Recipe: Golden Milk

Cold and flu season is upon us. Working in retail, in a store that caters to families, means that I am around germs whenever I am not out at the park (germ heaven) with little dude. Don’t misunderstand. I am no germaphobe. I don’t bathe my house in bleach, nor do I carry around hand sanitizer. Instead, I try to eat healthy, take my vitamins and wash my hands. I have been looking for tips and tricks to boost my immune system just a bit more when there are bugs going around. Well, this week Liam developed a nasty cold. I knew it would only be a matter of time before it hit me.

So far, I have dodged it. I hope it is because of my improved diet and fitness, but it could also be my religious drinking of something called “Golden Milk”. Golden Milk is basically a spiced milk drink that is supposed to help you get through cold and flu season. A lot of the homesteading blogs and pages I have been following mention the amazing immunity boosting powers of tumeric, so when I came across this recipe, I figured it couldn’t hurt to try.20141027_135456Golden Milk

  • 2 cups milk of your choice (cow, goat, soy, almond or coconut)
  • 1 teaspoon dried turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon dried ginger (or one-half inch fresh ginger thinly sliced or grated)
  • A sprinkle of black pepper (fresh is best)
  • Unpasturized honey to taste

20141110_192800Add milk, tumeric, ginger and pepper to sauce pan over medium heat. Be careful to stir frequently to prevent boiling over and burning.

Allow to simmer slightly (small bubbles will appear at the rim of the sauce pan) for a couple of minutes. Remember to keep stirring.

Remove from heat, cover and let sit for 10 minutes.

You may want to strain this if you are using fresh ingredients or if you want to avoid the silty bottom. Serve warm and add honey to taste. 20141027_135511I actually quite like the taste. I am going to keep enjoying this warm spiced drink this winter as both a tasty nighttime treat and as a way to fight off colds. Let me know what you think, if you try it!

Black magik

This time of year always makes me nostalgic. As we are forced indoors by the cold, I think back to Halloween over the years. I used to go to a local club every year with my friends to celebrate at the Annual Witches Gathering party.

It’s a hard thing to explain. I’ve had other friends join me and try never really got why I went there every year. The line ups were awful, service was bad and the music was terribly outdated (and not in a good way). There was a certain appeal of being with my people and attending out of a sense of ritual. They have since changed venues, but I haven’t gone since my Mom passed.

Me at the Gathering, 2009.

Me at the Gathering, 2009.

Before going out, we used to stop by a little cafe downtown called Oh So Good. Oh So Good used to have this amazing coffee on the menu called Black Magik. It was served in a bowl style mug and was DELICIOUS. The cafe has since moved and lost its appeal, as well as the Black Magik on the menu.

Tonight is the night of the Witches Gathering. I’m not going, but I decided to make myself a cup of Black Magik as best as I could.

OSG’s Black Magik

My not-so-black magik

My not-so-black magik

What you need:

  • Strong black coffee (I used my Keurig, but whatever tickles your fancy is what works best)
  • Two scoops of chocolate icecream
  • Sweetener of choice (I used maple syrup)
  • Milk/Cream/whatever if you need it

It’s pretty straight forward. Brew your coffee however you like it. It’s best if it’s a heavier strong coffee. Add two scoops of chocolate icecream and stir. If it’s not sweet or light enough for you, add your sweetener and milk/cream/whatever. I only had vanilla icecream on hand, so that’s what went into mine. Garnish with a tiny bit of Cinnamon and Nutmeg.

What ever you’re up to tonight, I hope you’re having a lovely time. We are relaxing and setting Liam up in his big boy room. It’s his first night out of our room. Wish us luck!

Liam's Room <3

Liam’s Room <3

Soup Day

I’ve been fighting a nasty cold for a couple of days now. It’s mostly just a sinus thing, but I feel like my whole body is 80 years older. My mind is foggy, my body is sore and my head feels so full of crap. I’ve managed to get out and play with L despite feeling like ass, but I knew I needed a day to center myself after getting only 3 hours of sleep last night. Poor Liam is more than a little bored, but in the end it’ll be worth it. The fall weather has inspired me. I want a tasty way to get all the veggies from our CSA into my belleh. What’s a good way of doing that while hunkering down at home? Soup of course!

