Thursday, September 28, 2017

Book Cub - They Left Us Everything by Plum Johnson

"There's already too much grey in the world....why would I want to add to it?"

"You need to believe in something." Mum said.  "Something greater than yourself.  It helps to hand your problems over."

"Accept what you cannot change."

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Grocery Shop - September 9

iced coffee, coconut milk, tomato sauce, apple sauce, coffee, baby corn, chicken noodle soup, 
penne, creamer, iced tea, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, 
mozzarella, watermelon, salami, ham, 


Saturday, September 23, 2017

Book Club - Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

"Please don't tell me you're fighting over that piece of paper." said Ed.
"He's not sharing!" screamed Chloe. "Sharing is caring!"
"You get what you get and you don't get upset!" screamed Fred.

'No woman should pay for the accidental death of that particular man.'

Monday, September 18, 2017

Memories of Calgary - Ginger Fried Chicken

If you've ever been to Calgary and had Chinese food, there is a good chance you've been introduced to Ginger Beef.  Ginger Beef is a Calgary institution, and a big deal there - or at least it was when I lived there all those years ago. 

Near the end of my time in the city, I worked not too far from a place with very very good GB, and my co-workers and I would occasionally go for lunch buffet, and my least favorite co-worker would always get bent out of shape and complain if they did not have full containers of GB and pot-stickers.  I am sure they just loved to see us walk through the door.

Ginger Beef it turns out, is not as well known here as it is there.  Shortly after we moved we went for lunch at a Chinese food buffet here and we were thrilled to see Ginger Beef among the offerings.  Sadly it was nothing - NOTHING - like what we had left behind in AB.

So basically we have been Ginger Beef-less all these years.  I mean, we are managing just fine, not pining away or anything, but it is one of those fond memories that sticks with you, you know?

Yet again, I have been working on purging my recipe collection.  I went through my collection of papers and tried to see not only what else could go, but what in there I actually wanted to cook.  Because why else am I keeping this stuff, right?

In there I found a recipe I found and printed in 2012 - Calgary Style Ginger Chicken!  I was so excited about finding the recipe that I made it the next night - and for me, that is moving fast.

The recipe is easy to make and is very delicious, and reminded me a lot of our old Calgary Ginger Beef.  I left out the chili peppers in the hope that the kids would eat some, but I am looking forward to trying it again soon with some spice.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Things with tomatos

Our garden is complete crap this year, as usual.  It is wickedly hot here, very dry, and the smoke from the forest fires has kept us hidden inside for what feels like most of the summer.
We got a few thumb sized tomatos off our plant before it shriveled up into brown twigs, but nothing worth getting excited about.  My parents, on the other hand, are having a booming tomato crop.  We have been graciously helping them out to make sure none of them go to waste.

Here's some of the stuff we've made -

First, because it was one of the best - Avocado Feta Crack Dip which was wicked goooooood.  We ate it as a salad.  I could eat this every day and not get tired of it.  Our was too hideous to take a photo of it as I was not a gentle mixer, but it tasted damn fine.

 We also tried, as part of my cookbook purge on Instagram, Spaghetti Con Salsa Fresca from The Urban Vegan.  Big hit.

I have a few recipes written out from Move Over Santa, Ruby's Doin Christmas! by Ruby Ann Boxcar; and let me tell you that this is a really, really, REALLY good dish.  If only the price of bacon wasn't so ridiculous, I would buy more corn and bacon and make it again today.

Faye Faye's Fried Christmas Corn Dish Delight
altered slightly from Move Over, Santa - Ruby's Doin Christmas!

6 strips of bacon
1/2 small onion, diced finely
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped finely
kernels off of 6 ears of corn
1 large tomato, diced

Chop bacon into small pieces and fry over medium heat until crisp.  Removed to a plate.  Add the onion and bell pepper to the bacon fat and cook until softened and just starting to brown.  Add the corn and tomato and cook until hot.  Season to taste.  Stir in the bacon and eat!

I am really considering trying the Soda Cracker Pie from the book- basically egg whites, sugar and cracker crumbs.  Has anyone tried it before!  Yes/no?

I made Gwyneth Paltrow's roasted salsa out of her last book It's All Easy.

