Friday, April 29, 2011

friday

It's Friday, Friday
Gotta get down on Friday
Everybody's lookin' forward to the weekend, weekend
Friday, Friday
Gettin' down on Friday
Everybody's lookin' forward to the weekend 

For the past month every Friday Matt sings this song in the morning and then it gets stuck in my head all day. It's killing me slowly. Rebecca Black, you're hurting my brain. Also - your song is quite catchy. You win.

We have no commitments this weekend, our list of things to do is mostly gardening and walks in the sun with a small dash of buying a new stove.

Easy Friday night dinner tonight is sumac grilled halibut (oh delicious sumac with your lemony astringent tartness!) and a super delicious and healthy salad.



















Edamame, Chickpea and Wheat Berry Salad
1 1/2 cups chickpeas (15 oz can), drained and rinsed
1 cup edamame, shelled
1 cup cooked wheat berries (I cheat and use these)
2 green onions, finely chopped
2 tbsp fresh dill, finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp plain yogurt
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped or grated
juice and zest of one lemon
salt and pepper to taste

• Cook shelled edamame in boiling water for 3-4 minutes until beans are cooked, drain and rinse in cold water.
• In a mixing bowl combine chickpeas, edamame, wheat berries, green onions and dill together.
• In a separate bowl whisk together olive oil, yogurt, mustard, garlic, lemon juice and zest. Mix over other ingredients and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serves 4 and seriously - so tasty and fresh and healthy!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

i love sumac.

I've been having really great days lately. I feel settled, relaxed and happy. Seeing friends, walking in the sunshine, chill nights with Matt and sunshine, I know I said that already, but the sun feels great!

Seeing my beautiful new nephew and niece has me appreciating Hannah so much. To think that ten months ago she was such a small and delicate creature is baffling. I love her company so much, I feel like she has a great sense of humour, she's so loving, determined and curious.

We walked over to South Granville today for baby time at the Firehall Library. I've been to a few Baby Times at other branches, but Firehall on Thursdays at 11:15 takes the cake. Thomas who leads the sing-a-long is amazing, it was crowded but so worth it. We ended the session with some Stompin' Tom Connors. 

We stopped off at Yek-O-Yek on Main Street before coming home and picked up a few groceries including some sumac. I've wanted to cook with sumac for ages but keep forgetting to buy it.

Matt is playing hockey tonight and I've been to the gym so I thought we would have pasta for a treat. It was SO good and I love sumac!

Rigatoni with Sumac, Tomato, Bacon and Chevre
3 cups rigatoni
3 cups tomatoes, chopped (I used red and yellow)
1/2 cup chopped basil
1/4 cup chevre
4 pieces of thick cut bacon, fried or baked crispy and chopped (optional)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp dried sumac powder
1 clove garlic, grated or finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste

• Cook pasta in salted boiling water until al dente, Reserve 1/8 cup of the cooking water before draining.
• Mix pasta, reserved water, tomatoes, basil, chevre, bacon, olive oil, sumac and garlic together and season with salt and pepper.
Serves 4-6 depending on portion size


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

red curry.


Coldest and wettest April in Vancouver, ever. A good night for a curry!

Butternut Squash and Chicken Red Curry with Kaffir Galangal Rice

Kaffir Galangal Rice
1 1/2 cups short grain brown rice
2 cups water
1/2 cup coconut milk (I use light)
1/2 tsp sesame oil
5 kaffir lime leaves
2 pieces of dried galangal (2" pieces) - you can use ginger if you can't find galangal
salt to taste

Put everything into rice cooker and let it do its magic! Or, if you don't have a rice cooker, put everything into saucepan with an additional 1/3 cup of water and let it come to the boil and reduce to a simmer and let cook for between 35-40 minutes or until done. Remove the lime leaves and galangal before serving.

