Sunday, May 30, 2010

mexican ice cream sundaes with cinnamon-chocolate sauce

We had a very fun and exciting weekend. It started out with us finding a Quinny stroller for Owen on sale for $100 off at Babies R Us. No rain checks on this deal - thank goodness we live just down the street. So I booked it on down there and picked one up. I really could rant and rave on and on about our Graco travel system. For months now my legs are covered in bruises, so many that I actually went for blood work not realizing it was the stroller and seat that were doing it to me. Well, this Quinny stroller is light & compact and eases my mind completely from the worries I had about traveling up to the cottage (our Graco takes up the entire trunk!). Not only that, it's a real looker!
We walk up and down the canal, sometimes 3 times a day, so swapping out strollers was the right choice for us.

We walked the Rankin Run with Owen Saturday morning. Here's my two cuties!

Then the rest of the weekend was spent by the pool swimming in the backyard.

Owen just got this baby float and he loves it. I wasn't sure he was enjoying swim class since he always appears a little skiddish and not his normal energetic self while in the pool. Now that he's in the backyard pool he's full of life kicking and smiling. I'm so happy it's not the water that made him uncomfortable, it's probably the ancient, stinky, echoey with squeals of children and babies crying West Park Pool that he's not into.

Lastly, I have to blog about my limited food prep this weekend. I only made Mexican Ice Cream Sundaes with Cinnamon-Chocolate Sauce. This recipe is as good as buying a sundae out. I think the added touch of toasted coconut and cinnamon that does it. I can firmly say that a $7 pint of Haagen Dazs Dulce De Lece ice cream wasn't. I'll never again buy Haagen Dazs, but I would make this sundae again.

This recipe was only disappointing because of a couple issues with the execution. You can tell by the photo that the ice cream melted fast in the heat along with the addition of the warm chocolate sauce. Another issue I had was having the chocolate sauce split and not knowing how to fix it. Turns out you must beat it into submission. These two issues didn't affect the taste in anyway so I feel it's fair to say this recipe was a winner.

Friday, May 28, 2010

asian salmon patties with sesame mayonnaise and chinese noodles with sesame dressing

This is Asian Salmon Patties with Sesame Mayonnaise and Chinese Noodles with Sesame Dressing and it is delicious. I love all the Asian flavours Everyday Food uses with a mixture of soy, lime and sesame oil. The only problem I have with this meal is how many kitchen utensils you end up using in order to complete it. It seems like every step requires a whole new pan, pot, cutting board, knife or measuring tool. For this reason, I was thinking this meal would be a great demo for the slap chop!

Once dinner was complete it felt like it was worth it, but I really would not want to prepare or clean up after this meal on my own. Guess I'm lucky Nuno is as into cooking as I am because he swooped in and helped finish this meal once things got a little too hairy with Hot Tot and Owen.

peanut-crusted chicken breasts & asparagus with lemon butter

Yesterday was Owen's first taste of meat. It's recommended that babies start with meat, but I chose to start Owen with iron fortified cereal and to introduce meat second. Hopefully soon whatever protein we have with dinner I can set aside a portion for Owen.

With three fresh chicken breasts, I halved one and steamed it. Once cooked I cooled and then sliced into chunks and blitzed in the small chamber of my food processor. I slowly added expressed breast milk down the shoot until we had a nice constancy.

I then got to work on the recipe at hand. It is Peanut-Crusted Chicken Breasts with a side of Asparagus with Lemon Butter and the rest of the Leeks Vinaigrette. Very spring-like don't you think? All three recipes are fairly straight-forward and about as boring as you can get. That also goes for the taste. I didn't enjoy any of this meal - even the leeks a second time around. I accidentally undercooked the leeks and their onion flavour was so strong I tasted it all night.

And what did Owen think of his chicken? He cried and fussed and after several spoonfuls decided he wouldn't take any more and spit it out. I can sympathize. You know when you've over-chewed your chicken and you just can't break it down anymore in your mouth? I bet that's what Owen was experiencing. It's OK, we figured out how to introduce it a little better. This morning we made half his rice cereal and half chicken and made the consistency very milky and he loved it. It looks like we will have to transition very slowly with the meat.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Ted's Famous Hot Dogs and Anderson's Custard Ice Cream

I used to always blog about eating at Mighty Taco in WNY, but I found a new passion, Ted's Famous Hot Dogs and Anderson's Custard Ice Cream. These two places are where the locals eat and are institutions among the B-low crew. Yesterday we spent the day shopping at Target and grabbed lunch. I'm in shock I managed to buy a new yellow polka dot bikini and eat ice cream in the same trip but it worked.

