Friendship: Can you Renig???

I can't shake the feeling that today has been such a great day; but I think I missed it! I got up, got the kids ready and out the door all by 7:00 am. The Dood and Smelly ended up in my bed sometime around 4 am and I didn't have energy to move them back; so we all woke up together after the religious 2 snooze rule. They were so hilarious today, Smelly doing her little dance for whatever reason (remember this kid dances to her own drum and base beets in her life). Dood was as snugly as ever, and wouldn't let me go. I was totally getting irked because if I don’t get out of the house in time then Momma doesn't get a coffee - if Momma doesn't get a coffee before work it does end quite different. "Stuart!" "Yes momma" "what does momma say about coffee in the morning?" Anyhow, so I do the drop off, the caffeine injection and am at my desk by 7:56 am and start my day. In an instant it's 5:30 pm and I have to literally race to pick up the critters and get home...? Where does the day go?" I ask myself. I actually take 3 minutes to ponder what would life be like without this constant balancing act....pretty freakin dull if you ask me! The moment I affirm this with myself I want to do something with the kids....BAKE!!!!!! I always love to bake with the critters, because nothing melts the day away like a glass of wine...yikes! I mean, like kids laughter and the smell of chocolate chip cookies ... (and wine). So my mission is to not only get dinner ready in 25mins but also conjure up a way to get cookies baked and in the oven so that at the very moment that we are done stuffing our faces we can all celebrate that we can continue to do so again! Project: D I n n e r a n d C o o k I e s Subjects: Critters 1 2 3 and me Time: 25-30 mins Can she do it??? YES SHE CAN! Didn't Obama win with that one? Dinner tonight is actually a little treat. Dan is gout ridden so he can't enjoy too much red wine (so I compensate) or red meat (unless we are @ Le Flip casa) so tonight's masterpiece is Pan Seared Striploin Smothered with Drunken Portobello, Shitake and Button Mushrooms avec le fromage Bleu I take our 2 ny strips and get the skillet ready. All I use on steak is Butter (again, no claim to calorific diet stuff here) and Salt and Peppa. I grease on both sides and add the accessories to them and they are off! In a separate skillet I like to get the olive oil heated, sweat out the garlic so the house is ridden of Vampires ---aside from Edward and then add the fungi! ***TIP OF THE DAY The trick with fungi is DONT CROWD THEM...they will never get golden if there are too many on top of each other... So we get the smushrooms all golden and delicious and then it`s time to break me off a piece of 'dat cheese. Tonight we are finishing up on the delicious and wonderful creamy blu that we got at Sam and Sons Cheese at the Burlington Farmer`s Market. Blu del Moncenisio, is a great Italian cow`s milk cheese from the Piedmont region in Northern Italy. I use this because like the steak that I am going to shove into my gap, it`s got a great peppery and luscious flavour. It`ll go great with the steak and make the mushies velvety and sinful! Right about now is when I am flipping the cow`s ass onto its other side. We like to be pretty red neck and eat our steak Medium rare - medium depending on who`s it doesn`t take too long to get ready. I take the blu and break it in pieces with my hands and literally drop the hunks into the skillet. I also like to turn the heat down on the skillet so I don’t burn the cheese. When the bulk of the wedge is done melting, I add a dash more of S&P and take it off the heat. The cow`s ass is off the heat too and is sitting for a few. The critters are now mixing the wet with dry on the cookies...So has flour all over her face and I have to tell you if I could figure out bloggy world any sooner, I would post the pic of her that I took. She was squinting her face all up because she was eating a lemon (she does that) and we floured her...she looks like a little old lady with natural wrinkles...totally friggen adorable! Anyhow, Smelly is trying to mix the dough and the dood is sitting back watchin the girls do all the work. Really, for a 2 year old, he`s just so relaxed and happy. His