Tuesday, October 30, 2007

it must be in the hoisin...


well, tonight was another "test" dinner - we (oh, yes, it was I tonight - nobody else interested in cooking till it was all done... but i digress) had a ginger noodle soup out of that same cookbook/mag from last night. and that one had more hoisin sauce in it. we've almost killed 2 bottles in 2 nights. go figure.

before the recipe though, a few tidbits from my day.

i'm covering someone's route again this week, and man, he has some busy days. he has sales calls that need to be done before 10 am. now, that doesn't seem like a big deal, but today there were 2 to be done. and i need about an hour per store. so counting backwards from my time deadline, that means i needed to be in the city, at my first stop by 8am. and leaving from home about an hour before that if it wasn't rush hour. so that means leaving at 7am. and since i'm such a great morning person (NOT) that meant i was out the door at 7:30am. oh yes, 1/2 an hour later than i should have been, without counting the traffic. but you know, even with the accident that was just at the city limits for my access point this morning, i was still done and not feeling too rushed for either stop by 9:45. i figured i was doing well. the rest of my day went smoothly (until tonight - computer issues, but what else is new) so am hoping that tomorrow won't be too much of pain to get the computer working again.

i ran into a former co-worker today while i was out. she works at one of the safeway stores in the city that i was in today. she doesn't look too much different, and she still has the same sense of humor that i remember from 10+ years ago. so that was kind of neat :) she made my day - told me i look "fabulous". (mind you, when i knew her, i was still so fat from being preggo with ds#1)

what else.... met up with ds#2's teacher today. all the teacher's have been doing "pre-report card meetings" - a little less formal that a P/T interview, but really, how formal are those? went through some of b's strengths and weaknesses, and nothing was a surprise to me. the cool thing is that she is very gung-ho on working with the kids on their positives, and working with them to make the weaknesses not so bad either. i know b quite likes her, so that is a huge obstacle surmounted in itself.

ok, enough, i'm ready for bed... recipe time...

Ginger Noodle Soup

1lb ground lean pork
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup hoisin sauce
2 tbsp chopped fresh ginger
2 tbsp soy sauce
4 cups chicken stock
1 carrot,, shredded
1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
5 oz rice vermicelli
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup bean sprouts
4 sprigs cilantro

In saucepan, brown pork over med-high heat, stirring to break up meat. Drain off fat. Add onion, garlic, hoisin, ginger and soy sauce; cook for 2 minutes.
Add chicken stock and bring to boil. Add carrot and mushrooms; reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.
Stir in vermicelli; simmer until noodles are tender, about 5 minutes. Ladle into soup bowls. Garnish with sliced green onion, bean sprouts and cilantro.

Makes 4 servings; 463 cal, 29g protein, 16g fat, 48g carbs, 3g fibre

From Canadian Living Make it Tonight mag, Fall 2002

only a couple things i fiddled with: grated the ginger and garlic with my microplane, so there weren't "bits" in the soup - my youngest doesn't like bits of ginger. added in the leftover beef stock from last nights dinner with the chicken stock - so it was more like 6 cups stock. it was all gone, so it must have been good. we also threw a splash of seasoned rice vinegar on it at the table- it could probably use a squish of a lime even, to cut the salty taste. (remember - sweet, salty, bitter, sour for asian food) that totally perked it up to our taste.

Monday, October 29, 2007

a little addiction

well, it was a good weekend overall - had a bit of a lazy day on saturday, got a nap in, did some scrapping, it was all good. sunday, got the "stuff" done for the week ahead, laundry, groceries, homework, yada yada...

so what about the addiction? well, i tell ya, we've become addicted to a sandwich. panini sandwiches. what that grill does to a couple slice of bread and some cheese is just heavenly. today when i got home from work, that's what i had. cheddar and roast beef and a bit of grainy mustard grilled to perfection. ds1 did the same thing when he got home from school. yum.

and that's also what ended up being for dinner last night - grilled panini rubens. montreal smoked meat was a steal of a deal at just 99cents for 100g at the grocery store yesterday, so dh and i decided they would make a great dinner. yum. i could eat a panini everyday LOL (my hips would sure pay for it though!)

