The Learner Observer

So… I had big plans yesterday, and the day before that.  I was planning on coming home, making a delicious dinner, enjoying it with my husband then sitting down to write all about it! 3 out of those 4 things happened.  Guess which 3?  Yeah… the first 3!  I started uploading photos for the blog and closed my eyes… just for a second!  At 10:30 Alex woke me up from my curled-up-with-the-laptop slumber and we went to bed.  No blog.  I was so looking forward to making up for my nothingness from the previous day too!  In an effort not to dwell on my sleepiness and lack of blogging, let me just tell you all about Tuesday night…

I stopped at Costco and Sobey’s on my way home for some groceries, list in hand for some delicious meal recipes I found online and couldn’t wait to try!  I have been posting so much about how to make our house look like a home, but I really think this is a huge part of what makes a house be a home – sitting down for a delicious meal together.  As a family.  Just the two of us!  Now because I had a lazy Monday and didn’t even make dinner (the popcorn doesn’t count… the Whirly Pop did all the work!), I needed to redeem myself.  How did I try to do that? I attempted to make 2 meals at the same time.  Yep… I did.  Here is how that went:

Firstly, here are the recipes which I got from The Nest:

Recipe 1: Pasta e  Fagioli

Recipe 2: Maple Salmon Over Nutty Couscous

Please note: these were not meant to be eaten together.  I was making the pasta and beans for us to have this week with lunch and as a warm stew/soup.  Plus, I loved the sound of it and I really wanted to try it!

So I didn’t wrap the thyme, rosemary and bay leaf into a cheesecloth because I don’t have one.  I just left them as they are.

Onion chopping.  No tears!

Butter and olive oil. Delicious!

Add pancetta (best part).  I did not measure this.  I thought it’d be better to just have as much pancetta as I see fit!

The recipe calls for 2 cloves… I used 3.

While the onions, garlic and pancetta sauteed, I got started on the salmon.  I forgot to take photos of the maple syrup and balsamic, but you get the idea… it’s a syrupy, dark mixture.  My salmon was frozen, so I put it in the oven for a few minutes to soften it up.

Here are the beans I used.  I didn’t want to use all kidney beans, plus I really like Romano beans.

Adding in the broth.  As a quick FYI, the container has about 3 3/4 cups, so just dump the whole thing in there and measure 2 cups from the next one.

I got pre-chopped walnuts.  I accidentally cut the bag upside down.  Oops!

And while the bean concoction was busy boiling, I got to making the quinoa.  That’s right… no couscous.  I thought quinoa would be a better alternative.

Here is what the kitchen looked like while all of this was going on:

The picture does not do the smell in the room any justice… honestly, it was heaven in that kitchen!

The recipe says to blend a cup of the stew in a blender.  We do not have a blender.  I thought I would be smart and use our food processor… huge mess!  But it sort of worked.

I would have used whole wheat macaroni, but let’s face it… white pasta alway tastes better!

The salmon was done before everything else.

Here is the finished Pasta e Fagioli… parmesan cheese and all.  It tasted better than it smelled, which I did not think was possible!

Yes, we did end up having both the beans and the salmon.  We wanted to try both dishes.  And finally the salmon.

Finally, the kitchen post cooking 2 meals and eating… not bad, right?  Alex did the dishes.  Love that husband of mine!!

Go here for the 31 days of House to Home.

Linking up here.

October 18, 2012



  1. Reply


    October 19, 2012

    Wow…this is awesome!

  2. Reply

    Kathy, The Chicken Chick

    October 26, 2012

    I love your cozy kitchen! And I’m a huge fan of pasta fagioli! Thanks for sharing your recipes and photos!

    I’d like to invite you to join us at the Clever Chicks Blog Hop this week!

    I hope to see you there!
    The Chicken Chick

    • Reply


      October 26, 2012

      Thanks Kathy! I will be sure to link up and add your info to my link party page (which I’m currently working on)! :)

  3. Reply


    October 27, 2012

    My favorite soup of all time – I love it!! Found you At The Picket Fence. I love your comment about falling asleep while uploading blog pics. My own “31 Days” has had that effect on me a few times this month as well (so far mine should be called the “17 Days”… lol). Looking forward to catching up on your posts and, now that my mini Kitchen Makeover is done, to making that soup!!!
    Thanks!! Claire

    • Reply


      October 27, 2012

      haha 17 days is still amazing, Claire! Honestly, the soup is so worth it… I’m going to make it again this week. I just did a mini kitchen reno too! I’ll blog about it eventually… So glad you stopped by. :) And I’m loving your organization tips!

      • Reply


        October 27, 2012

        Thank you, glad you were able to stop by! Can’ wait to hear more about your kitchen adventure! :)

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