Archives for March 2010

Family Friendly Chicken Strips

As passionate cooks go, home based or otherwise, there is one thing in the world that irks us all beyond comparison….meal rejection.

Unfortunately, in my house, this happens a lot. Not that my food is anything but extraordinary and made with so much love it hurts, just that some people around here don’t appreciate the same things I do.

It irks me to no end to think that I have spawned from my own loins, a chef’s worst nightmare: the picky eater; however, I know I’m not alone in this.

This month on Simple Bites, we addressed this common dinnertime dilemma head on and many, many parents chimed in. [Read more…]

Planning a Party: 10 Questions that Help Define Your Menu

Easter is fast approaching and will be followed soon after by May with it’s wedding showers and graduation celebrations. Spring brings green leaves and new life and with the changing of the seasons comes plenty of opportunities for entertaining.

Will you be opening your home to guests in the near future? Do you ever deliberate over what to serve and wonder which direction a menu should go?

Each celebration is unique, just as each home is distinct, and there is no Party Template 101 that can be downloaded and executed for events across the board. Instead,  I’ve compiled these 10 questions to help you outline your party and define a menu that is perfectly suited to your guests, event, home, and budget.

Even a simple gathering can benefit from a little forethought and organization, and you may even discover along the way that planning is half the fun!

[Read more…]

Weekend Reading

A few of my little seedlings popped up through the earth in their trays by the window this week, and the last patch of snow is nearly melted from the snowbanks along our front walkway. Signs of spring are everywhere and are an encouragement to both the body and soul. We moved to our new property on a blustery day last December, and are looking forward to observing how Spring comes to our new home!

There was a wealth of interesting information around the web this week. Don’t you feel blessed to have so much inspiration at your fingertips? I am just in awe at the quality content that keeps popping up in my Google Reader.

Here are a few of my favorites: [Read more…]

Our Week

Well, we’re no closer to eating our way through all the left-over ice cream, because, wouldn’t you know it, this whole week was spent in the hospital.

UtHC life was put on hold when we took 2 year-old Mateo to emergency Sunday morning. Five days later, after x-rays, an ultrasound, CT scan and emergency surgery for him, we are HOME.

Oh, there was also a lot of prune cocktail served up too.

I now know words like ‘Otolaryngology’ and ‘Retropharyngeal’, and learned a few more things, which I share below just because.

Since this is a food blog, I won’t discuss in detail Mateo’s condition, but if you are a parent with a child under 5, I recommend you at least skim read this article that gives specifics.

I’m sure you would agree it’s better to be informed….and not completely surprised, as I was, that a stiff neck could prove to be a life-threatening medical situation.

So nope, no recipe this week. My fridge is in a terrible state (as are the houseplants.) Instead, I leave you with the ramblings of a sleep-deprived mind, which I won’t be at all offended if you skip altogether.

  • Mateo owes a lot to the team at the MCH, but my freezer stash of Chocolate-Chip Chili may have saved my life. It certainly was the best thing I ate over the past 5 days.
  • There are still plenty of good people in this world. I’m thinking in particular of the gift-shop saleslady who gave me diapers when I had no cash on me, yet a -ahem- reoccurring sticky situation in Mateo’s pants.
  • Be thankful for those hospital delays, because I’ve discovered the pace tends to really pick up when a little life is threatened.
  • Librarians are pretty rad, especially the sleepy ones who unlock the computer room after hours so you can email loved ones news of an emergency surgery.
  • We don’t watch hardly any TV (and no cable), so an intense sledge hockey match in this year’s Paralympics, watched in the middle of the night, under highly stressful conditions, by two exhausted individuals, can be a tad surreal.
  • Nurses rule. Especially the good ones named Joanna.
  • Hospital food isn’t even worth a line of space on this blog.
  • Clowns just aren’t cool. Can’t some hunky firemen drop by to visit the children instead? Or Mounties, or something else?

Thanks to those who stopped by the hospital and brought support (and goodies). Also thank you to those who lovingly looked after Noah the whole time. You know who you are and we are grateful.

We hope to be back to regular programming on UtHC soon; but in the meantime, visit Simple Bites for my 4-Ingredient Tomato Sauce recipe and 10 suggestions for easy meals to make with it.

10 Tasty Uses for a 4-Ingredient Tomato Sauce

Batch cooking starts with basic tomato sauce, I think we can all agree on that one. Having a few quarts of it in the freezer – or jarred up in the pantry – is reassurance of a quick hot meal in the future.

Tomato sauce is:

  • good for you – see ‘fun facts’ below;
  • versatile – I’ve listed ten quick uses, but there are many more;
  • seasonal year round – if you use canned tomatoes, as I do;
  • popular! Most children gobble up anything doused in it. This guarantee alone is worth a multi-quart stash.

The basic tomato sauce recipe I’ve included is ideal because of its down-and-out simplicity. I mean, four ingredients, folks. Canned tomatoes, extra-virgin olive oil, fresh garlic and salt, that’s IT. [Read more…]