so after an un-busy week last week, it was back to work early today. the person i'm covering for has a busy schedule, but on top of that, he sees a number of his stores early in the day - they need to be seen before 10am. that makes for early mornings for me this week. the good thing is that it also makes for a bit earlier time home as well, so i can't complain too loudly.

so on the menu tonight - we made hoisin beef noodles for dinner. on sunday, i tidied up my kitchen cart with all my cookbooks, cooking mags and various bits and pieces on it, and found a magazine from 5 years ago. told the kids to pick a couple things out of it for dinner this week. and we found the noodle dish for tonight.

Hoisin Beef Noodles
1 tbsp vegetable oil (i didn't use this!)
1 lb lean ground beef
3 cloves garlic
3 cups sliced mushrooms
2 carrots, thinly sliced
1 sweet red or green pepper, sliced
1 cup beef stock
1/3 cup hoisin sauce
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 pkg precooked chinese noodles (450g - the steamed noodles that are in the produce section)
1 tbsp cornstarch
2 cups bean sprouts
2 green onions, chopped

In wok or large skillet, heat oil over high heat; brown beef and garlic, breaking up meat with spoon, about 5 minutes. Spoon off any fat. Add mushrooms and carrots; cook over med-high heat until mushrooms are tender and liquid is evaporated, about 7 minutes.
Add red pepper, stock, hoisin; bring to boil.
Meanwhile, gently loosen noodles under warm water; drain and add to pan. Whisk cornstarch with 1 tbsp water; stir into pan and cook, stirring, until thickened, about 1 minute. Serve topped with bean sprouts and green onions.

Makes 4 servings; 544 cal, 32g protein, 23g total fat, 53g carbs, 5g fibre From Canadian Living Make It Tonight mag - Fall 2002

and, as always, my couple changes. i doubled this - and probably didn't need to. as i couldn't find the streamed noodles out here in booney-ville, i used another dry chinese noodle, which is probably why there was just so much. we needed to add a bit of hoisin and sriracha sauce at the table to make it to our taste, but ds2 liked it without adding anything. i also just mixed the cornstarch into the stock mixture as it was just easier.
overall - yummy :) there was enough for dh to have seconds, ds1 to have thirds, lunch for all 3 tomorrow, and took a 6-cup container to one of the neighbours for her hubby for his lunch tomorrow.

Friday, October 26, 2007


no, not that kind...

just a quickie note for the day.

have one cutie patootie kid with a new pair of glasses.

my eyes are healing well.

got to spend some time with my parents, grandma, sis and the nieces and nephew today, along with my kids.

it was a good day. especially dinner out.


tv thursday

well, things went well today - had a good morning at home. productive - spent some time on the phone, got a start on our summer holiday journal, and then went off to the city to get my parents. on the way got a phone call for another interview. so did a phone screen with a nice gentleman i've spoken with before on my way in. good way to spend my otherwise unproductive time in the car!

my parents were quite happy to be home, and i had a good visit with them before i came back to town. my grandmother was (i think) in her own way happy to see them home again. she's basically been on her own for the last few weeks, only because she refused to spend a couple days with us, or with my sister. so other than a few meals and outings, she's managed quite well. she did mention to me the other night that it had been a bit of a holiday for her as well.

when i got back home, and had dinner organized, got another phone call from the fellow actually doing the interviewing in the city for the call i had earlier in the afternoon. so i'm meeting with him tomorrow. we'll see what comes out of that. (disappointing news today - found out the job i "got" has been post-poned for the time being - january at the earliest. seeing as how it has taken 6 months now to get to this point, i'm just not going to hold my breath anymore.)

and then it was on to tv thursday.

thursday nights are big in our house. dh and i have missed only 1 episode ever of survivor. and grey's anatomy has been on my list since it premiered as well. add to that (this fall) big shots - and we have a full night on thursdays. i don't think i've ever watched as much television as i do this year. but none of the shows i watch are ones that i want to give up!

