Hudson won an award yesterday at school. There was a ceremony in the gym. I was there along with my husband, my brother and my father-in–law. Now, I am sure Hudson would tell you, this award for self-discipline is his crowning achievement to date. I have learned through this mothering gig that different kids are motivated in different ways. Hudson thrives under encouraging words, praise and positive attention from adults. I share this trait with Hudson. Sawyer, my middle, is motivated by competition. He wants to win and compete, which he shares with my husband. Milo is still in the puzzle of toddlerhood, we are still figuring out what makes him tick.
Seeing Hudson’s proud little face today made me feel all the feelings. Of course I am proud of him for being chosen for the award, but mostly I was so happy to see him excel at something that means so much to him. We always talk about how fun kids are at the holidays because they remind us what it’s like to be kids again, the magic. Today brought back some of those same feelings for me. I remember winning a citizenship award in elementary school. My parents where there to watch, they told the my extended family. It felt great. School was always my thing, that’s where I was competitive. Not on the field or court or ice. It is a funny thing to see some of your traits in your own children. It’s another way nature binds us together.
Looking at my kindergartener I see endless possibilities. But the best part is that most kindergarteners see that in themselves. The idea that they could write a book, create art daily, become a garbage man, become a Jedi….all plausible, doable. I am not sure when we start telling ourselves it’s not.
Yoga was one of the things I had added to my not doable list. A while back I was telling someone (I wish I remember who) that I hate yoga and then proceeded to blather on about the reasons why (I could get quite passionate about it). She looked at me and said “it sounds like you don’t like things you are not immediately good at”. I started to say something, then stopped and had to agree. I thought a lot about it.
After a change of plans I kind of accidentally ended up in a yoga class at Flow Yoga. I didn’t hate it. At all. I wasn’t immediately super good at it, maybe not even a little good at it. But I liked that it was a challenge. It was hard. It feels like there is so much to learn. It’s like I am in kindergarten again and there is a whole yoga world to progress through. I get to progress on my own time line, not my class mates, or some ideal, just mine.
Things enter your life when you are ready. My body has been returned to me. I am no longer growing babies, laboring babies into the world or nursing them. I owe my body for doing all that; I need to care for it now. It needs to move and stretch and be challenged. For right now I have found the way to pay back that debt. Just to be clear I still get a thrill and a boost of motivation when the teacher tells me I am doing something well or have improved but I don’t need it as much as I once did.
Being on the eve of 37 has brought me closer to my five year old self. The one that is a lot less limited by fear of failure. I think I am starting to get over myself.
I am going to talk about food. I haven't blogged in a while, I guess I had a lot to get off my chest. I have found a few fun things in the grocery store (one of my favorite places).
First up, I have been all over frozen veggies. I have always been a big fan of frozen fruit but wasn’t a fan of most frozen veggies. Mostly for texture reasons. I like most of my veggies with a little crunch. I am loving frozen diced butternut squash. I bought mine at Superstore but Costco also carries it. Every time I cut up squash I feel like I am going to lose a finger or sever something. No cutting, no peeling! Let that sink it for a minute. I have used it in soup, chilli and curries with great results and huge time savings. It takes some meals from not achievable in the post-work, weeknight dinner mayhem time slot to downright quick. No stitches required. Nothing delays dinner like a trip to the ER.
I found frozen chopped kale at Save-On-Foods. I don’t often use kale in smoothies because it takes time to wash is and de-rib it. My mornings can't even handle that. Throw in a handful of this and you are off and running, or off wiping up the kale smoothie your kids just spilled. Also good for stir-fries, scrambled eggs and curries. I usually keep frozen green peas, shelled edamame and corn on hand too. Great for when the fridge gets a little empty and they won’t go bad in the crisper like fresh veg can.
Frozen veggies are just as nutritious as fresh, and in some cases more, especially in the winter months. Frozen veggies are picked when they are fully ripe and often frozen on site. The veggies that travel to us are often picked before ripe to make the trip and are not the best quality by the time they arrive on our plate.
