Slow Cooker Beef Pho Recipe


  • 225 g beef top sirloin grilling steaks very thinly sliced against the grain
  • 1 pkg rice stick noodles (about 1/4 inch/5mm wide), cooked

Vietnamese Beef Broth:

  • 2 onions (skin-on), halved
  • 3/4 cups chopped fresh ginger (skin-on)
  • 6 cloves garlic smashed
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 star anise
  • 1 teaspoon each coriander seeds and black peppercorns
  • 225 kg beef soup bones
  • 1 carrots chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 2 strips lime zest
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. Arrange onions, ginger and garlic on foil-lined rimmed baking sheet; broil until slightly charred, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to slow cooker.
  2. Meanwhile, in small skillet, toast cinnamon sticks, star anise, coriander seeds and peppercorns over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 5 minutes; add to slow cooker along with beef bones, carrot, fish sauce and lime zest. Stir in 10 cups water. Cover and cook on low for 24 hours.
  3. Skim off fat from surface. Strain broth through cheesecloth-lined sieve into large saucepan; discard solids. Skim off any remaining fat. Bring to boil; stir in salt. Divide steak and noodles among serving bowls; spoon hot broth over top.

That was fun…

On Monday I started to feel sick and disorientated at work.  I tested my blood pressure and it was dangerously high.  I went to the walk in clinic and they took my blood pressure and it was even higher.  They let me rest and came back and hey look, it was even higher.  So to make a long story short,  I am on medication for my blood pressure so I don’t explode.

Then we get a call from Jordon’s doctor who wants an emergency appointment with him after a consultation with some specialists.  He calls back and they get him into an appointment first thing this morning because we were both worried.

That clinic is like a well oiled machine.  He walks in, tells him that he is there, sits for like 10 seconds, is called to the room and is out 15 minutes later after talking to his doctor.  The news would have been worrisome if he wasn’t going through what he is.  Basically something serious showed up on a test but it’s connected to his leg so it’s nothing that bad to concern him.  A course of action was decided and then Jordon walks out and goes, “It’s fine” and then we drove away.  Then Jordon goes, “Doh, forgot to get the authorization for the tests” so I had to run back in and get it.

Jordon really likes his doctor for the simple reason that he is so fast.  He types up referrals right away in front of Jordon so they are on the same page.  He communicates well and always let’s Jordon know what the next step is.  Like I said, I have never seen a more efficient doctors office.  I wish all clinics were run that way.  Of course I am biased.  My old doctor quit her practice and despite her clinic not having doctors that would take patients charged me $50 so I could take my file to a new doctor.  Also, they wanted to charge Jordon a fee for being late once to see his doctor despite the radio time and his cell phone saying he was there early.  So yes, some clinics are amazing, some are just about making money.

Just a quick note on my blood pressure.  The next time someone goes, “You can’t let your family get to you.” I am going to punch someone in the nose.  It’s not stress, family or otherwise that caused my blood pressure to spike, it is an issue that my father had and I have.  That’s it.  Do I need to lose 20 pounds?  Yes, that is why I am going to the gym.  Do I need to change my diet now?  Yes, again but it isn’t family related.  People are stupid. 

Game Winning Recipes for the 2017 BCS National Championship Game

2017 BCS National Championship Football Game

In a week the BCS National Championship Game is going to be played.  Do you have the recipes you need to host a winning National Championship winning party?  If you don’t, here is some help. A collection of championship game caliber recipes that you will love making and your guests will love eating.  So even if the game is a blow out, your guests will still remember what a great party you hosted.

Resolved, 2017

Hello there, 2017. 2016 kind of sucked on multiple levels but now that it has been kicked to the curb, here are some of goals for 2017.

Be it resolved that in 2017 I will…

See More Art

Part of this will be easier now that Saskatoon has an art gallery sometime in 2017 (or maybe not) with the opening of the rRemai mModern (does anyone write it non-ironically?  How bad is your branding that it makes your gallery into a joke?) but I also want to spend some more time checking out other galleries and shows in 2017.  There are some great artists in Saskatoon and I want to experience what they have created.

While I mentioned the Remai Modern, can I just say that the museum looks great… from the east side of the river.  For those of us who live in the westside, it looks like a big rusted box on the riverbank.  Apparently no one looked at a 360 degree view of it from the downtown.

Write and then write some more

I need to write more and not just post recipes.  I need to write more on paper, with nice pens, and on this blog.  I need stretch myself more and more.

Have More Adventures

Last year was the first time I actually had an adventure that scared me and exhilarated me at the same time.  Coming face to face with a moose in Prince Albert National Park, meeting an elk in rut that wanted to fight us, having an adult wolf sniff around Jordon and my head in the middle of the night, and then having the boys get lost in the mountains.  Perhaps the scariest was camping miles away from anyone in the backcountry and being caught in a storm and listening to all of the tree branches snap and fall all around us (they call them “widow makers”) for a reason.  All brought about a fight or flight response from me that was part terror.  I wouldn’t have exchanged those moments for anything.

