Beauty and Body, Health, Recipe

Recipe: Golden Milk

Cold and flu season is upon us. Working in retail, in a store that caters to families, means that I am around germs whenever I am not out at the park (germ heaven) with little dude. Don’t misunderstand. I am no germaphobe. I don’t bathe my house in bleach, nor do I carry around hand sanitizer. Instead, I try to eat healthy, take my vitamins and wash my hands. I have been looking for tips and tricks to boost my immune system just a bit more when there are bugs going around. Well, this week Liam developed a nasty cold. I knew it would only be a matter of time before it hit me.

So far, I have dodged it. I hope it is because of my improved diet and fitness, but it could also be my religious drinking of something called “Golden Milk”. Golden Milk is basically a spiced milk drink that is supposed to help you get through cold and flu season. A lot of the homesteading blogs and pages I have been following mention the amazing immunity boosting powers of tumeric, so when I came across this recipe, I figured it couldn’t hurt to try.20141027_135456Golden Milk

  • 2 cups milk of your choice (cow, goat, soy, almond or coconut)
  • 1 teaspoon dried turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon dried ginger (or one-half inch fresh ginger thinly sliced or grated)
  • A sprinkle of black pepper (fresh is best)
  • Unpasturized honey to taste

20141110_192800Add milk, tumeric, ginger and pepper to sauce pan over medium heat. Be careful to stir frequently to prevent boiling over and burning.

Allow to simmer slightly (small bubbles will appear at the rim of the sauce pan) for a couple of minutes. Remember to keep stirring.

Remove from heat, cover and let sit for 10 minutes.

You may want to strain this if you are using fresh ingredients or if you want to avoid the silty bottom. Serve warm and add honey to taste. 20141027_135511I actually quite like the taste. I am going to keep enjoying this warm spiced drink this winter as both a tasty nighttime treat and as a way to fight off colds. Let me know what you think, if you try it!

Baby, Recipe

Black magik

This time of year always makes me nostalgic. As we are forced indoors by the cold, I think back to Halloween over the years. I used to go to a local club every year with my friends to celebrate at the Annual Witches Gathering party.

It’s a hard thing to explain. I’ve had other friends join me and try never really got why I went there every year. The line ups were awful, service was bad and the music was terribly outdated (and not in a good way). There was a certain appeal of being with my people and attending out of a sense of ritual. They have since changed venues, but I haven’t gone since my Mom passed.

Me at the Gathering, 2009.
Me at the Gathering, 2009.

Before going out, we used to stop by a little cafe downtown called Oh So Good. Oh So Good used to have this amazing coffee on the menu called Black Magik. It was served in a bowl style mug and was DELICIOUS. The cafe has since moved and lost its appeal, as well as the Black Magik on the menu.

Tonight is the night of the Witches Gathering. I’m not going, but I decided to make myself a cup of Black Magik as best as I could.

OSG’s Black Magik

My not-so-black magik
My not-so-black magik

What you need:

  • Strong black coffee (I used my Keurig, but whatever tickles your fancy is what works best)
  • Two scoops of chocolate icecream
  • Sweetener of choice (I used maple syrup)
  • Milk/Cream/whatever if you need it

It’s pretty straight forward. Brew your coffee however you like it. It’s best if it’s a heavier strong coffee. Add two scoops of chocolate icecream and stir. If it’s not sweet or light enough for you, add your sweetener and milk/cream/whatever. I only had vanilla icecream on hand, so that’s what went into mine. Garnish with a tiny bit of Cinnamon and Nutmeg.

What ever you’re up to tonight, I hope you’re having a lovely time. We are relaxing and setting Liam up in his big boy room. It’s his first night out of our room. Wish us luck!

Liam's Room <3
Liam’s Room <3

Soup Day

I’ve been fighting a nasty cold for a couple of days now. It’s mostly just a sinus thing, but I feel like my whole body is 80 years older. My mind is foggy, my body is sore and my head feels so full of crap. I’ve managed to get out and play with L despite feeling like ass, but I knew I needed a day to center myself after getting only 3 hours of sleep last night. Poor Liam is more than a little bored, but in the end it’ll be worth it. The fall weather has inspired me. I want a tasty way to get all the veggies from our CSA into my belleh. What’s a good way of doing that while hunkering down at home? Soup of course!


