Spicy Carrot Dip

IMG_7993We are in the midst of having the exterior of our house painted. A few years ago we painted the barn, checking that we liked the colours we’d chosen. We decided to change the door colour, yet we haven’t gone to the back of the barn to re-do the stall panels. The only time we see them is when we’re doing chores, and when we’re there, we can’t see any of the other outbuildings, so they’re not really a big priority. However, I will re-do them at some point. Last summer all of the other outbuildings were painted in the refigured colours. By doing them ahead of the house, we were able to watch how the colours worked throughout the year, and if they were truly the colours we wanted. On rainy or cloudy days the house in its old worn colour looked so drab, while all the other buildings now had a warm & happy glow.

The woodshed sporting the new colours, except for the gate, which will stay weathered.

The woodshed sporting the new colours, except for the gate, which will stay weathered.

Once the final decision on colours was made, a painter was hired. Someone who is willing to deal with all the detail we’d built into the house, as well as a bit of fearlessness to paint our 41’ roof peak.

Although I’m horrible about heights, and have had some anxiety issues while he’s up at the top of 40’ ladders, I am thrilled with how it’s looking.   Of course, all this has been going on while we move through an extremely busy summer. I seem to be in the kitchen for a long spell each day, figuring out recipes, doing test batches and so on. Perhaps I’m being energized by the attitude of the painter. Let’s get it done!

Here’s my take on a Spicy Carrot Dip that we’ll be serving as part of the appetizer menu for this year’s Summer Soiree & Art Auction. It is a beautiful colour (this summer is all about colour!), with a rich, warm spiciness that is lovely with a bit of flat bread. Continue reading

Porridge

IMG_7047It may seem like a simple recipe, however, it is a reminder of how we can easily make the right choices when it comes to eating. A bowl of porridge will feed you well to make it through the morning, with a wholesome whole grain that has saved populations from starvation, and only takes a few minutes to make from scratch, and costs about 25¢ a serving, including milk & a bit of brown sugar.

My relationship with porridge (oats) started at a very early age. We had a certain pot that Dad used to make porridge in every morning. It was thick walled aluminum, a type probably not even sold today. When the handle went, he carved a new one and bolted it on. When the pot lid knob went, he carved a delightfully threatening little totem to replace it.

Every morning through our school years, Dad would get up and make a big pot of porridge for us all, even though we were all still sound asleep. It would be cooled and congealed by the time we would be eating it. But, that was breakfast. This was also at a time prior (long prior) to microwaves being a common kitchen tool for reheating. One morning Dad taught me the trick of frying leftover porridge with a bit of butter and brown sugar in a cast iron pan. Amazingly delicious. It may sound like we were “down on our luck”, but our family always took pride in being thrifty. But never to a fault.

Today the health virtues of starting our days with a bowl of large-flake, old-fashioned oats, made into porridge, has been well documented. We might now add a handful of berries, or a chopped apple & some spice, but it still is able to satisfy us well until lunch. So here’s to putting your porridge pot back on the hob, and starting your day with a great, easy, and thrifty breakfast! Continue reading