Thursday, December 23, 2010

Guest Chef - My Mom - Holiday Dessert



I am excited to finally have another Guest Chef to add to our Guest Chef Series.

2 days until Christmas. Normally I am already. I have done all my shopping, a majority of my wrapping, and I enjoy the nights by eating baking and drinking hot chocolates and dancing to Christmas music and making my dogs dress up like Reindeers. Well, really only a few of those things are true - you can decide what you think is true and what is not.

This year it is different. I finally finished my shopping today. I think that I could do more if I had time, but I have to call it quits at some point. Since we aren't doing Christmas dinner - we only have to shop a bit. I am sending Chris off tomorrow with a list in hand so that he can take care of all that good stuff for me.

I love Christmas, but this bug or whatever I had, just really squeezed any spirit that I had out of me. Today I feel good. Way better. Well, right now I do, which is really nice. I am hoping that I am finally on the mend - and will feel 100% for Christmas.

Now for the good stuff.

Guest Chef: My mom - aka - Jules

My mom is a great cook, and an even better baker. She can bake anything. She makes the most amazing cookies, and the does the most amazing Christmas baking. She makes Buttertarts that are to die for. She makes these chocolate coconut drops that make me want to cry when they are all done (I hoard those ones). Her shortbread cookies are always so perfect - they melt in your mouth. And she makes delicious Nanaimo Bars - that when they are all soft - I can toss 3-4 pieces back in one sitting; I can't help it, they are my weakness.

Her recipe for today is a cake that she makes for Christmas dinner almost every year. It is fancy. It is light. It is delicious. It is Christmas.

Snowball Cake

1 1/2 tbsp unflavoured gelatin
1 cup boiling water
4 tbsp cold water
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of orange juice - frozen or fresh
Juice of one lemon
1 pint of whipping cream
1 Angel Food Cake - homemade or from the bakery
1 package of flaked coconut

Add the gelatin to cold water so the gelatin dissolves. Place the boiling water into a large bowl, and add the gelatin and water to the boiling water. Then add the lemon juice and orange juice. Put in the fridge and let it partially set.

Then beat half of the whipping cream and add it to the gelatin mixture.

Break up the Angel Food cake into small pieces. Line a bowl - use a bowl that you can vision will be the shape of half a large snowball cake. Not too big and not too small. Line the bowl with wax paper. Start off by adding one layer of cake to the very bottom of the bowl. Then add some of the gelatin mixture to cover the layer of cake. Repeat these steps until the bowl is full and you have finished with a layer of the gelatin.

Place in the fridge and let it sit - for at least an hour.

When it is set, put it on a serving plate and gently turn it so that the bowl can be taken off.

Whip the remaining whipping cream and cover the cake with the whipping cream. Then top the cake with the flaky coconut.

You can stick a couple of toothpicks into the top and cover it with saran wrap and place in the fridge until ready to serve. Another great thing about this dessert is that you can make it in advance and it freezes really well. Just take it out 4 hours before serving.


Meet my Mom.

What is your favourite meal to eat and cook?
Mom: To eat - there is not much that I don't like. To cook - turkey dinner.

If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be?
Mom: Your dad.

Cook or Dine for Christmas dinner?
Mom: Dine.

What is your favourite dish of turkey dinner?
Mom: Turnip and carrots.

Favourite kitchen utensil or appliance?
Mom: This time of year - my KitchenAid mixer.

And that is my mom. She is so beautiful, so loving, so generous, so kind and finally a Guest Chef.

If you haven't got anything for Christmas dinner, I would suggest this.

Ok - I hope that you are all feeling the festivities - and that you are able to spend this time with your loved ones. If I don't get a chance to catch you before Christmas - Merry Merry Christmas to you all.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Monday, December 20, 2010

You 'WHAT' your ring?

Christmas 4 years ago and Chris' parents. We will be missing his mom so much this year.

3 weeks and 2 days, I was married. Pure wedding bliss. 3 weeks and 1 day ago, my husband lost his wedding ring. Uh, yes. That is what I said. 3 weeks and 2 days my husband found his ring. Phew. It's one of those things - you don't want to be angry because I know that he didn't do it on purpose, but COME ON! It's only been 3 weeks. He was very happy when he found it. He had nightmares about it last night. So, I spent a bit of the early evening when he was home from Kung Fu - and I very handily crazy-glued it to his finger. I was feeling pretty ingenious about my 'jewelering' skills.

I am still under the weather. I am not really sure what I should be calling it now. All I am craving is scorching hot showers to warm up and the odd piece of toast or something. I know that I am not feeling well - because our house is full of goodies - a ton of treats - and I have no desire. I am hoping that some rest of the holidays will kick it in the butt.

My mom is hosting Christmas dinner this year. I am really relieved about it actually. I love cooking our Christmas dinner and having everyone over. But it's been a bit of a busy month and I am looking forward to going to her place and eating her incredible dinner. My mom is an awesome host - and we love being there.

