Saturday, March 22, 2014

Our brand NEW kitchen!

Part of the reason I was slacking over the last couple months, was our big kitchen reno!  We're so pleased with it, and I LOVE cooking in the new digs.

We ripped up the floors, the counter, the backsplash, the baseboard, door trim, window scared the hell out of me when it was bare bones.

We hired our amazing tiler/good friend Rob who we have used many times in the past...he did the flooring from the kitchen back door, to the front door all through my hallway as well.  He did the backsplash, and coordinated the install of our new quartz countertop.

We hired our good friend Paul who is an awesome carpenter to build us a wine rack, which rules!  He also did all of the baseboards, and window trim in the kitchen, and throughout the hallway to the front door.

Our cupboards were in really good shape and we couldn't justify getting new ones.  They just needed new colour.  My friend Laura referred me to Leo, who transformed our cupboards into brand spanking new ones!  He sands down the doors, and drawer covers four times, then paints them.  Then he came back and sanded the sides of the cupboards that are attached to the wall and painted those.

We're still working on the other aspects of it (needed some time in between to think about choices) such as paint colour, and window coverings, light fixtures.

The end result is are some photos, and one photo will show you before and after :)

I'm going to try and catch up and KEEP current!

I've seriously been sucking at keeping up with the blog lately.  I think winter has just irritated my spirit too much that I have been forgetting to take pictures and keep my followers cooking!

I'm going to get back on the blogging wagon and keep up in the meantime (before tomorrow's soup kitchen) I'll give you two good recipes that I've made three times each in the last couple months.

They're both SUPER YUMMY, and really simple.  Also, the ingredients are very inexpensive so it's a great price for a big batch of food!

First recipe is a stir fry beef recipe.  I was scouring Pinterest a couple months back for a good flavour to marinate the beef in and found this gem!

Korean Beef Stir Fry

This marinade is simple, quick, and so filled with flavour!  I chose my own veggies so I didn't follow the recipe for that component.  Each time I've made it I've chosen different veggies to switch it up.  The recipe calls for Soba noodles.  I used rice instead.  My kids don't really like soba noodles very much, in fact, neither does the husband.

Next recipe is a new favourite around here - beef stroganoff in the slow cooker!! This recipe is so easy, calls for so few ingredients, and takes nearly ten minutes in total for prep time!

Classic Beef Stroganoff

I served this over egg noodles.  It tastes amazing on day one, and as much as I don't like eating the same meal the next day for lunch, it tasted just as good on day two!

I'll post more tomorrow...after my Sunday cooking! Happy weekend to all!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Weekend just FLEW by!

What's with the weekends feeling like they don't last long these days??  And STOP it with the polar vortex already!  It's dropped a million degrees in the last two days and I'm not impressed.

My kitchen was warm as anything today, as I had my first encouter with a grease fire.  Needless to say I almost crapped my pants, but I put it out quickly and all was fine.  But my heart on the other hand, it had a major work out.  Took a while to calm down after that!

Made a lot of food today!

First up was putting a pork loin in the crock pot for some good old fashioned pulled pork!  Served on a bun.  And yummy all around!! 

This is my own recipe so here goes.

Crock Pot Pulled Pork

1 pork shoulder roast, or pork loin, or really any kind other than tenderloin
1 cup of BBQ sauce of your choice
4 tbsp mustard
2 tbsp garlic powder
Freshly ground pepper

Put your pork roast in the crock pot and cover it with all of the ingredients.  Cover the crock pot and cook on low for 10 hours.  THAT'S IT!

When the time is up, shred the pork!

Next up was the recipe that caused my grease fire!  Combination of high heat, oil, and chicken fat.  Not impressed!  Anyways the recipe turned out great in the end, but I'm not sure based on the anxiety it caused me that I will be making it again :)

Maple Mustard Baked Chicken Thighs with Potatoes

Next up was a favourite around here that I haven't made for awhile - chicken, leek, mushroom pot pie.

It always turns out great and is full of flavour!

If you search my site for chicken, leek, mushroom pie you will find the picture of the recipe I clipped years ago!

Our fourth meal of the week came from the freezer, and my mother in law made it, so I don't have a recipe for you :) 

Lastly, ended off the day making a batch of pizza pinwheels which I have posted earlier on the site. 


A little late...but here is last week's meal plan :)

Life has been busy...and hence why I haven't been timely with posting.  I also blame it on the January BLAHS.  Does anyone else lack some motivation during the winter months? 

Last week through my lack of motivation, and also through my freezer that still has fully cooked meals in it (waiting to be EATEN!) I made three meals.

First up was a pasta dish in the crock pot!  I've never actually tried a pasta slow cooker meal before so was kind of excited to see how it worked out.  Found this easy gem of a recipe!

Crock Pot Ravioli

I followed this recipe to a TEE, and it turned out perfect.  The kids loved it (okay my son was livid that there was green pieces in it - spinach - but i buried them deep enough that he got over it) and my daughter brought it to school the next day too!!  It was delicious and in case you're wondering - YES, it tasted just like ravioli!

