Tyler Florence Friday: Its been fun Tyler!

Its that time. The last Tyler Florence Friday.

What fun it has been, exploring a new chef and his recipes, meeting so many new bloggers.

Rather than end with a bang, I thought I would end with something simple and worth keeping in your repetoire: Tyler's basic crepe recipe.

Crepes are such a worth while item to learn how to make. They are a blank canvas for just about anything you want to fill them with. Smear them with a bit of jam and sprinkle them with icing sugar, and they look impressive. Or saute them in butter sauce and flame them for major wow. Skip the sugar and fill them with chicken and spinach for a fancy main course.

Really, you can do anything you want with them!

I threw these together one Saturday morning, a quick whirl in the blender, then cutting some fruit while the crepe batter rested. My filling of choice that day was sauted peaches in a creamy caramel sauce (brown sugar and butter with a touch of cream), and a drizzle of cinnamon honey yogurt.

The husband had thirds.

Thanks for all the new recipes Tyler! And big hugs and thanks to the lovely ladies who host Tyler Florence Fridays each week, for their hard work and inspiration!

Menu Plan Monday: I'm a day late posting, but still here

I had my plan ready yesterday, I just "forgot" to put it up here and link it to Menu Plan Monday.

Alright, to be totally honest, I had no time in the morning and was so tired last night I went to bed about the same time as my oldest child and conked out. Then I missed swimming this morning because there was no way I was going to be able to get up at 4:40am. I had a hard time getting up at 7:30 am!

I think this multi job thing is catching up with me and my body is objecting. No worries, though, I can sleep in on Sunday (and will!)

Sunday: Dinner at the in-laws, tasty ham and yummy potatoes. And no dishes afterwards!

Monday: Chili with tortillas.

Tuesday: Crispy chicken drumsticks, veggies.

Wednesday: Spinach and cheese stuffed cannelloni with bread.

Thursday: Oops I forgot to write this down and now can't remember what it was! Oh wait, I remember now: spare ribs, drippy with sauce, warm cinnamon apples and baked potatoes.

Friday: I'm back at the Farm so hubby is in charge of himself and the kids. Personally I think I might try for a pulled pork on a Beavertail.

Have a nice week everyone!

Tyler Florence Fridays: I think I need to make this again

In my "spare time" this month, we managed to get apple picking with the children and our friends. As I mentioned before, we tried a new orchards, and while it was pretty, I think next year we will go back to our usual orchard, which has more ladders, a corn maze, and more importantly, apple cider donuts.

Warm, tiny, apple cider donuts, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar.

Are you wondering what this has to do with my Tyler Florence Fridays choice for this week? There is a connection, really, there is. No, there are not any donuts in this week's choice, but there is apples and apple juice.

The donuts would be a nice addition though, wouldn't they?

You can find the recipe for Thick Pork Chops with Spiced Apples and Raisins online, or on pages 58 and 59 of Tyler's Real Kitchen (a book I must return to the library, three renewals is the maximum allowed.) I did not use bone in pork chops, I had pork loin chops, but it seemed to work and was quite tasty. And used up some of the apples I have not had the time to make into apple crumble.

I think this is the second last Friday for Tyler Florence Fridays. I'm still trying to decide if I want to try cooking Nigella for my next chef, again, in all my spare time.

Have a nice day and eat an apple - I have plenty left if you need one!

Menu Plan Monday: Some days I feel uninspired

I snuck in grocery shopping today, between my son's doctor appointment, dropping him off to school and my going to work. Restocked some items for my pantry, picked up fruit and veggies that would be safe to leave in my car while I worked, and then headed into work.

Came home, finished up making dinner, which, incidentally was not the one I'd planned on, and am only now finishing up my menu plan.

Sometimes I just don't feel inspired to plan ahead. Sometimes it is difficult to think out what to make for later in the week: Will I really feel like eating chicken on that night? Hmm, if we have pork chops on Monday, do I want anything porkish later in the week? Ack! I can't make that recipe Wednesday, then we'd have rice two nights in a row! (Okay, not a problem for some families, but mine isn't that enthusiastic about rice unless there is sauce.)

Today I took some of my planning inspiration from the grocery store. Yes, I went in with a list of certain items, and I avoided several sections of the store (not just the fridge and frozen aisles, since I was packing things up in my car for 6+ hours, with a high today of 11C.) Taco shells and tortillas made it into my basket, for a taco night. Mushrooms made it into my basket, to be part of tomorrow nights pork chops with mushrooms and tomatoes, which will let me use up the cheese I have shredded in the fridge. Broccoli made it into my basket to be the veg on Thursday.

And a small package of cookies made it into my basket because I knew I would not have time to make cookies, which we ate as ice cream sandwiches.

