Friday, January 27, 2017

Childhood foods part one

It's pretty fun to watch the kids grow and change and develop their personalities.  
The Boy is thoughtful but silly.  Opinionated and kind.  
Our girl is independant but shy, adventurous but so sensitive and intuitive.  

Food wise, The Boy is NOT an adventurous eater.  He hates mushrooms with a passion, and doesn't like pie of any kind.  He refuses to try spicy foods, and thinks cheese pizza is the height of gourmet dining (he may not be wrong....) yet LOVES sushi.  It's still pretty early for The Girl, however right now she is not a fan of meat of pretty much any sort.  She loves milk (Mooey is the word for both milk and music and she loves them both a lot) and cheese and cucumbers and tomatos.  Avocado is on the outs now, along with sweet potato, but regular potatos and peas are ok most of the time.

I like to think I wasn't a picky eater as a child, but I probably was.  I didn't like fish.  Spinach.  Refused to eat lamb - I had a stuffed lamb that I adored and was horrified my parents would want to EAT LAMBIE - and nothing they said could sway me.  I hated sweet potatos but my mom only served them at Christmas so that wasn't a big deal.  

Do you have a lot of favorite foods?  I do, and some I haven't eaten in years and years.

In Grade 2 - yes I can remember back that many years ago - we learned about the pioneer times and one day my teacher showed us how to make butter in a jar.  We all took turns helping the shake the jar and then we each got our own little plate of saltine crackers smeared with butter.  I don't know what it is about that combo but I still love it to this day.  Salty and rich and crunchy and comforting.
A friend likes to put buttered saltines in her chicken noodle soup.  I tried it on her recommendation, but I could take it or leave it.  There must be plenty of crackers around when it's chicken noodle soup time, however.  Just not buttered.

The Boy feels differently about CNS - he likes to dip and nibble on a cracker or two, but that's about it.  He's a fan of spooning up the broth first and eating the noodles later.  The first time I saw him do that it reminded me of how my cousins and I used to eat chicken noodle soup and my grandmothers house - she would give us straws to suck up the broth, and then we would chase the noodles around the bowls with our spoons.

My grandmother also used to serve us ham sandwiches with potato chips right inside.  
I haven't had that in years and years, but it still sounds so good, and comforting.

One final story about my grandmother - she made what I considered to be THE BEST lemon meringue pies.   For years, every time I went to visit her she would make one for me.  And then nag at me to eat the whole thing before my visit was up.  I was so loyal to her pie - no other LMP came close to hers.  When she passed away, the family was at her house to clean it out.  The grandkids were asked what sort of mementos we would want.  I tearfully replied that the only thing I wanted was her pie recipe.  My mom looked at me funny and said - she didn't have a pie recipe.  She used a box mix.  I never knew!  

More soon........

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Good recipes to try

I don't often take photos of food - not that my photography was ever great, but I just can't be bothered, after rushing home from work to say hi to everyone, and heading into the kitchen to try to cook as fast as I can so we can have some time together before the bedtime routines start.  Who wants to waste time trying to make some chicken look ok on a plate?  Not me.

I made two really nice recipes in the last week or so - Bang Bang Shrimp and Japanese Chicken Meatballs.

The shrimp was a bit fussy - you are breading and frying shrimp, so of course it is, but it was so delicious.  And the sauce!  Spoon-worthy.  We didn't make the tacos, just the shrimp.  But this would be so good as tacos.

The meatballs were an unexpected hit - and both will be in rotation in the future.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Birthday cake

2!  Good gravy.  It's loud over here, y'all.

I was completely out of cake ideas for the big day, so I resorted to asking the (not yet 2) birthday girl what kind of cake she wanted.

Ok, sure, it's December, but a strawberry cake you shall have!

I found the exact same recipe on Pinterest over and over, with differences in the method, and most of them didn't make sense, so this is what I did to end up with a pretty nice Strawby Cake.

