Monday, February 27, 2012

a much needed weekend away

One of my dearest friends, Hannah and I packed up for a weekend away. We relaxed, shopped, ate healthy tasty food, snuggled in and had a lovely time.

I made a version of this baked tofu, using curry powder and turmeric. Holy smokes, so damn good! I cut back on the oil and honey. I will be making this tofu often, I'm excited to try it with soy, ginger, sesame oil and a bit of black vinegar with sesame seeds. I have a hunch this will become a staple in our weekly menus!

Side note: My love for this song grows daily. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Shrove Tuesday

It happens once a year, and really, how can you turn down a night that makes having pancakes for dinner acceptable! 

A quick check with Wikipedia told me:
Shrove Tuesday (also known as Pancake Day, Mardi Gras, and Fat Tuesday) is the day preceding Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Shrove Tuesday is observed mainly in English speaking countries.
In most traditions the day is known for the eating of pancakes before the start of Lent. Pancakes are eaten as they are made out of the main foods available, sugar, fat, flour and eggs, whose consumption was traditionally restricted during the ritual fasting associated with Lent.

Shrove Tuesday did not happen at Matt's home and he still finds this whole pancake for dinner day weird but delicious. I'm actually not a big pancake fan, or at least I wasn't until I tried the famous Bruce Paltrow's Buttermilk Pancake recipe. It's Gwyneth's dad, and they are worth the hype. I've made them for a ton of people and I'm always asked for the recipe. 

Bruce Paltrow's World Famous Pancakes
From My Father's Daughter by Gwyneth Paltrow (surprisingly, a great cookbook!)
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 3/4
teaspoon baking powder
teaspoon salt 
3 eggs (preferably organic) 
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly, plus 1/2 tsp per batch to grease pan 
1 1/2 cups buttermilk 
About 1/2 cup whole milk 
Maple syrup

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Whisk eggs, 3 tbsp butter and buttermilk in another bowl. Whisk wet ingredients into dry ingredients until just combined. (Small lumps are fine.)
Cover batter and let rest overnight in the refrigerator. *
Heat a large greased griddle or large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add milk to batter until it reaches desired consistency; the more milk, the thinner and more delicate the pancakes. Working in batches of three pancakes, spoon batter onto griddle or skillet. Cook until surface of pancake is covered with bubbles, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and cook the other side until golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Drizzle  maple syrup over pancakes and serve. 

* I don't always make them the night before, they are just as tasty if you don't although the consistency is a little different, more fluffy, less crepey. I find if they aren't refrigerated overnight, the extra milk is not needed.

I served ours with sliced bananas and a very quick and easy raspberry coulis.

Raspberry Coulis
2 cups
fresh or frozen raspberries 
1/4 cup icing sugar
juice of half a lemon

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring raspberries and 1/2 cup sugar to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture starts to thicken, about 15 minutes. Let cool and add lemon juice.
You can, to make it more pro, press the mixture through a fine mesh strainer to have a smooth sauce. I skipped this step, I like the chunks of raspberry.
Add more lemon juice or sugar to taste.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Banana Quinoa Pudding

The rain in Vancouver has been pretty intense the past few days. Lots of horizontal rain downpours which proved to be too much for the roof and we sprung a leak in our hallway. We snuggled in this morning for family time and read books and built towers out of blocks.

I saw a recipe on Weelicious earlier this week for Banana Quinoa Rice Pudding and knew it would be a hit for Hannah. I rarely ever post recipes that aren't my own, but this one was too tasty to not share! The only change I would make next time would be to cut back on the honey, I found it a little sweet - Matt thought it was perfect.

Banana Quinoa Rice Pudding
(Serves 4-6)

1 cup quinoa
1 14 oz tin of light coconut milk
1 cup milk
2 ripe bananas, mashed
3 tbsp honey
1/2 Tsp cinnamon

Place the quinoa in a strainer and rinse with water. Put quinoa, coconut milk and milk in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
 Stir in the remaining ingredients and cook over medium heat for 4-5 minutes stirring continuously until thickened.
Weelicious says to pour into individual ramekins and chill for 1-2 hours.

I served it warm with toasted slivered almonds and a sprinkle of cinnamon - so tasty and Hannah approved.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

My Favourite Smoothie

There is a delicious vegetarian cafe on W. 4th in Vancouver called Sejuiced. They make my favourite smoothie of all time called the Morning Energizer and it has papaya, banana, almond, date, whey protein and soymilk. So tasty! 
I've used it for inspiration in coming up with this combo - The three of us have been enjoying it almost every morning for breakfast.

Banana, Date and Almond Smoothie
1 banana 
3 tbsp chopped dates
20 almonds
1 1/2 cups ml coconut water, almond milk, milk or water or a combination
4 ice cubes
pinch of cinnamon

Throw everything in your blender, blend it up! Add more liquid if needed - depends on the size of your banana. Serve and enjoy.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Hip Dysplasia - an update

When Hannah was born she was diagnosed with mild hip dysplasia, you can read about our experience here. Today was her one year follow up appointment at BC Children's Hospital.

The visit started with an x-ray. The last time she was x-rayed it was on an x-ray bed, lying down on a warm blanket and the technician wrapped her to the table with a big piece of plastic wrap. We assumed it would be the same today, but after 18 months they want to try the x-ray with the child standing up. Hannah was a trooper and Babar on the iphone is a saviour! She was taped and velcroed to the stand and one quick x-ray was taken.

BC Children's Hospital is an amazing place. Yes we had to wait over 2 hours for our appointment this morning, but the care is exceptional. The hospital is also a very sobering place, great perspective on life and what we have to be thankful for. 

After a quick look at the x-ray, the orthopedic surgeon told us that her hips look great and he doesn't need to see us until she is five. Also - he asked Hannah if anyone ever tells her that she's pretty - to which she replied quite definitely "NO". 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

a perfect weekend and a tasty dip.

The past month has been really busy with my work and I ended up working way more than normal. I missed my Hannah more than I realized. I had Thursday and Friday off last week and my only goal on those two days off was to enjoy every minute with Hannah.

We hit up Toddler Time at the Terry Salman Library on Thursday morning. Singing songs, reading books and lots of Hannah yelling "whoa mama, whoa" while pointing at everything. Athlete's Village on Friday morning, playgym at Creekside Community Centre, an afternoon park visit with Hannah's cousins. Weekend of friends and walks and tasty treats. I'm grateful for my little family and my amazing friends.

I wanted to use my preserved lemons in hummus and here's what I came up with. It was tasty and fresh with little pieces of preserved lemon throughout.

Roasted Red Pepper and Preserved Lemon Hummus
29 oz tin of chick peas, rinsed (BPA free tin!) 
1 roasted red pepper (I use the ones you can buy in a bottle, rinse it well)
1/2 cup of plain yogurt
1/8 of a cup olive oil
2 tbsp tahini
1 clove garlic
juice of a lemon
salt and pepper
1/2 a preserved lemon, pulp removed, rinsed and finely chopped

In a food processor, pulse the chick peas, red pepper, yogurt, olive oil, tahini, garlic and lemon juice. You may need to scrape down the sides a few times to get everything to incorporate well. Puree until smooth, about 2 minutes. Season generously with salt and pepper. Add preserved lemon and pulse only to incorporate, do not over mix or the little chunks of lemon will be lost.

Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle with sumac if you have it.