Archives for February 2014

Two smoothie recipes: Meyer Lemon Blueberry Buzz and Green Pina Colada

Last fall I went from fiddling around with a blender that I deeply despised to owning a blender that I truly love. That simple upgrade transitioned us instantly into a family of smoothie-slurping fiends.

I’m not exaggerating in the least. When you have a great machine that whips kale, frozen banana and chia seeds into a perfectly smooth and creamy treat, it’s hard not to want a smoothie every day for lunch, Saturday included.

Most of us now have our custom preferences: I’m addicted to Autumn’s Date & Tahini combination, Noah loves a creation he’s named ‘Mango Tango’ and Mateo swoons over anything with strawberries. Clara and Danny are happy to sip whatever is handed to them.

Today I’ll share two of our current favourite smoothies. They are simple to make, vegan, dairy-free, kid-approved and downright delicious! [Read more…]

Feeding Teenage Boys: An Update (Recipe: Quick Mushroom Ragu)

My approach to feeding my family has completely shifted focus over the last year as my boys have grown from tweens into young teenagers.

Their lives have changed along with their growing bodies, forcing a natural shift in our family’s approach to meals and food. A few years ago, I was petty confident I knew how to deal with ravenous appetites and the multiple meals my tweens required each day, and while I did well in that season of parenting, nothing prepared me for the days of packing school lunches for a 175-lb. child.

Please don’t be confused; my children are big and healthy, and the ample weight is evenly matched by the height, as my 13-year-old currently stands tall at a striking 6’1”. He’s the tallest person in our house right now; heck, he’s taller than anyone in our entire extended family, and his appetite just might be bigger than his body.

I’ve replaced traditional lunchboxes with food storage containers, and despite my best efforts to keep a well-stocked freezer and pantry, there are many, many days when I’m ill prepared for what the kids need to eat, especially when they show up at home with three to five friends, all of whom are equally as hungry as my own kids.

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An introduction to grinding grain for flour

Baking bread when I was growing up meant first slipping down to the basement larder and grinding the grain. The machine was absolutely deafening, but I loved the smell of freshly milled flour and the way it floated down to form miniature snowy mountains in my bucket.

My mother still grinds her own grains and regales me with tales of her kamut lasagna noodles and soft wheat pizza dough; as always, she’s years ahead of the current whole foods movement. I had quite a few tools and appliances that I needed to invest in when I set up my own kitchen and a grain mill was low in the list. It was there, though, for my ‘someday’.

Naturally I was very excited last fall when KitchenAid Canada provided me with a grain mill attachment to go with my beloved 7-quart stand mixer. It’s funny, I feel as though I have both traveled back in time to to that flour dusted larder floor and taken a step ahead into another level of baking with whole, unprocessed ingredients in my kitchen.

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The comfort of soup

We’ve finally pulled out of a ten-day bout of sickness, that, combined with the frigid weather, kept us housebound. Thank goodness for the distraction of the Olympic games and thank goodness for homemade soup.

I haven’t looked into the numbers or statistics (but I’m sure Danny has…), but this feels like the coldest winter in the last ten years or so. I think most of North America feels this way. A popular canned soup company reported a 71% rise in their quarterly profit so I guess we’re not the only ones craving a hug in a mug.

A simple recipe for chicken noodle soup kept us going despite high fevers and chest coughs. The boys and I simmered it together for lunches; I’d chop the parsley while they broke up the spaghetti, and we’d talk our way through the steps so they could learn.  Then we convivially spooned up the soup while perched on sofas and cheered on our athletes in Sochi.

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Teriyaki Mahi Mahi with Vegetables and Coconut Rice: Faking Fresh

Three o’clock. As the small clock hands approach the quarter-hour mark, small feet and fingers make their way to the front door. It will open with a chorus of voices as my kids fall inside, all limbs and weighed down with multiple bags (three each: lunchbox, backpack, snow gear bag).

As they tumble in, I’ll direct them to their coat hooks, request that the snowy shoes be stored, and have them meet me in the kitchen with their lunchboxes to clear them out and get a snack started. Then the dinner duties begin.

Outside, the weather continues to remind us that winter is not yet over. These last few weeks are holding strong to frozen temperatures and snow-covered earth. The farmers’ market opening is still months away, and my pantry storage of root vegetables and winter squash from fall is nearly gone.

I dream of asparagus and spring strawberries to come. I plan my garden on scraps of paper while staring at seed catalogs with photos of juicy, plump tomatoes. I water my sad-looking herb garden that rests in the window and wonder how it will ever make it to the warmer weather.
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