Monday, December 31, 2012

Retrospective: 2012 in Review

Seeing as it's New Year's Eve, it's time to take a look back and reminisce about the year that was.  During the past year, J and I have moved, we acquired a cat, and I started a new job.
We also made the resolution to have people in for often for dinner and to eat at home more often.  There have been months when we've done better than others, but for the most part we're eating at home more often.  We've tried lots of new things too.
According to the stats, I've made 47 things that are "New for 2012".  That's almost a recipe per week.  I participated in 15 Pinterest activities, and I shared 16 recipes with you that are classics around here.  By far, my favourite source outside of Pinterest was my new copy of the Looneyspoons Collection that I got for my birthday in October.  I managed to make 9 recipes in approximately 2 and a half months.  Think of what would have happened if I'd had access for the entire year!
After the jump, I invite you to make a quick trip down memory lane to the best and worst of the year that was.  I present to you now Oreos and Cool Whip's Memories of 2012:

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Souper Sunday: Pasta Fagioli

I actually made soup on Sunday.  It's been a bit of a challenge to actually make this happen recently, and while I enjoy soup I don't always get to things as I'd like to.  Perhaps it's the procrastinator in me, or maybe I'll just blame it on the boogie.
I did need a smaller recipe for soup that J and I could possibly eat in a couple of meals just before Christmas.  I wanted a Sunday night/Christmas Eve lunch that would go together quickly and make a hearty meal.  I turned to Taste of Home.
I have a Taste of Home magazine of heartwarming soups that was to be displayed until April 28, 2008.  I've admired many of the pictures, but don't really make all that much out of it.  I bought it back in my "buy the magazine and admire the pictures" phase of cooking before I realized that I was being threatened by piles of magazines that I was saving for the day when I would make things from them.  This magazine survived that purge, but I still don't make much.
Enter a need for a new soup that didn't serve 10.  While flipping, I found this recipe for pasta fagioli soup that sounded good and said it served 5.  I'm thinking we'll get at least 6 bowls out of it.  But it's yummy.
I present to you now TOH's Heartwarming Soup, Pasta Fagioli:

Friday, December 28, 2012

Fish for Friday: Salmon and Feta Burgers

In the summer, I promised J that I would cook fish once a week.  I'm still not a fan of fish, but I've started broiling a whole lot of salmon this winter.  Fresh salmon is something that I'm finding not hard to take.  Especially when it's very fresh and not particularly fishy. 
In flipping through my copy of the Looneyspoons Collection, I came across this recipe.  Surprisingly, I wanted to make it.  J wasn't complaining.  He loves fish. 
I present to you now the Looneyspoons Collection Dilly Whoppers:

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Pinned: Garlic Parmesan Roasted Brussel Sprouts

I feel like vegetables much like J feels about fruit.  I like a few specific things, and I'm not adventurous.  Most weeks, I buy broccoli in the winter.  In the spring, we eat a lot of roasted asparagus.  If I had my way, we'd eat mostly frozen corn and green beans with a few frozen green peas for variety.
J likes all vegetables - he'll eat any I put on his plate other than squash and sweet potatoes.  So this week when we went to the grocery store, brussel sprouts were on sale.  For whatever reason, I have been pinning brussel sprout recipes.  I decided to see whether or not I liked them.
I present to you now Joy in the Jumble's Garlic Parmesan Roasted Brussel Sprouts:

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Souper Sunday: Creamy Corn and Chicken Chowder

I've fallen off the soup wagon this year.  For a long time, I made soup every Sunday in winter and then took it for lunch during the week.  For whatever reason, I just haven't done that much this fall.  While we could blame this on football season and being away a lot, I don't know.  Perhaps soup has fallen out of favour.  I hope not.  With recipes like this, soup will make a comeback.
I spent some time eying this recipe, wondering what the BBQ sauce would taste like.  I'm not sure why I wondered.  It's all good.  Like everything I've made from Looneyspoons, this was a winner.  J told me that I'm welcome to make this again whenever I want.  the problem is, there are so many recipes to make.  Sigh.
I present to you now the Looneyspoons Collection Smoky Roasted Chicken and Corn Chowder:

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Dinner: Strawberry Pretzel Salad

While J and I were hoping that my father's family would decide not to have Christmas this year and that my mom would come to the mountain, that didn't happen.  Every year, my father and his 3 next oldest siblings and their families get together for Christmas dinner.  As the siblings age, they keep threatening that they won't do it anymore - it's too much work, they're getting too old, etc, etc.  There's usually 20 of us or so.  Whoever is available comes.  When I asked what I should bring, I was told a Jello salad.
My mother makes a wide variety of Jello salads.  Some are sweet, which I don't mind too much, and others are disconcertingly savory.  Most come from the recipe book the Joys of Jello.  Sometime I'll have to tell the horrifying story of the lemon jello with beet juice and horseradish. read right.  I've made it.
But seeing as I didn't have the book, and I have no favourite jello recipes, I turned to the mighty Facebook asking what kind of salad I should make.  My friend Trudi suggested the Strawberry Pretzel Salad, and the next day a friend from Texas had emailed me her recipe.
I present to you now the salad that I'm taking to Christmas today, Strawberry Pretzel:

Monday, December 24, 2012

Winter Dessert: Warm Banana Pudding with Chocolate Chips and Pecans

Growing up, two of the many things I wasn't keen on were bananas and bread pudding.  You would think it's odd that I saw this and decided that I wanted to make it.  But the picture looked so yummy, and there were chocolate chips...we decided to give it a try.
J had never had bread pudding before.  He wasn't really sure what to expect.  But thankfully, he's willing to try anything that I decide to make.  He may not like it, but he's willing to give it a shot.  There's really nothing else you can ask for.
I made this on Sunday and we had dessert for a week.  It does make a lot.  But it's yummy.  Even reheated in the microwave.
I present to you now the Looneyspoons Collection's You're Pudding Me On:

Monday, December 17, 2012

Dinner with Friends: Pork Tenderloin with Red Onion Compote

As previously blogged, my mom came and stayed over the night of American Thanksgiving.  I decided that it was a good time to make something new and different and maybe a little fancy.  My mom's always up for something new and different.
A couple of weeks ago, I managed to get my 2013 Milk calendar despite the fact that I do not subscribe to a paper.  I flipped through it and found a bunch of things that I'm interested in making in the near future.  I always find the Milk calendars to be a bit hit or miss:  either you like everything or you like nothing.  Based on the first recipe, I'm willing to try more things.  We'll see.  Perhaps that should be one month of the challenge:  Milk calendars.  Hmmmmm....
While I think, I present to you now the 2013 Milk Calendar's Pork Tenderloin with Red Onion Compote:

Friday, December 14, 2012

Soup for Sunday: Cream of Broccoli

When I got the original Looneyspoons cookbook, the one recipe I really made was this soup.  While I do flip through the book from time to time, I've never made much out of it.  This soup, however, I've made for a while.  When I buy broccoli and then don't get around to cooking it as a side, this is how we use it up.  Neither J or I mind the leftovers for lunch the following week.
There is an updated recipe in The Looneyspoons Collection, but I read through it and decided to continue with the original recipe.  Just slightly different, and still including sour cream as a finisher.  But hot sauce.  It's all about the hot sauce.
I present to you now Looneyspoons It's Only Brocc'n Bowl:

Monday, December 10, 2012

Double Chocolate Cheesecake

J and I ended up not going away for American Thanksgiving this year.  I took the 2 days from work, but his family was dispersed and we decided to stay at home, clean, put up the Christmas tree, and watch a whole lotta football.  My mom also came and stayed overnight.
Seeing as mom was coming, it was cause to make a special meal.  With special meals come special desserts.  I turned for inspiration to the Looneyspoons Collection.  There were lots of interesting things, but I was drawn in by the idea of making cheesecake.  It's been a long time since I've made a cheesecake, so I figured this one was worth a shot.
I present to you now The Looneyspoons Collection's Shockalot Cheesecake:

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Planning: December 8-14, 2012

I don't know if this is a good thing or not.  I've planned a really good sounding week, that's rather long looking on paper, and that relies heavily on new recipes.  While I'm thinking about my cookbook challenge for the new year and what I want to do, I'm still burning through The Looneyspoons Collection and loving it.  Once again, my week is based upon that book.  We'll see how we do. Here's my thinking:

Saturday:  leftover crockpot Chicken Parmesan.  I made this Thursday, and it's delicious.  It was from Pinterest, but I didn't bread the chicken or truly follow the recipe.  It made a darn tasty dinner though.  I'm also making a Banana chocolate chip pecan bread pudding this afternoon.  It makes a 9x13 pan.  We'll eat this for days.
Sunday:  Smoky Chicken Corn Chowder for lunch, Salmon burgers for dinner.  Both Looneyspoons, both intriguing.  The chowder I'll use for lunch this coming week.  The burgers makes 6.  I'll freeze 4 for use later.
Monday:  Tacos.  Old El Paso.  Easy.
Tuesday:  Baked Chicken Drumsticks in a Honey Mustard Sauce, rice and veg. 
Wednesday:  Leftover chicken drumsticks
Thursday:  Macaroni and Cheese and Sausage.  This is a simple comfort-food dinner.  After a bunch of new things, it's a change of pace.
Friday:  My staff party, and I'm not taking J.  It's in the opposite direction.  He'll probably order pizza.

Beyond this, I need to start making Christmas-type stuff.  Nuts and Bolts, fudge, cookies....we'll see what happens this week.  Now that Dancing with the Stars is over, and there's nothing really on TV, there's time in the evening.  I need to decide what I'm making.
We'll see how we do.


