Perfect Poach

It was a Christmas miracle. The most perfect poached egg I have ever created. My daughter let me know it was better than the one she had for breakfast Christmas Eve morning at a restaurant. It was visually beautiful, tender and tasty. All the things you hope for your own poached egg when making Eggs Benedict.

Fun Fact: In 1894, Lemuel Benedict, a Wall Street broker, who was suffering from a hangover, ordered“some buttered toast, crisp bacon, two poached eggs, and a hooker of hollandaise sauce” at the Waldorf Hotel in New York. *Does anyone know what a hooker is in reference to hollandaise? A vessel? A measurement? A gal to join at breakfast?

I have been trying for years to achieve the perfect egg to lay across my back bacon (Candian Bacon for you out-of-towners. No, we do not call it Canadian Bacon, its back bacon and its nothing like bacon. Its ham.) I have tried the vortex method – stirring the water to create a vortex, but you can only cook two eggs at most using this method. I have tried baking them in ham cups in the oven, delicious but easily overcooked plus I miss the tang from the vinegar in the cooking water. My eggs always come out shaggy. Then one day I found the secret!

I was watching Bon Appetite on Facebook – I love the test kitchen videos. Brad from It’s Alive is hilarious. Priya is new but is my favourite. I love Carla and her blind instructions. Andy is just really great to look at. Don’t even get me start on Claire and her series on replicating store-bought stuff. She made Skittles from scratch people, FROM SCRATCH! Then there is Molly. She is pretentious, but she is always right, so I listen to her. She was bang-on about the Caesar salad so I figured she would be correct about eggs benedict for a crowd. Who can poach a dozen eggs at once? Molly can. She is a genius.

You can watch the video like I did. I didn’t expect it to be so spectacular. Cracking the egg over a sieve was amazing. You lose the watery bits of the egg white but not enough to lose the egg.

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I dropped it into the water (laced with salt and vinegar). It was just six eggs I was making, only three of us for breakfast Christmas morning, I cooked them for longer than three minutes. I like my eggs almost firm. My girl likes them runny – so that was fairly easy until her egg kept cooking and wasn’t running at all. So she will get a three-minute egg when I make Christmas Breakfast for my parents when they return home from Europe.

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LOOK AT THAT PERFECTION!!! This was an egg without the sauce. I made more the next day and used up the back bacon and added cheese. I put another half English muffin on top and called it a breakfast sandwich. Eggs done this way are magical.

Thanks, Molly!

 

Peanut Butter

Who was the person that taught you to bake? I had many teachers. Mostly my mom was my teacher. Sundays were spent in a high volume extreme bake-off. We would make a list the previous week and then shop for all the ingredients. The list would include dinners for weeknights and several batches of tarts and cookies. You could easily find 20 things in the freezer before nightfall. Organization skills were my mom’s superpower. I take after her. I can knock off 150 cookies 4 dozen tarts and a pot of soup before noon.  Well, that was today. I drove home from a Red Deer work thing, called my mom and rolled up my sleeves to power bake. I was done by 1:00 pm and started at 11:00 am. 

Fast paced was not something that described my grandmother. She was slow and methodical. She did one thing at a time. Multi-tasking was not something she was interested in. Where my mom taught me how to knock off a lot of things to save time in the future, my grandmother taught me about relaxing as you do one thing. Both methods have a place in my life. I have to admit to following my mom’s method at work and at home the most. But every now and then a slowed relaxed baking session is delightful. 

My grandma made little step stools from mandarin orange boxes that were available at Christmas. We used them for sitting in front of the TV, standing to reach things in the pantry but I used it to raise me up at the counter so I could ‘help’ bake. 

My mom let me use tools like beaters, crack eggs and measure milk. Grandma never let me do those things, but she did let me watch. Mom let me lick the beaters or sample the batter. Grandma didn’t but I stole batter when she wasn’t looking. Mom let me open the oven door so she could put trays of cookies in the oven. Grandma made me stand back far from the hot oven. The experiences were polar opposite but there was one thing grandma let me do and that was to press cookies. 

