Monthly Archives: January 2013

Daddy-O

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This song comes up on our Pandora channel that we listen to throughout the day and the kids love it. It’s Daddy-O by Frances England from her Fascinating Creatures album. Charlotte had the idea to record it for our Daddy-O. So here it is….

A week of recipes- Tuesday (Rice Pilaf)

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Tuesday brings us Sesame beef and broccoli.
My kids used to eat broccoli and call it a tree or a flower. This made it ‘fun’ to eat broccoli but they were only eating the florets. This trick also only lasted so long. I’ve been having more luck, recently, getting the girls to eat the broccoli stems by cutting them julienne style or in rounds. What they don’t know is that there are more nutrients in the broccoli stem. Mwahaha!

The Sesame beef and broccoli recipe from Jessica Seinfield’s ‘Double delicious’ cookbook was a bit disappointing. It involved adding a carrot puree to make up the sesame beef sauce, along with beef broth, soy sauce, ginger root, sesame oil etc. Once it was time to eat, it surprisingly had very little taste. After tossing in some salt to draw out the flavor, the dish was a little better but not great. The effort V result led me to put it in the ‘glad I tried it but probably won’t do that again’ pile.
The hit of the night was the rice pilaf recipe I made. This also came from Seinfield’s cookbook.
This recipe asks for brown rice which, as a family, we have been trying to switch over to. Our go-to was always steaming basmati rice and I was excited to find a brown basmati rice at our local store. I’m learning how to cook brown rice, retaining the nutrients but cooking it long enough to lose that crunch in the center. This is the tastiest I’ve created so far.

Rice Pilaf -(serves 5… apparently! But I’ll be doubling the recipe next time. My kids were asking for seconds)

  • 2 cloves of Garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 cup of brown rice
  • 1/2 cup of cauliflower puree
  • 1 1/4 cups sodium-reduced Chicken Broth (if you don’t have any homemade, this can be a tricky thing to buy. I like the ‘Imagine’ brand of organic Chicken broth that is free of MSG)
  • 1/4 tsp salt.

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, saute the garlic in the olive oil until it just begins to brown at the edges. Add the uncooked rice and toss to coat. Approximately 30 seconds.

Add the cauliflower puree, chicken broth and salt. Cover and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer and cook with the lid tightly in place, approximately 45 minutes, or until the rice is tender. Do not stir!

Let the rice stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve.

HINT: If you don’t have tightly fitting lids, place a tea towel over the saucepan and then put the lid on to help with the seal. You may need to add a little more water to the rice as the towel can absorb some in the steaming process. A trial and (hopefully not too much) error process.

Cauliflower puree is simply cutting the florets and discarding the stem of a head of cauliflower and steaming it for 8-10minutes. Throw it in a food processor for 2 minutes adding a teaspoon or two of water to create a smooth, creamy texture. This can be added to mac n cheese too! Cauliflower is full of good stuff that the kids don’t have to know about.

A week of recipes- Thursday (Pancakes)

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Thursday morning started out less than pleasant. Short tempered preschoolers and a tired Mum was not working very well. We spend our entire Wednesday out of the house (this is why there is no Wednesday recipe) and a lot of time in the car, not getting home until around 10pm with exhausted, sleeping children in the car, every week. This sets us up for a day of rest on thursday to recover. My almost 4 year old started asking for pancakes. Pancakes! In all this crazy mess of tears, stomping feet and pouting from the two kids (and maybe from me) you’re asking for pancakes this morning?!
It WAS on my list for the week and I had a sneaky suspicion that it had the potential to put us all in a better mood, so I reached for the flour and eggs and proceeded with the pancake idea.

The recipe is from ‘Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health’
Whole Grain Pancakes
Serves 4-6 / yeilds about 8 large pancakes / Time: 25mins

  • 1/4 cup whole flaxseeds (I used milled flaxseeds)
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsps baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup water (I always end up adding a few tablespoons extra for a thinner batter)

In a blender or spice grinder (FYI my husband hates it when I use his coffee grinder lol), whirl the flaxseeds and oats until they reach a consistency like cornmeal. Place in a mixing bowl. Sift in the whole wheat flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder and mix well.

In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, buttermilk (I used yogurt), oil and water. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Stir just until combined.

Warm a lightly oiled skillet or griddle on medium-high heat. When a drop of water ‘bounces’ on the hot surface, ladle on about 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake and cook until bubbles appear on the top, a minute or two. Turn the pancakes and cook on the second side until golden brown, about a minute.

HINT: If the batter thickens before all of the pancakes are cooked, add a few tablespoons of water to thin it. Keep the cooked pancakes in a warmed oven until you are ready to serve. To freeze, place a stack of cooled pancakes in a freezer bag. When you’re ready for them, separate the pancakes while they’re still frozen.

