Tuesday, May 31, 2011

tasty dip. dinner out.


Went to Latitude tonight with friends for dinner. I've been before and liked it, tonight - the company was fantastic, the food was good and the service was neither.

For lunch I whipped up an easy dip for Hannah and I, she went nutty for it, I really liked it and Matt had a bunch when he got home.

Broad Bean Dip with Almonds and Mint
1 19oz can of broad beans, rinsed and outer shell on beans removed (you can skip removing the shells, I prefer the consistency when they are removed)
1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
1/4 cup toasted almonds
1/4 cup of chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/8 cup olive oil
juice and zest of a lemon
1 clove of garlic
few dashes of hot sauce or fresh chili
salt and pepper to taste

Throw everything in to the food processor and combine. If its a little too thick, add more olive oil. Top with chopped almonds, chopped mint and a little sea salt to garnish. 

Monday, May 30, 2011

a super delicious tofu dinner.

Brown Mushroom, Dandelion Greens and Tofu on Quinoa with Avocado

2 cups water or broth
1 1/2 cups quinoa

1 tbsp olive oil
3 cups brown mushrooms, sliced
1 1/2 cups pressed tofu, diced
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
salt and pepper
2 cups packed dandelion greens, roughly chopped (one bunch)
1 cup cherry tomatoes 
3 green onions, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp chopped fresh oregano (or a pinch of dried oregano)
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp sugar (it balances the bitterness of the dandelion greens)
1/2 avocado sliced

Bring 2 cups of water/broth to boil and add quinoa, turn element down to medium low, cook for 15 minutes and remove from heat. Let sit, then fluff with a fork.

In a large fry pan over medium high heat, add 1 tbsp olive oil and brown mushrooms. Cook for about 8 minutes until mushrooms start to brown. Add tofu, garlic and salt and pepper. Pan fry until tofu is golden brown and slightly crispy, about 8 minutes.
Add dandelion greens, cherry tomatoes, green onions, 1 tbsp olive oil and oregano, cook for 5 minutes or until tomatoes start to look swollen. Add white wine vinegar, sugar and season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat, stir and serve over quinoa. Top with sliced avocado.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

the garden grows

The sun finally came out. April and May have been the coldest and wettest on record in Vancouver for the past fifty years. I went to the community garden to do a little weeding yesterday and then had to go again today to just admire. I've never grown anything from seed before, it is so satisfying. The radishes greens are so big, I might have thinned one out and had a little taste - it was peppery, crisp and delicious. The mesclun mix is getting big, the arugula seems to be the biggest at this point. The shallots are thriving and the chives are out of control!
On my deck my strawberries plants are getting big, the salad greens are doing great but seem to be under constant threat from both Hannah and Pae. 
I can't believe how great the sun felt this weekend. Even with all the other things (and there are many) going on in our lives right now, a picnic in the sun with Matt and Hannah made everything perfect.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

imaginary shopping trip - donna wilson

I've been cleaning up my computer tonight (preparing for it to die, its been running really hot and I feel like the end is nigh) and I've been going through my bookmarks. I'd forgotten about Donna Wilson, she is a Scottish artist and I love her wares! I want a whole set of the cat plates.

Photos are from www.donnawilson.com

satay and soba and salad - oh my.

I was over in Kits yesterday afternoon visiting my lovely nieces and sister in law and stopped off at Greens Market. I grabbed an all natural rotisserie chicken ($2 less than wholefoods - shazaam!) and a few things (3 organic avocados for $1.50 - deal!) for the weekend. I made one of my favourite old recipes. I've been making this since I was fourteen. The recipe I base it off came from the old LCBO magazine in Toronto.

