This week started out like a normal one. Got up early with the little fella, went for a walk, and even managed to clean up a bit before work. There’s nothing like proudly surveying properly nested bowls and neatly stacked tupperware with matching lids to make you feel like a real grownup.
We’d planned for a bit of a different evening n Monday though, and while I was finishing up at work, Baby J went to his grandparents to stay the night. Sleepover #3 for the little guy and he’s been fine every time, but I still have a hard time saying goodbye when he’s leaving. 346 kisses and hugs later, he was gone, and I had some time to make dinner.
I had a box of goodies waiting in the fridge for me – there is a new meal service in Ottawa called Chefx and the idea is that they deliver a package of food along with a recipe created by a chef from a local restaurant for you to cook. They sent me a box to try out, and it included ingredients to make Balsamic Chicken with Roasted Red Pepper and Israli Couscous Salad along with step by step instructions. Sounds fancy? Oh yes, and delicious, too!
A couple of things I liked about this: they only send exactly what you need – so 3 cloves of garlic rather than a whole head, a little packet of brown sugar, fresh veggies. They try to source locally produced items, which appeals to me, and if they have leftover food after the week’s deliveries, they donate it to the Ottawa Food Bank.
The thing that’s been tripping me up with cooking lately is coming up with meal plans and then getting to the grocery store with a specific list (and a toddler in tow) to get everything. So it was nice to have it all in front of me, plus it made me cook something I’ve never tasted before – the side of Israli coucous salad. It was slightly chewy like pasta and with the burst of fresh basil and veggies, won us both over. I also rarely cook skin-on, bone-in chicken, and didn’t know you should sear, then bake, but the result was pretty flavourful and moist so it’s something I’ll have to repeat.
We enjoyed our meal a lot, and if Baby J was at home, I think there would have been enough for him to eat as well from the 2 serving option. I’d be curious to price out how much buying these ingredients straight from the store would cost compared to subscribing to the boxes on a weekly basis, but if it’s similar (adding in ease factor and local ingredients), I think I’d use Chefx again for the convenience and the chance to make an interesting recipe like this.
After our nice at-home dinner, we headed out to Pressed on Gladstone where they have a bluegrass band every Monday night. This week was The Monroe Sisters and they were so fantastic, strumming the banjo, plucking the mandolin, singing in gorgeous 3 part harmony. The upbeat songs brought a smile to my face.
For his song of the day, Tyler got up to play and sing These Memories of You with the ladies (and one bass-playing gent). It went over pretty went well, with the addition of the accordion, the soaring fiddle notes interspersed throughout the melody, and everyone trading off parts in sync. I don’t usually listen to much bluegrass music but I couldn’t get enough: slowly sipping a cup of white wine while soaking in the heat of the evening and the energy of the performers.
Best of all, the show didn’t go too late so I got to bed at a normal hour. This doesn’t seem like much until you start waking up with a teething one year old at 5:30am for a week straight. Then, sleeping in til 8am feels like bliss!
Hope you are all cooking delicious meals, listening to wonderful music, and taking time out to enjoy the summer as July creeps up on us.