Category Archives: Adventures with my Chef

Thanksgiving approaches

October is here and with my favourite time of year comes Thanksgiving, Ashleigh’s birthday and Halloween.

First comes Thanksgiving on Monday.

Thanksgiving is my holiday as in I cook the meal every year. I make standard fare turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, carrot loaf and dressing. As my cooking skills have been a work in progress I try to do better every Thanksgiving. Last year I attempted my first brine and it turned out well. My dad commented that the turkey was wonderfully juicy and my mom enjoyed my first serious attempt at dressing in probably 10 years (the last success was my kielbasa dressing of Christmas 99 or 00 I can’t remember but it worked). One of my best kitchen success that I can think of.

This year I am going to do a 24 brine process and hope to give my turkey a bit more of a maple flavour.

In fact the brine is being made on the stove top now while I sip my pumpkin-tini.

There’s lots to be thankful for this year. Another year of health, another year of family, and another year of making new friends and still being together.

On Monday we will gather with food and drink together to be thankful for our home, our table of food, our health and our family.

It is a charmed, if simple, life.


Wheel in the sky

Amazing how time rolls on and before we know it summer rolls into fall. The trees roll into their fall fashions of yellow and red and kids go back into school. Yesterday we met with Nathaniel’s Grade 2 teacher and Ashleigh’s Kindergarten teacher and on that front I am quite happy with where my kids are going to be this year. Nathaniel has had two off years with a mixture of teachers, styles and what one dear friend of mine terms “busy work”. This teacher seems determined to do less busy work and more working on the areas where he needs work. I am looking forward to working with this teacher to hopefully re-ignite Nathaniel’s love of study. He started school today.

Ashleigh is going to do well with her teacher. She strikes me as very imaginative. She had even set up little bags for her new students filled with little goodies and a card to explain what each little goodie meant in terms of going to Kindergarten. Ashleigh’s first day of school ever will be Monday.

I find myself also undergoing my own evolution. The trip to my grandma’s did give me some balance as I often find when I am up north I loose the stress got to balance and roll with is a bit more. I managed to not hide behind Kevin when it came to dealing with the kids and issues. We had to work together, problem solve together and finally survive each other. After two long stints in the van there and back, 3 days of visiting, playing, eating and of course disagreeing we came home where I found I appriciated Kevin more for just being there and faught with my kids just a bit less over the battles not worth having.

Somewhere in the trip my grandma and I sat down and she started sharing with me stories I had never heard before about my grandfather. I’ve learned more about “Ms. Reid” as my grandma refers to her mil and the trip that my grandparents had taken to Scotland. It made me see my grandfather in a different light and the stories made me laugh. I also learned that my grandad had some pretty amazing friends (a Lady whom was friends with Rudy…as in Valentino). It was good to hear things that I hadn’t heard before. It helps to give someone a 360 view of those they look at in only a certain way. I also get a good idea of where my grandmother is coming from when she gives me her advice.

Life without my own set of wheels is complex. Kevin and my dad are sharing carpooling duties. I don’t like having to spend so much time relying on others but considering that the wagon I had borrowed was written off after I was rear ended I am not really ready to jump back into to driving another borrowed car. Of course now with fall items starting to come together and fall schedules being set the need for a second car grows. I have an event on Saturday, an event on Monday, two events on Tuesday and on and on. I will have to break down and eventually borrow a car from my parents to get through until the rest of the situtation is worked out.

Somewhere in all the hustle and bustle of life there’s little moments of self indulgence. Scones and Masterchef with Kevin on Wednesdays. Green tea milkshake this weekend as we have finished our first 6 weeks of BowFlex (down 2.8 kgs go me!) we can have a bad weekend before going back to the grind again for another 6 weeks.

Now if I can just get sometime to sleep in sometime soon :D.

Back on Bowflex

I’m a curvy gal. I’ve never met a good meal that I’ve turned away.

However, there is a fine line between being curvy and being unhealthy and I don’t want to be unhealthy. I lost a large amount of weight after Nicholas was born last summer and I don’t want to gain it back.

So back on the Bowflex I go.

I know there are a lot of products out there than promise big results in a short time. I know Weight Watchers is a popular choice for a lot of folks out there wanting to take control of their health. Two summers ago before I got pregnant with Nicholas I decided to give Weight Watchers a shot and Kevin was working on the Bowflex program. I saw minimal returns with Weight Watchers in one week where Kevin saw strong results on the Bowflex. I moved from Weight Watchers to the Bowflex for a week to test it and see what I can go with it. I lost 2 lbs that week and I became a Bowflex believer.

Kevin and I have decided it’s time to get ourselves back on the Bowflex and put our health on the front burner. So today we started again and I am sore as I type this. I know that it is a good sign that I have worked my muscles just enough to make a good start to getting back to good health. I also know that strong muscles are key to the stability of my hip joints and can help heal if I ever get to the point where I need that knee replacement.

Prior to going back on the Bowflex regime we gave ourselve this weekend to enjoy a trip to the BDI. The Bridge Drive In is a Winnipeg institution of summertime enjoyment. With menu items that include the Goog Special, the Sleeping Beauty, the Cantaberry, the Graveyard, and the Peach Velvet and boasts the Creamiest Shake in Town it’s one of my favourite summer traditions. This time Kevin indulged in a Peach Velvet, Nathaniel had a Graveyard to share with Nicholas, Ashleigh has my childhood delight of a twist with sprinkles, and I selected a Peaches and Cream.  We sat at a bench with a river view and enjoyed our choices as the sun shone down and watched the river as it wound by in that way it has.