conversation runs from Bella don`t eat that to Momma; get me cookies NOW and that is it. Totally content just observing - I think he has a weird phobia of having sticky shit on his hands...I mean - who really likes that, right? Anyhow, so the cookies are mixing, the steak is totally consuming my thoughts and the smushies are almost perfect. I realize at this moment, I DONT HAVE VEGETABLES ready...I think I could live with that, but as a mom, you really want to give the kids a balanced meal - not only that, I totally don’t want the kids to tell their friends parents that momma doesn`t give us vegetables...because school moms freak my freak! Onward we go! I forge a salad of grape tomatoes, red pepper, and cucumber and left over blu cheese and add oil and vinegar with guessed it...S&P and we are good to go! For those that actually have read my blog-a-maroo you may be thinking, is the insatiable host not consuming wine, can this be so..What is going on...? (stage direction: enter Wayne and Garth `diddly doo diddly doo diddly doo`) What I neglected to start with was just how great today would be washed down with I want wine or something HA!!! Wait, do you know what would wash away the day that I didn`t really enter.... GIN It’s the answer to my prayers; if I could have been baptised with it, yes I would have! gin, gin, gin, gin, gin.... I run...almost float to the cupboard where behind those doors angels have wept tears of joy at the sight. I eagerly pull open the double doors and am blinded by the rays gleaming off of the bottle.BOMBAY SAPHIRE...where on earth have you been??!!! I instantly transform into bartender mode getting everything in order Shaker: check Ice: check Vermouth: check Olives: check Martini glass: check Strainer: shit...where the hell is the strain...oh good. Got it Strainer: check Now all I need is 1 minute...I get the ice in the shaker, pour a splash of vermouth; get 4 oz (free pour) into it and hear the ice cubes crack with excitement. Apparently my ice cubes are functional GIN Freaks also...whew, it’s not just me! And hold off on the judgment you silly drunks; the 4 oz is for 2 martinis, not one!! My heart starts to accelerate. It`s now beating at the same pace as the shaker...sha sha sha shake-a shake-a shhht shhht sssht. My heart is doing the friggen flamenco dance and it`s going to literally jump out of my skin! And just at the part where you see the male stomp his foot and clap his hand in the Paso Doble, the martini is ready. I have confirmed that there is a little sheet of ice on the shaker, I hear the ice cubes have calmed down and I also can just FEEL that it`s ready. Next, martini glass out of freezer. After I get my thumb unstuck from the stem it`s time!!!! ooh nelly. this one`s gonna be a good one..I get my olive juice in the glass, give it a swirl and pour the chilled salvation in. I love watching the pour. I guess it’s what the Irish love about a perfect pint of Guinness...I have the same admiration of watching a martini in action. I am now drooling - at that moment in time and now. I can smell and taste the juniper. I am mildly excited and grinning at just how great that martini was! (pats on the back to me; I am Momma Martini!) Back to the food.... ...the kids are now putting the cookies on the sheet and have literally covered the entire table (that seats 7) with dough, chocolate chip, flour and more...but it`s time. The oven is preheated and the food is all ready to be consumed...enter cookies; plate the food; clear the table; gulp the martini... my life is complete....per the usual tone for dinner the giggles, bites and out-right belly laughs are heard. There is one thing missing at the table, it’s not the wine; although, now that you mention it that is tearing me up; but Dan`s at work... I love that he is able to be home for at least one dinner a week with us all, but you know sometimes when you put your favourite heels on, but can`t find the bag that goes with them to totally pull the outfit together This is how I feel sometimes when he is at work. I`ll get over it, but it`ll make this Sunday`s dinner even better!!! We have already decided - Homemade Mac and Cheese. Sharp cheddar, gouda and Moz melted in with Armonich Rigatoni pasta with essence of white