Next up is PB2. Powdered peanut butter. I heard about it a while back but it wasn’t available in Canada. Now it is, I picked some up at Healthy Way ($6.99). The big claim is all the peanut flavor without the fat. To make PB2 the oil is squeezed from the peanuts then what’s left is dehydrated. The result amounts to mostly carbohydrate and protein. I am a fan of the healthy fats in natural peanut butter. The heart healthy fat keeps you full and satisfied until your next meal. I do like how easy it is to scoop into the blender to make smoothies. The chunky monkey smoothie I made with PB2 tasted great and had a much smoother texture. It also mixed well into oatmeal. There is instructions on how to mix it into a spread by adding water. I can’t say I would ever do this. I would just eat regular PB with the healthy fats. Not sure if I would buy more, I think I need to play around with it some more before I decide.
Anyone else love/hate it?
If you have found something new/exciting/time saving in the grocery store let me know, would love to hear about it.
Well, well, well....I have finally made my way back to my blog. I have many excuses: three busy boys, recent return to work, a computer that needs an upgrade, but none of that matters. I'm here.
Where to even start? We are all getting used to our new roles. Me: at work, pumping mom. Braden: stay at home, training for his forth triathalon dad. The boys: happy to have some wild dad time and maybe happy to have a more present mommy when I am home.
We drink a lot of smoothies around here. The whole family loves them. I also love mason jars. Imagine how excited I was to learn that a mason jar fits on the base of my blender.
I don't have a super fancy blender. I have had this one since I moved out of my parents house. It still works, but I am secretly hoping it will die so I can get a fancy one. Although this whole mason jar attachment has me pretty excited about my old, tired blender. It does let off that "forgot to disengage the emergency break and driving" kind of smell when it really works, so maybe close?
I had been lusting after these mason jar drink tops and straws.
I was waiting for them to go on sale. So they went on sale. At Target. Everything is on sale at Target. I don't even want to get into how sad I am that Target is closing. Anyways, I bought them and they are great. But maybe more great enjoyed with a costume on. I have also been using them for tea and iced coffee as well as to dispense home made vinaigrettes. The straw is wide enough for extra thick smoothies and all can be popped into the dishwasher.
Some tips to create a better smoothie:
-add fruit: frozen or fresh
-lots of veggies: greens, avocado
-a protein source: low fat Greek yogurt, nut butters
-healthy fats: flax or hemp seeds
-watch your liquid: choose low fat milk (dairy or unsweetened non-dairy) or water instead of fruit juice to keep the sugar content down
-any left overs are great to pour into a popsicle mold
When we want to switch it up a bit we make a funky monkey smoothie:
2 cups milk
1/2 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
1 frozen banana
1-2 tbsp. natural peanut butter
1-2 tbsp. cocoa powder
So hoping to be back here soon, there are certainly some recipes I am excited to share.
I am totally into Christmas this year. I have never been a scrooge, but I dread some of the set up, decorating, shopping. Not this year. Our outdoor lights were up by the end of November, the tree up and house decorated by December 1st. I love the lights and the colour, it makes the house feel brighter and cozy. Plus the boys love it all and are mostly old enough to not to be picking at the tree all day. I am sticking to one of my past boycotts though, no Christmas baking. I loathe it. My boys are headed over to their Great-Grandma’s to bake and decorate gingerbread men this weekend. She loves it and they will too.
Then there are the gifts. My boys get spoiled. They are the only grandchildren on both sides. That not only means grandparents going wild with giving, but aunts and uncles too. I am a clutter-phobe. We are staying in our three bedroom rancher when baby arrives. We don’t have a playroom. I fear being over taken by toys. A few weeks ago I cleaned out all the toys that are no longer played with, or were never played with. They all went up on Craigslist. So far I have made $110. I have vowed that that is the only money I am spending on the boys this Christmas. It has really made me think about what they truly need and want. I finished their shopping the other night. I bought everything locally. There is more than enough. Plus there is more to go around in January on our annual Maui vacation. I would rather spend money on doing than things. I feel good, might make this an annual November toy sale.
Now for the most part I am an egg hater (minus that weird pregnancy moment when I ate a breakfast burrito). I love the idea of quiche, so when I saw the recipe for Sundried tomato, mushroom and spinach tofu quiche I wanted to give it a try. It should be said that I am also not a huge tofu or mushroom lover. I made a few changes, subbing in asparagus for the mushrooms. The original was gluten and dairy-free, which I didn’t need, so I changes that a bit too. If you are looking for gluten and dairy-free get the recipe here.
