Thursday, 16 June 2011


ok ok, seeing as thought I've had so much interest in this salad since posting its deliciousness on facebook a mere 24 hours ago, here's the recipe!  It is now my salad of 2011 - meaning any barbecue, potluck, bring something food event we're invited to in the next while will have this salad.  Its the perfect summer meal - light and fresh with a good crunch and quite filling!

Quinoa Salad with Apples, Pecans, Dried Cranberries and Gouda
serves 6 as a main course or 10 as a side dish

1 1/2 c quinoa (1 box)
Sea Salt
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 lrg red onion - quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 c. arugula, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 c. gouda, finely diced
3 celery ribs, thin sliced
1 large crisp apple (Fuji/Pink Lady/Gala) chopped into 1/2 inch dice
1 c pecans coarsely chopped  (the recipe called for walnuts, but I like pecans better!)
1 c. finely diced fennel (anise) *optional
3/4 c dried cranberries
3 tbsp sherry vinegar (I didnt have any so I used a mix of apple cider and red wine vinegars)
fresh ground black pepper

Rinse quinoa with water.  Drain.  Bring  2 1/2 c. salted water to boil over medium-high heat.  Add quinoa and simmer on medium-low, covered, until the quinoa is tender, but still has bite, about 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and let rest for 5 minutes, then fluff with fork.  Let cool.

While the quinoa is cooking heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and pinch of salt.  Cook, stirring frequently, until tender and brown around the edges (6-8 minutes).  Add the balsamic vinegar and toss with the onions until the vinegar cooks away, about 1 minute.  Remove from heat and let cool.

In a large bowl (and believe me, you'll need one!) mix the quinoa, onion, arugula, cheese, celery, apple, pecans, fennel, and cranberries.

In a small bowl, whisk the remaining 3 tbsp olive oil with the sherry vinegar, 1/2 tsp salt and a few grinds of pepper.  Add the dressing to the salad and gently mix it in.  Let rest a moment, then season to taste with salt and pepper.  Add more olive oil if the salad seems dry.

I've had this for lunch today and as a side for supper with the family tonight and have it in my reusable lunch container for tomorrows lunch and still have about 1/2 of the salad left!  IT IS SOOOO GOOD!   Probably the best thing on the menu since the week of  Gwenyth Paltrow's Spaghetti Limone Parmaggiano!

...and was THAT!

Saturday, 11 June 2011

The Incredible Shrinking Husband!

I am so proud of my hubs!  Not only is he a fantastic dude who 'gets' me, lets me know when I've crossed the line, lets me cross said line every once in a while, is a wonderful daddy to our wee dude, but the man has also lost an incredible amount of weight in the past year or so...

60 LBS!

The thing that ticks me off though is that he's done it by eating sandwiches and cookies every day!  Seriously, if I did that I would put ON 60 lbs!  He's made a few changes to his diet (bread is sprouted grain and made without flour, buys whole roasted chickens for his sandwiches every week, eats apples every day and has cut down on the pop), but other than that, his diet is pretty much the same.  I've changed my cooking habits as well, and we eat a lot more fresh ingredients (hint:  shop the perimeter of the grocery store!), but still!  60 LBS!  Way to go HUBS!

(he still snacks though too...he'll often mention that we dont have any 'snack' food in the house...right now we've got chips in the cupboard for that very reason :).  But they're low sodium potato chips so even THATS healthier!

The one major thing I've changed for him is that instead of him going to the bakery counter or the cookie aisle and buying cookies for the week, each Sunday night I fire up the oven and bake him homemade cookies.  (I think thats why he finally relented after 3 yrs of pestering and finally bought me an oven.  Seriously.  Didnt have an oven for the first 3 years we lived in our home...long story...).  I promised I would bake him cookies and voila!  BRAND NEW OVEN!  LOL!