Butternut Squash and Chicken Red Curry
6 boneless, skinless organic chicken thighs, cut in half
turmeric
2 tbsp cooking oil (I used Grapeseed)
1/2 white onion, chopped
2 cups butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1/2" chunks
1 yellow pepper, chopped
4 tbsp red curry paste
1 can coconut milk (I use light)
1 bunch of dandelion greens, chopped
4 green onions, finely chopped
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp sugar
juice of one lime (or two if the lime isn't too juicy!)
salt to taste

Garnishes
plain yogurt
cilantro, finely chopped

Sprinkle chicken with turmeric and brown in 1 tbsp oil in a heavy bottomed pot over high heat. Remove chicken from pot and lower heat to medium. Add other tbsp of oil and add red curry paste, cook for 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup of coconut milk and whisk well. Add chicken back into pot with squash and peppers and the remaining
coconut milk. Let simmer for 20 minutes, stirring often. Add fish sauce, sugar, green onions and dandelion greens. Stir well and simmer for 4 minutes. Season with salt.

Serve with rice and garnishes.
Serves 4

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

my favourite island.

I fell in love with the Gulf Islands when I was thirteen, my sister took me to visit a friend on Salt Spring Island and I was sold. When Matt and I first started dating and I found out that his cousins had a cabin on Mudge Island, I swear it sealed the deal. We've housesat on Salt Spring, honeymooned on Hornby, travelled to Bowen, Mudge, Gabriola, Link, De Courcy, Denman, Galiano, Pender, Mayne and to our most favourite of islands - Saturna.

Saturna magic is a combination of many factors. We have some of the most incredible memories of time spent with amazing friends there - we've followed whales around the island, eaten our weight in salmon candy, hiked up old hydro trails searching for feral goats, played crokinole til our fingers were swollen, drank our fair share of mixed drinks, grilled salmon, made smores, baked apple pies, danced to Neil Diamond at the annual pig roast, read the entire Twilight series while lying on the beach in the hot sun, healed broken hearts and made new friends.

I'm starting to plan our summer trip. Every year things change a little, September was our first trip there with Hannah and there are other changes in our life, but I know no matter what, Saturna will be restorative and special when we are there, it always is.






a big old family weekend!

We went out to Crescent Beach for Easter weekend and saw lots of family. We saw our nephew who was born on April 16th, our niece who was born on April 22 and most of our extended family. Was really nice and I learned a couple things: 
• I don't need a baby right now, Hannah is way too much fun and babies are amazing and wonderful but also a little bit boring!
• I really like asparagus, probably more than any other vegetable. I made a really tasty asparagus, dijon and brie tart but forgot to take a photo. 
• Matt and I are really incredibly lucky with our families, they live five minutes apart and are so generous and loving.
• I love holiday dinners but they hate my tummy.
• It rains way too much in Vancouver. 
• New stoves are expensive.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

a whale!

















A whale for our new nephew! My friend Steph and I spied a very pricey whale stuffed animal at a store on Commercial Drive and decided that we could make one. Steph drew the pattern and one evening with another friend we sewed up whales. 
I've fixed my technique and made a few changes in putting it together and whipped this one up for our brand new nephew. I hope he isn't on the internet yet, or the surprise is ruined!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

another recipe for the kids


















An easy healthy treat for toddlers!

Broccoli Potato Patties
2 cups broccoli, steamed and finely chopped
1 cup mashed potato (I boiled one large chopped up potato and it made exactly 1 cup)
1 cup grated cheese (I used gouda, cheddar would be great)
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp chopped fresh dill (optional)
1 garlic clove, grated or finely chopped
olive oil for cooking

Combine broccoli, potato, cheese, egg, dill and garlic in a large mixing bowl, mix well. With slightly wet hands (so the mixture won't stick to your hands) make balls of about 2 tbsp of mixture, flatten them.
Heat a little bit of olive oil in a large non stick fry pan over low-medium heat and in batches cook the patties until golden brown on both sides (about 4 minutes a side).

This makes 24 patties, I'll be freezing about 2/3 of them and keeping the rest for Hannah to eat now. She has already eaten 2.

These could be made adult friendly with a dash of hot sauce, a bit of parmesan and salt and pepper added to the mix. Dipped in a homemade yogurt sauce they are a tasty treat.

Other toddler friends recipes I've posted:

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Vancouver is Tasty - the veggie edition.

















