Garam Masala Meatballs with Turmeric rice

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Imagine my evenings (I’m sure for some it’s not hard…)

Tired mom drives close to the speed of light down the highway, racing to her destination… day care. Upon arrival, some polite chatter with the person entrusted to mold and meld my babes, inquiring about their their day. Hopefully no apologies required, (a few F bombs have dropped).

I then try to quickly and calmly stuff them into the car as they run around appearing like a cross between squealing hyenas and an octopus (hyocs, octayenas…???).

Fortunately, this often involves lots of hugs. Unfortunately, they seem to grow thousands of arms competing for body area to hug. I’ve fallen when not braced properly.

The ride home is half filled with happy chatter and half filled with a chorus of “mom, we’re hungry”, “can we watch ponies?”, “mom, she keeps touching me”.20140723-224702-82022154.jpg

We arrive, I unlock the door, the dog charges us and the octyenas sort of quickly make their way inside as I herd the dog and the cat, carrying bags, my purse and backpacks.  I then either try to be super woman getting snacks and lovely brain enriching activities out and on the go, or I say f*@k it and put on the bloody ponies…again.

Sashay  into the kitchen, ready to prepare yet another perfectly balanced meal of both flavour and health.

I manage to get supper organized with only 6 interruptions, one involving food, two settling disputes, at least one accident and one boo boo that needs kissing, (of course something else happened too). Finally  presenting my masterpiece to the adoring family and pretending that a bomb hasn’t exploded in the kitchen.


Miraculously all is well. The kids come to the table and happily shove nourishment into their little pieholes,  babbling about Pokemon cards and colouring. I breathe for the first time since I got in the car and we settle into the rest of our nightly routine.

For obvious reasons I need food to be quick, easy and tasty. I also want to enjoy my dinner so it needs to be kid friendly and manageable by little hands. Hence my love of tacos and meatballs. However, combining the two could be weird or boring or both.

But, I have been blessed to live in a country that has given me global inspiration and grocery stores that stock spices and flavours to play with. Even in the small town I live in I can still created ethnically inspired dishes that open up my kids experience of the world through food. Giving me hundreds of ways to create new versions of a meal that fits my families needs.

This dinner is such a perfect example of that. I have been making  chicken meatballs for my family as a staple meal for years. Recently I started using them in tacos and then somehow that morphed into trying different ethnic variations, including spices like curry powder, ginger and turmeric. I’ve never eaten a lot of meat so I also  have what my husband calls ‘filler’ to go along with the meatballs. In this case it became a rice dish that I actually think almost steals the show and makes an amazing side or a great vegetarian option for your tacos🙂. I love it. The raisins are a bit sweet and the rice is so fragrant. Plus the turmeric makes it an absolutely gorgeous colour.


I can have everything ready in about 45 minutes too. And part of that is in the oven cooking time so I don’t feel tied to the kitchen or like I’m missing out on my family.

For my tacos I make the meatballs and rice then slice up tomatoes and cucumbers. Plain yogurt mixed with cilantro, mint or even basil, plus a bit of salt and olive oil make a super easy sauce to top it all with. For a salad just toss that all in one bowl.

And if the idea of tacos is just too weird, ixnay (say no to) the tortillas and serve your meatballs on the rice with the salad instead. That was my lunch today… People were jealous.


Garam Masala Meatballs

2 packages ground chicken thigh or ground turkey (around 900 g)
1/4 cup panko
1/4 chopped fresh herbs (cilantro, parsley, basil, oregano, chives)
1/4 chopped feta
1 Tbsp garam masala
1 Tsp curry powder
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat your oven to 350
Mix all the ingredients gently together and form into small balls. About a tbsp scoop.
Place the meatballs in a baking dish and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes and cooked through .


Turmeric Rice

1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 an onion finely diced
1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger
1 Tbsp curry powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp salt (omit if you are not using a salt free stock)
1/4 cup raisins
1 cup Basmati rice
2 cups veggie stock or 1 cube salt free veggie bouillon and 2 cups water

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

In a medium sized pot add the olive oil and heat over medium low heat. Add the onions and sauté until they soften. Add all the ingredients down to and including the salt, cooking for only a few moments. Add the rice, stirring regularly cook for a minute or two. Toss in the raisins and then pour in either the bouillon or stock and bring to a boil.
Once boiling reduce to low heat, cover and cook for about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow it to sit another 5 minutes. Fold in the cilantro and serve







What can I say. We’re a family that likes our food and when hubby’s ashore he makes sure to get his fill🙂

I hope you all enjoy these as much as I do and please let me know what you think. I also have a Facebook page where I post nightly meal ideas, photos and meal prep











Vegetarian Enchiladas with Yogurt Sauce

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I have an amazing little son. He is so imaginative and energetic and he makes supper times exhausting. All that energy and the need to act on everything that pops into his mind, make for a small bouncing ball of hair that only picks at his supper and distracts everyone else.


Imagine an exhausted mom,  home from a tiring day of work, who has thrown together supper. She sits down for what she imagines is going to be a peaceful family meal (she may be slightly delusional), only to have to respond rationally to…”but mom I just need to check the dogs leg/look at that sparkly thing/colour this dot/find my favourite car/run around the kitchen”.

