Almost since the day we married, hubs and I have always been big on celebrating our wins. Back in the day, we celebrated with weekends away, foreign holidays, meals out, new clothes … you get the drift. Since I started writing to get published, we’ve marked each book release with luxury chocolate and a bottle of champagne (I save the corks!)
Well, times change… Although we still celebrate our wins, the way we choose to do so has kind of morphed into, shall we say, more prosaic means. Vivvy is a huge part of our lives now and neither of us enjoy leaving her for very long, although we have the very best friends who look after her for us – in fact, Viv can barely contain her excitement when we roll up to their house and she shoots out of the car without barely a backward glance for mum and dad. Typical! But since we miss her so much when we’re away, we tend not to want to go away that much, so the holidays and city breaks have taken a backseat, celebration wise.
Not that the actual celebrations have waned. If anything, we find more to celebrate as we get older, or that maybe because we look for any excuse since we found our new celebratory purchase 🙂
They’re our new addiction. We’ll celebrate anything … a day when it doesn’t rain, bin collection day, garden waste disposal day, grocery shopping day, when the window cleaner comes day, daylight saving day … you name it 🙂 In fact, getting my blog post up on time today calls for celebration…
We buy ours from the bakery, but here’s the recipe for you cooks out there: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/belgian-buns
With fall looming I thought it was time for a recipe and this is now one of our favorites.
We bought Cosco’s Shepherds Pie and loved it. Their version is made with hamburger and Linda and I decided to try beef stew meat. We didn’t look up a recipe and I realized as I did a little looking before writing this that there are a lot of recipes on the web. Just Google.
Make any size you want. We made a 9×13 one.
* Stew meat – we got stew meat that was cut in small pieces at Safeway. I’d never seen it like this but it cooked faster.
* mashed potatoes – we used instant and they tasted great. We did mix grated cheese in them
* can of beef broth
* can of mushroom soup
* pea’s & corn – we used frozen
* carrots, we used baby carrots
* seasoning – Johnny’s Dock & garlic powder
Brown stew meat with flour (use enough flour so it will make a thick gravy). In a pan or bowl mix broth, soup, and vegetables. Stir in browned meat and season. Put in a casserole dish (again we used the 9×13 size). Cook in 350° until meat is tender and the stew thick.
Spread mashed potatoes over top as thick as you want and put back in oven until brown.
Our granddaughter made this dish for Thanksgiving. Not only was it a new recipe she embellished it. The original called for brown sugar but after a taste test we all knew it didn’t need it. I can see Cranberry Chutney … Continue reading →
Okay, so inspired by a good friend I’ve taken a long, hard look at my chocolate addiction. I think she’d been a little concerned that lately at our coffee meet-ups I’ve been choosing hot chocolate instead of a cappuccino, and enjoying a chocolate muffin to go with it. Plus, there are two squares of dark chocolate I treat myself to during the evening, and *whisper* the odd (okay, more than odd) choccie bar I grab during the day.
Anyhoo, to cut a long telling-off very short, she suggested some easy ways to swap up my choccie addiction. Apparently, I can still have the two squares of dark chocolate (Yay!) but have to add way more vegetables and good stuff and ditch the rubbish.
So, I dug out the juicer/blender my mum bought me last Christmas and got to work with what I had in the kitchen. Most people know I’m not a great kitchen creative, in fact, I go there as little as possible. Thankfully, I have a husband who loves to cook and prepare meals, so at least we don’t starve. He never tires of telling people the story about a friend who popped in before Christmas one year and told him to put my pressie somewhere I’d never look and he said he’d put it in the oven because I never went there! Charming!
My first attempt at blending via set recipe was okay, but nothing that would keep me far away from the choccie. So I thought I’d just throw in things I had in the cupboard. It’s been working pretty well and so far my favorite is this one:
A couple of handfuls of Spinach
Half an Avocado
Splash of Apple Cider Vinegar/Lime Juice/Apple Juice
Surprisingly, it tastes pretty good (much better than it looks). Now, I just need to give it a name 🙂
How about you? Do you juice or blend? Have any favorite recipes?
It’s been awhile since we posted a recipe. I was never good at posting them but every once in awhile I stumble on one I want to share. Rick and Linda (Son and Daughter-in-law) have a very productive garden again this year. Last year Rick gave me a summer squash. I don’t like them but he told me to try it with Pasta which I did and Oh My Gosh so good. This year I asked for them. Yummy, fresh out of the garden I made the dish in the picture. There actually are three ways to serve it. And, I’ve tried them all.
- With sour cream
- put in a casserole dish and top with cheese. Cook in oven until the cheese is melted and even browned if you like it that way.
- Just as is with no cream or cheese
I like them all.
