Family Centered Kitchen

Be My Valentine

{Celebrating Every Day} | Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day has always been a big favourite of mine.  Other than Christmas, it is the only holiday that I am likely to go a little bit overboard with – decorations, menu, treats.

So I thought I’d share some link love to some fun recipes and crafty goodness.

{Celebrating Every Day} | Valentine's Day

My loves will wake to a table laid with mugs decorated with hearts, filled with chocolate goodies.  Breakfast will probably be Irish oats and cream with sliced red fruits {we’ll have to see what I can find at the market}, or egg in a {heart-shaped} hole with a smaller portion of oats on the side.  And cocoa.  Must have cocoa on Valentine’s Day morning.  With whipped cream and pink and red sugar crystals sprinkled on top.

{Celebrating Every Day} | Valentine's Day

I dipped into my considerable stash and pulled out some Lamb’s Pride wool in Rosado Rose and Ruby Red and crocheted the sweet little hearts you see here using the quickest little pattern from Skip to My Lou.  Crazy fast to work up and addictively rhythmic.  You may find yourself with a basketload by the end of the night.  {I just made the tiny ones, I think they’re perfection}.

{Celebrating Every Day} | Valentine's Day

I always try to make the entire day full of treats, culminating in a nice meal for my sweethearts.  I haven’t decided on a dinner menu, but cream tea at eleven may include these adorable mini tarts from The Sweetest Occasion {they have lots of other ideas for Valentine’s Day, too, so plan to visit for a little while}, and these gorgeous pink-iced choux pastries from B Comme Bon *.  For our afternoon snack time – le goûter – I am hoping to make these lovely crépes * in both sweet and salty versions.

{Celebrating Every Day} | Valentine's Day

*Both recipes from B Comme Bon are written in French with metric measurements, so I have translated them into English, with standard American measurements for those of you who want to make them, but can’t read French, or don’t have a food scale {I highly recommend getting one, the measure-by-weight method is most excellent, especially for baking}. Links to each recipe below::

La Vie en Rose Crépes

Choux Roses

ETA:  This sweet post from my friend Kim.  And this beautiful shot of some cookies her gals made with a link to the recipe.

{Family Centered Kitchen} | Sourdough for Breakfast

One of our family favourite dishes is sourdough pancakes.  Several years ago, I made my first batch of sourdough starter and was swiftly overrun.  I wasn’t, at that time, using as much bread as we do now.  Our family has expanded two-fold and grown older, with larger appetites.  In fact, I may have trouble keeping enough starter in the house now.

So if you are feeding a starter and haven’t anywhere to give away your extra, you can use your glut of starter to make a batch of the finest pancakes you will ever have the pleasure to eat.  And what is really neat is that YOUR sourdough will taste different to mine because our wild yeast strains are different.  There may also be seasonal differences in your yeast as most strains go dormant in winter, leaving fewer to grow.  And the more you bake, ferment, and soak whole, fresh foods, the more you build up the yeasts living inside your home.  When we first started, we had very little wild yeast and now the starter fairly comes alive as soon as we start mixing.

{Family Centered Kitchen} | Sourdough Breakfast

Sourdough Pancakes:

  • 1 c. of sourdough starter
  • 2 c. milk
  • 2 ½ c. of flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • ¼ c. sugar
  • ¼ c. melted butter or coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. of baking soda
  • 1 tsp. of salt

Leave your starter out overnight for best results.  Alternately, take your starter out and allow it to come up to room temp.  Mix ingredients together and let sit for 10 minutes or more.  Drop onto a hot, oiled or buttered griddle and flip wen bubbles pop on the surface.  Serve with real maple syrup, molasses, honey, or jam.  Or serve with warm, stewed fruits.  Makes approximately 30 pancakes.

This afternoon, we will also be trying our hands at making sourdough bagels.  I’ll post a recipe if they turn out.

I’m looking forward to what sourdough will be like on the farm!

Sourdough starter instructions here.


Smoothie O’ the Day:: Apples and Oranges

Since the discovery that my sugar is a bit wonky, I have, at the advice of my most excellent midwife and second mother, taken to snacking in between {much smaller} meals.  This has proved a perfect opportunity to play with smoothies again. 🙂  You can do the same, or add this to your repertoire for a juice fast.  It is thick, creamy and delicious.  And it utilizes my two fave juicing/smoothie ingredients – avocado and Granny Smith apples.  Avocado is amazing for waking up the brain.  Never fails.