Satay Soba Salad
1/2 lb soba noodles (cooked according to package) rinsed well in cold water.
 - I have used whole wheat spaghettini or regular spaghettini with great success too
2 tsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp grated ginger
2 tbsp finely chopped garlic
1/2 cup crunchy all natural peanut butter
3 tbsp soy sauce (or tamari)
juice from 2 limes
1/2 cup water or chicken stock
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp dried chili or fresh chili, finely chopped if you have one
2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken* (optional)
1 1/2 cup grated carrot
1 red pepper, finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
1/3 cup finely chopped mint
1/2 cup finely chopped green onion 

In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the oil. Add ginger and garlic, cook 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat, but turn the the heat to low. Add peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice, 1/2 cup of water or chicken stock, sesame oil, vinegar, brown sugar, chili and 1/2 cup of water or chicken stock. Place back on heat and whisk until ingredients are well combined and pretty smooth.
In a large serving bowl, mix noodles with all the remaining ingredients and sauce. Mix gently and garnish with extra green onion and toasted peanuts if you have any.
Then keep Matt away from your bowl of salad, because he will eat it. All of it.

* You can substitute the chicken for marinated and grilled tofu and it's really tasty!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

imaginary shopping trip - kids edition!

Online shopping is great, it's the best window shopping. No pressure from staff, cup of tea in hand, snuggled in on the couch and baby sleeping. Today's shopping trip is to Romp. I love their kids' stuff.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

long weekend.

In grade five my friend Kate and I did a project on Victoria Day. The other Kate was a talented artist even back then and we illustrated our project with fireworks done in bright paint on black construction paper. I remember being so proud of the project and I've always had a soft spot for the May long weekend since then. BTW - In Ontario, there are always fireworks and fire crackers for Victoria Day, and none for Halloween. BC is the land of opposites.

We had a nice long weekend. We stayed in town on Saturday and went to Hannah's buddy Arlo's (don't you love that name?) birthday party in West Van, had easy night at home with a friend and then off to Crescent Beach for Sunday and Monday. Hung out in the hot sun, played at the beach, had really lovely visits with family and Matt and my dad made a bench for our deck. 

I made a really delicious lunch today for the bench builders. Toasted open faced sandwiches with baba ganoush and hummus on bread with sliced roast pork tenderloin under the broiler with extra old cheddar and green onions with a salad of romano beans, green onions, tomato, artichoke hearts and avocado in a lemon vinaigrette - no recipes, no photo, but so tasty. 

Friday, May 20, 2011

let the summer begin!

I sunburned my arms today, sat in the park on a blanket, replanted my strawberries, watered the community garden plot, made a mango, corn and black bean salad, grilled a fillet of salmon, drank beer with friends - Summer, I am ready for you. 

Our friends came over for a potluck dinner, the assortment was great. Big green salad, the above mentioned black bean salad and grilled salmon,  guacamole with wasabi, a delicious potato salad with capers and celery, vegetarian meatballs with yogurt sauce, bocconcini salad with perfect tomatoes - a hot sunny day on a plate!

Lori took some photos and as always her photos are the best ever.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

hip dysplasia, not just for german shepherds.

When Hannah was born she had mild hip dysplasia. The doctor we dealt with first was awful, she made us feel like bad parents, had no compassion and was down right unpleasant. It made the whole scenario that much harder to deal with.

We had never heard of hip dysplasia in infants. I knew that German Shepherds often had it, but that was the extent of my knowledge. We ended up with another orthopedic surgeon, an amazing man who has changed the way infants and children with hip dysplasia are treated. Hannah was in a Rhino Cruiser Brace for six weeks for 23 hours a day and then another six weeks for night sleeping only.

Hip Dysplasia in infants is common in first born, caucasion, female infants. Other common causes are baby in breech position in labour, c-section birth and Oligohydraminos (lack of intrauterine fluid) - none of which applied to Hannah.

I couldn't find much information online that was supportive or positive. I read so many stories of children that ended up with multiple surgeries to correct the problem, children in casts for months and months, infant's personalities dramatically changing -  I found it all totally overwhelming.