 

My first batch today is from this recipe: Roasted Tomato Vegetable Soup. 

 

Roasted Tomatoes

Roasted Tomatoes

 

So many pretty carrots

So many pretty carrots

Ready to simmer

Ready to simmer

I made a few changes to the recipe. Firstly, I Carnivore-d it Up by using chicken stock (instead of half of the water) and chicken bouillon cubes (instead of veggie bouillon). This is partially for the flavour, and partially because I firmly believe that chicken stock is mandatory in fighting illness (At least in my home). Also, I didn’t have fancy basil oil (Tracy, I can feel your sad head-shake from here.), so I just used olive oil with dried basil sprinkled over the tomatoes instead. I was pretty generous with my veg, so I may have ended up with a thicker soup than normal. I’m ok with that.

So good!

So good!

My second batch is Grandma J’s Borscht Recipe.

My mother’s recipe book was pretty vague, so I did the best I could. My understanding of Borscht is that it is a soup to use whatever veg you have at the time. For me, this included green beans, instead of yellow, and a variety of beets, rather than just one basic kind.  Pat doesn’t like peas, so I nixed those. Again, I used chicken stock instead of water. My poor grandmother would be grumbling disapprovingly, I’m sure. I kept all my chopping chunky and rough. I took half of the soup and blended it smooth, then mixed in the chunks. I think fall soups are yummy thick beasts, so I went with that.

The recipe:

Grandma J’s Borscht

grandmajsborscht

  • 1 2/3 cups yellow beans
  • 1 cup peas
  • 3/4 cup carrots
  • 1 med onion
  • 1 pint tomatoes
  • 1 cup cabbage
  • 5-6 small potatoes
  • 3 cups beets
  • 1 tblsp salt
  • 8-9 cups water

Put all together and simmer until tender.

Getting started

Getting started

So pretty!

So pretty!

Tasty!

Tasty!

I have one more planned for tonight, but we’ll see if I burn out before then. I’m freezing half of all of this, and only keeping half of that. The rest of the frozen portions are going to my bestie, S, and her family. Baby Bobby just joined the family, so I want to treat them to some tasty meals. The rest is for dinner tonight :D

 

Who needs a market? Not me, today!

One of Liam’s favourite books is the fantastic “To Market, To Market
by Anne Miranda. For those who don’t know it, it’s a cute story about a woman who buys a bunch of animals with plans for making lunch (with them as the meal), however each of these animals escape into her home, so she gives up on eating them and decides to make veggie soup for herself and the critters.

Today I threw together something similar in the crock pot for dinner tonight and I wanted to share.

I based the recipe on Get Off Your Butt and Bake’s Traditional Stew recipe, which is a good base recipe for a basic stew. While I don’t currently have a bunch of animals running around my house instead of being a tasty meal, I did have a grumpy tired husband, a cranky teething baby and work tonight. We get our next box of CSA veg later today, so I wanted to make room in the fridge. It was a bad week for cooking, so I have a lot left over from last week. Luckily for us, that included some stewing beef, so its not exactly like the story. The whole time I was chopping the veggies, I couldn’t help but think of the story. Here’s what I put together:

Heather’s No Market Needed Stew:

YOU WILL NEED:

  • Around 2 lbs. beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch cubes. I had less than half that, so I added more veg
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 3 bay leaf
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Shallots
  • 2 Knorr Beef Bouillon packets
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • Chunked Veggies of your choice (This time, I used heirloom baby carrots, chopped CSA carrots, CSA red pepper, CSA Patty Pans, CSA fingerling potatoes, CSA red potatos, CSA beets)
  • A few shakes of Mrs. Dash original
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup broth (I had some organic chicken broth left. Yes, it seems weird to add chicken broth to a beef stew, but I’m working with what I have)
Coat meat with flour in a large ziploc bag. Set the leftover flour aside.
In large skillet heat oil (I used vegetable oil). Brown meat on all sides
In slow cooker, combine browned beef, bay leaves, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, shallots, garlic, bouillon cubes, seasoning, and vegetables.

stewPour water and broth over top, enough to mostly cover the meat and veg. Cover and cook on low 8-10 hrs.