Friday, December 7, 2012

Midweek Dinner: Penne with Bacon, Spinach and Sundried Tomatoes

When my dad went into hospice, I'd been planning to make this for dinner Friday night.  We packed the ingredients up and took them with us to my mom's house.  Friday night, we made this at my parents' house so that we could have something before going back to hospice.  Once again, I was playing around with my new Looneyspoons Collection cookbook.
I'm starting to think about next year and what I'd like to do cooking/blogwise.  I'm thinking about a challenge of trying 4 or 5 recipes out of one of my cookbooks each month.  When I look at how much I've made already out of my newest one, it could be fun.  Or I'll miss Janet and Greta a lot.  Hmmm...I have to think about that one.
Nevertheless, here's a rather quick to put together dinner that J and I both enjoyed.  I present to you now The Looneyspoons Collection's Penne for Your Thoughts:

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Pintertest Kitchen: Bacon Quiche with Pat-in-the-Pan Crust

When I was growing up, my mom would make quiche and I would hate it.  Things that involved the meat grinder and leftover ham didn't really appeal.  Or maybe it was that my mom didn't use great cheese.  I don't know.  The other option is that my tastes have changed over time.  But I doubt it.
When I went to France, one of the things that I learned to make with one of my host mothers was quiche.  I learned to make a lot of great things in France and still make sauces the way I learned from Mme Brabant.  Mmmm...tarte tatin, bechamel sauce, cheese to finish meals.  Good times.
I was cruising Pinterest and found this very attractive pin for Bacon quiche.  It looked so good, but there was still one problem - I would have to make a pie crust.  Here's the pin:

I suck at pie crust.  My mother makes wonderful pie crust because she made a pie per month for the 41 years of marriage.  I make pastry once and a while.  It never turns out as well as I hope.  But no worries - this pin also had a pie crust that you pat into place in the pan.  How bad could it be?
I present to you now For the Love of Food's Bacon quiche with Pat-in-the-Pan crust:

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Healthy Snack: Blueberry Banana Oatmeal Muffins

One of the things we got after Dad's death was a "Sunshine" basket from the church that J and I used to attend.  There were cookies, nuts, assorted snacks, and fruit.  While we consumed the snacks and such with little difficulty, the fruit selection left something to be desired.  Neither of us like pears, I'm indifferent to apples, and there were 4 bananas.
J sometimes goes on a health kick where he decides that he should eat bananas because they're good for him despite the fact he doesn't like them.  I told him not to eat the bananas and I would make muffins out of them.  I thought about making Monkey Muffins again because they're amazing, but I ended up finding this recipe and deciding to make something new.
I present to you now Looneyspoons Bananaberry Bombs:

Monday, December 3, 2012

A Meal for Your Nose: Tuskinny Chicken

I'm still loving my new Looneyspoons cookbook.  So many interesting recipes!  So many bad puns!  J is tormented and well fed at the same time.  I have yet to make a bad recipe out of this book, so I guess I'll keep trying.  The problem is, I don't make it back to make things again that we loved the first time.
This is one of those things that sounded good, but there is no way to describe how amazing it smells.  The directions include these words:
"...if you have the patience, let dish stand, uncovered, for another 5 minutes to cool slightly."
What an odd phrase.  Make it, and you will know what they're talking about.  I made it the 5 minutes, but I licked the spoon.
I present to you now from the Looneyspoons Collection Tuskinny Chicken:

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Planning: December 2-6, 2012 (Or, How I'm trying to get my groove back)

That's how I'm feeling right now.  The weather is frightful (Today it's 12 C and rainy, last Friday there was snow) and there's tons of mud, I'm leaving for work and coming home in the dark, I would like to be baking and planning for Christmas, but there isn't time for that.
As a result, we eat out a lot because I don't want to think about cooking or I sit down on the couch and become a pile of sloth.  While I'm not saying that this is going to change this week, I'm hopeful.  It's the beginning of the month, and I have a couple of things in the works for the Pintertest Kitchen.  I bought more candy cane ice cream and am planning a new Looneyspoons dessert for later in the week.  Things I'm planning are simple, and frankly go with the weather. 
I hope I can be as excited as I am about trying things right now.

Here's the plan:
Sunday:  Bacon Quiche and salad.  It's a pat-in-the-pan crust.  I suck at making pastry.  Hopeful this works.
Monday:   Leftover quiche.  J is having leftover meatloaf from the weekend for lunch, so he shouldn't be too bitter about the lack of traditional protein in dinner.

Tuesday:  Steak Stirfry.  When I don't know what to make, I buy a bag of prewashed and chopped stirfry veggies, and I bought a small piece of steak on clearance to trim and slice.  This makes a nice, simple, throw together fast dinner.
Wednesday:  Crockpot Chicken Parmesan and garlic bread.  I have a meeting I'm dreading Wednesday night.  The phrase, "they don't pay me enough to do this" keeps ringing in my head.  I'm hoping that my mood will improve vastly at the end of the meeting.  J has suggested that I come home and have early dinner with him beforehand.  if nothing else, it will get me out of the building so I don't obsess.
Thursday:  Leftover chicken parm.
Friday:  I don't really know, other than I want to make banana chocolate chip pecan bread pudding.  Maybe we'll just eat that.

I have about 5 things on my camera that I haven't blogged.  I'm going to schedule some posts today for the next bit.  We have been eating things made on the mountain.  I just haven't been sharing.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

When Life Gives You Lemons, Make This

I was bummed when I realized that it was the first Thursday of the month, I had no groceries after being away with dad's funeral, and I had nothing for the Pintertest Kitchen.
Then I looked at the length of time that I had to post, and decided that I wanted to make this.  I love all things lemon.
There are so many fun things to rant about with this recipe.  Learn from my tales of woe as we go.  I promise, the final results are worth it.  Even if you've never worked with yeast dough, I would say this is worth a shot.  Even if you have to throw the first attempt in the garbage like I did.  Yeah.  It was a fun afternoon.
I present to you now The Whimsical Cupcake's Lemon Scented Pull-Apart Coffee Cake:

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Things to Put in Things: Unfried Refried Beans

J and I love Mexican.  We eat it a lot when we go to visit his family in the States.  You know, where people eat Mexican food.  As opposed to where we live where there is no Mexican.  As a result, we eat tacos and their ilk at home on a fairly regular basis.  I buy Rotel and Pace picante sauce to bring home and help in my quest for yummy Mexican.  I think I have some enchilada sauce as well right now after not being able to find it for the enchilada soup earlier this year.
So on one of my many cruises of Pinterest, I found a pin for Unfried Refried beans in the crockpot.  You know, ones that taste waaaay better than those that come out of a can and smell'm not even sure.
Then I was cruising Pinterest and I discovered the blog Budget Bytes and her black bean quesadillas.  Upon further poking around, I found her recipe for the same.  Today, I made them.
I present to you now my hybrid of Six Sisters and Budget Bytes Unfried Refried Beans in the Crockpot:

Friday, November 2, 2012

Planning: November 2-9, 2012

I haven't been cooking much recently.  We've been busy.  I've been busy.  My dad died.  Cancer Sucks.
Yeah, that.  We've been away for most of the past week for the visitation, memorial service, and interment.  But, we're back!  I've had a couple of days to prepare, and today we went to the grocery store.  Tomorrow is football, and we're staying in.  I've declared tomorrow Pajama Day.  It's also cooking day. 
Here's the plan:

Friday:  Broiled salmon, mashed potatoes and broccoli.  We still have leftover Halloween chocolate too.

Saturday:  I want to make the pull apart lemon bread.  I missed the Pintertest Kitchen.  I can still post.  Unfried refried beans for dinner as a part of burritos, along with nacho cheese dip and a veggie tray.  We bought everything for gorgeous sandwiches for lunch too so we don't have to go to Subway.

Sunday:  Pork fried rice with the leftover smoked pork loin we brought home after the memorial service, and won ton soup for dinner.  Apparently it's Food Inspired by the Far East day.

Monday:  Tuscan Chicken Stew, Salad, and whole wheat rolls

Tuesday:  Leftovers.  I have School Council.

Wednesday:  Not quite sure.  There are choices.  We'll see what I come up with. 

Thursday:  We're getting the winter tires put on the car, so we're going out - Southern Style BBQ.  Southern Fried Chicken, here I come!

Friday:   Leaving for football.  Something quick on the road.

So, it looks like a good week.  Let's see how it goes.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Easy Weeknight Meal: Fajita Salad

My birthday is this week.  It hasn't happened yet, and we're going out to celebrate.  But the celebrations have really already started on the mountain.  We had cake and ice cream and presents with my parents this week.  Well, Mom, J and I had cake.  Homemade pineapple upside down  yum.  Dad had Boost.  Cancer is evil.
We also had presents.  I got a dehumidifier for the basement and this book:

Yeah, I can't spin the picture.  But it's still exciting!  400 pages of new recipes.  I spent Sunday night on the couch reading titles to J of things I want to make.  I'm excited about cooking.  Even if there's no time.
Enter this recipe.  Not a whole lot of time to put together, and with some garlic bread, a wicked filling meal.  I present to you now The Looneyspoons' Collection Eata Fajita Salad:

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Pintertest Kitchen: Apple Fritter Cake

I've been in a rut, and I haven't been cooking.  That's kinda changed this week, and this cake got the ball rolling.  I pinned this from my friend Lee-Ann.  I've pinned a lot of great things from Lee-Ann.  I've made lots of them too.  Maybe I should have saved Lee-Ann a piece of this cake.  J's piece.  Cause mine disappeared quickly every night.  I'm just saying.  Here's the pin:
I present to you now Nerdy Baker's Apple Fritter Cake:

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Weeknight Dinner: Lemony Tortellini with Peas and Prosciutto

J asks me to make this dish.  Like, a lot.  I don't really get it, despite the fact that I make it from time to time because it's simple, filling, and quick.  It's not that I don't enjoy this, it's just that there are other good things to make.  But when J asked a couple of weeks ago if I'd make this, I bought the ingredients.  Last night, I made it again and found it so much more better than I remembered.
Maybe my tastebuds have changed, maybe I'm at a different place in my life and so I like different things, or maybe my food rut has finally reached a point that I enjoyed the new and different flavour.
Either way, I present to you now Everyday Food's Lemony Tortellini with Peas and Prosciutto:

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Planning: September 30-5, 2012

Work started, and I hit the wall.  We've been eating out A LOT.  I've been totally uninspired, both while looking at menus and when attempting to figure out what to cook for J and I.
Friday, we're leaving for points south and my first away football game.  We're eating here this week, and there are some new recipes.  I made a cake tonight that smells amazing.  With a new oven, I'm hoping I didn't overcook.  We'll see.
Here's the rundown of what we're eating here this week:

Monday:  Lemon Garlic Tilapia, rice and broccoli.  We continue to try and eat healthy.
Tuesday:  Lemony Tortellini with Peas and Prosciutto and Garlic Bread
Wednesday:  Leftovers from Tuesday
Thursday:  Grilled steak, potatoes and broccoli

So, two new recipes plus a cake.  I'd say it's a pretty good week.  And there's a plan.  A plan is always good.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Pintertest Kitchen: Garlic Brown Sugar Chicken

According to Pinterest, I pinned this 26 weeks ago.  Half a year.  I was at a different school, in a different house, bemoaning different aspects of my kitchen than I am now.
The first day of school, I set out to discover if this chicken recipe was really the BEST ever.
I present to you now's Easy Garlic Chicken:

Monday, September 3, 2012

Planning: Sept 3 - 9, 2012

I used to work with a principal who spent the last week of August singing, "It's the most wonderful time of the year".  While I am definitely not a part of that camp, I do recognize that it is time to return to work and no longer live the life of Reilly, or sloth.  Sigh.  The cat won't spend time with me anymore, and J will take over many of the tasks I currently perform.  That may not be a bad thing.
Nevertheless, cooking is still my realm.  We continue with J's and my need to eat healthy and my need to try everything I've pinned to Pinterest.  We also have football season to contend with now, and weekends away.  But it also means that there are more things to make and take away. 
Right.  To recap, busy fall; and I'll be cooking.  On with the planning.