Very carefully she rolled out peanut butter cookies on a baking sheet. they were all the exact same size and evenly spaced. It always looked as if she used a ruler to measure the distance for consistency. Once all the round balls were on the sheet, it was my turn. She had a set of glasses that my aunt thinks were duralux. Small juice glasses with a starburst pattern on the bottom. It was my job to dip the glass in flour and press the cookies evenly – not too hard and not too soft. When I made these cookies with my little gram, we used a fork dipped in flour. I pressed the fork into the dough, dip in flour and press again in a cross fashion. This was more fun than eating the cookies. I have been searching ebay and vintage glass sites forever trying to find that particular pattern. My aunt told me they shattered easily so maybe there are none left in existence? At any rate, in my mind’s eye, all peanut butter cookies ever made have that pattern.  I made some today using grandma’s recipe. Because I love you, I am sharing the recipe – and all the variations with you. This isn’t the Kraft Peanut Butter recipe that uses egg, sugar and peanut butter. My recipe has flour to make it a proper cookie with a subtle flavour of peanut butter because let’s get serious, too much peanut butter is too much is too much peanut butter and who needs that? 

Grandma’s Peanut Butter Cookies

  • 1 cup salted butter (does anyone use unsalted?)
  • 1 cup crunchy peanut butter (smooth because my son always thought the crunchy part was bees – save the bees people!)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar – I use dark, not golden. 
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  1. Pre-heat oven to 375F
  2. Cream butter, peanut butter, and sugars together in a bowl; beat in eggs. (I use a mixer to get the right texture. Mix until it looks fluffy and is lighter in colour than when you started. 
  3. In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; stir into butter mixture. Put dough in the refrigerator for 1 hour. (I sift directly into the butter mixture. I don’t usually refrigerate unless the dough is too soft and I can’t roll into a ball,)
  4. Roll dough into 1 inch balls and put on baking sheets. (I use an ice cream scoop and don’t roll) Flatten each ball with a fork (dipped in flour to prevent sticking), making a crisscross pattern. Bake in a preheated 375 F oven for about 10 minutes or until cookies begin to brown. (Forget the brown part – 10 minutes or until you can smell them.) One sheet at a time please!

This recipe makes 110 cookies. So I like to mix it up. The first tray of 35 is traditional with fork pressed method. The second tray I roll the balls in sugar then flatten with a flat-bottomed mug or cup. The third tray I add chocolate chips and drop without flattening. 

Pirate Cookies were a favourite of mine, to recreate those, mix 1/2 cup peanut butter and 2 cups icing sugar for a buttercream frosting and thin as needed with milk. Sandwich the cookies with the frosting in the middle. So sweet but extra decadent. Serve with milk and a splash of tea unless you are an adult, then its tea with a splash of milk. 

18 for 18: St. Albert Farmers’ Market

I love the rain. I woke up to buckets of rain falling from the sky and thought about my plans to visit the St. Albert Farmers’ Market with my mom. I immediately thought to bring my lovely umbrella that I do not get to use nearly enough! I packed another umbrella for my mom. I live as far from St. Albert as humanly possible for an Edmontonian. It is a good 40 Minutes from my house. We hopped onto the Henday ring road and made our way north. I had a vague idea where to find the market because google. I learned about the shuttle service from the village transit centre but we decided to take a chance on parking close to the downtown core. I am sure the rain kept the crowds away and we did score a sweet spot across the bridge. It was a perfectly lovely day for a walk.

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Everyone who has told me about this market raves about how amazing it is. Truth be told, it is pretty fantastic. Great selection, interesting vendors, and bigger than any market I have been to in Canada. Obernai, France is the biggest one I have ever been to.

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We tasted nifty things and saw very talented artisans showing their wares. I met some interesting Babas and Guidos, old-school farmers who invent their own tools and sell them or cook for days so you can recreate a Ukrainian feast in your own kitchen. A few garden markets had tomatoes, rhubarb, herbs and berries and two different craft breweries were on hand with samples. But my favourite? There was a birdhouse that was called ‘Train Station’, it reminded me of the front porch where I sat with my grandpa while he told me stories of the wild west and how he was a pioneer (all fabrication of course but that was part of the fun) and I loved that little birdhouse.

