About Danny

Danny Bourque is a mechanical engineer who is known at both home and work as either “the geek” or “the numbers guy”. He is very methodical and genuinely loves to analyze almost anything that piques his interest – including food.

The after school gingerbread project: 5 simple steps. 2 happy kids. 1 edible house. www.simplebites.net

Kids Cooking: How to tend to a kitchen burn

It seems like a long, long time ago that I taught first aid and CPR to pay my way through university.

I had taken all the swimming lessons possible at our local pool, up through the Red Cross system, Bronze Medallions and Cross, oxygen therapy courses, lifeguard, lifeguard trainer, CPR trainer, and then my teachers finally said:

“Dan, you’ve spent a bunch of cash on all these courses. You should be able to teach them by now – which would help you to recoup the costs!”

And so I did for four years. Although I only worked one summer as a lifeguard (by far my crappiest job ever), I’ve never worked “in the field” as a first responder or any other kind of first-aid related field.

Having kids at home, though, has brought much of my training, practice and demonstrations to point, as I have had to clean and bandage feet cut on shells from the ocean floor, faces cut from flying garden tools (yep), and a bunch of other weird stuff.

Although we strongly encourage our children to work alongside us in the kitchen, there is always the risk that someone will get cut or burned. This post was becoming waaaay too long, so today we’ll just cover burns.  Let me see if I can draw from my training and give you a quick crash course on what you should do if that happens. [Read more…]

Sugaring off | Simple Bites

10 things you probably didn’t know about making maple syrup (Recipe: Maple Sausage Patties)

We’ve been waiting for the sap to start running so we can continue to make maple syrup. And waiting. And waiting some more.

The ideal conditions for sap collection is above freezing temperatures during day, and below freezing at night. Unfortunately, it’s been consistently so dang cold that nothing has really happened. Then we had one glorious day with full buckets, and now it has been consistently above freezing – so no more sap.  Sheesh.

Since we can’t elaborate further on our personal progress, I’ll share a few particulars I’ve recently gleaned about making maple syrup and then add in a killer recipe for your Easter brunch to boot. Ready?
[Read more…]

How to know when it is time to tap maple trees | Simple Bites

How to know when it is time to tap maple trees

I recently met up with my buddy, Yannick, owner and head maple guy over at Erabliere des Anges, to catch up over coffee and discuss the upcoming sugaring off season.

He’s been running a small, family-based, organic sugarbush a few hours North of here for the past 2 years; we tapped 5 trees last year. This is all-consuming for him at this time of the year; we lose access to our stovetop in the evening for a few weeks. We both have day jobs to pay the bills. He knows much, much more about maple syrup than I ever will.

I mentioned that we think we missed much of the season last year because we tapped our trees too late, and so we began discussing (more like him teaching) about the ideal time to tap, and what to look for. [Read more…]

trees B&W

Homestead Winters

If you heed the advice in the adage, “you need to make hay while the sun shines”, you had better make sure that your tractor is up to the task during the wintertime.

The truth is, that unless you have a greenhouse or indoor garden, there isn’t a lot that you can do on the homestead in the winter other than to plan ahead for the next year and make sure that your equipment is running in tip-top shape.  Here is what we are planning for in these cold, dark days of winter. [Read more…]

urban homestead

Long weekend projects and garden shed plans

It’s the start of a long weekend here in Canada, and that means 2 things: visiting (eating) with family and getting yard projects crossed off the list. Yay!

Previous projects have included a fire pit, a chicken coop, compost bins, our raised beds and installing rain barrels. Removing a wind-fallen tree was not a planned project, but we got it crossed off the list nonetheless.

It seems like we’ve gotten all the easy tasks out of the way, and so the next ones are going to require a little more planning: a new back deck or a garden shed.  This weekend, we’re probably going to tackle the planning of the garden shed. [Read more…]