Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!


Happy Halloween.

I love Halloween. I don't love dressing up and going to parties... - I do like that part of it, but it's not my favourite. What I do love is decorating the house, carving pumpkins, picking out the best treats, and hearing the trick or treaters on our street going from house to house. I get so excited for the first few kids to come to our house. It's all so fun.

To top it off we are watching 'The Walking Dead' which is really festive for this holiday. I normally don't like this type of show - but it's actually quite good. The pups are curled up to me - one trying to get on my lap and the other one trying to be like a parrot on my shoulder - they are normally like this - but when there are fireworks outside, they go extreme.

I have had a busy couple of days, lots going on, but it's a late night and I will just talk about what I have been cooking.

Yesterday I made a huge pot of chili. I am a big fan of chili for a couple of reasons. 1. It's hearty and healthy. 2. It's super easy and doesn't take up a lot of time. And 3. It's great for making a lot of at once. And one last thing... you can make it so many different ways - vegetarian, vegan, chicken, ground beef, ground turkey...

I have posted my chili recipe before - you can check it out HERE.

I hope you have all had a great weekend. A spooktakular Halloween - and are ready to start the week all over...

Loves.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Countdown begins!

Let the countdown begin.

30 days today!

30 DAYS!

In 30 days I will be married to my favourite guy, my bf, the love of my life. I still can't believe that 9 and a 1/2 months have went by so quickly.

I am going to warn you now - for the next 30 days at least, there will be a lot of wedding talk. I hope that it won't be boring, I hope that it won't make you curse me, I hope that you can bear with me.

If you can't, then please check back in, after 30 days. No, please don't. Please don't go, I will miss you.

Oh man - I am excited. I will tell Chris to snap me out of the wedding craze if it gets too much.

In celebration of 9 1/2 months going by so quickly, I made the quickest dinner tonight - well almost - toasted cheese sandwiches are probably the fastest. I picked up the ingredients on my way home from college. I am a Wednesday night college student. Sniff.

Quickest pasta ever

1 tbsp of olive oil
1 pack of fresh pasta
8 oz of grape tomatoes
1 chorizo sausage - sliced in half lengthwise - and then thin strips
2 cloves of garlic - minced
Fresh parmesan cheese

Bring water to boil and boil the pasta for 4 minutes. While you are waiting for the water to boil, chop the chorizo sausage and mince the garlic. In a large skillet add the olive oil and saute the sausage, garlic and tomatoes together. Add a pinch of kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. Remove the pasta from the heat, and with a slotted spoon, add the pasta to the sausage and tomatoes. Stir it all together and then add the parmesan cheese - as much or as little as you like.

I used chorizo for this because I wanted some meat for the pasta - but I didn't want to have to cook any. It's a great alternative when you are in a hurry.

And that's it. Short and sweet.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Halloween prep.



Halloween is just around the corner. So is my wedding - but let's focus on one thing at a time.
Breathe!
Sorry, I just had to breathe because my wedding is right around the corner. Gulp. Breathe.
Ok, I'm good to go.

I picked up some cute little Halloween goody bags for the kids at Kung Fu. I try to put a little treat for them together at Halloween and I know that they love them.

In each bag I added everything Halloween - pencils, whistles, rings, note pads, finger puppets, erasers and then smarties, Sponge Bob hamburger gum, Hubba Bubba sucker gum, Mike and Ikes and Doritos. I love the Halloween candy. I like to give out the little chocolate bars, mostly b/c if they don't all get given out I can have a couple - but I like to find the different things that aren't at every house. So if you have kids, bring them to my house, and I will spoil them.

I whipped up the easiest batch of buns the other night to go with the Seafood Chowder that I made on Sunday. I had made them before years ago and got the idea from one of our friends that Chris used to work with. I only made them once, and I don't remember the recipe, so I had to wing it. And hello wings, they turned out deelish. I am warning you - that this is one of the easiest recipes ever.

Rosemary Garlic Buns

1 pack of frozen unbaked rolls - freezer section - Easy part begins here
2 tbsp of butter
3 cloves of garlic - minced
1-2 tbsp of fresh rosemary - chopped

Lightly grease a baking dish with either cooking spray or olive oil. Place the frozen buns in the dish - I like to place mine in a row - so one is placed, and then the next one is placed half way down from the one before (they are connected) and then then next one is underneath the first one and half way from the second one. Oh my - that sounds confusing.

Let them sit on the counter for an hour or two.

Pre-heat the oven to 350.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the garlic and the rosemary and ensure that it is all stirred together. With a spoon, drizzle the melted butter mixture over top of each roll. Warning you may become sidetracked by the incredible and delicious smell. Stay focused.

Bake in the oven for 35 minutes.

Chris rated them a 5!

These are so light and fluffy and the bottom goes golden brown and soaks in all of the rosemary garlic goodness. I am definitely going to make these again. I am especially going to make them when Chris' dad is here. He will appreciate them as much as his son, I think.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Flashback.



Do you ever have a memory that cracks you up, embarrasses you and makes you cringe all at the same time? Oh man, did I have a flashback today.