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I spent money on a wired knife gadget that did amazing things if you practice and I bought a new willow wreath for my fence. It is an exact replica of a wreath I bought the year I moved into my house in 2001. I needed a new one because it had disintegrated and just looked like a pile of sticks.

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My mom bought fresh Arctic Char and we reminisced about eating it when we lived in Yellowknife, she bought craft beer for my dad and she also bought the weird knife gadget from that guido farmer who I thought was a genius. We walked up and down the streets for about two hours, stopping to listen to music or chatting with vendors. I even ran into an old friend who looked fantastic. I loved everything about the morning and was so glad I made the trip. It is too far for me to go to every weekend when there are great farmer markets in closer proximity, City Market comes to mind, but I will go again and perhaps on the next rainy day.

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If you haven’t visited, think about it. Go early and stay long. Details can be found here.

18 for ’18: Rockin’ Robyn’s Diner

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My Papa Bear is 19 years older than me and he just had his 70th birthday. It was one of those moments where I realized I think of him as the young guy sitting beside me on Main Street in Disneyland waiting for the Electrical Light Parade. I was six so that would make him twenty five. I think of dad with dark brown hair, tall, fun, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. I then see my dad and realize he is 70. it always knocks the air out of me.

My mom appreciates finer cuisine, so its fun to take her to high-end brunch places. We went to Café Linnea for her birthday. My dad however, loves a really great diner. Old school diners that are decked out in vintage items. I had heard great things about Rockin Robyn’s Diner and knew the wait could be long to eat there. If we went early, I didn’t think it would be too bad. I put it on my 18 in ’18 for two reasons:

  • She spells her name correctly with a Y
  • I heard she was an Alice in Wonderland fan. I am a Disney fan so I suspected we were kindred spirits.

We arrived at 9 (not early but whatever…) to a line up at the door. There were 4 parties ahead of us. We were given a pager and decided to wait outside. 20 minutes later, it was out turn.

We were seated at a table beside the large mural and Dad noted, “I have never been to a drive-in that had any of those fancy muscle cars. Never. Where did people think young guys got the money for something like that?” Good point dad. But the art on the walls was interesting. There was a juke box at the other end of the diner and it was playing 80’s rock. This reminded my daughter of a great story about The Salt and Pepper Diner. Give it a listen, I promise you won’t be disappointed. It’s hilarious.

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We looked over at the lunch counter and surmised they make a great milkshake because of the equipment sitting there. The decor was fun too, black and white checked tiles, Alice in Wonderland items, retro ceiling fans and red booths!

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We ordered coffee and checked out the menu, coffee was straight up and good, this isn’t a latte and cappuccino kind of place. The waitress was sassy and hilarious. I am pretty sure she is my spirit animal, or at the very least me in a parallel life. I asked her to marry me after some fantastic zingers she through at my dad. She was his kind of waitress too. Fun, efficient and the right amount of sass you expect at a diner.

There were five of us and we ordered Eggs Benedict, a stack of pancakes with eggs and sausage, waffles , and mom can’t be easy and order a menu item so she went with 3 sides. We waited ten minutes at most before massive portions arrived before us.

Every dish came with fresh fruit and eggs were made to order. The food was delicious and I immediately understood why this place was so popular. My dad raved about this place and loved every minute of it. Excellent  value all around!

After breakfast we went to the counter to pay and were given tiny little candies that said “Eat Me”. I was over the moon with the Alice in Wonderland reference. We were told there is a Alice in Wonderland Mother’s Day Tea Party that happens every year too. Mom and I will have to remember to check that out next year.

Now I think I want to give lunch a try or maybe a milkshake. If you haven’t been before, I recommend it. I think it’s the best diner fare in the city.

You can find it in west Edmonton at 16604 B- 109 Ave or give them a call 780-756-5656

 

 

Rainy Days or the Ohana Donuterie Day

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I love a rainy day. Curling up by the window with a cosy quilt and a great book, I am lost in the coolness of the day. Or give me an umbrella and I am ready to walk and explore my neighbourhoods to see what people are up to when they are not outside enjoying the sunshine. Both are good rainy days.

