Forget TGIF, TGIO(ctober)!

 

As summers go, 2016’s will go down in my memory our own series of unfortunate events. 

Over the two months the kids were out of school, our tally was: one fractured ankle, one broken front tooth–followed by one hefty emergency dentist’s bill, one fire alarm pulled at the dinosaur museum, half a million mild colds, family members in the hospital, one broken leg and the loss of one of our cats. 

I feel like we’re finally coming out from under the clouds, though. Casts are all taken off, teeth are in good repair and the grief of losing a beloved pet–while still present–is starting to ease. I’ve been going through some of the photos that I took earlier this year and taking the joy from the little things. I had meant to share these with you guys ages ago, but I never quite made it that far. 

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Quick Oven Roasted Asparagus (and Broccolini)

Anyone who’s known me awhile knows that I grew up picky. Things that were outside the norm were almost automatically turned down in favour of the familiar. Peas and carrots, corn, broccoli? Sure! Asparagus? Uhhhh. How about no. 

But then, as I grew into a much somewhat more reasonable adult, I stepped outside of my comfort zone a little and began to try things. Asparagus was one of those things. I still haven’t quite found a taste for it steamed, but roasted? I could eat that stuff all day. 

Broccolini, though? I had never heard of it! Then, a couple of years ago, a new restaurant opened in town that my husband and I really enjoyed and they offered it as a side option. The first time I ordered it, I admittedly thought it was just a fancy way of saying “broccoli”; but to my surprise, it was actually a little different. I’ve since found it at the grocery store and pick some up from time to time. 

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The thing that really makes it for me is the salt. Maybe it’s my affinity for crispy, salty things; but I can’t be the only one. Any salt will do, I’m sure. But some coarsely ground sea salt makes it perfection.

This roasted asparagus makes a frequent appearance in our house as a side for dinner. Sometimes as shown, sometimes with a bit of parmesan (fresh or “sprinkle cheese”, as my kids call it). Often with roasts, grilled chicken, and pork chops, but also with things like pasta. I’ve even whipped some up with a late night fried egg after the kids are in bed. It’s a versatile little side. 

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(Does anyone else find veggies just so incredibly photogenic?!) 

Quick Oven Roasted Asparagus & Broccolini
A quick, easy and delicious side for any meal.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. asparagus spears, rinsed and tough ends removed
  2. broccolini, rinsed and trimmed
  3. oil of your choice (I usually use olive oil or coconut oil)
  4. salt & pepper, to taste
  5. 1/4 of a lemon (zest optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat your over to 425°F.
  2. Give your veggies a rinse in the sink, snap the tough, woody ends off of your asparagus spears and slice any larger broccolini heads lengthwise so they're similar in thickness to your asparagus. Pat dry with a towel.
  3. Spread your veggies out on a baking sheet. You can line it with parchment or leave it bare. Drizzle with oil, season with salt and pepper, a squeeze of lemon, and toss to combine.
  4. Cook for about 5 minutes at 425°, until asparagus is fork tender. I usually give the pan a bit of a toss halfway through so they cook evenly.
  5. Serve immediately and enjoy!
Notes
  1. If I'm feeling like I want things a bit more tender, I'll put a piece of foil over the pan to retain a bit more moisture for the first few minutes and then finish them up without.
Acronychal Kitchen http://www.acronychalkitchen.com/
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A Quick Update!

Hey, guys!

Just wanted to pop in a post a bit of an update, so no one thinks that I’ve just up and disappeared off the face of the earth. 

I started doing some work for the temp work in May and the last couple of months it’s eaten up a lot of my–typically–free time. I was supposed to be finishing up in the next couple of weeks and I was really looking forward to being able to spend more time focusing on the blog; I was especially excited because canning season is upon us! We’ve had cherries and peaches and salsa-goods coming up to town from the Okanagan by the case-load and I was all set to start working on some preserving content, starting with some gorgeous cherries I planned to can this week. 

And then I fractured my ankle on Sunday. (Insert ALL THE SADNESS.) I’m non-weight bearing for at least four weeks, so I’m on crutches and still trying to figure out how to make being in the kitchen and cooking even remotely possible. (Should I get a stool and just kneel my bad leg on it? Fashion myself a peg leg? HOW DO YOU DO IT? I’m open to suggestions, here!) In the meantime, I do have some things photographed that I just need to get edited and written up–so I’m not totally in the dark, so to speak–but if you were wondering what was up…well, there it is. 