When I was in grade 7, our school was doing a talent show for anyone that wanted to participate. There was a girl in our grade who loved Duran Duran. LOVED. She knew every song by heart. She had pictures of them all over her room, desk, school books. She was practicing what her name would be when she married them and was always attempting to dress as them. While she was loving Duran Duran, I was practicing how to do the Van Halen logo perfectly. Hmm, a bit of a difference in music styles.

Anyways, there were probably 6 of us who decided to be a part of her tribute to Duran Duran. We practiced for weeks. My bf, Shannon and I went down to The Bay (that is when Kitimat had a Bay, many moons ago) and our mom's bought us matching sleeveless fuscia body suits with thin white stripes, and then matching fuscia coloured tights. Now, although of you may be embarrassed for me now, trust me it gets worse.

So, we learned the dance. Practiced it day and night. The big day arrived, we performed in front of the entire school and parents. The dance was done to a mix of a bunch of their songs. I don't remember the dance to this day (thankfully) but what I do remember, was that there was a lot of my hand being up in the air and then running my hand over (but not touching, thank goodness) my booby area, and then over my eyes and lips, and then coming down and going over my stomach.

The talent show was a huge success. Seriously. So much, that we went on the road with it and went around to all of the other elementary schools.

So the part that is embarrassing to me when I look back is not that I was dancing to Duran Duran, or that I had to go on a road show, but, OMG. I was twelve. I WAS 12!!! And not only was I dancing like a floozy, my dad was there. I die when I think of it. I picture my dad sitting in the stands waiting for the show to start getting all excited for his little daughter to perform, and then all of a sudden it starts, and it's a song that he probably never heard before, and his daughter is wearing a body suit and dancing like a 12 year old should not be dancing. Wooooo!

Wow - I thought of that today. It reminded me as well of listening to my Olivia Newton John tape 'Let's Get Physical' over and over again. Play rewind. Play rewind. And then I remembered how I sang it over and over to my dad. I thought 'Let's get physical' meant - 'let's work out. Let's hit the gym.' My poor dad.

Let's celebrate my awkward embarrassing memories with my Seafood Chowder recipe. I have been craving this for quite some time now. And since Fall is here - I knew that making a big pot of it on a windy and wet Sunday, would be perfect. I used canned clams - fresh are deelish, but the canned clams are easy and I like easy.

Seafood Chowder Sims Style

1 large onion - chopped
5 white or yukon gold potatoes - chopped into small pieces - about 5 cups
5 thin carrots - chopped into this rounds
3 cans of clams - juice included
2 28 oz cans of diced tomatoes
2 cups of corn - fresh or frozen
1 bag of frozen raw prawns - or fresh - peeled and cleaned
4 basa fillets - cut into small chunks
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper

In a large pot, drizzle olive oil and add the onions and cook over medium heat for about 8 minutes. Season with kosher salt and pepper. Then add the potatoes and carrots, and continue to let them cook with the onions for another couple of minutes. Turn the heat down if it is getting too hot. Then add the clams with their juice and give it all a good stir. Add another pinch of kosher salt and some fresh ground black pepper as well as the corn.

In a separate dish using a hand blender, or a blender, puree the tomatoes so that they are fully pureed and not in pieces. Once blended add them to the vegetables and clams. Let this simmer over low-medium heat for about 30 minutes. Let all the flavours meld together.

Then it is time to add the basa fillets. Add the chunks and let it simmer for 7 minutes. Then add the prawns. They should only take a few minutes to cook.

And that's it. This is a hearty, healthy and delicious meal. Chris said that this was the best thing that I had ever made. Hoorah. That would be a 5+.

The only thing that I think could have made this a touch better would have been to have added bacon and some fresh parsley.

Well friends, I hope that my memories took you back to embarrassing and awkward moments from your youth - and made you realize that you got through those - so can get through anything.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

For the love of trees.


I am not sure if you have noticed - but Fall is all around. The changing leaves, I find to be breathtaking. Yesterday was windy and blistery - just the way I like it. We were walking the pups and loved watching the fallen leaves move across the ground as if it looked like they were almost dancing.

We have a huge chestnut tree that isn't in our back yard, but it is so massive that it fills a large corner. I heart it all year round. When Spring comes, the leaves fill in a huge empty space - reminding me that new life, freshness is on the way. Then Summer - this tree is in all of it's glory during the hot months. It gives us endless amounts of shade during parts of the day, and I am forever grateful for it. It houses many different animal families - all using it's shade to provide warmth, coolness. Then all of a sudden it's magical Fall. Oh how I love this beauty in the Fall. It's leaves are what I think would be an artist's dream. The leaves turn from a rich dark green to vibrant orange, yellow and a dull red. I am amazed that after 5 years, each Fall is like it is brand new to me. And then Winter. It's leaves are gone, and it shows us it's strong silhouette, it's bareness, and lets us see the core of what it does for us all year round.

I have been in the kitchen for a lot of today. I have been simmering a hearty seafood chowder, some rosemary garlic buns and some fudge brownies. Oh sweet, sweet brownies. I found this recipe and altered it a bit. They are delicious, low in fat, and extremely moist.