truffle...if you are NY foodie; this is inspired by the ever-so sexy Waverly Inn. I haven`t ever been there, and I don’t think it’s in my future; however, it`s one thing that I love to make and can`t get enough of. Sunday will effin RoCk!!! ************************************************************************************ Dinner was fantabulous and now it`s time to award the critters for being so great tonight. We get our cookies out of the oven, and head to the freezer. Vanilla Ice Cream, 1 banana, 1 cup of chocolate sauce and whipped cream. I love to have fun with dessert, and I am NOT a pastry chef at all, but I do like to make fun things with the kids. This is simple. Funky Monkey Chocolate Chip Cookies. What you need: 2 cookies (fresh out of the oven) half scoop of vanilla ice cream 4-5 slices of banana melted chocolate Take the 2 cookies and fill them with the ice cream. Drop bananas all over it; drip the chocolate all over that and cover in whipped cream!! And there you go (chh!chh!) Just as soon as I get everyone their plate, I get a call from one of my gal pals LeFlip. We start ranting on about our days, our kids and the general Whud up! It’s always a hoot to talk to her. I feel that if there is anyone out there who may `get me`...Le Flip could possibly have the jest. Continually my husbands pms schedule rotates my own, so it`s a comic delight to go on about the girly stuff and the romantic stuff and the stuff that the girlys talk about and vice versa. I love that she is creative and innovative and loves wine also! I hate that we don’t get to play as much anymore; but when we do, it`s a grand 'ole time ((da bean!)) So we`re talking and I actually got my first live feedback about the blogadoo! She read it! I mean, I would hope that my friends would read it, and strangers, blogcreepers, Ellen DeGeneres and Oprah too! I mean, these are the reasonable milestones that I hope for this diatribe!! But LeFlip read it and actually liked it. Ok, so she thought YouHadMeAtMerlot was a little seductive...and maybe it was...but whatever...she read it. I also value her opinion a lot as she is also a writer and journalism major. I think that having someone who comes from there "get” what I think I am trying to do is great. The funny thing is, we have known each other for like 11 years...that`s a long time.. and she says 'this is one thing that I didn`t know about you Mrs. P!"...why LeFlip??? Have I really hidden the real me away for so long that not only did I not know myself, but my friends also lost sight of me?? Was I really just a cup of warm milk??? NO LONGER THAT I AM...I want to be the sassy Martini; the sexy glass of wine and really live each day with the full intent to outdo the last! I tell her the truth. I have been so wound up for the past whatever years that I really have forgotten myself. I don’t know who I am anymore...I had forgotten how to have fun -how to laugh at myself and just to be me. Not the me who is dreading each day; who can`t get up the energy to smile or acknowledge that "hey I’m alive today...and that`s pretty fantastic!!" was a while that I turned into the "whacked out mother just trying to make it through a day one cup of joe at a time". I think that my mother gave me great advice...she said I know that things can get pretty crazy and it`s hard to make the right decision. what you have to do is sit down and write out what you want from life. what you think you want. who do you want to be? what do you want to do...everything? Set goals for yourself and try to identify with whatever list makes you complete. If you don’t know, keep writing; keep checking things off, move them to a different list and one day all the answers will be in front of you. My momma is one smart chick and this is what I tell LeFlip...well most of it.I continued these thoughts after the phone call was done. The dood was falling asleep in my arms, So was getting cranky and Smelly was asleep.... As I am sitting her, summarizing my day, I am so glad that the moments I decided to pay attention to were these last ones. Dan is now home; I have laughed my ass off with my friends and I also got to let out just a little more insanity that lives in my head! I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings!!

