Simple Summer Supper

Simple Summer Supper

Simple Summer Supper.

Wait. Do you call it supper or dinner? I think I say “let’s go out for dinner”, but we “eat supper at home”. Whether you call it dinner or supper I want to share how often we cook and how it’s a radically different schedule in the summer. We tend to go for a simple summer supper schedule. How about you?

Simple Summer Supper Schedule:

Monday: I cook for Gav and I.

Tuesday: We order pizza, as there are normally 50% off specials galore.

Wednesday: I cook for Gav and I.

Thursday: I cook for Gav and I.

Friday: We either order Skip the Dishes or eat leftovers.

Saturday: BBQ or a food project.

Sunday: BBQ or a food project.

Books for Days

Our tiny cookbook collection, used for “inspiration”.

Walk Me Through a Week…

What do I cook on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays? Year round I love things like homemade chicken soups, stews, pot pies, and roast chickens. Things get a little simpler in the summer. We still do a pot of good spaghetti sauce, but I will make an extra big pot then fill 3 to 4 containers and pop in freezer. In doing so I have completely cut out about 3 hours of standing over the stove. Simply thaw in fridge the night before, then reheat and make the pasta. Salad on the side and dinner is served!

Tacos happen a lot in our house, also year round. I am absolutely not opposed to the boxed kit, but we have been known to make our own tortillas using simple masa flour and water. We splurged on a tortilla press (I kid, it was under $30) and when Wade is home he takes over and makes about 40 soft corn shells. Then we can freeze and use at a later date!

Roast chicken? Sure we do it! Make 2, or better yet cook “beer can chicken style” on the bbq. We sub the beer though for 7-up, green tea, even iced tea! Make it simple but pack in the flavour. The leftovers go a long way too, add into a salad or serve with rice and veggies, yes please!

Speaking of veggies, who says you have to cook them? I love cutting up a whole platter of carrots, broccoli, celery and anything dunkable then you create a fun side dip! Equal parts mayo + sour cream + fresh dill and a splash of balsamic? DONE. Epicure bottles in your pantry? USE THEM IN THE SUMMER! Get creative!

What’s a Food Project?

The weekends are where we have some fun. Wade is home from work and almost always walks through the door armed with “an idea”. I am not kidding when I say he owns a little black book…for recipes. Things he sees on YouTube then wants to create, or recipes he’s used and tweaked to perfection. We have made homemade mozzarella (talk to me about ordering rennet tablets online), Wade always makes his own chili powder that involves grinding all the peppers with a coffee grinder, we do all our own pizzas on the bbq with a stone and we’ve even made our own BACON. It’s almost always Wade motivated and somehow I reap the benefits. But it’s an all day/all evening affair. No one said you can rush happiness.

So. In closing, I think it’s perfectly amazing to take every shortcut known in the summer. TIPS: Dig out the crockpot, a friend even suggested she uses hers in the garage so it doesn’t heat the house! *genius. BBQ as much as you can, and keep cool at all costs. You can still have amazing food and not spend all your time in the kitchen.

Happy Summer! Enjoy! Meg xo

How To Make Rice

How To Cook Rice

Do You Know How to Make Rice?

I would like to think most of us would say yes, but today I came home to find our 18 year old son Gavin had made some. Attempted.

In theory, butter and salt not withstanding, making rice has the basic steps that he pretty much nailed. Water. Boil. Rice. Cook. Eat. What I didn’t realize though was how his entire pot of rice was made based on “being in the next room” while we cook each night and not by me ever really showing him step by step methods. Shame on me.

When I saw the leftover Indian takeout sitting atop a MASSIVE bowl of extremely cooked rice, I asked him to repeat back to me step by step what he did. Not to be critical, I really wanted to see how he pulled this off.

The Conversation:

Me: “bud I am super proud you did it- tell me exactly how you got to this point, start from the beginning”.

Gav: “I got a pot. I added water”.

Me: How much water”?

Gav: “Around 2 cups”.

Me: “Ok, then how much rice”?

Gav: “Around a cup of dry rice, just for me”.

Me: “Then what”?

Gav: “I heated the water, added the rice and started stirring for a while”

Me: “what’s this wire strainer doing in the sink”?

Gav: “I used that to drain off all the water”.

Ok so he wasn’t THAT far off, but what he didn’t realize was that he was using Minute Rice. (1-1 ratio water to rice). Zero effort needed, he actually did WAY more work than necessary. He also said he didn’t add butter, or salt, and well the rice fell apart in the bowl. Yes my love, it was waterlogged. God bless him, he ate as much as he could and then proceeded to clean up the horrendous disaster in the kitchen. (I have never seen so many pots and utensils used to make rice in my life).

Make It Work

This was a perfect example of how he just made it work. He didn’t care that it was a little water logged. I don’t think he even realized it might be lacking seasoning, but he did it. And based on very little knowledge other than being in earshot of us cooking while he played Xbox in the living room over the years. But you know something? Lesson learned for me. This kid needs to do more cooking.

