Sunday, January 31, 2010

Stewing...

I've been a little MIA - I haven't been feeling 100%. I'm hoping that I'm on the mend - we'll see. One thing that I am going to do today is take a trip to Frontrunners - to look for a new pair of kicks. We had one of the owners from Frontrunners come to our clinic the other night and gave us a good chat on the importance of having good shoes. Mine are about 11 months old, and I am in need of a new pair. I am looking forward to having them find the pair that is best suited for me. 

I got in a great visit with my gf Jocelyn and her granddad last night. I am so bad at keeping in touch - and she is always so forgiving. I love it when we do catch up b/c it doesn't seem like it has been so long since we last visited. Her granddad is a gem. I have known him for years and he has always been so generous to me. When Joc and I were roommates we would head out on a regular basis and be treated to great dinners at her grandparents house - such good memories.

So, I haven't really cooked in days - but last night I made a quick stew - SO QUICK - for Chris. This is the first stew, with beef, that I have ever made. Seriously. I saw the end of a cooking show yesterday - and they gave a recap of what they did - so I am not sure if I did it exactly right, but it seemed to turn out really well.

My dad had a few dishes that he made for lunches and dinner. His repertoire included: hard/soft boiled eggs with toast, baked bananas, canned tuna and toast, beans and toast, and stew. I loved all of them. It was always a very special treat to come home for lunch on a school day to a prepared lunch waiting for us. It was simple but always warm and tasty. His stew was his specialty. He didn't make it often, but when he did, it was delicious. It was a day long event, all dishes were used, there was always a big clean to be done afterwards, but it was always well worth it. I would give anything to sit in the kitchen and watch him prepare his stew. I can remember how happy he was, he didn't want/need any help, and he would just get the hype up all day about how delicious dinner was going to be. It's one of those things that I can picture to this day - and wish that I just had one day in the kitchen with him - I would take pictures, I would watch him step by step, taking notes and savour every bite. 

I think that if you have a favourite recipe that a parent, grandparent, friend, sibling makes - that you should make it with them. Make the memory so that it is something that you have with you always.

This stew is very different - but it was delicious - and b/c it was so easy - it will definitely be made again.

Not My Dad's Stew

1 onion - chopped
1.5 tsp - smoked paprika
1 can of tomato paste
2.5 lbs of top beef loin sirloin steaks (I wasn't really sure what beef to use - but this meat was so good)
3 carrots - chopped
4 white potatoes - chopped
1 cup of stock
1 tsp rosemary
Kosher salt and pepper


Saute the onion in olive oil and add a pinch of kosher salt. Saute for about 7 minutes over medium heat. Add the smoked paprika and coat the onions.

Add a can of tomato paste and let this simmer with the onions for a couple of minutes. The paste will start to stick to the bottom of the pot - just be sure that it doesn't burn.

Chop the sirloin steak into small chunks. Season with salt and pepper. Add the meat to the onions and tomatoes. 

Add the the potatoes and carrots and the rosemary and stir to ensure that everything is coated. Add the stock (beef, vegetable or chicken - that's what I used), and stir to ensure that everything is coated. 

Bake in a 350 oven for 1.5 hours. Every 30 minutes take it out and give it a good stir to ensure that there is still enough liquid in the pot. This is one of my favourite Lagostina pots that Chris got for me a couple of years ago. They are awesome - extremely heavy - but incredible to cook with.


And stew is ready! That's it. It only took about 10-12 minutes to prepare and then the oven did the rest of the work.

Chris rated this a 5!!


This is something that we picked up when we were in Vancouver last weekend. A new hutch. We stopped in to Country Furniture on Granville - I thought it was going to be a painful visit for Chris - but he ended up finding this! I love it when he finds treats :). We have been looking for something for this nook since we bought our house. And this is EXACTLY what I wanted. It's a little big for the space - a little wide - but it still works. I think that our next house will have to be planned around this piece - right Chris? Chris? ;) I love it. And it is going to give us more storage. The plants were just put there for the pic - b/c our phone has to be on it - and it looks a bit ugs right now - so it is being camouflaged. 

Alright friends. I hope that you're having a good Sunday. I am off to take the dogs for a wee walk - and then a quick trip to the Root Cellar.

I hope that all is well.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Whattup G?

Love this pic - downtown Vancouver. Welcome Olympics!!
Our seats at the game - thanks mom!!
Uh - I think that I look a bit 'special' in this picture.

I was all excited to post - tell some stories of my weekend and my running - but all of a sudden I saw two things on tv - and I am all emotional - and it's not even that time of the month that I should be emotional. I have the tv on for 'background' noise - and sometimes, something catches my eye.
1. The Tim Horton's commercial with Sidney Crosby - he's talking in present time, and then it goes to him when he was a young boy - someone knew that he was going to be famous. He is saying something like 'imagine waking up everyday and doing something that you love to do'. I want to be Sidney!!! Are you doing what you wanted to do as a kid? Are you waking up and doing what you love? 
2. American Idol - a guy just got through that has Tourettes Syndrome. He had a great voice. 

