My Sweet Marie

Archive for December 2011

For Christmas this year, we gave each family a gift basket. Inside this basket were a few things I’d collected over the last little while but also there was a gift certificate to Boston Pizza, a movie pass for two with the popcorn and most importantly, a gift certificate to the grand-kids for a sleepover at Meme and Pepe’s house! This is not a night of free babysitting but a night out for the grand-kids! Everyone thinks the parents need a night away from the kids but really maybe it’s kids who need the break away!

They were told that all snacks and meals would meet dietary restrictions and that all good behaviour is rewarded with hugs,cookies and kisses! (Like any grand-parent would do!) Bad behaviour will not be noticed!

Side effects of these sleepovers may include sleepiness, whining upon return home, “I miss Meme and Pepe’s”. Sleepovers should be repeated till symptoms disappear!

So Holly was the first to take us up on the gift certificate. She sent Mom and Dad (Mel and Jim) out to dinner and a movie so that they wouldn’t miss her too much and she came to Meme and Pepe’s for a night on the town!

We had a great time, she started out with a bit of Curious George and then it was on to play-doh and she made all kinds of meatballs out of green play-doh, very yummy indeed! For dinner she got served chicken and rice, believe it or not, it’s one of her favourites! For dessert…gluten-free rice Krispies! Always a hit!

After a swim in the tub, can you really call it a bath when all they do is play? I guess I did wash her hair, sure let’s call it a bath! So after her swim, I mean bath, we popped some popcorn and then headed downstairs to watch some veggie tales! These are christian movies for kids, which are actually quite good! She wanted 2 of them so guess what? Yep, she got to watch two of them!

Bedtime was a breeze, we read a couple of stories including ‘Le Rouge c’est bien mieux!” and’ Toni and the tomato soup’! Two very good books if you’re in need of more! She dozed right off to sleep without any kind of trouble and Meme finally got to relax!

Morning came a bit sooner than my preference but that goes with the territory doesn’t it? After a few breakfasts, Holly gave her Mommy and Daddy a huge welcome, and then off they went! She went home happy and Mel and Jim were rested and they had a fun night too! Apparently the whole evening cost them 81 cents! Gotta love that!

Heidi and Blake will be cashing in their sleepover coupon next Saturday, what kind of  food and fun shall we plan for them?

Sweetest regards,

Sweet Marie

Before I give you the recipe for our Poochie eggs, I must tell you the story behind them. When our daughter Melissa was a wee girl we would take her grocery shopping with us where we lived in Toronto. Being on a very tight budget we’d treat her with these story books that she loved, and were very inexpensive! These books were about a pink-haired poodle called Poochie. Melissa would behave herself beyond belief to get one of these books. She absolutely loved these stories. We would read the stories at bedtime and she would always ask for more!

Anyhow, one day I had made poached eggs with a curry sauce and she looked at them suspiciously, and I told her they were poached eggs, go on try them..and she said Poochie eggs? Being wise beyond my education, I grabbed the opportunity like any mother would, and said “why yes, they’re Poochie eggs just like the story books!” Well she gobbled up those eggs like I had served her Kd and franks!

So, from there on poached eggs were poochie eggs and they had to be served with poochie sauce! Oh what did I start? Even Melanie who never even saw a Poochie book that I can remember loves them! So every Christmas, Easter or any other brunch I serve for my family, there are always Poochie eggs! Holly and Heidi are not sold, I must find some Poochie story books! Blake eats them like he eats anything else, with a ravishing appetite and there won’t be food for days to come!

So here is the recipe for Curried Poochie Eggs, I hope they meet your expectations!