As we drove home I sat looking out the window listening to Satelite by Dave Matthew’s Band I felt a contentment that I hadn’t felt in some time. I have been feeling a lot of stress lately about if my kids are doing well, if I am a good mother, if I was doing the right things by them and Kevin, and mostly am I being selfish for jumping out there and going for my dreams. In that time of a relaxed song, content with my ice cream treat and my kids in the back talking about what a great time the BDI was I was content with my life. I felt confident to move forward with what I want to do with no fear.

Or at least minimal fear 😀

June Sunshine

I’m looking out the window at June sunshine and I’d rather be in bed sleeping. The MTX is hitting me hard these days…harder than it was before the cortesone shot so I tell myself the exhaustion, nausea and dry heaving in the shower is all good…cause that should mean the medication is working right?? Even if it isn’t I am so ready for remission to come…even for just a little while.

So I turned my life in a new way and have started the first major steps to life change. I have always wanted to bend myself to politics when I was younger and recently have been taking steps to get that to happen. Officially I put in my paperwork two days ago and am now waiting to hear where I go from here to be the candidate to run provincially in the next election. I feel energized even just by doing this because at least I can sit back and think to myself I am working on my dream and I am going to change the world when I am done being successful. I can’t wait to see where I go from here.

One of the biggest projects I have had has been the Silent Auction Co-ordinator for the Parents’ Association BBQ. The BBQ is tomorrow and I will be glad when it is done. I don’t think I did a fantastic job but I did my best and got some variety for the prizes. After this I just need to get Thank You letters done for our donors and be sure to get them out in a timely manner. I know the kids are looking forward to enjoying the BBQ and it’s  nice that we are getting to enjoy a lot of family time these days.

Which brings me to Nicholas’ 1st birthday just 10 short days away. The year passing just astounds me but then again when you miss about a third of a year it seems to pass faster than usual. We are having a BBQ celebration in the evening and will be surrounded with true friends we have been blessed to connect with or in some cases re-connect with. I am sad that my last baby will be 1 but of course the fun really starts now. I am also sad for I feel some in my life can’t be bothered to make an effort over him. For others they would be tell me about the party, the theme, the invites, the colour schemes and not so for him and that makes me sad. I am trying to focus on the friends and family that will be there to marvel at his first hands on cake experience. I am lucky to have a talented friend who will make his cake as her gift complete with a smash cake (a first for our family) for his personal enjoyment. I am lucky that we made it to this year as a family..we almost lost Nicholas, we almost lost me but we still have each other to drive crazy.

My chef and I are going to enjoy a new restaurant this weekend. My parent’s are taking the kids overnight and we are having a date night of Inferno’s Bistro and Iron Man 2. Of course Sunday afternoon will be ubber romantic with adults only grocery shopping.

Hey it’s the little things that keep a marriage going.

Holy Crap…A Success

Kevin is our resident culinary master. He takes basic ingredients and makes a feast for the senses. I am a culinary nightmare. I take basic ingredients and cause heartburn and in some cases revultion. How not to cook with ginger and flambe doesn’t mean you set the stove top on fire should be the first volumes in my cook books.

The last two days I have been attempting to put myself somewhere strong and try agian to go back into the kitchen and give it some honest effort. I mean I can’t blow it up all the time and how the hell can I tell my kids that practice makes perfect when I cower from my own pantry. Like anything else in life if it is hard it tends to mean that  you just have to work and learn.

So yesterday was such a beautiful day that is screamed for the joy of ice cream sundaes. Of course not everyday is payday around here, we have to deal with those times when wanting to go to the BDI and accepting we have half a container of frozen vanilla yogurt in the freezer we can do something with is how the day goes. So I decided I can make it work. Quick check and find frozen blueberries and raspberries. I watch Food Network. I know I can turn these into something resembling a fruit sauce. Check fridge and find caramel for the non raspberry lovers in the house and time to Google. I find an amazing recipe for a fruit sauce involving brown sugar, balsamic vinegar and some vanilla extract. I have just enough brown sugar so after finishing up dinner I proceed to make this sauce. I check directions twice, I get Nathaniel to read them to me from the screen as I go along and eventually I manage to make this amazing sauce. It was tangy and added to the plain frozen yogurt and was enjoyable. In another moment of thought I even toasted some coconut for on top.

I had done it. I had created from the pantry just like Kevin does.

Of course later that night Kevin made amazing raisin scones.

Tuesdays Kevin takes Nathaniel and Ashleigh to Tae Kwon Do. I stay home and hang with Nicholas and make dinner. My original plan was to make some chicken paramasean but Kevin makes a few suggestions and into the kitchen I go. Fry some bacon, onions, and garlic together and remove from pan. Deglaze pan with some Amaretto and wait for it to boil off a bit before putting in cubed boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Cook breasts and add 1 can of Cream of Mushroom soup combined with half a can of milk.  Simmer and add basil, parsley and oregano and with 10 mins to serving return the bacon, onion and garlic mixture and simmer longer. Serve over rice.

I am proud of myself.