I love to hear stories of people who are doing what they love. They are all so inspiring. 

Our weekend getaway was lovely. It was a very relaxing weekend. We stayed downtown - so we spent a majority of the time downtown - walking around, sipping Starbucks and people watching, a little shopping, a Canuck game!!, a visit with the newest member of the family - Angus (and his momma and papa). All in all such a great trip. It's such a treat to just get away - relax, spend some good quality time with your love and getting away from the chaos of our busy lives.

Meeting Angus was so great. He is such a beautiful little boy. Cuz Marsha gave me a jar of Salt with Herbs de Provence - and it is amazing!!! I put some on a roast chicken the other night with a bit of olive oil - and it was divine. Thanks Marsh!!! 

Running for my life! 
Oh my it's started again. This year, I have decided to do two running clinics. HELLS YA. 2 clinics! Die hard. NOT. I need the routine and to make sure that I don't sit on my Royal Canadian for 6 other nights. So my plan is that I run with the Sole Sisters on Tuesdays, with the Pearkes Running clinic on Thursdays, and then run on Sundays. So that gives me 4 nights to sit on my Royal Canadian for the other days. So far so good. 

I haven't been cooking anything exciting. I have been doing a lot of repeats. Monday night was Roast Chicken - I thought that I have posted a recipe for that - but I can't find it. It is the easiest dinner ever - put it in a roasting pan, drizzle a bit of olive oil and then rubbing in some dried herbs - roast in a 425 oven for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. I like to add potatoes, squash, onions and carrots around the pan. Rosemary is a lovely herb to add.

Tonight's dinner was a pasta dish with whole wheat gnocchi that I picked up at the Gourmet Warehouse. I will post that recipe soon.

Alrighty friends - hope all is well. 

Loves.

Enjoy!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Wee Robbie....

Happy Robbie Burns Day!

That's all that I have the energy for tonight. Why after you go away for an awesome, and relaxing weekend - is hard to get back to the 'real' life?

I have lots of exciting stories from the weekend - so I will share this week. I have my Soul Sisters clinic tomorrow night - so I'll see if I have time to post - I am usually so jacked up that I have enough energy to read a novel.

Good sleeps.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Be good to yourself... nobody else will...

I'm on a high. Woooo weeeee - what a good feeling. It's started friends. The running story has started. I'm so excited! I know that in a couple of weeks I will be sobbing, beating myself up, talking myself out of running class, being emotional b/c my running mates are so supportive, and just overall defeating myself for wishing I was faster, stronger and lighter. 

But for right now. For this Thursday night, I am going to take it for what it is. Embrace my accomplishment and just love myself. Sorry if this is a bit gushy - but I really think that I don't use my energy to focus on the good as much as I do the bad. 

I have come home to a huge treat! Chris and our dear friend David, aka, Uncle David, aka Nanny David - made a delicious dinner. They cooked up a storm - so after a run - I had a very good and healthy dinner. What a frickin' (sorry for the curse) treat!!! To not have to make dinner sometimes is 'the love of my life'. You know I love to cook - seriously how could you not? - but sometimes a little break is sweet.
We love David. Isn't he handsome? 
On the menu: 
Pork tenderloin medallions, steamed spinach and broccoli, whipped mashed potatoes with roasted garlic, and for the boys a roast.  It was delicious. 

Didn't they do good?

Alright - I need to distract myself so that I don't try and find chocolate - thankfully The Office is on shortly - that should do the trick. 

I will be MIA for a couple of days. We are off to Van for a Canucks game on Saturday night - and going over a night early to have a little R&R. I am very excited b/c I will be meeting my cuzzie's little Angus for the first time! I will also be making a trek to The Gourmet Warehouse and hopefully Bosa Foods. If anyone wants a bag of Kosher Salt or some good Olive Oil - let me know I can grab you something.

Oh before I go - I wanted to share last night's dinner. I am kicking myself b/c I forgot to take a picture - but I will make it again so I will be sure to get a pic.

Jules bought me a rice cooker for Christmas. I have heard that anyone who has one LOVES it. I was like - ya, whatever - I use my pot. But I am learning why people love them so much. It's sooooo easy.  So it was only the 2nd time that I had used it, and the first time, Debs actually made the rice. Last night's dinner was a last minute throw together. And literally, that's all I had to do; throw it all together and then sit on my Royal Canadian.