My first batch today is from this recipe: Roasted Tomato Vegetable Soup. 


Roasted Tomatoes
Roasted Tomatoes


So many pretty carrots
So many pretty carrots
Ready to simmer
Ready to simmer

I made a few changes to the recipe. Firstly, I Carnivore-d it Up by using chicken stock (instead of half of the water) and chicken bouillon cubes (instead of veggie bouillon). This is partially for the flavour, and partially because I firmly believe that chicken stock is mandatory in fighting illness (At least in my home). Also, I didn’t have fancy basil oil (Tracy, I can feel your sad head-shake from here.), so I just used olive oil with dried basil sprinkled over the tomatoes instead. I was pretty generous with my veg, so I may have ended up with a thicker soup than normal. I’m ok with that.

So good!
So good!

My second batch is Grandma J’s Borscht Recipe.

My mother’s recipe book was pretty vague, so I did the best I could. My understanding of Borscht is that it is a soup to use whatever veg you have at the time. For me, this included green beans, instead of yellow, and a variety of beets, rather than just one basic kind.  Pat doesn’t like peas, so I nixed those. Again, I used chicken stock instead of water. My poor grandmother would be grumbling disapprovingly, I’m sure. I kept all my chopping chunky and rough. I took half of the soup and blended it smooth, then mixed in the chunks. I think fall soups are yummy thick beasts, so I went with that.

The recipe:

Grandma J’s Borscht


  • 1 2/3 cups yellow beans
  • 1 cup peas
  • 3/4 cup carrots
  • 1 med onion
  • 1 pint tomatoes
  • 1 cup cabbage
  • 5-6 small potatoes
  • 3 cups beets
  • 1 tblsp salt
  • 8-9 cups water

Put all together and simmer until tender.

Getting started
Getting started
So pretty!
So pretty!

I have one more planned for tonight, but we’ll see if I burn out before then. I’m freezing half of all of this, and only keeping half of that. The rest of the frozen portions are going to my bestie, S, and her family. Baby Bobby just joined the family, so I want to treat them to some tasty meals. The rest is for dinner tonight :D



Who needs a market? Not me, today!

One of Liam’s favourite books is the fantastic “To Market, To Market
by Anne Miranda. For those who don’t know it, it’s a cute story about a woman who buys a bunch of animals with plans for making lunch (with them as the meal), however each of these animals escape into her home, so she gives up on eating them and decides to make veggie soup for herself and the critters.

Today I threw together something similar in the crock pot for dinner tonight and I wanted to share.

I based the recipe on Get Off Your Butt and Bake’s Traditional Stew recipe, which is a good base recipe for a basic stew. While I don’t currently have a bunch of animals running around my house instead of being a tasty meal, I did have a grumpy tired husband, a cranky teething baby and work tonight. We get our next box of CSA veg later today, so I wanted to make room in the fridge. It was a bad week for cooking, so I have a lot left over from last week. Luckily for us, that included some stewing beef, so its not exactly like the story. The whole time I was chopping the veggies, I couldn’t help but think of the story. Here’s what I put together:

Heather’s No Market Needed Stew:


  • Around 2 lbs. beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch cubes. I had less than half that, so I added more veg
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 3 bay leaf
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Shallots
  • 2 Knorr Beef Bouillon packets
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • Chunked Veggies of your choice (This time, I used heirloom baby carrots, chopped CSA carrots, CSA red pepper, CSA Patty Pans, CSA fingerling potatoes, CSA red potatos, CSA beets)
  • A few shakes of Mrs. Dash original
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup broth (I had some organic chicken broth left. Yes, it seems weird to add chicken broth to a beef stew, but I’m working with what I have)
Coat meat with flour in a large ziploc bag. Set the leftover flour aside.
In large skillet heat oil (I used vegetable oil). Brown meat on all sides
In slow cooker, combine browned beef, bay leaves, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, shallots, garlic, bouillon cubes, seasoning, and vegetables.

stewPour water and broth over top, enough to mostly cover the meat and veg. Cover and cook on low 8-10 hrs.

Set slowcooker to high and thicken with 1/4 cup of the flour left over from coating dissolved in a small amount of warm water. Cover and cook on high 10 to 15 minutes until you are happy with the thickness.

