Tag Archives: food for the heart and soul

Chicken parm parm


Another Chicken  post, sorry. It’s a current trend and I’ll be posting some tips at a later time which are non-chicken related. I stumbled upon an easy way to make chicken parmesan that I don’t think is too bad for you besides the cheese. Added bonus is that it is baked not fried like it is traditionally served in restaurants. I’ve been serving it up beside spaghetti noodles & greens of some sort. I like it as it doesn’t require a lot of “prep” which is great for those who don’t have a lot of time (or for some of us patience) for that kind of thing. And it doesn’t require any fancy schmancy kitchen stuff either. Again another easy recipe to halve, or multiply. The topping turns into this awesome crunchy, chewy cheeziness I can’t get enough of…. yummm

So here it is…..Chicken Parm Parm

Kitchen stuff you’ll need:

  • oven
  • a way to mash up garlic either a press or one of those ceramic thingy’s or the fine grate on your cheese grater (the little tiny ones)
  • 9×13 dish
  • A cheese grater unless you are using pre-grated cheese

Ingredients

  • Chicken breasts (I serve 6)
  • 2 garlic cloves shredded or mushed or pulverized
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • a pinch of red pepper flakes (or more or less or omit)
  • Tomato sauce
  • Shredded Mozzarella cheese (I use about 2 cups… you can use more or less)
  • Shredded Parmesan Cheese  (I use about a cup total…again you can add more or less)
  • A package of croutons in your favorite flavor… I prefer parmesan…again make it to your taste

Note: the sauce can be a ready made flavored sauce like a parmesan, four cheese, or basic basil or you can use a large can of crushed tomatoes and season with fresh or dried herbs. I like to keep it basic as I am usually in a rush so I stick with a large jar of Parmesan Tomato sauce.

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Drizzle Extra Virgin Olive Oil over base of 9×13 pan
  • sprinkle mushed up/finely shredded garlic & red pepper flakes on bottom of pan, swirl around to spread it out evenly
  • Place chicken breasts nicely in pan, try not to crowd them too much
  • Pour jar of tomato sauce over breasts (or crushed tomatoes and then season with fresh or dried herbs to your taste) make sure all your boobies are covered
  • Sprinkle half your Mozza & Parm over the sauce try to get it evenly if you can, if not no big deal.
  • dump croutons and spread out over cheese/boobs evenly
  • Top the croutons with the remainder of your cheese.
  • Pop in the oven and for 6 boobs time would be about 40-45 minutes. If making this with 4 I would hazard a guess your boobs would be done in 30-35 minutes depending on their size. If making this recipe for 2 or less halve this entire recipe.

Happy Eating

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Here we go again & Mom’s Jammy Jam Chicken


Well I assume it has been well over a year since I posted on here and since I am back on mat leave  cookin up some delicious things in my kitchen which are simple and super easy to make I thought I’d start sharing again.

Today I am cooking up the second set of this delicious chicken dish I received from my mom and no swear words were uttered as I prepared this dish. Its fairly economical to prepare as one 500mL jar of jam & one 473 mL container of salad dressing is enough for 2 dinners, plus it uses chicken thigh which is cheaper than breast however more fatty. So if you want to use only white meat purchase instead a package of 6 breasts and the sauce should cover it (I have yet to try since chicken boobies are pretty $$ still) This recipe can serve 5 adults and one toddler with 3 thighs each  & one for the toddler, 6 people if using 6 chicken breasts or just 4 people with 4 thighs each. Its also easy to reduce this to 2 servings or multiply for more so it will be good for pot lucks or serving for guests too.

Mom’s Jammy Jam Chicken

 

Things in the kitchen you’ll need: oven, 9×13 oven safe dish, bowl, something to mix with.

Ingredients:

1 package of chicken thighs or chicken breasts

1 cup of apricot jam (or peach jam)

1 cup of catalina dressing

1 pkg of onion soup mix

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix catalina dressing, jam & onion soup mix together in bowl.

place chicken evenly in dish, try not to crowd the meat too much, pour mixture over chicken evenly. place in oven for 60 minutes, then pull out, flip chicken over and bake for another 20 minutes.

ding! chickens done.