Don't be afraid

Wade is really good in teaching him certain kitchen techniques and has ALL the patience in the world, but I need to step back and give him a little instruction then just let him experiment. I don’t want to send him out into the world armed with only the knowledge of Ichiban and Kraft Dinner, although I might add he makes a mean fried egg on toast. I will also add that he can make grilled cheese too. I would say he can make quesadillas but his version of a little oil in the pan resulted in a fully deep-fried-smoke-alarm-going-off-delight. But the fact is, he wants to cook, he loves to try and that’s amazing.

Do your kids cook? Does your spouse/better half cook? Maybe it’s time we pass the torch while holding the fire extinguisher?

Meg xo

PS – Want to add to the rice? Have your kids make Chicken Taco Rollups tonight!

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I Want My Own Cooking Show

I Want My Own Cooking Show

I Want My Own Kids Cooking Show.

I want my own cooking show. Words I have repeated for as long as I can remember. I truly have always wanted to have my own TV show, whether that was a talk show (because talking is my favourite thing to do + I am nosy) or a cooking show (because, I love food and I love to teach). Moreover, I had really wanted to host a kids cooking show. Let’s be honest, kids are comedy in the purest form. No filter, little patience and REAL. My kind of show. When I returned home from MasterChef Canada I knew that “one day” I would somehow make it happen, I just didn’t realize it would become a reality less than 2 years later.

Let’s repeat those words. I want a cooking show. Simple in theory, almost an unsurmountable task in practice. Especially when you think about what goes into making one. Think about any cooking show we watch on TV. Then IMDB it and see that they literally have HUNDREDS on staff. When “insert anyone from Food Network” reaches for an ingredient, chances are they have been passed what’s been purchased, washed, chopped, diced and prepped by an entire team. I was a team of ME. Well while that’s not entirely true, for whatever reason that didn’t stop me from forging ahead with a plan to make this kids tv show happen.

What About Just One Bite?

I would need a name. Just One Bite seemed appropriate, although to this day I can’t remember who came up with it. I think my former co-host/brother Mike Alan one day in between songs on air. He’s still waiting for royalties I am sure…keep waiting Mikey! Just One Bite became our little show name and the core at which everything else was built around. The reason I loved that title was because it always came back to my motto for the show. “You can’t say you don’t like something, if you’ve never actually tried it. Come on, JUST ONE BITE”! 

Just One Bite Set Life

Meg Tucker: Access Producer

Next I would need someone to help me make this into an actual show! That’s when I approached Shaw TV in Red Deer, Alberta. I created 5 different show ideas , then took them to coffee and walked them through my pitch ideas. Luckily, Shaw was looking for Access Producers who would come with ideas and help build shows and of the 5,  Just One Bite peaked their interest. It seemed the most viable. It had kids. We could use local. It had family. It had heart. It checked all the boxes.

When I was given the green light, that meant a few things. Shaw would supply the film crew which included cameramen, floor director and director. Then in post, they would assist in the editing. Who are we kidding. I would sit with them while they did ALL the editing. My initial creative map, their technical wizardry. PS Melanie Timms is the greatest. Make that Melanie, Chloe, Jim, Kyle, Chas, Dave, and all the SHAW Volunteers. Amazing.

Ok wait. We haven’t even scratched the surface I need you to truly know how many hours goes into editing a half hour show. We are talking days. And days. And days. Every time you see someone’s mouth move, it has to be lined up with the actual audio/dialogue. When you have Meg + 4 kids on set, that’s 5 different audio tracks, 5 different angles of cameras being shot, 5 different levels, everything. Each syllable had to be matched. Colour coded. Colour corrected. White balanced. Properly lined up. Guys, this is massive.

Kids on set of Just One Bite

We Need a Just One Bite Set!

Now. Where would we shoot this? Well a few places immediately came to mind and after a location tour with Shaw, our final destination ending up being Trail Appliances in Red Deer, AB. Inside this massive appliance store, they housed a beautiful test kitchen, completely outfitted with top of the line equipment. We joked that I was going to just move in, I still miss it.

Trail also had a prep kitchen area that we used as our dressing room/food storage. The boardroom served as a kid wrangling tent and the store so graciously allowed us to shoot some of the episodes before they were open, so we had this incredible space all to ourselves. What we had to factor in however, was that it was still a store and largely in part a showroom. We couldn’t really move lighting or fridges or tables. That’s again where this gang from Shaw shone so brightly. They made it happen.

Just One Bite kids

Bring On the Kids!

Are you wondering yet when I was going to think about the kids for said cooking show? Right! Well, in our 2 seasons of Just One Bite, we grew. Season 1 we put a call out on Facebook and the kids came. Enough to fill the cast, all between the ages of 4 and 7. For season 2 we stepped it up and did a more formal casting call with Shaw. Kids and parents arrived in droves to a group audition, complete with judging panel to keep it fair and fun. We ended up getting another round of “mini foodies” and were set. AMAZING mini foodies I might add. Clever, smart, hilarious, zero filters, stage nerves, stage moms (no just kidding), and a TON of love. I still maintain I need to do a “Not So Mini Foodies” where are they now episode!

