Considering Casseroles.

Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something … Unfortunately, that’s too rare a commodity.*

 

Breakfast for dinner casserole.

 

Can a casserole be considered creative?

I say, if it renders everyone a) speechless or b) leaves them only able to mutter “mms” and other yummy sounds, it can be!

 

This is such a casserole.

Simple ingredients, easily thrown together at the end of a long and busy day, that results in yummy noises and a happy, full, family.

Easy-peasy!

 

Here are the things I connected:

EVOO

Frozen Hashbrowns (the little diced ones)(I’m sure the shredded ones would work, too.)

Dehydrated Onion Flakes

S & P

Eggs

Onion Powder

Cream

Grated Cheddar (I used a pre-shredded three cheese blend)

1 Roma tomato (seeded and diced)

1 Red pepper (also seeded and diced)

Sausages (cooked) (I used a Gluten Free brand called Cavicchis’ Meats)

 

Here is how I connected them:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Into a 9 x 13 pan (I use a glass one) add about a table spoon of olive oil and coat the bottom and sides. (I have a teeny silicone brush for this task and it works well.)

Immediately add the frozen hash browns to the pan. (You can use a lot or a little of any of the above ingredients in this recipe, by the way. It’s difficult to get it wrong. Tonight I used an entire 900 g bag because everyone was really hungry.)

Add some freshly ground black pepper and a teensy bit of kosher salt (careful with the salt!).

Sprinkle about a teaspoon of dehydrated onion flakes over the hash browns.

Next, break your eggs (Tonight I used 9, but you can adjust according to your own needs.) and beat them together (with a fork – oh yeah, fancy!) with a bit of pepper and onion powder (trust me..) and cream. You want the consistency you’d be expecting for scrambled eggs, so adjust egg:cream ratio as needed.)

To the beaten eggs, add a cup of cheese (or a handful.. or as much as you’d like.. or need.. or are limited to) and blend.

Add your peppers and tomatoes.

Pour the egg mixture over the hash browns.

Top with the cooked and sliced sausages, spreading the pieces evenly over the casserole.

Don’t be concerned if it seems like the eggs have vanished because they will fluff/rise up nicely while the casserole bakes for the next 30-45 minutes in the middle of your preheated oven.

 

I use my nose and my eyes a lot in my kitchen. When it starts to smell like supper, you’ll know you are almost there.

When the hash browns are browning (Hello! They’re hash browns.) on the bottom of the pan (score one for the see through glass pan!) it’s time to turn the oven off.

The centre should be set. (No jiggly casseroles, please and thank you!)

Allow it to cool a little bit, and while it does, the kids can help set the table, so *everyone* gets to sit down to a scrumptious, simple supper – together.

 

Are you pro casserole or do you prefer your foods stick to their separate quarters on your plate?

Leave a comment and tell me about one of your creations that just works.

Oh, and if you try this let me know what you think of it!

 

 

 

 

*Source: Wired: UK, 2011, Steve Jobs: A Wired Life, reprinted from “The Next Insanely Great Thing” by Gary Wolf, Wired 4.02, February 1996

Get on Track! The Veggie Pack’s Back.

Last night I made the most scrumptious supper!

It had all the components of an ideal summer meal.

It was fast.
It was flavourful.
It was inexpensive.
It was easy to prepare.
It had lots of veggies.
It wasn’t too carb-y.
It had good protein.
It was nice and light (even though it was hot).
Thing 1 and Thing 2 loved it.
Everyone loved it!
Clean up was a snap.

It was delicious!

I feel like this one meal has set my week on a positive path and since my path of late has been littered with potato chip crumbs and donair sauce, I have decided it needs to be shared, just in case any of you are also finding the summer to be a little harder than expected on the healthy living front.

So without further ado, I present to you, the power of the veggie pack!

Just like that *snaps* my mind was made up.

I will make better choices.

I will exercise more.

I will fuel my brain and body with nutritiously dense whole foods.

One good choice was all it took.

Just like that.

 

How do you stay on track when it comes to your health? Are you a strict, never-leave-the-straight-and-narrow kind of person or are you that rare human who has really found a way to balance all the things? Have you found a way to have your cake and eat it, too? (Oh my goodness! If you have, you had better be sharing *that* information!)

I guess my approach is to have more forward moving positives than backsliding negatives each and every day. That’s it.

Tomorrow? Tomorrow I am going back to hot yoga.

Yeah. I can’t believe it either.

 

Yay! I get a taco!

Does everybody know what day it is?

Nope. It’s not Friday. Sorry, Jeni.

