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.
He's here. He's been here for almost 2 months. Milo Francis Rory. The final installment in our family. He has long fingers, funny toes and red hair. My oldest said it best; "He's the perfect one". That sentence rings true to me on a daily basis. He's so sweet it hurts. There is something to be said for knowing that this is the last baby. There are the up sides: no more being pregnant, no more labor. But there are downsides: no more tiniest diapers, no more sleepy newborn. I kind of want to keep him in the Ergo carrier forever.
I am the mom with three boys now. I see a lot of people looking at me when we are out in the world and things are going sideways. I can read the "thank god that's not me" on their faces. But there are also the moms that know. They know how truly lucky I am. They know how much joy, challenge, patience testing, humour, dirt, sweetness, penis and absurdity that comes with three boys. I wouldn't change any of it. Are we going to try for a girl? No. I like my role as April O'Neil when we play Ninja Turtles, or as the Pink Power Ranger. No one is going to take that from me.
I have had a few wonderful deliveries of huge, garden grown zucchini. I wanted to try something different with them. Zucchini Fritters for the win.
Yield: About 10 2 1/2 inch fritters
1 pound (about 2 medium) zucchini
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt or Kosher salt, plus extra to taste
2 green onions, sliced thin
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Oil of your choice, for frying (I used canola)
1 cup plain, Greek yogurt or sour cream
1 to 2 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
Pinches of salt
1 small minced or crushed clove of garlic
Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Have a baking sheet ready.
Trim ends off zucchini and grate them either on the large holes of a grater or, if you have one, using the shredding blade of a food processor.
In a large bowl, toss zucchini with 1 teaspoon coarse salt and set aside for 10 minutes. Wring out the zucchini by squeezing out small handfuls at a time. Get out as much liquid as possible to prevent soggy fritters.
Return deflated mass of zucchini shreds to bowl. Taste and if you think it could benefit from more salt (most gets lost when squeezing), add a little bit more; we found 1/4 teaspoon more just right. Stir in green onions, egg and some freshly ground black pepper. In a tiny dish, stir together flour and baking powder, then stir the mixture into the zucchini batter.
In a large heavy skillet heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Drop small bunches of the zucchini mixture onto the skillet a few at a time so they don’t become crowded and lightly nudge them flatter with the back of your spatula. Cook the fritters over moderately high heat until the edges underneath are golden, about 3 to 4 minutes. If you find this happening too quickly, reduce the heat to medium. Flip the fritters and fry them on the other side until browned again. Drain briefly on paper towels then transfer to baking sheet and then into the warm oven until needed. Repeat process, keeping the pan well-oiled, with remaining batter. I like to make sure that the fritters have at least 10 minutes in the oven to finish setting and getting extra crisp.
For the topping, if using, stir together the yogurt, lemon juice, zest, salt and garlic and adjust the flavors to your taste. Dollop on each fritter before serving.
Adapted slightly from here.
These fritters keep well, either chilled in the fridge for the better part of a week and or frozen in a well-sealed package for months. When you’re ready to use them, simply spread them out on a tray in a 325 degree oven until they’re hot and crisp again. I also re-heated them on the top rack of the BBQ.
These were viewed with skeptisism when I brought them to a potluck dinner. Everyone was more than pleasantly surprised and were fighting over who got seconds. For real, that good. So ditch the tired zuchhini bread recipe and give this a go.
It's been a while friends. I have been growing this baby boy. Between working and chasing my other two (not so baby) boys around there hasn't been a whole lot of time to write. I have missed it, but have also enjoyed the focus on this pregnancy. This is likely it for me, last baby belly. I feel mixed about it all, bittersweet. For sure there are things about pregnancy that are no fun (excess hair growth, back pain, tight clothes, varicose veins) but there are things that are down right amazing (baby kicks, growing a real human, the anticipation of that first meeting). I have felt the need to strip away some of my usual activities. Maybe it is age, maybe it is the other two kids but this pregnancy demanded more focus. Or maybe I got smarter and have gotten better at taking it easy and cutting myself some slack.
