Saturday, September 22, 2018

Sunday Dinner - Enchiladas, Mexican Street Corn and Apricot Cake

I love Tex Mex and Mexican food but we don't each it much. Why, I ask me? 

I was perusing Homesick Texan's website and I found her recipe for Cheese Enchiladas. Yum! 
I asked The Mister if he thought that would be a good dish for Sunday Dinner and he agreed, but he of course thought adding some chicken or beef would be a good idea. ^eyeroll^. 

So we had some cheese enchiladas and some beef and cheese.  

We had some salsa, sour cream and guac for the enchiladas as well as some veggies 
and also some Street Corn.

I set out some mayo, parmesan cheese and cotija cheese, which I found as Fresh is Best, along with the corn tortillas.

It was all delicous - especially the CHEESE ONLY enchiladas (ahem) and the corn.

We finished dinner with Apricot cake, which would have been better if the apricots had been a little bit riper.....

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Book Club - Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls

"Most important thing in life," he would say, "is learning how to fall."

I realized that in the months since Helen had died, I hadn't been paying much attention to things like the sunrise, but that old sun had been coming up anyways.  It didn't really care how I felt, it was going to rise and set regardless of whether I noticed it, and if I was going to enjoy it, that was up to me."

"No looking back."  I said.  "You can't.  You just can't."


For Summer Reading Club 2018 - Staff Pick

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Book Club - Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama

'I think sometimes that had I known she would not survive her illness, I might have written a different book - less a meditation on the absent parent, more a celebration of the one who was the single constant in my life.'

'The world was violent, I was learning, unpredictable and often cruel.  My grandparents knew nothing about such a world, I decided, there was no point disturbing them with questions they couldn't answer.'

"Seems to me we should be worrying about whether our own stuff's together instead of passing judgement on how other folks are supposed to act."


Summer Reading Challenge 2018 - Biography or Memoir

Friday, September 07, 2018

Japanese Spinach Salad - Gomae

Gomae is one of my very very favorite Japanese dishes  - and it's easy to make at home! 

We had a meat and cheese and bread dinner one night and I added some Gomae at the last minute because we had a bag of spinach in the fridge.

Never forget how much spinach wilts down when you cook it.  Thank goodness the kids didn't want to eat any of it so there was enough for the adults.

I thought I would make this again and again over the summer but alas I did not.  So this fall and winter will be my season of Gomae, maybe.  It's quick and easy and lasts for a couple of days in the fridge so it would be a good lunch addition.  Just remember to squeeze the spinach as dry as you can get it - make room for that delicious dressing.

Saturday, September 01, 2018

Sunday Dinner - Garlic Butter Chicken and Cauliflower Rice

Who can BELIEVE it is September. I mean, come on. 

The Summer was gone in an instant.  Our bucket list did not get very far this year.  
2018 started off terrible and slow and now we only have 4 months left of the year.  FOUR!  
Let's make them good ones.

Now on to Sunday Dinner.

 So, I am trying to lose weight and it is not going well.  At all.
I was/am/trying to get back to trying low carb eating.  I lost a few pounds in July but gained them back in August because August has become a difficult month for me and eating is how I cope, dammit.

I found this low carb chicken and cauliflower rice dish online.  I like cauliflower a lot and so does the fam so we gave this a go.  My Dad was not impressed about the cauliflower rice when he arrived for dinner and saw me cooking it, but in the end he really enjoyed it.

This one is a keeper - a nice quick delicious meal.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Book Club - The Cook And The Gardener by Amanda Hesser

"Despite rain and cold, our minds turn toward lighter thoughts of sun, flowers, fresh air, even the prosaic prospect of wearing less clothing."

"We entered the long, narrow garden through a delicate wrought-iron arch tangled with climbing roses.  Her garden does not open up and show itself all at once.  It is filled with caches and surprises."

"The hunters are given the forest one day a week, but that is all.  It is mushroom season, after all."


