Are cookbooks becoming a thing of the past? #YMCCommunity

My Mum had, and still has a book shelf full of cook books.

Every so often, she culls her assortment and hands them down to me.

I now have a box of cook books that I never look at.

It’s not that I can’t cook or don’t like to try new dishes out…I just don’t find cook books very convenient. I’m too busy to peruse the pages and find something that I’d like to make.

Entré l’internet.

Pinterest is my BFF and Google is her sidekick. All you need to do is enter a few keywords et voilà, a plethora of recipes appear AND with pictures. Pictures ALWAYS help me decide on a recipe.

I have created my own virtual cook book online and all for FREE! I Bookmark my favourite blogs and websites so that I can go back to them and I subscribe to several as well so that I can get regular emails with new recipes to try. I’ve also got several boards on Pinterest where I’ve “pinned” recipe links to a variety of categories.

Where do you get your food inspirations and recipes from?

Girls Learning Code March Webmakers Camp, March 9th-13th, 2015

Spring Break is quickly approaching…

if you have a daughter between the ages of 8-13 who has an interest in Web Design, this camp might be for her.

This full day camp is all about unleashing creativity! By the end of the week, learners will be able to confidently code websites and know how to troubleshoot and problem solve their web related errors. They will have a fantastic website and will be advocates as to how the web can make a difference in the world. 

This will be taking place at Traction (2700 Production Way) in Burnaby and will run from 9am – 4pm. They will also be offering before and after care from 8 – 9am and 4 – 6pm at no extra cost. 

To register your daughter for this week long camp, please click here.

As always, scholarships are available for those who cannot afford to attend otherwise OR use coupon code raincityparent to receive 25% off the cost.

Bike un-friendly condo living. #YMCCommunity

Spring has sprung…at least in Vancouver, BC.

The flowers are blooming, the temperature has been in the double digits for a few weeks now, people aren’t wearing winter parkas and boots and bicycles are out in full force.

I have a bike. However, it has been in storage at a not-so-close storage facility since my husband bought it for me, six years ago. Parked right beside it, is his bike and the bike trailer that we bought for our kids two years ago. 

Why are they in storage, you ask?

Because we live in a condo building. And this building does not have a bike room or enclosure, so that we can keep our bikes at home. It used to, but a former resident and their flat mates frequently “borrowed” parts from fellow residents’ bikes to repair other bikes for resale or to sell the parts. Hence the removal of the bike room and spoiling it for the residents who did have bikes in there. We also have a bylaw preventing us from parking our bikes in our parking stalls.

We now have no where to keep our bikes at home. Our deck is too small to accommodate two adult bikes, a child bike, a tricycle and a bike trailer, so only the child’s bike and tricycle reside with us.

I’ve emailed our strata council, inquiring about re-installing a bike enclosure or polling the current owners to see if there is interest, but I don’t think it will happen. The demographic of our building doesn’t seem to be made up of “bike people”.

I miss riding a bike. It’s been at least 25 years since I was last on one. I want to get out with my kids and teach them to ride their bikes and go for fun rides together. I know that we would use our van way less if we had our bikes at home. I’ve recently discovered cargo bikes. These bikes are pretty awesome looking! We could grocery shop or pack up our gear and head off to the park for the day. I seriously want to get one, but again…where would we store it? 😞

Do you live in a multi-family building? Does your building have bike storage for the residents?

Satisfy your sweet tooth! Best Ever Chocolate Oatmeal No-Bake Bars

I have a crazy sweet tooth and I’m not afraid to admit it.

I won’t sit with my feet up and eat a box of bon bons, but a little treat in the afternoon when our daughter’s at school and the little dude is down for his nap, gives Mommy that wee bit of energy to get me through until dinner.

I’ve been finding recipes that have little or no sugar added and even ones that don’t have the standard ingredients like butter and flour.

I found this super amazing one that you’d probably agree is pretty AMAZEBALLZ!