Yesterday was a rainy day. This was an especially nice alternative to the snowy day we had one week prior. I was sitting on the love seat in my room, gazing outside through the rain splattered window and had the urge to go exploring. I bought an umbrella in Vancouver two years ago and love to use it every chance I get. This may seem odd, but it doesn’t seem to rain enough to use it here in Edmonton. We get rain, often at night with accompanying thundershowers, short downpours that last 10 minutes at most. A long slow rain is my favourite and it calls to me.

I had finished reading and decided to go try a doughnut place in Old Strathcona that I heard about but had not yet explored. I called to my daughter, she was game and then asked the hubs if he wanted to join. I didn’t feel like driving and he is often game. I told him the name and let him look it up on the map. I also didn’t feel like navigating.

Chatter Box and I grabbed our umbrellas and hopped into the car. Soon we were navigating the streets of Old Strathcona when I asked, “Do you know where it is?”

He said, “It seems to be in a back alley, which is odd but I might be wrong.”

He wasn’t wrong. Ohana Donuterie is indeed in a back alley – sort of. 10347-80 Ave, Edmonton, AB. Lots of parking out front. You will understand when you arrive, its an alley but it’s not. It’s the kind of place I would take friends from out of town. It’s warm and welcoming, unusual and delicious.

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Walking into the space, I immediately like the bike rack, it obviously understands the clientele.

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I looked around the room and decided it felt like a ‘new’ Hawaiian shop. It is a new distressed shop. I loved the palet, I loved the decor and I loved the smell of coffee and sugar when I walked in.

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I had heard this place made doughnuts to order while you waited. That meant they would be warm when they arrived on your plate. On a rainy day, warm doughnuts are the perfect snack, pair it with coffee and I am a willing participant!

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Chatterbox ordered: Vanilla Dip with Coconut Cream and a Chai latté with coconut milk and cinnamon. The Hubs ordered Vanilla Dip with Chocolate Cream and a latté. I ordered a Vanilla Dip with Chocolate Custard and a latté. For my son, we ordered a Chocolate Dip to go.

We wandered over to the window to watch them make our doughnuts.

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I have many friends who have visited Honolulu and RAVE about Hawaiian Donuts. They were originally Portuguese malasadas. Long story short, when you go to Hawaii you are asked if you had a donut. If you haven’t, people moan and are sad for you because apparently, they are life changing. I wouldn’t say that, but they are delicious!

These are just as delicious.

But it isn’t fast food. You cannot come here hoping to order a dozen and be on your way – that place is called Tim Hortons and it comes with a drive-thru. Ohana’s is slow food. Just like Hawaii. Things are slow and worth the wait. Except my coffee came after my donut. I like my coffee WITH my donut. I could have waited but there is a very good reason I didn’t.

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The doughnuts come warm. Fresh from the fryer. Yes, warm doughnuts are better. I had a chocolate custard and it was cold. It tasted like Laura Secord Pudding (does anyone remember what that tasted like? I was instantly transported!) I wanted to eat it while it was warm. My coffee came way later and it was just okay. It doesn’t make my top ten coffee list. BUT, its a really decent cup of coffee. Way better than typical donut shop coffee.

I wanted to try the other fillings because they had cream. No one would let me stick my finger in their cream filling. Probably a good call on their part.

I suspect they use a granulated sugar for this confectionary because of the gritty texture. It isn’t smooth like liquid sugar. It made it taste homemade – which it kind of was.

It was the perfect snack for a cool rainy day. It would also be a great late night snack and a snowy day snack. There is also a food truck so, probably a really great festival snack too. It can’t be compared to Doughnut Party because they are different. equally great, but VERY different. While eating this all I could think of was my mom and her love of the Bismark. Do you remember those? Essentially a jelly doughnut covered in icing sugar. They came from the bakery at a time before donut shops in Sherwood Park. The warm would appeal to her too.

