Thursday, May 31, 2018

Beef and Potato Fricassee

Quantity : 4 servings
Preparation : 10 min Cooking : 40 min
320 calories/serving

460 g beef, inside round, cut into 1 cm cubes
1 onions, finely chopped 200 g
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 cm cubes 400 g
1 stalk celery, cut into 1 cm cubes 70 g
4 tsp butter, unsalted 18 g
4 tsp canola oil 20 mL
1 1/3 cup beef broth 330 mL
7 tbsp frozen peas 55 g
1 pinch salt [optional] 0.2 g
ground pepper to taste [optional]
2 tbsp Italian parsley, fresh [optional] 10 g

Before you start
Keep the serving dishes in the oven at the lowest setting so they are warm when you serve.

Cut the meat into small 1 cm cubes. Prepare the vegetables : Finely chop the onion and garlic; cut the potatoes and celery into 1 cm thick pieces.
Heat half of the butter and oil in a thick-bottom frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, sauté 3-4 min until translucent, then remove them and set aside.
In the same pan, add the cubes of beef and sear them over high heat 7-8 min until golden-brown. In order to brown the meat, it is important to remove any juices coming out of the meat, otherwise the meat will «boil» rather than brown. A bulb baster may be used to pull the juices out of the pan (The meat juices may be reserved and added back to the pan later with the broth).
Add the remaining butter and oil to the pan. Stir in the potatoes and celery, then sauté a few minutes. Pour in the broth (and any reserved meat juices), then deglaze. Put the onion and garlic back into the pan. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook, covered, over low heat 20-25 min, until the potatoes are soft. Add the peas and cook an additional 3 min.
Sprinkle with the chopped parsley (optional) and serve in the warmed dishes.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Orecchiette Pasta Bari-style "alla Barese"

I'm back on my meal plan again.  I had stopped for a while because my life was really hectic and I wasn't finding enough time to cook but I have to take back control of my diet and my diabetes.  I am subscribed to the Diabetic Plan for control of blood sugar and to help with weight loss at  I showed this plan to the staff in the Diabetes clinic at our local hospital and they were very impressed.  And it really does work!  

This is tonight's supper and it was very tasty indeed.  I cheated a bit though.  I didn't want to buy anchovies just for this recipe so I thought . . . hmmmmm salty and briney . . . and diced up a couple of black olives.  I think it worked out great.

Quantity : 4 servings
Preparation : 10 min Cooking : 15 min
420 calories/serving

5 cups broccoli, cut into florets 650 g
320 g orecchiette 3 cups
2 1/2 tbsp olive oil 38 mL
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
5 1/2 anchovy fillets, chopped 22 g
1 1/3 dried chili peppers, minced 0.4 g
12 mini-tomatoes (cherry, miniature or grape), cut in half 3/4 cup
4 tbsp Romano cheese, grated 12 g
1 pinch salt [optional] 0.2 g
ground pepper to taste [optional]

Before you start

Keep the serving plates in the oven at the lowest setting so they are warm when you serve.

Put a colander in the sink to drain the cooked pasta so that it will be ready when needed.


Prepare the broccoli: clean and cut off the florets. Peel off any though skin of the stalks and cut them into small pieces. Blanch and drain the broccoli, then set aside, but keep them warm.
To save time, the rest of the sauce preparation and pasta cooking can be done at the same time. Cook the pasta.
In the meantime, heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Gently sauté the minced or pressed garlic 1-2 min, with stirring, until soft taking care not to let it burn. Chop the anchovies, then add them to the skillet with stirring. Cook 2 min until they have broken apart and "melted". Stir in the minced chili pepper then add the mini-tomatoes cut in half and the drained broccoli.
Pour the drained pasta into the pan and mix with the seasoned broccoli. Adjust the seasoning, add the grated romano(*), then serve in the warmed dishes.

What became of the Rsvp?

Image result for rsvp miss manners

Putting on a good party or other fun event is a lot of work if done correctly.  You want the venue to be perfect, the guest list to be conducive to an enjoyable and convivial time, the food to be delicious and plentiful as well as meeting the dietary needs of all of your guests, and entertainment in whatever form appropriate whether it is music, a baby shower game or even a craft.

You make your plans and send out the invitations, whether by phone, mail, email, in person, or on social media.  And then you wait.  Three days before the event one or two people say they are coming but the other 30 or 200 say maybe or don't reply at all.  What do you do?

At one time I would prepare for what I hoped was a good estimate of guests and sit back and hope it all worked out.  

When did the RSVP stop being "normal"?

Definition of RSVP:  An abbreviation often included in invitations to request that the invitee let the host know if he or she will be attending. From the French term, "Répondez si'l vous plaît," which means "please reply."

Miss Manners is my guru and she "considers it an unfortunate concession that hosts even need to state that they would like a response (in sensible times, guests could figure that out for themselves), and finds it distasteful that they feel they must provide the response themselves, in the form of prestamped cards or a voice-mail drop. Especially since such techniques don't work. People who are not polite enough to answer invitations are still not going to answer, even if you lie down in front of them and beg them to kick you once for yes and twice for no." 
(Judith Martin, Miss Manners' Guide to Domestic Tranquility, Chapter 7: Entertaining: The Social Contract, p.218)


I just don't know the answer.  But now just cancel the event rather than just making myself crazy.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Bee in Flower Pot

Bee in Flower Pot

3 x 3.25"



May not be exactly as shown.  Each piecing is individually handmade.

Sometimes I just disappear . . .

If I tell people that I am an introvert they often look at me with disbelief.  When I do go out, I like to be the life of the party.  I like seeing people and saying hi.  I hate small talk . . . but love a good conversation.

If I tell people I don't do well with illness and hospitals they definitely look at me with disbelief.  I have been a support person to many friends and family over the years when they are facing injury or crisis.  I stand up to people.  I demand answers.  I don't do personal care . . . mostly because I'm a klutz.

If I tell people I'm depressed they often look at me with disbelief.  And yet I am so much of the time and it can be a battle to shower and get dressed, to take care of my responsibilities, to leave the house, to cook healthy food.  And it sucks.  But my smile is well practiced and knows to stay in place when I do appear in public.

So don't be surprised if I disappear from time to time to recharge my batteries and take care of myself.  I always return, ready to face the world once more.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Grilled Salmon Steaks with Oregano Salsa

This recipe is DELICIOUS!!!

Quantity : 4 servings
Preparation : 5 min Cooking : 10 min
250 calories/serving
aluminum foil
1 1/2 tbsp butter, unsalted 20 g
4 salmon steaks 700 g
1/4 cup white wine 65 mL
4 tsp dried oregano 3 g
ground pepper to taste [optional]
4 tomatoes, diced 480 g
2 green onions/scallions, finely chopped
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 30 mL
1 pinch salt [optional] 0.2 g


Prepare one square of heavy-duty aluminum foil per each steak. Spread the butter on the foil, then lay one steak on top. Add the wine, then season with half of the oregano followed by ground pepper to taste. Wrap the salmon steaks loosely in foil, sealing the edges securely.
Cook on a medium-hot grill for about 10 min, until just tender. Alternatively, the fish may be broiled in the oven. Check with a fork to see if the fish is cooked through.
While the fish is cooking, finely dice the tomatoes and chop the scallions, then put them in a bowl. Add the olive oil, the remaining oregano, and salt to taste. Toss well.
Serve the salmon hot or cold, covered with the salsa.