Both locations in Amherst are side-by-side. First up was a dog at Ted's. This place is very Weber's like. When you get out of the car you're hit with a char-broiled smell and picnic tables. I swore off hot dogs long ago but I just could not resist caving at least once a year.

Next stop was Anderson's Custard Ice Cream. Anderson's offers chocolate and vanilla soft serve custard ice cream, but keeps an online calendar of their 'specials of the day' where there is an ever changing line-up of flavours amongst all their locations. I've tried Chocolate Orange Marnier and Cinnamon. My next trip will hopefully align with Banana!!

These two places are so perfectly summer-licious and a bang for your buck with lunch's total just over $5!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

pork and soba noodle salad and leeks vinaigrette

I neglected to mention in my last entry that this week's dinner choices are brought to us by Nuno. He has some flavour-foresight because these first few meals he's chosen have been so crazy good.

This is Pork and Soba Noodle Salad. I made two pork tenderloins on Monday so that the second could be used in this salad. I've had trouble with soba noodles in the past. Last year I cooked them according to the package directions and they were complete mush! This time around I tasted after a minute of cooking and they were good to go. The seasoning in this recipe is so spot-on. I'll be making this one again for sure.

The leeks are looking great at the farmer's market right now, so I picked up a couple batches. Leeks have a very subdue onion flavour and this Leeks Vinaigrette recipe makes you feel like your not chowing down on a huge onion. It is really quite delicious and, again, seasoned really well. Since it was a really warm day and we haven't revved up the A/C yet this meal was a real bonus because both items are served cold.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

pork tenderloin with apples and leeks

It's been so beautiful outside, I'm just loving family walks. I can tell Owen loves them as well in his Baby Bjorn. He seems to believe he's walking right along as he kicks his little legs like crazy every time we're moving. We went to Happy Rolph's today and Owen got his first look at farm animals. He was completely fascinated. I loved it because we were one of the only families there. We had a beautiful lakeside stroll - just us and the chirping birds.

I am pleased with my recent use of fridge and pantry items that were coming close to expiration. I had ricotta from last week and half a stick of cream cheese I didn't want to go to waste. So I decided to use them up and make Everyday Food's Lemon-Ricotta Tart again. I was only too pleased to make this a second time since I am continually dreaming about how much I enjoyed it this past Easter. I happened to have exactly half the required Nilla wafers, cream cheese and ricotta left over, so I halved the entire recipe and Voila! Lemon-Ricotta Bars!

Another detail that worked out amidst all odds was that I managed to bake these with that oven issue I mentioned last week. I did this by heating the broiler and keeping an eye on the temperature with the manual thermometer. I kept tin foil around as a fail-safe, but didn't end up needing it because as the oven slowly cooled the dessert baked perfectly.

I also made last night's dinner of Pork Tenderloin with Apples and Leeks under the broiler. I always knew pork and apples were a classic combination. I can remember growing up and eating pork chops with apple sauce. Well, I remember it clearly because I absolutely hated it.

The same way Swiss Chard with Raisins & Pine Nuts surprised me, this recipe is so surprisingly delicious I can't believe it. Every single ingredient compliments each other in a simple and most fantastic way. I will definitely make this again and probably serve it for a dinner party in the future. It's really that much of a show-stopper!

Monday, May 24, 2010

roll another one...

This long weekend I spent it rolling - tortillas and crepes!

I've started making bean burritos on the weekends and freezing them in batches for lunches during the week. I became interested in this when I saw Amy's Burritos on 'sale' for $3 a pop and thought it was economical to make my own. First up was to cook 3/4 cup of rice. Then make the bean mixture, where I substituted many ingredients from the original recipe. I used chipotle peppers and adobo sauce instead of jalapenos and added more spices including chili powder and cayenne. Finally, there is the addition of Monterey Jack cheese.

