Welcome to the weekend at the cottage! Here are a few things that have been happening around here lately. Grab a cup of coffee or tea, or maybe treat yourself to a hot chocolate or a glass of wine (it’s five o’clock somewhere!), and settle in for some reading and browsing.
The second Monday in October marks the Canadian Thanksgiving. My favourite way to celebrate all I’m thankful for is to have my entire family around the table with me, and this morning I was blessed to have all my kids, their partners and my grandchildren here for brunch. With the complexities of competing holiday demands and shiftwork, it’s rare that everyone can be here at the same time, and I cherish when it happens.
One of my favourite things as a parent and now a grandparent is to hear the sound of my children and grandchildren talking, laughing and playing together in the other room as I put the finishing touches on the meal. It gives me so much pleasure to hear them all enjoying each other’s company. And then, feeling content, it’s my turn to sit down at the table with them and join in. Such moments give me deep satisfaction.
It’s also satisfying to hear the dishwasher humming away as I sit in my office for some quiet me time now that everyone has left and the cleanup has been done.
Thanksgiving Brunch Menu
I often host brunches, especially during the holidays. Sometimes that’s because the morning is simply the only time that everyone in the family is available. While I like putting on the big traditional dinners from time to time, brunch is an easier meal to prepare, plus I think people appreciate a gathering that gets their day off to a well-fed start, whether they’re moving on to further festivities elsewhere or just spending time puttering about.
I like to keep my brunch menu simple, with a variety of make-ahead and sometimes even a packaged (yes!) element or two. It’s easier for me and my guests no doubt have a better time if I’m relaxed when they arrive — that’s the spirit of Urban Cottage hospitality. Here’s what we enjoyed around the table today.
- Sectioned red grapefruit and oranges with fresh mint
- Sliced strawberries
- Martha Stewart’s buttermilk pancakes
- Sweet Pumpkin Butter Sauce (made with maple syrup!)
- Other toppings: butter, maple syrup, vanilla yogourt
- Bacon (lots of bacon)
- Orange juice and coffee
- Pumpkin pie (it’s absolutely not Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie — and whipped cream, of course)
- Cinnamon loaf coffee cake (a tribute to my Dad; this was his favourite and we often call it Petje’s cake)
I baked the pie and cake last night. The rest of the menu options were easy to prepare this morning before the family arrived, although I didn’t start flipping pancakes until everyone was here. I gave myself permission to take a big shortcut: I purchased a package of pre-cooked bacon and then briefly roasted it in the oven for about 10 minutes before serving. It’s not a big deal to make fresh bacon in the oven, but this was a far more efficient option for making 50 slices. Um, yes, you read that right: 50. We like bacon around here and, hey, there were 12 of us around the table.
Out and About
When I was out at Crunican Orchards’ farm market the week before last, I came across the most eye-catching display of flint corn, confirming the beauty of autumn’s bounty.
Around the Web
Here are a few things that caught my eye out there on the internet recently. Why not put your feet up and check them out?
If you’re celebrating late this year (or you’re American and celebrate in November), here are 10 things you can do to prep for Thanksgiving, from Canadian food blogger Jan over at Family Bites.
Because I have an inquiring mind: the difference between butterscotch and caramel.
I have a thing for apples, and this Layered Apple Pound Cake from my friend Charmian at The Messy Baker is calling my name (not to mention all those gorgeous pictures of apples!).
Finally, you may know that I’m an editor in my non-blogging life (and a lot of other things too, but that’s another blog post). I enjoyed taking this quiz recently, and so might you: Are You Smarter Than A Globe and Mail Editor? Not to brag, but I held my own.
I’ve done a ton of cooking in the last week or so, although only one thing has made it to the blog so far. But fear not, there’s lots in the hopper just waiting for the writing, editing, photography, photo editing (a.k.a. the magic) to happen. Having said that, I think this classic caramel sauce was pretty magical — check it out!