Sweet and Sour Meatloaf

When I left work tonight it was dark out. It was only 5:00.

What the hell? Dark at 5:00?!!!

What’s next? Snow?!!!

A dark, drizzly night, like tonight, demands comfort food and I was so happy to find a sliver of leftover meatloaf in the fridge when I got home.

This wasn’t just any meatloaf, it was Sweet and Sour Meatloaf made by Jeremy from his mother’s recipe.

Sweet and Sour Meatloaf

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together and place in a casserole dish:
1.5 lbs (.7 kg) extra lean ground beef
1 chopped onion
1 beaten egg
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
1/4 tsp salt

Combine the following and pour over meat blob:
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 tbsp mustard
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce

Break up the meat so that the sauce flows through it.

Bake for 1 1/2 hours.

Now with a tummy full of warm meatloaf, I’m moving on to hot chocolate. Then I’ll be curling up under a blanket for the rest of the night and I’m not moving until I can see the sun again.

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Arroz Con Pollo

Around this time last year we had a wonderful opportunity to spend a week in Costa Rica. We stayed here. If you’re looking for a quiet place to chill out for a while, I recommend checking it out. One of the many things we loved about Costa Rica was the food and nearly every menu we came across had some variation of arroz con pollo – chicken and rice. This was the first meal we had there and it quickly became our go-to dish while we were away.

Over the past year, I’ve made several attempts to recreate arroz con pollo here at home with limited success. Until now. I’ve finally found a recipe that kind of reminds me of Costa Rica. The ingredients are relatively simple and the cooking instructions are insanely easy. All of the ingredients get tossed right into a rice cooker and it requires no intervention until it’s ready to serve.

Here’s the recipe:

3 cups of chicken broth
2 cups cooked chicken, diced
1.5 cups uncooked long grain rice
3 stalks of celery, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
2 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic, minced

Spread olive oil in the bottom of the rice cooker. Layer the chicken then vegetables followed by garlic and paprika. Next add rice.

Place bouillon cube in the chicken broth and heat until it dissolves. I use the microwave for this.

Finally, pour the broth mixture on top, close the lid and cook.

When the cooker switches from the cook to the warm setting, give it a stir and serve.

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Best Halloween Ever

When I reflect on Halloweens past, the year that stands out in my mind the most is 1983. I was in the third grade. I didn’t have a particularly interesting costume that year. In fact, I don’t even remember what I wore, although if I had to guess, it was likely Strawberry Shortcake. I wore that costume several times throughout my childhood (and a few times as an adult). What was so memorable about that year is that I went trick or treating without an adult chaperone. Instead of my parents, I went out with the girl next door and her friends.

Tracy was older than me, by three, maybe four years, and I looked up to her. She told me secrets and introduced me to alternative shoelace configurations, glittery nail polish and Joan Jett. The previous summer she had entertained me while I was quarantined with chicken pox (she had already had them and was immune). We would listen to her records on my Mickey Mouse record player while roller skating on the concrete floor in our unfinished basement. She tolerated my naivety and immaturity while I studied her for clues as to how I could someday be as pretty and sophisticated as I saw her back then.

I don’t know how or why I was afforded the privilege of hanging out with her and her friends that night. It doesn’t matter. All I know is that night we ventured farther out of our neighborhood at night than I’d ever been without a grown up. Then at the end of the night we went to McDonalds. There I was, hanging out with the girls at a restaurant. We were nearly a kilometer from home eating french fries acquired with treat coupons we had picked up along the way. I felt so cool and independent. It was incredible. It wasn’t until years later when I drove a car alone for the first time, that I would feel that free again.

By the following year we had moved across town and I didn’t see Tracy much after that. With such a big difference in age, our lives never really overlapped outside of being neighbours. Wherever she is now, I wish her well and I’ll always be so grateful that she let me tag along with her that night. It really meant a lot.

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