Monday:  The end of summer.  We're celebrating by finishing a container of chocolate ice cream and eating chili dogs using Paco's hot dog sauce.

Tuesday:  Pinterst garlic brown sugar chicken.  We'll see if it is "the BEST ever."

Wednesday:  30 minute spaghetti and meatballs

Thursday:  Chicken stirfry and rice

Friday:  We're leaving for football.  Probably Wendy's.

So there you have it.  A short week with meals that go together fast to make up for the fact that I'm going to be hugely busy and exhausted.
Three cheers for the end of summer.  Bring on the adventures of the fall.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Oh, for F*ck's Sake, Buy My House Pasta

As some of you are aware, J and I are moving.  With my latest promotion and his lack of employment, it doesn't make sense to live as far away from my job as we currently are.  As a result, we put our house on the market at the end of May to move closer to my job.  Originally, it was to cut the distance in half.  A crazy week in June later, I was only about 20 minutes away.  All good.
Buying and selling real estate is stressful.  You need to keep your house clean.  You're not really supposed to cook (not a huge problem, seeing as it was June and I was crazed).  You're supposed to remain unemotional and detached.  Yeah.  That doesn't always happen.
So early in July, the house was still on the market and being shown...a lot.  We had a couple come through twice and then make an offer.  It was ridiculously low.  Their parents were offering their input every step of the way.  Their agent was new and a total ditz.  And on, and on.
One week, I'd planned to make a pin from my boards on Pinterest (the lemon chicken and spaghetti in garlic gravy.  It still looks good) and bought all the ingredients.  After a trying day with the buyers wanting things they couldn't have (LIKE MY BBQ), I decided I couldn't take it anymore and didn't get off the couch in time to make the recipe.  I was also emotionally drained, and couldn't hack the thought of another restaurant.  When J asked what we were having for dinner, I told him I didn't know.  When he asked where we were going to eat, I told him at home, and to give me 30 minutes.  This is the result.
On the day that the idiot buyers take possession of my house, I present to you what I made that night, with the name that gained overwhelming support in my Facebook feed:  Oh, for F*ck's Sake, Buy My House Pasta.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Toasted Sesame Ginger Grilled Salmon

We're working on healthy cooking/eating for J.  While this project has fallen a bit by the wayside while I clean out the freezer, I have promised that we will eat fish once a week.  With the help of Pinterest, that promise is coming to fruition.
This week, I decided to cook salmon on the grill.  I found a recipe, watched a tutorial on Youtube, and we were good to go.  I highly recommend the tutorial I watched.  It was dead simple to cook.
I present to you now How Sweet Eat's Toasted Sesame Ginger Salmon:

Friday, August 24, 2012

Dinner with Friends: Upsidedown Black Forest Cake

I love a good dessert.  I also love an easy dessert.  Frankly, if I can share it with friends so much the better.
Everyday Food ran this recipe a couple of years ago as something to make for dessert with their Valentine's Cooking for Two menu.  Usually, I double everything and make plated desserts when I have people in .  It's easy enough for 4, and it's a large serving.  But I've never had anyone complain...or not finish.
I present to you now Everyday Food's Upsidedown Black Forest Cakes:

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Go to Meal: Bake Thing

You know how there are things you make all the time that are time honoured recipes in your house?  Things that when you don't know what to make, you could always make that?  That's what Kraft Mexican Bake Thing is around here.
Once, back a long time ago, I was flipping through a Kraft What's Cooking magazine and came across this simple recipe that used Kraft Dinner, ground beef, cheese and salsa.  So easy, I made it one weekend.  So easy, I've kept making it.  I've subbed milk for the sour cream, but sour cream is better (it makes the whole thing thicker), I've crushed Tostitos and sprinkled them over the top (I love that).  Any taco seasoning and salsa will do, but I recommend Penzey's Bold taco seasoning and Pace Medium Picante Sauce.  It's pretty spicy like that, though.
The Kraft website give this dish the rather unexciting name, Taco Bake.  Our name comes from J's asking one time what we were having for dinner and my telling him, "You know, that Mexican Bake Thing from the Kraft magazine."  The legend was born.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Healthy Brunch: Breakfast Egg Pitas

We're on the healthy eating trail.  I keep pushing the Choice Menus book on J, simply because there's a great deal of variety and a good deal of food in each menu.  A couple of weeks ago, J had a doctor's appointment at 1:15 that was about an hour away from home.  I convinced him that brunch was the answer!  We had breakfast at 10, with protein to keep us going until we got home.
I present to you now the centrepiece of this menu, Breakfast Egg Pitas:

Friday, August 17, 2012

Shepherdopolous Pie

In the theme of all things healthy, I've been trolling for recipes.  In the theme of cleaning out my freezer, there have been some rather stringent requirements around what we eat.
According to the inscription in the front, I got my copy of Looneyspoons for my 24th birthday.  Their broccoli-cheddar soup is my go to recipe, but I've never made many other things from the book.  With J's new health requirements, that is about to change. 
For those familiar with Looneyspoons, and its successors Crazyplates and Eat, Shrink and Be Merry, it's a cookbook of lowfat recipes with huge taste and a huge helping of puns.  The book is old enough that some recipes are a little outdated for current nutrition trends, but as a basic book it's got some good ideas.
This is one of them.  I present to you now Shepherdopolous Pie:

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Baked Fish en Papillote

J has been told to lose weight.  Frankly, I probably have more to lose than he does.  We find that eating at home has helped us in the past year to shed a *little*.  I can fit into clothes that didn't fit this time last year, but there's a long way to go.
One thing that he has been told to eat is fish; at least twice per week.  I'm not a fan.  I've told J that I will try really hard to cook fish once per week.  I spent some time on Pinterest, looking for possible recipes.  I polled my friends on facebook for the ways they like to cook fish.  I also spent some time reading.
A cookbook that I have from some point in my past is put out by the Canadian Diabetes Association called, Choice Menus.  We have spent time studying the meals, looking for things we like and things we'd like to try.  This was our first choice out of the book.
I present to you now Baked Fish en Papillote:

Monday, August 13, 2012

Homestyle Classic: Peach Cobbler

When my mother in law passed away, my sisters in law cleaned out her kitchen.  They left me a pile of cookbooks that they didn't want to go through and a kit to make pumpkin loaves because they knew I liked to cook.  I took a couple of small magazines, the loaf kit (which was delicious...I made mini loaves that we shared with friends), and one cookbook, Betty Crocker's Ultimate Bisquick Cookbook.  Yeah.
I bought a box of Bisquick and tried a few things, nothing which really thrilled us.  But then I made this cobbler.  As I said in the past, I made peach cobbler once a year.  J will tolerate it, and I love it the first night, and then reheated to pretend that it's still the first night.
I present to you now Peach Cobbler:

Friday, August 10, 2012

Go To Meal: Saucy Mexican Chicken

According to the What's Cooking that this recipe was in, this is a heart healthy recipe.  I would agree that it probably is.  The black beans add fibre, the tomatoes have lycopene, and the chicken pieces aren't that large.  It does get better the more cheese you add to it too.
I have a mostly hate relationship with low fat cheese.  I think it comes from living in France and eating the good stuff for too long.  Low fat cheese doesn't really melt, and I always question what it's *really* made of.  But there's enough other stuff to counterbalance the cheese, and this is delicious on a bed of rice with a side of green veg like broccoli.
I present to you now the as healthy as you want it to be Saucy Mexican Chicken from What's Cooking:

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A Treat to Share: S'more Cookies

We went to the cottage with my parents in July.  While my father has lost his appetite as a side effect of his cancer, the rest of us did not suffer the same fate.  Mom and I planned a general menu, and we each brought half of the food.  Not shockingly, I brought most of the meat out of my stores in the freezer.  Somehow, we really didn't think about dessert.
Dessert is a hugely important part of meals with my family.  My mother is not done a meal until there is dessert.  It can be a piece of fruit, or a cookie; but there has to be something.  I took these with me to the cottage.  The three of us who were eating powered through the tin over the course of the week.  I've taken them to potlucks, and girls nights.  They always disappear.
While J will tell you that you need 2, I find one to be quite sufficient.  From the July/August 2009 issue of Everday Food, I present to you now S'more Cookies:

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Planning: August 7-12, 2012

First, Happy Anniversary to my parents, who don't read my blog!!  41 years is impressive!  If J and I make it 41 years, he will be 83.  I will be 75.  Wow.
Enough of that.  On to cooking.
This week, we're in crunch mode for cleaning out the freezer.  I have taken stock, and it's crazy what I keep in my freezer.  I have enough nuts to last a long, long time.  I think I found 2 zucchini breads in the bottom.  I keep working on using up the meat I've bought.  I decided not to refreeze my ice cream maker, and I've removed a basket.  I want to remove the other basket by next week, and be in a position to unplug and defrost.  We'll see.
This week, we're here, and we're both working on the healthy while using things up.  It's a bit of a mish mash, depending on what my true goal is.  That would be cleaning out the freezer.  Ahem.

Tuesday:  Greek Shepherd's Pie and salad from the Looney Spoons cookbook.  It sounds tasty.  Probably Peach Sherbet for dessert.

