Archives for March 2011

Healthy Fats Make Healthy Children

Written by Shannon of Nourishing Days.

Becoming a mother may just be the most intense and terrifying thing that I have ever done. There was that whole giving birth thing, which was supposed to be the hard part, right? But then you enter the world of breastfeeding, books, ideologies, and the tornado of information that comes from parenting “experts” of all sorts.

In the midst of it all is this incredibly personal thing called feeding our children. When all you have heard for 30 years is “Fat is bad!” you tend to want to feed your children according to that philosophy.

But that doesn’t make any sense. Breast milk, the perfect food for baby, is at least half fat, much of which is saturated fat and even (gasp) cholesterol. I don’t believe that a child’s need for saturated fat and cholesterol ends when weaned.

And I am not alone…

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Sour Cream Snickerdoodles and the Latest News


Trying to remember the order in which recent events took place is about as futile as attempting to list all of Liz Taylor’s husbands – in order. So I’ll just relate the happenings as they come to mind, and that will have to do. It’s been a Monday, and this week looks busy, again.


Sugaring Off.
This has been the sole thing keeping me from joining the ranks of all other Montrealers in their pining for spring. March has been cold and snowy, warming up only in the afternoons. Fortunately this fickle weather is good for something: sugaring off.

Once again we spent the day in the forest of our uncle’s maple farm, collecting sap, hanging out by the fire and eating. The blueberry cornbread pictured above stayed warm on the wood stove alongside a pot of lentil stew, and they both nourished us for lunch.

I managed to shoot a bit of video, so if you want to see a super cute recap of Noah’s day in the sugar bush, head over to Simple Bites for the vlog.

Photos and Portraits.

Good friends and superstar Montreal photographers, Tim & Angela, stopped by recently for lunch and to take a few shots of me in my kitchen. I needed some professional portraits for a few things coming up and they were so kind to turn it into a full-on photo shoot.


They’re quite the professionals, and had this frumpy WAHM feeling like a star in no time. The boys and I broke out the wooden rolling pins and tart dough and proceeded to get flour everywhere – except on the cameras, thankfully.


Tim & Angela captured the sweetest images of the boys and I, which I’m going to treasure for a long time. You can check a few of their favorites out on their blog.

Urban Expressions.
The main English paper in town featured Mateo and I in their quarterly magazine, Urban Expressions. Subscribers to The Gazette who received the mag at home can read the article on my blogging career and family life.

Gazette columnist, Susan Schwartz, aptly captured the simple joys of my work-at-home existence and my journey to get where I am now.

Virtual Baby Shower
Spring seems like a natural time to celebrate a birth, and that’s just what I did recently with a group of talented food bloggers when we threw a virtual baby shower for a dear friend.

If you’re planning a shower -wedding or baby- soon and are looking for menu ideas, here’s the round-up of recipes. Be warned. You WILL leave hungry.

Babble Top 100
Last but not least, Babble.com included Under the High Chair in their Top 100 Mom Food Blogs of 2011. I have no idea what the numbering means, but I’m #42.

Thanks Babble! I’m honored to make the list, again. And thank you to the sweetie who wrote up ‘Why we love her‘ in the profile. She knows how to get a girl choked up!

PS. Can I steal that part about ‘lyrical’ for my About page?

Check out the complete list of food blogs from other mama’s in the trenches. You’ll probably recognize a lot of names.


Recipe: Sour Cream Snickerdoodles

Apparently running out of chocolate chip can be a good thing, because it forces one to be creative when cookie baking with two little helpers.

We loved these sour cream snickerdoodles from Julie’s cookbook, One Smart Cookie. She’s right to say that sometimes the simplest things can be the most delicious. These are soft, with a tender biscuit-like crumb, and completely addicting.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon (I used fresh ground)
  • 1/4 cup sugar, for rolling

Preheat oven to 350F

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until soft and well combined. Beat in egg and vanilla until smooth.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.

Add half the flour to the butter mixture, stirring gently to combine. Add the sour cream, stirring slowly, and then the rest of the flour. Combine only until just blended.

Stir together remaining 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/4 cup of sugar. Drop teaspoonfuls of cookie dough into the sugar and lightly roll into balls with your hands.

Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake for 12 minutes until set, but not golden.

Cool on a wire rack. Makes 24 cookies.

Four Variations on Maple Vinaigrette and A Sugaring Off Vlog

Late March means one thing in Québec: sugaring off season. The chilly nights and warm afternoons cause sap to surge up from the roots of the maple trees and race to fill the branches with life. All across the province, the healthy trees are tapped and a portion of the sap is extracted as it makes its journey upward.

You won’t find me pining for summer’s sandy beaches or pool parties during these early spring months; I relish sugaring off season, as you can probably tell. Due to the enthusiastic response to my recent post, A Sugaring Off Story, I decided to bring my Flip along on another recent outing to the family sugar bush and give you one more glimpse of Eastern Canada’s ‘fifth season’.

The short video follows our family’s most enthusiastic little worker, five-year-old Noah, on his third annual visit to the sugar bush. I couldn’t be happier that he is learning the process of gathering a beloved natural resource; truly this is food culture in the making.

For context and more description of how the process takes place, please read  A Sugaring Off Story. Now hit the jump for the vlog and a handful of salad dressing recipes featuring maple syrup.

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What You Need to Know About Buying, Storing, and Cooking with Spices

It’s no secret that I believe a solid knowledge of spices is essential to great cooking. Proper cooking with spices can elevate the flavour with little effort and minimal cost; that alone is reason to learn how to use spices and incorporate them into daily cooking.

However, cooking with spices doesn’t start with popping a lid and adding the required amount. This post is a good starting point; it is a summary of a Spices 101 series I wrote last spring and is well worth a refresher. At the bottom of each section you can click through to read the full post on each topic.

As I fully believe cooking with spices is one of the simplest way you can transform a forgettable dish into something memorable, I hope you’ll begin your journey with the exotic here.

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WW: How I Know Spring Will Come