The new normal

I realize in this time of uncertainty that we are trying to all go about our lives as ‘normal’ as possible, but the reality of the situation is that life is so different.  I needed to take a few days and think about how I was also going to change now that life is different, I am spending so much time at home, and my job as a teacher is changing by the minute.  I’ve decided that I would continue to post my weekly menu as people will still need to eat!  I will also be sharing some different activities that I plan to work on with my kids age 3 and 9.

Meal updates from last week:
Three of the recipes from last week were amazing!  The shrimp BLT, chicken cacciatore and spicy ramen were all outstanding.  The shrimp were crispy and crunchy, paired with the salty bacon and creamy dressing.  The cacciatore came together so quickly, we ate it over egg noodles, and there were tons of leftovers for lunch (this is a great recipe to make a freeze).  I LOVED the ramen recipe, I added mushrooms and spinach to the bowl, and next time would even toss in some tofu.

This week is the beginning of a different kind of living, so with that being said we will be eating at home for the foreseeable future.  I know that it is Tuesday, I will share the recipes I have already cooked this week, as well as what I have in my freezer and pantry for ‘just in case’.

  • Hamburger soup from @bestofbridge we ate this with buns and tortilla chips.  This is a great pantry staple recipe.  If you feel like adding any extra frozen veggies that would be a great idea.
  • Smoky pork tenderloin with sweet potatoes from @cookinglight I served this with some steamed green beans, but baked beans would also work very well.  This is another good pantry recipe, as it requires very little ingredients.
  • Bangers and mash, as today is St. Patrick’s Day I am trying to bring the Irish to us.  I will grill spicy Italian sausages as well as hotdogs (for the kids), then serve them alongside some mashed potatoes and a simple green salad.  If you were going to go really traditional then peas would be your side dish.  Find inspiration here.
  • Ground turkey teriyaki rice bowl from @yellowblissroad I will serve this with steamed rice and cauliflower rice.
  • Spicy sausage and kale soup from @thefeedfeed I will being using mild sausage as my kids don’t like spicy.

Usually at this point I would share that we will be doing takeout or going out for dinner, but I guess that is all uncertain at this time.  We may take advantage of Doordash or Skip the Dishes if they are still available, but if not then we will continue to cook and eat at home.  Here are a few things that I have in my freezer: bread, bagels, cheese buns, ground turkey and beef, sausages, hotdogs, chicken breasts, broccoli, edamame, corn, pizza, pirogies, mixed fruit and the most important ICE CREAM!  In my pantry I am stocked with beans, tomatoes, soup, chicken stock, pasta, macaroni, crackers, granola bars and lots of cereal.  I also have baking essentials as my kids love to bake and I have a feeling we will be doing it a lot!

For the kids:
Today all of our morning activities were themed around St. Patrick’s Day, my daughter (3) did some print making with the bottom of a red pepper dipped in green paint.  She made different patterns with the pepper.  Then she traced the letter S with cheerios.  We talked about words that start with the letter s.  My son (9) created a 3D shamrock using paper strips, essentially you make them into hearts and then attach them altogether.  He finished the morning with a word search and a word scramble.  Then we headed out for a walk and some sunshine, after lunch my son did origami and my daughter napped.  It is my daily goal to keep them as far away from the t.v. as possible.  I have ordered a JUMP math book for my son, so that we can continue his math skills, I also ordered a book that he is studying in class.  We will have some daily book club together.  This is how far I have come with a plan for moving forward, but I will continue to share recipes and learning activities with you.

Stay safe and healthy,
Sara

Weekly meals Feb 17 – Feb 21

Meal updates from last week:
All recipes from last week were winners!  I think my favourite out of the three was the chicken shawarma salad and the cashew chicken.  The salad was simple, but full of flavour.  The cashew chicken was delicious, it took a little more time to make as you have to cook the chicken in batches.  We celebrated Valentine’s Day with heart shaped pizzas made at home with ingredients bought from the Italian Centre Shop.  If you have never been there to buy Italian goodies then go as soon as possible!  They sell fresh pizza dough for $2.00 per ball!  As well as pre-shredded mozzarella that has been grated that day.  It makes homemade pizzas so easy and delicious.