Feeds 2 adults and a toddler, with plenty left for lunch tomorrow.

It’s a perfect way to use up those CSA or fall harvest vegetables. <3

House, Recipe

A Responsible Sandwich

I’ve been meaning to share this for a few days now, but due to life getting in the way, I haven’t been able to take the time to make more of these sandwich buns and photograph the process. As I mentioned in my first post about responsibility, one of the changes we made was making some items at home, rather than buying. Here’s what went into that decision.

!. When attempting to work on our finances, we wanted to make some easy changes to our day to day lives. We looked at where money was going, and pin pointed areas where we could save. In this case, Pat was buying lunch Monday-Friday (usually at Subway, though occasionally at a local deli/sandwich shop). The average cost spent was 8$/day or about 160$/month, with no prep required.

2. I then tried a less labour intensive solution: Purchasing ready-made sandwich buns from the local store. The cost break down is this:

Buns: 1.99/sandwich

Meat: 1.70/sandwich

Condiments and other toppings: 0.35/sandwich

Total Sandwich cost for the month: About 81$ (about 50.6% of the Subway cost)

Prep Required: About a second or two more to my grocery shopping time, and about 5 minutes to make the sandwich.

As you can tell, there was a significant price difference here. We started on that route. We did, however, notice that the buns purchased were rarely available the day they were made (ie: they were already a day or two old when we bought them), and as a result, wouldn’t last the week, resulting in either a day of purchased lunch or dipping into other groceries for a different meal.

3. In an attempt to save a bit more money, force myself out of my comfort zone, try to make something that would last longer and to try something new, I decided to make my own buns. Here is the cost breakdown:

Buns: 0.74/sandwich

Meat: 1.70/sandwich

Condiments: 0.35/sandwich

Total Sandwich cost for the month: 56$ (35% of the original subway cost)

Prep Required: This is where there is a major difference. While the actual work involved was maybe only 10 minutes of actual effort, the buns took the better part of the day to make and require staying close to home.

So, is it worth it? Depends. When I have time – Absolutely. I found the process of making the bread extremely soothing. I felt proud that my efforts yielded such tasty results. Having said that, I will definitely rely on store-bought when we have a crazy week. On a personal level, I really love the challenge of getting back to the basics. Homemade bread, homemade sauces, etc… I feel better about what my family is eating when I know every single ingredient in each part of their meal – because I made it myself. As a bonus – There is nothing better in this world than a slice of bread, hot from the oven, smothered in butter and honey with a cup of tea. Seriously.

And now for the recipe itself. I found it here. It really is a perfect fit for the delicious po boy bread of New Orleans (squishy soft inside, thin crunchy crust). I won’t re-write it all, but rather share my experience with it (if you haven’t made bread before, please don’t be nervous! This is seriously my second time ever, and it wasn’t hard in the least.)

A Responsible Sandwich Bun

1. Following the recipe from The Galley Gourmet, mix your ingredients on low until bread pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Add salt and then set to knead for 10 minutes on medium. (Note: I used a blend of white bread flour and multigrain bread flour)


2. Form a ball on a floured surface. Place in a greased bowl, cover with clingwrap and set in a warm, draft-free place to rise (about 1hr 1/2. I used this time to put the baby down for a nap, eat all of the left over Apple Crisp from the Farmer’s Market and watch some Weeds)


3. Deflate the dough on a floured surface. Divide into as many “loaves” or buns as you would like (recipe recommends 6-8). Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let sit for 15 minutes


4. Form rolls, place on parchment paper lined baking sheet. Cover with damp cloth, let sit for an hour.


5. Bake for about 30 minutes at 375.

Let buns cool completely for tasty sandwich bread, or, dive right in like me and enjoy the hollow tasty (and cheap) goodness.



OAMC Review – Beef Noodle Bake

With baby due to arrive almost any day now, I’m started testing out some of my freezer meals pre-freezer to see if they are worth a weekend of cooking. My first trial was this:

Beef Noodle Bake












My take:

I pretty much stayed true to the original recipe. The only change I made was that I used yolk-free egg noodles to cut down on fat content.


Both Pat and I found this recipe to be extremely bland. I think it could definitely benefit from some more interesting spicing, perhaps a pasta sauce instead of plain tomato sauce (I’ve been adding red pepper sauce to spice things up a bit). Also,  I think the cheese choices need some pep. I don’t think the cottage cheese is enough. Perhaps ricotta to add more creaminess? A sharper cheddar on top? SOMETHING.