Set slowcooker to high and thicken with 1/4 cup of the flour left over from coating dissolved in a small amount of warm water. Cover and cook on high 10 to 15 minutes until you are happy with the thickness.

Feeds 2 adults and a toddler, with plenty left for lunch tomorrow.

It’s a perfect way to use up those CSA or fall harvest vegetables. <3

A Responsible Sandwich

I’ve been meaning to share this for a few days now, but due to life getting in the way, I haven’t been able to take the time to make more of these sandwich buns and photograph the process. As I mentioned in my first post about responsibility, one of the changes we made was making some items at home, rather than buying. Here’s what went into that decision.

!. When attempting to work on our finances, we wanted to make some easy changes to our day to day lives. We looked at where money was going, and pin pointed areas where we could save. In this case, Pat was buying lunch Monday-Friday (usually at Subway, though occasionally at a local deli/sandwich shop). The average cost spent was 8$/day or about 160$/month, with no prep required.

2. I then tried a less labour intensive solution: Purchasing ready-made sandwich buns from the local store. The cost break down is this:

Buns: 1.99/sandwich

Meat: 1.70/sandwich

Condiments and other toppings: 0.35/sandwich

Total Sandwich cost for the month: About 81$ (about 50.6% of the Subway cost)

Prep Required: About a second or two more to my grocery shopping time, and about 5 minutes to make the sandwich.

As you can tell, there was a significant price difference here. We started on that route. We did, however, notice that the buns purchased were rarely available the day they were made (ie: they were already a day or two old when we bought them), and as a result, wouldn’t last the week, resulting in either a day of purchased lunch or dipping into other groceries for a different meal.

3. In an attempt to save a bit more money, force myself out of my comfort zone, try to make something that would last longer and to try something new, I decided to make my own buns. Here is the cost breakdown:

Buns: 0.74/sandwich

Meat: 1.70/sandwich

Condiments: 0.35/sandwich

Total Sandwich cost for the month: 56$ (35% of the original subway cost)

Prep Required: This is where there is a major difference. While the actual work involved was maybe only 10 minutes of actual effort, the buns took the better part of the day to make and require staying close to home.

So, is it worth it? Depends. When I have time – Absolutely. I found the process of making the bread extremely soothing. I felt proud that my efforts yielded such tasty results. Having said that, I will definitely rely on store-bought when we have a crazy week. On a personal level, I really love the challenge of getting back to the basics. Homemade bread, homemade sauces, etc… I feel better about what my family is eating when I know every single ingredient in each part of their meal – because I made it myself. As a bonus – There is nothing better in this world than a slice of bread, hot from the oven, smothered in butter and honey with a cup of tea. Seriously.

And now for the recipe itself. I found it here. It really is a perfect fit for the delicious po boy bread of New Orleans (squishy soft inside, thin crunchy crust). I won’t re-write it all, but rather share my experience with it (if you haven’t made bread before, please don’t be nervous! This is seriously my second time ever, and it wasn’t hard in the least.)

A Responsible Sandwich Bun

1. Following the recipe from The Galley Gourmet, mix your ingredients on low until bread pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Add salt and then set to knead for 10 minutes on medium. (Note: I used a blend of white bread flour and multigrain bread flour)

bread5

2. Form a ball on a floured surface. Place in a greased bowl, cover with clingwrap and set in a warm, draft-free place to rise (about 1hr 1/2. I used this time to put the baby down for a nap, eat all of the left over Apple Crisp from the Farmer’s Market and watch some Weeds)

bread4bread3

3. Deflate the dough on a floured surface. Divide into as many “loaves” or buns as you would like (recipe recommends 6-8). Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let sit for 15 minutes

bread2

4. Form rolls, place on parchment paper lined baking sheet. Cover with damp cloth, let sit for an hour.

bread1

5. Bake for about 30 minutes at 375.

Let buns cool completely for tasty sandwich bread, or, dive right in like me and enjoy the hollow tasty (and cheap) goodness.

