Spinach Crepes with Maple-Stewed Blueberries

The evening I prepped this recipe was just like any other. I puttered barefoot in the kitchen to the tunes of Buena Vista Social Club, music I am revisiting and finding as just moving as the first time I heard ‘Chan Chan‘.

I cracked eggs and beat them with flour, melted butter and sauteed spinach into a crepe batter that would chill while we slept, or supposedly slept. There was no way I could have known what the night held, although little Clara had been nursing a cough during the day and was reaching for me to cuddle more than usual.

The last of my prep finished, the table set for the morning, and the final email sent, I headed upstairs to wind down for the night. It was close to eleven, and it had been a long day. A long week. A leisurely Saturday morning breakfast and the whole weekend stretched out before us, full of projects and plans, among them an autumn hike in the fall foliage of the Laurentians.

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How our kids made us brunch and how we lived to tell about it

Now that we’ve been cooking with our children for several years, we’ve always wondered how well would they function entirely on their own. My boys have claimed for some time now that they are proficient in the kitchen, and while they do a fine job, I have always remained close-by.

Last Monday was Danny’s and my wedding anniversary. The evening before was full of fugitive huddles and fervent whispers between brothers. Their eyes were shining when I tucked them into bed, and Mateo, the considerate one, asked me how early they could get up.

Something was afoot, although I’d never imagine they would attempt a full breakfast in our honour. It turns out those two are full of ambition.

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Spring harvest: what we’re making with our maple syrup

Maple taffy on the snow on simplebites.net

On the edge of our lawn, beyond the garden, and before the forest, tower two immense maple trees. They frame the yard and boldly announce the changing of each season by the coming and going of their lush plumage.

These maples shade us on sweltering July afternoons and have always been my favorite view, admired from the back patio with a coffee in hand. All summer long the boys swing from a tire swing I hung for them ages ago way up in the branches, and the two trees provide resilient anchors for Danny’s slack line.

This week, those maples became infinitely more valuable to our property when, for the first time ever, we tapped into their veins of sweet sap.

The whole experience has been an exhilarating one for me. I guess I didn’t expect our first attempt to be a success. Honestly, urban homesteading has a huge learning curve to it, and we have the gardening disasters and midnight chicken horror stories to prove it.

So, doubtful, I hammered in the first tap, and then the cool sap sprayed my face, tasting sweet on my lips. My stomach flip-flopped in anticipation. Noah hung a bucket under the tap, and the lyrical drip-drip of the sap dancing on the bottom of the bucket began.

“Listen, mom.” he said, “It’s like the forest is making music.”

This. This was spring harvest; one more ingredient we were sourcing from our backyard. I don’t know why I had let my reservations get the better of me.

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7 easy steps towards a Paleo diet {recipe: Pumpkin Pancakes}

Paleo Pumpkin Pancakes on simplebites.net

The following is a guest post from Hanna of Honey & Huckleberries. Welcome, Hanna!

I’ve always tried to eat well.  Whole foods, lots of veggies, dark chocolate (because it’s healthy then, right?), all that good stuff.  So when my best friend told me that she had started to eat paleo, and then explained what that entailed, I have to admit I thought it was a bit crazy.

The Paleo diet cuts out processed foods, sugar, all grains, legumes, and usually dairy.  I was very excited that she was trying to feed her family less take-out, but not eating whole wheat?  Brown rice?  Cheese!?  Even if it was helping her lose weight, I couldn’t see how it could be healthy to cut out entire food groups and replace them with bacon.

It didn’t help that I was pregnant with my second little girl at the time, and horribly sick.  Bread was one of the only things I could keep down, no one was taking away my bread.

Then Sunny was born, my sweet wonderful baby girl.  She ended up with terrible eczema and I went on an elimination diet that was ironically very close to the paleo diet.  Her skin cleared up and I lost five pounds in a month.

It turned out that her issue was with dairy so I added wheat back in, only to find that it made me feel really weird.  My lovely, homemade, whole grain bread made my stomach hurt if I ate it for breakfast and gave me heartburn whenever I had some.  This had always been the case, but I hadn’t noticed until I cut it out completely.  I was pretty annoyed.

I didn’t want to believe it, but clearly the wheat was not my friend.  I did some serious reading and came to the conclusion that our family was going paleo.  I convinced my husband, tossed the toddler’s crackers and started our journey towards healthier eating.

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How to make your own waffle mix

 easy homemade waffle mix on simplebites.net

Written by Danny.

Last month, during my winter vacation, Aimee and the kids came up with the sweetest idea: Daddy’s Day.  It was a day that I could use on my vacation to sleep in, read a book, get extra backrubs and the kids were careful to be extra polite and obedient – all with no strings attached.  Basically, the best day of the year.

It has become somewhat of a necessity in our house (due to the kids’ joy in doing so) to have breakfast in bed on any special occasion. On Daddy’s Day, I got to have waffles, eggs and bacon while still in my jammies.  I shared a bit with the boys (they didn’t ask, but those eyes just begged!) and then read a book in silence while lazily polishing off my delicious breakfast.

easy homemade waffle mix on simplebites.net

Last weekend, we served up waffles to Aimee. Thankfully, she is really smart and had prepared some of this Ready Waffle Mix for us to use. It’s pretty handy to keep around, so I thought I’d share the recipe for your next ‘Daddy (or Mommy) Day’.
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