3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1½ T baking powder
¾ t salt
¾ cup vegetable oil
1½ cups pureeed strawberries
1 t vanilla
1 t lemon juice
4 eggs

Pureed strawberries - just throw your strawberries (thawed if using frozen) into a blender or food processor and whiz until smooth.

Note:  Even though your batter will be a pretty pink, your cake will not.  If that's important to you, add some food coloring.

Beat the sugar and oil together until thick and smooth.  Add the vanilla and lemon juice and beat again.  Add in the flour, baking powder and salt,and mix.  Add 2 eggs, mix again, then add the other 2 eggs.

Pour cake into pans - this is a lot of batter, so you'll need a big bundt pan, or square pan, or at least 3 9" cake pans.

Bake at 325' for 20-30 minutes, checking at 20 if you think the cake is getting close.

Remove from oven, let sit 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and let cool completely.

Delicious with whipped cream!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Book Club - Trans-Sister Radio by Chris Bohjalian

Nothing -- and I mean nothing, Carly Banks -- is crazy if you're in love.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Book Club - tiny beautiful things by Cheryl Strayed

"The best thing you can possibly do with your life is to tackle the motherfucking shit out of love."

"Addiction is a tunnel that wakes you up in the middle of the night.  Everything else happens out here in the light."

"You cannot convince people to love you.  This is an absolute rule.  No one will ever give you love because you want him or her to give it.  Real love moves freely in both directions.  Don't waste your time on anything else."

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Breakfast Tacos

We are a taco family, and that extends to breakfast time too - 
Breakfast Tacos! 
Super easy to make and to customize how you like. 
This meal we cooked up some sausage, scrambled some eggs, 
and piled them on the tortillas along with 
salsa, avocado, cheese and sour cream.

A fast meal for breakfast, lunch or dinner in minutes.  
And sometimes, the kids will eat some too!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Mighty Life List - Let's Get Crafty - Make a T Shirt Grocery Bag

This was a cheap T shirt that was not (ahem) fitting me well. 
Too short and very unflattering. 
So it was time to go! 
I cut the back of the neck off to match the front. 
Since the sleeves were very short, I left them. 
It makes for thicker handles, but I am ok with that.

Turn the shirt inside out and cut the bottom into strips.  
I discover that none of our scissors are very sharp.

Start tying the strips together, back to front.  
Then, side to side.  And doubled knotted. 
 It got pretty confusing to keep the strips in 
an orderly fashion, but I did the best I could.
A bag!

I turned it right side out and peeked inside.  
I could see light from two fairly big gaps, 
so I did some extra knots over those areas.

Here`s the bag loaded with some light bulbs.  
I wouldn`t load this up with anything heavy, 
but for light jobs, it`s perfect!

See the tutorial here at Hello Glow.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Our first attempt at zoodles

I jumped on the veggie noodle train back in 2015 by buying a handheld spiralizer, then 
going home and shoving it in a drawer and forgetting about it. Go me. 

But I really want to try all these interesting ideas for spiralized foods, so I hauled mine out, 
found a recipe for zucchini noodles with chicken and tomatos and went to work. 
Luckily for me, I changed my mind and didn't make it for family Sunday dinner, 
because good wasn't a word I would use to describe the end result. 

Here's some of the ingredients for our tasty sauce.

Here is the spiralizer.

Zuke noodles!

The problem is - the spiralizer I bought only has one setting and it is very, very thin.  
We managed to cook them to just tender-crisp, but adding the sauce weighed it down and 
turned the noodles to mush.  It tasted ok and was edible, but it didn't look good and
 wasn't what I wanted.

So my veggie noodle dream is on hold right now until I can find a reasonable replacement to buy and justify spending the bucks on it.

If you have a recommendation for me, drop me a line!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Sunday dinner - Swedish Meatballs and cookies

I made Swedish Meatballs out of my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook from the '90's - and what a winner. 
 Total comfort food, and pretty easy too. 
I had to bake some treats for a cookie exchange at work, 
so I made a double batch of Baci di Cioccolati and boom!  Dessert was done.