20130909-142702.jpg

OAMC Review – Beef Noodle Bake

With baby due to arrive almost any day now, I’m started testing out some of my freezer meals pre-freezer to see if they are worth a weekend of cooking. My first trial was this:

Beef Noodle Bake

from Food.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My take:

I pretty much stayed true to the original recipe. The only change I made was that I used yolk-free egg noodles to cut down on fat content.

Review:

Both Pat and I found this recipe to be extremely bland. I think it could definitely benefit from some more interesting spicing, perhaps a pasta sauce instead of plain tomato sauce (I’ve been adding red pepper sauce to spice things up a bit). Also,  I think the cheese choices need some pep. I don’t think the cottage cheese is enough. Perhaps ricotta to add more creaminess? A sharper cheddar on top? SOMETHING.

Otherwise, I could see this being an easy addition to the supper rotation. It has all the ease of our family baked pastas that we love so much, without any Cream of Whatever soups. I also enjoy that the bake time is so short, which is handy for these OAMC style meals.

A beautiful long weekend

I’ve been looking forward to this weekend for a while now. With my reduced hours at work (which continue into december), I have an extra long long weekend. This past week of my pregnancy has been interesting. I’ve been on edge, but hopeful. Nausea is back, but so is my desire to eat things that aren’t bread/potato/pasta related, which is a massive relief. I’m actually getting sick of carbs. i want some veggies! Some meat! Some variety! Unfortunately, with this week comes intense headaches and nightmares.

This weekend we have a lot of good stuff going on. Friday was my cleaning, relaxing and prep day. Pat and I had date plans! (Oooo! We haven’t been on a date in a long damn time. Saw the new Jason Stratham movie. Surprisingly good) Saturday, we we’re off to the in-laws for Thanksgiving dinner. We had a lovely time! My SIL, Kina, did a fantastic job of the meal and we all had a great time hanging out.  Sunday we went going Apple Picking with Nana Jan and Cathy (and the girls from the wonderful family that I’ve adopted. Pat’s best friend, Jan, has been a huge support to me the last couple of years). Monday was basically a laze about day, mostly with video games and left overs.

One of my favourite things about thanksgiving, or any major family meal, is the dish that I made and brought to the dinner on Saturday. As you all know, it’s been a tough couple of years for my family. Pat and I try to keep traditions from both of our pasts alive as we move forward together. One of those traditions is a simple casserole dish that was present at every Sutherland family gathering for the last 10 years or so. I think it was introduced by my Dad’s daughter, Kim, at Christmas one year. Or maybe it was easter. Either way, it was a complete hit and became a staple right away. It is always a sneaky way to get non-veg lovers to get just a tiny bit on their plates (yes, it’s kind of a lie. The veg is practically bathing in cheese and cream. At least it’s still veg). It’s also one of the very few dishes that I’ve brought to mixed family events that everyone seems to enjoy (well, mostly everyone). Coming from a strange background, I have some dishes that are best left to…well…me. I’ve recently discovered that not even my little sister likes some of the Ukrainian dishes we’ve grown up with. Don’t worry Mum, I’ll keep eating those Latkes and cabbage rolls. Even if its all by my lonesome (Pat prefers his potatoes in non-pancake form, and will eat only the rice filing for the cabbage rolls. Before it comes in contact with cabbage.)

So, here’s a page from my well loved and very abused personal cook book that my Mum put together for me:

The inside cover of my recipe book <3

Mum's actual entry for this recipe <3

The Sutherland Family Veggie Casserole

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh broccoli
  • 2 cups fresh cauliflower
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 1 10oz can of Cream of Whatever Soup (traditionally, we use mushroom)
  • 1 cup grated cheese (usually cheddar)
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 pkg croutons, crushed

1. Cook veggies in salted boiling water for 5 minutes. Spread evenly in 8 x 12 buttered casserole pan

Boiling broc and cauli

2. Beat eggs. Combine with mayo, onions, soup and 1/2 cup cheese

All mixed

3. Pour mix over veggies. Sprinkle remaining cheese over top

Just needs butter and crunch!

4. Pour over – melted butter. Sprinkle crushed croutons on top

5. Bake for 350 F for 40 min.

Source: Dad’s daughter Kim, and most likely from the back of a Campbell’s Soup Can. Who knows.

