Today was a great day. I had suggested earlier in the week that we take our bikes over to Quadra and ride to Rebecca Spit. Now, let it be known this is a little unusual for me. Not the going to Quarda, but the bikes part. As we got closer to today I had thought of a million excuses why it was a bad idea. The kids haven't spent much time together in the bike trailer, would we be able to pack enough stuff, could I make it all the way to Rebecca Spit, was I going to have to tow the kids?
My husband Braden rides his bike to work everyday, so he was good. He was also kind enough to let me ride his bike, which is a road bike. It is a lot easier to ride than a moutain bike. Braden was stuck on the old moutian bike pulling the kids. Much easier for him than me though.
After not a lot of fun getting everyone out the door, we were off to catch the 12:30 ferry. The weather was devine. The boys loved the ferry. We managed to get off and on in once piece. I thought for sure that was a disater waiting to happen. The boys were bugging each other a bit in the bike trailer. We quickly put a rolled up towel between them, problem solved.
The bike ride there was really good. I didn't die. I only had to walk the bike up one hill. We had a great time chasing crabs on the beach and wading through the warm water. The boys loved the bright red sea cucumber we found. I packed a picnic lunch, but kept it simple. I cut some whole wheat pitas into triangles and brought Greek yogurt Tzitziki and roasted garlic hummus to dip them in. We also had strawberries, blueberries, yogurt, cheese strings, trail mix and the boys even got a frozen juice box each. I used them to keep things cool in our cooler bag. By the time we arrived they were prefect to eat with a spoon. Freezing them slows down how fast they drink them too. We also brought lots of water.
We were back in time to catch the 5:00 ferry home. The boys both zonked out on the ride back.
We then headed over to my in-law's for a quick dinner and well deserved G&T.
Both kids had a nice bath in the back yard and we all had a huge laugh over the towel"dresses" they were running around in after.
My butt is already killing me, but it's so, so worth it. I love when physical activity doesn't feel like a chore. Pick something you can do as a famiy and ignore all the reasons not to do it. Get out there. Summer whips by, the laundry and yard work can wait.
We have already decided our next bike trip: Denman!
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....
So much has happened since I last posted that I can't even begin to write it all out, so I am going to offer the highlights:
1. Hudson turned three! He was so excited. It was the first year I felt motivated to pick a theme and really go for it. If you need a theme for anything choose a Hawaiian theme! It was really easy to find the decor, music, food ideas and everyone can dress in their summer clothes.
We did the decorating while Hudson was out of the house. All of his "this is for me?", "this is for MY birthday?" and declaring "all I want to do is dance" made the decorating more than worth it (even the oh so tedious for me cupcakes).
I won't even start on how incredible it is that my first born is three.
2. I finally bought a bottle of my new favorite hot sauce Chalula. Go out and get some. Best ever. All the flavour without burn your face off heat.
3. I may have also watched the best documentary I have ever seen: Stories We Tell. Incredibly emotional, I don't think I have stopped thinking about it since I saw it three weeks ago. My mother-in-law got us tickets to see it at the Comox Valley Art Gallery TIFF Film Series. I have no idea where else you can see it? But if you get the chance....watch. Hopefully it will make it's way to iTunes.
4. So I am not the greatest sports star, at all. But I have always had this secret idea that there was a sport out there that I had an incredible amount of natural talent. I just hadn't discovered or tried it yet. I was proven wrong with tennis. I enjoyed my lessons but my instructor wasn't blown away by my talent. I always thought rowing could be for me, but chickened out before signing up back in my UVic days. This weekend I tried cross country skiing. Again I didn't have my instructor wondering how I was so good given it was my first time on cross country skis, but I for sure had more talent than one other person in the lesson (Yes!). Most importantly I really loved it. Can't wait to give it another go.
5. Lastly I discovered the recipe for Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies on the back of a bag of Trader Joe's gluten free oats. I never make cookies, more of a muffin girl, but this caught my eye.
1/4 cup butter
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup sugar
3 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
8 oz dark chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup natural peanut butter
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine sugar, brown sugar, and butter in a large bowl. Beat until creamy. Add eggs, vanilla, and baking soda: mix well. Add peanut butter and mix. Stir in the oats, chocolate chips, and nuts. Place dough by heaping teaspoons onto a lightly greased cookie sheet (I used parchment paper), about 2 inches apart. Bake 10-12 minutes or until light gold on the edges. Makes approximately 48 cookies.
Love these. I made them small because they are pretty calorie dens.There are about 100 calories, 3 grams of protein and 6 grams of sugar per cookie. I reduced the amount of sugar that was called for and they were sweet enough. They freeze very well. It is hard to believe that they don't have any flour in them. You can also get creative with what you add into the mix. Instead of chocolate chips and nuts you could do raisins and coconut or cranberries and sunflower seeds. Endless ideas.
A side note about oats and gluten. Oats themselves are gluten free, but are usually processed in factories that process wheat so there can be cross contamination. Look for uncontaminated or gluten free oats to be sure your oats are gluten free.
Any new discoveries you want to share?
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.
