Saturday, April 15, 2017

Home Cookin'

April 2017 - Toronto ON

Tehachapi CA March 2017 


After four months of travel my weekly recaps will be all about home!!

I notice that this photo needs an update with some additional photos! As well we have to arrange to get these lights replaced.

If only the "office" was that tidy right nowQ

 My reading chair!

Kitchen art gallery!

Forgot to mention that on last week's drive I missed a perfect photo op! Filling up for gas, next to us, were two young men, topless, jeans, tattooed and wearing cowboy boots! Even better was when they climbed onto the front of the pickup truck (natch) to clean the windows.

And I also heard the expression "digital deadheads"  referring to people so busy staring at their phone they don't look where they are walking.

When I was in the grocery store yesterday, we were looking at the frozen gluten free section and we so excited to see that ACE Bakery had some products. After closer investigation, we discovered these were NOT gluten free. I found the manager and pointed it out to him. He said, "oh I guess they didn't have anywhere else to put the ACE products, I'll have someone take care of it". Yeah, right...

It is so much fun to be back in my own kitchen!

Gluten free sandwich bread made from a Glutino mix in the breadmaker. Turned out well, however it didn't mix completely. I followed their directions but after seeing the finished product I googled doing gluten free in traditional breadmakers, seems they now make breadmakers with gluten free settings. Instead of adding the ingredients in the order of the recipe with gluten free you need to mix the wet ingredients together and then you add the wet ingredients first. This would have solved my problem. Next time...

I cut off the dry portions and still had a good sized loaf.

John is still raving how good this bread was. Next step, use some of the many GF flours I have stockpiled.

Gluten free breadcrumbs - made from a frozen loaf that John didn't like.
Pea soup - found a ham hock in the freezer
Chicken stock - from the roast chicken we had.

John was glued to the Masters, while I puttered around, caught up on some blogs and started binge watching this year's My Kitchen Rules!

Sunday was another lazy day, with some more unpacking and laundry done.

What did I miss while away?

Butter - in Mexico it is too sweet.
My fully stocked kitchen - hate not having an oven.
My double kitchen sink and the pullout faucet, so I can use to hose to reach a pot on the stove or fill the Keurig!
John says "his" peanut" butter

However, Mexico had far more easily available gluten free options in the grocery stores. And the European Sausage store we found had all their products easily identified as gluten free.

More Masters! And MKR.

I made a gluten free key lime pie which turned out really well.

It was so nice to have a roast pork dinner.

We're bingeing on Designated Survivor.

Monday we did a Costco run, it was so packed! We also went to Canadian Tire to pick up a hinge.

Home, John defrosted his beer fridge, vacuumed and we finished unpacking which meant more laundry.

We were having hot chicken sandwiches with gravy for dinner. I decided to see if there were any copy cat recipes for Swiss Chalet's dipping sauce. I hate buying packaged or canned goods and avoid them if possible. I already had homemade chicken stock.

Swiss Chalet is more than just a restaurant, it is a Canadian institution. Every Canadian has been to Swiss Chalet, and these restaurants are packed.

  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 2 tsp tomato paste
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp allspice
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp basil
  • ¼ tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp hot sauce
  • ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp corn starch
  • 2 tbsp water


Whisk together all the ingredients in a saucepan, except the corn starch and 2 tbsp water.
Bring the sauce to a low boil. Lower heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
Make a slurry by mixing together the corn starch and 2 tbsp water. Whisk the slurry into the sauce to thicken.
Serve warm.

Tuesday we went to Whole Foods to see if they had their house brand of gluten free bread that we had been buying in the States. NO.

Lined up to get gas at Costco (first time ever) as it was $1.06 a litre rather than 1.16 at the regular stations. For my US readers that equates to $4.64 a gallon and that's not including the difference in exchange these days!

We started spring cleaning in earnest. The balcony got cleaned and the living room rooms were done inside and out. I emptied the china cabinet and washed all the glasses.
I also started on the other cabinet in the living room that contains my box collection.

Finding homes for our new purchases.

From Mazatlan, another catrina couple to add to our collection.

Also Mazatlan, a fun salt and pepper, I think I'll name Frida and Diego.

From Gallup New Mexico, a gorgeous native American weaving with her baby. If you look closely she is sitting on a bearskin rug.

Wednesday I went to Longo's to get some pizza ingredients and also found the Schar bread we had found in Mexico.

John hit golf balls.

We head ed out to meet our dear friends, K and B, at the Brogue Pub for dinner and a great catch up.

Thursday we went to St. Lawrence Market to get vegetables and stock up on some meat.

We looked north across Front St and realized that this other building that was part of the market had been demolished!
According to the Toronto website:
The North Market building was underutilized and did not maximize the full potential of the St. Lawrence Market Complex.

The redevelopment of the North Market building will improve the utility of the St. Lawrence Market Complex for vendors, visitors, and shoppers while contributing to the economic development of the area.

Got home and put stuff away. John worked out.

He then spent an extremely painful hour on the phone with Bell Canada, our TV/internet provider. That they are our provider is not our choice, they would be our last choice. However, they have the monopoly in our building.
Long story short, kitchen receiver is not working and two remotes are not working.

