Tuesday, June 29, 2010

More adventures in Green boxing

Nothing's tastier than fresh food that's been harvested that morning. Last weekend we discovered beet greens. We sauteed them with olive oil, garlic scabes, pine nuts, onions and a little bit of parmesan cheese. Garlic scabes are the shoots that grow from garlic bulbs and are used just like garlic. Absolutely delicious, Jeff and I both decided we liked beet greens more than spinach, which is saying a lot cause we're big spinach lovers around here.

Fresh peas were also in the box and Jeff added them to a lemony pasta with smokey bacon. There's something to be said for sitting on your front porch shelling peas.

There's been amazing strawberries which taste so sweet and juicy. Stella loves them and ends up with pink juice from ear to ear and finger tips to elbows.

And of course there's been even more rhubarb. Last week I made rhubarb almond cake for Jeff's mom because rhubarb is her favourite. But that hasn't been the end of it! Tasting the rhubarb cake reminded me of my favourite cookie in the whole wide world; the double chocolate cranberry cookie from Cherry Bomb, the sweet chocolate is so perfect with the tartness of cranberries. So I decided to make rhubarb brownies, which were in my opinion, a total success. And they're made with fat free yogurt. I doubled the recipe, but it could definitely be done with half quantities. I wonder what it would be like with cherries instead of rhubarb? I ran out of vanilla yogurt and had to use a bit of raspberry yogurt. I bet mixing up the flavours would be delicious!

2 cups of chopped rhubarb
2 cups melted chocolate (I used a bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips)
2 cups non-fat yogurt
1 cup sugar
1.5 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup cocoa
1 cup water

I melted the chocolate in a bowl over boiling water then added the yogurt and sugar. Then I sifted in the flour, baking soda and cocoa and stirred until blended. Mix in water and rhubarb. Pour into lined baking dishes and bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Delicious.

Alone Time

True quality alone time is something that is rare around these parts. Usually if I've got a moment to myself it's to run errands and I'm typically just worrying about Stella. But Jeff has had a bit of time off lately and it has been heaven. Last Thursday he was "working from home" because of the G20 and the protests downtown, we knew that he would be ahead of time so I booked myself a massage with the gift certificate Jeff gave me to my favourite spa (thanks baby!) for mother's day. Pure heaven. 60 minutes of luxury. Then I took a little stroll along Queen St. West in our old neighbourhood. I'm finally starting to feel like there are other aspects to me besides being a mom, the all encompassing fog is starting to lift.

And then another moment on Saturday morning. It was drizzly and damp but I very badly needed a run. Jeff has mastered getting Stella to nap, he seems to be able to get her down for 2 hour stretches where I can usually only get an hour. So I left them with the their vinyl and the breakfast dishes pulled on my marathon shirt and hit the road. The weather was perfect, almost too warm but enough drizzle to keep you cool. I was determined to find some new ground as I've been running the same 30 minute loop for months. Out the railway trail between the GO train tracks and old factories, up along Annette and past numerous houses we looked when we were househunting. The it started pouring, which only made me feel sorry for the people inside who weren't out running. The scent of bacon and eggs coming from windows, happy knowing I was running home for my own "second breakfast". Back through the park, legs spinning down Spring Rd Hill, through the green green wetness. Pure freedom.

This was me 4 and a half years ago when I finished my first (and only) marathon, I was just about to meet Jeff and in my last semester of nursing school. It was the beginning of so many wonderful things to come. I'm not in any shape to run a marathon, or even a half, but I'll get back there again some day. For now I'll enjoy my alone time and my freedom runs.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Swimming, swimming in my swimming pool....

Last week it was hot hot hot in Toronto. Nanny and Poppy bought Stella a pool home from their travels so we set it up in the backyard to have a swim. Stella loves the water, she loves throwing her toys around and pouncing to catch them. She really likes when I make the water pour down on her tummy. What a great way to cool down and enjoy the afternoon.

Here's a little look back, I wonder where Stella gets her waterbaby gene from?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day! For Jeff's first father's day Stella let him sleep in! And she got him some treats, a special notebook to keep her handprints every year, a clay imprint of her foot and hand for his desk at work and a Jamie Oliver cookbook (the new revolution of food one). We went for the the afternoon to Auntie Cheryl's for swimming in the pool and a bbq. Stella had a blast in the pool showing off her swimming to Lindy. In honor of father's day here's a list of Stella's favourite Daddy things:

1. Bedtime bottle with Daddy for the last snuggles of the day
2. Playing airplane on the couch/watching "the game".
3. Lot's and lot's of music appreciation
4. Storytime cause Daddy makes the funny voices
5. Eating Daddy's tie when he gets home from work.
6. Secret bedtime kisses for the last check before Mommy & Daddy go to bed. (And I love that when he comes to bed he always says how awesome she is, makes my heart feel good).