I bought this years ago after I read her other book Cooking for Mr. Latte.  I had to special order The C&G and it took months to show up......and it has sat on various shelves ever since.  I read it for the Summer Reading Challenge Category Picked at random off the library shelf, but instead of off the library shelf, if was picked from my own shelf. 
It was ok.  I liked Cooking for Mr. Latte much better.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Something I Like - To Laugh and Learn

I love all the above people and their projects and you might too, if you don't already.
I won't talk about them individually other than to say that Nanette by Hannah Gadsby is so powerful and amazing.  It should be required viewing for EVERYONE. 

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Book Club - Vinyl Cafe Unplugged by Stuart McLean

"The two of them thew their snowballs at almost the same moment, and they both laughed in wonder when they collided in mid-air, spraying snow like a shower of icy fireworks through the silence of the night."

"Dave smiled and looked back at the letter in front of him.
I will go out and visit them after supper, he added
And I will write again soon.
Love, he wrote.
Love, Dave"

"Love never ends."


I bought this book early this year because I thought that one of the stories in it had a quote that I wanted to use for my Mom's memorial folder at her service.
I couldn't find the quote I wanted - I remembered the story wrong, so I put the book aside for a while before reading it.  
When the Summer Reading Challenge came along I picked this one for By a Canadian Author.

Friday, August 03, 2018

The Good, The Good and The Ugly.

I made these muffins to use up some apples that were on the cusp of becoming inedible - I was very pleased with how they turned out, and as you'll see in a moment, they saved my bacon..... 
But first -
I've altered this a bit from a recipe saved from Taste of Home

Apple Pie Muffins

3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 large egg
1 cup buttermilk
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 cups chopped and peeled apples
For the tops -
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350'. 
Beat together the brown sugar, oil and egg.  Mix in the buttermilk. Add in flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.  Stir to combine, and then add the chopped apples.  
Spoon into muffin cups, about 2/3 full.
Mix brown sugar, cinnamon and butter. Spoon onto muffins.
Bake 18-22 minutes until done.

I also made these Brown Butter Cinnamon Crinkle Cookies for a Sunday dinner.  I didn't have any chocolate to make chocolate chip cookies (always the favorite around here) so I hunted down something new, and it was a surprise hit with the fam.  Try them here.

Lastly, I made a batch of Dorie Greenspan's brownies for a bake sale.  The morning of the sale I went to remove them from the pan and they were stuck SOLID.  I frantically pried and chiseled at them for a while before having to accept defeat.  I think a bunch of stuff went wrong with this batch - I should have used parchment paper in the pan, our new(ish) oven is a bit finicky and I think I baked them too long, and I wonder if using up the bits and bobs I had of chocolate - milk, dark, and white - could have factored in?  No idea.  But there was no way I could take these to the bake sale and I didn't want to show up empty handed, so instead I packed up 6 of the apple muffins from the top of the post and took those instead. 

Thank goodness for extra baking the freezer!

Monday, July 30, 2018

Coffee Shake

I don't like coffee. I don't know if I've mentioned that before, but it's true.
 I don't drink hot coffee in any form and never have.
For a while I would have the very rare frappuccino from Starbucks, but not often - they are so rich - and a Ice Cap from Tim Horton's occasionally.

During my last pregnancy we had to drive to Vancouver for some hospital appointments and my treat for having to sit in a car for hours, go get poked and prodded and then drive hours back home was a sausage and cheese mcmuffin from McDonald's and a small ice cap from Tim Hortons. Memories!

While I was on maternity leave I indulged in Ice Caps a little more often, then stopped after the caffeine started making me queasy, but then started up again.
And so here I am, with a kinda sorta Ice Cap habit that I am trying to break for both the sake of my wallet AND my chubby little bod.
Speaking of my bod, a medium ice cap has 360 calories, 15 grams of fat and 47 grams of sugar. Eeeeeeeeeek.
So I've been experimenting with making my own coffee shake at work in the mornings.

I have my Magic Bullet from Christmas 2008 (!!!) base at work  so in the mornings I fill my cup with the ingredients except the ice, which goes into a plastic bag, and then at work I whizz it up.

It is definitely less decadent than a store bought drink, but it still feels like a treat.

1 cup milk
1 tb brown sugar
2 tb cocoa powder
1 tb instant coffee
handful ice cubes

Mix.  Whizz.

