No soccer meals to post this week. Husband and I had date night one day this week, and the others were super simple meals- sandwiches with vegetables, fruit, and leftover meals from the freezer. It's been a busy week, full of unexpected appointments, planned mornings out, and...most anticipated of all, for the last 12 years...the delivery of my deep freezer!
This is super exciting for me. We used to have one before we moved here and had our family, but it died in the move, and up till now haven't had a place to actually put one. It's an 8.5 cubic feet (I think) tall freezer with 3 shelves and door storage. While chest freezers are more energy efficient and are easier to just throw things into, this one fits the space we have available. I've gotten so adept at packing our fridge freezer I don't think lack of space will be a problem for me. I certainly won't lose things in it! It was so exciting emptying out my fridge freezer to move some of my less-used things downstairs, such as bags of chicken stock, large packages of proteins, and frozen concentrated juice. I bought extra bread during my shopping trip this week, so I will never have to run out just to buy bread again. In our family, most of us eat toast for breakfast, and my second son eats a sandwich for lunch, so running out of bread is a small (first world) crisis.
I can now keep my fridge freezer full of wonderful other things, like homemade muffins and loaves, and frozen fruit for shakes or smoothies. I can keep my leftover main meals ready for warming up for lunch or quick buffet-style dinners. I'm excited to keep leftover cooked meats sliced and ready to go for wraps, sandwiches, and soups.
I'll post pictures when I get my new freezer stocked up and ready to show the world. It probably sounds a little ludicrous to be so excited about such a mundane thing, but this has been the number one item on my wish list for more than a decade.
To return to the subject of homemade muffins and loaves, I'm trying something new this weekend/week ahead. I don't like baking, but I'd rather the family eat homemade sweet treats then ones bought from the store. I like controlling the type of flour and the amount of sugar, fat, and salt we eat. So tomorrow morning I plan on premixing all the dry ingredients of what I want to make in containers or storage bags, label them, and have them all ready to pull out when I have a few minutes to throw something together.
So far my list looks something like this:
-2 loaves of chocolate zucchini loaf
-2 loaves of pineapple zucchini loaf
-2 loaves of hazelnut eggnog loaf
-2 dozen vanilla/pear/pecan muffins
-3 or 4 dozen mini chocolate and walnut brownie bites
If it works out well- if I find baking less of a hassle and I actually do it before we're desperate- this may be something I do to prepare for summer baking. I'm not a fan of heating up the house when it's really hot, so if I'm halfway done when the inevitable cloudy and/or rainy and/or stormy days happen, I may actually be able to get a whole lot of baking done in a short period of time.
What do you love about your deep freezer? What kinds of things do you store in your deep freezer, and what do you keep in your fridge freezer? Do you have a plan in place for cooking and baking this summer?
Enjoy your weekend, friends,
Last week I submitted our bbq'd salmon and asparagus to gastropost, and they featured me this week! Here's a look at the gorgeous meals prepared by many Edmonton and area home chefs, this one is mine, and click on the photo to see the pdf!
I had the opportunity to go on a limo/wine tour here last night with the Fort Saskatchewan Mom's Night Out group. It was interesting to learn how they make wine here in Alberta. They use rhubarb and raspberries to make their 2 current wines, though they have another fruit crop- cherries- that they are growing and hope to expand into as well. The farm is pesticide and herbicide free, and like Fort Saskatchewan, they use sheep to keep their grass mowed and fertilized. They also don't use sulfites in their wine, which I found really interesting, because I know a few people that can't drink wine for the headaches it causes. A couple of the moms on this group found the wine tasting didn't give them their usual headache.
We toured around their land to see their crops, and went back into the distillery to discuss how the wine is made, from start to finish. It's a big job, but they seem to enjoy it. I enjoyed the tasting too; I think I prefer the blush (The Barb) over the red, but both were nice and I bought a bottle of each to serve at our next extended family dinner. Supporting local businesses is something important to me, and I think it's pretty fun to drink wine produced right here in my home province, even if it's not grape based.
I still prefer a nice glass of Malbec on its' own, but look forward to pairing these wines with a terrific dinner. You can check out their wines here.
Limo service was provided by Eternity Limosines. We packed into a couple of limosines and it was a pretty extravagant journey! I've never been in one like that before. Some of us ate dinner first at Original Joe's, and they worked hard to get us our drinks, food and bills before the limo arrived. I ordered the jambalaya and I'm modestly happy to tell you that my recipe is better. I will get that up on my recipes one of these days! I plan on including that in my "little bits" cookbook, because it's so good.
I can't believe we're into a month of soccer already. Granted, the first week was all practice and no games, but still. Time flies. I have just enough sports commitment in me to be a spring soccer mom. I do enjoy going to the practices and games. I love watching how my first son has unfolded his confidence and grown into his role, and it is hilarious watching my second son learn to play. And while spring in Alberta has its' definite downsides, such as snow, windchill, and brutal sleet/rainstorms, this year has been relatively easy.
I've been working on my book this week, playing in my #testkitchen, working up recipes and experimenting.