I am helping out a bit. I am bringing the Brussels Sprouts and the Cranberry Sauce.

If you are going out for Christmas dinner - I would bring a mason jar full of fresh homemade cranberry sauce - the host will hug and love you forevah!

Alright friends - time to warm up.

Stay well.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Chip 'n Dip

Oh the holiday season. I love it. Although... this year, it kinda feels like it has sprung up so quickly and that I am really not all that prepared. To top it off - I cannot get rid of this 'bug' or whatever it is. For the first time in pretty much ever, I spent almost the whole day in bed. I got out of bed at 2:30. 2:30!!! It's not natural to do that, unless you work the night shift. I was pretty surprised that I was still in bed after Chris had been out training, teaching and then cleaning the studio.

Anyways, I am hoping that my sleep marathon will help me cure this crap bug that I am experiencing.

Last night was our annual Christmas party. It was good. It was a really fun night. We had a house full of family and special friends. Typically, we do a huge feast - clam chowder, chili, and then a bunch of different hors d'oeuvres. This year, we didn't do that. I had a few hesitations b/c I am always concerned that people have enough to eat. It was supposed to be a chip 'n dip party - so I tried a few different things. Friends ended up bringing goodies with them - sushi (my SIL makes incredible sushi - she is going to teach me some day, some day soon), more sushi, baking, veggies. Some of the stuff that I did prepare ahead of time, like Bruschetta, veggies and homemade dips, I didn't even put out.

I don't have pics right now - but will soon.

Hummus and Pita Chips

Hummus

1 can of chick peas
3 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup of olive oil
Juice of one lemon
1/2 cup of fresh parsley
Kosher salt - couple of pinches

Rinse the chick peas and place them in a food processor, and then add the rest of the ingredients. Pulse the peas with the rest of the ingredients until they are all blended together. If the peas are still a little chunky add a bit more olive oil and puree again. And that's it.

Pita Chips

6 pita pockets
1/2 cup of butter
2-3 cloves of garlic - minced - or 2 tbsp of garlic paste (I love this stuff - it's a bit like cheating - but so worth it)
Sea Salt

Using kitchen scissors, cut the pita pockets into chip size pieces. I like to cut them into half - and then each half into 4's. And then each piece into half so that the pieces are all thin. Each pita pocket will make 16 chips. Enough to feed a small army.

Set oven to broil.

In a small saucepan melt the butter and add the garlic. Line a baking sheet with either parchment paper or aluminum foil. Then lightly brush the garlic butter on each chip and place in the oven. Broil for 2 minutes. Maybe a little extra - just watch them - and remove when they are slightly golden and crisp.

Remove them from the oven and sprinkle with sea salt right away.

And that's it. So deelish!

Tomorrow is going to be a very exciting day. We are going to watch The Fighter with my Hollywood husband. Can't wait!!!

Loves.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

NO MORE RAIN!





It's a very, very wet night here in this city. Wet, dark and cold. During the day, there was probably 30 minutes where their was palish blue bits of sky peering through the dull sky. It stopped raining for about 1 minute and then it started to pour down again - and there were bits of wet big snow flakes. I was excited for a couple of minutes - thinking that the rain would change to snow. I thought that the dull grey would transform everything to white fluff.

See, I love the snow. Love it. I don't love it for 5 months of the year, but I would love it for a couple of weeks. Just enough to make it feel like winter. And see, I don't love the rain. Everything being wet and grey is not appealing. I want it to be cold and dry - so that I can wear a nice toque. I want it to be cold and snowy so that I can wear my new winter boots. I want it to be winter so that it we have a white Christmas and everything looks peaceful.

I know that I am probably asking for a lot - but it's just the winter blahs that I am having. Sigh.


When we were in Vancouver this past weekend, I saw a bunch of different shops that were displaying TOMS. I bought a pair of TOMS about a year and a half ago. I wore them to the Tragically Hip concert shortly after I got them, and two 'ladies' made fun of them. I hope that they go to Robson Street - because my shoes were in all of the windows that the TOMS were. Fancy. I have to dust them off and bring them out this holiday season. Who doesn't love silver sparkly shoes? No seriously, who doesn't?

Alright, it's about time that I share a recipe with you. It's been quite some time. It was like I was changing my blog to a wedding one.


Rosemary Garlic Buns

1 package of frozen (uncooked) buns
2 tbsp of butter
3-4 cloves of garlic - minced
2 tbsp of rosemary - chopped

Remove the frozen buns from the package and let defrost in a baking dish that has been lightly sprayed with cooking oil. Arrange them in the pan so that they are all touching. I like to add them so that one is not directly beside the other one, but about half way, and then the next one is halfway down, etc. Let them sit out for a couple of hours prior to baking so that they defrost and rise slightly.

Pre-heat the oven to 375.