We’ve tried putting him back in his chair and telling him to stay put but that’s about as successful as putting a cat into a dress and expecting it to sit for a tea party.


So we went the other way and tried having him sit quietly and read books until the rest of us are finished. Also not successful. He can’t read yet so he comes over asking, “what does this letter tell mommy?” or sneaks behind his sister, peeking through her high chair completely ruining any chance she was going to eat too.

We finally talked to a child development social worker about it and her suggestion was to play a game at the table. I wasn’t super keen on the idea so it sat in the back of brain for the last few months. We have a no toys at the table rule and all I could imagine was food covered dice, (or worse) being tossed around the table and no one eating.


Until today…. I was in Target and for some reason the thought of wrestling with this small wriggling beast one more night just seemed impossible. So we bought the game Mouse Trap and although I think it almost killed him we waited to set it up until supper.

And it worked…. He sat  at the table for the whole meal. He ate everything on his plate, even the mushrooms that he apparently hates. He drank his milk and we had a blast.


His sister decided to make an enchilada milkshake but other than that it was quite possibly one of the most peaceful and fun suppers we have had in ages.


Amazing how something that seems like it should be frowned on has made one of the most stressful parts of my day fun again:)

I guess it’s a great reminder that a little creativity and not always needing to be right can go a long way.

And now…. the enchiladas. These are so good and fairly easy that they can be made by a mom just getting home from work. The filling is super tasty and the sauce on top is creamy with a little tang that just seems to compliment the flavours perfectly.


The recipe makes 10 enchiladas so I would suggest serving them with a salad, rice or even refried beans. My hubby seems to be able to eat half the dish himself.

Preheat the oven to 350

Enchilada Filling

2 Tbsp olive oil
3 cups finely sliced mushrooms
1/2 a diced onion (about 1 cup)
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 Tbsp cumin
2 diced green peppers (about 2 cups)
300 g of frozen spinach (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/4-1/2 cup tomatillo salsa/green Mexican chili sauce (optional)
1/4 cup cream cheese
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

10 corn tortillas

In a large pan with the olive oil over medium heat saute the onion until soft. Add the garlic and cumin, cooking for about a minute and then add the mushroom, green peppers and spinach. Continue cooking about 5-10 minutes until all of the moisture in the mushrooms has been reabsorbed.

Stir in the salsa.  Some green salsas are really mild and others are super hot so use what works for your family. I find they add great flavour and a little heat but if it’s not something you keep in your fridge feel free to leave it out.

Melt in the cream cheese then remove from heat. Stir in the yogurt and the cilantro and season with salt. Once it has cooled slightly, place a few spoonfuls of the filling in a corn tortilla, roll and place in a large casserole dish seam side down.

I find corn tortillas break very easily so I recommend heating small batches in the microwave prior to trying to fill and roll them


Yogurt Cheese Sauce

1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp flour
2 cups vegetable stock
1 cup grated cheese (I use old cheddar)
1/2 cup plain yogurt

In a sauce pan melt the butter with the olive oil, over medium heat, and whisk in the flour. Heat the stock in the microwave about 1 minute. While whisking, slowly pour the stock into the butter/flour mixture. Continue mixing the sauce, reducing the heat to low. Allow the sauce to thicken until it can coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese. Once it is mixed in stir in the yogurt and pour the sauce over the rolled enchiladas.


Bake the enchiladas for 30-45 minutes until the tops are browned and the sauce is bubbly


I didn’t have corn tortillas the other night so I used whole wheat roti which are really similar to a small heavier flour tortilla. Because they didn’t need to be warmed first and are a little less finicky than the corn I was able to make this even quicker. Might be a great idea for beginner cooks or those even more pushed for time.

Let me know what you think, leave me a comment or even just say hi:)

I also have a Facebook page where I post nightly meal ideas and share more about how our family stumbles happily along.

Saying Good-bye


Losing someone is probably one of the more surreal experiences of human existence. With the recent loss of my uncle I have been even more reflective on the process of letting go and saying good bye.

It takes our brains a while just to process the very idea of someone no longer being in our lives. When I was initially told he was gone I spent the next few  hours just trying out the sound of the words, “he is dead”. It sounded so final and I was struggling with that very thought. It meant that I had to integrate this huge concept of him no longer being not only in my life, but living at all.

I was okay that day because it was still a concept. A foreign idea that needed time to really sink in. My main sadness was for his family and how they must be struggling.

The next day I was not okay. I knew he was dead and that there was no return. The idea that this is a natural part of our existence just seemed to make it all feel so much more confusing. I had a hard time wrapping my head around what was making me so sad.

At first I thought it was all of things he would miss out on. I thought I was grieving his loss. Instead I realized my grief was for the physical  loss I felt. The removal of him from my life, my cousins life, his wife’s life and all of the other lives he had touched. The hole that was left be his dying.

I started to really feel the hole that this loss made. He would never again be a part of any of my new experiences. I only had the past. Memories of him kept bubbling to the surface. Memories that had formed my understanding of him as a man and the place that he held in my life. I also saw how he was a part of my foundation and was intertwined with the very core of my being.