I am ten days (!) away from my due date. Kind of mind blowing. Am I ready? Ready as I will ever be. I can't wait to see his little face. I can't wait to introduce him to his big brothers. We are going to be the family of five that I have known in my heart we were meant to be.
Of course I am still cooking and taking photos of food. Most of my recipe trials and tips have been posted to Instagram or Facebook for ease. Who knows how long after baby I will be back to blogging. I am trying to manage my expectations, one of the lessons motherhood has taught me so far. I will be back when it feels right.
I thought I would share a few photos from our maternity shoot with the uber-talented Erin Wallis Photography. Cannot oven wait to see what she does with the three boys.....ekkk.
If I see a bag of Meyer lemons I buy them. If I see them when I am pregnant and citrus crazed I buy two. I was then left to decide what to make with them. Lemon loaf has already been covered on my blog. I am not really a pastry person so tarts and pie was out. Scones crossed my mind, but I didn't have all the ingredients. Muffins seemed too boring. I dug a little deeper. Lemon pudding, um yeah.
Being a child of the 80's I think of pudding coming in cardboard boxes with Bill Cosby on the commercials. Let me tell you that from scratch puts the powder to shame, like I needed to tell you that though. It is also pretty easy.
In a medium saucepan, whisk sugar and cornstarch together. Whisk in milk until well blended.
In a cup or small bowl, whisk egg and yolk until slightly beaten, then whisk into the milk mixture in the saucepan. Put the saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat and stir in lemon zest, juice and butter. Spoon into individual serving bowls. Serves 6.
These were so good, even non-pregnant people thought so. You can garnish with fruit or mint, but I don't think it's needed. Good as is.
Oh and I guess I promised that I would tell you the gender of #3. We are having boy number 3! I know I have mentioned this before but I need to bring it up again. When I was 12 weeks pregnant with my oldest (before I knew for sure I was having a boy) I was sitting on my parents' deck. I had this strange moment where I knew I would have all boys, no matter how many kids I had. People thought I was crazy, but I knew. This third boy feels so right to me.
Here in Campbell River the ultrasound technician doesn't tell you gender. The radiologist needs the read the images write their report and then your health care provider can tell you. This is all torture to me and was told it could be 24 hours to two weeks until I heard. When the tech gave us the baby tour I saw a penis waving at me, I was sure (I have seen a lot of ultrasound penis). Braden was oblivious. Lucky for me my midwife called a mere five hours after my ultrasound confirming my penis sighting.
Now please don't feel disappointed for us or think we need to keep trying for a girl. These three boys were meant for us, I can feel it in my soul. This little one has been whispering to me since Sawyer was born. Telling me we needed him to join our family. That sounds strange even to me, but it is true. I can't wait to meet this boy, he already seems to have some pretty powerful influence. We are so, so lucky.
I love Mexican food. It combines many of my favorite things: tomatoes, avocado, lime, cilantro. Combined they smell like sunshine and good times. When ever we are in the United States we always search out the best Mexican restaurant in town. In the States things taste more authentic because chances are the restaurant is owned and operated by Mexicans...perfect. Of course I loved the food in Mexico once we left our resort, but always a risky undertaking for Canadian tummies.
Even with my deep love of Mexican food the first time I heard of fish tacos I was not at all tempted to try. Sounded pretty gross to me. Of course when I finally gave them a go...loved them. How could I not? They are now a staple on many non-Mexican restaurant menus for good reason. I decided it was time to try these at home, actually my husband did while I helped. Adapted from All Recipes here.
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons lime zest
1 teaspoon honey
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, or to taste
1 pound white fish fillets, cut into chunks
We loaded a whole wheat tortilla shell with tomatoes, avocado, cabbage, cilantro, the grilled fish then drizzled with the dressing. Oh my...I was in heaven. My stomach is rumbling just writing about these! Serve with some fresh salsa and some low sodium tortilla chips and you've got dinner.
