Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Mid-week Meal Must Try: Sloppy Joe Wraps

I am going to start posting some easy and healthy meal ideas that you can try when you want to serve something different for dinner. I have come up with most of these ideas by taking a fast food meal my family likes and I coming up with a homemade version that I can easily cook from scratch. It saves money and I am able to maintain taste while at the same time adding a few fresh ingredients.

Today's recipe saves the mess and grease that you normally can associate with Sloppy Joes. I made this for the first time last year and it is now a popular dinner that my Hubby will request when I plan our weekly menu. Why did I use a wrap ... I ran out of buns one night and all we had left were wraps ... :)

1lb lean mincemeat
1 cup Ketchup
1/4 cup Water
1 teaspoon Worchester Sauce
1 small onion, finely chopped
Pinch of salt
Pinch of pepper

1. Brown beef in pan on high heat. Drain excess fat before adding any other ingredients.

2. Once beef is cooked add chopped onion, lower heat. Cook onions until soft and translucent. This takes about 2 - 3 minutes.

3. Once onions are soft add water, ketchup, Worchester sauce, and salt and pepper to beef in pan. Mix together and raise heat to let mixture simmer for 5 minutes, stir occasionally.

4. After simmering turn heat low and let sit for another 5 to 10 minutes allowing sauce to thicken.

5. Take your choice of flat bread and fill with beef filling. Top with your favourite burger toppings and close wrap.

Our family likes lettuce, onions, and a bit of ketchup on ours :)

Can fill aprox. 6, 10" tortilla wraps.


Till next time,

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Meal Out: our adventures with kids continues

Is it possible to go out and eat at an actual restaurant with a 2 year old and 7 month old (and I'm not talking fast food chains here),the answer is YES. Just make sure you take a few precautions and as I found out yesterday; Hubby and I can actually eat out with the kids and enjoy!

Of course you want to go to an eatery that is family friendly but it also helps if you go in off-peak times. We like going around 2:30-3:00pm. You get there in between the lunch and dinner rushes so if the kids are a little loud, there are fewer people for you to worry about disturbing.

It is also a good idea to make sure you go when kids have just had a nap. Its never fun to try and eat when tired little ones are making it known that they are sleepy and your main course has yet to arrive at the table.

One last tip, never feel you need to order toddlers a meal. The kiddy menu in many restaurants are geared more toward a school age appetite, so unless your preschooler is really hungry, they may never be able to finish what is on the plate. My DD usually gets a sampling of what everyone else is having and she seems to really enjoy the variety.

The days of slow leisurly meals may be on hold for now, but nothing beats an occasional meal out (one that I DO NOT HAVE TO COOK)!

Till next time,

Monday, November 9, 2009

I Want To Make A Difference

As Christmas gets closer I feel a tinge of stress and excitement. For the second time in 3 years I get to celebrate a baby's first Christmas and at the same time this will be the first Christmas my 2 year old will really be aware of what is going on.

I am stressed over trying to make it perfect for the kids while not increasing my family's debt load, a problem most mom's will face this season.

I know how fun it will be to see my little girl's face when she sees the tree for the first time on Christmas morning and the awe in my son's eyes when his 8 months of wisdom try to figure out what all the excitement is about. Even if I think that there is not as much under that tree as I wish there could be, I try to remind myself about the purpose of the holiday, which can be pretty hard when walking through the stores at this time of year! Yet I know my kids will be happy with the fact that there are gifts of any sort, as they are not at the stage of expecting certain things and in certain quantities.

However, I did have things put in perspective the other day when I received a Christmas catalogue, not from a retail outlet, but from a charity. The gifts included livestock, food, medication, and other necessities of life. The organization, Chalice, is a Canadian Catholic organization that provided live changing items to people in developing countries. No matter what your budget (there are items for as little as $10, one even $5) you can make a purchase that will help improve the life of a child, family, or community.

The first thing I did when looking through this catalogue was what most do, wish I could help then move on to whatever else I was busy doing at that moment; then I picked it up again to recycle it but I stopped. I looked at it and saw that there were items I could actually afford to donate (and I am on a very small budget), I spoke to my hubby that night and we decided to purchase a couple of items in the name of some family members for Christmas. We want to make a difference in whatever way we can, instead of buying another mug for someone who has a hundred already or a box of chocolate for someone who doesn't eat candy, the recipient of the card knows that their gift (made in their name) is going to make a difference.

After checking out the website I thought to myself ... how can I worry about how many gifts I can buy ... when I should be so thankful that I can get gifts for them. I am so thankful that I am not worried that my kids will contract Malaria while they sleep tonight. I am so thankful that I can pour my daughter a glass of water and know that it is not contaminated. I am so thankful that my big baby can drink all the formula he needs to satisfy his big appetite.

So if you are getting stressed over the holiday season do a quick Google search for charities that you may be able to help out this holiday season. Whether you can donate money, items, or even some of your time through volunteering; you'll remember what is really important in life!

Until next time,