Carbonara with Peas and Bacon Recipe

This is a great recipe if you are looking for something quick and simple to whip up.  Everyone around here loves it which means that it is a great fall back recipe when I am too busy to cook up something more complicated.

Carbonara with Peas and Bacon Recipe

Carbonara with Peas and Bacon Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 slices bacon, diced
  • 1/4 cup of peas
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan, grated
  • 1/4 pound of spaghetti

Directions

  1. Boil pasta in salted water until al dente.
  2. Fry diced bacon in pan over medium heat, until crisp.
  3. Toss in peas and let cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Add cooked pasta into pan and toss together.
  5. Transfer to bowl and add egg yolk and Parmesan.
  6. Mix thoroughly and serve.
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Father’s Day

Father’s Day is complicated for me personally and it’s not a day I enjoy.

My father has two distinct personalities.  At times he can be loving, funny, and caring.  The other personality he embraces is cruel, mean, and destructive.  I have seen both in my life although for the last 18 years, it has primarily been the cruel, mean, dishonest and destructive side of him.

It’s easy to say that the problems started the night I told him and my mother that I had been molested.  He used to talk to my three times a week after moving to Saskatoon.  Then he just stopped talking to me for months.  Not a call, email, or letter.  Nothing.  It was like he no longer had a daughter.  That being said, my mother went silent at the same time.  It was really tough to take.

From there it go worse.  He started to lie about thing and then he would defend his right to lie.  Then he would be upset when I no longer trusted him.  He would scream that he wished I had never been born.  He would go on about how I wasn’t part of his family.

Later when Mark was two, he saw Mark for the first time.  He then told me he didn’t want a relationship with me or Mark because he had other grandkids and didn’t need another one.  He then stopped talking to me for almost a decade.  He’s seen Mark twice, never met Oliver.  He didn’t even know how old the kids were.

Recently he blamed me for being molested, backtracked on it when I called him on it, then said it again.

In the end, things will never get better between us because he has never done anything wrong and it is my fault.

Why is he like that.  We have never been able to have that conversation.  There is a lot of research and writing on Guyana where he grew up that shows that as a country, that are ambivalent and hostile to women who are sexually assaulted and are victims of sexual violence.  My mother told me that she was taught (and would teach me) that it was the women’s fault when she is raped for dressing too provocatively and “inviting it”.  Which when you look at my parents reaction, that is exactly what their reaction was.  Its up to me to make amends for being repeatedly sexually assaulted.

If anything, I wish he would be honest with others about how he feels about me.  It is really hard to hear his b.s. and then get lectured by someone from the church I grew up in about how much it hurts him that I don’t ever come back home or how horrible of daughter I am.  Many people have told me that they pray that I can find the strength to leave Jordon and come back home.  He’s always the victim and I am the one at fault.

In the end I take it out on Jordon on Father’s Day.  He is sick with the growing infection in his ankle.  He came home from work yesterday in a lot of pain, went to lay down exhausted and I kind of freaked out.  Twice when he has been hospitalized he sent me home from the E.R. because I get emotional and start picking fights with him when he is sick.  I did it again last night and then today.  Of course I never get him anything for Father’s Day or do anything other than threaten to leave on Father’s Day.

Today instead of letting Jordon sleep in, I woke up and picked a fight largely because the idea of him having his leg amputated scares me.  To his credit, Jordon just went back to sleep but then I was an ass all day to him.  Instead of doing something special, Mark and I just wandered around in a bad mood until finally Jordon kicked all of us out of the house and made us go for dinner without him.  It was that kind of day.

So yeah, I really hate Father’s Day.

Restaurant Review: Ricky’s All Day Grill

Ricky’s All Day Grill is local to where I live so we eat there often. 

A couple of years ago Jordon ate in the Prince Albert Ricky’s and liked the French Onion soup and Focaccia Bread.  It was good enough to draw us into the Saskatoon location where we have gone back and tried several things on the menu since then.

It’s a great place for breakfast.  With decent food and good service.  The breakfast fare is what you would expect.  Eggs and bacon in a variety of combinations.  Family favourites are the beef dip, French Onion soup (and their soup of the day), any of the breakfast dishes, and their fish and chips (of which they offer three different choices of fish).

The restaurant is clean with several historical photos of Saskatoon present throughout the restaurant.  They have redecorated what used to be Partner’s Bar and integrated it into the restaurant which I don’t mind.  The VLTs are at the front of the restaurant and are in their own room which means that if you are in the lounge, you don’t hear any of them.  They have installed several big screen TVs in the lounge which makes a nice place to watch a ball game while you eat.

In short, they offer a wide selection of comfort food at a reasonable price in a quiet atmosphere with good service.  It won’t blow you away but it’s consistently a good place for a meal when you are away from home.