For the crust:
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 very cold water
For the quiche:
1 block (14-oz) firm tofu
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1.5 cups chopped asparagus or broccoli
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
1/3 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
1.5 cups baby spinach
1 cup grated cheddar cheese (I used smoked cheddar)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon sea salt
Black pepper, to taste
Red pepper flakes, to taste
I had my doubts. I tried a finger full of the pureed tofu and was almost ready to call it quits. We all loved it. It tasted like there was bacon in it, I think the combo of sundried tomatoes and the smoked cheese maybe. It re-heats well. I managed to get it on the table on a weeknight, but it was a bit of a push.
I hope all your holiday preperations are going smoothly. My goal it to avoid stress, that's why I am wrapping everything tonight.
For sure I have been away from the blog. The reason: I am growing a tiny human. Right now I am doing that. It still boggles my mind that my body can just grow a person. On Wednesday my husband and I saw that tiny human (1.8 cm long to be exact) on an ultrasound. Complete with tiny heartbeat. Pure magic. There was also a lot of relief when the tech reassured me that there only appeared to be one baby.
I did not ever think I would have three kids. I thought anyone that had more than two kids was a little wacky. Right after I pushed Sawyer out I was expecting this wave of relief. A “fewf, last time I am going to have to do that” feeling. It didn’t come. When I mentioned number three to my husband he was on board. What?! I thought he would be the voice of reason. There are about 1000 reasons not to have three kids: money, space, time, sanity. But there was one reason to have another. The whisper in my ear that told me our family wasn’t complete. I tried to ignore it, wave it off, bargain. Nothing worked. This little human has been whispering in my ear for a while and finally got it’s way. It is already killing me that I don’t know the sex. I am fully prepared for boy number three. How cute would that be? Three little blond boys all in a row. The trouble they could get into together. A girl would be a wild, wild surprise.
I have been feeling not so great. Worst yet. I thought baby number three, I am a pro now. Yeah, not so much. I am nauseated, slow moving, tired and blah. I have lost my spark. I know it will return, but at this point I don’t feel a whole lot like me.
All I want to eat is ramen noodles with sriracha and anything with gravy on it (mashed potatoes, poutine). Things that in real life I don’t eat a lot of. So between the tiredness and not cooking much the blog has suffered. I hope I am back now, but no promises. I take things day to day. My husband has been amazing: taking the boys to the park, making meals, buying me flowers to cheer me up. I am so grateful to have him. I did want to kill him when he mentioned that having a fourth would be a good idea. He has lost his mind.
Anyways, I made this a while ago and fell hard: Pineapple and Shrimp Fried Quinoa. Sounds good right?
1 cup quinoa, well rinsed
1 cup coconut milk (reduced fat coconut works well too)
1 cup low sodium chicken or vegetable stock
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 pound shrimp (I used ocean wise Pacific shrimp) or chick peas
1 tablespoon garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon ginger, grated
1 red pepper, diced
1 cup pineapple, cut into small pieces (or you can used canned pineapple tidbits)
1 egg, lightly beaten (not for me)
1 cup peas
1/4 cup peanuts or cashews
2 teaspoons curry powder
2 tablespoons fish sauce (or soy sauce for vegetarian)
1/2 lime, juiced
1 handful cilantro, chopped
Huge hit. The pineapple lends a really nice sweetness and goes so well with the coconut flavor. I have also made this with brown rice and replaced the shrimp with chick peas, equally as good. I would suggest cooking the rice ahead of time and letting it cool. The texture is better that way. If I was you I would just double the batch. It re-heats and freezes well (if there is any left). My kids ate it but weren’t thrilled. You can’t trust their taste buds ever.
Between eating vast amounts of salt and looking for a minivan (for real) I hope to be back here sooner than later.
I am pretty sure it goes without saying: I am so happy our summer weather arrived with July. In my mind summer doesn’t really start until July anyways, so I don’t get too bent out of shape when the weather is less than great in June. Anything that is, a bonus.
Hot weather changes the way we eat. Hot comfort foods are a lot less comforting in the heat. I love oatmeal and had abandoned it in summer. But its back in full force, just in a different form. Meet refrigerator oatmeal. When I first spotted this (on Pintrest maybe?) I thought it sounded kind of gross, maybe because of the chia content.
