Sunday, November 10, 2013

"Cook Club"

I love the idea of online communities. Ever since I became a mom my social life went DRASTICALLY down (as to be expected) and I noticed that my online presence increased because of it. I am a member of a number of 'moms' groups on Facebook and I love to follow blogs. That is why I started writing this blog in the first place. I don't have many readers, but that is OK. I like having the space anyways.

My interest in cooking has grown over the years as well. I have spent an embarrassing amount of time on Pinterest looking for recipes and reading many blogs on the subject. I also enjoy posting about my cooking exploits on this blog every now and then (although my food photography could be better... can't do much with a smart phone and a poorly lit kitchen :P). I had a thought yesterday that I would like to start a recipe sharing group on Facebook for local moms. Turns out, it exists already. Which is totally fine of course, but I kind of wanted to start my own, to kind of have a little project to work on. One of the other local moms told me that she used to be part of a group where they would all take turns recommending a recipe to each other, and they would make it and share their results. The idea struck me and I thought it would be super fun to do a 'Cook Club' with the same premise as a book club - everyone makes the same recipe and discusses it!

I have been able to recruit a number of awesome ladies from the other Moms groups I am a member of, and hopefully the word will get out! I am excited to see all of the recipes shared and to pick the recipe each week. Could be a great way to meet new people and learn a few things! The group also encourages people to ask questions and give advice, share their tried and true favourites, tips and tricks they live by and discussing the trials and tribulations of cooking for children :)

It is not JUST for local moms either - I have made it open to moms OR dads from wherever! I am sure tweaks will be made to the rules and structure of the club as time goes on (and if it gains any popularity, which I hope it does!) - for now it is just a baby and I am excited to see what it turns into :)

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Veal Parmesan!

My love for Veal Parmesan goes way way waaaaay back. It has been my go-to dinner to order at a restaurant as far back as I can remember (that, or fajitas. But they aren't both often on the same menu, so I am not faced with the tough decision TOO often). It is just so darn delicious! A gigantic, mouth watering piece of veal, breaded and fried to golden, crispy deliciousness, baked in a bed of savory marinara sauce, topped with melted mozza and parmesan cheese. It is often served with a side of pasta and veggies, but honestly, who the heck cares what is beside it? It will never hold a candle to that masterpiece!

I was flipping through an old recipe book tonight. Its my moms, she bought it from the mom of one of the kids on my brother's baseball team who was selling it for her church in like 1998 lol. So it is a cute book full of recipes submitted by different families in that community. It has quite a number of great sounding meals I'd love to try. My mom has made the chidken parmesan recipe from there once before, and I remember it being ah-ma-zing! I was in the mood to make something different (after I was informed that I make too many casseroles and pasta dishes *cough*steve*cough*) and someone mentioned veal parmesan to me in a facebook group. The craving was implanted and it was decided. I found the recipe in the book and decided that I could probably just substitute the word 'chicken' for 'veal' and pretty much have no issues.

Turns out that yes. Yes you can.

Here is the recipe! I think it is easy (albeit slightly time consuming) and so worth trying out! (especially that sauce! So simple but so delicious!)

Veal Parmesan
I definitely don't have the right light in my kitchen to take food photos...... also I don't have a real camera.

This is the original recipe. I didn't alter a whole lot, but I will describe what I did.

For the sauce
  • 1 large can of tomato sauce
  • 1 large can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2-6 garlic cloves (depending on your preference) diced or crushed
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 green pepper diced (optional and did not use in mine)
  • 8 large mushrooms (optional and did not use in mine)
  • Dash of hot sauce (optional and did not use in mine)

Put a small drizzle of oil (I used coconut oil because I'm all on that bandwagon, but you can use whatever; canola, vegetable, EVOO, etc) in a sauce pan and start cooking the onions and garlic (also the peppers and mushrooms if you added them) until partially cooked.
Then, add the remaining ingredients and let simmer for 20 minutes.

For the chicken or veal
  • 8 breasts/cutlets
  • 1/2 cup of flour
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup bread crumbs (seasoned with garlic powder and parsley... I used an 'italian seasoning')

So you take your veal or boneless skinless chicken breasts (if chicken should be halved to be thinner) and drudge them in the egg, then flour, then egg, then bread crumbs. From there you transfer them to a preheated frying pan with oil about a cm deep.
You then fry them until they are golden brown on both sides. From there you transfer them to a baking dish with about an inch of sauce lining the bottom.