I've had a lot of people ask me for the recipe for the cookies so I'll share it here.  Its a variation on an old Dad's cookie recipe.  Here you go:

The Cookie:
1 c butter softened
2 c brown sugar
2 eggs
4 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 c unsweetened coconut
1 c chocolate chips
2 c whole grain flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Mix first 7 ingredients in stand mixer in order given.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Place flour and baking soda/powder in sifter and sift half into wet mixture.  Gently combine.  Sift in the rest of the flour mixture and stir to combine again.  Dough will be very stiff.  Do not add more liquid!  Drop by spoon full onto cookie sheets and bake for 13 min.  Remove from oven and cool.  Place in airtight container.

You may look at the recipe and the directions and go 'meh, pretty straight forward', but you need to be careful.  When cooking with whole grain flour you need to increase the liquid content because the grain of the flour is larger and more dense than regular white or whole wheat flour.  I've doubled the amount of liquid in this recipe and the 4 tbsp is a generous one.  Also, when cooking with whole grain flour you need to sift it really well because of how dense it is.  You need to incorporate air back into the flour and this is done by aerating it in a sifter (plus its a great way to combine the baking soda/powder).   When mixing it you need to be gentle when incorporating the sifted flour as to retain all the air you've worked so hard to get in there.  Thats why you sift half, gently stir (don't use a stand mixer for this one, its too rough on the dough), and then add the other half.

Some other variations I've done is sub in Agave for brown sugar.  It worked well, cookies were more cake like, but after doing some more research on agave, I'm hesitant to use it again.  I usually use demerara sugar (less refined, but is still a refined sugar), but this past week I subbed Sucanat in for the sugar and that went really well.  Sucanat is the unrefined raw sugar straight from the sugar cane plant.  It measures 1 for 1 in recipes and is an excellent substitute for refined sugars.  Don't know if I'll use this every week because it is quite pricey ($6 for 454g), but well see.  I could sub in super healthy chocolate chips but those are even more expensive  ($8 for 250g!), but its worth a try once right!

I havent figured out this weeks menu, but here is a recap of the past few weeks in our kitchen:

Summer corn fettuccini - was good, but not as good as I had hoped...

Burly Man Sized Chicken Cheddar BBQ Burgers - Another burger home run!  YUM!

Vegetable Red Thai Curry with Chicken - this is the one that was too hot for the boys so they opted out for sandwiches, but it was just the right amount of heat for me.  My mouth wasnt on fire, but it was warm!  I asked one of the girls I work with if I could find non-spicy red curry paste.  She suggested cutting back on the spice next time altogether.  I think thats what I will do...

Guacamole salad - the hubs is getting tired of meat free Mondays.  After this meal I promised him that if I make salad for a main dish during the week it will have meat in it.  Just not enough to fill up a construction worker after a long day in the shop!

Red Lentil Dal with winter veg - was too heavy for the sunny June Monday that I made it on.  Would be better for a fall or winter meal.  Froze the rest and its now in the deep freezer!

Canadian Cheeseburger - was the first time I had a burger flop.  Was ok, but I dont know if it was the beef or it was because there wasnt any extra spices in it besides bbq sauce, but the hubs wasnt a raving fan over this one.  Found that one interesting!  His palate is broadening!  HE WANTS SPICES!  lol!

Beef and Broccoli - this time the wee dude picked out the beef and kept asking for more beef before he ate the broccoli.  Ahhhhh...little dude....

Until next time!  Happy Cooking!

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

The Quinoa Quotient....

This blog is a little late in being written as we were on holidays this past weekend.  What is it about holidays that makes me want to come home and drink nothing but water and eat nothing but salad?  We ate pretty healthy and swam twice a day, but still...with all the eating out we did - all the sodium I consumed was evident by my wedding bands not fitting by Sunday!  (they fit fine now, thanks for asking).  Its amazing how quickly your body reacts when you stray from your normal eating patterns.  I guess it was the copious amounts of fries I had between Friday and Monday that did me in.  And I was SO GOOD in the days leading up to said vacay!  The Moroccan Spiced Turkey burgers were delish and there were so many leftovers that I didnt have to cook until we got back (and I had to put a few in the freezer too!). 

