Foodie Facebook: Shaina

I’m slowly working my way though interviewing each of my contributors for Simple Bites and featuring them here on Foodie Facebook. There’s been Cheryl, and Cheri, also Elizabeth, and more recently, Shannon.

Today I’m honored to introduce (although she hardly needs an introduction, she’s like, the hottest thing right now) Shaina from Food for My Family. And by family we means four kids!

How Shaina finds the time to blog (and all that goes with it), write, tweet, fly around the country, run a photography business, AND mother an extremely adorable brood, is beyond me.

There must be something about that iced tea…some secret ingredient. You think she’ll ever tell?

Name: Shaina Olmanson
Place: Twin Cities, MN
Occupation: Freelance writer, recipe developer, photographer

UtHC: What is your earliest childhood food memory?

When I was one my mom was making pie crust in my grandma’s kitchen. Tornado sirens were going off. My aunt and I sat huddled on the stairs. My aunt kept taunting my mom for not coming downstairs during the tornado, but my mom insisted she finish her pie crust.

I know. Everyone wants to know whether or not the pie crust turned out and what kind of pie the crust was to hold. I have not a clue, but my mom still stresses when she makes pie crust, which is probably why I’m the cook in the family.

UtHC: What did you eat today?

For breakfast I had a latte and Greek-style yogurt with fresh fruit. Lunch was a sushi roll while out finishing up school clothes shopping with my girls, and dinner returned to breakfast. My husband graciously made me a rolled egg filled with tomatoes and peppers and onions from our garden.

UtHC: What will your kids never be allowed to eat?

I try not to set unbending limits for my kids. While there are things I’d rather they didn’t eat (HFCS, over-processed food), I know that they will be exposed to them. My goal is to raise my children to make the correct choices and to inform them of the reasons for doing so. I have already seen them pass on bags of potato chips and cheap hot dogs at birthday parties and supposedly kid-friendly fare at the buffet table. It’s those moments where I know I’m making a difference and teaching them how to eat in this world.

UtHC: What do you always have on hand in your fridge?

So many things, but I try to keep at least 2-3 types of cheese on hand, eggs, milk, butter, sour cream, mustard and iced tea. Yes. Iced tea. It is my friend. I also like to have cream in my fridge.

UtHC: What is your beverage of choice?

Funny that this question should be next. I live primarily off water, but my grandma introduced me to coffee when I was only two years old. There is also, of course, my love affair with iced tea. Unsweetened with a lemon.

UtHC: If you could have dinner with anyone in the history of man, who would it be?

My grandma. I have learned so much since she passed, and I’d love to pick her brain, ask her for a few more of her recipes and have the chance to be the one to serve her.

UtHC: OK, it’s your last meal ever, what do you have?

Food. Really, I’m terrible at favorites. I would rather not imagine my last meal ever and instead look forward to all the meals I have still left to eat.

Thanks for your time, Shaina! Now I know you have Lemon Frozen Yogurt to eat and an evening of work, so I’ll leave you to it.

Foodie Facebook: Shannon

Meet Shannon, of the inspiring blog, Nourishing Days!

I first ‘met’ Shannon when she applied to be one of my contributors on Simple Bites. Naturally, it was an easy decision to bring her on board and she continually enriches our content over there with thought-provoking posts like


Great stuff! Here’s a little bit more about Shannon….

Name: Shannon
Place: Midwest, US
Occupation: Resident Mama, Homemaker, Cook, and Blogger

What is your earliest childhood food memory?

When I was probably about four years old my parents took me blueberry picking where we lived in northern Minnesota. They were wild blueberries and we went out and picked them with ice cream buckets. It was lovely.

What did you eat today?
For breakfast I had a green smoothie + a coconut flour pancake. Lunch was a big salad with avocado, leftover roasted chicken, homemade mayonnaise, and a whole bunch of homegrown lettuce. Dinner was chicken liver pate with zucchini and cucumber “crackers” along with a roasted butternut squash with butter. We also had a big mug of coconut milk hot cocoa after our boys went to bed.

What will your kids never be allowed to eat?

Margarine or anything that might resemble butter but isn’t.

What do you always have on hand in your fridge?

Kerrygold butter, organic carrots, at least two kinds of mustard, raw blue cheese (can’t get enough of this lately), and homemade yogurt.

What is your beverage of choice?

Since the heat has returned it would have to be kombucha. It’s a fermented sweet tea that gets really bubbly and is super refreshing on a warm day.