so what exactly is the line up? (oh yes, now we're off on a tangent...)
monday - nothing. unless we remember to watch the "new" ramsay's kitchen nightmares. i liked the british ones better. *sigh*
tuesday - pushing daisies. brilliant new show. love it. a little kooky, but fun, cute and what the heck, that guy is cute.
wednesday - private practice. gotta follow addison. although i'm really not liking this as much as grey's. or as much as i expected. its just a little too off the wall for what i expected it to be, and maybe that's the point with it set in cali. dirty sexy money. i love this one. love the characters, almost reminds me of dynasty - what with the rich and spoiled. but its all good. dh likes it too.
thursday - as already mentioned: grey's anatomy, survivor, big shots. grey's and survivor are self explanatory. big shots? well that one is just good. i think dh likes it just for the fact that he's starting to relate to these guys and their verge-of-middle-age-crisis thing. and the golf. its all about the golf. LOL
friday - men in trees. we were watching that one faithfully last year, and then sometime in the spring they started with reruns and we just haven't made a point of watching it since it started up again this fall. liked that one too.
saturday - no tv on this day!
sunday - desperate housewives. need i say more? wisteria lane, where you can just escape!

i think that about covers it.

so what was for dinner tonight? it was what has become our thursday night staple - homemade bratwursts, steak cut fries and a salad. its a no brainer - and everyone's happy.

including me. :P

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

the day off that i really took as a day off...


really and truly i took the day off. i didn't go anywhere. i stayed home. i scrapbooked. i had tea with a girlfriend and hugged her little one. i talked on the phone. but i didn't go anywhere and didn't do too much of anything. i even laid down and rested for a 1/2 hour. it was good. and needed.

so what to make for dinner on a day off? an easy recipe i found on bhg.com in their pasta section. easy, yummy, and best of all, i had everything to make it with at home. comments etc, to follow.

Bow Ties With Sausage & Sweet Peppers

Bow Ties With Sausage & Sweet Peppers
serves: 4
Start to Finish: 25 min.



1. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Return pasta to saucepan.

2. Meanwhile, cut the sausage into 1-inch pieces. In a large skillet cook sausage and sweet peppers over medium-high heat until sausage is brown. Drain well.

3. Stir the broth and black pepper into skillet. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Pour over pasta; add parsley. Toss gently to coat. Transfer to a warm serving dish. Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition Facts


Nutrition facts per serving:

  • Servings Per Recipe 4
  • Calories 397
  • Total Fat (g) 18
  • Saturated Fat (g) 6
  • Cholesterol (mg) 94
  • Sodium (mg) 713
  • Carbohydrate (g) 38
  • Fiber (g) 3
  • Protein (g) 24
*Percent Daily Values are base on a 2,000 calorie diet

ok, so very obviously, this has been cut and pasted for ease of posting.

what i changed - i added in a sliced onion for a bit of bulk. i used spaghetti noodles instead of bowties (only because i wasn't going to the store for noodles) and i used a can of diced tomatoes instead of the broth. i also had removed the casings completely from the sausage and just used the insides like ground beef.

what the men said - dh thought it was awesome, ds #1 had seconds, and ds #2 said it was too spicy (but he had also had a huge lunch, and then had a sandwich and snack after school before curling. so he probably just wasn't hungry). me? i thought it was definitely good. something easy i'll make again.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

tonight's recipe

alright, well if it will get me blogging a bit more regularly - i'll post some of the recipes that i've tried over the last little while, starting with tonight's dinner.

now, fair warning, i am NOT a super health conscious cook. i make what i like, when i want, and don't pay too much attention to what is all in it. if i had to choose a "diet" i would go more low-carb, but not necessarily low-fat. i'll note any changes i made in the instructions, but other than that, whatever you do is totally up to you. i'll also let you know what the verdict was from the men on the recipe that i post.

first up:

Meaty Moussaka - Everyday with Rachel Ray mag, Sept 2007
4 servings, prep 30 minutes, bake 45 minutes