While on holidays we met up a few times with my old friend Lisa and her hubby and their kids.  For those of you who dont know, Lisa is probably the first friend I ever made in my life.  Our moms were (and are still) BFF's  and we lived across the street from each other for the first 18 yrs of my life.  Its a friendship I hold dear to my heart and even though we dont talk as often as our moms, I consider her one of my closest and dearest friends.  After 10 yrs of wedded bliss I finally got to meet her hubs and we actually double dated!  Left the kids at home with our moms (oh, mom came on vacay too) and hit up Hopkins in MJ.  It was a great night out!  Great conversation, great food and great friends!

A few nights later (after the maple leaf donuts made their appearance), we made our way back over to Lisa's parents place for supper.  And oh man....was it good!  Lisa busted out the Quinoa and made this phenomenal greek salad.  Ah-may-zing!  I think I may have just found a new favorite!  

On the way home we stopped in Brandon to pick up some groceries (we knew we wouldn't get back to Winnipeg in time to do so).   While chasing the little dude around Safeway, I spotted a brightly coloured, super yummy foodie mag on the display.  I quickly grabbed it and put it in the hubs basket.  He bought it for me and I poured over it for the next 2 hours.  Only when we got home did I look down and discover that said magazine cost a whopping $11!  My first thought was 'I could've bought a cookbook with that kind of cash!'.  But let me tell you, this mag has already paid off!   Tonight's salad supper was courtesy of the mag and theres TONS of recipes for Quinoa, wheatberries, salmon, and a whole section on flexible meals (making the same meal for the vegetarians, and some for the carnivores).  It shows you exactly where to stop cooking for the vegetarians and when to add meat to make it non-veg.  Super cool!

So be prepared in the coming summer months to see not only the burger challenge continue, but also once a week salad meals and the odd quinoa recipe to pop up!  This weeks recipe will be for the Moroccan Spiced turkey burgers.  While I was making them, it occurred to me that these would make excellent appy burgers.  Get the mini pita's and make mini burgers.  Best thing about Turkey burgers?  THEY DON'T SHRINK!  yay!

3 1/2 - 4 LBS ground turkey
2 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp turmeric
2 tsp paprika
1 tbsp coriander
1tsp cayenne (left this out b/c of the wee dude)
1 tbsp curry powder
1 sm onion grated
3 garlic cloves chopped
1/4 c fresh cilantro or flat leaf parsley chopped
zest and juice of 1 lemon
s & p
1/4 c. mango chutney
1/4 c plain greek yogurt
1 sm. bag coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage mix)
8 pita breads, any flavor (i used the weight watchers ones.  way less calories and whole grain too!)

Preheat BBQ to med-high

Combine turkey, spices, onions, garlic, cilantro, parsley, lemon zest, s & p in a large bowl.  MIX WELL WITH HANDS!  Form mixture into 8 - 10 patties (depending on the size of those eating them - i made mini ones for the mini dude).  Drizzle with EVOO and bbq for 6 min each side until cooked through.

While burgers are grillin', mix chutney, lemon juice and yogurt in a bowl.  Add the cabbage and a little s & p  and toss to combine.

When the burgers are done, place the pitas on the grill and heat on each side for a few minutes until warm.  Tear (or cut) each pita in half, open the pocket of the pita and place a turkey burger inside and top with the mango chutney slaw.  Enjoy!

On the menu for this week:

Southwestern grilled chicken salad with tomato and black bean salsa (made it tonight.  SOOOO GOOD!)
Sirloin burgers with garlic black pepper parmesan sauce and roasted tomatoes with basil and balsamic drizzle
Buffalo Chicken Pizza (from scratch.  including crust.  I've made this before and its DELISH!  Great way to use up left over chicken!)

Have a great week :)

p.s. the little dude saw me taking pictures of the burgers and wanted me to take a few shots of his plate.  he put all his food back on it and said 'mommy take picture?'.  so of course I had to!  here's his creation.  reminds me of a pic my dad would've taken!  lol!