You Had Me at Merlot

...pop! The cork is ejected from the bottles neck with a quick snap of the wrist and already my mouth is salivating. I can't even smell the perfume of the bouquet yet, but I know it's coming. I know that as soon as my server leaves the table, I am going to grab my oversized goblet in two hands and bring it towards me with the biggest grin ever. This grin would make the Grinch who Stole Christmas run in the opposite direction. ...swish...The pour of the elegantly ruby gem is slowly rising to the middle of the glass and I can start to taste it on my palate. The schnozberries taste like schnozberries... I can sense that sheer delight that you get when you slip into a new pair of jeans; the sexy feel of when you put on a new lacy bra or, wrap a warm cashmere blanket around you...this is the excitement that I get when I taste my first sip from a's really the one time in my day where if it were a commercial you would see me take a sip of wine... (insert image here - getting pissed that images wont upload to blog) and then at that moment as if in one of those cheesey 80s movies, you here it...that music that is in the background (fade to television screen -enter stage left and right -man and woman, dressed in white linen shirts and pants/skirt; running towards eachother, slow motion, hair blowing and then the reuinion they have dreamed of....) this is how my first taste of wine plays in my head...Reality....(dj scratches record "ccccshhh May I have your attention please!") the kids are running around the house half naked, screaming at one another about how unfair it is that So, my 5yr old drama queen, isn't getting married anymore because the boy doesn't think that her shoes are good enough; while Smelly, the 4 yr old giggle monster, tries to console here as she is wearing nothing but quackash (Portuguese for undies) and a cape made out of the Canadian Flag. This is my life and it's not even the half of it! For me, that first sip of wine, takes all the noise; all the drama; all the angst from my day, and makes it better!! tonight's selection is all over the winelist folks. I started with finishing off the bottle of Barolo I had from the other night, and now have moved on to my favorite casual everyday wine "Little Penguin Merlot" At $9 bucks at the LCBO you can not go wrong here... I hope to complete this rant, figure out why the Trojans are attacking me...WHAT THE HELL DID I DO TO YOU???? I watched 300 you know...the Spartans will kick your sorry ass! Finally, I hope to complete the work that I have committed myself to doing... AHHH Inspiration...where are you???? I am trying to pull my wits together and write about why people go to SanFran....I go because I want to get a glimpse of Uncle Jesse's house; I want to go play and bask in many of the vineyards - and perhaps come up with a new "randy" term for doing it in the vineyard at sunset...ok, maybe not...but I don't want to go to the museums... I want to walk around the Ferry Building and go into every single market that there is! I want to take a day trip and spend 2 hours walking in the French Laundry's gardens, and perhaps be fortunate enough to catch a glimpse of the excellence at work in the kitchen. I want to drive around Napa and go to Beringer Estates Winery and sample the Goods!!! BRING IT ON Robert Mondavi!! In San Francisco, I want to go to all 30 restaurants that are on my Bucket List of restaurants (Slanted Door, Gary Danko, A16, French Laundry, AdHoc, Ranch at Canneros Inn, Foreign Cinema and more....) I am taking a momentary walk around SF and NV in my head...pardon the elevator music while I fantasize.... ooooh...(bowchicabowwow) Ok, I am back (as I shake my head and take another gulp)...I am searching for ideas..if you have any let me know..I am in need of a hit of inspiration! Until then, Merlot and I will discuss our current state of uninspired...'s almost gone :(

I am not alone!!! Rise internal literary junkie...

