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Another Summer

September 15, 2011
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Time seems to be passing at a quicker than normal pace lately. September 15th already?

What the…?

I’ve had some fun. The following photos were taken with my Iphone so forgive the crappy quality.

There’s been some camping with my sister and all the girls.

Labour day weekend in Montreal with my friend Lisa. One of my favourite people :0)

And school started. Although I won’t say I wasn’t ready for it or even a little elated, ecstatic or that I did a little dance but…I already miss them.

A bit.

I’m also in the middle of setting up yet another living space for the next 6 months or until I find a house.  Yesterday we finally received our shipment from Australia Kitchenaid and all!   I plan on joining the blogging world again and have a ton of recipe ideas to share .  One of the easiest and healthiest meals I return to time and time again is Quiche.  Healthy and full of both protein and good fats, it’s a favourite in my house.  Feel free to mix up the vegetables or change the types of cheese used.  I made a whole wheat crust using this recipe but the beauty of The Quiche is that crust is totally not necessary.

Veggie Packed Quiche

  • 5 eggs
  • 3/4 cup whipping cream (can use any milk)
  • 1/2 cup milk (any milk)
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 cup fresh chives sliced thinly
  • 1/4 t nutmeg
  • 1 cup red pepper diced
  • 1 package frozen spinach (defrost and squeeze out all excess water)
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan
  • 1/2 cup strong cheddar grated.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Using a large bowl whisk together the eggs, cream,  milk and salt until smooth.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
  4. Pour into a greased spring form pan or a deep dish pie plate.
  5. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes or until the centre feels firm.

Dinner couldn’t be easier!

How did you spend your last month of summer?

Lets go to the Ex

August 26, 2011

If you’re from Canada then you’ve at least heard of The Canadian National Exhibition.  The CNE or the Ex like we Torontonians like to call it.

I have many childhood memories of pogo sticks but especially bags of dubble bubble for $1.

I pride myself on the fact that I could chew 5 pieces at once!  Does anyone remember the comic strips inside the wrapper?

I would then take these little comics and transfer them onto silly putty.

I feel like I’m aging myself here but don’t you all take the comic strips out of your dubble bubble and make pretty pictures with your silly putty?

Ok so maybe these are only my memories :)   Everyone remembers the rides though right?

I used to love spinning in circles at a 100 mph for no reason at all.

Now…I just don’t get it.

The ferris wheel I get.  Soft music, a chat with your fellow riders and a beautiful view.

Alex apparently had a different experience sitting across from us.

The excited continued at the Haunted house.   I’m hoping she looks into the drama club this year.

Do you visit your local amusement park each year or skip it?

School is coming!

August 24, 2011

Yup I’m still here.

The disappearing food blogger.  I come. I go.

I am now officially in the middle of moving….again. :(  I would almost do anything else besides move but I am looking forward to living in a space with greenery.   Trees, grass and a few flowers before winter hits have me excited for long walks and looking out the window.  Yes I do look out my window every once in a while but I’m always afraid someone is looking back at me from the 3oo balconies I’m facing.

How I’ve spent my August…..

Making several one hour trips to my sister’s house for a visit with Grandpa. Next time we’ll have a house for them to stay in.

Spending a very fun few days with my good friend Linda and her family from Maryland. Miss you!

Preparing for yet another temporary home while taking my time to find a permanent one.

Getting ready for a 3 day, 2 night camping trip with just the girls this weekend (very excited!). We’ve rented a yurt. A permanent tent on the campgrounds for those too lazy to get their hands dirty.  Now if only it had a full bathroom, microwave and internet….

Is so camping!

and finally….preparing the girls for their first year of highschool in Ontario.     Yay.     Yahoo.     Yoohoo.    Oh how I love you both but…..

Woohoo!


back to school

Revenge is sweet

August 17, 2011

Once upon a time my girls decided to give their little cousins a make over.  Ms. Brina was not impressed with her makeup artist (Alex) and proceeded to shed many a tear over the lousy job.  This was over a year ago and clearly she’s been holding a grudge ever since.