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

The Polenta Paradox...

Ok, so last week was a bit of a fiasco.  I tried my hand at making Polenta, and lets just say....that will never happen again!  IT WAS DISGUSTING!  I pity my family for having to choke down the stuff!  But they were so kind and said they didnt mind it - although it wasn't their favorite.  The little dude gobbled it up with his chili and the hubs ate it.  Somewhat slowly, mind you, but he seemed to enjoy it.  I, on the other hand, was completely disgusted with the stuff!  BLECH!

The burgers turned out fantastic!  It was a bistro style burger, thus meaning you needed to eat it with a knife and fork.  After plating supper and placing the hub's burger in front of him he looked at it, looked at me and said 'I'm supposed to eat this how?  With a knife and fork?  And what are these purple things?'.  I replied 'Yes babe, with a knife and fork, and those are beets.'.  He took that as a challenge to eat said burger the old fashioned way and proceeded to sandwich the monstrosity together and eat it.  How successful he was remains to be seen, but considering 2/3 of the burger burst out the other end of the bun on his first bite, I'll safely say he wasn't all that successful at his attempt.

The vegetarian meal this week - Asparagus Tagliatelle - was full of flavour and nice and light.  A perfect summer pasta meal.  It was equally as good cold, a bit of a pasta salad feel to it.

And another dud in the slow cooker.  Why does everything turn to mush in that dang thing!?  Thats it.  I'm pressing pause on the slow cooker this week...

(mainly because I'm going on holidays and  won't be around Friday...phew!)

This week has been an interesting one in the kitchen so far.  We celebrated mothers day with my MIL on Saturday and my sisters birthday party on Sunday.  Both events involved Italian restaurants and copious amounts of pasta and ice cream were consumed.  I don't think I've ever had that much left over food in my fridge at one time WITHOUT ordering Chinese take out!  Like I told my mom on Sunday 'You know that line where you've eaten enough to be satisfied.   Not that full feeling, but that just pleasantly satisfied feeling.  Well,  I am soooooo far past that line right now - I'm pretty sure I'm coming back around to the line!'.  So needless to say there was no meal cooked yesterday, we just ate whatever was leftover in the fridge.

Like I said I'm going on a bit of a holiday this weekend, so the meal plan has been abbreviated this week.  On the list:

Grilled Moroccan Turkey Burgers (making these tonight!  Can't wait!)
Summer Corn Fettucini

(I'll post pics of the bistro burger later on as the pictures are on my camera at home... ;)  )

Get out there and enjoy the weather!  Happy cooking!

Sunday, 8 May 2011

The Challenge Has Been Accepted....

(this is the burger I made this week, but this is not my picture.  By the time I thought about taking a picture there wasn't any burger left!)

It's almost summer!  With the exception of the dump of snow we got last weekend, the weather has been ripe for barbecue season to begin.  The hub's is filling up the tank for the barbecue today and for the next few months it will be barbecued steak, chicken, ribs, grilled vegetables and anything else I can think of to throw on there..

Oh yeah!  And burgers too!

I was making my weekly grocery list yesterday and asked the hub's if he had any requests for this weeks meals.  This is how the rest of the conversation went:

me:  'So thats it?  Burgers?'

hubs:  'Yep'

me:  'Is that going to be your answer for the rest of the season?  Until the snow flies and stays in December?'

hubs:  'Yep'

me:  'So I take it that's a challenge?  For me to make burgers each week for the next X number of weeks?'

hubs:  'Yep'  (as you can tell, he's a man of many words)

me:  'Ok, challenge accepted!'

So thats the next layer to the 2011 food challenge that I've set out for myself.  Make a different burger each week for the next, I dont know how many weeks.  Lets say until...ummm...Thanksgiving weekend.  I havent actually looked at a calendar so I dont know how many weeks that is, and guaranteed when I do I'll freak out, but hey!  It's a challenge and I've accepted it!  BRING ON THE BURGERS!!!