Receiver - John jumped through hoops as the customer service rep asked for serial numbers (not on file???) and then for him to test this and that. Try the box on another TV, that means lifting the TV up to get the box in another room, disconnect it, plug in the other one. It turns out to be the power source. They will send another one.

The remotes - seems we would have to pay for replacements???? Not happening. John is adamant as he told her that they gouged it enough as it is. John has just spent an hour doing a technician's job who would have been paid, how much?? Thank you, Google! $23 an hour. The rep salary $17 an hour.  Cost to ship a plug???

A technician could have come, had the available parts with him and be done in probably less than thirty minutes....and they would have had happy customers.

I am listening to all this and thinking if it had been me, I would have said, no I am not technical, and can't lift the equipment, send someone, goodbye.

Homemade pizza for dinner. This turned out well, other than the pizza pan I have has holes in the bottom, which meant the dough got pushed into them. I need a pan without holes.

It's Holy Thursday and this is the sky.

Friday is Good Friday. 

What’s closed:
• Most grocery stores are closed on Good Friday and Easter Sunday
• Banks and government offices• All LCBO and Beer Store locations will be closed on Good Friday and Easter Sunday
• All Toronto Public Library branches will be closed on Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday.
• Most malls

So there went our plan to do some errands like Telus for my cell phone and some groceries.
So we decided to treat it as a day at home doing what we felt like doing.

Saturday - roast chicken with roast potatoes and carrots and Brussels sprouts
Sunday - roast pork, mashed parsnip potatoes, mushy peas
Monday - hot chicken sandwiches  with Swiss Chalet copycat sauce
Tuesday - oven baked salmon carrot parsnip potato fries
Wednesday - Brogue Pub steak sandwich sweet potato fries and a mixed grill (beef, lamb and shrimp)
Thursday - homemade pizza
Friday - liver, fried onions, broccolini and mashed potatoes


27 books YTD

I haven't picked up a book in a couple of weeks. I hadn't finished The Crow Girl and it had expired, luckily I was able to check it out again and finished it this week.
I absolutely loved it, the intrigue of the storyline and the interactions of the characters kept me enthralled. I also loved a big thick book and at over 750 pages this was very satisfying!

I started The Other Widow, while good, it is not as satisfying as The Crow Girl.
Husbands and wives who were not faithful, Joe's boss, and an insurance agent who used to be a policeman reviewing the life insurance policy.


Friday Photo Journal

Weekend Cooking hosted by
Beth hosts Weekend Cooking where you can post anything food related.
Amanda’s Books and More
West Metro Mommy Reads
 Saturday Snapshots is hosted by West Metro Mommy

Weekend Snapshots


  1. Yes, rather regretful that you missed the photo op at the gas station.

    1. Definitely but it would have been awkward to bring out the camera. I am definitely going to get one of those lens that can take a sideways photo!
      How did I know you would zone in on that comment! LOL.

  2. Shoot on missing the gas station photo op! I love your artwork and your reading spot -- it looks like heaven! And that Holy Thursday sky! Wow!!! Thanks for trying the GF bread in the bread maker, I didn't know one had to tweak the method. We have GF people in our family, so I'm always on the look out for ideas and recipes.

    I haven't read much lately either, but now that my busy part of the year is over, I plan to get back into reading for pleasure and reading blogs and staying up on my social media. But today is all about getting outside for a bit.

    1. Today is a rainy dreary day here.

      I will give the GF mix another go in the breadmaker and see what happens.

  3. Surprised that you are home already! How is the weather. And when you finish your spring cleaning want to come do mine? We are not doing much. Bill is over at the RC field playing with his airplanes. I'm going to try to fix the sizing mess I made with my stained glass window. All it will take is patience.

    1. There was bad weather in the forecast as we headed north so after Memphis we decided to push it and get home. Got here on April 7.
      Weather has been hot and cold. Yesterday gorgeous today cloudy and rainy.

  4. Although traveling is fun, it's great to be back home, isn't it? Sounds like you're getting back into a routine, but with a few setbacks. Dealing with cable companies is the pits!
    My Saturday Snapshot post features Nisqually Wildlife Refuge

  5. I have not yet ever been to the St. Lawrence Market.

  6. I'm very jealous of your reading chair! I tried to set up something like that for myself, but my kids took it over!

  7. I adore the salt and pepper shakers and how interesting that Mexico had so many more gluten-free items in their grocery stores.

  8. Is there a better feeling than getting home after a trip? It's so nice to be around your own stuff no matter how fantastic the trip was! I love the weaving girl and the salt and pepper shakers! I had no idea that there were gluten free settings on bread makers. I wouldn't have thought there was any difference. Very interesting.

  9. I absolutely love that wall mural of the farmer's market- with a market below it!

  10. It's a great to get back to our kitchens when we ready. Wow, 4 months of travel. Our bathrooms would no longer work if we were gone that long, lol! We are in an old house though. It's always fun traveling with you, love reading about the descriptions of food, places you stayed and things you saw.
    And yeah, you could have sold that gas station photo!

  11. 4 months travelling! I haven't done that since I was in my early twenties. Not sure how I'd like it now, it must feel wonderful to be home. That pussy willow made me nostalgic for Canada!


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