In a saucepan (or microwave) melt the butter and add the chopped garlic and rosemary. Spoon the butter mixture over the buns. Then bake them for about 30 minutes. Keep an eye on them as ovens are different and they may take a couple of minutes longer or shorter.


And that's it. They come out light and fluffy on the inside, and have a flavourful crust. They are perfect for the Christmas season.

Alright - time to get back to my Christmas movie. I am finding that being home sick two days - has me addicted to the cheesy Christmas movies.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Wall.


Here is a little 'Wedding Teaser' from our wedding photographer. So excited to see how they all turn out.

We had a weekend like no others. It was so incredible. We have been planning part of this weekend since May - the same weekend that I found my wedding dress. One of Chris' favourite albums of all times is 'The Wall' by Pink Floyd. Roger Waters, was the lead singer of the band - and is now on tour doing 'The Wall'. I know, you are all probably thinking that my knowledge of The Wall is huge. I know, it really is. Well, not exactly. I pretty much learned all about it during the concert.

We met, Kian, at the concert who was so kind to send me a few pics. I forgot my camera - and was so happy that he didn't mind sending me a few. It was a bit awkward to ask - but I was happy I did.

We bought tickets that included a dinner and drinks before the concert and then 7th row seats beside the stage. There were a few times during the concert that we were about 20 feet away from Mr. Rogers. I loved being that close.

A few times throughout the night, I also cried. Please don't tell anyone that I cried at a rock concert. I couldn't help it.

When the concert started, pictures of people that died as a result of war were displayed with their names, and when and where they died. That type of stuff always makes me teary - but I was also so happy that Chris was seeing his most favourite album of ALL TIMES. Seeing him so excited - was a bit much.

Then during the intermission, on the wall that was built up during the concert - they displayed more pictures and a profile of people that lost their lives as a result of war. THEN, when he sang 'Vera' - they showed videos of kids whose military parents surprise them after being away, and then children in places like Afghanistan and Africa, whose lives are in devastation. I couldn't contain myself.

You know it's a good concert when.

I didn't know what to expect - but it was so worth it. Anything that can fulfill my husband's dreams is the best. Sorry, not trying to sound gushy - just really feel this way.

Well, I have the flu right now. I am not sure what has hit me - but it feels like it was a semi-truck. I had to come home from work today early - couldn't make it through. I ended up curling up on the couch and napping for 2.5 hours. I have also managed to eat some toast. Love toast.

I haven't been cooking - really. I have made spaghetti twice in two weeks - and that is kind of becoming a weekly meal for us I think. I like it because I can make enough for at least 4 meals for the two of us. It's like a miracle. And thankfully for me, Chris loves leftovers.

The holidays are here, so here are a few things that I will be cooking up for some of our get togethers.

Breadsticks with a marinara sauce for dipping
Baked Brie
Hummus with homemade pita chips
Spinach Dip

There will probably be more I'm sure. I just have to kick this flu - and feel like I am back to normal.

Hope all is well.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Another kind of countdown

Christmas Countdown

About a month ago, I was on the countdown for our wedding. It was kind of fun - counting down the days, making lists, crossing things off the list, looking for an Assistant. I am not missing the daily countdowns. I loved all of the planning - so am not missing it. Part of me wishes that the day was happening again tomorrow - just so that I can remember it all over again.

I have heard that many brides go through a bit of a depression when their wedding is over. I can see that happening. For me, I had so much fun planning all of it - that I think that it was enough for me. I think that if Christmas wasn't right around the corner, that I could see maybe be a little bummed that all the hoopla is over.

Speaking of Christmas. CHRISTMAS is literally right around the corner. How did that happen? I am about to tell you something and I am NOT fibbing. I have bought 2 presents. 2. 2 out of a lot. How did that happen? I have to go gang busters this weekend. I don't really know what it means to go 'gang busters' but I have heard people say that and it sounds cool. I plan on trying to get it all done this weekend. My husband doesn't know about this plan yet - I'll surprise him with it - as I know how he loves to shop. Did you sense sarcasm?

Ok, I am going to share a recipe with you - but you have to picture what it would look like - as the camera cord is still MIA.

Mushroom Gravy Sims Style

1 medium sized onion - chopped
3 cups of fresh button mushrooms - thinly sliced
1-2 tbsp butter
1-2 tbsp flour
1 1/2 cups stock - vegetable (if you want to keep it vegetarian) or chicken for a different flavour
Fresh thyme - if you have any on hand
Kosher salt and pepper

I love making this to go with anything really. Sometimes if I make a roasted chicken, I will whip this up to serve with it. When Chris' sister was here I made it for her as she is a vegetarian. She had never had it before - I was surprised - it's a great alternative for a vegetarian or vegan.

In a large skillet, saute the onion in olive oil and season with kosher salt. Saute over medium heat. After about 8 minutes, add the mushrooms. You may want to add another dash of olive oil. Continue to saute until the mushrooms become tender. When they are cooked, add the butter. The butter and flour measurements should equal - so you can add as much as you like. I sometimes do 1 1/2 of each.