So now we film? No. I still needed supplies. Scripts. Shoot schedules. Production scripts. Safety training on set. Release documents. Press releases. Merch. Sponsors. A logo. A jingle. Rolling credits. Food. Duplicate food ready to go for the “magic of television”. Recipes. Clothing. Makeup. Hair. Hair for kids. Clothing for kids. Lunch on set. Volunteers. Ideas.

This was only scratching the surface.

Just One Bite Cast

Oh and did I mention I was also getting up at 3:45am every day to co-host our morning radio show? To say I was busy was an understatement, but I just kept swimming with the help of my ROCKSTAR hubby Wade and a TON of determination and support we somehow managed to pull it off.

For 2 SEASONS.

Creating a television show is one of the biggest undertakings of my entire life and without question the one thing I am most proud of achieving. Just One Bite is really my other baby. My little idea that happened.

Meg xo

Watch Just One Bite today!

Just One Bite On Set

5 Year Banana Bread

5 Year Banana Bread

5 Year Banana Bread?

5 year 5 banana bread? Well my banana bread certainly doesn’t take 5 years to make, it’s been in the works for 5 years. What started as a simple banana muffin recipe got tweaked, altered, things added, things removed and with an incredible deal on a pan at Winners, it’s merged into mini loaves straight from banana heaven. Bottom line, I have always loved banana bread. I remember as a kid that would be the one thing I march straight towards at a bake sale. Not a cupcake, not pie, but a piece of pre-buttered wrapped in cling wrap banana bread. The darker the better. Sweet, fragrant and HOMEMADE. Is there anything better? I think not!

What Makes This Banana Bread So Special?

Ready for my secret? Pure almond extract. And when I have them on hand, white chocolate chips. The chocolate chips are not mandatory, but if you want to get the desired result I wish you to have, please use good almond extract. I use a bottle that I grabbed, also at Winners. It’s almost like a baking paste or gel and it’s super thick concentrate. I want to say I measure, but that would be lying. I just let a little drop fall into the batter right before the final mix. The last thing I do is mix up the sugar and use one half white, and one half dark brown. I have tried all of one kind but this seems to just be the magic ratio.

I hope you love these as much as I do! I make minis as you can see, then before you know it, I’ve eaten the whole loaf. HEY! They’re mini!

5 Year Banana Bread

The ultimate banana muffin/bread experience. Decadent while not overly sweet, this bread is going to become your most shared "family" recipe!

Course Snack
Cuisine Comfort Flavour
Keyword banana

Ingredients

  • 2 c mashed bananas works out to be about 5
  • 1/2 c melted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 c flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp good almond extract
  • 1/2 c white chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp melted butter to brush in pans
  • 1 c sugar (I use 1/2c brown, 1/2 c white)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.

  2. Brush your 12 muffin tin with melted butter. Or mini loaf pans. *You can use muffin liners if you wish!

  3. Mash your bananas, still leaving a few little chunks. Add your melted butter, sugar, vanilla, almond extract and eggs.

  4. Add to the wet, your flour, salt, baking powder + soda.

  5. Mix ONLY until everything is combined and you don't see any big patches of flour.

  6. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes, until you see it start to puff up a bit, this means your baking powder is working.

  7. Fill up your tins or loaf pans with even amounts of batter, and pop in oven for ABOUT 25 mins for muffins, little longer for mini loaves. **Oven temps will vary.

  8. Let sit in tins for a few minutes then take out and let cool on a rack. Serve with maple or honey butter! Enjoy! Meg xo

TOOLS: Here is the mini loaf pan I use!

For another glorious muffin that I’ve been working on FOREVER…try my Meg’s Morning Muffins! Y-U-M.

Enjoy! Meg xo

The Sweet Life

Sweet

Do you have a sweet tooth?

Ahhhh, the Sweet Life. I like to tell people I don’t really have a sweet tooth, that I would normally choose a salty option for a treat, but that’s not entirely true. If I am being honest, I wouldn’t say no to any of these desserts above. Do you notice something about these choices though? Not a single one contains chocolate. See that’s where I know I am not in the majority. It’s not that I don’t like chocolate, but when given the option, I will always choose a non coco variety first. The 4 I picked were tough choices, each one has a very specific reason why they landed in my faves list.

Homemade old fashioned sugar donuts from a little bakery in North Rustico, PEI

This little gem of a bakery is called The Olde Village Bakery, in North Rustico, PEI. This little bakery has been around forever and at full capacity fits about 4 people touching shoulders. The sugared donuts sell out as quickly as they are dusted and put onto the shelf, along with seasonal fruit pies, trays of rolls and homemade bread to rival any grandma’s secret recipe. This place is just heaven. That’s it, that’s all.

