Monthly Archives: April 2011

That’s One Good Pork Butt

After a few kitchen mishaps over the long weekend, I was starting to feel a little down and out about my abilities. Or perhaps, lack thereof.

Believe it or not, it was a 7lb chunk of smoked pig butt that turned into my greatest success yet.

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Here’s what I used for the glaze:

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 heaping tbsp dry mustard powder
  • few shakes of allspice

Place the ham cut side down on a roasting rack. Make several slashes on the fatty top (intersecting diagonal cuts are traditional!). Bake in a 325F oven for 20 minutes for each pound of meat. For the glaze, heat ingredients together in a small saucepan over the stove. Pour over the ham when there is 30 minutes left of cooking time. Once glazed, take it out every 10 minutes to collect the juices/glaze that drip to the bottom and pour over top again.

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This smelled unbelievable. And tasted even better. So good in fact that my dad got up and hugged me for it. The best part is how thick the glaze got because of the addition of applesauce.

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Even though there are a million mouths to feed in this house, we’re still left with mass quantities of leftovers. This ham was maybe $13 and yields approximately 92 servings (with slight exaggerations).

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The next morning I awoke with one word on repeat in my brain: “Biscuits. Biscuits. Biscuits.”

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Your brain does that too, right?

Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I’m kind of a champion biscuit and scone maker. You can be too actually, because they’re dead simple to make!

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Buttermilk Biscuits from Canadian Living Magazine:

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup cold salted butter (cut into small cubes)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg

Mix the dry ingredients together, then throw in butter pieces. You can mix this in a food processor. I just work the butter into the flour mixture using my hands until it’s crumbly. Whisk the egg and buttermilk together, then add to the flour/butter mixture. Knead around 10 times on a flat floured surface. Smooth out to 2cm height, and use a cutter close to 6cm in length to cut out biscuits. I use a small glass. Bake for 12-15 at 400F. Makes 12 large biscuits.

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I love baking with buttermilk. It makes everything better.

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I topped a biscuit fresh out of the oven with fried egg and ham.

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Probably the best breakfast. Ever.

Kitchen redemption is oh so sweet.

The Chocolate Butter Cake

For the most part, Canadian and American recipes are the same. We use cups and teaspoons and all that stuff. Not a whole lot of conversions like those Europeans have to do.

But. There are a few things that continue to get me.

We don’t have “sticks of butter” around these parts. Most butter comes in 2-cup bricks. Our recipes measure out butter by the cup, not by the “stick.”

It is with this that I blame Saturday’s most recent baking fiasco.

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I convinced my little sister that we should make her own chocolate cake for her birthday. She has a budding interest in food, but has so far only made cakes from a box.

Me, being the wise older one, said we had to do one from scratch! The whole cake! And the icing too!

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After searching the internet far and wide, I ended up choosing The Pioneer Woman’s Best Chocolate Sheet Cake. Ever. Partially because I’m a sucker and will believe anything is the best if it says so in the title. Mostly because it looked like an easy enough cake for my sister to attempt for her first time.

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I really can’t tell you how my brain determined 2 sticks butter = 2 cups Canadian butter. I knew it was a ludicrous amount as I threw it in the pot. But it was as I started stirring the buttery batter together that things finally clicked.

My sister and I started frantically throwing extra of the other ingredients into the buttery batter. We’ll have to double the recipe! Who doesn’t love twice as much cake??

I was concerned about icing though. There would be more cake than icing.

Until I dumped my one kilogram bag of icing sugar into the pot and realized 1 kg = 2.2 lbs, and not the other way around.

Really, I cannot explain how my brain determines these things. Some could say I’m preoccupied. I say there are more important things to fret about than silly conversions.

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In the end, we ended up with THREE cakes. All made in different shaped pans for fun. All horribly iced and decorated because who has the patience for that when there’s cake to be eaten?

The end result was quite delicious. Very dense and brownie like. Although, not as rich as I was expecting. The icing was certainly the star of the show.

But I can’t tell you if this is how the cake is really supposed to taste, seeing as there were more than a few hiccups along the way (there may have also been melted plastic on the stove, just sayin).