Cut up or grate mozzarella cheese all over your chicken in the baking dish, and add grated parmesan cheese (both of these to taste as I just eyeball it), add a little more sauce if desired and bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes at 350ยบ.

To serve with it i cooked up a little fettuccine to serve with the remaining sauce (i added in a big spoonful of herb and garlic cream cheese and a chunk of frozen spinach to change it up a little) and a 'california mix' of veggies.

As usual the kids weren't huge fans (can't get a standing o' for anything other than meatloaf with these kids) but Mom and Steve both gave it thumbs up :)

It probably won't work it's way into my regular rotation, but it is nice to have it in my repertoire for future use :)

Sunday, November 03, 2013


I guess I should have done this post yesterday or on Friday, but I didn't think of it and I am sitting up at 12:30 on Saturday night feeling like blogging. So I thought I'd share our Halloween - as 'fun and exciting' as it was ;)

So basically for the past 5 years, Steve has been trying to get me to go to Halloween Haunt at Canada's Wonderland. I have flat out refused. I do not enjoy scary things. Also I am pretty convinced that a haunted house/maze is the perfect place for real murderers to murder you. Because by the time it is discovered you have been for real stabbed, the murderer is long gone. I am convinced of this and no one will be able to fully convince me otherwise.

But, this year I was convinced to go. We had made plans to go with my sister and her husband, so I was looking forward to having another super scared-y cat with me. Unfortunately, the day we had planned to go it was a pretty cruddy day weather wise, and two of my sister's kids were sick (among other unplanned circumstances) so her and her hubby had to stay home. We totally understood, but it super-sucked! So Steve and I went and it wasn't as bad as I had expected it to be, but I still got the crap scared out of me a number of times! I am glad we were able to go, even though it was a chilly, semi-rainy night.

I am smiling, but I am not happy.

We decided to leave a little before 11, so we were able to still swing by my friend Hayley's Halloween party :) We really wanted to go (and we were going to go until we realized it was the same night we agreed to go to the haunt with Britt!) and we were going to do a couple's costume - Steve was going to be Phil or Willy from Duck Dynasty, and I was going to be a shot mallard :P Still disappointed we didn't get to put costumes together, but there is always next year!

On Halloween itself, I had to work until 5 (left at 4:30 and got home at the same time I would have if I left at 5... annoying) so Steve got the kids ready to go. Hannah in her pink Spidergirl costume (supposed to be Spiderman's daughter, according to the packaging) and Max wore his Dragon costume again from last year. They were both adorable. It was raining, but we had mild temperatures and the rain remained at a light drizzle the whole night, so it really could have been worse. Max was adorable trick-or-treating! We always say 'I love you' to each other when we leave the house or say 'bye' for whatever reason, so Max was telling all of our neighbours that he loves them haha - it was amazing... oh, and he was also trying to go in everyone's houses and steal their candy bowls :P Hannah did awesome, she remembered everything from last year, a true trick-or-treating professional!

These are seriously the only pictures I got (and I stole the Max one from Steve's pics) because by the time I finally made it hope, I had two very antsy, ready to rock kids. They were not into posing.

So Halloween was good, I am not a HUGE Halloween person like some are, but I enjoy it. Although I am happy it is over because now it can officially be Christmas time <3 

Happy Halloween everyone!

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Will work for food!

I am getting so darn frustrated looking for work. I am 28 years old, aren't I supposed to have some kind of career underway by now? I feel like all I have done in my free time is apply for jobs. I am thankful at least that it is fairly easy to apply for a large number of jobs with it all being online these days, but I feel like that just makes the competition even more fierce because anyone can sit behind a screen and apply to just as many jobs as I do... and all of the same ones that I do. I just remember when I was hiring at The Cash Store the amount of resumes that would fly into my inbox daily when we had our job postings up. And I remember sifting through them all, it would take forever. I had to simply scan the resumes for people with similar experience because there were too many people to look at those who didn't. I keep picturing that happening to my resume over and over. And it is. That is exactly what is happening to it. So because my previous work experience is a payday loan company, that doesn't make me qualified for anything more than that? Do I need to lie on my resume to make it seem like I have the experience they are looking for? I am more than qualified for a reception or administration position, but since I was a branch manager before, I get looked over, nevermind that my duties were the same as a receptionist goes through in a day. Maybe I just need to change my title from 'branch manager' at The Cash Store to 'receptionist' at The Cash Store. I bet that would work. And then if I am applying for a data entry job, should I say I was in charge of data entry at CSF? Is that what this job hunting thing has come down to? I am not about to start lying on my resume, but it is starting to feel hopeless to get in a new industry.