Photo credit: Money Saving Mom

Photo credit: Money Saving Mom

Best Ever Chocolate Oatmeal No-Bake Bars {Clean Eating}
Courtesy of Money Saving Mom


1 cup natural peanut butter
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup coconut oil (you could also substitute butter)
2 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup chopped nuts, raisins, or dried cranberries
1-1/4 cups dark chocolate chips (or regular semi-sweet chocolate chips, if you prefer)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Melt the peanut butter, honey, and coconut oil over medium-low heat in a saucepan on the stove. {Watch this closely. You don’t want it to burn!}

Remove from heat once it’s melted together and add in the oats, shredded coconut, chocolate chips, nuts/raisins, and vanilla. Stir together until the chocolate is completely melted.

Pour into a greased 9×13 pan and cool in the fridge. If you’d like thicker bars, you can pour the mixture into a smaller pan.

When the mixture is hardened, cut into bars and eat. Store in the refrigerator or freezer.


One giant bar

I’ve made these now a few times and even the kiddies love them. Let me know what you think 😃

What’s for dinner? Enchilada Pasta

I love Mexican food!

I prefer authentic Mexican food, but flying to Mexico for dinner is a bit silly. Plus, my private jet is being repainted, so I’d have to fly economy and I’m saving that for our upcoming Hawaiian holiday next month.


I like to make tacos (there are several varieties) at least one a week, but tire of the good ole crunchy shelled variety, so for Taco Thursday this week, I decided to try something new out…

Enchilada Pasta
Courtesy of Damn Delicious


16 ounces extra wide egg noodles
1-1/4 cups enchilada sauce* (I used 2 cups to make it more saucy)
1 cup canned corn kernels, drained (I used thawed, frozen corn kernels)
1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound ground beef
4 ounces cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon chili powder, or more to taste
1/4 teaspoon cumin
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves



Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil a 9×13 baking dish or coat with nonstick spray.
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions; drain well.
In a large bowl, combine enchilada sauce, corn, beans, 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese, Greek yogurt and green chiles; set aside.
Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium high heat. Add ground beef and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the beef as it cooks; drain excess fat.
Stir in cream cheese, chili powder and cumin until cream cheese has melted. Stir in pasta and enchilada mixture until well combined; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Add pasta to prepared baking dish and top with avocado and remaining cheeses. Place into oven and bake until cheeses have melted, about 5-10 minutes.
Serve immediately, garnished with cilantro.

Enchilada Pasta

* I made my enchilada sauce from scratch rather than buying a jar from the store. Here’s the recipe:

Homemade Enchilada Sauce
Courtesy from Damn Delicious


1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons chili powder
1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Heat vegetable oil in a saucepan over medium high heat. Whisk in flour until well combined, about 1 minute.
Stir in tomatoes, chili powder, oregano, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, brown sugar and 1 cup water; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Enchilada Sauce

ERMAGHERD! This was delicious and the kiddos asked for more! Too bad hubby missed it, but it made so much, that I packed it up and put it in the freezer to enjoy later 😃

What’s for dinner? Honey Glazed Salmon

Daddy’s away for work this week, so it’s just me and the kiddos dining at Chez Mom.

I find it hard to motivate myself to make the regular kinds of meals that I do when Daddy’s home, but I made sure to meal plan our dinners this week so I didn’t give into finger food dinners for the kids and skipping dinner all together for myself.

Here’s what we had:

Honey Glazed Salmon with Citrus Avocado Salsa
Courtesy of Cooking Classy


4 (6 oz) skinless salmon fillets
8 tsp honey, divided
8 tsp flour, divided
2 Tbsp olive oil
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


1 large hass avocado, peeled, cored and diced
1/3 cup chopped red onion (I like to run under cool water to remove harsh bite)
1 tsp orange zest
2 small navel oranges, peeled, segmented and diced*
1 tsp lime zest
2 Tbsp lime juice
1 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Working with 2 salmon fillets at a time, sprinkle tops of fillets with salt and pepper, then drizzle tops with 1 tsp honey and rub over salmon to evenly cover, then sprinkle tops with 1 tsp flour and spread to cover.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 Tbsp olive oil, once oil is hot add 2 salmon fillets to pan and cook until bottom is golden brown, about 2 minutes. While they cook, sprinkle tops of fillets in pan with salt and pepper then drizzle and rub top with 1 tsp honey and 1 tsp flour.
Carefully rotate salmon and cook until bottom is golden, about 2 minutes longer. Repeat process with remaining 2 fillets.

