I was blessed with some fresh garden raspberries this week, and I have a bumper crop of mint, so naturally I thought about a yummy drink I was mixed for my birthday- a raspberry mint mojito. However, I wanted to play with the flavour combination and make a refreshing, healthy summertime sip rather than an alcoholic beverage.
My husband made such a face when he first tried this, so I drank his and took mine to a friend's place to sample for me. I frequently like things my husband doesn't, so I like to have a third opinion because otherwise nothing would pass the test.
She said her first thought was "that's tart!" but right away drank some more and was sad when it was finished. It's got a bit of a seedy texture, due in part to the raspberries, and in part to the chia seed gel. The best part of this drink is the nutritional boost you'll get from drinking it. Just some of the goodies you give your body are Omega 3 and Omega 6, Fiber, Calcium, Vitamin C, Iron, Vitamin K, Manganese, and Magnesium. If you feel a summertime cold coming on, this might be something you want to try to soothe that throat.
Not too bad for an afternoon treat! Hooray for the #testkitchen!
We just got home and settled from our camping trip. We had a great time, though we got rained out before we really got tired of being gone. My second son was so devastated when we decided to leave, "But mom, we were just getting started!". Luckily we had a few really nice days with a couple of beach trips, and I really enjoyed everyone being unplugged from everything. Both boys happily read books, drew pictures, went for walks, played in playgrounds, and went swimming in Buffalo Lake. Even better, my first son was exhausted and fell asleep instantly every night. My second son was way too excited to be away from home and was up later than I wanted to be!
I loved my camp kitchen set up. It's amazing how such simple things can be so useful and work just as well. Everything eaten outdoors tastes better!
Tonight was a seriously quick meal. From stove to table in about 25 minutes, and it tasted amazing. Even my picky second son was happy to eat his dinner, though he's decided that rice isn't something he likes anymore. I played with a #testkitchen idea I had when camping. I mixed up a small bowl of glaze that I spooned directly on the salmon when it went in my pan. It carmelized beautifully and kept the salmon moist and flavourful.
To make this as quick as possible, start your rice cooking while you mix up your marinade. Once it comes to a boil, start your salmon cooking. Towards the end of the salmon's time, cook your frozen vegetables- I used the microwave- and get out your fresh vegetables.
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp soy sauce
1.5 tsp molasses
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
a couple of shakes of Worcestershire sauce
Mix up this glaze. Cook your salmon portion on medium heat, starting with skin side down. Spoon glaze on salmon as it begins to cook. Flip over after about 10 minutes, and cook on the other side for about another 10 minutes. As with all fish, cook until it flakes easily and falls apart when you try to flip it. My rice was done cooking not long before the salmon, so I turned off the heat and it stayed hot until dinner. I sprinkled a bit of salt across the top of the salmon just before serving.
I hope you enjoy this as much as we did! I'm sad there weren't any leftovers.
My kids are adorable. I mean, seriously, completely adorable. Some days I look at them and wonder how they got to be so amazing. But in today's digital reality world, with a plethora of games, devices, movies, and so on, there isn't a whole lot of enthusiasm when I say the words "Go outside and play!" So while they are at a healthy weight and body type now, I know it's going to be tricky to keep them healthy as they continue to age in such a sedentary world. Both diet and activity levels are important, and while we're taking steps to mitigate the lack of activity, we also have to address their diets while they are young. And our vigilance can be never-ending. This digital age isn't going anywhere. The kids know more about my phone than I do, and in school they use electronic tools I hadn't even heard of before, like "smart boards". Each grade 6 student had a Chromebook to use for the school year, and I think tablets (or iPad's?) were used every day in kindergarten.
For me, the most important reason to eat nutritious food is to have a healthy life. I have conversations with the kids that focus on the various health-related aspects of nutrition, such as strong and straight bones, a brain that's fast and able to learn, muscles to help us do all the fun things we like to do. We talk about how every food has different vitamins and minerals, and the point to eating a "balanced diet" is to get as much good stuff into our bodies as possible.
My first son is at a complicated age. He's at that awkward place between child and teen. Boys aren't immune to body image issues, and unfortunately the word "diet" has negative connotations, such as being fat and needing to lose weight. The very last thing I want is for him to think that I think he needs to lose weight, or worse, for him to think badly of his body. So we focus on the quality of food, and we focus on the quantity. Nothing is off limits in our house. I personally remember smuggling "off limits" food into the house when I was a teenager, and hiding it or binge eating after an emotional day. I don't want the kids to feel like they have to hide what they're eating.
If the bulk of our food choices has a high nutritional component, I won't say no if asked for something less quality. I will monitor quantity, however, of both healthy and junk, because too much of anything is still too much.