I threw the ingredients into a calorie calculator and here's what it said to me - 
192 calories, 6 grams of fat and 24 grams sugar.  

Not bad, and definitely better than the drive thru options.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Book Club - The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware

'Never believe it, Hal.  Never believe your own lies.'


I borrowed this from My Boo to fill the Mystery or Suspense Novel category in this Summers Reading Challenge.  It was good, a bit suspenseful, and a nice change of pace from all the self help and biographies I have waiting for me.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Sausage and Orzo

I found this recipe at Frugal Girl, and it was a hit with The Mister and me. Not the kids. 
 Nothing is a hit with the kids. 
I am defeated. 

 But! If you like orzo, and if you like sausage, you should try this dish. 
It's quick and delicious you could swap in and out whatever veggies you please. 
I used green beans because I had 'em, but pretty much any veg would be super in this. 
Meatless would be grand too.
I am a big orzo fan and we don't eat it enough. Gotta change that. 

Friday, July 20, 2018

Adult Summer Reading Club 2018

I'm late on this one, July is more than half gone (whaaaaaat) but here is the list for Summer 2018 from the TNRD Library.  Go here for all their details on the challenge.

Same as the past 2 years, I am not giving myself a time frame to get these done, but maybe hopefully all in 2018?

Here is this years list -

A Staff  Pick
A Book With A One Word Title
An Adventure Story
By A Canadian Author
Picked At Random Off A Library Shelf
Originally Published In A Foreign Language
Re-Read A Favorite
A Travel Book About A Place You've Never Been
An E Book or E Audio Book
A Book Published in 2018
A Biography or Memoir
Readers Choice
Published In The Decade You Were Born
Juvenile Or Young Adult
Adapted Into A Movie
A Banned Or Challenged Book
A Mystery Or Suspense Novel
A Book About Sports
A Cookbook - Try A New Recipe

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Sunday Dinner - Crock Pot Kahlua Pig

I bought a two pack of port butts at Costco so I could make some pulled pork this summer.  I immediately thought of the Kalua Pig we made years ago, but surprisingly I no longer have Hawaiian salt in the cupboard or banana leaves in the freezer.  Instead I used this spectacular recipe for crock pot Kalua Pig from Nom Nom Paleo.  Truly delicious.

I have used both butts up now with that recipe, one for a Sunday Dinner and one when we had some family in town to visit.  I don't recall if we added the optional garlic cloves the first time, but we did the second time.  Can't say for sure if it added anything extra, but garlic never hurts.

Everything about this recipe is super.  Give it a try this summer.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Smackdown - Banana Bread

Nearly 4 years after the last Smackdown, and now I've posted 2 within a couple of months!  
Here we come with - Banana Bread.

 Banana bread and smoothies are the only way I will eat bananas - it took me years and years to enjoy them those ways.  Out of the peel?  I won't eat 'em.  Bleh.
Banana bread is something that once I did start to eat I was still "meh" about, until I discovered the banana bread in Cookin with Coolio which is really the best banana bread ever.

Or is it?

 Coolio has previously battled on Smackdown - and won - a chicken battle.  Today he is up against another of my faves - Chrissy Teigan and her Banana Bundt Bread.

First up - Coolio.  The first thing I have to tell you is the my copy of his book is falling apart at the recipe for this bread because I have made it so many times.  
His bread is made in a standard loaf pan, and is ready in an hour (plus cooling time).  It's a pretty basic one - sugar, honey, butter, eggs, banana, flour.   Classic.

In the other corner is Chrissy Teigen's banana bundt bread.  This story was all over twitter for a while when Chrissy was testing the recipe for her next book and was looking for someone who had ripened bananas they would give to her.  The story was funny and the recipe piqued my interest - coconut and chocolate in banana bread???
This one veers away from being traditional (for me); beside the coconut and chocolate there is also vanilla pudding mix, which is something I am pretty sure I've never baked with before.  This also fills up a big bundt pan - this is a huge cake. 

