It started with a bang for a couple of reasons. It started because I splurged and had Monique come and do a very much needed house cleaning for me. I have been stressed b/c of a messy house and no time to do much about it. I find that taking some time to myself takes away from taking care of the abode. Well - this week - b/c toilets don't need to be scrubbed and floors don't need to be washed, I can do some much needed organization.
It started b/c I won $50 worth of lotto tickets - a fundraiser for the United Way at work. Wahooo!!! We have scratched 3 tickets so far - and have come up with nothing. C'mon Set For Life - momma needs some new shoes!
It also started b/c I cooked up a lovely dinner - something that I have been so excited to try all week. Polenta. I haven't made polenta before, but I watched Michael Smith make it on Chef At Home. I love all his recipes. He does healthy, manageable dishes. So, his polenta dish from the other day - was something that I wanted to try. I didn't have a recipe, so I had to go by memory and alter it a bit. I served it with a roasted tomato - that was also very delicious - not a Michael Smith recipe - a C. Mitchell Presents :)
Well I'm not really sure what to call it. I hadn't tried polenta this way before - but the texture and the flavours within it - to me (and Chris too) - found it absolutely incredibly delicious! It's easy - and despite the instructions on the bag - this method is super, super easy. Polenta - according to some online research - is low in calories, has zero fat, low in sodium, low in sugar and has some fibre benefits.
1 onion - cut into very thin strips
1 cup of diced bacon - I used a chunk of smoked bacon and cut into tiny chunks
1 cup of corn meal
4 cups of chicken stock
1 cup of corn
1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 tsp crushed pepper flakes
In a large saucepan, heat a couple of tbsp of olive oil and add the sliced onion. Saute for about 8 minutes, until onion is golden. Add bacon and continue cooking for about 5 minutes. Add the polenta and then the chicken stock, corn and pepper flakes. Reduce the heat to low - and stir - but it does not have to be stirred constantly. Continue to cook for about 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, it should start to thicken. At that time increase the heat to medium-low and stir more often. The consistency will become thick, kind of like a porridge consistency. At this time, add the shredded cheese and continue to serve. Once the cheese has melted, it is ready to serve.
And that's it. The flavour of the smokey bacon, the slight spice of the crushed peppers, the sweetness of the corn - yum!
4 tomatoes - slice the top of them off
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
2 tbsp of parmesan cheese
Drizzle of olive oil
1 tbsp Verde Vinaigrette or any dried herbs
Pre-heat oven to 400. Mix all of the ingredients together - sans tomatoes. Gently top each of the tomatoes with the dry mixture and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. These turned out really well. They were delicious, light and super easy.
I did a quick trip to the Gap tonight. I had a 30% off coupon - so picked up a beautiful sweater a cute pair of plaid slip on shoes and a little tank. I love winter just because I can wear turtle necks. I love them.
I am grateful for so many things today - I am grateful that when I feel that things are tough - I am able to realize that they really aren't. I am thinking of those that have stuff going on in their lives - I am here if anyone needs me.