Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Blog Hiatus.

Adios friends - I am off for a wee bit. Looking forward to it all. U2 - Dallas  - time off work...
I will hopefully bring some splendid recipe ideas home with me. 

I am almost all packed - I always bring too much.

Take care of yourselves and let me know what you are cooking while I am gone.

Loves,
C.

Monday, October 26, 2009

New BFF? no. New Fave Chicken Recipe? yes.

Oh hello Monday. Wow did you ever sneak up on us.

So excited - my fave cuz, Margo, got me on to a new blog - and I love it. It's got everything - delicious recipes, amazing photos, lovely stories and so much more - check it out HERE. Anyways, I just love how she writes - and I have this weird feeling as if I know her. Not in a 'stalkerish' sort of way - but b/c of the way she writes - it just seems like she opens herself up and it's easy to relate* and befriend her. We share a love of kosher salt, panko breadcrumbs and cowboys**. I guess her site is what I inspire to work towards. Not exactly - but close. I have dreams my friends - big dreams. I know that they will develop - I just need to find the time to start putting together my puzzle - and hope that I'm not missing any pieces.
*Relate: I like to cook, she likes to cook. She loves dogs, I love dogs. She loves kosher salt, I love kosher salt. See where I'm going with this.
**Cowboys: She is married to one and I have dreamed of marrying one. Chris we are sizing you up for a pair of Wranglers and boots when we are in Dallas!

I suck at puzzles. I don't have the patience, misplace pieces, don't know where to start - should you start in the center or make the outside first - so no missing pieces get away??? See - this is a perfect analogy of my life. I'm not going to stress though - Halloween is over - I will just take it in stride. Make a list maybe. Maybe play around with my lovely Mac (Chris my love - this is one of the best gifts you could have ever gave me - loves). Maybe call over my gf's to help me figure out this fiasco - that's what friends are for.

Tonight's dinner was extra special: 1. Because I made a crispy lemon chicken recipe that I 'borrowed' from The Pioneer Woman and 2. Because Chris is home. What - home on a Monday??? Don't worry - everything is fine - he's on holidays this week - so when he does holidays - he doesn't do them half ass - he does it all. That's my boy! I had visions of me coming home from work - him greeting me at the door with a cup of tea and a bouquet of flowers and we would laugh and dance - and then we would make dinner together sipping wine and sit at the table while dinner simmered and gingerbreads danced 'on' our heads. Um... that didn't happen. Instead, I came home - was greeted by two lovely puppies - one that gently gnaws on my hand and the other that shakes from pure excitement. I then gathered up my laundry (crap it's still in the washer) and headed downstairs to find Christoff playing a little PC. Then I told him to fix the door, we then cozied for a couple of mins to try and get warm and then I started dinner and he watched the Flinstones. 6 pm tv on a Monday is a bit of a novelty I guess. Lucky. 

Alright, dinner was divine. I served it with sauteed cabbage and mashed potatoes.

Crispy Lemon Chicken
Now this is my interpretation - measurements aren't exact to hers.

12 chicken legs - washed off and seasoned with kosher salt
2 cups of plain yogurt
Juice of one lemon
4 cloves of garlic minced
2 cups of panko breadcrumbs
Butter

Pre-heat the oven to 375.
In a large bowl mix the yogurt, lemon and garlic.  Layout the breadcrumbs on a plate so that you can easily coat the chicken. 
With one hand, dip the chicken legs (one by one) in to the yogurt and then with the other hand coat the chicken leg in the bread crumbs. Try keeping one hand dry - it makes life so much easier. Place the chicken legs in a large baking dish. On each piece of chicken, place about a teaspoon of butter. 
Place in your pre-heated oven and let them cook for 1 hour. 

Chris rated this a 10+!! 
Here is a pic - I know that it's hid - but I am trying to learn - TF for TF.


The crispiness of the breadcrumbs and the flavour from the yogurt, garlic and lemon is completely divine. If you haven't used panko breadcrumbs before - run out and get some. They are so delicious and can be used in a lot of different recipes. You should be able to find them in the Asian section of any grocery store. 

Well friends that's it for me. I am off to sneak a piece of chocolate cake from last night. Holla!!!

Loves.

Enjoy!



Sunday, October 25, 2009

ING'ing it up kind of weekend


My attempt at a Fall wreath - it's definitely not an Auntie Marcia's masterpiece

Whirlwindy loo. Last couple of days - super busy - caught in a bit of a whirlwind - and now the weekend is almost over. Thankfully it was a good one - or I'd be losing my shi-ite. Whassup?? 

My weekend was full of visiting, celebrating, partying, stressing, birthday'ing, shopping and little sleeping.

Friday - visiting and celebrating - it was my 9 year anniversary at AbeBooks. 9 years!!!! I still can remember my interview, my first day - lots of good memories and a few not-so-good. To celebrate, I took my mom and Chris out for a nice dinner - my treat. 9 years ago - I wasn't really treating anyone. When I applied for my job as a Customer Support Rep - I said that I had extensive computer skills. Rrrrrighttt - I wasn't completely honest about that. I knew how to write up a paper in Word and how to check my email - but that was pretty much it. I worked very hard to try and not look like someone who didn't know how to turn my computer on. In time it paid off. I often wonder what I would have been doing if I didn't get a job there. 