This week we are eating at home Monday-Wednesday, my husband and I are heading out of town for the weekend and the kids are with family.  The weather got really cold today, so I decided that a hearty soup was in order:

  • Italian pasta and bean soup – Paste e Fagioli from @cooksillustrated this was so simple and full of flavour.  My kids really enjoyed the soup with cheese buns for dipping.  I will make this again very soon.  I didn’t have any pancetta, so used bacon instead.
  • Zesty kale and sweet potato bowl from @cookinglight I am not sure if my kids will like this bowl?!  I am going to use brown rice instead of quinoa.  I know that they will like the rice, avocado and cheese but really not sure about the rest of it.  I may add some corn and a dollop of sour cream to theirs.
  • Chicken and cabbage stir fry from @littlebrokenblog I will supplement the kids stir fry with some left over rice from the night before.  I also bought a bag of PC riced broccoli and zucchini that I will use instead of the peas and carrots.  I may add some shredded carrot as well.

This week is a very short recipe week, but I have been reading lots of new recipes that I am hoping to try.  Here are a few on my list, so that you can get through the rest of the week.  Chicken parmesan soup (all the things I love in a bowl), gluten-free turkey meatballs (I must be on an Italian kick!) and butternut squash kale salad with goat cheese and apricot vinaigrette (just add some grilled protein and you have a dinner salad).  A very short grocery list 119

Happy cooking,
Sara

Weekly meals Feb. 11 – Feb. 15

Meal updates from last week:
We really enjoyed the chicken patties as well as the taco salad.  I didn’t have a chance to make the pork with rice noodles, but when I have the time I will let you know how it turns out.  As always we loved the Thai chicken, I served it with beans, broccoli and cauliflower.  Last week I was on a roasted cauliflower kick, I have to say that it is beyond delicious cooked this way.  I drizzle cauliflower with some olive oil and season with salt and pepper, into a 400 degree oven it roasts until browned.  Honestly so delicious!  The deep freeze continues to bring below normal temperatures for us, and there is no end in sight!!

This week is busy and full of fun.  I will be celebrating my birthday and we are heading to the mountains for a couple of days.  We are hoping to explore and get some skiing in, but that all depends on the weather.  This week we will be eating at home Sunday-Thursday, but heading out for dinner on Tuesday to celebrate.  We will spend Valentine’s Day at home enjoying a fancier meal.

  • Beef stroganoff from @recipe_tin we ate this tonight and let me tell you it was amazing!  I served this over egg noodles.  If you decide to make this recipe, splurge for a good cut of beef.  I bought tenderloin and it was perfect for this recipe.
  • Roasted pistachio-crusted salmon with kale salad from @cookinglight I will made some steamed rice as a side for the salmon.
  • Birthday dinner!
  • Chicken shawarma bowls from @tastesbetterfromscratch I love a one bowl meal!
  • Lobster tails with lemon garlic butter from @natashaskitchen on the side I will serve roasted mini potatoes and steamed beans.  For dessert I’m thinking of no-bake cheesecake, I found this recipe from @dessertfortwo that I think I will try.  I also really want to try a make these chocolate coconut love bites, if I have the time to get all of the ingredients then I will.  Stay tuned!

Shopping made easy with Dinner List 85

Happy Valentine’s Day,
Sara

Weekly meals Jan. 28 – Feb. 1

Meal updates from last week:
All of the recipes from last week were a hit!  I loved the skillet chicken enchiladas, they came together in no time and were cheesy deliciousness.  The Thai bowls were also very good and you can add anything that you want to them.  The pasta was amazing!  Super creamy, I used cream cheese instead of marscapone and used bow tie pasta instead of orecchiette.  Our weekend away was amazing!  Sunshine and time together is just what we both needed.  The kids had a great weekend with family and spent a lot of time outside.

This week we will be eating at home Monday-Friday.  My son has basketball two nights this week and swimming on the weekend.  My husband will be out one night this weekend and then we are hosting a few people for Super Bowl Sunday.  While we were away I bought a new Eating Well magazine, so three of the five recipes this week will be from the magazine.  This magazine is published by the people from @cookinglight, which for me has always been a go-to place for recipes.

  • Sicilian-style chicken thighs from @eatingwell I served this tonight and it was great.  Lots of flavour and my kids loved the potatoes.  This made a large skillet, and there was lots of leftovers.
  • Pork chops with garlicky broccoli from @eatingwell we will eat this with some green beans as an added vegetable.
  • Long life noodles with beef and Chinese broccoli from @eatingwell I am going to serve the beef over brown rice instead of pasta.
  • My kids love shake and bake chicken drumsticks, so tonight I will made them chicken and green beans.  I also have a few leftover potatoes from Monday, so a small batch of mashed potatoes will be another side dish.
  • Last week I made a batch of hamburger soup thinking that it would get eaten while we were away.  Turns out that they never touched any of the food, so dinner tonight will be super simple.  I will buy some cheese buns to go along with our soup.