Even when I don't feel like menu planning, I know it is important, so I push myself to do it. It helps my budget, it helps when life gets chaotic and I know I don't need to think ahead because I've planned out what I need and taken out what I need and have everything I need.

I guess I need to menu plan. How about you?

Sunday: Cabbage rolls with garlic bread and salad.

Monday: Stuffed chicken breast with creamed corn, salad and bread. And oatmeal-raisin ice cream sandwiches.

Tuesday: Pork chops with tomatoes, mushrooms, cheese and rice.

Wednesday: Taco's

Thursday: Chicken cutlettes with noodles and broccoli.

Friday: Hubby and I have potential plans, so I'm leaving this open. Beside's, every menu plan needs a "whatever" night.

Be sure to add your menu plan to the long list of other menu's at Menu Plan Monday.

Saunders Farm: The best fries I'll never eat

If you live in Ottawa, you know what Saunders Farm is. For some it is a yearly tradition: go to the Farm, get your pants scared off you! (Or take the little ones during the day time for some Harvest fun and only a little spookiness, no pant scaring.)

If you don't live in Ottawa, but read this blog regularly, you know I've been working at Saunders Farm during the month of October, when the farm is open for Haunting Season.

You'd think with a name like Haunting Season, I'd be scaring people, right? Well, I'm not, I'm feeding them!

If you come out to the farm, follow the path under the arbor to the mazes and stop when you see this sign. The Farmer's Table is where you will find me, helping to make wonderful food from fresh and local ingredients. Gourmet burgers made with local, grain fed, hormone free, organic beef. Candy apples hand made with apples picked from a local orchard (the same one I took my children to for our own apple picking.) And more....

Meet Angela Grant Saunders, Director of Beauty, Teambuilding, and more importantly, Catering! Angela's love of good, local and fresh food, is highly contagious. Her enthusiasm shows when she talks about food, when she helps prepare food, when she enjoys her food. The Farmer's Table is Angela's baby, and her pride shows.

If you work at Saunders Farm and are part of one of the food booths, you are part of Team Angela! Go Team Angela!

Nestled in the trees, this is where you will find those fries I said I wasn't going to eat. I'm not going to, I don't eat fries, but I do make them, and I've had it from many, many, many tasters and eaters, that I make great fries.

Alright. I admit it. I ate one. One french fry. The only french fry I've eaten in 5 years! And yes, it was great!

Its hard not to make great fries when you start out with fresh potatoes, hand scrubbed and cut daily.

No freezing for these potatoes, from the cutter to the deep fryer.

First a slow and low fry, just to cook the potatoes gently (or as gently as you can be cooked in hot oil.) We don't want crispy fries yet, just softer potatoes. That takes time, have patience!

After a slow cook, then a rest, it is back into the hot oil for the fries. Really hot oil, not the same low temperature, where the fries will get crispy on the outside, but stay soft and tender on the inside. Golden brown in color, these are not the fries you will get at a fast food restaurant or will pull from a bag and put in you oven.

These freshly made fries come in two sizes, regular and family size, and they go fast! The smell of freshly cooked fries floats through the air around the Farmer's Table, making it hard to resist ordering a few for your family. Or a family size for yourself.

If you are interested in trying these fries, you better hurry, as the farm is only open until October 31st! Wait any longer and you'll have to wait a full year for the next Haunting Season.

And while you are there, don't forget to say hi to me. I'll be at the deep fryers, making mountains of fries that I am not going to eat.

Tyler Florence Fridays: I think I forgot to do something important

Please ignore the mess in the background.

But fortunately my husband stepped up to the "plate" and pulled out a camera!

My little sous chef requested cheesecake for his birthday cake, an odd choice for a 7 year old, but one I was able to do. And while cheesecake recipes are everywhere, I turned to Tyler for this special occasion cheesecake. Then made my own adaptions.

Tyler's Ultimate Cheesecake sounds fantastic on its own, with a warm blueberry sauce, but not what I thought the birthday boy would like. Instead I went with cookies, Oreo cookies, and changed the crust, then eliminated the lemon, adding crushed Oreo's part way through the cake, with more crushed Oreo's on top.

I increased the baking time by 1o minutes, but still found it quite soft in the middle. Still very good, very tasty, and well enjoyed by everyone, but soft.

Sorry, there is none left to show a picture of the cookies suspended in the luscious cheesecake, or floating on top. None left to show you the creaminess, smooth and comforting. Not even any Oreo's left. You will just have to try and imagine it.

Only a few more chances to join in on the weekly Tyler Florence Fridays!

Menu Plan Monday: Happy Thanksgiving!

