Monday, January 24, 2011

Week at a glance...

Didn't do much cooking this weekend :(.

Saturday we attended Leigh's Grandpa's 85th birthday.   Made caesar salad to contribute to the meal.  When we arrived, the room the party was in was about 30 degrees and unbearable.  The hallway was cool and we pried open the deck doors and then the snowball fights started, geez Grandma Bev!  :)  It was a nice time, Emmanual (Grandpa) looks great, still very spry and loved being the centre of attention.

Sunday, I went to McNally Robinson with my Mom for our annual birthday celebration (Mom turned 75 on Jauary 6th).  It was nice, they had a quartet performing right outside the restaurant so we settled in and listened for a while.  I had a roasted veggie wrap and Mom had the mushroom and asparagus omlette, and then we shared a piece of key lime pie in place of birthday cake.   Mom bought a book and I got Kennedy a portable light for when she reads at night and doesn't want to disturb her little sister, and some new magnetic bookmarks.  When I got home Leigh had the laundry done,  a chicken roasting and potatoes boiling for mashing so I threw in a spaghetti squash and tossed it with a little butter when it was done.    It was a fantastic meal!!!  Leigh made the left-over chicken into his famous chicken salad and that's what we are all having for lunch today, on ciabatta. 

Leigh's Aunt, Mary Rose, stayed over Saturday nigh and Kennedy went skiing with her, Auntie Gloria and Jonah on Sunday at Table Mountain.  It was plus one on Sunday with a strong wind but a nice day!  We've had so many cold ones!!!!  Kennedy didn't hate skiing, but she didn't love it either.  She is going skiing with her class in mid-February so it was good to get her used to getting up and down the mountain.   She was exhausted when she got back, they walked in the back door at 6pm and right in time for supper.    She tried to be grumpy for awhile but we all settled in to watch a movie and she was alright.  She had trouble getting to sleep last night and was quite tired this morning, but was a trooper :). 

On the agenda this week, heating guy is coming on Tuesday to assess what we need for a furnace and to try to help with humidity control (might as well do it all at once) in the house, Kennedy has her first basketball game on Wednesday which we will all go to and the weekend is shaping up to be busy.  I will be making bread and muffins and cookies to stock the freezer, Kennedy and I will attend a baby shower, we are having friends over for supper and are dismantling the bunk bed in the girls room and bringing their separate beds back in.  This week meal-wise, we will be having leftovers tonight (I cook waaaaaay too much), quesadialla Tuesday (yum), grilled cheese on Wednesday due to the game, tilapia with bueurre blanc on Thursday (much to the kids dismay), and Friday evenings being a bit more relaxed I'll plan something a little more elaborate that revolves around a glass or two of red wine :). 

Life is lovely! 


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Honey Garlic Sauce

On Tuesday we had honey garlic meatballs over rice, and veg.  This honey garlic sauce is so easy, so yummy, and can be used on anything!    I made the meatballs on Sunday night and put them in the fridge.  I hate hate hate rushing home without a plan for supper... the first question I get when I walk in the door is, "what's for supper Mom?"... :)  (and yes, I'm talking about Leigh too)

Honey Garlic Sauce (these measurements subject to change)

Olive Oil
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup honey or brown sugar
1/4 cup soya sauce

Heat the olive oil in a pot (size dependant on if you single/double/triple the recipe).  Throw in crushed garlic, how much you use is up to you :).  Saute that for a minute, stirring constantly so the garlic doesn't burn.  Add ketchup, honey or brown sugar and soya sauce.  Stir and let that bubble around gently for a bit.  Now, this sauce is all about your taste.  You can add a little more honey or brown sugar if you like it sweeter, a little more soya sauce if you like it less sweet.  I don't recommend using Kikkoman soya sauce, it makes this very runny and then you have to go and thicken it... and well, that's just silly.  The longer you let this (gently) simmer, the thicker it will be.    I add the (cooked) meatballs and stir to get them good and coated, let that simmer away while you make the rice!  Oh, my mouth is watering...

You can use this sauce on anything you want!  I slow cook ribs and add the sauce at the end on a sheet pan to carmelize, throw in cooked chicken to coat, it is wonderful over rice with vegetables!    I've glazed a pork roast with it, continually brushing it on during the cooking process... yum!



Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Columbarium at St. John's Cathedral

Today my Mom and my sisters and I went to St. John's Cathedral to the Columbarium (  It is here that Dad's ashes will rest.  