Last week I made some banana bread and I think that this is the best recipe I’ve ever made!  I didn’t add any chocolate ships or nuts, and the loaf was gone by the end of the week.  You must try this recipe.  Super Bowl is approaching very quickly and I’m starting to think about what to serve.  My thoughts are a snack platter loaded with green and brown influenced by the ever talented @browneyedbaker and then maybe some pulled chicken or sloppy joes.  For dessert I was thinking of making a peanut butter dip and serving it with some fruit.  What’s on your menu for Super Bowl?  Don’t forget dinner list 83

Happy cooking,
Sara

 

Weekly meals Dec. 17 – Dec. 21

Meal updates from last week:
I really liked all meals from last week.  The soup was great, but my kids didn’t like it at all.  Although they did enjoy the bread sticks.  I loved the tandoori chicken and the shrimp stir fry.  I made a batch of the carrot muffins and they were gone by the end of the week. I also finished my holiday baking and made the Swiss Mountain Shortbread.  I took a cookie platter to my grandma’s on Sunday where we were celebrating with family.  I posted a picture of the platter on my Instagram feed, it included: cherry and dark chocolate shortbread, Swiss Mountain shortbread, peppermint bark cookies and peanut butter blossoms.  I also included some licorice dogs, Lindt chocolate and peppermint M&Ms.  Almost the whole platter was eaten, so I would say it was a success!

This week we are slowly winding down to winter break.  We will be eating at home Monday-Wednesday, Thursday we are going to friends and ordering takeout.  Friday we will be eating what ever is leftover in our fridge.  I can for-see an omelette with all of the veggies we have.

As we head toward Christmas Eve and Christmas Day I have been thinking about what to contribute.  We will be spending the holiday with my parents, brother, sister-in-law and niece.  For Christmas Eve my sister-in-law and I will be making a large snack platter.  If you are looking for any platter ideas then head to www.thebakermama.com or www.weelicious.com.  On Christmas Day we will have cinnamon buns while opening gifts and then usually an egg dish is served after all the chaos has ended.  We will have traditional turkey dinner that evening, and I usually make dessert.  This year I haven’t really had my eye on a specific recipe, but I’m sure that I will find something in the next few days.  The Dinner List 79 is a short one this week!

Happy cooking,
Sara

Weekly meals Oct. 15 – Oct. 19

Meal updates from last week:
The kids loved the pork fried rice!  They ate all of the pork and egg that gets added into the rice mixture, it is a perfect one bowl meal to feed kids.  Just as before we really enjoyed the sloppy joe tacos, my husband and kids ate theirs in hard taco shells while I decided to make mine into a salad.  I really enjoyed the kale salad, it reminded me of the Asian coleslaw with crushed noodles, except this one is a little bit healthier!

This weekend we had a home cooked meal once and ordered takeout for the other.  On Sunday night we went to friend’s for build your own pizza.  We used naan bread as the base for our pizzas.  The kids and adults had a blast creating their own!  This week we will be eating at home Monday-Friday, the weather is going to change for the better so I am going to try to grill while I can.

Yesterday I got a chance to make some pumpkin doughnuts that my son has been begging to make.  They are a baked doughnut that get sprinkled with cinnamon sugar once cooled.  Baked goods made with pumpkin turn out so moist and flavourful.  The recipe that I used made 12 regular sized doughnuts and 8 mini muffin doughnuts, which are a perfect snack to send in the lunchbox.  I also came across a recipe for jack-o-lantern cookies which look so cute!  I may try the recipe next week.

Happy cooking,
Sara

Weekly meals Sept. 24 – Sept. 28

Meal updates from last week:
Everyone loved the chicken Milanese, my son even asked to take it in his lunch!  We also enjoyed the spicy shrimp and noodles, better known as pad thai.  I didn’t get a chance to make the fiesta chicken but ended up using the chicken in quesadillas instead.  I baked a batch of zucchini carrot mini muffins that my kids devoured last week.   Tonight we went to my parent’s house for dinner where we ate classy chicken with a green salad, and angel food cake for dessert.

Last night we enjoyed celebrating Friendsgiving with our closest friends and their children.  The meal was cooked mainly by the hosts, but everyone contributed in some way.  We had turkey, stuffing, gravy, potato layer bake, squash apple bake and maple roasted carrot salad.  Before our feast we snacked on a beautiful charcuterie from @empireprovisions.  I brought two desserts, dutch apple pie and gluten free pumpkin muffins with cream cheese icing.  The meal was outstanding!

This week is another busy one!  We will be eating at home Monday-Thursday, Saturday night we are going out to a film festival and we don’t have plans Friday.  My goal this week is to get the rest of my carrots and beets out of the garden, once they are out then I need to clean out the beds and get them ready for winter…BOO!  A couple of weeks ago I picked all of the grapes from our vines, and on Friday I had some time to make jelly.  Now I have to be honest, canning is not my favourite nor am I very good at it, but I made nine jars and they seemed to have turned out.