(I will say that I am excited about this because he didnt specify BEEF burgers.  So there will be Chicken, Turkey, maybe even Salmon burgers in there!  But no soy....blech!  so bad for you!)

This week was an interesting one.  As I mentioned in last weeks post, for someone who has only made 3 casseroles in her married life, this week was an odd one because there was 2 on the menu!!  The main reason I never make the things is because the ones I cooked previously were so dreadfully awful that the Hub's asked that I never make them again.  And like a good wife I didnt.  Mainly because I agreed with him and didn't want to subject our family to that horror ever again.  But this week...well...this week may signal the return of the casserole to the fam's menu!  Seriously!  They were THAT GOOD!  The enchilada casserole was tasty and healthy and full of flavor.  And yes, it was VEGETARIAN!  The Fajitas Chilaquiles Casserole was equally as tasty, with plenty of cumin and chili and a touch of cinnamon, but I think the onslaught of flavours may have been a bit too much for the little dude.  He eats what we eat, but didnt really like all the flavour in this one.  He opted out for chicken and avocadoes, his go-to meal.  The slow cooker meal of the week was meh at best.  The rice was mush by the time I got home and the flavours were so indistinguishable that it was almost a dud.  The little dude ate 3 chicken legs though so that part turned out ok. 

The hit of the week though has to be the Bacon Bit Burgers with Gouda and Onions!  Soooo delicious and full of flavour.  The smothered onions were a nice touch and complimented the smokiness of the bacon in the burgers.  They were so good, in fact, that I'm making them today for Mother's Day! 

Here's the recipe:

Bacon Bit Burgers with Gouda and Onions

6 slices of smokey bacon chopped
2 onions - 1/4 finely chopped, 1 3/4 thinly sliced
1.5 lbs ground sirloin
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp hot sauce
1 lrg tbsp Montreal Steak Seasoning
4 crusty kaiser buns, split
4 slices gouda (smoked or not)
1/4 c. steak sauce (A1, HP or Lea and Perrins)

Fry bacon in a non stick skillet for 4-5 min until crisp.  Transfer the bacon to a paper towel lined plate and drain off majority of the fat, keeping about 1 tbsp. Return the pan to medium-low heat and add the finely chopped onions to sweat out in the remaining fat (2-3 min).  Remove onions and place on the same plate as the bacon to cool.

Preheat a second non stick skillet with 2 tbsp of EVOO over medium heat.  When the oil is hot, add all the thinly sliced onions and top with a plate that will seal securely (or a pot lid if you have on that fits).  Smother the onions for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  If using a plate, lift it with tongs as it will be VERY HOT!  Remove from heat and stir 1/4 cup of the steak sauce into the smothered onions. 

Place the beef in a bowl and add Worcestershire, hot sauce and grill seasoning.  Once the bacon and onions are cool add them to the beef and mix well (with your hands!).  Form it into one large ball and score into 4 equal portions.  Form into 4 large patties (or split one in 2 and make 5 if you have a little person like we do). 

2 ways to cook:
Stovetop - Add a bit of EVOO to a large, nonstick frypan.  Fry burgers on medium high heat for 4 min each side for medium rare, or 6 min per side for medium well.  When flipped place gouda on top to melt.

Barbecue - dont know the times for these as I havent barbecued them yet, but keep an eye on them and use a meat thermometer if you have one.  Just dont over cook.  Nothings worse than a barbecued hockey puck!

Place burgers on the bun bottoms and top with onions and set the bun tops in place.  Enjoy!!!

To up the ante:
Toast the buns under a hot broiler until golden.  Definitely recommended!

On the menu for this week:

Asparagus Tagliatelle (veg)
Hungarian style chili with polenta
Big Bistro Burgers with Shallots on grilled bread with beet and goat cheese salad (the challenge burger!)
Chicken with spinach, artichokes and mushrooms (slow cooker).

Happy cooking!

Sunday, 1 May 2011

The APP factor...

