Date Night – We’ve Officially Found a Babysitter!

I’ve been dreading and waiting for this moment all at the same time.

While it’s a huge load off my mind when a family member watches our kids, it’s also really stressful. I always feel like we’re burdening them. I’m sure they have better things to do than spend a few hours on a Saturday night trying to stop a two year-old and a five year-old from destroying our house, because THIS:

MessBut as much as I love cleaning up after my boys, it way better when I get to clean myself up…and the best part, blow-dry my hair *gasp*…maybe even put on some nail polish. Whaat? I know right? What’s next? A haircut? I dream BIG people.

We’ve already been to this restaurant two time this year, but I just can’t get enough. I know you’re dying to see our dinner so here we go:

First time eating at the bar. Same great food and service. Bonus: Lightning fast drink delivery!

At the bar

Seared Arctic Char with Caramelized Onions, Asparagus and Fiddleheads. My new favourite dish here, and that’s saying a lot since I’ve tried almost everything on the menu. I dove in so quick that I didn’t get a shot of the whole dish. I remembered right before the last bite! Guess I’ll have to order this again next time to get a nice photo for you.

Artic Char

Mushroom and Escargot Tart with Microgreens. The filling was beautifully rich and tender inside the crisp and buttery shell. A nice contrast to the light and bright fish dish we had before. Mushroom Tart

Mona Rose. A mix of Ginger, Grapefruit, Tequila, Cassis and Ginger Ale on ice. LOVED IT. Now I have two drinks I have to order when I come here.Mona Rose

Plus the bottle of wine.

Wine

It was a great night!

Oh! Almost forgot the dessert…

Dessert

So all that to say, WE”VE GOT A BABYSITTER! She’s amazing. We still made our dinner reservations for 6:00PM, but I’m kind of loving it. We’re home by 9:30PM, the kids are fast asleep, the house is spotless (seriously, she even washed the dishes in the sink!). She gets to go out with her friends and we still have time to rent a movie. I think this is going to be a regular thing. I’ll keep you posted.

Cheesy Mushroom and Broccoli Casserole

With Father’s Day around the corner (and hopefully warmer weather too) I want to plan a fun menu that everyone will love but won’t be stressful or complicated for me. And really isn’t keeping mommy happy on Father’s Day the most important thing on everyone’s mind? No? That’s just me? Darn. Anywho, since I’m considering something along the lines of Chili Dogs and Cheese Fries for the main and side, I’m thinking I need some kind of vegetable deal to redeem us a bit. But not too much!

Mushroom Broccoli Casserole 1

I tried this out this weekend and it was a hit so I’m keeping it for the big day. I added breadcrumbs to the top during the last three minutes of baking. The added crunch made all the difference. I left out the cayenne pepper for the kids sake, though I would have loved to add it and I’m sure that it adds a nice punch.

Mushroom Broccoli Casserole 3

Mushroom Broccoli Casserole 4Mushroom Broccoli Casserole 2Mushroom Broccoli Casserole 5Also, I didn’t have any cooked rice on hand, so I used 1 cup of instant rice. It only needs five minutes so I could be sure it would have enough time to cook in the short time the casserole spent in the oven. I also used fresh broccoli instead of frozen and it didn’t seem to cause a problem.

Cheesy Mushroom and Broccoli Casserole
Adapted from Sunny Anderson – Food Network

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons butter, plus extra for casserole dish
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 pound shiitake or baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 (10-ounce) box frozen chopped broccoli, thawed and drained
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar-Monterey blend
  • 3 cups cooked rice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Special equipment: 1 1/8-quart oval casserole dish
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1-2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Butter casserole dish. In a large pot, melt 3 tablespoons butter and flour over medium heat until golden in color to make a quick roux. The roux should resemble the color of peanut butter. Add mushrooms, onion, garlic, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, heavy cream and chicken stock. Add broccoli, 1 cup of the cheese and rice. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Pour into buttered dish and top with remaining shredded Cheddar. Bake until cheese is melted and golden, about 20 minutes.

During last three minutes, mix a cup of breadcrumbs with 1 to two tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle over casserole. Bake a few minutes until golden.

Broccoli Bite

Vinegar Slaw and Tuna Salad Sandwiches

The past two weeks have flown by and at the same time seemed endless. My husband’s been traveling, work has been insane, the kids forgot how to relax with the warmer weather and we’re planning a move. My energy levels haven’t been this low since the kids went through their newborn months. All this time I was riddled with guilt that I wasn’t keeping up my blog. Hopefully I haven’t completely alienated you.

Slaw

I’ve had this post on my mind almost the entire time I’ve been missing. The cravings started with a visit to Sassy Earl Grey and the hunt for her post on homemade pita bread.

Unfortunately my battle with yeast recipes continues (I’ll share my disastrous Mother’s Day Breakfast Bun recipe with you another time…you know, for your amusement!) so I haven’t tried to make my own pita bread yet. But I will! It might take me a few tries before they actually turn out edible but I’ll do it!

With everything that’s been going on lately, I’d been in the mood for a sandwich. Nothing fancy or complicated. Something I could throw together and to be honest something comforting. I’ve always been obsessed with sandwiches. I was never happier than when I opened my lunch bag to find my mother had packed a sandwich for lunch. Especially a tuna sandwich. To this day, I swear, no one makes a tuna sandwich like my mom) Now you’re probably thinking, “Who cares? It’s just a sandwich.” But to me, it feels like home.

Tuna Sandwich

Vinegar and Oil Coleslaw
Adapted from Rachel Ray 30 Minute Meals – Food Network

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, eyeball it
  • 1 sack, 16 ounces, shredded cabbage mix for slaw salads
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Salt and pepper

Directions
Mix vinegar and sugar. Add oil. Add cabbage to dressing and season with salt and pepper. Toss with fingers to combine. Adjust seasoning. Let stand 20 minutes. Re-toss and serve.

Tuna

Tuna Salad Sandwich

Ingredients

  • 2 cans of olive oil-packed tuna
  • 1/2 cup cucumber, finely diced
  • 4 green onions sliced, whites and light green parts only
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • Boston Lettuce
  • Salt and pepper
  • Pita Bread (or your favourite bun!)

Directions
Combine tuna, cucumber, green onion, mayonnaise in a bowl and mix together. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pile half the mixture into each sandwich with a few leaves of Boston lettuce.

I don’t know why, but the last time we had this I added a few Ms. Vicky’s Salt and Vinegar chips and some of the coleslaw into my sandwich. The added crunch was great!

Bite