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Archive for September, 2010

For the fall equinox I made my mum Sher’s famous Autumn Soup recipe, and I also made a Mennonite favourite for dessert, Plum Platz. I’ll share that recipe next week.

The making of a big, steaming pot of this delicious soup was always a glorious herald of fall in the Goerzen house when I was growing up. I hadn’t had it probably since I was a young teenager, before I went vegetarian and then pescavorian (is that a word?) for fifteen years. But now that I’m eating meat again… well, with the coming of fall I knew I had to call up dear ol’ mum for her Autumn Soup recipe. I made it for Equinox Dinner, and my god, the memories that came flooding back.

I remember sitting at the table in our house on Camwood Avenue, putting an ice cube in the soup to cool it (I remember doing that a lot with soup), then dipping a slice of buttered bread into it. I remember running off to watch Punky Brewster or Silver Spoons after said dipping. I also remember riding my bike home from school for lunch, and having a nice steaming bowl of this comforting soup on the table to greet me. (Which I would then promptly put an ice cube into.) Food memories are so strong, aren’t they?

I’m happy to share my mum’s recipe with you, and I’ve cut and pasted it right from her email, exactly as she so adorably typed it out. (BTW, I used the canned tomatoes method.)

Autumn Soup

1 lb.    ground beef
1 c.      chopped onion
4 c.      water
1 c.       cut-up carrots
1 c.       diced celery
1 c.       cubed-pared potatoes
2 tsp.     salt
1 tsp      bottled brown bouquet sauce
1/4 tsp.  pepper
1           bay leaf
1/8 tsp. basil
6          tomatoes**

In a large saucepan, cook and stir meat until brown. Drain off fat.  Cook and stir onions with meat until onions are tender, about 5 minutes.  Stir in remaining ingredients, except tomatoes; heat to boiling.  reduce heat; cover and simmer 20 minutes.  Add tomatoes; cover and simmer 10 minutes longer or until vegetables are tender.  Makes 6 servings.
**One can (28 ounces) tomatoes (with liquid) can be substituted for the fresh tomatoes (this is what I usually do).  Reduce water to 3 cups. Stir in tomatoes with remaining ingredients; heat to boiling. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 20 minutes.  The canned tomatoes break apart and give a rosy colour (ahhhh).

Bon appetit!

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This Moment

Inspired by SouleMama’s Friday ritual – a photo, with no words, from the past week. A moment I want to pause, savour and remember forever.

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Fall display on the dining room table.

Oh Autumn, you are my favourite season. I love your crisp air, your brightly coloured leaves, pulling out my scarves and sweaters, and snuggling up on the couch with a blanket and a cup of Bengal Spice tea. Also, buying little pumpkins and gourds and black beard grass from Safeway for our fall display. Happy Autumnal Equinox!

I’ll be sharing the recipe for my Mum’s delicious, rustic Autumn Soup tomorrow (it’s 12:30am right now, so it’s technically the Equinox). Until then, happy fall!

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Josh and I tried to make this a Flashdance-dancing-on-the-hardwood-studio-dance-floor type of photo. Pretty hardcore, right?

After a too-long break over the summer, I went to Nia class again last Wednesday night, led by my amazing teacher, Jasjit. For those of you that haven’t heard of it, it’s a delightfully New Age-tinged dance class that combines moves from martial arts, modern dance, tai chi, yoga and whatever else they want to throw in there. I absolutely love it. And dang, does it ever do a body good. Even though I was so tired (have been a little sleep-deprived lately, with prepping my lectures after Keaton goes to bed), I was practically crying with joy the entire time that I was dancing away. My legs and other parts of my body have been aching ever since, having stretched and flexed areas that haven’t done anything in months.

Seriously, I am terrible, terrible, terrible about exercising. Have been my entire adult life. I’m not sure exactly what it is – a combination of general laziness, lack of motivation, the fact that I’m almost never in the mood for it, and that “too busy” excuse. In my new life with a baby, exercise is even lower on my priority list. I am so not into stroller fitness classes or anything like that. Yuck. Although I guess pushing a stroller that’s heavily laden down with a 23 lb. baby, two large bottles of wine, a 12-pack of beer and some groceries up Davie Street might count. That’s a regular occurrence around here.