It was a good week.  A couple of change ups (we weren't home for supper on Monday so Tuesday became our meat free day of the week) and everything else went pretty much as smooth as can be expected.  With one surprise...

I'll admit, last week when I mentioned making Gwyneth Paltrow's recipe for Spaghetti Limone Parmaggiano it was with trepidation.  Usually when a celeb comes out with a cookbook I'm thrilled at first, but after trying some of the selections I'm left disappointed and the book either collects dust or is handed off to a family member or sold at a garage sale.  Thats why I was kind of skeptical of Queen Goop...until I made her pasta.  It was sooooooooooooooooooo good!  Tasty and light and filling and easy to prepare all at once!  And not only for me, but the rest of the family couldn't get enough.  I even caught myself saying that it would be contender for the next time I make supper for the extended family!  I KNOW!  It was THAT good!

I didnt find her recipe from when she appeard on Rachael Ray last week, I found it on a handy-dandy app on my iPhone.  I heart my may be a hand me down from my hubs (and 'fingers crossed' I'll get another hand me down when the iPhone 5 comes out in the fall), but its something I'm finding i'm using more and more for more than just calls.

When I first got the phone I thought 'cool!  I can play music on my phone now too!'.  But oh, how its become so much more!  With apps like 'Epicurious', 'Starbucks', 'All Recipes', 'Listpro', 'Convert' and various yoga apps (I could seriously go on for days!), my phone has become my go to place for new recipes, converting measures, checking up on news and other fun stuff!  And thats where I found Gwyneth's recipe.  While searching Epicurious for new vegetarian recipes I stumbled upon her recipe and decided to give it a go.  If you're looking for a new cooking app - definitely check Epicurious out.  Well worth it.

So this weeks reviews -

The creole meatloves were ok, and I think I'm going to give up on trying to feed my family sweet potatoes.  I love them, but the others...lets just say I've got LOTS of leftover sweet potatoes.  The homeade chicken fingers and fries are a much loved staple in our home and the slow-cooker boneless chicken cacciatore was good at best - my dads from scratch recipe blows it out of the water, but this one was an ok 3rd place.

And well - you know how I feel about the Spaghetti Limone Parmaggiano!

Try it!  You'll agree :)

Spaghetti Limone Parmagianno

3/4 box spaghetti (I used whole grain)
Coarse salt
1 lemon
1 1/2 c. parmesan cheese
fresh ground black pepper
2 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4c pasta water (to thin)
Handful of fresh basil leaves

Cook pasta according to package directions.

While pasta is cooking grate the zest from the lemon into a bowl.  Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice into the bowl, being careful to make sure no seeds get in.  Add the cheese, pepper and pinch of salt.  Mix in the olive oil to form a wet paste.

When the spaghetti is cooked, add 2-3 tbsp's of the reserved pasta water to the cheese mixture and stir.  Strain spaghetti and return to the pot.  Add the cheese sauce and toss thoroughly (add 1-2 tbsp of pasta water if necessary so that the sauce coats each strand.  Roughly tear in the basil leaves.  Serve with a fresh grind of black pepper and a sprinkle of extra parmesan.  Enjoy

*My version - I added 2 cloves of grated garlic to the cheese mixture.  I couldn't help myself.   I have a habit of putting garlic in everything!  lol!

On the menu for this week:

Enchilada Casserole (Meat free Monday!)
Bacon Burgers with Smoked Gouda and Onions (first bbq of the season!)
Fajita Chilaquiles Casserole (for someone who's made a total of 3 casseroles in her married life, I'm making 2 this week?  wha??????)
Mediterranean Chicken Breast with Wild Rice (slow cooker)

Have a great week!  Happy Eating!

Monday, 25 April 2011

Projectile Blogging

What a week! Honestly, if I would’ve know last week was going to roll out the way it did I would’ve just crawled back into bed and thrown the blankets over my head and told everyone I’m not coming out until the Easter bunny is gone!