Along with appointments and soccer, we had a friend over for dinner and I enjoyed travelling on a field trip with my second son's class to The Muttart Conservatory. Check out this gorgeous picture of that place:
This is the place to go when winter is squeezing the joy out of your soul. I look forward to spending many days here next year when both boys are in full time school. That is, if my car can make it out of my driveway. There were days last winter when we had so much snow no one could drive down our street.
I hope you have all enjoyed your week! What was the best part?
Looking forward to hearing from you,
This week, while we were driving to school, my second son and I were talking about how hot the sun was. For no real reason, a short film I remembered watching as a Canadian child in the 1970's came to mind and I told him the story of the north wind and the sun arguing about who was stronger, and how the lesson I learned has always stayed with me- "persuasion is better than force".
It got me to thinking about how that truth can be applied across the board, in almost every aspect of life. You can't force change, can you? Certainly not in relationships with people; they are who they are, and any change of substance has to come from within them, not from the force of threat or ultimatums. It applies to families, feeding young children, or even making changes to a diet as a whole for your family- it can't be forced. It has to be done slowly, gradually, in tiny incremental steps in order to adjust taste buds and expectations and to become, in time, "normal". It applies to the division of labour in a household, the roles and responsibilities we play in our families, communities, churches, and jobs. You can't force change. And more often than not, when you try to force things, there are hard feelings on both sides of the fence. Try to remember this fable the next time you're faced with using force or gentle persuasion...
Completely unrelated, I also think about the film we used to watch about log drivers. Do you remember that one? It's so random how some things stick in your mind and others are just gone.
Do you remember either of these films?
Enjoy the rest of your week, friends!
All in all, this was a surprisingly productive week. Surprising, because I had a few unexpected hoops thrown at me, but I managed to keep from tripping on them. Woo Hoo! And if you look at all my dinner plates, you'll notice a lot more colour in them when compared to last week's dinners! I tried to really up the ante on fruit and vegetables this week. The more nutrition the kids eat when they're young, the better equipped they'll be as adults. And although both of them don't love my dinners all the time, just being exposed to the flavours and foods is training them to be good eaters with an adventurous palate. I always try to put something on the plate that they'll enjoy- even, like in the halibut meal, it was only the peas and corn that passed approval from my second son.
I finished my last class of my Diploma in Personal Nutrition, and now aside for the final exam I have a month off until my next begins. Both boys had their soccer games, I managed to keep my river valley walking commitment, I actually did the paper filing from my kitchen counter, and even managed to surprise the kids with a doubled recipe of their favorite muffins. I worked in my #testkitchen- a couple of recipes for my cookbook, too. Like I said, surprisingly productive.
I actually did the muffins and some apple crumble on a soccer night because I had the oven on at the right temperature and the kids have been begging me to bake. I had some sad apples to cook and enough over ripe bananas too. Doubled their muffins, because I don't like baking. I left a few out on the counter and found space to freeze the rest flat in a ziplock.
The boys provided breakfast in bed for me on Mothers Day, which was pretty nice. They gave me a heaping portion of fruit with my toast and yogurt, and a nice big cup of coffee, and left me alone to enjoy some moments of peace.
What did your week look like? Did you accomplish something that's been bugging you for a while? My nemesis is paper clutter. I'm so glad to have just put it away.
If you're in Canada, I hope you're enjoying the long weekend! Have a wonderful week, friends.
Moms, this is for you. I asked a few groups of people on facebook to describe their moms in 1 word, and this poster covers all the words I was given. I think they got it so right. The larger words were the ones that were repeated most often.
Today is the day to celebrate all YOU do, and all your mothers have done for you. It's not an easy job being a mom, but for me, nothing is more rewarding. Our roles change as our children age, but we'll always be a mother, even when our children become parents themselves, or sadly, taken from us too soon . We'll always have a mom, even after they've passed away. Is there any other role so enduring?
Please share this with the special mothers in your life! I had it printed and framed for my local moms. To save it to your computer, right click on the image and choose "save image as". You could print it and frame it, as I have. You can turn it into a poster, our use it as your desktop wallpaper. You can email it to your mothers, or post it on their facebook walls. Whatever you choose to do with it, I hope it helps make you and your moms feel super special and appreciated, because moms are awesome.
Happy Mother's Day, moms. You deserve all the celebration you get, and more.
Everytime I opened the fridge this week my nose was assailed with an odour similar to garbage. This is not something that happens in my house. Our fridge isn't big enough to lose food in and forget about it, and every 4-6 weeks I wipe it down with vinegar and water to keep it clean, especially in the vegetable and fruit bins. I've been so busy this week that getting into it to search hasn't been a possibility, but today was the day.
The first thing I pulled out was wafting...and it was my broccoli. And it wasn't bad, either. Perfectly fresh and ready to eat, but so stinky.
In my mission to stop food waste, the only thing to do with it is experiment! So I guess tonight is a #testkitchen. My family won't eat it because it's too stinky, but up close and personal it just smells like fresh broccoli. I actually have to confess I don't like to eat it raw, so I'm going to experiment with roasting it. Possibly a honey/garlic/sesame theme. Mmmm. I'll keep you posted. It may end up a terrible mess, but in my head it sounds amazing.
Enjoy your day, folks. And check back tomorrow for my special mother's day download!