It looks like a whole lot of ingredients, but most are spices you probably already have around. You can buy chipotle pepper sauce at Superstore and other grocery stores. It also makes a great dip for yam fries when mixed with a little low fat mayo and sour cream.We used the last of our ling cod out of the freezer, quite sad to see that gone. This recipe makes a great change from the boring (and fatty) ground beef taco with the salt laden taco seasoning pack. It is also perfect for this amazing weather. Get grilling amigos!
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 so excited to announce that I will be seeing my Campbell River clients at Thrive Therapeutics starting October 3rd. Click here to book an appointment. I will be joining a fantastic group of Registered Message Therapists in their beautiful space. I will also be able to offer group classes. I am open to topic ideas. If you have a group of friends/relatives that have a topic of interest contact me. I will continue to see Comox Valley clients at the Crown Isle Clinic.
Next month I will sharing sports nutrition tips with CR DanceXtreme's showteams. I can help them get the most out of their busy dance schedule and perform at the level needed for success. As a side note I am taking their adult hip hop class, it's a great way to get moving and let loose. And maybe mess up the steps...sometimes or often.
Also starting next month is a corporate wellness series for Sunwest Auto in Courtenay. Through my interactive sessions on site and in the kitchen and grocery store employees are going to get the tools they need to stay healthy and happy. I can't wait to get started with this great group of people; it’s going to be a lot of fun.
If any of this sounds like something you would like at your workplace or activity group let me know!
Ummm yeah....it's September. It all happened so fast. Sunshine and vacations will do that to you I guess. I love, love, love September though. The warm orange glow of the sun, the return to a bit of routine and a few more sneaky camping trips for those of us that don't have school age children. Because the boys aren't in school yet (playschool doesn't start up for a bit) it allows for a bit of a gradual re-entry into fall.
I don't have a clear idea of what I am going to write in this post, it's been a while so it will be a mash up of things. First off let it be known that we have a biter/bully in the house. Sawyer seems inclined to pick on kids that are younger or smaller than himself. I am pretty confident it is a phase, but I am finding it difficult to handle in the moment. Not to mention that we are not going to have any friends. Next time you see him he might be wearing a shirt that says "Caution I Bite". I actaully heard Hudson tell a friend to be careful because Sawyer bites, I had to laugh a little.
At the same time I have been taken by how innocent children really are. Their hearts are pure and their feelings are unfiltered weather good or bad. It almost breaks my heart at times. They can be so earnest and find the deepest joy in making me laugh.
We had some sockeye salmon in the freezer that needed to be used. I wasn't feeling particularly inspired by the usual recipes, until I stumbled onto salmon cakes with a lemon dill sauce. I was off and running.
Lemon Dill Sauce
1 cup fat free plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill weed or 2 teaspoons dried dill
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Wisk everything together. Adapted from here.
3 tablespoons plus 1 cup panko bread crumbs
2 tablespoons fresh dill or 2 teaspoons dried dill
2 tablespoons reduced fat mayonnaise
4 teaspoons lemon juice
1 scallion, sliced thin
1 small shallot, minced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 pound skinless, boneless salmon fillet, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used canola)
Combine 3 tablespoons panko, dill, mayonnaise, lemon juice, scallion, shallot, mustard, salt, pepper, and cayenne in bowl. Add salmon and gently mix until combined.
Place remaining 1 cup panko on a plate. Using 1/3-cup measure, scoop level amount of salmon mixture and transfer to baking sheet; repeat to make 8 cakes. Carefully coat each cake in bread crumbs, gently patting into disk measuring 3 inches in diameter and 1 inch high. Return coated cakes to baking sheet.
Heat oil in 12-inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Place 4 salmon cakes in skillet and cook without moving until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Carefully flip and cook until second side is golden brown, 2 minutes. Transfer cakes to paper towel–lined plate in a warm over. Repeat with last 4 cakes. Serve with a generous dollop of lemon dill sauce. Adapted fromhere.