Broccoli & rice make great sides for this. Highly unlikely you’ll have leftovers but it will reheat well on the rice the next day.

Happy eats!

Happy Balls


Mega Meat Balls

Mega MeatyBalls!This evening I made meatballs subs, pictured are the ones I made previously. I changed things up a bit this time and edited my sauce. What I am discovering is finding the perfect ball size. Last time, as you can see, my balls were HUGE, these were stuffed with mozzarella cheese which of course made them quite a bit bigger than what they already were. This time I reduced the amount of meat mixture I used to make them as well as made them a bit easier to handle; previously I could barely make it through one ball let alone three that was called for each serving. They went from being the size of my fist down to fitting comfortably in my hand (about 1-1/2" diameter) and thus I actually made it through two balls, so I am making progress. Making the right size balls is quite the art and it actually does affect the way the dish tastes. When the balls were huge the only flavor one could focus on whilst eating was meat, it was actually overwhelming. With the smaller balls I could actually taste the delicious sauce I made AND the cheezy surprise hidden perfectly in the centre. It was delicious. So my dear flakies, when you make your dish make sure you make your balls the right size! Everyone will prefer a different size ball so play around with them until you find what works best for your table.What I enjoy about this recipe is that it uses italian sausages so you don't have to fiddle fart around with your meat mixture, it's already done for you.Amazing Meatball Subs!Feeds 5-6 (3 balls per sub)Kitchen stuff you will need:scissors, sharp knife, largish bowl, cutting board, oven or toaster oven, stovetop or hotplate, large skillet and rectangular pan, spoon, tongs (or fork would do it), can openerIngredients:Italian Sausages, I used mild flavored and 2 packets of 4 sausages @ about 4" in length, remove meat from sleeveMozzarella cheese cut into bite sized cubes, one cube per ballExtra Virgin Olive Oil1 onion chopped2 garlic cloves chopped6 mushrooms choppedone 28oz can of crushed tomatoesjust under 1 tbs of italian seasoning (a blend of rosemary, thyme, oregano) you can use fresh or dried.)1 tbs ketchupsalt & pepper to tasteAbout 1 cup of shredded fresh parmesan cheese or use the pre-shredded Kraft Italian Blend cheese.6 italian sub bunsDirections:Preheat oven to 425 degreesCut mozzarella cheese into cubes and set near the mixing bowl.Remove meat from its outer "shell" and place in bowl. Form into balls and place on the rectangular pan. Put one cube inside each ball and ensure it is completly encased in the meat. Drizzle the meatballs lightly with olive oil, roll them around a bit in the oil so they won't stick to your pan (I learned this the hard way) Once the oven is done heating up, stick your pan of balls inside and cook for about 18 minutes.Once the meatballs are in the oven put your skillet on the stove on about medium heat with about 1 tbs of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Add the chopped onion, garlic and mushrooms stirring frequently for about 5-6 minutes, once the onions and mushrooms begin to soften it is time to add the crushed tomatoes, italian seasonings and ketchup (salt and pepper to your taste). Turn the heat down and keep an eye on it as it will bubble and spit at you if it gets to hot. Bring this mixture to a nice simmer. place your sub buns on baking sheets and toast them in the oven once the meatballs have been removed. Only keep them in there about 3 minutes or so as they will burn quickly.Now plate up one bun, top with 3 balls and goob the sauce over top quite liberally and top with cheese, repeat for each serving. Serve with a mixed green salad and your favorite bevvie : )Enjoy!Dinner is served!

Happy Eating!

 

The potatoes were obscene….


