Monthly Archives

February 2013

FOOD + DRINK FOR all the family

My Weekly Meal Planner Experiment: Conclusion

spaghetti alla norma

It’s time to write my post-mortem. First, I shortened my weekly meal planner experiment by 2 weeks because I learned nothing new from the last two weeks. When I started this little experiment my hope was to add more recipes to my repertoire, and to start planning ahead. Let’s see how I did point by point.

Adding new recipes to my repertoire. I tried a few new recipes. But with a toddler and a busy schedule, it proved to be harder than I originally thought. For one thing, the fact that Zack is neither a fan of chicken nor steak reduced my choices. Several new recipes that inspired me where either too long or require ingredients that are normally found at the grocery store. This leads to planning ahead. Continue Reading

FAMILY KIDS rooms

Things that Work: The Fatboy Original for a Child Bedroom

play area in toddler's bedroom

One Sunday morning, my husband suggested that we went shopping for a Fatboy for our son. At the time, Zack was 1 and a half years old. I initially wanted to get him a Fatboy Junior but when we arrived at the store, I saw that I could get a free Point (the footrest/stool) with any purchase of the Original. That promotion sold me since I was dreaming of a footrest every time I need to comfort him late at night. Continue Reading

FOOD + DRINK FOR all the family

Weekly Meal Planner: Week 6

italian sausage and vegetable one pot dish

My meal planning was business. I wished that I could report a new recipe but it didn’t happen. So, you will see many common faces on last week’s menu:

  • Monday: What was in my pantry dictated what we ate that night. I served spaghettini with a garlic, olive and tomato sauce topped with freshly ground Parmesan.
  • Tuesday: I made what is comfy food in my home: my spicy Italian sausages with vegetables one pot dish.
  • Wednesday: Zack’s appetite was really back. He adored my scaloppine al limone. I originally planned to serve Brussel sprouts but the ones at the grocery store had seen better days. I relied on my trusted asparagus and rice for completing my menu. Zack had chocolate one or twice before. He was delighted at his first bite of Dixies from Laura Secord. This crunchy pecan pieces and chewy caramel covered in milk chocolate is delicious!
  • Thursday: A friend offered that we exchanged babysitting duties to each have a night out. Therefore, Zack had a little friend over for Valentine’s Day. For the occasion, my husband cooked a kid-pleasing meal: sloppy joe. I made for us an arugula and spinach salad.
  • Friday: We were due for some spicy shrimps. We each ate a bowl of stir-fried prawns and noodles from “Off the Shelf: cooking from the pantry” by Donna Hay. For dessert, we had more Dixies, thanks Laura Secord who sent Zack a box as a Valentine’s gift after they heard that he loves them so much. A big thanks to Katia and Laura Secord!
  • Saturday: My husband and I celebrated a friend’s birthday at a French restaurant while my toddler went to dinner at an Asian restaurant with my mother-in-law.
  • Sunday: I craved for a simple winter meal. We ate a Chinese fondue with cauliflower and button mushrooms.

That was it!

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

Happy Valentine’s Day!

valentine's day flowers

Valentine’s Day has a special twist this year in my home. It is the first time that we made valentines for my son’s daycare classroom.

Since Zack is still too young to enjoy yet mass producing cards, we ordered classroom Valentine’s cards last month from Tiny Prints. We selected the Truckloads of Fun because Zack is really into transportation vehicles these days. We used his official daycare picture, in his uniform, for the photo. The picture was taken last October. When I look at him now, I can’t believe how much he transformed from a baby face to a little boy face. Continue Reading

FOOD + DRINK FOR all the family

Weekly Meal Planner: Week 5

what's for dinner week 5

My little experiment on recording what we eat for dinner continues. Last week was special because my toddler was sick for half of the week. He ate bread and chicken soup several nights in a row. I am glad that he now has regained his appetite.