Anniversary flowers from my Mom! Thanks Mom.

Saturday - stressing. Halloween - why do I let it get to me?? Anyways - Jenny's reminder of being Cavegirls back in high school - so that's what I did. I ran to the fabric store, bought a meter of leopard print material - called my mom - ran over and she sewed me up a costume in literally 15 minutes. It was great. THANKS MOM!!!! Chris went as a 'Ninja Annihilator' - don't ask. Zellers special. 

Saturday night - partying. Such a great Halloween party! There were some fantastic costumes - Octo-mom, Dr. Seymour Vagyna, Fred and Wilma, Kenny from Southpark, and so many more. I was the DD - I had two drinks (over a timframe of 4.5 hours) - we got home at 12:50 - way past my bed time - and I feel so burnt out and hung over today! What is up with that?? I purposely did not 'party' b/c I didn't want to be hung over this morning - and this what happens. Oh well - it was worth it, so much fun!

Birthday'ing - today we had a pre- party for Callum's birthday. We're going to miss his birthday - so we did dinner here tonight - so we could have cake and I could spoil him. I made his favourite chicken wings and prawns for appy's and then for dinner a big thai stir fry with coconut milk and rice noodles. Delicious. 

I wanted to do something a little different, so I served up the stirfry in the little paper boxes that traditional chinese food is served and we ate (well some of us did) with chop sticks. We ended the dinner with a delicious chocolate brownie cake - that I did not make :)

My-tie stirfry

This recipe is enough to feed 6 comfortably - I doubled it tonight and we still have lots left - and seconds were taken. I find this recipe so easy - and so tasty. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts - cut into thin strips
1 medium onion - chopped
4 cloves of garlic - minced
2 red peppers - chopped
2 yellow peppers - chopped
1 green pepper - chopped
2-3 cups fresh mushrooms - I used fresh button mushrooms - sliced are perfect too
1 small zucchini - julienned
1 bunch of bok choy - chopped 
1 can of coconut milk
Juice of half a lime
Hot sauce
1/4 cup of sweet chili sauce
1/3 cup of peanut butter
2 packs of rice noodles - each pack comes with 2 packs - so in total you will need 4

In a wok - or large frying pan - saute the onion in a small amount of olive oil. Cook the onions until they they are softened - don't forget give them a dash of kosher salt. Add the chicken and garlic and continue to cook over medium high heat - after a couple of minutes add the coconut milk, lime juice, hot sauce (how hot do you like it) and sweet chili sauce - stir in and continue to let it cook. After another couple of minutes add all of your vegetables except the bok choy. Continue cooking - once your vegetables are getting close to the consistency that you like - probably 10 minutes add in your bok choy - give it a good stir - and then add in your peanut butter. If you like the peanutty flavour add more. Then add your noodles. Mix continuously to ensure that the noodles break up. 

And that's it!!! This is one of Chris' favourites - so this dish is always rated a 5+.


Alrighty then - that's it for me for this evening. Only 3 more sleeps until my U2 - Dallas adventure - I'm getting so excited. 

Bring the week on - we can handle it - let's show us what we can do!

Loves.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

PM Sing

That's what I am calling my PMS this time round. Man - I don't want to go into details - but whoa - I am super-hyper-crazy-freakishly-sensitive right now. WHOA! Don't get me wrong, this is not the first time for this, but not sure what is up with this month. I just cried at a tv ad for a cell phone company and the 5 minutes of Dog the Bounty Hunter that I watched; snapped at the pups for being under my feet while trying to make dinner - even though they're there every night; no patience; and I want to eat chocolate. CHOCOLATE!!!

What is it with chocolate? I love it. LOVE IT. I seriously could live off the stuff. I like to think that my addiction to any sort of chocolaty goodness comes naturally for me. My grandmother loved chocolate - pretty much all kinds. She always had sweets in the house. My dad was also a huge chocolate lover. I have such fond memories of him bringing chocolate bars home, putting them in the freezer, and breaking off little pieces for us to enjoy throughout a show we were watching or a game we were playing. I still can remember it - picture it in my head as if it were yesterday. I think that he used to pick up the sweets - Jersey Milk or 3 Muskateers - on his way home from work - and us kids would be in our PJ's and we would all be nestled in on the couch - he would get up during the commercials and bring us a little piece. I think even back then I was probably wishing he would just bring the entire thing out. 

I think that I need a section for this blog titled 'Confessions of a Chocoholic'. My first entry would be about how I can't stop eating the damn mini chocolate bars that I bought for Halloween. Anyone see anything wrong with that? Anyone? How about the fact that WE ARE NOT GOING TO BE HERE FOR HALLOWEEN!!! My reason for buying them was that I was going to put them in my candy jar for Thanksgiving and we could pick at them. But, I decided against that and put them in the cupboards downstairs - out of sight out of mind. Then I decided that I bought them for David to give out to the trick or treaters if he wants to since (I think) he's staying here. Hm, so now what is David going to be handing out to the kids? Canned tomatoes? Rice cakes? God. David, if you're reading - I will by more treats for you - I promise. And I won't eat them. 

Ok, move along, nothing to see here (except candy wrappers)

Thank you Jenny for the great Halloween costume ideas. I think that I may go with Princess Leia - I think that I may be pull it off. I have a white 'thing' that I tried to use last year for a Ghost Bride costume - remember how I ended going as a witch... uh huh. I can probably do the hair too. Jules - warm up the sewing machine - I may be coming over.