Fudge Brownies Sims Style

2/3 cup chocolate - melted
1 cup non-fat vanilla yogurt
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup pecans
1/2 cup water

Pre-heat the oven to 350.

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler - or if you have a microwave (I don't have one, so have to use the old fashioned method). Add the yogurt to the melted chocolate and stir.

In a separate bowl mix together the flower, cocoa powder and baking soda. Add the yogurt and chocolate to the dry ingredients, add the flower and give it all a good stir. Add in the pecans, and stir it all together once again.

Place the mixture into either a parchment lined 8x8 baking dish, or a non-stick baking dish. Bake in the 350 oven for 22 minutes. Let cool and then dig in.

Chris rated these a 5!

Alright friends, I hope that your weekend was full of bliss. The week is here and the weekend is around the corner yet again.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Stop.

Well hello Friday evening. I sometimes almost have to pinch and grab ahold of myself when the weekend comes. It seems like the weeks and weekends have been flying by. All of a sudden it's Friday and then the next thing I know that it is Sunday and then it's Friday again. When I realize how quick the weeks go by, I say to myself 'when I am done 'this' things will slow down'; but they never seem to slow down.

When weeks are whipping by, I know that I should be ensuring that I am living life to the fullest and enjoying every second of it. I sometimes think that I remember this when it's too late.

Stop and smell the roses; dance more; drink more ice water; sleep in; visit with the neighbours; have coffee with friends; have sleepovers with family; learn to knit scarves; run; run for my life; cuddle more; hold hands.

There are only 35 days left until my wedding. 35 days. 35 DAYS!!!! I said it 3 times just in case you didn't hear me the first 2 times. I really can't believe that it is coming this quickly. Oh my. I need to take my advice - love these days, enjoy all of them. My cousins have been so incredible. Margo is in my wedding party - and she is an incredible BM. Her sister, Marsh, has been sending me regular emails, little pep talks, reminders of what an incredibly special time this is. She is making sure that I am stopping and smelling the roses.

Since it is Friday, and I played hooky from work today (well not really 'hooky' I took the day) and spent the day lounging and loafing, that we would treat ourselves to Nachos for dinner in front of the hockey game. Nachos are a treat dinner that we have every blue moon. They are a special treat - and Chris hearts them.

Nachos Sims Style

1 pack of ground meat - whatever you fancy
3 green onions - thinly chopped
1 yellow, red and orange pepper - chopped into small pieces
3 tomatoes - chopped into small pieces
2 cups cheese - grated
1 tbsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp smoked paprika
Kosher salt and pepper
1/2 cup ketchup
1 bag of tortilla chips

Pre-heat oven to 350.

In a large skillet, drizzle a tbsp of olive oil and heat pan to medium heat. Add the ground meat, with a pinch of kosher salt and pepper, and cook the meat until it starts to brown. Once the meat is browning, add the cayenne pepper, cumin and smoked paprika. Continue cooking until the meat is cooked. Add the ketchup and stir together and season more with kosher salt and pepper.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place half the amount of chips as the bottom layer. We are in love with these all natural tortilla chips. I have only found them in the deli at Safeway. Love 'em. Then add half of the green onions, peppers and tomatoes. Top with the meat and then the cheese.

Place in the oven and bake for about 7 minutes.

Then do another layer same as above.

Place back in the oven a bake for another 15-20 minutes.

Serve with sour cream, salsa, and if in season make some deelish guacamole (they weren't in season today - boo).

It was a great evening - good nachos and the Canucks won!

Alright friends - I hope your Friday was everything that you wanted it to be.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

College.

College Dayz.

I have just went back to college. Yes, that's right. College. Call-uge. Yep - back in college. Being a starving student, carrying a backpack, using the bus, eating Mr. Noodles for dinner 7 nights a week, partying on Friday and Saturday nights... oh the life.

Ok, I will start over.

I am taking a course at Camosun College. I am taking a course on how to write an effective blog. Although I have been 'blogging' for awhile, I am still hoping to get something out if this, tips and tricks and always wanting to learn something new.

I am not a starving student. I used a purse instead of a backpack. I did have a toasted cheese sandwich last night for dinner - and haven't had Mr. Noodles in probably over 15 years (probably had them last when I was 7). I haven't partied 2 nights in a row in many, many years; one night puts me out of commish for at least a month.

I was thinking about when I was in college - oh the stories. I can remember some of them like they happened just yesterday.

My first year of college, was in Prince George. I am not sure really why I went there. I think that college phoned me to say that I had been accepted and if I was planning on attending, and I panicked and said 'yes' and then had to go. My grandma was also there so I was able to stay at her house.

I went to pick out my books a couple of days before school started. I made my mom wait in the car for me - b/c I wanted to try and look cool. I was in line up and I met an older gentleman who chatted me up. It was very awkward. After I registered and headed to my mom, the guy came running after me and gave me his phone number and told me to call him sometime. Uh. I was 18. So awkward.