I just want to find something soon. I am thankful to have my part time job with Pet Valu (I get to hang out with the coolest African Grey and play with kitties!) but part time hours at minimum wage is barely cutting it...luckily Steve is getting a decent EI cheque and we live with my mom... otherwise I'd probably have to be out hookin' lol... just kidding?

I just want to give these kids a good Christmas and start planning the wedding of my dreams!

Hopefully the end is near.... anyone have any get rich quick schemes? :P

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Time to Get Serious

Went to my best friend's wedding this weekend and it was amazing. I couldn't have had a better time. It was up north at the camp site where her and her husband worked as counselors. It was an amazing camp ground with everything you could need. They put us up in a fantastic cabin and the staff catered to our every whim. The camp is staffed by mostly young men in their early to mid twenties, and they gave me hope for humanity! I have never in my life met such polite and helpful people.

I got there in time to help out with decorating a bit, but they had already done an amazing job before we got there! The lodge had such a unique atmosphere as it was, and it was only emphasized by the amazing decorating everyone did.

Of course Erin couldn't have looked more beautiful. The morning was so much fun. Mimosas, hair and makeup, beautiful gifts, coffee and bagels delivered, great laughs and conversations. It was a great way to begin a perfect day. While it was rainy and windy, it didn't take anything away from it all.

We partied into the night and my beautiful best friend married hers. (And they had a photobooth!!)

I told myself that I wouldn't start to talk too much about our own wedding (did I mention we set a date? FINALLY?!) until Erin's was done, but now that it is over I am getting a little nervous! There is so much that has to go into this wedding and I am feeling a little overwhelmed about it. But at least I have a bridal party full of married women whose brains I can pick :P

Steve and I had originally decided upon a blue and red colour scheme for our wedding, inspired by this inspiration board I found on Pinterest.

I personally thought it was gorgeous (and still do!) and I was excited to give it a try.

However, the more I thought about it, I felt like it would need a lit lf details to pull off and we don't really have the budget for a LOT of details. So I have started leaning toward another scheme that I feel would be easier to pull off.

Keeping the same blue but changing out the red for the purple. I think it would be easier for me to put this together. Still using black as our accent colour, I think i have more options too. I have already found a bouquet I love and finding the right shade for my bridesmaids dresses is going to be a lot easier (going for the purple rather than the blue).

I have even thought of doing black dresses as long as there is a colour pop element like a sash or a slip (in purple)

Getting this wedding done on a small budget has been proving to be easier than I thought. We have gotten our venue for a great price, using a photographer family member, scored a cheap (and talented) DJ, found a fantastically priced caterer and we even won a gift certificate to a jewelry store for our wedding bands! I am going to get an amazing deal on my flowers and I am going to get my dress online, once I find a style I like from trying dresses in-store. While some of my little cuts might not be ideal for everyone, they work for us. The day is more about the celebration of us finally tying the knot and enjoying our time with our friends and family than it is about how much we spend on everything. I am sure our shortcuts will look just as good as a $25k affair.

We are doing a homemade cookie buffet for party favours and we have already purchased the bags (head start!). Just need to work out the centrepieces and other small details. I think we are doing well!

I will post pictures of things as we go :) This is going to be a lot of fun to plan!

Friday, September 06, 2013

Life Right Now

SO much has changed lately... my life one month ago was NOTHING like it is today. Like at ALL!

August started with the kids having their last day with their daycare provider/babysitter as we decided it would be better if Steve stopped looking for work after his layoff and just stayed home with them. I was sad to have to take them out as I felt she was doing a great job, but it made the most financial sense for us. We promised to keep in touch because our boys got so close... (but then she deleted us from Facebook a few days later.... which seemed kind of out of nowhere... maybe we're better off eh?)

SO Steve got to start DADDY DAYCARE! Hehe... I think he was super excited about it! He was also a little nervous for sure, he has never had sole responsibility of them before haha - but I had all of the faith in the world in him. Heck, on his first day he was making homemade baby wipes!

Unfortunately/fortunately (depends on your perspective) 'Daddy Daycare' only lasted one day.... as I quit my job that afternoon.(!) I was truly trying my best to push through and persevere... but I couldn't take it. The amount of bullying and gossiping and... just plain B.S that went on that place, became just too much to bear. I got the blessing from my mom and Steve and I just did it. I couldn't believe it. I was excited and nervous and in shock.