After you have added the butter and it has melted, sprinkle the flour. Stir it all together - and it will almost make like a roux. Then slowly add a 1/2 a cup of the stock at a time - and whisk together. Keep the heat at medium and add the rest of the stock. Let it thicken - and add a dash more of kosher salt, pepper and the fresh thyme.

And that is it. It's a delicious sauce to add over chicken, pork and steak.

Alright - I need to pack it in for the night.

Loves.

Enjoy!


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wedding bliss.

Ok, let's do this.
Where have I been? What have I been doing? What have I been eating? What is different now that I am married?

Warning: This is probably the longest post ever.

Well, I am pretty sure that most of you aren't wondering any of that - but bear with me - I am going to entertain myself and catch up. Before I start - I have to try and figure out why I haven't been telling my deepest darkests. I think that after the wedding, having family here, and then just 'coming down' from all of the wedding hype. I just have found getting back in to the routine - has been just a little tough. And another thing - is that I have misplaced my cord for my camera - so the pictures that I have taken - I can't download them to my lt. So... until I have that remedied (fancy word) I will probably just post some pics of our wedding - and have you try and visualize what I have cooked. Or... just wait until I get my cord. Ugh.

We started out the festivities by hosting a small dinner for our family and friends that were in town. So fun. I loved that my family finally got to meet Chris'.


The wedding really was everything that we had hoped that it would be. Chris and I had an amazing weekend with our family and fave friends. I loved every minute of it. We had the rehearsal dinner on the Friday night that was hosted by Chris' dad and my mom. Us girls then went back to our room - I bunked with my lovely, Nancy, one of the gorgeous BM's. We made up the center pieces, Margo, my cuzzie and other BM had her hair done. We ended the night - chatting and me lying in bed, trying hard to believe that my wedding day was here.

The next day, we were up early - hanging out in my mom's suite. Eating, and getting everything organized for hair and makeup. It was really quite the production, but oh so fun. My friend, and hairdresser, Dulce, did all of hair. She did an incredible job. Melanie Baird, did my makeup, my mom's and my aunt's. She did a wonderful job. It was the first time that I had worn fake lashes - and can't wait to wear them again. She made my aunt and mom look even more beautiful than they are. There is just something of having a day of pampering - both Dulce and Melanie - made me feel really good about myself.

Getting ready with my sister, mom, my nieces, my SiLs and my BMs - was so much fun. I just loved all of it. We had so much fun. They all looked so incredibly stunning. My nieces were so cute - I can't wait to see the pictures from the photographer - they were too cute.
My Bridesmaids wore black, strapless dresses with silver ribbons. The skirt was just below the knees and had little pick ups. When we went out for pictures, the girls wore stoles over top - and they were so beautiful. I can't wait to see the photographer's pics - so exciting. The flowergirls wore silver dresses, with little sweaters. My niece, Keelyn, wore a little Tiara. I asked her months ago if she would like to wear one, she said yes, so I was on the hunt to find her the perfect one.

My mom wore an amazing cranberry coloured dress. It was a long dress, sleeveless, and then she had a beautiful jacket to go with it. It was the most flattering dress - and she looked incredible.

My dress - I love it. I loved it the day of the wedding - and in fact I am wearing it right now. Just kidding. If I could, I probably would though. I loved the colour and I loved the little black belt that went with it. The belt had little rhinestones on it. The shoes that I wore were little black flats which also had rhinestones. And then for pictures outside, I wore a black stole. I am actually wearing that right now. Just kidding. I would wear it again though - probably on a cold winter's night when my husband and I walk the dogs arm in arm, Chris will wear a suit jacket with an ascot and smoke a pipe.

The ceremony - so lovely. My brother walked me down the aisle while bagpipes were playing - and he wore his kilt. He looked amazing. It was so emotional planning our wedding knowing that my dad would not be there to walk me down the aisle. My brother took my hand and patted it just as my dad did right before we started down the stairs. I just knew that my dad was watching down and was so proud.

Ok - I am rambling. I just loved it all.

The reception was perfect. I loved every element. The food was incredible. The decor was sparkling - everything in silver and white. We gave our table names - names from the Ingredients of Our Lives - i.e, Whittlesey (the street I grew up on in Kitimat), Maggie, Oromocto (Chris' hometown). We had a crossword puzzle with questions about us. We gave tiger fudge as our favours that I made, and we wrapped them in white little bags with silver ribbons. And then we also gave a cookbook out that Chris and I made up with our favourite recipes. That was one of my favourite things that we did for the wedding.

Ok - I have to end this. I am rambling - your probably falling asleep. I will share some more stories - and pictures when I get them. I want to tell the stories so that I can look back on this and reminisce. It all went by so fast - that I know that I will appreciate it some day.

I hope that all is well with you folks.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Married!


My beautiful bouquet - created by our friend, Alanna.