I found these bags at the back of a cupboard in the kitchen - they were a Target purchase.  RIP.  

I know I've said this before - but these are just the best cookies.  
Very rich and the dried fruits add a lovely chewiness.  
As the kids today say, 10/10, would recommend.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Mighty Life List - Make Towel Animals - Attempt Two - Monkey

Here`s where the instructions are for the crab and monkey (and more)  - Make Towel Animals

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Salt Bae

There is not much funny and good out there in the world right now, 
so let's embrace what we can. 
 Have you heard of Salt Bae?  The chef from Turkey with lots of flair?  

I'd seen his photo in a couple of posts on Instagram, but didn't understand, and then I came across this article on Buzz Feed earlier this week.   
I actually laughed out loud, y'all.

This article  has some of my favorites.

Find laughter and happiness where you can.  Today for me, it's Salt Bae.  
Happy Thursday.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Sunday dinner - lasagne, bread and ice cream

Sausage, Cheese and Basil lasagne from The BonAppetit Cookbook was the entree for this dinner.  It was a big hit.  Between using sausage instead of beef, and having pureed basil in with the cheeses, how could it not be?  So good.  Recipe here.  I used Italian sausage instead of hot, and was a bit skimpy on the cheese - we had less in the fridge that I thought, but it was darn near perfect.

The bread was a wonderful loaf from Paul Hollywood's Bread,  a book I picked up for $5 a few months back. I've cooked about 5 recipes out of it and each has been better than the last, with the slight exception of the pizza dough.  It was fine, but I've made better.
This one is called Pain De Campaigne, and is made with rye flour and oregano.  
The Mister picked it out and I wasn't too excited about it, but it was a lovely bread.
The Grandfather was over the other day to spend some time with The Girl while we were 
out with The Boy, and he thumbed through the book and made his own 
list of recipes he wants me to make for him.  What a guy.  

The ice cream was store bought but delicious - Island Farms Coconut Ice Cream.  
We've hit a wall with all the cookies and cakes lately, so something light and refreshing 
and optional that didn't require any effort or cooking sounded perfect to me.

Monday, January 09, 2017

Chantys Restaurant - Kamloops

Over by the TCC and the university is a new restaurant that opened in the Fall - Chanty's.  
They basically do one thing - chicken fingers.  Which sounds odd until you try the 
chicken fingers and fall in love.  We've been there 3 times for take out 
and each time the menu is expanded.  The first time all they had was the 
fingers and fries combo and salad, but now there are burgers 
and waffles and pork too.  We keep sticking with the family pack for the 
wonderful chicken and addictive dipping sauce, but one of these days (soon) 
we'll try some new stuff.  If you are in the area, you should really check it out.

Facebook - here
Website - here

Support local!

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Mighty Life List - Let's Get Crafty - Twig Snowflakes

Back in the Fall The Boy and I went for a walk to collect some twigs for a Christmas project - 
Twig Snowflakes. I can't find the website that I got my original idea from anymore, 
but if you do a google search you will be overwhelmed with choices. 

Anyhoo, we found a bunch - thin and long were what I wanted the most of, 
and one weekend morning while everyone was still sleeping, I make a bunch. 
It was super easy and fun and I felt a bit Martha-y afterwards. 

Look - a bunch of sticks! 

I wanted my snowflakes to be delicate, so I used the thinnest branches.  

The website that I got my inspiration from had used thin wire to bind the twigs together.
The wire that The Mister had was too thick and I am not co-ordinated, so it didn't go well.  
I was 3 minutes away from giving up when I realized I could glue them instead of using wire.
Goodbye wire!

I used 4 twigs per snowflake, and glued in levels, on both sides with a hot glue gun.  
It took hardly no time at all.

The only thing I wish I had done but hadn't was to buy some twine to tie around the middle.  I used thread on some, which was ok but not amazing, and I left some plain.  I think some thicker red or white, or green or striped twine around the middle would have been super cute.

I attached some string to the top of each and hung them in our window.  
I loved it! 