I have vegetarian tendencies. I was a vegetarian for several years as a teenager and I revisit a meat free or low meat diet quite regularly. I haven't read Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer yet as I'm scared that it will wake me up and I'll never eat meat again. I'm planning on reading it, I just haven't had the nerve yet.
These are my favourite vegetarian restaurants or restaurants that do great veggie options around Vancouver. 

• Sejuiced on West 4th. 
Oh the smoothies, I love the Morning Energizer with hemp protein and a bit of cinnamon. The Sejuiced house salad is the salad that I crave. The Thai veggie burger is amazing. They make the best kale chips I've ever had.  

• The Naam
Predictable right, and yah, the service can suck and it can take forever for your food to arrive, but its good. I love the Naam bowl, its always enough for two meals. The sesame potato fries with miso gravy are so good, Oaxacan quesadillas are delicious. All that and they make the best veggie sausages I've ever had.

The Foundation
Molton Tofu. So good and you can get it on a platter they for sharing that has the yam dip, really good hummus and some of the best rice pilafy thing I've ever had.

• Bandidas Taqueria
Camillo Taco - oh my, so good, it has spicy breaded walnuts. Also the margaritas are really easy to drink.

Nuba
Najib's special is damn good and if you're really hungry get La Feast to share. 

• Peaceful Restaurant
Spicy salted tofu, Peaceful potato roll, green onion flatbread and the bean sauce eggplant are all really tasty. 

• Campagnola
The crispy chick peas with mint and chili are amazing. Margherita pizza is delicious and they always seem to have a good veggie special.  

• Budgie's Burritos
Johnny O, 10" whole wheat with refried and fresh salsa. Do it. Or the tortilla soup. 

• Finch's Tea & Coffee House
Oh the baguette sandwiches, so good! I love the pear, blue brie and roasted walnut. The smoked applewood cheddar with cucumber is also tasty!  

• Grub
Not the cheapest on the list, but most definitely the best. Whatever is on the fresh board that is the vegetarian or vegan options are always amazing. Like most delicious ever. Soo tasty, want Grub now.

Any tips for other awesome veg options? I've heard Gorilla Food is good but have never tried it. 

Here's the link to Vancouver is tasty, budget edition!

Monday, April 18, 2011

another day, another salad!





















Kamut Orzo with Mint, Yellow Pepper, Goat Cheese and Olives

16 ounce package of kamut orzo or regular orzo, or any other pasta - cooked according to package
2 cups chopped tomatoes (I take the seeds out, I find they make the salad wet)
1 yellow (red or orange would work too) finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
3 green onions, finely chopped
1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese
1/4 cup sundried olives (I left the pits in and mixed them through)

Dressing
1/8 cup plain yogurt
juice and zest of a lemon
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, grated or finely chopped
few dashes of hot sauce
salt and pepper

Mix all the salad ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk salad dressing together and pour over salad, mix well.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

the weekend.

 















Spent some time with very dear friends, stayed in jammies til noon, went for a sunny walk up main street, nursed a bit of a hangover, met my brand new nephew, sat out in the sunshine, did crafts, cooked tasty food, felt overwhelmed by life and then felt settled and happy again.

We stopped at a farm market on our way home from visiting family and bought delicious veggies. Dinner was easy and tasted like summer.

Smoked Paprika, Lemon and Yogurt Potato Salad

6 cups fingerling potatoes
2 cups green beans, cut into 1.5" pieces
1 cup asparagus, cut into 1.5" pieces
1 cup corn (I use frozen)
1 orange pepper, chopped small
2 green onions, finely chopped
1/2 cup grated asiago cheese

Dressing
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh dill
2 tbsp mayo
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp dijon
zest and juice of one lemon
1 clove garlic, grated or finely chopped
1 tsp smoked paprika
salt and pepper to taste

Cook potatoes in boiling water until done, cut into 1" chunks. Boil beans and asparagus until lightly cooked, submerge in cold water to retain bright greens!
In a large bowl toss together the potatoes, beans, asparagus, corn, pepper, onions and cheese.
In a small bowl whisk all the dressing ingredients together and pour over the veggies and combine.



twelve years.