Triple peanut butter cake made lovingly by my hubby Wadey.

Yes, that’s his ACTUAL cake in the photo. See, a little something about my Wadey, when he sees a project, he completes it to perfection, always. Carrying on a tradition that has existed in my family with my mom, the BIRTHDAY girl/boy gets to request his/her cake and the MOTHER has to do her best to make it happen. I will never forget (nor will she) that I requested a Baked Alaska for my 11th. WHAT 11 YEAR OLD KNOWS WHAT A BAKED ALASKA IS?? Nonetheless my amazing momma pulled it off. Pretty sure I just did it to stump her, but it wasn’t possible. Nor is it with Wadey. I found this wicked delight on Pinterest, along with 3 other flavour options, and he delivered not one but two for my September birthday a couple years ago. I almost cried. My mom was visiting at the time and pretty sure she almost did too. Wade = the perfect son she never had.

Churros for breakfast from Paradisus Cancun

Why? Because if you’re not at Disney you will get churros wherever you can! And breakfast? SURE! Why not! Delish.

Creme brulee from ANYWHERE YOU CAN SERVE ME CREME BRULEE.

That really is the truth. I think if I had to pick ONE dessert to make me the happiest, (Wadey cakes not withstanding), I would choose creme brulee. Creamy, rich pudding with the hard sugary layer you crack with a spoon as you savour each bite until you’ve licked the bowl or jar clean? YES PLEASE. CB all the way.

Ok, that’s my FAVE, what would YOU pick for a sweet treat? Share your ideas below! And in case you want to make one of my OTHER faves, try my Shortcut Flan. Not fussy, and will wow a crowd, any day of the week!

Enjoy! Meg xo

 

Summer of Cavendish

Summer of Cavendish

The Summer of Cavendish. Those words immediately make me stop and smile. Have you ever been to Prince Edward Island? Stop what you are doing and add it to your bucket list. Total population of the island: approximately 150,000. PEI might be the smallest province in Canada but definitely one of the most glorious. Red sand (yes, it really is), potatoes, lobster suppers, Anne of Green Gables. What more do you need?

Spending summer vacations in Cavendish

Growing up in Fredericton, New Brunswick, we used to rent a cottage in PEI for our summer vacations. It didn’t take long to get there, 3 hours tops with the ferry. See when we were little, we would drive to Moncton, then get to Borden and drive our cars onto the big ferry and in under an hour, land on PEI. In 1997, the ferry was replaced by a bridge. The Confederation Bridge. This made travel to the island even easier. Guys driving the 13km bridge in 10 minutes is reason enough to visit PEI. Imagine driving up, higher and higher until all you can see for hundreds of miles in all direction, is water. A little trippy, and definitely worth it. I still shake my head when I think of how it was even POSSIBLE for a crew to build a FREAKING BRIDGE OVER THE NORTHUMBERLAND STRAIT!!

Once you arrive in PEI, you immediately are in vacation mode.

PEI has it all. You can see the original stage production of Anne of Green Gables at Confederation Centre and hit some of the yummiest restaurants in Charlottetown. We’ve always stayed in Cavendish, which is my fave spot on the island. PURE beach goodness. Rolling sand dunes, unbelievable beaches, lobster suppers and of course the famous Cavendish Boardwalk, full of shops, eateries and more!

OUR FAVE RESTAURANT: The Brickhouse Kitchen & Bar in Charlottetown. If you get to go, please order their award winning burger called The Brickinator: 7 oz beef, candied bacon, three cheese blend, butter leaf lettuce, onion rings, Brick sauce. TO DIE.

Vacation in PEI

Our Favourite Vacations!

Wade and I have stayed at a few places in PEI with our family.

The Gables of PEI – Absolutely amazing resort right in the heart of Stanley Bridge, not far from Cavendish.

Then 2 years ago we had the AMAZING pleasure of booking An Island Escape just minutes from Cavendish through VRBO. **everything is really close in PEI.

This home away from home is called “An Island Escape” and was absolutely incredible. Sleeps 6+, soaker tub, bbq, views for days and oh it’s one of the only properties on cavendish with it’s own pool! We created the greatest memories at this place and will absolutely be back! Thank you Melanie and family for being such amazing hosts!

An Island Escape

Whether you are traveling to camp, rent a cottage or stay at a bed and breakfast or resort, PEI has it all. Summer music festivals, concerts, plays, fresh produce, seafood, long table dinners, beaches for days, amazing food, pottery, artists, water sports and more. Do not hesitate to ask a Maritimer for their reccos, because chances are we all grew up going to this magical province and we want to share all our faves with you!

Here’s to your next incredible Summer on Cavendish!

PS – Nothing says summer more than Simple Strawberry Shortcake. We used to make this every summer in PEI, so you can make it while you plan YOUR vacation!