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1-2 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 cup milk or cream (I use soy milk)
  • 2 tsp corn starch + 4 tsp water  (mixed and used to thicken sauce)
  • 6-8 poached eggs
  • 3-4 toasted english muffins (6-8 halves)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Sautee the butter. Add in the curry till all blended well.
  2. Stir in the milk or cream, bring to a light boil.
  3. Thicken with the corn starch and water or you may use a roux if gluten is not an issue for your guests!
  4. Bring to a low boil.
  5. Serve the poached eggs on a toasted english muffin half and topped with the curry sauce.
  6. A slice or three of peameal bacon is lovely under the poached egg as well or on the side!
  7. Enjoy!

For months we prepare, we shop, we cook, we clean and then in a few hours it all goes by in a blur then poof…it’s over! All the packages are gone along with the little people to whom they belong and the house is so quiet you’d hear a mouse fart! What is up with that?

Our Christmas Day was loaded with noise, food and fun just as it should be! Trying to play Twister with a 4-year-old and a 2 and half- year-old were well worth the giggles! Heidi was as serious as can be and Holly well… she didn’t quite get it yet! Give her time and she’ll get it!

Brunch was delicious with our Curried Poochie Eggs, our family favourite and a must on Christmas day apparently! I shall share my recipe for that in my next post! The girls absolutely love them and love having for Christmas brunch! So they get served up along with the bacon,sausages, home fries and fruit & yogurt! Do you ever notice how food is always the central part of a holiday? Or is that just me?

We started out the gift exchange by handing out one gift at a time and then all of a sudden I look around the room and everyone is opening gifts willie-nillie! Heidi was getting under the tree and handing out the gifts for the most part, to the right people! At age 4 she is recognizing names. She can’t quite read yet but is recognizing certain names.  Of course there is a chance she was looking for her own name but I’d like to think she was just being helpful!

I’m not sure how it happened but Blake at one point was just going and grabbing any gift and opening them! Can you say chaos? Oh my! At just turned 2, Blake just loves ripping open the gifts, I could have wrapped 10 empty boxes and that boy would have been just as happy as opening the Home Depot tool bench that I got him! The big hit though was the package of emergency dinky cars! It was a set of firetrucks, police cars, ambulances…oh he liked that!

Holly got a bit excited when she opened the cash register, she was just burning up wanting to play with that toy! We got her the grocery cart and the groceries to go with it and she thought that was really cool! I’ll bet she is playing with them all right now or at least I’d like to think she is!

Once the gift unwrapping was all done, we sat and visited some with coffee, tea or even beers and we let the kids dig in to their toys! We got a game of Flip-Up going, a game we recently learned at the Quenneville Christmas party, and that’s always good for some noise isn’t it? It isn’t a party till the cards come out!

Well, the party is over, the mess cleaned up for the most part and the food mostly cleared out! We’ll be finishing up those leftovers today and the treats gotta go!

However you spent your day or days, I hope you had plenty to smile about as did we!

Sweetest regards,

Sweet Marie

 

Wherever you are, whichever language you speak and however you celebrate, I wish you and yours …. a very festive holiday!

I hope you will find peace within your heart and your home.  I wish you loving times with your family and friends. My wish for you …. is that your wish will come true!

May you be filled with child-like wonder this season and feel the joy of a child,  near or far. May your home be filled with love and laughter and it be carried with you…wherever the holidays take you.

Please be safe, don’t drink and drive and wish everyone you meet a Merry Christmas!

The Merriest of Greetings,

Sweet Marie

I used this pastry for my tourtieres but I am sure it would work for any type of pie! Few words of caution, this is fragile pastry, go easy! Use wax paper under and over it to roll it out!

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. rice flour
  • 1/2 c. potato starch
  • 1/2 c. tapioca starch
  • 1/4 tsp salt.
  • 6 tbsp butter or any sub according to your food tolerances
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 3 tbsp of ice-cold water

Directions:

  1. Combine flour,starches and salt in a big bowl.
  2. Cut in the butter until crumbly.
  3. Make a well and add the egg and vinegar.
  4. Stir gently with a fork until just blended.
  5. Sprinkle with water,blend together until mixture just holds together to form a ball. If not forming well, add more fat(butter, marg,lard)
  6. Use wax paper to roll out.