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Sunday Dinner - Chicken Pot Pie and Chocolate Mousse

This was a very good dinner from 2 very good books by a very good writer - David Lebovitz. 

I made the chicken pot pie from his book My Paris Kitchen, and his chocolate mousse from 
The Sweet Life.  A trick in each recipe is what drew me in -the chicken pot pie is made with 
rotisserie chicken to cut down on prep, which won me over in an instant, and the mousse 
does not contain raw eggs, which is a must for me.  

Both were easy to make and both were just wonderful.  A big hit with all the family.  

Friday, January 06, 2017

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Sunday Dinner - Mac and Cheese and leftover bithday party cupcakes

This Sunday dinner was another from the Bouchon Cookbook, 
a delicious mac and cheese with ham.  

Leftover birthday cupcakes and some salad and everyone was happy.  

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Mighty Life List - Make Towel Animals - Attempt One - Crab

I think I needed an in-between size of towel - my hand towel wasn`t quite big 
enough to get the detail I wanted, but my next size up was way too big.

No one is going to hire me for towel animal related business,
but oh well, I`m fine with it.  Looks like a crab to me!

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Book Club - I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron

"My brain clears in an amazing way.
Nora.  We can't do everything.  
I have been given the secret of life.
Although it's probably a little late."

Monday, January 02, 2017

Sunday Dinner - Christmas 2016

Oh what a dinner! I have no good photos, and that's ok. 
We had a vaguely English theme this year - Roast Beef with Yorkshire Puddings, sprouts, potatos, corn, carrots, gravy, and mince tarts for dessert.

The Grandparents sprung for the roast and it was a lovely one.  We mashed 2 recipes together - used the garlic herb butter from here with the cooking method from here.  We slightly overcooked the roast but thank goodness it stayed nice and tender.  

The yorkies and sprouts came from Jamie Oliver's new Christmas cookbook which is such a great book.  I adore it already.  The yorkies were the absolute highlight for me -
 they were sky high and tasted perfect.

Another absolute winner were the mince tarts, recipe from Paul Hollywood's Bread cookbook.  I found the recipe to be both a bit vague and a bit fussy, but the tarts were delicious, 
especially on days two and three.

It was a lot of work and the actual sitting down and eating part seemed to take only a
 few moments before it was time to get up again and start cleaning.  
Oh well, it's worth it to see the happy faces at the table.  
Those of the adults, of course.  
The kids hardly ate a thing.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Roasted Buttenut Squash that - surprise! - no one liked but me, Happy New Year

I am ready to give up on cooking for this family.  The kids are becoming pickier every day, and The Mister and I both agree that we are in a food funk - both of us have low interest in food.  I'm tired of cooking and cleaning and menu planning, and watching my kids reject 97% of what I make.  While I was frantically racing around on Christmas Day trying to get dinner to the table, The Boy marched up and said he wanted to give me a list of what he would and wouldn't be eating for dinner that night.  I shooed him away, more kindly than I wanted to, because The Grandpa was standing there, and told The Boy that I wasn't interested in hearing him criticize my food before it was even on the table.  

This was a squash from one of our Thistle Farms orders that I roasted with some garlic, cinnamon, sugar and salt and pepper.  It was delicious, but of course I was the only one who felt that way.

Speaking of Christmas, I hope you had a good one, or a good Sunday, depending on what you do.  Ours was hectic and went too fast, but everyone was happy and healthy, and that is all that matters.  

I'm glad to have 2016 behind us; I always love the new starts in the year; first day of the month, first day of the next season, first day of the year.  I'm hoping to eat better and drop some of these extra pounds that found me in 2016.  I want to read more, get outside more.  I want to be more organized, be more creative.  Practice more yoga.  Pay down some bills.  Laugh more. I want to do some good in the world.  I want to put my head down, focus on what is important to me, and let the other stuff go.  I want to be calm, happy and smile.
I want that for my family too, for them to kick ass in all the ways they want to.
Let's go!