river fishing

“Laughter is brightest where food is best.” An Irish Proverb

Call me a foodie –  I’ve always had a healthy relationship with food.  It’s simple really, I believe in eating and I don’t believe in dieting.  I eat three meals plus snack every day.  When people ask me how I stay thin I tell them I eat.  I also happen to be a ball of energy and I feel the most alive when I’m moving.  Growing up meal times were a time of connection for my family.  Being from an Irish family, meal times were a time of gathering and sometimes a time for arguing but neither here nor there we sat at the table and ate meals together.  This is something I try to instill in my children, to sit together so we can re-connect through food.  We don’t bring our phones or iPads to the table we just sit and eat.  Most of the time the boys gulp their food and move on to whatever it is they were doing before our meal, but even if we get ten minute connection time, it’s better than no connection at all.

This past month we adopted a gorgeous black shepherd named Kaos and after experimenting with different food brands, I decided to mix his kibbles in with fresh cooked dog food made with beef, ground chicken, ground turkey, brown rice and vegetables.  I also make him dog cookies for extra treats for training and to add some variety to his diet.  Kaos loves the food and literally does a happy dance when it’s time for his meals.  Similar to the food connection at the dinner table, food has become a connection to Kaos.  He knows when I’m cooking his dog food and lies at my feet during the preparation.  He watches me pack his meals in glass jars and follows me to the freezer to freeze his servings.  We were away for a few weeks camping and fishing this summer and I made sure I had enough homemade dog snacks to last through the trip.  One morning we decided to go to a different fishing spot not far from where we were camping. Drew cooked a huge breakfast that morning, so I didn’t bother to pack food because the new fishing hole wasn’t that far away and we weren’t planning on being there all day.  True to our family, we never do anything as planned, we went further than we thought and stayed longer than intended.

All I had was water and homemade dog biscuits.  It was getting to dinner time and I was starving, I decided to sit back on the bank to catch pictures of Drew and the boys and watch them fish.  My stomach started talking to me and I remembered I had the dog biscuits.  The biscuits are made with whole wheat flour, water, oatmeal, flax a little salt and cheese.  Nothing I haven’t eaten before and the cheese adds flavour to the bladness of the cookie.  I took the cookie out of my pack and started to eat it.  Kaos is usually pretty good about sitting a little away while I eat, but not this time. At that moment he was not paying attention to me and was standing way up the river with Brendan watching him fish.  All of a sudden he was literally in my face and took the cookie from my hand as I was putting the cookie in my mouth.  He laid down a few feet away from me giving me a perplexed look, he was not impressed I was eating his food. Kaos is a smart pooch and he knows the hand that feeds him, but it’s a dog’s life when it comes to food and connection.   The connection is there for a fleeting moment, kind of like my children at the dinner table, we manage to talk or argue for a few moments and then their gone.

Food is just a small piece in the connection, the aroma and taste connects the boys to my energy as the atmosphere is charged with emotions and passions and then just as fast as the food goes down, the connection is gone until the next time.  The amount of time we connect is not important, it’s the connection itself that is important.  Whatever the boys have to give, no matter how small – I’ll take it.

killer tofu

I get a kick out of yoonanimous – she’s got a wicked sense of humour and this looks like a wicket recipe.


Adapted from “Martin Yan’s Chinatown Cooking”


3 fresh or dried shiitake mushrooms (if dried, soak in warm water for 20 minutes), de-stemmed and chopped

6 oz. ground pork

1 teaspoon + 2 tablespoons soy sauce, divided

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon hot bean paste, black bean sauce, bean chili sauce, or chili garlic sauce (one of these should be available in the “ethnic foods” aisle—we’re getting ethnic, people!—of your grocery store. If you have a choice, go for the bean chili sauce)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/3 cup chopped water chestnuts

1 14-oz. package soft (or silken, or Japanese style) tofu, drained and cut into 1/2 inch cubes

2 green onions, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch lengths

2 teaspoons cornstarch (dry)

2 teaspoons cornstarch, dissolved in 1 tablespoon water


1. Marinate the pork: stir the ground pork, 2 teaspoons cornstarch, and 1 teaspoon soy sauce together, let stand 10 minutes.