ok, i have to admit...I am an EX HOT GIRL BLOG JUNKIE...could it be that another person could lead similar lives to my weak existance? could it be that maybe she is my altar ego??? what is the liklihood that another female out there- where you are- could be totally unhappy with her figure (shock, gasp, astonishment) so completely insane that she too thinks that other people need and want to hear about her quirkiness???? I THINK IT IS TRUE!!! did she marry my husband Dan - who i sometimes call Bastard out of love and Princess just because??? I can't believe it...I feel almost crazed and complete...I am also really loving her blogs. Subject: EX HOT GIRL Occupation: Amazing Photographer. Enlightened eye, hoalistic approach to beauty Likes: likely to love Gin, cosmo's; trashy mags and triscuit crackers as much as me...could possiblybe more...but i dont know her...she is just the source of literature that i need to read. On a recent rant, we learn about her fixation on S&M, Tweets/Twits, Princess socks; a detestation of cleaning windows, affection for Old Navy and her talent with myspace-like images. I also learn that where I thought that I was the only one who could clear a box of triscuits faster than Spicoli with the munchies, I am not! I AM NOT ALONE!!! To her post, I wanted to share with you all my response... "so in an odd and inspiring way, you have now lead me in a cerimoneous almost "intervention-like" way to PUT DOWN THE EFFING TRISCUITS!" does not matter that they are the whole wheat triangles with olive oil and cracked pepper; it matters only that I need to stop because apparently my house is haunted by this strange ghost/food nabber who eats all the good stuff and leaves my kids lunches with healthy crap...i love your blog, OLD navy rocks the socks outta life and i am morbidly fascinated with the blog. thank you for making me think as a writer, enjoy as a spectator and stand in awe at the captured images of your life. VIVA LOS TRISCUITS" I think that in some way having an outlet/bloggie type thing-a-majig is a way for people to really know who you are. Being able to share freely our expressions and thoughts the best way possible - as a raw emotion, really gives you an idea of what layers are inside of your own B52 shooter of life... I encourage you all to read EX HOT GIRLs blog- (and mine too)but really, she has a lot to say and share...I can't wait for her next rant... ExHotGirl... insatiable host salutes you with a raised glasss of PinotGrigio!

Pork Chops vs Portuguese with massive Trojans

I can't believe I couldn't share with you any sooner than now; but my computer came in contact with a massive trojan....I wish I were talking about the "gutter" trojans; however, I was under attack worse than Luke Skywalker in outer space!!! I am back and full of amo this time though... So last night, for family dinner we all took part in preparing (as most nights); however, Dan and I were doing more of the work than anyone else! The kids were glued to Kung FuPanda so asking for any help was pretty much useless.... We started by not really knowing the direction of our meal, but soon ventured into the realms of our creativity to enjoy a dinner full of laughter and great fall flavours. Anyhow, so we are sitting down, bottle of Portuguese Wine and a dinner fit for Kings, and all of a sudden I start to take a sip of the delicious velvety enchantress out of my stemless Riedel glass when all of a sudden Dan looks at me and straight faced asks "do you think that there it is against our culture that we are eating Pork Chops??? you know, I am Portuguese!!...." I nearly spat my wine out (which would be against cultural obligations as well as many laws that I personally abide!) I couldn't believe it though, Pork Chops, like Portuguese are called Pork Chops? Almost like one of my kids favorite movies, SharkTale, you see under the ocean the lifestlye that the fish's better than the Upper West Side of New York, complete with a Sushi restaurant, with the head chef being a Tuna. Completely funny if you ask me. My answer a simple smile and head shake. God I love this man! I know...who cares about banter, lets get to the good stuff... Braised Pork Chops served ontop of Simple Steamed Broccoli with Essence of Vanilla Mashed Potatos. The wine pairing for the evening... Colleja Douro Reserva Red 2004. This wine from the vintages selection at the LCBO aka. Heaven. It's a great buy for a gift and for enjoyment; however, in these economic times actually committing to an every day drinking wine - may not be budget friendly at$17.95 per btl. So we take some chicken stock cubes (I make a bunch of stock and freeze it into ice cubes to make portioning it way easier) and it is likely about 10 