As I explored this hole I also started to feel grateful.  I could honour him by continuing to live in a way that was meaningful. He wasn’t as gone as I had thought because I had a part of him with me forever. I could nourish those parts and carry them on to my family and the people around me. I can share who he is by being me.

The hole now feels a little less gaping and more a space that I will hold and treasure. It is his place and I have no need to fill it.

Good bye is still painful and I know there are still many tears to fall but I am okay to move forward. I can support those around me now and be there as they find their own way.

Peter Beltgens  July 2, 1954 - February 19 2014

Peter Beltgens
July 2, 1954 – February 19 2014

Creamed Spinach, Bacon and Caramelized Onion Pizza

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I am so excited to finally write out this recipe. I think it  is quite possibly one of my favourite pizzas ever and will possibly become yours too. It is inspired by a Cooking Light Magazine recipe that I found at least 5 years ago. I used to love that magazine and still have stacks of issues that I just can’t part with. Of course I added all of the fats back into every recipe. Some may argue that defeated the purpose others will recognize that’s just good sense.

This recipe is not low fat by any means but I would say that compared to other pizzas it is a far cry from the heavy weight contenders you could have. Using a creamy garlic sauce reduces the need for lots of cheese and the toppings add so much flavour that a little goes a long way. I also have butter and olive oil hanging out together. The butter adds flavour while the olive oil lightens it up a bit and adds some healthier fats too.


The original recipe called for the spinach to be cooked in a small amount of bacon fat and then spread over the pizza. The problem with this is spinach’s miraculous ability to shrink into almost next to nothing. It made spreading it at all almost impossible and it was pretty skimp. Instead I have taken the bacon fat right out and added the spinach into the cream sauce. I have used both frozen and fresh and it works great either way. This makes a pizza base that reminds me of creamed spinach, hence the name…

It also means that I felt totally justified adding in two more strips of bacon then the original :0


Using Balsamic vinegar helps to sweeten and caramelize the onions quickly. I don’t have time most nights to patiently wait for my onions to slowly cook down so I find this speeds up the process and adds a little extra flavour too.

If you are a vegetarian please don’t ignore or overlook this recipe! I made it for a veggie friend and without the bacon it was still amazing. I had considered making the coconut vegetarian version I have seen on Pinterest but got tired and decided it was just fine without it.

This recipe makes two pizzas.


I use Bobby Flay’s Pizza Dough Recipe

Preheat your oven to 425

Caramelized Onions

1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp Olive oil
2 medium onions thinly sliced
2 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar
tsp of sugar
1/4 cup stock (chicken or veggie)
Salt to taste

In a sauté pan over medium heat melt the butter with the olive oil. Add the onions, sugar and the balsamic vinegar and allow the onions to soften. Pour in the stock and continue cooking until the stock has reduced and the onions are soft and caramelized. Season with salt to taste.

Spinach Cream Sauce

1 Tbsp Butter
1 Tbsp Olive oil
2 Tbsps flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 finely chopped clove of garlic
Pinch of nutmeg
1/2 bag frozen spinach, thawed and drained or One 5 oz package of fresh spinach
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a saucepan over medium low heat melt the butter with the olive oil. Whisk in the flour and continue stirring until a thick paste is formed. Warm the milk in the microwave for about 1 min. Slowly pour the warmed milk over the flour and butter constantly whisking. Continue until all of the milk has been added and the mixture is smooth. Thicken the sauce until it is able to coat the back of a spoon.

Stir in the nutmeg, spinach and garlic. Cook about another minute and then remove the sauce from heat.

Add in the parmesan cheese, stir and season sparingly with salt to taste.


6 slices of Bacon

Slice the bacon into small pieces. In a pan over medium heat crisp the bacon. Once crisped remove the bacon from the pan and allow to drain on paper towel.

2 cups grated extra old white cheddar cheese

For each Pizza spread one half of the creamy spinach over the crust. Top with half of the caramelized onions and half of the bacon. Sprinkle one cup of the grated cheese over the top.

If you’re like me and don’t have a pizza stone or a wood burning pizza oven, preheat your pizza pan in the oven while the oven heats. When it’s hot sprinkle on just a little cornmeal and then lay out your pizza crust. I find this helps crisp up the crust and prevents a soggy bottom, (very undesirable).

Bake in 425 oven for about 15-17 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbling


I’d love to know what you thought, leave me a comment or just say hi.

If you’d nightly ideas for supper check out my Facebook page I share meal inspiration, recipes and tips and for feeding your family and friends

The Best Birthday Gift Ever


I turned 36 today.

I had been dreading this day all month. Not because of the whole age thing, (although it is weird how 36 magically feels like 40 is tomorrow), but because life has been a struggle for us lately and I felt like I had very little to celebrate. I have ideas on where I SHOULD be in my life and well we sure aren’t there.


That’s 36 candles

If you have been following my blog you know the last year has been filled with financial ups and downs and has now landed on a big, fat, massive, down. We keep plodding along  but it’s getting harder to find my inner Pollyanna when even my grocery budget is at an all time low.


