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Category — Travel

Canada 3.0

My fabulous vacation to the Howard’s Deer Lake in Canada is coming to a close. On one hand, I hate to be leaving so soon, but on the other, I can’t wait to get home to my kitties. That sounds like crazy-cat lady talk, I know, but I hate leaving them home alone for so long.

How about I share images from my trip in today’s post?

You’d like that! Yay, here we go.

2019 Sturgeon Moon

Seriously, this is the only photo I really need to post. So GORGEOUS! Kim woke up early last Friday morning and caught the full moon over Deer Lake. Absolutely Stunning!

The local market in the Village of Ripon had the cutest booth signs above each vendor

We visited a variety of markets during my visit, here are my favorite images.

These tomatoes were delicious and the flesh was so beautiful. The center flesh was blush and slowly turned to yellow.
These cabbages looked like huge roses.
I never see garlic scapes in Phoenix.
Such sweet displays in this little local market!

Another day we drove into Montreal and visited the Marché Jean-Talon.

The sights, sounds and smells at this market rival any in Europe!
Can you image buying this $100 basket of blueberries and making pies and jams and cobblers? Wow!
So many baskets of berries!
Like a beautiful dream!
Eggplant of every variety and color variation.
Fresh summer sweet corn is available at every vegetable stand. Loved this stand of only corn. Look at the dump truck full!
Along with loads of fresh produce that we purchased from the markets, I picked up these unique items for future Harmony Boards.
We saw wild turkeys on most of our drives.

After one afternoon of being out for the morning, we came home to find that two birds had flown into the sliding glass doors along the back of the house.

I was able to save this little guy.
But sadly, this little hummingbird did not make it. Heartbroken!
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August 21, 2019   1 Comment

10th Blogiversary

Ten years with 2,037 posts! That is nearly 204 posts per year – and yes, I know, that calculation required the most basic and easy math. But that adds up to a big bunch of typing, talking, thoughts, cooking, memories, recipes, stories and photographs. I believe this occasion is worthy of a contest! Before I share with you exactly what it is that you have a chance to win and how you can win it, how about a few fun facts from the last 10 years?

Although I’ve had my blog since August 16, 2009, the platform I have it on, WordPress, reset the statistics in April 2013. I’m not sure how or why that happened but I no longer have the stats from August 2009 through March 2013.

With that in mind, here are the stats I have for LesPetites Gourmettes.com:

The most visited post: February 3, 2014

The recipe in that post is for Homemade San Tung “Dry-Fried” Chicken Wings. These are the absolutely scrumptious and addicting wings from San Tung Restaurant which is in the Outer Sunset neighborhood of San Francisco. That is where my darling daughter, Marissa, first lived in when she moved away after college.

  • Total comments: 5,782 comments left by you wonderful people. Thank you for each and every one! Comments are what keep me motivated to keep on blogging.
  • The most commented-on post: “Lost” from 2011 This post is about the death of my younger brother, Andy. Thank you for all the kindness, compassion and comfort you provided to me during not only that sad time but throughout the ups and downs of life that I’ve shared here.
  • The person who has commented the most: Marissa <3
  • The most visited year: 2015
  • The most visited month: March 2015

OK, enough with the stats, let’s get to what we’re all here for … CONTEST TIME!

PRIZE: Five (5) Lucky entrants will join me for a Harmony Board Class. You will learn all the tips and tricks on how a Harmony Board is made. Plus each winner will make a mini-board of her/his own to take home and share, or not share, this is a judgment-free zone!

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August 16, 2019   1 Comment

blogiversary eve

Tomorrow is the 10th birthday/blogiversary of LesPetitesGourmettes.com. There will be a contest. So you really should come back and see what you could win!

In the meantime, I have a couple of random things to share. I am currently in Canada with Kim at the Howard family compound known as Deer Lake. It is situated between Ottowa and Montreal in the Province of Quebec. This time we flew into Montreal. The large structure on the left in the photo above is Olympic Stadium from the summer games of 1976.

In yesterday’s post, I mentioned that I would show you what I did with the bits and pieces of fruit, veggies and cheese that were in my refrigerator before I left town. Here is a peek inside my carry-on bag.

We had to change planes in Minneapolis, so we found a little lounge table and chairs in the airport and put together our own mini-size travel Harmony Boards to enjoy on the second leg of our flight.

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August 15, 2019   7 Comments

missed it

Guess what? While I was in Canada throughout the middle of August, I forgot all about my own blogiversary. I know! That’s crazy-talk. It’s like forgetting to celebrate my own birthday, and I love my birthday! But forget it,  I did. August 16th was my 9th Blogiversary. I’ll have to make up for it next year when this blog has been around for a decade.

Speaking of my Canada trip, I want to wrap up a few things I’ve yet to tell you about. And then I want to share with you something I totally kicked butt at yesterday. The images above are of a couple of the fabulous vintage items in the Howard’s Canadian kitchen. Love the breadbox (more on what is in there later) and adore the cookie jar.