Welcome to another instalment of Burned Cornflakes! Not a whole lot has happened since my epic feast was served on the big holiday however I nearly screwed up an “old faithful” of mine. Growing up I watched meal after meal with any leftovers they would be placed and labelled in a container and placed in either the fridge or freezer for future use, I was always lectured on the importance of NOT WASTING. Let me just say that this lecture didn’t really sink in (sorry mom… in ways it did! Promise!). I am absolutely NO SAINT in this area; I bin a lot of food, some of it is still good, some beyond rotten from the depths of a lunch bag or worse. I get upset about it, whine or nag only sometimes but mostly I just methodically toss things in the bin with a pursed lip and a guilty conscience.

After the “epic holiday feast” was done there were leftovers which we mostly took care of in the amazing turkey soup I helped hubs make. Further down the list of leftovers were potatoes, I didn’t know what to do with them and having a family audience (read this as “my mom has eyes like a hawk and would BUST me for wasting if I dared“) so I squashed them between 2 gently used pie plates (yay for recycling!) and tossed in the freezer. Yes, IN THE FREEZER. I figured they would be alright because I saw advertised a big company preparing mashed potatoes to whip out of the freezer on a whim and show off to your relatives. (side note: I do find the ads very annoying). That aside when in doubt I toss EVERYTHING in the freezer, if it ends up freezer burnt it will probably either have one of 2 fates… tossed into a dish that over cooks everything or in the bin. LOL.

Once that was all done I kind of forgot about them until hubs asked for dead shepherd for dinner. I could imagine the light bulb going off over my head as I remembered the potatoes. So I set on my merry way to preparing a beloved family dish. I sliced up 8 extra potatoes to ensure I had enough coverage as when I make my dead shepherd it is usually fit to serve about 10 people. There I was happily cooking away listening to my potatoes & parsnips boil, the meat brown and the microwave struggling to defrost 2 lbs of pre mashed potatoes. Once my meat & onion had browned completely I drain the fat off and add in the rest of my ingredients. I went to my faithful freezer of random food and started pulling out random chopped things to add in; I noticed this little Tupperware container in the back with something unknown in it, with a shrug of the shoulder and not a second thought I tossed the puppy in with my other random finds. Not until this mystery substance melted and created a large liquid content did I start worrying. Then came the aroma (it smelled pleasant) and I got to thinking….. what the heck did I just put in the dead shepherd?

I panicked.

Only slightly.

Promise.

Until I realised with a sweet wave of relief that we had saved of my epic experiments making Au Jus for gnarly beef dips, this one in particular was roasted garlic au jus (yum!). With a (small) leap of joy I happily finished up and served the “Frankenstein” dead shepherd. (I have a dear friend who calls experiments Frankenstein’s, I loved the term so much I added it to my vocab). So I got lucky….this time. It could have possibly still lead to disaster as one of the sauces I had put in as part of my “wild card” flavorings was a brown sugar flavour, so I passed this one by the hair on my chinny chin chin.

As for the potatoes they were a tad obscene, I may have made too many. Actually, I will admit it I did make too many as the topping was HUGE. I had about 2-1/2″ thick worth of potatoes (I had combined the left over mashed potatoes with 2 parsnips and 8 freshly boiled potatoes mashed with unsalted margarine). So a lesson learned from an old classic recipe we adore.

As a treat I’ll sound off my classic “un-Frankenstein-ed” version of Dead Shepherd.

NOTE: makes approx. 10 servings! (good for making a big batch and freezing mini meals for later).

What else is great about this is you can add or subtract anything you like and you’re almost guaranteed a great dish. Experiment with different ground meats, ingredients and toppings!!! Though I have no idea what one would do for a vegetarian version of this…. Possibly mashed beans/lentils and Portobello mushrooms (?)…. Have to brainstorm on that one!

