Silver Dollar Breastmilk Pancakes

In January I had to head to Edmonton for medical tests. That meant being away from the baby for a whole 48-hours. If you’ve ever breastfed, you know how much time and effort it takes to extract enough milk to feed a seven-month old baby for 48 hours; it took me about two and a half weeks. Therefore, I didn’t relish the idea of just dumping my milk while I was away. So I got myself a couple of bags of frozen peas and an insulated lunch bag to carry my breastmilk home to put in my freezer. Thankfully, rules have recently changed which allow breastfeeding moms in Canada to bring breastmilk as carry-on, even if the infant is not accompanying the mom.

The last couple of times I tried to use some of the frozen milk, I discovered it had gone sour. What to do? Well, we always use sour milk to make our own pancakes, so I decided that the baby’s milk would make delicious and nutritious pancakes for him. So I thawed all the frozen milk I had from my trip and made silver dollar pancakes this morning for the baby, most of which ended back in my freezer. It was also the first time he had them, along with a dollop of strawberries mixed with a drop of maple syrup. Let’s just say I didn’t have to twist his arm to eat his breakfast.

To make these, I followed our regular pancake recipe and substituted half of the white flour with whole-wheat and a teaspoon of vital wheat gluten. I did have to add more flour than usual. It seems that breastmilk tends to make foods more liquidy. (I wonder if it’s due to the enzymes in breastmilk that start breaking down food? I notice this when adding breastmilk to any of the baby’s food.)

Breastmilk Mini-pancakes

Breastmilk Silver Dollar Pancakes

Better than cranberry-banana loaf? Hint: HDR

Not possible, I would answer, that is, until recently. I’ve always enjoyed the tartness of cranberries contrasted with the sweetness of banana bread. That’s why, since I’ve discovered putting cranberries instead of chocolate chips in my banana bread, I’ve never looked back.

UNTIL I discovered crowberries (sometimes called mossberries). So, what does the crowberry have that the cranberry doesn’t? Texture

It was already more than half gone when I took this photo. In the Yukon, cranberry picking is a August-September ritual, and I usually pick enough to last me the year. However, this year I was a wee busy with other things, even better than a crowberry-banana loaf.

Welcome to the world my little sweetness

After lots of hard work, Mommy and Baby take a nap.

HDR was born on June 16th, 2012.

After just two months, his personality is already shining through:

Although we regularly put him in front of the mirror, this was the first time HDR actually discovers his reflection (at 4 1/2 months):

 

Oozing cuteness!

 

Playtime (Photo taken just yesterday)

Ready for a ride!

So there you have it! You have been photo-blasted with cuteness and sweetness, far better than a cranberry-banana loaf.

Good Fishin’ on Good Friday

A couple of friends and I decided to head to Lake Laberge for a little bit of fishing. Although we were hoping for trout, we caught burbot (aka Poor Man’s Lobster) which was incredibly delicious.

Of course we ate fish for the next week, so I was looking for ways to prepare it as burbot doesn’t freeze very well. I found a Fish Taco with Mango Salsa Recipe and even made my own Corn Tortillas. Although the Maseca Corn Masa mix had a cardboardy taste, once filled with all the ingredients the tacos were very tasty. Anyone out there have a good corn tortilla recipe?

Of course I also had to try my hand at Beer-battered Fish & Chips with Homemade Tartar Sauce.

 

Subscription renewal out to get your money

I like Weight Watchers. Of all the plans, diets, and fads I’ve tried, Weight Watchers seems the most sensible, healthy plan that I’ve come across. There’s no gimmick where you have to buy their food or avoid a whole food group or anything crazy like that. In essence, you control portions and account for everything that your teeth bite into, be it a healthy salad or that small piece of frosted cake you’ve been craving.

Although I’ve been to their weekly meetings and successfully lost some of the weight, of course with summer and change in routines, I’ve been off plan for a while. I haven’t really gained much back, but I’ve decided to try the online tools without the meetings. These give you access to a number of recipes, and you can keep track of what you eat on a daily basis.

There is a catch, however, that really irks me.

You have a choice between a monthly plan at $17.95 per month or you can pay on a three-month basis at $39.95. Paying every three months saves $13.90. So far so good, but…

here’s the catch:

For your convenience, your subscription will be automatically renewed at the end of your payment plan at the standard monthly rate (currently C $17.95 per month) until you notify us.

Get it?

How is this for MY convenience, I ask, when I manually have to change my plan after each billing (every three months) in order to keep the same 3-month plan? Thank goodness for reminders on my Google calendar.

Recipes as time-marks

A post by Grannymar, an Irish blogger I read (because I like all things Irish), reminded me of my own scattered collection of recipes. Like her mother had, I have a clash of newspaper cut-outs, bits of pad paper with chicken-scratched recipes, and many others bearing other people’s handwriting: Mom, Teresa, Mme. Hamel, Mrs. Schulte, and so on. These signed recipes are like time-marks of my life, and each time I prepare them they remind me of the people who gave them to me, including yesterday’s feta, mint, black pepper and olive oil drizzled watermelon Mrs. Schulte showed me years ago.