I think I'm pretty good at the burrito wrap since I spent months folding Owen in his receiving blankets, but you have to be careful of how much filling you place in the tortilla or they become difficult to wrap. Once complete they are frozen on a cookie sheet overnight. The next day I wrapped each individually in parchment and plastic lunch baggies and stash in a freezer bag. Funny enough, I can see why you'd pay for burritos at the store. CONVENIENCE! This is a 2 day job, but I enjoy it. You have to really want to make these or it could feel like a tedious chore much like making pot stickers or perogies.

I always serve them with sour cream and salsa.

This morning was my first attempt at working from Mad Hungry (the book I was talking about last week). These are 'Man Crepes'. I'm not sure why they are so manly, but calling them that might just make guys more apt to eat them. This recipe is much simpler than the one I've always used before and I'm happy with switching over to this one from now on. I found the most delicious crepe combination of mashed banana and Banana Dulce De Leche creme spread. It's killer.

We also snapped a cute photo of Owen I wanted to share. He's just started playing with ring & peg toys. He has the traditional plastic Fisher Price set and one called, Taggies. It's the best toy! It's a plush ring and peg toy with tags dangling from it. This toy must have been invented by a seasoned mom since the idea of a toy covered in tags is ingenious - babies love it!

Friday, May 21, 2010

going bananas for desserts

More banana desserts went down in my kitchen this week. I started out baking Banana Rum Coconut Cookies to find that the oven is broken. From what I can tell the heating element on the bottom has stopped working, so I had to turn the broiler on and watch my manual thermometer in an attempt to keep the oven at 350. Of course, it didn't work and some of the cookies got a little toasty on top.

You wouldn't believe it, but even with a slightly scorched top, it didn't effect the cookies taste at all. These cookies are very moist, cake-like and slightly chewy. And with raisins, coconut, walnuts and oats they remind me of trail mix but sweeter and spiked!

So now that the oven is out of commission you'd think it put the kibosh on sweets. Heh, no way. I decided to make Chocolate-Covered Bananas.
I did a little experiment and made a few different kinds. First I decided to use an infant
medical syringe and stuff the bananas (like an eclair) with President's Choice Banana Dulce De Leche Creme spread. I then covered them in Trader Joe's chocolate. One plain, one with chopped peanuts and one with butterscotch chips.

This is a great way to use up those bananas you just can't finish in time. I'll have to decide which combo is tastiest.

One more dessert I made was Easy Tiramisu. This recipe appears in the first Everyday Food book. I was prompted to make this when I saw ladyfingers at Casa Leone the other day. I made it this morning in the same time it took Nuno to make and eat his cereal. The only revision I made to this recipe was to half it and add some marsala wine (that's part of the flavour I enjoy in tiramisu). I have to admit that I'll probably continue to make this recipe from now on because the real version with mascarpone is expensive and a bit too decadent. This one uses light cream cheese, so you can't go wrong.

pan bagnat

Here is Pan Bagnat!

What? It's a Tuna Nicoise sandwich. Yes, in honour of the Cannes Film Festival, I thought it was appropriate to take a cue from that region of the world and make Pan Bagnat. This combo is something I'd never have thought to put together in a sandwich, so I placed full trust in the recipe to enlighten me.

I thought I'd try a different bakery in St. Catharines and went to Casa Leone Bakery on Hartzel Rd. I found the perfect loaves right away because I was drawn to the sight of an older man who was man-handling every single loaf by pulling them right out of the bags and inspecting them. Gross! Then Owen and I were almost T-boned when some jerk on a cell phone blew the red light as we were making our way through the intersection. Yeah, I won't be treking back to Merriton again anytime soon.

The best part of this recipe is that it can be made in advance. It actually needs to be made at least an hour before serving because it is a pressed sandwich.

I pressed the sandwich with my pizza stone and a pot filled with canned goods. It worked really well. I made it first thing in the morning, pressed for an hour and then refrigerated for the rest of the day while Owen and I hung out at the beach.