Enjoy! Meg xo

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How I Almost Lost My Job at a Harry Connick Jr Interview

How I Almost Lost My Job

You want me to go WHERE and interview WHO?

Let’s back up. I had just started working at CHUM FM radio station in Toronto and was asked the following: “Meg can you go to Harry Connick Jr’s hotel for an interview”?

The year: 2004.

The nerves: frayed.

This was my first assignment and it had to be good.

I had to go downtown to conduct a Harry Connick Jr interview. He was in town for the Toronto International Film Festival. I had to record the interview with a microphone attached to an MP3 player, bring it back to CHUM, and hand off to a producer so clips could be used on the Morning Show as well as in my podcast. NO BIGGIE. (dying). Please keep in mind my background wasn’t broadcasting school or a technical college. For my backstory, read here before proceeding.

Let’s be clear. I wasn’t dying because I was a fan-girl.

I was dying because like anything new I wanted it all to go swimmingly. Which should have been my first red flag. Things don’t ever go exactly according to plan. I just didn’t realize they would go SO wrong.

The afternoon of the interview arrived and thankfully I had spent the morning doing something on camera so a professional had fixed my hair and makeup. *BONUS points to have that scheduled the same day. I grabbed a taxi chit from the front desk and hopped in a cab down to “insert fancy hotel name”. While in the cab, I tested all my equipment. All systems go. Clutching my bag, clipboard, pen, notes, purse, MP3 player, microphone, extra batteries, I made my way up to his suite pretending to be ALL IN CONTROL but 100% convinced people could tell it was my first assignment of life.

Another note.

Many interviews are conducted in hotel rooms, this isn’t weird.

You arrive at “said hotel” and meet the celebrity and team in a suite. The interviews normally would take place in a living room style setting, where the artists and actors would feel more comfy and less in the public eye.

So. As the elevator made it’s way to the 900th floor (or so it felt), I thought, one more quick test of the mic. Push here, click that, turn this dial. FUCK. Nothing. No light. SHIT. No connection. No audio wavy meter telling me that my voice was moving from the microphone into the recording device. Shit. Shit Shit Shit. DING! I was on his floor. Omg I was on the floor just steps away from HARRY FUCKING CONNICK JR’s HOTEL ROOM AND I HAD A BROKEN RECORDER. Grammy and Emmy-award winning 28 million albums sold singer, composer, and actor and I had no way of completing my assignment.

Now you might be yelling right now – “go back!!! GET ANOTHER DEVICE”! I know, this would be the perfect solution. Only I couldn’t. I had a predetermined time slot and it was firm. 1:05pm. Sharp. Not before, not after, that was my slot. My tiny window. OMG. What was I going to do? Fake it? Pretend it was recording the whole time, knowing full well that nothing would record, then get back to work and make up a lie? That would NOT end well, what if it led to me losing my DREAM job? OMG, I was hooped.

But yet, for whatever reason that I am still not sure of to this day, I got off the elevator and walked straight to his door. And I rang the doorbell. Or knocked. And guess what happened next?

He answered the door.

Not his people. Not an assistant, not a publicist, agent, manager or talent wrangler, but Harry himself. “Hello there sweetie come on in”!

THUD.

I think I vaguely recall taking a giant breath and just walking in and spilling the beans talking 500 miles an hour. “Hi-it’s-amazing-to-meet-you-my-name-is-meg-I-am-so-sorry-but-my-recording-device-literally-stopped-working-in-the- elevator”. BREATHE. He looked at me, I am now convinced he saw nothing but sheer terror in my face, and his eyes crinkled as that big genuine Louisana smile spread across his face. He then said the following words I will treasure for the rest of my life…

“Oh darlin, don’t you worry. Come on in, let’s take a look at that old thing and get this workin again”.

And so, for the next 10 minutes we sat on the couch, no one else in the room. Not a star and a reporter, just a guy helping a girl fix a broken tape recorder for her very first day on the job. We got it fixed, then we started the interview.

You are a class act Harry, you will always be my first. Thank you for being a true southern gentleman, and a fantastic human being.

Harry Connick Jr Interview

Enjoy, Meg xo

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How to Make Homemade Melt in your Mouth Bacon!

The Day I Made Bacon

Want to learn how to make homemade melt in your mouth bacon? Let’s do it!

I did it. I made my OWN bacon. Well, the whole thing started when I was auditioning for MasterChef Canada. I will save that story for another day but in the meantime let me tell you about my first audition dish. They wanted us to make something that could be easily transported to Calgary. Something edible at room temperature, knowing we would probably be in a large cattle call all day long. Something MEMORABLE.

Then it hit me. Quiche.

Unexpected? Were you thinking I was going to say something more elaborate? Nope! I made bacon leek gruyere quiche with HOMEMADE BACON. I mean I did make the yummiest homemade crust for the quiche, which contained LARD. Not butter, not shortening, but LARD. I know I scored extra judge points for that. *Makes the crust super flaky. The gruyere was and is my fave cheese when it comes to flavour. You might see the pricier tag on this nutty swiss variety and think it’s too much, but trust me when I say a little goes a long way. Oh and LEEKS. Guys use leeks whenever you can, or whenever dishes call for onions. Especially slow cooked, flavour packed dishes like soups, stews and well, quiche. They’re not tough to clean and the onion flavour is just so much better.