P.S. If you live in Vancouver, you MUST try a Nia class with Jasjit.I’ve been doing Nia for about 6 years now, and it’s changed my life. Check out her website at http://joiworks.wordpress.com/.

P.P.S. I have been so bad about posting lately! Ack! I’ve been writing a lot of blog posts in my head, though – does that count?

P.P.P.S. Just read an absolutely hilarious book called Into the Wild Nerd Yonder by Julie Halpern (about a high school girl who befriends a nerdy girl and starts playing D & D – yes!), and I have since fallen in love with her blog, too. Check it out: http://juliehalpern.blogspot.com/.

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Inspired by my BFF Heather, Joshua and I decided to spend a rainy Saturday afternoon at home making Boeuf Bourguinon. Heather and I had compared several recipes, and discussed the merits of bacon in the recipe, as well as how to deal with peeling all those pearl onions in the easiest way possible. (Thanks for the tip to boil those little skins off, Heather!) After looking at Laura Calder’s version (in French Taste) and Julia Child’s version, we decided we just had to go with Julia’s.

I felt like I was in Foods 9 in junior high all over again, bending and squinting over that recipe with my apron on, trying to decipher it. Anyone try to cook from a Julia Child recipe lately? A little confusing, I found. I couldn’t figure out if I was supposed to throw out the carrots and onion chunks (in the end, I just left them in). And then, browsing around some blogs and websites later, I found that Ms. Child’s recipe has frustrated and confounded many – so many pots, so many pans, so many steps, such vague directions (sometimes).

But dang, when it was all said and done, was it ever good, if I may say so myself. Better than good. One of the best things I’ve ever made, I do believe. Mexican and Asian flavours tend to dominate around our place, with lots of dishes featuring tortillas, cheese, zesty sauce, coconut milk, soy sauce and curry (although, thankfully, not in that combination). So these beefy, stewy flavours were something new in our home. I actually felt like I wasn’t in my own apartment. I felt like I was in some rustic farmhouse in France, eating someone’s grandmother’s cooking. The way the wine soaked into the meat, those buttery mushrooms and braised pearl onions… all atop a pile of organic mashed potatoes from the farmer’s market. It was the first time we’d ever made mashed potatoes, even though they were a staple for both of us growing up. We both exclaimed to each other about this. Why had we never made mashed potatoes? I really don’t know. Josh and I only returned to the eating of warm-blooded creatures a few months ago, after many years as vegetarians and then pescavores (here’s a link to an earlier post on this), so this whole stew-making thing is pretty new to us.

So yes. I guess today’s post is nothing more than a love letter to my newfound love of Boeuf Bourguinon. Thanks, Julia and Heather!

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The reality truly didn’t hit until I was standing there, last Wednesday at 2:30pm, in front of the class of 25 eager, cute, very computer-savvy students. Many of them were about half my age. I felt old. I was the instructor. This was my class. They were looking at me expectantly. It didn’t feel like all that long ago that I was the student, in that very same classroom, looking expectantly at the instructor.

Yes, I am now teaching in a program (Arts & Entertainment Management at Capilano University) of which I am an alumnus (class of 2002). Who ever would have thought that, one Masters degree and several years of work experience later, I’d one day be teaching in this same program. And Computer Applications no less! What the heck have I gotten myself into? I just spent two hours tonight teaching myself how to format text in Word 2007 – it was like I was cramming for a test. I’ll be teaching this stuff in less than 24 hours, by gum!

I don’t think that I’ll write much about my new teaching life on my blog – you know, privacy and professionalism and all that. But because it’s such a present issue (as my sister Tara would say), I just had to.

Wish me luck.

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A Friday ritual (when I remember to do it!) – a moment I want to pause, savour and remember forever.


(Couldn’t resist another first birthday party shot!)

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