Our oven is on the fritz so i nearly burned the veggies, but I just pulled off the worst bits and it was fine.  (As I wrote this I suddenly remembered that when I cooked some tomatos from another one of her books, I nearly burned them too.....whoa - 5 years ago!)

The Kids don't like spicy food much, so I left out the peppers.  It was good! 

This one was amazing too.   God, I love when tomatos are in season! We all loved this  

We are nowhere near done - I have an enormous tub of tomatos sitting on the counter, and there are more ripening in The Grandparents garden as we speak.  I need to find some more recipes asap.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Cajun all the things! Ok, a few things.....

One of the last books that I cooked from for my cookbook shelf purge was a sushi book. Like in all other cooking and eating, I am not that adventurous, and so it was a bit tricky to pick some recipes that we would all eat.  I chose a spicy salmon roll for the boys because I knew The Mister would like it for sure, and I was surprised that the spicy element came from cajun spice.
When we were making the sushi, The Mister was in charge of the salmon roll,  and i portioned off some cream cheese for him into a bowl.  I was struck with the urge to try the cajun spice with some cream cheese, and it was delicious!  I set aside some of the sushi rice, and after we had finished making the chosen rolls, I made some veggie Cajun sushi bites - a bit of molded riced topped with a smear of Cajun cream cheese and cucumber.  It, along with the other veggie sushi, was my favorite part of dinner.

During clean up The Mister set aside some of the leftover cream cheese to make himself a batch of shrimp dip and he also made a little container of Cajun cream cheese.  Make some buttered toast, spread it with this cream cheese, and top with sliced tomatos.  Oooooooh yas.
And also?  There is a stand at the farmer's market that sells the most amazing soft pretzels.  
Even more terrific toasted with some CCC (cajun cream cheese) on it.

A few days later I made chicken burgers for dinner, and while they were grilling, I mixed some Cajun spice into mayo for a topping. I was also making some pan fried zucchini coins - sliced about 1 inch thick, tossed (and sort of squished) into some fine bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper - and then fried in a bit of olive oil over medium heat. I was cooking in 2 batches, so while the second batch was frying, I grabbed one of the cooked ones, dipped it in the spicy mayo and ate it. DELICIOUS! I was almost happy when The Boy kicked up a fuss about eating his zucchini, so I could "help" him out. 

The Boy is slowing staring to enjoy spicy foods, so there could be a cajun chicken sandwich, or cajun fettuccini in our future.  The Girl hates spicy food; well, actually she pretty much hates food in general, so we've got some work to do there.

Do you use cajun spices in your kitchen?  What's your favorite recipe to use them in?

Monday, September 04, 2017

Book Club - The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

"He had a horrible thought that the cakes might run short, and then he - as the host; he knew his duty and stuck to it however painful - he might have to go without."

"He fought the real battle in the tunnel alone, before he ever saw the vast danger that lay in wait."

For Adult Summer Reading Club - Adapted From Or Into A Movie

Monday, August 28, 2017

Book Club - Moloka'i by Alan Brennert

"They could see Ruth's eyes on them and know that they were the first things she had seen in this life; and they could hope that some part of her might remember that."

"Aloha wale, e Rachel, kaua, auwe!

For Adult Summer Reading Club - By An Author Of A Different Gender

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Book Club - Hunger by Roxane Gay

"There's no shelter or safety or escape from the cruel stares and comments, the too-small seats, the too-small everything for your too-big body." 

"Even the happiest moments of my life are overshadowed by my body and how it doesn't fit anywhere." 

 "I am as healed as I am ever going to be."

For Adult Summer Reading Club- Autobiography or Memoir

Sunday, August 20, 2017

So toast

I am slowly wrapping up my cookbook review/shelf purge I started in the summer of 2015.  I've cooked from more than 130 books, gotten rid of close to 100 more, and I'm glad to be almost done.
I'd like to go back to some of the ones that I've reviewed and cook more from them.  And I need to get the shelf a little more bare than it already is - eventually the room that the bookshelf is in will become The Girl's room, and the bookcase might stay for her to use, so I will have to find a home for all the books elsewhere in the house. So fewer books would definitely be easier.