I thought that I would share a recipe with chocolate in it tonight. These will definitely satisfy a chocolate craving. I made these a couple of weeks ago, on a cold and blistering Friday night. They were a real treat to have with a cup of tea and a movie (yes, Chris and I have crazy weekends around here sometimes).

This is my sister's recipe - which may be my mom's - not sure - they are the best bakers. 


Debbie's Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
1/2 cup butter - softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 1/4 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt 
3/4 cup chocolate chips 

Pre-heat oven to 375.

Cream butter and sugars together. Add peanut butter (more if you like it to be real peanut buttery) and mix it all together.
Add all of the dry ingredients and mix all together. Mix in the chocolate chips - try not to eat too many.
Roll the dough into small bowls, and then press them down with a fork. 
Bake for 10-12 minutes. 

And they're ready. Enjoy.

Dinner tonight was an old and easy favourite. Pasta sauce sans the pasta. It was loaded with every vegetable that I had in the house - peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, spinach.  I think that I have posted this before - but I can't find it anywhere. It is basically, sauteed onion, add the ground chicken, then peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, canned tomatoes, seasonings, spinach - simmer - serve it up with naan bread. Super easy, super delicious.

Alrighty then - off to do a little Princess Leia research.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Undue stress - treated by chocolate brownies. Yes please!


Do you ever get stressed and then realize what you're stressing about is so ridiculous? I have many of those 'what the eff am I stressing about this for???' moments - I just wish that by the time that I have realized that I am stressing about something ridiculous - good quality time has passed. Sigh.

Right now I am stressing about what I am going to dress up as for Halloween. There are some genuine things going on in my life right now that I could validly be stressing about - but I think that I do a  pretty good job of managing my stress levels. 

We have a big party to go to on this weekend - Randy and Karen's annual Halloween party. Karen LOVES Halloween. She spends a week decorating, their house always looks so great. They don't do much for Christmas - so they consider this their major holiday. 

Every year I stress. This year I was kind of excited b/c I thought - we'll be in Dallas, so I'll miss the party - but really it's more like - damn, I'm going to miss the party but at least I don't have to dress up. GAh!!!!! Ok people, I need some help. I need some good ideas to dress up in. Last year I went as a witch, the year before a gypsy, the year before that a witch... see a trend?

Here are some ideas that I had: Julia Child, Backup singer, a couples costume with Chris - I would be H1 and he would be N1. Each year after Halloween, I am all committed to finding the best costume for the next year - and then I forget. And then October 1st rolls around and I start thinking of what I could do - and then the next thing I know it's the weekend before the party and I have nothing. See stupid stress. 

Ideas are welcome.

Ok, as promised here is the recipe for some relatively healthy brownies. One of my new favourite magazines is Food Network Magazine. I love the Food Network, so this is just another bonus and it helps feed my food magazines addiction. 

Anyways, this recipe is from October's edition. They were easy to make, are extremely moist and compared to a standard brownie recipe - much more healthier. Chris LOVED these. They were a 5 for him.

Double Chocolate Brownies

6 ounces of bittersweet chocolate - coarsely chopped (I cheated and used chocolate chips)
2 tbsp of butter
1 cup of whole wheat flour
3/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
4 large eggs
1 cup packed sugar
1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1/4 cup canola oil 
2 tsp vanilla 
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Pre-heat oven to 350. 
Melt the chocolate and butter in a heat proof bowl set over a saucepan of boiling water. Stir occasionally, don't let the bottom of the bowl touch the water.

Whisk the flour, cocoa, salt and baking soda in a medium sized bowl. In a large bowl stir together the brown sugar and eggs until they are all smooth. Add the oil, yogurt and vanilla and stir to combine.  Whisk in the melted chocolate until it is blended fully.  Then add the dry ingredients and mix until everything is moistened. 

Spread the batter in the 9x13 inch pan (if it isn't a non-stick pan, they spray with cooking spray) and sprinkle with the walnuts. Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. 

These are delicious - they aren't the typical brownie - they're lighter and so rich. 

Ok - what I need you to take away from this post - is a deep thought of what I can be for Halloween - and then let me know :)

Loves.

Enjoy!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Lightening up an old favourite.

Yesterday when I was making dinner, I was trying to remember the first dish that I made - where I ate it in a restaurant and then tried to make it at home. I think, if memory serves me correct, it was Fettucini Alfredo. I used to love trying to perfect the dish each time I made it - I didn't make it that often, because I didn't know how to make a low fat version - all of the butter and cream and white pasta - is deelish, but oh so not good for the hips. If only I recognized that years sooner...

So all day I have been thinking of Fettucini Alfredo - dreaming of it and decided that I had to have it for dinner tonight. I had to have it tonight, but with some rules: I could only use what I had in the pantry and fridge, it had to be as low fat as 'I' could possibly make it, it had to be as healthiest as possible and it had to be delicious! 

I tried my best - I think that I succeeded - Chris will have to be the judge when he is home. 

