Today is day three of The Three Day Potty Training
method. And I dare say it worked. It is very intense (i.e. throwing away all diapers, not leaving the house, staying by Hudson's side during his every waking moment)...but in the end worth it. My husband actually did the first two days, which were the hardest. I have always thought that anything to do with pooping and farts is pretty funny. I didn't outgrow that stage. I can talk to clients and patients about with a straight face...I am a professional. But at home, not so much. I think that is the only thing that has gotten me through...the humor. Plus I am exploding with pride for him. It also makes me a little sad to see my oldest baby running around in big boy undies, no matter how cute his little bum looks. I am sure we will eventually recoup the money we spent on rewards and presents through not buying diapers. You are welcome landfill.
Prior to all this potty business I noticed fresh, west coast caught, sockeye salmon was around...my favorite type of salmon. I decided to try Toasted Sesame Ginger Salmon.
1 1/2 pounds salmon of your choice
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
1-2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
4 green onions or chives, sliced
In a small bowl, combine olive oil, sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, vinegar, brown sugar and whisk well until combined. Add salmon and marinade to a ziplock bag, then refrigerate and marinate for 30 minutes (or up to 24 hrs)
Preheat your grill on medium heat to about 325-350 degrees.
Remove salmon with kitchen tongs and place directly on the grill skin side up. Cook for 10-12 minutes, depending on the salmon’s thickness (our’s was just about an inch thick), until opaque and easily flakable with a fork. Flip the salmon halfway through cooking.
Remove and serve immediately, with a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds, green onions and the glaze below.
Sesame Ginger Honey Glaze
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon low sodium soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Pour over salmon. Adapted from here
So, so, so good. Restaurant quality, for sure to impress your guests or family. I am not a huge ginger lover so I toned it down a bit. Can't think of a better way to get a good dose of omega three fatty acids and other heart healthy fats. Perfect served with some brown rice and a fresh salad.
So I hope I haven't jinxed our potty training progress...and know that I am snickering to myself everytime there is a little toot on the potty.
Hopefully you all had a great Halloween, whether you were out with little ones or giving out treats. It was my son’s first year out trick-or-treating, he was a pro. I was thinking it would be a couple houses then a quick wagon ride home, no way. He did the whole street both sides, walking the whole way. I must admit he was a very cute little duck waddling around the neighborhood. It was almost a cancelled event after a major, bloody mishap. His costume involved a pair of tights which he seems to love. Once they were on he got all excited and was running all over the house. Well no gripers on the bottom so there was an incident on the tile floor resulting in both a bloody nose and lip. He powered through though and still managed to enjoy some candy (big surprise there).
Glow sticks were a must, he also had to have a few toy cars in his loot bag.
As I am sure I have mentioned I am a huge soup lover. This time of year screams for homemade soup. Living on the West Coast I am lucky enough to have a variety of fish in our freezer: salmon, halibut, tuna. I love to eat fish but am always looking for new ways to enjoy it. A hearty halibut chowder? Yes please.
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1 large onion, finely diced
2 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups reduced sodium chicken stock
1 796 ml can diced tomatoes (I used a no added salt variety)
3 large carrots, shredded
2 cups milk
salt and pepper to taste
2 pounds halibut, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 pinch red pepper flakes, or to taste
- Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, and cook until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the potatoes and garlic, and continue cooking until the potatoes have softened slightly, about 10 minutes.
- Pour in the chicken stock, tomatoes, and carrots. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the milk, season to taste with salt and pepper, then stir in the halibut. Continue simmering uncovered until the halibut is flaky and no longer translucent in the center, about 10 minutes. Gently stir in red pepper flakes. Serve immediately.
Adapted from here
This was so, so, so good. You could use any white fish or salmon for that matter, but halibut is the best. It isn’t a heavy chowder as you can tell from the ingredients. I ate this for dinner and a few lunches after with no complaint (I am already wondering when I should make it again). It does make a pretty decent amount, either freeze some or make a half batch.
On a side note I would like to wish my husband a very happy birthday today. He is my number one blog taste tester and isn't afraid to say what isn't blog-worthy (well I think he might be a little afraid). I couldn't even begin to express what he means to me or thank him for all he does.