It was a perfect day, which really could have only been better if we ate this on the beach. Oh, I'll go further and say on the beaches of Nice, France. This sandwich is so portable all wrapped up in plastic it reminds me of something we could bring to a picnic. It is actually a sandwich I could see Nuno's family making with tuna, eggs, red onion and crusty-style bread.

Goodness, this sandwich is delicious. The basil flavour really comes through and it's probably my favourite element of the sandwich. I love it and would make it again indefinitely!

My last Everyday Food recipe entry touched on one of my food concerns, I might as well mention another. Mercury in tuna. I have to stress, I wouldn't be such a concerned stickler for these sort of chemical related issues for adults, but as a recently pregnant and now nursing mother, I take great caution in how what I consume affects Owen. That will continue as he grows and I choose what he eats. Back to the point at hand. I've avoided tuna for way over a year now, but through the workshop I mentioned a week ago, I became aware that choosing smaller tuna such as Tongol and Skipjack is a safe option. I was thrilled with this bit of news and immediately found cans of Tongol by President's Choice to use in this recipe. I miss eating tuna since one of my all time favourite comfort foods is this Mediterranean Tuna Noodle.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

full fledged foodie blog

I started thinking about my blog and how it's now turned into a foodie blog. I was worried it would become an obsessed baby blog, but I like there are two main focus' now. I can't help but always discuss food because I feel as though I'm learning so much and trying new things while on maternity, I really want to be able to reference my knowledge in the future when I return to work.

My good friend Karissa let me know about a sale at the Book Depot on all their cookbooks. I stumbled in a couple days ago and managed to walk out with 9 cookbooks for just over $40.00. This sale came right in time for learning to feed Owen. I've read my own cookbooks and found some to be a little dated and misinformed. Nigella Lawson's "How to Eat" in particular confused me. She's my absolute favourite, but her baby weaning advice was just not aligned to the way I plan on feeding Owen. What she lacks in current advice she more than makes up for in her humours commentary. So I guess I have to take all this literature with a grain of salt. I've found the best approach is to reference current, Canadian medical advice.

One book I picked up which I'm super excited about is Lucinda Scala Quinn's book, "Mad Hungry".

Lucinda is a staple to Everyday Food and she released this book mere months ago and I found it hard cover for $4.00. If I had my shit together I would have bought this off Amazon when it was first released, but luckily I had other priorities delaying my personal shopping. This book outlines tips for feeding the men in your life and with Nuno and Owen this book seems totally appropriate for my current family situation. I can't wait to get into it.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

coconut beef curry

Last night I made Coconut Beef Curry.

I discovered this recipe in Everyday Food magazine October 2007 issue and gave it a go when it was first published. I thought it was alright, but I don't think I made it again. I love coconut curry but admittedly have a little bit of a food hang up. So, here it is. I try and avoid imported canned foods. More specifically, plastic lined cans containing high fat foods. I became aware of PCB transfer into food and how foreign countries don't have the same regulations in place to prevent any issues related. Now, PCB's transfer easily in fats, so I tend to avoid coconut milk and tuna imported from south east Asia. This may be silly and unwarranted, but while pregnant as well as nursing I thought I'd take precautions. So my way around the above issue was to buy light coconut milk from Whole Foods.

I believe this changed the consistency of the dinner since the low fat content prevented the sauce from thickening up, but that is OK. The flavour is still there. It is a great treat and a good way to get some red meat in your diet. This was criminally easy to make with just a few very simple and fresh ingredients.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

penne alla norma

This is Penne Alla Norma, a veggie-lovers pasta delight! The main ingredients include eggplant, plum tomatoes and basil. It's actually very similar to Whole-Wheat Pasta with Roasted Eggplant and Tomatoes from the first Everyday Food book. I blogged about it a couple years ago.

Well this is a MAJOR improvement in comparison to the older recipe. It's easier to make and way more delicious. I'd rank this as one of the best recipes in the book. All the flavours blend so nicely and the addition of hot pepper flakes are a real bonus.

The one revision that anyone who makes this dish should consider is when to add the garlic. The book indicates to add it in the first step when cooking the onions. The garlic could so easily burn and become bitter if you were to add it then. I held back and added it along with the tomatoes and it prevented any disasters that way.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

clapping monkey, laughing baby

Soooooo tired. We got home from a wedding at 3am this morning and Owen was bright and chipper for the day at 7am. Being exhausted and having a baby who's a bundle of energy brings your spirits right up even when you're bleary-eyed. We were playing with Owen this morning and decided to capture his laughter in action with our video camera. Nuno has posted the video onto YouTube so I wanted to share it (clip at bottom of entry).