Lightly spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray then transfer salmon to baking sheet. Bake in preheated until cooked through, about 7 – 10 minutes longer (cook time will vary depending on thickness of salmon).

Serve warm with citrus avocado salsa.

For the salsa:

Add all ingredients to a medium bowl and gently toss, while seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.
*This can also be made without the oranges, just omit the oranges and orange zest and use 2 avocados and up lime zest to 2 tsp.

Honey Glazed Salmon

I failed to buy the avocados, so we had our salmon sans salsa. But I married it up with some steamed spinach, a Caprese salad and some “browned rice”. The kiddos sure gobbled their dinners up quickly, so this another dish to add to the Weeknight Dinner list.

What’s for dinner? Bacon Avocado Pasta

So, I’m still feeling like crap 😪

This head cold sucks and it’s tiring me out. Not that I’m not already bagged from the kids keeping me busy.

I needed to make a “Mom, I’m starving!”, “I have zero energy!”, yummy and super quick dinner, so that could make a hot cup of tea and put my feet up. Plus we had to run out the door to our daughter’s Sparks meeting after dinner. I didn’t want yo be late…again.

Here’s what I made:

Bacon Avocado Pasta
Courtesy of Damn Delicious


12 ounces fusili pasta
4 slices bacon, diced
2 avocados, halved, seeded, peeled and diced
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
1/3 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup basil leaves, chiffonade
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, or more, to taste
1 tablespoon lemon zest
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions; drain well.
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add bacon and cook until brown and crispy, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
In a large bowl, combine pasta, bacon, avocado, tomatoes, onion and basil. Stir in Parmesan, olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and pepper, to taste.
Serve hot or cold, garnished with Parmesan, if desired.

Bacon Avocado Pasta

I think I’d cut back on the onions next time. The kids aren’t fans and it leads to Dragon Breath. A definite no-no when you have to talk closely to people after dinner.

What’s for dinner? Beef Noodle Stir Fry

It’s the beginning of the week and I’ve come down with a cold.

I’d like to thank my husband for passing on his “plague” to me, I totally do not have the time and energy to burn this bad boy off.

And now he’s gone away for work and left me solo with the kids. Ugh…I need a massage 😉

Here’s what we ate for dinner last night:

Beef Noodle Stir Fry
Courtesy of Damn Delicious


2 (7-ounce) refrigerated udon noodles, seasoning sauce packets discarded*
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 ounces beef top sirloin filet, thinly sliced across the grain
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
6 ounces broccoli florets
2 carrots, diced

For the Sauce:

1/3 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper


In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, oyster sauce, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, sesame oil, red pepper flake and ground black pepper; set aside.
In a large pot of boiling water, cook udon noodles according to package instructions; drain well.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add beef and cook, flipping once, until browned, about 3-4 minutes; set aside.
Stir in mushrooms, broccoli and carrots to the skillet. Cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in udon noodles, beef and soy sauce mixture until well combined, about 2-3 minutes.
Serve immediately.


*Udon is Japanese-style thick wheat noodles and can be found in the refrigerated aisle of your local grocery store.

Beef noodle stir-fry


This was super yummy, but I would add another pack or two of udon noodles, ’cause the kids LOVED them 😀

What’s for dinner? Pizza made from the heart!

It’s the end of the week…

I thought I’d make it easy for myself by having pizza for dinner. We had a bunch of produce in the fridge that I wanted to use up before it turned ugly.

Note to self: When making pizza from scratch, remember to…

*Prepare dough and fixin’s during afternoon nap and before school pick up.*

‘Cause when Mommy’s hands are occupied kneading dough for eight minutes, this is again one of those opportune times for the kiddos to get at each other.