Yesterday was our twelve year anniversary (not marriage, just being together). We met while working together at a bakery when we were 18 and 19 years old, we moved to Toronto four months into our relationship, we moved home when I was sick and we needed family. We've been through the best of times, hard times, health and sickness and we've weathered the storms. Matt, you've helped me become who I am, you've given me my Hannah and I love you forever and a day. Thank you.

We look like babies in that photo!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

banananana pancakes

















Hannah has decided that bananas are not disgusting, they just need to be cooked into pancakes.

I've come up with a tasty healthy recipe for baby friendly pancakes.

Banana Spelt Pancakes
3 bananas
1/2 cup yogurt
2 egg yolks (if your babe is old enough to eat yolks, 1 egg would work instead of 2 yolks)
1/4 cup water
1 cup spelt flour
1 tsp soda
1 tsp powder

Mash banana in a mixing bowl, mix in yogurt, egg and water. Add flour, soda and powder.
Pan fry in a little butter over medium until golden. Serve as is for babes and with blueberries and maple syrup for grown ups!
Refrigerate leftovers and let them come to room temperature before serving.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

the issue of breastfeeding.

I can't think of any one thing in my life that has caused me as much grief, anxiety and tears as breastfeeding has. Before Hannah was born Matt and I went to a class on it, I read books, read internet forums and generally felt over-prepared. When Hannah was born she latched on immediately and I felt so proud of both of us. Over the next few days, I began to worry, she seemed so hungry. The third day we were at the doctor's office and were told she had dropped 12% of her birth weight and we needed to supplement with formula. I cried.
I spoke with my community nurse who was amazing and supportive and I continued nursing Hannah, topping her up with formula and pumping for twenty minutes after every feed. There was no real change so my doctor prescribed Domperidone to "bring the milk in", I took the maximum I could as well as fenugreek and blessed thistle supplements. I hired a lactation consultant, went to more classes, cried a whole lot.
At a mom and baby drop-in I was accosted by a nurse when I started to mix Hannah a bottle, "What are you doing?, You should be nursing", she had a whole lot more to say - I kind of lost it. I received comments from total strangers on the importance of breastmilk while mixing bottles. I was constantly explaining my reasons for formula feeding to people.
I wish people other than my doctor, my family and Matt had told me it was ok. There was no shame in formula, that there are some women who just can't breastfeed and that's ok. I don't know where the intense pressure to breastfeed even came from, it just seemed like the "right" thing to do. Everything in the media, baby books are all very anti-formula.
I would get jealous of my friends who would have these sweet quiet moments with their babes while feeding them. Nursing for me was always stressful and anxious. In the seven months I tried, I had maybe a dozen feeds with Hannah that were great. In retrospect, I would say I had some postpartum depression and that nursing and my difficulty with it was my outlet.
With our next baby, I will try for the first six weeks and if it doesn't take I will move on. I might have a few quick tears, but the tears will not last for eight months, it's just not worth it. I'm a formula baby and I turned out a-ok.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

our oven exploded.

I was being really lazy this morning and instead of walking to the pantry to get the toaster I turned the oven on to toast bread (shameful I know, but at least I'm honest) and poof - orange sparks, loud bangs, more sparks and a horrible electrical smell.
The repair guy has concluded that the main conventional burner and the electric panel are wrecked. Don't know when it will be fixed, will cost a bunch and I'm grumpy.

In other news, I cleaned our bbq to get ready for life without an oven (note to self - clean the bbq really well before hiding it under its cover for the winter, gross).

I stopped off at Choices for a few things on my way home from the gym and we had a tasty and very healthy dinner.

Grilled Chicken with Bok Choy, Asparagus and Wheat Berry Stirfry

2 chicken breasts
store bought peanut sauce (I'm a sucker for President's Choice Memories of Szechuan Light - I am from Ontario, I grew up on President's Choice)
1 red pepper, sliced
8 stalks of asparagus, cut into 3" pieces
half a zucchini, sliced into 1/4" moons
2 small bok choy, bottom sliced off
1 green onion, sliced
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

Grill the chicken, brush with peanut sauce while cooking. Let sit for five minutes and slice.
In a large fry pan, heat a tbsp of olive oil - add peppers, asparagus and zucchini. Cook for a few minutes and add sesame oil and soy sauce. Cook for 2 minutes, add bok choy and green onion, sesame seeds and wheat berries - let cook til wheat berries are warm through.

