Sunday, November 27, 2011

Fennel and Orange Salad

Fresh, tasty and light - one of my favourite salads.

Fennel, Orange and Pecan Salad

1 large bulb fennel, thinly sliced
3 oranges - peels cut off, oranges thinly sliced and slices cut in half
1 green onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup pecans, toasted and roughly chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp stone ground mustard
1 tsp maple syrup
salt and pepper
fennel fronds

In a bowl, toss the fennel, oranges, green onion and pecans together. In a small jar mix olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, maple syrup, salt and pepper - shake the dickens out of it and pour over the fennel mix. Combine well and garnish with fennel fronds. Enjoy! This is really tasty the day after its been made too.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


For her first birthday, Hannah received a box of crayons and a bright yellow colouring book with her name on it (perfect gift for a one-year old - thanks little B). For the past month and a half, she can't get enough of her crayons and book. She walks over to the table, pulls out a chair, climbs up, points to her crayons and nods. She will sit happily for up to forty minutes "drawing", putting the crayons in the box, taking them out, putting them ... It makes me so happy to see her being creative and finding such joy in an activity. Watching a child discover what makes them happy is so special. So far, reading books and drawing pictures are her two favourite things, with chasing the cat as a close third.

The crayons are made by ClementineArt, they are made with natural soy and are non toxic and free from chemicals. They were purchased at a sweet little store called Dilly Dally on Commercial Drive.

Dilly Dally has so many awesome things, we'll be hitting it up before Christmas (one month away!). Here are some of my favourite photos from their website.

Monday, November 14, 2011

what are you feeding that kid?

I'm so interested in what other parents are feeding their kids, always eager to learn some tricks. A friend told me how she gives her son yogurt for dipping, it was the best tip - according to Hannah, everything is tastier dipped in plain yogurt.
Here are some of our go to foods for Hannah.

• frozen berries with instant oats with a tbsp of chia seeds, milk and honey
• one egg scrambled with a handful of spinach and a little cheese
• homemade muffin - pumpkin raisin, bran or zucchini
• cantaloupe, raspberries, banana, apple or kiwi
• yogurt with dried apples, chia, hemp seeds and raisins
• banana, berry, yogurt smoothies are a hit, but messy 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

work work work and no sleep

Every few months my work is really busy, really really busy. I'm in the middle of one of those times right now. At the office all day, then home to Hannah, get her fed, Matt does bedtime and then I work at the kitchen table until I crash into bed hours later. I'm pretty used to it, I've been doing this for almost five years now. BUT, I've only done this once before with Hannah, and certainly never done this with sick Hannah. We've had some rough nights this week. Monday we were all up from 1:45 am until 6:03 am - Hannah had a high fever and was just so out of sorts and upset. It's only Wednesday and this week feels years long.

I've never had to leave Hannah when she's really sick, it was the pits on Tuesday to leave her still asleep in her bed when I left for work, not knowing if her fever had broken. We're so lucky to have a nanny that we're so happy with. She sends us sweet texts all through the day with updates, checks in with us in the evening to see how our little patient is doing. Still, not being home with my sick little girl just plain sucks.

Here's hoping she's all better soon. 

Also - thanks so much for reading! I was so excited to hit 23,000 views today!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Lemongrass and Chilli Butternut Squash Soup

When Matt and I first arrived in New Zealand,  we were exhausted and hungry and were welcomed to my sister's home with a big bowl of this soup. I've made it many times since and have been asked for the recipe more times than I can remember.

Butternut Squash Soup with Coconut, Lemongrass and Chilli
(adapted from a recipe by amazing New Zealand cookbook author Annabel Langbein)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2.2 lbs butternut squash, peeled and diced (about 1 really big squash) *
2 1/4 cups water
1 400 ml can coconut milk (I use light)
1 - 2 fresh chillies, finely chopped
1 tbsp lemongrass, finely chopped (I generally use 3 stalks)
1 tbsp fish sauce
juice and zest of a lime
salt and pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pot and saute onion, sugar and garlic until softened, about 8-10 minutes. Add squash, water, coconut milk, chillies, lemongrass, fish sauce and lime zest. Simmer over medium heat until squash is tender and cooked through. Puree with an immersion blender or in batches in a blender. Add a bit of water if soup is too think. Add the lime juice, season with salt and pepper.
Serve in bowls and add a generous pinch of cilantro.

* Last year when making this soup I had a crazy allergic reaction to butternut squash when peeling it. I googled it and found its really common. I now wear gloves when peeling butternut squash!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

hbd cbc

CBC Radio celebrated its 75th birthday yesterday. I love the CBC, I grew up with CBC radio on in the background at home and in the car. I remember listening to Gilmour's Albums on Sundays at noon while on drives with my parents to little towns outside of Toronto. Gilmour's Albums was on right before my favourite, The Royal Canadian Air Farce (before it was a tv show and stopped being funny). On Sunday evenings we would have dinner in front of the tv watching Road to Avonlea.

I listen to CBC radio in the car, it's the one thing that makes my commute in the morning bearable. The Current, The Coast, Dispatches, Wiretap . . . I love it all. Stephen Quinn makes me happy when the traffic is backed up over the Oak Street Bridge on my way home. I wait for The Arthur Awards every year, CBC - I love you.

At home, CBC radio is a comforting sound. It reminds me of my childhood, of family, of major news events, going to the family farm - CBC makes me happy.

Vancouver is Awesome put together a list of reasons why they love the CBC, here it is - I agree with all of it! 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

this lasagna is really damn good.

Annabel Langbein is a New Zealand cook with many cookbooks and a tv show. Her recipes are amazing, fresh, tasty and inventive. My sister and her husband have mailed me many of her books over the years from New Zealand and my copies are all dogeared and stained - a great sign of a good cookbook. 

This is a little bit labour intensive to make, a few preparation steps required, but it is so worth it.

Squash, Spinach and Feta Lasagna
2 whole bunches fresh spinach (or 16 oz frozen)
2 tbsp pesto
3 cups squash (I use turban squash but butternut, acorn or even canned pumpkin would work great), cooked, drained and mashed
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup ricotta
2/3 cup feta, finely crumbled
1/2 tsp fresh grated nutmeg, grated
2 eggs, beaten with a fork
salt and ground black pepper
2 cups tomato sauce, mixed with 1 cup water
3 fresh lasagne sheets, cut 25cm x 40cm (250g pack)
1 cup grated cheddar, mozzarella or provolone cheese

Wash spinach, then drop into a pot of boiling water for 30 seconds. Drain under cold water and squeeze out all moisture. (If using frozen spinach, thaw and then squeeze dry.)

Chop roughly, mix through pesto and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Mix mashed pumpkin with garlic, ricotta, feta, nutmeg and eggs. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Spread 1 cup of pasta sauce/water mix onto the base of a 22cm x 33cm baking dish. Cover with a layer of lasagne. Spread over spinach; top with another layer of lasagne. Spread with squash and cheese mixture, then a final layer of lasagne. Pour over the rest of the pasta sauce, spreading evenly. Sprinkle top with cheese.

Bake uncovered at 350° for 35 minutes. Then under the broiler for a few minutes until top is golden brown.

Like any lasagna, this is even better the next day.