that I use in a big skillet and I add garlic, white wine (cooking) and the big meaty pork chops. I get the inferno up to about 450 degrees and add them in. I want the braising to take a while to get the meat tender so I keep it in the oven for a good 2 hours or so. I also season the meat with S&P and EVOO (these are my favorite food accessories if you haven't noticed yet). We take the red potatoes and boil them (no there isn't a science to this); however, for my tip of the day ****after you drain the potatos and put them back in your pot; place the pot back on the heat to allow any moisture that didn't drain to evaportate. This will also allow whatever you add to your smashers to melt into the potatoes nicely. Tonight, we wanted to do something a little different. So I always add about 1 - 2 cups of sour cream (depending on the amount of people eating) and then I added in some scrapings from the inside of the vanilla bean. If you dont have this in your fridge waiting to be used, you can use a bit of vanilla extract or oil or powder; however, the actual pod gives it such a great flavour. I would totally reccommend adding vanilla beans to your grocery list because I gaurantee you that I could make use of it in every meal for a week! Back to the add the vanilla, sour cream, olive oil, and S & P and smash em up! For veg, I took broccoli and steamed it. I like to gently toss it in EVOO afterwards and season to taste with S & P; but nothing special. I am a firm believer of keeping it simple. You dont want to overdo your meals with too much of anything (aside from laughter and wine -whatever if your priority). My preference a happy balance of each! If anyone actually reads this, I hope to hear from you soon! My friend David at work and I are planning a wine escape to Niagara on the Lake and then do some local support with some farmers and market stands upcoming so I can't wait to share with you all about that...we will be cooking afterwards also, so I'll keep you all posted for sure. This weekend, GIRLS NIGHT ON SATURDAY!!! I can't wait. My bestie and I are going into the city to cause a rucus! For dinner, we are deciding where we are going, and then to see hottie country singer Keith Urban at the ACC! It'll be a great evening out and I can't wait to see her. We literally get together once every 6 months which is beyond wrong, but cocktails are a must, great outfits essential and I will share it all very soon! Happy reading and if you dont have one in hand GO GET A FRIGGEN DRINK already!!!

..Making Banana Pancakes

Good morning everyone.... I am half awake, coffee is brewing and the critters are hungry. So here it is...the one thing that I know my husband can't live without; er, wait...I know there's a few things under that category; so I'll rephrase it...the one thing that I can cook AMAZINGLYthat my husband just can't resist. BananaPancakes!! YUMMO! I came across my talent for seducing these little round discs with toppings and different ingredients a few years back; but allow me to tell you these things rock. The current soundtrack for today is a mixed Jack Johnson's album (quite fitting I think) and I have the three little critters with me armed with aprons, spatulas, at our family table. Together we will whip up a batch in no time! This is also going to be the meal that gets us through the market and other shops along the way... Ingredients List: 1/2 - 3/4 c. buttermilk 2 tsp. melted butter 1 egg 2/3 c. white flour 1/3 c. whole wheat flour 1 tsp. baking soda 1 tbsp. sugar (use normal white sugar not the sugar listed below) 1 tbsp cinnamon (or to your own taste) 5 bananas 1/2 tsp. salt Ok, so here is my tip of the day! Have your milk at room temperature. This really helps keep everything consistent and really fluffs up these babies. So you're gonna beat the milk, melted butter and eggs gently. Then you mix the flour, soda sugar and salt in a separate bowl (much as you would do wet with wet for cookies)...mmm chocolate chunk cookies! I am drooling....ok, sorry I'll stop... Anyhow you add the dry stuff to the mixture and stir it just enough to dampen the flour. Ok, now for the best part, take your bananas and slice them up into whatever shape you like. I prefer to use the mandolin for simplicity and also it's a job that when the critters are supervised, they can do also. The other thing I have to point out is that keeping the bananas sliced to a mid thick size, gives a great texture within the pancakes. Then add most of them (I'd say the amount of 3 bananas - the rest is for later). Gently fold them into your mix. I like to make BIG really is just the image that you think when you hear "stack of pancakes". This recipe makes about 20 so I like to double it up when we