My Sweet Marie

It’s that time of year again…antipasto anyone?

My Sweet Marie

It’s that time of year where I cook up a storm in preparation for the upcoming holiday season. I make my Christmas cake, my pepper jelly and sometime my antipasto. The antipasto is awesome for when you get that unexpected company and you have nothing to feed them, you just go in the cupboard or fridge, pull out the antipasto and grab a few crackers and ta-da, instant appetizer. It also makes a great gift for those hard to buy folks! Here’s what you need to do:

Ingredients:

  • 1 Spanish onion chopped finely
  • 3 cans chopped mushrooms, drained
  • 500 grams of cut green beans, chopped small
  • 2 x 13oz jars pickled onions, chopped
  • 48 oz jar of sweet mixed pickles chopped
  • 16 oz can/jar of black or green olives
  • 500 grams of cauliflowerettes (I use frozen, easy to chop too!)
  • 4 x 6oz cans of tuna, drained
  • 1 green pepper chopped

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Hi there….I know it’s been a while. You see my mother had been very ill and well, she was my priority, sorry. Any free time I had, I would drive down to see her. Mom lived 2 hours away. I am sorry to tell you all that she passed three weeks on October 16th. Here’s my eulogy to Mom;

Mom’s Eulogy

Pour nos amis et famille francophones, nous vous remercions d’être venus aujourd’hui , aussi pour vos cartes , vos dons de nourriture , vos appels , les fleurs et surtout votre support durant cette temps dificile.

Friends, family and Father Dwayne, thank you all for coming today to celebrate the life of a wonderful, exceptional woman, my Mother Beverly Mercedes Talbot,  also known as Bev Quenneville.

Mom was many things to many people, she was a daughter, a sister, a wife first to Philippe then at a difficult time in life, she met her loyal friend Fred and they had 20 happy years together. She was a loving aunt to many, a fun friend to several, a caring boss to hundreds over the years at SPT, a loving Meme or grand-mother to many, a great grand-mother to even more , but most importantly to us 8 siblings, she was our Mother.

Mom was a loving, caring and most of all, a giving mother. She had a way to make you feel like you were her favorite, in fact, I bet all 7 of my siblings would tell you that they are the favorite and truthfully they’d be right.

I asked Mom one day to tell me the truth, who was her favorite kid? She replied that at the moment I was but she qualified that with “but tomorrow if your sister shows up with a happy meal, she’ll be my favorite then the next day if your brother shows up to cut my lawn, he will be.” You can see how this game goes, don’t you? She adored all of her kids and was very grateful for all they did for her. I’m sure many would attest to that today as they were likely privey to her bragging about us, non-stop.

Mom was a Meme to many, she adored her grand-kids and each of them could tell you a favourite story, you will have to ask each of them their favourite, as I can share only one today. There are many stories and I encourage you all to share them today to anybody who’ll listen.

In the summer of 1993, we took Mom on a camping trip with us, she slept in our camper and on the first morning there, she took Melanie, who was 6 at the time, to the washroom for their morning routine. So they got their toothbrushes out and put their toothpaste on them, and then….. we heard the laughing from our campsite! Denis and I were sitting at the site, a good ways away, and at first we thought she was crying, I ran into the washroom to see Melanie and Mom laughing their fool heads off, Mom had forgotten her teeth in the camper! She was gathering a crowd and told the story over and over, breaking into laughter before the punch line a few times. That weekend, Mom was known as the funny toothless Meme by all in the campground!

Because I lived out of town for the last 20 years, Mom and I had a standing Sunday morning phone call. In these conversations I learned a lot about Mom’s life and there was always a lesson if I listened real carefully. Mom didn’t have a formal post-secondary education but she was far smarter than most people knew.  It didn’t take me long to figure that out.