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18 for 18: Brunch at Café Linnea

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A few years ago my parents sold everything they owned and became Hobos. They travel the world by housesitting for people in Europe. It’s a fairly cool gig. They are submerged into the culture of other places, they learned how to feed and care for chickens and goats, they have lived on vineyards and champagne (farms? champangeyard?) estates. We skype weekly to keep in touch and I taught them about fun filters and share features on icloud, I sent epub books for Christmas and photos of my adventures. They returned to Canada for the nice non-winter parts when Edmonton shines its brightest and has the best festivals to play in. Both my mom and I think Edmonton is the best summer city in the world. Lots of people are angered by their leaving for long stretches at a time but the best advice my dad ever gave was this: “No one is forcing you to do what you don’t want to do. Say no, do what you want to do and is what right for you.” It only took me 50 years to live by that. My Epic 50th Year is taking me places I could not imagine for myself yet here I am living my best life. My parents are living their best life. This past year I said no to things that would shock you. But I slept better afterwards. I have my parents to thank for that.

They returned last week after a 5-month hiatus that felt like 6. It was an In like a Lion moment for March where the temperatures plummeted and the snow came down all at once. We were blessed with an additional foot of snow. Welcome, Home! No, I don’t want to hear about daisies blooming unless you brought some. But thanks for the bottle of Bordeaux! Now it feels like winter is gone! Okay, I do like hearing about the meadow blossoms and the fields of green. I also like seeing some of the bad-ass stuff my dad does like this fun photo from my sister (she went to visit them in France) That’s my dad, breaking rules like a boss since 1948. Those are the fun things I like about travel.

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Where was I? Right…they came home!

It was Mom’s birthday this week and what do you get the person who doesn’t want to own anything but only likes experiences? Breakfast of course! We needed a long newsy visit to catch up. I like to take my parents to places they have not been before. Not easy to do for these people. But I succeed every time. I decided to cross off one of my 18 for 18 items while I was at it. We drove down 119 street when my dad said, “How have I lived here all my life and have never been on this street?” SCORE! I did it!

I booked the private dining room at Café Linnea and we were the first to arrive at the restaurant.  I was struck by the sunshine in this place. This is the old garment district. The restaurant is converted warehouse space. They did a fantastic job making it feel warm and comfortable.

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I grew up with those chairs and tables. We lived in the 70’s with the teak modern style. What I would GIVE for those chairs today!

The private dining room looks like it would hold 12 people comfortably. I booked it for 6 and we had space to sit and visit. It was perfect for the welcome home birthday brunch!

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I heard the drinks menu was delicious but we stuck with coffee.

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This was a good latté. It is not my favourite in the city but I did enjoy it. (favourite goes to Mandolin Books and Café Bicyclette) That meringue on the side was chocolate flavoured with melted chocolate concealed within and is now my favourite treat of all time. It was perfection!

We lingered over coffee and tea (apparently the Provence tea was a delight!)  We struggled with the menu trying to decide what would be the best choice. Mom ordered strictly sides because it was her birthday and you can do what you want when you are celebrating. Everyone else ordered a main.

 

The bacon, the sourdough bread and pickled mushrooms were exquisite, everything else was just delicious. We thought about dessert because they told us about the feature, bread pudding french toast. Bread pudding is my Dad’s favourite of all time. He claims the best is found in New Orleans. My parents are experts at world travel so I believe him. In the end, we decided to take mom to Doughnut Party because she had never been before and had only read about it here on my blog, it was also conveniently located next door.  We all bought doughnuts to take home for later.

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Just an FYI, the chocolate banana was life-changing.

Was Café Linnea worth it? Absolutely. Would I go again? YES! I want to try a couple more things on the menu. Maybe take my sister there to celebrate a thing we are planning. Her and I will obviously try the drinks menu.

Go. It is located at 119 Street Northwest #10932, visit their website here for menu and info.

Edmonton Tourist: Woodrack Café

img_5994I have been driving by this café since they broke ground a couple of years ago. I figured with a name like Woodcock, it was a steak place. Today after a race package pickup in the neighbourhood, I decided to stop in and see if I could grab a nice lunch. It was a total score, there was awesome coffee AND amazing soup on the menu.  This is what caught my eye:

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Coconut Curry Soup with rice. That is one of my favourite flavour combinations so I decided I was staying for lunch.

First impressions was this was a charming café. Rustic and whimsical with a touch of grandma. I looked over in the corner and there was a sofa I remember from my childhood. My Grandma had bought a similar one at Campbell’s Furniture way back in the day. I loved that sofa! So seeing it here brought back great memories, already a win for me.