You’re gonna love this Alex!  You might even wanna buy a new dress and go out tonight!

This is simply punishment for being Alex’s sister.

Payback’s a bitch.

These muffins were a last-minute dessert for the man. He loves lemon poppy seed but I had no lemons.  I had zucchini’s though so why not?

Zucchini poppy-seed Muffins

  • 4 cups grated zucchini
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil (any oil)
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk (I used 2 tbsp vinegar with skim milk)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup oat flour **(or make your own in a food processor)
  • 1/2 cup almond flour **(can also make this in a blender)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup poppy seeds
  • 3 t baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg

** both almond and oat flour can be purchased at health food stores or the bulk barn but you can also make your own in a food processor. Be careful to stop with the almonds though before it becomes a butter.

Directions

  1. Pre heat oven to 350 degrees F. Begin by grating the zucchini with peel on and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, blend coconut oil, buttermilk and eggs until smooth.
  3. Add all other ingredients and be careful not to over mix.

If you have an ice cream scoop, it’s the perfect amount for muffin cups.  Either grease your muffin tins or use paper liners.  Recently I purchased 12 silicone muffin liners and they are fab u lous!

School’s starting soon (yay) and these would be a perfect snack for lunch.

I’m not looking forward to making lunches again for the girls.  I find it a constant struggle to keep things interesting for them but on the bright side, there are no more peanut restrictions in high school.

Any suggestions for the lunch bag?

Back to Nature

August 16, 2011

While living temporarily in an area deemed concrete hell (by me), it’s easy to overlook some of the most beautiful spots just outside of Toronto.

Before dinner we took the girls to Burlington for a trail walk on Mount Nemo.  This trail was 2.7 km and covered with crevice caves and ancient cedars, a thousand years old which can be seen all along the cliff edge trail.   Seeing as this was only a 40 minute drive, I was impressed.

The view was amazing, the trails were empty, the trees were majestic and the wild life was……..kinda gross.

No reptile was harmed in the writing of this blog :)

Snakes freak me out so I did not take this picture.  I’m pretty sure I was behind some big tree hyperventilating at this point.

To be honest, I had a few moments of panic when the girls were getting too close to the edge of some crazy cliffs.  There are times when I really need to control my anxiety and this was one of those times.    I’m not sure if it was the snake or the one wrong step and your dead moments but I’m pretty sure I pictured every bad scenario possible during this hike.

I did take this photo and no of course I wasn’t wandering about his insurance policy.   Shame on you.

I’ve never tried cream of spinach, I suspect it’s more an American dish but I’ve always wanted to.  Then I checked out the basic ingredients and knew I was going to have to figure out a way to cut back on the cream and butter.  Seems to me the health benefits of spinach just get lost in all that richness.

Creamed Kale

  • 2 large bunches of kale stems removed (see note)
  • 1/2 of a very large onion or 2 small ones roughly chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 T butter
  • 2 T white flour
  • 1/4 t nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast **(Bulk barn and any store that sells Bob mills products)
  • salt and pepper to taste
Yellow in color and with a nutty cheesy flavor, nutritional yeast is an inactive yeast that is a favorite amongst many vegans because of its unique flavor and similarity to cheese when added to foods. Sprinkle some on hot popcorn or garlic bread, or add a generous spoonful to a stir fry or pasta sauce. Nutritional yeast is also the only reliable food source of vitamin B12, so if you’re vegan, it’s a good idea to add some to your food regularly.

Directions

  1. Fill a large stock pot 1/2 way with water and bring to a boil.   Add clean, stemmed kale.
  2. Kale comes with a very thick stem which is often recommended to cut out.   I simply pull the greens off of the stem like you would rosemary or oregano on its stem.
  3. Begin by heating up butter in a large fry pan.   Once butter is hot, add chopped onions and sauté until translucent.  Add garlic and sprinkle with flour.
  4. Pour milk into onion mixture whisking quickly until combined.   Pour this into a blender or food processor and add silken tofu.  Process until smooth.   Pour back into pan on low heat and continue to stir often until thickened.