Make it your own! Add whatever veg you like, whatever soup/cream sauce you want, change up the cheese and go to town!

Note: My changes this time around – I used 1/2 an onion, a mix of mozz and cheddar, 1/2 fat cream of mushroom soup and I used panko crumbs instead of croutons.

As it turns out, it was a massive hit on Saturday with no leftovers for me at all. Lucky for me, I have the fixins for Part 2 at home. Veggie Casserole for dinner one night? I think so! For my fellow Canadians, I hope the long weekend treated you well! For everyone else, take care and have a great one!

Coping

Where has this summer gone? I can’t believe we’re already in August! The evenings are starting to cool down, and I can feel a certain briskness in the air. Love it! Autumn is my favourite season, so I can’t wait for it to arrive!

Unfortunately, things haven’t improved much in my neck of the woods. Lots of estate stress has been accompanied by some work issues. Not entirely sure why these things have developed, but I’ve noticed a strange attitude change towards my position. I am a part time assistant to the student employment department at the local college. We just hired two new staff members, both on contract like me, with one of them being part time as well. For whatever reason, their arrival has somehow resulted in me being knocked down the totem poll. There’s been some issues that have me worried and I’m planning on approaching my manager about them. It’s not a fun thing to worry about, especially when money is already tight.

At least I have my friends and some hobbies to keep me occupied. I have a big project in the works that I can’t wait to share with you all! Unfortunately, I can’t yet because it’s a surprise. Hee! I promise, as soon as I can, I’ll let you know :) Something I can tell you about: I’m trying to teach myself to crochet. Will I succeed? Will it be an epic disaster of massively tangled proportions? Only time will tell.

This month is looking to be jam packed of busy and fun. This weekend we’re celebrating my niece’s 2nd birthday. I can’t believe how fast time flies! next week is my sister’s birthday (who has no right to be turning 25. Seriously. There is something incredibly crazy about that), my sister in law is also having a little birthday shindig that week as well which is going to be a hoot. Finally, the last weekend of August, one of my BFFs, L, is in town for work and is crashing with us for the weekend. I haven’t seen her in a little while, so I’m very excited! Directly after that, I’ll be following her home to Montreal for a family get together/engagement party (I’m her MOH!). As soon as I return from my weekend away in beautiful Montreal, I’ll be returning to celebrate my nephew’s 2nd birthday! Busy busy! By then, it’ll be September!

With all of that going on, I’m also trying to include some work outs into my routine, as well as get some meals cooked so that we’re no longer relying on fast food and meals from boxes. Last night was one of my favourites. Super quick and easy!

Chicken Bruschetta Bake

(based on Kraft’s recipe here)

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of stewed or diced tomatoes (whatever I have on hand. Last night was herbed diced. Fresh works also, though the liquid from the can is used later so keep that in mind and substitute in either chicken stock or just water)
  • 1pkg stuffing mix (Ok, so there’s still a box involved. Sue me. Feel free to make your own homemade substitution.)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless chicken breast (I usually use two medium sized breasts for this meal), cut into bite sized pieces.
  • a few shakes of dried basil (enough to lightly dust all of the chicken)
  • 1 cup mozzarella (we usually also add some parmigiana and cheddar)
1. Preheat your oven to 400F
2. Lightly oil a casserole dish
3. Mix tomatoes and garlic into stuffing

Mix then let sit while you prepare everything else.

4. Cut your chicken if you haven’t already. Once you do, place in your casserole dish.

Yay chicken!

5. Sprinkle with your dried basil. I use more than the Kraft recipe calls for.

Yum! Feel free to season however you like. Oregano might be good too!

6. Layer on your cheeses. Again, I use more cheese than asked for. Love me the fromage.

Just a little cheese

7. Cover with the stuffing mix. I tend to smooch it down to make it all fit.

It looks almost the exact same when cooked, just with more brown.

8. Cook for about 30 min or until chicken is cooked through. This will normally feed both Pat and I for dinner and then have enough for lunch the next day. This is still really good when reheated.