And unemployed. /so my new full time mission was to FIND A JOB! Now we had recently made the decision to move back to London in the new year, so I knew I didn't want to find a job that was so good I wouldn't want to leave it in 6 months.At the same time, I didn't want to take a job I hated. I recalled how much I enjoyed working at Shoppers Drug Mart so many years ago, and I wanted something in a similar field. So I set out for a retail position in a store that I could stand. I spent a solid week searching online and applying at a variety of jobs ranging from a bank teller to a cashier. I then decided that for the type of job I was looking for, I would need to go out and find this job in person.

So I printed off some resumes at the library, planned out my route and my stops for the day, and headed to stop #1: The Real Canadian Superstore. Just so happened they were interviewing for cashiers that day. And I scored an on-the-spot interview. And then got hired. I have this finding a job thing in the bag. I'm pretty stoked about it. I have respect for the Loblaw Inc company and I feel like I could grow with this job. And hopefully be able to find something great in London when its time.

Anyways, so that's awesome. On top of that, WE FINISHED PAYING OFF OUR CAR! OMG! :) We decided to start planning our wedding FINALLY (more on that to come I am sure) and my little lady started junior kindergarten today! 

So much has changed and it has been kind of exciting! I am sure I will elaborate more on everything as time goes, but today I want to show off my BIG GIRL going to JK!!

She was so excited! She was up at like 6:30 and dressed! Bugging us in bed and running around like crazy! We got her all ready and did some cute pictures that I would like to show off now :)

Here is my little collage :) As you can see she was STOKED :) Steve wasn't too happy but we still got a smile out of him :) I was too excited to think about being emotional until she walked into the classroom... then i REALLY had to hold back from sobbing! Max was sad too, he got really upset when she went in!

And here is my Pinterest inspired first day of school official photo :) I had seen many similar ideas over my pinterest days, and I told myself to always remember to do that... and I knew we had a great chalkboard easel so I was set :) it was a little mucked up from Hannah age two using crayon on it, but I think it gave it character :)

 Aren't those shoes rad?

I also had her sign her name :)

 So that's my life right now quickly summed up! Sorry for the rambling! I get like that when I have a lot to talk about!

I hope to continue to update a little more often as life continues :) I have a lot to share!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Roasted Garlic Mushrooms

Good afternoon all!

It has been some time since I have posted. Life got away from me and I stopped making the time. I am sure I will pick it up again soon.

The reason I am posting today is because I saw a very appealing and delicious looking recipe on my Facebook feed, with the instructions to share it so you have access to it in the future. I don't know about you guys, but the idea of having to scroll aimlessly through my wall in 6 months when I decide to finally make the thing (if I even remember about it in 6 months, which I won't) does not appeal to me. That is why I love Pinterest so much. I can pin and pin all day long and not have to worry about having to remember what I find. I just go to the pin board I am looking for (my various recipe boards are my most frequented) and I am reminded instantly.

The problem with these Facebook 'share' recipes is I cannot pin them! I thanks my mother-in-law for originally sharing the recipe, but from what I can tell, the post links back to a 'Getting Healthy' support group that I do not have access to, and that being said, I don't even know if it is an original recipe for someone on that page.

So I decided to post it here
*Update* a commenter found the source recipe, found Here!

Here is the recipe copied from the Facebook post in question: *I have not tried to make this as of yet, I am posting this so I can pin it and be able to make it in the future :) * But if you try it, please let me know how it turns out!

Roasted Garlic Mushrooms

16 even-sized open cup mushrooms, stalks cut level
3 tbsp corn or vegetable oil
75g unsalted butter, softened
3 cloves garlic, chopped very finely
2 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
50g fresh breadcrumbs

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6. Lightly fry the mushrooms, cap-side down, in hot oil for 20 seconds.

Arrange the mushrooms in a shallow roasting tin with the stalks facing upwards.

Mix together the butter, garlic, thyme, lemon juice and seasoning. Spoon a little garlic butter on to each mushroom, then lightly press the breadcrumbs on top. Either refrigerate for later use, or cook immediately in the oven for 10 minutes.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

On Your Fourth Birthday

Oh my gosh. I feel like I was just writing my post about your third birthday. That was the fastest year I can remember. We have been living here with grandma for exactly one year now. You still talk about your "old house" it's funny. I didn't think  you would still remember enough about it to bring it up. Funny the things we remember.

You experienced an entire year of being a big sister. I must say, you have blown me away. That boy adores you. He loves you with his entire heart. He lights up when you come near, he screams for you, he stares at you with such love in his eyes. And the best part to me is that I can tell the same is coming from you. Thank you for making this past year of learning how to be a mommy of two so easy and beautiful.

