Tuesday, November 23, 2010

photo by enviralment.ca

I know I'll get back into my old habits after the news of the hydro increase sinks in. For now, I am on a hydro conservation frenzy! During these new 'peak time' rates, I can't help but notice every light, appliance and electrical device during the hours of 7am - 7pm. Our hydro bill has nearly doubled since the new format was implemented.

Dalton McGuinty, thanks for your ridiculous visions of a recession-riddled public carrying the province's load once again. Surely there are more creative ways to turn a buck when you have 33 million bucks in profit to work with from hydro alone?? (how many more months to the next election?? Not soon enough...)

Unfortunately, my beloved crock-pot has fallen victim to my latest energy rations. I just can't, right now anyway, bring myself to plug it in for 8 hours during peak time. So I opt for quick and easy meals on busy work days; something I can throw together fast and furious.

Tonight, I was pleasantly surprised at how good this one turned out! I highly recommend it and my entire family loved it too. Every parent can appreciate how rare that is! So without further ado, I pass along a new favourite for time-constrained days.

photo by Campbell's kitchen

Chicken with Chipotle Cheese Sauce
The chipotle chile pepper makes this recipe. It's a common spice found in most grocery stores. I picked mine up at Loblaws.

Olive Oil
5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 onion; diced
1 can Campbell's Condensed Cheddar Cheese Soup
2 tblsp milk
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile pepper
1/2 can diced tomatoes

Heat a little olive oil in skillet. Place chicken breasts in hot oil and fry until brown on both sides but not cooked through. Remove from heat and set aside.

Add a little more olive oil and fry onion until lightly browned. Add soup, milk, chile pepper and tomatoes. Stir until blended.

Place chicken breasts back in skillet and simmer until chicken is heated through.

I served this up with butternut squash and fresh buns on the side.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Dry Roasted Ribs

photo by su-lin on flickr

You heard me. Dry roasted. Tender, fall-off-the-bone delicious. I usually like my ribs all sauced up but I think this new method has won me over. High fives all around the dinner table on these ones. Check 'em out:

Ribs With a Rub

Couple racks of baby back ribs; cut into 2-3 rib sections each

4 tbsp. paprika
2 tbsp. chili powder
2 tbsp. ground cumin
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. salt
1 tbsp. oregano
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. ground pepper

Mix above ingredients together in ziploc bag. After rinsing off ribs, throw them in the ziploc bag while still a little wet. Shake and rub the ribs around; getting some spice on each section.

Place on a cookie sheet in single layer at 275 degrees and bake for 2 - 2.5 hours or until tender. You're welcome.

Monday, November 15, 2010

I feel a bit of a mess today...

On-Going Agony: My tooth hurts; a temporary filling I must wear for 4 months. It looks as though I've got a piece of Trident gum stuck on my molar. I miss crunching on that side of my mouth. I can't believe how bland things taste when you only have one side to tantalize.

Morning Agony: I woke up looking like the elephant man (see 'A La Mode' Mango sidebar to feel my pain). Swelling has since gone down, but still feel compelled to tell complete strangers I have a mango allergy and was not involved in a rumble.

Mid-Day Agony: Just finished cooking a meal for a family that lost its mother. Three kids. One husband. A hard road ahead, no doubt. Who am I to have this glorious day to spend? Why me? Thank you, Universe. Thank you, God. I get to love today. I get to be loved. I am blessed.

Maybe I'm not such a mess after all. Maybe life is perfect. I'm thankful for my tooth, for mangos, for everything life throws my way. No guarantees, right? For now, I want to help. I want to hold others up. Today, I get to say the words "I Can" while others have a today filled with "I can't".

photo by ampamucka on flickr

Saturday, November 13, 2010

According to my last blog entry, I had a few recipes to try throughout the week. I feel two are worth posting.

The first one is the Curried Cauliflower. Am I a huge fan of curry? Nah, not really. Cauliflower? Love it with cheese sauce. So this one was surprisingly good! Even my husband, who hates cauliflower, found himself liking it. The kids, not so much. I don't know how often I'd make this again, but it was pretty good so I'll post it here.

The other one, Slow Cooker Taco Soup, was also pretty good. If you like tacos, you'll like this soup. And if I can throw it in a slow cooker while I'm at work, it moves up pretty high on my list. The kids liked it too so that's another reason to give it a thumbs up.

Denise's Curried Cauliflower Bake

1 large head cauliflower, broken into small florets
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
3/4 cup light mayonnaise
1/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons curry powder
12 wheat crackers
1/4 cup melted butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Place cauliflower in a steamer over 1 inch of boiling water, and cover. Cook until tender but still firm. Drain, and place in a greased casserole dish.

In a large bowl, mix together soup, mayonnaise, milk, and curry powder. Pour over cauliflower. Crush crackers, and mix with butter. Sprinkle over cauliflower. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.

You can make a casserole out of this by adding some cooked cubed chicken breasts and would also be good with broccoli. If you make it a casserole, I'm sure serving over rice would be delish.

Slow Cooker Taco Soup
photo by jayesel on flickr

1 onion, minced in food processor (or chopped if you're up for the work)
2 cans black beans; strained and rinsed
2 cups frozen corn
1 can tomato sauce
1 can dark beer (or other variety is fine)
2 cans diced tomatoes; UNdrained
1 package taco seasoning
3 whole skinless, boneless chicken breasts

Toppings (optional)

shredded cheddar cheese
sour cream
crushed taco chips

Place all contents, except for toppings and chicken, in slow cooker. Place chicken breasts on top and set on low for 6-8 hours. Prior to serving, remove chicken and shred. Place chicken back in slow cooker and stir to blend. Serve in bowls and garnish with toppings of your choice. Ole!