The first day of school I was so nervous. Before my first class I went into the washroom in the main building to check my hair. I came out of the bathroom and a guy was coming in. I gave him a 'wrong bathroom weirdo' look and he gave me a 'oh my god, I'm not a pervo honestly' look. I walked out, he walked away, and I looked at the picture on the bathroom door. Awkward. I was in the wrong one. I was mortified.

My first class was English 101. I sat down, not at the front, but a couple of rows back. The desks were tables - 2 people per table. Just before class started, this tall, beautiful girl walked in and sat right beside me. She introduced herself as Binder. She asked where I was from and what my name was. Binder turned out to be Rashmi's cousin. Rashmi's cousin!!! Remember Rashmi? What a small world. She turned out to be an incredible friend. She helped me fail out of a few classes - well not really - but she made my first year of college so fun. I miss her a lot.

I am happy that I have all of those stories to remember. I am happy that my new college career is going to be full of new memories. I am probably going to remember where I parked, if I grabbed a Starbucks before class, how many pages I doodled on, if I made dinner before class. They are going to be good!

Alright - I have not been cooking this entire week. Don't worry, I am not starving. Chris has been off this week, so he has been cooking dinner. On Monday and Tuesday he made a stirfry with a ton of vegetables and pork. It was delicious. Very simple and healthy. Wednesday night he didn't make dinner. I think that he was on strike or something b/c he went to the pub and had wings and watched the hockey game. Tonight he made a feast. He made a dinner like he would make when we first started dating.

Mashed potatoes, roasted beets and Shake 'n Bake chicken. Totally delicious. It is a huge treat to be able to come home and not have to do a thing. I think that when we get married it's going to be like that too. I think that he will make sure he is home every night to make me a feast. I know, awesome, huh? Oh wait, that won't happen. Even though we'll be married he still has that little Kung Fu studio.

Alright friends. I am off to curl up on the couch and watch a little mindless tele.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Writer's block.




Writer's block. Not writer's block of cheese or chocolate. Just good old fashioned writer's block. I just started to write about how women carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. They make sure that they take care of everyone and forget to take care of themselves. They sometimes let things get bad before they get better, because they sometimes forget to treat themselves better.

I just am having writer's block trying to get into this and go deep. It could be because I know it's true, and know so many women in my life that put so much before themselves. I guess we just have to remind each other that we are number one and worth it. If anyone needs reminding, let me know. You are all worth it. You are all love.

I made a new dessert the other night. Very similar to another recipe that I make, but I switched it up a bit. Rice Pudding - hello - oh how I love thee. I got this idea from my friend Steph, she used to be my 'assistant' but she no longer is. I don't want to talk about it. Don't even try to get me to. I won't. I will refuse. I will scowl and then stomp off - very similar to my 'former' assistant.

Coconut and Lime Rice Pudding
  • 1 cup water
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup Arborio rice
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • Zest of one lime
  • 1/2 cup of shredded coconut

Bring water, salt, and butter to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the rice, return to a boil, and then reduce the heat to the lowest setting. Shake the pan occasionally and cook until rice has absorbed the water but it still al dente, about 15 minutes.


Bring coconut milk and milk, sugar, vanilla, lime zest and coconut to a simmer in a separate saucepan. Add the cooked rice and cook at a simmer over medium-low heat until rice absorbs most of the milk and mixture starts to get thick and silky, about 10 to 15 minutes. Be careful, don't let the milk get too hot or you will burn your pan - trust me I know.


I absolutely love the colour that the lime zest brings to the silky coconut milk and rice.

Chris rated this a definite 3!! I know - 3! He really likes raisins in his rice pudding - he likes the sweetness that they give and the burst of flavour in every bight. I on the other hand don't think that raisins go with. I may try this again and add the flavours just to make him happy. That's what a woman does.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

West coast.

Sometimes I think about us selling it all and packing up and taking a cross country road trip and when we hit the other side of the country - buying a little house on the cliffs over looking the Atlantic ocean. Waking up every morning and just sitting looking out over the waves, sipping tea, and wearing nice warm turtleneck sweaters.

Other times I think about going back to school to be a nurse. I always wanted to be a nurse when I was a child - and then I got to the age of 13 and realized that the sight of blood and seeing people in horrific states, really upset me. It was then that I knew that probably being a nurse wasn't for me. I think that if I had the chance to do it over, that I would have made it through and became a good nurse.

And then, I sit back and realize that I have a pretty good 'thing' going on here. I live on the Pacific Ocean and can be at a couple of different beaches within 5 minutes. I can wear a turtleneck sweater and pick up a nice Starbucks on the way and sit on a bench and watch the waves. As for being a nurse, I am ok with not making that my career. I know that if I really wanted to, I could still do it, I just know that it isn't for me.

So, sometimes I like to sit back and just look at my life. I like to watch Chris, and think about what we have been through to get to where we are now. I feel so blessed to have a partner in my life that I love and loves me. I am proud of us for creating a comfortable and safe home. We have good friends - who mean so much to us.

Life is good. And today, Chris is on his first day of holidays, and we laid in bed late watching Coronation Street. We then took the pups for a walk. And then we just hung out. It was such a lazy day. I did a bunch of cooking, and then we 'retired' to Suite B and watch the Canucks kick butt.