Tourtieres are a big tradition in our home. We generally serve them up on Christmas eve and nibble on the leftovers all through the holidays! We make enough to eat all year-long too and to share with those who don’t make them! No, I am not taking orders, thank you very much! Running a little late this year but finally the tourtieres are done!

This year I had an extra challenge of making a few gluten-free tourtieres along with the regulars! I will post my recipe for Gluten-free pastry next! It definitely is more fragile than my regular pastry recipe, oh my! They are kind of sad-looking but they’ll taste good! My other pastry looks beautiful!

Tourtieres:

  • 10 lbs of ground meat (I do a mix of pork and beef)  can do veal,turkey etc.
  • 5 lbs of mashed potatoes
  • pastry for 10 tops and bottoms (shells)
  • 4-5 tbsp dry sage
  • 3 large onions chopped
  • 4-5 carrots peeled and diced
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic
  • salt and pepper, parsley

Directions:

  1. Brown your meat with the onions,carrots and garlic in a very large pot.
  2. While the meat is cooking, boil your potatoes and mash them as per usual once they are fully cooked. Set aside.
  3. Once the meat is fully cooked, drain off any fat. Now season it to your taste with the sage,salt and pepper and parsley.
  4. Have your pastry ready, I usually do them ahead of time and have them cold in the fridge or freezer! Store-bought works too for the busy Moms and Dads!
  5. Once the meat taste nicely seasoned, add in the mashed potatoes and stir well to combine.
  6. Fill your pie shells and top with the pastry top. I like to crimp the edges so that they look fancy, your call!
  7. Serve with chilli sauce and a nice salad! enjoy! some people like having kecthup with it….we’re a classy bunch!

Today I was reminded by my 4 year-old grand-daughter that there are only 4 more sleeps till christmas! Remember when you counted down the days to a big event by counting the sleeps? Ahhh those were the days.

I arrived at Melissa’s bright and early! I was substituting for her on-vacation sitter! Heidi had been up for an hour waiting on me! She greeted me at the door with a SHHHH… Blake is still sleeping. So I quietly crept in and shortly thereafter Melissa and Dan both left for work.

Heidi waited for me to have her breakfast and was disappointed to hear that I had already eaten! I sat and had my tea while she ate and then our little man woke up! Time to get his breakfast on the go. He was a bit surprised when I went in to wake him but seemed fine with it!

After dropping Heidi off at school, Blake and I went to the Organics Bakery on Wellington! All I can say is Wow! What a great spot. All of their breads are gluten-free, and vegan so no milk or eggs in them! What a service they are providing for all those with allergies! Not to mention the vegans! Blake and I sampled a few things, he liking the oatmeal raisin cookies best, me the breads! I got the herb and garlic and the flax and honey! Can’t go wrong with those two! That’ll last me a while, unless of course I share with miss Holly!

I was very impressed by the Organics Works Bakery store. The store itself has many gluten-free groceries, dry and frozen besides all the freshly baked goods! Their presentation of the products and the amount of product on the shelves was very impressive to say the least! The staff were friendly and even gave Blake a freebie cookie! He also was impressed and was a very good boy in spite of all the things he could have touched but did not! For more info go to www.organicworks.com

We stopped in for quick visit with Geri-Kay for a tea and then headed out before we did any damage to all her beautiful Christmas decorations! Once back at Melissa’s place, Blake and I enjoyed a nice piece of bread with our homemade chicken noodle soup! Life is good, I thought!

After Blake’s nap we headed out to pick up Heidi and her first words were, “are we gonna bake cookies Meme?” Of course we are! So we baked some cookies, Blake sampling once again and Heidi in there nibbling like the best of them! Once fully loaded with sugar, Melissa arrived and I headed out! I know when to make an exit!

Four sleeps till Christmas, are you ready yet?

Merriest of greetings,

Sweet Marie