Wednesday:  Grilled Sesame Soy Salmon, rice, vegetables, and salad.  I've promised J we'll eat fish once a week.  Upsidedown Black Forest Cakes for me.

Thursday:  Leftover Shepherd's Pie

Friday:  Shake n Bake chicken drumsticks, potato wedges, vegetables and salad.

Saturday:  Grilled Steak, baked potatoes, vegetables, and salad.

Sunday:  Leftover Chicken

Lunches this week will be sandwiches, pitas, and possibly hot dogs, seeing as I want them out of my freezer; along with assorted vegetables and fruit.

Good plan.  We'll have to see how it comes together.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Go To Meal: Crockpot Lasagna

We've established that I'm a control freak, and that I have issues getting dinner on the table, even in summer apparently.  As a result, it's nice to have things that are simple, last a few days, and are delicious.  Bonus points if my husband can start them and have dinner ready when I get home.
Here is a case in point.  If the crockpot is ready, he can plug it in and make sure dinner's ready for us.  I'm always on the search for new recipes for the crockpot that are good, easy. and look appetizing.  Sometimes, I find the chicken rubbery, the roasts all taste the same, and everything's brown.  This is not one of those recipes.  It comes out perfectly every time.  And like a real lasagna, the first slice or two always looks, in the inimitable words of my mother, predigested.  There's an image you want to think about while reading about food.  Yeah.  Moving on.
This originally came from What's Cooking, the Kraft magazine.  I've made it with beef, but the pictures here are the one I made while cleaning out my freezer, so it's made with 1 lb bulk sausage.  It was good too.
I present to you now Kraft's Crockpot Lasagna:

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Pintertest Kitchen: Peach Sorbet

While I am a big fan of fruit, J is not so much.  Every year, I buy a basket of peaches at the farmer's market because I can't resist.  Then, I realize that I can't possibly eat an entire basket of peaches myself before I've made a habitat for mold on my counter, and I end up making peach cobbler, a dessert that J will tolerate.  I like it the first day when it's still warm, but after as much.  So I put it in the microwave and reheat it a bit to pretend that it just came out of the oven.  This year, after I made peach cobbler (a recipe for another time), I still had 7 peaches left in the basket.  I turned to the recipes I pinned to use up the rest of these gems before I lost the mold battle.
This is what I picked:
I present to you now Peach Sorbet:

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Cool Treat: Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

I love ice cream.  So does J.  One of the best frivolous investments we have made is in the ice cream attachment for our Kitchen Aid mixer.  A few times per summer, I haul it out of its place of residency in our freezer and make ice cream.
It's funny...I find that a container of the homemade stuff lasts us longer than a container I buy at the store.  Maybe it's the fact that it's harder in the freezer.  Maybe it's the fact that it's richer and we don't need as much.  Maybe it's a figment of my imagination.  But whatever the reason, it's always fun when there's a Tupperware container full of ice cream for an evening treat in the freezer.
One of the blogs that I found by way of Pinterest and her amazing Stuffed Mexican Pasta Shells recipe is The Way to His Heart.  She makes a ton of ice creams, and this is her "go to flavour."  I have to admit it's good, but I think I like Nutella ice cream better.

I present to you now The Way to His Heart's Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream:

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Soup for a Rainy Day: Chinese Chicken Noodle Soup with Sesame and Green Onions

It wasn't Sunday.  While spending a week at the cottage, I decided to take my rather large and annoying folder of recipes scribbled on scrap paper and printed from the internet and write them down in my binder.  You could tell the scraps of paper that really needed to be put into a more permanent, less likely to fall all over the floor and make me curse, home - they were the pieces that were the most stained from use.  Unfortunately, this also became the time where I started going through all the recipes that I've never made yet have printed off for one reason or another.
Today's recipe is one of those.  I printed the January Soup Thread from the Cooking Light forums on January 7, 2003.  On page 22 of the 47 pages I printed, I found this gem from browneye.  Apparently it's from Bon Appetit, which I find odd because Bon Appetit recipes usually don't turn out for me.  Any of them.  It could be pour water in glass and it wouldn't come out right for me if the recipe is from there.  Ahem.  My issue not yours.  While sitting in a wicker chair on the deck, however, I thought, "that sounds good".  
Rain has been scarce here this summer.  In fact, it's been hot, sunny, and often disgustingly humid.  As a result, I haven't thought a whole lot about things like soup that should be reserved for rainy days and winter.  But the week after we got home, they threatened rain.  Lots of it.  Powerful storms. They didn't really materialize; we keep getting the periphery of the good stuff that would make me not lose plants in my garden.  But I did make soup, because I wanted to.
I present to you now Chinese Chicken Noodle Soup with Sesame and Green Onions:

Monday, July 30, 2012

Planning: July 30 - Aug 3, 2012

J went to the doctor last week.  He's started meds for atrial fibrillation and high blood pressure.  The doctor has also given him a diet plan to work on incorporating into his life.  The biggest ick on it for me is the suggestion of fish at least twice per week.  I'm not a fish girl.  As in, I don't like it and don't cook it.  The things we do for love.
As a result, there will be some changes to what we eat here on the mountain.  Frankly, we've both been losing weight slowly, just through my cooking at home (which is frightening, when you really think about it.  Sometime I'll have to talk in greater detail about my suspicion surrounding low-fat and fat-free products).  We're hoping with the incorporation of more fruit and vegetables and some fiber we can achieve some more.
Here's this week's plan.  We're off for a long weekend to see my inlaws, so it's a short week.

Monday:  Friends of ours just lost her father.  I volunteered to take a meal to them.  I made them an Oatmeal Cake with Coconut-Pecan frosting from Pinterest that looked and smelled delicious.  I also took them the Cheesy Mexican Chicken Casserole.  Half to them, half to us for dinner with salad.

Tuesday:  Lunch is a new macaroni and cheese and plums, a fruit that J has never tried.  Dinner is Fish en Papillote with vegetables.

Wednesday:  Dinner is the leftovers of the chicken casserole

Thursday:  J has another doctor's appointment, and it's just far enough away that that timing of it is bothersome.  As a result, we're having Breakfast Pitas and then a snack after the appointment.  Grilled steak and vegetables for dinner.

Should be a good week.  I'm excited to spend time in a new cookbook.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Leftovers: Pork Fried Rice

After the success of the pork tenderloin, we had some leftover pork.  In the latest issue of What's Cooking, they had an Asian Pork Tenderloin, and a Pork Fried Rice to make with the second one.  While I used the Balsamic Grilled recipe in the first place, I saved the second tenderloin to make this.
I present to you now What's Cooking's Pork Fried Rice:

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Make Ahead Meals: Cheesy Chicken and Rice Bake

I'm always looking for new recipes that I can make ahead and have J shove in the oven so we can eat about 15 minutes after I get home.  Such is the life of a type-A personality that will not allow her husband to do things in her kitchen that might not work out as expected.  You know, like the time he thought he put the dual burner on low, but it was really on high and he tried to burn chili to the bottom of the Le Crueset Dutch Oven.
He is, however, fully capable and willing to put pre-made casseroles in a cold oven and turn it on.  I'm always looking for things that I can make early that won't be adversely affected by the wait time.
I was poking around Pinterest one night and found this recipe.  It looked simple, filling, and like a possibility.  It's just not really June food.  I'm looking forward to making it again in November.
I present to you now Tasty Kitchen's Cheesy Chicken and Rice Bake:

Friday, July 13, 2012

Dinner with Friends: Strawberry Cream Roll

I needed a make ahead dessert for when we had friends for dinner.  Something summery.  Something that used things in my cupboards.  I started flipping through my What's Cooking summer magazines and came across this recipe.  A couple of small changes, and I was on my way to a fabulous dessert.
I had never made an angel food cake mix before.  Frankly, I've never made my own angel food cake.  I don't think I'll ever get around to making the cake from scratch.  I'd hate wasting all of those yolks, or I'd end up making ice cream that I don't really need.  The mix was just add water, and put in the pan.  It came out beautifully.
I present to you now a tweaked version of Kraft's Heavenly Strawberry Roll:

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Dinner with Friends: Pineapple Sangria

Cleaning out our house to ready for packing and moving also means we need to drink more.  Neither J nor I are particularly big drinkers, although I do enjoy my gin and J likes spiced rum.  In my profession, I seem to get a lot of wine as gifts.  It's not that we don't like wine, we just don't think of it until the meal is over and then we think that perhaps we should have had some, but polishing off a bottle now doesn't seem like a good plan.
In having people over, we find that we usually finish a bottle or 2 of wine...but that our dinner guests bring us a replacement.  With our last dinner guests, I decided to try something different and offer a summery beverage that used a bottle at the same time.
In April, J and I went away for the weekend and had dinner with a good friend of mine at an Italian restaurant.  They had a sangria on the specials that night that was spectacular:  light and berry tasting.  It used white wine and melon liqueur.  This is nothing like that, but it's good all the same, and can be made ahead so the flavours meld.
I present to you now Pineapple Sangria.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Dinner with Friends: Garlic Balsamic Grilled Pork Tenderloin

I'm cleaning out my freezer to prepare for moving.  This isn't a bad thing.  I should probably try and get to the bottom of my freezer once a year.  We've been here 3, and it's never been defrosted.  Yikes.  Now that I have a bit of a timeline about when the freezer needs to be in moving condition, I should probably do something about that.
To that end, we did an inventory of meat that we have stockpiled when it's been on sale for a special occasion.  Double yikes.  There's a prime rib roast, lots of Italian Sausage (I think I was preparing for asparagus season), and 3 pork tenderloins.  Plus the myriad of other things that I randomly buy because they're a good deal and we'll eat them eventually.  The time has come.
So we've decided that to empty the freezer we need to have more company, seeing as many of the cuts of meat I stockpile appear to be for company.  I'm not cooking a prime rib for the 2 of us when it's not a major holiday!  To that end, we've started inviting people in to help us eat all of the interesting things that I find at the store and have saved for "later".  You're welcome, if you live close to us.
Over the next few posts, you will find recipes from our last evening of having people in.  We had a great time, laughed a lot, got soaked running for the patio chair cushions that were soaked in the sudden downpour during dessert, and ate a fantastic meal.  Since it was the same day as our last open house, everything was prepared in advance.  I love that kind of cooking!
I present to you now our new favourite way to cook pork tenderloin:

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Grillmistress: Foil Potatoes

J believes that there should be starch with most meals.  He has this bizarre love/hate relationship with carbs that I totally don't get.  He might not want pizza at dinner because there are "too many carbs", but then will add 3 packets of sugar to a cup of coffee.  Although it's kind of the pot calling the kettle black...I just know I don't need the number of refined carbs that I eat in sugar or flour form.
Ahem.  But, he expects either potatoes, rice, or pasta as a side when I make dinner at home.  Here's what we like to do with potatoes in the summer when we're grilling.  I present to you now Sarah's foil packet potatoes:

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Pesto Chicken Calzones

I love Pinterest.  It is yet another place where I store recipes until I have time to make them.  The thing is, I'm actually making them.  I have found some keepers, and this one is no exception.
In getting ready to move, we are working on emptying out the freezer.  It's not coming along super well, but we're trying, and I've noticed a difference in the amount of meat that we're buying.  It astounds me the amount that hides in both our chest freezer downstairs and the freezer in the kitchen.
When I buy chicken, I buy the Club Packs and split them up into single breasts to freeze.  Sometimes, my ambition takes a hike before I split up the packages.  When that happens, J will take an afternoon and grill the breasts up, put them in a ziploc, and freeze them for later use.  I found one of these bags when going through the upstairs freezer.
Enter the recipe for Pesto Chicken Calzones that uses a couple of cooked chicken breasts, and apparently can be frozen, if you get that far.
I present to you now the recipe for Pesto Chicken Calzones:

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

I'm Ba-ack!