The Verdict -Coolio wins it with his classic loaf.  Chrissy's is also delicious (dark chocolate FTW) but there is just so much going on - if you want a basic 'nana bread, Coolio is the one.  Feeling fancy?  Go with CT.

Other Smackdowns - 

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Book Club - The Break by Katherena Vermette

"But her fifties feel exactly like her forties - everything just hurts more."

"She would always hold my hand so hard, like she wanted me to know she'd never let go, so hard I could feel the bones in them.  I think she holds hands like that so we would know how much she loves us."

"The dead don't hang on, the living do.  The dead don't have anything to hang on to."

"Tommy wishes he could look at her with the same kind of pity but he knows better.  She would catch him and then go off.  She always catches his looks, so he only thinks them now."


Bought this with a gift card and it filled 2 requirements I'd like to read more of.  More Female authors and more Canadian authors.

Saturday, July 07, 2018

Creamy Baked Beefaroni

This was another easy to make ahead meal that I found in my newly organized binder of recipes.  I written many times before about all my notebooks and binders and at times boxes full of recipes I'd copied out of books, torn from magazines, been given by different people....When I was working on organizing my newly moved office area I sat down and went through the papers yet again, pulling out what I knew I would never use and trying to organize the keepers before sticking them all in a binder.  They all fit in one binder!  Now this does bring me a bit of satisfaction, but I also have a huge amount of recipes bookmarked on my computer and saved in Pinterest.  I guess I need to sort those out too.

Anywhoo - this Beefaroni is a homemade version of that beefy cheesy classic.  A bit more time consuming as it contains 2 sauces you make separately and then mix together, but it was so delicious so it was worth it.  This might not be the most appealing recipe in Summer, but save it - you'll want this in the cooler months.  Or soon, if Summer keeps rolling this way...

Recipe here - Creamy Baked Beefaroni

Sunday, July 01, 2018

Intentions for July - Happy Canada Day!

 Happy Canada Day Y'all! 
I hope you are having safe fun out there.
Enjoy our beautiful country and be nice to everyone.


My God I cannot believe it's July.  Where is this year going?
I feel like I have been totally off the rails for the last long while - a year or more?  Life seems ok on the surface but I am struggling with everything.  I need to get back on track.  I WANT to get back on track.  But I don't know how.  Maybe starting back with intentions and the journal will help?

Intentions for July -

Move, every day.
I haven't been doing too badly with this the last little while.  I joined the Global Challenge with my work mates and it started at the end of May.  We all got step counters, which was good as my not very old Fit Bit bit it back yonder and I was mad at how NOT long it lasted so I didn't replace it.  I find the challenge very motivating and I look forward to entering my activities every morning.  So far it hasn't led to any sort of weight loss but that might also be because I need to -

Stop snacking.
Seriously.  Stop it.

Drink more water.

Get back on the yoga train.
I took a very long hiatus from yoga due to issues and I started back a few months ago.  While I am thrilled to be back to taking classes, I have not gained back enough strength and confidence nor lost any pounds to get me back to the (slightly) harder classes that I used to take and loved.  I want to get back to there.

Less time on the computer/phone, more time reading.

Be positive.  Be kind.  Be strong.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Skillet dinner

I hit a home run with this recent quick and easy dinner, and dinner prep that night was even quicker and easier because I made it in advance! 
I found a freezer bag with a half pound of ground pork and half pound of ground beef so I popped over to Pinterest to see what I could find, and quickly found a recipe 
for an Italian beef and rice recipe.
The recipe suggested pasta instead of rice to mix things up a bit and I had some small pasta shapes to use up, so I chose these sweet little stars.  I mean, come on!

Now, they are small and visually got lost in the dish, but that was ok because it was super awesome.
The grownups added a bit of heat to our bowls.  So good.
This is a recipe I will try again - with rice, a bigger pasta, some different veg - there are endless possibilites.  

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Sunday Dinner - Hot Brown Casserole

Hot Brown sandwiches are something that I've wanted to make for years, and I decided I'd do them for a Sunday dinner, but then I couldn't find the original recipe I'd saved, and when I hit Google up came Hot Brown Casserole, and I was like, yes!  even better!  and went with it.