Alright - enough of my lovefest.

Today I made something that can be found in the deli of Save On Foods - Stuffing Rolls. They are probably about 1000 calories per roll, and they are like heaven in your mouth. I haven't had one in a very long time. They are one of those treats that I know I shouldn't have, so I try not to. If only I did that with chocolate.

I had a bunch of stuffing left over from Thanksgiving. I sealed it up and stuck it in the freezer - so I knew that I had to do something with it. I like to think that since these are baked, and the stuffing is all natural, that these aren't as bad.

Stuffing Rolls Sims Style

1 pack of puff pastry - thawed
4 cups of stuffing
1 egg

I had enough stuffing to use both squares of puff pastry in the box.

Pre-heat the oven to 350.

Roll out one square of the puff pastry on a floured space. Roll out the puff pastry to form a rectangle. The pastry should be thin. Once it is rolled out, cut the rectangle into 20 squares - 4 down, 5 across.

With each square place 1 to 1 1/2 tbsp of stuffing in the middle of each square. Fold the sides together, and fold over the edges so that it can be sealed. Place them on a baking sheet that has been covered with aluminum foil and lightly sprayed with cooking oil.

Whisk an egg, and then brush each stuffing roll lightly with the egg.

Bake for 22 minutes. They should be golden and crispy.

Serve with a dollop of cranberry sauce if you fancy.

Alright friends - heading to the hay.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Funk.



I'm in one.

We just got home from Maude Hunter's Pub. We went there with some of Chris' work friends. I had a taco salad and was disappointed.

Magnum and Jozie got groomed yesterday. Magnum won't stop bathing Jozie. It's gross.

I am addicted to checking the mail everyday for wedding RSVP's.

We go tomorrow to pick up our wedding bands.

My mom's outfit for the wedding arrived - missing the jacket. The jacket is going to be made instead - so we can breathe.

Chris is on holidays for a week.

I am jealous of Chris being on holidays for a week.

I hope that Chris makes dinner every night next week.

If he doesn't make dinner every night, I will cry myself silly.

I have never cried myself silly.

Last night, Chris picked up something for dinner. It was just meat though. He would be happy just having meat for dinner. Myself, not so much. I don't want to get scurvy; it's just the way that I roll. So, I had to make a very quick and easy side dish. And that is just what I did. No scurvy in this howwwwse.

Brie and Roasted Tomato Pasta

200 g of macaroni - @ 1/2 a box of pasta - I used whole wheat, it's our fave
2 cups of roasted tomatoes
1/2 cup of brie cheese - chopped into small cubes
8 basil leaves - chopped
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup cream or milk
Kosher salt and pepper

Boil pasta until el dente. Drain and let sit. In the same pot (easy dinners shouldn't use a lot of dishes - hoorah!!!), toss in the tomatoes, the brie and the basil - simmer over medium heat. Add the parmesan and the cream, a pinch of kosher salt and black pepper. Stir until the cheese starts to melt. Add the pasta, give it a couple more stirs, and serve it up.

This was a delicious and easy pasta. It was quick to make, used only 6 ingredients, and took no time. If you don't have roasted tomatoes, used canned, and just drain them so that it is not too runny.

Well friends - I am going to make a piece of toast. I hope that it gets me out of the funk. I don't even feel like any chocolate right now.

Great weekend to all.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Who doesn't like Pumpkin Pie for dinner?


Sicky.
Sicko.
Sicky McSicky.
Cough-alot-o-pus.
Coughy McCoughy.

Those are just some of the comforting names that I like to call Chris when he is sick. Chris has what I have. Although, Chris last week told me when I was sick, that he 'never gets sick'. He followed up that sentence with either 'because I'm a man' or 'because I don't allow myself to get sick'. Hm... looks like he spoke too soon.

I am torn about him being sick. Although I don't want him to be sick, I do love having him home on a week night to eat dinner with and watch the hockey game in real time. See my dilemma? No really, can you? So, I hope that he mends well for two reasons: 1. I don't like seeing him sick and being sick isn't fun; and when he is sick he does this almost Frankenstein-ish walk around the house and grunts and groans. It's not attractive. I will give him one day of this walking - and then he is on his own.


Sick.
Oh, who's feeling a little better?
This is when I told him it was ok to eat pumpkin pie for dinner.

Until he mends, I will spoil him and make sure that he is comfortable. I will heat him up turkey soup and make him fancy grilled cheese sandwiches. I will let him bring the good blankets downstairs to curl up with in front of the tv (don't ask - I'm OCD with the good blankets). I will let him think that it is ok to eat pumpkin pie for dinner. I won't get mad when I ask him a question and he doesn't answer. Oh, scratch that - I will. I will let him skip doing the dishes so that he can rest. I will do all of the above for a day, two max, and then it's back to normal. I can't let him get away with this for too long - or it may stay like this. And then we'll be married, and before I know it, I will be getting his slippers for him, and getting up to make him breakfast every morning, and picking out which underwear I should iron for him so that he can wear them.