Things got a little crazy around here.  Who am I kidding?  Things became seriously nuts around here, and I quit cooking.  Actually, that's not completely true.  My camera will attest to that.  I do have some new recipes to share.  But not many.
Here's the short version of the story - I got promoted.  Hooray!  I was assigned my own building.  Hooray!  The commute from our current house is at least 90 minutes on a good day.  Boo!  We put our house on the market.  Gulp!  My principal went on leave for surgery and I was left in charge.  Gulp!  No one died, and I only called the ambulance once.  Hooray!  My principal came back.  Hooray!  A week late.  Boo!  I got a call on the last Tuesday of school that I was going to a different building in the fall.  ACK!  School ended.  I am on vacation!  WOOHOO!!  Our house hasn't sold.  Boo! 
So, now that I'm home, I'm cooking again.  Okay, not today.  I was tired and cranky after having 2 teeth filled, grocery shopping, and cleaning for another showing.  Which happened right at the dinner hour.  Bleh.
Going to the grocery store, however, bodes well for this week and next.  I've pinned a pile of things to try.  Here's some of what you can look forward to over the next little bit:
  • Grilled Garlic Balsamic Marinated Pork Tenderloin
  • Rhubarb Strudel Muffins
  • Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
  • Chicken Pesto Calzones
  • Summer Spaghetti with Lemon Garlic Chicken and Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
  • Sangria
  • Mexican Chicken and Rice Casserole
And more!
Here's to summer...and cooking up a storm!!!!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Planning: May 12-18, 2012

Work is nuts.  It's now hiring season, which will quickly be followed by track and field season, and then academic testing, report cards, and the mad dash to the end.  So tiring.  So no time to cook.  It's sad.  J and I are talking about using a company where I can go and make frozen meals for us in June when there's no time and I'm abandoning him for year end dinners regularly.  He learned that "delivery pizza is really expensive" when the Domino's near us shut down and he looked for a new pizza source.  We'll see.
The other good thing is that it's finally grilling season!  Woohoo!  When in doubt, fire up the Broil King!!
Here's how this week appears to be shaking out:

Saturday:  Black Bean Salsa Chicken, rice, and a salad.  And the end of the Nutella ice cream.
Sunday:  Breakfast for Dinner - Bacon and Eggs.  I thought we were out of eggs, so I bought another dozen.  Um, we weren't.  Yeah.  Breakfast for dinner.
Monday:  Steak, Potatoes, and Vegetables on the grill.  I do the potatoes in foil, and toss the veggies on the grill too.
Tuesday:  Burgers, I think.  After Tuesday, it won't be grilled weather.  Boo.
Wednesday:  Dinner out.  I have a late night.
Thursday:  Shake n Bake Chicken, Potatoes and Broccoli.  By Thursday, I just want to be done.
Friday:  Long weekend!  We'll be eating on the road, so probably Wendy's.

Yay!  Sounds like a good week.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Weeknight Meal: Easiest Spaghetti and Meatballs

I hate cooking on weeknights.  Scratch that...I hate cooking when I've been working all day and I get home exhausted and don't feel like doing anything.  It doesn't matter if I've planned.  Heck, it doesn't matter if I like what we're having.  Work and cooking don't mix.  Especially this time of year when my work is wild and I don't really have time to think.
Last night, I was supposed to make this recipe.  But enter a fight with a dryer vent and a long day getting me home about 7, and I didn't get around to making this.  I would like to say, however, that making this tonight wasn't a huge deal; and the results were delicious.
I present to you now Everyday Food's Easiest Spaghetti and Meatballs.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Pinteractive: Nutella Ice Cream

This is my Pinteractive post for the week.  Click on the badge over there ------> to go to Nanette's blog and see all the Pinteractive posts!

When I got married in 2007, I registered for one expensive, frivolous gift that I knew I probably wouldn't get but really, reeeeeally wanted.  That item was the ice cream maker attachment for my Kitchen Aid mixer.  I was right.  I didn't get it.  But I didn't forget about that attachment.  And 2 years later I finally got around to buying the attachment.  I have never regretted it.
J and I love ice cream, and I grew up in a house where there was dessert every night after dinner.  Most nights still, we have something: a cookie (or 3), a bowl of ice cream or the like.  What I like about the ice cream maker is that I can control what is going into what we eat.
Ice cream is often super rich, using egg yolks and heavy cream or half and half.  I've never experimented with using evaporated skim milk, but I probably should.  I usually use a mixture of 1% milk and half and half or heavy cream.  Results can be mixed.  Vanilla is not always the best.  Great ice cream is high in fat for a reason.  Fruit puree sorbets are divine, but J's not big on fruit.
After making the Nutella cake, I had a partial bottle of the spread in my cupboard.  When I went back through my pins on Pinterest, I discovered this little gem, once again from From Away.  They seem to be as crazed about chocolate heaven in bottle as I am.  I present to you now Far and Away's Nutella Ice Cream:

Monday, April 30, 2012

Pinteractive: Nutella Bundt Cake

This is my Pinteractive post for the week.  Click on the badge over there ------> to go to Nanette's blog and see all the Pinteractive posts!

I was flipping through pins on Pinterest and discovered one for making your own processed cheese, which I immediately pinned because J loves the stuff and I think it's an evil chemical soup.  When I clicked through to the blog and started poking around, I was struck by how many things I wanted to make immediately from From Away including chicken shack chicken, which I have always wanted to try yet never have at our own Southern BBQ joint.
But - the first thing I pinned after the process cheese pin was this cake.  It looked divine.  Make sure to read Jillian's notes about Nutella because they encapsulate so much of what I loved about my time as an exchange student in France.  And a good deal about what I will never tell my parents about that year.
I present to you now From Away's Nutella Bundt Cake:

Friday, April 27, 2012

Dinner with Friends: Parmesan-Crusted Stuffed Chicken

One of my resolutions this year was to have more friends in for dinner.  J and I have decided that we want to have people in every 4-6 weeks for a meal.  This was our second meal with friends in as many months.  Once again, we had friends in with kids.  So really there were 2 meals:  This chicken for those of us over 10, and plain chicken for those of us not so much.
I present to you now an easy, elegant chicken that was enjoyed by all:  Parmesan-Crusted Stuffed Chicken:

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Dinner with Friends: Shirley Temple Cupcakes

This is from Easter.  And yet I'm posting now.  Sigh.
Work is taking over my life, and while I'm taking pictures of what I make, I don't get the blogging done.  It's very sad.  My mother and I were assigned dessert as our part of Easter dinner with friends.  Mom made a chocolate turtle cake, and I made 2 kinds of cupcakes so there would be enough for an army.  The one type was golden.  I don't usually make cupcakes any way except from a mix.  I replace the water in the recipe on the box with milk, and make as is.
The second flavour was the recipe I'm posting here:  Shirley Temple; my favourite restaurant drink when I was 6.  I loved the colour, the taste, and the little sword I could take home with me.  What interested me about this recipe was that it came from a mix, but had really only one ingredient.  Would this even work?
I present to you now Shirley Temple Cupcakes:

Monday, April 23, 2012

Pinteractive: Stuffed Mexican Shells

This is my Pinteractive post for the week.  Click on the badge over there ------> to go to Nanette's blog and see all the Pinteractive posts!
I've said before that J and I are lovers of all food things Mexican.  When I saw this floating around on Pinterest, I knew that I wanted to try it.  Pasta, ground beef, cheese, and spices.  What's not to love?
This doesn't take a huge amount of time to make, but stuffing shells is a labour intensive thing.  Especially if you're like me, and you think you might be able to do it faster with a larger spoon.  That is not the correct answer.  Ever.  A tablespoon is much more successful.  Learn from my pain.
However.  I present to you now Mexican Stuffed Shells:

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Planning: April 15-20, 2012

Erg.  So Busy!  So much eating out because I'm lazy!  Hopefully, that will all change this week.  I have a plan.  Nothing new this week, just things that are easy and that we like.
Sunday:  Sausage and Asparagus Sautee over Polenta.  Asparagus was on sale last week when we went shopping.
Monday:  Cream of Asparagus soup and whole wheat rolls and butter
Tuesday:  Shake n Bake Chicken, some kind of side, and frozen vegetables
Wednesday:  Crockpot Roast.  It's starting to get late in the season for this, but there's a roast in the freezer and we need to use it.  Ice crystals are forming.
Thursday:  Leftover roast
Friday:  Dunno.  We''re having people for dinner Saturday, so there may be something hiding in the back of the fridge to eat.  We might go out.  We could have wings and wedges from the downstairs freezer.  We have everything for Mexican Bake Thing. 

We'll see what happens.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Pinteractive: Chicken Gyros

This is my Pinteractive post for the week.  Click on the badge over there ------> to go to Nanette's blog and see all the Pinteractive posts!