Off I pranced to the post office to pick up a Christmas parcel a few years ago, and madly I tore open the box. I spotted a container of rolled oats, a packet of brown sugar, and Grandma’s carefully handwritten recipe for making oatmeal or soupane as we called it in French.  Tears flooded my cheeks as she obviously knew this was a sweet spot for me. This was, by far, one  of the most thoughtful gifts I have ever received at Christmas.

Firmly anchored in my head are childhood memories of Grandma making porridge on her woodstove. Whether it was for this reason or only because it was a treat from Grandma, that porridge was extra tasty. Of course the dark brown sugar and splash of whole milk helped.

The only problem now was finding an old woodstove to prepare it the way she did.

Similar to what my Grandma had, except the colour

Another day…more Bailey’s, Coffee, and Chocolate

When Urban Cake opened shop on Second Ave., there was a wee contest on the website where you could win a cake if you sent feedback. Can you guess who won?

On a day like today, which is much better described by What He Said, this mouth-watering cake soothes and comforts me. You’d never know it was gluten-free (I said gluten-free, not guilt-free).

The Towne Club (T&M): Another Poor Review

At first glance, The Towne Club (next to Lizard’s Lounge after the new “wall” went up) looks like a chic, inviting little cocktail lounge. If fact, prior to it’s opening after the renovations, I recall reading in one of the ads that it was going to be a “high-end cocktail lounge”. Of course, such a statement raised many eyebrows in this little Gold Rush town.

As soon as it opened, some friends and I decided to check in on this new little spot, complete with comfy chairs and other furniture from The Country House (unfortunately, this furniture store is closing soon). It did, indeed, look very inviting. There are many choices for seating: bar stools at the bar, regular dining tables, high tables and high chairs, comfortable nooks with sofas, sofa chairs, and coffee tables. Very pleasant atmosphere, comfortable, and soft background music. And even though there’s a giant TV screen in one corner, it doesn’t feel invasive.

Being a wine drinker, I anticipated a wine list with a decent selection of wines at various prices. What I got from this high-end lounge was a choice of two very low-end wines: Jackson Triggs (hang on while I run to the bathroom to throw up) and Sawmill Creek (so-so for a house wine). After spotting the owner sitting at the bar, I thought I’d approach him to compliment him on the new place and make a suggestion about the wine list. This was the last time I went there, which was many months ago.

Yesterday, my mom had a hankering for Chinese food. Note to those outside Canada: Unless you’re in certain restaurants in Chinatown (Toronto/Vancouver), Chinese food in Canada isn’t what Chinese people would call Chinese food; it’s the chop suey, chow mein, sweet & sour whatever, and other Westernized dishes. Anyway, like many other Asian foods, there are always sesame seeds or sesame oil in something, which will send my husband into anaphylactic shock. So our challenge was to find a place that serves Chinese food along with other non-Asian choices on the menu. Remembering the menu at our fancy-pants establishment, we decided to go there. Oh yeah, I guess I forgot to tell you that high-end cocktail lounges in Whitehorse have Chinese food on their menu.

We sat at a regular table and the waitress quickly came over to ask for our drinks. I was pleased to see that the wine list had been expanded to a few more wines. We all had menus in front of us, ordered our drinks, and then the waitress asked if we wanted to start a tab.

“We’re ordering food, so yes.”

“Then I’ll have to ask one of you for a credit card,” she smiled.

Huh? Wait…did I hear this right? What, otherwise we’d have to pay for the meal before eating?

“But we’re having dinner! Giving a credit card for a tab is common in bars, not when people are having dinner,” I answered incredulously.

“That’s just regular procedure,” she tried to reassure us.

So, after giving her the “I can’t believe I’m hearing this” look, I handed her my credit card.

Eventually she brought us our drinks and we ordered our food. My wine tasted like it had gone bad, so she graciously brought me a different one and didn’t charge me for the first. For Westernized Chinese food, it wasn’t bad and the portions were huge (we had enough for lunch the next day). My husband ordered fish and chips (again, can’t have sandwiches or burgers and risk sesame). His plate looked like it came from a greasy-spoon diner with a scattering of what looked like McCain’s frozen crinkle cut fries and two small pieces of fish.

And the worse part? I LOVE rock ‘n roll, especially classic rock…but not while I’m having dinner! Pink Floyd, Rush, and AC/DC while having a meal at a high-end cocktail lounge?

In the end, the food was okay, and it’s what I expected. I just find it ironic that the place is so chi chi looking, but the treatment of customers and the atmosphere turns out to be like that of a local bar. There’s sort of a disconnect, a dissonance, certainly not a je ne sais quoi. The owner needs to make up his mind as to what he wants the place to be, and then advertise it as such.

My head is still spinning.

Visiting, Spoiling, Weight-enhancing Mothers

Some of the chili, soup, and spaghetti sauce.