So my husband is an "I eat salmon if someone makes it but would prefer a lot of other things" guy...he ate three of these babies. Kids loved them, our dinner guests loved them and I LOVED them. I don't often fry things, but the golden, crisp crust on these was so worth it. The sauce is lighter and more refreshing than a tarter sauce.
I was worried they weren't going to hold together that well, but it wasn't a problem. I did let the salmon mixture to rest in the fridge for a while before I made the patties, so that likely helped. I of course made a double batch and they were great the next day. You could serve these on a bun too.
Confession time: my photos of the finished product are terrible. Bad lighting, blurry. We had friends over, I was in a hurry, I wanted to just eat already. It's really too bad because they looked really good.
These salmon cakes have a lot of flavour, a great texture and are loaded with heart healthy omega three fats. I have already made these again to rave reviews. Pull some of that salmon out of the freezer....now!
Anyone else glad to be getting back into a routine?
I am heading into two weeks’ vacation. This is the first time my husband and I have ever had a summer vacation as a couple. We tend to take sunny destination winter vacations instead. Our summers are usually spent cramming a lot of things into weekends, then trying to recover through the week. I am looking forward to this vacation immensely. We are going to be camping for the first week then staying in a cabin on Salt Spring Island with my in-laws for the second week.
My parents bought a trailer this year that they are nice enough to lend to us. After tenting it with two kids, this upgrade is incredibly luxurious. By current standards the trailer is modest at 20 feet long. It has everything we need: beds, a toilet, a fridge and a bit of warm water. Even with all this luxury I still find prepping and cooking food while camping to be not fun. Not to mention the dishes. Blah. Time spent cooking means more time for my children to be poking around the sewer outlflow drain, flipping lawn chairs (they are both in love with doing this?) and playing with the hatchet. Kids have a natural talent for finding the most dangerous things in a matter of seconds.
It is pretty easy to wing it for weekend get-aways. A whole week is a bit long to be eating only hot dogs, chips and cold cereal. The key to more fun in the sun and less cooking is pre-planning and a few short cuts. Before I leave I am going to make Salsa Stuffed Meatloaves and Chipotle Turkey Burger patties. Once cooked or barbequed I am going to freeze them so I just have to thaw, heat and serve. I am also going to marinade some chicken breasts with a simple marinade I found on Pintrest. Throw it all into a re-sealable bag and freeze. Toss into a cooler to help keep drinks cold while defrosting safely. I will also bring along the makings for some quick, vegetarian quesadillas, whole wheat tortillas, re-fried beans, cheese and veg. On our way out of town I am going to pick up a deli roasted chicken which can be for dinner one night and used in sandwiches for lunch. Of course we will have the required hot dogs too.
Most of the fruit and veg I pack will be ready to serve: cherry tomatoes, snap peas, mini-cucumbers, mini carrots, grapes, blueberries, bananas, nectarines, etc. Others will be prepped/chopped ahead of time: broccoli, cauliflower, melons and peppers so they are ready to be thrown out as a quick snack or into a cooler bag for a take along lunch.
For breakfast it's going to be a lot of cold cereal, it's easy and my kids love it. I am also bring along some pancake mix that just needs water. I usually throw in some berries (hopefully huckleberries the kids have picked) and top with yogurt. I like to do fruit, yogurt and low sugar granola parfaits too.
As far as sides go I will prep my favorite Southwest Quinoa Salad before I leave. I am also a fan of these rice pouches. The wholegrain brown rice is just rice with a bit of oil to prevent sticking. No added salt which you will get with the flavoured varieties. It is ready to go after a quick microwave (if you have power) or a stir fry with some veggies. You are going to pay a bit more for this product, but in this case I would rather spend the 40 minutes I have saved at the beach or reading a trashy mag. I also like to make a simple potato salad with new potatoes tossed with Greek yogurt Tzatziki.
For snacks I try to serve veggies and hummus, fruit, cheese strings, homemade muffins and trail mix more often. Of course there are a few cookies, potato chips and s’mores too. If you can’t have a little junk while camping, when can you?
Tiffany McFadden, RD