I have been cooking and baking like crazy. I usually do a lot of my writing when both boys are having their afternoon naps. Lately they have decided not to have much over lap, so less time to write.
Baby sleep is a funny thing, in that it isn't funny at all. I have never had those babies that slept through the night as soon as I brought them home from the hospital. Hudson started sleeping through the night at around seven months. Sawyer is approaching seven months (2 days away...what!?) and appears to be getting worse. We went through a nice stretch where he was only up only once in the night, lately 3-4 times...yawn. I keep checking for teeth...nothing new.
I was staying with my aunt when Hudson was quite young and waking frequently in the night. She said she liked the night feeds, enjoyed them no less. This is a woman that had five children, I was sure her brain was fried. But it is a funny thing the second time around. Day time feeds are surrounded in chaos: noise from oldest yelling, oldest climbing on me like a jungle gym, oldest waiting until mid-feed to declare he was to go pee...right now. I don't get a lot of time to gaze into Sawyer's eyes or marvel at his downy blond hair. At night it is just me and him. It is quiet, he is still and cuddly. We rock in the glider and he gets showered in kisses before I lay him back down. Am I tired most days? Yes. Could I do with this interaction once instead of three or four times a night? Yes. Is this going to be over soon? Probably. Will I miss it? For sure. Add me to the fried brain mom list.
I was going to make Salsa Stuffed Mini Meat-loaves for dinner the other night and was looking for a side. I decided to try a Southwest Quinoa Salad.
1 cup quinoa
2 cups low sodium chicken broth (or veggie stock to keep it vegetarian)
1 diced bell pepper
1/2 cup diced red onion
1 cup corn (fresh, frozen or canned)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 large tomato, diced (I used cherry tomatoes)
fresh lime juice from three limes
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup light feta cheese
salt and black pepper to taste
A splash of your favorite hot sauce
Loved everything about this salad. Lime, tomato and cilantro, always a winning combo. I couldn't wait to eat the left overs the next day, tasted even better. This really could be a meal in its self, and can be served as an entree salad. It was a good compliment to the mini meat loaves. I could steal the 1/2 cup of black beans I needed and use the rest in the salad. Don't like cilantro, try parsley or basil. Increase the heat with a diced jalapeno or more hot sauce.
I would love to post with more regularity, I miss my once a week writing slot. Sometimes when the boys are napping at the same time I need a nap too. That way I can handle the frequent night wakings and even take some joy in them.
It is September first today. I just had a conversation with people who hate September. They explained it was the end of summer, the end of flowers, gardens and all things associated with decay (their words). I love September. I got married in September. To me it signals beginnings, new paths and stationary. I was in school for about 22 years. To me September 1 is more of a new year than January 1. During my university years I spent this time of year packing up for my new (likely dumpy) rental in the big city of Victoria or Vancouver. I was equipped with new clothes, hugs from my family and friends and a renewed sense of adventure and independence. It wasn’t like summer was over. There were still enough sunny days to meet for drinks on a patio, wander around campus or wait in a really long, outdoor line-up for a parking pass, student loan documents or used text books. Plus there wasn’t any homework or tests to study for yet. It still feels strange to not be doing those same things even though I have been out of school for five years now.
Soon enough I will be packing my own children’s packsacks for their first day of school. In the mean time I have spent the last while thinking about a lot of other new beginnings. My in-laws have moved closer to us and there are many tiny, sweet babies around. I have also been thinking a lot about friends who have lost a tiny, sweet baby and a recent cluster of my patients getting life altering and potentially life ending diagnoses. New beginnings can be thought of as the end of something. Maybe it is then end of something good or not, but I try to look to the potential of the future.
On the up side of summer winding down: no more crazy chasing/bribing/begging toddler sunscreen applications. I wanted to fit in one more salad recipe while the sun is still shinning: Cilantro Lime Chickpea Salad. I use canned chickpeas, easy and affordable. Make sure to rinse them well under cold, running water. It will remove about 40% of the sodium. You can buy low sodium canned beans, but I think they need some salt for flavour.
Chop the spinach very finely (you can use a food processor and pulse 3-4 times). Add the chickpeas, onion, and spinach to a large bowl. In the same food processor add the lime juice, cilantro, sugar, mustard, garlic, chili powder, and olive oil. Process til it comes together into a dressing, about 30-45 seconds. Pour over the chickpea mixture and stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let sit for about 10 minutes on the counter or overnight in the fridge to blend the flavours. Adapted from here.
I think cilantro makes this salad taste so fresh and is a great compliment to lime. This is an interesting way to use spinach. It appealed to me because I am not a huge fan of raw spinach. I find the texture kind of spongy, not a problem when you grind it up. The chickpeas (or garbanzo beans if you are over 50?) add a ton of protein and fiber. Heart healthy olive oil...we have a winner folks. So celebrate the end of summer and welcome the next stage, season, adventure...