There is no shortage of places or people that will list for you the reasons why chia seeds are amazing. The fiber! The omega threes! Bottom line: I don’t like them. I find the gelatinous texture they produce very unappealing. In this case I just left them out, no problem.
There are a lot of foods out there that are deemed as absolutely necessary to achieve good health. They vary from chia to salmon to kale to blueberries to quinoa to green tea. There is an even longer list of foods that are deemed unhealthy. They are talked about in ways that may lead us to believe that if they ever pass our lips we are doomed to a life of chronic disease and weight issues.
If you are a regular reader, you know I like to take a balanced approach to healthy eating. I don’t think there are specific foods that must be eaten to be healthy. Lots of foods have vitamins, minerals or other profiles that can make them great, but they can all be found elsewhere. The highly touted foods I tend to stay away from (simply because I don’t like them) are: green tea, kale chips, plain yogurt, ginger and most forms of tofu. On the flip side I eat things that some people express shock over: Fillet-O-Fish sandwiches from McDonalds, Old Dutch Popcorn Twists (odd obsession), hot dogs, tempura anything and Diet Coke. How often do I eat these things? Not often. Could I go without? Probably. Do I want to? Nope.
Eating is about so much more than just fueling your body. We eat when we celebrate, we gather around the table (hopefully) to eat together as a family; it provides joy and variety to our days. Life is too short to never have the foods we love. On the flip side your life will be shortened if all you eat is crap. All in moderation, a dietitian’s favorite word.
Anyways, I came back to the recipe and gave it a go. I am going to share the flavor combo I tried.
1/4 cup uncooked old fashioned rolled oats (not steel cut)
1/3 cup skim milk
1/4 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
1-1/2 teaspoons dried chia seeds (optional)
1 cup strawberries, sliced
1 tablespoon natural peanut butter
In a container that seals well, add oats, milk, yogurt, chia seeds, and peanut butter. Seal and shake until well combined. Remove lid, add strawberries and stir until mixed throughout. Cover and refrigerate overnight or up to 2-3 days. Eat chilled.
Love it. Folks who don’t like oatmeal due to texture might like this. I made mine in mason jars (which I use for everything under the sun). I made a few different flavor combos to eat through the week. My creation was a twist on peanut butter and jam. There are a lot of flavor ideas here and here.
Some things to keep in mind: choose a low fat and sugar content Greek yogurt (or plain) for a protein boost, regular yogurt can be used but tends to be thinner so reduce the milk. Any milk can be used in place of cow’s milk. Be sure to include a healthy fat like nuts, nut butter or seeds to keep you full for longer.
If you start your day off right there might be room for something from the less healthy category here and there too…..
Have you ever thought of what you would like to pass onto your kids? I'd like to think that I am instilling a love of laughter, not to take anything too seriously as well as a curious and optimistic attitude. I feel like those three tenants have gotten me to where I am and ensure that I love that place. Of course there are many other ideas, stories and values that I hope get passed along the way. I love how each member of the family has something to expose my kids to. This past Sunday Hudson, my oldest son, had an amazing day.
We kicked off the day watching his Dad complete his second triathlon in Comox. Hudson loved that it was a race. He was the best cheerleader and had his Lightning McQueen water bottle all ready for his Daddy at the finish line. Hudson was also super pumped that his Dad had won the whole thing (not quite). On the surface I love that this triathlon exposes our kids to a love to activity. On a deeper level it demonstrates goal setting, perseverance and a continuation of sport through adulthood. I am always inspired by my husband’s undertaking. A few years ago he could hardly swim two lengths of the pool when he decided he wanted to complete a triathlon. I love that through re-locating, raising two boys and having a body that likes to sink, he did it. Extra bonus for having your son think you are the coolest guy ever.
After that we were all off to The Port Theater in Nanaimo to watch Hudson’s Granny in her choir performance. It was a lively show with a great variety of songs. Hudson was literally dancing in the aisle (along with a somewhat eccentric fellow a few rows down) and was pretty excited to see his Granny up on stage. Given mine and my husband’s limited participation in the arts I was so happy to have the opportunity to give him some arts exposure starring his own Granny. His Granny has shown him that taking a risk to join a choir when you are new to town pays off. You get to sing your heart out and spread some joy.