If you could have dinner with anyone in the history of man, who would it be?

The foodie in me wants to say Julia Child. I bet both the food and the conversation would be fabulous.

OK, it’s your last meal ever, what do you have?

A really good steak with mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans almondine, a huge salad, and some sort of ice cream dessert that involves chocolate and peanut butter (my two favorite foods).

Shannon, thanks so much for your interview! I agree, dinner with Julia Child would be scintillating. One would have to hope that she cooked the meal as well!

Foodie Facebook: Elizabeth

Today I’m very happy to welcome Elizabeth from the gorgeous Guilty Kitchen for our regular Foodie Facebook interview series.

Liz and I have plenty in common. We’re both:

  • British Columbia girls (yes, I was once, long ago)
  • Young mothers (she’s expecting her second baby in June)
  • Food bloggers (that one’s pretty obvious)
  • Former professional chefs (turned WAHM’s)
  • Writers for Simple Bites (she contributes monthly)
  • Lovers of fresh seasonal food (as well as heaps of butter and cream)

Thank goodness we met on Twitter ages ago!

Name: Elizabeth Nyland
Place: Just Outside Victoria, BC
Occupation: Stay at Home Mom and food Blogger Extraordinaire

What is your earliest childhood food memory?

My earliest good child food memory has to be Christmas. At my house, there was scores and scores of food out on every available surface from morning to evening. There were mandarins, nuts, cheeses and meats, smoked oysters, chocolate mints, Turtles. You name it; it was there for your enjoyment.

Let’s face it, I like to eat and Christmas was the perfect excuse for all of us. My Mother and I would spend the day cooking dinner and by dinnertime, we were exhausted but happy. I loved every minute of it.

What did you eat today?

Being pregnant with my second child, I am very conscious of the food that enters my body. This morning, I had fruit, yogurt and bran flakes with a nice cup of coffee.

Lunch was a spinach and turkey bacon wrap (whole wheat) with avocado and tomatoes.

Dinner was a bed of Quinoa, simmered in chicken broth and herbs with a spinach, goat feta and sun dried tomato stuffed Portobello mushroom all lovingly served on top of a pool of my own tomato sauce. Delicious and healthy! I snacked on cottage cheese and the leftovers from my son’s meals (every mother’s guilty pleasure!)

What will your kids never be allowed to eat?

So far, it is fast food. Our 2 year old son has never been to a fast food restaurant, save for a cookie or two at a coffee shop. We don’t go ourselves, so we don’t encourage that behaviour. I’m not saying he’s never had fries, but he doesn’t really like them anyway. I have always been pretty against fast food restaurants, so I will stave off his eating there for as long as possible.

What do you always have on hand in your fridge?

Oh, a lot of things. Here’s a small list:
Dijon mustard, Fish sauce, Cream, lemons and limes, yogurt, sour cream, Parmesan cheese, Avocados, eggs, real mayonnaise, buttermilk and when I was not pregnant we always had white wine or vermouth.

What is your beverage of choice?

I will always say a nice bottle of white wine, but now that I am pregnant, I drink mostly water and natural sparkling spring water with a squeeze of lemon or lime. Sometimes I add a teaspoon of Ribena. Remember that stuff?

If you could have dinner with anyone in the history of man, who would it be?

I’ve been reading Jeffrey Steingarten’s “The Man Who Ate Everything” so he immediately comes to mind as a very interesting food personality I would love to have dinner with.

Outside of the food world, I think I would really like to talk to George Orwell. He seems like such an interesting historical figure, and I love his novels.

OK, it’s your last meal ever, what do you have?

I hate to be cliché, but I think there is a reason so many people list off similar items. To start, I would have my mother’s fantastic Caesar salad with homemade sourdough croutons.

Then for the entrée I’d go for a fantastic plate of hand cut kennebec fries, dipped in old fashioned full-fat mayo, served alongside a full steamed Dungeness crab with drawn butter and garlic AND a nicely grilled porterhouse steak (rare of course) with blue cheese and caramelized onion sauce poured over top. I won’t be needing those arteries anymore!

For dessert I would go for death by chocolate please! A wonderfully moist dark chocolate mocha cake, drenched in ganache and a lush mocha frosting dotted with coffee bean bits.

If I am allowed a beverage, I will go for a Grey Goose vodka martini with lots of vermouth and olives. I’m full just thinking about it.