Since Hot Tot had to stay home while we were at the wedding, we felt like she deserved a treat. So we brought her to the annual Spring Fling Pug-a-Lug. She's always stayed close to us in the past, but this year she was running everywhere. She wouldn't even stay still long enough for us to get a photo of her and Owen together. They were both wearing their matching Dwell Studio guitar shirts.

It's funny, whenever we go out people stop us to tell us how adorable Owen is. I'm sure all parents of babies experience this. Wherever you go, even for a quick stop to grab a carton of milk, you hear how gorgeous your baby is and how fast they grow up. It's always very flattering and sometimes makes me a little sad to be reminded that this wonderful time will pass quickly.

Well, we found the one place where we were left alone to enjoy our time with Hot Tot. Yep, the dog obsessed Pug-a-Lug goers seem to have no in-your-face baby loving going down. haha Dog lovers united!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

prosciutto-stuffed artichokes

Here is last night's Prosciutto Stuffed Artichokes.

I was really looking forward to eating this recipe. I love the flavour or artichokes but have always been nervous about prepping them. I've seen them prepped on cooking shows before and it seems like a daunting process. But I was up for a challenge yesterday so into it I dove.

After cleaning the artichoke you trim off the stem and lop off the top, trim off every leaf's spiky edge and then scoop out the purple feathery interior. Not to mention, artichokes brown super fast when exposed, so you have to keep them submerged in lemon water. Once complete I was pretty pleased with my effort. I had a Julie and Julia moment where I felt accomplished for taking on a new experience, learning from it and nailing it. I've felt this several times since cooking from Everyday Food including the roast chickens, egg poaching and cornbread soufflé-ing.

I'm confident I did everything correct for this recipe, but I had no idea eating an artichoke was such a difficult task. I can only compare it to eating shellfish. You have to pull back layers to find the edible parts. I found myself finding very little edible parts but enjoying the stuffing off of the leaves until you arrive at the delicious heart which makes it all worth while.

So I have to end up categorizing this recipe as one I'll never make again. It was a lot of work, very messy and hardly any pay off. The recipe for the stuffing is a great one and I'll probably use this same recipe to stuff peppers, but I'll never again go to the effort for artichokes again.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

i'm with best food ever

Has anyone tuned into the brand new TLC show called Best Food Ever? Another overdone food show blending "Best Thing I Ever Ate", "Diner's, Drive-In's and Dives" and those Star countdown type shows. I just couldn't resist tuning in not only because it's food related, but it's narrated by John Goodman. The premise: every episode lists their picks for top places around the US to find the "Best Of". The first episode was Sensational Sandwiches and I felt like the show was totally whack. There didn't seem to be any method to their choices and the sandwiches were just silly - nothing special, nothing of quality and hardly unique.

I ended up catching the second episode, Bodacious Bakeries. This definitely piqued my interest. It was baker's eye candy and so much fun to watch. When the countdown came to number three they revealed Tartine in San Fransisco. Nuno and I went there on our honeymoon and I can totally attest to the quality of this bakery. Famous for their croissants I snapped a photo of the almond croissant I ate. Mmmm, crispy, light and flaky exterior contrasting a centre of rich pastry cream filled delight. I'll never forget the experience of eating this.

The line up is always out the door. We went at 11 am on a Tuesday in September and had to wait. When we finally made it in here was the display before us.

Those in SF are a group of very lucky people to be able to enjoy this bakery.

When John Goodman revealed the number one bakery was Modern Pastry in Boston I was super excited. We also visited this bakery 2 years ago while in town.

Actually, my evening in the North End of Boston is one of my favourite memories of all time. I enjoyed fresh oysters and wine at Neptune Oysters and finished the evening at Modern Pastry with a cannoli. Turns out they are famous for their torrone and now wish I picked up one of those as well.

