Archive for the ‘food’ Category

Hopes for 2016

As you read in my last post, 2015 was pretty meh. So, I’m hoping things will change in 2016. Here are my hopes:

  • I  would like to make progress toward a more stable work situation
  • I would like to get back to spending more time doing (and enjoying) things I love like knitting, reading, and cooking
  • I would like to move more and feel more energized
  • I would like to enjoy the time with my family more
  • I would like to either make our home more livable or move to a house that suits us better

What are your hopes for 2016?


Weekday Meals (2)

I’ll be doing a couple post on this theme in the next while! 

Here are some meals I typically pull out on weeknights. I make no claim that they are healthy or that you/your kids/your spouse/your cat will like them. What you see are not the full recipes. If you’d like the full recipe with measurements and everything, just send me an email! 

What are your go-to weeknight meals?

Beef & Broccoli

– Head of Broccoli
– Beef strips (or steak to cut up)
– Raisins
– Sunflower seeds or cashews (or nut of your choice)
– General Tao Sauce (should be able to find in the Asian sauce section of the grocery story)

Cut beef into strips if you didn’t buy strips. Dribble some oil in a pan and cook beef for a few minutes. Cut up broccoli into small pieces. Put those in the pan with beef. Add sauce and cook for a few minutes until broccoli is tender. Add raisins and nut(s). Stir to coat. Serve with rice.

Patty Melts

– Ground beef
– Onion
– 2-3 garlic cloves
– Handful of cilantro (fresh or dry)
– Half a palmful each  of oregano, cumin
– Salt & pepper
– Swiss cheese slices
– Lime juice

Grate about 2-3 tablespoons of onion and mince/crush garlic. Add that and spices to ground beef and mix well with your hands. Split into patties. Cook in pan on med-high for 5 minutes. Flip. Squirt each with lime juice and top with cheese. Cover pan with tinfoil and cook for 3-5 minutes until burger is done to your liking. Serve on nice bun/break (I toast them quickly in the over) and with coleslaw or other favourite salad.

Beef Dip Sandwich

– Beef roast
– Rosemary
– Garlic powder
– 2-3 bay leaves
– Soy Sauce
– Water

Crock pot fun! Put the beef in the pot (I cook from frozen). Add as much garlic and rosemary as you’d like and bay leaves. Add 1 cup of soy sauce and 6 cups of water (or enough water to cover beef). Cook all day 🙂 When you get home, shred beef with two forks, and serve on a bun with salad/fries. Use leftover liquid as dip (au jus) for sandwich.

Pulled Pork Sandwich

– Pork tenderloin
– 2 cans of root beer (or Dr. Pepper)
– Water
– BBQ sauce of your choice (I use a hickory smoke)

More crock pot fun! Put tenderloin in pot (frozen or fresh). Add root beer. Add enough water to cover the pork. Cook all day 🙂 When you get home, shred beef with two forks. Add enough BBQ sauce to coat. Serve on a bun with salad/fries.

Weekday Meal Ideas (1)

I’ll be doing a couple post on this theme in the next while! 

Here are some meals I typically pull out on weeknights. I make no claim that they are healthy or that you/your kids/your spouse/your cat will like them. What you see are not the full recipes. If you’d like the full recipe with measurements and everything, just send me an email!

What are your go-to weeknight meals?

Basil Pasta

– Pasta of your choice (I typically use bowties)
– Fresh basil
– Cream
– Parmesan cheese (fresh is better)

Cook pasta as per the directions on the package. Chop up a good size handful of basil leaves, and grate the lemon rind until you have about 2 tablespoons. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it. Add about a cup  of cream (I use whipping cream and go for full fat!), and about 1/2 cup of parm and stir until cheese is melted. Add lemon rind and basil and stir again. Squeeze the juice from the lemon. Serve with extra parm and freshly ground pepper to top!

Veggie “cream” soup

– 2-3 garlic cloves
– 1 small onion
– 1 baking potato
– bunch of carrots, cauliflower or broccoli
– 1L (4 cups) Vegetable stock (or chicken or beef, whatever you prefer or have on hand) 
– Seasoning (see below for pairings)
Chop up garlic and onion. Heat up some oil in a large soup pot. Once hot, add garlic and onion and cook. Meanwhile, peel and chop up baking potato and other veggie. Add to pot. Add seasoning (ginger for carrots, and italian season or dried basil or herbes de Provence for cauliflower/broccoli). Add stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to med-low and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Using an immersion blender, puree until smooth. Serve with break of your choice (I do parm garlic sticks) 

Sausage Pasta

– 3-4 garlic cloves
– olive oil
– 2-3 sausages of your choice (I use mild Italian)
– your favourite pasta (I usually use fusilli)

Cook pasta as per directions. Meanwhile, cut sausages into slides and cook over medium heat until cooked through. Set aside. In the same pan, heat up oil and cooke garlic for 2-3 minutes (don’t burn!). Mix pasta, sausages, and oil/garlic sauce. Done!