J and I are both big fans of Greek food.  Frankly, we're both big fans of food PERIOD.  But if given the choice, we often eat Mexican, Greek and the lovely melty-cheese of Italian.  I also love Indian, but J's not as big a fan.

When I saw this pin from my cousin's wife, I knew I wanted to try these too.  I'm not a huge fan of gyros, but 9 times out of 10 if we're eating Greek food, this is what J will order.  When I saw that it was chicken...and that I would be making my own tzatziki, I was in.

For this week's Pinteractive post, I present to you Chicken Gyros with homemade tzatziki:

Friday, April 6, 2012

Dinner with Friends: Jewelled Layered Salad

Keeping with the theme of what I served for dinner when friends came, I present to you this salad.
I originally made this salad to take to family Christmas 2011.  I took home an empty bowl.  I thought it was so pretty in the pictures in the magazine, and you could put it together before going, and combined a whole bunch of things I loved in one bowl.  Other people thought it was tasty too.
As opposed to Christmas with 25 other people, there were only 4 of us eating this Saturday night.  The 6 year olds each ate 1 leaf of spinach.  We had some apples and cranberries left in the bottom of the bowl with some dressing.  I plan to add new spinach and almonds tomorrow to mix and stir.  It will still be good.
I present to you now Kraft's Layered Jewelled Spinach Salad:

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Dinner with Friends: 4 Cheese Italiano Chicken Bake

Before starting this blog, I posted no recipes, but pictures of my dinner on Facebook with alarming regularity.  Frankly, taking pictures for posting to Facebook was the.  best.  use.  ever.  of my blackberry.  I would post what we were having and let the comments roll.  There were the usual, "Oh, that looks good"s or "What's in that?"s, but my friend Carrie kept joking that I should make her dinner.  I told her that I should too, and invited her, her husband and 2 girls for JULY.
It is now March.  We had them for dinner on Saturday.  But, you know, the good thing is we finally got around to having dinner.  J was thrilled that there was another boy coming for dinner, and I was thrilled to be making good on my resolution to have more company in for dinner.
Apparently Carrie's husband was concerned that I would make eggplant lasagne...but I didn't.  I made this.  It's super easy, super yummy, and probably high in sodium, but I totally don't care.  I don't make this a lot, just like I don't cook with or drink wine a lot.  That was good too.
I present to you now the 4 Cheese Italiano Chicken bake:

Monday, April 2, 2012

Pinteractive: Homemade Pitas

This is my Pinteractive post for the week.  Click on the badge over there ------> to go to Nanette's blog and see all the Pinteractive posts!

I actually have my next couple of Mondays planned.  I blame jesser.  I've started following her food pins, and there are so many good ones!  When I saw this recipe for pitas, I decided that I needed to try them.  And, I had a recipe pinned from my cousin's wife for a chicken in pita that looks lovely.  Combine the 2, and there's a couple of weeks of Pinteractive done.

I love making bread, but usually use the bread machine to do so.  While the recipe calls for stirring and rising, I decided to try the bread machine instead.  90 minutes to completed dough, and the adventure of rolling and baking!

I present to you now Homemade Pita Bread, via Jesser's pins:

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Planning: Week of March 31-April 6, 2012

I've been busy.  Really busy.  Wishing I was sleeping more busy.  That means we don't eat at home because I walk through the door and can't imagine the thought of cooking.  It's an ugly cycle.  And once I haven't cooked one evening, it becomes easier to replicate the cycle, spend too much money, and become bored of restaurant food.
So, yeah.  It's Saturday, and I'm planning to eat at home for dinner from now until next Friday night.  Saturday, it currently appears that we're going to see my folks.  But I may need to take food with me.  After combing Pinterest, and my magazines, I've planned a good tasting week, I think.  Here we go:

Saturday:  I couldn't find something at the store after not being inspired for another dinner, but I had a brainwave when I woke up from my snooze - I have one of those Philadelphia Cream Cheese Sauce things in the fridge.  With bacon, spinach and pasta, I think I have dinner. 
Sunday:  Spaghetti for lunch.  Homemade pitas, Chicken Gyros and Tzatziki for dinner
Monday: Mexican Stuffed Shells and salad
Tuesday: Leftover Shells
Wednesday: Crockpot Chicken Parmesan
Thursday: Leftover Chicken parm
Friday: Grilled Burgers, chips, carrot sticks and homemade dill pickles

Sounds like a good week.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Pinteractive: Buffalo Chicken Wontons

This is my Pinteractive post for the week.  Click on the badge over there ------> to go to Nanette's blog and see all the Pinteractive posts!

So, I drool over a lot of food blogs, and over all of the recipes pictured on Pinterest.  I often post blog pictures to my Pinterest board so I don't lose them later when I'm ready to make them.  In fact, my most repinned recipes are often the ones I pull off other websites and pin to a board.  This week's recipe is a case in point. 
I enjoy looking at the recipes that are posted to the theme on Family Fresh Meals Recipe of the Week.  Last week's theme was Hot n Spicy Recipes.  I entered my Buffalo Chicken Soup...the first recipe I posted here!  I even got votes!!  But there was this other intriguing recipe from Peanutbutter and Peppers.
For appetizer night on Saturday, I made bruchetta, carrot sticks, ranch dip, and these yummy little wontons.  I present to you now Peanutbutter and Pepper's Buffalo Chicken Wontons:

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Retro Dinner: Shepherd's Pie

J loves this recipe too, and it's dead simple.  I'm thinking that I probably had a recipe for this at one time, but I don't remember the last time I actually did anything other than go into the kitchen and whip this up.  I love forgiving recipes that let you use what you've got.
My mother's recipe for Shepherd's Pie has a pastry crust and uses a can of alphabet soup instead of gravy.  It's okay, but I like the brown sauce better, and there's melted cheese, so how can you go wrong?
I present to you now Shepherd's Pie, my way:

Saturday, March 17, 2012

So, it's Winter...RIGHT???

We are experiencing unusual weather this week.  Not that I'm complaining.  I am always happy to pull out my sandals.  Let us celebrate the lovely, lovely weather with a couple of pictures, shall we?
Look what I uncovered today!
Yep, we went to the butcher, and it's now Grilling Season. 
Let the fun begin.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Appetizer Saturday: Bruschetta's now a couple of Saturdays ago that I made this, but J and I have been eating tapas dinners on Saturday nights.  In theory, it's so that we have a good repertoire of things for football season.  You know, those days you sit on the couch in your team's colours because it's an away game and you're not tailgating?  Okay, well, perhaps that's our house.
We have decided, however, that we cannot live on baked cheese dip alone.  So, we're trying some other small plate things (Buffalo Wontons, anyone?) that we can eat Saturdays as we watch at least 3 games.
Hopefully in fall, the tomatoes will be better than what I could get in February.  I even bought hothouse vine ripened, and they were a little mealy.  But with what I added, it was still all good.
I present to you now how we make Bruschetta around here:

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Microwave Mac and Cheese...The Good Stuff

When I was in Grade 6 in 1984, my parents bought a microwave.  It was a big, boxy affair that died last month, meaning my mother has fulfilled her wish to (finally) buy a new, smaller microwave.  When my mom got her Kenmore behemoth, she decided that we needed to take a cooking class in microwave cooking.  So, we went every Thursday for 6 weeks and made microwave foods, including cakes.  This is the only recipe I still make from that class.  Okay...I still make the peanut brittle.  I don't melt spatulas anymore making it either - I learned my lesson that one time when I was 12.
J loves this version of Mac and Cheese.  In fact, when we went to Zingerman's delicatessen in Ann Arbor over Christmas break, J ordered their mac and cheese as a side with his sandwich (I had #62, and it was amazing.  I have no clue what J had other than that mac and cheese).  It was divine, but he told me that my mac and cheese was almost as good.  I don't use $8 pasta, and only 1 type of big box shredded cheese.  I did, however, purchase the pasta they use, and am going to go to the local cheese shop to purchase good cheese to make top shelf comfort food.
My parents gave me my first microwave in 1998 for my 25th birthday, because I didn't own one, and they couldn't understand how I was managing to cook for myself in my one bedroom apartment without a microwave.  Frankly, I use my microwave to heat frozen vegetables, melt chocolate and butter, and make this dish.  Oh, and reheat soup.  Everyone needs to be able to reheat soup quickly.
I present to you comfort food:  Microwave Cooking Class Macaroni and Cheese:

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Meal Planning: March 3-9, 2012

Okay, this week has started, but I need to recap last night.

Saturday:  Appetizer night!  Buffalo Chicken Wontons, Bruschetta, Ranch Dip and Carrot Sticks
Sunday:  Homemade Macaroni and Cheese along with Sausage and Salad
Monday:  We're off to Jann Arden, and are going to our favourite Greek restaurant before the show.  Saganaki and Baklava, here I come!!
Tuesday:  I have an appointment for a cut and colour at 5:45PM  I'm going to be home wicked late.  We're talking leftovers supplemented by Snack Wraps, or maybe all leftovers.  We'll see.
Wednesday:  Guitar lesson, so I'll be home later.  We're having burgers on the Foreman Grill, chips and dill pickles.
Thursday:  I pulled the spaghetti sauce out of the freezer.  We're really eating it this week.
Friday:  On the road.  Probably Wendy's.
 One more week.  Then a few days away, and then a few days of home time.  Lots of time to plan and cook.  Hooray!