have our friends and family over (they like them too!) NEXT: Let's accessorize these puppies! So you can do many different things to top of your am masterpiece; I love to make whip cream (fresh) with different flavours and then make it look all pretty. What you'll need for this: 1 carton 35% cream 4- 6 cups Sugar (depending on amount making) 1 1.2 oz Baileys Liqueur or White Crème de Cacao (I know it's 10 am, but it's for the flavour not to get a buzz...that's what the Caesars are for at lunch!) *****Just a quick note: The sugar I use is something that my husband taught me long, long ago...I take my jar of sugar and add vanilla to it. Take your pod of vanilla, slice it down the side, and scrape out the inside perfection, the inside of Pandora’s box, the GOLD! Put it in your sugar. I like to mix it up as much as possible and then keep the pod for extra effect. I also keep my sugar in a glass container with a seal on the lid. I tried to use a ceramic container, but the vanilla flavour didn't taste as fresh... In a food processor (I love my cuisinart for this), pour the cream in (please don’t fill your mixing container, you'll have to eyeball it and also think about how many people you are doing this for...I have a family of 5 who eat 2 helpings each so...if you need to adjust you can...if not, then you can store it in the fridge and use it on top of your coffee, or hot chocolate or dessert tonight. Next, you are going to add your booze. Turn on the machine or blender or handheld, whatever makes you comfy...and start to add your sugar in. Most times this take me about 4-5 cups to get the whipped cream to the best whippieness. Again, this is not an exact you have to watch it to see what your preference is....and voila, the job's a snap! (Mary Poppins) Now here is my favourite part...plating! I get everyone's plates ready in the warmer (oven) and start with one pancake at a time.....I butter them each (this is not calorie conscious food folks, I am not claiming this at all-- it is Damn Good Food though) Anyhow, then we put some syrup on it and a few more slices of banana, top it with another pancake and add your syrup. Dollop on the whip cream and sprinkle it with cinnamon sugar... There you have it. A great breakfast for your family or just for yourself. Simple guilty pleasures on a plate...I hope you like them and I can't wait to hear what you think. I am off to the market now, hopefully something inspiring will come about...after all it is Sunday! My entire family is home for dinner, and I love it. The husband works a lot at the restaurant, so for us, it's really great when he can be home, in the kitchen with us all and sit down for a family meal. I think it's just what the doctor prescribed! I just want to also note, that images are coming soon for each of my little delights and dissasters. I am waiting for a new battery for my camera and it will be here soon. I will also be sure to post these primary posts with the images as soon as I get it back. Thanks for sharing..the coffee is ready and my stomach is shouting at me!

Here goes nothing...

And it is now 6:00 pm. I have a stew of "tout et n'importe quoi à partir de mon frigo va dans un pot" simmering; the kids are helping me tidy up for the night and a bottle of Barolo is decanting as we speak. This is what I live for - what I dream of daily and what lingers on my palate until my next culinary adventure. I am a mother of three darling little critters. My children are 5, 4 and 2 and yes this does make our lives interesting and full of the unknown. I have both varieties of children; the girls are the eldest and then the boy. I think that it's paramount that my children enjoy cooking and sharing food and laughter at the table. This is one of the foundations that I hope to pass along to them. When you sit at the table, after you have prepared a meal; built up your hunger through each chop, slice and dash; felt your tummy flip around like a fish out of water at the aromas in your house...the art of enjoying food... (Sigh) I AM STARVING! Tonight’s meal is simply put - Soul Food. Bruschetta of roasted red peppers, inoki mushrooms, roma and watermelon tomatoes, fresh pineapple basil and of course EVOO (you may be asking "is Rachel Ray joining them???”Why not?! Between her, Cat Cora, Julia Child, my family and all of you...welcome). I can't wait to enjoy this, as I have some goat cheese that is more excited to top the bruschetta than I am to eat it. The bread is lightly dressed with olive oil, fleur de sel and roasted garlic. We break the bread! I think that enjoying bread or buying bread, is like buying a diamond. The clarity...the cut...much like the crunch, the smell and the piece de resistence the dough...tonight, we