I think my bacon is what got me to the Top 50 in Toronto.

Bacon Quote

What took me to the Top 25, earning the white apron? Stay tuned for that story! In the meantime, here’s my recipe!

Enjoy! Meg xo

Ps In this recipe you will see it calls for PRAGUE POWDER #! Pretty confusing but if you can’t find it in your specialty food shops, get it right here on Amazon.

Then, once you MAKE your bacon, give these fun twists a try!

CANDIED BACON

AVOCADO LEMON TOAST

Enjoy! Meg xo

Homemade Bacon

Homemade melt in your mouth, crispy, chewy salty goodness called BACON! That you make YOURSELF! Wow your friends today!

Course Breakfast, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine Comfort Flavour
Keyword bacon

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs whole pork belly
  • 4 1/2 tsp salt KOSHER
  • 5 tsp pepper
  • 3 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 c real maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp Prague Powder #1 order online!
  • 3/4 c water

Instructions

  1. Remove the skin from the pork belly.

  2. Pour everything into a large plastic sealable bag with the belly, then double bag.

  3. Squeeze as much air out of the bag as you can.

  4. Place the bag into a plastic tray/container and lay flat in the fridge. You want as much of the belly submerged as you can.

  5. For 5 days, YES THAT IS CORRECT, 5 days, flip, massage, turn over. Repeat.

  6. On the 5th day, remove the belly from the liquid. Discard liquid.

  7. Now it's time to smoke! If you have a smoker, you want to smoke over INDIRECT HEAT until the internal temperature is 150 degrees. (that's about 2 hours).

  8. If you don't have a smoker, you can use a foil pan with smoke chips that have been soaked in water. Cover pan with foil and place on BBQ. Again, indirect heat the whole time.

  9. Take out of the BBQ or smoker and let cool on a plate in the fridge until it's easier to slice.

  10. SLICE THAT HEAVENLY BABE and fry! Or bake. YOU WILL PASS OUT FROM JOY! YOU DID IT! YOU MADE YOUR OWN BACON!!

  11. You can wrap it tightly with plastic wrap and store in fridge for 1 week or so, or freeze for up to about 2.5 months. Enjoy! Meg xo

Join Meg’s OMG Book Club!

Meg's OMG Book Club

Attention READERS! We’d love you to JOIN OUR CLUB!

Do you love to read?

What kind of book do you gravitate towards at the library or bookstore?

When was the last time you picked up a book and read it cover to cover?

SO many questions Meg. I am BEACH reads all the way. THRILLERS. Edge of your seat, OMG how is this NOT a movie type book. I’ve always been a big reader, but lately I find I spend more of my downtime with my beloved iPad than my books.

Join “Meg Tucker’s OMG Book Club”. Each month we read a thriller-edge-of-your-seat-how-is-this-not-a-movie book then at the end of the month we discuss in a FB livestream + IG Stories chat! *our first livestream is Saturday June 8, 6pm MST. Click to join!

Do I have to speed read?

No you don’t! We announce a new book at the beginning of the month, and you have the whole month to read at your speed. Then at the end of the month we have a livestream that you can join if you are available, or watch when you have time! Guys this is a no pressure, no dues, just READING type of club! But one thing remains in effect. It’s an EASY book club. Fun, beachy, thriller, CANNOT PUT DOWN type of club!

You’re not far behind, we just wrapped May’s book and are having our livestream June 8…see above or below for links to join the club!

Our OMG Book Club First Pick!

We started the club in a big way, by picking one of 2018’s BEST books. I am still haunted by it ps. UGH, SO GOOOOOOD!

Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell- “Ellie Mack was the perfect daughter. She was fifteen, the youngest of three. She was beloved by her parents, friends, and teachers. She and her boyfriend made a teenaged golden couple. She was days away from an idyllic post-exams summer vacation, with her whole life ahead of her. And then she was gone. Now, her mother Laurel Mack is trying to put her life back together. It’s been ten years since her daughter disappeared, seven years since her marriage ended, and only months since the last clue in Ellie’s case was unearthed.

So when she meets an unexpectedly charming man in a café, no one is more surprised than Laurel at how quickly their flirtation develops into something deeper. Before she knows it, she’s meeting Floyd’s daughters—and his youngest, Poppy, takes Laurel’s breath away. Because looking at Poppy is like looking at Ellie. And now, the unanswered questions she’s tried so hard to put to rest begin to haunt Laurel anew. Where did Ellie go? Did she really run away from home, as the police have long suspected, or was there a more sinister reason for her disappearance? Who is Floyd, really? And why does his daughter remind Laurel so viscerally of her own missing girl?”

