Sunday, August 30, 2009


Congratulations to our softball team for winning the 'A' division final this year. For winning we got a cooler full of beer. I wish there were any left, but there's not because we had a great time.

But oh what a long weekend.

Six games in two days. Eight games in the last 5 days. That's a lot of ball.

My house is a filthy mess, I have less than half my laundry done from last week; I hope that we all have clean clothes for tomorrow. I don't have a menu plan, but I did get groceries on Friday. I need to hose the boy off soon because he's filthy. And my tomato plant needs some water.

Bed is calling.

Everything can wait until tomorrow.


Monday, August 24, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - Phoning it in

I'm really taking the easy way out this week, phoning it in so to speak :) I didn't make it to the frugal grocery store on the weekend and I couldn't justify buying the same thing for dollars more at Safeway so it's a kind of eat out of the pantry and freezer week.

I did, however, do a mini review of last week since there were so many new things that I tried.

Monday: Leftovers. I'm going to toast the remaining baguette and put warmed up risotto on it. I'm going to make Adam and Jet fend for themselves.

Tuesday: Ham and Cheese Quiche. Need a quick dinner than can be reheated when we get home.

Wednesday: Steak and Potatoes. Because it's EASY.

Thursday: Pizza or maybe take-out because it's our last ball game.

Friday: Fish for friday. Chili Lime Orange Roughy, and rice or noodles.

Saturday and Sunday we're playing ball. Which will probably include drive-thru.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Meal Plan Review

Because I made a whole bunch of new stuff this week, and for lack of anything else to blog about, I thought I'd review the new recipes from this weeks menu plan.

Country Fair Chicken is reviewed here.

Tater Tot Casserole Quick and basic, tasted pretty good too. Only problem was, I didn't have Tater Tots so I went out and got some. Turns out the reason why we don't have Tater Tots in the house is because it gives me fierce heartburn. So...will know for next time.

Shepherdes Pie Wow, that was a ton of work. And it didn't have enough salt or pepper. If there's ever a time where I've got potato leftovers I'll make this again.

Risotto Today's dinner, because Jamie Oliver said it would be good. I liked the process of making it, but didn't taste all that good by itself. I think I used to much cheese and a bit too much wine. And it's debatable if I cooked the onions enough.

However, it tasted pretty good on slices of baguette.

Now I have to figure out something for this week. And finish all my laundry.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Great Western Drive

Somedays things just come together.

I got an automatic email from Sony today letting me know that new titles were available for an author I was watching. Last Christmas I bought a Christmas anthology - A Bride by Christmas with a Western romance written by Candace Camp. I loved it and have been wanting to read more of the same since then.

But it's really really hard to find. This author published under a different name and the back list is just now starting to come available. But I still don't know what's good from what's bad.

The second email I got was my reading list from Feedblitz. KristiJ from Ramblings on Romance had a post on Westerns and how they need a little love and attention.

And there were recs! I love recs, especially ones that are out of print but available as e-books.

Because that's the beauty of e-books.

The backlist is forever available.

Harlequin gets that. Others are starting, but it's slow going.

So, except for that one short story and a (unfortunate) paranormal, I have nothing to add to the Western love. Yet. But thanks to the Great Western Drive I'll have lots of recs to choose from.

Country Fair Chicken

This was actually pretty good. Nice and simple the way that I like my food.
I have no idea why it's called Country Fair Chicken, but whatever. I got the initial recipe from E-Mealz, but then I also looked online and modified it a bit.

Country Fair Chicken

2 or 3 chicken breasts chopped up
3 or 4 medium potatoes sliced
3 or 4 carrots chopped roughly
1 onion chopped
3 Tbs olive oil
1 package of herb and garlic soup mix
1/2 cup chicken broth

Chop everything, toss with oil, add soup mix and toss.

Pour into casserole dish, add chicken broth

Cover and cook in 350 degree oven for 1 hour, remove cover for the last 15 minutes.

