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On my way home from some assorted errands today, I was starving and thought I’d try my luck at Thi Thi – the best Vietnamese subs possibly anywhere – these things are so good, when my friend Rachael used to visit from Vancouver it was her only Calgary must-do. Come to think of it, I haven’t been back there since she died in November. Anyway, being teeny and located downtown, across from the government building no less, it’s near impossible to find parking. Usually we have to double park or pull up beside the fire hydrant and Mike sits in the car while I run in to wait in the inevitable lineup that typically goes out the door. Not today. I pull around the corner, and there is the golden ticket, rock star parking spot directly out front. We’ve never had this spot before, not in the years since discovering Thi Thi. I pull in. There’s time on the meter. I go inside, and there isContinue reading

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I had a nap this afternoon. We all did. It was absolutely delicious – in my sleepy stupor I remember likening it to falling backward into a big, soft, voluptuous coconut cream pie. It was that yummy. Apparently I dream a lot like Homer Simpson. But then when we woke up, it was 6:22, Mike had to leave in an hour, and we were all starving. Solution: combine what was left of that brown and wild rice salad with the chopped remains of the slow-cooker chicken and a few halved grape tomatoes. Voila! Dinner.

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Apparently, recipes have always been my thing. When I was little, I enjoyed reading cooking magazines more than Owl or Chickadee. In grade 3, I told my class I wanted to be the food editor of Canadian Living magazine when everyone else wanted to be nurses and firemen and princesses. When I was old enough to babysit, I’d spend those evenings flipping through people’s cookbook collections – it was a jackpot night when I stumbled upon an old recipe box to bring to the couch while I watched Fantasy Island. I’ve always been curious about what people eat. So I still have 4 recipe boxes full of recipe cards I hand wrote or typed out on my electric typewriter when I was a kid-slash-teenager. Willem has recently discovered them, and thinks they are the funnest toys ever. (It used to be the stacks of business cards in my file cabinet that were the funnest, but these cards are bigger.) He likes to take them out one by oneContinue reading

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Wor won ton soup is one of Mike’s favorite things. From King’s in particular – there was that one time, when he was working for a helicopter company out by the original King’s in the northeast, when he went for the Friday wor won ton soup run and bailed down the icy slope right outside the front door, dumping 6 large (about 1L) containers of the soup version of pure gold all over himself and producing a chunky, icy soup slide as it instantly froze on the grass. On a happy note, King’s graciously replaced them all for him, but he now frequents the southeast location. I had pulled a package of won ton wrappers from the freezer awhile ago in order to make chips – to do this, cut the wrappers into triangles or strips, brush them with a little oil or water to help any seasonings adhere, and sprinkle them with any number of flavorings: lemon pepper, sesame seeds and Parmesan cheese, curry powder,Continue reading

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Once in awhile, particularly on days when it drops below -30 (seriously – it was minus 47 yesterday morning with the wind chill factor. -47! Global warming, where are you?) I get the urge to pull out my slow cooker and experience the gratification of smelling dinner simmering all day long. It could be this urge was subconsciously triggered by the current barrage of ads for McCain’s Slow Cooker Solutions – those $10 frozen meals packaged in an ice cream tub instead of a bag, that you toss into your slow cooker instead of your microwave. (It doesn’t say much that their ultra-styled photo still looks like Puritan beef stew in a can. And look… they even bought the Health Check symbol to go on the front. Have you seen the recent exposé on CBC’s Marketplace?) People. Slow cookers ARE the solution, they don’t require a solution. People don’t bring them home and think, what on earth am I going to do with this contraption? It takes a fullContinue reading

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I admit I spent most of the past 24 hours fantasizing about what I would have for dinner tonight. Inglewood pizza? Mu Shu pork from KamHan? Ooooh – butter chicken and fresh garlic-butter naan from the Taj Mahal! Unfortunately, it being -300 degrees outside, our car froze solid and so all of those options flew out the window. But really, it occurred to me that after 24 hours without food, anything I eat will taste bloody fantastic, so I might as well make it something healthy. And because I was still a little dopey, Mike took over dinner duties and made spaghetti and meatballs. The meatballs came from a stash we threw into the fridge over the holidays – once in awhile we’ll mix up a big batch, roll cookie sheet loads of meatballs, freeze them and then transfer them to freezer bags for dinner emergencies such as this. As the pasta is cooking, brown the frozen meatballs in a hot skillet, then pour theContinue reading

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Except that I can’t eat any. I’m having a minor test done tomorrow, which means I can only ingest clear fluids for 24 hours. Me! Going without food for 24 hours! Plus however much time I spend at the hospital tomorrow afternoon, which I’m sure will seem far longer on an empty stomach. So, planning to spend a full Sunday out of the kitchen (very unusual for me), I made a batch of chicken stew with pesto yesterday for Mike and W. If I didn’t work in the food world, and had just a few go-to dinner recipes in my repertoire, this would be one of them. If I was one of those Moms who made meals on rotation – meatloaf Mondays, spaghetti Tuesdays, pork chop Wednesdays, and so on, this would definitely make the cut. Willem loves it (possibly on account of the pesto, which he seems to be in love with), and so do Mike and I. For some reason it turns out creamierContinue reading

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By happy coincidence, I flipped on Nigella Express yesterday just in time to see her snipping rolled-up corn tortillas into a hot skillet to brown and crisp them before adding a slurry of egg, tomatoes and chopped fresh chilies. Hey, good idea, and using things I happen to currently have in my kitchen. I don’t usually keep fresh corn tortillas on hand, but when I do I’m always looking for new ways to use them, since they come in a 50-pack. (Tomorrow, the rest are going into the freezer, to resurface later on in the year.) So, since Mike is playing an afternoon show and heading straight out afterwards, I’m cooking for one. Well, one and a half, but the half just downed a whole wheat tortilla spread with peanut butter and wrapped around a banana, and close to his own weight in dried apricots (thankfully we’ve just passed the diaper stage). I’m in just the mood for a bowl of spicy eggs with lots of crispy bits, so thoughtContinue reading

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We ate the last of the pot of black bean soup today, and I’ll miss it – the soup silently helped meet our daily vegetable quota all week. It was pretty fantastic, actually, despite being completely vegetarian – vegan, even (no offense to meatless meals, but I usually prefer a bit of smoky ham or spicy sausage to flavor my black bean soup). Despite this shortcoming, it was absolutely delicious, due in part to the lone fresh jalapeño, and to the fact that it had had so much time for the flavors to really get to know each other. I am never going to feel the need to add meat to a black bean soup again. Since I had already eaten several bowls of it this week, today I felt experimental, and crumbled a bit of feta overtop.) We ate it before going to my nephew Ben’s birthday party, as insurance against the plethora of fifth-birthday-party-food that was sure to be there. Not that hunger has a lotContinue reading

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