Monday, April 11, 2011

my phone was really wrong.




















Today was sunny and beautiful, there were no showers at all. Sunshine for the win.

I wanted to see the community garden in the sunshine, so Hannah and I went over to the park, she hung out in the swings, ate some puffed kamut, waited for our friends to join us and then checked out the plot.

An afternoon walk to a different park to meet our friends again and then a nice chat and stroll around east van.

A great day followed by a light salad for dinner.

Jicama Salad with Lime Vinaigrette

1 medium jicama, julienned (I use a mandolin)
1 red pepper, julienned
1 carrot, julienned
1 handful of cilantro, chopped
1 handful of basil, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
juice and zest of a lime
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
1 tbsp neutral tasting oil (I used grapeseed)
a few splashes of fish sauce
1 tsp of brown sugar
sriracha to taste

Mix the first six ingredients in a bowl. In a separate bowl whisk together the remaining ingredients. Combine everything together and enjoy! Really great with grilled fish.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

and the weekend is over.






















Jealous? Yah, I didn't think so. This weather is getting to me, I want to be outside for big walks and beachtime. I do not want another week of this! 
Me and my community garden plot friends met at Solly's this morning for a bagel and to go through our seeds and to plan the garden. We toughed it out in the cold rain and planted swiss chard, rainbow chard, golden beets, red beets, radicchio, fennel, flat fennel, red radishes, purple radishes, long beans, green beans, sweet peas, sugar snap peas, poppies, shallots, green onions, rhubarb and dwarf sunflowers. Still to plant: garlic, blueberry plant, scented geraniums and tomatoes. I can't wait for summer!
After a trip to Ikea (wow they have really great seasonal stuff right now!) I made us a really easy pizza with my favourite new easy dough.

Pizza with Sauteed Chili Mushrooms, Radicchio and Pesto

Basic Pizza Dough
1 tbsp dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 cup  lukewarm water
2½ cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil

Place the yeast, sugar and water into a bowl and mix to combine. Set aside in a warm place for 5 minutes or until bubbles appear on the surface this means the yeast has been activated.
Put the flour and salt in a bowl and make a well in the centre. Add the yeast mixture and mix together with well floured hands to form a dough.
Kneed dough on a lightly floured surface for 3-4 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic.
* I mixed it all my stand mixer with the dough hook for 5 minutes.

Divide the dough into equal-size balls. Rub two mixing bowls and the dough balls with olive oil and place each ball into a bowl, cover the bowl with cling wrap and then with a clean damp tea towel and set aside in a warm place for 30 minutes or until the balls have doubled in size.
Press each dough ball into a round and roll out on a lightly floured surface to the desired size.

I topped our pizza with:
• a few tbsp of tomato sauce mixed with 1 tbsp of pesto on the crust
• 2-3 cups of mushrooms sauteed in olive oil with a good sprinkling of dried chili flakes and salt and pepper
• 1 small head of radicchio, thinly sliced and sauteed with 2 garlic cloves in olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper
• shredded fresh mozzarella
• finely chopped parsley

I preheated the oven to 500° with the pizza stone in it, let the stone get good and hot, about fifteen minutes and then stretched out the dough and put it on the hot stone, topped it with all the tasty treats and baked it for 10-15 minutes until golden and crispy.
So delicious with a big plate of steamed asparagus on the side!



Saturday, April 9, 2011

some nights, a girl just wants chicken fingers.

We headed out to White Rock bright and early today to go to an Infant CPR course that Matt's parents gifted us. We dropped Hannah off at my parent's house on the way and spent four hours in a "gallery" room at the community centre with Matt's parents, his brother and his brother's very (!!) pregnant wife, oh and one super nerdy instructor.

We are well learned in CPR, also in patience "If there is blood gushing out of the wound, where do you go . . . . you go to the  . . . .  " followed by a super long pause when one of us would finally say hospital. There was a whole lot of that.

