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Chicken a la Awesome Vegetables


Hello there!

I do love a classic roasted chicken dinner with homemade gravy and homegrown vegetables. Reminds me of grandma’s house and living back on the acreage. *sigh* Now check out this ballin’ meal full of goodness! It had been awhile since I made Mike a good hearty meal so I pulled out all my years of learning from the women of my family to cook up a classy food baby.

I stuffed the chicken with onions, garlic and thyme then moved onto the skin. To make a delicious skin you need to separate it from the meat just enough so as to be able to put a garlic butter mix in between the layers. This creates a crispy skin and adds moisture during the cooking process. For some added colour and flavour I sprinkled a pepper, salt and dried rosemary mix on the outside.

I also made sure to spread out a good layer of vegetables in the pan. I used carrots, onions, brussel sprouts garlic and potatoes that had been tossed in pepper, salt and canola oil. Make sure there are enough vegetables to set the chicken down on. You want the bird to cook evenly and not have a burnt bottom by coming into contact with the pan itself.

After the chicken cook for awhile I took it out and made sure to get as much of the drippings as possible. Turned that into a gravy and voila! Instant awesome sauce to go with the chicken. I also grated some applewood smoked cheddar onto the potatoes for added awesome flavour. Inner fat kids rejoice! Enjoy the eye candy of this uber simple but classically yummy dish.


Stay classy,



Good Wine, Great Friends


Mike and I decided it was high time we had ourselves a dinner party! So, we rounded up a few friends and cooked up a storm. There was wine, champagne, delicious food and a lot of laughs, oohs and ahhs as the food was prepared and presented. One of the wines brought by a friend was a red called Balthazar which was sublime!

Mike decided on a 5-course variable menu throughout the night.

First course: Appetizers

*Lightly seared tuna tacos with grated carrots, beet relish, basil and a mexican lime olive oil vinaigrette

*Caramelized onions on a homemade fresh baked baguette

*Panko breaded then deep-fried goat cheese and fig balls


Second course: Soup

*Roasted corn and bacon chowder


Third course: Salad

*House salad (mixed greens, grated carrot, sliced cherry tomatoes, candied almonds, applewood smoked cheddar)

*Butterleaf salad (avocado, cherry tomato)

Accompanying dressings were:

*Raspberry lime vinaigrette

*Honey-lemon basil vinaigrette


Fourth course: Mains & Sides


*Chili and herb marinated pork tenderloin

*Five-spice roasted whole chicken


*Green & Yellow beans, peas and carrots steamed with butter and brown sugar

*Potatoes au gratin (3-cheese Scalloped potatoes)

*Roasted garlic lemon and herb risotto


Fifth course: Dessert

*Warm chocolate chunk brownie with roasted pecans, drizzled with vanilla bean caramel sauce and finished off with a sprinkling of Himalayan pink sea salt

BBQ Bon Voyage


BBQ Bon Voyage

Mere days before Mike and I departed on our vacation we had this delectable meal.

Any barbecue lover will appreciate the efforts of such a dish. Mike marinated steak and pork ribs for a few hours before braving our Edmonton, Alberta winter.

Yes, he stood outside and barbecued in -25 to -30 degrees celsius!

The marinade of course was a secret because all great marinade recipes are…at least that’s what I’m told. However, he did let me know the purple beets and golden potatoes were roasted off in the barbecue. He even made the effort to put together some homemade garlic butter for the bread. As you can see everything on the plate has that delicious char promising every bite will be barbecued bliss. I do enjoy an alliteration here or there šŸ™‚

Stay classy,

Busy Baking!


Busy Baking!

Yes, I realize I’ve fallen off the track and haven’t posted anything about food in a very long time. So, here we are!

My friend Mercedes came over one night and we baked up a storm!

We also wrapped Mike in garland and wore ugly Christmas sweaters. Needless to say we know how to make a long night of baking into quite the event.

In the bottom left photo we have: Milk chocolate and white chocolate swirl almond candy-cane bark.

In the bottom right photo: ginger snap cookies and festively-shaped red velvet cakes with cream cheese icing.

We also baked candy cane shortbread cookies and a few pie crusts to fill with deliciousness later on. A few days later I made an apple pie as well.

I hope everyone is enjoying the season and getting excited for Christmas day! T-minus 8 days ’til we can open presents!

Stay classy,


Home for the Holidays?


During this festive season I am reminded of a unique experience I had two years ago, right before CBC Radio Edmonton had their annual Turkey Drive. I was in my second year of the Journalism program at Grant MacEwan University and we had started our radio class off with a bang. Our professor asked us if we would be interested in participating in a hands-on experience. The class was all for it until we were told we would be experiencing being homeless for three days in the innner city. Now you can imagine some would have reservations about this. I myself thought our prof had gone a bit off the deep end on this one until she explained things further.