I was recently the lucky recipient of a large box of fall fruit from my uncle who had just been in the Okanogan. The Bartlett pears were divine, my favorite fruit when they are the perfect ripeness. A little trick I learned from the pear growers: pears ripen from the inside out so don't squeeze the flesh to judge ripeness, instead feel the ends. If they are starting to soften eat the pear. If the outside is getting soft the inside is usually turning brown and is unpleasantly mushy.
But this is about apples. Also in the box were various kinds of apples, all very authentic with their matte, just picked off the tree look. We have been eating them like crazy, but I decided to do something extra special with some of them. As I have mentioned before I don't really like pastry, but do love the baked apple cinnamon taste of the filling. My all time favorite dessert is cheese cake and one of my favorite cookies is shortbread...when I came across the recipe for this apple tart on the Joy of Baking website there was no decision to made. Start to preheat the oven!
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup icing sugar
1/2 cup (113 grams) cold unsalted butter cut into small pieces
One 8-ounce package of light cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tbsp granulated white sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 cups BC apples, cut into 1/4 inch slices (about 2-3 large apples)
1/4 cup sliced almonds
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F and place rack in center of oven. Spray a 9 inch (23 cm) spring form pan with non-stick spray. I think you could use a pie pan as well.Crust
: In the bowl of your food processor, place the flour, salt, and sugar and pulse to blend together. Add the butter and pulse until dough just begins to come together. Pat the dough onto the bottom and one inch up the sides of the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator while you make the filling. My crust was still quite powdery, it didn’t “come together” as the recipe states. I was thinking flop for sure, but it turned out fine. I still was able to press it into the pan.Filling
: In a food processor process the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar and mix well. Blend in the egg and vanilla extract and process until smooth. Remove the crust from the fridge and pour in the filling.Topping
: Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Toss the sliced apples in the sugar mixture. Spoon the apples evenly over the cream cheese layer and sprinkle with almonds. Place the spring form pan on a larger baking sheet to catch any drips.
Bake at 450 degrees F for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 400 degrees F and bake for another 25 to 30 minutes or until the crust is brown, the apples are tender when pierced with a sharp knife, and the filling is almost set. Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool. Sprinkle with icing sugar and serve at room temperature. Leftovers can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated. Adapted from here.
So what did I do differently? I used whole wheat flour instead of white, I reduced the amount of sugar, used light cream cheese and didn't peel the apples. Didn't make an ounce of difference in the taste, I loved every bite...no maybe savored is a better description. I do think butter is essential to the short bread crust. Making shortbread cookies with margarine is a crime as far as I am concerned, so not happening with the crust either. A slice of this tart comes in at 273 calories, 16 grams of fat and 8 grams of sugar. A slice of apple pie is 400 calories, 21 grams of fat and 23 grams of sugar, quite the savings and a much better taste if I do say so myself.
I would also like to plug my hand blender that is pictured above (I used this in place of a food processor with this recipe). Love this thing...I hesitate to call it a gadget as that implies something more gimmicky. It is a motor top portion that attaches to either an emersion blender (great for soups and making baby foods), food processing unit (use it for fresh salsa, guacamole, dips) and a whisk attachment (perfect for small jobs where a mixer is over kill). The best part - all dishwasher safe. Every time I use it it makes me happy.
Anyways the tart was a hit all around. It is also a way to appreciate the changing seasons and all they have to offer. The smell of apples baking evokes crisp mornings, crunching leaves underfoot and all else that fall means to you.
On this the last day of August (sniff, sniff) I feel the need to share an in season, summer recipe. When I came across the recipe for a tomato polenta tart I was sold. First of all it was a tart with no egg filling, perfect for my egg hating self. Second it didn't have a pastry crust, not a huge fan of pastry. Third I had some beautiful, ripe, local tomatoes that were calling out for something special. This recipe does take a little time, but is well worth it. Celiac readers: it's gluten free.
Polenta is made from corn meal and is popular in Italy and other European countries. It seems to be popping up over here quite a bit too. I have had it a few times in the last few months and was ready to try making it myself at home.
