pumpkin pie spice

Well hi there!

Thanks for checking in on me even though it's been radio static over here on Messy Little Cook.  Life sure moves fast and time has absolutely flown by since I went back to work in the fall.  Hannah is growing up so fast - it's hard to believe she's almost 19 months already!  She walks (runs, really), talks ("no, no, no") and gets into everything...definitely keeps me on my toes.  My days have flown by in a blur of day home pick-ups, scrambles to find something for dinner and quality time with my favourite people.  I've also decided to pick up quilting as a hobby, so that's been keeping me busy too.  On top of the 'normal life stuff' we did some travelling this winter.  We spent a few weeks in Costa Rica, enjoying the beaches and rainforests, then a few weeks later we headed to southern California for a family vacation and made it back a bit before Christmas.  January always seems to disappear in a blink, so here we are - late February!   

And that brings me to the pumpkin pie spice... (yes, I made this recipe and took the photo in October)

It's definitely a classic fall flavour, but really it comes in handy all year round.  Anytime you want to add that warm, cozy feeling to something you're baking.  This spice blend is the perfect addition to oatmeal cookies, scones or muffins.  There are lots of possibilities...even pie!

Pumpkin Pie Spice

  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp nutmeg (freshly grated is best)
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp mace
  • 1/2 tsp cloves

Mix all the ingredients together and store in an airtight container.  It's as simple as that! 

 

Recipe adapted from thekitchn.com

aaaand i'm back...

Hey guys!  Long time, no blog!
Life has been busy around here in the Mayowski household.  Big changes are in store for us - and are directly responsible for my lack of posting over the last several weeks.  Without further aideu, an announcement:

Bun In the Oven Pic
image from: Stringtown Home

That's right - we're expecting our first baby in July!  The past few months I've existed by completing the bare minimum.  I was pretty much exhausted every day by the time I got home from work, so luckily Trev has been feeding me and taking care of me.  (Therefore no cooking to blog about from me.)  I was also dealing with a lot of morning sickness (yuck), but luckily it seems to be improving. Because food is such a big part of my life, pregnancy has brought about some interesting changes & observations:

  • When you feel sick all the time nothing seems appetizing - thank goodness for unsalted soda crackers!
  • My first craving was for Cheetos Puffy Cheezies.  I NEVER eat these normally, but I just couldn't stop thinking about them (and talking about it) so Trev finally bought me a bag.  I ate the whole thing in three days, then the craving was gone...for now...
  • Recently I craved Sour Patch Kids - they're unbelievably good fresh out of the bag.  
  • I also love apples a lot more than usual; at least those are healthy!
  • Super-sense of smell is no joke.  Everything is way stronger (which is usually for the worse).  The scent of onions or bacon can make me gag.  
  • Roasted brussels sprouts are my newest food obsession.  I fell in love with them at Three Boars and have made my own version several times in my own kitchen.  I could seriously eat a whole plate of roasted brussels sprouts all by myself.  
  • I'm not only eating for myself anymore.  No - that doesn't mean I'm eating for two, because the baby is tiny and doesn't need that many more calories; but it does mean that I have to think about what I choose to put into my body because it directly effects the little one.  Fruit? check.  Veggies? check.  Popcorn for dinner? maybe not.

I love giving nicknames - not sure why, it just happens sometimes.  I couldn't stand calling the little one the generic name 'baby' all the time so I quickly nicknamed the baby - Jellybean.  (So if I mention Jellybean in future posts, you'll know who I mean)  Anyhow, the secret's out and my energy seems to be on the upswing, so I'm hoping to get back into some regular blogging.

the spoils of spain

I'm always thinking about food when I'm visitng somewhere new (or anywhere, come to think of it). I think it's curiosity - I want to try a bit of everything and the very best the region has to offer. One of the hard things about falling in love with foods from far away places is that the flavours can be hard to replicate at home, so I like bringing back "foodie treasures" as souvenirs. We came back from Spain with a bounty of foodie treasures - some that I'm already enjoying and some I'm eagerly anticipating.

First of all, we picked up a few containers of local artisan olive oil. I haven't cracked these open yet, but if they're anything like the oils we enjoyed when we were there, then I know I'll love them.

  there were beautiful, twisted olive trees all over Mallorca

there were beautiful, twisted olive trees all over Mallorca

We bought these olive wood bowls and cutting board in Soller. They were from a little family-run shop where they've been carving bowls for generations. We were told the olive wood was 1000 years old! Amazing. The large bowl was pricey, but I'm sure we'll love it for years and years. I'll remember the hot sun and the ancient, twisted olive trees when I'm serving a salad, pasta or even popcorn to family and friends.