I find myself praying for help and guidance to whatever gods or divine entities might be listening and asking the universe for an endorsement. That’s what people do in the self actualizing books I read, they pray and the universe provides, (I think I’ve only read 2 but it seems to be a trend). I’m also guessing there wouldn’t be much of a story in praying and nothing happening…

When I made it across three lanes of traffic, exiting a gas station and zoomed straight over to a turning lane, I had a hard time not putting it through a divine lens… Was that the universe offering encouragement, I mean it was pretty miraculous. Or was that the most assistance I could hope for… minor traffic miracles.

I have a hard time with the whole divine intervention thing any way. I want to believe the universe has some best laid plans that also incorporate free will and my humanity but who knows. I guess at worst I look a little nutty talking to the air while I drive and at best some fat little six armed tree will help us out and things will get better quicker then with just us making it happen.


Divine Unicorn Spirit Incarnate

Back to my birthday. This morning I awoke full of dread about the unfulfilled expectations I was sure I would experience because somehow I had decided that being broke and not having a ‘perfect’ life meant I would obviously not have a good day.

But I am truly grateful for how wrong I was.


I don’t know if it was realizing that expectations are just that and that my actual life is what matters or if it was giving up all my brains crazy shit and just BEING. Maybe a bit of both…

Instead, I have been given I gift I don’t know if I would have received at any other time.

I feel wrapped in love and kind regard. I feel honoured by the words I have received and the gift of the moment people took to think of me today. I feel acknowledged and cherished. Knowing that so many people believe and care about me has replenished my belief too. Who I am to challenge the amazing people I have in my life and if they see some thing worth loving then it must truly be there. 

So even if that little tree doesn’t come to our rescue and even if nothing changes I will remember today and how I feel.

I guess my gift today was realizing that this time will pass just like other crappy times have too. But that who I am, how I am in this moment and the family and friends I have surrounded myself with are my actual life. That I have been blessed with more than I sometimes feel I deserve and to not honour and treasure what I have is a disservice to those gifts I have been given.

So thank you all, for being a part of my life and for being the inspiration and strength I can pull from when my own well is running low.


PS I have a tonne of recipes I’m working on so now that I got this pity party over with I should be able to shift gears and get back to writing about my other true love, food! I gotta say there is some serious creativity that takes place in broke ass meal prep🙂

PPS If this is your first time checking out my site I also have a Facebook page where I post nightly meal ideas. Come on over and say hi!!

You are How You Eat


Taking care of myself and my family has become more and more important.

I feel the years creeping up and I want to be an active part of my kids lives for as long as I am able. Now I am no where near ‘old’ but I have no delusions that anyone else is responsible and if I want to be healthy it’s up to me.

I also know that my kids health habits will be based in what we teach them and that is another responsibility I don’t want to screw up.

Being active, enjoying the outdoors and connecting to our natural environment all rank high on how we already make this happen.


We also eat in a way that I believe is healthy meaning, real delicious food.

Overall we avoid heavily processed foods, make veggies the focus of most meals and I try to make what I can from scratch. This isn’t always realistic so when I am buying pre-made foods, like bread or pasta, the focus is on the highest quality with the fewest number of ingredients.

I also immediately back away from anything that has light, diet, low- fat or any other glowing sign that it is packed with sugar, filler or other things that just aren’t food in my eyes.

When the rest of my life is in balance what I’ve talked about is more then enough for me to generally feel great and maintain a healthy weight. But with returning to work, two kids, stress and financial worries my balance has kinda tanked and my overall health isn’t where I’d like.20140111-213034.jpg

Some of those things are just beyond control but there a few changes I can make and that I think will make a big difference in getting back to the way I want to feel.

And since it is the New Year what better time. Now we are not talking huge changes because honestly I am mostly happy with the way we eat. But I think it’s time for a refresh and a few updates. Call it version 2.0.

And while I want to lose a few pounds and then maintain a healthy body weight this is not just about the shape I am in. My focus is on overall well being not on having a skinny bod, in fact I like having an ass and plan on keeping it. 

So here are the changes I have in the works for the New Year. Some I’ve already been experimenting with and some will be a slower shift but all are goals I think are realistic and will become another part of the way I define health.

1)  Drink Mostly Water or Herbal Teas

Growing up when I went to my mom for something to eat she would always say drink some water first. I thought she was just trying to save money or being momish but she was right.We often mistake thirst for hunger, and although food is a source of moisture it’s really no match to a tall drink of water.  We need 6-8 glasses a day and I can definitely say I fall short. 


Like a lot of people I forget my water bottle, drink caffeine to stay awake and sometimes partake in a tasty glass of wine. But I’m missing out on probably one of the easiest health changes I can make. Water helps us digest our food, eliminate waste, and lubricates our insides. Our blood depends on us staying hydrated to flow nicely and all of our organs use it in some way.

Being dehydrated can also make us groggy and sleepy, which my children are already doing, so really a little effort around this one will be well worth it.