Otherwise, I could see this being an easy addition to the supper rotation. It has all the ease of our family baked pastas that we love so much, without any Cream of Whatever soups. I also enjoy that the bake time is so short, which is handy for these OAMC style meals.

Daily Life, Recipe

A beautiful long weekend

I’ve been looking forward to this weekend for a while now. With my reduced hours at work (which continue into december), I have an extra long long weekend. This past week of my pregnancy has been interesting. I’ve been on edge, but hopeful. Nausea is back, but so is my desire to eat things that aren’t bread/potato/pasta related, which is a massive relief. I’m actually getting sick of carbs. i want some veggies! Some meat! Some variety! Unfortunately, with this week comes intense headaches and nightmares.

This weekend we have a lot of good stuff going on. Friday was my cleaning, relaxing and prep day. Pat and I had date plans! (Oooo! We haven’t been on a date in a long damn time. Saw the new Jason Stratham movie. Surprisingly good) Saturday, we we’re off to the in-laws for Thanksgiving dinner. We had a lovely time! My SIL, Kina, did a fantastic job of the meal and we all had a great time hanging out.  Sunday we went going Apple Picking with Nana Jan and Cathy (and the girls from the wonderful family that I’ve adopted. Pat’s best friend, Jan, has been a huge support to me the last couple of years). Monday was basically a laze about day, mostly with video games and left overs.

One of my favourite things about thanksgiving, or any major family meal, is the dish that I made and brought to the dinner on Saturday. As you all know, it’s been a tough couple of years for my family. Pat and I try to keep traditions from both of our pasts alive as we move forward together. One of those traditions is a simple casserole dish that was present at every Sutherland family gathering for the last 10 years or so. I think it was introduced by my Dad’s daughter, Kim, at Christmas one year. Or maybe it was easter. Either way, it was a complete hit and became a staple right away. It is always a sneaky way to get non-veg lovers to get just a tiny bit on their plates (yes, it’s kind of a lie. The veg is practically bathing in cheese and cream. At least it’s still veg). It’s also one of the very few dishes that I’ve brought to mixed family events that everyone seems to enjoy (well, mostly everyone). Coming from a strange background, I have some dishes that are best left to…well…me. I’ve recently discovered that not even my little sister likes some of the Ukrainian dishes we’ve grown up with. Don’t worry Mum, I’ll keep eating those Latkes and cabbage rolls. Even if its all by my lonesome (Pat prefers his potatoes in non-pancake form, and will eat only the rice filing for the cabbage rolls. Before it comes in contact with cabbage.)

So, here’s a page from my well loved and very abused personal cook book that my Mum put together for me:

The inside cover of my recipe book <3
Mum's actual entry for this recipe <3

The Sutherland Family Veggie Casserole


  • 2 cups fresh broccoli
  • 2 cups fresh cauliflower
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 1 10oz can of Cream of Whatever Soup (traditionally, we use mushroom)
  • 1 cup grated cheese (usually cheddar)
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 pkg croutons, crushed

1. Cook veggies in salted boiling water for 5 minutes. Spread evenly in 8 x 12 buttered casserole pan

Boiling broc and cauli

2. Beat eggs. Combine with mayo, onions, soup and 1/2 cup cheese

All mixed

3. Pour mix over veggies. Sprinkle remaining cheese over top

Just needs butter and crunch!

4. Pour over – melted butter. Sprinkle crushed croutons on top

5. Bake for 350 F for 40 min.

Source: Dad’s daughter Kim, and most likely from the back of a Campbell’s Soup Can. Who knows.

Make it your own! Add whatever veg you like, whatever soup/cream sauce you want, change up the cheese and go to town!

Note: My changes this time around – I used 1/2 an onion, a mix of mozz and cheddar, 1/2 fat cream of mushroom soup and I used panko crumbs instead of croutons.

As it turns out, it was a massive hit on Saturday with no leftovers for me at all. Lucky for me, I have the fixins for Part 2 at home. Veggie Casserole for dinner one night? I think so! For my fellow Canadians, I hope the long weekend treated you well! For everyone else, take care and have a great one!