I didn't have this soup mix so I used a herb marinade; it was very peppery. Probably shouldn't do that again.

I used a cup of broth because that's how much was in the container. It wasn't detrimental.

Could probably use another veggie, like celery in really big pieces.

But all in all quite good and easy to throw together. Just have to find the right spices to replace the soup mix.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

menu plan monday

Monday already?! I'm not sure how well this weeks plan will work out because I'm a bit under the weather and all I want to do is order take-out.

Monday: Pizza.

Tuesday: Country Fair Chicken. Pretty much just cut up chicken, potatoes, carrots and onion tossed in olive oil and spices. Put in a casserole dish and add some chicken broth, cover and bake for an hour. I have a real recipe that I'll add if it works out.

Wednesday: Sausage and Perogies. Adam requested it, and it's super easy so I'm all for it this week.

Thursday: Tater Tot casserole. Except I don't have tater tots or green beans in a can, but I do have hash browns and frozen green beans. I'm sure it will all work out.

Friday: Steak sandwiches with bruchetta and extra old cheese. Sliced steak on toasted french bread topped with strong cheese and bruchetta. With a good red wine if I'm feeling better.

Saturday Shepherds Pie. I was going to do this for Friday, but it seems like more work than I usually want to put into Friday dinner.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

This 'n That

Bullet posting today

  • Bought an ice cream maker, not the easiest thing to purchase if you want to spend less than a million bucks. The first batch is firming up in the freezer as we speak; Mint Chocolate Chip. Should be yummy.
  • Found out a big chain bookstore is opening up in the shopping centre near my house. This is bad news for me unless I get a Christmas job there to help offset the number of books I'll buy.
  • Saw GI Joe today. We sat too close and it made me queasy (or the coffee/popcorn combo did it, not sure which). It was a completely awesome movie even though Adam thought the dialog was campy, I was too busy looking at the hottie Duke to notice.
  • Also bought a new cast iron frying pan, for 16 bucks at a discount store.
  • New Home Outfitters near my house carries Le Creuset. At some point the three hundred dollar price tag isn't going to stop me. I should just never go in there.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Wow, whoda thunk eight years could go by so quick? Happy Anniversary to me and Adam.

It was probably the hottest day of the year, I feel bad for the guys in their tuxes because the church didn't have A/C and then there were a ton of pictures outside and I'm not sure the hall had very good A/C either.

Mostly it's a blur, a good blur, but a lot of planning, a little stress and a whole lot of expense to be shoved into one day.

I have a grand total of 12 digital pictures from the day and I can't remember why I scanned them in the first place. Almost all of them feature people who I know don't want those pictures posted, so here's three of the ones that are just me and/or Adam:

Our cake pic. I'm glad we didn't go wild on the poor cake because we forgot all about it until my Aunt reminded us. We (meaning my mom) got it from the local grocery store and decorated it with leftover flowers from the bouquets.

My pensive picture. Post ceremony at the formal picture shoot while Adams family was getting their pictures done. I was hot, tired, hungry and my feet hurt.

So I found some shade and hoped that somebody brought food soon.

They didn't.

So we went to the restaurant where we always go to wait out the time between wedding and reception and got some wings. Best wings ever. Made for some good pictures too. But I don't have those scanned.

Honeymoon in St. Louis. Had a good time; watched a football game and a couple baseball games. Toured around a bit and met some nice people. (edited to add; I just threw away the shoes I was wearing in that pic. Sad.)

We'll go out tonight with the boy for dinner to celebrate, but other than that we're pretty relaxed about the whole thing.

Which is not to say that for our ten year anniversary I don't expect something grand, because I do. Adam just doesn't know it yet :)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - Aug 10

Menu Plan Monday

We've got a busy schedule at the start of the week, so I had to find stuff that won't take long to cook but can also be eaten a couple hours later after we get home. I've got a bunch of lettuce and salad left over from the weekend, so we'll be eating that for sides for a few days too.