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I looked at the menu board to see if something else caught my eye.

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Nope, I still really wanted the Coconut Curry Soup and ordered it with a roll. I checked out the sweet counter and decided I wanted a kids cookie because who doesn’t love a great sugar cookie? I also took the last Chocolate Chip cookie to see how it compared to mine, while it was good, mine are still better. My lunch companion had the Whoopie Pie because as the sign says it is a specialty! I ordered a cafe latte because the point of this year is to visit new coffee places and delicious coffee that is created inside.

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The coffee was rich and creamy. While delicious, I found there was more foam than I prefer. Next time, and there will be lots of next times, I will order light foam.

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The cookies were good but not something I would order again. To eat cookie calories, the calories must taste better than my cookies and these did not. However, they were really delicious.(clearly mine are spectacular)

But the highlight of my culinary day had to be the soup. It is not often I make yummy noises while I eat. I am pretty sure people were staring but I was too engrossed in my soup. So flavourful and just the right amount of spice. I hope it is a regular menu item, but if their other soups are this good, then this is a must eat place for soup lovers!

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After we finished and licked the bowl clean, (I didn’t really but now wish I had…) We walked the perimeter of the café. I was pleasantly surprised to see an outdoor patio, it may not look like much to you, but for those of us who only get summer weather for about 3 months, outside time is a premium and we like to maximize it by dining outside.

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This place has been added to my list of great lunch stops or afternoon coffee breaks. I think you will be pleasantly surprise.

Edmonton Tourist: Café bicyclette

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I went out to breakfast Saturday. Breakfast has become my favourite meal of the day. If you knew me when….you must be laughing you head off. Why? Well, how many ways can you make eggs taste good? Seriously?  As I learned more about nutrition and understood how a really good breakfast made me feel in the morning and how it set the tone for the day ( yes I am a mom that is why I sound like one) I found a great breakfast to be so enjoyable!

I set out to Café bicyclette. I had only been once before and really enjoyed myself. I have a memory of their coffee being the best I have tasted so far. I decided to go back and see if my memory was correct or was it just the company that I was with.

This time, I went with the hubs. Last I went with a college pal. Different company, both charming.

Café Bicyclette is located in Edmonton’s French Quarter, small but charming, nestled next to the University of Alberta’s Campus Saint-Jean. I had been here previously for BYOV Fringe plays and had pals who talked about how much they liked it. So I went for breakfast.

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Breakfast is not table dining, that occurs for dinner. This was counter service. They have their regular menu – although it is written in chalk so I suspect it changes, and there is the special.

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I saw the pâtisserie counter and considered just sweets for breakfast.

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BUT I love Croque Monsieur ever since Madam told my daughter about it in French class. We made it, we ate it and now we love it. So I like to try different variations. This was was unexpected from my norm, but so tasty. I could eat it like a regular sandwich rather than with utensils, also unusual from the dish I had else where – like Be Our Guest Restaurant in Walk Disney World…that was also great.

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Le pain tasted like it was baked in-house. The sauce was tangy and of course dripped on my sweater having me smell fantastic all morning long. It was served with a side of cold dill potatoes. This was fine, but didn’t rock my taste buds. I am used to a cheese sauce poured over the sandwich, however, this was delicious. As I looked at the Hub’s breakfast I did experience a wee bit of regret. His Oeufs Benedictine had crispy potatoes. I had that last time and loved every bite.

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What I wished I had on my plate was that ruby red grapefruit grilled and sprinkled with brown sugar. He had bacon instead of ham and his hollandaise sauce was perfection.

But the star of the show? The café latté hands down my favourite coffee in Edmonton that I have tasted. Clearly I need to visit the best coffee houses so I can give an accurate judgement.

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The decor is charming with little bicycles scattered around and black and white bicycle prints along the back wall. There is a floor to ceiling wall of light that adds a sunny atmosphere to this café. They also have a winter patio complete with throws and fireplaces so you can enjoy your Chai or Latté snuggled up. Edmontonians are a hardy bunch. Patios are not just for summer anymore.