Between feeling queasy, a crazy week at work AND a child who not only exploded out one end for 3 days straight, but also projectile vomited all over in a moving vehicle I wanted out of last week as fast as I could! But oh well…such is life. And I now know how to clean up projectile vomit in a vehicle (make sure it happens in your husbands truck that’s how! Lol!)

Anyway, you’d think that with all this illness running rampant in our house that would deter my cooking quest….HECK NO! I stayed home from work with the wee one on Monday and that allowed me to watch some of my favorite daytime shows…cooking shows of course! And lo and behold guess who was on Rachael Ray that day? Gwyneth Paltrow! Queen GOOP herself! She was promoting her new cookbook ‘My Fathers Daughter’ and chatted about her inspiration for the cookbook – her dad.

After watching the show and seeing how she keeps her dads memory alive, it struck me – that’s kind of what I’m doing. Ms. Paltrow said that she cant even dare to make her dad’s famous pancakes because it brings tears to her eyes – they’re still HIS pancakes! I feel the same way about my dad and some of his dishes he used to make. His spaghetti sauce was legendary, and no matter how hard I try I can never make it quite like he did (sorry mom – neither can you or Robin!).

It’s a tradition ever since dad passed away in 2009 that on his birthday we all get together and make his favorite meal – spaghetti with meat sauce. It’s a way of honouring his memory and sharing stories of him and keeping him still in our hearts and lives. We all get melancholy at certain points in the evening, but it always comes back to laughter and singing (usually the beatles or the rolling stones) and food.

(I guess that’s where I get it from)

Ok so on last weeks menu was the following:

Salsa Soup with Double Decker Cheese Quesadillas

*the soup was fairly good, and after making it I turned to the dude and said ‘I just realized something. That soup was completely vegan!’. To which he replied ‘ya, but we made up for that with all that cheese on the quesadillas’. How true how true!

Polynesian Apricot Chicken
*With smoked paprika, chili powder and various other spices you would think this dish would be full of flavour and deliciousness. Well….it wasn’t. I can’t believe how unbelievably bland this turned out. The write up said ‘a blend of sweet and heat’. Well there wasn’t. Its was dull and boring…blech.

Bolognese with Pappardelle
*wow this went a looooooong way! I made it on Thursday night and had enough for leftovers plus to freeze (which I unthawed and ate within 24 hrs!). It was creamy and beefy and delish! And it had vegetables in it too! Super healthy and yum!

Boneless Chicken Cacciatore
*ummm....I know this was on the list for last week, but with all the Easter gatherings and other people making food this didn’t get made. I still have all the ingredients to this will be my slow cooker ‘I-don’t-want-to-worry-about-supper-on-Friday-when-I-get-home-from-work’ meal. Take 2.

With all the sickies finally healthy I made what has become a family favorite for breakfast on Sunday. You’ve seen me post pictures of them before on facebook, but here’s the recipe. It’s the Whole Grain Oatmeal Pancakes! Super healthy!

Ultimate Whole Grain Oatmeal Pancakes
1 c. whole grain flour
1 c. oats
2 tbsp brown sugar (omit if you want)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 ½ c milk
2 tsp vanilla
4 tbsp vegetable oil
2 eggs

Mix together until smooth. Let sit 5 minutes for the baking soda to start doing its work. Heat a non-stick fry pan on medium high. Spray lightly with non-stick spray. Using a 1/4c measuring cup scoop the batter onto the pan. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

On the menu for this week:

Spaghetti Limone Parmagianno
(from Gwenyth Paltrow’s new cookbook. I found the recipe on an app on my iphone!)

Homemade Chicken Fingers with home made French fries

Creole Meatloves with Trinity Gravy and Buttermilk Sweet Potatoes
(giving sweet potatoes another try. Wish me luck!)

Boneless Chicken Cacciatore
(here we go again!)

Sunday, 17 April 2011

the guac, the whole guac and nothin but the guac...

Mmmmm....I love guacamole....