Summer Squash – as many as you want
Pasta – I used the Tri-Colored Fusilli but I really like Penne too.
Fry squash in oil. For this one I used avocado oil but I can’t tell the difference between it and olive oil. Season with favorite seasoning. I used Island Spice we got in Jamaica.
Cook pasta in salt water.
Drain pasta and stir in a little oil. Mix with fried summer squash and put in bacon bits. I love bacon so put in quite a bit.
Enjoy it just way or embellish it with sour cream or cheese.
January started a bit differently to how I anticipated with a referral back to the Breast Care Unit. Everything has worked out well and yesterday I had the All Clear. During waiting times I began to think of how I use my use my time, do I fill it up with things to do or am I enjoying my time? Probably a mixture of both but I want to enjoy this next decade of my life.
Large chunks of our days are spent planning, shopping and cooking meals which mostly we enjoy but do any of you sometimes get bored of this activity? I do so have decided to cut some corners and have a delivery from a company called Hello Fresh which was recommended by a friend. I await my first delivery next week of three meals to tempt Peter and my taste buds, all the ingredients except oil, salt and pepper are provided. Meals are packed in a box with icepacks in case we are out so food remains fresh. Monday 29th marks a change of routine as the only decision I need to make is which meal to cook first. On offer is Balsamic Steak with Red Cabbage and Potato Wedges; Tray-Bake Chicken with Roasted Vegetables, Tomato Salad and Minty Salsa; Thai Pork Stir Fry with Green Beans, Holy Basil and Rice (not sure of Holy Basil as it looks like Basil in the photo!). There is an option to choose different recipes but initially I have taken the easy route by choosing a Classic Box. Directions are included with glossy pictures to make the process error free so I will report back on progress.
The question is am I being lazy or is this good time management? By taking the drudge out of the meals I am free to enjoy cooking them but also freeing up time to do other things. My life is full and active but increasingly I am allowing myself to stop, relax and just be. In an early blog I mentioned a W H Davies poem Leisure which remains a favourite and a reminder:
“What is this life if full of care we have no time to stand and stare …”
First published in 1911 it is so relevant today. So my aim for 2018 is to stop, stand and stare at times and my goodness what I see. Sparrows, blackbirds, starlings, robins, tits, pigeons and crows come daily to our garden with their various rituals. The sparrows inhabit our big green hedge and are a constant source of pleasure to people passing by with their constant chatter. We live in the centre of town, opposite a fire station and garage but are so lucky with our feathered friends. Some of our human friends who live in the middle of countryside rarely have birds due to changes in farming techniques.
One more question for all of you – what motivates you to start writing? Please don’t say start!!
This recipe is from a very special friend and one of my favorites. 3 to 4 cups cooked chicken (2 pounds +) 12 oz package chicken stuffing 3 cans cream of chicken soup ½ cup milk 12 oz package of … Continue reading →
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With Mom living here with us now, I comb the internet and my recipe books for low salt alternatives to change up our lunch and dinner menus a bit. I found a low-salt chicken pot pie recipe and tried it. … Continue reading →
Watching my favourite celeb chef James Martin yesterday on TV, he had a guest chef appearing who prepared a meal I hadn’t had for many years, that of beef in beer, or Beef Carbonade as I know it. My mother used to cook this a lot for us, along with many other recipes using beer, in particular beer soup, a winter favourite using up any leftover flat beer from parties and Christmas.
My thoughts turned back to all the lovely food Mum used to cook when we were children. Friday nights it was always fried sprats. I still love them but daren’t cook them at home but when on holiday abroad, we always head for the nearest fish restaurant to enjoy grilled sardines. Mum also made the best macaroni cheese I’ve ever tasted, and the best spaghetti bolognese and chicken risotto, all three of which I’ve never been able to recreate the taste she managed to achieve. She can’t remember the ingredients and has sadly forgetten how to make them so can’t even pass on her secrets to me.
Food and the smell of cooking always evoke children memories and I sometimes wonder if the term “comfort food” comes more from the meals we remember from childhood than something warming and sustaining during the cold winter months.
It is a truth that recipes come and go, many long forgotten, but who could forget the ubiquitous restaurant meals of the 1960s and 1970s, when it was considered really posh to have prawn cocktail, then T-bone steak and chips followed by Black Forest gateau. And whatever happened to Chicken Maryland, Hungarian Goulash, boiled bacon and pease pudding, or even stuffed onions?
So while you’re salivating over the cake, does anyone even know how to cook these recipes nowadays, I wonder. I’d love to know what were your favourite meals from childhood.
This week brings us Christmas and I hope you and your family have a wonderful one. I love being with friends and loved ones all through the year but Christmas is really special. I pray good things for all of … Continue reading →