This was sooooooo good.  I just loved it.  It was pretty easy too; the sauce was simple to make and I bought a rotisserie chicken so it was a snap to throw together.  

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Kids Book Club - Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder

I am a big fan of Laura Ingalls Wilder's books.  I have the complete set, plus a few extra biographies on her and her family.  If I ever win the lottery, I'm heading down to the states to tour the places she lived.  I read the books to The Boy - although he was too young to remember them - and now The Girl and I have just finished reading LHBW and I was so, so happy to start reading the series again.  
I know it's a cliche and sexist, but I'm happy to have a daughter who will hopefully like the books and I can pass down my set to her when she's older.

LHBW is one of my favorites in the series because there is so much detail of their every day life - Ma making cheese and how meat was preserved for storage.  The long days of her parents and the excitement of seeing family that lived elsewhere.  The angst of trying to be a good girl when you have an annoying older sister.  Such a lovely book. 

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Squash and Turkey Meatball Curry

I  had a beautiful kabocha squash to use up and I didn't want to bake or steam it, so I thought instead I'd make a curry with it.  My original plan had been to keep it vegetarian, but then I decided to throw in some turkey for the kids - although really it was just for The Boy - The Girl is practically a vegetarian.  She does not like meat much at all - so I made some quick meatballs and tossed them in too.  The Girl didn't care for this and The Boy only wanted to eat the rice and meatballs but The Mister and I really really liked it.  

1 TB coconut oil
1/2 - 1 red onion, diced
1 kabocha or other squash, peeled and diced
1 TB ginger, grated
1 TB - or more to your taste - curry paste - I keep it low for my weenie kids
1 can coconut milk
1 cup broth - veg or chicken - or I cup water
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp brown sugar

Meatballs - 
1 lb ground turkey
salt and pepper
1/2 cup or more bread crumbs
Any other seasonings you like - onion, garlic, curry etc

Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat.  Add the diced onion and cook until softening.  Stir in the grated ginger and the curry paste and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes.  Add the squash to the pan and cook for a few minutes more.
Pour the coconut milk and broth or water in, and add the soy sauce and sugar to taste.  Bring to a gentle simmer over medium low heat, and cover while you make your meatballs.  
Remove the lid and gently drop the raw meatballs into the sauce.  Cover the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meatballs are cooked through and the squash is tender.

Serve with rice.

Friday, June 08, 2018

Dill Bread

I had a bunch of fresh dill that I had planned on making into tatziki, but then the kids ate all the cucumber, so I decided to make bread instead.  
Because I didn't want to be stuck in the kitchen for a dough that needed rising and shaping (Spring has sprung!  We are outside as much as we can be right now!) I went looking for a quick bread recipe.

I found one that called for dill as well as buttermilk which I didn't have but I did have the plain yogurt I'd bought for the tatziki so I replaced the 1 1/2 cups of buttermik in the recipe with 3/4 cup each of milk and plain yogurt whisked together.

It was a delicious easy bread that called out to be eaten with cheese.  As some breads do.

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Book Club - every day by david levithan

"Tomorrow."  she says, a little less than a promise, and a little more than a chance.

The devil doesn't make anyone do anything.  People just do things and blame the devil after.

If you stare at the center of the universe, there is a coldness there.  A blankness.  Ultimately, the universe doesn't care about us.  Time doesn't care about us.  That's why we have to care about each other.


I bought this one because it was $10 and sounded interesting.  It's a YA book, which isn't my usual type, but it was good and I cried at the end.

Saturday, June 02, 2018

More Treasures

My Dad has been working through some boxes stored in his basement and he gave me a stack of papers to go through. Here's some cringy things I found - 

A Breakdancing instructional poster - I am pretty sure this came in a record I bought?  

I laughed until I cried looking at this.  It reminded me of when my mom signed me up for a (thankfully short) set of beginner breakdancing lessons at a downtown dance studio in the 80's.
I was horrible at it, but I appreciate my mom letting try.

When I found out that Shawn Cassidy and I share the same birthday I thought that meant we were destined to be together forever.  My obsession with him was as short lived as my breakdancing career, but along the way someone gifted me with this super cool notebook.

