They All Grow Up

Last night I returned from a week in Northern BC.   I decided that I needed to see my oldest daughter and thought a spring road trip was in order.  I headed off solo, equipped with snacks, water, coffee and loads of music and podcasts.  The first 5 hours were great.  I was singing, sipping and feeling inspired by the landscapes and the wisdom of the podcasts I had chosen.

After about 7 hours the novelty of the trip was wearing off and at 12 hours I decided this was down right ridiculous.  Although the landscapes are stunning, when you are by yourself a 14 hour drive is a little long.  It was my  plan to arrive while there was still some daylight but this was not to be.  My daughter was at work when I arrived and after taking a wrong exit and arriving in the ‘seedy side’ of town, I required a phone call to her at work so she could talk me in .  Geez, you would think I had never driven before.  The lack of lines on the road because of all the ploughing and sanding was not conducive to finding my way into a city I  was not familiar with.

After letting myself into her house and sleeping in the cozy bed she had ready for me, I awoke to get the coffee and myself ready for her arrival. ( she was working night shift when I arrived)  You know, it’s so strange to see your child grown up.  I know this might sound cliche but to see her arrive home with all her lunch containers, purse, keys and sporting the little “nurse jammies’ just seemed strange.  I sort of expected my happy little girl to show up and fall comfortably into her role of child and I her protective, wise mother.  Not so.

Don’t get me wrong, I am very pleased to see her “all growed up’ as my niece used to say; but man, is she ever a going concern.  She did not go to bed when she got home from night shift, we went all day; choosing  material to reupholster her dining room chairs, getting groceries, perusing the shops and preparing dinner and an hors oeuvres for the party we were going to after dinner.  The whole time the music was playing in the car while she had conversations with me and then texted as we shopped and chatted.  I felt exhausted from the flurry of activity.  Upon reflection, it was so interesting to see what I used to be like. She is me to a tee at that age, always going never wanting to miss out on anything.  Oh, did I mention that she could barely walk from the X-Fit classes and personal training she does?  Yikes, slow down please.

That being said, we had an amazing time and I grew to realize that she is a young woman, fully capable and equipped to live a good life.  She loves sports, works hard, loves to hike and hunt and is a great cook as well.  She prepared me moose burgers, BBQ salmon and a delicious moose steak salad.

She has loads of friends and aqaintances, three jobs and a man who loves her and whom she adores. She is kind, generous and compassionate.  What more could a mother wish for in her daughter?

Below is a picture of the delicious salmon meal we shared at my daughter’s friend’s home while looking out at the frozen lake they live next to. The evening was finished with a soak in the hot tub while chatting and enjoying the scenery of the stark frozen lake and the northern woods.






Baker goes Primal for 21 Days




A Spring day on the coast

Last night was Day 3 of the 21 Day Challenge I have set out for myself. My goal is to drastically cut the carbs for three weeks in order to shake a little winter hibernation weight and mood off.

While walking yesterday, I contemplated how my moods seem to mimic the Spring winds.   It can be sunny and warm, cloudy and dark, windy and cool and even snow or hail, all on the same day here on the coast.

I find my moods mimicking the weather.  One minute I am on top of the world rocking it out to my favourite tunes and the next minute I am in the depths of despair listening to Chopin’s Piano Sonata No. 2 in B-flat minor, Op. 35, otherwise known as ‘The Funeral March.’ I crave fresh, green food and then a moment later I can feel like diving into a gooey cinnamon bun.

Seriously, I need to get it together.  So, on that note I have decided to give myself a challenge to measure up to.  Yup. That’s right.  I am going to attempt to stick to something for 21 days, as opposed to my recent flitting from one thing to another, like a hummingbird gathering nectar.

As you know I love to cook and especially bake, so this plan does not exactly fit in with what I love to do but no matter.  I used some recipes from Primal websites for the first day and then in true Lauraleah fashion I ditched that tactic, knowing I could do better.

Last night was no exception. Our landlords live out on an island off the coast of Tofino and the last time they were here they gave us a bag of prawns.  I love fish and shellfish and am already tired of chicken so I thought prawns would be a nice change.

I looked through several recipes but in the end decided on something very quick and simple; Coconut prawns.


The preparation was so simple, anyone could handle it.

I simply peeled the prawns, rinsed them and patted them dry.

In two separate bowls I put one beaten egg and in the other some organic, unsweetened, shredded coconut.

In a frying pan I added a dollop of coconut oil and 3 cloves of chopped garlic.

Once the garlic started to sizzle I added the prawns which I had dipped in egg and then coconut and let them brown before turning.

In less than 15 minutes I had a scrumptious plate of prawns.


Coconut Prawns just out of the pan

My partner made the salad and I made the dressing and that was it.  Gourmet Primal, Lauraleah style.

To serve, we placed the prawns atop our salads, added a drizzle of dressing and dove into the meal.