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Baked Cream Cheese Wonton Recipe

Baked Cream Cheese Wonton Recipe

Rating: 41

20 minutes

10 minutes

30 minutes

4 servings

Baked Cream Cheese Wonton Recipe

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and roughly chopped
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha, optional
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 16 2-inch won ton wrappers
  • 1 large egg, beaten

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking sheet or coat with nonstick spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine shrimp, cream cheese, garlic, green onions, ginger, sesame oil and Sriracha, if using; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. To assemble the wontons, place wrappers on a work surface. Spoon 1 1/2 teaspoons of the mixture into the center of each wrapper. Using your finger, rub the edges of the wrappers with egg. Fold all sides over the filling to create an "X", pinching the edges to seal.
  4. Place wontons in a single layer onto the prepared baking sheet; coat with nonstick spray. Place into oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp.
  5. Serve immediately.
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Creamy Garlic Herb Mushroom Spaghetti Recipe

Creamy Garlic Herb Mushroom Spaghetti Recipe

Rating: 41

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces whole wheat pasta (spaghetti, linguine, etc.)
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced, divided
  • 16 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons flour (or whole wheat flour)
  • 1 teaspoon herbes de provence
  • 1½ cups milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • additional ¼ cup water, broth, milk or cream (optional)
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley (more to taste)

Directions

  1. Pasta: Cook the pasta according to package directions. Set aside and toss with a little oil to prevent sticking.
  2. Mushrooms: Melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium high heat. Add one clove of the garlic and saute for a minute until fragrant. Add the mushrooms and sauté for 5-10 minutes, until golden brown and softened. Set aside.
  3. Sauce: Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to the pan and melt again over medium high heat. Add the garlic and saute for a minute until fragrant. Add the flour and herbes de provence. Stir fry for a minute to cook out the flour taste. Add the milk slowly, whisking to incorporate. Let the mixture simmer until thickened. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Assemble: Toss the sauce, pasta, and mushrooms together. Add the olive oil and water as needed to keep the sauce from getting too thick. Stir in the parsley just before serving.

Notes

Jordon hates spaghetti.  He likes pasta and meat but doesn’t always like them together (although if he is served it, he likes it, it is a psychological thing for him from eating too much of it as a kid).  So when I do serve spaghetti, I like to do it differently.  Here is one he loves.

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Hiking the Narrows Trail in Prince Albert National Park

On the Sunday before Victoria Day, Jordon, Mark, Oliver, and I hiked the 3 kilometre Narrows Trail in Prince Albert National Park.

The start and end of the trail features these steps.

The Narrows Trail in Prince Albert National Park

Jordon, Oliver, and Mark at the start of the trail.

The start of the Narrows Trail in Prince Albert National Park

Mark is ready to go

Mark and Oliver at the start of The Narrows Trail in Prince Albert National Park

Oliver had just fallen but was okay.

Oliver on The Narrows Trail

Jordon and Mark on the trail.

Jordon Cooper and Mark Cooper walking The Narrows Trail

Mark showing off his new sunglasses that we bought for him as an early birthday gift.

Mark Cooper on The Narrows Trail in Prince Albert National Park

Oliver checking out Waskesiu Lake.

Oliver Cooper exploring the Narrows Trail at Prince Albert National Park

Lake Waskesiu from The Narrows Trail

Jordon and Mark explore the trail.

Jordon Cooper and Mark Cooper hike the Narrows Trail in Prince Albert National Park

Down by the boardwalk on The Narrows Trail in Prince Albert National Park

Two ducks swimming near the shore.  Well not that near, I was using an M.Zuiko 75-300mm lens which means that I was shooting at a 600mm equivalence.

Ducks on Waskesiu Lake in Prince Albert National Park

Here is Oliver exploring the dark underbelly of The Narrows Trail.

Oliver exploring the dark underside of The Narrow Trail in Prince Albert National Park

Tree on The Narrows Trail in Prince Albert National Park

Jordon and Oliver hiking The Narrows Trail

Waskesiu Lake

Waskesiu Lake

If you ever have a chance to explore some of Prince Albert National Park’s trails, make sure you do.  It was my first hike like this and I had a blast.  We explored the Waskesiu River Trail later that day and of course are heading back up to hike to Grey Owl’s Cabin later this summer.

Life on the home front

I haven’t posted a lot lately but here is the latest in what is new on the home front.

