Category: Recipes

All my favourite food-related posts

Birds and Fudge and Cheese and Flowers or Random Tuesday: The “Why The Heck Not!” Edition

Here is a picture of a Blue Jay.

I did not take this picture because the very noisy Blue Jay that has been visiting my patio is also suuuuuper paranoid and I have yet to be able to capture his image. I found this very pretty photo here. I really enjoy birds and I absolutely love the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. It is an endless source of information and they are always doing good things for birds and the environment.

Here is another picture of a Blue Jay.

Because Random Tuesday. That’s why! Roberto Alomar had his number (12) retired back in 2011. He was an excellent baseball player and as far as I can tell an upstanding gentleman. I wonder what he is up to in 2016.

2016 may be remembered (at least by some members of my family) as the Summer of Fudge. Hoo boy! We ate more fudge this summer than we did all year! This is not a good thing, but in the moment it was glorious. Here’s a peek at a wee sampling. We bought these two at the Anne of Green Gables Chocolates inside Avonlea Village in Cavendish, Prince Edward Island. If you head into Charlottetown, PEI, you can watch them making some of the confections through big windows from inside the shop. (Then you’ll very likely need to purchase some “COW Chips”. Consider this fair warning.)

We also had fudge purchased at the PEI Preserve Company. I think it was made by the New Glasgow Candy Company (though there’s no remaining evidence to serve as proof) and the flavour was Turtle Delight. As you can imagine it was – wait for it – delightful.

How do you feel about cheese curds? I mean real, honest-to-goodness, full fat, squeaky, cheese curds. They’re awesome right? We used to buy St. Albert’s when we lived in Ottawa and they were great. This summer my brother had some he purchased at Costco (I presume, as the bag was pretty large) and they were delicious and very real. I’m going to have to get the details before I go next time. Hmm. Or should I not get the details? Cheese can be dangerous. Though, soon it will be playing a substantial role in meal prep ’round here. Actually, as it is Taco Tuesday (but we skipped tacos tonight) there’s usually at least two kinds of shredded cheese on the go. Mmm. Cheese.

Speaking of cheese, do you get all caught up in changing your decor over from Summer to Fall? (Stay with me. This is going somewhere.) (Plus, hello! Random Tuesday!) Do you have a set idea of what constitutes Fall decor? Are you mad about Mums or is Mum the word where your personal plans lie? I ask because I love Fall Mums, (I have written about them here. Several times, apparently.), but it has recently been brought to my attention that some people loathe them. They are cliché and played out as far as some of my Mum friends (that’s mother Mum, not plant Mum) are concerned. They’d rather have nothing than a Fall Mum. I can understand not loving a street full of the same flowers, but I find them to be very happy making. Especially the gigantic ones I get (in yellow, usually) from Costco. (Although, to be honest, I saw one today when I was there and it was looking a little long in the tooth. Mind you, I was practically running through the aisles to get to the checkout to buy movie passes. Jumpins! Costco needs a new system for buying things like passes. * eye twitch * Don’t get me started. That’s an entire (rant filled) post waiting to happen.) Meanwhile, my friend has gotten into my head and now I am not sure I want Mums. Well, I do, but maybe not only Mums.

As luck would have it Kent has sunflowers in planters that basically look like a live bouquet, so maybe I’ll get a couple of those instead. 

What do you keep growing in and around your space when Autumn weather arrives?

I asked Thing 2 to say the first and most random thing that popped into her head this morning and she exclaimed, “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!” with such glee that I would be remiss to not share this gem right this minute.

Did you hear that Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke will have cameos in a new reboot of Mary Poppins? True story.

I liked this Guacamole 101 recipe. Avocados really are a wonderful fruit. They’re loaded with fibre and chock full of good, healthy fat. I vow to add more avocado to my diet. Guacamole ought to be its own food group. Wouldn’t you agree?

We took the Things to see The Secret Life of Pets this evening. Have you seen it? Here’s a Kevin Hart teaser.

He was perfect as Snowball.

Before the movie we saw a preview for “Sing”. I definitely want to see this one!

It looks cute and I love the premise. 

