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Photos of Our Christmas 2014

Christmas 2014

Christmas 2014

This was our first sunny Christmas day in as long as l can remember, crisp and bright and full of possibility.

We were tempted to spend the day outside, but instead we pulled back the curtains, let the sun in and spent a relaxing day inside.

We slept in and opened our presents late; for breakfast, we drank hot chocolate with thick slices of panettone slathered with butter, and snacked on chocolaty Belgian cookies and oranges throughout the day.

Christmas 2014 Christmas 2014

Christmas 2014

Christmas 2014

Ours was a lovely Christmas, filled with good food, wonderful people and lots of laughter and lounging.

We ate dinner early, stuffing ourselves with cardamom rice with caramelized onions, spiced Puy lentils and Aleppo pepper blackened wild salmon.

We tried jade pearl rice for the first time and adapted (very, very loosely) the caramelized onion & cardamom rice recipe from the Jerusalem cookbook – it’s a beautifully aromatic and delicious one-pot dish.

We bought the lentilles du Puy months ago from a shop around rue Montorgueil in Paris, and brought it home specially for this dinner; and the salmon is from the waters around Parksville Qualicum Beach here in BC.

The food was spectacular, prepared by @pearlsa who continually manages to turn the humblest of ingredients into a nourishing and delightful fare.

Christmas 2014 Christmas 2014
Christmas 2014 Christmas 2014

Christmas 2014

Thankfully, I have more time this week to relax, catch up on my sleep, reflect and look forward to the fresh New Year.

In the meantime, I wanted to share a few fun photos of our Christmas 2014…

I hope you’re having a wonderful and joy-filled festive time, that you’re spending time with loved ones and there’s plenty of laughter and delicious food.

Christmas 2014

Christmas 2014

More photos of our Christmas 2014

Christmas Custard Cookies

Christmas Custard Cookies
Christmas Custard Cookies Christmas Custard Cookies

We got a scant eight hours of daylight today, which was just a really grey dark day with a momentary spurt of sunshine.

There is however a cheerful hopefulness about today being the shortest day of the year; it means we’re slowly inching toward those glorious days of summer… but before that comes the most joyous anticipation of all, it’s four more sleeps to Christmas day!

We spent the weekend mostly baking cookies – there were hours spent mixing butter and sugar with flour, shaping and baking our favourite cookies for sharing with friends and neighbours.

Christmas Custard Cookies Christmas Custard Cookies
Christmas Custard Cookies

We make these cookies with custard powder; they’re buttery, has the perfect crunch, smell heavenly and are so easy to make.

And look at the pretty festive yellow colour; it’s enough to brighten a dull wintry day!

I have a lone day of work tomorrow then I’ll be home for the remainder of the year, I’ll probably spend my time holed up in my tiny kitchen making more cookies.

I found the perfect recipe for linzer cookies or maybe I’ll make these snowy wedding cookies, I’ve been meaning to make more almond flour based cookies or perhaps a second or third batch of these special Christmas custard cookies.

I do so love them, they’re hit with everyone who has tried them, with a texture so delicately rich they melt in your mouth.

It’s an unfussy cookie with just six ingredients, and a few minutes required to mix the dough and bake the cookies, and then you’ll be rewarded with these delicious buttery and cute shortbreads.

Christmas Custard Cookies Christmas Custard Cookies

Christmas Custard Cookies
A delightfully buttery melt-in-your-mouth shortbread cookies
  1. 1/2 cup (4.4oz) dairy-free butter substitute, softened
  2. 1/4 cup icing sugar, sifted, plus more for dusting
  3. 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  4. 1/4 teaspoon kosher sea salt
  5. 1/3 cup custard powder
  6. 2/3 cup white whole-wheat flour
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F., line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. Cream butter and icing sugar in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy
  3. Add vanilla extract and salt, and mix
  4. Add custard powder and flour to the butter mixture; use a spatula to mix until well combined
  5. Cover dough with a plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes
  6. Shape dough in balls and place on baking sheet, flatten them slightly with a fork and space them about 2 inches apart
  7. To press cookies through a cookie press, scrape dough into a cookie press fitted with a decorative plate and follow the manufacturer’s instructions – press out cookies spacing them about 2 inches apart.
  8. Bake for 8 – 10 minutes, remove cookies as soon as edges start to brown – do not let them brown!
  9. Transfer cookies onto a rack to cool, dust with more icing sugar if desired
  10. Enjoy!
  1. I'd recommend using Bird’s Custard Powder in these cookies but in a pinch, you can use cornstarch.
  2. I used white whole-wheat flour because that is what I had, all-purpose flour works too.
Adapted from A Spoonful of Sugar
the Whinery by Elsa Brobbey http://elsbro.com/blog/
Christmas Custard Cookies Christmas Custard Cookies

Breakfast Bulgur with Peanuts and Popcorn

Bulgur Breakfast

This time last year we put up the Christmas decorations and ate granola, and a little tree trimming tradition was born; make a huge breakfast, play carols and let everyone pitch in.