Unfortunately, this also put my veggie garden plans for this summer entirely to bed–hah!–but I’m going to use the summer to come up with the plans to get it all built in the fall so it’s ready next spring, so if I come up with something that isn’t entirely chicken scratch and crazy rectangles drawn on an old napkin I’ll definitely be sharing that process as well, so check back every once in awhile and we can catch up. 😉

 

xoxo

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Garden Chatter I

 

Tulips are always the first to peek through the soil in the spring. We’re seeing some greenery coming up now from the day lilies and a few hostas starting to perk up; the lilacs are just about to burst into bloom and the last of the flowers on my russian almond are just starting to fade.

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I know that spring has really started to…well, spring when my ornamental plum starts to flower. The tree is right outside our living room window, and I could spend days just smelling the blossoms. Such a sweet, warm scent. It’s almost always bursting with bees the first few days; like they’ve been waiting just as eagerly as I have for the tree to shed its winter dormancy and open up for a new season. 

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It’s done very well the last few years. It always brings a smile to my face and though it doesn’t bloom for an exceptionally long time, I always make a point to enjoy it when it does. I brought some cuttings inside this year to spread the love because I’ll always remember how, shortly after I bought it–in full bloom!–we got two inches of May snow and all the blossoms ended up on the ground outside of our gate. A reminder to always take time to enjoy the little things, I guess? Hah! 

This year, I’m finally stepping outside my comfort zone and making an attempt at vegetable gardening. I’m in the process of getting some raised beds put in in our backyard, with some seedlings and seed packages waiting for their home. Another couple of weeks and we should be in the clear to start getting things planted outside (making sure to avoid the snow issue my plum tree had), and I can’t wait. 

 

 

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Oatmeal Lace Cookies

Oatmeal Lace Cookies with Chocolate

Oatmeal Lace Cookies 

–or, as my kids like to call them “caramel cookies” or “toffee cookies”. These dainty little ladies are pretty close to perfection. They’re wickedly simple, and super delicious. I think the recipe originally popped up somewhere on my Pinterest feed around Christmas when I was frantically trying to come up with a few things to use for my holiday baking that weren’t too labour intensive. 

I’ve made them a few times since, and they’re always devoured quickly. 

Oatmeal Lace Cookies

Secretly, though, I laugh every time I pull them out of the oven. See, when I was about eight, I had this grand idea to make cookies. I pulled out mom’s old Cookies book from Company’s Coming and trawled through the pages looking for the perfect recipe. I ended up settling on some kind of M&M cookie and went to work. 

That’s when poor planning got the best of me. Of all the ingredients required, I’m pretty sure I had two. Corn syrup and flour. (I’m sure you can see where this is going, even if eight year old me couldn’t.) Still, I persevered. I mixed everything up and laid out my runny dough on the cookie sheets, lurking eagerly in the kitchen while they baked. The whole kitchen smelled like caramel! I was a master baker! 

They came out of the oven flatter than a crepe and about as hard as concrete. The broken edge of one probably could have been used as some sort of torture device they were so sharp. To this day, I don’t think my dad has ever let me live it down. 

–and those area always the cookies I think of when these ones come out of the oven. Of course, the flatness of these is intentional. The caramel taste sweet and crisp, rather than burnt and stabby. But it’s always important to pay homage to the places we’ve been and the things that came before, right? 

Oatmeal Lace Cookies

Oatmeal Lace Cookies with Chocolate

Oatmeal Lace Cookies with Chocolate

Oatmeal Lace Cookies
Yields 60
Crispy, simple and delicate. These sweet little morsels will win you over in a snap with their buttery delightfulness.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup butter
  2. 2 1/4 cups lightly packed brown sugar
  3. 2 1/4 cups old fashioned oats
  4. 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  5. 1 teaspoon salt
  6. 1 egg, lightly beaten
  7. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  8. (optional) 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  9. (optional) 1.5 tbsp heavy cream
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F. Line baking sheets with parchment or silicon baking mats and set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan, heat butter and sugar over low heat, stirring until butter has melted and sugar is thoroughly incorporated. Mix in remaining ingredients and stir until combined. Remove from heat.
  3. With a teaspoon, drop small circles of batter on to your baking sheets. (V. IMPORTANT: Make sure you space them out. 2" is best, but make sure you do not crowd them. These babies spread like crazy. Trust me. Err on the side of caution.)
  4. Bake for about 5 minutes, watching closely. Once the cookies have flattened and are uniformly golden, take them out and cool for about a minute on the baking sheet before moving to a rack to finish.
  5. (optional) While your cookies are cooling, heat chocolate and cream over low heat until chocolate has completely melted. Drizzle over your finished cookies.
Acronychal Kitchen http://www.acronychalkitchen.com/
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