I feel so, so lucky to have close family around. Our kids get to see and experience so many different passions, views, challenges and successes. I sometimes find myself staring at my kids wondering what passions are locked in there. What things will come easy, what will require extra time and attention? Our job, I think, is to show them around and follow their lead.
Enough story, onto the food! I have been looking for a good homemade granola bar type recipe. There can be many down falls when making them; they crumble when you cut them, they don’t hold together enough to cut or taste like sawdust. I think the biggest problem is that many claim to have “no added sugar”, but are loaded with honey, maple syrup, cane sugar, etc. This recipe solved all those problems, along with being gluten-free and vegan. Recipe adapted from here.
2 ripe bananas
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1/2 cup chopped cashews
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup of old fashioned or large flake oats
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. In a large bowl mash the banana. Stir in the remaining ingredients until combined.
3. Line an 8 x 8 pan with parchment paper. Then spread the batter in an even layer.
4. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes until the edges are golden brown
5. Allow to cool completely before cutting into slices
Of course I doubled the recipe. I used a combo of almonds and walnuts because that is what I had on hand. The result is a fairly soft bar that holds together and freezes well. They taste great too, kids loved them. There is a lot of room to play around with the recipe, you could change up the nut butter to almond or cashew butter, vary the nuts or use seeds, substitute other dried fruit in place of the coconut. When compared to the store bought variety these bars are lower in calories, sugar and sodium…..yes. Watch the portion though, cut into small bars. They make a great on-the-go throw in your purse kind of snack for yourself or your kids and are easy to grab for part of a fast breakfast (great paired with a piece of fruit and a low fat latte).
I guess I have also been exposing my kids to cooking, baking and a lot of different foods. They might be on the road to making excellent husbands one day.
I have been doing a lot of strange things lately. Maybe the most shocking is that I ate a piece of quiche over the Easter holidays. I am the all time egg hater; gagging, watering eyes, etc. It just looked so damned good. Plus I have always felt deprived of all these seemingly delicious egg dishes. I went for it, and it was well worth the risk. It must be noted that this quiche was loaded with Swiss cheese and bacon. Great flavor maskers, there was only one bite that was a little dicey. I powered through. It was the most egg I have eaten in a sitting. Ever. To be clear, my adventuresome egg tasting hasn’t progressed any further.
I have also had an overwhelming urge to garden, or at least make the yard look better. I tried a veggie garden a few years ago, didn’t love the process. I am in full agreement with my mother in law when she confirmed that she was perfectly happy to buy from local farmers and leave the work and expertise to them. This year I have planted a few flowers, some succulents and have been tending to the perennials that we semi-neglected last year. I have also better equipped myself to tend to things, better garden gloves, a watering can, tools and a little fertilizer. The boys are both at a great age to be outside and be really interested in the garden (usually worm and bug hunting). Fingers crossed. I will keep you posted.
I also spray painted, yes me the not crafty person. I picked up a weather wicker garden stool a few years ago at a garage sale. It has been in our back yard for the past few summers, but was starting to look tired. My first thought was white. I quickly tossed that idea out and decided yellow. Way more fun. The process was pretty fast and easy. My kind of project. The only downside was after priming and spraying two coats I had some pretty serious trigger finger (who knew your pointer finger could be out of shape). It now sits happily on our front porch, providing some much needed colour. Adding some colour to our house was one of my New Year's resolutions....so getting there.
I don’t know who I am anymore. Oh no wait…I am sharing a soup recipe. Sneaking in one more before full blast spring weather. Old me is back. Spinach, Bean and Pasta Soup, once again this is from the Spilling the Beans cookbook.
Canola or olive oil
1-2 turkey or chicken Italian sausage (optional)
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 cups water
1 cup dry whole wheat pasta
14 oz can tomato sauce or diced tomatoes
3 cups chicken or veggie stock
1 tsp dried oregano or basil
Salt and pepper to taste
3-4 handfuls of spinach, torn or chopped
19 oz can of red or white kidney beans, rinsed and drained
Freshly grated parmesan for serving
In a large sauce pan over medium heat, drizzle in oil and sauté the sausage. Break up with a spoon and cook until no longer pink. Add onion and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes, until soft.
Add water, pasta, tomato sauce, stock, oregano and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes (until pasta is tender). Add the spinach and beans and cook for another 3 minutes. Top with parmesan cheese.