4 cups low sodium chicken stock
1 cup cornmeal
4 tbsp butter
2 medium sized cobs of fresh corn (or about a cup of canned or frozen corn)
2 tbsp fresh basil, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 1/2 cups light ricotta cheese
1 large egg
2 large Heirloom tomatoes sliced
sea or kosher salt to taste
fresh cracked pepper to taste
These tomatoes might not look perfect, but they taste better than anything I have bought in the grocery store. They taste real.
Preheat the oven to 400 F. In a large, heavy bottomed sauce pan, bring stock to a boil. In an even stream, pour in the cornmeal, whisking well as you do so. Lower to a simmer, stirring with a wooden spoon often (the more you stir the creamier the texture). Continue to stir and check on the polenta for the next 30-40 minutes. It will be very thick which is good. In another large saucepan, fill about half way with water. Bring to a boil, add in the corn and cook for about 5 minutes. Remove corn and run under cold water to make it easier to handle. Use a knife to remove the kernels. In a frying pan melt 2 tbsp of butter and add in the corn, basil and garlic. Sauté on medium high until the corn turns golden and the garlic is cooked, about 6-7 minutes. When the polenta is finished, stir in 2 tbsp of butter, some pepper and the parmesan cheese. Mix in the corn and basil mixture and set aside. Add an egg to the ricotta and mix until completely incorporated. Grease a 9″ round baking dish (preferably glass). I used a spring form pan which worked well. Line the baking dish with polenta, pushing it up the sides like a pie crust. Pour in the ricotta and smooth with a spoon. Top tart with tomato slices. Season with salt and pepper and bake for 60 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before slicing. Serves 8. Adapted from here
I was able to use local tomatoes and corn as well as basil from my garden. The results...perfection. I loved everything about it: the crispy edge of polenta, the creamy ricotta, real tomato taste all with an amazing blend of flavours. It was the prefect dinner. I served it with a green salad that included lettuce from my garden. Let's just say I was feeling the local food vibe and appreciating everything summer has to offer.
When I was younger my Mom would make jam. It seemed very laborious: sterilizing, special equipment, possibility of jars blowing up, wax seals, sweating, etc. I used to see jam in the store and think why not just buy it? Well we all know the answer to that, it just doesn't taste as good. That all said I still wasn't prepared for the full on jam making undertaking.
Welcome to my life freezer jam. So much easier, and in my opinion tastier. Because you are not cooking the fruit the jam can't be stored at room temperature, instead you store it in the freezer (hence the name). When you take a jar out to be used it can be stored in the fridge for up 6 weeks. I guarantee it won't be around that long anyways. It is still a good idea to use smallish containers, the 1 liter jar may be a little much jam for 6 weeks.
This all started when we went out to my uncles house to check on things while he was away, AKA pilfer his raspberry bushes. Hudson had a great time insisting on holding the bucket while eating like crazy. There was still more than enough berries to make jam with.
You need to add something to help gel the jam, I bought a package at the grocery store specific for freezer jam. There are a few kinds out there. I chose this one because I liked that the fruit to sugar ratio was a little higher. It is no secret that there is a lot of sugar in jam. It helps to preserve the jam along with making it taste sweet. Freezer jam has less sugar than regular jam, gotta' like that. I also find that freezer jam tastes more like the actual fruit because it isn't cooked. You do have to use great tasting, ripe fruit though because there is less sugar and cooking to hide behind.
glass or plastic containers with tight fitting lids (you don't need anything fancy)
4 cups of fruit
1 1/4 cups of sugar
I used raspberries so to prep them I just mashed them in a large bowl with a potato masher. I left some bigger chunks though. If you are using other fruit like strawberries or blueberries just chop finely (don't puree). Stir in sugar and let stand for 15 minutes. Slowly sprinkle in gelling powder while stirring for 3 minutes. Allow to stand for 5 minutes. Stir again for 1 minute. Add jam to jars, leave enough room for expansion. It's ready to eat! Can be stored in the freezer for up to a year.
Your package might be a little different, but that is the jist of it. My package called for 1 1/2 cups of sugar, but I reduced it (of course) and it still turned out fine and was plenty sweet. You don't want to play around too much as the gel to sugar ratio is important. It was so easy from start to finish maybe 30 minutes, are you kidding? I didn't have time to make my jam right after picking so I froze the berries. It had no adverse effects on the final product just thaw your fruit before using. Blackberries are in season now, so get picking and jamming.