This year we made a big pot of bulgur porridge, warm, filling and comforting, and slightly tart from a squeeze of lemon.

This bulgur breakfast is akin to oatmeal, with a lovely chewy texture and nutty flavour.
Normally, we love our bulgur porridge creamy, cooked in (plant) milk and topped with nuts and dried fruit; it’s the ideal breakfast for wintry mornings.

This time we let the warm nutty bulgur flavour shine on its own with a little boost from sour lemon juice, added a little sweetener and topped it with lots of popcorn and peanuts for crunch.

Christmas Christmas

If having popcorn for breakfast sounds odd to you, consider this, back in the 1800s Americans were eating popcorn cereal for breakfast just like you would corn flakes.

Popcorn and peanuts are a fine pairing, we pop the corn ourselves so it’s fresh but you can use any type of popcorn you want, and we love the added protein from the peanuts.

We loved that this breakfast bulgur with peanuts and popcorn is not just delicious, quirky and fun… it is nutritious as well.

Bulhur Breakfast

Christmas Christmas

I can’t think of a more energy boosting breakfast for the task of putting up festive decorations; it made untangling the Christmas lights bearable, and added to the excitement of setting up twinkly lights, hanging stockings and decorating the tree.

Our ornaments are odd and quirky, some certainly sentimental; a mishmash of “stuff” we’ve gathered along the way, a reminder of years past and the joys of the season.

This is my favourite time of the year for sure; I like that we generally try to be kinder to each other, and celebrate good food.

Bulgur Breakfast

Breakfast Bulgur with Peanuts and Popcorn
A nutritious protein-filled delightful hot breakfast cereal with a nutty and fun twist.
  1. 1 cup water
  2. 1/2 cup medium-grind bulgur (dried cracked wheat)
  3. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  4. 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  5. 1 – 2 tablespoons brown sugar to taste
  6. 1 – 1/2 cup popcorn for topping
  7. 1 cup roasted peanuts for topping
  1. Toast bulgur in a dry skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often until browned lightly, about 3 – 5 minutes
  2. Combine water, bulgur and salt in a saucepan or pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil
  3. Reduce heat and let porridge simmer for 10 – 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until bulgur is tender and is the consistency of oatmeal
  4. Stir in lemon juice and sugar
  5. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with lots of popcorn and peanuts
  6. Enjoy!
  1. Use 1/4 cup lemon juice for a tarter taste
Adapted from marthastewart.com
Adapted from marthastewart.com
the Whinery by Elsa Brobbey http://elsbro.com/blog/


Bulgur Breakfast


Christmas 2013

Christmas 2013

It truly is the most wonderful time of the year, Christmas is my favourite holiday – I love everything about it, the preparations, the giddiness and the anticipation leading up to the day, the carols and the adorable twinkly lights.

I love that we’re a little compassionate during this season, and I love that I get to spend the day in my PJs, be merry and spend quality time with my very favourite people.

Christmas 2013
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There’s always a peaceful quietness I relish about Christmas day, as always, our day was super relaxed and cozy.
We slept in, ate spiced banana cake with tea and shared a delightful moment hanging out and opening presents.

For Christmas 2013 we decided on dinner instead of the breakfast/brunch we normally do.

We had a little feast of wild rice salad with dried fruits and nuts, lentils baked in pastry (lentils en croute), a simple balsamic vinegar roasted fennel and cilantro and cranberry sauces to go with it.

Dessert was a citrus and ginger bûche de Noël from one of our favourite bakeries.

I loved the rustic simplicity of our meal and maybe next time we’ll do some baked salmon for the pescetarians.

I hope you had a magical and merry Christmas! :-)

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But wait, there’re some more photos from our Christmas Day… !

Scenes from a Christmas Morning


Happy New Year, dear reader; here’s to a year filled with peace, joy, laughter, success and all the wonderful things you desire.
I’m excited for this new year, starting with good intentions, promise and hope for lasting change.
Although, I’m going to miss the magical few weeks I spent at home savouring the splendour of the holidays. I hope your holiday was magical and relaxing too.
On Christmas morning we baked a lovely blueberry lemon loaf (recipe coming soon), brewed coffee in our new Chemex (more on this soon) and tea – and had breakfast while exchanging presents.
The laughter and conversation flowed late into the afternoon… one of those rare merry moments I wish could last forever.

And here are some…’scenes from a Christmas morning’


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