In one of these conversations, I asked Mom; in all your years of cooking for people, what did you like cooking the best? Her reply was that it depended on who was showing up! She had a sense of humor too! Her one dish that shall go down in history were her chicken and glissants, or sliders. People have tried to replicate but I’m not convinced anyone has duplicated them. Time will tell. Over the years she turned that into chicken and bow ties, it was much simpler and faster! Mom could get an un-expected meal on the table in no time, this when the bow ties came in! Mom’s key ingredient in all she cooked was love. Mom was a fantastic cook and I am happy to tell you that she passed on many of her recipes.

I asked her another time, what was her favorite trip she took ? To that she replied: her trip out West with Monique, Gaston, David and Natalie. She said she was awed by the beauty of our country, Canada. The lesson is perhaps we should see more of our own country before we traipse all over the world. She was so grateful for the time she spent with Monique, Gaston, David and Natalie!

In one of our later conversations, I asked her if there was anything she wished she had done more of? She didn’t hesitate to say “play more with my kids when they were little”, I was so worried about a clean house, making the perfect dinner, being a good wife, working so much, I didn’t play enough with them. There’s a lesson in there for all you young Moms! Meme’s orders, put the mops, vacuums away!

Our phone calls came to end this past spring and we’d have our conversations face to face, from then on. I had so many questions and knew my time was limited. I wanted to know everything about her, all her ideas, her recipes and all of her advice. She was so wise.  In one of these talks, I asked her what she was most proud of in her life.

It came as no surprise to me when she answered quickly, her family.  She was so proud of her 8 kids, how we all had found love, had wonderful children, how we are all contributing members of our society, how we were all good kids, as she put it.  Family was her number one priority in life and she felt good about the job she’d done, and she could leave us all, knowing we’re all going to go on living well and passing on her traditions, her morals, ethics and her stories!

Mom was an awesome story teller; she had a great sense of humor and had great timing. I asked her in one of our talks, which story was her favorite story to tell? She had to think as she had many, but she decided on the church and mouse story!

If you’d not heard it, I will give you the Readers digest version. Picture our family at Sunday mass, all 6 kids (at the time) with Mom and Dad in a pew. She was pregnant for me; she had her winter coat on, which had just been taken out of storage. They were standing for prayer and she felt something run up her back. She threw off her coat and my father gave her a look. Yes, that look. Turns out there was a mouse in her coat and Dad, let’s just say took care of the mouse and handed Mom back her coat with the dead mouse inside it. She said No way, I’m not wearing that. So, to not make a scene, they switched coats, Dad wore Mom’s coat home that day and Mom wore Dad’s trench coat. I’ll bet he looked handsome in that black lamb’s wool coat!

On yet another trip to Belle River, I had another question. I asked her if she had any advice for us all, her kids. She said forgive people, don’t carry hate, resentment or anger, it’s not good. Forgive one another. Then she used her magic little words: “Please tell them, do it for me”! Mom knew that anytime she’d use that line, no matter who she was talking to, or what she asked, we’d do it.  She continued with, it may be hard at times, but you’ll be glad you did.

In one of our later chats, I asked Mom how she’d want to be remembered. She replied that she’d like people to remember her kindness and generosity.I assured her that would be exactly the case. I have been told exactly that by many people in the last several days. I told her that surely even a blind person could see…. how kind and generous she was.

I wanted to share with you all a story today about Mom’s kindness as I’ve been told so many over this past week, so many. But the one that sticks in my mind is one a friend pointed out. She said with Bev It didn’t matter your race, religion, your size or color, she would be kind, loving, or funny with you like she would her best friend.

Approximately a year ago, Mom was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma. She was about to face the battle of a lifetime but this battle she wouldn’t fight alone. Her 8 kids were all with her every step of the way wanting to do what they could, however they could help. Mom faced many struggles in her lifetime, this one proved to be very daunting but she fought none the less with grit, grace and honor.

So my friends and family, I want you to leave today not reminded of Mom’s long haul of pain and suffering but of Mom’s many attributes, her kindness, her generosity, her wisdom and please carry those traits into your life. The world needs more “Bev’ness”, go out and spread the love, forgiveshare, laugh and tell her stories,  she’d be real happy you did!

Mom, you made the world a better place just by being in it. We all know you are now pain-free and having the reunion of a lifetime with all your passed loved ones. We will sorely miss you.