Thank you for taking the time to chat with us, Elizabeth!

You can follow Guilty Kitchen on Twitter and be sure to check out Elizabeth’s post today on Simple Bites! She shares a killer recipe for buttermilk chicken strips that is guaranteed to please the whole family.

Foodie Facebook: Cheri

It was Cheri’s stunning photography that first drew me to her blog, Kitchen Simplicity, but her warm and friendly nature that kept me coming back.

For a self-professed kitchen ‘amateur’, Cheri certainly can turn out some gorgeous food. There are days when I think about hopping on a plane to Oslo just so I can get in on some of it.

Hey, it can’t be that much colder in Norway than it is now in Canada, right?

Name: Cheri

Place: Oslo, Norway

Occupation: Mom

UtHC: What is your earliest childhood food memory?

When I was 3 or 4 my imagination got the better of me and I could not get myself to eat scrambled eggs. To me all the shapes looked like little animals. A plate full of little sheep, puppies and kitties. How could my mom expect me to eat such cute little creatures? Eventually, I was able to get it out of my head and now I enjoy eggs almost daily.

UtHC: What did you eat today?

Breakfast: Eggs and Toast (see daily!)
Lunch: Shrimp and Asparagus Penne
Supper: Tacos
And a couple of truffles sprinkled throughout. 🙂

UtHC: What will your kids never be allowed to eat?

Can their own feces be an answer? I cannot count the number of times that I have had to stop my son from putting his hands in his mouth after waving them around in the forbidden poopy zone while I change his diaper. So far no feces has been eaten.. that I know of.

Other then the obvious, I don’t know if there is anything that I wouldn’t allow my kids to eat EVER, but on a daily basis we keep things fairly healthy. And, homemade is always best. 🙂

UtHC: What do you always have on hand in your fridge?

My fridge is pretty tiny. I am 5’4″ and can see over the top of it, and it includes a freezer! So my fridge does not stay stocked with too much outside of the basics, like milk and eggs. I shop every couple days to last only a couple of days. It took me a while to get used to it but on the bright side, nothing goes to waste! 🙂

UtHC: What is you beverage of choice?

Water. I know, how boring! I wish I could say something else, but I am just not that exciting. Nothing quenches thirst to me like water and it is not very often that I crave something different.

UtHC: If you could have dinner with anyone n the history of man, who would it be?

I would have to say Jesus. Anyone who can turn water into wine and make a meal for one stretch to thousands is very welcome at my table.
Besides, I love Him and would love to see His smile.

UtHC: OK, it’s your last meal ever, what do you have?

Hands down my mothers Turkey dinner. Nothing beats a classic.

Ed Note: Thanks so much, Cheri!! A very Happy New Year to you, with side of turkey & cranberry sauce, too!

Foodie Facebook: Sue

Sue is hardly in need of an introduction; however, if you don’t know her from her smart and unpretentious blog Foodie Suz, you may remember her from our tasty food tour of Montreal last August.

I think she’s swell.

Name: Sue

Place: Edmonton, Alberta

Occupation: Freelance writer

What is your earliest childhood food memory?

Spaghetti and meat sauce – made with stewing meat complete with a pig’s feet, allspice and bay leaves – made by my mom, who is half Italian.

What did you eat today?

Oatmeal with raisins and brown sugar for breakfast. Rice crackers with applewood smoked cheddar for lunch. Oh how I love applewood smoked cheddar! And Tuscan lemon chicken legs and tortellini for dinner. I stopped at Leva, my favourite Edmonton coffee shop for a latte later that evening and regretted it with insomnia later that night.

What are your kids never allowed to eat?

Nothing is forbidden food, but pop is saved for ‘parties’ only. I want to save their teeth!

What do you always have on hand in your fridge?

Lemons, lime, garlic, basil, Pom pomegranate juice for martinis, anchovy paste, capers, goat cheese and turkey pepperoni.

What is your beverage of choice?

Red wine – Syrah or Meritage. And chai.

If you could have dinner with anyone in the history of man, who would it be?

I campaigned for Obama in Virginia, so I’d have to say the man himself. He owes me, so he should pick up the tab.

OK, it’s your last meal ever, what do you have?

Pasta with Italian sausage and fennel made by my husband…a key lime pie made by my daughter, and a bag of chips and dip put out by my two boys. The food is about the love, always.

Thanks so much Sue! Take care of that sweet family of yours and start saving so Ella can go to culinary school...