Trying to Invoke Fall

It’s been the hottest summer here on record.  I’ve been trying to eat healthy, and this soup is just the best thing ever. I even used fresh organic garlic my mom gave me recently. Anyway, I think I was trying to invoke some cooler weather and it worked. By the time we were eating this tonight, the temperature dropped and it rained!

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You Will Need:

  • butternut squash
  • 4 carrots
  • 1 onion
  • 4 potatoes
  • 3 stalks of celery
  • chicken soup stock
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • olive oil
  • sea salt (or any salt, I prefer sea salt)
  • cumin
  • cinnamon
  • shredded cheese, any kind you like

Chop all the veggies, simmer in a big pot until soft. (Save the seeds from the squash and mix in a bowl with a little olive oil, salt and cumin – toast these in the oven at 375 for about six or seven minutes, or until toasty!)

Pour cooked veggie/potato etc mixture into food processor, (you will do a couple batches) and add soup stock, garlic, and spices to your taste as you blend.

Garnish with the roasted seeds, cheese, and in my case I grabbed a fresh basil leaf from outside which was just perfect. Enjoy!

 

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Summer! And trying to make the most of it.

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I remember the summer of 2010 as the greatest summer of my life. My son was born the previous November and was still under a year old and we went everywhere, every day, all over the city and the countryside, in his stroller or Ergo carrier. It was my first summer off work and the world was my oyster. Gone were the long, LONG, dark and utterly lonely postpartum winter days I had spent pacing the floor of our old ghetto apartment with a pukey jaundiced newborn, waiting for my husband to return from work as the snow whirrled under the street lights and the wind rattled our windows.

Isolation no more. I had the nerve to finally take my son outside once the weather warmed up, and explore. We were both like Bambi’s first walk in the meadow, blinking in the sunlight, making new friends and marveling at the flowers and the beauty of everything. My son still had long naps in the afternoon which afforded me time to rest, clean, cook, or sometimes even just sit my butt down at my computer, like I’m doing now, but without jumping up every 30 seconds to break up a spat, clean up a spill, or give somebody a drink of water.

This summer feels entirely different. I’ve become well aware of how much of an actual JOB this is. Like one of those feelings where you wake up, and you want to call in sick. Just for ONE day. Just so you can do NOTHING for a day. Except there’s no way you possibly can. Many days feel like autopilot – drag self out of bed after miserable night’s sleep, forgo shower and tie hair back in a bun, feed kids, change  kids, potty training, oops the baby is screaming (ignore her and continue getting dressed so you can just get the hell into the car and go? Or pick her up and console her, stalling your morning by 5-10 mins?) look for shoes, look for shoes, look for keys, look for phone, get kids into the car to go to playgroup OR get kids into stroller to go to park in which case a lunch/snacks/water/toys/blankets must be prepared but oops the baby is screaming again because you aren’t holding her… Around 2 pm you’ll realize you haven’t eaten anything yourself.

A trip to the park sounds fun, and I’m sure most of my friends envision me laughing, playing, relaxing and having a blast with my kids. And it’s not that I’m NOT having a blast with my kids, but it takes 100% of my attention, at all times. One day – I don’t know what I was even thinking, in fact I guffaw at myself looking back on this – I thought I could actually bring a magazine with me to the park. The entire morning was spent with me looking like I was following some sort of vertical tennis match, my eyes darting from the page up to my 2 year old clamouring up the slide, back to the page, and back up to my daughter crawling at the speed of light towards somebody’s discarded food wrapper. 

I know this is all very typical. And I know things change as they get older and more independent. And I love my kids and really wouldn’t trade this for the world. But it concerns me that I’m finding myself actually having to remind myself to take advantage of this time I have with them, and not let resentment creep in. Honestly, a 9-5 administrative office job (like I had before I had kids) sounds like a vacation to me. Imagine – leaving the house by myself each day without armloads of diapers, carseats and kids. A 20 minute commute on the bus? I could actually read! Or a half hour walk to work? I could dig my old mp3 player out (when was the last time I was even capable of using that thing??) I would focus my attention on my tedious, annoying, boring job without a person beside me literally pulling on my shirt or puking on me or asking me for a sandwich. Then I’d get a whole freaking hour to myself at lunch to just EAT FOOD? And they pay you for this!