Hudson, Sawyer and I had a dance party in the master bedroom. This is a pretty regular event in our house. We put my husband's alarm clock radio on full blast (at Hudson's insistence) and shake it to what ever radio station is the wake up du jour. Today we heard The Rolling Stones, the chorus so fitting for toddler woes:
You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes well you might find
You get what you need
I couldn't help but smile. It has been a rough week around here. A virus complete with fever, aches and sore throat has made its way through both boys. For extra fun Sawyer cut his first tooth at the same time. So early. I swear it is so he can protect himself from older brother. It is really hard to watch your kids feel like garbage. I have needed extra chocolate and wine to address the issue. I think we are on the up swing now...I look forward to leaving the house.
In the mean time the weather has been perfect. This is when I want easy meals that require little time in front of a stove or oven. So many better things to do when the sun is shining, but we still have to eat.
My first memory of Greek salad was when my mom used to buy it as a treat from the deli at Safeway. When Campbell River still had a Safeway. I thought it was so exotic. It continues to be a staple around here. For the last year I have been making my own dressing...I will never go back to the bottle.
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
2/3 cup red wine vinegar
Salt to taste
Combine together. Easy. Adapted from here.
I often make a double batch and store it in a mason jar. I use it on Greek salad the most. To make it a meal I add 2 cups of cooked, cooled whole wheat pasta (like penne) and a can of chick peas to the usual ingredients. Not into chick peas? Grab a deli roasted chicken....dinner is done. The dressing is also fabulous on green salads . It is on the more vinegar-y side, so cut it back a bit if you don't like that kind of bite. I use fresh herbs if I have them on hand for extra flavour.
Forget want...I need this tonight!
Raw Kale Salad. Most people would say: mmmm, no thanks. This is one of those recipes you need to take my word for. You will love it. I have taken it to a few get togethers in the last little while. I see people take a small scoop to be polite and to prove to the dietitian they are willing to eat their greens. But, they always come back for more and always ask for the recipe. I honestly could eat the whole bowl myself.
1 large bunch kale center ribs removed, leaves cut into thin strips
Juice from half a lemon
Extra-virgin olive oil to coat lightly
1 small clove garlic, minced
Sea salt to taste
1/3 chopped walnuts, toasted
1/3 cup crumbled reduced fat feta cheese
1/2 cup small dill sprigs or 1/2 tsp dried dill
Freshly ground black pepper
About one hour before you plan to eat, put kale and garlic in a large bowl. Add fresh squeezed lemon juice, olive oil and salt. Toss to coat.
To serve, add toasted nuts, feta cheese, and dill sprigs to salad and toss. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Serves four. Adapted from here.
The acid from the lemon helps to tenderize the kale, giving it a really nice texture. This salad is great for making ahead or potlucks because it can sit without getting mushy, unlike other green, dressed salads. I have been doubling the recipe because it is excellent the next day too. It is also fast to throw together.
I haven't even gotten to the nutrition side yet. Kale is loaded with antioxidants, fiber and minerals. There is heart healthy fats from the olive oil and walnuts (omega 3s)....with a heap of flavour too.
Now that summer is here I know you have BBQs and events to go to. Bring this salad, and the link to my blog. Your friends and family are going to want the recipe. You will thank me.
At around 18 when I left home for university I started to get an idea of all the things my Mom had done for me, the time and sacrifice. From about 14 to 16 I might have been a horrible daughter at times. I remember being pretty ungrateful, often miserable to live with and a hormonal disaster. When I think of some of the things I said I cringe....cringe.
Now that I am a mom myself I get it. I get how you can love someone so much that you can easily forgive behavior, words and actions that you would never forgive of anyone else. I get how you can sacrifice your body, time and restful nights for the most precious little people. I remember looking at Hudson when he was a few weeks old and feeling so filled up with love and then thinking this is how much my mom loves me. It was overwhelming.
So even after my teenage rebellions and maternal torture my mom is my biggest supporter. She helps me bathe my children, weeds my garden, tells me I look nice after a sleepless night, trusts my choices as a mom and allows me to be me. I couldn't ask for much more. Thank you mom.
It looks like it is going to be a warm and sunny Mother's Day weekend around here. If you are looking for something fresh and reflective of spring to make your mom for Mother's Day I think this Asparagus Orzo Salad would be perfect.
1 cup orzo
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon olive oil
A bunch of asparagus (about 16 spears), cut into 1 inch pieces
2 cup packed fresh spinach
Juice of 1 large lemon
1/3 cup light feta cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. In a medium sauce pan, bring 4 cups of water to boil. Stir in orzo. Cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain orzo and set aside.
2. In a small sauce pan, saute garlic in olive oil. Add in asparagus pieces. Saute for 3-4 minutes. Stir in spinach. Cook until asparagus is tender and the spinach shrinks down.
3. Put the orzo in a medium bowl and add in the vegetables. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the orzo and vegetables. Stir. Season with salt and pepper. Taste-add more lemon juice if you wish.