2) No Seconds at Supper Time

I am brutal for going back for seconds. We eat well and the food I make tastes good so I want to eat it. I also for some reason think that because my husband was born with a hyperactive metabolism and is physically active, I somehow can eat the same amount or should be allowed to. Truth is I can, but  it has the unfortunate side effect of me eating twice what I probably need and my bum being a little more ample then I like. I don’t know if it’s jealousy or what but it’s slightly ridiculous so I am cutting back to one plate and then having a glass of water until my body can check in if it’s full or not.


3) Tune in to when I am full

Recently I became aware of the actual sensations of feeling full. I’ve been working on tuning in to my body so while i’ve been eating I have tried to really listen and pay attention to what is going on.

What I realized is I associate a certain level of fullness with a comforting, happy feeling. It’s like this lovely warmth that radiates out from my tummy. What I have also realized is that this sensation is often followed by eating more then I needed and then the “oh god what was I thinking” feeling of discomfort and over fullness.

Wow, my mind was kind of blown, I was so disconnected that my body had a built in message to tell me when I’d had enough and here I was only just noticing it. So this week I tried an experiment of enjoying the warmth in my belly and the happy feeling but then stopping once it was there. It was amazing, I stuck to my one plate plan and left the table feeling happy and satiated.

4) Eat at least 3 Vegetarian meals a week

What!!! Actually I have already been doing this and it was a lot easier then I thought. Even my hubby who would never make this change on his own has been okay with it. I have a few reasons for this one.


First, we’re broke and I save a lot of money by not buying meat. Generally I would spend 7-15 dollars a meal on meat alone. This means I save at least 20 bucks a week or close to 100 a month. That’s almost a whole week of groceries again.

Second, it’s healthier. When you eat a plant based meal it’s generally lower in fat (see next point), higher in nutrients, fibre and healthy fats.

Finally, it’s more environmentally responsible. We all have to do what we feel is right and for me animal farming is just not sustainable on the level we currently consume meat. The amount of land, feed, processing and waste created by our meat consumption is astounding. I was doing some mental math one night and realized that in a city of one million 20 000 chickens were potentially killed and processed every night. That’s not counting pork, beef or any other meat sources. Can you even fathom that?

Actually that’s not the final reason. Finally, finally is that we have decided to only purchase meat that is locally raised and butchered and this costs more. To counter the big nasty factory farms that treat animals in deplorable ways we have decided to support our local farmers that treat their animals with respect, feed them properly and we end up with a finished product that I don’t have to worry was dipped in bleach. I’m not trying to get preachy but we as a society need to be more responsible for the choices we make in what we purchase. Our dollars impact how the billions of animals we  chose to eat are treated.

5) Eat a Little Less Cheese

Switching to more vegetarian meals was pretty easy but for some reason it meant that I added cheese instead. Well actually I know why. No meat, no problem, just put cheese on something and everyone will be happy. It’s true and it probably was a great transition food for us. Now that we’re all a little more used to not eating meat with every meal reducing the dairy goodness is doable.


I’m even a little excited to branch out more and may even try one or two vegan meals. Let me be clear, cheese is not evil. I buy locally made white cheddar and it is tasty and an important part of my meal plans but covering mac and cheese in more cheese becomes a little heavy handed and unnecessary.

5) Move my body

This isn’t exactly food related but since I returned from my maternity leave I spend a lot more time parked on my butt. I sit a lot, like all day, and it’s killing me. I recently found out I have a pretty bad back (deteriorating disks) and I have always known my posture was crap. Sitting is just making it worse. I have found some exercises I can do in my office to work on both my back and posture and I am taking a quick break every hour or so to do them. I also plan on trying to walk at least once during the day. How I work with clients is pretty flexible so I am going to encourage some walking and talking:)

I also plan on creating an exercise routine that can be done at home. I don’t have a lot of time but I do have an elliptical trainer, resistance bands, a yoga mat, and a Wii. Really there are a lot of options and my body needs me to make it a priority. I’ll keep ya’ll posted.


7) Cutting back on white, refined sugar

I am switching whenever possible to sugar cane, maple syrup, agave or other options. These have less impact on our blood sugar, reducing the up and down spikes that white sugar creates and our body is better suited to dealing with these types of sweeteners. Also there is a lot of processing involved in making white sugar and since my goal has been to move away from processing it only makes sense to move to more natural sources.


So that’s it, nothing crazy…well to me. I’m not making it so I have to take out another mortgage to buy groceries and I think my meal plans and recipes will still be accessible to everyone.

If you are ready to make some of your own changes in your diets and lifestyle I suggest finding small changes that don’t require a whole life overhaul, (unless that’s what you want, then go for it!!!).

Small changes can have big impacts. Consider them gateway changes, opening the door for more shifts in a healthier direction. I started years ago making small shifts and now like to think that my family and I eat in a way that is healthy, sustainable and budget friendly.

For inspiration I recommend In Defence of Food, by Michael Pollan and The Undiet, by Meghan Telpner. Both are great reads if you are sick of dieting or trying to follow food trends that just can’t be sustained over time. These books promote looking at food in a whole new way and at it’s core is the super simple idea that real food is best. 

Let me know what you all think and if you have any plans on making changes this year:)

If you are looking for inspiration I share what we had for supper each night on my Facebook page too

Tuna Noodle Casserole

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Do you ever do a little cleaning of your kitchen cupboards and find something in the back you totally forgot you had and really aren’t sure what to do with?