Thinking about it, this is almost the un-recipe of recipe’s as there are no real set rules! Dare I say an anarchistic dish?! *gasp*

Kitchen Stuff you will need:

  • 2 largish pots
  • an ovenproof dish
  • strainer or lids to pots
  • stovetop or hot plate
  • oven or toaster oven
  • a spatula or spoon to stir
  • potato masher (a fork works but it is labour intensive)
  • cutting board
  • knife (sharp, preferably unserrated)

Ingredients:

  • 1 kg lean gr. Beef (or preferred ground meat, if using ground turkey you WILL need to use olive oil or cooking oil to ensure the meat doesn’t stick and burn to the pot)
  • 0.3 – 0.5kg of lean gr. Pork
  • 1 Medium to large red onion chopped
  • Montreal Steak Seasoning (to taste)
  • Worstershire sauce about 3 tsp (I eyeball it)
  • Barbeque Sauce or Fruity HP Sauce * optional* about ½ cup; in place of this you could put in about ½ cup of beef broth or French onion soup mix. Experiment and make it yours!
  • 1 can of Baked beans *optional* experiment with flavors! J
  • Vegetables of your choice you can use freshly chopped or mixed froxen vegetables. I use about 4-5 cups of frozen vegetables.
  • 7 potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 2-3 parsnips peeled and sliced *optional* – I add these in for added nutrition and sneaking more veggies in to my resident picky eater
  • Water
  • Margarine or butter *optional* about ¼ cup
  • Sour Cream *optional* to taste or serve alongside your dinner if people like potatoes and sour cream!
  • Shredded cheese *optional*

Directions:

Set oven to “broil” (my oven defaults the broil temp to 500 degrees and I don’t change it.) ensure your oven rack is set to the right height to accommodate your oven dish.

Place potatoes and parsnips in large pot fill water to cover them and place on high heat to boil. Once they bubble violently turn down the heat to medium. The potatoes will be cooked when they slide off the fork.

While the potatoes are boiling brown the meat in the other large pot with the onion on med-high heat. Sprinkle with Montreal Steak seasoning (or not!). Once the meat has browned drain the fat into safe container and dispose of the fat safely. DO NOT POUR IT DOWN ANY DRAINS!!!!

Return the meat pot to the stovetop and add in the worstershire sauce, the bbq sauce (if you are using) and the baked beans. Stir. Add in your veggies stir and let them soften/warm through. Once this is done remove from the heat (turn off your burner). Slide all your ingredients into your waiting oven dish.

Once your parsnips and potatoes have finished boiling, remove them from the heat, drain and begin mashing. Once the mashing is on its way add in the margarine and continue mashing to your desired consistency. I like to sometimes add sour cream and mash it in too. It is up to you and your taste buds.

When you have your desired mashed potato awesomeness grab a spoon and top your meat base with them. I like to draw a pattern in mine so when the potatoes brown in the oven it makes a cute picture. If you so desire sprinkle the cheese top of your potatoes for a kid pleaser (and cheese lover!)

Place in the oven for about 15 minutes until the potatoes reach your desired browned/crispyness.

Serve.

This recipe is great to refine to your particular tastes and what your guests, family likes or make it the way your family did. Plus it is super easy!

Remember to label your leftovers (with everything) to avoid disasters in the future!

Happy Eating J

 

The 18 were stuffed like a Christmas turkey….


Well Christmas has come and passed, all that planning, prepping, cooking, stressing is over and I am almost at a loss without so many people inside my tiny little house. We had 18 people on Christmas day and what a day it was. I was SUPER stressed however for the first Christmas in my life I DIDN’t have a melt down. (Call the guinness book of world records, it is a date in history!!) I had a lot of help from hubs, my sister in law, my kids, thier kids, mom, dad, and probably even the cat!

It. was. amazing.

I am so grateful to have a great and supportive family and what made it even more awesome is I don’t think I said “Oh Sh*t!” once while cooking dinner…. but don’t quote me on that one. 🙂

Not all of it went down as smooth as ice however it went over pretty good. What helped was a few days before company arrived I cooked my “Clint Eastwood Style Chili (which mom aptly named “Chili for wimps” <– mom I have changed the recipe) and for the FIRST time ever it did not burn my face off. (Are you calling Guinness yet? There is another one for the history books)

Secondly ALL the help I had: My sister in law helping me cut, chop, prep, season, stir, mix, advise, check, double check, fix, refix everything I was doing. It saved my life. My mom doing Christmas baking so I would have enough cookies to go around, she even blessed us with her butter tarts AND melt in your mouth shortbread (I love you mom). My dad bringing over the extra stuff I decided I needed on Christmas day ON Christmas Day (a toaster oven, meat thermometer). Both my folks for helping me with the vegetarian dishes, turns out we had LOTS with what I added to it. The kids for helping stir, sort, organise, clean, check and recheck & smash things for baking. As well as clean up like taking out the gabages and dishes and so forth.

