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

Halloweenies

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