Thursday, January 31, 2013

camp kitchen crockpot supper

My friend Dave loaned me his 5-ingredient slow cooker cookbook. I copied a bunch of the recipes into my online recipe box. I have tried a couple and so far they are easy and delicious. I think I'll be using them during our renovation.

On Monday, I made Chicken and Yams with Honey Mustard Sauce.

I peeled some yams and cut them into chunks, and put them into the bottom of the crockpot with an onion, sliced up. You could use sweet potatoes instead of yams. I have tried both and they are equally delicious in this recipe. Then I put about 2 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken thighs on top of the yams.

The recipe calls for a half cup of honey-mustard salad dressing. I don't use bottled dressings so I concocted my own, which technically makes this a more-than-five-ingredient recipe, but that's okay with me. Just so you know, I used the juice of half an orange, a squirt of liquid honey, a dollop of dijon mustard, a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper. I poured this mixture over the chicken, turned the cooker on to low, and went to work.

The chicken was cooked to a lovely, stew-y done-ness by the time Alex had to leave for work in the late afternoon. Andy turned down the cooker and kept the supper warm until I got home.

Even though I added just 1/2 cup of liquid, enough moisture came out of the other ingredients to make a bit of a broth. When I have a stove, I drain out most of the broth just before serving, and reduce it in a saucepan, to make a richer sauce, just before serving. Having no stove, I skipped this step and it was still delicious, for supper Monday, and lunch at work on Tuesday. Even though we are using our camp kitchen, I am still bringing wonderful packed lunches to work, but that's another blog post...

question: do you use a crock pot?

mompoet - 5 ingredients (give or take) is a very good thing sometimes

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

camp kitchen

I snapped a few pictures of my camp kitchen so you can get an idea of where we are storing and preparing our food while the new kitchen is being built. Our dining room is about 8 feet by 10 feet. We took the dining room table and chairs out, and moved the refrigerator and a couple of small tables in. We moved my computer in, also, because it lived in the kitchen. It will have to find a new home (not the kitchen and not the dining room) when the reno is finished.

This is where we cook. We have a microwave and a toaster oven on a little table. Behind it is my cookbook shelf. The vitamins are on that shelf, wedged in between the books for now.
Here's some of our food, and our coffee maker and toaster oven, on what was once Andy's computer desk. The platforms for the monitor and printer come in handy for appliances and food containers.

Our dishes and foods are in rubbermaid tubs on the floor. We wash our dishes in the laundry tub in the basement. We are getting along pretty well so far, mostly because we are creative, and have good senses of humour, and it has been just a few days so far.

The good news is that the electrician came this evening and did all the work that needs to be done before the wallboard can start going up. This wonderful wiring will not show, but it will give us beautiful under-cupboard LED lights to illuminate our counters. It will also make it so we don't flip a circuit breaker every time we accidentally use the microwave and the coffee maker at the same time. TA DAH!

question: where is the weirdest place you have put a microwave oven?

mompoet - roughing it (but not really)

Saturday, January 26, 2013

the new kitchen

The other night I had a vivid dream. I was on a camping trip with my family. For some reason, I arrived at the campground before the rest of my family, with the tent and other gear in my car. The owners of the campground directed me to a spot among a bunch of other tents, inside a large building with wood floors and giant windows overlooking the water. I set up our camp, wondering, why are we camping inside a building?

Later the next day I thought about the dream, and realised that I was preparing myself mentally for our kitchen renovation. Currently we are camping inside our own house. Andy and his brother gutted the kitchen on Thursday, so it has a floor and a ceiling, but no wallboard, counters, appliances, sink, or hooked-up plumbing.

Our campsite is in our dining room. We have a microwave oven, a toaster oven, a coffee maker and our refrigerator, plus a plastic tote with basic dishes and cups, and another with cutlery. For water, we run to the bathroom or the laundry tub downstairs. It really does feel like camping indoors.

I know "what I ate" is at the top my list of top boring things to talk about:

Boring things to talk about:

5. How much I exercised
4. What happened in the bathroom
3. What happened on a TV show that I watched
2. How much I slept
1. What I ate

The exception, of course, is if you are talking about a great restaurant where you ate something really good, which is really saying, "what you might eat if you go there." The other exception is if cooking instructions or experiences are included. "What I cooked" is not boring whatsoever. But all of this is subjective.