Thirdly and most importantly: The whole family having balls (and stomachs) of steel for being willing to eat something I had never attempted before.

For those about to rock (eat) we salute you.

So what did I make??

December 24 after dinner myself, my S.I.L. and kids from all families helped me do my Christmas baking…. 5 hours of it. (I am a slow one in the kitchen, mom will never let me forget!)

  • Gingerbread CupCakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
  • Double Chocolate Brownies with Chocolate chips
  • Apple Pie
  • Pumpkin Pie (x2) made with ice cream

December 25 (the big day for the 18!)

  • Hors ‘d’ouvres –>Vegetarian Samosas, vegetarian spring rolls, spinach & feta spanakopia, mini meat balls, sausage rolls, chips and dip, veggies and dip, crackers with cream cheese and spicy red pepper jelly, assorted cookies and treats (homemade and store bought) Artichoke & Asiago cheese puffs (care of my sister)
  • Turkey – approx 7.6 kg. Cooked over root vegetables, fresh herbs and some broth. I also put an onion and more fresh herbs up its bum to add more flavor.
  • Stuffing – not from scratch. From a box.
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Corn, Carrots, Peas, beans.
  • Buns
  • Broccoli Casserole (Care of mom)
  • Roasted Veggies (Care of mom)
  • Fresh Gravy (made from the broth and drippings (not droppings!) from the bird)
  • Cranberry jelly

Dessert:

  • Pumpkin Pies (x2)
  • Apple Pie
  • Gingerbread Snaps (care of Sister)
  • Sugar Cookies (Care of Mom)
  • Gingerbread Cupcakes
  • Double Chocolate Brownies
  • Ice Cream – Vanilla and Stawberry

And that is how you stuff 18 people like a Christmas turkey!!!!

There were plenty of leftovers, so we could have fit about 4 more people at our table and had them well fed as well. I should mention 4 of the people at our table are older teens/young adults (male) with hearty appetites as well as all the members of the families having healthy appetites. So having left-overs and in the quantities there were is amazing.

We had a big setback, we  planned dinner for about 230 pm however I don’t think we ended up eating until past 4 due to the bird. Not sure what went wrong as everyone said they had never seen it happen before: One leg and part of one side of the bird did not cook on time so we had to keep taking it out and putting it back in again. We don’t know if it was an element, the way I cooked/positioned it in the oven, or if it was the oven itself (its not convection). Luckily we had enough nibbles to keep the hungry monsters at bay. A lot of patience and several people inside who knew a lot about cooking turkeys. A good back up plan is to get the Barbeque ready. Speaking of BBQ the one thing I defrosted and prepped for turkey dinner were ribs and cornbread however time and oven space dictated they be removed from the menu. Good thing we did or we would have been screwed for table and stomach space.

Other things I learned: I learned what a turkey baster was, what it does and how to use it. Yes I am 28 years old and had NO idea what that was. I also learned what the neck, heart and giblets look like from inside the turkey (I nearly fainted, I have an aversion to birds…cooking them… mostly because all I can see are them strutting around outside when I am trying to cook them). I also learned how to get the most out of your turkey thanks to advise from mom, the S.I.L and the people over at Stirr for posting on thier facebook page how to make Turkey Soup. But it was a big thanks to HUBs for making it. I don’t think I could have made it as the carcass was grossing me out.

This is what he did (I helped with the veggies):

What you will need:

  • leftover turkey carcass, GIGANTIC pot, stove, water. Anything you want to toss into the soup for flavoring.