Here is what we ate for dinner last week:

  • Monday: After a morning of running errands and an afternoon filled with accounting duties, I welcomed the comfort of a simple healthy meal. I paired boiled green beans and Brussel sprouts — topped with butter — with the Dijon mustard steelhead trout fillets cooked by my husband.
  • Tuesday: I had a craving for chicken and couscous. I cooked a her early Donna Hay cookbook titled  Flavours. It a grilled lemon chicken breasts on a bed of almond, sage, lemon and caper couscous salad. If you don’t own the cookbook, have a look at Emily’s Culinary Adventures. Emily shared how she makes the recipe.
  • Wednesday: We ate a cheese fondue with an assortment of charcuterie (Grison beef and prosciutto), sweet onions, sour onions and sour gherkins.
  • Thursday: I went to a concert that night. Since I was in a hurry, we ate pasta with a ready-made sauce.
  • Friday: It was sushi night.
  • Saturday: Since we were at the ski cottage, I cooked a simple meal. We grilled steelhead trout fillets with a touch of Dijon mustard and oil live on top. Rice and grilled asparagus were our side dishes. For dessert, we ate a delicious apple and cranberry pie from a local bakery.
  • Sunday: Since we arrived from the ski cottage at a time where the grocery store would be full, we ordered pizza. Our usual place is closed on Sunday. We ate it with a Greek salad.

I will continue this experiment until the end of the month.

+ sourcing: Celeste Dinnerware at Crate & Barrel

LIVING

New Uses for Old Things: Converting a Frying Pan into a Ground Pod

diy ground pod

Ok, this one is not for everyone but I thought that it was a clever DIY project. Food and photography goes hand to hand. But this time, it is on an usual way. An inexpensive frying pan creates the base of your own custom made ground pod.

Besides the cost savings, the benefits are that it is lighter than the commercially available ground pods and that you can make it at the height that fits your body. If you are interested, the project is simple to make. Check the instructions at Digital Photography School and at Photo Migrations.

I try to remember this fun thing the next time I meet a serious photographer.

FOOD + DRINK FOR all the family

Weekly Meal Planner: Week 4

crisp chicken legs

Deciding what’s for dinner was easy this week. I only wish that it would be as simple to feed my toddler boy. I don’t know if it is because he had a cold, but it was not less enthusiastic by my cooking this week.

Here is what we ate for dinner last week:

  • Monday: We started the week with an easy pasta night. To save time, I served the Florentine Spinach and Cheese sauce by Classico on spaghettini. We added extra cheese with freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano.
  • Tuesday: My husband had an event that night. To enough me to pass more time with Zack, I stopped by Tourtière Australienne and bought their delicious Lamb roganjosh pie. I served it with the leftover  potato, rutabaga and carrot mash from last Sunday.
  • Wednesday: That was our fish night. My husband cooked to perfection steelhead trout fillets that he lightly covered with Dijon mustard before cooking. I made us a tropical fennel salad and side of green beans.
  • Thursday: I cooked Jamie-Oliver’s tender and crisp chicken legs with sweet tomatoes that I served with the remaining leftover  potato, rutabaga and carrot mash.
  • Friday: I took a day off from cooking. We ordered something that it always a hit with my toddler: our usual vegetarian pizza, extra ham with a mix salad.
  • Saturday: In honor of the Super Bowl, my husband cooked his delicious chili con carne. He achieved a right balance of spices to be enjoyable but us and our toddler.
  • Sunday: I made us a chicken pilaf rice. I used a recipe from the first cookbooks that I bought when I moved to my own apartment for university. It is so easy to make and delicious. The best part is that the leftover is enough for two lunches.

Do you plan your meal weekly? If so, what do you eat on an average week at your home?

CAKES + desserts FOOD + DRINK

Cream Cheese Frosting: Not Too Sweet

cream cheese frosting

Earlier this week, I was looking for a cream cheese frosting recipe that was not too sweet. Thanks to Martha, I found the perfect balance. I cut her recipe since I needed only one cup. The ratio of 4 onces of cream cheese, 4 ounces of unsalted butter and half a cup of sifted confectioners’ sugar works for me. Then, add half of teaspoon of the best vanilla extract for the ultimate taste.

For the right texture, don’t use bar cream cheese at room temperature. Continue Reading