To illustrate my point, as I am typing this I am having to push my daugher’s hands back from the keyboard every few seconds as she is letting out an air raid siren wail in my lap. (Seriously? She’s started this random screaming thing that is so.. not… cute…) This one does not nap. Except on lazy Saturday afternoons when dad is home, making it look like mom has it a lot easier than she actually does. Traitor!

Before I know it, my kids will be grown. I’ll have the old 9-5 again, and I’ll be looking back on these days through rose coloured glasses. I’ll be wishing I could go back to the days when they were small, when they needed me so much, when all they wanted was for me to just hold them and make them a sandwich. I know I will miss this time so much.

 

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Emergency Quiche, and the adventures of the Cooler-less Couple.

Eep! So for the third time this year, our fridge has suddenly stopped working. I’m no fridge scientist, but the mass amount of ice buildup in the lower freezer half probably has something to do with it. Needless to say I’ve become an expert at suddenly having to figure out what to do with a plethora of perishables while I thaw the fridge out again.

The stupid thing is that I refuse to get a new cooler. We had two coolers doing nothing but occupying vast amounts of precious cubic space for years. These coolers took up space in our apartment in Virginia, our first apartment in Canada, our second apartment in Canada, and our third apartment in Canada. “Some day we might need these coolers,” we’d think. Add the fact that my father-in-law gave us one of the coolers, tapping into my hoarder mentality of “someone gave it to me so now it’s been imbued with sentimental feelings and if I throw it away the universe will collapse in on itself with the sadness of a thousand wasteful daughters-in-law.” Seven years and two kids later (and having NEVER used these damn coolers) we finally purged them… only to have our fridge go on the fritz every other month or so.

So… what do you do with all your food when you notice the global warming occurring once again, (at this time of year? At this time of day? In this part of the country? Localized entirely within your kitchen?)… You make a carrot, cheddar and pork chop, jalapeno pepper quiche with a lovely whole wheat crust!

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32

Brewing green tea and alfalfa.

 

I turn 32 today, and it feels no different from 31😉
It feels so good to be able to celebrate with my kids (their entire playgroup sang happy birthday to me this morning!) and family. Everyone is healthy. It’s more than I could ever have asked for. Even if, in the time that it has taken me to write these five sentences, my two year old has asked me for half a dozen different things ranging from peanut butter pita sandwiches to a puppet show, and my 6 month old is starting to wail from the rug in front of me. Life is good.

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Life at the end of March

Things are good. This side of the planet is warming up again and I’m getting out more often, eating better, and lost ten pounds and trying to maintain it in a healthy way. I’m not as depressed these days, I think because the sun has been peeking through the clouds. I managed to get out of the house long enough to get my first tattoo(s):

 

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February Care Package

I baked several batches of these squares this morning, before throwing my kids in the car and driving 1 hour to an impromptu doctor’s visit when my son’s eye started looking like it might be harbouring some sort of plague.

I’ll be sending a batch of these, plus whatever else I can manage to get in the oven tonight, to a good friend of ours who just made Vancouver Island his new home. They’re actually a tad crumblesome, so I’m hoping they make the trip. If not, I’m sure they’d taste good with yogurt.

My son’s eye, of course, looked totally normal by the time we made the trip to the doctor.

Dried Cranberry and Pecan Bars

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 3/4 cup pecans
  • 3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease 11×7 inch baking pan.
  2. Pour melted butter into a mixing bowl, and beat in the egg, brown sugar, and vanilla extract. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pumpkin pie spice together in a separate mixing bowl. Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture until thoroughly blended. Mix in the cranberries, pecans, and oats until evenly blended. Press mixture into prepared baking dish.
  3. Bake in preheated oven until top is dry and edges slightly pull away from the sides of the pan, 13 to 15 minutes. Cool before cutting into squares.
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January

Bye January! It’s been cozy. I’m not getting out much and I’m not losing all the baby weight yet but I am doing lots of cooking and painting. And eating.

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