In this pile of papers there were some loose "order forms" and receipts and menus from when I would play waitress and take orders from imaginary customers in the restaurant in my room.
Those made sense, more sense than this note I found.

I was a lover, not a fighter, so I am mystified by this.  What was up?  
Who was I begging myself not to fight? 

Ok, so who would NOT want The Go-Go's, Willie Nelson and Billy Joel at their party?  But who is Jennifer Rodgers?  Google is revealing nothing.  Such a mystery. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Book Club - Modern Loss by Rebecca Soffer and Gabrielle Birkner

"And that's the worst part: you can make the right decision, the very best decision you know how to make for yourself and your family, and still have cause to mourn."

"If you use the sentiment or the words "at least" in response to someone's suffering, you're diminishing their feelings, probably because their pain makes you anxious."

"They do not all want a response, or an Internet friendship.  They just want to been seen - to have another human on this earth know their story - so I treat each one as the honor that it is.  I see your broken hearts, strangers.  I have added them to my collection."


I bought this one while researching another book on loss - that day I ended up buying 3 books on the subject and this is the first I've read. 

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Smackdown - A Twist on Chocolate Chip Cookies (Salted vs Malted)

Everyone in my fam- The Grandfather included - loves cookies. And chocolate chip cookies reign supreme. Over the years I have tried dozens and dozens of recipes- crisp,soft,cake style, you name it. In the past while I tried 2 cookies - with a twist - and here they are, pitted against each other for your enjoyment. We have the internet sensation Salted Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies from Alison Roman vs Malted Chocolate Chunk Cookie Bars from Food 52.

First up, and baked first are the shortbread cookies.  These were all over the internet in the Fall and often labelled "The Best Cookie Ever."  We - me and The Mister - are pretty big fans of shortbread, and I love salty-sweet combos.  So win-win already, right? 
After the dough is rolled into a log, you are supposed to roll it in demerara sugar before slicing.  I skipped that step, but after the cookies were sliced and on the baking sheet, I sprinkled the top of each with a pinch of salt and sugar that I mixed together.
These just might be the best cookie ever.  We loved these. 

Next - the cookie bars.  I wanted to try this because I had no idea that malted milk powder was the same as Ovaltine.  Whenever I see a recipe that calls for malted milk powder I always stop reading because I thought it was some specialty ingredient that I couldn't get here.  Who knew!  Not me.  The other "twist" in this recipe was that the butter is melted and browned before being added to the dough.  Now I am a raw dough eater/tester (don't judge me) and I swooned when I tried the batter.  The flavors of the butter and malted milk powder were distinct and delicious.  Sadly, they disappeared into the baked bar, which was very very good, but neither of the flavors shone through in the finished product.  That did not stop us from inhaling these though.

The Winner is..........

The Salted Chocolate Chip Shortbread!

Both cookies are amazing and you should try them, but the shortbread were just a little more amazing.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Book Club - Prisoners of the North by Pierre Berton

 "The industrial revolution in the gold country sparked by Boyle had changed the face of the Klondike, and there was no environmentalist movement to protest or prevent it.  The low, rolling hills had long since been denuded in the growing hunger for lumber.  The broad and verdant valleys were reduced to black scars by the big nozzles that tore at the topsoil and overburden to send the muck and silk coursing down to the big river."

"As Francis Spufford has pointed out, more expeditions have managed to travel safely to the moon and return than had been able to navigate the Passage from sea to sea."

Y'all - there is a Kamloops connection!

On the poet, Robert Service -

"There are some hints of a schoolboy love in Glasgow and an affair, later, in Kamloops, BC, but only hints."

"In July 1904, he was transferred to the bank's branch in Kamloops where he immediately bought a pony and tried to take up polo.  He hated the game but loved the costume and had himself photographed in it to send to his family.  He bought himself a banjo and strummed away at it happily during his leisure hours."