Rice Cooker Rice with Coconut milk and veg

Brown rice
1 can of coconut milk
1 pepper - I used orange - cut into thin slices and then in half
1 zucchini - julienned
1.5 cups of brown button mushrooms - sliced in half
3 bunches of baby bok choy- thinly sliced
1/2 cup of sweet thai chili sauce
Kosher salt and pepper

Place the rice and the coconut milk in the rice cooker and add water to make up the difference for the liquid portion. Then add the rest of the ingredients - and let the rice cooker do what it's supposed to do. I found that needed to let it cook about an extra 10 minutes.

I will definitely make it again.

Alright friends - have a great weekend. Do something that you are proud of and reward yourself accordingly. It's good for us.

Loves. 

Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Some days...

are just better than others. They really are. Some days are 'the best days ever' and then there are days that you 'never hope happen again'. And then there are days when things are just as they are. 

Enough said. 

I have my first running clinic tonight. I bet you'll never guess what I have been doing to prepare? Seriously, guess?
a. Buying new runners
b. Ensuring all my gear is ready for my first clinic
c. Trying to figure out how to get out of it
d. None of the above

Did you guess c? Why???? Whomp whomp. You're right. Although I have been trying to do a bit of 'a'. I went to two different Sport Mart's to pick up a pair of Aasics - but haven't had any luck. And I guess a bit of 'b' too. If it's not raining I will wear a pair of my capri lulu's which means I have to shave my legs. Oh winter... But yes, 'c'. Typical. I won't though. I will go. I will complain. I will probably think that I am having heart failure and that my feet will break - but I will do it. And after feel fab. 

Alright, let's talk meatballs. I made a whack of them last night. I made a batch of spaghetti and meatballs - one of Chris' favourites. I do my spaghetti sauce a bit different. I try not to buy anything from a jar - as I feel that it contains a lot of 'stuff' and a lot of sugar. I love THIS recipe that I did in the summer - but that recipe is for a day when all I want to do is sit around
 and let things simmer. Simmmmmer. For my easy pasta sauce, I like to use canned tomatoes - nothing added. I saute onion with whatever vegetables that I have - last night it was garlic,
 mushrooms, peppers, zucchini and spinach - then add the canned tomatoes (I usually drain one can of the juice) and then add seasonings - dried oregano, red chili flakes, whatever is on hand. And that's it. So simple and easy. And good for you. 

My favourite part of the spaghetti and meatballs is the meatballs. Yumma!!!

Meatballs

1.5 pounds of ground turkey - or chicken or pork or ground beef
1 egg
1/2 cup of parmesan cheese
1 tsp red chili pepper flakes
1 tsp of dried oregano
Kosher Salt
Pepper

It's not glamorous - but it's worth it. Add all of the ingredients together, and get your hands in there and mix it all up.

On a parchment lined baking sheet, roll the meatballs into small sized golfballs. Place them inches apart and bake in a 425 oven for 30 minutes. I like to bake them because it's easier and it they don't have to be fried in oil. 

And that's it! These meatballs were made with turkey - so they are lacking a bit of colour. But you can see the bits of dried oregano, and the flavour and scent of parmesan is lovely.

Then you can add the meatballs to your sauce - let it simmer for how ever long you would like - 20 minutes would be a good time for them to soak in the sauce, and serve it on top of your favourite pasta!

Chris rated this a 5!!

Well friends - good night to all. I hope that your Hump Day was lovely.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Blog letter.

Dear Jeanie,

Hello my friend, how are you? Hope everything is well in Merv.

Here is a little recipe that I would like for you to try and then tell me how it tastes. It is super easy - doesn't seem that it would be too fattening and I think that it will be delicious. I found it in my Food Network Magazine - which by the way my 'Assistant' Stephanie won for responding to the last Giveaway - and I am eager to give it a try for our upcoming Super Bowl party. 

Jeanie's Slow Cooker Spinach Dip (I am calling it Jeanie's)

1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup of shredded parmesan 
8 ounce of cream cheese - I think that I will make it I will use the 'light' brand
1 garlic clove - minced
1 box of thawed frozen spinach - chopped
1 jar/can of artichoke hearts - chopped
Kosher and pepper

Add everything to a slow cooker, cover and cook on high for 2 hours. And that's it!!!
I liked this recipe when I saw it b/c it doesn't have mayonnaise which many of them have. I think that if one didn't like artichokes that they could add chopped water chestnuts. 

I hope you enjoy it - please let me know - and when I come for a visit we can make a pot and dig in deep. 

Miss you lots.

Loves, 

C.

PS. Magnum has very bad gas tonight.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Must love cauliflower.

I know that I have mentioned my love for cauliflower before. I know that I have always been fond of it before, but to be honest, I didn't always buy it b/c it was always so expensive. I found that buying a small cauliflower for $4 on a regular basis, was a wee bit high - and I would only buy it when I was needing it for a recipe. And now, since I am a regular at The Root Cellar - they have the best prices - this week cauliflowers were 3 for $5. They weren't local, but were from California. So I am back on the cauliflower bus - and am excited to share one of my new fav dishes.