  • Jordon’s leg keeps getting better and worse.  The ulcer on the bottom of his foot is getting better.  Originally he was supposed to go to the wound clinic daily several times a week but he would show up there every time with a different bandage on him as he showers at least once a day.  So they started sending him home with stuff and he changes the dressing as he needs to.  Anyways it is healing.
  • The bad part is the ankle and foot remain horribly swollen and painful.  Antibiotics aren’t doing anything although now they are wondering if it is a vascular problem.  So another specialist awaits.
  • After a whole semester of refusing to work hard, Mark has finally figured out how to work consistently hard at school and his grades are greatly improving.  That has been a big deal for all of us.  The one thing that he has never been taught is how to write.  Jordon has taught him this year the Anne Lamottmethod of writing.  A crappy first draft.  Fix the first draft in your second draft.  Then refine the second draft with your final draft.  It has made a big difference for him.
  • My father has advanced cancer.   Our relationship fell apart the night I told him I had been molested growing up.  He went from being caring and loving to despising me that night.  He has later put the blame on me for it happening.  It’s a weird thing to go through.  On one hand he is my father and we used to be close.  On the other hand he has become a mean and abusive person to me as I have become an adult.  He doesn’t know the boys and don’t know him at all.  He doesn’t like Jordon and he doesn’t like me either.  Yet at the same time for much of my life, he was a really good father and friend.   It’s been 17 years since we have had a relationship.  With the things the way they are and have been for years, I decided not to see him whatever the outcome.  It’s like the good person I called ‘Dad’ 17 years ago.  I wish Mark and Oliver could have gotten to know either one of my parents and extended family.  I don’t think that will ever happen. 
  • The doctor says that Jordon can carefully consider going up to Grey Owl’s Cabin in under two weeks.  We are going to evaluate how he feels as we go but I hope we can.  I am out buying the last of what we need (Gorilla Tape to Go, Zip Loc bags for meals and a couple of compression straps for the sleeping bags).  We also decided to take Marley with us on the hike.
  • My garden is in.  With Jordon sidelined for part of the spring, Mark and I have been doing some stuff we should have been doing for year.  One of them was build a second raised flower bed.  I now have two 8 foot by 4 foot gardens which is nothing compared to most of you but I am impressed that I have been able to keep up.  I procrastinated this year and didn’t start tomatoes which made me sad but it’s my own fault.
  • One of our juniper’s died over the winter (a moment of silence please) and Mark and I had to pull it out this weekend.  We pulled and pulled and cut and dug and pulled and finally we gave up.  Then Jordon chided Mark for being a wimp and then Mark got it out.  Let’s blame Mark for this.
  • Don’s Photo has a list of top Father’s Day gift ideas.  I need to get on this.
  • CCM rooftop bag and universal mounting kitI just discovered this rooftop bag by CCMwhich makes summer travelling way easier.  It is $700 for a Thule box and bars while it is $80 for one of these.
  • In two months we will be Calgary and Banff.  I can’t wait.  We already have a week of camping planned for 2016.  That will include an overnight hike to Glacier Lake, climbing Tunnel Mountain, hiking to the Inkpots at Johnston’s Canyon, and hiking to the Six Glacier, and Lake Agnes Tea Houses with the boys.
  • I am on Pinterest.  You can find my boards here.

The Perfect Summer Steak Recipe

Here are some simple instructions and ingredients that will help you create the best steak of 2015.

The Perfect Summer Steak Recipe

The Perfect Summer Steak Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp. taco seasoning mix
  • 1/2 tsp. Maxwell House Instant Coffee Original Roast
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 beef t-bone steak (1-1/4 lb./565 g), 1 inch thick
  • 1 tsp. oil
  • 1/4 cup Bull's-Eye Bold Original Barbecue Sauce

Directions

  1. Heat greased barbecue to medium-high heat.
  2. Mix taco seasoning, instant coffee and sugar. Brush steak with oil; rub with seasoning mix. Let stand 10 min.
  3. Grill steak 8 min., turning after 4 min. Brush lightly with barbecue sauce; grill 2 to 4 min. or until medium rare doneness (120ºF), turning and brushing occasionally with remaining barbecue sauce.
  4. Transfer steak to cutting board; cover.
  5. Let stand 5 min. before serving
  6. Grill a big juicy steak for four and serve it on a wooden board for sharing. It's like eating at a steak house.
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Garlic & Parmesan Bread Recipe

Garlic & Parmesan Bread Recipe

Rating: 51

Ingredients

  • 1 quality loaf of bread
  • 4 large, cloves of garlic. minced
  • a handful of parsley,
  • chopped1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 cup or about 2 ounces of finely shredded Parmesan

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Slice long grooves into the bread, but don't cut all the way through. We want deep crevices for butter.
  3. Mix the rest of the ingredients together in a bowl with a wooden spoon. Cram the butter into the crevices of the bread. It'll all fit. If it gives you trouble just cram it in harder.
  4. Wrap the loaf up in foil and bake for 20 minutes.
  5. Then unwrap it a bit to expose the top and bake for 5 more minutes so it can get all crusty with cheese and butter.

Notes

A favourite recipe around here. Your family will love it.

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