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Triple Ginger Pumpkin Muffins!! Gluten-free Deliciousness!

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Although spring is coming soon, I am still in the mood for winter comfort food.  We have been having some very cold days, so I was inspired to tweak a pumpkin muffin recipe that I often use and amp it up a bit with three types of ginger; candied, dried and fresh.  I hope you try these out, they are delicious.

Photo credit: Elsie Bauer
Photo credit: Elsie Bauer

Triple Ginger Pumpkin Muffins

Dry Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups of gluten-free flour (or all-purpose flour)

1 tsp Xanthan gum (omit if using regular flour)

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp ground dried ginger

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground allspice

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

pinch of black pepper (optional)

Wet Ingredients:

2 eggs room temperature (or equivalent amount of egg replacer)

1 cup pumpkin puree

2 tsp grated fresh ginger

1 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup of coconut or other plant-based milk (use regular milk if not Vegan)

1/3 cup melted butter or Vegan substitute

1/4 cup finely chopped candied ginger

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line muffin pan with paper muffin cups.  Mix dry ingredients together well in a large bowl.  In another bowl mix wet ingredients together well until well mixed.  Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix gently until they are well incorporated.  Do not over mix.  Spoon into muffin cups and bake for 25 minutes until tester comes out clean.  Allow to cool if you can resist the urge to eat them hot out of the oven like I do.  These are spicy and delicious and great comfort food.  Hope you try them out.  Cheers, Michele

Happy Holidays To All!!

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Whether you are spending this holiday season with just a few close family, friends and loved ones or a huge festive gathering is in your future, I just want to wish you a very happy holiday season.  May it be filled with all the best things in life; love, the closeness of family and friends, good food and drink and all your holiday wishes coming true.  From my family to yours; Happy Holidays!!  Cheers, Michele

Some Of My Best Thrift Finds Of All Times!! So Far!

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A true thrifter will tell you that the best part of the fun of thrifting is the challenge and the hunt for the great finds.  But also, it is finding that find…that perfect piece at a fantastic price.  The brag worthy piece that will have pride of place in your wardrobe.  These are just a few of my best and favourite finds so far.

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This white Danier leather motorcycle jacket was mistakenly priced at $9.99 and I got it for $4.50 on a 50% off day…score one for the thrifting team!!

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This dress I made from the thrifted bed skirt.

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This dress that I made from a thrifted table cloth.

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These scarves tops made from thrifted vintage scarves.

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These vintage handbags are just a few of my favourites.

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These thrifted dresses.  Most are vintage.

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These leopard print shoes which are some of my most worn pairs.
So there are just a few of my favourite and most loved and best thrift finds.  What are your favourite finds from the thrift store?  Cheers, Michele

Favourite Forensic Pathology And Anthropology Books!!

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My dream job would be to work full-time in forensic pathology, but as I am a casual with three jobs in pathology including forensics, I just have to dream this will come true.  So I read and study and day-dream about it.  I know this is not a job that most people would want to do, but it is for me the best job ever.  Here are just a few of my favourite forensic and forensic anthropology books, both non-fiction and fiction.

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Any of the Jefferson Bass Body Farm books (fiction).

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Forensic Anthropology books.

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Forensic Pathology books.
I read a lot of different kinds of books, but forensics is my favourite whether it is non-fiction or fiction.  They feed my dream to one day work full-time in forensics, participate in a mass grave exhumation or work in forensic anthropology.  Cheers, Michele

Quick Kimchi!! Spicy Korean Goodness!

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I mentioned in my Bibimbap post that I love Korean food and a quintessential part of this cuisine is their delicious fermented foods.  Kimchi with Napa cabbage being one of the most common types.  I was inspired and borrowed this recipe from one of my favourite Youtubers; Maangchi who has a wonderful channel and blog as well as her own cookbook.  You should check her out.  This is a quick and delicious version of Kimchi when you don’t have weeks to prepare it ahead and just have a sudden craving for something delicious and spicy.

