Tuesday, November 10, 2009

For my first 'roommate'.

Today is the birth date of my Grandma B. - my mom's mom. It seems like forever since she passed  - I really miss her. She passed away in February the same year that my dad passed. My poor mom - two major losses in the same year.

Today's blog is dedicated to my Grandma. It's not meant to be sad - she wouldn't have liked that. My Grandma was awesome. She was a real character - a real 'no nonsense' kind of lady. She meant business. She was a huge sports fan, she was incredibly independent, she was an amazing singer, she was an important member of her community, she was a loving mother, sister, grandma, aunt, she was very thoughtful, she was very creative, she was a talented artist, and so much more.  

I have a lot of fond memories of her. Growing up we were really lucky. They lived in Prince George so she and my Grandpa visited often. Some of my earliest memories: when I broke my femur and she came to visit me in the hospital - when she popped into the room I asked her what she brought me (can you say spoiled? that's what happens when you're in the hospital for 2 months) when she said 'nothing' - I told her that she couldn't come in. Harsh! I remember one time when they came to visit us, my brother and sister were watching for them out the bedroom window and when they arrived we were all dancing and singing 'For he's the jolly good fellow'. I also remember her taking my brother to church one Christmas Eve - when the singing started she started singing in her operatic voice and my brother and I got the giggles - we started laughing (as quietly as possible) and we made the pew shake uncontrollably. Bad kids! When she came to visit, my mom always bought tonic water in the cans b/c she loved a Gin and Tonic. I remember being so excited that we had pop in the fridge, learning very quickly that it wasn't pop and tasted similar to something gross. She also loved ginger chocolate - I am pretty sure that none of us have picked up that love. I think that ginger chocolate is probably the only chocolate that I don't love.

In the spring of my graduating year, my Grandma had a stroke. She went from literally one of the most independent woman that I knew - to a woman that needed help. She was no longer able to drive, or stay on her own. For my first year of college, I went to Prince George and lived with her. We became roommates. I had a lot of responsibilities, I managed, we survived, and through it all I had to learn how to cook. 

This was my Grandma's pastry cutter - I love using it - it is very old - and I feel that when I am baking that I am really doing it the proper way

When I arrived to live with her, I didn't really have one dish in my repertoire. I hadn't yet mastered Minute Rice, I could make toast and chop vegetables for a salad - oh and make chocolate pudding with bananas. My Grandma wasn't a picky eater, but she was specific and knew what she liked and didn't like. She didn't like uncooked rice :)

Over the year, I perfected Sweet & Sour Meatballs, pork chops done in cream of mushroom soup and spaghetti. Living with my Grandma, she taught me how to grocery shop, how to buy what you needed so you didn't waste food and how to make a mean banana loaf.

Tonight's dinner was one of my first dishes that I mastered. It is one of my mom's dishes that I always loved growing up and was so pleased when I learned how to make it.

Sweet & Sour Meatballs 
Pre-heat oven to 400.

1 pound of ground meat - I used ground chicken
1/4 cup milk
2/3 cups of cracker crumbs - I used panko bread crumbs
1 egg
Mix all of the ingredients together and form into small meatballs. Place them on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and bake for 25 minutes. 

2 tbsp of corn starch
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1 tbsp of soy sauce
1 can of pineapple chunks - drained - save the juice
1/3 cup of vinegar - I used a 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar
1 pepper cut into thin strips

In a medium sized sauce pan over medium heat, heat the pineapple juice and corn starch. Whisk together. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the pepper. Cook over medium heat. The sauce will thicken and become silky smooth.  Let it boil for one minute stirring continuously. 

Remove the meatballs from the oven and place in the saucepan with the pepper. Stir it all in to incorporate. Place it in a baking dish and bake for another 15 minutes. 

It's a super easy dish, and it is super delicious. 

I served this with brown rice (I've almost mastered it) and I added fresh spinach and mixed it in when the rice was cooked - so the spinach cooked slightly. I also roasted up a bunch of brussels sprouts - from my brussels sprout branch I got on the weekend. BS - something I never would have cooked when living with my Grandma.

Chris rated this a 5!

I like to think that my Grandma played a big part in my cooking 'career'. I only wish that she was here so that I could cook her Yam and Butternut Gratin, Stuffed Chicken Breasts, Homemade spaghetti sauce right from scratch... 

We miss you dearly - and I am so grateful to have the relationship that I did with you. 




Jenny said...

Looks yummy!!! I'll have to try it.
Do you have a rice cooker? I couldn't live without mine.

C. Mitchell said...

No, I don't. My mom has one and loves it. I don't have one for a stupid reason - I would want to keep it in the cupboard but b/c I have limited space I don't have room for it. I may reconsider....

Jenny said...

I keep mine tucked away in the cupboard. That's what I do with most of the appliances.
The meatballs were delish....I served with some stir fried brocc and veggies...and rice...