So Happy First Father's day Daddy/Jeff, we love you lots and lots and lots!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Welcome home

Welcome back to Canada Nanny and Poppy

The "lucky" visit, November 2nd - 9th. I'm still convinced they slipped me something.

Christmas 2009

March 2010

Tybee Island May 2010

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Thinking outside the (green) box: Adventures in Surprise Vegetables.

This summer Jeff and I decided to join a green box program. Every week we pick up our share of local fruits and veggies from the Kawartha Ecological Growers. For $25 a week we get a whole pile of whatever is in season and $10 to choose between "extras". This week's extras included "Naked Pig" sausages, minimally seasoned pork sausages, prepared by a local chef, apparently there's quite a following. In our box this week we had a massive head of lettuce, green onions, cucumber, fingerling potatos and a new adventure, rhubarb! I've never cooked with rhubarb before so off to google I went to figure out what to do!

Cherries are also in season which are my absolute favourite so when I saw recipes for anything with cherries I had to explore. So Cherry Rhubarb Pie it was. We're also having some friends over for smoked salmon, so dessert was a must. I love any excuse to bake, and even more when I get to feed it to great people. Stella spent an hour sitting on the kitchen floor pitting cherries on Saturday afternoon. She loves cherries, after I had pitted one, I would peel the skin off for her and she would mash them all up. While we mashed, I would have a brief moment to get some more cherries sliced and pitted for the pie until she started yelling for more!

Rhubarb Cherry Pie Filling:
Lot's of cherries (probably 2 cups)
Sliced rhubarb in 1 inch pieces, about 1.5 cups
3/4 cup white sugar
tsp salt
2 tablespoons corn starch (could have used more)

Pie crust
2 cups flour
half cup butter
1/4 sugar (I subsituted splenda)
2 eggs yolks (save the whites for brushing the crust)
water added by tbsp to make the dough come together.

I sifted the flour and sugar together and grated the butter in. Then I added the yolks (and accidently threw the whites out, oops) and slowly added some water. Refridgerate for a while to make the dough firm and not sticky.

The pie filling was super easy, just throw all ingrediants together and make sure everything is well coated. I baked it all in the oven for an hour. We did of course have the debate of lattice vs solid pie cover. But a cherry pie always needs a lattice crust.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Lucky Number Seven

Today is Stella's 7 month birthday! Yesterday we flew to Vancouver to visit my sister Alicia, her husband Chris (the uncle who talks funny) and their ADORABLE new puppy Fletcher (aka Grand Master Fletcher). So we got to spend Stella's Month-aversary with her Auntie and Uncle.

To celebrate we went to the Vancouver Aquarium and ate sushi. Stella's favourite bathtime song is Baby Beluga so we of course had to spend some time with them. They have two baby belugas there and we watched them swim underwater and in their pool. Stella was more interested in watching the tv screen with beluga information than the actual belugas. The dolphins jumped in front of her face and the seals did flips beside her. She was a little afraid of the big animals, but she loved when we went inside to the smaller exhibits.

The aquarium is basically baby heaven. Stella loves flashing bright things. We stopped letting her watch tv months ago, but this is basically educational! All the fish we saw were native to the pacific coast around British Columbia, who knew that diving around Canada could be so colourful.

Stella's absolute favourite was the jelly fish. These photos look like video screens, but they're actual tanks of jellyfish. She pressed her little hands against the tank to try and touch the floating fish. It's so much fun to watch her explore the world and discover new things. She gets more and more adventurous everyday. She's standing better every day and showing off her brave side.
For dinner we went to Alicia and Chris' favourite sushi restaurant, Namoo. It was absolutely delicious, maybe because this was the first time I'd been out for sushi since Stella was born. It was actually only the second time that I have been out for dinner with Stella, normally we're in full meltdown/bedtime mode at this time. Apparently mountain time agrees with Stella.
This kid is doing amazing. She got over her jet leg in one day with zero fits. She quickly adapted to a new schedule.

So Happy Lucky Number Seven Stella My Love.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Separation Anxiety - Daddy Edition

Tomorrow morning, Stella and I are flying to Vancouver to visit my sister Alicia. We're going to be there until Monday, or as Jeff explained to Stella, 4 sleeps. When Jeff came home from Georgia we were separated for the same amount of time, but some how this time it seems longer.

So this afternoon Jeff came home early in the pouring rain and we all curled up in bed together and listened to the rain. Stella had a long hard day and had been cuddling up all day. It's so rare that we get afternoons like that so those 30 minutes were amazing to share. Jeff got to give Stella dinner and her bottle eventhough she was so grumpy. It must have been the rain.

Luckily we'll be able to skype each other and Jeff will have a boys night to distract him. Oh and beautiful, uninterrupted sleep.....zzzzzz.....