Nope. It’s not Monday. That was yesterday’s problem.

Want a hint?

tacotruck_lr3

That’s right! It’s Taco Tuesday!

Taco Tuesday is on regular rotation at Chez Peady and we always enjoy it. Sometimes the tacos are fancy, with my scrumptious – if I do say so myself – (and I do!) homemade guacamole. Sometimes it’s as basic as following the directions on a taco kit (name brand or otherwise). Sometimes they are filled with beef. Other times it’s chicken. Slow cooked or roasted. Simple and delicious. Even fish tacos are a hit ’round here! We just love tacos.

We try to change it up a little bit each time, so that we don’t grow tired of our Taco Tuesday tradition. There’re so many ways that a simple meal can be made interesting, and tacos are perfect for customization. From the fillings to the shells, to the toppings and the sauces, there’s a myriad of ways to make tacos – and to make them fun!

Tonight’s beef tacos were awesome! Nothing too fancy, but the ingredients were fresh, everyone was looking forward to dinner together, and everything turned out just right.

 

I think next Taco Tuesday we’ll try a vegetarian version made with Chickpeas. I know Thing 1 and Thing 2 will give them a try and very likely will enjoy them.

They’ll try anything! They’ve yet to turn up their noses at a single taco trick. From Beer Battered Haddock to Spaghetti*, from beef to books about the topic, I say “Tacos!” and they say “Si!” How lucky are we?

 

 

 

 

*You can find the awesome Taco Truck (and many other examples of awesome) pictured above here.

** Yeah, you read that right.

*** My new favourite thing to say. I shared it’s source here.

 

 

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Thursday needs a kick in the pants!

And so do I!

Butt Kick. Swift.

You might be surprised how often Calvin & Hobbes could be credited with giving me the best life advice and spiritual guidance.

Remember way back* in the beginning of this blog how I swore I’d be better. I’d be kinder to myself and I would improve my life in as many ways as possible, not the least of which being my fitness level and over all health? Mmm hmm.

Easier said than done**.

My feet have been rather stOOpid*** of late and that has made walking difficult – forget any attempt at a C25k program which I really, really want to do. I have decent shoes, I have orthotics, I am really good about remembering to stretch before starting my day. Despite my best efforts and plans, my left foot is being a complete and utter jerk. It hurts. A lot.

So much so, that I have not walked, for fitness sake, with my NS BFF all week. Not good.

But that’s no biggie, you might be thinking, there are LOTS of things you can do for exercise without your feet.

It’s true. There are.

Have I been doing those things? No. No I haven’t.

I have been having a bit of a pity party. “Pity? Party of one?” *raises hand* Ugh.

It happens. It’s okay. I’m over it. It’s time to kick into gear.

Thank goodness I have friends who support and love me – just the way I am.

Thank goodness I have a husband who loves me, laughs at my jokes, tolerates the awful puns and always makes me feel like I can do whatever I want (even when I am not so sure).

Thank goodness both of the above have wicked awesome senses of humour and willingly share their own “funny ha ha” as often as possible.

 

 

 

Guess what’s for dinner tonight at Chez Peady!

Not even kidding.

 

Oh, and don’t worry, I promise you I’ll “earn” mine.

 

 

* All those years months weeks ago.

** Time for a reboot****

*** Plantar Fasciitis – OW! Don’t think I missed your little dig, there, Wikipedia. 70%. *sighs*

****Or a reeeeaaaaalllyyy big boot in the hindquarters!

 

Of course, Calvin & Hobbes (everything) was drawn and written by Bill Watterson and is the property of Universal Press Syndicate, an Andrews McMeel Universal company.

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss! (Part Deux: Cupcakes!)

You already know we love celebrating Dr. Seuss’ Birthday, and do so every year, but this year in addition to our dinner of Green Eggs and Ham I decided to bake some cupcakes for dessert and let Thing 1 & Thing 2 decorate them in the style of Thing 1 & Thing 2. I mean, how else would Thing 1 & Thing 2 decorate anything other than in the style of Thing 1 & Thing 2? It’d be impossible! That being said, allow me to clarify. *MY* Thing 1 and Thing 2 decorated the cupcakes in a way that would pay homage to the very famous Thing 1 & Thing 2 from Dr. Seuss’ “The Cat in the Hat“. Clear as mud!

It was totally on the fly and I used a cupcake mix and canned frosting – yeah I did – and you know what? They were awesome! The kiddos loved them, loved decorating them and thought they were scrumptious!

I had never used Duncan Hines Frosting Creations, before, but I read a cautionary tale about the product over on Curtains are Open and took it as a challenge. This tells you so much about me. Really it does.