How to Mash Cauliflower

Cut the cauliflower into the florets - and place them in a large pot. I used 3 cauliflowers tonight - I wouldn't normally make this many - but I need to eat a bunch of veggies before the weekend. Fill the pot about 1/3 of the way up with water. Boil on medium to high heat, with the lid on, for about 15 minutes - or until tender with a fork.

Drain the cauliflower and place it back into the pot. Season with kosher salt and fresh black pepper. Then mash the cauliflower as you would like mashing potatoes.

Add fresh chopped chives. I like to use a pair of kitchen scissors to cut them in. Add 2 tbsp of butter and a 1/2 cup parmesan cheese. Sorry for the pic - I need a 3rd hand at times. 

Stir it all in thoroughly - and serve it up. 


And that's it! It so easy, super delicious and a healthy alternative for a side dish. 

That's it for me tonight - dining and dashing.

I hope that your Monday was kind to you.

Loves.

Enjoy.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Easy biscuits.

And it's over. Another weekend has come and go so quickly. I really wish that we were on the system where we worked 2 days and had 5 off. I think that I might be on to something...

Great day - great night. We had dinner at friends tonight - Christopher, Claire and their son Liam. They are amazing - they have a huge garden and try to grow enough vegetables that get them through the winter months. Her 'cellar' still had squash in it! Then she has canned a great deal of goodies. Everything we ate pretty much tonight, with the exception of nut loaf and the chicken (which was local) was grown in their garden. Soooo delicious!!! 

Funny story from the night - Chris was telling a story about when he had to do security at a school over Christmas when he first lived in Victoria. NO!!! That is not the story - Chris being a Security Officer - but it does make for a good story - let me tell you. Ok, so Chris was telling a story about the pool table, and Liam (6) says 'Was it sexy?', and Chris says 'uh, no, what does that mean'. So Liam proceeds to say - 'Sexy is when people have a lot of sex. And sex is when pretty girls are on posters'. I just about wet them. It was so funny!!! His mom and I were laughing so hard - and when she asked how he knew that he said 'Dad told me' - so it made the story even funnier. Kids are so cute!

They have a lovely dog - I kind of wanted to bring him home with me. She showed me this clip that she posted on YouTube - you should check it out - it's very cute. See it HERE

I had another tin of those breadsticks leftover - so I tried something new. Since I didn't cook tonight - I thought I would share this little delight with you. It's easy - good to serve with soup - and nice to have on hand.


Instead of cutting the dough into pieces and then rolling them out - you just need to cut them - and you are half way done. Cut them, lay them on a parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with shredded cheese and add some dried oregano. Bake for 18 minutes at 350 - and enjoy.

I hope that you all have a great week. Treat yourself - to whatever you like as a treat. Treating yourself is healthy. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that we are number one.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Sending love...

I know that I am blessed - I have a wonderful partner, a loving family, loyal pups, true friends, a warm, safe and cozy home, reliable vehicles, a secure job, food in the fridge, gumboots to wear when it's raining - and so on and so on - I can't even try to list all of my blessings. I don't forget that I am blessed - never does a day go by that I am ungrateful for my blessings - however, there are times that make me realize just how fortunate I am to have the life that I have. To live where I live. 

What has happened in Haiti, is devastating. It's almost unfathamible to imagine, that a country that is already so poor, with a nation that struggles on a daily basis for the things that we as North Americans take advantage of - i.e, a waterproof home, health benefits, education, safety, etc - have had to endure something of this magnitude. 

For most of the week, I haven't really been exposed to too much of the coverage. Today though, I watched a news segment, that showed a woman who had been buried alive. She lay in a pile of rubble, only having her face slightly exposed. I broke down immediately. I can't get her face out of my mind. She had a look of hope, a beautiful woman with almost a slight smile. I want to know her story. I want to know her name. I want to know what happens to her. I want her to be rescued, reunited to her family, recovered to full health and have a brand new start on life. 

I know that this is just one tragedy among millions of others. I can't think about all of the other tragedies in Haiti. It's not that I want to turn a blind eye - I just don't have enough room in my heart or my head to take on that pain. Do you know what I mean? It's so sad - it is heartbreaking, and every face I see I wonder who they are, where their family members are, have they had any water, do they have a blanket to keep them warm at night? 

Part of me wishes that I could just pack it all up - head there - and help. I know that at this time that's not realistic. I need to do something that I know will help. I will make a donation - something that I know will not make a dent in the amount of donations that they need to help with the recovery. But every bit helps - in someway. 

I found this link, that has a bunch of links to Relief Organizations that you can use if you are interested in donating. 

I am not a religious person, but I do know that I will continue to pray for fast relief to the people of Haiti.