Monday, November 8, 2010

photo by cameosteph on flickr

Happy Monday All!

Today is about getting organized. Carefully laid plans on the first day of the week mean less chaos for the next six days. Work orders processed: check. Laundry started: check. Fridge cleaned out: check. Grocery list written: checkity-check.

I have laid out my meals for the next four days and will post the ones that prove successful. Here is what's on the dinner horizon:

Monday: Sloppy Joes with salad (at Zachary's request)
Tuesday: Cranberry Pork with Mashed Potatoes and Asparagus
Wednesday: Denise's Curried Cauliflower with Breaded Chicken Strips
Thursday: Slow Cooker Tortilla Soup

For now, I will leave you with something I served up last night. It was perfect after a weekend filled with gaggles of kids and outdoor chores. While it simmered in the slow cooker, all who entered our home embraced its cozy, comfort-food aroma.

photo by pillsbury on flickr

Shredded Beef on Kaisers

1 rump roast
1 package onion soup mix
beef broth
kaiser rolls

Pour about 1-2 cups of beef broth in crock pot. Place rump roast in and sprinkle with onion soup mix. Cook for 8 hours.

Once tender, shred beef apart with two forks. Serve on kaiser buns. Garnish with cheddar cheese and horseradish mayo if desired. Toss a salad for the side and you've got dinner!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Supper Hero

I must say, I wasn't ready for all the applause last night's dinner brought me. My husband and three kids were all raving over this one! I admit, it was pretty good. Because we fired up the barbecue for three short minutes, there was a whisper of summer at our table last night.

If you follow my lead, you will be a supper hero too! (Get it? SuPPer Hero?!? I'm blogarious...)

photo by 'julesjulesjules m' on flickr

Beef Skewers
prepare day before

Flank Steak - the cheap stuff!
3 tbsp hoisin Sauce
3 tbsp sherry
1/4 cup Bragg's soy sauce (this stuff is the best and has no artificial crap)
1 tsp. barbecue sauce of your choice
2 cloves garlic; minced
1 tbsp fresh ginger

Throw your hunk of flank steak in a ziploc bag. Set aside. Mix all other ingredients together and pour in the bag. Let marinate overnight.

Cut strips of meat against the grain. Take a wooden skewer and weave a strip of steak on each skewer. Barbecue on preheated grill for three minutes.


Oven Baked Sweet Potato Fries
photo courtesy of 'pinch my salt' on flickr

4 sweet potatoes; cut into fries
Montreal Steak Spice
Olive Oil

Toss sliced potatoes in bowl with spice and olive oil (enough to coat). Place on cookie sheet in single layer and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes. Near the end of cooking, crank the heat up to 375 - 400 degrees until they crisp up, turning to toss. Serve with Chipotle Mayo:

Chipotle Mayo a la Gillian (Thanks Gill!)

1/2 cup mayo (use Olive Oil Hellman's)
2 chipotle peppers
juice of one lime
two cloves garlic

Throw all of the above in your food processor and blend until smooth. This is even better the next day after the flavours meld together.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Symphony of Sounds

Hey Fellow Bloggers!

I've been out of touch a bit lately. I seem to be in the middle of a transient state; a bit in denial about the cold weather booting me out of my beloved forest and a little down-trodden about retiring to my basement for winter work-outs. But don't worry! I do this every year and I promise to come back with a vengeance! You can decide whether that's a good thing or not.

I know I seem far away lately, but I'm returning with ghusto!

This blog represents a little piece of my world and even though there seems to be a lot of shy visitors out there who choose not to comment, I am very impressed with the 2000+ hits my site has received. Even as far as Belgium! I think I'll be daring and reach into others' blogs more in the upcoming months. Life is too short for keeping your mind in the town you physically find yourself in. And I'm finding there are a lot of good hearts out there.

So I'll start by sharing in the moment...

As I type this, I am being wooed by band music downstairs. Like most nights, our basement transforms into a musician's oasis. Tonight, it's metal night. It's the first one to kick off a week filled with a variety of sounds; from metal to blues and jazz to rock.

As the metal sounds of Sabbath and Maiden invade their way up the stairs and into my cozy little den, I sit somewhat peacefully in front of a toasty fire. Ironically enough, the kindling used to spark this fire was a handful of splintered drumsticks. Yep, livin' the life of a musician's wife to say the least.

There is a stereotype out there with loud music and I'm sure my neighbours have many thoughts about the goings-on in our household. Wow, those Greens sure like to party it up. But if they were to step inside this world of sound, they would realize that it's serious business with well-laid plans and methodical rehearsals and respected schedules.

Me and Jeremy livin' the good life on a night off from band practice

In honour of this lively household, I welcome you to check out my husband's new blog: Six String Obsession. A guitar teacher for many years (helping him pay his way through college), Jeremy loves to talk all things guitar. And music. And artists. And bands. And the effect music has on the world around us. Yep, his obsession pretty much drives me crazy for the most part. So I'm happy to see he's found another avenue to voice his passion. His years of experience on the music scene make him a plethora of info on the subject and he seems to know what he's talking about most of the time. :)


As you cruise the wonderful world of blogging, I hope to see and hear from all of you in the upcoming months. Your company and drop-ins will keep me warm despite the coldness that befalls all us Canadians.

Leave a comment. Or not. Try the recipes. Or not. But know that each and every one of you is appreciated.

Tracey xo

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