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Quick Kimchi

1 large Napa cabbage (you can substitute regular green cabbage if needed)

1 cup water

1/4 cup of salt

Paste Mix:

6 cloves of garlic finely minced

1 carrot peeled and finely julienned

1 Tbsp sugar

3 green onions chopped

1/4 cup of fish sauce (I will reduce this a bit next time as the result was a bit too salty for my taste)

1/4 cup of dried hot pepper flakes (I got mine in an Asian Market)

Finely shred the cabbage, removing the hard core at the bottom.  Place in a large bowl and mix in the salt and water.  Massage the cabbage well, coating it all with the salt.  Let sit for 15 minutes.  While the cabbage is soaking, mix together the garlic, carrot, sugar, green onions, fish sauce and hot pepper flakes into a paste.

Once the cabbage has soaked in the salty water, pour off the excess liquid and rinse at least three times in cold water until the cabbage doesn’t taste salty.  Squeeze out the excess water and add the paste.  Mix well, massaging the paste into the cabbage until completely coated.  Place in a large lidded container and press down to remove all the air.  Put it in a safe spot on your kitchen counter for a day or two.  Check to see if it is fermenting by pushing down on the mixture with a spoon, bubbles should come up and there should be a bright red liquid in the container, yeah, it’s working.  Science and food are amazing!!  Then place the container in the refrigerator to allow the fermentation process to continue slowly.  It can be eaten fresh which is delicious or you can keep this for months and serve with what ever you want, Korean food or otherwise.  It has been scientifically proven that eating a diet with fermented foods added in is very healthy and nutritious.  I hope you try this recipe out and check out Maangchi’s blog and Youtube channel.  Cheers, Michele

Why I Love The Comox Valley, British Columbia!!

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I recently spent a wonderful week with my dad and his girlfriend Carol in their beautiful new home in the Comox Valley.  We had a truly lovely time and I got to meet some members of Carol’s family as well.  I previously lived in Comox for a total of 16 years of my life and my husband and I would love to return here and retire.  Here are just some of the many reasons I love the beautiful Comox Valley.

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The mountains and glaciers.

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The beaches.

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The farmers’ markets.

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The food and wine.  There are several wineries and artisanal breweries here in the valley.
The best part about the valley is that we will be able to renew old friendships and make new ones.  I will be able to be close to my family.  And one of the best things is that it rarely snows in the valley as it is a rainforest climate with short rainy winters and long sunny summers.  Here is hoping that the next year or so has my husband and I having a new Comox valley address.  Wish me luck!  Cheers, Michele

Homemade Bibimbap!! Korean Deliciousness!

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So lately I have been watching a lot of Youtube videos of Korean cooking as I have been craving it and I got inspired to make my own Bibimbap which is one of my favourite dishes of all time. I won’t give all the recipes for the various toppings and the side dishes as I got them all from a lady named Maangchi who is an amazing Korean cook and shares her recipes on Youtube, in her cookbook and on her website at www.maangchi.com.  You should check her out!

Bibimbap

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First you need a well-seasoned heavy stoneware or cast-iron pan.

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Then make some short grain rice in the usual method that I have shared several times on this blog.

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I already made some Kimchi yesterday and it is already fermenting, yeah science!!

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I made some seaweed salad as a side dish as well.

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And a daikon radish and Korean pear salad too.

For the toppings, I made the following:

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Julienne carrot

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Zucchini

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Steamed sweet potato

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Preserved turnip that I bought at a local Asian store.

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Steamed bean sprouts

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Sauteed Shiitake mushrooms

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Enoki mushrooms

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Thinly sliced pork with seasonings

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Thinly sliced beef with seasonings

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Lotus root sautéed with garlic and green onion

So once my rice is well cooked, I heated up my cast-iron pan over medium high heat add some vegetable and sesame oil and add about 4-5 cups of cooked rice.  Then I arranged my various toppings on top and place a raw egg yolk or three (since there are three of us for dinner tonight) in the centre.  Once the rice starts to cook on the bottom and crackle and sizzle and steam will rise up from the pan.  Then I removed it from the stove and stirred it all together at the table.  The point is to stir in the ingredients and the heat of the hot rice heats them up.  I decided to err on the side of caution and cook the meats up before adding them to the Bibimbap but traditionally the meat goes on top raw and cooks in the sizzling hot rice.

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Here is the hot pepper paste that I served with our dinner.

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Here is the finished product!!  Gorgeous, delicious and nutritious!!!  It was very well received by my daughter Kate and her fiancé Chris.  Definitely a repeatable dish.

I hope you try out making some of the recipes from Maangchi’s website and Youtube videos.  She is a wonderful cook and teacher and is quite enjoyable to watch.  Cheers, Michele