Blog Post List

This blog post list contains the most recent blog posts from The Messy Baker in reverse chronological order. You can also browse by recipe category or use the search function.

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23 Mar
Giveaway: National Toast Day
As a child, cinnamon toast was the litmus test of illness. If you could choke down a few bites with flat ginger ale or weak tea, then you knew you were going to live. If you couldn't stomach the toast -- or even the thought of food -- you were ill indeed and packed off to the doctor. Although I usually ate cinnamon toast only when ill, today it is a comfort food I turn to on occasion when nothing else appeals. Perhaps it's the small of toasting bread or the intoxicating mix of melted butter and crunchy cinnamon-laced sugar? Either way, I have a soft spot for cinnamon toast. Today is National Toast Day and in a valiant attempt to stamp out toast brutality, a sin for which I am guilty, Gay Lea is hosting a giveaway worth $200 giveaway. The basket includes:
  • A year's supply of Spreadables butter coupons
  • A breakfast cookbook
  • Toast necessities – spreading knives, toast tongs, toast cutter, egg cups, napkins
  • A gift card to Cora’s Restaurant
For the skeptics, Spreadables is not hydrogenated fake food. It's all natural creamery butter with unsaturated canola oil added to make the it spreadable -- hence the name. The giveaway is open to Ontario residents. To enter,
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21 Mar
Rouxbe Video Links
When Staples finally wakes up and realizes there's a fortune to be made with a "Harder Than It Looks" button, I'm buying a couple and mailing them out to the west coast. One's for Joe, co-founder of Rouxbe Online Cooking School, who came up with the video widget idea pictured above. The other is for Marcelo, the magician programmer who wrote the code that makes it work. As for me? For once, I'm smacking the Easy Button. My part in all this was a cinch. I just loaded up the final product. I won't get technical on you, but instead of drinking green beer on St. Patrick's Day, Marcelo ended up spending a lot of time getting the magic code into a format I could upload. Let me be clear. I don't mean a format "even I could upload." I mean a format I, me, Charmian, this blogger here, could upload on her specific site -- i.e: Christie's Corner. Yeah, that's right. Rouxbe wanted to test their widget before rolling it out to other affiliates. And they asked me. Someone should have warned them. The Christie curse followed that little widget around for a few days, but Marcelo managed to wrestle it into submission. As a result, after a lot of work on their end and very little on mine, the Magic Rouxbe Video Widget is up and running. (Joe calls it the Rouxbe Cooking Skill Widget, but it's pure magic to me.) So, what's this mean to you? Potentially a lot.
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17 Mar
Recipe: Spicy Green Beans
You know you're getting old when St. Patrick's Day arrives and instead of wondering where you put your green belt and shamrock earrings, you make a mental note not to drive anywhere after 6 PM and place bets on how many drunks are going to stagger by at 3 AM singing Danny Boy at the top of their lungs. Whether you find this video achingly sentimental or innocently humorous will depend on how many green beers and whiskey shots you've had. Since I'm stone cold sober, I think it's pretty funny. But then again, they had me the moment the Swedish Chef bobbed on stage. In honour of St Patrick's day, I'm not wearing shamrocks, downing Guinness or posting a recipe for artificially green food. Instead, I'm typing with a delightful lilt and sharing a recipe for a food that's naturally emerald green and close to my heart. Beans. Gotta love 'em no matter what the calendar says.
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14 Mar
Recipe: Chicken in Samfaina Sauce
The last few days I've felt like a cast member of Glee. No, I haven't been dancing about the living room singing mash ups. I've  just gone quietly about my own business only to get a great, big slushie thrown in my face. While these icy facials came from above, not eye-level, they were just as jolting. After enduring a couple of sneak attacks, I'm beginning to think Old Man Winter is a bully with a very bad attitude. What's he plotting next? A cosmic wedgie? So, to avoid the next inevitable ambush of winter, I ran to the library like a good little student and hid behind a book. In the process, I warmed my ice-splashed face with the sun of Spain. Through the gorgeous images in The Food of Spain: A Journey for Food Lovers, I basked in a recipe for Basque Baked Tuna, dipped my toe in the Cantabrian Sea and gorged virtually on figs loaded with honey, almonds, chocolate and cream. I sailed away from my troubles on a fishing boat, disembarking only to wander the markets or stroll through an olive grove. I lingered so long I'm surprised I didn't get sunburned.
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10 Mar
Orange and Carrot Salad
Winter has returned with a vengeance, Dumping great soggy clumps of slush on our heads. In the face of this penetrating cold, I don't want hot soup. I don't want great steaming mounds of comfort food. I want warm temperatures and sunshine. And I want it now. So I'm pretending they dishwater gray sky is brilliant blue and eating something that tastes like summer. Oranges. While I love oranges, I hate peeling them. Not only does it hurt my wonky thumb, somehow I always manage to squirt juice all over myself or anyone unlucky enough to be within spraying range. Sure, I can tackle tiny, loose-skinned clementines, but when faced with large navel oranges that might as well be bound in duct tape, I haul out the chef's knife and cut them into wedges. So, what do I do when faced with a fruit salad?
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09 Mar
Wordless Wednesday: My newest obsession

Golden beets are a bit of a curiosity to me. With a dark, orange-toned skin and bright gold inside, they remind me of a peach. Raw, they taste a bit like carrots. Cooked? Haven't a clue. I'm easing into beets and don't want to push...

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08 Mar
Recipe: Zucchini Fritters with Dill Tzatziki
It's not unusual for me to get excited over a cookbook. But every once in a while one resonates with me on so many levels that I just want to curl up on the couch, cradle it in my arms and stroke its pages. And The Kitchen Garden Cookbook is my latest crush. It's as if they made it just for me and my garden-loving, sun-deprived soul. The premise is simple. Develope seasonal recipes around the bounty you grow in your vegetable patch (and I swear, this year I'm planting one since my sister won't be setting up another wedding marquis that usurps the entire side yard). While the photos are enticing, and each recipes has handy quick tips on when to pick and how to eat, store, preserve or freeze, I  just love the way they think -- like a gardener. The recipes are organized by seasonal bounty, not by courses.
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04 Mar
Procrastination Equation and Junk Food

I am a world class procrastinator. My pantry is bursting with odd ingredients I keep meaning to try but know will expire before I open them. There are two shelves of cookbooks in my office waiting to be read, and I once let my filing go unattended for eight straight months. As for this post? I've had a rough draft sitting on my computer for over a month.

To get to the source of my dilly-dallying, I have read quite a few books on procrastination. You might be shocked to hear that I've finished them all. But I assure you, reading them was just putting off another less palatable task, like filing tax returns or researching ways to code recipes for Google. Several books and hundreds of pages later I had a few theories but was still putting the pro in procrastination. I just had a better understanding of how I was making life harder. What did I learn? Well, some experts say I'm a perfectionist. If I can't do it right I won't do it at all. Have they seen my ricotta gnocchi? Next theory...
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02 Mar
Wordless Wednesday – Canary? Eaten.

At first glance you'll think this post (again, deliberately not wordless to please the Google gods) is not food related. But you're wrong. First of all, this is the orange tabby who inspired the header image. Because of him, I now cover butter with plastic...

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28 Feb
Recipe: Ginger and Coconut Chicken
Ginger Coconut Chicken I'm not sure whether I should hug Bal Arneson or smack her with a cookbook. Her No Butter Chicken from Everyday Indian is my husband's favourite chicken dish. He loves it so much that while he was holed up in the living room recovering from knee surgery, with nothing but 4 walls, 21 surgical staples and 2 cats for company, he must have requested it for dinner at least once, if not twice -- a week.

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