I loved how fast this soup came together. I also had everything on hand. I used navy beans because that’s what I had. The kids liked it because there was pasta in it, all the good stuff comes along with the noodles. One more soup day left I am sure…..
Anyone else been doing strange things? Maybe it is spring, a time of new starts.
Two years ago today I posted my first blog entry. For real. The time has gone really quickly. When I started out I wasn't really sure what this blog would look like or what sort of information I would provide. It quickly evolved to a recipe testing/transforming/sharing format. A much slower evolution also took hold; the sharing of more of my personal life. There was only so many ways I could talk about how I swapped out whole wheat flour for white, or Greek yogurt for sour cream before things get a little dry and repetitive. When I was younger I was a diary keeper, my last entries were done around grade eleven, After that I kept a yearly planner that included homework, weekend adventures, dinner plans, holidays and work schedules. I have now progressed to iCal on my phone. I keep track of the boys' big moments in the calendar too (I have yet to get a baby book started for either of them). I guess I have always had a need to document. The part that is missing is the details. Maybe that's where this blog fits in, a way to document some of the details.
It has also been a great way to keep track of my favorite recipes. I refer back often. There are still things I would like to do: add a print option, figure out a better way to categorize the recipes so they are easier to find, add a search box, etc. Someone asked me a while ago "Why do you write your blog?". I thought it was kind of a strange question. It was hard to answer. I don't make any money doing it. I guess it does provides some exposure for my business and website, but that's not the motivator either. I think I would still write entries even if no one was reading. I just really like doing it, which is really the best motivator. Of course I love that people do read, try recipes and realize that healthy eating doesn't have to be tasteless or difficult.
For this entry I am sharing a recipe for lemon loaf. When I was younger I was not a lemon dessert fan at all. My Mom and Grandma love them. I was sure it was an older lady thing. Then it hit me like a truck. A sudden love of lemon desserts. I am officially an older lady by my own definition. Whatever, as long as there is lemon loaf. Of course I was looking for something a little more healthy, but still moist and very lemony. I used Meyer lemons. Good lord, go out and buy some if you haven't already. First off they are the most beautiful yellow colour, they scream spring. They release the most amazing smell when you zest them (like candy). They are also easier to juice than their traditional cousins.
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
3/4 cup of sugar
1 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour
1/3 cup of canola oil
1 cup of low fat plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoon of lemon juice
2 teaspoons of grated lemon peel (I was very generous to achieve max lemon flavour)
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
1/4 teaspoon of baking powder
3/4 cup of powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Squeeze lemon juice from a fresh lemon. Then grate the peel.
Combine flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda into a bowl.
In a large bowl, stir egg, oil, yogurt, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and lemon peel. Once mixed, add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Mix well (it will be a pretty thick batter)
Pour mixture into a greased loaf pan.
Bake for 45 - 50 minutes.
While baking, mix together the sugar and remaining lemon juice to create a glaze. When bread is done baking and has cooled, apply glaze. I used a spoon to drizzle the glaze over the bread. Adapted from here.
So yeah, delicious. I doubled the recipe (of course) and froze a loaf for a later date. I added a little more lemon juice to the glaze because I wanted it more tart than sweet. Loved it. Very moist.
Thank you for reading, trying recipes and all your comments. The last two years have flown by. I feel so lucky to have something in my life that I enjoy so much.
Braden and I are both officially back to work. Braden's paternity leave is over. He was an amazing stay at home Dad. I am pretty sure he was better at it than I was. Maybe not better, but he enjoyed it more. I kept asking about breakdowns, tough days, challenges. All greeted with a blank stare. I was always sure the kids would be well taken care of, but thought the house would be in total disarray. Nope. This guy can cook dinner, fold laundry and coordinate play school drop offs and naps. The kids might of eaten more hotdogs and Kraft Dinner than I would have liked, but all survived. I am so grateful the boys and Braden got to spend this time together and feel so lucky to have such an incredible husband.
Up until now we have needed very little outside child care. My work has become more regular and with Braden back to work we need care three days a week. We have had so many discussions around what is best for the boys and best for us. Tough decisions to make. In the end we have chosen to go with a live out nanny. I like the idea of the boys being in their own space. I love the idea of not rushing them out the door in the morning. It also allows us to keep one vehicle. Braden can continue to ride his bike to work (Mr. Active) and I can take the trusty Versa.