Light it up - Fettucini Alredo
1 box of whole wheat linguini (this will make a whole lot of food!)
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
3 cloves of garlic - minced
2 tbsp of butter
1 tbsp of olive oil
2 tbsp of flour
1 can of fat free condensed milk
1/2 cup of skim milk
1/4 cup of low fat cream cheese
1/2 cup low sodium chicken stock
2 red peppers - julienned
2 cups of sliced mushrooms
1 cello bag of fresh spinach
1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan

My attempt at making this healthier was loading it up with vegetables - which is different from my olden days version - that just had chicken and mushrooms. I know that it seems like a lot of ingredients - but I wanted to try and make it as creamy as I could with out too much of the 'good' stuff.

Bake the chicken in a casserole dish - uncovered - with a little dash of water and ground pepper in a 425 oven for 40 minutes. Once it is cooked cut the chicken into thin strips. 

In a large skillet, heat the butter and olive oil over low to medium heat - add the garlic - saute the garlic for a minute (be careful you don't burn it - like I almost did) and then add the flour. Whisk the flour and butter to form a paste - and the slowly whisk in the condensed milk - the sauce will thicken - add the skim milk and then the cream cheese. You can then add the peppers and mushrooms and continue to cook. Depending on how thick the sauce is, you can then add the chicken stock - and get it to the consistency that you want it to be. Add the chicken to soak in all the creamy goodness. When you are about 2 minutes ready to have it all completed - add the spinach. I only let it cook for 2 minutes so that it doesn't wilt completely. Add in the parmesan - and you're done!



Serve it up - linguini on the dish first and then a nice generous serving of the sauce topped with fresh parmesan cheese.

I love the creaminess of the sauce, the chunkiness of the vegetables and chicken and the deliciousness of it all.

Chris rated this a 5!

Stay tuned for tomorrow's post - I have a delicious - and healthy recipe for brownies! Hello chocolate love.

That's it for me for tonight. It's been a day - and it's time that it's over.

Enjoy!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sweet Sunday - and birthday wishes!!


First things first!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARGO!!!
AND 
HAPPY BIRTHDAY JENNY!!!

I hope you both had fabulous days.

What a great day. It was a truly lovely Autumn day - no rain - all sun. I was trying to capture the sheer beauty of the massive chestnut tree in our back yard, and our little red maple tree. I absolutely love the changing colours of the leaves - I know that I have said this before - but I really just love it.

I was pretty stoked to get my clothes all sorted today - another thing to cross off my list. If we ever move - our new house will have more closet space than we know what to do with. Sigh. Magnum needed to get in on the action - we got a cute pic of him.


Jules and I did our weekly shop at the Root Cellar - it's been months since we've done it together. I love the goodies that we can find there. Today I found fresh button mushrooms - I've never seen them fresh before - so delicious. I made a mushroom gravy with them for this evening's dinner - it turned divine.


I roasted a chicken - slightly different than what I normally do. I chopped up half an onion (the other half I used to make a very quick stuffing with celery, bread, poultry seasoning) in thin strips and put them in my roasting pan - placed the chicken on top of onions, drizzled a small bit of olive oil, added a bit of kosher salt and pepper, drizzled with a full fresh lemon and placed a few peeled garlic cloves on the chicken and underneath. About half way through, I added 1 cup of water to the pan - this will get all the onion and chicken juices ready for the gravy. The chicken was baked in a 425 oven for 1 hour and 10 minutes. The chicken turned out so moist.

For the gravy, I used the onions that were roasted with the chicken, and added them to my cast iron pan, that had a drizzle of olive oil. I sauteed the all of the mushrooms to the pan and sauteed them over high heat for about 5 minutes. I then added a 1/4 cup of white wine - deglazed the pan slightly, turned the heat down and continued to saute them. Once the mushrooms are starting to soften, add 1 tbsp of butter, let it melt in with the mushrooms and then add a heaping tbsp of flour. Mix the flour in, and then add the juices from the roasting pan - mix vigorously and your gravy will start forming. I added additional chicken stock - some fresh ground pepper, fresh thyme, and my gravy was ready.  Truly delicious. The mushrooms were little gems - juicy and full of flavour.

To go with our chicken and mushroom gravy, I roasted acorn squash and topped it with a sweet topping.  Cut the acorn squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and cook in a casserole dish (lined with aluminum foil - very easy clean up), bake along side the chicken in the 425 oven for about 40 minutes. When they are cooked, turn them over, and add the following: 1 tbsp of brown sugar, 1/4 tsp cinnamon and a 1/4 tbsp of butter. Place them back in the oven, reduce the heat to 300 and let the butter and sugars all melt together. Chris loves this squash. The squash when it absorbs all of the sugar and cinnamon, it takes on the most amazing flavours!


I bought a few other goodies this week that I will try - I'll keep you posted.

I hope that you are all ready for a new week. Let's hope that it's a good one!

Enjoy.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

I think I need a kick in the butt - get a move on!

I am struggling with the fact that I didn't do much of anything today. I woke before 7:30 and lazed around in bed - watching a little tv - and got out of bed just after Chris headed to Kunga at 10! And then moved from the bed to the couch. I did a few things - roasted some of my garden tomatoes, walked the pups (when there was a break in the rain), made some lunch, quick trip to the store - and that's about it. I have this overly strong feeling of guilt - I should have cleaned my closet, put a ton of clean laundry away, done some dusting... I am thinking that I will just let it go - and embrace a little time off. 