Monday: Chicken and rice wraps. Actually frozen left overs from the last time I made them, but it would have been just as easy to make from scratch.

Tuesday: Anniversary. Don't know if it'll be sit down or drive-thru, but I'm not cooking on my anniversary.

Wednesday: Omelet Using some more of the spinach I got from mom.

Thursday: Tuna Cakes I saw a similar recipe in a London grocery magazine last year and Adam won't be home for dinner on Thursday I think it's the perfect time to give them a try.

Friday: Herb de Provence Chicken I have bone in chicken in the freezer, a jar of Herb de Provence I've never used and Friday off from work. Should be interesting.

Saturday and Sunday are unknown to me.


Took it easy today because we had people over to watch UFC 101 last night. I always think that we don't do any entertaining, when we actually have people over about every other week. But it's almost always very laid back; BBQ steaks or burgers, hanging out in the kitchen, maybe watching a sporting event or movie.

I made bacon wrapped jalapenos from Pioneer Woman and they were a hit. I could have easily made two or three times the amount and they would have been gone.

But how could anything with bacon be bad?

We had fun, spent most of the time chatting in the kitchen, as always, and then watched the show in the basement because we've realized our furniture is not big enough for more than three adults at a time.

Got to sleep in a bit this morning and then went and raided the garden for more potatoes, carrots, beets, beans and spinach.

Now just watching a Poirot movie while finishing up laundry. Then bed.

Fun times, fun times.

Friday, August 7, 2009

What I'm currently reading

or, more precisely; What I'm currently reading again.

What Would Jane Austen Do? by Laurie Brown

This is perfect example of book I probably wouldn't have bought if it wasn't for my e-reader. I would have read the back cover and saw that it had a mix of paranormal, contemporary and historical and then would have put it down and said "No thanks, not for me".

But I must have had a couple glasses of wine, or really wasn't paying any attention at all when I bought it, because by the time I started reading and realized what was going on I was in the middle of a perfect read for a summer day.

Basically a regency costume designer is taken back in time by ghosts in order to right some wrongs that happened in the past and she falls for the wickedly hot rake who isn't at all put off by her modern way of thinking and acting.

Convenient, no?

So I'm reading along and thinking this isn't too bad; I'm connected with the characters, I love their interaction, I don't mind that there's ghosts, but I'm also wondering what's going to happen at the end? She must go back to her own time, what then?

One other thing about my e-book reader is that I can't just flip to the end of a book easily like I do with paper. Yes, I'm a last page reader. I have been since that disastrous fantasy novel that was a billion pages long and a third of the way through the love of the girls life dies. And I've been a romance reader ever since. I don't have time to be reading books where there isn't a happily ever after.

Which there is, in this book, btw. I like the ending, but the transition between regency and the ending chapters needed to be longer or more filled out I thought. I wanted to see more.

Anyway, I put my hesitation of paranormals aside and bought the authors previous book Hundreds of Years to Reform a Rake, which was equally as good.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Things I Covet - Kor One Hydration Vessel

The Kor One Hydration Vessel is a fancy water bottle made by a company who is an water advocate. I first saw it in a GOOP newsletter and have been wanting one ever since. Not only because of the causes they support and their business practices but because it's kick ass cool and I think it will be a good conversation piece.

Two downsides;

1) it's pricey to begin with, and my option for purchase is through websites which need shipping or go to our Community Natural Food store and pay their price; which might not be any better (and then I'd actually have to go there).

2) I have to choose a colour. There's four colours and each is in support of a different cause (although I think from the website it sounds like they contribute to all equally). I am not a good decision maker and this might be a serious barrier.

However today I got a code for 25% off, which makes the price better. I asked Jet which colour I should get, and because he has gender roles down to a science, he picked pink. Which is cool because I like pink as much as I like blue, orange and green.

My decision to purchae might come down to shipping costs and how quickly I can get it :)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Food Notes

Having a rough time with cooking this week, and it's only Tuesday.