4. Sprinkle feta cheese over the top of the salad. Serve warm. Adapted from here.
I can't wait to make this again. It was great served cold too. I would of liked to use whole wheat orzo but was unable to find any. The addition of chick peas would make it a great dinner salad, especially in the warmer months. I added a little drizzle of olive oil to the salad too. If you prefer more of an intense lemon flavour you can add the zest of the lemon.
Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there, enjoy the beautiful sunshine and your families.
Let's talk about salads. I am sure a lot of you started thinking green salad, Caesar salad, yeah, yeah, yeah. It's time to start thinking about salads in a new way. There doesn't always have to be lettuce involved. I like to make salads that are heavier on the vegetables. In our house there are not a lot of fans of cooked or steamed veggies. The plate of raw cut up veggies gets a little tiresome as well. I am always on the look out for new ways to do raw veg.
My mother-in-law was out for a visit a while ago and had a recipe for a carrot mango salad with honey lime dressing in her arsenal. Sounded good on all fronts. When I started taking photos she was excited about her recipe making it on the blog, and here it is!
3 large carrots
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion (about 4)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped dry roasted peanuts (optional)
1/4 cup raisins
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon grated lime zest
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons liquid honey (Big D's is local and delicious)
1/4 teaspoon each salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
Scrumptious. A great way to get in some vegetables and fruit. We served it with fish, grilled asparagus and new potatoes.
I love how recipes can be shared, traded and collected. Every time I make this I will be reminded of Jane's visit and how it was the catalyst for my in-laws impending move from Edmonton to here, closer to us and our growing family. How awesome is that?
My Mom recently had the Earl's West Coast Prawn Salad with Citrus Honey Vinaigrette and went nuts for it. I wasn't there to try it but it all sounded good to me. A quick Google search later and guess what? Epicurious has a copycat recipe. No choice here but to give it a go.
One of the key ingredients in the salad is quinoa which is pronounced keen-wa. I am sure you have heard of quinoa, it is kind of a big deal these days. Why? Well it is a grain like seed that comes in red, white or black. It's protein content is very high and it is also a complete protein which is unusual for plant based foods. It is also a good source of fiber, phosphorus, iron and magnesium. For bonus points it is gluten free and easy to digest. I like quinoa in salads and less so served as a replacement for rice. I have yet to try it in soup (but I think I would like it). It also makes a great filling for wraps. Make sure you rinse your quinoa before you cook it. The outside has a natural bitter tasting coating, most of it is removed in processing, but it doesn't hurt to give it a good rinse. Don't want you to be put off if it is your first time.
CITRUS HONEY VINAIGRETTE:
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp Dijon mustard
pinch of salt and pepper
2-3 dashes hot pepper sauce
8 cups mixed greens
8 cups baby spinach
2 cups cooked, cooled quinoa (recipe below)
8-12 large strawberries, quartered
1 carrot, peeled and finely julienned
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and cut into cubes
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup toasted pecans
2 tbsp finely minced cilantro
20-30 grilled prawns, preferably awesome British Columbia spot prawns(recipe below)
favourite teriyaki sauce or rub, to taste
CITRUS HONEY VINAIGRETTE (may be prepared and chilled up to 1 week ahead):
Combine ingredients in a small food processor or blender. Chill until serving
QUINOA (may be prepared and chilled up to 2 days ahead):
1/2 cup dry quinoa
Wash quinoa in 4-5 changes of cold water until water runs clear, gently rubbing grains and letting them settle before pouring off water. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil; add quinoa and gently boil for 10 minutes; drain and rinse under cold water.
GRILLED PRAWNS (best prepared just before serving):
Preheat clean grill to high; oil grates just before cooking. Toss prawns with enough favourite teriyaki or rub to lightly coat. Grill 1-2 minutes per side, turning once, until prawns are light pink and barely cooked through.
Combine all ingredients except prawns in a large bowl; toss with enough Citrus Honey Vinagrette to coat. Divide between 4 large plates and top with grilled prawns.
Adapted from here.
This is a great entree salad with everything you need. We served it with some crusty bread. The dressing is very light and fresh tasting. Perfect to enjoy outside on a hot summer night.
Lets talk salad dressing: sure it is available at any grocery store, but it is so easy to make….it is. If you have a Magic Bullet or some sort of blender or even a whisk or fork, you are in business.
Dinner tonight in our house was in need of a salad and therefore dressing, so into my Magic Bullet went:
½ cup olive oil
½ cup strawberries
4 tbsp balsamic vinegar (or more to taste)
1 garlic clove, chopped
pinch of salt and pepper
Tonight I served it over romaine lettuce, with cucumber, snap peas, mango and goat cheese. Yum. Because it has fresh strawberries in it I would keep it in the fridge for no longer than 4-5 days.
Why do I love this? I control the salt and fat content. Trying to cut back on calories? Use less oil or skip the cheese in the salad. I also like anything that makes a salad more interesting. Plus we are squeezing in some extra fruit…yes!
There are endless recipes on the web for vinaigrettes and most are pretty easy and don’t always need a blender. I hope this encourages you to try your hand at it. Love a recipe? Feel free to share.
Tiffany McFadden, RD