Next recipe was a fave around these digs.  Chicken a la King!  I serve this dish over top of either egg noodles, or puff pastry shells.

I got this recipe years ago from a Presidents Choice Insider Flyer if you can believe it, and I clipped it and have used it ever since!

Chicken a la King

This recipe turns out fantastic every time.  My kids DEVOUR it.  The only modification I make, is using lactose free milk.  Otherwise it would be bad news for me :)

Last recipe I made was a find on Pinterest.  And I would call it a Pinterest FAIL based on what it turned out looking like!!  If you're going for "look" you won't like this, but it did taste good.

Maple Honey Mustard Glazed Chicken

As you can see by the picture they show it looking like, and what mine turned out like, it was a FAIL all around.

And that's a wrap - time for this week's blog post!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Back after a slight hiatus!

Oh my goodness where to start!  It was a nutty December around definitely went out with a bang.  Between #icestorm2013, the kids battling various viral illnesses, and the holiday season, it's been about 4 weeks since I could focus on Sunday Soup Kitchen!

We were one of the "lucky" people that were impacted by the recent ice storm.  We lost power for about 50 hours.  Definitely very trying and frustrating times.  Thank goodness for grandparents who could take our children and keep them warm at their home, friends for helping out with various problems, and a father-in-law that helped the hubby hook up a generator to our furnace on day two without power.  How many people can say their kids know that "Genny is a thing that keeps you warm"!

My freezer was stocked full of meals, and that was stressing me out BIG TIME to potentially have it all go bad.  Luckily by keeping the freezers closed, all the food survived and lived to see another day!

This weekend I was able to get back to cooking and it felt great.  I only made a two meals as I have some food we need to use in the freezer.  I figured starting off slow after a hiatus was a good idea too :)

I like the "one pot meals".  Easy, relatively mess free, and fast!  I did a chicken, green beans and potato dish a few weeks back but changed this one up a bit so here goes!

One Pot Chicken, Green Beans & Red Potatoes:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cups of green beans, washed and trimmed
10 baby red potatoes, quartered
2 lemons, one thinly sliced, 1 juiced with seeds removed
5 garlic cloves minced
½ tsp freshly ground pepper
5 tablespoons olive oil


Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place one tablespoon of olive oil in a large baking dish.  Arrange the sliced lemon pieces in the dish.

In a medium sized bowl, combine four tablespoons of olive oil, minced garlic, and pepper.

Toss in the green beans and stir to coat.  Layer the green beans on top of the lemon slices.

Place the red baby potatoes in the bowl and stir to coat.  Line the baby potatoes along the outer edge of the baking dish.

Place the chicken in the bowl and coat with remaining liquid.  Line the chicken pieces in the middle of the dish, on top of the green beans.

Pour any remaining liquid on top of the chicken.

Roast the dish, uncovered for 50-60 minutes.

Next dish up was a simple roast beef!  I bought a great roast for $8.00 on the weekend - STEAL!  It was about 2 lbs total weight.  I set the oven to 325 degrees and prepared the meat.

I went pretty simple with this one.  I put a little bit of olive oil all over the meat, then put some Montreal Steak Spice rub on it.  Another option is to make a rub of garlic powder, paprika, mustard powder, and pepper.  I've done that combination before too and it also tastes great.

I had some carrots so I chopped up a bunch and lined it along the outside of the roasting pan alongside the beef, and also threw in about 4 whole garlic cloves.

For baking it at 325, I estimate it to be about 25-30 minutes per pound to bring it to "medium".  I like my meat around "medium well" so I cooked this for about 1 hour and 40 minutes.  Turned out perfect!

Everyone needs gravy with a roast beef, but unfortunately I was too lazy to make some from scratch so luckily I had a packet of gravy and made it over the stove :)  I sauteed some mushrooms too, which I then threw in the gravy boat.  YUM YUM YUM!

Potatoes - everyone needs those with a roast!  The kids love my "potato fingers" that I make in the oven.  Home made french fries is what they are, and they are pretty much the bomb!

Oven Roasted Potatoes:

4-6 yellow potatoes peeled and sliced into "fingers"
4-5 tablespoons of olive oil
Spices of your choice - I went with garlic powder, pepper, and paprika

Chop up your potatoes and place them in a large bowl.  Pour in the olive oil and mix well to coat the potatoes.  Place the spices of your choice - I wouldn't use too much, just about a teaspoon of each spice.  Toss to coat and then line them up on a baking sheet.

As I needed to cook these at the same temp as the meat that I had in the oven, I cooked them for 45 minutes at 325 degrees, then I increased the heat to 425 for the last 15 minutes.  Turned out perfect!

Oh!  And in some other exciting news, I've been asked to be a "cooking and recipes" contributor to a website!  Stay tuned for more details!