4 tbsp butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
salt and pepper
1 -8oz can tomato sauce
2 large eggs
2 tbsp flour
1 cup whole milk
4 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup ricotta cheese

Preheat oven to 350. In large skillet, heat 2 tbsp butter over med-high heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, 3-5 minutes. Add beef and cook until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Stir in cinnamon and nutmeg and season with salt and pepper. Add the tomato sauce and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, 3-5 minutes. Pour into an 8-inch square baking dish and set aside.
In a medium bowl, lightly beat the eggs and set aside. In a small saucepan, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter over med-high heat. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking often, until the mixture is smooth, about 30 seconds. Slowly whisk in the milk until thickened. Lower the heat to med and stir in the cream cheese and ricotta; season with salt and pepper. Whisk on-quarter of the cheese sauce into the reserved eggs until smooth. Whisk the egg mixture into the cheese sauce in the saucepan.
Pour the sauce over the meat in the baking dish and spread evenly. Bake until the top is lightly browned and firm to the touch, 40 - 45 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes; cut into squares to serve.

Make ahead tips from Rachel- Chill: Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 days. To reheat, cover with foil and bake at 350 for 45 minutes, uncover and bake for 10 minutes more. Freeze: Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for up to 4 months. To reheat, discard plastic, cover with foil and bake at 350 for 1 1/2 hours, uncover and bake 15 minutes more.

*Ok, so this is what I basically did, with the following exceptions:

Because i don't always follow directions well, and because i figured, heck, i have a whole tub of ricotta, and an 8 oz pkg of cream cheeese, lets just double the whole thing. So i did. There is now an extra meal in the freezer ready to pop in the oven on one of our crazy nights. Instead of a square pan i used 2 rectangular ones. So thinner layers. Whatever. It needs a good amount of salt to season (i don't generally add salt to anything, so that is a good indicator) i'm thinking 2-3 tsp of salt for 3 pounds of the meat mixture. When i made the cheese sauce, apparently i forgot all about the eggs. Goes to show you what happens when i'm trying to get dinner made in the midst of the mayhem of my children emptying the dishwasher and falling all over themselves to talk to me at the same time. Oh yes, and 2% milk instead of homo. But all in all, this was super. We had it with a green salad with Italian Parmesan and Herb dressing (Safeway brand, if you haven't had it, you gotta - its great!) No, there isn't any pasta. Or rice. But if you added a nice ziti or penne to this between the meat and the sauce layers you'd get Pastitsio. Another great dish. But we didn't miss the carbs at all. I also threw in a bit of Epicure spice Hummus mix. It needed a little something and that was just enough to make it great!

Rating? 2 thumbs up all the way around the table. So one full recipe in a rectangular 9x13" pan netted us: 3 helpings for dh, 2 helpings for ds#1, 1 helping for both ds#2 and myself, and a leftover corner for dh to take tomorrow. It doubled beautifully, and as I said earlier, I now have 2 dinners in the time of one! Gotta love that if nothing else!

Monday, October 22, 2007

who knew?

i am utterly amazed.




for anyone that has eyesight that doesn't require correction, it is something that i think is very much taken for granted. and really, i took it for granted as well, that as inconvenient as it was, i could easily slip on my glasses, or pop in my contacts, and simple as that, see.

but after 27 years of having some sort of corrective apparatus in front of my face or in my eyes, i can see without having to try, mess around, or fumble in the dark. i open my eyes and there it all is in front of me.

and it is wonderful.

i won't say it was easy, because i had a really rough day after surgery on friday. i sent dh to get the car from the lrt station as 1/2 hour after the procedure, i started to hurt. and i couldn't keep my eyes open. so he went to get it, and fetched me from the office shortly after. even on the way home i didn't open my eyes even once. the drops burned, and i would have cried if i could.

but less than 24 hours later, at my post-op exam, i was seeing better than i probably ever have in my life. 20/20 from my left eye, and 20/25 from the right. a staggering improvement from being unable to see 2 inches in front of me other than blobs of color.