So … how did I do? 

Is this random enough for a Random Tuesday?

SpaghettiOs! <– That’s Thing 2’s final injection of random 

blink blink

 

Summer Snack: KISS Edition

We just had an awesome and delicious snack and I am not exaggerating one bit when I tell you the kids can make it themselves. I whipped it up this time, but next time they’re on their own. Frankly, it’s just as well. I don’t think I can be trusted all alone with its deliciousness.

Have I piqued your interest? Are you curious? Are you sitting on the edge of your seat? 

Well, okay then. I’ll tell you what our scrumptious afternoon snack was today. It was so simple you might just think I am silly for blogging about it. Then again you didn’t think to have this today, did you? Oh ho ho! I’ve got you there, haven’t I? 

Okay, okay. Enough with the suspense already!

We had juicy, fresh, local strawberries dipped in white chocolate. Ta daa! 

So easy! Right? 

Here’s what I did.

Pick or buy fresh local strawberries. Ours were bought, but most definitely local and oh so fresh.

Clean them and remove any that might be iffy or mushy or underripe. Taste test 17 just to be sure.

Get some good quality, white chocolate. Today we used Baker’s, but white chocolate chips, white chocolate melting wafers, white chocolate chunks from your bulk food store, etc., would all work fine.

Break the chocolate into individual squares. Or if using larger blocks chop it up using a serrated edge knife. This will help it melt faster and also will give you a chance to taste test the chocolate to make sure it hasn’t gone bad. It hasn’t. Taste it anyway. You know, just in case.

Place the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. I used one of my trusty little square dip bowls from President’s Choice. (More on those later. It’s a very short love story.)

Pop the chocolate into the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir gently. You are not trying to whip it up, really, you want smooth, bubble-free, shiny chocolate. Place back in microwave for 10 seconds. Stir. This may be enough time, but if you need more melting time, be sure to use only 10 second intervals because you don’t want the chocolate to seize or burn. That’d be a shame. 

Give the chocolate one final gentle stir and place in the centre of a platter. 

Fill the platter with your beautiful, clean, fresh, local strawberries and stand back while the wolverines – umm – I mean children dig in!

See?

I bet you’re glad I suggested all that taste testing when you first started this little snack journey, now, aren’t you?

You’re welcome.

Thankful Thursday: American Thanksgiving Edition

Happy American Thanksgiving Day!

I know it’s late, but I have been busy celebrating.

If you want to know how we spent the day I think the quickest way for me to show you is by directing you to this post, “How To Celebrate American Thanksgiving In Canada”, I wrote for Life In Pleasantville. 

It went pretty much according to plan, except we didn’t eat any pie! That is a travesty!

I have a friend in Texas who hosted a 100% pie Thanksgiving today. How amazing is that?!?

And here we are stuffed like the turkey with no room for pie. Oh! The shame! 

We’ll have to train harder for next year.

In the meantime, my unending quest for awesome American side dishes (You know they are amazing, right? Oh, you really must go read my post!) I asked my very best imaginary friend, Sheila (Hey Sheila!) for a recipe to share with you and being the awesome friend that she is she came up with this gem!

 

Sheila’s Corn Casserole
Shoepeg corn, 2 cans, drained
French cut green beans, 1 can, drained
Sour cream, 8 oz.
Slivered almonds, small pkg.
Chopped onion, half – whole (depending on your tastes)
Ground pepper, to taste
Grated cheddar cheese, sharp or mild,
1-2 cup Cream of something** soup (celery, mushroom or chicken.)
Mix it all up in a casserole dish sprayed with Pam
Topping
Tube of Ritz crackers, crushed.
Stick of butter, melted.
Blend crackers and melted butter and spread mixture on top of casserole.
Cook 350 for approximately 30 minutes, until bubbly and top is browning.
(Brown to your liking.)

 
Ta daa!
I am definitely making this side dish next year.
 

It’s late and I must sleep because Friday will be a very busy day.

I want to tell you a bit more about our Thanksgiving dinner conversation with Thing 1 and Thing 2, but it will have to wait until I have a bit more time. I wish I could tell you right now! I assure you I will share as soon as I can.

