Did you know? On Facebook each Wednesday I post a new recipe based on the #testkitchen dinner we ate the night before. It's part of my #tuesdaysoupseries! It is weather dependent, of course, based on what it's doing outside in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta...it's mostly been soups, but as spring and summer inch closer I'll move along into sandwiches or salads too.
To get the recipe in beautiful pdf format, the only thing you have to do is show up, like the post, comment your answer to my question, and share it to your timeline or group, and I'll pm you the recipe.
If you haven't already "liked" my Facebook page, please head over there now to "like" it- then you shouldn't miss any updates! And, my weekly recipe is available right now- this is #7! To receive the others, just let me know you want them too.
Enjoy your Wednesday, friends!
Some of you may recall that last winter I was sicker than I've ever been since I picked up mono almost 20 years ago. Just in time for my birthday this year, not only did I catch the flu but also developed some sort of sinus infection and pink eye, all at the same time! It was almost a couple of months before I was up and running our household in my usual capable way.
This month the boys had their annual doctor appointments, and blood work was done to check on their overall health. My first son, who was anemic a year ago, is now in good shape, at least as far as his iron levels go. That doesn't surprise me at all, because he's a fantastic eater, and we eat a very balanced diet. My second son, however...you may recall him as "the picky one", isn't quite anemic, but on the way there. Because he will not take vitamins (nope, not even gummies) and has a limited love of iron rich foods, I've started cooking once a week with beef, which is the one consistent thing he enjoys eating. Naturally, I serve it with whole grains, which also contain iron, and the vitamin c helps that non-heme iron to absorb into his system. If I can increase his iron levels slowly and steadily, I'm sure at this time next year he'll be improved. I'm also hopeful he'll be less picky a year from now...we'll see, I guess. Hope springs eternal!
So I'm planning ahead, this year, for the inevitable fall or winter cold that knocks me back a few paces. I've started stocking my own freezer with meals that are basically ready to go, and so far all of them involve beef of some sort. Tonight's dinner was meatballs, started on the stove (to brown) and finished in our slow cooker while we were at swimming lessons. I was able to get 15 good-sized meatballs put away for a future need.
Let me tell you about these meatballs. I combined lean ground beef with extra lean ground turkey (about 1/2 kg of each), added a couple of eggs, a cup of large flake oats, some seasoning, and some garlic. They were browned on my stove, then put into the slow cooker, topped with some mushrooms and onions I'd stir fried after the meatballs were browned, and cooked on low for just 3 hours. They were moist and perfect when we got home- I wasn't sure how it would work out because I've never done that before, but I definitely will again. We served them with loads of fresh vegetables, and whole wheat whole grain pitas.
Meatballs are super freezable for a future need. You can pull them out and reheat when you need a meal- They can be added to sauces or soups, or like my kids, just eaten "as is".
They are one of the easiest things to double or triple!
Consider cooking ahead to help fight your future cold or flu. Nutrition has a huge role to play in how you approach your personal health care.
Enjoy your day, friends!
Over the weekend my husband and I went to this event produced by Northern Lands (@northernlnds), which was held at the Shaw Conference Centre (@EdmontonSCC). These were Canadian wine, craft beer, and spirit producers as well as some of the best chefs from the area. It was a fundraiser for the High School Culinary Challenge and The Edmonton Community Foundation Grateful Palate Fund.
We are definitely going to take in this event again when it comes back. They say in 2 years, or maybe sooner...who's with me? Anyone want to join us?
I was looking forward to this event so much that it didn't occur to me to actually take pictures of our food until I was part way through, so you'll have to take my word for it that there were many other vendors of both of food and beverages. We didn't try everything, because we got to the point where we both had had enough to eat and drink. Their food was amazing. I love to cook, and I like to play with my food, but next to these amazing chefs, I know nothing. As much of the food as possible was sourced locally, which I really liked.
Those skewers were "Nouveau Beef-on-a-Stick 3 Ways". My husband said "I can't believe I ate flowers, but it was so worth it!" And my favourite wine of the night was Burrowing Owl Cabernet Franc.
I can't wait to try to incorporate some of the amazing flavours and textures into my cooking. Something all of them were well-versed in was layering flavours, so each bite gave a different, distinct impression of the food that somehow worked so well together. Those little meatballs were the first thing we tasted, and they were one of my favorite tastings. That bottle of beer tastes like caramel. And the pasta was stuffed with ricotta and black truffle moliterno. It was melt-in-your-mouth amazing.
Another thing that struck me was how everything was prepared so distinctly. Those bites on a spoon were easy to eat and delicious, with rabbit and wild cherry terrine. That beer actually tasted like blueberry, and that interesting little thing on the end was a tapioca cup filled with rabbit mortadella and other interesting ingredients. I would love to know how to make that tapioca cup. It was light, airy, and salty. Really an ingenious way to serve an appetizer.
