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!