Even though my sister’s first cake-from-scratch wasn’t perfect, I will say it was fun to make. Our kitchen disasters had us laughing and making fun of ourselves the whole way through. Proof positive that the process can often be more enjoyable than the end result.

Happy belated Sarah!

Favourite Things For Fitness

First and foremost I wrote a guest post for Paige that I encourage you to check out. It’s all about what it’s like when injury forces you out of the job. Click here to read it!

Seeing as I work in a fitness apparel store, I felt it appropriate to share with you, dear reader, my favourite fitness apparel. Now this is all personal preference based on experience and product know-how. Your favourites don’t have to be my favourites, but I do encourage you to try some stuff out!

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I am a total Brooks shoes convert. After years of being a Saucony gal, I find the midsole just wears down too quickly. The Brooks (Ghost 2 pictured above) hit my feet in all the right places, are flexible without being instable, and generally just make for a really comfy ride.

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Trail shoes. I love my Nike Air Pegasus because of my neutral gait. If you need arch support, Asics Trabucos are good too. Now, these are not for pavement running. Only for trail running because they don’t have as much cushioning. They’re water resistant and extra grippy. Really, these have turned into a great walking shoe for me that aren’t a bulky hiking shoe.

I’m a WigWam socks girl. Some people like thin socks, I like cushy ones. I hate crew cut socks because I prefer my ankles to be covered (yes, like an old man) especially in the colder months. Quarter length is where it’s at.

I love Lululemon tank-tops. Any of them. Preferably those with a built in bra because days I don’t have to put on an underwire with one hand are good days indeed. Below I’m wearing my favourite tank-top ever that was bought at Lululemon 4 years ago and since discontinued. Still in perfect condition.

I’m also wearing my favourite pair of Nike shorts in that photo. But really, I love all Nike bottoms. They fit my body perfectly. Their pants also hold up much better than Lululemon ones, which I find change texture quickly.

adidas - Supernova Short Sleeve Tee adidas - Supernova Short Sleeve Tee

Adidas CLIMACOOL shirts, another example of apparel designed to flatter the body. You need to be a stick to look good in Nike shirts, but for me, Adidas works :)

I loooove Under Armour’s loose fitting HeatGear t-shirts. So much so that I stocked up on several colours when I was at an outlet store. It’s a super comfy synthetic shirt that feels like cotton. Under Armour also has a new treated cotton line out which I’m dying to try.

I have a really hard time finding longsleeve technical shirts that are flattering. There is something about the cut of most of them that hug my torso in all the wrong places. Brooks shirts have so far been the best ones for me. Plus, you can get them in super bright colours which people will make fun of you for at the gym, but I love for visibility outdoors.

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In terms of lightweight jackets, I’m back on the Lululemon bandwagon. The above is another discontinued one I think, but I also have the stride jacket and mudra wrap. The three of those are basically the only “sweaters” I ever wear!

For the cyclists and spinners, Louis Garneau shorts. I wear these even to spin class and my butt loves me for it. Be weary, as sizes run super small with this brand. But I love their high waists which is nice when being bent over on a bike (no exposed skin to get burnt!), and superduper padding. Just remember, don’t wear undies in these! It’ll cause chafing!

If you’re doing outdoor sports and need baselayers, I like Mizuno Breathe Thermal gear the best for both tops and bottoms. Their material actually heats up when wet (ie sweating). It’s super tight though, so not an outer layer unless you’ve got the cahones ;)

Ron Hill jackets are the bestest. They fit both men and women to a tee. No random bulkiness or tightness like you get in other jackets. They’re good at fighting wind and rain, and some of the sleeves tear off to turn into a vest.

Moving Comfort bras are by far the most popular. Lots of high impact support and comfort for women who need it. Plus, the cups are shaped so they don’t make your boobies look squashed and weird.

Last but certainly not least, don’t put your technical gear in the dryer! I assure you it is totally worth the extra money to buy nice workout clothes. They really do last for a long time, so long as you handle and treat them well.

Question of the Day: What’s your favourite piece of workout apparel?

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