1) Meal Planning doesn't do much good if I don't take stuff out of the freezer. Luckily the steaks for today were individually packaged in plastic so I could easily defrost them in a sink of lukewarm water.

2) The cake from yesterday cratered in the middle. I didn't expect it, but a little research showed that I live at high altitude (which i knew but don't really compensate for) and I should have either increased the baking temp, decreased (?) the leavening (don't know what that is), increased the flour and/or done something with the liquid. The result is a very yummy cake which didn't rise as much, and got kind of mushy in the centre because of the big crater.

3) Cooking ribs requires heavy duty foil. And I don't really like ribs.

4) Moms garden is a victim of a massive storm that passed through on the weekend. So I probably can only sponge potatoes and carrots.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - August 3

Back on track for Menu Plan Monday

Going to try and use most of the veggies I pilfered from Moms garden yesterday. Also looks like rain all week so I don't have to worry about keeping the house cool like others :)

Monday: Ribs from Alton Brown. I stocked up a while back and got slabs for $5 or less, but I have a sneaky suspicion I have no white wine or apple juice for the brine. Probably potatoes and green beans for sides.

Plus this cake

Tuesday: Steak and potatoes and some other vegetable.

Wednesday: Spinach quiche. For reals this time.

Thursday: Chicken nuggets and home made fries.

Friday: Baked Parmesan Roughy that I didn't make last time.

Not sure what Saturday or Sunday will bring.

Now I'm off to do laundry, clean the kitchen and bake a cake.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

First Harvest

Because I didn't have enough family time at the parade yesterday, and because the boy was still at Mom and Dads, I went back out with the (secondary) purpose of picking strawberries at the u-pick place down the road. I didn't realize it was so late in the season though, so the pickings were slim and tiny.

Mom and I both came back with a pail each of strawberries and one pail for her of Saskatoon berries.

Then I raided her garden for this:

Potatoes - two plants worth, and it was a lot.

Spinach - I did not know that's what it looks like. Washed it, dried it and then put it into freezer bags.

Strawberries - from the u-pick place. Washed and hulled the tiny little guys, flash froze them and put hem into freezer bags for later. Then I went and bought the ingredients, pan and toy (for the boy) for PW's Strawberry Shortcake Cake which looks beyond awesome.

Green Beans - Only a handful were ready, but there's a whole row in her garden and I'm the only one who eats them, so I'm getting a head start on them.

What I didn't take with but ate a whole bunch of anyway:

Peas - Love 'em to death. They're like bacon to me; I don't think I could ever get full or sick of them.

Raspberries - They're not quite ready yet.

And then one of us was so tired they fell asleep on the half hour drive home, and then he slept on the couch for another hour after that.

Next up; what to make with all this good food. But now; watching Merlin. ASH is still a hottie.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Heritage Days

The August long weekend is known by many names; British Columbia Day, Civic Holiday, New Brunswick Day, Scotia (Day?) and in Alberta Heritage Day.

In the town where I grew up the long weekend is when they have...wait for it...Heritage Days, where there's a rodeo and parade and family get togethers and all sorts of pancake breakfasts. When I was little it was called Whooper Upper Days, which I think is an infinitely more fun name and I still call it that and look forward to it every year.
Even the year it snowed.

Yes. Snowed.

In August.

Anyhoo, today was the parade. I love the parade. The route goes past my grandparents (old) house and the family would always make a day of it with a potluck breakfast afterwards. Sadly, the grandparents moved, but the family still goes to the same spot every year to watch. We don't even have to call or co-ordinate anything, just show up and there's someone that you know.
Like a cute little puppy.

Or a strange kid in his batman pjs on the hottest day of the year. But you try talking to a four year old when he's got his mind made up.

There's horses.

And some dude with a sword.

And some dude in a bathtub.

There was a ton of candy.

And dinosaurs; because we're in Alberta.

And a train that was really cool.

And then there was something that made everyone stop and stare in wonder.

because you don't see this very often.

A pirate ship

In Alberta

During Heritage Days.