  Es Trenc beach, the salt flats were nearby

Es Trenc beach, the salt flats were nearby

I picked up this canister of black olive flavoured Es Trenc sea salt in Ses Salines. Es Trenc was just beside the town we were staying in and we drove past the salt flats quite a few times. I tasted this one in the shop and I think it's going to be amazing sprinkled on fish, chicken, roasted veggies or salad. The wonderful olivey flavour will also remind me of all the cute little bowls of olives we ate as appetizers.

Last, but not least, we bought this beautiful olive oil jug at Gordiola Glassworks. We stopped in for a look at the factory and watched the artisans making jugs like these, goblets and bowls. The Gordiola family has in the glassblowing business since 1719 and the factory also contains a museum with old Gordiola family pieces as well as glassware from around the world. The shop had an astounding number of pieces to choose from, but something about this slightly off-center jug caught my eye. I haven't filled it with oil yet - I'm going to wait until we get back from the Netherlands in October.

What's your favourite souvenir that you've brought back from travels afar? (or someone brought back for you)  What memories does it bring up when you use it or see it?

my tiny kitchen & the rijks museum

First, I wanted to share a little peek into my new kitchen.  It's small, but I like it.  It has huge windows with a wide ledge for herbs and flowers, hardwood floor and ample storage space (considering the size).  It also has a small gas stove, which I'm slowly learning to cook on (I have an electric stove at home).  Apparently I'm lucky to have a stove & oven because a lot of rental homes would only have a microwave for cooking - could you imagine me with no way to bake?

While I was in the grocery store the other day I found this: butter chicken.  It made me giggle to myself and it's so cute that I couldn't resist buying it.  I'm loving the butter here - it's creamy and it tastes great.  Perfect for sprinkle sandwiches (more on that later).

Trev and I bought Museum Cards that are annual passes to a large number of museums in the city.  They cost 48 euro each, but I'll easily save money as I visit the many museums (probably more than once).  I was eager to start using my card, so on Wednesday I made my first solo trip into the city center.  I took the tram and found my way to the Rijks Museum without any difficulty.  The Rijks museum was beautiful and had a large selection of Dutch artifacts and paintings.  I enjoyed the audio tour but I know I'll want to go back to examine some of the amazing paintings at a more leisurely pace. Here's a little sample of some of the things I saw:

Model of a Dutch warship

  17th C. Militia Painting - It was enormous and the detail was fantastic

17th C. Militia Painting - It was enormous and the detail was fantastic

  Delftware Violin, an unusual delftware object

Delftware Violin, an unusual delftware object

  'Queen Beatrix' by Andy Warhol

'Queen Beatrix' by Andy Warhol

  I forgot to note who painted this one/when, but I loved the quirkiness and all the energy in this painting of people skating on the frozen canals. 

I forgot to note who painted this one/when, but I loved the quirkiness and all the energy in this painting of people skating on the frozen canals. 

  This photo does not do it justice (not even close).  This is 'The Jewish Bride' by Rembrandt.  The colour, texture and technique were mesmerizing - I was glad I had the audio guide to walk me through this one. 

This photo does not do it justice (not even close).  This is 'The Jewish Bride' by Rembrandt.  The colour, texture and technique were mesmerizing - I was glad I had the audio guide to walk me through this one. 

adios amigos!

not Mexico...Thailand, but the beach anyhow...you get the picture.

Adios Canada...Hola Mexico!
Yup, we're heading to the Mayan Riviera with my family for the next couple of weeks, so I won't be doing any blogging until we get back.  I LOOOOVE Mexican food, and I'm so excited to try out some local restaurants and street food in Playa del Carmen and Akumal.
mmm....tacos and churros...

Because we're getting back just before Christmas, I've been super busy getting ready.  I'm done all my Christmas shopping, the presents are wrapped and under the tree, I started the baking and we've spent lots of great time visiting with family and friends.  (All of these activities have contributed to blogging neglect, oh well!)  I decided to share some pictures that I've taken over the last little while; some I will elaborate on later, others not.  Anyhow, I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season, talk to you when I get back!

farmer's market cinnamon buns
Strathcona Farmer's Market, all Christmasy-like
the start of vodka cream sauce
tomato-beef soup with fresh bread
peanut sate soup at Mini Mango