Hannah adjusted quickly to her brace, she fussed for the first two days and after that it was a non-issue. It was a longer transition and acceptance period for me than for her. Changing diapers took a little longer, but she was easy to hold, she still fit in the ergo carrier and developed mad ab skills! Once she was out of the brace she was sitting way ahead of schedule. We would get some crazy stares from people so we kept her little legs covered up with a muslin blanket. We were so lucky that her dysplasia corrected so quickly. We will see the orthopedic surgeon at one year, three, six, nine and twelve years of age to follow up and make sure that her hips are still corrected.

I realized today that we barely have any photos of Hannah in her brace!

* an update here

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

imaginary shopping trip #2

I've been window shopping this online store for years and years and I LOVE it! Supermarket is a curated collection of awesome design products. I've bought a few things from the site and have a wishlist a mile long!

Monday, May 16, 2011

quick, easy and tasty.

I'm still doing the wild rose cleanse and my tummy is feeling much happier. I've cheated twice, once with a piece of grilled halloumi and once with a slice of bread and I regretted it instantly, oh my poor tummy. So does this mean that maybe I might have a sensitivity to gluten and dairy like I've secretly thought for years. But what about all the tasty cheese? The tasty breads? I'm going to bury my head in the sand for awhile and keep eating the way I have been and just ignore the possibility. 
We had a tasty and quick dinner last night while the hockey game was on (go canucks go).

Soy, Sesame Chicken with Beans

6 organic boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 tbsp olive oil
3 green onions, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1" fresh ginger, finely chopped
2 tbsp soy sauce or Bragg (I'm using Bragg these days - gluten free)
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp sugar or agave
2 cups green beans
2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds 
freshly ground pepper

In a large heavy bottomed sauce pan, brown chicken in oil. Add half the green onions, all the garlic, ginger, soy, sesame oil and sugar. Stir well, cover and let simmer for 10 minutes. Take lid off, simmer at high heat for 5 minutes and let the sauce thicken a bit. Add green beans and sesame seeds and remaining green onions, put lid on and let cook for 5 minutes. Season with pepper and serve with brown rice.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

imaginary shopping trip

We bought a stove today at Coast Appliance. My stainless steel, slide in, convection oven arrives on Tuesday and I'm a gonna broil and bake to my heart's content all week long.
Big household purchase equals imaginary shopping trip. Poketo, I have a big old case of the wants for your lovely wares. Also, you are super affordable and as soon as I'm back to work, I'm a gonna go online shopping with you! 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

the nights are long but the years are short.

When Hannah was a brand new baby and I was out for a walk with her in the stroller and the loveliest woman stopped me and we chatted. She asked how it was all going, what Hannah was like and then she said "dear, the nights are long, but the years are short, love every minute'. I was maybe 3 weeks postpartum and I smiled and sad thank you. She left and I picked Hannah up and cried (oh hormones!). I've thought of her words so many times over the past ten months. When Hannah wouldn't nap, or was teething or was just a little out of sorts - I would think of what she said and take the moment in and realize it was only a flick of time in the grand scheme of things.

This week I was feeling a bit overwhelmed and a bit underwhelmed. I'm working lots right now and feeling like my maternity leave is coming to an end and I haven't done so much of what I thought I would have done. I thought I would have sewed more, napped more, sat in the park more. I feel like the days are flying by.

It's been raining in Vancouver for what seems like an eternity. It's cold and dismal and I feel like hibernating. I need the sun, the forecast says its coming, we did have a lovely sunny day yesterday and today its back to the chill. I want to hang out at my garden plot and drink beers in the sun, go for runs outside and not on the treadmill, I want Hannah to play in the sand at Crescent Beach - I am so ready for sunshine!

We've been having lazy nights at home, lots of brown rice and veggies, grilled salmon, pots of mint tea and family hangout. Hannah is standing on her own all the time, unassisted, she's very chatty, she yips like a coyote and is all together wonderful. Now if we only had some sunshine . . .