I will tell you all about Friday’s busy-ness tomorrow night. Promise!

Meanwhile, pie for breakfast!
I kid. I kid.****

How did you spend your Thanksgiving?
Did you double up on this holiday of gratitude?

What are you thankful for today?

 **Can you see now why I love Sheila?
***They all work. Celery is what original recipe called for.
****Kinda sorta.

Sweet Sunflower Snacks (A Pictorial Snack Tutorial)

Did you know you can cut an apple almost all the way through, pop out the core, let the flower petals fall open, then add a dollop of peanut butter and a few mini chocolate chips, to make a delicious and nutritious sunflower?

You can!

See?

 

Isn’t that fun? It is a favourite around here, especially in Fall, when the Nova Scotian apples are at their absolute best. Delicious!

Easy, right?

Totally.

You can use what you like best, of course, but I tend to use a Golden Delicious Apple, Natural Peanut Butter*, and gluten free mini chocolate chips. You only need a few chocolate chips. They are chocolate chips! They seem to have a magical power over kids. If they find 2 in a mini muffin they’re thrilled, so I just go with what I have worked so hard to achieve. Happiness!

So, what do you think? Do you think your kids would like to try a Sweet Sunflower Snack?

I am willing to bet they would.

What is your favourite snack food? Do your kids have special snacks after school?

Let’s talk about it! 

If you give this a try, I’d love to hear what you think.

Oh, just one more thing! I nearly forgot!!

Look!

It’s a teeny tiny Thing 2 enjoying a Sweet Sunflower Snack a few years ago! Aww! 

This small Corelle bowl might be the ideal serving dish for this snack. Notice how it helps the apple slices keep the flower shape, while containing the Peanut Butter? That’s better than the larger plate for presentation. (Though the larger plate was best for an after school snack with extra Things!) I also like the mix of white chocolate and dark chocolate chips here. It seems more flower-like, to me.

*Of course, if you have a peanut allergy you can use another nut butter or a soy butter in its place. Still yummy!

Set It Up Sunday


Good morning*!

It is Sunday morning and the coffee pot just beeped and as happy as hearing it makes me, I can’t help feeling that yucky sense of dread. Sunday stresses can only be a matter of minutes away.

They don’t always come when expected, mind you. Sometimes they can be held at bay for a really long time. A whole day. A week or two. Rarely longer.

Sometimes on a long weekend they magically disappear. In summer they are practically nonexistent. I love summer.

Or contrariwise they morph into Monday Stresses and no one needs that on a Monday because let’s face it some of us already have major issues with Mondays.

Poor Monday. It gets a bad wrap. It’s just another day. Logically, we all know this, but if the traffic is bad or you forget your morning coffee or there is a pop quiz or the grocery store is out of that awesome bagged salad you so desire and desperately need, chances are it’s going to happen on a Monday.

At the very least, that is how you’ll remember it.

Tuesday is terrific. It’s got it made in the shade with it’s, ‘Yay! I’m Taco Tuesday! Everyone loves tacos. Go ahead and add some guacamole!’ swagger. Everyone loves Tuesday.

Wednesdays are weird. They are either completely wonderful or the worst. It’s all a matter of perspective, I suppose, but some Wednesdays are all Peak Performance, eat all the right things, go for a great walk at lunchtime, skip the chocolate, take the stairs, do one more lap, days. While others are more, what’s for dinner, why didn’t I thaw that, oh shoot I have an appointment, I have to sign how many forms immediately, the bus is late, I might as well just eat that <add your snack of sin here> now anyway because I am already doomed, days.

Thankfully, over the years, I seem to have gotten a handle on Wednesdays. I will them to be wonderful, more often than not. Typically, Brinner*** has its moment to shine during Wednedsay’s dinner hour. So easy and satisfying. Wednesdays, also tend to give me a WHAM! mindworm. If you are a WHAM! fan, I bet you know what I am talking about.

Thursdays. Well, Thursdays have always usually been good. Once upon a time it was “Must See TV” day and who could possibly deny the awesomeness of that? Habits. They really can work in your favour, you know? Plus Thursday is Friday Eve and everyone is excited to welcome Friday back into their lives at the end of a long work week, right?