I get a kick out of how I've somehow managed to end up at some of the best places on my trips to cities in the US. I'm getting serious now. I'm making it my mission to start visiting these Diner's, Drive-In's and Dives joints!

chicken and wild-rice soup

We have our second lack-luster recipe in a row here.

We've had Chicken and Wild-Rice Soup for a couple nights this week and it is 'ho-hum'. I like a good chicken soup and this one is very basic. I think what disappointed me most was the wild rice. Now this might be my fault, but the wild rice didn't impart any of it's nutty flavour. Maybe I used a poor rice blend or something. It just swelled into your normal, bland, chicken and rice soup. I could probably go the rest of my life without eating this type of soup, so it seems like such a waste to have made this when there are so many better things to eat in this world.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

look who's eating!

Monday was Owen's first taste of food! We're giving him organic rice cereal prepared with expressed breast milk. He has taken to food so well! He hasn't spit it out or rejected it in any way. At first he was making a few faces of confusion since it was a new taste and texture, but after a day he's totally on board and gobbling up every spoonful.

I was extremely fortunate to have found out about a class on feeding infants run by the Niagara region yesterday. I had so many questions and a registered dietitian was there to help us ladies along with the stages of feeding our children. I learned so much and am so grateful this class exists. I'm someone who is knowledgeable about food, but there are so many things that Health Canada recommends that you wouldn't know unless you went seeking answers. Most surprising is the new recommendations of introducing nuts & nut butters into a child's diet. Some other issues she addressed were eggs, tuna and informed fish choices.
I know we could always listen to our parents advice on what's appropriate or not - we all turned out just fine, right? But I believe that there is a new awareness of food and nutrition in recent years. There are so many new types of foods introduced into the markets now. As well there is more research into the ties between diet & lifestyle and disease prevention. It's important to understand that eating choices and patterns have changed in recent years compared to boxes and cans our parents might have relied on. I'm very confident now that I'll be making the right choices for Owen's diet and am excited to see what foods he will be enjoying. I hope to blog about feeding Owen right along with what we eat.

Oh! One really neat thing I thought anyone who reads my blog might be interested in knowing is about EatRight Ontario. The government has made a registered dietitian available by telephone to answer any question you may have on nutrition and healthy eating. This could be anything from infant feeding to weight loss, diabetes, digestive issues, questions about supplements & vitamins etc. Their site is and they return emailed questions as well. The phone number is 1-877-510-510-2.

spaghetti with fontina and kale

This is Spaghetti with Fontina and Kale.

Buying and cooking with kale is a first for me. When I went to pay for it at Zehers the cashier said, "Well, what is this monstrosity?" as she looked for the numerical code. Thanks lady. Thanks for insulting my delicious kale.

The first thing I did to prep the recipe was to wash & chop the kale. It was so dirty! There was so much junk hidden in the crevasses, I found myself washing it 3 times. It really freaked me out, I kept picturing pulling back a leaf and finding a bug. It is an odd vegetable because it's a leaf but it's so sturdy the outer edges are almost broccoli-like.

This is probably the first real goof of a recipe. I found several discrepancies in the recipe. For instance the instruction asked to fry sliced garlic over medium heat in rendered bacon fat. Garlic burns fast, even over medium heat. I had to take the pan off the heat almost immediately to prevent burning. The recipe also asked to hold back a cup of pasta cooking water to thicken the sauce. After adding 2 cups of chicken broth I didn't need to make this pasta any more runny. In fact I had to let it sit for a few minutes to thicken. Another issue was the fontina. It didn't melt easily even though it is a very soft cheese. It seemed to gob up and stick to the edges of the kale. I'll have to remember to add the cheese in batches next time and possibly add the kale after it has absorbed into the pasta.

This pasta was not very good. I'll admit, the fontina was amazing and I'll definitely use it again in a pasta dish. I bet it would be amazing in combination with cheddar for mac & cheese. But the kale is not my cup of tea. I am almost finding myself quite turned off by this vegetable after my experience yesterday.

Monday, May 10, 2010

my first mother's day

I just don't think there is any better feeling than being a mom and this Mother's Day proved it! It was so perfect I can't believe I'll get to celebrate like this for years to come.

Owen gave me these beautiful flowers. He gave grandma flowers too. If he keeps this up he'll be a little charmer to his girlfriends.