Monday, May 9, 2011


Matt's brother took some sweet photos of our little family on Mother's Day and these are my favourites.
One thing to note - yesterday, Hannah refused to say Mama, she's been saying it for at least a month and boycotted it yesterday. On Mother's Day. Win. I will forgive her because she is very sweet and also because she gave me a new book to write recipes in and a massage and facial at Spa Utopia. All is forgiven, I will keep her.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

more weekend, less week!

I had a great weekend, even with the craptacular weather. I mean really, it hailed for 45 minutes yesterday, it gathered up on the roads in huge piles of ball bearing sized lumps. It was cold and gray but still we had fun. 

We had friends over for dinner last night and I had one of those nights where everything went wrong with dinner. I had prepped snapper and grape tomato kebabs that marinated in lemon zest, parsley and olive oil and then seasoned with this amazing Hawaiian salt that friends brought me back from  . . . Hawaii.

But then the bbq wouldn't start and our oven still doesn't work so I couldn't broil the kebabs. I ended up having to (with much swearing under my breath) take the fish off the kebabs to pan fry, but our elements aren't getting that hot so it wouldn't get crisp. Everything was still tasty, but it wasn't how I had wanted it to work and I was grumpy about it and only cooked half the fish.

After a fun day in Crescent Beach and White Rock today with our moms we got home and I needed to deal with the uncooked fish.

I'm still on the Wild Rose cleanse and wanted to make something tasty with it so I whipped up a fish stew in half an hour. It was so damn good I could eat it every day for the rest of my life. Or a week for sure and that's saying a lot.

Snapper and Tomato Stew
5-6 fillets of snapper marinated for a few hours or overnight in chopped parsley, lemon zest and olive oil.
1 large white onion, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
6 stalks of celery chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1/4" chunks 
3 bay leaves
pinch of dried rosemary
1 tin of diced tomatoes
1 tin of stewed tomatoes
2 cups chicken stock
20 grape tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste

In a heavy bottomed pot saute onion in olive oil until translucent (about 7 minutes), add celery and garlic and cook for 4 minutes. Add garlic, potatoes, bay, rosemary, diced tomatoes, stewed tomatoes and chicken stock. Let simmer for at least 15 minutes or until potatoes are cooked through.
Add snapper and grape tomatoes and reduce heat. Gently stir fish through and let cook for ten minutes or until fish is cooked through and the grape tomatoes look swollen and tasty. Add parsley and stir, season with salt and pepper and enjoy!!

happy mother's day to me!

Having a baby has been the most incredible and enriching experience I could have ever dreamed of. I didn't know I could love anyone so much, that I could dream so much for one person. I knew she would change my life, I just didn't know how she would change everything, nothing feels the exact same. It's as if there was a shift in my universe, all I knew is still there, just a little different. 

Thank you Hannah for being the best thing Matt and I could have ever dreamed of. You giggle like a crazy. You sleep through the night and have since you were three months old (we'll let those nights when you were teething slide). You made our cat love you (we thought it was an impossible task). Your hair is a perfect Twiggy style without even trying, but most of all thank you for being all I ever wanted and so much more.

Friday, May 6, 2011


I've been feeling homebound, rather Vancouverbound since the fall. We were hit with a few dollar smackdowns in the past few months, a hefty balance owing on our taxes (great way to feel like a bonafide grown-up), the food co-op going under, our stove breaking . . . We had originally talked about going to Italy (oh Amalfi, I love thee) this upcoming September, but reality set in and we decided it wasn't the best bet. I was worried that a vacation wasn't going to happen at all, but now we've got a pretty fun summer planned! Tofino in June for three nights, it's a work trip for me but Matt and Hannah are tagging along and we're staying in a most fantastic place on the beach! I'm heading to LA for work in early July and then Saturna for a week in mid July.

Homebound no more! 
Here's a few photos from our last trip to Tofino and the place we'll be staying. ps - it was very stormy when we were there!