**************

Today has been a productive day. I have everything done that I normally do tomorrow - house cleaned and groceries bought. I am looking forward to tomorrow. I need to head downtown to pick up a bottle of Rosemary Mint Soap to bring as a hostess gift for a dinner we are going to tomorrow night. I love this soap - and I think that they will too. Then maybe a stop at Baggins - to see if they have any cool shoes on sale (rumour has it they do).

For tonight's dinner we had another Slow Cooker meal. I heart the slow cooker. I forget how much I love it, until I use it. I told Chris tonight that I felt that I didn't even really make dinner tonight. I put it on when I was doing my chores, went to Callum's hockey game and came home to a home cooked meal.

This slow cooker meal wasn't fancy - let me tell you. But it was super easy, super tasty and what could be better than that on a Saturday night? Ok - there are definitely meals that could be better.

Slow cooked pork sirloin

6 pork sirloins cut in half
1 onion - diced
2 cups of fresh sliced mushrooms
2 cans of cream of mushroom soup - low fat/low sodium
Pinch of kosher and fresh ground pepper
1/2 tsp red chili flakes

Layer the above ingredients in that order in to the slow cooker. Cook at the temperature you need it to be at - i.e, all day - use low heat or auto, for 4-5 hours use high. 


And that's it. We served this with brown rice and broccoli - and used the sauce to top the rice. The pork is very tender and very flavourful.

Chris rated this a 5!

Now for another cute Magnum photo.


Magnum snuck off with a wrapper that Chris had. We heard him messing about with it - so we had to ask him what he was doing. We kind of use this deep voice with a very loving tone - and the end of the word slightly goes up a couple of pitches. We say stuff like this 'Maaggggnummmmmmm??? What are you doinggggggg?' He always knows that we have caught him. 

And another photo - we are finally enjoying our downstairs space and loving it. I took a pic of this - mostly b/c I think that the coach for Pittsburgh looks a little like Reido - cuzzie Margo's huz. 


Alright friends. I appreciate you reading my post. I hope that this day finds you well. And I hope that you enjoy the rest of the weekend.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Must love mushrooms!

How to make Mushroom Gravy. 
Are you ready? This is a very easy gravy to make. It's great a vegetarian option, and delicious if you want a gravy and haven't made a roast or a turkey. 

I made this tonight to go with amazing pork roast that Chris did in the slow cooker today. The pork roast was delicious, and this gravy went perfect with it.

Prepare the mushrooms. Use a damp cloth to gently clean the dirt off. I used tiny brown button mushrooms - and they were dirty!

Make sure that your dog is watching you make the gravy. Seriously. 

Saute the mushrooms in butter over medium heat for 10 minutes. Make sure that you add a pinch of kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. 

Sprinkle flour over top of the mushrooms and mix thoroughly to ensure that the flour coats all of the mushrooms.

Slowly add the stock to the stock to the flour and mushrooms and continue to stir. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes, and it is ready to be served.

So good!

You will need:

2 cups of mushrooms - sliced or whole. If you use whole, use smaller mushrooms as they will cook faster.
2 tbsp of butter
2 cups of stock - 1/2 cup added at a time

I have used white wine in place of a 1/4 of stock before - it's delicious. 
Fresh herbs are also a bonus - thyme, sage, chives - whatever you like.

I am getting ready to start another round of my running clinic. Year 2. This year I am going to do the Soul Sister's clinic and also one out of the local Rec Center. Chris is going to do the Rec center one with me. Yay!!! I love my running partners. Chris and Megan. 

I am starting to struggle a bit with this already and it hasn't even started. I am struggling with the fact of giving up the coziness and comfort of my home in the evening. I am struggling with rushing home from work and then rushing to run. I am struggling with knowing that I can do this - I know that I can. And I am struggling with struggling. 

I am going to stay positive - know that I will conquer - that I will run for my life. 

I may need some support along the way. Some encouraging words - some 'run, or I'll find you and kick your butt' kind of things. And if you see me running - stopping to offer me a drive - sort of support. NO. Don't do that. Please don't - unless you see me running so slow and I can't keep up with my group. NO!!! Don't do that either b/c that's how I always run. I am eager to see where my shoes take me. And I know that I will want to share it all.

Alright - try the gravy - let me know what you think.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

And the winner is... And there is another chance to win!

And the winner is... cuzzie Margo!!! Margo - is the winner of the Epicurian cutting board - in celebration of the blog's 1 year anniversary. Yay Margo - I am going to try and personally deliver it to you.

I have another treat today. It's something small - but I love it. It's January's Food Network magazine - the same one that Callum bought me. 

I have expressed before that I love this magazine - and I loved this month's edition, mostly b/c Callum bought it for me - but also b/c it has some great recipes. In time for the upcoming Super Bowl, there are a lot of fun recipes that will be great for any party. Now - many of you may not be football fans, understandably, but it doesn't mean that you shouldn't A. have a party and B. make yummy food. 