We spent a fair bit of time getting a feel for the place, picking out a niche, reminiscing about Dad, laughing and crying.  It's not easy to say goodbye to a parent.   I do talk to him in some way every day, aloud, in thought, with a memory and a laugh, I really just wish I could hear him talk to me, one more time.    I am very grateful for the time I spent with him on the morning of his death, we talked and talked, I was late for work.  The last thing I did that morning before leaving was kiss my Dad on the cheek and told him to stay warm, and that I loved him.  He told me not to work too hard, I smiled and left.   Man, just writing that makes my chest constrict and tears prickle.

It was hard.  Mom broke down.  Deb and Danielle too.  I didn't outwardly but it was all I could do not to.  One of us had to not do that for Mom, and I was okay with that being me.  I've had my moments, they could have theirs today. 

Dad will be safe there.  It is serene and soothing as soon as you walk into the building, down the stairs and into the niche area.  Family members can come whenever they want to sit and reflect.  I was pleasantly surprised with the place, I wasn't expecting it to be like that.  I pictured a wall of plaques, impersonal and utilitarian.  It is nothing like that.    I feel okay about Dad being there ... I feel good about him being there. 


Monday, January 17, 2011

Come on, throw it at me...

In a space of three days our bathroom fan broke, our furnace needs to be replaced, and I snapped the vacuum hose in two and had to buy a new one.  Not a great few days from a financial point of view.  :)  But in those three days I also had a day off to attend my daughter's spelling competition and have some time with Julia, cooked some great meals (Super Garlic Chicken Legs and Asian Inspired Braised Beef Short Ribs), spent some time with my husband and kids, read a great book, had a nice glass of wine and got some rest.   It's all in how you handle it right?  So, a phone call to the bank, a talk with the heating company, a new bathroom fan installed and a vacuum shopping trip yesterday, all is good.  A little poorer in the bank account, but still rich in life.  I am looking at things so differently lately.  Things that I thought were important to me or that I thought should be important to me, just aren't.  I have all that I need in life, I really do!  Every day I carve out my happiness a little more, surge forward and fall backwards again, but I never really lose much ground, I find it easier and easier to get back up again.   "Find your happiness, and dance with it".  (Love that)

On Tuesday I am going with my Mom and sisters to check out Dad's resting place.   My Mom is really an amazing woman.  She is so strong.  She misses my Dad so very much, but knows that she still has a very full life and so many people who love her and depend on her and who are there for her to depend on.   She goes at things with the same attitude that I have, if you can't change it, you have to deal with it.  If you can, make it better.  If you can't, make it the best that you can.    Friday was seven months since we lost Dad.  Hard to believe.  Life just keeps on going, and is going so fast. 


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Artichoke Pizza - YUM!!!

This recipe is the shizzle!!!!  I found this on (I'm a daily recipe shopper there).  I made this for our Christmas Eve potluck, it was a huge hit.  I find myself thinking about it a lot, I guess it's time to make it again!


14 ounce can artichoke hearts packed in water, drained & chopped
½ cup pitted ripe olives, sliced
½ cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
zest from 1 lemon (and always always use real lemon, you CAN taste the difference :)
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 clove garlic, minced
13.8 ounce package refrigerated pizza crust (DS:  I made my own crust, but in a pinch, I buy crusts from The Bulk Cheese Warehouse and as they are pre-baked, lower the oven temperature to about 350, or you will burn the bottom crust)
2 medium Roma tomatoes, thinly sliced and then cut in half
1 tsp Italian seasoning

1. Preheat oven to 425°F.

2. In a medium bowl, combine artichokes, olives, ¼ cup cheese, lemon zest, mayonnaise and garlic; mix well.

3. Unroll pizza dough and arrange on large round baking stone, shaping into a circle. Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll dough to edge of baking stone. Spread artichoke mixture evenly over crust to within ½-inch of edge. Arrange tomato slices over pizza; sprinkle with Italian seasoning mix and remaining cheese.

4. Bake 20-25 minutes or until cheese is melted and crust is golden brown. Remove from oven; let stand 10 minutes. Cut into squares using a pizza cutter; serve immediately.

Servings: 16

Cooking Tips:
*If you don’t have a baking stone, use a greased cookie sheet instead.

Throw together a caesar salad and you are in business... have I posted my (Sharon Genge's) caesar salad recipe?  No!  Well, I'll have to post that next!  It's the easiest and best tasting dressing I've come across, my supper guests have started to ask for it when I invite them over!    Bon Appetite!!!! 