It is Canadian Thanksgiving today, where most families have a turkey coma. We are having spaghetti for ours.

Actually, most of my family had Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday, with the Hubby's family, and I had mine much later that night, after work. Yummy turkey, stuffing, potatoes and gravy. I was able to enjoy the turkey goodness without the work or the dishes and ended my meal with three dishes to wash: my plate, fork and knife.

We have a busy week ahead of us, including celebrating my little sous chef's birthday this week! Since he was premature but born with no health problems and able to come home right away, Thanksgiving for us is more about him than about turkey.

It is also our family tradition that the birthday person gets to pick the menu for that night, so try and guess which one he picked!

Sunday: Leftovers and canned soup with cheese and crackers. We ate together as a family but no one had the same thing to eat.

Monday: Spaghetti, being made by the Hubby right now as I get ready to go to work.

Tuesday: Homemade Make your own pizza.

Wednesday: Hamburgers with coleslaw and sweet potato fries.

Thursday: Chili with tortilla chips.

Friday: Don't know yet, will depend on if we have company or not.

So? Did you guess which menu item was chosen by a 7 year old? If you said pizza, you were right!

Oddly enough, he also picked cheesecake for his cake, which is what his brother did in February. Not sure why, though, since in February he refused to touch the cheesecake, so we will see if I make one he will eat.

Be sure to add your own menu plan in to Menu Plan Monday, hosted by I'm an Organizing Junkie.

And have a great Thanksgiving!

Tyler Florence Fridays: Sweets are sweet

I have to admit, when I started participating in Tyler Florence Fridays, I didn't realize it was a year long event. I didn't even think about it having an end date, I simply assumed we would be blogging until no one wanted to anymore, or until our great hostesses (hi ladies!) decided they were done.

So I am sad to learn that the year is coming to an end.

Not that I will stop making Tyler's recipes, but I will miss the motivation to try new things.

I think maybe I will have to find a new chef to focus on and maybe a blogging group to join in with, just for that extra motivation. (And for those of you who know how much baking and home made with-a-recipe-cooking I've done in the last month, you can stop laughing now - things will settle down and I will get there!)

Yes, it is still busy here. Fortunately, I have a few Tyler recipes in my archives to go to. I had a hard time choosing this week's selection, one of three choices, and they all appealed to me.

The original recipe for my final choice called for pistachios and strawberries, for the Pistachio Meringues with Warm Strawberries found on page 256 of Eat This Book. I didn't have pistachios, I had cashews. And I did not have strawberries, I had peaches. I also had a bit of Grand Marnier, so I changed the recipe to Cashew Meringues with Drunken (instead of warm) Peaches.

Hmmmm, these were tasty. Not as crispy on the outside as I'd have liked, but at the time it had been raining for days and the humidity was not low. Cashews and peaches go quite well together, and a splash of orange flavored alcohol really brightens up the fresh peaches.

It isn't too late to join in on Tyler Florence Fridays, just make sure you make your submission before noon tomorrow (Friday.)

Can't wait to see what everyone else made.

Menu Plan Monday: I think I missed a few things!

Not only have I missed writing down my menu plan in my book, I've missed blogging groups and blog events, I've missed taking pictures of the food I have managed to make, and last week even missed participating in Tyler Florence Fridays! And not because I didn't have anything to contribute, I just plain forgot until I was on my way to work and then it was too late.

October is a very busy month for me this year: not only am I going to be working my new job, as well as my usual job at our Taekwon-Do school, I've added in another job that I mentioned in my menu plan last week, working at the Farmer's Table as part of Saunder's Farm's yearly Haunting Season. So much fun! But tiring and limiting my time for cooking and baking. (It is so limited that a few minutes ago my husband went on a cookie raid and had to eat packaged cookies!)

Still, planning and working together, we have a plan for most of the week!

Sunday: Scrambled eggs and fresh bagels. This was supposed to be hamburgers but it turns out I didn't have a package in the freezer that I thought I had. Eggs make a great last minute substitute.

Monday: Stew with mashed potatoes. (If I'm smart, I will double this and freeze half.)

Tuesday: Pulled pork sandwiches. Maybe with salad.

Wednesday: Stir Fry. Cause I didn't make it the last time I planned to and still have the veggies to do it.

Thursday: Lasagna with garlic bread. The finest you can buy frozen and stick in the oven!

Friday: Something chicken. Not sure how yet, I have time between one job and the next to make something and I think I will wait and see how I feel.

Exciting week, isn't it?

Well, maybe not exciting, but we are still going to manage to eat together as a family for most of the week, and that is important for us.

Have your own menu plan? Add it in to Menu Plan Monday, hosted by Laura and I'm an Organizing Junkie.