So, email me or leave me a comment telling me either what your favourite NFL or CFL football team is, or what you would you rather do than watch a football game. For example you could say: having a root canal. For the record, I NEVER want to have a root canal. I used to always ask my dentist if I needed to have a root canal - and he would chuckle and say 'oh no' - and then one time I asked him what it was - and he chuckled again b/c he thought that I actually knew what it was. Oh fun times at the dentist.


Meet Guest Chef Beth

Alright - special treat tonight. I have a recipe from Guest Chef Beth. I have chatted about Beth before. We have known each other for 9 years! 9 years!! She is very funny - the kind of funny that makes me do a laugh that comes from the bottom of my stomach, causes me to stop breathing and most often to run to the loo.  She is a great cook - and loves to try new recipes. I have been bugging her to send this to me for awhile - then she did send it to me and I 'misplaced' it - so I had to bug her again. Like myself, Beth has a love for spinach - which inspired tonight's recipe. Now... for the record (are you counting? that's the 2nd time that I have said that tonight - and I don't really know what it means) I haven't tried this yet. BUT, I know that it will be deeelicious and I am going to be making it soon.

Spinach Quiche Squares

You will need:
Spinach
Ground turkey
1 onion
Garlic
Mushrooms
Salsa
Whole wheat and white flour
Baking powder
Salt
Milk
Eggs 
Shredded Cheese
Salsa
Sun-dried tomatoes
Parmesan cheese

-steam a lot of spinach (two bags of the pre-washed stuff, roughly, or ≤ of one of the big plastic save-on tubs) until just wilted. Set aside.
-in
cooking spray or a bit of olive oil over medium-high heat, sauté a lb of ground turkey (on its own until mostly cooked through), a chopped onion, two cloves of thin-sliced or minced garlic, and around 10 mushrooms.  Add 1.5 cups of your favourite salsa. Set aside.
-In a large bowl, sift together
≤ cup whole wheat flour, ≤ cup white flour, 1.5 tsps baking powder, 1 tsp salt.
-
add in 4 eggs (I personally use 2-3 eggs and 3-4 egg whites), 1 cup of milk (I use 1%), and 1/8 cup of melted butter. Whisk together. Add in spinach, turkey mixture, and two cups of shredded cheese (I used part skim mozza), plus a 1/3 cup of grated parmesan.  Mix. I also add about ∏ cup of sun-dried tomatoes here – either the oil-packed ones (rinse first) or dehydrated ones that I’ve rehydrated.
-Pour all into a prepared 9X13 baking dish (I use a pyrex one sprayed with Pam).
-Bake for 40-45 minutes at 375 , until set, and a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
 


Thank you Beth!!! I am looking forward to giving this a try.

Well friends - over and out from the Rock. 
Hump day is almost here - enjoy.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Monday, January 11, 2010

They pretend...

they don't like one another...
But I think that they do a lot of this* during the day when we're not home. *Snuggle on the couch.

Magnum = busted.

Slowly sliding off the couch - hoping I don't see him.

He was not happy that I got that on film. He couldn't even look at me.

Have you seen the show on A&E - Hoarders? If you have, and you're like me - you can only stand it for 1 to 2 minutes. I have such a hard time b/c it's real - these people live like this!! I can't even begin to understand it. If you haven't seen it - it's about people who let hoarding take over their lives and homes. The stuff that you see them hoarding within their houses is pretty much devastating - full of anything and everything that you can imagine.

Ok - so the reason that I bring this up, is for two reasons: 1. b/c it was on tv tonight when I was flipping. 2. I started a purge on the weekend (thanks to the help of my mom and Chris - thanks guys!!!). I started on the kitchen and my mom did the linen closet. Now don't get me wrong - it wasn't material for the Hoarders show - but there was a lot of stuff that we found that shouldn't have been there. We got rid of 4 big bags of stuff (dishes, towels, bedding, etc.) to donate, 1 garbage bag and 2 bins of recycling. I feel great about it - but I know that there is more to do. I need to get into the three corner cupboards that I have - and dig deep and organize and get rid of stuff that I don't use anymore.

I think that I have discovered why I find stuff in my cupboards that I don't use, I think that when I am in a mad rush to clean - I do a bit of 'tossing'. Tossing stuff about to get rid of it all - out of sight out of mind. Well - new ways - new promises to keep things organized. Clutter for me is not good. I think that if I can make sure that everything has a place - and can drill that into Chris (hey Chris, lovey, the ramekins (little white dishes) don't go on the counter). Oh he knows that I love him.

I was a bit MIA on the weekend. I went to a Twilight party on Friday night. It was my friend, Chrissy's, bday - and they are all (except for one other) diehard Twilight fans. There was a game that we were going to play - so I had to cram like it was university all over again. I bought the book - didn't read it - so watched the movie on Thursday night with Chris. It was good - I don't think that I will read the book (I may come summer) but won't run out and watch the 2nd movie.