I can imagine opening a jar on a dark winter morning and being reminded of that perfect summer night picking berries and my son's chubby, berry stained fingers and cheeks. It doesn't get much better than that.
Our strawberry plants have gone wild. We didn’t even plant them; they were here when we moved in. Over the last week conditions have been just right to provide about 2-3 cups of fresh berries every couple days. I love strawberries, favourite berry hands down. I like them all but blackberries, raspberries too seedy, and blueberries, well they are OK. I think my son is on my side too. He loves running out to the patch to pick and eat, although he had not yet mastered the difference between ripe and not ripe. He doesn’t seem to mind the green ones though.
Strawberries out of the garden are a whole different animal then the imported variety from the grocery store. So sweet, tender and real tasting. The berries and the growing season don’t last long so I wanted a way to enjoy them just a little longer. I found this recipe for Strawberry Conserve, sounded just right to me. Conserves are sort of like a whole fruit jam, in this case whole fruit in a light syrup. The lemon rind provides pectin to help naturally thicken the juices, as strawberries are low in pectin.
4 cups fresh strawberries (about 1 pound), halved
1/2 cup super fine sugar
Peel (with white pith) of 1/2 lemon
Combine all ingredients in a heavy, wide pot. Cover; let sit at room temperature, stirring occasionally, for 2 hours. The berries will ooze and sugar will dissolve.
Bring strawberry mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, stirring gently, until strawberries are just tender, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer strawberries to 1 pint jar. Continue simmering liquid until it thickens into a syrupy consistency, 3-4 minutes. Discard lemon peel and pour syrup over strawberries; seal and let cool to room temperature. Chill for up to 1 month (Adapted from Epicurious
I used less sugar then the called for 2/3 of a cup, I thought the result was the perfect sweetness. I also simmered the liquid a little longer as it wasn’t that thick after the 1-2 minutes the recipe suggested.
The fragrance and colour alone was enough to get real excited over. The taste? Perfect, garden fresh strawberries at a whole other level. Now what to do with Strawberry Conserve (or in the words of my husband; I am confused about what this is)? Well it would make a great topping for Greek yogurt, vanilla ice cream, angel food cake, pancakes, waffles or oatmeal. I also think it would be amazing on a nice slice of multigrain baguette with some goat cheese (I am actually drooling thinking about this). Endless possibilities. I might just drink it, ha.
If you can get your hands on some fresh BC grown strawberries or if your plants are going wild, get on it. Save some of the goodness for a little longer, although I am not too sure this is going to last long. Maybe you have someone around that would enjoy the spoon like someone I know.
I went to the Comox Valley Farmer’s Market
on Saturday with a friend, her twin boys and my son….all in the same vehicle. Car seats galore. It was an action packed ride that included a lost apple and a foot stuck in the door handle, but we made it. Once there it was great. I love seeing what people actually grow (I try not to compare it to my first-timer veggie garden). The boys enjoyed the musical entertainment, snacks and helium balloons.
I came home with some rhubarb and cheese. I love rhubarb, probably because I like tart things. I don’t eat it that often, but have been thinking about it a lot because of the road-side signs advertising its availability. When I got home I did a quick Google search for recipes. I came across one for rhubarb chutney, sounded good but must involve some kind of processing or canning. Not so! It was actually quite easy and a way I have never used rhubarb. Spiced Rhubarb Chutney
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon ground garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
4 cups 1/2-inch cubes fresh rhubarb
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/3 cup raisins
Combine first 8 ingredients in heavy large pot. Bring to simmer over low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add rhubarb, onion and dried raisins; increase heat to medium-high and cook until rhubarb is tender and mixture thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Cool completely. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before using.) Adapted from Bon Appetit.
I served it over barbequed pork medallions that I seasoned with a pinch of salt. The chutney had a very rich, spiced flavour that was very complex. The different spices would pop up in each bite. I reduced the amount of sugar because I like the tartness. I think it would also be good over chicken or on a multigrain baguette with a soft cheese.
I still had some left over rhubarb, so I decided to make the classic strawberry rhubarb crisp. Trying new things is good, but enjoying classics is still great too. My Mom used to make it for us. It always seemed close to my birthday (the end of May) maybe that’s why I have such good memories. Rhubarb also always reminds me of my mom warning us 1000 times that the leaves were poisonous (when she saw the rhubarb in my fridge from the market she thankfully reminded me again, for real).