Friday, March 2, 2012


Apparently, I'm falling behind.  Not with not posting because I didn't upload pictures...but because I'm not making anything new and thrilling.  Grilled chicken on a Foreman grill doesn't qualify for a post.  I marinate in Parmesan Pesto salad dressing, so I'm not even making the marinate when I cook.
Tomorrow, however; that should change.  I talked to J about something I want to make, Buffalo Chicken Wontons, and I proposed Appetizer night - a bunch of small plates of interesting stuff. 
So, I promise you something tomorrow.  Something interesting.  With lots of flavour on a bunch of small plates.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Retro Dinner: Meatloaf

One of my husband's favourite meals is meatloaf.  Frankly, it is not one of mine.  While I like it the first night when it's screaming hot, it loses its appeal quickly when it is not so much.  J would eat it cold, at least once a week if I'd let him.
A couple of times every winter (because meatloaf isn't a summer food), I break down and make meatloaf for him.  We eat it one night, and then I leave the rest for him to eat for a couple of lunches.  Everyone's happy.
I've tried a few meatloaf recipes over time, but I always return to the one my mom made.  It's easy, and the flavour is really good.
Thankfully, there are very few foods that my husband remembers fondly that his mother made.  Unfortunately, one of those foods is meatloaf.  The first time I made my mom's, J wanted to know if he didn't like it if I'd call his mom for the recipe he remembered.  Then he tasted it, and apparently his mom and my mom used the same recipe.  Whew.
I present for you here my Mom's meatloaf recipe.  I have no idea where it came from...maybe the Lipton's people, maybe my grandmother.  There is no citation.  Just a filling, retro meal:

Monday, February 27, 2012

Pinteractive: Crockpot Chicken Enchilada Soup

This is my Pinteractive post for the week.  Click on the badge over there ------> to go to Nanette's blog and see all the Pinteractive posts!
So, it's week 2 of Pinteractive for me, and once again I've managed to make a recipe from my board-o-stuff to try.  In fact, I also tried out something I'd seen all over Pinterest in this recipe, and it worked!  But more about that later.
J and I both love Mexican food.  Good Mexican.  The kind of Mexican not available in Canada.  It is not surprising, then, that the grocery store does not really stock what you need to make Mexican dishes at home.  I found this recipe while on foodgawker (I think), and pinned it immediately. It combined so many things I love:  soup, the crockpot, and Mexican food.  Once I reached my local grocery store, there were only 2 problems:
1.  This country does not carry Rotel
2.  I couldn't find enchilada sauce.
So I hemmed and hawed, trying to decide what to do, and came up with a couple of substitutes after deciding that I didn't want to wait until I went to the States in March to make the soup.
Then, I went to another grocery store to pick up something quick.  It was right next to the Mexican section, and lo and behold, there was enchilada sauce!  Seeing as I knew I wasn't going to be getting lucky with Rotel, I made the soup Saturday.  I present to you now my Pinterest recipe for this week, Crockpot Chicken Enchilada Soup via Dainty Chef's Blog:

Sunday, February 26, 2012

A Meal to Share: Zesty Chicken Roll Ups

So, friends of ours from our Home Church had a baby last Sunday.  Yay!!  And, as usual when something happens in the life of our group, there is a request for food for the family.  As someone who has been on the receiving end of meals when you just don't have the time/energy/hands to do so, I like to be able to send something.  Frankly, I like to be able to send all the components of a meal.  When I had a broken wrist, I appreciated the soup, but I appreciated the people who sent not just an entree but salad and dessert as well.  Unfortunately, I don't have time to make dessert.  But I'm hoping to send a salad to go with this.
An even better bonus from this recipe? It makes 2 pans:  one to share, and one for Wednesday night when I get home from guitar late.  J can put this in.  Finally, I'm in the process of cleaning out the freezer.  This will use up the cooked chicken and small tortillas that are lurking in the bottom of the basket in the bottom of the fridge.  I present to you from Kraft What's Cooking Zesty Chicken Tortilla Rollups:

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Menu Planning: Feb 25-March 3, 2012

Once again, we went to the grocery store Saturday afternoon.  Unlike last week, we walked up to a cashier and were out of the store quickly.  I'm home every night this week, so we're planning to eat at home.  We'll see.  Here's a rundown of the week:

Saturday: Pinteractive post for the week - Crockpot Chicken Enchilada Soup and Carolyn's Rolls from the
Sunday:  I need to take snack for Home Church, so I'm making Fudge Oat Bars
               We've talked about having Paco's, which we didn't do last week
Monday: Beef Stir Fry over rice
Tuesday: Homemade Macaroni and Cheese and Italian Sausage
Wednesday: Grilled burgers, chips and dill pickles
Thursday: Grilled Chicken, Starch and Vegetables.  I'm still cleaning the freezer out, so it's whatever frozen
                  vegetable I find.
Friday: The infamous spaghetti and garlic bread.  I have yet to defrost the sauce.  It's just as well.

Sounds like a good week of pretty basic meals.  A few classics and a few quick meals.  Totally doable.

Friday, February 24, 2012

An Eruption of Cheesy Goodness: Volcano Sandwiches

I've said before how much I enjoy the Kraft What's Cooking magazine.  They have things that are fun, simple, tasty, and easy.  And a bunch of things that seem recycled.  I mean, there are only so many ways you can marinate chicken in salad dressing and cook it, despite the plethora of flavours of salad dressings that there are out there.
While I like making new things, I am asked by J to make some of those things that I've tried in the past that are really good.  Here's an example from What's Cooking Fall 2007.  I obviously started making these after we got married.  I don't know if it was because I had hot dog buns lingering in the back of my freezer, or I just thought they looked interesting.
These come from the Kids can Cook section, and I can totally see how these are kid friendly.  They're also husband friendly.  I pretend that I make them healthy by using whole wheat buns.  I present for your enjoyment a great weekend dinner, Cheesy Volcano Meatballs.  It's even Kraft's title, not some bastardized version from when J and I are talking and I can't remember what I'm planning to make is called:

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Chicken Thursday: Salsa-Chicken Tostadas

J and I both love Mexican food.  Living here in the Great White North as we do (despite the fact that this winter "White" is questionable), there is an incredible dearth of good Mexican.  As a result, we are always on the lookout for good Mexican when visiting the States.  Ask me for recommendations in Michigan and Ohio...there are some great places!
This week, while deciding what to make, I came across this recipe in the Spring 2010 Kraft What's Cooking.  I bought Old El Paso refried beans to use.  Once we realized that this was for Thursday night, we both started saying "Chicken Thursday" in the same accent as the guy in the Old El Paso commercials; proving once again that we don't get out much.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Pinteractive: Monkey Muffins

This is my Pinteractive post for the week.  Click on the badge over there ------> to go to Nanette's blog and see all the Pinteractive posts!
So, today's a holiday here in Ontario, which means I'm spending time doing a few of the things I love best:  sleeping in, snuggling with my husband, and cooking.  He's requested meatloaf for dinner, which I don't make very often because it's labour intensive and not my favourite.  But it is his, and I do have the time.
We also had 2 bananas on the counter, which are neither of our favourites.  Despite the fact that J merely tolerates bananas, he has me buy him 4 each week, and dutifully consumes them because they're, "good for [him]".  This past week, I bought 5, and told him if there were enough left, I would make muffins next week.  He left me 2.
Knowing me, I need to get my pinteractive post done this week so that I don't spend my time thinking about what I could be making and not ever getting around to doing it.  So I spent time yesterday looking for a great recipe for banana chocolate chip muffins.  While I could start with, or foodgawker, I went for a tried and true source:  Taste of Home.
TOH had 9 recipes when I searched banana chocolate chip muffins.  Some had yogurt in them, which I didn't have, one recipe made 6 and wouldn't use up all my bananas.  Then I found one that hit all the right notes:  bananas, chocolate chips, and the way into my heart:  peanut butter.  I present to you the recipe for Monkey Muffins:

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Meal Planning, February 18-25, 2012

I know why I don't grocery shop at 3 on a Saturday afternoon.  Eventually, you have to check out and you spend as long in the line as you did winding your way through the grocery store.  Not that I'm bitter.  I made friends with the people in line behind me.  But still.  Groceries on a Sunday afternoon are bad enough.  The best time to shop is still Saturday morning at 7:30.  I'm just sorry I wasn't up to do that today.  But I digress.
This week, Family Day is on Monday, so I'm home and have time to make stuff.  I want to get next week's Pinteractive out of the way as well.  I'm home every night, and I have a doctor's appointment on Thursday, so I'll be home a little earlier than usual.  Here's a slightly longer week than usual, with our plans:
Saturday: Finger foods for dinner - the end of the goat cheese spread (I know, I know) with baguette, baked cheese dip, carrots and celery sticks, frozen buffalo wings and a LOT of water.  This is saltier than I orignally thought.  So much cheese.
Sunday: Brunch before going to the movies, and then probably Paco's for dinner.  We bring home hot dog sauce from Toledo with us, and make our own.
Monday: Banana Chocolate Chunk muffins for breakfast, Pinteractive lunch of Chicken Enchilada soup, and Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and broccoli for dinner.
Tuesday: Shrove Tuesday!!  Blueberry Pancakes and bacon with Elmira maple syrup for dinner.
Wednesday: Not sure.  This is wild card night after my guitar lesson.
Thursday: Homemade pizza.  We have sliced mushrooms, olives, prosciutto, onion, and cheese.  I love my bread machine for pizza dough.
Friday: The spaghetti sauce I didn't defrost last week and garlic bread.

Sounds like a good week.  We'll see how it goes.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Going Pinteractive

Like most of the rest of the world, I've joined Pinterest.  While I don't seem to use many boards, not surprisingly I've covered my recipes to try board with either sinfully delicious things or plain good looking recipes...and I've started to feel guilty.  Much like my magazine addiction obsession problem, I'm starting to stockpile and admire food that I'm not making.
So I'd been playing with the idea of having Pinterest week here on the blog - all pinned food, all the time.  But that's a big undertaking...and it depends on the good graces of my husband, who would need to put up with the output of food (he would...he likes to eat).
So today (as usual), I was reading my blog feed, and I came across Ms. Sizzle's link to Nanette and her post about signing on for Pinteractive.  What a marvellous idea!  I've pinned her badge up so I remember, and I'm now off to look for a recipe to make this week.