For dinner tonight, we had leftover turkey soup. God love turkey soup. The pot I used, which is similar to a pot that you will see in an Army kitchen - it's a biggun - will feed us for the week. I figure if I keep adding to it, it will be like a new soup each night. Sometimes it's just easy to have dinner made for you each night in advance. 'Always' it's just easy to have dinner made for you each night in advance.

Thanks to Jess for telling me her favourite 'sometimes and always'. I am not worried that I may have a stalker on my hands. Not at all. Not even a bit.... :) Loves.

To go with dinner tonight, I fancied up a grill cheese sandwich. I used brie cheese and roasted tomatoes that I roasted last night. I kind of felt like I was cooking in my farm kitchen last night. I was making a big pot of turkey soup and roasting tomatoes from my garden. Roasted tomatoes are so easy to do - and are packed with the most incredible flavour. I have been doing quite a few of them lately as my tomatoes have slowly, very slowly ripened. I then just put them in a ziploc bag and throw them in the freezer. They are awesome later on for sauces or soups.

Grilled Brie Cheese Sandwiches with Roasted Tomatoes

I had a wheel of brie cheese that I would normally make baked brie with - but I decided to break it out and make grilled cheese instead.

2 slices of bread - normally if I am making 'fancy' grilled cheese, I would like to use sourdough or rye bread. Tonight we just had whole wheat on hand
4 thin slices of brie cheese
2 roasted tomatoes
1 tbsp of butter

In a pan, add the butter and let it melt, over medium heat. Place the thin slices of brie cheese on one piece of bread. then add the tomatoes. Gently slice the tomato, but don't squeeze it - as you don't want the juices leaking out too much. Place the other piece of bread on top. Place the sandwich in the pan with the melted butter. Cover and let it lightly brown - approximately 2 minutes on each side.

And that's it. You have a delicious Girl Cheese Sandwich. Just kidding - it's Grilled Cheese. When I was a cute little girl, I asked my mom why there weren't 'Boy Cheese Sandwiches'.

Alright, I am going to take Chris' temperature, prop him up with blankets and pillows, make him a hot cup of tea... or I might just sit beside him on the couch and watch the hockey game.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sometimes...



Sometimes I wish that I could sleep in past 8 AM.

Sometimes I wish that I lived on a farm.

Sometimes I wish that I didn't have to take long plane rides to have a tropical holiday.

Sometimes I would like to have a little cafe where I serve homemade soups and sandwiches and my dogs are allowed to run around and greet the customers.

Sometimes it hurts when I cry (don't worry it doesn't really, unless I have fallen and hurt myself and I am crying because I am hurt - I think that the line is from a song).

Sometimes I wish that I would remember what song.

Sometimes I really need to practice patience.

Sometimes I wish that I could practice guitar - but I don't have a guitar - so I practice my tambourine.

Sometimes I think that I should take my tambourine out of my chest and practice it.

Sometimes I am lying about practicing my tambourine.

Sometimes I wish that Chris and I had more than a half a day off together.

Sometimes I wish that I had a personal hairdresser.

Sometimes I pretend that I am eating chocolate when it's really celery.

Sometimes...

What is the opposite of 'sometimes'? 'Always'? What if I went back and changed all of the 'sometimes' to 'always'? I just re-read them and it works. It's true. Please do this as well. Write down things that you would like 'sometimes' and then change it to 'always'. Do it. Pretend that I am your school teacher giving homework. I may be a bossy teacher. Anyways - try it. It's kind of influential. Tell me what your favourite one was.

Now, if you remember, I told a very embarrassing story of how I made a cheesecake and used light cream cheese instead of the regular. Please don't tell anyone. It's very awkward. In all honesty, it was still really deelish. It was just a little softer than it should have been.

I made the cheesecake and wanted to serve it with something 'pumpkiny'. I wasn't quite sure what that was going to be, but I had some whipping cream, a can of pumpkin puree, some maple syrup, and some pumpkin pie seasonings. What I managed to whip up turned out really tasty, light, and something that was festive for this Thanksgiving holiday.

Pumpkin Moose

I am calling it 'moose' instead of 'mousse' b/c of two things: 1. It is not a traditional mousse, but it is kind of like a mousse; 2. It's how I roll.

2 cups of whipping cream
1 cup of pumpkin puree
2 tbsp of maple syrup
1/2 tsp of cinnamon
1/2 tsp of nutmeg
2 tbsp of brown sugar (you can omit this, but I felt that the pumpkin needed the bit of extra sweetness)

In a large glass bowl, whip the whipping cream on high speed adding the maple syrup. Beat until soft peaks develop. Do not stick your finger in the bowl to taste - no matter how much you are tempted.

Next, add the pumkin puree, the cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar. Continue to whip until it is all creamed together.

Taste it, see if it needs any extra spice, if not - serve it up.

Well friends, sometimes when Chris comes home I like to spend lots of time with him. :)

Loves.

