Our “Tornado Smashed” Gingerbread House!


My tornado memoir – “Twisted” was released on 05/22/12! click here for more details, or to purchase!

Back on May 22, when a tornado smashed our house, I had no idea how long the road ahead of us would be. I had no idea that, coming up on Christmas, I would be without a kitchen, would still be fighting the city, and that I’d only be beginning to process the trauma of the whole thing.

In fact, up until a few days ago, I was pretty sure I’d dealt with the trauma. I was convinced I’d managed to just put it aside entirely, and get to work. I thought that we were so “over” the tornado, that we could have a bit of fun with it.

I have no idea why we thought it would be a good idea / funny to make a gingerbread house representation of our house on May 23. No clue. It seemed like a good idea at the time, and hey – I’d never made a gingerbread house before. If it turned out looking horrible, I had the ultimate excuse: It being “tornado smashed”, it’s SUPPOSED to look awful/be falling apart.

So, I did a bit of research. I obsessed over fellow Food Bloggers of Canada member Barry Parsons’ Rock Recipes Blog – where he has detailed instructions for making gingerbread houses. He does just phenomenal work, you should check it out!

tornado gingerbread house

Anyway, armed with Barry’s gingerbread house recipe and TONS of source material photos from back in May, I set to work. (more…)

Confetti Bars!

Short and sweet post today: Confetti Bars!

.. so I’ve been dealing with a sick husband the past couple of days. While shopping for “sick” groceries (stuff we don’t have on hand, that are good to have around for illness – OJ, chicken soup, yogurt, etc), somehow I started thinking about confetti bars.

Yeah, I have no idea either. My brain sometimes makes completely bizarre leaps like that.

Anyway, confetti bars. Haven’t had em in a long time, and have noticed that they definitely aren’t the ubiquitous party / holiday treat here, that they are back home. You can’t go to a Canadian potluck, Christmas dinner, or wedding social without coming across these things! I’m not taking any credit for the recipe itself, as it’s one that you just learn as a kid, and absolutely everyone knows. You know, aside from most of the Minnesota locals that I know!

Are they a Canadian thing? I don’t know. Whatever they are, they take like 2 minutes to make, and are super addictive. Definitely a case of “The whole being greater than the sum of its parts”!

With 2017 being Canada’s 150th birthday, it’s about time I wrote the Canadian cookbook I’ve been planning for YEARS.

“More than Poutine” will be a Canadian cookbook like no other – written by a Canadian living away, it includes both traditional homecooking recipes, as well as homemade versions of many of the snacks, sauces, convenience foods, and other food items that are hard to come by outside of Canada!

High quality gluten-free versions of most recipes are included.

“More Than Poutine” is available for purchase, here.

Christmas at the Porter House

The holiday season means many different things to many different people. As an Agnostic married to an Atheist, and with all of our local relatives being of the Jehovah’s Witness persuasion (and therefore not celebrating at all), we’ve come to make the holiday season fun and meaningful in our own way.

We may not go crazy with gifts, attend mass, or have family to gather and celebrate with.. and we may be scrooges with the vast majority of holiday music… but we’ve developed our own traditions:

We enjoy the annual viewing of Santa’s Slay – which, really, has got to be the greatest holiday movie ever!.

We start brewing a batch of holiday wine. Last year, it was a gorgeous fruity mead, flavored with the peels of holiday “Cuties” oranges. This year, we used more Cuties peels to flavor a big bastard 5 gallon batch of cranberry wine. Yum! (*hic!*)

… and then there’s the tree. No, we may not celebrate the holiday season in any traditional ways, but we figure we’re close enough to pagan to be able to sorta co-op THAT part of the holiday. Or at least that’s our excuse 🙂

Our fully “decorated” tree, as it appears
on Christmas day!

Many people take a lot of pride in the final appearance of their Christmas tree. We do too, but our “final” is a bit different. Like many people, the decoration of our tree is a family event, with lots of help from the kids. Instead of taking place over the course of a few hours, ours takes place over the course of the whole holiday season.

Oh… and our kids have four legs and claws! Click through for photos of Christmas as it happens here at our house… be forewarned: cuteness overload ahead! (more…)