Archive for the 'bread' Category

Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park


We’ve been exploring different parts of our province this summer, checking out places I’ve been meaning to visit that don’t require a huge driving commitment. Turns out there’s a whole lot more to see around here than I thought. I had heard mention a few times over the past year of a provincial park I’d never visited before – Writing-on-Stone, which is south of Lethbridge, almost at the US border, and apparently quite stunning. We took a drive. It was long, but beautiful-I love driving through the prairies, especially when we get the chance to pass grain elevators. There aren’t many left.

Grain elevators 2
Grain elevator 1

The drive took us through Nanton (Bomber Command Museum! epic candy store with antiques in the back!) When we were getting close, I had to keep checking my map; the landscape still looked like barely rolling, grassy farmland. There was no sign of hoodoos or badlands – until suddenly, at the turnoff indicated on my map, there was. The ground dropped away to reveal some of the most stunning rock formations I’ve ever seen.


Sunken into the prairie grasslands of southern Alberta, Writing-on-Stone/Áísínai’pi in Milk River valley contains the largest collection of First Nation petroglyphs and pictographs in North America.

(There was a fantastic story in today’s National Post on Writing-on-Stone, as well as nearby Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump.)


There are also medicine wheels – large stone circles ranging in age from 250 to about 5000 years old – in the area, including the Sundial Medicine Wheel. If you’re into local history, this is a great way to spend the weekend.

WOS collage 2

The campground, shaded by cottonwood trees and located right beside Milk River, is open year-round, and in the summer there are showers! (It’s the little things. W has become enamoured with the idea of camping lately, and I’m enamoured with the idea of camping where the grizzlies are at a minimum.) Note: last week, there was a contaminated water advisory issued for Milk River at Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park.

We stayed overnight in Lethbridge, and en route back took a detour to Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, an archaeological site and one of the world’s best-preserved buffalo jumps.

WOS collage 1

If you do have camping plans this summer – at Writing-on-Stone or elsewhere, bannock is easy to back and mix up at your campsite – you can even do it right in the bag. It’s a simple blend of flour, baking powder and salt, with a little oil rubbed in – the combination is very similar to Bisquick or other baking mixes, and in fact turns out a pretty good scone. At the campground, all you need to do is add water, stir until you have a soft dough, then pat into small rounds (or one big one, to cut into wedges) and cook in a hot skillet over the fire, or shape the dough into ropes to twist around sticks and roast over hot coals. I’m always looking for new things to roast over hot coals.


Serve your bannock warm, with butter and jam. (I lean toward saskatoon. Very prairie.)


There are so many versions of this recipe – this is a version of a traditional Métis recipe, and came from the Parks Canada website.

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup canola or other vegetable oil

Mix the flour, baking powder and salt; rub in the oil until well blended and pack in a zip-lock bag. When you’re camping, add 1 cup water and mix to a soft dough. Pat or roll balls of dough to cook over the campfire, or twist ropes around sticks to roast. Serve warm, with jam.

Saskatoon Jam

Adapted from Bernardin.

5 cups lightly crushed saskatoon berries
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 pkg. pectin
5-6 cups sugar

In a large, deep pot, bring the saskatoon berries, lemon juice and pectin to a boil. Measure out the sugar and set aside.

Once the berry mixture is at a full rolling boil, add all of the sugar. Return to a full, hard boil (one that can’t be stirred down) and boil hard for 1 full minute, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and skim off any foam that rises to the surface.

Ladle the jam into hot, freshly washed jars. Seal with lids and cool completely; store in the fridge or see the Bernardin website for instructions on how to further process for longer-term shelf storage. (It also keeps well in the freezer – use plastic or zip-lock freezer bags.)

Makes about 6 cups.

I love showing off the province I live in – thanks to Travel Alberta for helping me do it! As always, words and opinions are my own.

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July 29 2015 | bread and breakfast | 5 Comments »

Sticky Cinnamon Pull-apart Monkey Bread

pull apart monkey bread 1

I made this out in Tofino over spring break. I meant to tell you immediately, but then didn’t… and even though it’s far from the weekend now, I’m thinking about it and don’t want to forget again. This is like cinnamon buns for those intimidated by the thought of making cinnamon buns… you start with balls of dough, dip them in melted butter and cinnamon sugar, then pile them in a Bundt pan to bake, then pull apart and eat by the bite. It’s like a pile of Timbits, amalgamated with butter and sugar.

pull apart monkey bread 4
pull apart monkey bread 3

You upend it onto a plate, letting any excess stickiness contribute to its gilded sides, then splatter it with a quick icing sugar drizzle and a fork. If you’re not so much into making dough, you could start with the kind of frozen dough they sell at the grocery store to bake your own loaves and buns, but it’s worth giving this smooth, sweet dough a go.

pull apart monkey bread 2

Sticky Cinnamon Pull-apart Monkey Bread

1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp. active dry yeast
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup milk, warmed
2 large eggs
5 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1 tsp. salt

Cinnamon-sugar dip:
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 cup icing sugar
2 tsp. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla

To make the dough, put the warm water in a large bowl (or the bowl of your stand mixer) and sprinkle with the yeast and a pinch of the sugar. Let stand 5 minutes, or until foamy. (If it doesn’t foam, toss it and buy fresh yeast.)

In a small bowl, mix the warm milk and eggs together with a fork. Add to the yeast mixture along with 3 cups of the flour and the remaining sugar; mix until well blended and sticky. Add the butter and remaining flour and stir or beat with the dough hook attachment of your stand mixer until you have a soft, sticky dough; knead for about 8 minutes, until smooth and elastic. It will still be slightly tacky. Place back in the bowl, cover with a tea towel and let rise in a warm place for an hour, or until doubled in bulk.

Melt the butter in one bowl, and in another stir together the sugars and cinnamon. Pull the dough apart into balls the size of a small plum. Dip each ball of dough into the melted butter, then douse in the sugar mixture, rolling to coat completely. Place in a greased Bundt pan, piling them on top of each other.

Cover and let rise for an hour while you preheat the oven to 350F. Bake for 45 minutes, until golden and springy to the touch.

Invert onto a plate, then whisk together the icing sugar, milk and vanilla and drizzle overtop. Serve warm. Serves 8.

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April 21 2015 | bread and breakfast | 6 Comments »

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