I think I will blog some of my indoor camp cooking adventures. It they are boring you can skip these posts and go look at facebook (which is often boring but not always).

So Thursday, Andy and his brother Dave demolished the kitchen right down to the studs. They put the refrigerator in the dining room and disposed of the dishwasher and stove. I was excused from figuring out what to cook for supper, because I went out for supper with the Ladeez for Doris's birthday. We went to Aroma Restaurant on Queens Street in Port Moody. We did my favourite thing, which is to let the server choose our supper. It was super yummy. Back at home, Andy and Alex ordered from Bella Pizza in Coquitlam, which has the best pizza around.

Friday morning I had an apple and yogurt and toasted almonds for breakfast, which was easy even in a camping kitchen. I think this may be my steady breakfast through the 4 or 5 weeks that this renovation is likely to take. So I won't say anything more about breakfast unless something remarkable happens.

Alex visited me for lunch at work on Friday. I knew he would be working a long evening shift at the movie theatre, so we went to Paros Restaurant, where he chose a steak sandwich with fries and a Caesar salad. He also ate my pita bread and the baklava they so graciously provide as a complimentary dessert whenever you eat there. Andy says he also had 2 pieces of leftover pizza at home before he left for work around 5pm, so I'm sure he did not go hungry! I had the lovely augolemono soup, which is chickeny-lemony-eggy with orzo pasta in it, and a Greek salad. Mmmm

For supper for Andy and me on Friday, I made hearty tuna fish sandwiches and cut up raw veggies (carrots, jicama, cucumber). Andy and I like our tuna sandwiches with lots of celery and green onion and a bit of green relish mixed in, and lots of fresh ground pepper. Andy had his with whole grain bread. I chose Ryvita crackers. We drank beer with our supper. It was good.

We are using the microwave oven to heat water for tea, hot chocolate, and instant chicken broth (which Andy likes). I have a large and a small pyrex cup for use in the microwave. If we need to boil a pot of water for any reason, we do have a one-burner hot plate. We bought it years ago at Home Hardware in Osoyoos, when we arrived at our campground to discover we had left our campstove at home! We also have a propane barbeque on our porch. The barbeque has a side burner, so we can boil a pot out on the porch if we want to.

Friends and neighbours are very encouraging and sympathetic. Those who have experienced kitchen renovations are telling us to hang in there, it may take longer than advertised. Our dear friends Dave and Doris have invited us over for supper on Sunday. Our lovely friend Karen emailed me to say, "Come use our stove or oven any time." Karen had a kitchen reno this summer, so she is especially sympathetic.

When it's all done we will have gorgeous new cupboards and counters and brand new beautiful and efficient appliances. We hope that we will live in this house for a long time, and we plan to love this kitchen for as long as we live in this house.

In the meantime, most of the things that normally live in the kitchen are packed up in boxes in the basement, and you know you never pack up just the right things and keep out the things you will need. So far we have regretted packing the microwave egg poacher (I know where it is, and will rescue it!) and the matches (Andy found them Friday afternoon, so he could light his propane torch).

So far, so good. Alex has just gone to work this afternoon, and Andy and I are planning to visit the pub for supper tonight. So this blog may have some home camp cooking experiences, and some restaurant reviews, who knows?

question: did you ever camp out in your own house?

mompoet - living in the construction zone

Saturday, January 19, 2013


Before Fiona headed back to NJ for her spring semester of university, she requested a snowshoe trip with Grandpa and me. We headed up to Cypress Bowl, where hundreds of people were doing the same thing on a sunny winter Sunday.

We found the the snow was too compacted and slippery for our old-school snowshoes that do not have crampons attached, so we buckled them onto the backs of our packs and hiked up to the ridge, where we had lunch together before descending. I wish we could have gone higher, but we didn't have the traction gear that would make hiking farther a safe choice.

It was a great day nonetheless, and Fiona got her dose of west coast mountains and Grandpa time. I felt blessed to renew my acquaintance with snowshoeing, and share an afternoon of wonder with my father and my daughter.

