So, today was fun.
On my drive to work today as I was merging from the left lane to the right lane just before the entrance to the highway I saw a large piece of metal in the middle of the lane. It looked like a hunk of some machine, or car part that had fallen off a heavy duty truck perhaps.
I saw it only for a split second as the car in front of me switched lanes. I don’t remember if I had time to move out of the way or not, but I was thinking I had better not put my brakes on as I merged onto the highway because I’m sure I would have been rear ended. So I kept driving and sure enough just as I changed lanes the object met my front right tire.
It was quite the bump – it felt hard and solid as I drove over it with a clank. Unluckily I was merging right onto the highway with no where else to turn off, so I had to keep driving. The next exit was mine, but it was down a large hill. I could feel my tired slowly giving out. There was a sad little noise coming from the front right. It began to clunk louder, so I turned on my hazards, and coasted along the shoulder until the bottom of the highway to my exit.
I pulled over for a minute so I could call Adam – panicked of course. I began crying, because well that’s what you do when you’ve just ran over a large metal object, your tire is punctured, clanking and slowly deflating and your stranded on the side of a highway and need to be at work in 5 minutes.
I managed to let some traffic by me while I was on the shoulder of the exit, and then proceed to limp my way around the exit with my hazard lights to the nearest parking lot for a park & ride bus area.
I parked, got out and looked at the damage. Yup – it was definitely torn up. I called Adam back, then called a cab to get me to work. I was really only about 5 minutes from the school I was working at today, and luckily it was the school I had been at for both my practicums so I knew it well. I think if I had been TOCing at an unknown school I may have been a little more panicked.
a $20 cab ride later, I was at school – and on time! TOC of the year? I think so.
A big thanks to Adam who was a super boyfriend today – he left work, went to my abandoned car to put on the spare tire, which turned out to be flat and had to go to the store to get a compressor, came back and changed the spare in the pouring rain, brought it to his uncle who works at a tire store (thankfully!) and put on a new set of tires (because to be honest they needed to be changed before this winter came anyways), drove my car to my school with the new wheels and dropped off my keys, then his dad dropped him off back at his car.
All I can say is thank goodness for boyfriends who know how to change a tire. Amen.
Needless to say I baked him two treats tonight – both with Apple because he requests apple pie daily.
Today, he definitely deserved two desserts. I’ll be sharing them soon because they were both major hits.
Now we’re both lying curled up on the couch watching some PVRd shows including the Black List, Agents of Shield and How I Met Your Mother. There’s lots of new shows for the season, some good some not so good.
We had some salad for dinner with a chicken breast and a mug of this soup.
Soup in a mug – it’s the best, and it’s happening all season long. It’s handy dandy.
I’ve began making a Sunday Soup – each sunday I’ll make a large pot of soup to eat through the week for lunches or quick dinners. I’ll share them on here each week.
Do you have any favourite soups??
Roasted Butternut Squash Carrot Apple Soup
- 2 medium butternut squash, peeled seeds removed and chopped into chunks
- Olive Oil
- 1 yellow onion
- 5-6 medium carrots
- 2-3 granny smith apples
- 3 Tbs. Pumpkin
- 4 Cups (1 carton) low-sodium vegetable stock
- 1 cup water
- dried garlic salt
- curry powder
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
- Place sliced butternut squash chunks onto baking pan, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with a little nutmeg, cinnamon, garlic and curry powder just slightly. Mix together and spread in single layer on sheet.
- Place in oven for 30-40 minutes, until squash is tender, caramelized and nicely roasted.
- About 10 minutes before the squash is finished, dice the onion and add it to a large pot with 2-3 Tbs of olive oil. Heat over medium heat 4-5 minutes until translucent.
- Peel and cut carrots into small chunks, add to pot. Cook another 5 minutes.
- Peel and cut apple into chunks, add to pot.
- Remove butternut squash from the oven, and add about 2 cups of the squash to the pot along with the pumpkin. I reserve the rest of the squash to have with salads - it's delicious.
- Add the vegetable broth and water, bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 30 minutes.
- Remove from heat.
- Use an immersion blender to puree the soup, or you can transfer to a blender (be sure to allow the heat to escape through the top or it will burst!), or add small amounts at a time to a food processor and return to the pot. It will turn into a gloriously thick velvety smooth orange soup.
- I topped mine with a drizzle of coconut milk.
b a k e a h o l i c http://www.bakeaholic.ca/
Last week I wanted to make something for St. Patrick’s day dinner, something Irish-y i.e. Something that included beer, more specifically, Guinness. When in Rome – err – Ireland…
However, in true Irish fashion we met up with my mom and brother and everyone else for Greek Food. Not quite Irish, but oh well. The pubs and Irish food joints were packed to the hill, so we decided to eat wherever was empty, which ended up being a Greek place. The food was good, but took forever – there were also 9 of us so that might have been why.