Today is the first day that I am writing as a married woman.

Married.

Merried.

Merryed.

Marry = Merry. I feel very merry now that I am married.

I am really excited to share everything about our day. What I can say is that it was absolutely everything that I had dreamed of. Everything from the family that was here with us to our friends, to the weather, to the food, it was just so perfect.

I have lots of pictures to share.
Thankfully my brother was walking me down the aisle since my eyes were closed.
The head table.
My SiL's - Kim - Jules (mom) and Joanne

Mr. and Mrs. C - dancing to 'One' by U2.

You can also see some HERE.

Everything is starting to slowly get back to normal - but one thing that will never be the same, is that I am married to the most beautiful man, my best friend.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Help Wanted. Apply within.


WEDDING IN 3 DAYS. CAN'T TALK.

Looking for an Assistant for the last 3 days. Must haves:
- Patience
- The ability to smile and not comment on anything that I say, unless I ask for a comment
- To run around after my 'soon to be husband' and put his coat away where it belongs, so that it isn't left on the couch, the chair, the bathroom door knob, the kitchen counter...
- To not forget anything
- To write my lists for me and then do everything on them
- To help me lose 20 lbs in 3 days
- To not laugh at me when I ask them to help me lose 20 lbs in 3 days

If you know of such a person - please have them apply.

I am having 25 (or so) people in for dinner tomorrow night. Neat.

On the menu:
Cheeseball
Antipasto platter
Treats for dessert

Alright friends - not sure when, where or if I will have a chance to write again before my big day - but I really want to. So am going to add that to my list for my new Assistant.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Let it snow!


Jozie did NOT love the snow - and wanted to stay curled up in a blanket - all day.

4 days before my wedding I woke up at 7:40 to let the cat out. It was cool, I was tired, I decided to go back to work b/c I am on holidays. I slept in for the first time in a very long time. When I woke up at 9:40, outside changed from dry and cold - to SNOW. I actually couldn't believe it. It was incredible. I love the snow. I love the cold. I love that it's winter, and our winter wedding is happening in 4 days. 4 DAYS!!!!

I love this shot of Magnum's face - he looks so hurt that she won't share the blanket.

4 days before my wedding, I couldn't meet the wedding coordinator b/c the roads were a little too icy for me to feel comfortable driving downtown. Although our truck has 4 wheel drive, good tires, and I grew up driving in the snow, I don't feel so comfortable with the other crazies on the road.

4 days before my wedding I almost finished all of the favours. Well, almost... I still have more to do with them. I feel that it will all be endless. Part of me will be excited for the day to come and everything to be completed - but then part of me will miss it all.

For tonight's dinner - I had to make a quick dinner, that was full of comfort. How could it not be on such a cold and blistery evening.

I made this Meat Pie. I used a new reduced fat Pillsbury Crescent Rolls. I could make this pie every night and Chris would love it. I served it with lots of fresh mushrooms instead of canned. And I served it with a salad.

We are having dinner at our house on Thursday night. Wedding friends, out of towners, family - I am not quite sure what is going to be on the menu. I am thinking of cooking up a bunch of appys and then a huge pot of chili with all the fixin's. Not quite sure - but I know that if over 20 are over for dinner 2 days before we wed, that it should be an easy dinner.

Ok - I need to get off my Royal Canadian and hit the hay.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Countdown continues... 5 days!




6 Days before my wedding, I had my practice hair-do done for my wedding. I won't share the details, just in case Chris is reading this - as he wants to be surprised. This is what it looked like when I left - but it wasn't like this while I was there. You can't see it, but I have a little braid across the front. I also did a lot of wedding stuff - I felt like I was 'elbow high' in wedding stuff. When I was thinking that, I thought about the saying 'elbow high'. I think that the only time that I have been 'elbow high' in stuff is when I have had to change a poopy diaper or clean up something that my cat used as a make shift litter box. I am not prepared to share that story. Not quite yet. Not ever, maybe.

5 Days before my wedding - I am up early. Well 8 AM. I have my friend, Maegan, coming for lunch with her two wee'ins. We are going to go over deets for the wedding. I am making chicken strips and french fries with gravy for them. The fries are from a bag - I may make poutine, and the chicken strips are marinading in buttermilk and will be breaded with panko breadcrumbs and parmesan. I also just spoke with my future SIL - although I already call her my SIL. She is a lot of fun - and I CAN'T wait until they come this week. I am also going shopping tonight to this mall event with Jules. I don't really need anything - but it will be fun.

I made dinner last night. 'Bout time. Dinner was inspired by a bag of pasta that Sam gave me for my bridal shower last weekend. Rigatoni. Delicious. It was packaged in a brown bag - rustic looking - love it. And, an opened bottle of white wine.

