Sunday, April 26, 2015

Destination: Irvine, Kentucky

Well this is certainly out of the ordinary of my normal posts.  Irvine, Kentucky is one of my favourite places on earth.  It is a tiny gem nestled in the Appalachians, not far from other wonderful destinations like Lexington, Richmond, Berea, and Renfro Valley.

I spent a great deal of almost 20 summers in Irvine and I have so many wonderful memories tying me to this town.  When I came across this blogpost over at Bourbon Soaked Mom, could I not repost?


Free Advice:  You cannot solve your life problems by reading blogs.  

I am one of those people who cannot turn off.  At night, if I cannot sleep I am constantly thinking about what I need to do, what I should do, what I might do, how can I make our life more efficient, what groceries do I need, etc.  Some might even say this is why I cannot sleep, despite being totally exhausted.  This is one of the traps of Modern Motherhood Perfection - constantly feeling like giving your all is not enough, that you are not up to snuff.  Humph.

Sadly, I think blogs are unintentionally fueling this notion.  Don't get me wrong - I love blogs - but people seem to forget that they are mostly staged (not to be confused with fake).  There are not that many people who wake up in the morning and take pictures of beautifully manicured nails holding their Heriloom teacup while sitting on a perfectly clean white couch while soaking up heavenly like sunrays coming in the window.  Just saying.  It's pretty, but for most of us this is not reality.  If you are trying to live up to someone's blog, you will find yourself bloghausted.  

It can be so easy to believe that if we just find the write article about how to organize our pantry, iron our shirts, fold the bottom bedsheet, get our kid to eat more protein, life will magically be better.  It won't be.  If you want to make your life better spend fifteen minutes snuggling with your children.  Read them a book.  Take them outside.  Make cookies with them.  You will never regret these things.

Enjoy blogs for what they are - fun to read, sometimes helpful, often entertaining.  A little escape from reality that sometimes offers you some very useful information.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Smells Like Sping Clean

So I tried this, and it was actually quite nice.  It seemed to clear out that stale end-of-winter-but-not-yet-spring smell-not-smell in our house.

Note: Never leave a pot on the stove unattended.  Luckily we are pretty much always in the kitchen if we're at home.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Friday Night Dinner Project: Midway Point

We are now officially halfway finished our cook-through of Bonnie Stern's wonderful cookbook Friday Night Dinners, Menus To Welcome The Weekend With Ease, Warmth and Flair.  There are many stories I would love to share in this post, but I am going to save them.  Well let's be honest - I am trying to finish this post before my son wakes up from his nap.  But I do have stories to share - and hopefully I will be able to write more as we go through the second half of the book.

Just a reminder to readers - I try to link to as many of the recipes as I can - but I will only link to them when they have been published through a legitimate source (ie. not stolen/pirated) - so if you want the full experience, do buy a copy of the book and cook along with me!

Here is a recap of the menus that we have covered so far:
(note this list is in the order the menus appear in the book - not the order I have cooked them in)


Rosh Hashanah

Israeli Dinner

Nostalgia Dinner

South African Dinner

Vegetarian Dinner

Fast Food Italian

Diner Dinner

Indian Dinner

Standing-Up Dinner


Dinner With Chuck

Dinner With The Kids

I will be resuming this series and completing the second half of Friday Night Dinners in May.

Thank you for reading - I hope you enjoy sharing these recipes with your family as much as I have.

Friday Night Dinner Project: Indian Dinner

In our house this menu is all about the fish cakes and the rice.  Two very simple recipes that we keep making over and over again.  There is lots of robust flavour to this menu - and I particularly like it because it is not too hot (spicy) for someone like myself who is very wary of hot food.

Fish Cakes with Cilantro Mint Chutney
I made this recipe using tilapia.  These fish cakes are delicious - I served them to my son without the Cilantro Mint Chutney and he ate them right up.  These fried up very quickly in the oil - be careful not to burn them! They need an attentive cook.

Topped with some plain yogurt and mint for my son (the pop in the background is for mommy!)

Tamarind and Coconut-glazed Chicken Thighs with Cumin flavoured Basmati Rice
Tamarind and Coconut-glazed Chicken Thighs
This recipe calls for coconut milk or plain yogurt.   I used plain yogurt and it turned out beautifully.  I also did not have tamarind paste, so I substituted some brown sugar and lime juice.  This chicken is moist and delicious and has a bit of bite to it.

Cumin-flavoured Basmati Rice
This rice!!!  So easy to make and so delicious.  We have made it over and over again.  Seriously, you need to buy this cookbook if you do not own it already.

Wheat Berry, Lentil and Chickpea Salad
First - the most important part of this recipe is in the notes.  I did not know that you could freeze cooked wheat berries as well as cooked lentils.  Did you?  Anyway, I definitely followed the advice at the beginning of the recipe and cooked up large batches of each to freeze for future use.  Thank you Bonnie Stern.
Now, for the recipe itself - the book says this salad can be made ahead.  Personally, I enjoyed it fresh but no so much once it entered into the "made ahead stage".  I think this is just a personal preference (although my husband felt the same way).  I suggest making this salad fresh and serving it immediately.

Carrots and Green Bean with Onions and Mustard Seeds
You can see these beauties in the photo above.  This recipe is simple and good.

Grilled Pineapple with Chai Spices
Pineapple.  Chai Spices.  A grill.  Ice cream.  Yes.  Yes.  Yes.  Yes.  The great thing about cooking pineapple is that it makes it taste like candy.  Really wonderful candy.  I cut the pineapple in wedges instead of rings and grilled it on my Cuisinart Griddler.  We served it with vanilla ice cream, sprinkled with brown sugar.  Delicious!!