Last night's visit with Tracy and Emma was delightful. We had a great time - watched 'Year One' - silly movie - with lots of funny bits. Tracy brought her camera along and took some pics for a 'project' that I am working on. She takes beautiful pictures - so I am very excited to see how they turned out. 

Here is a pic of a sandwich that I whipped up for Chris today. I had some baguette left over, so I lightly smothered it in light cream cheese, added some sausage (thinly sliced), four of my roasted roma tomatoes (I can't even describe the flavour of them - pure delightful goodness), topped with some monterey jack cheese with jalepenos. Baked - open faced - in a 300 oven for about 5 minutes. He liked it!


We went to the Fifth Street for dinner to celebrate Karen and Heidi's birthdays - a nice night - good food - and friends.

I just booked our hotel for Dallas - it looks really nice! Magnolia Hotel - Dallas. It looks like a really nice place, offers a complimentary breakfast, compliment evening reception with beer and wine, a cookies and milk buffet every evening and the entire hotel is non-smoking!!! So excited. 

Alright - I am hoping for a non-rainy day tomorrow. Jules and I are heading out to the Root Cellar nice and early, I will be putting the laundry away tomorrow, we're supposed to be going to the matinee to see Zombieland, and after today's day, I should be wiped.

Enjoy your Sunday!


Friday, October 16, 2009

Fffffriday!

Oh hello Friday! Wow, this Friday couldn't have come fast enough. 

I sometimes feel that when there is a long weekend, the following 'short' week seems longer than normal. 

I had my first book club meeting last night - I think that it's going to be a good one. We all agreed on my pick for the first book - oh the pressure. We are going to be reading 'Mennonite in a Little Black Dress' by Rhoda Janzen. I think that it looks like it will be a good book - here's hoping. 

I am just waiting on my friend Tracy and her daughter, Emma, to come on over for a girl's night - with some delicious appy's, and a movie. Chris and JR - are at Slipknot. Hm, not sure why we didn't want to go :)

Alright - I am just going to run in the kitchen and prep some treats.

Love your Friday night - and it will love  you back.

Enjoy.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Soup, soup - the more you eat the more you don't droop!

I have just finished making soup and am letting it simmer on the stove. I am very excited for a bowl of hearty turkey soup. I also excited about actually writing the recipe down this time. I always try to make turkey soup after a big turkey dinner, but don't always get to it, and it seems like when I do make it, I always do it differently. I think that tonight's will be tasty - I have about another 20 mins for my barley pearls to soak in all of the turkey stock goodness.

I heart homemade soups. My mom makes the best homemade soups - all different kinds - pea, chicken, turkey, vegetable... I remember as a kid wanting something different when homemade soup was for dinner; however, I did love that with soup, there was always a homemade dessert. I look back on that now - and shake my head. We were so lucky to have a mom that made homemade, healthy and delicious soups. I feel so blessed looking back now - thinking of all the work that my mom put in to making us her soups from scratch - and how now, many years later, how happy I am when I go for dinner and soup is on the menu.

I know some women - the main chefs in the house I guess - whose 'male' partners won't have soup for dinner. They don't consider 'soup' a meal. I don't know what I would do if that was the case in this household. Well... actually I do - I would tell my 'male' partner to make his own damn dinner. 

I know that my dad loved my mom's soups too. I can picture him right now - sitting at the end of the table, hunched over a bowl of my mom's 'world famous' (maybe not 'world' famous - but definitely famous) soups, blowing on his spoon as the soup was a little to warm and slurping it back - making a loud noise - and being in full delight. What a site. He too loved soup nights because dessert was to follow.

What a tradition - thanks Mom. I love making soup, I love serving it with dessert following and I love how soup can be just about anything.

Tonight's turkey soup was done differently than I have done it before. I heated the stock in my largest pot - and then in my other large pot, I sauteed all of the vegetables up and then added them to the stock. I tend to not add a lot of spices or seasonings when I am cooking a turkey dinner or turkey soup - I really like the turkey to stand out. I do add poultry seasoning, rosemary, thyme and sage to my stuffing and the 'cavity' of the bird while it is cooking, but that's about it.

Turkey Soup inspired by my Mom

For the stock:
In a very large pot, add your turkey bones, cover the bones in water, add kosher salt and pepper and 2 tbsp of poultry seasoning, and simmer. Let it simmer for as long as you can handle it. Then I just pull out the bones - see if I can pull any meat from the stock, and strain my stock and let it sit. It's nice that you can simmer it for a full day, and then put in the fridge for a day or two, or freeze it and use it when you are ready.

Now to the soup:

1 large onion chopped
1 small to medium sized butternut squash - chopped into small pieces
1/4 cup of white wine
1 large zucchini - chopped into small pieces
4 stalks of celery - thinly chopped
1 cup of corn
Leftover mashed potatoes - I know - they are great in soup and it's a good way to get rid of them - probably a cup
1/2 cup of barley - oh barley!
Turkey leftovers 
If you have gravy left over - add this too!



Ensure that in your largest pot that there is enough room to add the vegetables. 

In your pot with the stock - add your turkey and potatoes and the barley. Continue to stir so that the barley doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot. In your other large pot, over medium heat saute the onion in olive oil - season with kosher salt. Let cook for about 10 minutes. Add the white wine to slightly deglaze the pot. Add the butternut squash and continue to saute. Once the squash is softening, add the celery, zucchini and the corn. Continue to cook for another 5 minutes. 