I feel like I have been gone forever. There has been a lot going on since my last post. Of course there has been Christmas and New Years. Happy 2013! Spending Christmas with a 2 and 3/4 year old was magic. Kids bring back so much excitiment and pure joy. Sawyer was more than happy to bask in the choas of wrapping paper and boxes and enjoy the orange in his stocking.
I have become a resolution person in the last few years. Not typical resolutions or world changing things, more daily life things. My last three years' resolutions have been:
2013's hasn't come to me yet. I will keep you posted.
The other big change is that I am back at work and Braden is on paternity leave for 8 weeks. Daddy daycare. I feel so lucky that my boys get to spend this time with their Dad. It also gives us a look into each other's worlds. Working full time I miss the little moments of the boys' day. Hugs and kisses before naps, laughing over lunch and impromptu art sessions. Braden, being home full time, is realizing it is amazing to spend time with your children but there are challenges that go with it. When to shower, how to fit in physical activity and why are there so many socks missing after laundry? I think he is doing an amazing job. Hudson looked at me the other day and said "Mommy go to work now, and Daddy stays home. It's fun". I think that is the vote that counts.
Around this time of year I am pretty done with all the rich food, desserts, chocolates, and drinks. I need a break. I started flipping through my Spilling the Beans cookbook while drooling. My mother-in-law gave me this cookbook last year for Christmas and I love it. It has so many inspired ways to use beans, my favorite high fiber, low cost, high protein food. I eventually decided on Curried Sweet Potato, Carrot and Red Lentil Soup.
2 Tbps canola oil
1 onion, chopped
1-2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 Tbsp grated ginger (I opted for none)
1/2 cup dry red lentils
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 tsp curry paste or powder
4 cups low sodium chicken or veggie stock
salt to taste
plain low fat Greek yogurt for serving
In a large saucepan heat oil over med-high heat. Saute onion, garlic and ginger for about 5 minutes. Add lentils, sweet potato, carrot, curry paste, stock, and salt along with a cup of water. Bring to a boil, turn heat down, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
Use an imersion blender to puree. Serve with a dollup of sour cream or Greek yogurt.
This is just what I needed. The whole family loved it. I used an orange curry paste that is pretty mild. You may have to adjust the curry powder or paste based on your desired level of spice. I love using lentils because they cook up pretty fast compared to other dried beans, making this an easy weeknight soup.
So holiday food gone as well as all the Christmas decorations. Our house looks a little bare and drab. Maybe 2013 resolution will be adding more colour...to my house and my wardrobe. Grey is always calling to me though. I will keep you posted.
Our house came with a wooden bird house on the fence outside our kitchen window. About a year ago we started putting bird food in the bird house. I have to tell you it has provided endless moments of joy and wonder. We all eat breakfast around the island. Hudson sits directly across from the window, and loves to see the birds coming to have their breakfast too. I have seen birds that in all my time living on the West Coast I don't ever remember seeing. There is a woodpecker that comes often and likes to give the fence a little hammer just to make sure we know he came for a visit.
When I realized how much enjoyment I was getting out of the bird feeder and it's visitors, I questioned if I had turned 85 overnight. It then became clear that these little moments of happiness made day to day life more joyful. Of course I love holidays, vacations, parties, weddings, births. But these big moments of joy are not a daily occurrence. I find my daily joy in the little things: birds outside my window, drooly kisses, Sawyer's wildly messy bed head, clean sheets, surprise bursts of sunshine, blog comments (hint, hint), warm egg nog lattes on cold mornings, watching old Arrested Development episodes on Netflix while eating popcorn (oh, Buster) and watching my family dance wildly in our post-dinner dance-off. So maybe I am not 85. But maybe I have found a little wisdom to enjoy the moment for what it is. I try to avoid looking ahead to the next big joy, so I won't miss the little joys along the way. I can't lie thought, I know our Maui trip is only 45 days away ;)
I must also add that this recipe for Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Pasta brought some joy to my life. I have always wanted to try roasting my own peppers, and no need to say why goat cheese would be appealing.
3-4 whole red bell peppers
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup fat free creamer
4 oz. herb goat cheese
1/2 cup grated parigiano reggiano cheese
1/2 lb. whole wheat pasta, cooked to al dente
salt & pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Place red peppers on a foil lined baking sheet and bake 20-30 minutes until peppers are charred. Remove from oven and cover with foil 10 minutes. This can be done ahead of time.
In the mean time, saute onions and garlic in olive oil for 5 minutes or until tender. Pour in creamer and goat cheese. Stir to melt goat cheese into sauce and keep warm over low heat.
Uncover peppers, peel off skin and remove stem and seeds. Chop into large pieces and place into sauce along with parmesan cheese. Stir to melt cheese and remove from heat. Pour sauce into food processor or blender and puree, or use an immersion blender. Place back into hot pan and toss with cooked pasta. Taste and adjust seasonings. Top with more parmesan cheese, pepper, salt and parsley, if desired. Adapted from here.
The roasting of peppers went really well and they were super easy to peel. Don't be afraid of black spots. Of course this was amazing. Very rich and creamy without the cream. Both kids ate it up. I am sure it looked enough like mac and cheese to lure Hudson in.
If making a meal the whole family likes doesn't bring you some level of joy, then maybe you need a bird feeder.
Tiffany McFadden, RD