Thank you, God bless.

 

These cookies are husband and grand-children approved! You would never know they are gluten-free, grain-free, paleo, etc etc, neither will your guests! They are addictive is what they are! Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 3/4 coconut sugar
  • 3 tbsp. molasses (I used unsulphered)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 6 tbsp. coconut flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp ginger ground
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a large bowl, mix oil,sugar, molasses and egg.
  3. Add in the dry ingredients. Scoop into balls. Should get 24
  4. Place 1-2″ apart on a lined cookie sheet. Bake for 12 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven and gently press so they are flattened.
  6. Bake for 3 more minutes.
  7. Let cool before transferring to cooling rack!

I made this dressing 19 years ago for a wedding that I catered. Shout out to Carrie and Phil! This was the dressing on the salad and if I remember correctly, I had made an adding error and had put too much pepper in it! It was still popular! It’s lovely on greens with almonds, berries, chicken and goat cheese but truly good on any salad! Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup yogurt plain, non-fat (goat’s yogurt or soy for dairy-free)
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  •  1-2 tbsp. lemon or orange zest
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp honey
  • dash of salt

Blend all together till smooth! Voila!

Recipe worth repeating….in case you missed it the first time around!

My Sweet Marie

Having company for dinner? I got this recipe from Carolyn, a friend at the gym, she’s a fantastic cook so I knew it was a winner!  Make this up the morning your company is coming and then pop in the oven while you are having pre-dinner drinks! Delicious, easy to do and hearty for a cold winter’s meal! Sere it with roasted veggies and/or a salad and ta-da dinner! Here’s what you need:

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb bacon cooked crisp
  • 3 med. onions
  • 3 lbs of boneless pork cubed
  • 1/2 c. gluten-free flour
  • 3 tart apples peeled and chopped
  • 1 tsp sage
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 cup apple cider or juice (not vinegar)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup milk or almond milk
  • 5 tbsp. butter (reserve 2 tbsp.)
  • fresh parsley snipped
  • 4-5 med. potatoes

Directions:

  1. Cook up your bacon in a large skillet till crisp…

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Happy St. Paddy’s Friends!
Here’s a post from the past…enjoy!

My Sweet Marie

Happy St. Paddy’s day folks! Here’s a recipe to celebrate the occasion, albeit a bit late! If you don’t care for lamb, feel free to sub with stew beef.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of stew lamb or beef, cut into cubes
  • 1 lb of potatoes, washed and cubed
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1-2 carrots, cut into chunks
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 3 tbsp. of fresh chopped parsley, save 1 tbsp. for garnish
  • salt and pepper to your taste
  • 2 cups beef broth or stock (gluten-free of course)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  2. Layer the lamb meat, onion, potatoes, carrot and celery in an oven proof pot or casserole dish. Season each layer with parsley, salt and pepper as you go. Pour in the beef stock and cover tightly.
  3. Bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours in the preheated oven, until vegetables and meat are very tender…

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Here’s a quick, easy and healthy dinner that you could make ahead and it is oh so tasty! It’s a bit of work to work the lettuce into a wrap but manageable and so healthy for it!

Here’s what you need:

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 onion chopped fine
  • 1 lb mushrooms chopped fine
  • 1 large carrot peeled and grated
  • 2 cups bok choy mini, chopped fine
  • 8-10 lettuce leaves, washed and ready to go, keep aside

Sauce:

  • 3 tbsp. soy sauce gluten-free
  • 2 tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. ground fresh ginger or to taste
  • 1 tbsp. of crushed garlic (1-2 cloves)
  • sirachi sauce to taste
  •  1 tsp sesame oil

Directions:

  1. Sautee the onions, carrot and mushrooms.
  2. Add in the ground meat and stir till pink is gone.
  3. Add in the bok choy till all is wilted.
  4. Add in the sauce which was already stirred together.
  5. Stir till well blended.
  6. Serve with the lettuce and wrap like a burrito, enjoy!
  7. Serve with a salad on the side and/or peanut sauce for dipping!