Although I did most of the cooking for Kim, Debby and myself, Kim did make a yummy spatchcock chicken. I don’t recall what cookbook the recipe came from but it was delicious. The green goddess marinade is blended in the food processor. The recipe didn’t call for the chicken to be spatchcocked (which simply means poultry that is split open or butterflied) but that is what Kim did with the whole organic chicken she purchased.

Here it is going into the oven to roast.

It was delicious!

My favorite thing Kim made though was her Curry Lentil Soup. I need to get that recipe and post it here because… YUM!

The other items Kim purchased were the best peaches, corn and tomatoes I’ve had in my life! I am not exaggerating!

I had to control myself from eating every last one of these perfect Ontario pêches. This was the second pack we bought, so maybe I did eat an entire package myself.

And the pink Ottawa tomatoes, it was if I hadn’t eaten a real tomato before. But that’s not all. Things got really real when Paul arrived.

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September 7, 2018   6 Comments

soup, an anniversary and Paris

It is well known that I love soup. French Onion Soup is at the top of my list. I have been craving it since my dear friends, Scott and Amy Kilpatrick, went to Paris to celebrate their 25th Anniversary back in June.

While planning their trip, they asked me for recommendations on where to eat and things to do. I sent them This Link to one of my blog posts from nearly 8 years ago.

 

At the top of my must-eat list is the French Onion Soup at Royal Madeleine. They went and I was soon receiving texts that the restaurant does not serve the soup in the summer.

 

Dang it! I had no idea. I cropped off more of Scott’s text since it was too derogatory and obscene towards to “French Frogs” for me to repeat here. I do love him, he’s a funny and adorably sarcastic guy! And Amy is just the sweetest, I adore her and you already know her too. She is The Amy of Amy’s Famous Taco Soup.

Anyhow, the last time we were there it was late May and the soup was on the menu. I guess it comes off at the end of May. It made me sad they missed out but I understand. I don’t enjoy soup as much in the heat of summer either, which is why, even though I’ve been craving it for months, I have yet to make it.

Well, I tamed a bit of the craving when I made this French Onion Soup inspired recipe for our Sunday supper. I should have thought to invite Amy and Scott over to make up for their disappointment.

A few notes before we get to the recipe. Do not rush to process of caramelizing the onions. It takes time, about an hour, to get them just right. In the photo above, they had been cooking for 45 minutes. I had browned off all the chicken in the meantime. It took another 5 minutes or so after that for them to get even the slightest bit of color.

But then, just like that, they were done about 10 minutes later. It will happen. Don’t get frustrated.

Also, don’t fret about the chicken not being cooked through when you’re browning it. It will cook to perfection in the oven later, I promise.

Lastly, four pounds of onions is a lot of onion! You’re going to need a very large skillet to not only cook them all down in, but to also fit all the chicken thighs in one layer. If you don’t have a big skillet, the reicpe can easily be cut in half. And I call for 8 to 10 chicken thighs, because when you buy the family pack from the grocery store, that is what you get, somewhere between 8 and 10 thighs per package.

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August 28, 2018   1 Comment

the avocado dilemma

Ripe avocados were an incredible challenge to find in Quebec. On the day we arrived, Monday the 13th, we went to the grocery store directly from the airport. We bought 8 avocados and they were rock hard. Kim also bought 3 bananas.

Did you know that the way to speed up the ripening of an avocado is to put it in a brown paper bag with a banana?

Yep, ripe bananas release ethylene, the hormone that triggers ripening in mature fruit, so placing one in a closed paper bag with your under-ripe avocados will speed up the process.

At least it does in AZ, not so much in Canada. When I left in on Tuesday morning, (8/21) those darn avocados were still hard as rocks!

Thankfully, we went to the farmer’s market in Ottawa mid-week and found 6 ripe avocados. I used 2 of them for this recipe and the other four in a guacamole I posted yesterday. Unfortunately, I forgot to pick up purple leaf lettuce, so please use your imagination and pretend it’s there, mixed in the butter lettuce.

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August 24, 2018   1 Comment

kale guac

I am typing this on the long flight from Philadelphia to Phoenix. The first flight from Ottawa to Philly was basically a puddle jumper, but this one is getting the best of me. It’s currently 10:00 eastern time (the time-zone I’m now adjusted too) and I’ve been typing and formatting recipes for my spring cooking classes for the last 5 hours. I’m going cross-eyed. Actually, I can barely keep my eyes open. But I must! I can’t sleep on planes, so it’s either this or go cross-eyed playing solitaire on my phone. This seems more productive.

We still have 45 minutes left on this flight and then there is luggage to collect and an Uber ride home. My head can’t hit that pillow soon enough!!

That’s the end of my “woe is me” story. How about a yummy recipe? I made this guacamole knock-off on Sunday for our daily “booze cruise” on the pontoon around Deer Lake.