He put the carcass in a HUGE pot of boiling water and just boil the meat off the bones. He had it on there for hours (I am pretty sure) remove the carcass and any fallen off bones.

Next add what you like for flavoring here is what we did:

  • leftover roasted root vegetables (carrots, celery, parsnips, onions)
  • leftover regular vegetables (carrots, peas, corn, green beans)
  • leftover gravy
  • added 4 more carrots, 1 parsnip, a turnip, and an onion
  • One outside Rind of Fresh Parmesan Cheese
  • a sprig of fresh rosemary (just toss it in, the leaves will fall off in the cooking process)
  • a sprig of fresh thyme (again, toss it in the leaves will fall off and you can pull the stick out later)
  • one bay leaf (remove before consuming)
  • a sprinkling of Montreal Vegetable seasoning
  • a squished clove of garlic

Let this bubble for a while (30-40 minutes or until the veggies soften) then you can serve (this makes TONS OF SOUP) or what I did was I put aside a HUGE container of the soup for a healthy meal in the future and then put some in single serving dishes and froze for lunches. With a lot still left over I reserved the rest in a smaller soup pot and placed in the fridge which has given us several lunches and dinners of turkey soup.

What is great is there was no loss of nutritional value as everything was cooked with itself, nothing was strained or drained (granted the saturated fats are probably up there but so is the value of the good stuff) and it made the dollar value of Christmas dinner become VERY economical. So really it is an all around win.

Now with all the visiting relatives gone, I am missing everyone DEARLY. It is like the house (as small as it is) is empty. It really made me see how much I love and care about my family members.

I hope all your Christmas’s, holidays, festivities and food adventures are full of wonderful things.

 

From my table to yours, happy eating.

 

xoxoxo

 

Down to the wires


Having a gourmet dinner last night (and by gourmet I really mean canned spaghetti and creamed corn) gave me some “food for thought.” As of late I have been stressing, shopping, cooking, stressing, adding, subtracting and then adding in some more stress over the big day coming. I keep telling myself “everything will be fine, don’t worry so much” and then my insecurities get the better of me.

Here is the main reason I am so stressed out. It is the first time I will have ever cooked for 17+, not to mention a BIG holiday. My nerves are shot and I am getting glitchier as each day passes, not to mention the big TO do list has very few check marks on things completed (don’t get me started on the gifts OR the stocking stuffers…even the stockings themselves!). I am still pondering how I am going to fit 17 people around a table that will fit 12 plus a highchair. Not to mention the plates, cutlery and dishes being served. I guess now is the time to announce that I don’t even have a menu planned out. All I have in my deep freeze is a turkey, and I don’t even think it is big enough. I bought the turkey when I thought we would be having 12 people for dinner even though I KNEW that we would have a minimum of 15. I must have filled my brain with extra air that day. I will probably make it up by Barbequing some ribs and putting something in the crockpot (well I should say “hubs will barbeque some ribs” as he is the master of the ribs in our house)

Talk about “flying by the seat of my pants“, I do this so often I have to wear long johns. I am definatly NO goddess in the kitchen and despite being marginally organized, nothing in the world have gotten me to get my act together for this Christmas. Thankfully I am cooking for family and they are much more forgiving than any food critic, foodie or celebrity chef (side note: I
most recently criticized a catering job for not cooking their vegetables long enough, the potato salad tasted like engine oil & the bean salad tasted like diesel exhaust) however their (the families) opinion is paramount in my world so I really do want to watch them enjoy dinner rather than make the “mmmm” face whilst stifling the gag reflexes.