Nuno gave me a couple amazing gifts. Nope, not a new car. Our car had it's trunk ornament stolen when Katie had it at Red Square years ago and it was never replaced. It pretty much irritated me so much I didn't ever want to talk about it and when I did I couldn't help but be mega annoyed.

I've also joined the 21st century and am finally a cellphony! I can text and call in emergencies. This will totally come in handy so I don't have to have a mini heart attack anytime someone calls the house and wakes Owen out of a nap. Home phones are now turned off and texting is on!

We all went out for brunch at Legends on the Niagara Golf Course. This is where it's at as far as brunch buffets go. This is the one buffet I go all out because it's impossible to resist. Eggs benedict, waffles, scones, muffins, bacon, sausage, seafood salad, pastas, salmon, pork, carving station. Oh, they have the best asparagus with blue cheese dressing. And, desserts, well at least 20 different pies and cakes, cookies, squares, apple crisp and a bananas foster station.

Owen was as good as gold as we enjoyed our brunch. Since this week marks his 6 month birthday and he'll be starting solids, I decided to give him a treat. He tasted whipped cream from my finger! He made a perplexed face as he tasted it, but then gave a big smile.

If I wasn't convinced Owen needed to start eating food, he proved it today. He grabbed a spoon right from the table and put it in his mouth. He even put the proper end right in.

He made the rounds around the table and posed for loads of photos. Nuno and I don't often get a family photo, but this one was snapped and we love Owen's smile.

It's now super easy to buy for my parents. All they need is a gift that includes Owen and they are as pleased as punch. As we were leaving Welland my dad told Owen how seeing him is the best part of his day and what a happy day yesterday was. He said it with such conviction and it was so sincere and heartfelt. It's really great to see my parents enjoy their grandson the way they do.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

curried shrimp

Yesterday, after dealing with car repair issues and a full day away from home, I wanted nothing more than to order in dinner. Or better yet, go out. We used to go out almost every Friday night and for the first time I missed being able to just go out to eat whenever we want to. But the plan was to have Curried Shrimp. Luckily, this was a quick prep recipe, so it all came together quickly. Once we tasted it it was just a good as going out for dinner. This was a very satisfying feeling to enjoy a dinner that tastes like we ordered in.

Nuno and I ate quite a bit of shrimp before I started cooking through Everyday Food, so it was nice to be able to enjoy a shrimp dish after a long stretch. This recipe called for a jalapeno pepper which I thought was really odd for an Indian recipe. But it works! One item I had never purchased before was Madras Curry powder. This was another item we picked up at Whole Foods last weekend. I'm pleased we went to the effort of buying a nice tin of it because this is the main flavour that comes through the meal and makes it taste like something you'd order at a restaurant. I never imagined I could make something like this on my own with simple, healthy and low fat ingredients. We'll definitely make this again in the future and possibly switch out shrimp for chicken thighs. I could even see this working out in a slow cooker.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

stuffed poblanos

I decided to start celebrating Cinco De Mayo this year. All that really means is that I have the chance to decorate the house with my 30th birthday party items and make Mexican food. I put a bunch of decorations around the house including a cardboard Mariachi man on the front door and pulled out Hot Tot's favourite costume.

Moments later my neighbour across the street came over to offer up a kiddie pool and I can't imagine what she thought seeing the front door and Hot Tot dressed up! I mean, do people really observe Cinco De Mayo? My dad hadn't heard of it and had trouble understanding why I did this. Oh well, it was tons of fun we even got Owen into the action!

There are several Mexican recipes in Everyday Food and the one I was most concerned with was the Stuffed Poblanos. The reason for this was because, as far as I know, there doesn't seem to be a single store that sells them here in Niagara. But when Katie's party brought us out of the region it was a great opportunity to grab them at Whole Foods.

We started off with guacamole and tortilla chips (also from Whole Foods).

The Stuffed Poblanos were straight forward to make. They take a little more time than most of the other recipes in the book, but I didn't have any issue with that since this is the main course for a dinner party. On the side is Cilantro and Lime Rice which took minutes to make and a great side to the peppers. Both recipes turned out perfect and they tasted great. I would definitely make them again.