We had enough leftovers to have for lunch the next day so when lunch rolls around today I don’t have to think about what we can eat.  Its in the fridge, plated just waiting for a drizzle of dressing.

Day 4 underway!


Coconut Prawn Salad

Spring Tidying

Comforting Lunch

fresh oat cakes, asiago cheese and figs in ginger syrup



lunch consumed, a cup of tea and a great read on a rainy spring day.




Today I have been spending some time learning more about setting up my blog.  One of the issues I have been struggling with is how to categorize my recipes so that they are easier for reader to locate on my blog.  Finally, I get it.  So today I created drop down menus under the Recipe tab on my blog which will allow readers to search more effectively for a recipe.  Most of the recipes I have are ones that I have used in previous blog posts.  I notice that I am missing some so I will spend more time today updating those.

I also spent a fair amount of time trying to insert the Pinterest hover button so that my photos could be pinned.  No luck. As far as I can understand my WordPress theme does not allow for plugins. If anyone knows differently please let me know.  I am so not a techy.

Of course what would a morning of blogging be without trying out a recipe.  I have been thinking about the oat cakes my Mom would make now and then when I was younger so I looked up a recipe online and quickly adapted the recipe to suit me.  They turned out great and as you can see by the photos I indulged in two for lunch accompanied by asiago cheese and some figs in ginger syrup that I canned last fall.  I used the immature second crop figs, which usually just freeze and drop to the ground before ripening.  A fine treat for a rainy spring day.

You should also notice that I have changed my blogroll and updated. Do check out some of the blogs I have listed.  I am especially fond of local milk right now.  Fantastic photo styling and recipes.

After a walk in the rain and a quick lunch I have had enough of technology and am moving on to knitting and weaving.

The Bread Pan Story




The Beacon Rise and Shine Kneading Pan purchased in Stonewall, Manitoba circa 1971




Check out this bread pan.  This is a large blue enamel bread pan that belonged to my mother.  It is an item in my kitchen that holds special meaning. ( really which items do I have that don’t?)

I remember exactly where and when my mother bought this item.

We were a long way from home travelling to visit my oldest brother who was living in Manitoba at the time.  It was of particular significance because it was our first long road trip as a family.  Me, my Mom and two older brothers piled into Mom’s Austin Cambridge, sans seat belts and headed east.  We left Vancouver Island and travelled for three days of straight driving if I recall correctly.  I remember being a little nervous as the semi-trucks headed toward us on the other side of the highway because as they passed they would create so much air flow that we would get drafted towards them and the car would shake as my Mom held steady on her side of the white line.

I recall several arguments about who was sitting in the front next but mostly I remember the sense of adventure I felt.  When we arrived at my aunt and uncle’s farm where my brother was living it was full on summer and hay season.

I have fond memories of horrible tasting water, fresh milk from the dairy, picnic lunches delivered to the men in the fields working, including my brother, and most of all the pies.

My aunt would make numerous pies for the hard working men and boys and have them cooling on the kitchen table.  My most embarrassing memory was when there were several lemon meringue pies on the table and I noticed many flies swarming the pies.  I thought I would be helpful (and try out the fly swatter) and swat a fly off one of the pies.  Imagine my horror as I swatted at a fly where upon lifting the swatter to see if I got it, realized the swatter had lifted the entire meringue topping and I had missed the fly completely.  Yikes.  My aunt was very good humoured about it but my Mom gave me a stern look and a few disapproving comments.

We delivered lunch in the back of a pick-up truck each day and would join the men in the tailgate picnic and the return back to the house to complete the day’s chores, gardening and dinner preparations.

On one day I remember being particularly excited because Mom was going to go shopping.  I went along with her and we stopped in several places looking for a ‘bread pan.’  What she was looking for was not a pan for baking but rather a large pan that would accommodate  the mixing and kneading of her bi-weekly bread making ritual back home.  She would make large batches of bread twice a week to keep us supplied with bread for toast, lunches and the like.  With three hungry kids this was no small feat while working full time and running a household.

Finally, when we were in Stonewall, Manitoba she found what she was looking for.  I believe the pan was hanging from the ceiling or up on a high shelf because I remember someone having to get it down for her to examine closely.  I had never seen such a pan before but I remember the ambience of the old hardware store and how good it felt to be there with my Mom looking for such a utilitarian item.

Since then that pan has housed many a batches of bread dough.  Eventually, when we all grew up and moved away Mom no longer needed to make large batches of bread.  I inherited the pan and began making my own bread dough in it.  This pan has been used for many other purposes in my house, one of which is steeping elder flowers to make elder flower champagne and another is for  ‘slaking’ green figs to preserve in ginger syrup.

As usual, this useful kitchen item brings back happy memories and keeps my stories alive as I go about my everyday rituals in the kitchen.  I look forward to passing on the pan and its stories to one of my children one day.