Back to work food temptations!

As often happens when schools come back after the summer break there are treats for staff and students. My school is no different. We provided coffee and muffins for the staff, and our grade 9 students and student leaders were given cheese pizza for lunch.

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Muffins for staff

Even though I have been super careful this summer about what and how much I eat, and I told myself I would resist, the temptation was too great. I had two muffins this morning and a slice of pizza at lunch. And I still had the lunch I brought from home.

A small pile of the Pizza for students

Sure I had breakfast at 6:00 am, so I was hungry by mid morning and I don’t get to have lunch until 12:45, but I brought a healthy lunch with veggies and fruit that could be eaten in one sitting or grazed upon throughout the day. Sure I knew better, and I’ve lost weight through my better eating and exercising. But I AM WEAK! All I can do is remind myself that while a couple of treats is the start of a slippery slope, it is not a food mountain-slide. I just have to be mindful of what I eat, and stay away from temptation.

So with only 77 days to go to Christmas break, every day will be an interesting challenge to keep away from free food and empty calories.

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Truth!

BBQ Easter Weekend

My wife likes to point out, rightly so, that I don’t do much of the cooking. That said, when I do cook it’s pretty good but it usually involves the BBQ, regardless of the season or the weather. This weekend, being Easter and a four day weekend, I spent a fair bit of time on the BBQ. Sure I could have been running, especially Sunday when it was unseasonably warm in Ottawa, but instead I helped out with the family meals in my favourite way.

It started out simply enough with lunchtime hot dogs and buns at my mother-in-law’s, but that was just the primer for dinner. In the morning I had prepared the run spices for our dinner — beer can chicken. In the afternoon, I prepped the cans of Goose Island IPA, and set up the three chickens. FYI, Costco often has the three packs of chicken on sale so it’s how I often shop.


The three birds were the centre piece for dinner that also had a wonderful spinach salad, potatoes, and green beans. It was a wonderful dinner enjoyed by the entire family of 13!

Of course even with so many people, three birds does leave some leftovers. My lovely wife thought Saturday was the perfect day to try quesadillas on the grill. She adapted a receipt from Looney Spoons and I was back at the grill. While I used my cast iron skillet, next time I will probably just use the grills.


  

It was a great recipe, and a definite make again. Of course, later that day I discovered a quesadilla recipe in one of my Weber Grilling cookbooks with a few cooking tips. They will come in handy next time.

A well used and loved cookbook


 

My most often used Weber cookbook.

Easter Sunday was the big cooking day. In addition to my regular BBQ bacon for breakfast (the neighbours must love me!), it was also the big family dinner. Because my wife always takes care of the cooking at these big events, which isn’t even close to fair, I offered to cook whatever she brought home. Of course knowing it was Easter and my family has certain expectations, I was pretty confident a turkey would be involved. For Christmas my parents gave me a rotisserie for my Weber; I had only used it once before when I cooked a pork loin roast, so I figured why not try a turkey. While my kids kept teasing me about ruining a nice family dinner, and referring to the bird is Butch, I hoped to be more successful than Stuart McClean’s Dave and his Christmas Turkey.

My wife is a very smart woman, and she knows I can’t tell time to save my life. She told me to have dinner ready for 5:00 which meant I had to have the turkey on the BBQ at about 2:30 so it would have enough time to cook. You would think that after 22 years of marriage I would know she had given me a false time, a buffer for success, but I don’t think it really registered. I do, however, know it takes time to prep a meal, especially the first time you try it. Sure enough I started prepping the turkey at 1:30, getting it ready for cooking and getting it secured on the spit. Starting early paid off, though as I had the bird on the BBQ on time.

Not surprisingly, I had a few issues. First the BBQ wasn’t firing properly and was not getting hot enough. Then I had an issue with my trussing job which took two attempts to fix. That was compounded by a problem with the tines slipping.  Once all of these issues were resolved, I was cooking with fire (pun intended). And it was 3:00. When I mentioned to my wife that I was worried because of the lost 30 minutes, she let me know that perhaps she had built a the buffer — we were exactly on time.


Dinner was a big success. The turkey and stuffing turned out great. My mother brought a ham. We had mashed potatoes, bacon beans (another Looney Spoons recipe), heritage vegetables, and candy cane baby beets. All of this was served with a healthy side of laughter and cheer.

What are your favourite BBQ recipes? Do you BBQ all year or are you a fair weather BBQ’er?