Author Archives: Eatbysix

Fall = Soup and Salad

soup and salad

Fall = Soup and Salad

When the evenings start to cool, and the days have a little crisp in the air, I love to eat soup!  I’ll admit that I eat soup in the summer, but it’s not as enjoyable as in the fall. To me, it’s a signal of cooler days to come (which I love!)

Current favorites are anything chickeny. Chicken rice, chicken noodle, Italian wedding, chicken tortilla.  Pairing with a simple salad makes a perfect meal. I’ll add some cooked chicken on top of the salad, or maybe some shrimp. Store bought roasted chicken will do in a pinch!

Anyone can get this meal to the table in 15 minutes flat. Soup has to be made ahead of time obviously, but a nice Sunday afternoon soup cooking session will give you a bunch for the freezer. I’ll do another post with recipes and pictures of making soup.

Eating REAL Food

juliachild

I’m asking your forgiveness for the lull in my blog posting.  It’s been a busy couple of years, and I’ve just decided to put more effort into writing — and cooking!

My cooking passion comes from feeding the men and boys in my life. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy cooking for myself or for the women and girls in my life — it’s just that the guys truly love to eat good food, real food.

So for the next while you’ll see postings about hearty, healthy, real food that you can put on the table before 6 p.m. with minimal effort and minimal cost.  Wish me luck!

 

Home By Five, Eat By Six

This is my dad and I. I was clearly having fun playing a little joke on him. I wonder who took the picture??

This is my dad and I. I was clearly having fun playing a little joke on him. I wonder who took the picture??

I’ve met so many people who have trouble getting a meal on the table at the end of the day. Maybe it’s a lack of experience or knowledge of how to cook. Maybe it’s a need to follow a recipe. Maybe having one more thing to do at the end of the day is overwhelming. Maybe there just isn’t an example to follow.

When I was growing up, my mom made dinner every night. She stayed at home when we were really little, but then went back to work as a high school teacher. Every night, I helped her with things like peeling carrots and potatoes and setting the table. I was the youngest in the family, so it seemed the easiest place for me at that time of day was in the kitchen with my mom. I loved it, and remember having my own step stool so I could be at the same counter height. I learned funny things like how to butter bread all the way to the corners, and how to chop walnuts like a pro.

We didn’t eat the same things all the time, and there wasn’t a menu on the fridge to follow. She just decided what we were going to have and then made it. Sometimes she asked us what we wanted, but not very often. Things didn’t come out of a package. There wasn’t a microwave. I remember meals like ‘corned beef hash with an egg on top’ or ‘spaghetti with meat sauce’ or ‘creamed chicken on toast’ or ‘pancakes’. I know, we wouldn’t necessarily make those choices today, but they were all made from scratch, they all filled up our bellies, they were all tasty, and they were all on the table by 6.

What I learned, and practice with my own family, is that eating together is important. And feeding your family is a pleasure, not a chore. I also know that a lot of relationship building happens around food. My kids sit at the kitchen counter, on the laptop, while I make dinner. They play me music I’ve never heard before, and tell me stories, and read to me about crazy things they find on the internet. They see me cook, and they learn by osmosis. My younger son can make crepes from scratch without a recipe, and he’s been inspired to just try — he makes amazing pasta carbonara, or spaghettini with olive oil and capers.

The most important thing is to have confidence, and be inspired by what you know. My dinner plans come together in one of three ways. Either I start thinking about it before I get home – “man, I’m hungry…what should we have for dinner? …what’s in the fridge??”, or when I get home, I open the fridge and get inspired by an ingredient. Or if I’m particularly organized, I would have already prepared something from the night before or in the crockpot. (The third option is rare)

One way or another, there is not much time to make dinner. When I get home, everyone is starving. I’m the kind of person that just keeps going after work. I immediately start multi-tasking and getting things done. I prefer to get all those things done, then when I sit down to relax, I don’t feel guilty and I’m done for the night.

As the kids got older, many times we were rushed for dinner so everyone could get to their activities – swimming, Scouts, school plays, soccer. And when I’m hungry…or my kids are hungry…we all get pretty surly. Now my kids are older, 16 and 19 (both boys), and they love to eat. Personally, I think it’s the food that keeps them coming home on time and looking forward to seeing me.

If all else fails, before you get frustrated at the end of a busy day. Before you give up and go to the drive through, have a yogurt and chill out for a few minutes before getting dinner on the table. But my advice, and my modus operandi, is to just keep moving until it’s all done.

 

Labour Day BBQ Ribs

MMM, ribs. Sticky, and just plain good.

MMM, ribs. Sticky, and just plain good.

Ah…the dog days of summer. We had high temperatures, and high humidity this past weekend. There was no way I was going to turn on the oven or the stove. What’s left? The BBQ! We have, admittedly, a very old gas bbq. It’s been good to us. It’s not huge, it’s not shiny. But it does the trick. One rack of pork ribs was enough for the two of us, with a nice glass of wine, and some store bought potato salad — tasty! The pork ribs were rubbed with garlic powder, salt, pepper, and some applewood spice as well. We cooked them on super high for a few minutes, then turned it down to cook low and slow for a couple of hours. This is what they looked like before we ate them all!

Summer is just about over — it seems that it’s business as usual at work, and at home. I’ll remember this hot weekend, and those yummy ribs for weeks to come. 🙂