Wednesday, 18 July 2012

My back corner flower garden

We had a wet spring, with lots of these:
Thunderstorms and lots of rain came with those clouds. And rain makes the flowers grow J. My garden looks better than it ever has. The Calgary growing season is so short, making it tough to get a really good garden - this year has been great since the snow left early (for us).

Here’s a picture of my back corner – it’s shady, so hostas, astilbes and lilies thrive there. Oh, and my ligularia is growing like crazy too. I can’t wait to see how tall he gets this year – he’s nearly 3 feet tall now.
My Asiatic lilies are in full bloom – aren’t they gorgeous? My neighbour Karen gave me a few extras from her garden a couple of years ago, and they love this spot.
My hostas have loved the wet weather and are doing really well too: 
And my rhubarb is still growing (front of this photo). So I’m still cutting rhubarb to eat – and it’s mid-July J
I love looking at all the texture and colour and contrast right now – it’s almost like I knew what I was doing when I planted this! J


Monday, 16 July 2012

Meals - Week 25 - and some recipes

This was a great meal week – lots of variety. And these meals were all quick and easy to make, which makes it an even better meal week! J

Sunday: Balsamic-Marinated Pork Chops & Grilled Peaches – we didn’t make the grilled peaches, but  this is a fantastic meal. The pork chops are tender and have a great flavour. 
Recipe and picture from Clean  Eating
Monday: BBQ Sausages and Baked Potato – a standard around here (as I’ve said before, we like to BBQ in the summer J)
Tuesday: Chicken Skewers with Apricot Glaze – we had no idea for dinner and I’d seen this in a recipe book on the weekend. The chicken was tender and the glaze was a really good addition. 
Recipe and picture from Fine Cooking
Wednesday: Salmon pasta with peas and dill sauce – I made this entire meal up. I didn’t use a recipe because I couldn’t find one. It turned out really well, if I do say so myself J
Recipe and picture from - Me!
Thursday: Black Bean Cheddar burrito – I added ground beef to this (I should read the recipe first – oops), but I don’t know how this recipe would feed four people otherwise. This was a HUGE hit with the boys, which surprised me. It could be their love of eating without a knife and fork J
Recipe and picture from Fine Cooking

Friday: Pork tenderloin with baked potatoes – the BBQ to the rescue again!

My Mom is here next week, so the food will be even better (and not only because I won’t have to make dinner every night J)


Monday, 2 July 2012

Meals – Week 24 – and two recipes – soup and shepherds pie

Life sure is crazy busy for us these days – busier than usual. Menu planning (or sort-of meal planning) has kept us eating healthy, balanced meals, and mealtimes have been enjoyable around the table.

The boys spent hours at the edge of the water, trying to catch dinner. Even though that didn’t work and they had to eat steak, they loved every minute of it.  
 Boys - doing what boys love best - fishing
Have a great week!

Cheers! Kim
Sunday: Chicken Stir Fry – a home made concoction with teriyaki sauce and lots of veggies
Monday: Garlicky Tortellini, Spinach and Tomato Soup. I love this soup and have made it many times before. The boys liked it and enjoyed the spinach J (that’s what they said, anyway)
Recipe and picture from Fine Cooking
Tuesday: Swiss Chalet – the boys finished writing their Provincial Acheivement Tests (PAT’s), so it was their choice for dinner
Wednesday: Shepherd’s Pie with Buttermilk-Chive Mashed Potato Crust. This is a great, healthy version of shepherds pie that I've made before. And I made two, so one went in the freezer for another day.
Recipe and picture from Clean Eating
Thursday: Spaghetti and meatballs – quick and easy, but a family favourite.
Friday/Saturday: We went camping for the weekend, and our gracious hosts prepared everything and made sure each of us were completely full all weekend J

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Meals - Week 23

It was a routine meal week this week – everything was good, but nothing was ‘outstanding’. Oh well, some weeks are going to be like that. And since life seems to be getting faster and faster, good is . . . good enough.