Although St. Patrick’s day was over, I woke up Monday wanting to still make something. So, I decided to go to the Liquor store to pick up some Guinness. It never crossed my mind what time it was. It was 11 am. On a Monday. And I was going to buy beer – all in the name of cooking. I joked with the cashier that I hadn’t had anything Irish on St. Patrick’s day and that I was going to make a stew with the Guinness, and not actually drink it. I suppose he knew a thing or two about cooking, or has had the conversation before because he mentioned that there were other, better, beers to use for a stew besides Guinness. I also didn’t really need a case of beer (though Adam would have helped me there), and apparently Guinness doesn’t make single serve beers. Not that I know about about Beers, or Stouts, but he suggested Phillips Chocolate Stout for using it in a stew. It was in the single serve beer section, so I though I would try it.
A friend of mine had asked me to post a slow cooker recipe, and also enjoys a good beer or two. This way, you can have both in one.
The great thing about slow cooker recipes is that you can throw it all together, and then be off on your way knowing that a delicious dinner will basically cook itself. That’s the kind of dinner I like, especially when I have finals and assignments to write – and Adam isn’t the chef around here. Although, I’m fairly certain anyone can make a slow cooker meal.
I know it’s technically ‘Spring,’ now, but yesterday it was so windy and cold that our power went out. So, as long as the warm weather holds off, you can still warm up with a bowl of this stew.
Adam and I are headed down to the States this weekend, hoping for some Seattle sunshine – maybe??
After hitting up the liquor store at 11 am, ahem, I went to our favourite butcher shop Meridian Meats & Seafood to get some beef. You’ll need about 1.5 – 2 lbs of stewing beef (they had extra lean, but a little bit of fat would actually add flavouring to the stew when you brown it)
Where’s the Beef. (hah)
Add 2 Tbs. of butter to pan over medium-high heat.
Add the beef in two batches, you’ll want to leave room for browning.
Brown the meat on all sides. Season with salt + pepper as it browns.
Once all the beef is browned, place the piece in the slow cooker. Leave the juice in the pan.
Saute onions and celery in juice for 5 minutes. Add 2 tbs tomato paste. Saute for a few more minutes, adding a splash of the Stout to scrape up the browned bits in the pan.
Once finished, transfer celery and onion mixture to the slow cooker.Add the rest of the Stout, worcestershire sauce, broth, thyme and vegetables to the pot.
Cover, and let cook on Low for 8 hours OR High for 4 hours.
This stew gets even better the next day.
Slow Cooker Beef Stew
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1.5 – 2 pounds marbled stewing beef
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 2 celery staks, chopped
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tbs. worcestershire sauce
- 1 pint Stout/Porter/Guinness (may I suggest a Chocolate Stout)
- 3 cups beef broth
- 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
- 4 small yellow nugget potatoes, cut into chunks
- 1 parsnip, peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 large turnip, peeled and cut into chunks
- dried thyme
1 Heat the butter in large pan over medium-high heat. Brown the beef in the butter. Do this in two batches to allow beef to brown evenly. Sprinkle salt over the beef as it browns. Once browned on all sides, transfer the beef pieces into the slow cooker.
2 Add the diced onions and celery to the pan in which you just browned the beef. Sauté the onions and celery until they begin to brown at the edges, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and mix well. Cook for a minute or two, then add a little of the Stout, enough to make it easier for you to scrape up any browned bits at the bottom of the pan. Transfer the celery and onions into the slow cooker.
3 Add the rest of the Stout, beef broth, worcestershire sauce, carrots, chopped celery, parsnips, potatoes, turnips, and thyme to the slow cooker.
4. Cover and cook on “high” for 4 hours, or “low” for 8 hours.
I served mine over mashed potatoes, but you can also just have it on its own.
I love being off school.
