Friday, September 19, 2014

On A Stick!

Happy Friday Everyone!

Even though this is the first September since I went off to kindergarten, that I'm not going back to school, I still can't help but feel like summer fun is over! I've been incredibly fortunate to spend this summer with our new Little Man, going for walks, hanging out at the park and watching him grow every day! I'm in awe of all the parents and caregivers who balance taking care of everything at home and doubling up with work responsibilities too. Having said that, I have honestly realized that staying home is no breeze either. At one of Y's appointments last week, the doctor asked what my husband and I did and when I responded with, "I'm just home with the baby" he immediately stopped me and told me to remove "just" from my response, before continuing to tell me how important that role is. Needless to say, I was incredibly appreciative! It is a big task, and while there are days where the laundry just keeps piling and is only overshadowed by the pile of dishes, I'm learning to balance it all and to care less about the mess and more about the little bundle of boy who's now scooting everywhere and smiling brighter and brighter each day!

So, happy Friday everyone! Whether you've been surrounded by piles of memos at work, or piles of laundry at home, it's time for a treat! And what better than a cookbook that just screams, lay back, relax and enjoy!

Matt Armendariz's cookbook, On A Stick! is not only a perfect go to cookbook for the quintessential host/ hostess, but it's also perfect for bringing an extra element of fun to your family meals as well! So rarely is there a cookbook that really, really appeals to everyone. On A Stick!  has recipes that will appeal to anyone and the presentation is fun, friendly and leaves you with the confidence that you can create these party perfect treats!

While the cookbook appeals to a broad spectrum of people from host/hostesses to kids, the recipes themselves are equally inclusive. Yes there are plenty of recipes that require frying or breading, but they're balanced out with salads and healthy options as well! While there are Corn Dogs, there are also Caprese Sticks. This book balances out your traditional options, from fondue to the aforementioned Corn Dogs, while also providing new possibilities. Think Deep Fried Ravioli or Deep Fried Mac n' Cheese! If you'd prefer something not fried there are Antipasti Skewers, Stuffed Olives and Panzanella!

Also, I just have to mention the Pizza On A Stick recipe! Back at the beginning of our story, M treated me out to a day at the CNE (for those of you unfamiliar, the Canadian National Exhibition, or The Ex, is basically a theme park/ carnival/ show/ exhibition in Toronto from mid-August to Labor Day). I had never been, despite being born & raised in Toronto! While there were some memorable moments that we still laugh about today, one that stands out was walking past all the various food vendors and stopping in our tracks when we saw pizza on a stick! Not being kosher, we couldn't try it, but we were amazed. When I came across the recipe, it really solidified how much I enjoy this cookbook and how it really accomplished exactly what I think a great cookbook should. It provides recipes that bring back memories, help build new ones and help you create possibilities for conversations and memories as well as for your menu!

The recipes are innovative, fresh and fantastic! And it doesn't end with appetizers, sides and mains. You can also have dessert on a stick as well! The many sweet recipes appealed to me right away from traditional stick desserts such as Cake Pops and Frozen Bananas, but also Caramel Popcorn Balls, Chocolate Covered Cheesecake and Grilled Fruit Skewers!

I can't wait to take this book off of the shelf many, many times. Whether it's whipping up a quick weekday side dish to add a bit of fun to our plate, or creating various dishes for a dessert table, these recipes are as versatile as they are delicious!

Stay tuned for a sample recipe from the book, that's a great way to enjoy a weekend breakfast with everyone home, or a quick treat to grab out the door on your rush to school!

Disclaimer: This cookbook was generously provided to me by the kind people at Quirk Books. The thoughts and opinions presented in the review are solely my own.  

Monday, July 21, 2014

Challenge Accepted, Little One!

The reason you haven't seen many recipes around here lately is pretty simple... I've barely had time to eat never mind actually develop anything new! Our beautiful little bundle of loves-to-be-held makes getting anywhere near the stove quite the challenge! Well little one, challenge accepted!

I realize now, recipes I had dubbed, "easy" or "quick" are accurate if you're alone in the kitchen, with access to both hands & minus 14 adorable pounds sitting on your hip. Also using the words, "easy" or "quick" before the word Menu, is almost hypocritical! Getting one dish done is a success, getting through a whole menu is worthy of celebration!

That's where this one pot meal comes in handy now! My Mom got us this large pan and it's been a great addition to our kitchen! My Mom uses it for everything & I'm just starting to pull it out of the cupboard more often. When we go over to my parent's home on Sundays, we're incredibly fortunate to be able to enjoy our steaks or salmon but there's no denying the incredible aroma of what my family's preparing! A few weeks ago my parents made a stir fry and before we had even reached the kitchen, M had already requested that I find out what smelled so good & find out how to make it. I was super relieved to discover it was simple! 

*I want to be sure to mention that since we're not using a wok here, boiled the pasta & used a little more oil than traditionally used in a stir fry, I use the term loosely!*

Feel free to include whichever vegetables you prefer. Just be sure to add them to the pan in order of longest to shortest cook time! You don't want burnt mushrooms & peppers that are still raw!

We made it as part of Shabbos dinner a few weeks ago & loved it! Hope you do too!


"Stir Fry" (Serves 4)

3 handfuls of Spaghettini (apparently I now measure ingredients Avo-stylez haha!)

1 Onion

1 Red Bell Pepper

1 10oz package of Mushrooms

1 medium size Zucchini

Canola Oil

1-2 tbsp Soy Sauce

Sesame Seeds (optional)

Boil Spaghettini as per package instructions. Drain, remove from pan & strain.

Slice onions into long and wide strips.

Peel & slice 5oz of mushrooms thinly. Peel & quarter the remaining 5 oz.

Finely slice the zucchini.

Slice the red pepper into long strips. Cut the strips in half.

Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a large pan over medium heat (add more or less depending on your preference).

Add the onion to the pan, sauteing until translucent.

Meanwhile add the red bell pepper, zucchini & mushrooms. Be sure to add each vegetable once the previous one is already partially cooked to avoid burning or raw pieces in the end.

Return the spaghettini to the pan. Add soy sauce (just enough to lightly coat) and sprinkle with sesame seeds, if you prefer! Toss, remove from heat & serve!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Thank You, Y

On my first Mother's Day as a Mommy, I want to celebrate Y. Celebrate him for making me a Mommy. For adding an infinite amount of overwhelming love to my life. For adding sleep deprivation, the biggest smiles, the 2 am tears (from both of us), the quiet moments, the really loud moments and everything in between. Thank you for pushing me. Pushing me to love more, to be more patient, to slow down and accept that holding you all day is my new to do list and everything will get done. Eventually. Or it won't. For pacing around for hours willing the crying to stop and for rocking back and forth for hours willing the little cooing and giggling to continue forever. For those bright eyes first thing in the morning staring at me, depending on me. For making me so much more appreciative and in awe of my Mom. For making me so grateful & overwhelmed with love for M, when I see the two of you together - my whole world. For teaching me what comes first & what will always come first. For the tears of joy, fear, exhaustion and wonder. 

For everything. For the most amazingly terrifying and incredible adventure of my life. 

Thank you, Y for making me a Mommy.