What we ate Wednesday (well, we ate it Monday!)

   What we ate Monday was not what was on the menu for Monday, but with Dance classes cancelled, I decided to cook…But there was a hockey game on and since I am a hockey fan, but (I know I shouldn’t say it) not a Canucks fan (not a Boston Fan either, but I have been watching Boston play for my entire life!  The only NHL games I have ever been to have been Boston-Montreal games, in Montreal), I decided to cook something simple, and that everyone would come to the table to eat.  Something they could pry themselves away from the television for.

So, I had marinated some pork chops in a homemade BBQ sauce (3 TBSP  marmalade, 1/4 c tomato paste, tbsp low sodium soy sauce, 1/2 tsp cumin,  tbsp chili powder, dash or two hot sauce and some finely chopped onion (maybe 3 tbsp)…Mix ingredients in small sauce pan, bring to a low boil, and then simmer for 7-10 minutes.  Let cool, and then pour over your meat or fish…If it is too thick, thin it with a little bit of water, chicken stock or white wine.).  Those hit the bbq during the first intermission…

BC new nugget potatoes, and folks will give you all sorts of ways to serve em, but they always taste so good just steamed until just before they split (don’t leave them alone on the stove), and then served with just a little bit of butter.

Fresh green beans (something we almost never have in our house, just because I don’t find them good bang for your buck), again just steamed (do these last because they taste best hot and still crunchy and they don’t like to wait for other things), and served with a little bit of butter and a drizzle of lemon juice.
And some green salad, but that is just because we ALWAYS have salad, to quote my 7 year old.  Not true, I am sure my 9 year old told me that we ALWAYS have soup!

Enjoy!  Happy Packing!
And, no, there were no leftovers for lunches…Sandwiches it was, with lots of SALAD!


Menu Plan to get us through the Last Crazy Week!

    June is a crazy month around our house…Never mind that Teacher Rob is up to his eyeballs in marking (stuff that should have been handed in in February, March and even some from November!), preparing for report cards and all that, but it seems that every activity that goes on all year, wraps up in June.  This week wraps up a few things, but that makes for a bit of a crazy week, what with Athletic Banquets and Dance shows, baseball games and gymnastics, Fun Day at school, doctor’s appointments, haircuts.

    Why, then, on what feels like the craziest week since Christmas (darn good thing Christmas is in December!), have I decided to defrost the freezer??  Well, first of all, it is finally warm enough to want to have the freezer open all day!  And, more importantly, the freezer is almost empty (well, it is empty, now!).  Normally this is a chore I leave until August (we just eat down what is left in the freezer in July, and then defrost in August).  However, April and May were so crazy busy, that we ended up “eating down” the freezer in May instead of July this year.  So, before I fill it all up again, I figured I had better get it defrosted.  It did make it easy to plan this week’s menu tho’!  Just went through what was left (that I had transferred to the smaller freezers) and made a menu!
So…What will we eat this week?  Things that will lend themselves to leftovers for lunches, I am hoping…Well, except for maybe the pork chops, since there are only 5 of those!

  • Today (Saturday): My version of Italian Pasta Bake (a recipe a friend got from “All Recipes”, but the pound and a half of cheese was something I just couldn’t do, so I made many changes…see the recipe at the end of this post), and Caesar Salad.
  • Sunday: This is the Dance show, so I am not cooking!  We will be out at Rehearsals all morning, and then the show!  Out for dinner we go!
  • Monday: Salmon Pasta Salad, with broccoli and cauliflower and Santa Fe Salad.  And mocha iced vanilla cake for dessert (because I found some icing from a few weeks ago in the freezer!) …Tuesday lunches will be turkey Santa Fe wraps, because I have just enough turkey breast in the freezer to make lunch wraps for everyone, but not enough for supper!)
  • Tuesday: Baked Chicken and and rice casserole (for daycare we are having chicken and rice for lunch, so I just make double the rice and the chicken, and then make the casserole in the morning so it just has to go in the oven when we get home from school…Means it is ready just in time for everyone to eat before heading off in 5 different directions.
  • Wednesday: Crust less Salmon and spinach quiche (and if the boy turns up his nose, he can always have leftovers)
  • Thursday: “Make your own Sandwich night”, not everyone is home over the supper hour, so there will be leftovers and fixings for sandwiches, but you are on your own (yes, even if you are seven, altho there will be a grown-up to help you cut things and run the toaster)
  • Friday: Lamb burgers on the BBQ wrapped in whole wheat pita, with Greek salad and tzatziki, and Greek roasted potatoes if you’re lucky~