today was the first time i have driven since the operation. its going to take some getting used to - i had a bit of a hard time parking once i got home. reading is still a bit of a challenge, but i know that it can take quite a while for everything to sort itself out anyways. and heck, its only been 4 days, compared to a lifetime!

after being out today, i am somewhat glad of my boss' decision that i take this week off work. she wants to make sure that i'm well recovered before returning to work. this morning i was disappointed, but by mid-afternoon and being out with the kids, my eyes were begging for a little time off. so i'll take advantage of having some down time this week.

in other news, took the kids today for their annual eye exams. as expected, ds 1 still has the gift of perfect eyesight. ds 2, well, not so much. his prescription has changed, but with that comes a new set of eyeglasses for him this year. we found some fun and funky ones that we're both happy with, they should be ready in a day or two to pick up.

my parents will be arriving home again on thursday after the globe-trotting they've been doing for the last few weeks. they've been in croatia, bosnia, england and somewhere else that i have no recollection of what my mom had said. they had called a couple weeks ago to let us know they were having a grand time, and were enjoying their travels immensely. so i'll be fetching them from the airport on thursday, and pick up their molly dog from the kennel on the way.

here's a challenge for you - something that we've done over the last week or so. maybe its something you're interested in, maybe not, but what the heck - if it appeals, try it! ds#1 and i went through a bunch of my magazines that i hoard - make that "save for reference" - and as my favorites the last while have been real simple and rachel ray's everyday, they have some awesome sounding recipes in them. so we chose a handful and have been experimenting with them - and having some great results. we had a southwestern bean dish (like baked beans) in the crockpot, another that was a spicy bean and cheese burrito, a ginger/garlic shrimp with couscous, italian sausage and kale soup, and tomorrow i'm going to make moussaka. i've been liking having a few meatless meals, and i think with bulking up on the fiber and protein, we'll see a bit of a difference in the pant size again as well. (i'm slowly losing again after that blip from quitting smoking).

some good things? dh discovered he likes couscous (yay! i've always liked it but he can be a bit funny about some things!) we all enjoy the meatless meals more than i would have thought. dh (again) is a big meat and potatoes kind of guy. so this is a big step. ds 2, he'd rather not have meat if he didn't have to (although he does have a hankering for a steak now and then! LOL)

a couple of other recipes that are still on the list to make, are a sesame and hummus noodle dish, and fish recipe that has peppers and green onions in parchment paper. (there wasn't any fish i wanted to use the day i was shopping). so there's a bit of a dare for you.

and i'm going to challenge myself to get some stuff scrapbooked this week instead of just being a bum all week and not doing anything.

(and one last quickie - i heard back from another lady about "the job" and hopefully will have something in place in the next week or so. gah!! this waiting is killing me!!)

Thursday, October 18, 2007


tomorrow i'm going to get my eyes done.



a little grossed out (these are my eyes, and i will be awake!!)

but mainly looking forward to the freedom from my dependence on contact lenses and glasses that i have had a love/hate relationship with for the last 27 years of my life. scary looking at it in those kind of terms. dh is taking the day off of work to take me.

will report back later in the weekend about how things "look" from my new perspective!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

if i really tried

i could probably tell you all kinds of things.

like i finally got a call back about that job interview. and i got it. just no definite start date yet. *yippee* (just a little happy dance to throw in there)

like my dh thinks i work too much and don't bill enough of my time.

like we went to great falls, montana, for thanksgiving weekend, stayed in a super-duper-great hotel with an awesome room (that didn't smell like ass), was huge and comfy.

like my parents are away until the end of the month, they left last tuesday.

like my birthday is friday. and i'll be 35. *eek*

like my dh is sending me on friday to get an assessment done for me to find out about laser surgery for my eyes.

like the kennel i put the dogs in this past weekend will never get any more business from me. ever. (have you ever been bitten in the ass by a deranged poodle? need i say more??)

like my dad telling me i need to get a passport before he returns from holidays so i can go with him to palm springs the beginning of next month to fetch another car. (don't ask - apparently he's now the car-buy-and-sell-kind-of-guy never thought of my dad as a car salesman)

i think that's what i could tell you. there's probably more.