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The preperations for the Flying Canoe Festival have begun and this is one festival that I have not participated in yet. So I booked my calendar and I am ready to roll. It is a French Canadian/ Métis festival that happens in my favourite creek. I am really looking forward to that and will come back to you with a full report because after all, I am the Edmonton Tourist.

Organic Food or a Snickers bar – easy choice…now

Over the past couple of years in my Edmonton Tourist Journey, I have made an attempt to change habits for the better. Particularly food habits. It isn’t enough to just reduce calories, I need those calories to count towards healthy fuel building vitamins and junk like that.

My first time around in University, I would drink a coke classic and eat a snickers bar to get me through the day. Then have dinner with the family.

Coke = 160 of empty calories

Snickers = 250 mostly empty calories – it has a 1g of fibre and 4g of protein

Why? Well, I liked sugar. My boyfriend/fiance at the time preferred his women skinny and measured my belly fat on a regular basis and always gave me that disapproving look. Don’t GET ME STARTED! So, if I limited my intake during the day I could eat real food at night, I got my coke and chocolate fix and I existed on about 800 calories a day. Totally messed up my metabolism and health and life and DON’T GET ME STARTED! The biggest point I am trying to make is people can make positive changes in their life and stick it out.

I have discussed this with my dietician and I understand the need for variety in my life. I also understand why I need 4 – 6 servings of vegetables a day. 6 cups of bagged lettuce is not optimum. It will do in a pinch, but Lisa my dietician gets on my case about variety.

Here is my problem: I am a creature of habit. I go to the store and buy the same thing every week. Then I go home and make the same thing every week. Then I eat the same thing every week.

My metabolism is looking at me thinking “are you crazy? this is BORING!” then it falls asleep zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

So, I decided to do something about it. A Blogger Friend I read No Giving Up Now (although lately he is outside running all the time and has stopped blogging) orders a farm box and gets produce and other organic yummy things delivered to his home. It is an effort to buy local and support local organic farming. He lives in Ohio. That is not local for me.

Then a friend on facebook announced that she is doing the same thing only with a local company (of course) here in Edmonton! WHAT??? SIGN ME UP!

So I did.

And my first delivery came yesterday!

The delivery guy came to the door with this giant box.

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I opened it up and found this

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I unpacked the contents – it felt like an awesome trip to the farmers market! and found this

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Here is the list:

1 per Mango – Tommy Atkins
1 per Melon – Cantaloupe
1 per Apples – Gala
1 per Apples – Gala
2 per Apples – Pink Lady
1 pint Strawberries
2 per Oranges – Navel
1 Bunch Bananas – Fair Trade
1 Bunch Beets – Bunched Red
1 Bag Potatoes – Yellow – Local (T)
1 2 lbs Yellow Onions – Local
1 per Cucumber – LE – BC Local
1 per Avocado Haas – Fair Trade
1 per Eggplant – Black Globe
1 2-3 per Vine Tomatoes – BC Local
2 Head Lettuce – Red Leaf
1 30 g Broccoli Shoots – Local

The Broccoli shoots ended up being Sunflower shoots. I sampled them because I never had them before – yummy nutty and are going into my garden!! I am making a veg sandwich today with those in it! The strawberries that I had for breakfast taste like wild ones I pick in the mountains. I am super impressed with the quality.

The concept is easy. You sign up on the web page for the size box you want/need. I picked the large box for $55 because I have teens to feed – although my son thinks vegetables are a waste of money. It is my responsibility to keep him alive until he moves out then he’s on his own…

There are smaller less expensive boxes available. They send out an email each weekend telling you what is in the new box coming up. You can make changes. I didn’t take parsnips this week because no one else will eat them, so I got more lettuce and fruit instead.  They have other organic things like meat, milk, eggs, cereals etc that you can add to your box. You never have to go to the grocery store again. I love that idea.

The box came with a newsletter and a recipe. I leave the box on my porch next week for pickup and they bring me a new box filled with farmer’s market goodness. The variety will challenge me and all of it is good for me. I think I am liking this process.

If you head over to www.theorganicbox.ca and decide to sign up, tell them I sent you and use this email ragrobyn@gmail.com

Just spreading the yummy love around.