Not that Pinterest Week isn't going to happen.  But probably not for a bit.  When there's a little more than cakes up there. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Best Reason (I know) to Buy Asparagus

I don't always go through EDFs as I should.  I always find new recipes that are somewhat inspiring when I go back through them.  There is a reason that I currently am not getting any food magazines:  so many recipes already housed in my kitchen.  Here is a delicious recipe that could have been glossed over for a myriad of reasons.
EDF has a regular feature, Cooking for One.  This is a recipe from there.  When cooking for 2, as I have been since the fall of 2006, this would be a great reason to skip this one.  I find that when I make this, in doubling the recipe I get enough for 3 servings of the onions, asparagus, and sausage.  Plus, I love the grits....but I change them too.
I present to you the recipe for Chicken Sausage and Asparagus Saute over Cheese Grits, from May 2008's Everday Food.  I would love to provide you with the link to Martha Stewart, but it is apparent that they have disowned this recipe.  I am unable to find it on their site:

Meal Planning: Feb 13-19, 2012

This is an odd week.  Tuesday is Valentine's Day, so we're out.  I don't know what my Thursday looks like.  I'm also making a concerted effort at the moment to get to the bottom of my freezer.  We had some ancient green beans with our shake n bake chicken the other night that were a little freezer burnt.  So, we clean out.  Here's this week's menu:

Monday: Shepherd's Pie.  We have leftover mashed potatoes in the fridge because I made a few too many yesterday.  This is an easy way to get rid of them eat them up.
Tuesday:  Valentine's dinner out.  I'm having the garlic bread that is so good it should be considered crack.  I've decided.  Actually, I decided when I heard where we were going. 
Wednesday: Zesty chicken roll ups.  This will use up the cooked chicken and the small tortillas that have been hiding in the bottom of my freezer.  It also makes 2 pans, and I need to make a dinner for friends that just had a baby.
Thursday: I don't know if I'm home or not.  We'll plan spaghetti and garlic bread, so if I'm not here, then this can be for Friday.
Friday:  Wings and Wedges from the downstairs freezer.  Or spaghetti.  We'll make this easy.
Saturday: Something.  I have a bunch of things I've pinned on Pinterest that I'd like to try.  I'm thinking in a couple of weeks, we need to have a Pinterest themed week.  Actually make what I'm pinning in an organized way.

Who's with me?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Souper Sunday: Old Fashioned Chicken Noodle

I didn't make soup last Sunday.  Sunday was the Superbowl, and we'll be eating Wick-Fowler Chili, compliments of J.  It's his specialty, and it's good.  I made the crostini and Carolyn's rolls I posted earlier this week.
I did think, however, I would grace you with a new soup recipe for today.  My friend Sandy talked about making her favourite chicken noodle soup on Facebook, and I asked for the recipe.  She actually sent me two...I have a lasagne soup waiting in the wings for another week.  But here's her email with the recipe:

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The World's Best Rolls...According to Me

The summer I did the first part of my Blind Teacher qualifications, I was blessed with the fortune of having friends with 2 small girls who lived in Toronto and still let me take over their basement for a month as I was going to school.  I did house sit and dog sit while they were gone, but still.  This is not to be confused with the 8 weekends they let me crash on their couch 5 years later as I took the first part of my Principal's qualifications.  They're good people, and I'm thankful for good friends.
Ahem.  Back to the summer of 1999.  One of the things that we ate that summer that I remember were these rolls.  She kept the batter in the fridge, and would make them.  So good.  I was smart enough to ask for the recipe.  I present it here for you today.  I don't know where it came from, beyond my friend Carolyn.

Monday, February 6, 2012

What I actually Made Crostini

So for those of you following along, I had issues with my avocado on Sunday when I went to make Superbowl appetizers.  I was left with goat cheese, baguette, and not a whole lot else.
It's a good thing I planned to have chicken pesto risotto this week.  I bought a bottle of pesto.  Armed with that knowledge and the internet, I came up with something else.  I present to you Sarah's Goat Cheese and Pesto Spread for Crostini.
Not really attractive on my ugly countertop in a fruit nappy.  After the jump is a much more appealing picture.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Avocado and Goat Cheese Crostini

For March Break 2006, I went to San Fransisco and went to cooking school for a week.  If you're a foodie, I highly recommend the experience.  If you're not sure where to go, may I recommend Tante Marie's Cooking School ?  Located in San Fransisco, I spent 5 glorious days learning about Mediterranean Cooking, wine, cheese, and how to clean your own squid.
I came home armed with a folder full of recipes, 2 of which I've made since.  It's really very sad.  There were so many good things every day...and I never think about making them.  Until I do something ridiculous like last week.
In making the chicken avocado tostadas that became wraps, I forgot that I purchased an avocado until the meal was over.  Avocados are not one of my favourite things, nor are they J's.  But when I have an avocado, this is a recipe that springs to mind as something I like, and make from time to time.
My instructor for the week in San Fransisco was Jessica Lasky, and I see that she's a caterer in the Bay area still, but I'm not sure she's still teaching for Tante Marie's.  The book cited on the recipe is Panini, Bruschetta, Crostini by Viana La Place.  I love this recipe.  It tastes like Spring.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Meal Planning: Feb 5-13, 2012

This is a funny week.  We shopped on Saturday this week to be ready for the Superbowl Party on Sunday.  While I have planned on eating at home for the next 6 nights, J's comment was that I should be planning that we will eat out at least once.  If I'm honest with myself, we probably will.  Here are the plans:

Sunday:  J's making Wick Fowler Chili.  A Double Batch.  I'm making an avacado/goat cheese spread for baguette slices and the world's most wonderful rolls.
Monday:  Shake n Bake Chicken, mashed potatoes and frozen vegetables
Tuesday:  Chicken Pesto Risotto off the Minute Rice Box (I haven't made this in ages...and it's simple and yummy)
Wednesday:  Linguine with Proscuitto and Peas with garlic bread (from TOH Simple and Delicious)
Thursday:  Something...probably leftovers.  The Risotto and Linguine will both probably have leftovers.  Maybe this will be Wednesday.
Friday:  Volcano Sandwiches!  Yummy!!!  With chips and pickles, it's perfect for Friday!

We also talked about what's in our freezer, and we're good for a while...and I've been pinning on Pinterest like a fiend.  There are so many things out there.

What are you having this week?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Brunch: Bacon and Egg Cupcakes

So a friend of mine posted this YouTube video last month on Facebook, and I totally wanted to try it.
But I needed to be home with enough time to make these.
Enter a snowy Saturday with no plans.  I made 4 of these in my muffin tins.  I estimated 1.5 pieces of bacon per cup, and used Penzey's Sunny Paris herb blend and Kraft Shredded Double Cheddar Cheese.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Souper Sunday: Italian Tortellini

I love Taste of Home magazine.  Their recipes, full of fat and flavour, always work, and are always easy.  I mean, who else but TOH will have a super simple brunch for 8 as a 2 page layout, followed on the next page with a request for recipes for squirrel? (Don't laugh, I've seen such a request in TOH)
I have a bunch of TOH compilations...Holiday, Cookies, and Soup to name a few.  Seeing as make soup most Sundays, this one makes sense.  The odd thing?  I've only made 2 recipes out of it, and it was to be removed from the shelves by April 28, 2008.  That means that I've probably owned this magazine almost as long as I've been married.  And I've only made 2 recipes.  This needs to change!
So I sat down and browsed until I found something interesting.  When I make soup, I want something easy, hearty and filling.  I was pretty sure this one would fit the bill.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Let Them Eat Cake: School Death Edition

Chocolate and Peanut Butter has to be one of my favourite flavour combinations.  From cups to milkshakes to brownies, I will try them all.  I know it's also a favourite of one of my favourite reads, Ms. Sizzle at Sizzle Says.  Seeing as she also likes to bake, I'm pretty sure she'd love this one if she's currently eating sugar.  Or refined carbs.  Heh...I looked at the nutritional notes for this cake and decided not to post them.  Don't think.  Just have a small piece and take the rest somewhere for others to help you eat the rest.  That's the beauty of cakes:  they're made to be shared.
I love making cakes.  I have made a lot of layer cakes in the past for work potlucks and the like.  Hence my rather large collection of cake recipes and magazines.  I found this in my Taste of Home Luscious Cakes magazine that was to be taken off the stands May 13, 2006.  Seeing as it's TOH, it was ridiculously simple.  Seeing as there's a cup of peanut butter in it, as well as peanut butter chips, I will never be able to take this to work with me.  Here's the recipe for Peanut Butter Crunch Cake:

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I'm Not Sure This is Biggest Loser Material...

I subscribed to Martha Stewart's Everyday Food for about 5 years.  It was as this magazine piled up around my house that I decided that I needed to actually make things in the magazines that came in the mail and not merely admire the pretty pictures.  This is a recipe that I first made for J and I just after he moved to Canada.  At that point, I was still working on impressing him with my culinary skills.  It's amazing what 4 years of marriage will do for you.  The impressing my boy phase is gone.
I will tell you that I have a love/hate relationship with Martha's recipes.  Her baked goods are hit and miss.  I've made pancakes from EDF that were more dry, rubbery hockey pucks than things I wanted to waste perfectly good maple syrup on.  But her entrees and sides are usually winners, and there are many EDF entrees that are staples in our kitchen.  I make these maybe once a year.  It's hard to put that much fat in one dish and not somehow think that we should be eating a healthier version.  But these potatoes are so good.  I love goat cheese.
In honour of The Biggest Loser starting at work this week, I present a recipe that none of my work colleagues would currently eat, despite the fact that these are about the only sort of scalloped potatoes that I will eat.  If you make these, do not replace the cream with milk.  That verges on sacrilege.  They wouldn't be the same.  I think the idea is to not eat too much in one sitting.  From October 2006, I present to you Potatoes Gratin:

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Meal Planning, January 15-21

We try really hard to plan to eat at home.  It's one of my ongoing resolutions.  J and I both like to eat (surprise, surprise), and we're not afraid to eat out.  But right now, frankly, it's a bit of a strain on the pocketbook.  I aim to cook and eat at home 5 nights per week.  Some weeks are more successful than others.  I would say 7 nights per week, but that doesn't happen. 
J's mom didn't cook on weekends.  My mom cooked every night.  While I like the concept of not cooking weekends, this is when there's more time for me to explore and well as mire myself in experiments that I don't have time for normally.  So, J and I sit down every weekend, and talk about what we'd like to eat, what nights I won't be home or will be home late and so on.  It works for us. 
Here's what this week looks like:  I have guitar Wednesday, and won't be home until 7.  I'm out for a work dinner on Thursday.  So, we need S, M, T, W, and F.  Wednesday being leftovers.  Saturday's negotiable.

Sunday:  Tortellini Soup, rolls, butter and cheese (leftovers for lunch this week)
Monday: Steak Stirfry over rice (leftovers for lunch this week)
Tuesday: Baked Ham, Scalloped Potatoes and whatever vegetable is on sale this week
Wednesday: Leftovers from Tuesday
Thursday: J orders pizza.  I get banquet food
Friday:  Spaghetti and garlic bread...and wine!!!
Saturday:  ??

That sounds good.  Pictures and recipes to follow :)