I sort of forgot that we would be getting home at 5:00 and that we are all used to eating dinner at 5:30. I have been doing more meal planning, making double batches to freeze and making an extra meal in the slow cooker on the weekend to have later in the week. So far, so good. This recipe was a weekend slow cooker. It is kind of a combination of a few recipes. I have been calling it Butternut Squash Red Lentil Quinoa Curried Stew. Kind of long winded.
1 tsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp curry paste or powder (or more to taste) I used this.
4 cups low-sodium chicken or veggie stock
1 cup red lentils
1/2 cup quinoa
1 butternut squash peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
2-3 cups greens of your choice (I used spinach)
Fresh grated ginger, to taste (optional)
Salt & black pepper, to taste
Rinse lentils; set aside. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and ginger; cook until translucent, about 4 minutes. Transfer to slow cooker. Add squash, stock, lentils, quinoa and curry paste. Cook on high for 4-6 hrs or low for 7-8 hrs. Add greens and stir until wilted. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot. Adapted from here.
This was so good. I loved all the flavours. We had enough for two dinners (one eaten the next day and one in the freezer) as well as a few single serve portions in the freezer for quick lunches. The boys liked it too. Everything sort of melts together so no weird textures.
I have to mention that it is Sawyer's first birthday today. My sweet, sweet baby is one. Everything with baby number two flies by. He has a tooth, he is sitting up, eating, walking, yelling, dancing, feeding himself, sleeping through the night (that one was hard earned this time around). I sniffed, savoured, photographed, videoed, stared, loved but nothing slowed it down. We have come so far, yet I know we are still so close to the start. Happy Birthday sweet boy....
I have seen a lot of recipes for mashed cauliflower. People claiming they make a great low carb substitute for mashed potatoes. I was not buying it. Not for one second. I envisioned a lumpy, spongy, beige mess floating in a watery liquid. Blah.
First off I am not a huge fan of cooked cauliflower. It always seems to generate a bad smell and is very easily over cooked. I like it raw and in certain Indian dishes where the spices are so rich they could cover any bad smell/taste. Second I really like mashed potatoes. Why mess with a good thing? One good reason: because you have a head of cauliflower than needs to be eaten before upcoming vacation. I cannot stand to waste food. I have been burned by this rational before. Kale chips: love chips, love kale, hate kale chips.
I tasked Braden with finding a recipe and getting started while I was on my way home from work. Braden also not a fan of cooked veg in general, was sending disapproving vibes via text message. We powered through. He choose a Mock Garlic Mashed Potato recipe adapted from here.
Set a stockpot of water to boil over high heat.
Wash and cut cauliflower into small pieces. Cook in boiling water for about 6 minutes, or until well done. Drain well; do not let cool and pat cooked cauliflower dry between several layers of paper towels.
In a bowl with an immersion blender, or in a food processor, puree the hot cauliflower with the cream cheese, Parmesan, garlic, butter or margarine, and pepper until almost smooth.
Garnish with chives, and serve hot.
So yeah. Really, super wrong on this one. I didn't even bother taking real photos because I was so sure this was going to be a flop (sorry only iPhone photos). It was amazing. Great texture, taste, no bad smell, no weird watery puddle. We all (kids included) had seconds. Probably because we only took a small serving initially, because say it with me: we thought we would kind of hate it. Hudson reported they tasted like pizza, not accurate, but OK. I had intended to post a different recipe that I love, but this trumped it. It was very close to the real thing and a little faster too.
Put it on your to try list. A great way to add more veggies into your diet, you are going to want to eat a lot of this. If you are looking to reduce the amount of simple carbohydrates in your diet this is for you. The nutritionals for the above recipe vs the same recipe using potatoes (based on four 225 g servings):
Mashed Caulifower Mashed Potato
Calories 140 267
Fat 8.6 g 8.6 g
Carbohyrdate 11.6 g 42.3 g
Fiber 5.3 g 3.8 g
Protein 6.8 g 6.2 g
Looks like we are going to be eating a lot more mashed cauliflower and I am for sure looking forward to it. I was wrong and I can admit it.
Tiffany McFadden, RD