Dinner List 68 makes shopping a breeze.

Happy cooking,
Sara

Thai coconut cauliflower soup
Pumpkin muffins

 

Weekly meals Sept. 3 – Sept. 7

Meal updates from last week:
We loved the soba noodles with cedar plank salmon.  The salmon had a smoky flavour from being cooked on the cedar.  The soba noodles with the buttery salmon was a perfect combination.  I added some thinly sliced snap peas and radishes to our bowls.  We also really enjoyed the chicken caesar lettuce wraps, the flavour of the chicken marinated in the dressing was amazing.  My kids devoured the bread that was grilled and then torn into pieces.

This week marks the beginning of a new chapter, tomorrow my son begins grade three and I am also going back to teaching.  I am going to try my very best to keep up with my food blogging, but I am sure recipes might evolve and change.  Days when I’m working I will try to make recipes that are simple and fast.  This also means that I need to start taking a lunch!  I am going to try to post some pictures of what I am taking for lunch.

This week we will be eating at home Monday-Friday.  As we were away this last weekend, there are no plans for this coming weekend.  I am sure that everyone including myself will be tired from all of the changes to our lives.

The Dinner List 65 is back!

Happy cooking,
Sara

Weekly meals May 28 – June 1

Meal updates from last week:
The chicken satay and the salmon salad from last week were great.  We loved the combination of salmon with avocado and mango.  As always the grilled pizza was gobbled up.  I ended the week cooking spicy shrimp tacos, I added the link to last week’s meal plan.  On Saturday we had friends over with their kids, and decided that it was going to be an appie dinner, so we had an epic snack platter, salad rolls and cowboy caviar.  For dessert I served a mixture of candy and chocolate.  On the snack platter I included: cucumber, mini carrots, peppers, strawberries, watermelon, raspberries, grapes, snap peas, salami, prosciutto, mixed olives, black bean hummus and guacamole (to see the platter head to my Instagram page).  On another platter I had a variety of cheese and crackers.  For snack platter inspiration head to Weelicious or follow Cookinglight on Instagram.  This evening we ate dinner with my parents, I brought a simple green salad that we ate with skillet elk lasagna, and for dessert angel food cake with strawberries and vanilla ice cream.

This week is another busy one!  We are still in the middle of soccer and will be celebrating my son’s birthday this weekend.  His birthday isn’t until July, but we like to have his party during the school year so that his friends can make it.  This week I have meal planned for Monday-Friday, we will see if I end up cooking Friday night.

  • BLT salad with buttermilk dressing from @marthastewart this is a family favourite, and I ended up having all of the ingredients without having to buy anything at the store!
  • BBQ chicken thighs with grilled corn and peppers.  I will boil the corn and then finish them off on the grill.  I will top the thighs with BBQ sauce.
  • Thai noodles with chicken and broccoli from Anne Lindsay’s Light Kitchen cookbook.  This is another staple in our house.  Most of the time I don’t use chicken, but will add more veggies.  This pasta is great hot but even better the next day served cold.
  • Salisbury steak with mashed potatoes from @rachelray this recipe sounds amazing I cannot wait to give it a try.
  • Ginger peanut soup one of my mom’s favourite soup recipes, and one that I’ve shared with you many times.

I will also be making my son’s birthday cake for his weekend party.  This year we are heading to the zoo to see the pandas and he has also asked for a panda cake.  As always I will be using my tried and true chocolate cake recipe with cream cheese cool whip icing.  The Dinner List 56 is a long one this week.

Happy cooking,
Sara

Weekly meals May 14 – May 18

Meal updates from last week:
We really enjoyed the grilled rosemary chicken and the shrimp cakes.  My daughter absolutely loved the shrimp cakes, she ended up eating two whole cakes!  I really enjoyed the lettuce wraps, but my son didn’t like the sauce.  I didn’t end up making the turkey burgers and kale salad, so I may move that meal to this week.  I made a batch of banana chocolate chip muffins and my kids gobbled them up.

This week we will be eating at home Monday-Thursday, I am not sure what the long weekend has in-store for us except that my husband will be away.  The weather for the most part is supposed to be really nice so I will be using the grill.

I spent some time this past week looking at new recipes and I found some gems!  For some reason these are all sweet recipes, these cookies, this tart and protein balls!  I don’t have any plans to make these sweet treats this week, but if I give any of them a try I will let you know.  The Dinner List 54 is back!

Happy cooking,
Sara

*Banana buttermilk muffins*