My mom would rather cook in the kitchen than anything else, and there was no shortage of that yesterday. Mom made a huge spaghetti sauce (which we froze), a big pot of chili (which we canned), a vegetable soup (which we canned), and a gâteau chômeur with the rest of my maple syrup instead of brown sugar (which we ate). I think I have enough food to feed an army, so I won’t be going hungry any time soon.

Having my mom here to spend time with, whether in the kitchen or at Walmart, makes me feel so grateful. Lately I’ve been reading Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’ (update: and David Kessler’s) On Grief and Grieving which I picked up at the library after returning from my father-in-law’s funeral, and I recommend it to anyone mourning someone’s loss. After explaining the different stages of grieving, she goes through a litany of feelings and emotions one might feel after a loss and some of the things, big and little, that change. The book has helped me to reflect on and appreciate those I still have around me, and my mom is one of them.

The Capital Hotel: Anything New?

My mom is a funny one. She’s visiting from Timmins, Ontario, where there’s twice the population of Whitehorse and all the regular box stores one can imagine, and then some. When we decided to go downtown for a little shopping, she wanted to go to Walmart.

Okay, Walmart is my least favourite place, but being the the host, I went along with her. My mom is all about bargain shopping, so I guess that explains it; you don’t have much of a choice when you raise three kids on your own. Plus, I did end up buying two pairs of jeans for $12 a piece in a store my husband refuses to set foot in. After a while, I finally managed to guide her toward the exit because my take is, why visit stores and restaurants you have back home when you’re away on holidays? Try something new!

With that in mind, and after an afternoon of shopping and browsing with my mom, I thought I’d bring her to the Capital Hotel. The renovations give the feel of an old saloon with wooden tables, floors, bar, and walls. Because of that, it doesn’t need many people to make it noisy in there. However, they do have an interesting menu with mini-bourbon-bison burgers, fresh pretzels, and bison shepherd’s pie. Although the food was very good, the service was pitiful. The bartender/waitress was a young woman with zero common sense. Examples:

  1. For my second glass of wine, I thought I’d try a different one. So after she brought me the new individual decanter,

    Individual Decanter

    I asked for a fresh glass. No problem. However, since I had already finished my first drink, I sat there waiting for her to return while she proceeded to clean off a table and do other little things behind the bar. I finally got up and went to the bar to ask for the glass.
  2. I saw the kitchen cook bring our food out to the bar, so we thought “yummy…can’t wait!” Of course I didn’t mind her finishing up with her current customer who was paying her tab at the bar. Because, for some reason, this took a while, I figured she’d bring our food as soon as she was done. Instead, she went to the phone to make a phone call. WTH? While she was still on her call, eventually the cook came out of the kitchen again, and when he saw that the food was still sitting there, he looked up to see her on the phone, and brought the food to our table himself. I thanked him profusely.
  3. Two guys were sitting two tables down from us and one spilt his pint of beer. It literally sounded like a waterfall as the beer went from the table, to his lap, to the foot rest, and finally to the floor. He got up and after ringing the excess liquid from his jacket, he went to the bar to advise/apologise to the bartender, then made his way to the bathroom to clean himself up a bit. He came out with a wad of paper towels to wipe the table and disappeared to the washrooms again. Meanwhile, the bartender is chatting with a guy at the bar, fiddling with tabs and other little things, when my mom, being a mom, couldn’t take it anymore. She went to the bar to ask for a cloth and went to these guys’ table and started wiping it. Finally the bartender ran over and said, “Oh, I could’ve done that!”

“But you didn’t!” was my mom’s reply. “Poor guy, he’s soaking wet!” The young woman looked a little embarrassed, but she should be! During the whole time, there were only three tables (two customers at each), and one person sitting at the bar. Not once did she think of bringing the mop out to wipe the major puddle at the foot of the table with the spilt drink. Yes, she was a pretty little thing, but she either needs more training, more common sense, or get the hell out of there!

Yes, the Capital is new with all its renos and new feel, but as far as service goes, nothing much changes in this town.

Finding cake is as easy as pie…wait, what?

A new little cake store has opened with a bang this week. After hearing that the owner would be serving free samples and beverages at her grand opening, I tried to contain my drool as I walked into Urban Cake on Second Ave. (where the old Thredz shop used to be). Her decorations on cakes and cupcakes are unbelievable, and the combination of flavours is unusual and would put anyone in a sugar-induced trance.

Molasses and Caramel Cupcake

The owner had a table set up at the Fireweed Market during the summer to sell her sweets, and what an impression these left on me. It was “layered flavouring”: I bit into some pear/chocolate/lime cake and after getting over one flavour, my taste buds were coated with another, then another. I have honestly never experienced anything like this before.

In addition to her sweets, she makes iced-tea (from scratch) and slightly carbonated fruity beverages. She sews flowery summer dresses for little girls, has re-usable cup warmers (you know those little cardboard thingies you put around your coffee cup to prevent you from burning your hands?).

Check it out! She also does custom cakes for any occasion.

Oh, and a little-advertised fact is that her cakes (I don’t know if all of them) are gluten-free.

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