I do it all the time and I hate wasting food so I need to be pretty creative. A while ago I found a bag of goldfish crackers. My kids love them but this bag was a little salty so I put it in the cupboard and well that’s where it stayed. Until I needed a topping for my tuna casserole recipe.


I’ll be honest this is not a recipe I ever thought I would be working on. I had a traumatizing incident with tuna and noodles as a child (sorry dad) and until last year I had never actually tried it again. But being budget concious and having a hubby who grew up with comfort food like this, made me want to give it a try again.


Lets call it an exercise in moving forward and letting go of the past:)


I used a white sauce with lots of veggies to make a tasty and canned soup free casserole that comes together pretty quick. The goldfish crackers make a great crust but if you are short on time you could skip the baking step and it would still be great.



Tuna Noodle Casserole

1 package of broad noodles

1 Tbsp canola or olive oil
1 cup diced onion (about 1 medium onion)
1 cup of diced carrots (about 1 large carrot)
1 cup of diced celery (about 2 stalks celery)
1 cup of frozen peas
2 cloves of crushed garlic
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp mustard powder (grainy mustard would work too)
1 bayleaf
2 cups of milk
2 cans of chunk tuna

preheat the oven to 350

Prepare the noodles to the package instructions.

In a large saucepan heat the canola to medium heat. Add the onions, carrots and celery to the pan and cook until the onion becomes translucent. Stir in the garlic and continue cooking for about 30 seconds. Melt in the butter and stir in the flour. Add the mustard powder and the bay leaf.

Heat the milk until  luke warm (I use my microwave and it’s about 45-60 seconds), slowly add it to the veggies and flour, stirring constantly.

Once it’s all mixed together add the peas and simmer the sauce until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon then remove the bay leaf

In a large casserole dish spread out the noodles and pour over the sauce. Fold in the tuna and top with the goldfish crust


Goldfish crust

1 1/2 cups crushed gold fish crackers
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
2 Tbsps melted butter
1 Tbsp chopped parsley

Bake the casserole for about 45 minutes


My sister decorated this plate almost thirty years ago. It was one of those ones you colour and than bake. I think it’s one of my most treasured dishes.

Well there’s my version of a meal I’m sure most of us have eaten at some point. I just happen to think mine’s awesome. Hope it makes your family and friends as happy as mine. Let me know what you think

I also post nightly meals on my Facebook page if you’re looking for inspiration

Liking Christmas Ain’t Easy

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I’m trying to like Christmas and sort of succeeding.

Not because I’m scroogy or morally superior but because I’m struggling to find anything redeeming about the Holiday craziness.

Malls are insane with people trying to buy the right thing, showing they care the right amount. Money flying around like we all somehow won the lottery or that credit card companies don’t bill for December.Chidley Sean01

The grocery store feels like a barely contained mob ready to stampede if stock on cranberries or hams get dangerously low.

Even my mailbox can’t keep up with the ridiculous amount of flyers telling me all the amazing deals and how I could spend even more money while saving so much, (except trees, definitely not saving any trees).

I find myself drawn in, struggling to find the perfect present for my kids. One that captures our love and the joy of Christmas but that comes with a cheap price tag cause we’re still broke. I wander the aisles wondering if I’m causing permanent damage if I buy a singing purse for my daughter and Batman for my son. Or if our budget and the recognition that I’m being pretentious will just let me buy the damn things cause they’re on sale and the kids will like them.Chidley Sean05

So I can’t be smug and self righteous. I thought about it. I thought about only buying local or making all my gifts out of burlap and driftwood. About donating to charities instead of buying family presents and shopping at craft fairs.

But the truth is I can’t afford to only shop local (although I try with my groceries) and anything I make will be crap. No one can successfully craft at 10 pm with two small children and still make something that doesn’t look like burlap glued to a piece of driftwood. I’m just not ready for the charity idea and not every one wants a floral tea pot cosy, although they do make fun hats.Chidley Sean07

and now what… You can’t just whine they say…

I agree. So here’s what I am doing to try to make my holiday about something more and yet not something I can’t achieve.

If it comes with a should or a feeling of obligation I am saying screw it and not doing it. I’m not baking a mountain of cookies or making wreaths out of collected branches and I’m not finding some delightful craft my kids can do that will be cherished forever. If I have time I may make a few treats and I may draw some Christmasy pictures but not because I have to and only if I want to.

If it costs too much I’m not buying it. I have set a very limited budget for gifts and I’m not going over it. I will find ways to stick within that and I will not feel guilty if it means that my kids only get one gift this year from mom and dad. They have grandparents, they will survive.

I am not sending out Christmas cards. Maybe one day it will happen but at this point you all wouldn’t be getting them until the summer anyway.

I am not attempting to make the perfect Christmas with things.
 “Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?”
Why do we still think that if we buy the right thing or do Christmas right we will create the perfect memories? What if looking back on our life we realize too late what made Christmas and the holidays magic? I will be finding ways to create memories not piles of stuff. I will wake my kids up so they can play in the snow, I will share stories about little people making toys and I will sing songs about reindeers loudly and off key.Chidley Sean24

I am going to find joy in the time I have. I work all week so to have a few extra days off is a gift. I will spend it with my kids and husband, family and friends. laughing, drinking and eating. I will not waste it on cleaning or shopping or being away from the people I love.