Sunday: Veggie pasta with homemade cream sauce
Monday: BBQ burgers
Tuesday: BBQ pork chops with mashed potatoes
Wednesday: leftover pasta from Monday
Thursday: Chicken with rice and veggies
Friday: spaghetti and meatballs
Saturday: BBQ hot dogs

As you can see, we BBQ a lot when it’s nice out – summer seems to last a very short time around here, so we take advantage of it while we can J

Cheers! Kim

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

For a Good Cause - Head Shaving

This is what my oldest son Aidan looked like about a month ago: 
I’m biased, but isn’t he a good looking almost-teenager? J Other than the mop that lived on the top of his head – he and his brother have super thick hair, which is also slightly curly. Aidan’s been growing his hair for months now, in anticipation of this.

He took head-shave pledges for the Kids Cancer Care Foundation here in Calgary. This organization ensures kids dealing with cancer (and their siblings) get the chance to go to camp – it’s a great cause and definitely makes you realize how lucky you are – well, it makes me realize that anyway.

Aidan and 60 other kids (!) at school raised money and on June 9th, they came home looking like this: 

What a difference!
Here’s a side by side of the before and after pictures so you can see the extreme change: 
I’m a proud Mom – Aidan raised more than $1000 for Kids Cancer Care, and overall, their school raised more than $30,000! Woohoo! Way to go everyone! J



Sunday, 17 June 2012

Meals - Week 22 - and a shredded carrots recipe

Another week of successful meal planning – yahoo!

My goal at the beginning of the year was to eat a different dinner every night for three months - and while not every meal has been new and different, about 80% of the meals we’re making are different. And I did have a bump in my planning, but it's June - so I say I've officially accomplished my goal! J

That’s a huge accomplishment! It’s fun to pick new recipes – and everyone helps out where they can, so it makes dinner a bit more special.

Here’s our menu plan for the week:

Sunday: BBQ – sausages and baked potatoes. We use the BBQ a lot in the summer because the kitchen gets really hot. This is one of our go-to meals.

Monday:  Takeout Swiss Chalet. Mr. E was out of town so the boys and I ordered in. J

Tuesday: Crockpot Chicken with Olives – the boys and I prepped this before we left in the morning, and it was so nice to come home to an already cooked meal. We added some mashed potatoes and that was it!

Wednesday: Leftover French onion soup – we made this last Saturday and re-heated it today.

Thursday: Pork chops with shredded carrots – Mr. E BBQ’d (again! J) and I made a carrot side dish. There was a lot of cilantro in it and the boys weren’t big fans, but they sure got their veggies! J

Image and recipe from Fine Cooking
Friday: Takeout pizza – I know I’ve said this before, but by the time Friday rolls around, we’re just exhausted and need something super simple for dinner. Takeout pizza isn’t the healthiest choice, but every once in a while is okay.

Saturday: BBQ burgers and hot dogs. Like I said, we BBQ a lot in the summer J

Enjoy your week!


Monday, 4 June 2012

Meals - Week 21 and Two recipes (!)

So, a while back I talked about my meal planning challenges - mostly because of the kitchen being unusable (you can see that here and here), and partly because life was so busy I ccouldn't seem to find ten minutes to plan.

Well, neither of those things have changed, unfortunately, but I have planned our meals for the past few weeks. And somehow that is helping make life seem less chaotic. J

The kitchen is slowly moving ahead – the next time I think I can take on a fairly extensive project while working full time and trying to keep the kids on time for after-school activities, can someone please remind me about this? (gently, please J) Trying to be Superwoman isn’t helping anyone at home. Seriously. I'll show you how it's going later this week.

Okay, back to food – here is the recap of what we ate a few weeks ago (week 21, according to the title).

Monday: super simple pasta dinner – noodles and sauce.

Tuesday: Chicken fajitas – using home-made fajita seasoning. Eating with your hands is always a hit with kids J

Wednesday: Citrus Pork Chops with mashed potatoes

Thursday: Cheesy Baked Shells and Broccoli. This recipe comes from Real Simple and turned out really well. Next time, I’ll add some chicken since there was no protein and that isn’t a good thing for growing 12 year olds.
Image and recipe from Real Simple
Friday: Wendy’s take out – after a long week at work and at home, this was a quick and easy meal. I wish I could say I had a baked potato and chili, but I can’t. L

Saturday: French Onion Soup – this was our evening with no kids, so we had one of our go-to ‘adult’ meals. We don’t order French onion soup when we go out for dinner anymore because nothing compares to this version. It must be the white wine J

image and recipe from Fine Cooking
So, it was a good dinner week J It really does make the week feel less rushed and busy, which is always a good thing.

Cheers! Kim