2. Make the sauce: stir 2 tablespoons soy sauce in a bowl with the sesame oil and one cup water. Set aside.

3. Chop the water chestnuts, mushrooms, green onions, throw them all in bowl and set aside. Get your chopped garlic ready. Make sure your tofu is cut and drained. You want everything chopped before you start a stir-fry, because the actual cooking takes like 4 minutes.

4. Heat a wok, skillet, or cast-iron pan over high heat until hot. Add oil and swirl to coat. Add the garlic and stir fry until fragrant, mybe 20 seconds. Add the pork, whatever bean/chili paste or sauce you are using, and stir fry until the pork is crumbly, 2-3 minutes.

5. Pour the sauce into the pan along with the cut vegetables (water chestnuts, mushrooms, green onions). Slide in your tofu, stir gently or swirl the pan to get the tofu coated with the sauce. Let simmer until heated through, 2-3 minutes. Don’t freak out if your soft tofu starts to break apart. Just be as gentle as you can.

6. Pour in the dissolved cornstarch and cook gently, stirring, until sauce boils and thickens, about 1 minute. If you don’t care if your sauce is runny, you can omit this step.

7. Take off heat. Serve over hot brown rice!


Everywhere you turn, someone is telling you that something you’re feeding your kids is bad for them. Which is fine if your kids are good eaters and you have a host of food options from which to choose. My kids? Left to their own devices, they each eat like twelve foods. Maybe more like six, if you take away the fruit.

One of the things they will both eat, however, is tofu. They will eat every variety of tofu, from silken to pressed. They will eat it in soup, baked, pan fried, steamed, whatever. And that’s good because tofu has nutritious stuff in it, like vegetable protein.


Anyway, about the tofu. The latest word on tofu is that if you have boy children and they eat too much of it, they will grow breasts. Or something like that. Feel free to Google it—I haven’t, because, okay, I admit it, I’m…

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I felt compelled to press this – everyone should see this video.  Originally seen on:

This man gets it, he gets what it is to be a loving, giving, generous human being.  I’m in awe of this man’s beautiful spirit.



I love to cook and I would like to be able to say that this part of my blog is dedicated to fabulous recipes that belong on a cooking show.  The truth is –  I don’t have time to be in the kitchen cooking for hours on end so I’ve learned how to cook on the run.  I try to use fresh ingredients where I can and I always try to make a quick salad with whatever I’m throwing together.  It’s also helpful to have key ingredients in the pantry and the freezer ready to grab.   I always have frozen fries, perogies, frozen veggie burgers, different types of fresh pasta(frozen), soft taco shells.    With the amount of hours that my husband and I spend working and running our boys to hockey rinks, gourmet dinners are not on the menu.  I’ll start off with what I made for dinner tonight –

Cheesy Black Bean Tacos


Morning Star Chipotle Blackbean Burgers (I buy these from Costco- Meatless burgers- delicious)


Shredded cheddar or whatever kind of cheese you like

1/2 fat sour cream or greek yogurt

1/2 red onion sliced

chopped tomatoes


mexican seasoning – whatever you have – burgers are quite spicy so you could leave the seasoning out

soft flour tortillas


Defrost burgers

pour some olive oil or melt butter in frying pan – add burgers and chop up into small pieces – heat until hot right through.

heat tortillas

put all extra ingredients on a plate or in separate bowls for serving (cheese,sour cream, salsa, onion, tomatoes, lettuce)

have everyone grab a tortilla and fill it themselves and add a salad to complete the meal.

Voila you’re done and it’s a pretty easy clean-up!

You could just take the burgers – cook them on the frying pan and serve them up on a bun and add a fresh salad – real simple!