You Say Cronut, I Say Cronought…We All Say Heavenly!

July 11th, 2013 by Kelly Serjeantson

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So, I have a kid at home this summer who conveniently broke his arm the day before school ended. What was to be his “See ya Mom!” summer of roaming the streets with friends, hitting the pools and parks in our ‘hood while perfecting his slap shot all summer, is now a “Mom – I’m bored!” refrain I have listened to wayyyy too many times – and we are only 10 days into summer vacation.

This is a boy who doesn’t play video games and isn’t interested in reading much (yet). He plays outside – ALL THE TIME. He climbs, he unicycles, he leaps, he plays hockey 11 hours a day;  he is an explorer, a daredevil. My crazy one who, well, has had reason to have 4 broken bones in his short lifetime…

So what’s a mom to do with a kid who is cooped up, and can’t do the things that give him the greatest joy? Well, she takes him on bike rides, to museums and to the library. THEN, she hears about this new craze – the CRONUT. This boy has the sweet tooth in the family – he loves tasty treats, Suzy Q, Merry Dairy and Isobel’s are his favourite haunts….So when the Cronut craze finally hit Ottawa, we hopped on our bikes to see what all the fuss was about.

We lined up at Boko Bakery on Elgin Street at 11am…They were giving out free samples at noon. By 11:45, more than 50 people were waiting behind us – all eager to sample this delectable treat.

So – was it worth it? Well, in a the words of my ten year old, OH YA!

Crispy on the outside, dusted with cinnamon and sugar, tender delicate croissant pastry on the inside. The lemon cream filling was just tart enough. The chocolate version was equally delicious. This isn’t something I would recommend eating everyday – it’s  a wee bit heavy on the sugar and fat content – but it makes for a fantastic treat!!

All in all, not a bad way to spend some time with my hobbled adventurous boy – now, where can we go next??


One potato, two potato…

September 11th, 2012 by Kelly Serjeantson

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It was a chilly 5 degrees this morning in Ottawa and my first thought (after at least 2 cups of coffee) was that dinner would be something warm to compensate for the fact that my furnace does NOT come on until at least sometime after Halloween.

So off to the butcher I went and came home with some fantastically lean and freshly trimmed stew beef, potatoes and some carrots pulled from some farmer’s field this morning. Stew was on the menu!

I love stew, I really do. It’s an easy, one pot meal that my whole family will devour, especially on a day like today. Browning the beef? No problem. Chopping onions? A snap. Peeling potatoes and carrots? Another story altogether. I hate to whine, but I strongly dislike peeling potatoes, possibly because it was sometimes my job growing up to do them for large family dinners…Oh, the mountain of potatoes I’ve peeled!

I have tried fancy-shmancy peelers, cheapo ones and even an apple-peeler contraption that required securing it to my countertop. With potatoes, I found that I was forever going back to spots that were missed and finally resorted to using a good old paring knife. It does the job fairly efficiently but after peeling potatoes, my wrist would be killing me.  No big deal, I’d mutter. What’s a little pain for the look of adoration I would receive when I set the steaming bowl of goodness on the table? Sigh, the things a mother puts herself through….

Yet even after a summer of virtually NO potato peeling, my wrist was not up to it today. Maybe it was the weather, maybe I’m just getting old….whatever. Then I spied a little miracle on top of my fridge.


I found this at the Real Canadian Superstore for $3. I picked it up for my brother as a joke after he used one at my mom’s this summer. She suffers from rheumatoid arthritis and finds traditional peelers sometimes difficult to use. Promising to go back and get a replacement to send to my brother, I ripped open the package and slipped the soft flexible handle on to my middle finger.

No gripping required!

WELL. This little beauty was worth it’s weight in GOLD! I peeled a bunch of potatoes and carrots in half the time it normally takes me. Seriously. No cramping, no sore wrist, just nicely peeled potatoes. Ah bliss!

I have to stress that I believe in the knife over gadgets. I use a knife more than any other tool in my kitchen. I picked this up as a joke for my little brother – but the joke was on me! It’s useful, doesn’t take up much space and comes with a handy scrubber with the same handle for your finger.

So there you have it people – a cheap inexpensive little doodad that made my day a little  sweeter. You’re welcome.

Oh yes, and if you want the recipe for the stew,click here. Trust me – it’s yummy!!! Variation here is that I added the potatoes to the stew rather than make mashed….

Why I Do What I Do…

February 9th, 2011 by Kelly Serjeantson

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I was scanning Twitter today and I came across a post by @SimplyFood( )asking to submit a picture of someone who inspires you to cook.

I thought of some chefs I have read about or seen on tv. Then I thought about the only reason I cook – my family. If I wasn’t married I would eat out every night. I would be out there tasting and exploring and enjoying all that my little town of Ottawa has to offer. If I didn’t have children, I wouldn’t care if I ate Ramen Noodles 3 nights in a row or if Rice Krispies was on the menu – AGAIN.

But, alas, I do have a family. A pretty terrific one at that. We are a varied lot  – some pseudo-vegetarian, all who enjoy a perfectly cooked steak, some texture intolerant, another who won’t “do” salads, one who eats peanut butter every day. We watch our sugar and salt intake, keep an eye on the colour of our plate (1/2 red, green, yellow or orange, 1/4 meat/protein, 1/4 carb-stuff), we don’t do meat 5 nights out of seven and we all love ice cream!!

While I was raised on canned vegetables and standard fare of meat & potatoes, my repertoire has expanded and been influenced by people I have met and places I have been.  I enjoy all forms of cuisine now. I am trying to impart that sense of adventure, pleasure and taste to my children. My husband introduced me to many new things, mussels (ick) and oysters (LOVE!), butter (this girl was a margarine-baby all the way), and whole grain bread. We have passed these on to our children who mostly eat them up!

So when I think of who inspires me – I don’t have to look too far. My family, who depend on me to feed them everyday, pushes me to think about what I eat, what I buy and how it all goes together. Who or what inspires you?

My job is to feed them, their job is to clean up!

The end of quality chocolate?

November 22nd, 2009 by Kelly Serjeantson

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I just finished reading an op-ed in the New York Times by Arthur Lubow fretting about the proposed takeover of British candymaker Cadbury.

For those who aren’t aware, both Kraft and Hershey are in the running for Cadbury. Cadbury, founded in 1824, has a long history of quality and is an institution in Great Britain.

Now, with profits and shareholders perhaps being put before quality, chocolate lovers everywhere could be souring on this takeover.

Arthur Lubow fears seem to be well founded. In 1997, the Scharffen Berger company was founded on the premise to deliver high quality chocolate to consumers.

According to Lubow, when revenues hit $10 million in 2005, Hershey made an offer to purchase the company with the promise not to change the quality of the brand.

Soon Lubow, a avid fan of Scharffen Berger chocolate bars, started to notice a change in the quality.

The texture was chalky. The cherry notes had vanished. It was becoming just another mediocre American chocolate.

Now it seems Hershey/Ferrero deal may go ahead with Cadbury leaning towards Hershey over Kraft.

Cadbury, which was once the chocolate of choice of Queen Victoria, may be just another footnote in history.

God save our chocolate.