Thursday, May 31, 2012


Why isn't there anything comparable to In-n-Out Burger? 
Today (for the first time since we returned from the Las Vegas) I ate fast food. And let me tell you, it did not compare. Not only was the food at McDonalds a huge disappointment (except the fries, of course), but the prices did not reflect the poor quality.

When the Ross family hits up McD's the damage is usually 22-28 dolla' bills y'all (meet gangster Haley). How much was the oink-fest at In-n-Out you ask??? (You did ask, right?) $18. And that included 2 ass-kicking milkshakes. And a cheeseburger is just $2.20. And look at it!!! Unreal!!! And it tastes as good as it looks. There are some things in the states that are all hype... you get there, and it's not nearly as good as people say it was. But In-n-Out Burger isn't one of them. The food is fantastic & there really is nothing comparable here.
No. No, there isn't. Yes, Fatburger & Five Guys tastes great. But can I feed my family for $18? No way. Not even close. And a trip to Peters Drive-In (if we find ourselves in the area) is almost twice that. Great food, but the guilt in a fast-food dinner should be the CALORIES and not the COST.

And look how adorable this little milk carton is (ok, that has nothing to do with my post, but still, super adorable). Anyway, even though we don't do fast-food that often (you can't tell from this post...) after having good fast food within reach (don't even get me started on Baja Fresh or Sonic) for a couple of weeks, it was hard to have to go back to 1/4" thin patties for $3.99. 

 nom nom nom.......

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

642 - Vol. V

The person you loved who didn't love you back.

Sadly, there have been many. Not one person that might warrant a story of tragedy, rejection or romance, but dozens of young men who I watched from afar (creepy, I know). I use to fall in 'love' with every half-decent guy wearing a delicious smelling after-shave. My high-school diary is filled with references to the guys I 'loved'. I made up nicknames for them (in case Kendra violated my privacy), so looking back I don't even know who most of them were. 'B'man', "DollarBills' (Someone with money? At a private school overseas, that was most kids.), 'Curly', 'The Roofer' and 'Nepal'. None of them ever loved me back. This entry could read less like a love story & more like a list of life-long rejection. I for one, have come to terms with it.

It's not like I had my sights set on the most popular guys either, Nepal in particular was kind of a socially awkward nerd (but a very good basketball player). He didn't like white girls & I knew it. Because he flat out told me so. As a teenager I tried to pick guys that I 'had a shot with', except J.T.T. of course.... although I was convinced that if he only knew me....he would love me.

Nepal wasn't my first rejection. A.B. was. And it crushed me. I bravely invited him to go wall-climbing with me (not a date, I said, just something I knew he would also be into). He said yes. Because I was right, he wanted to go rock climbing. And although I was one of only two very impressive girls on the climbing team, and despite the fact that I mentioned several times that I had won Team MVP (I beat all the boys), A.B. just wasn't into me. So I did what any teen girl would do, I changed everything about myself to try & impress him. I started listening to Phish. I wore Birkenstocks. I parted my hair in the middle. I talked solely about baseball, I even went to Mickey Owen Baseball school. I was one of three girls. One was my sister. It was hell.

But A.B. held out. As far as I could tell he wasn't interested in anyone else, he just didn't like me. And we became 'friends'. And he was actually kind of boring. And pretty soon I had a boyfriend. And he was way cooler than A.B. So naturally, I did what any teenage girl would do..... I dumped him before he could dump me.

Italian-style Meatloaf

 Tonight for dinner (just the kids & I) I made an Italian-style Meatloaf from Chef Michael Smith (Can you tell which cookbook I used to make my meal plan this week?). Brian made this recipe once before, when I was sick, and it was so good. So very very good. And I usually have most of the ingredients on-hand... except olives (eww) which I have to buy because I don't really like them. I buy a single scoop of olives ta Sobeys from the deli, if I bought a whole jar I'd have it for years...

Preheat your oven to 350.

In a saute pan, add 2T. of olive oil, turn to medium heat & add:
2 large onions, finely chopped (I only use one)
8 cloves of garlic thinly sliced (I only use 2)

Cook until they are golden brown.

In a large bowl, whisk 2 large eggs. Then add:
 1/2c tomato paste
1.5 lbs of ground beef (I use about 1/2 that, which is why I cut back on my onion & garlic)
2c of bread crumbs
1/2c of chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1/2c chopped, pitted kalamata olives (I use 1/4 cup & chop them like hell)
1/2c of Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2c fresh parsley (I use half of that & have used 2T dried parsley in the past as well)
1T dried oregano*
1t of your favourite hot sauce (I used double that, we like spicy food up in here)

Then add the garlic & onions you cooked earlier.
Wash your hands (do I even have to write that?) and blend until it is well mixed. Transfer onto a baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper & shape into a thick loaf**.

*Don't skip this ingredient. It is what I think makes this meatloaf so different from others I have had in the past.

(mmmm looks appetizing. Just kidding, it totally doesn't....yet.)