I knew there was a blue flavour (Yes. Blue is a flavour. Usually “blue raspberry”, which is just weird, but I digress…) and was so excited to read that it was *not* raspberry, but rather cotton candy. Sold!

Anyhoo…

I followed the instructions and the flavour packet actually mixed in very well (using a butter knife – fancy!), but it lacked a certain over-the-top blueness that I felt was required to properly convey the idea of a “Thing”, so I added extra royal blue food colouring and it turned out just right. Then I handed the cupcakes and frosting over to Thing 1 & Thing 2 and armed them with butter knives and this is the end result.

Blue frosting

Frosting with “cotton candy” flavour + a royal blue boost.

Hair

See the spiky and twirly hair? All done with a butter knife!

Cupcake

I’m not going to lie. I wanted to run away with this one!

Cupcakes

Here is the finished product. What do you think?

Last one

This one is my favourite. I was so pleased with how this little impromptu dessert turned out!

Friday Family Fun Night: Olympic Pizza Edition

We have a tradition at Chez Peady. To be truthful, we have many, but Friday Family Fun Night has been a part of our family, practically since we became a family.

It may have started with a frazzled, hormonally charged “I am a failure as a mother and therefore as a human being!”, but I assure you it has evolved into a lovely family tradition over the years.

Friday Family Fun Night can be anything that works for your family at the end of a busy week. We have, on occasion, even moved FFFN to Saturday to assure a more relaxed experience. I know we can’t be the only set of parents, come Friday, who would really just prefer to crawl into bed and zonk out until the light of day. We are not alone, right? RIGHT?! I didn’t think so.

We tend to change up our FFFN activities on a regular basis so that it doesn’t just start to feel like yet another obligatory “scheduled something” that we have to do. That being said there is one component that seems to have rooted itself deeply into our Friday night plans. Can you guess what it is? No. Guess again! No. Guess again! It’s PIZZA!

(You really should have gotten that sooner. I mean it’s right there in the title of this post. We have to work on your reading detective skills.)

Pizza always plays a part and on a Friday night there is NOTHING easier or more appreciated than a delicious, cheesy pizza. Wait. When you are a kid, there kind of is – it’s making your very own pizza! The Things are pretty creative and over the years we have had a myriad of pizza themes and shapes. From faces to animals to the Death Star and many things in between.

I know that, traditionally, today is a day for hearts, but that would have been cliché and besides with all the Olympic *love* we are seeing and hearing about, tonight’s theme was obvious. We would make an Olympic themed pie. Specifically, we would make the Olympic Flag. And we did!

It was easy and delicious, as usual, but it also fit in perfectly with our Canadian pride (Go, Canada, Go!) and like other MYO Pizza nights the activity is built right into making the meal. How fun is that? I think it’s great because no one is ever waiting around for dinner. They are actively taking part in the preparation, learning new things, making decisions, talking to each other, laughing and having fun. (Speaking of activity, while the pizza was cooking there was a pretty heated game of “Horse” happening between Daddy-O and the Things. I highly recommend those over-the-door basketball hoops.)

This time we really had to think about what kinds of toppings we could use to make those iconic Olympic Rings. We needed blue, black, red, yellow and green. Some toppings popped immediately into our minds. Green peppers and tomatoes seemed obvious choices for green and red.  Three out of four diners enjoy green peppers and tomatoes on their pizza, too, so that was a done deal. It took only a second more to come up with pineapple, which everyone enjoys, for yellow. Great! Thing 1 then had a “Eureka!” moment and shouted “Black Beans are black!”. Terrific! Now blue. Blue was tricky. There was a rather lengthy discussion about which would be more disgusting on pizza: blueberries or blue cheese. Blue cheese won the prize for grossest topping because “it has mold!” and then there was further discussion about the fact that all cheese has mold, but some molds are more scrumptious than others. (Thing debates are the best! I should really record one one of these days.) In the end, blueberries won their place in Olympic pizza history!

We think it turned out great. What do you think?

Veggies

Green peppers, pineapple, tomatoes, black beans, blueberries. Yummy!

Black beans

Thing 1 started with the black ring in the centre, so it would all be even. Logical! (Black beans are *actually* just really dark brown.)

Blueberries

Thing 2 added the blueberry ring and ate a LOT of blueberries in the process.

Veggies

Almost done! What do you think? Doesn’t this look delicious?

Flag pie

Ta daa! An Olympic pizza.

Yummy!

Thing 1 approves of his blueberries and black beans.