And on Saturday, I am out for a 10 year reunion of our Baby Group, so the family will be foraging without me!  I will be dining with my fellow mums on appies (from some lovely take-out menu!  I believe Greek got the vote) and enjoying wine and grown-up chitchat that will no doubt revolve around school PACs, baseball schedules, social housing developments, School fun fairs and who still won’t eat what (and any camping plans that may have been made for the coming summer)… 10 years…Wow!
A quote from the Invitation:

“…1 Baby Group
11 Fabulous Women
13 Girls & 10 Boys

175 Children’s Birthdays
22 First Days of Kindergarten (1 still to come)
10 Houses bought & 13 moves made
1 Broken arm
Hundreds of visits from the Tooth Fairy (sometimes on the second night cuz she was busy)
Zero divorces (that deserves a party itself)
A thousand nights camping (over half in the rain)
Unknown bottles of wine consumed
A million memories made…”
Should be a wonderful evening!  I love the “zero divorces” statistic…
The promised recipe…

Turkey Pasta Bake
1 tsp canola oil
1 lb ground turkey
1 coil homemade kielbasa (from the butcher, you could use the one from the grocery store), half chopped, half sliced thin
2 small onions chopped fine
1 medium sized red pepper, chopped fine
salt and pepper to taste, 
1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
1 14 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes (no salt)
1 6 oz can tomato paste 
1/2 tsp salt, 
1/4 tsp pepper
2 cups cottage cheese, or low fat ricotta cheese, 
1/2 cup steamed spinach (or one package, thawed, of frozen chopped), drained
1 300g package of low fat grated mozzarella cheese for sprinkling.
1 12 oz package short whole wheat pasta (I used penne)
1. Grease 9×13 lasagna pan.
2. Mix cottage cheese, spinach, and salt and pepper, set aside.
3. In large saucepan, heat 1 tsp canola oil, brown ground turkey, add onion and red pepper and cook until soft.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Add chopped kielbasa (leave sliced for the end), canned tomatoes and oregano.  Mix well, continue cooking on medium low for 20 minutes, stirring frequently.  Taste and season as needed.
4. Drain pasta, return to pot.  Add cottage cheese mixture and stir well.  Spoon into prepared lasagna pan.  Spoon sauce over noodle mixture, and stir in.  Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top and garnish with sliced kielbasa.  Cover with foil and bake in 375F oven for 30 minutes.  Remove foil and continue baking (now at 425F) for 5 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown.  Remove from oven (with oven mitts!) and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Leftovers make great lunches!

Happy Packing!

(My apologies if you read through this before and it was missing half the directions…I came back to re read it and see how it looked and realised, that again, blogger had deleted a portion of the post!)

Terra Breads Artisan Granola…Product Review…And Give-away!

     You know what happens when you get ready to go to the grocery store…You check the cupboards, you make the menu, you make your list, you ask the rest of the family what they want to add to the list, and then you grab your shopping bags and you go.  Right.  So what about the things YOU like to eat?  Do those things get on the list?  Not the things you know you should eat, like fish and fruit and vegetables and chicken breast.  But the things you like to eat…Like some of Liberte Yogurt’s yummy Mediterranean Cafe flavoured yogurt that comes in the teeny tiny container (the size that your husband or teenage son would eat in one sitting), or a carton of fresh squeezed orange juice (when really the nutritional value of the frozen stuff from concentrate is just as good).  Those things you don’t buy because no one else in the house really notices if you buy that kind or the bigger cheaper brand that is really just as good, and since we are all trying to manage our grocery bill these days.  But really, don’t you deserve a little treat too?  Once in awhile.