Preheat the oven to 375°
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
2 cups sliced strawberries
2 cups chopped rhubarb
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup oats
Combine white sugar, 1 tbsp flour and fruit in an 8x8 glass baking dish. Combine the rest of ingredients in a bowl. Use a fork to cut in the margarine. Top fruit with the mixture and bake for 45 min.
Serve alone or with vanilla frozen yogurt. I don’t need to tell you how good this was. To see the original recipe look here
. I reduced both the brown and white sugar, the margarine, switched to whole wheat flour and increased the fruit.
Who wouldn't want their house to smell this good and who wouldn't want car seats three deep for a little adventure?
On Saturday night we got an invite to go fishing with friends the next morning...6:00 am morning. The invite was also extended to my 16 month old son...hmmm. The idea of a six hour boat trip with a busy, curious, very mobile boy, sounded a little like crazy. On the other hand we might be crazy to turn down an opportunity to head out with a knowledgeable guide, his fabulous wife and their super smiley little boy on a very sunny day. Before we knew it we were buying fishing licenses online, confirming life jacket weight limits and throwing food, drink and sunscreen into a bag.
Did we make the right decision? 100% yes. Our little boy was mesmerized by the boat, water, motor and birds (not to mention our friend's dog) and we caught a ling cod to take home. Hudson even got a lesson in fish bonking, he has been bonking everything since.
So what to do with fresh ling cod? Since I have some herbs in my garden they were going in, plus I bought some Panko crumbs a while ago that I have been wanting to use. Panko bread crumbs are Japanese and are more crisp and light than regular bread crumbs.
Preheat the oven to 400° F
6 pieces of ling cod around 4 oz (or other white fish)
1 cup Panko crumbs
2 tbsp each fresh chopped thyme, parsley and basil
1/2 tsp dried dill
1/2 cup 5% sour cream
1/2 cup light mayo
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Mix sour cream and mayo together. Stir together dry ingredients. Coat each piece of fish with mayo mixture. Dredge in bread crumbs. Bake for 15 min or until fish flakes.
This ling cod was sumptuous, no tears here for not catching a salmon. It was very moist and light. The Panko added a satisfying crunch. Ling cod may not look pretty (at all, scary teeth as an added bonus) but they have a place on my plate any day.
Ling cod is on the list of fish that can be higher in mercury, risk is minimized by keeping smaller fish. Mercury builds up over time in a fish's body, so the younger and smaller the fish the lower the mercury. As our guide Curt tells me: it also makes sense from a conservation point of view as the spawning female ling cod are the larger ones.
Baking fish on parchment paper does not require any added fat for cooking. Mixing the light mayo with light sour cream helps to cut down the saturated fat without losing any flavor. Fresh herbs increase flavour without adding salt.
What's better than a morning spent fishing the beautiful waters off of Campbell River? Maybe eating mouth watering fish on my sun soaked deck with my family. Thank you Coastal Wilderness Adventures
My husband and I went out for what we dubbed the “last supper” while I was extremely pregnant with my son. We chose a five star, exclusive restaurant in Vancouver. We knew it was going to be the last time for a while that we would be able to enjoy a delicious restaurant meal, together, unhurried. The funny part is that I don’t actually remember my entrée (fish, chicken?) but I do remember that it was presented on a bed of amazing Swiss chard. It tasted so good that I would have taken more of it over dessert.
I am sure you are thinking only a dietitian would actually say that. Well…prior to that evening I didn’t have a lot of experience eating or preparing leafy greens. In my head it was all a pile of olive green mush. Pretty un-tempting.
Once the dust settled post baby I was ready to try making some at home. I was still skeptical: was it a pound of butter that made them so tasty, was it crazy pregnant food? I decided to start with this recipe for Sautéed Swiss Chard
. Turned out fabulous, for real.
For bonus points beyond great taste, Swiss chard is low in calories, high in vitamin A and K as well as antioxidants vitamin C and beta carotene. Swiss chard can be grown locally so you can support your local farmer or try it in your own garden (reported to be one the easier veggies to grow).
I have also had some other leafy greens in my kitchen….but that’s for another day…