My second son is also complicated right now, because he's picky. He will eat more now than he did a year ago, but I wouldn't say he's a great eater at this time. Our conversations about food happen almost every day. He's had a summer cold, so his usual favorite foods were pushed aside when his taste buds went funny from the cold. The thing is, he has very few favorite fruits, and when he starts to turn up his nose at any of them we have a problem. When he pushed away his apple slices we had a conversation that went something like this:
Child: I don't like apples anymore.
Me: Ok. What new fruit will you try instead? We have grapes, cherries, kiwi, oranges, strawberries, and blueberries,
Child: I don't want to try any of those.
Me: I know, but if you won't eat apples, you need to pick something else. Fruit has lots of nutrition, remember?
Child: <long sigh> Fine, I'll just eat my apples.
It isn't that my son isn't exposed to new foods every single day. He's just very, very stubborn. I won't let food fights happen, but I won't give an inch either, in allowing entire food groups to be discarded. He was eating cheerios for a snack the other day and asked if it was a balanced meal. We talked about what it means when I say "balanced". I explained that cheerios are a grain product, and they are an excellent source of iron, which helps your blood carry oxygen through your body. To make it a balanced snack, we needed to add in other food groups, such as dairy- and I gave him a glass of milk- and fruit or vegetable- and he got some cucumber slices.
When I was a kid, I hated the "because I said so" response when I would ask "why". I think it's important to teach kids now, before food and health issues typically start, so that they have actual facts at hand when they navigate the waters of adolescence. There's no shortage of advertising designed to make us feel badly about ourselves, and the more tools in our arsenal the better.
For the summer, whenever possible, I've got a meal and snack plan set up for the entire day, not just dinner. I'm finding that the kids are feeling more satisfied and asking less often "What can I eat, I'm hungry". If you'd like me to post it, let me know.
Enjoy the day, friends.
My little brother has been in town with his family for the last week, and it has been such a pleasure to spend time with them. Just before they left yesterday, my mom hosted a potluck brunch. My initial plan was to bring fruit skewers, because they're healthy, they're pretty, they don't require cooking, and they're refreshing. However, it turns out there are a lot of fruit platters coming, so I decided to whip up a fabulous Greek Salad instead, and serve it along with pita bread and homemade hummus. That doesn't require cooking either, and the leftovers will be so appreciated when our weather turns hot again over the next week. They should be good for a couple of days- any more than that and the tomatoes and cucumbers start to go a bit slimy.
I'm so grateful for a weekend of more moderate temperatures- +20*C as opposed to almost +30*C. I love summer, but a day or 2 of cooler weather and hopefully some rain will be very appreciated.
That being said, I did have to turn on the oven this past weekend. I'm planning our family camping adventure, and we always enjoy homemade muffins for breakfast. They freeze well, travel well, and keep well for the week in our cooler. And because the oven was on anyway, I used up my stuffed pepper filling that's been taking up space in our freezer. Freezing leftovers will help to extend your grocery budget and prevent food waste, but only if you remember what's in there and actually use it, so be sure to take inventory every couple of months!
Dinner tonight is easy- leftover salad, hummus, and stuffed peppers. Yum!
If you need some help figuring out what to do with the leftovers in your freezer, drop me a line! I would be happy to do a question and answer blog post or twitter chat! #cleanerfreezer #usethoseleftovers
Enjoy your weekend, friends!
Every year, around this time, I remember that turning on the oven and/or stove is a bad idea, even with air conditioning, but I don't want to order in or eat out, either. Most of these require little-to-no time on the stove, one uses the slow cooker, and a few use the barbecue.
I know it's summer vacation, but it's still a good time to meal plan. For me, somehow summer is more expensive than I expect it to be, and I find if I don't plan for our meals I spend too much on impulsive buys at the grocery store.
With a little bit of advanced planning, most of these meals can be prepared just by packaging your leftover cooked meats when you cook them in the spring. For example, the last time I cooked a pork loin, I sliced what we didn't eat and packaged it separately in zipper freezer bags in my freezer. The same goes for chicken and turkey. Cooking ahead can be a godsend when it's way too hot to cook, and will always be better for you than eating out.
I've compiled a list of meals I turn to when the weather is hot. Not surprisingly, there are a lot of fruits, vegetables, sandwiches, and shakes consumed in our house this time of year!
What sorts of meals do you turn to when it's hot outside? Do you have a go-to recipe you can share? Enjoy your weekend, friends.
An old picture, but a good one, of a group of Canadians in another country singing our song of freedom- a long, long time ago. Can you spot me?
Happy Birthday, Canada!
More actual blogging to follow this week! Now that I have some time to breathe I'm getting back on track. All the best, friends!