Friday. You beautiful, happy-making, party all the time, sight for sore eyes, you. Are we ever glad to see you! You make the work week worth it and the school week tolerable. You make the secular among us religious – that’s power – if only for the time it takes to utter the letters T, G, I, and F.

I love Fridays. We always take the time to make Fridays fun. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but there are more Fridays than not, that are Friday Family Fun Nights at Chez Peady. We do enjoy our traditions. Sometimes it’s a movie night or a make-your-own-pizza night or a family game night. Sometimes we just relax and do our own thing, but Friday night is sacred. We try very hard to respect it and not make plans away from our Peady peeps!

Saturdays are best, though. Hands down. Zumba, time to get stuff done around our space, relax. Even laundry feels like less of a burden on Saturdays. Now that’s saying something, because we all know how I feel about laundry. Saturday is the freest day. There’s enough time left in the weekend that even if you have a lazy start to the day you can ramp it up in the afternoon and evening – especially as the warmer weather starts to grace us with it’s presence. The peepers are singing. The air is warm. You can take a late night stroll. Go have some froyo (yo!). Pick out a movie to watch even though bedtime is approaching. On Saturday all bets are off.  

Oh dear.

Here comes Sunday again. It happens every week. Sigh.

So what can I do to make Sunday less of a bitter pill?

I can take a few minutes and set up my week so that Sunday is just another day, falling in line with the others, with a plan in place most stresses can be minimized. For me, for my Things, for all of us.

I have not been very good at this lately, but the time has come.

Today is Set It Up Sunday.

Today I will make a plan for my week and I will reap the benefits of that basic plan all week long – including next Sunday when I do it all over again.

I have taken a few minutes throughout the day today to set the week – and myself – up for success.

This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Filling in any and all grown up events for the week on the Mom CPU
  • Asking Things for any notes from school
  • Adding any and all remaining school events to the Mom CPU
  • Thinking about, researching, and then creating a menu for the week
  • Taking stock of the contents of the freezer
  • Making a grocery list
  • Planning to exercise/walk more
  • Committing to attending a fitness class on Monday with my NS BFF
  • Planning an earlier bedtime for myself
  • Recommitting to drink 4 litres of water each day
  • Finding and buying new sandals and sneakers
  • Avoiding sugar like the plague
  • Writing more
  • Learning how to set up a proper editorial calendar
  • Going outside to play. Every. Single. Day.

So that’s it. That’s my pl****. It’s not quite a full plan, but it is certainly better than nothing and way better than my flying-by-the-seat-of-my-pants approach of late.

Set it up Sunday!

What do you think?

Are you a “Fail to plan, plan to fail” kind of person?

What happens when you make a plan?

Do you follow through?

100%? Kinda sorta? 

Tell me about your approach or what you find works best for you and yours.

Have a fabulous week!

 

 

 

*Or afternoon or evening or night depending on where you happen to be.**

**Now that I brought it up, where are you? No really. I’m asking. Feel free to let me know in a comment.

***Breakfast for dinner! Brinner FTW! Try it! Here, here, or here!


 

Define Decadent

Here is a picture of yesterday’s lunch.

 

1/4 cup frozen blueberries

3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 tablespoon shelled hemp seeds

1/2 tablespoon maple syrup

All in one happy making, old fashioned, ice cream shoppe, parfait dish.

 

I’m here to tell you it was decadent.

That is all.

 

What’s decadent to you?

What’s your favourite lunch?

 

 

 

Something Good

This* is the best thing I have done for myself in more than a week.

Winter is hard.

I am trying to kick myself in the bum, but my feet don’t go that way, so I might need an intervention by way of a virtual butt kicking.

How are you faring off?

Are you remembering to take care of yourself?

What do you do to keep motivated when the weather outside is screaming at you to take a nap?

You know? Like this.

 

 

*This is a smoothie made with water, 1/4 c frozen blueberries, 1 scoop protein powder. I used my Hamilton Beach single serve blender to, well, blend it.