In celebration of Valentine’s Day, I lovingly made heart shaped pizzas.
Here’s the recipe:

Heart-shaped pizza

Pizza Dough
Courtesy of Canadian Living


3 cups (750 mL) all purpose flour
2 tsp (10 mL) quick-rising instant dry yeast
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
1-1/4 cups (300 mL) warm (120 F/50 C) water
1 tbsp (15 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
*add 1tbsp of Italian seasoning if you’d like


In bowl, combine 2-3/4 cups (675 mL) of the flour, yeast, salt and seasonings, if using. With wooden spoon, gradually stir in water and oil until ragged dough forms, using hands if necessary.

Turn out onto lightly floured surface; knead for about 8 minutes or until smooth and elastic, adding up to 1/4 cup (50 mL) more flour, 1 tbsp (15 mL) at a time, if necessary.

Place in greased bowl, turning to grease all over. Cover with plastic wrap; let rise in warm draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

(Make-ahead: Refrigerate unrisen dough and let rise for 24 hours. Or freeze in plastic bag for up to 1 month; let thaw and rise in refrigerator overnight.)

Once risen, turn out onto lightly greased pizza sheet and press out into a 14″ round.
* I tore the dough in half so the kiddos could top their own pizzas and formed them into heart shapes in celebration of Valentine’s Day.

Top the pizzas with desired toppings of your choice, such as pizza sauce, meats, olives, peppers, spinach, basil, Boursin cheese, mushrooms, pineapple, etc., then smother in shredded cheese.


Pizza toppings

Bake in a preheated 400F oven for 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

I made two batches of the dough so that the kids had their own pizzas and Mommy and Daddy had one to share. Best of all, there were leftovers for lunch the next day! 😄

What’s for dinner? Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta Bake.

Whenever I asked our kids what we should have for dinner, 8 out if 10 times, the ask for noodles.

Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy noodles or pasta too, but I like variety and that’s a lot of carbs to eat every night.

But, I suppose we’d had a big enough space between “pasta dinners”, that I was OK having it last night.

Here’s what we had:

Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta Bake

Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta Bake
Courtesy of Lovely Little Kitchen


4 cups rotini pasta (measure uncooked)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 1/2 cups whole milk (I used 2% milk)
1 teaspoon Better Than Bullion Chicken Base (I used a packet of OXO 25% less salt chicken bouillon)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (add up to 1 teaspoon more if you want the mustard flavor stronger)
1 1/2 teaspoons Worchestershire
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cooked cubed chicken (I poached 2 chicken breasts and chopped into bite-sized pieces)
3/4 cup cooked cubed ham (I only had deli ham, so I chopped several slices into bite-sized pieces)
4-5 slice swiss cheese (I shredded my Swiss cheese from a black and sprinkled it all over)
1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs (Or add your own herbs to regular ones. I used seasoned Panko bread crumbs)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare a 1 1/2 quart baking dish by spraying with nonstick spray. Set aside.
Boil water for pasta in a large pot, and cook pasta according to directions. While you are waiting for the pasta to cook, you can start on the sauce.

In a medium pan, melt butter over medium high heat.
Whisk in flour and cook for a few minutes. The flour will be bubbly.
Gradually whisk in the milk, and whisk frequently until it comes to a gentle boil.
Whisk in chicken base, dijon mustard, Worchestershire, and salt.
Whisk for a few more minutes until the sauce starts to thicken slightly.
When the pasta is cooked, drain the water and return to the pan. Stir in the sauce, chicken, and ham and mix to combine.

Pour half of the pasta mixture into your prepared baking dish. Place slices of swiss cheese evenly over the pasta. Pour the rest of the past over the cheese and spread evenly.
Sprinkle breadcrumbs over the top of the pasta.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. The top will be golden brown and the edges bubbly.
Allow to set for a few minutes before serving.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta Bake

I added some steamed spinach and cucumber slices seasoned with dill and a but of salt and pepper on the side. Another dish to be added to my Weeknight Dinners repertoire, as everyone gobbled this bad boy up!