This crustini was prepared with beef shortrib, organic ricotta, among other things. The view from the Shaw Conference Centre was just beautiful, and made the evening perfect. The plate on the right was a pigs-head mortadella with boar bacon and house-made pickled asparagus and beets. We're on the hunt for some wild game now! I can't wait to experiment with some of those flavours again. The most exotic I've gotten is cooking with bison, but we're going to try to find some goat, wild boar, and rabbit.
This first plate was a jar-jar pork, garnished with lots of fresh cucumber. I loved the flavour combination of them together. Those knives, from Knifewear are going to be on my wishlist. Doesn't it look like you can make amazing food with those beautiful knives? The last picture, a bit blurry (so sorry!) was so tasty, a Filipino dish with sweet potatoes and lentils, fresh cilantro garnished, and served with rice.
As you can see from these pictures, the event was very well put together, very well organized, and everything I was hoping it would be. Not one thing the whole evening was a disappointment. Our hotel that night was the Delta Centre Suite Hotel, located in Edmontont Centre West, walking distance from the event. We had excellent service and a really great room.
I hope you'll join us the next time it comes to town!
Happy Valentines Day weekend! From now until tomorrow, February 16 @ 11:59pm, book a meal plan and 4 weekly grocery shops with me for $180. This offer applies to local clients only :)
Follow me on Twitter- @themealsmaven - for sneak peeks, random thoughts, and other fun foodie facts.
Fort Saskatchewan is blessed with an agency that seeks to better the lives of families. They offer so much support to such a variety of people by offering early childhood services and programming, parenting seminars, and so much more. They're known as Families First Society.
I, myself, have been blessed by Families First countless times over the years. They have outgrown their current location and are fundraising to renovate their new home to make it more useful and family-friendly.
I'm offering my skills to assist them in their efforts. If you've been sitting on the fence about hiring me to meal plan or grocery shop, here's an opportunity to benefit Families First while getting on track with your meals and grocery budget. Purchase a 30-meal Meal Plan plus 2 weekly grocery shops from me and I will donate $25 to the Society. Just 4 clients will give them $100. Small amounts add up to make a big difference!
Enjoy your weekend, friends.
How are your Thanksgiving Throw Down plans going? What ideas have you come up with, what action plans have you made?
I'm happy to say my first son is completely on board with this throw down- his sense of competition has come into play. I think one of the greatest challenges for me as a parent is to engage my kids into a wider world view. Life isn't just about our home and the daily dose of homework and video game time. Life's bigger- encompassing our schools, our city, or province, our country, our continent, our world.
We've given twice to the local food bank, and donated a couple of boxes to a clothing drive. My first son has been challenged to think of the next thing we can do as a family. I told him to "think big"- we'll see what he comes up with!
This is a photograph of a food bank somewhere in Canada, for those of us who need a visual to kick-start brainstorming.
And here's another interesting article about developing a better food system. Have a happy Tuesday!
My thanks to Calleigh for the plastic fruit, vegetables, bread, and eggs on my balanced meal plate! They were very helpful!
Joan Plamondon, you won the 2-week complete meal plan package, and Chantel Roskewich you won my kitchen gadget basket! Congratulations! I will be giving you a call tomorrow to make arrangements.
The Home Base trade show this weekend in Fort Saskatchewan was fun. I enjoyed meeting all of you that stopped by and I hope I was able to answer your questions.
Today is the second and last day of our local trade show. If you live in the Fort Saskatchewan area- like Edmonton, Sherwood Park, Gibbons, Lamont, Ardrossan, etc- please come by and say hello!
It's located at the Lakeview Inn, which is just off of highway 21 right next to the A&W.
I spent my morning prepping dinner for tonight and lunch for today. I'm looking forward to walking into a house that will smell amazing by the end of the day.
If you're looking for meal ideas for today, here's what my day in meals looks like:
Breakfast: Oatmeal with Pears, Plums, Pecans, and Nutmeg
Snack: Chocolate Shakeology
Lunch: Bruschetta-Inspired Romaine Salad, Egg Salad sandwich on a whole wheat bun
Snack: Tamari Almonds
Dinner: Stir-fried peppers, zucchini, and carrots with modified Crockpot Applesauce BBQ chicken and rice
I'm excited to be participating in the HomeBase fall show here in Fort Saskatchewan in a couple of weeks- September 13 and 14! I've been prepping my booth giveaways and am really looking forward to seeing a lot of new faces Will you be coming? Pop over to see me!
The entrance fee is a donation to the Fort Saskatchewan Families First Society. I can't wait to meet you!