It’s a great quick meal for a busy day, and it’s super tasty (if not a bit heavy on the sodium. I definitely recommend picking up a low/no sodium stuffing).

Enjoy those last few remaining summer days and nights! Soon enough, we’ll be bundling up! <3

 

Hot Headed

It’s been a rough week in Heatherland. I’m not entirely sure why, but I have been in one heck of a funk. My patience is thin, I’m irritable and I just want to hide under my desk at work. Poor Pat has been taking the brunt of it (though I think one of my triggers is his return to WoW). The house is a disaster, I feel overwhelmed by everything. Luckily, it’s a long weekend thanks to a civic holiday on Monday, so I’m facing my last work day of the week and comforting myself by dressing sort of schlumpy and wearing the beautiful necklace my sister got me for my birthday:

Sorry for the grainy picture. iPhone doesn't like mornings either.

A better short of the necklace from a week ago

A couple of nights ago I decided to try to comfort myself with a Sutherland family recipe, Baked Spaghetti (a complete misnomer, btw. Never has this recipe included Spaghetti. It’s always been macaroni, but we’ve never called it anything else). The recipe was brought to us by my father’s son’s ex-wife (did you catch all of that?). Once upon a time, when my sister and I were still in our preteens, we lived in a very busy house. Both my Dad’s sons had moved in with us, with their wives, who were both super pregnant at the time. So, at one point we had my Mum, my dad, my dad’s two sons, their wives, their kids, my sister and me, as well as a dog, and four cats. (A total of  6 adults, 2 preteens and 2 infants on your average day). This was pretty overwhelming for my poor Mum who was used to our tidy little family of four. Luckily, this recipe was introduced and quickly became a family favourite. I would specifically request it for birthday dinners, special events or when I had a bunch of friends over.  It’s stupid easy and really adaptable. I mentioned making this to Pat over the weekend and on Monday I told him we needed to buy some things before it could happen. Tuesday he came home and accounced we had to go shopping RIGHT AWAY because he was desperate for it and had been thinking about it since Saturday.

The Sutherland Family Baked “Spaghetti”

What you need:

  • Lean ground beef (I ususally use about 1/2 lbs, but this is up to you)
  • Shredded cheddar cheese. Again, use whatever cheese you like. I normally add a bunch of parmesean as well. I normally use about 2 cups.
  • A jar of Pasta Sauce (whatever floats your boat. We used a Healthy Choice veggie sauce this time)
  • Cream of mushroom soup (or use a cream based sauce, like an alfredo sauce, to cream up the flavour without dipping into the campbells world)
  • 1 onion
  • Whatever other veg you want (Mum recommended mushrooms, but my husband hates them so I tend to exclude them)
  • A box of macaroni (we use whole wheat)
  • A couple cloves of garlic

1. Preheat your oven to 300F.

2. Fill a pot with water, bring to a boil.  Once boiling, add macaroni and cook until al dente. While your water is warming to a boil, brown your meat. (Heather Tip: I always add cinnamon to my ground beef. It gives it a deeper flavour that I enjoy)

3. Add your garlic and onion to your meat before it is completely brown. You want them soft, but not too coloured.  Same goes for your veg. If you’re not using lean meat, I recommend cooking the onion and garlic in a separate pan so that you can drain your meat. Add them to the meat once you’ve strained it.

4. Once your meat, onions, and garlic are done, add your pasta sauce. Mix.

5. Add your cooked noodles to a big ass pan/casserole dish. Mix in your cream of mushroom/heavy cream sauce until well blended. Mix in your meat sauce.

6. Mix in a cup of cheese. Once mixed, top with your remaining cheese.

7. Cook in the oven for 30-40 min.

Sorry I don’t have a completed picture. We were both too hungry to keep from eating it when it came out of the oven. This recipe will feed a giant family, and is easily customizable to make more or less. This batch fed us for dinner, lunch and dinner (keeping my mind my husband who is currently very active and thus VERY HUNGRY).

The rest of my week has continued to be pretty meh. Last night I worked on our wedding photobook (which is about 80% done now) and then watched the most recent episode of True Blood (no spoilers, but YES FINALLY OMG and I need a lost puppy viking in my basement fo sho).