are enjoying a simple sourdough loaf from my favorite bakery in town Pane Fresco (perhaps royalties are in my future???) I have to say that Marc Albanese is one of a kind, and truly a genius with bread. Who would have thought that there is a genius art form in flour, eggs, yeast and water...sheer genius. Any, so the bread is cut on the bias in 2 inch segments and after brushing the greatest invention in the world over them (EVOO), they are placed to broil on low for only a few minutes (2 in my stove, who knows in yours - just to a slight golden brown). I use just a simple rack to ensure that the bottom doesn't get soggy (cuz that's just wrong). I have my bruschetta pretty much done, as the ingredients are usually sitting in my fridge ready to go. Roasted red peppers are great to do in advance and freeze; inoki mushroom still in the bag; roma and grape tomatoes (thickly diced); roasted garlic; red onion diced and a great seasoning of salt and pepper. The pineapple basil is just from the garden and I take a handful and rip it up. Now that everything is good to go, I get the kids to top the bread, and the middle critter is the goat cheese freak. She gets the cheese all over, eats the majority, but the remainder tops our bruschetta making it look better than snow capped mountains. Again a gentle swirl of olive oil, fresh pepper and salt (grinded in a mill) then back to the oven to broil. The stew is now on the lowest possible heat! I can't believe how wonderful stew makes you feel. Today is usually the day that I like to clear out the fridge of this week’s vegetables, meats, leftovers and all as Sunday is Market/Grocery day! I have added, butternut and spaghetti squash (cubed and roasted on their own with garlic); sweet potatoes and Yukon gold’s; a couple cans of Roma stewed tomatoes ( I like to squish them in my hands before I put them in); a variety of lentils that have soaked and beans that have been bathed; there is chicken that I picked off of the carcass (thank you Metro 24); the skewer of spicy shrimp that I had from last night (there was 6 shrimp only so I had to dice them up); garlic cloves (roasted ones from the squash); red onion and half a Spanish onion; and seasonings of smoked and dehydrated peppers, a bay leaf, rosemary (just a little bit of powder), garlic, salt, pepper, red wine (no not the Barolo - it's actually the left over’s from a bottle that I didn't love (me, not love a bottle??? I know it's rare for those who know me, but anyhow, it was a bottle of Santa Carolina and for some reason, Chilean wine and I don't dance well together). So there it is...simmering and bubbling away on my stove. I have also made a simple salad - this is a must! I enjoy salad so much that I could eat it for breakfast lunch and dinner. This glorious green masterpiece is just mesculin mix (extra frisee), cucumbers (from Ben's garden), red onion, red, orange and yellow bell peppers for the crunch, roasted red peppers (the left over’s from the bruschetta), roasted eggplant, sunflower seeds and craisens. I have dressed this salad with my homemade berry vinaigrette. It tastes delicious; however, truth be known, the colour of this dressing looks horrid - bright pink ick! Perhaps if anyone reads this diatribe, they will tell me how to control the colour. We now sit down at the table, eyes wide open, lips are being licked, and the smiles and laughter start to roll out uncontrollably. This is my heart and my life. The time that my family sits together and eats, is the best part of the day. The kids for the first few bites are silent aside from the crunching and slurping of their meal; however, as soon as it starts to settle in their stomachs the antics begin. The old one says how wonderful it is, the middle just giggles as she finds the cup of her hand full of the bruschetta mix and the little critter just watches and eats. I can't deny it really is great! I don’t know what is actually the best part of this it the bruschetta with the goats cheese so creamy and with that golden tinge to the tops? Perhaps it's the bottle of Barolo that had been sitting in the decanter, tempting me taunting me and flirting with its, it's the fact that at this very moment, nothing could be better than breaking bread, laughing and enjoying it with my family. Thanks for coming to dinner! Tomorrow is shopping, so let’s see what we get at the market and the store. My hope is for an incredible cheese (rich and creamy with a hint of smoke) so that I can make a multi grain pizza of vegetables; or a great steak for selfish reasons to go along side of my homemade frites...mmm. I also have to venture to the LCBO and pick out a few bottles for the week. Red, White and perhaps something clear hmmmm...Gin anyone?