I have gone back to Chrissy Teigen's book a couple of times since I wrote about it on Instagram, and made a couple more dishes.  One was the Cinnamon Toast/Dark Chocolate, and whoa, it was so good.  I had previously made her Salted Peanut Butter/Carmel/Grapes toast which was also amaze.
This set me off on a few days of toasting it up -

This one was boring, but we had bread that needed to be eaten.  Mozza, a sprinkle of salt, and some hot sauce.

The aforementioned CT toast - she makes a butter/sugar/cinnamon spread for the toast.  I had some cinnamon and sugar already mixed together leftover from baking, so I used that.  The combo with chocolate is unreal.

This one is super ugly, but brie cheese is not a pretty melter.  I made this at work - toast with a microwaved scrambled egg, ham and brie cheese, finished with cayenne pepper.

The standard avocado toast, eaten by The Mister and me whenever we buy a bag of avocados and suddenly the kids no longer like avocados, so we have to eat large amounts of avocado toast to try to use them up before they go bad but we never do.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Sunday Dinner - Chicken Poppers, Green Beans and Homemade Ice Cream

The hot weather lately has turned Sunday Dinners into mostly no cook affairs -salads, raw veggies, breads, maybe some rotisserie chicken or sliced meat.

I am NOT in any way looking forward to Fall or Winter, and this Summer has somewhat completely sucked and cooking has fallen by the wayside, along with most things representing an orderly life.

I managed to pull it together long enough to make a tasty Sunday dinner of chicken, green beans, fried potatos and ice cream for dessert.

I've had my eye on these sweet potato chicken poppers and they were easy and delicious.  Even The Girl liked them, and the list of food that she likes is very short.

These  Chinese dry fried green beans were also tasty and after we convinced The Boy to try them because green veggies rock, he ate a big helping.

For dessert I attempted to cross something off my mighty life list - make ice cream at home.  When I added this to my list I assumed that one day I would buy an ice cream maker, but that most likely won't ever happen.  I'd seen a few posts this summer about 2 ingredient ice cream that doesn't require an ice cream maker.  You mix a can of condensed milk with whipped cream and freeze it. 
I added some vanilla and a pinch of salt, and mixed in some raspberries from the backyard.  There weren't quite as many berries to pick as I'd hoped, so it wasn't as rasperry-ish as I'd hoped.  The recipe said it would be ready to eat in 5 to 6 hours, and when I checked it right before bedtime at hour 5 it was too soupy to be eaten, so we had to wait until the next night to try it. 

Honestly, it was ok, but I don't know that I would make it again.  Most of it is still sitting in the freezer, and I'm guessing I'll be tossing it out soon. 

Friday, August 18, 2017

Book Club - Lives of Girls and Women by Alice Munro

"The worst thing, I gathered, the worst thing that could happen in this life was to have people laughing at you."

"She believed in burglars."

"Well groomed girls frightened me to death.  I didn't like to even go near them, for fear I would be smelly.  I felt there was a radical difference, between them and me, as if we were made of different substances."

Adult Summer Reading Club - A Banned or Challenged Book

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Book Club - Amulet by Kau Kibuishi

 " But more than that, I wish I knew what to do. I wish I wasn't alone." 
"You're not." 

 Adult Summer Reading Club - Graphic Novel or Comic Book

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Book Club - Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs

' " need to dwell on hypothetical unpleasantries..." '

' "Doubt is the pinprick in the life raft." '

' "My brothers taught me a hard lesson.  No one can hurt you as badly as the people you love." '

Adult Summer Reading Club - Young Adult/Juvenile

Monday, August 14, 2017

Snapshot - Week 32 2017

It's been a tough summer, with the fires and smoke and some other stuff going on.  It was so nice to see the smoke clear and to get out for a walk with these weasels. 

Rocky Road Peanut Clusters

I made these last month for a co-workers birthday.  It was too hot to use the oven and I just love the classic chocolate-butterscotch combination.

It doesn't quite beat out my family favorite Peanut Noodle Things, but the marshmallows are fun and I am super addicted to peanuts right now, so there's that too.  
These store well in the fridge, if you make a triple batch, like I did.....