{Fit in 40} | Apples and Oranges Smoothie

Apples and Oranges Smoothie::

  • 2 large Granny Smith apples
  • 2 oranges (Valencias are perfect), peel one
  • 5 carrots
  • 2 avocados

Juice the apples, oranges and carrots.  Scoop the avocados into the blender with the juice and liquify.  Serve with an orange wedge.  Enjoy! Makes about one quart of smoothie goodness.



What’s on the menu this week::

As part of my return to a more organized way of life, I am keeping to a strict menu and shopping list.  It also helps me keep a lid on the grocery budget.  Many of the dishes can be made ahead and stored for meals during the week – if I were feeling inclined to marathon cooking.  But at 29 weeks pregnant, I am not.  The menu includes luncheons and dinners as well as a good selection of meatless meals so that we have plenty of Friday options.  It also leaves a little wiggle room to add to another meal if we should have extra friends at table.

Let me know in the comments below if you want recipes for anything you see, and I will post it here.

  • Green onion, feta turkey patties, salad
  • Beef Roast in red wine, buttered noodles, veg
  • Butternut squash risotto, salad
  • Kielbasa and cabbage
  • Pierogi and ham
  • Roasted chicken, red potates, veg
  • Meatloaf, mash and veg
  • Shepherds pie, veg
  • Hake, rice and salad
  • Eggplant parmesan, salad, bread
  • Elbows and sauce
  • Gandules con arroz
  • Fajitas
  • Tomato soup, grilled cheese
  • Black beans and rice
  • Baked macaroni and cheese, salad

Desserts and sweet treats will include chocolate cream pie, wacky cake, and some type of cookie.  We also have a Safari themed birthday coming up in the next week with its own special menu!

Now, if I can just get myself to bake a couple of loaves of bread this week…

What’s on your menu?



Farewell Dinner to 2012






No big excitement here at Chez Gadbois this {or any} New Year’s Eve.  Just a quiet dinner at home with our children.


The Menu:

Spiced Plum Glazed Pork Chops*

Long Grain and Wild Rice

Wilted Spinach with Garlic

French Carrot Salad

Bread Pudding with double cream*

Celebrating Every Day | New Year's Eve Dinner


Spiced Plum Glazed Pork Chops

  • 8 pork chops (pastured pork is nicest, boneless chops or pork medallions are also lovely)
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • seasoned flour (GF AP flour works beautifully, as does potato starch)
  • 1 c. white or rosé wine
  • 1 pt. plum vanilla preserves
  • 1-2 T. Hoisin sauce
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. crushed rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp. rubbed sage
  • 3 bay leaves
  • oil and/or butter for browning and sautéeing

Sauté onions in a hot skillet until caramelized.  Remove to a bowl.  Dredge chops in seasoned flour and brown them in batches, adding more fat, if needed.  Return onions to the skillet, add  the remaining ingredients and return chops to the skillet.  Add water, if needed.  Liquid should come about halfway up the meat.  Bring liquid to the boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes.  Arrange chops or pork medallions on a platter and ladle sauce over the top.  Garnish with fresh herbs if you’re feeling fancy. 🙂

Celebrating Every Day | New Year's Eve Dinner


Bread Pudding

  • 1 loaf good, day-old bread, cubed
  • 1 qt whole milk or half-and-half
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 1 T. vanilla
  • 1/4 c. whiskey (or rum)
  • 1 c. raisins
  • 1 1/2 c apples, chopped
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. allspice
  • 1/2 stick butter, melted

Heat whiskey and add raisins, allow to sit while mixing the rest of the pudding.  You can also allow them to plump overnight. Combine milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and spices in a large mixing bowl.  Add bread cubes, chopped apples, and plumped raisins (drain remaining liquor), allow to stand so that the bread can absorb the custard.  Brush melted butter over the bottom and sides of a 9″x13″ pan, add pudding mixture.  Bake at 350 for 40 minutes.  Serve with double (heavy) cream, hard sauce, or whipped cream.

If you haven’t any day-old bread, you can cube your bread and dry it out in a low oven before beginning.


Wishing you and yours a blessed 2013!


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