Rigatoni in White Wine Mushroom Sauce

1 bag of rigatoni
1 medium onion - chopped
3 chicken breasts
3 tbsp flour - divided
3 cups of sliced mushrooms
1 tbsp of butter
1/4 cup chopped sage
3 cloves of garlic - minced
1/2 cup of white wine
2/3 cup cream - or stock
1/3 cup of parmesan cheese

To prepare the chicken, use a mallet to flatten the meat. If you don't have a mallet (aka, what my mom said once - you pound your meat with it) then wrap it in saran and use the end of a hammer or a rolling pin. I used the pin. Flatten it out. Then cut the breasts into pieces - not small pieces - long strips and then cut in half or thirds. Place the chicken in a bowl and season with kosher salt and pepper and then toss it in 2 tbsp the flour.

In a skillet (medium heat) - saute the onion in a drizzle of olive oil and pinch of kosher salt. Saute until golden - about 8 minutes. Then add the chicken. Add a bit more olive oil if needed. Brown the chicken until it is cooked - 5 minutes per side. When the chicken is done, remove it from the pan.

Sage - line the leaves on top of one another - and chop into small pieces

Then add the sliced mushrooms. Saute them - they will brown nicely in the juices from the onion and chicken. Saute for a couple of minutes and then add the butter, sage and garlic and saute for another couple of mins. Toss in the remaining flour and stir it so that the mushrooms are coated. Then add the wine, if you are going to have a taste of the wine and stir, poor a separate glass :) - stir it all in. Then slowly add the cream. Stir it all together so that it forms a sauce. If you want it thicker, add a little more wine, or stock or cream. Return the chicken to the pan, and let the sauce simmer. Oooh lala - it's so tempting not to eat it all at this point. Just before the pasta is ready to be added, add in the parmesan cheese.

Prepare the rigatoni - or any type of pasta that will absorb the thick sauce - i.e., penne, rotini.

When the rigatoni is al dente, drain. Add 1/3 of the pasta to the sauce at a time to let it coat the pasta. I like doing it this way so that the pasta gets all coated in the saucy goodness.


My biggest fans while I am cooking - oh the life.

Alrighty - I need to get out of my pj's and take the pups on a hike. I am excited to still see a bit of snow on the ground. That means it's still cold - and I can wear a winter toque.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Countdown continues... 7 days!

Just what I will look like on my wedding morning.

10 days before my wedding, I had our new pup sitter come over for tea, so that she could meet the pups. Her name is Karen, and I used to work with her. I feel so fortunate that she will be hanging out with them, as I was so worried that I wouldn't find someone.

9 days before my wedding I made italian sausages, perogies and sauteed cabbage for dinner. It was good. It was a tasty dinner - I know not the most healthiest - but it was an easy dinner and Chris rated it a 5.

8 days before my wedding - Chris was involved in an altercation at 5 AM at work. A hoodlum tried to carjack his friend's brand new truck. Chris, thankfully was able to use the skills that he has trained for, for years. It was a bit of an emotional day - Chris is fine and so is his friend. The hoodlum has been charged and hopefully he will be off the streets for awhile.

7 days before my wedding was my last day of work for 2 weeks. It is also Chris' stag. I had my GF Tracy over, with her daughter, Emma. We had hors d'oeuvres, and pizza and then Tracy helped me with a project for our wedding. Did I mention that tomorrow, it is 6 days! SIX. On this day as well, it is snowing! Oh how I love the snow!!!

No recipes tonight friends. But, I do recommend making a pot of White Bean Soup, this weekend.

I am just going to take the pups out for a quick run in the snow. We all love it. I might make Jozie wear her jacket. She dislikes the coat. She acts like she is being scolded when she has to put it on - and Magnum acts like he doesn't know who she is. It's hillarious.

Ok, have a good night.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Teeka.


Tikka Masala

With all the plans for the wedding - all the excitement, the planning, the wee bit of stress, and just the overall 'stuff' that is involved - I kind of feel that I have 'forgotten' about the stuff that I have been thinking about for so long when it has come to this day.

When Chris and I started dating and then got 'serious' (not really sure when that happened actually - one day we were 'hanging out' and the next day we were moving in together) I thought about marriage - but it wasn't a priority. It seemed like marriage had always been something that I thought would naturally happen with the course of a serious relationship, and when Chris and I had been together for a few years, I thought about why I wanted to get married and why it wasn't such a huge issue if we didn't. I thought about my dad not being there to walk me down the aisle, and it didn't seem as important. I know that may seem a little strange, but it just was the way it was. And then over a year ago, something changed - and I really wanted to get married. I am so grateful to have my brother walking me down the aisle. He is going to make that part of my day so special, more than I could ever have imagined. I know that my dad will be watching, and be so proud seeing his son in his kilt, and probably saying something like 'J*s*s Ch**st Child, slow down'.