It's then time to add your vegetable medley (it will taste delicious) to the stock. And that's really it! Let it simmer for at least a half hour - and hour is better. Ensure that the barley is fully cooked. 

The flavours all coming together will not disappoint. 



I would love to know your turkey soup secrets - what do you add? What spices do you use?

Tomorrow is the start of a new book club. I was in a book club before, started by my friend Maegan - but it kind of turned into a 'hey, I haven't read the book, let's eat, what book?' kind of club. So hopefully this time will be a little more productive. I just worry though, because I don't really read during the winter. I find that it is super easy to indulge in book during the summer, lounging on the deck - but during winter - being inside - I have such an easy time focusing on other stuff that needs to get done. I am going to give it a try - it will be nice to visit with friends, expand my literature horizons and hopefully have wine and appys. 

Alright October 14th, that's it for me. I am prepping to laze on the sofa, after the soup is eaten, dishes are done and whatever comes my way.

Loves.

Enjoy!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Turkey lurkey


I hope that you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving. I hope that you found happiness in a filling feast, friends and family, a long weekend and some lazing about.

Our Sunday night Thanksgiving dinner was lovely. It all went really smoothly and all of the dishes turned out deliciously. It was nice to have a small group - we were all able to sit around the table, visit and fill our bellies. 


I spent yesterday doing not much of anything. I felt like I was playing hookie or something - I have a really hard time just sitting around, watching tv, reading a magazine, surfing the net... I did a dog walk and made my turkey stock - but that was really about it. 

I am feeling a little full of turkey. Turkey sandwiches are my absolute favourite - can't get enough of those sangies. Last night we had Jules over for hot turkey sandwiches, and a bunch of veggies. Tonight I made turkey pot pie - probably the easiest pot pie recipe ever. I also have my cuz Margo's Turkey Ole recipe. 



Turkey Pot Pie
This is one of my sister's recipes that she gave me years ago and is one of Chris' absolute favourite dishes. It's simple - and you can use items in your pantry and the leftovers from the turkey dinner. The crust on top goes a lovely golden brown, and is soft and creamy. Here is what I did:

Pre-heat oven to 400.

2 cans of cream of mushroom soup - tonight I used one can of cream of broccoli and one cream of chicken (they were out of mushroom at the store) - also try and use the low fat/low sodium
2 cups of turkey - chopped
3 celery stalks - chopped
1 cup of carrots - very thinly chopped
1 cup of corn 
2 cups of mashed potatoes - I prefer the mashed potatoes than pieces of potatoes
Kosher salt and pepper and 1/2 tsp of poultry seasoning

Mix all of the above ingredients together in a large bowl and place in a casserole dish.

Topping:
1 egg
1/2 cup of milk
1 cup of Bisquik

Mix all together and pour over top of  your turkey filling.

Bake in your 400 oven for 30-35 minutes. And that's it! Serve warm with a fresh salad and you have a great dinner.



Cuz Margo - who I adore beyond words - sent me this recipe today. We chatted on the weekend - it had been far too long since we had chatted last - and she told me about Turkey Ole. I love just saying it. I am definitely going to give this a try. I did a similar dish with ground pork that we had left over from burritos - but I didn't use the same ingredients as this recipe - and my dish was definitely missing something.

Margo's Turkey Ole

In a rectangle casserole dish - cover the bottom with 3 tortillas.

The Filling:
Salsa
Sour Cream
Turkey
Cottage Cheese
Green onion
Peppers
Grated cheddar cheese

Mix together and cover the tortillas. Then cover with 3 more tortillas. Add shredded cheddar to cover. Bake - I'd say probably in a 350 oven - everything will melt nicely and it will be ready to serve. It sounds delicious!

Well that's it for me tonight. I need to hanga with Kung Fu Chris - eat a tiny piece of pumpkin pie and prep for another day tomorrow. 

Loves.

Enjoy!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Thanksgiving countdown...

Getting things done. Happy Thanksgiving Eve!

I love doing our turkey dinner on the Sunday - so that Monday can be somewhat of a laze-around day, stuffing ourselves with turkey sandwiches.

We went to a potluck turkey dinner last night at Heidi and Michael's and it was delicious. I made Spinach Gratin to bring - and it turned out really well. It's a very easy dish - something that can be made in advance and then heated just before dinner.

Before we went out last night I made my stuffing and pumpkin pies. I didn't make my pie filling from scratch - I don't have that much energy. I did make my pie crusts though - used THIS recipe and added 3 tbsp of sugar to sweeten it up a bit. 

This morning I've been busy. I have prepped all of the veggies, made the cranberry sauce, stuffed the turkey (it's cooking as I type), dog walk, plugged the garbarator, decorated the house a bit - gourds, mini pumpkins, dried corn, and other decorations that I have picked up over the years. 

Dinner will be intimate this evening with just 5 of us. I am actually looking forward to it. Typically we don't have less than 10 - so this will be a nice change, a little more slower paced and more relaxed.

