There’s a comfort in being with old friends…where childhood memories are rekindled and laughs are bountiful. Throw in a few good meals, cozy beds, three pigs, six goats and a log cabin…and you have the makings for an amazing girls weekend away!
We’d planned this trip months ago and as time got closer, began making some decisions about what we would eat…because really, it’s an essential part of any weekend getaway!
I was in charge of our first meal and as luck would have it, I teamed up with the folks at Atlantic Superstore and created a delicious and EASY meal.
A few days before leaving, I met with Chef Mark Russell for an exclusive tour of the From Our Chefs selection available now. Just inside the doors of the supermarket, located right by the famous rotisserie chickens (also they now have meatloaf and ham), the collection is filled with salads and sides, entrees and desserts…prepared daily. With Chef Mark’s help, we put together a meal plan and everything I needed was ready and waiting for me when I popped by the Joseph Howe store as I was heading out of town!
Chef Mark has been working with Loblaws for the last seven years in their Maple Leaf Garden’s location. Yes, Loblaws purchased the Maple Leaf Gardens and turned it into a spectacular market where they pay great homage to the former home of the Toronto Maple Leafs! Chef Mark works with a staff of 25 chefs in their test kitchen…creating the perfect recipes to showcase in their stores across the country. Many of the From Our Chefs products have won the International Taste and Quality Institutes (iTQi), Superior Taste Award. The chefs at Loblaws create new dishes to introduce two times a year…keeping the tried and true and including some new options each season.
The idea of the From Our Chefs collection is simple, to create great, rustic, home-style fresh food that you can pick up at any location…then bring home to your table where you can quickly prepare a healthy dinner on a busy day. Chef Mark and his staff create restaurant quality dishes at supermarket prices.
We arrived at our Airbnb late Friday afternoon and began unloading the trunks of our cars and settling in for what would turn out to be a tremendous weekend!
Once we’d had a look around, unpacked and enjoyed a chat…it was time to prepare the evening’s meal and with all hands pitching in…it made an easy to prepare meal that much easier!
To start, we enjoyed a most delicious Butternut Squash Maple Apple Soup…just perfect for Fall!
This soup has become a lunchtime staple for me…and while I’ve not tried the others (as I’m a creature of habit), ALL of the From Our Chef soups have won the highest award through the iTQi.
Chef Mark is all about taking their foods…and adding extra touches to make them your own! So, once heated, I added a little President’s Choice Double Cream Brie, some ACE Mini Baguette Crisps and a drizzle of President’s Choice Smoky Bacon Flavoured Maple Syrup to each bowl making it a SPECTACULARLY TASTY AWESOME bowl of HAPPINESS!
Our main meal consisted of Chicken Parmesan, Roasted Potatoes with Brussel Sprouts and Italian Pancetta, Beet Salad and Creamed Spinach.
For the Roasted Baby Potatoes (baby potatoes lightly roasted with canola oil and spices), I followed Chef Mark’s suggested to turn these already prepared potatoes into something fabulous! To start, I fried up the PC Italian Pancetta , added some President’s Choice Brussel Sprouts (that I first steamed in the microwave), then tossed in the potatoes…and the three items together were DELICIOUS.
For the Chicken Parmigiana (fesh chicken breast hand breaded with a panko parmesan coating, topped and baked with a rich tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese)…all I had to do was heat and serve!
The entire meal was put together rather quickly and we were able to sit back, enjoy the food AND each other’s company!
And for dessert…
The most fantastically awesome and to die for Chocolate Mousse served with fresh berries…a light and rich mousse with a chocolate cookie crumb base (winner of the superior taste award from the iTQi) and presented in these lovely mason jars. It was FANTASTIC!
It was a wonderful weekend filled with much laughter and good food.
The fact is…there’s a great comfort in being with old friends…where childhood memories come alive, where you’re once again having a sleepover like you did when you were 12, where late night walks into the woods evoke much screaming and running back home, where pigs and goats look at you like you’re absolutely crazy, where the food is just as wonderful as the conversation around the table…and where the warmth of the fire, is nothing compared to the warmth of lifelong friendships
Disclaimer: A very special thank you to Atlantic Superstore for providing this delicious meal for our girl’s weekend away. As always, the opinions on this blog are my own.