Chris' mom not being there on our special day is heartbreaking for me (and for Chris too, obviously). After we were engaged, Chris' mom would call us regularly and discuss what we were doing for the wedding. She had so many questions - and I know it's because she wanted to be a part of it. She wanted know as much as she could because she lived far away and couldn't be here to help us with the planning. She was excited to host the Rehearsal Dinner, to walk Chris down the aisle, to know what I was wearing, to tell me that the dogs could stay at the hotel, when they would come, where they would stay - she had it all sorted. The last couple of months before she passed, we didn't talk as much about it. It makes me sad to know that she doesn't get to see or be a part of all the little details that we have put together; that she won't be sitting beside her handsome husband watching her 2nd son be married; that she won't have almost all of her kids (missing 1) all together; that she won't get to dance with her son; that she won't sit back at some point during the night and realize that she was happy, full of bliss.

So, since they aren't here with us - and others will be missed as well, I know that we will remember them throughout the day and at some point during the day or evening, we will have a little sign, so we know that they are with us.

Ok, I need to move on so that I don't curl up in a blanket and eat bonbons. Thankfully I don't have any bonbons, but I do have a lot of blankets.

Last night I made my version of Tikka Masala. I was watching a cooking show the other day and got the idea of what it was, and knew that I wanted to make it. The only thing that I really know about Tikka Masala - is that my friend from Kitimat - Linda 'hey Linda!!! See you at our wedding!!! - has a dog named Teeka. She is a lovely pup - and was our Maggie's very best BF. They would play for hours. Literally, hours. Anyways, that's really all that I know about it. In the end, the dish was really good - and I am happy to add it to the 'recipe box'.

Tikka Masala

1 large red onion - cut into thin strips
Time (that's what you will need to caramelize the onion)
1/2 cup white wine
2 small zucchinis - julienned
2 tbsp cumin
1 tsp pepper flakes
2 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp ground ginger - or fresh
2 tbsp of curry powder
Kosher salt and pepper
1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
2 cups of plain yogurt
4 chicken breasts - chopped into small cubes

Rice
1 1/2 cup of frozen peas

In a large pot or skillet (that will hold all of the above ingredients - minus the rice) drizzle a bit of olive oil and saute the onions over medium heat. Give them a generous sprinkle of kosher salt. This will take some time. Maybe 30 minutes to get them all good and caramelized. When they are brown and delicious and full of flavour (oh how I love caramelized onions) add the white wine and stir so that the wine deglazes the pan to get all of the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Then add the zucchini and let them simmer for a couple of minutes. Then add in all of the dried spices - add more chili flakes if you like the heat.

Then add the tomatoes and yogurt and stir it all together. Then add the chicken. Let the chicken continue to simmer over medium heat for about 30 minutes.

When your rice is almost completely cooked, add the frozen peas so that they defrost and slightly cook.

And that's it. Serve a nice spoonful of rice and then top it with the tomatoey goodness.

Chris rated this a 4. We'll talk about this later :)

The thing that I really like about this dish, is that it can be vegetarian so easily. A lot more vegetables could be added and instead of chicken, chick peas or tofu could be used.

If you give this a try - please let me know how it turns out.

Alright, I am curled up watching a little tele with my fiance and my pups. Fiance for only 12 more days! 12 MORE DAYS!

Loves.

Enjoy!

Countdown continues... 13 days!

13 days and counting! The last 13 days have come and gone by so quickly, so I know that the next 13 days will even go by faster. I am trying to soak it all in - remember everything - and embrace it all.

Yesterday, another surprise! I went over to my mom's for a typical visit - we were supposed to go for her to try on her dress - but instead when I got to her house and was about to open the door, my beautiful 5 year old niece opened the door and gave me a huge shock. She, with my SIL and other niece, two of my aunts, my cousin, my cousin's wife and daughters, my sister, nephew, some of my mom's friends, my BIL's GF, Tina and her son, Tracy, Maegan and her daughter, my neighbour Barb. I hope that I didn't forget anyone). It was such an awesome surprise. I was truly spoiled. I didn't want any of them to have to leave - I got a little teary when I had to say 'goodbye' to my nieces. I will see them again very shortly. 11 days!

My mom and sister did such a fantastic job. My mom makes the best little tea sandwiches. In fact I had some for breakfast this morning.

I think that there is so much fun and excitement for the wedding day, and when I got engaged I thought about the actual day. And now that the day is almost here, it's been days like yesterday, or last week, or my shower in September, or the dress shopping, all of these experiences are what make the actual day so special. Sigh. Love it all.

So, yesterday, I mentioned that I hadn't been cooking. I haven't went on strike, or given away much kitchen, I just haven't really had time. We haven't been living on beef jerky and applesauce, don't worry. Although Chris might like that - he does love applesauce, and I never buy beef jerky, so it would be a rare treat.

On Thursday night we had friends in for dinner - it was made within 20 minutes and in the oven - Baked Spaghetti. This is a 'crowd' pleaser. It's easy to make - and really is delicious. I think that it will be one of my fall back dishes when Chris' family is staying with us.