Chicken wings

– Soy sauce
– Salt
– Fresh ground pepper

Preheat oven to 425F. Put wire baking rack over a baking sheet covered in tin foil. Dip each wing in soy sauce to coat and put on rack. Sprinkle salt and pepper over each wing. Bake for 20 minutes, flip each wing, and bake for another 20 minutes. I serve with coleslaw or other cut up veggies. 

Food Fun (?)

One thing I’ve mastered since moving out on my own is organizing my meals and food prep. It helps that I enjoy cooking, I think, but that doesn’t mean trying to make meals on weeknights is super fun for me 😛 So, over the years, especially the last couple with Evan around, I think I’ve put together a really great system.

First, I keep a spreadsheet of every meal we like and categorize them (chicken, beef, veggie, breakfast, etc.). That way, when I get to making the grocery list (see below), I have go-to ideas and don’t have to come up with things on the spot.

Second, I plan our meals out for the week. I choose a dinner for every night of the week. Saturday and Sundays tend to be more involved. Monday-Thursdays usually consist of 1 chicken, 1 beef, and 2 veggie meals. I don’t commit a certain meal to a specific day, but just choose from the 4 (this is in case we don’t really feel like a particular meal one day). I shoot to have all these meals have leftovers for lunches for myself and DH the next day. Friday is my easy night – that means either take-out (from our pre-approved list of favourites) or something like individual pizzas, pancakes, or home-made chicken wings.

Third, I write out a grocery list. I go through all the meals I planned and make sure we have everything for them. I then make sure we stock up on breakfast stuff (cereal, bread, milk, fruit), and things for snacks and lunch fillers (fruit, yogurt, granola bars, crackers, cheese, etc.). I also get things like lunch meat or frozen meals (for DH) in case we don’t have enough left overs for lunch. Finally, I add toiletries and other household things to the list. DH then goes grocery shopping on Saturday mornings, and we aim for that to be the only time we hit the grocery store that week. Sometimes we have to make extra trips, but that can be done quick by me with Carter in tow, or by DH on his way home from work.

Finally, I always try to have some basics on hand in case we run out, forget it at the store, or don’t want a particular meal. We keep our deep freezer stocked with chicken breasts/wings, ground beef, sausages, beef roasts, and pork tenderloin. We always have pasta in the pantry, or stuff to make pancakes/waffles (the no fail meal!),

I’m thinking, over the next while, I might share some of my easy go-to weekday meals, because I know I’m always looking for ideas, and that’s the time a lot of us get stuck.

What kinds of things do you do to make meal time go a bit smoother?

Lobster Club

Evan has croup, and has been pretty sick since Friday. So, not a lot of blogging material lately. We’re hoping he’s feeling well enough for tomorrow’s Toopy & Binoo concert.
I did manage to try out a new recipe from my Bobby Flay Bar Americain cook book. Pretty decent, but I made a HUGE mess in the kitchen!


Warning: navel-gazing bitch-fest coming up.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy to be pregnant…but I’m not a happy pregnant lady. It’s hard, people! The thing that gets me the most is the limits it puts on me.
I have to worry about eating certain things (no soft cheeses! careful with deli meats! I’m sure many others that I just ignore!), and there’s the whole no alcohol thing. Not that I’m a huge drinker, but I like to relax with a glass of wine if I want, or have a beer on a warm summer day with a burger.
My cardio ability also goes to crap. This upsets me more this time because before I got pregnant, I was doing really well with working out. I had all sorts of goals in mind for this summer like running a 5K, or doing a long bike ride for charity. In the first trimester, I felt so horrible and tired that there was no way I was going to exercise. At this point, I get winded walking up a flight of stairs, so I’ll need to start up again slowly. I am registered for a yoga class starting in a couple of weeks, so hopefully that, coupled with the warmer weather (so more walking/biking opportunities), will get things rolling.
The toughest part for me is the no Advil rule. Given that my shoulders/neck/back seem even worse when pregnant, means I’m dealing with fairly constant pain. Sure, it goes away for a couple hours here and there, or I might even have a full good day, but then it’s back and Tylenol doesn’t do crap. I’m doing a lot more stretching and I think I’ve killed my hot bean bag (I swear it’s losing it’s heat capacity — is that possible?), but there’s only so much that can do. 
Needless to say that I’m excited for the baby to be born…not only because it’ll be amazing to have a new baby in my arms, but so I can start getting my body back again. 

Cinnamon Thingys

At Christmas, my mom made a batch of Scuffles and brought a small bag of them all the way from Calgary. Evan mowed through them in record time, calling them “cinnamon thingys”, and has been asking for them ever since.
Luckily, my mom is awesome, and she sent me the recipe.
This was the first time I worked with serious dough — like the kind you have to let rest overnight.

The shapes were a bit irregular, and I didn’t get a nice even layer of sugar and cinnamon on both sides like my mom….

…but they still passed the Evan test.

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