All this makes me realise how much my mom went through when she put on Christmas dinner and then Boxing Day dinner for the extended family. I always liked Boxing Day dinner because mom, her sisters and their families would bring all their left overs to the hosting families house and it would be samples of everyone’s cooking, baking and other goodies and as a “win-win” it helped decrease the amount of left-overs in everyone’s fridge so there wouldn’t be turkey sandwiches for the next week. Plus it also meant another gift from “The Aunts”, in our family they are famous for their woollen creations which are treasured. As a teenager it gave me extra time to look moody and sullen however once the deck of cards came out for the family game of “Combination Rummy” all bets were off and within no time it was a table full of smiles and laughter. My fondest memories of my Nana always “chanin’!” suits mid-game thus sending my Granddad into a bit of a tizzy as he was always trying to help her out and count cards at the same time. Playing cards after dinner was always such a treat, something I am hoping to bring into my own family tradition.

This time of year always pulls me closer to home, reminds me of Christmas baking, Christmas cooking and Christmas bells softly ringing inside my head as I mozey about my day.

I’ll have to write down what I end up serving and the final result of all my stressing. I am thinking it is all going to turn out fine. I just need to relax.

HA who am I kidding?! I looked like a crazed banshee whirling about the earth without a week’s sleep!

From my family to yours “wishing you all the best this yuletide season

Breaking Boundaries and an introduction to Josephine.


I find I keep marking the opening to my posts as “It has been a while since…” which must be getting a bit tiresome.

I apologise, I do not have set writing days in my calendar, with the life I lead I take time where I can get it. Let’s face it I do put a lot more on my plate when I am eating and in life which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I am a full time parent to 6 kids, a long distance grannie, I have a full time career complete with a 1.5 hr commute. I’m a business owner (and co-owner of another company with hubs) I read, I write, I cook, I spend time with my family, visiting with friends, I recently started up crocheting (though all I did was crotchet myself into a circle) and of course I am also enslaved by a very cute feline.

Have I mentioned I am not 30 yet?? LOL Yes I have one grey hair, and I named her Josephine, we chat, we do coffee, Josephine and I are close, for a human and her grey hair.

So in short on the “un-busiest” of days I am busy.

Regardless I am forever breaking my own boundaries in food whether it be trying a new ingredient, a new dish, a different cooking style or sampling something I have never tried before. I am a bit obsessed with food and I do get really panicky in the kitchen, most people seem natural and at ease whilst cooking away, in my house it is a bit of a gong show. I’ve written before of the interesting language floating out of the room and some of the interesting food that has landed on our families plates and once “tweeted” about my encounter with a durian candy. So when I “break my boundaries” I do it in great fear, always and it doesn’t stop when I turn the burner off, I continue to worry about it LONG after it is done. I probably come across as a complete nervous wreck half of the time and a wild crazy gypsy woman the other half (have you heard me cackle?? I took lessons from mom).

Where do I begin breaking these boundaries? It starts with a recipe and then completely screwing it up by accident or on purpose and serving the end result. So it starts with me and ends with the family, and luckily so far they still love me, will still sit down at our table and eat my (or our) food. I’ve started introducing more meat free dishes into the weekly menu, I find that meat gets too much of the “celebrity status” during the big shows and I want to kind of prove that veggies (or legumes), lentils and playing with herbs can make something amazing. So far no complaints, and NO leftovers which has shocked even me. Mostly I’ve been serving up soups: Caterpillar Soup, Ginger Carrot Soup, Tomato and bean;  I made vegetarian calzones and those were a HUGE hit and now I am looking for the perfect vegetarian lasagne!

My most recent discovery has been the turnip, wow is it ever good? The smell and flavour of fresh ginger and I ate a parsnip raw which was pretty good too. Sounds like pretty plain stuff but to me it was exotic having been grown up on wholesome British/Canadian/Maltese home cookin. Mom tried to get me to try things as a kid and as far as I can remember I wasn’t happy about it, then again, what kid is? Next on the trials is going to be butternut squash, there is this macaroni dish I have been itching to try.

Now I challenge you to pick one thing out of the produce aisle you have either never tried, cooked and give it a shot! Let me know how it goes!!

Happy Eating!

 

ps- as for the durian candy, the aftertaste stayed with me after I ate, into the evening, into the night. And I kept burping it up. I suppose I should mention I didn’t even EAT the candy, I spat it out after 5 chews!