Saturday was full of purging so that Hoarders doesn't come and want to do a tv show on me. Okay it wasn't that bad.

Sunday - ran around. I have a new plan for Sundays. I am going to try and get everything done on Saturdays, so that when Sunday comes around, I will just sit on my Royal Canadian. C&C, Deb and Jules came for dins last night. Great night. Oh I love them boys. We are doing another SuperBowl party again this year. Last year we did the same thing - we had a little Tailgate party - and it was a great time. Check out here if you want an idea for a menu. Callum has picked out a few things that we can have - so I will work out what we will have, over the next couple of weeks.

This morning - I wasn't able to go to work as per normal. There was a gas leak just near our building - and everyone around was evacuated. I secretly (I SAID SECRETLY - CO-WORKERS THIS IS A SECRET) wish this kind of thing would happen from time to time. Wish that there would be a power outage, etc. But it actually happened. What if I have that sort of power to do that? Oh my. I guess I better wish for other things - like winning the lotto then, or ending world hunger. Anyways - I think that my wish for working at home - put things into perspective for me. When I am at home - I have far too many distractions. Distractions like - orange juice with ice cubes, Magnum trying to make a bed on my laptop, my lunch at 10:30, coats in the spare room that need to be donated to goodwill, cookies from Christmas... see - far too much going on. I think that working from home, for me, would be difficult. I need to embrace the office - embrace it for what it is.

For dinner tonight - I was struggling. I wanted to open a can of beans and heat those up with a scrambled egg. What? Sometimes - you just need to do a dinner like that. Instead I craved something comforting. I decided to do a baked mac & cheese with cauliflower, peppers and spinach. It was well worth it.


Baked Mac & Cheese with vegetables

1 box of fusili or macaroni - whole wheat if you can - boil until el dente
1 cauliflower - cut into small pieces - steamed
5 cups of fresh spinach
2 red peppers - chopped into small pieces
3 tbsp of butter
3 tbsp of flour
1 can of partly skimmed milk
2 cups of skim milk
2-3 cups of cheese - how cheesy do you like it?
Dried pepper flakes - a couple of pinches - or make it spicier if you like it that way
Dried oregano - 1 tsp
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Pre-heat oven to 400.
Boil the pasta until it is el dente. If you have a steamer - add it to the top of the pasta - and steam the cauliflower for about 3 minutes. When the pasta is done, remove it from the heat (don't drain) and add the spinach. Let it sit for a minute or two. Then drain the pasta and spinach, add it back to the pot, and add the cauliflower and peppers - and keep it warm.

For the cheesy sauce.
Melt the butter and add the flour. Whisk the butter and flour together. Slowly add the condensed milk - half the can at a time. Continue to whisk adding the skim milk. Add the spice and herbs. Then it is time to add the cheese. Continue to whisk as the cheese is added to ensure that it melts evenly and it does burn on the bottom. When all of the cheese is melted - poor the melted cheesy sauce over the vegetables. Mix all together. Transfer it to a baking dish, top with the panko breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes.


It's worth it. Try it.

Yumms.

I hope that everyone is well - and are cooking up a storm.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

C. Mitchell Presents - is one.

Happy Anniversary (to me).

Today, January 7th, marks the 1st anniversary of C. Mitchell Presents - Dinner. 1 whole year. 1 whole year!!! I am not sure how many posts were actually done, but I think that I would have to say that it is in the 300's somewhere. I didn't really miss too many days.

As I am writing this - I am a little shocked. I feel that this is the first thing, besides relationships, work, my pups - that I have done for me - that I have followed through on - stuck with - in a very long time. I am kind of proud of myself - I gotta tell ya. Hoorah! I know for some people, they may just think of this as a blog - a place to rant/vent/confess - but for me, I have decided (I think that I did a long time ago) that this will be more than just that. I feel that this little, this wee baby (said in a Scottish accent) of a blog, will follow me for many more years. I hope. Cross that out. I know, that this is just the start of something bigger and better. Not quite sure how that is going to look, but it will grow, blossom, mature, expand, all while being joyous, supportive, full of great cooking ideas and allowing me to express my deepest darkests while wearing an apron.

I think that from having this blog, that I have learned a couple of things. I have learned to be a better cook. I have learned to measure ingredients for recipes. I have learned that I absolutely LOVE: kosher salt, blueberries, chocolate, ground chicken, turkey and pork, mashed cauliflower and so many more wonderful ingredients. I have learned to remember recipes. I get excited when I try a new recipe that I can't wait to share. I know that I love hearing from people that read my blog - it inspires me. I have also learned to share my feelings, some of my personal life, my family, my dreams - not just my recipes - has been like this amazing therapy session with myself. It's very therapeutic to share your feelings on paper (or a laptop) - even if no one reads it, getting your thoughts out - is a blessing.