 Here's Dad and Fiona, partway up the big hill at the beginning of the trail.

 My Dad provided the equipment. I was surprised to see he still has my old sitting mat, which I marked in permanent ink many years ago, as well as some snowshoes to which I laid similar claim.
 It was really gorgeous out there. I didn't get a photo of the view down to the city and the ocean, because my camera batteries quit.
What a day!

So today I bought myself a pair of new-fangled lightweight snowshoes with crampons. I can't wait to go back up, way up! I will also bring spare batteries for the camera.

question: how do you have fun in winter?

mompoet - lucky, happy, me!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

and now for a video of a baby laughing hysterically when his father rips paper

question: why is that funny (and miraculous)?

mompoet - this is the definition of rocking someone's world

Friday, January 04, 2013

it's not Christmas any more

Or so says Fiona, who has been looking at my blog, and commented that I have not posted in over a week.

Merry New Year!

We had a turkey supper at home tonight, just the four of us. We kept the fixings simple: Brussels sprouts (which are correctly spelled with an upper case B and a lower case s, or s-es if you are being particular and specific. I mean, you wouldn't want to spell is BruSSels SproutS, now would you?) We also had all dressed sweet potatoes that Andy found in the newspaper. Well, more specifically, he found the recipe in the newspaper. I bought the sweet potatoes at the produce store. If you had sweet potatoes hiding in your newspaper they might roll out and knock over you coffee while you were reading the paper. The potatoes were called "all-dressed" because they were roasted, scooped and mashed with a lot of roasted garlic (I mean a lot) and a moderate amount of butter and cheese. On second thought I guess we should call them dessert. We had mashed potatoes too, because otherwise what would you do with the gravy? And gravy. Andy is the King of mashed potatoes and gravy. I always get him to make those two parts of the meal. This is partly because he is so good at it, and partly because I do not like mashed potatoes or gravy, so I'm not a good person to judge if they are yummy or yukky because I just don't like them. Dessert will be "Naked Apple Pie," a recipe that Fiona found. It's called naked because you don't make a crust. It's the baked, spiced apples without the pastry. This sounds very yummy, especially because we do have vanilla ice cream to go with it. We are waiting for the pie to get out of the shower - oh, I mean the oven. Then we will eat it and watch Singing in the Rain because it is raining. We will gaze at the movie and avert our eyes from the pie so it doesn't think we are staring just because it is naked.

Turkey is a very easy supper to prepare, and now we have made up for the fact that Fiona didn't get a Thanksgiving turkey dinner this year. Andy and I visited her for American Thanksgiving, and we ate at a restaurant that offered a turkey dinner, but Fiona chose a spinach salad instead. I'm glad we had the turkey here, with Alex and Fiona sitting at the table with Andy and me. That's a special treat. Fiona will be home for another dozen days, but Alex works a lot of evenings, and I'm going back to work Monday, so we won't get a lot of whole family together time after this weekend. Tomorrow we will walk around downtown Vancouver together, in the rain, most likely. Alex hasn't had a Japadog yet, Fiona is going to go to a dance class in the city then meet up with us, and we all want to sit at a pub and look at the water. I want to walk around the edge of the water or perhaps up Denman Street and along Davie Street before we all gather at the pub beside the water.

In other news, we kept the Christmas tree up until January 2. I thought it would be sad to take the tree down after New Year, but it was okay. Fiona wanted the tree up for a bit longer, because she got here on the 22nd. She was out the night we took it down, so it wasn't too sad for her, and Andy helped me take it down, so it went quickly and easily. All of the boxes went straight into the crawl space, and now Christmas has disappeared, except for a cup full of candy canes, a silver bowl full of Christmas cards, and the outdoor lights on the house and their boxes on the landing. Andy will get to the lights in a few days. For now they are very pretty when it gets dark so early.

The pie just came out of the oven, so I will cease blogging for now. Christmas was lovely and low key and now it's over. We still have some warm all-together family time for the first days of the New Year.

Merry 2013, happy sweet potatoes, and look out for Brussels sprouts with uppity s-es, and pies going starkers.

question: what are the bright spots in your baby new year?

mompoet - gobble gobble