   A couple of weeks ago, I did just that.  I had made my list and was heading off to Thrifty’s for a weekly shop.  Part of my list included all the ingredients for making some homemade granola.  I have a fabulous recipe for making cranberry almond granola sweetened with Quebec Maple Syrup (sent to me by Dear Ole Dad, because you cannot bring any real quantity of it on the airplane anymore with the quantities rules for liquids).  This was going to be my treat.  However, Rob was moaning that it meant that he was going to have to eat granola for two weeks straight and he wasn’t so keen on that.  (the only drawback to homemade is it really doesn’t keep so well).  While I was in the cereal aisle, I found Terra Breads artisan granola with the other granolas.    Quickly, I shelved my plan to make some and purchased the Terra Breads one instead (even though it was a little more than I was thinking of spending).  You see, my husband and I had always frequented Terra Breads bakery on West 4th in Kitsilano while we were living in Vancouver .  It was one of our favourite places to stop for bread or to pick up sandwiches to take with us on bike rides or to the beach.   Standing there in the cereal aisle that day, I could almost taste those sandwiches we had eaten on those trips to Jericho beach or Kits beach or on a bike ride out to UBC.   And while I was pretty sure the granola wouldn’t taste like sandwiches, I was convinced that I wouldn’t be disappointed.

     I showed my husband what I had bought when I got home, and reminded the kids (all four of them) that it wasn’t for them.  A treat just for us, so of course my 7 year old wanted a bowl.  For the next four days, I enjoyed the delicious sweet granola with tart cranberries over vanilla yogurt for breakfast.  And I did let my 7 year old have a small bowl full.  And she liked it as well (of course).  It has lots of cranberries and raisins too (which I think are a nice surprise mixed in with the cranberries.  Pieces of almonds, and cashews and sweet clusters of rolled oats and barley, with crunch but just a touch (so you don’t end up with those hard pieces that sometimes can scratch the roof of your mouth).  Just delightful.  We ate it with yogurt mostly, but my hubby had his with milk.  And we both ate our share straight out of the bag.  The only thing we were disappointed with was the size of the bag.  It was a little on the small side, and it was gone too quickly!

   We were so pleased with our granola treat that I emailed Terra Breads and asked them if I could review the Granola for my Blog…And they were very pleased and happily agreed to send a couple of bags of Artisan Granola that I could give away to a couple of local followers (of which I know there are quite a few of you out there, you’re just the silent types).
The bags arrived this morning, via Grayhound Bus so they didn’t get stuck in the looming Postal strike.
So, here is what you do for a chance at the giveaway…Post a comment at the end of this entry telling us what you like about granola, and how you enjoy your granola (like trail mix, with yogurt, etc).  And if you have already tried Terra Breads granola, please go to Thrifty Foods Website and tell them how happy you are to have found it on the shelves and that you hope they keep carrying it.  Anyone from here can tell you, you find something great on the grocery store shelves and then you fall in love with it and then it is gone.   So we are hoping that that doesn’t happen with this yummy treat.
I will choose two local readers at random to receive this great breakfast treat.

And yes, I put vanilla yogurt and a container of granola in my dear daughter’s lunchbox, and she loved it.

Happy Packing!

…what Terra Breads has to say about their Artisan Granola…

Artisan Granola

We make our specialty granola by hand in our artisan bakery. We mix quality ingredients —
including whole grains, oats, cashews, almonds, coconut, cranberries, raisins, dates and honey — many of them organic, then toast them until
golden brown in our bakery ovens.
Enjoy our fresh granola for breakfast with yogurt, milk or cream — or just on its own as a great trail mix snack.