I just read my first blog from January 7th, 2009. It was titled: Raining = Comfort Food. Check it out HERE. I found it a little freaky (for lack of a better word) that I made a very similar dish that same night that I made last night. I had no idea. We had the leftovers tonight. I also love the title - it is something that I would still write now. And - ironically enough - it's raining right now. Pouring. 

So on this anniversary - I have a little treat that I would like to give out. I have a small Epicurean cutting board - I have one - a little larger and I LOVE it. I use it all the time. It's so durable and it can go in the dishwasher. I don't have a picture of it - but you can visit their products here

Don't worry - I won't make you jump through hoops of fire to have a chance to win this - but I would like to hear from you. Tell me something - anything. Post a comment or send me an email. I will have runner up prizes too - but those are a secret.

Well friends - I am going to go and celebrate* this one year anniversary. Thank you to everyone who inspired, encouraged me along the way. It means the world to me that so many of my family and friends have this faith in me - hopefully that is starting to spread to me - have faith C. Mitchell - have faith.

I love you all. 

Loves.

Enjoy!

*Celebrate = hit the hay - it's been a very long week.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Home safe and sound.

First things first:

1. My boys and sister are home. Home safe and sound. Thank goodness. I missed them so much. I didn't realize how much I missed them - until I was driving home from their house - and tearing up b/c I was so happy to have them home. I then thought about how they are getting older - and they will probably be leaving home soon - for school, or to travel - and it breaks my heart to think of them not being around. How do parents do it? I love those boys so much. Little Callum ran up the stairs (I was waiting for them at their house) - gave me a huge hug and said that he had something for me. He bought me the newest edition of the Food Network Magazine on the ferry. He knew that I loved cooking. I just about died. Way too cute. He bought Chris a Canuck book. All with his own money. Connor brought me a mini box that looks like a pack of cigarettes - with mints inside. How did he know??? ;) 

2. HAPPY BIRTHDAY BETH!!!! Pretty girl - happy birthday wishes to you!!!


Well, the first week of January has been a pretty emotional one so far. When I look back to the beginning of every new year - I think that it's traditionally an emotional time of the year. I think that I feel pressured to see the New Year as a time for new beginnings, new plans, new resolutions... Or maybe it's the way that I think that I see people's perception of the new year. I know that it isn't the same way for everyone, but it's my perception. So... when the new year comes around - I don't have that gung ho - hoorah new year attitude. I think that I measure my success over the last year and see what has happened - did I make the changes that I set out to? Did I take care of myself? My negativity really takes over. The pressure of failure. Did I set out to sabatoge myself. 

I've decided that this year, that I'm ok with this. This year, the negativity is going to get a big 'ol boot in the butt. 

I am going to take things with realistic stride. BELIEVE. Set goals that I know that I can achieve. Set realistic goals. Set realistic deadlines. Believe. Trust. Conquer. 

For example: this weekend I am going to focus on my kitchen. I need to purge out the old and make room for the new. I have a bunch of treats from Christmas that need to be in the kitchen - so I need to realize that I can't keep things if I don't use them or if I have never used them. It's ok to get rid of things. It is. Organization mama - that's the plan.

Alright - let's get to the good stuff. I have a bunch of recipes that I still need to share. A bunch. For tonight though - I won't be sharing my dinner ress (it was Subway) but I will share a easy recipe that you can serve as an appetizer or along side a nice pasta dish. 

Breadsticks
I watched Giada De Laurentiis make these years ago. I figured what's good for Giada is good for me. This is a super easy little treat to make. I love serving them as an appetizer - serving them up with a little marinara sauce for dipping, and along side pasta (which is what I did last night).

1 package of Pillsbury breadsticks
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
Dried oregano 

Pre-heat the oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper for easy clean up. 

1 package - store nicely in the fridge

Unwrap the packaging. The packaging kind of 'pops' - but don't worry it won't explode. Honestly - it's safe. 

Cut them in to 8 pieces. See simple, huh?

Divide the 8 pieces and twist them up. I like to fold mine in half and then twist them - but you can make them long and skinny. Either way is deelish.

Mix the parmesan and dried oregano. This oregano was a gifty from my lovely cuzzy Margo - she got it locally from her little gem of a town. It came in the cutest little bag - and it is so fragrant. Yumma! Roll the sticks in the mixture, and coat it nicely. Be generous - it makes the bread.

Bake them in the 350 oven for 16 minutes. They will come out golden, soft, cheesy and delicious.

And that's it. Super easy - and delicious.

Well - that's it for me for tonight. Sorry for my vent at the beginning - it's just been one of those weeks.

Loves.

Enjoy!