I bought this one years ago at the Symphony Book Sale and decided it was time to read it.  A long read, but good.  Makes me want to travel up North and see this part of our beautiful country.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

no knead bread

I enjoy making bread but sometimes I just don't want to do all the forming and rising and and rolling and more rising and shaping and then more rising, you know? Sometimes you just want some bread dang it! 
So I tried a loaf of no knead bread where you make a simple dough, mix it only enough to combine the ingredients, and then let it sit on the counter for up to 24 hours before you bake it. 
Ok, there is one forming/rising session but it's right at the end so I am ok with that. 

This produced a super delicious loaf of bread that was nice and crusty on the outside and chewy and just a little tangy on the inside.  
The Mister was completely selfless and let The Grandpa take home the other half of the loaf we didn't eat for Sunday Dinner, so I owe him another loaf.  
This time I'm going to let the dough sit for the full 24 hours to see if the flavor deepens.

There is just something about taking a loaf of homemade bread out of the oven.
Such an accomplishment.  So tasty with butter.......

Friday, May 11, 2018

Enchilada Casserole

I spend time every weekend online looking for new recipes to cook for the family. Things that the kids might eat, things that are at least somewhat reletively healthy, that don't take too long to cook and/or have at least an element that can be made ahead of time.
(That last one sticks in my craw a little as we have one of those side by side fridges where 1/3 of the fridge is the freezer, which means all the shelves are narrow and short, which fills up fast and makes it impossible to premake things and keep them in the fridge.)

Anyhoo I have been focusing less on flipping through stacks of cookbooks and using Pinterest more to narrow my search options to find things that might fit not only my requirements from above but also what ingredients I have on hand.  And it works pretty good, other than SO MANY websites that have 38 pictures of the exact same plate of food at 7 slightly different angles before you can see the recipe.  Not a fan of this trend.

So!  I found this recipe for an enchilada casserole that ticked off some of my boxes and I love Mexican style food and tater tots.

I made the enchilada sauce from scratch seeing as it is very hard to find canned enchilada sauce here.  But that is ok - it is an easy thing to do, and if/when I find the recipe I used this time, I will share it with you. 

After I made the sauce, I cooked the meat and simmered it with the other sauce ingredients, and then I cooled it and stored it in the fridge, since a 9x13 pan of food wouldn't fit in the fridge.  Then on meal day all we had to do was dump the meat in the dish, add some cheese and tots and cook!

Here's the recipe - easy beef enchilada tator tot casserole

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Tis the Season - Tick Spray

A couple of weeks ago I spotted a black fluff on The Boy's shoulder and I went to brush it off - and it was a TICK just beginning to burrow into his SKIN.  He'd been at the Wildlife Park that morning with his sister so we pushed aside the heebie jeebies and picked through their hair to make sure there weren't any more.
The Boy had one in his hair a few years ago so he's obviously delicious, and a FB friend had mentioned that she'd found a couple of her kids clothes and it was starting to freak me out, so I did some investigating into making a tick spray.
Top essential oils to use that I came across in my research were eucalyptus, lemon eucalyptus, lemon, lavender, and geranium.  
Lavender is too strong a scent for me, and the one natural food store I've been to so far didn't have geranium, so I got a bottle of lemon eucalyptus and a bottle of witch hazel and made my own spray.

I used a tablespoon of witch hazel (I realized after I'd opened it that the lady sold me a bottle of witch hazel toner, but since I'd already opened it I'm hoping it's pretty much the same) and 40 drops of lemon eucalyptus oil and topped it off with water.  
The Mister and I tried it out on ourselves to make sure we didn't break out in a rash or anything so we've been using it on the kids along with always wearing their hats and hopefully we won't find any more.
The Boy has heard some stories about ticks from his friends and there was Big Drama at school last year when one was discovered in the hair of one of his classmates, so now he's even more obsessed with them- so much so that he picked the TICK as his animal to do his science project on, so now I get to research these gross creatures even more.....shudder.

Sunday, May 06, 2018

Book Club - What She Knew by Gilly MacMillan

"There are no harsh lines in the picture.  Blacks fade into grays and into whites, and shadows draw the features of his face and torso."


I bought this from Costco because I wanted a new book to read and it was inexpensive.  It was a bad impulse purchase because I don't like crime novels and I do not like books about kids in danger, so it was dumb of me to get it.  Not my kind of book at all.