We visited with family and friends for the rest of the afternoon and then headed back home and realized that we had barely eaten since breakfast. And really what's a better treat on a Saturday night after a long day than homemade chicken fingers, wedge salad and asparagus. Nothing.

Parmesan and Parsley Chicken Fingers
serves 2 
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 egg
1/2 cup panko or other breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1 garlic clove, grated
salt and pepper

• Cut chicken breasts in half through the middle, leaving you with two thin chicken breasts. Cut into strips about 3/4" thick.
• Beat egg and pour onto plate.
• Mix panko, parmesan, parsley, grated garlic and s + p together in a bowl.
• Dip chicken in egg and then in crumb mix, do all the chicken, laying it flat on a large plate.
• In a cast iron or non stick pan heat a few tbsp of olive oil, let it come to medium heat and cook chicken for about 3-4 minutes a side until golden brown and cooked through.

Green Onion and Lemon Yogurt Sauce
1 cup plain yogurt (I use non fat)
1 green onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, grated
juice and zest of one lemon
a few splashes of hot sauce
salt and pepper

• Mix everything together in a bowl, serve with the chicken fingers!

We had our dinner with steamed asparagus and an iceberg wedge salad with my favourite store bought blue cheese salad dressing, it's a treat compared to our regular healthy apple cider dressing!


Friday, April 8, 2011

a self indulgent post after a long day.

I've been training someone at work the past few days. My sister-in-law in fact, we'll be working together again and I'm really happy about it. It's so strange to be back at the office, I'm so ready to just jump in and go for it, get right back in. But as the day went on I missed Hannah more. By the time I got home she was bathed and ready for bed. I read her a book before Matt put her to bed. 
I'll miss so many moments when I'm back to work (I'm back in a month or so). I wonder if it will get easier? I mean look at these pudgy little wrists, how can I not squeeze them all day long?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

timing.

Better planning next time around would mean having a baby in September or October, that way I wouldn't have to go back to work until the fall. I'm realizing how hard it is going to be to go back to work once the sunshine is here to stay! I thought I was all crafty not having to be pregnant through the summer, foiled!
Here's Hannah (in her I heart CBC radio hoodie that my friend Morgan made her) with her buddies S and B at the park today.

Sidenote - I really do LOVE CBC radio. From White Coat, Black Arts to As it Happens, Wiretap with touches of The Vinyl Cafe, DNTO and of course On the Coast. I am however not Jian's biggest fan.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

sunny days

















We went to the park on two different playdates today with friends. In the morning it was a bit chilly for a picnic but we stuck it out, this afternoon though it was perfect for a swing and some puffed kamut in the park. So nice to catch up with friends and to see how their beautiful little ones are growing so big and getting to be so much fun.

Our go to easy dinner is roasted veggies, when I got back from the park I didn't really feel like cooking and this is so easy to make.

Roast Veggies, Turkey Sausage with Fresh Mozzarella

mix of veggies, I used:
1 red pepper, cut into 1/2" chunks
1 bulb of fennel, cut into 1/4 - 1/2" wedges
6 - 10 cloves of garlic still in the skin
a chunk of squash (half an acorn squash or equivalent of another squash) cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1/2 an onion, cut into 1/4" wedges
1/2 bunch of asparagus (left whole)
6 brown mushrooms cut in half
4 - 6 sausages (I like turkey ones, but any kind will work)

olive oil
balsamic vinegar
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground coriander
salt and pepper
1 cup chopped basil
1/2 cup fresh mozzarella cut into 1/4" chunks or1/2 cup small bocconcini

Preheat oven to 400°.
Mix all the dense vegetables (leave out mushrooms and asparagus) and sausages together with a splash of olive oil and about 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar, oregano, coriander, salt and pepper. Lay veggies flat on tray in a single layer and roast for about 15 minutes, turn over and add mushrooms. Roast for another 10 minutes, turn veggies over again. At this point the veggies should be pretty much roasted and ready, if yours aren't cook a little longer. Add asparagus, most of the basil and toss well, top with mozzarella and roast for 5 minutes. If the cheese isn't bubbly, turn the broiler on and let the cheese get golden. Top with the remaining basil and some salt and pepper. We always have ours with some dijon mustard for the sausages.