On the menu tonight:

Turkey 
Stuffing with Italian sausage
Gravy
Mashed potatoes 
Roasted carrots, brussels sprouts and beets
Corn
Cranberry sauce 
Buns from Art's Bakery - my new favourite place - located on Burnside Ave.
Pumpkin Pie

Fall is my favourite season - I have said before that I love the crispness of the air, the cool mornings and evenings, the leaves changing colour. I also love, the fresh food that is season - the squashes, carrots, potatoes, beets - lots of great root vegetables. When I was prepping up my beets this morning, I was struck by the unbelievable beauty of them. They are stunning. I also love the cranberries - they are little jewels. 


Well, I should get off of my Royal Canadian - and get stuff done. Hopefully I have time for a shower :)

I hope for those having turkey dinns tonight, have a delicous one. I will be reminding myself about all that I am grateful for today - there is a lot.

Enjoy!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Holla Thursday! Can't believe that the week is almost over. I am very excited about it - the weekend is going to be long - and lovely. 

I didn't have to cook tonight - we had a work dinner at Moxie's. It was a really great evening. They have delicious stuffed potatoes - they have cream cheese, chives, bacon - all which equals pure deliciousness. I am going to see if I can figure out how to make those.

Just a reminder about the latest giveaway. Share it with your friends. Click HERE for more details. 

That's it for me right now - I need to curl in and watch 'The Office' - oh we love that show.

Bring on the weekend!!!!

Enjoy!!!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Giveitaway, giveitaway, give it away now!


I think that it's time for another giveaway. A C. Mitchell Presents style giveaway. One of my new blog readers - who shall remain anonymous but her name rhymes with 'Pleffaknee' - was wondering why she hasn't been asked to be a guest chef. So, it's time for a new chef! But, I need to add Jocelyn - how have I not done this before??? This weekend I will get things organized - and post her recipe for DELICIOUS pizza and the questions that she has answered for me.

The newest challenge is this: 
A evening or day (your choice) of a cooking-fest with me! I love to cook with friends and family, so want to cook with someone who reads what I cook. If you are not local - please still enter - we will catch up someday and we can plan a cooking-fest then. 

Here's what you need to do enter:
Post a comment or send me an email (I would prefer adding a comment so that everyone can see the responses) of one of the recipes that I have added that you have tried or would like to try. That's it. 

The winner will come over to my abode and we will create a masterpiece menu together, cook up a storm and enjoy our feast.

Please provide your entries by Sunday - Thanksgiving eve. If you feel awkward b/c you don't know me - we'll work something out.

I am excited about this one!

Speaking of Thanksgiving - it's right around the corner. Chris and I are hosting this year - but it seems like we have a small group this year - and to be honest I am really looking forward to that. I am still thinking about my menu, but I think that I will be cooking:
Turkey 
Stuffing - with ground italian sausage and herbs
Mashed potatoes 
Grilled autumn vegetables - brussells sprouts, baby carrots, beets and butternut squash
Homemade cranberry sauce 
Homemade pumpkin pie 

Am I missing anything? I love to make Spinach Gratin for turkey dinners, but we're going to a potluck on Saturday night and I am bringing that with me.

Tonight's dinner is still in the oven. Buh - I hate eating late.

On the menu tonight: 
Summer vegetable gratin - yellow and green zucchini with fresh tomatoes 
Chicken meatloaf - ground chicken used
Mashed cauliflower - one of my new faves

Here is a recipe that I did last week. Cauliflower fritters. I found the recipe in a Rachel Ray magazine - and just tweaked it slightly. I wasn't sure how healthy is - and it is quite good for you. It is low in saturated fat and cholesterol. High in dietary fibre and vitamin C.

Cauliflower Fritters

1 head of cauliflower - cut into pieces and boiled until soft - about 15 minutes
1 egg
1/3 cup of flour
1 tbsp of butter
1/4 cup of chopped basil
1/3 cup of parmesan cheese
Kosher salt

Once the cauliflower is boiled to perfection, drain, and add to a large bowl. Mash the cauliflower and let it cool for about 5 minutes. Add all of the remaining ingredients. Mix thoroughly - I actually used my hands - and make small balls (about the size of a golf ball) - add them to a heated skillet that has a little olive oil, press them down in the center and brown on each side. 



And that's it. Chris loved them - he rated them a 5!

For tonight's dinner - I am going to boil the cauliflower - mash it all up - and just add a bit of butter, some fresh chives and some parmesan cheese. I am excited to give it a try again.

Ok - that's it for me for tonight. I can't wait to see some of the entries. 

Loves, 

Enjoy!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sundays come so fast.

It's the wrap up of a great weekend. I am always saddened on a Sunday night - when I realize that the weekend went by so fast. It was a great weekend - a little action, a little get up and go, a little lazing around and some fun cooking.

We had my mom for dinner last night and I made a huge pot of Chicken Corn Chowder and Rice Pudding for dessert. I made the chowder without any cream - so it was a healthy, light version. Very delicious.

Tonight for dinner I made a Mac & Cheese recipe from the EAT magazine - it's a very rich recipe so I tried to lighten it up a bit. It called for evaporated milk, whipping cream, half and half cream and bacon... I am sure that the recipe with all of the full creams would have been decadent and delicious, but my version was a little lighter - and was still very delicious. 