Enjoy!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am so thankful. I am thankful that I don't need Thanksgiving to remind me of how thankful that I am, but I like that it is another day to declare our thankfulness. I am thankful for my fiance - that this is our first and last Thanksgiving as an engaged couple. I am thankful for a wonderful family - so fun, supportive, loving. I am thankful for truly wonderful friends. I am thankful for my pups - oh they are my loves. I am thankful for loving cooking so that I can write this blog everyday and feel some sense of achievement. I am thankful for my laptop so that on this Thanksgiving, I can sit downstairs with it on my lap and have the tv on. I am thankful for memories. I am thankful that I have people to love.

Our turkey dinner turned out really well last night. It was a quaint little gathering - cozy - we all ate too much - lots of decadence. And the best thing - we all deserved it. The free-range/organic turkey was incredible. My mom was calling it a 'purebread'. Oh my. It was really flavourful.

The Cheesecake that I made - was not my finest. I made this recipe before and it was incredible. This time I used 'light' cream cheese. I didn't put that in my recipe before - so I have to go back and edit it. So, the flavour was there. The outer ring was a good consistency, and the inside of the circle it was too soft. Ugh. I know for next time.

Here are a few of the side dishes that I made - and ones that I will make again.

Mashed Turnip with Pepper Flakes

2 medium sized turnips - peeled and cut into small pieces
2 tbsp of butter
1/4 cup of parmesan cheese
1 tsp pepper flakes
Kosher salt and pepper

Boil the turnips until they are soft - similar to boiling potatoes - probably around 20 minutes. Drain and transfer back to the pot. Add the butter, pepper flakes, kosher salt and pepper. Use a potato masher and mash all of the ingredients together. Add the parmesan cheese and give everything a nice big stir. And that's it.

I made this dish earlier in the afternoon. I transferred them into a heavy duty casserole dish and placed the lid on top and let it sit on the counter. About 20 minutes before serving dinner, I placed the dish back in a low heated oven to get it warm enough for dinner. It worked like a charm.

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

1 pound bacon
6 cups brussels sprouts - rinsed and the ends cut off

I usually always roast my brussels sprouts - and they are delicious. I wanted to try something different this time - and I was happy that I did.

I like to find the smallest brussels sprouts that I can. I find that they are way more full of flavour.

Chop the bacon slices in half lengthwise and then into small pieces. It's important to keep the pieces small and uniform so that they cook evenly. Place the bacon into a large saute pan and start to saute over medium heat. Allow the bacon to saute for 3-4 minutes - enough time to have some of the bacon fat to release. Then add the brussels sprouts and continue to saute over medium heat, stirring consistently. Eventually the bacon will begin to crisp and make the brussels sprouts crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. When the bacon is crisp reduce the heat and let it just sit to keep warm on the stove until serving.

These were deelish!

Acorn Squash with Spice

Acorn squash - cut in half lengthwise
1 tsp of butter for each half
1 tbsp of brown sugar
Pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg
Pecans - 3 per half - chopped or whole

Pre-heat the oven to 400.

On a baking dish, place the acorn squash cut side up. Add the tsp of butter. Mix together the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg - and then sprinkle that on top of the butter. Add the 3 pecans.

Bake in the oven for 45 minutes. Throughout the baking, as the butter is melting, with a small spoon, spoon the butter/sugar mixture on top of the squash so that it is being basted in the sugary goodness.

I used 4 squash for this recipe - and for some of our guests they cut the piece in half. The cinnamon and nutmeg are so fragrant and so flavourful.

I am thankful for the leftovers and that we will have homemade turkey broth for some hearty soup.

I hope that you are all enjoying your Thanksgiving and embracing a lovely fall day.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Thanksgiving prep


Pumpkin tree branches - who knew?

I've had a bit of a busy day. I had my day planned a couple of weeks ago - so couldn't allow my cough keep me home. I had my last fitting for my wedding dress. Oh my, I sure love my dress. I would like to keep it on until the wedding - but for obvious reasons, I have decided to keep it at Blush and will pick it up just prior to the big day. My mom was with me again this time - she watched how I got strapped in today - hopefully she can pass that info along to my BM's. I love that my mom has been such a big part of our day - I know that I am truly blessed.

I have also been prepping for Thanksgiving Dinner tomorrow night. I ordered a large, organic, free-range turkey a couple of weeks ago from The Root Cellar. I had serious thoughts of canceling dinner - making Chris go and pick up the bird - and then just cooking a turkey and nothing else and Chris and I eating turkey sandwiches for the month of October. Then I thought about it again, and knew that we have folks coming for dinner, so thought that I'd better take in stride.

On the menu for tomorrow night:

Turkey
Stuffing - with italian sausage
Roasted Acorn Squash - with a brown sugar, cinnamon and pecan topping
Mashed turnips with a mild spice of chili flakes
Roasted Beets with fresh herbs
Corn
Sauteed brussels sprouts with bacon (I think)
Mashed potatoes (Jules' is bringing these)
Buns (Jules - don't forget these :) )
Cheesecake with a topping that will TBD - I wanted to do some type of pumpkin caramel - stay tuned

So far I have: sauted the onions and sausage for the stuffing; torn up the bread for the stuffing; chopped the celery, onion and carrots for the roasting pan; made the cranberry sauce; peeled and chopped the turnips; put together a flower arrangement for the table.