I’m sure I couldn’t pass this off as a true decadent creamed spinach but it was perfect and full of flavour with grilled chicken.  I plan on making this again for a batch of enchiladas or a nest for baked eggs.

Have you ever had creamed spinach?

Lift from the knees…

August 15, 2011

August has been a hectic month but I feel like I’m getting back into the swing of things with my workout. Not so much with blogging :) but that will come once school starts!  This weekend I ran 10 km in total and although it was harder than it should be, I was feeling good and feeling that workout high that I’ve missed in the last year.

Problem? and isn’t there always one? Since I’ve been avoiding heavy weights and really pushing myself, my body is pissed when I work hard.  Yesterday I strained my left rhomboid.

From personal training I can usually self diagnose muscle injuries.  I fit all the rhomboid strain criteria, especially the one where I can’t look down?  :(   I’ve forgotten how nice it is to look down. I don’t have the puurtiest feet but I do like to look at them once in a while.  I couldn’t brush my teeth this morning because the sink is too low to spit (I know…gross) and chopping the cherries for these muffins was performed very carefully and very slowly….while I looked straight ahead.

Banana Cherry Muffins

adapted: Pinch my salt

  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 3/4 cups sugar (or splenda)
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 1 cup chopped sweet cherries
  1. Directions
  2. Pre heat oven to 375 degrees F.
  3. In a large bowl mix together the flours, baking powder, soda and salt.
  4. In a blender (I used the bullet), blend the egg, oil, vanilla and bananas until smooth.
  5. Add this along with the sugar to the flour mixture and mix well.  Fold in cherries.
  6. Bake until centre is firm, about 20-25 minutes.

Who would have thought bananas and cherries would go so well together?

I’m off to beg for another back massage from one of my children….so far it’s Jojo 1, Alex 2.

I never thought I’d say this but I’m completely sick of cherries. Is there a veg or fruit that you’ve over dosed on this summer?

Mexican Vegetable Soup

August 4, 2011

It’s August?    Really?

I hate complaining about time but Where the hell has it gone?

Saying stuff like that makes me sound old.    Today my 22-year-old sister told me she was 23 this November.

I realized then that when asked my age, I now reply I just turned 41 last January.  

Since I had loads of fresh berries from the market this weekend, I decided to make Jojo some pancakes.  Alex doesn’t like blueberries (shaking head) so I thought this would be a perfect time to try CCK’s blueberry pie pancakes for one.

Jojo loved them and they were so easy to make.  5 minutes tops!

I made a roast chicken yesterday and cooked a big pot of stock afterwards.  I know it’s hot as hell but we never tire of soups and stews. Going with what I had in the fridge, I decided on Mexican ingredients and came up with….

Mexican Vegetable Soup 

1-2 T olive oil

1 very large white onion diced

5 cloves of garlic diced

4 stalks of celery diced

1 yellow pepper diced

3 carrots diced

1 small butternut squash peeled and diced

2 T chili powder

1 T paprika

2 T dried oregano

1 T cumin

5-6 cups of chicken stock (home-made or store-bought)

2 small cans diced green chilis

1 can small red beans

3 dried chipotles (or 3 canned)

juice of 1 lemon

Heat olive oil in a large stock pot.  Add all diced veggies and sauté for 15 minutes.  Stir in all spices and let cook while stirring for another 5 minutes.

Add stock, beans and green chilis.   Let the soup simmer for at least 1 hour with the lid on, stirring every once in a while.

Remove lid, squeeze in juice of 1 lemon and continue to simmer for another 30 minutes.  Add a couple of cups to a food processor, blender or use a hand-held immersion blender to purée some of the soup.   Be sure not to completely blend so that there are still vegetables to chew on.

Serve with either one of my favourite cornbread recipes.   This one or this one. 

I’m having a crazy busy week….but a good one.  How has your summer been so far?

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