I did make another new thing last week as well - I just didn't have the time to write about it. It was something that literally took maybe 20 minutes from start to finish. Literally.

Pork Medallion with Maple Syrup Sandwiches

1 small onion - sliced into thin strips
1 pork tenderloin
1 red pepper - julienned
1/3 cup maple syrup
Soft buns - like hoagies or a baguette
Kosher salt and pepper

In a skillet, with a drizzle of olive oil, saute the onions, add a pinch of kosher salt, on medium heat until they caramelize. Once they have caramelized add the onions and let saute for a couple of minutes.

In the meantime, rinse the tenderloin and pat it dry. Remove the tough underside with a sharp knife, if your butcher hasn't already. Then slice the tenderloin into medallions, about 1/2 inch thick.

Add the maple syrup to the onions and peppers, and then add the pork. Let the pork simmer for about 7 minutes or until it is fully cooked.

Warm the bun or baguette in the oven for a couple of minutes. Add the pork, and bits of the onion and peppers to the bun, and that's it. A very simple, and delicious dinner or lunch.

Alright Sunday fans. I am off to take the pups for a wee walk. And then pick up a few things for tonight's dinner. I will be sure to post, if, it turns out.

Have a great day!

Loves.

Enjoy!


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Cagney and Lacey



My stagette party was last week. It was a great day/night. My sister and cousin planned such a great day for me - and it was so nice to get out and spend the day with them and some of my good friends.

The last stop for the night was the Irish Times Pub. I love Celtic music - so I was in my element. When I was backpacking in Europe, we spent a couple of days in Dublin and I loved it. I was travelling with Margo and Nancy, my two BMs. Nancy loved it so much that she lives there now. Anyways, I loved the music when we were there so much. So much of the music is what I grew up on. My dad would crank 'What would you do with a drunken sailor?' or 'Whiskey in the jar'. I bought an Irish Boran drum when I was there - not really practical when you are back packing. I packed it up and sent it home - I probably should have carried it with me and tried to play it to make a little cash. I think that I thought that I would bring it home and start a band. I would play that and my tambourine and just Irish rock it out. Now the Boran drum is art on the shelf.

Let me get back to my point. Did I have one? Yipes, I'm not sure.

The band was awesome! Tracy bought me a CD for a treat. It is good! I was sitting very close to the stage and the singer was rocking out his boran drum. Many times throughout the night I was tempted to pick it up and pound on it. I didn't. I chickened out. Not like the time that I went on stage at club while there was a Neil Diamond tribute band playing - and I stood beside the tambourine player and asked if I could play with her - she let me - for two songs. I felt like a total rock star.

I did however, dance a lot. It was so much fun.

We had met friends throughout the night - who were a lot of fun - and were very excited to make sure that they were a part of the stagette. At one point one of the guys that was sitting at the table, who I am pretty sure is Chris' brother's twin (it was a bit spooky) , his sister leaned over and asked if I knew a hairdresser - I did! My friend and hairdresser, Dulce, was with us, and the sister was wanting to know if she could cut her brother's hair. So Dulce did. The sister had told her brother's wife that he would either be on the 7AM ferry or have a hair cut. He was obviously at that point, in no condition to get the first ferry. They had a huge audience watching them - so good.

At the end of the night, my BIL (brother in law) picked us up to take us home. He was driving a wee bit fast and unfortunately it didn't go unnoticed. A routine speeding stop turned into something so ridiculous. Something so ridiculous that turned into us waiting for more than 40 minutes. Margo and I were in the backseat - so we had a good view to give a nice play by play. I named the female police officers - Cagney and Lacey. They didn't seem to have any interest that I was wearing a leg warmers, a garder on the outside of my jeans, star shaped sun glasses or a lei around my neck. They didn't comment on the grouse's claw that was around my wrist or the fake bouquet of flowers. They also didn't recognize that the 3 women in the car's bowels were going to burst. They did however, have no expression on their faces or move their mouths when they talked. I have a feeling that the Cagney and Lacey legacy will live on for quite some time.

This past week has been super busy. Normally any spare time that I have, I would normally sit down and do my blog after having time to have cooked dinner or something else. I just haven't had time this week. Every spare moment I have, has been dedicated to the wedding. Oh BTW, our wedding is 2 weeks away. 2 WEEKS!!!! I just had a hot flash or a panic attack. I'm not sure what it was.

So, I think that for the next couple of weeks, that I will be here only every once in awhile. I really want to write during this time b/c I don't want to forget a thing.

My normal 2 day weekend, turned into a 4 day. What a treat. The two extra days were good. I was able to get a lot of wedding stuff done. Today, my mom is taking my sister and I with her to try her dress on for the last time. I can't wait to see it. And then we are out to celebrate Uncle David's birthday - hoorah!

Alright friends, no new meal ideas today - but if I had the time to stay at home and make something, I would make:
or Grilled Sandwiches with lots of cheese

Alright - enjoy the weekend.

Loves.
Enjoy!