New Year, Continuing Life Goals

I just read the book "Made from Scratch: Discovering the Pleasures of a Handmade Life", by Jenna Woginrich (    I could not put it down and it left me wanting more!!!  Jenna bought the farm she always wanted in April of 2010 and I follow her blog (  She is living the life that I yearn for.  She has the balance, a day job and a manageable plot of land where she can have animals and grow her garden and have space!!!!  Just reading about the satisfaction she gets from doing what she is doing makes me smile, I am sure it is not without hardships, but she is living her dream.  I am certainly not unhappy with my life but I do yearn for more.  Most people never really live their dream.  In her book Jenna says, "Find your happiness, and dance with it".  I love that.

Then I ripped through "Prairie Feast, a Writer's Journey Home for Dinner" by Amy Jo Ehman, and I follow her blog as well  (  A wonderful read!  Lots of great recipes and local, local meaning Saskatchewan.  We have a wealth of resources here in Saskatchewan and most don't know they even exist, I know it was an eye opener for me!  I am going to grab my friend Amy and hit the Blueberry Festival, it sounds like heaven!!! Amy Jo Ehman is a local gal, living in Saskatoon and she and her husband built a post and beam house, another dream of mine!  The beauty is in the simplicity and reminds me of a time in life when "fast" just didn't equate with life.  (I think I was born in the wrong era).  Don't get me wrong!  I like my computer as much as the next gal, and Tim Horton's, and buying gorgeous boots... but I also think we rely on these things a little too much.  I am not going to become a hermit and sequester myself somewhere, in the middle of nowhere... I just want my life to be simpler.  

Leigh has an aunt and uncle that live just outside of Hudson Bay, on a farm, they raise their own beef, have chickens, bunnies, goats, cats, a dog... and they have a little slice of heaven.  Gloria is a retired teacher, Mo is an electrician and farmer.  They have it all.  A great life, a great balance.  All I want to do when I go there is sleep, ha!!!  You feel the change of pace as soon as you drive down the path to the farm.   But when you are there, they get you out walking, collecting the eggs in the chicken coop, going on weiner roasts in the bush, or whatever else you want to do.   There is no hectic schedule.   They bird watch, the TV isn't on very often, there is always something delicious to eat... and no dishwasher!!!  That is refreshing!   You talk as you wash the dishes, you plan the next meal, you plan what you will do the next day.

Sitting on my nightstand I have "The Backyard Homestead:  Produce all the food you need on just 1/4 acre!"  (  I haven't read it yet, but have perused it.  There is a lot in there that us city dwellers would never use, but there is also a ton of other information to infuse into daily life, and lots of gardening tips!  I'll let you know how it is.

My Dad was an amazing gardener,  he always kept a huge garden in the backyard, right up to his 86th year,  as well as any friends backyards that had some extra space.  He was amazing!  Not a weed in site, he worked tirelessly, slowly and efficiently, and his yield was always huge, green and gorgeous!!!  I remember as a kid sitting in the backyard shucking pees for my mom, eating a lot of them too, fresh out of the garden, still warm from the sun!  Friends and family always loved it when Dad showed up on their door with a bag full of veggies for them, he always shared.  I miss my Dad, so much.  The other day I was mulling over the fact that my new raised beds did not do too well last year, possibly due to the amount of rain we had, but most likely my soil was not prepared correctly... I thought, I'll just call Dad and talk to him about it, he'll know why... then remembered that I couldn't.    And that hit me right in the face.  Smack.  When my Dad died, all of his knowledge went with him.  I didn't take the time in my "busy" life to sit down with him and learn all that he had to teach.  I always meant to.  I regret that.  But, it has made me realize that by simplifying things, I also have more time to sit down and learn things.  It is so important to pass on life experience and life knowledge to our children, our family, our friends, and keep that knowledge alive. 

I have four books on order:

(a cookbook) The Pioneer Woman Cooks:   Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl, by Ree Drummond.  I follow Ree's blog, she is so hilarious!  A great cook, very easy to follow recipes!!!

You Grow Girl:  The Groundbreaking Guide to Gardening, by Gayla Trail

Homegrown:  A Growing Guide for Creating a Cook's Garden, by Marta Teegen

The Cook's Herb Garden, by Jeff Cox

Do you see a theme forming?  :)