** I make mine a little more narrow. It reduces cooking time & an Italian meatloaf can be a little dried anyway...although I can't really tell the difference.

Cook for 60 minutes (ish).

I throw a little store-bought marinara on top (I think Barilla brand is the best) but you totally don't have to. Tonight I had a tossed salad with mine but it's a pretty filling dish on it's own. Enjoy!

Shrimp, Ginger & Peanut Rice Wraps

One time I decided I was going to make Indonesian food. The entire time I was cooking it I felt so nostalgic (I lived in Indonesia as a child). Thirty minutes after it was done, I was ordering pizza. It was terrible and it stained my food processor. From now on, Nasi Goreng will be something I order when I eat out. I decided then that I wasn't cut out for 'authentic' asian cooking. But I have no problems making a westernized curry or, today, thai-ish wraps (a Michael Smith recipe, changed a little).

In a large mixing bowl combine:

The zest & juice of one lime
1T. grated ginger *
1T. peanut butter **
1T. soy sauce
1T. Honey (I used 1t. of agave syrup & it turned out just fine)
1T. of rice wine vinegar
1/4t. of your favourite hot sauce (I used a little more than that)

Whisk it all together.

* I buy whole ginger at The Silk Road. I feel that is it fresher when you go to use it (just use a mircoplaner to grate it) and the smell will knock you off your socks. It smells so good that every time, I am tempted to take a big bite of it. I wish I could make it into a candle or something.... sooo delish.

** I didn't use peanut butter, I used soy butter (pictured below). We don't have peanut allergies in this house, but I bought this so Miles could take PB&J sandwiches to school. I did use real peanuts for later in the recipe. The soy butter worked fine. You can use smooth or chunky.

Once whisked, throw in 8 ounces of cooked, de-vined, chopped shrimp, 1/4c of coarsely chopped roasted peanuts (I just used planters peanuts, I rinsed the salt off first), 2 cups of bean sprouts (remember to rinse them first so they are extra crunchy), 1 grated carrot and a handful of chopped snow peas.

Fill a pie plate with warm water, then, place in an single (one at a time!) rice paper wrap. Let it soak for about 30 seconds until it is translucent. Carefully remove it from the pie plate & let the excess water drip off. Lay flat onto a clean kitchen towel to fill & wrap.

I am NO pro at making wraps. Usually Brian wraps my fajitas for me (after he is done the kids of course! Haha!). They are tricky & my first couple weren't picture worthy (well, non of them really were), but they tasted great and stayed together while we ate them. The kids didn't love them, they were a little weirded out by the rice paper wraps. Next time I would quickly fry theirs to make them crispy, then I know they would gobble them up. What's not to love? Carrots, peanuts, sprouts! All the things my kids love. And we liked them too. Finally, an asian-inspired food that didn't leave us ordering pizza.

Monday, May 28, 2012

I just love it all....

This is my first blog for the month of May...and it's almost over.

My month wasn't even really that busy although I did spend 2 weeks in Las Vegas at my parents new house. And it only took a couple of days back in Canada to loose the tan that I worked so hard on! (By 'worked hard on' of course I mean that I laid in the sun with an iced lemonade.)

When we came back, all of the sudden it felt like Spring. And our lawn was the ugliest white-trashiest looking lawn on the block. Niiiice. So tonight we worked hard & it's finally up to par with the neighbours, almost. We have the worst lawn, it's ridden with ants because the soil quality is so terrible. But I can't bring myself to get rid of the 3-storey high tree in our front yard. I love it.

We let the kids stay up until 9pm & help us with the yard. Miles loves getting dirty & watching insects. Molly was hose-happy. We were all pretty soaked. And happy. The kids both went to bed with no complaints and only 2 books each (we usually get suckered into 4 or 5 with Miles). Maybe it was spending the day outside, but everything just felt so good this evening. My boys reading books, my daughter running around in her diaper, my house messy but the smell of freshly cut grass in the air. Good life.

Speaking of happy....Lately DAVIDsTea has been a source of my happiness. I've never been into loose leaf tea, I've always been a chai-latte lover. But in April I gave up my daily chai and switched to home-brewed loose-leaf tea. And I am obsessed. And apparently there's a whole 'tea' culture. And I love it. In Banff I discovered DAVIDsTEA and I stocked up on everything I would need to start brewing it at home. It was worth every cent. And since then I have been trying new loose-leaf teas. 

Rooibos de Provence is my favourite so far. I also love Strawberry-Ginger. But Rooibos de Provence is an amazing blend. And with a little agave & 5 minutes of my time.... it's perfection.

I'm just brewing single cups right now. I love this little coral coloured tea pot. Super cute. If you haven't been into DAVIDsTEA you need to go (there's one in South Centre) and a pop-up at Holt Renfrew this month. I never thought I would be able to give up my chai-lattes (they are 250 calories each) but I did. And although it hasn't saved me any money (I mean, it probably should have), I am so happy to have discovered loose-leaf tea (all organic & fair-trade) from DAVIDsTEA.
* You can order online & shipping is free with a $50 purchase.