This excerpt was taken from an article published on the Grant MacEwan website: “The plan? Students would live on the streets of Edmonton for three days in order to familiarize themselves with poverty in their community. No money, no cell phones ā€“ students would sleep in shelters, wait in food lines and perform tasks for the Mustard Seed, an inner-city not-for-profit that assists people living in poverty.”

Our class would partner with the Mustard Seed Edmonton, Grant MacEwan University and CBC Radio Edmonton to shine a light on poverty within Edmonton. No easy task. Our project was to learn first hand what it meant to be a person living in poverty for 3 days in the inner city. This included staying in a house next to the Mustard Seed which was used to simulate staying in a shelter. Afterwards, we would go back to the Mustard Seed and cook a meal to repay the organization and provide a meal to their patrons. The last task we had to accomplish was to interview someone about the poverty situation in Edmonton. This could be a homeless person willing to go on record with their full name, a volunteer, a food bank worker or anyone else who had first hand knowledge/experience with homelessness and poverty in Edmonton.

Here We Go

Day One (Friday afternoon/evening): consisted of us learning about what we should and should not do while interacting with the community. We bounced ideas off one another about what we thought the whole experience would be like. Fears, excitement, every and any emotion or thought.

That night we slept in bunks with thin mattresses, except there were more bodies than beds so some people slept on couches or the floor.

Day Two (All Day Saturday): We were kicked out of the house in the wee hours of the morning. Our guide/supervisor gave us a list of tasks to complete, items to find and locations to visit while we waited for the Mustard Seed to open for dinner. We were on our own for 9 hours. Our class split into teams or 4 or 5 people and left to explore. My group walked all over downtown. This project was going on the same time as Occupy Edmonton and we came upon people handing out donuts, coffee and water bottles. There was breakfast. It wasn’t pretty but we didn’t complain because it was better than nothing. We checked off some of the items on our list, but mostly we just tried to stay warm. This was a chilly November day after all. Some of the other groups went to Hope Mission and ate lunch with many of Edmonton’s poverty-stricken population. One group tried to go warm up in the library and started falling asleep in the comfy chairs, only to be asked to leave by one of the librarians. Apparently they have that happen a lot. After 9 cold hours walking around outside we stood in line outside of the Mustard Seed waiting to be let in to eat dinner. We chatted with some of the other people in the line and made a few friends before going inside. Most people were very friendly and liked to chat. One man pulled up his truck with a handmade camper-looking wooden living space (I know its a mouthful but it is difficult to explain), and proceeded to hand out hot chocolate and coffee. He told us he lives in the camper and comes to eat meals here.

Upon entering the Mustard Seed church we were welcomed and asked to sit until everyone else was seated. Grace was said and then tables were called up to be served. Everything was very organized. Dinner at the Mustard Seed is a balanced meal accompanied by a dessert and portion of multivitamins recommended for people who do not receive balanced meals everyday in order to stay healthy. The vitamins are an option and are sometimes refused.

After dinner, if you are done your meal you are asked to exit your seat so that more people can be let in to eat. The Mustard Seed does not operate over capacity and also does not let anyone in who looks/acts like they are under the influence of alcohol or illegal substances.

Once everything is cleaned up, the Mustard Seed will sometimes put on a movie or if a sports team is playing that night the game will be put on the tv/projector.

There are board games for the kids to play and coffee and treats for the adults. Sometimes cupcakes or donuts are donated. I was so exhausted after the day. I stayed for a bit after supper but went to bed as soon as we were allowed back into the house, which wasn’t until a few hours after dinner.

Day Three (Sunday Morning): we reflected on what happened and parted ways. Everyone went back to their lives of warm beds, showers and school.

What I Learned

Three things I learned while in the first part of our project were:

1. Not every person who uses food banks, the Mustard Seed, Hope Mission, etc. is necessarily homeless. The slum population in Edmonton is enormous and many families utilize the services.

2. The sense of community is very strong. Even stronger at times than my own university community.

3. Most people living in poverty do not want sympathy or charity. Some people choose to live off the grid as a lifestyle and the most they want from you is for you to listen to their story.

I’d like to tell the short version of stories from some of the people I met.

Gail – She told me she was a mother of three. Her children are all in foster care because she has a crack addiction and supports her habit by selling her body on the streets. She wore yoga pants and a thin hoodie. She had glasses that sat low on her nose and she had quite the sweet tooth. If someone didn’t want their dessert they would give it to her.

The Roofer – I came in part way this story which was already being told to some of my fellow classmates. He worked all day as a roofer and usually didn’t eat lunch. He was treated different by his co-workers and not very nicely from what he told us. He would go all day without eating and then end up at the Mustard Seed if he made it in time after work. He could never seem to get ahead between working all day and trying to pay for rent. I’m not sure if he was even living anywhere at the time. (Slum landlords will go as far as to rent out the hallway of their building or supply closets at outrageous prices. People trying to stay warm for even one night will take the bait and spend all of their cheque on a place to sleep) This man had a choice of whether to eat for the day or sleep some place warm. Most often only one need is met.