You became one whole year older too. Before my very eyes, but until I stop and think about it, I tend to forget that you're growing up! You are so smart. You learn new things every single day that blow my mind. The other day you were playing with your toys and told me you were planning a big party. "The Centennial" you called it! how does a little one like you know what a centennial is?! So hilarious.

We have such a great birthday week/weekend ahead of us! Just today(/yesterday) you had a birthday party with Tracey! I managed to be able to have the day off with you for your birthday, so Tracey celebrated with you a day early! She is very good to you guys! And now tomorrow (/today) is your actual real birthday! You are officially 4 years old! 4! I have a 4 year old child! You are registered for kindergarten in the fall! Before I blink you're going to be in high school and telling me where to go! ;) - We are going to see Christina at Swag Hair Studio tomorrow to get your hair done! Aside from your bangs we have never cut your hair! We are going to have a fun girlie time :) Then, once your hair is all cut and styled we are all going out for dinner! THEN on Friday you get to go to London for a sleepover with Nana and Grandpa! And THEN you have TWO birthday parties this weekend! You are going to get CRAZY spoiled! Haha

I love you Hannah :) I hope you have the kind of birthday that makes you excited for the next one :) You deserve the world and I hope someday I can give it to you. But until then I will give you unlimited love and support for as long as I live. Thanks for 4 amazing years. I can't wait to see what you have in store for me. Well, I am a little nervous for what you have in store for me actually :)


Saturday, April 20, 2013

I blame work

I can't believe I managed to neglect this blog for so long - I loved blogging a lot (even if I didn't have much off relevance to talk about) - I guess I just never expected to lose so much time.  Between working about 45 hours a week and trying to be there for my kids and spending time with my hubby, I hardly have the time to sleep. 

I would like to make more of an effort again. .. maybe I could promise to post once a week. .. I think I can handle that :)

Life has been good though, despite the busyness - my kids are amazing. .. max is hilarious. .. he is almost 15 months old and has such a personality.  And Hannah is turning 4 in less than two weeks! She is all registered for kindergarten in September :) I can't believe it,  but we are pretty excited for her.

I would like to start doing more for myself.  Even if that means staying up later than normal to do something I enjoy - I think I should take advantage of that.

Signing off for now - hopefully I can go back to keeping up with this blog - at least do better than now!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A letter to Max.

Dear Max.
I can't believe you are one. One year old. My second child is One.  My little baby boy.
You have been such a pleasure to be a mommy to. I cannot imagine a sweeter little man. Thank you for making me smile on a daily basis. Your relationship with your sister touches my heart. You sure do love that girl! And boy,  does she ever love you!  I know it is inevitable that your relationship will change over time and you won't always get along,  but I am cherishing these moments. I know they are fleeting.
You overcame the challenge of your injured skull and we got to feel real fear. I am so thankful that you came out of that as happy and healthy as you did.
We had a rough first year of lots and lots of nursing and little to no sleep. Who would have thought I could keep up with that appetite of yours! I am proud that we did so well together :)
You are cuddly,  snuggly, hilarious, handsome, adorable, happy,  giggly,  wiggly, hungry, healthy, sweet... I could add to this list all day. I just want to thank you for being you and for completing our family. I dont know if you will ever be made a big brother, and if not we are so happy and satisfied that we got you to make us a whole :)
I cannot wait to see the crazy things you will come up with in your second year - we love you Max . .. happy birthday big man xoxox

Friday, January 04, 2013

Me Poorsta

This rage comic describes my existence. I spend way too much time falling in love with way too many things online with $0 to pay for them lol... oh well... gave me a laugh, at least others can relate!


Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Obligatory New Years Rambling :P

2012 was a great year, and probably the fastest one that I can remember (which says a lot when the year has a whole extra day!) - the best part was completing our family when Maxy was born! That started the new year out just right :) It had it's bad moments (like our nightmare with Max's skull and most recently with the passing of our friend Codey :( ) but I try to focus on what made it great!

We moved in with my mom which was a big adjustment, but I think things have been going well! We had a great summer with the kids, heading to Wonderland many times for some summer time family fun! We got to watch Maxy in his first year learn and discover this world. We got to watch Hannah make the beautiful transition from only child to a very proud big sister! Steve and I bot got promoted positions at work and we look forward to being able to save our money to get our home.

My new years resolution? To host next year's New Years Eve party in our OWN HOME. Can we do it? If we work hard enough I think we can.

For now, we will continue living this crazy life and enjoy each other.

Happy New Year everyone!