I am going to have a clean house for one hour. I will however take immense pleasure in cleaning enough to have people over and loving the hour before it becomes a disaster again. I will gracefully allow it to return to it’s natural state and not worry if someone has to step over toys to come into my house.

I am going to make a fantastic dinner and feed the people I love. My husband and I started our own Christmas Eve tradition of making a meal inspired by another culture. It is a chance for me to treat my family to some delicious food, try some new cooking and just get together and stuff our faces. This year we’re going for a Greek theme and I am actually looking forward to the chance to share a post about that one! I am doing this instead of buying presents for the family and I can’t think of a gift I’d rather give.

I am going to let everyone else do Christmas however they need to. I will not put expectations on anyone else and I will not stress if our Christmases look different. If someone else can make burlap and driftwood into something beautiful I will ooh and aaah and if they send me a card I will be terribly impressed with their organization.Chidley Sean27

I hope you all find a way to make the holidays special and that you don’t need years of counselling to deal with the stress.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

As you can see we did decide to get Santa photos and I had to share. Apparently my daughter is not a fan yet:)

I’m not writing about food today


I’m not writing about food today, I can’t even think about it. My stomach is nauseous and as I contemplate the recipe for supper tonight I keep hitting an absolute wall of apathy.

It’s the sense of futility that’s floating around in my head. The feeling that I can try as hard as possible, that we can try as hard as possible and that it still may not go in the direction we need it to.

The sense of wonder at why I even bother, why write, why dream, why hope.

Life hasn’t been bad but it’s had its struggles and some days I just get plain old tired.

For most of my adult life I have had the odd notion that if we just put in enough effort and were good enough people that somehow the universe would recognize this and we would be rewarded with a good life. That the universal balance would be tipped in our favour and that we wouldn’t have to struggle quite so hard. I have remained the eternal optimist in the face of it all and truly believed that something better was coming.

But this time I’m really struggling to find the silver lining. I think I had dared to dream just a little too much.

I had started to imagine the possibility of the life I have always wanted. A bigger house where the dog isn’t always a tripping hazard. A yard where I could plant a garden and the kids could run around. A kitchen where I could actually have more then one person in there and people could hang out in the room I feel should be the most welcoming.

Most of all I had started to imagine the freedom that a little bit of extra money brings. The loosening of shoulders, the easier nights sleep and the ability to buy a coffee without second guessing yourself.

And all of that is once again just out of my reach. Purse strings are being re-tightened and for the first time I’ve lost a little hope it will get better.

I know we’ll make it through this. I know I’m okay and that my family is still blessed beyond belief but before there was wonderful hope and drive and a future to day dream a little about. Today is well shit.

So I apologize for wallowing for a moment and I imagine I’ll move on soon enough but I am going to sit here for a little bit and grieve the loss of my hopes at least for a little longer.

Maybe it’s the grey sky…

Balance might be futile…


I used to think that being a working mom meant finding the perfect balance.

Homoeostasis if you will, where there is harmony and equilibrium. That place where my attention is equitably divided between family, work and a little social too. Houses are mostly clean, files are up to date and my children happily play while I follow my passions and hubby builds something…

I think I invisioned the place where June Cleaver and Gloria Steinem meet.

But the truth and reality is no where near that.

I have had to accept messes and I sometimes have to resort to using TV as a distraction to get supper on the table. My toilets are so gross that I have quarantined one bathroom to minimize the damage. I can’t even imagine where I would send someone to pee if they came over.

My sons books create Mandalas on his bedroom floor and there is the semi permanent pile of laundry on our couch that I tuck my feet under while I watch TV, officially dubbed Laundry Mountain.

Although all attempts are made at being super, working mom I forget keys to my office, photocopy the wrong thing twenty times, have a laughable pile of ‘to dos’ and have a coworker that I am sure must wonder how I remember to put on pants.

I was obviously deluding myself about what it would look like. I have realized that a ‘balanced’ life is futile and that the type of women I imagined was barely possible on paper.

My day starts in chaos and ends in exhaustion. It is no where near that glorious, balanced place I imagined. But somehow I feel like a better mom and a better wife, probably not a better friend but definitely a better me.

When I was home with the kids all day I would feel just outright drained. I would run out of things to do, ways to entertain them and I could tend towards getting a little yelly (thank you ohdeerestme for the apt description). Bed time was the only relief I could see and I was so tapped I hurried through the moments that I now savour.

Now, I can lie with my son forever, squished snuggly in his little bed. Surrounded by furry things and staring at a starry ceiling we discuss our days. He tells me about spiderman and playing pirates and I tell him about going into a school or working on my computer. We snuggle and he tells me he loves me and that I’m the best mommy in the world and I believe him.

My daughters special time is in the morning. I used to dread the early wakeups and now I listen for her little peeps to bring her in to our bed. We look at books, touch our noses and toes and cuddle while she has her morning bubba.