Sharing the Stories

Everyone had the same assignment but we could pick anyone as long as they would go on record with their full name. I chose a volunteer who had come with a group a few weeks after our class. Check out all the great interviews my classmates did as well in partnership with CBC Radio’s Turkey Drive.This was our final assignment of the year and I’m very proud of what learned and accomplished.

Now, we weren’t the only ones to try out this great assignment. Community engagement on a baseĀ level is encouraged within other faculties with MacEwan University as well as in highschools throughout Edmonton. There are summer and fall programs available.

Final Words

The last action was to publish our stories online, with some of the top stories to be aired live on CBC Radio during their annual Turkey Drive. After that we were congratulated on our projects and some of us were asked to speak to a group of MacEwan faculty members on our overall experience and the effectiveness of the project.

I’m writing about this story during this time of year because Edmonton is a cold city to live in, poverty within our city is ever-present and is not something to be ignored or pitied. If you have the time to listen to someone’s story of living on the streets or in the slums do it. Buy them a coffee instead of throwing change their way. I don’t understand people who refuse to giveĀ out money,Ā because they don’t know what the person is going to spend it on. If you have reservations about giving out money, go and buy that person a coffee or sandwich. Chances are they’ll appreciate it and you’ll know where your money went.

Above all, appreciate your life because every person who has a warm place to sleep and food onĀ the table is richer than so many people living in poverty and yet some are still dissatisfied with their lives. This is the season to be merry and look at all the great things you already have. Happy and healthy families, a steady job, good grades in school or maybe a bonus this year because working hard paid off. Whatever it may be, just realize how great it all is. And if you’ve got a day off, maybe head on down to the food bank, Mustard Seed or Hope Mission and spread the holiday cheer.

Happy Holidays and stay classy!



Happy Halloween and Sunday Funday!

Mike and I had a pumpkin carving shindig this past weekend with friends and boy was it a great time!

We had pumpkin aranchinis, pumpkin fries, pumpkin bruschetta with homemade bread, pumpkin oreo cheesecake and of course baked pumpkin seeds. Here is what was in each dish (all appropriately seasoned):


Pumpkin Arranccinis


*chicken stock

*onions and garlic


*roasted sugar pumpkin

Pumpkin Arranccinis

Pumpkin Fries

*sliced sugar pumpkin

*beer batter

*fried in duck fat

Pumpkin Cheesecake

*cream cheese





*pureed sugar pumpkin


*oreo cookie crumb base

*chocolate chips on top


Pumpkin Bruschetta

*cinderella pumpkin

*grape tomatoes


*red onion



*feta cheese


Check out all the photos of our carvings! I admit that I am not a great carver. I hope everyone had a great time partying, trick or treating and lighting up the night on this spooktacular night!



Stay classy,


Pumpkin Carving Shindig

Meal Fit For a King


Hockey Games and a Meal Fit For a King

Edmonton versus Winnipeg!

Perfect time to chow down on a fancy hockey game spread of course!

Here we have confit potato and duck leg, roasted butternut and acorn squash, blueberry and fennel crabapple braised red cabbage accompanied by fresh heirloom tomatoes, steamed sweet corn and a pumpkin. Why the pumpkin? It’s October 1st! Of course we would go buy baby pumpkins to make our place look extra awesome for Fall.

Stay classy,


A Pork Love Story




Once upon a time…on a fateful but enjoyable Sunday…pork met a myriad of delicious food to become the ultimate union of yummy eats!

May I present to you Mr.Smoked Pork and Mrs.Braised Cabbage along with their respective families of Potato Wedge and Sweet Carrot.

On this special day our groom was smoked for an hour and a half on the barbecue, filled with the aromatic smoke of mesquite wood chips after being brined overnight and sported a smashing dry rub of herb and juniper berry.

Our bride was stunning in a crabapple juice, red wine vinegar, honey, brown sugar, juniper berry gown and accessorized with pan-fried bacon, shallots, leeks and garlic to create the ultimate culinary experience.

The guests from the carrot clan were steamed and pan-fried in butter, honey and seasoned well.

The potato family was tossed in olive oil, rosemary, pepper, salt and baked in the oven then sprinkled with chili pecorino cheese. Obviously they were competing for good looks and taste over the carrots.

After hours of preparation, a couple of heated situations in need of some rest time and a quick trip from the flame to the plate, the ceremony went off without a hitch.

Today we shared our love of food with our new roomie Mary and her awesome man Rory. Thanks for doing the dishes!

Stay classy,