The plan for this weekend is to clean, finish up the photo book, finish reading Storm of Swords (OMG! STUPID STARKS! LISTEN TO YOUR WOLVES!), see my new nephew and visit with my BFF S and hopefully go on a date with the husband.  I’mtrying to get myself back on the crafting train, but it’s been hard. I’ve had zero motivation (and the lack of A/C doesn’t help. I don’t want to be anywhere near anything with any wool content when it’s 30C in my house). Any tips to get back to my hobbies? I’m seriously considering knitting socks, but so far it hasn’t inspired me to pick up the needles. Anyway, happy weekend everyone! Hope you all have a great one!

Another Monday

I hope everyone had a lovely weekend.

Mine was a strange blend of absolutely crazy busy and mind-numbingly relaxing. Friday, Pat was home sick and I went downtown for my regular waxing appointment (PS, I totally noticed a difference in not taking some Tylenol before the appointment. Ow). Afterwards, I hung out at bridgehead and had my 2nd favourite iced chai in the world (only topped by the one I had in New Orleans).

This? This is heaven.

I then met up with Pat’s Work Wife, Ali, and one of their co-workers, Young Pat. We had a quick lunch together and then I left them to finish off their work day. In the evening, Pat and I had to do some running around for the estate. Saturday we did major weeding of our backyard and a quick mowing. In the evening, I tried out a new recipe that I’ve been eyeing for a while (yet another find on pinterest). I am a big fan of cauliflower and would eat it in everything. Absolutely everything. My husband? Not so much. He was really unsure about this dish.

Roasted Cauliflower (in a tomato sauce)

I’m not up for stealing a recipe from one blog to another, so I’ll just tell you about basics of the recipe:

While you roast your cauliflower in the oven (BTW, I totally felt that one head of cauli wasn’t enough. Get a giant head, or double the recipe. Seriously. Or, you know, keep this thing as a sidedish rather than your whole meal), fry up an onion in some olive oil. I used 6 shallots or so instead of the onion, as that’s what I had on hand.

Once the onions/shallots start to change colour and get soft, add about half a big can of diced or chopped tomatoes, juice and all (or one small can, as per the recipe). Add your tsps of sugar, a dash of salt and your fancy vinegars. I used balsamic vinegar, regular white vinegar and some white wine that was on its way out (about a week since uncorking). Don’t judge, it’s better than wasting, right? Reduce all of this stuff down and then purée.

Cook some garlic in some olive oil, add your tomato deliciousness and let it reduce down to a thick goopy sauce. Add some chili powder for spice. Once it’s nice and sticky, add the roasted cauliflower. Coat well, serve, NOM.

So, Pat wasn’t sure about this. I knew I’d like it, but I wasn’t sure about love. Verdict? I LOVED it. Aside from cauliflower soup and au gratin, this is my new favourite cauli meal. I would eat this ALL THE TIME. Pat’s opinion? For cauliflower, it was ok. The sauce would be awesome on pasta. Or, you know, something else that didn’t suck.

After dinner, a bunch of Estate stuff came up which kept me busy long into the night. Sunday morning we SLEPT IN. It was glorious. I felt awesome. Afterwards, I mowed the front lawn while Pat started work on my car. You remember my car, right? We bought it last year.   About a month or two after we bought it, we started to notice it had some issues. Last November, it almost completely died.  It stranded us at a pet store far from home. Basically, that model and year of car is known for transmission issues (which we didn’t learn until the issues started for us, about a week after our one month warranty ended). A friend of ours, a Subaru fanatic, thinks that we might be able to fix the issue with a transmission fluid additive, which will help all of the seals. I’m not convinced this will fix the issue, but it’s worth a shot. I haven’t been able to drive in about 7 months, and have been reliant on Pat and his car to get around (it’s standard, which I don’t drive. Have no desire to learn. Long story, but it’s too stressful for me to take on right now).

Pat under the car

My reaction to this whole thing

Pat, out from under.

Will it work? Who knows. We’ll have to wait and see. This week doesn’t hold any set plans, so we’ll see what we end up doing. Happy Monday everyone!