Having no responsibilities, due dates or assignments is really a huge relief. I also just found out last week I was accepted into the Teaching program – I begin in September, and will officially be a teacher in one year! I always loved ‘playing teacher’ when I was younger, and now my childhood dream is going to come true. I love being in school. Don’t get me wrong, I hate the stress of homework, but I always really enjoyed projects and extracurricular activities, and just being in the classroom. So, I’m going back to school, so I can work in a school, forever, pretty much. I love school, but I also love summer vacation. It’s funny, when you think about what you wanted to be when you ‘grew up,’ and then you realize that you have reached that goal, its surreal. Many young kids who wish to be astronauts may not have reached their dreams, and although a teacher is not quite an astronaut, I think it’s pretty awesome that the young role-playing teacher me, will now be the actual real-life teacher. I am both excited and nervous, but this is just another step in life. As I said, this year is going to be really awesome. Adam and I became an aunt and uncle to a beautiful little niece, we bought a new house, I am graduating with my Bachelor’s Degree, my family is planning a grad party this summer, I’m in the midst of planning a once in a lifetime trip to Europe for July and August, where I will be meeting up with my Nonna in Italy to explore my family’s heritage and bathing in the Tuscan sun, and I will be starting the PDP program in the Fall to become an Elementary school teacher. Whew! Going to be a whirlwind year!
French Onion has always been one of my favourite soups. I remember whenever we went to a family dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory we would get the french onion soup to start. When my dad worked in the restaurant industry he would make delicious french onion, or, so my mom told me. When I was older he would make it at home for special occasions. Since I found out about my dairy allergy I can’t eat the cheese, and I probably shouldn’t eat the bread either due to my wheat allergy. But my mom really felt like this soup today, so I went over to her house and made it for her.
I didn’t eat the soup itself, but I did eat a large scoop of the caramelized onions before we added them to the broth. It was onion heaven. I could it them plain. And I did. They would also be delicious on burgers and hot dogs. Adam is not a fan of onions, but I would definitely make the soup at home again! He will just have to learn to love them.
It’s funny, as onion soup would have been something that the poor would make and eat back in the earliest centuries, as onions were abundent and easy to grow. Now, however, this modern version of the soup is seen as a classic dish, often found as a delicacy soup as a starter or main course.
French Onion soup is pretty easy to make, I based this recipe off of the Pioneer Woman’s recipe found here
How to Caramelize onions:
The key to caramelizing onions is butter, and steady heat. You have to be patient, and not crank up the heat. You want them to cook slowly and evenly for a period of time to allow them to break down and caramelize in the butter.
Slice up your onions thinly, toss in 1 stick of butter and cook over medium heat.
After about 10 minutes, they will begin to soften and brown. You want them to become quite fragrant and browned. Keep keeping them at this point! If you think it’s too high heat, you can lower it slightly.
This is about 20 minutes, they are really browned with lots of ‘grit’ from the pan. Turn the heat up to medium-high, but not the highest setting.
At this point you can pour in the white wine. It will sizzle, and steam. Allow the wine to reduce for about 5 minutes.
Slightly reduced, keep stirring until almost all of the liquid evaporates. It can take up to 30 minutes for this large of a pan of onions to caramelize and reduce with the wine. It is worth the wait.
Once almost all of the wine is gone, your onions should be ready. They will smell heavenly. Feel free to taste-test before adding to the broth. You’ll want to scrape up the bits from the pan, they are flavourful and will add to the broth. Scrape onions into your broth, and let simmer for about 30 minutes to an hour on low.
Pour into soup bowls
Top with toast
Top with cheese, and broil.
French Onion Soup
- 1 stick Butter
- 4-5 whole Large Yellow Onions, sliced thinly
- 1 cup (generous) Dry White Wine
- 4 cups Chicken Broth – low sodium, bought or homemade
- 4 cups Beef Broth, we had homemade in the freezer that we used.
- 2 cloves Garlic
- 2+ Tbs. Worcestershire Sauce
- 2 Tbs. Port Wine
- cheese of your choice, Havarti, Gruyere, Emmental
In large pot, add both broths, garlic and a dash of Worcestershire sauce over medium-low heat. Allow to simmer while you cook the onions.
Melt butter in a large heavy bottom pan over medium heat. Add onions and cook for 20-25 minutes. You want the onions to caramelize, and turn a dark brown colour. Using a wooden spoon stir them occasionally, scraping up the browned bits of butter into the onions. When they look like they are caramelized, at the 20 minutes point, add the 1 cup of dry white wine along with the Worcestershire sauce. Allow it to reduce for another few minutes, until the liquid is almost gone.
Once the onions are cooked, add them to the simmering broth, and simmer on low for another 20 minutes or so, or until you wish to eat. The longer it simmers together, the more flavourful it will be. You can leave it on very low for an hour or so if you like.
To make the bread, sprinkle oil over baguette or bread slice, and broil until browned and crisp on both sides.
To serve, use a french onion soup bowl, or small ramekins or other oven safe bowls and fill with the onion soup, top with a piece of crunchy bread, and top with a few slices of cheese. Place under broiler again until cheese is bubbly. Keep your eye on it.