I posted on facebook that I was eating guacamole and a friend replied saying her church was given dozens of crates of avocadoes (for free) and she wants the recipe STAT!

I don't indulge in guacamole that often (as to keep the mystery in our relationship), but when I do, its got to be fresh and homemade.  None of this pre-packaged buy it in a jar crap. Here's the reason why:


3 ripe haas avocadoes
1 lime
chopped fresh cilantro
1 plum tomato
1/4 purple onion
1 glove of garlic crushed
freshly ground sea salt
1 jalepeno pepper (optional - depending on how hot you like it)

Slice the avocado in 1/2 and dig out the flesh with a spoon (save the pit...I'll tell you why later).  Mash avocado in a large bowl.  Add the juice of 1 lime, chopped cilantro (depending on taste), chopped tomato, diced onion, garlic and sea salt.  Stir together and let mellow in the fridge for an hour.  You can eat it right away if you just can't wait.

Here's the deal with the pits.  If you're making this in advance, keep the pits and toss them in the bowl with the finished guacamole.  It will keep the avocado flesh from turning colour. (thank you uri for the recipe!)

K, so on the menu this week:

Salsa Stoup and Quesadilla's (one of the reasons I made the guac)
Polynesian Apricot Chicken
Bolognese with pappardelle
Boneless Chicken Cacciatore (slow cooker)

Saturday, 16 April 2011

The maiden voyage...

Ok, so I've had blogs before.  I'm sure if you search hard enough you can find them.  But this one is new...this one is tasty.  This one I'm sooooo excited about!

You see, my new years resolution didnt involve the typical 'i want to lose the same x amount of pounds that I wanted to lose last year but never did'.  I've used that resolution far too many times.  I've lost 25+ lbs, but its the same 5 lbs over and over and over again!

Can you relate?

So this year I decided to do something different.  My resolution was 2 fold:

a)  Cook 1 meat free meal a week (has become our Meat Free Monday)
b)  Cook at least one new recipe a week. 

Ok, I thought, this shouldnt be too hard.  Actually its been quite easy and fun!  Granted I'm getting to the point where I need to find more creative meat-free meals other than pasta and soup, but other than that I'm having a blast!  And averaging more than 1 new recipe a week too.  Usually its 2-3 new ones!.  I didnt know how the fam would react to it, but they seem to love it (with the exception of the 'night of the turkey chili with sweet potato topper'...ya...that wont happen again...)

So I thought the next step would be to blog my progress.  It seems whenever I post a pic on facebook about some dish I've made people seem to comment.  So why not put everything in one blog and its all right there.  Tied up with a neat little bow.

That being said.  Here's the first entry.  Its the mini-babe's favorite meal and one that the babe requests as well.  BEEF AND BROCCOLI (yes, my son loves broccoli - raw and cooked.  Score one for mom!)

1/3 c oyster sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
1/3 c. sherry (i've omitted this in the past and used beef stock instead.  turns out fine)
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar (again i've omitted this sometimes or used brown sugar.  its fine)
1 tsp cornstarch
1 lb beef cut into stir fry strips
2 tbs vegetable oil (more if needed)
1 thin slice fresh ginger root (keep it in the freezer - it lasts longer!)
1 clove garlic peeled and smashed
1 lb broccoli cut into florets (I buy the bag of washed broccoli at the store.  saves the chopping time!)

1.  Whisk first 6 ingredients together.  Place beef in a sealable container (ziploc bag or tupperware container).  Add sauce mixture to meat and let marinade in the fridge for 30 minutes or longer.

2.  Heat veg oil in a fry pan and stir the ginger and the garlic in the oil to flavour it.  Let sizzle for a few minutes then remove and discard..  Add the broccoli to the fry pan and cook until bright green (5-7 minutes).  remove and keep warm.

3.  Add the beef to the fry pan and cook until no longer pink (about 5 minutes).  Add the cooked broccoli back to the pan and stir until the beef and broccoli is heated through (about 3 minutes).  Serve over brown rice and enjoy!