging balls-to-the-wall in the fall. 

It’ll be my coping mechanism…  given that summer will be over.

Trust me. I know me.

SO, any of you who visit often know that my family recently bought a new house and moved. And you might also know, based on the previous paint colours, that we decided to overhaul the walls (Oh yes, you’ll be getting some transitional-renovation shots soon, chaos.). 

For fear of getting up close and personal with lavender leafy walls *shudder*, we hired the best to do it for us.

His name is Joe.

Joe is a painter.

Joe laughed at us when we asked if he would need tape for painting edges.

Joe knows what he’s doing. Joe is smart.

Scratch that: Joe is wise.

In addition to doing an amazing painting job, Joe also gave free valuable advice.

He doesn’t normally say much, but I was sure to pay attention when he did, I think it was worth it.

“Never hire an electrician with no eyebrows,” Joe once said, unprovoked.  Well said Joe.

I got used to living as a lone 20 yr old girl + painters.  For an entire week in fact, I could always could on classical music and the sound of squelching paint rollers to welcome me home from a day at work.  I highly recommend  living with painters for a week.  They have refreshing tastes in music.  Huge variety.  Jazz, Blues, Orchestral symphonies.

I was leeching all of these good mucial vibes, profound words, and revitalizing paint fumes (no joke, I go wild for paint smells) from Joe (and his gentlemanly painter friend Andrew), but what was I giving in return?

The cacauphony of beautiful dishwasher-unloading sounds?

The occassional creepy following around, just to see the paint transformation unfold before my eyes?

My slightly awkward presence while sitting with my macbook in the middle of the room they’re painting? 

The odd bit off small talk, in attempts to pry out some more of Joe’s insightful gold?

Yea, sub-par.

So I made muffins.

I hope I made an impact.  I secretly hope they remember me as that awesome, selfless girl, from the big ugly coloured house who made them delicious muffins.  And that they spread kind words about me throughout the painting community.

That or I helped them not be hungry anymore.

Either way.

Poor guys watched me eat the first two muffins myself and probably thought that they wouldn’t get any.  I’m such a tease.  Or maybe I have zero willpower and these muffins rocked straight outta the oven.

Blueberry Crumble Muffins

Adapted from 101 cookbooks

Crumble topping:
3/8 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 organic cane or brown sugar
1/6 cup salted butter, melted

Muffin:
1 cup  rolled oats
1 cup  unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 cup  whole wheat  flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
scant 1/2 teaspoon salt (less if using salted butter)
7/8 cup butter, plus more for greasing pan
1/2 cup organic cane or brown sugar
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
2 large eggs, whisked

+ 1 cup or more blueberries ( I used frozen)

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter one or two muffin pans. No need for paper liners with these mama’s. Place oven racks in top third of oven.

Get going on your crumble ahead of time. Combine the flour, oats, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Stir in the melted butter. Split mixture into two portions, and use your hands to form into  patties. Place the patties in a bowl in the freezer while you do all of your other prep .

Muffin time. In a medium bowl combine the oats, flours, baking soda, and salt. Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar. Whisk in the yogurt, and then the eggs. It’s fun and thick. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and stir just until combined. Pretty please don’t over mix. Fold in your Bluebs!

Pour batter into the muffin tins, use an ice cream scoop if you’re smart. Take crumble out of the freezer and break it up into chunkies. Sprinkle the top of each muffin with crumble, and bake muffins for 30 – 35 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for a short short bit in the pan then let the rest on a cooling rack. Or in your belly. Makes 1.5 dozen

So you don’t have painters?

These muffins are also good for:

– Coercing loved ones into thinking you’re uber thoughtful and bringing them a muffin to the airport when you pick them up (I am uber thoughtful, If I wasn’t, that muffin would be in my BELLY).

– Cheering up friends named Coralie who spend their whole day driving a trolley with potentially ignorant tourists.

-Bartering with able bodied neighbours, who turn what could have been a five hour Brittany job into a 15 minute Brittany + best neighbour family ever job.  Thanks for moving our flooring 🙂

Muffins are available on demand.

p.s. No I did not get any pictures of my painter friends.  I feel like that would have been really uncomfortable.  They already saw me spend half an hour photographing muffins, I’d filled my daily crazy quota.

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