sweet potato shepherd’s pie

This was a fun dish to make. I grew up eating shepherd’s pie. I fondly remember it served from my mother’s deep square-ish CorningWare dish. A layer of deliciously seasoned beef blanketed the bottom of the casserole. Next came a layer of canned green beans seasoned with Mrs. Dash (one of my mums favourite spices). And finally, a soothing layer of creamy, buttered, homemade mashed potatoes.

It was either Sunday afternoon, after we returned home from church with grumbling belly’s (we had a thirty minute drive!), or a not-so-busy week night that she could corral all three kids and her husband around the dinner table. This version is slightly different, but I still give mom the credit. She not only taught me the importance of comfort food and casseroles, and their place in a healthy and balanced diet, but she married a hunter, thus teaching me the importance of being… Continue reading

ham & lentil soup

My mother graciously gave me some delicious leftovers from her Thanksgiving feast last week. In my lot, I received a large serving of ham from the pig she cooked. Okay, it wasn’t a live and squirming pig from the farm. She got the ham from the store, but she cooked it up–  in addition to two, TWO(!), turkeys. And to answer your question, there were 15 of us gathered around the Thanksgiving dinner table. My mother outdoes herself year after year. She labors and loves and whips up the most soothing casseroles, rich meats and hearty vegetables.

She serves dessert (one can typically choose from three or four various homemade pies, a homemade ice cream dessert with fudge and whipped cream, and usually a variety or two of cookies or bars) and coffee after every meal, including breakfast (ask my sister-in-law, Emily, about this), so it is inevitable that… Continue reading

butternut squash & root vegetable soup

Let’s forget the fact that I thought I was picking up a spaghetti squash at the farmers market last weekend. The thing is, I know my squashes. Acorn, butternut, spaghetti, summer… but somehow I managed to buy one and bring it home, thinking all the while that soon I would be scooping out its pale yellow roasted strands, slathering it in homemade red sauce with caramelized onions and mushrooms, enjoying my non traditional autumn pasta dish. Well, not so much. Not even close. There would be no mushrooms, no red sauce and surely no spaghetti. I’m blaming the incident on the fact that I only had one cup of coffee that morning. It was early. I was foggy brained. Tomato, tomahto. Spaghetti, butternut. Definitely doesn’t have the same ring.

So after staring at that big yellow oval of a squash perched on my kitchen counter for a day or two… Continue reading

tamale pies

Mmmmm tamale pies. Ever had one? Ever made one? I hadn’t either until this week. I was browsing through a magazine and saw a picture of one and thought perhaps these pies would be a nice little addition to my weeknight supper repertoire. And after making them I’m happy to share that I’ll be making them again!

What’s not to love about a cornbread topped casserole, blanketing a layer of sautéed ground beef, onions, garlic and peppers beneath? Oh, and we mustn’t forget the cheddar on top and the zing of fresh herbs mingled throughout. I definitely see myself feasting on these little pies through the upcoming fall and winter. (Is it just me or do I sound like a squirrel speaking of her pending hibernation?)

This was a quick-to-throw-together meal with minimal effort required. Then again, I suppose raising the cow to provide the beef would be a lot… Continue reading

goat cheese sandwiches

Graham and I have been snacking and meal-ing on these little sandwiches quite a bit lately. They are absolutely perfect for summertime and you can mix and match your Matzo toppings based on what vegetables you have on hand (or are growing in your garden). I’ve found the trio of goat cheese, beautifully ripened tomatoes and crisp yellow peppers to be spot on time and time again.

We’ve eaten these sandwiches in the morning, afternoon and even prepared them for a midnight snack on occasion. They are an anytime of day pick me up and filler up. Each sandwich is topped with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, ground pepper and fresh cut parsley.

Here, take a closer look:

So if you’re needing some snacking inspiration these days, or another lunch idea to add to your list, give this a try and pick up some goat cheese… Continue reading

spring rolls

Summer is upon us. The absolute perfect season for spring rolls. For refreshing, cool and crisp, light yet filling, mighty fine and tasty, spring rolls. Good friends of ours had us for dinner last month and served us these exact spring rolls. Well… as exact as I could replicate. They also served us the most lovely elderflower martini’s. Talk about the perfect dinner. And fancy, too. We call these friends, Charlie and Olivia, our fancy friends, for they always serve up a top notch meal with an added flare of elegance that neither Graham nor I get on a regular basis. (I’m a nanny; need I say more?) It’s always a fun affair to share a meal in good company, and even more fun when spring rolls and elderflower martini’s are on the menu!

This was my first attempt at making spring rolls, and both Graham and I were beyond… Continue reading

white bean and broccoli salad

I was craving something crunchy, lemony, and bean-y for lunch. This delicious salad is what I came up with. And I’m pleased to say it turned out well. So well that it may indeed be my go-to pasta salad, if ever asked to make one for, say, a cookout or costume party. I was just telling a friend the other day that I’d never made pasta salad before (crazy, right?!) and was pretty sure there had to be a good reason.

After much thought and deliberation, I realised it had to do with the usual suspects, or the common ingredients, one finds in a typical party pasta salad: Ahem… numero uno) tri-coloured rotini, dos) glugs of Italian salad dressing, tres) cubes of red meat or white cheese and quatro) some straggling veggies from the bottom crisper drawer. Now, please let me say that there is nothing at all wrong, no… Continue reading