My time with them has become more valuable and precious. I know I have less of it in the day and I refuse to waste a single second of it. Laundry Mountain be damned if my kids want a story read to them. And if at the end of the day I’m too tired to make the house all sparkly and perfect for the next day, screw it, I need to write or pin until I fall into a well deserved sleep.

My work is also important. It is a part of my identity and who I am. It is a seperateness from my family and space where I am the professional that I spent all those hours and dollars to become. It doesn’t define me but it is a part of me and even with children that part of me still needs to be nourished, encouraged and explored. I am good at what I do and I love it.

In a way I suppose that is a type of balance. I have the love of my children and the support of my husband. I’m in a profession that provides challenge and growth. I have a home that feels lived in and safe to be who we are and every night I create a meal that nourishes my family.

“Roots of Love in a Beautiful Storm” is our family motto and I think that sums it all up pretty well.

Speaking of roots…This weeks plan shows my new goal of half vegetarian meals. In another attempt at finding balance I am trying to meet my wants for lighter non meat meals and hubbies needs for calorie dense and meaty meals. I think so far it’s working pretty well and you’ll probably see this in my meal plans from now on. I’ve also started branching out and trying some fellow bloggers recipes so I don’t always have to be a creative genius.




My sauce starts with celery, carrots and onions then Italian sausage and ground beef. I add diced tomatoes, garlic, dried oregano and basil and a cup of stock. I let this cook down as much as possible and season with salt towards the end so that it doesn’t end up overly salty. I layer this with noodles and a mixture of a large container of cottage cheese, two eggs, pesto, spinach and parmesan. This turns into a creamy layer that’s less expensive then using ricotta. Top the whole gorgeous thing with mozzerella and bake for an hour. The biggest thing I have learnt about lasagna is to let it sit at least 20 minutes before serving. If it’s served too soon you end up with soupy glop instead of the lovely slices you see on Pinterest

Butternut Squash and Kale Pizza

Butternut Squash and Kale Pizza

Meatless Monday

Butternut Squash, Kale and Sage Pizza
I love the combination of kale and squash it’s a little sweet and a little savoury and combined with sage it’s just plain delicious. I used a creamy garlic white sauce as the base and then layered on the kale and squash then finished it all with a combination of parmesan and old white cheddar. A good friend made a dairy free version that sounds delic!

Chicken Fajitas

Chicken Fajitas


Chicken Fajitas
I oven roasted 3 chicken breasts and then thinly sliced a large zucchini, a large onion and two red peppers. The veg was sauteed with 1 Tbsp butter and 1 Tsbp olive oil. Once it had cooked down I seasoned the veggies with salt and a sprinkle of cumin and finished with some chopped cilantro. Toppings were diced tomatoes and grated cheese plus some plain yogurt and hot sauce…of course

Sweet Potato Nachos

Sweet Potato Nachos


Sweet Potato Nachos
One of the few times I made an easy supper for the kids so I could have dinner with hubby when he got home. I used a recipe from Pinterest as inspiration. I thinly sliced two large peeled sweet potatoes and tossed them in a combination of olive oil, cumin and chili powder then roasted them on a parchment lined baking sheet. Once they were cooked and a little crispy I topped the whole thing with grated cheese, diced green onions, cilantro, and diced tomatoes and then baked it for another 10 minutes until the cheese was lovely and bubbly. Served with tomatillo salsa and plain yogurt I will definitely be making these again. 

Asian Salmon Meatball Subs

Asian Salmon Meatball Subs


Asian Salmon Meatball Subs
I used this recipe to create the meatballs but using canned salmon instead and adding an egg to hold it together. For bread I used a multigrain baguette cut the old school Subway style and a mayo with added siracha, grated garlic, ginger and a splash of sesame oil. I layered in cucumbers, and grated carrots. It was different but really tasty. I can see myself making it again for sure although I’d love to try the meatballs with fresh salmon. I imagine they’d be even better.




I used a box mix of falafels called Casbah. It came together really quickly and dinner was ready in 20 minutes. While the mixture was resting I sliced cucumbers and tomatoes and set out some sprouts then made a sauce of cumin, chili powder, plain yogurt, feta and parsley. I used Roti instead of pita because pita always fall apart and piss me off.

BBQ Chicken Pizza

BBQ Chicken Pizza


BBQ Chicken Pizza
This is one of the earliest recipes I posted on my blog. I still make it regularly and I think it’s a family favourite. I love the combination of the slightly spicy BBQ sauce with sweet pineapple and my favourite cilantro.

Butternut Squash and Sage Mac and Cheese

Butternut Squash and Sage Mac and Cheese


Butternut Squash and Thyme Macaroni and Cheese
I think this will be my new favourite mac and cheese. I followed the recipe almost exactly (strong almost). I used sage instead of the rosemary in the recipe and added a clove of garlic to the cream sauce. Other then that no changes needed and I have a feeling this will be become super popular in your home too.

Well that’s another week of meals and a little more about my family. If you want to see what we eat everynight you can follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

I hope I’ve provided some meal inspiration and made feeding your family and friends a little easier. I always love to hear thoughts and comments so please leave me a message:)