First thing tomorrow morning I am going to make the cheesecake, prep the brussels sprouts, stuff the bird, have a cup of hot chocolate, watch an episode of Jersey Shore. Oh, did I just say that out loud? What??? I won't watch it on the actual holiday. I will hopefully also have a shower so that I don't scare our guests when they arrive.

I also made a big dent in our guest room that before 4:00 PM today, it could have been mistaken for an episode of Hoarders. Poor Jocelyn had to stay in that room. I was mortified. I had her set to stay downstairs and Chris showed her to the guest room. You can imagine my surprise when I knew that she was going into a room that still had luggage in it from our trip to Ontario over a month ago.

Alright friends. What are y'all doing for the holiday? If you have any cooking questions - let me know.

Loves.

Enjoy!!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Wisdom

Getting ready for Thanksgiving

This week was not really filled with a lot of wisdom from me - but it was full of wisdom being removed - teeth that is. Not mine. I won't make that procedure. Nice try. Don't even try to chat about anything dental. Every time that I go to the dentist, I ask two things: 1. Do I need a root canal? and 2. Do I need to have my wisdom teeth pulled? So far, the answers have been 'no'.

Anyways, let's get back to wisdom teeth, that aren't mine. My GF Jocelyn, had to make the trek down to Victoria so that she could have 3 wisdom teeth pulled. She stayed with us the night before and then the night after. She had one of the bottom wisdom teeth pulled prior too - and she was awake for it. AWAKE. It was traumatic for her. And now that I know the story, traumatic for me too. If that was me, I wouldn't be awake for another dental appointment again. I know, it may sound ridiculous, but the dentist scares me.

Anyways - Jocelyn was a rockstar. If I didn't know that she had just had her teeth pulled, and that walking around with gauze in your mouth wasn't normal - I would never have known that she had 3 teeth pulled.

While Jocelyn stayed with us, I cooked recovery food for her. Sorry, let me rephrase that. I bought 'cup of soup' and apple sauce. Jocelyn decided that that is the recovery diet. It worked well.

Also while Jocelyn was here, I developed something that I am calling the Plague. Something that has been almost coming to catch up with me for the last 3 weeks finally caught up with me. I have a cough that is unattractive. I had such a bad night last night, I couldn't make it in to work today. I had a couple of hours out of bed this AM - while Joc was still here, and then spent 4 hours in bed - in and out of bed. I didn't stray far though - I would get up and make it to the end of the bed - and need to curl back in.

Although I wasn't feeling my finest, I had such a good visit with Joc. We were roommates for 2 years. We were reminiscing and we find it hard to believe that we only lived together for 2 years - we spent a lot of time together and it seems like we lived together much longer. She was a great roommate - and I learned a lot from her. I wish that she lived closer - so that she could come over and make herself at my home - curl up on the couch - read mags - drink tea - and just hang out. She will be back soon for our wedding. I know that we will have another nice visit then too.

Alright friends - I am sorry that I don't have a recipe to add. I think that you all know how to make toast though - if you don't, please let me know. :)

Loves.

Enjoy!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Cup Full O Love



When I was young, my dad would work shift work, so at least 2 days a week he would be home during the week. When I look back on that, I was pretty fortunate to have had that time with us. He would often make us lunch - and be there to drive us to the rink.

I guess when you're in the moment - it's just 'whatever', but now when I look back on it, I was really lucky. I think those moments of sitting around a table and talking about anything, is what makes moments even more special.

I am feeling a bit 'ugh' right now. I think that I have been trying to fight a cold for so long and I just wish that it would leave for good or just hit me. I'm ready for it - bring it.

Anyways, I had a bowl of chicken noodle soup for dinner tonight. I can do a recipe for that - it was from a can. Tasty though. So... I was thinking of what I could do for this lil dinner blog o mine, and I had a craving for hot chocolate - and I remembered the hot chocolate that my dad used to make for us on cold days. Our friends would always want to come in for hot chocolate - homemade, rich hot chocolate. I always wanted the kind that came in a can - and would hope for that instead.

Tonight's recipe is a tribute to my dad - I changed it up a bit - but it was still as rich and delicious as I remember.

Dad's Hot Chocolate

1 cup of skim milk (or whatever you have in the fridge)
1/4 cup of whip cream or heavy cream
2 tbsp of cocoa powder
1/8 tsp of cinammon
1/2 tbsp of sugar
1 tsp of 70% dark chocolate - shredded or melted (approximately 1/2 a flat square - make sure that you eat the other half)

In a pot, heat the milk and cream, the cocoa powder, cinnamon and sugar over medium heat. With a whisk, stir constantly to make sure that the powder melts into the milk. Once it is all melted together, add the chocolate and continue to whisk.

Pour it into a nice mug, curl up in a blanket and sip away. Yum - so good.

I have to say that I love how a taste of something can stir up a zillion memories. I know that I am truly blessed to have them.

Loves.

Enjoy!