EAT Mac & Cheese

1 box of whole wheat macaroni - boiled until el dente 
12 oz can of fat free evaporated milk
1 cup of skim milk
1/2 cup of whipping cream or half and half cream
1 cup chicken stock
4 tbsp of butter
1 onion - chopped
3 cloves garlic - minced
1/3 cup of flour 
2 tbsp of dijon mustard
3/4 cup parmesan cheese - grated
2 cups light marble cheddar - shredded
Kosher salt and pepper
Panko bread crumbs

In a large saucepan on low/medium heat - heat the milk, creams and chicken stock. You just want to heat the liquids - be careful not to heat it too much so that it burns - we all know how easy that can happen. In a large pot, heat the butter and add onion and then garlic. Heat for about 3-4 minutes over medium heat - once onions soften. Add the flour and whisk to ensure that the onions are coated in the flour. Pour the milk mixture to the flour/onions - slowly but all at once. Whisk continuously until the cream starts to thicken - about 3 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and whisk in the dijon mustard and parmesan cheese. Once that is all mixed in - add the shredded cheddar. Mix thoroughly. Add the macaroni to the cheese mixture and mix all of the goodness together. Season with kosher salt and pepper.

Place the mac & cheese to a large casserole dish, cover with panko bread crumbs and bake in a 350 oven for 22 minutes. 

And that's it - voila - Mac & Cheese!  So delicious. And, leftovers for tomorrow. Thank goodness.

Chris rated this a 4!

Since the Mac & Cheese was without any vegetables, I did a quick stir fry. I added 1 tbsp of olive oil in my cast iron pan, and then added a red and yellow pepper, sliced mushrooms and a full bunch of spinach. And about a minute before serving I added some very tiny cherry tomatoes fresh from the tomato plants - all seasoned with a little verde vinaigrette. It was a great side dish and made the Mac & Cheese dinner a little more healthy.

Right now - I am trying to cook hash browns in my oven - for tomorrow's breakfast at work. I'm cooking breakfast for my department - hopefully I will have help in the AM. I have only bought those hash browns once or twice before - and haven't tried doing them in the oven. So far so good.

Alright - I am hoping that the coming week goes by fast - b/c there is a lovely long weekend just around the corner. Oh how I love a long weekend. We are having Thanksgiving at ours this Sunday. I am planning the menu now. 

I hope you all have a great week. 

Enjoy!

Friday, October 2, 2009

TFIF!!



Starting the weekend off with a bang. Well, not really - but we did celebrate our bi-weekly 'Friends of Libations' at work. I named it that so that it doesn't directly imply that we are having an 'alcoholic beverage' to start the weekend off. 

The pups were off to the groomers today - Magnum has a new mohawk, and Jozie is  so fresh and beautiful. Magnum is quite 'frisky' right now. This will last a few days. It's like he has just met Jozie for the first time. 


Jozie is giving Magnum - her famous 'Shitzu snarl'

We don't have too much planned this weekend. Jules finally home - so hopefully we'll have a visit. I have a dog walk planned, need to do a big yard clean up and get rid of our summer plants, get some jeans hemmed, and do some hearty comfort food. I think that I am going to try some baked macaroni and cheese (I have a couple of different recipes) and maybe a nice big pot of chicken corn chowder. I just feel like so good ol' comfort food - so hopefully I'll get some of that done.

I hope that you all have a fun weekend planned - stay tuned for some recipes.

Loves,
Enjoy!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

OOOOOH October!

Ok - I'm here. I am not sure where the last 9 days went since I posted last, but it seems like I was just making barley risotto (I've made it again since - so good) and now it's October 1st. OCTOBER 1st. 

Dear October, I heart you.

I heart the newness of October. The defining of fall - the crisp mornings and the cool evenings. Leaves turning fire red and orange and golden yellow. Squash, pumpkins, tomatoes - such treats to cook with. Bring it all on - I am prepared for a lovely autumn - oh how I love thee. I plan on having one big Octoberfest around these parts!

So, since I last posted, things have been busy. Real busy. I have...
- went to Pearl Jam - BEST CONCERT. 
- I fell in love with Eddie Vedder - all over again. 
- I cooked stuffed pork tenderloin, barley risotto and roasted baby carrots, beets and tiny brussels sprouts for friends
- I attended a coalition meeting against the needle exchange they are wanting to locate on the same street as the Kung Fu studio - read more HERE
- I was on the news - as Chek 6 was at the meeting - you probably wouldn't have really seen me, unless you looked really hard at the far top left of the screen. I looked a little like I was undercover b/c I was wearing a new hat
- I used a 20% off coupon at Ricki's and bought two new hats and a new turtle neck
- I tried on a skirt that I bought last year that did not fit - but I bought it any way - b/c I loved it. I couldn't get it done up - and I tried it on on Sunday and it fits perfectly!!! Hello. What happened??? How did that happen? 
- I made a delicious stirfry with rice noodles
- I made homemade butternut squash soup with sourdough croutons and cauliflower fritters
- I learned that a breeder that I contacted in the summer of 2008 has two 3 month old Bearded Border Collies - oh god - please give me strength to not bring one home. They are adorable. I thought that Chris would be very upset that I even mentioned it - and that would keep the situation in check - however, he is doing the opposite. 

I will post some of my recipes - I am excited to share them.

I hope you're all well. I will not be a stranger again - I plan to have my evenings more free.

Loves.

Enjoy!