If you follow me on Instagram or Snapchat, you may have noticed that I started making my own jam. Yes, my tiny little condo kitchen has been turned into a jam making factory. In the last month, I’ve churned out two batches of strawberry jam, two batches of strawberry/rhubarb jam and one batch of lemon/strawberry jelly. The canning addiction has hit me full force and we’ve barely scratched the surface of raspberry, blueberry, apple or peach season. I keep joking with Trevor that by the end of summer, he’ll be able to build himself a fort with all the jars.
Over the years, the most popular post has been my recipe for Easy Yogurt Overnight Oats (thanks, Buzzfeed) and as the temperature continues to go up, it’s easy to see why. They are super easy to make because all the prep is done the night before and you get to wake up to a cold, creamy breakfast that can be dressed up with all the fruit and toppings your heart desires. A definite plus for me because I tend to be very zombie-like first thing in the morning and the window between waking up and leaving for work tends to feel very short.
Lately, I’ve been posting a quick photo of my weekday breakfasts on Snapchat and it’s helped me become a little more creative with what I eat. When I was a teenager, I was perfectly happy with a large bowl of Cheerios or another kind of cereal, but over the last years I’ve discovered that boxed cereal doesn’t fill me up the same way. Right now, I’m really into simple foods with lots of veggies or fruit (hello berry season!) and anything that doesn’t take a lot of time to put together.
I feel like a broken record when I talk about how quiet I’ve been here. Lots of baking and cooking has been going on in the background, but nothing blog-worthy or anything that I could call my own until now.
In April, I felt a little burnt out from cooking until we did some major spring cleaning. I went through my cookbook collection, pulled out my favourites and placed them in a high-traffic, visible spot near our couch. The move to the couch has been great because I sometimes get restless when watching TV and flipping through cookbooks are a great alternative to playing mindless games on my iPad. As a result, our meals have had a lot more variety and I actually look forward to spending time in the kitchen again. I highly recommend this method if anyone feels like they are in a rut and don’t know what to make for supper. It’s also been great for planning ahead for breakfasts in the morning and for packing lunches for work.
My experience in the kitchen started at a young age. I remember trailing after my Grandma when she was in the kitchen and “helping” lick whipping cream off the detachable beaters. On nights when I wasn’t doing homework, I would watch my Mom prepare supper and reluctantly set the table (my least favourite chore). I made chocolate chip cookies so often that I had the recipe from The Purity Cookbook memorized before I reached a double-digit age. But my real training in the kitchen didn’t occur until I was 11 years old and my Mom was pregnant with my sister.
For the past month I’ve been making a point of going through and cleaning up old files on my computer (call it spring cleaning if you will) and a couple days ago I came across the cookbook I made for my Grandma. I filled it with family photos, fun little snippets and of course, a round-up of her most loved, family favourite recipes. Last December I hounded my Mom to send me photos from her recipe notebook and then spent countless evenings transcribing her handwritten notes. The structure of each handwritten recipe was the same: title, ingredient list, oven temperature and then total minutes (i.e. 350*F – 11 minutes). That’s it. Luckily I spent a lot of my childhood and teen years observing her in the kitchen, so I was able to understand the lack of instruction for the most part, along with the help of a little kitchen intuition and of course, advice from my Mom.
Over the years I’ve featured a couple of my Grandma’s recipes here on the blog, but it wasn’t until I started the cookbook project that I was able to get her recipe for monster cookies. And after having a blast stacking cookies, taking photos and getting crumbs everywhere, I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to finally share the recipe. Always a crowd pleaser, monster cookies are fun, chewy cookies that are notably made with peanut butter, rolled oats and filled with lots of chocolate chips and M& M’s. As former peanut butter loathing child, I always wondered why my Grandma had jars of the stuff in her pantry and now I think I have my answer.