Many months ago, when I first tasted the Kale Guacamole at True Food Kitchen, my hopes we’re very high. If I remember correctly, someone else at the table wanted to try it.

Then it came and it was a revelation, so good! I looked up the recipe, expecting it to be mostly kale with maybe an avocado or two mixed in, but no, it’s mostly avocado with a little kale thrown in so that it can be called Kale Guacamole. No matter, it’s good and it sounds healthy. The poblano adds a nice little kick but the thing I love most about it is the addition of fresh citrus.

If you’re not sure what “1 grapefruit, supremed” means. Or if you have an idea, but aren’t sure how to supreme (or segment) citrus, go to this LINK and you’ll see how.

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August 23, 2018   2 Comments

Ratatouille Gratin

I found the recipe for this next dish on Food52 and made it for Paul’s “Welcome to the Lake” dinner on Saturday night. It is a delicious and stunningly beautiful dish.

I added and omitted a few ingredients from the original recipe. In the photos you’ll see 2 zucchini, 2 yellow squash and 2 eggplants, but that was too much for the baking dish, so in the recipe I say to use one of each.

Don’t worry, we didn’t let those go to waste. I spread the excess on a sheet pan, seasoned and baked them off for another meal.

We picked up Paul at Montreal-Pierre E Trudeau International Airport at around 10:30 am.

We then drove to Old Montreal, parked and walked about a mile and a half to Schwartz’s for their famous smoked meat sandwiches.

That sandwich was just as spectacular as I remembered from when I visited in October, 2010.

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August 21, 2018   No Comments

a book and a salad

I’m still in Quebec at Kim and Paul’s dreamy lake house. I haven’t been posting regularly because, well, I’m on vacation and because I’ve been obsessed reading a book I found on the shelves here. I finished All The Light We Cannot See yesterday afternoon. My dreams have been filled with it since the day I picked it up and last night was no exception. Many of you have probably already read it since it came out nearly four years ago. I’m usually behind the curve when it comes to books. I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a new read.

Now that I have my nose out of the book and my head out of the clouds, here is the salad recipe I promised you last week. Oh, and there is a mouse update at the bottom of this post.

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August 20, 2018   3 Comments

Wednesday dinner at Deer Lake

I know I said I’d post the recipe for the salad we ate the night before last, and I promise to get to that soon, but we had such a fun day yesterday, that I’d rather talk about that for now.

It was cloudy and foggy over the lake when I awoke. Then the thunder rolled in and the rain began. The lake house was so cozy and dark, it felt like fall for a moment and I was in heaven. Summer drags on when you live in the desert, so even a few moments of what feels like fall is a complete joy.

Our morning plans to paddle board were put on hold. Kim knows how and Debby and I were eager to learn.

photo credit: Pinterest

Oh, before I go any further, I should mention that I was a bit tentative about being the first person to get up and leave my room. And for good reason, the first night here we saw that we had another resident in the house with us. A mouse. Granted, he was little and even, dare I say, cute. We tried to shoo him out the door with a broom but he wasn’t having any of that. Kim set out a no-kill trap but it didn’t work. We saw him again the next night, Debby set four mousetraps with peanut butter and placed them around the kitchen. So, the first person up was going to have to deal with a dead mouse and I didn’t want that to be me.

But I was getting sore from sitting in bed and typing my post. I had to get up so I could sit at the table to type. I quietly crept out and peeked around the corner … no mouse. All the peanut butter was gone but thankfully, no smashed mouse.

Yay for me. Yay for the mouse. But then again, we still have a mouse in the house, so no bueno!

The rain stopped. Kim and I went to run errands and grocery shop in the little town of Ripon. Two of the things at the top of our list were more mousetraps and Snicker’s bars, which will hopefully work better than the peanut butter. Debby stayed behind to read and hold down the fort.

When we returned, Kim taught us to paddle board. For me, the hardest part was going from the kneeling stage to the standing stage. I had to do Lamaze style deep breathing and talk myself into being brave and just do it.

After much hesitation and nearly psyching myself out, I did it. Debby did too. We were quite pleased with ourselves. The Howards have two paddle boards. I came to shore and Kim took that board out. Most of my pride washed away as I watched her pop right up and quickly paddle down the lake in the blink of an eye. I’ll try again tomorrow.

Next, we went out on the pontoon boat and took a tour around the entire lake.

It’s a long lake! You can’t see from one end to the other. It curves and twists and there are cute islands and peninsulas. Kim and Paul not only own the lake but also the 550 (approx.) acres of wooded land that surround it. This is a very special and magical place that has been in the Howard family for generations.

After our cocktail boat tour, I made another recipe inspired from a doctor’s office waiting room magazine find. The perfect end to a perfect day.

OK, not quite the end and not perfectly perfect. Kim and Debby set a total of 10 mousetraps with the Snickers. Without a doubt, I’m sleeping in this time.

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August 16, 2018   4 Comments