Then She Was Gone

Our Meg’s Book Club May 2019 pick.

I got this at Chapters, I think $15, but right now online (as of June) it’s around $13. You can also get at your local library!

Do we have a June pick yet?

We sure do! Here it is! This one SPOKE to me…you’ll soon learn I go to Chapters and buy 3-4 books at a time, always on sale, always the same “feels”. When I got to the cash, the guy told me he read this in ONE sitting. Yesssssss! My kind of book!

The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton“Juliette loves Nate. She will follow him anywhere. She’s even become a flight attendant for his airline, so she can keep a closer eye on him. They are meant to be.The fact that Nate broke up with her six months ago means nothing. Because Juliette has a plan to win him back. She is the perfect girlfriend. And she’ll make sure no one stops her from getting exactly what she wants. True love hurts, but Juliette knows it’s worth all the pain…” .

The Perfect Girlfriend

The Perfect Girlfriend- Our June 2019 pick.

Again, I picked this up at my local Chapters for around $15, I think right now it’s around $20. You can also probably reserve at your local library or borrow from a friend – it’s a VERY popular book!

I am in, but I already read these books…can I still join?

I am glad you asked! OF COURSE! You will just be a step ahead and ready for the livestream discussions! Don’t worry we will be launching our JULY book soon so you can get to reading that pick soon enough!

So friends, what’s stopping you? If you’ve read this entire post, chances are YOU like this type of book and club. Why not join and share today! And by share I mean invite your FRIENDS to join too! I honestly think there’s nothing more fun than all reading the same book, then gabbing about it non stop. So much fun. #nerdalert. Proud.

WE WOULD LOVE TO HAVE YOU CLICK HERE NOW!  Gotta go read! 

Enjoy! Meg xo

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I Owe My Entire Career to the Bachelor

Fan lands Bachelorette Gig!

I owe my entire career to The Bachelor.

Yes. I owe my entire career to The Bachelor. OK , well let me back up. You might be thinking, NOPE Meg, I do NOT watch TV ergo I cannot relate to this post.

Ok let’s unpack this a little. I know there are some of you out there who don’t watch ANY tv, I just don’t happen to relate. NO disrespect at ALL, I just was a tv kid of the 70s and 80s and still love it. I grew up watching shows like Eight is Enough, Three’s Company, Gilligan’s Island and Laverne and Shirley.

Then as the years moved on, my tastes changed slightly. I would spend hours watching Days of Our Lives, Another World, Guiding Light. Watching MuchMusic videos on repeat until you knew all the words to the songs, cringing when the overly friendly Richard Dawson would kiss contestants on the lips on Family Feud, or that unbelievable storyline arc when Marlena got possessed by the devil and levitated on Days of Our Lives. Those were the memories.

Whether it was alone or with my sis, or my grandma, I loved the feeling you got when you knew the rest of the day could just wait. For that hour or 3, you just got to escape and live another “life”.

So where does Reality TV fit in and how on EARTH did I fashion a career from all this?

Well, I owe my entire career to a little franchise known as The Bachelor.

Let’s back up to the year 2004.

I had just moved back from living in NYC for 4 years (story for another day) and was working back at my former job, with a company called Consumer Impact Marketing (CIM). LOVED THAT JOB. During my almost combined 10 years at CIM, I was a Project Manager for many clients, one of which was CityTV. On this particular campaign, my role was to find a beautiful young couple to play a bride and groom, that we would shuttle all over downtown Toronto, passing out invitations for a relatively new Reality TV show called THE BACHELOR.

Well, it was Trista and Ryan’s Wedding actually. See Trista had been a contestant on Season 4 of the Bachelor with Bob Guiney. When love didn’t happen for Trista, they officially made a spinoff called THE BACHELORETTE. Trista met and fell in love with Ryan (still with me?) and then ABC broke the ratings with televising their wedding for the world to see. That’s where I came in, on a campaign from CityTV to help hand out “invitations” to watch this momentous occasion unfold on TV.

So promote we did.

When the wedding was over, I was at CityTV for a wrap up meeting with my clients. I recall there were 3 or 4 female execs in the room and once the business of the day was taken care of, I piped up with “omg guys, can we please talk about last night’s episode of the show with Bob”????

Noting my ridiculous excitement, they exchanged looks and then said words I will never EVER forget for the rest of my life.

“Meg, we are actually auditioning for a Bachelorette Correspondent. That person will not only report on the show on TV, but do a couple weekly radio hits as well with our sister station CHUM FM”.

GUYS I ALMOST FAINTED ON THE SPOT.

The greatest words

Long story short, I got the gig.

Well, that was after fashioning a mic sock and doing mock interviews on the street where I pretended to already have the gig. Wrangling my dear friend Mike from Calgary to help edit a video, then packaging it all into a “date box” and dropping it off at the CityTv main lobby. A petition, a rose delivery, you name it I did it, all in the name of becoming the ONE.