Enjoy!

finger food

At nine and a half months old, Hannah is proving to have a very independent streak. She likes to feed herself, spoons, after all are for babies. She will happily eat chunks of avocado, tofu, sweet potato and more, but I want to make sure that she continues to develop a taste for combined flavours, also it would be boring to eat chunks of veggies all the time. I've started making her patties. She loves broccoli cheddar brown rice patties but I wanted to change things up so I made her a new flavour this afternoon and she loves them!

Sweet Potato Quinoa Patties
1 1/2 cups steamed sweet potato, mashed
1 cup cooked quinoa
2 egg yolks
1 cup grated white cheddar
1/2 - 3/4 cup bread crumbs

In a mixing bowl mix together the sweet potato, quinoa, egg yolks and cheddar. Add 1/2 cup of the breadcrumbs and combine, if the mixture feels too wet, add more breadcrumbs. You don't want the mix to be too dry though.

Make balls about 2 tbsp big and put them on a plate. Let them sit for 10 minutes so that they bind well together.

Heat a non-stick or well seasoned cast iron fry pan over medium heat. Put a little bit (maybe 1 tsp) of olive oil in the pan and put some balls in the fry pan, don't overcrowd, it took me about 3-4 pans to cook them all. Push the balls down into a pattie shape, don't make them too thin or they will crumble. Cook until golden on either side (about 3-4 mins per side). 

This made about 28 patties at our house and I'm freezing half. The rest, Hannah will eat in the next few days.

For grownups - these would be tasty with garlic, salt, pepper, chopped parsley and then dip them in sweet chili sauce.

Monday, April 4, 2011

food history

You may have noticed that I love to cook, I was going to be a chef - that was my plan, but the hours are long and thankless and if there's one thing I'm not, it's a nightowl. I was really lucky to grow up in a family that loved food. My dad was very involved in the restaurant industry and much of his extended family as well. We ate out often when I was young, smuggling menus out of restaurants and writing notes about service on napkins. 

On weekends we would drive to the Danforth in Toronto to get fresh pita, hummous and baba ganoush. We would go west to get fresh flatbread, north for polenta. My dad would make linguine a la vongole on Fridays (my shellfish allergy developed later when I lived in Boston/Cape Cod for a summer). My mom made great bulghar wheat balls with mint yogurt sauce and delicious granola. 

But the focus was always on healthy food. There was never pop in the house. Cheerios and Shreddies were the treat cereals. Dinner didn't count if there wasn't a green on the plate and homemade granola bars and apple with cheese were our after school snacks.

At the time I was envious of friends who brought nutella sandwiches to school for lunch, had oreos and sunny-d while I ate an avacado, sprouts, tomato sandwich on whole wheat with a pear nectar drink box. As an adult and now a parent I couldn't be more appreciative of the love of nutritional food that they instilled in me. 

(On birthdays all the healthy went out the window and I got cakes like this.)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

the community garden


















I spent the better part of today turning soil, digging up old plants, weeding, turning soil, shoveling mushroom manure, adding top soil, moving old debris and going to the dump and it was a great day. 
I am so excited to have been included in the plot at the community garden with two awesome girls! Next week we plan and plant all our goodies. There are some leeks already in the soil that were gifted from an existing garden. 
I'm sore and tired and happy as can be.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

it's been a good week on the internet.

These were some of my favourite finds:

This was apropos. We are in discussions about timing for baby 2.
• I want to live in a bigger place, just so I can have this.
This made me want to go back to 1993 so I could whip out my beadloom and make me some beaded bracelets.














Sweet sunshine, I missed you.























I needed the sun, March had its ups and downs weather wise and I was getting really tired of bundling up, being chilly and the relentless rain. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who felt that way, as most of Vancouver was out and about today. We went over to Kits to hang out at the park with Matt's mom, Matt's sister and her daughter.
We came home and had a big salad and italian turkey sausage with pencil-thin asparagus (is that female asparagus? I think someone told me that once), Matt is at hockey and I'm catching up on tv with a cat in my lap and a cup of rooibos tea. A great day.