I want to do more of that in 2017.  Not only having more big adventures (which we will) but also some smaller and closer to home adventures.

Of course this means that I need to be in better shape which is why I am going to Fit4Less with Jordon.  What’s the phrase?  Suffer now and summit later.

Take More Photos

I’ll blame this on Jordon.  With him sick, I didn’t take nearly as many photos in 2016 that I should have.  For me taking a photo means that I experienced great places and put myself into position to experience great moments like a beautiful sunset or the site of steam coming off the water as it leaves the Queen Elizabeth II Power Plant and cools as it makes it way down the South Saskatchewan River.  I have the gear, I need to put in the work in 2017.

Listen to More Music

I love music, but in the past I rarely made time for it.  Spotify and CBC Music have changed that for me, even if I can’t figure out why CBC Music exists.  Jordon has worked really hard to help me enjoy music over the years with an iPod, good headphones from Bose and Sennheisser and a nice Bluetooth speaker in the living room and some old fashioned speakers in the kitchen.  I just need to do it more in 2017.

Own less crap

College lit anthologies, a bag of noisemakers, three sub-par yoga mats, really good empty boxes should I choose to wrap something cleverly. Ugh, all this stuff. I don’t need all this stuff. Do you want it? I am getting rid of all of it!

Happy New Year, friends. Here is to 2017, may it full of great adventures, less stuff, and great tea enjoyed with friends.


Kickin’ 2016 to the Curb

We are much too old to be out partying like it is 1995 out there so we stayed in tonight as a family.  Earlier today Mark and Oliver went snowboarding while Jordon and went to work.  After picking Jordon up and waiting for Mark to come home, we ordered from Thien Vietnam.  The plan was to order in from The Wok, which we have been ordering in from for over a decade but in the last year, every single time we gave them “one last shot” it has been awful.  I don’t know what has happened but we need a new takeout joint.

I took some time to reflect on the year and it was both an amazing year with all sorts of adventures and good times to some times of loss and sadness and grief.   It was a different year in that 2016 was so unbelievably polarizing with the train wreck that was the Donald Trump/Hillary Clinton election to even a contentious local campaign that got extremely personal, even for those who were watching from the sidelines.  I am glad to have  2016 over with and start looking forward to 2017.

Personally it was difficult.  My father died of cancer this summer but we hadn’t really talked in over 18 years.  He never liked Mark or Oliver either.  So yeah, that sucked.

It was a good year in other ways.  It was a lot of fun to see Mark start to see what direction he wants his life to take, even if he does plan to move out and travel right after high school.   Since getting a job at Safeway this spring and then taking on a lot of responsibility and work at school this semester, he has grown up a lot.  It’s fun to see.  His grades are good, he is finally organized, and he is having fun.  He had a moment standing underneath Castle Mountain this summer where Jordon had said we need to go and he said, “Can I just stand here and look at it a moment longer?”  I knew at that point that I was losing my boy from the prairies to the mountains.

Oliver is growing up as well.  More independent minded which means more trouble as well but I can handle that.  Favorite Oliver moment of 2016?  He got his belt in karate and during a punching demonstration, both Mark and Jordon realized they needed to respect that punch.

Marley is growing up as well.  She is still Jordon’s dog but loves to play with the boys and myself.  The worst part about Marley?  She demands to sleep between Jordon and I every single night in the bed.  If she isn’t in the middle, she will literally lay on top of us until one of us moves so she can have the middle.

It was year of grand adventures but two of my favorite things were coffee at The Night Oven and City Perks and spending Friday evenings at Lawson Civic Centre with the boys in he wave pool.  It’s quiet and a relaxing escape from the polar vortex.  It may have been the favorite thing I discovered in 2016.

Aussie Cheese Fries Recipe

A fun recipe for a Friday night family movie night or for serving while having a bunch of people over for the big game.


  • ¾ bag of your favorite type of crinkle cut fries.
  • ¾ cup shredded Colby Jack cheese (shred it yourself for a creamer cheese)
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • ½ cup to 1 cup ranch dressing
  • salt and pepper


  1. Heat oven to 425.
  2. Spread fries onto baking sheet.  Bake according to package directions.
  3. Cook bacon until crispy in skillet, drain on paper towel, and chop.
  4. When fries are crispy, remove from oven, season with salt and pepper.  Pile fries into the center of the pan.  Top with shredded cheese and bacon.
  5. Put back in oven for another 3-5 minutes to melt cheese.
  6. Remove and top with green onions.  Serve with ranch on the side.

Aussie Cheese Fries Recipe

Layered Turkey BLT Salad Recipe

What do you do with those turkey leftovers?  Here is a healthy and tasty salad that is a great option for the days after the holiday.


  • 4 cups tightly packed chopped romaine lettuce
  • 2 cups chopped roasted turkey
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup bacon bits
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat croutons
  • 1/4 cup Ranch Dressing


  1. Place lettuce on large platter.
  2. Top with all remaining ingredients except dressing.
  3. Drizzle with dressing just before serving.