Well after a round of semi-finals, then a final competition where we were put into a booth and shown 1 scene from a past episode, then given 5 mins to write 3 mins of “copy”, then into the infamous Speakers Corner booth where we recorded our segment, I received the phone call that I was cast as the CityTV/CHUM FM Bachelorette Correspondent!!

There were no words to describe the feeling. Getting the phone call from Jenny at CityTV, saying “well, we have good news and bad news. The bad news is you’re going to have to miss a lot of time at work, because the good news is, YOUR LIFE IS ABOUT TO CHANGE, YOU GOT THE GIG”!!

Within moments they needed my bio and booked me in for headshots and a press release session. I cashed in all my vacation days and fashioned a new schedule whereby every single Wednesday I would leave my life as a Project Manager and spend it on my new TV career with CityTV.

My 9 Week Schedule began.

Meg's Bachelorette Schedule

My 9 week Bachelorette Correspondent Schedule!

Each Wednesday morning I was put into a booth with one of the producers Andrew. Andrew would begin the feed from LA (still not completely edited, so exciting). Andrew would then sit with a pad of paper and pen and record MY reactions to watching the show. Then he and I would build my script for my segment. While this was happening, someone was magically building my set. Then it was off to hair and makeup and then we would shoot. Shoot me talking about the highs and lows, who should stay, who should go – and the segment would ALWAYS finish with me tossing a handful of rose petals high into the air “a la Bachelor”. If I tell you we had someone there to pick up each petal, for each take, would you believe me? Hilarious. And thank you!

The segment was originally intended to be 30 seconds during the commercial break at the halfway mark of the show but week after week momentum picked up and fans wanted more. Did I just type that? YES, I was informed that I was getting a good response so they upped the 30 seconds to 60. Then a 30 and a 60. I was elated. More rose petals!

Where did radio enter the scene?

Great question! In addition to shooting the TV part of the job, I had to travel up to my fave radio station CHUM FM where on Wednesdays I would go live with Darren Lamb in the afternoon to tease THAT night’s episode. Then the next morning I would join the Morning Show- with Roger, Rick and Marilyn to dissect what had just transpired the night before.

I will NEVER forget on day one, walking into the studio to meet the morning show. Roger was so kind and so funny, and also volunteered that “this isn’t really my kind of show, please know I am here, but these weekly chats will mainly be you and Marilyn talking”. I remember saying “oh Roger I will get you to come around, just wait and see”!

Week after week, as I juggled my marketing job and my over-the-top exciting Wednesday job at CityTV/CHUM FM, my love for the entertainment world grew. And week after week, Roger Ashby’s involvement increased on our weekly chats. We would talk about contestants, laugh at their mishaps as we all do on reality tv, and before you knew it, he was JUST as involved as we were. It was MAGIC.

Over the course of the 9 week run, I was also given a chance to become a Metro Columnist, with Meg’s Bachelor Banter. Every week I had to make my deadline to my editor as I spilled the “highs and lows” of this addictive tv show.

Metro Columnist Meg Tucker

Metro Columnist Meg Tucker

Highlights Galore!

I also got to spend a day with an ousted contestant on a promo tour, along with a day with the Bachelorette herself, MEREDITH PHILLIPS! What a thrill. Here she was, right beside me dishing all the secrets she could. I was in heaven. That day we also joined Marilyn on her show (at the time) CityLine to dish. Glorious.

Bachelorette on CityTV

Spending the day on set of CityLine – 2004

Well kids as all things do come to an end, the season of Meredith was wrapping up. Right before it did however, I was asked to come to the radio station to meet the Program Director Rob Farina. Rob sat me down and said that he’d like to make me an official offer, to join the CHUM FM Morning Show as Entertainment Correspondent. That would go hand in hand with some TV work down at CityTV and the former StarTV. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

I had somehow kicked enough butt and made enough of an impression on this rock solid radio team, to have them want me, ME, to join their family. I will forever be grateful to Marilyn Denis, who by all accounts made this position a reality. I went on to work for almost 3 years with my beloved radio family at CHUM. I also became a street reporter with StarTV, covered the Toronto International Film Festival, and made lifelong industry friends. When it was time to make the leap west, I threw my hat in the ring to co-host morning radio in Calgary, and well, the rest of the story you probably know.

That is how my career in entertainment began.

Not by going to broadcasting college.

By getting a University degree in Psychology that landed me a Marketing job.

By studying Second City Improv in Toronto.

By going to comedy writing classes for stand up in NYC.

And by auditioning my tush off to get the gig of Bachelorette Correspondent.

So to all the naysayers of the Reality TV world? We know it’s surface. We know it’s an escape. But it can lead to SO many opportunities and really change a life.

It changed mine.

Meg xo

PS – If you’d like to dish the HIGHS and LOWS with us, we have a group you can join called Meg’s Bachelor Banter. See? All these years later, still going strong. Thanks Bach!

You can also follow me on Instagram!

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