Sometimes working with whole grain recipes, the pancakes (from my experience at least) can turn out rubbery or dense. These were perfect though. Fluffy, light but hearty. Adding a dash of vanilla extract or a sprinkle of cinnamon to the batter would be tasty too. After devouring these our day got a WHOLE lot better. It was like a re-boot to the system in this house.

We made these again on Friday morning to share with Dad, since he is home with us every Friday. I made a double batch and froze the left over cooked pancakes ready for Miriam’s birthday breakfast the next week. This worked out so well. They separated easily and we warmed them in the oven. No mess or dishes on her birthday morning but awesome pancakes. We serve them with maple syrup usually but have you tried an Aussie traditional pancake topping of fresh lemon juice and a sprinkle of sugar? Yum!

Miriam on her 4th birthday….

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A week of recipes- Monday

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On Friday, the girls and I went to the library. Charlotte picked out some readers in her enthusiasm of her new skill and a Charlie and Lola story. Miriam’s first pick was a book called ‘Strong Man’ and her second pick was a dinosaur book. lol. She loves to scare herself.
My picks were a Moosewood Restaurant cookbook, “Double Delicious” by Jessica Seinfield which involves making vegetable purees and hiding them in regular recipes. “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver, a book that I have brought home before, but reading a book in its entirety has been a challenge these days. I’m also yet to open another beauty called “Made from Scratch” by Jenna Woginrich which is all about discovering the pleasures of a handmade life. I can’t wait to explore that one.

On the weekend, I found time to plan out our meals for a week, and make the shopping list AND do the grocery shopping in solitary. Pure joy. Weird that I find this enjoyable but moments to yourself with three small children only come on occasion so I take whatever I can get.
So here’s the plan 9 recipes, $73.59 at the store. Some will be winners, some will flop. I know this because I’m already a third of the way through my list so far.

MondayItalian Stew with winter squash and chickpeas.

A “Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health” recipe. Every ingredient in this stew is full of nutrients. My girls called it a ‘rainbow stew’. They didn’t need to know that it was full of potassium, iron, lycopene, beta-carotene, calcium, protein, folic acid and vitamins A and C. Perfect timing with all of these flu virus bugs passing around the area.

This was a winner and fed us for two nights. So here is the recipe.

  • 3 cups chopped Onions
  • 1 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 2 Tbls Olive Oil
  • 6 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp ground Coriander
  • 1/2 tsp dried Thyme
  • 1/4 ground Black Pepper
  • 2 C water
  • 2 C diced peeled Butternut Squash
  • 1 15oz can Chickpeas, drained
  • 1 28oz can diced Tomatoes
  • 1 C diced Carrots
  • 1/2 C diced Bell Peppers (optional)
  • 5 C chopped Kale
  • 1 Tbs chopped fresh Basil
  • 2 tsps Red Wine Vinegar

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In a soup pot on medium-high heat, cook the onions and salt in the oil, stirring often, until very soft and beginning to caramalize, 12 to 15 minutes.

 

 

 

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Add the garlic, coriander, thyme and black pepper and stir for a minute. Stir in the water, squash, chickpeas, tomatoes, carrots, and bell peppers. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.

 

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Stir in the kale, cover, and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, until the greens are tender but still bright green. Stir in the basil and vinegar. 

 

That’s it. Most of the work was in the prep. Charlotte helped peel the carrots and peel and mince the garlic, stir the pot and dump the ingredients in. It made about 8 cups in total.

My kids scrunch their nose up at anything that has much spinach or anything similar, so the kale didn’t really fly with the 3 and 5 year old but they ate the rest of the stew. 
Next post is a recipe from the Jessica Seinfield book, ‘Double Delicious’, Sesame Beef with Broccoli (another green that takes some convincing for the ankle biters).

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 

Snail hat

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When a sweet blonde, curly haired, 4 year old walked through my door with her Mum, wearing an adorable home made swirly knit hat, I HAD to know the pattern and how to recreate it. Her knitter Mum, pointed me in the direction to this pattern and once I got it worked out, it’s the only style of hat I’ve knit this season. 3 so far.
I came home with three different variegated color ways and my girls picked out their yarn of choice.
Here’s Charlotte in her finished hat….

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The hat is knit on straight needles, increasing on one side at the same rate as you decrease on the other side. It looks like this as you work.

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This is the first knitting project I’ve tried that is of odd construction. Directional.
Miriam’s hat was next and she’s a fan of her new snail hat.

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I started with scarves, moved on to hats, then a baby blanket for our first child. Soon my husband was making requests and I finally knit him a smoking jacket (although he doesn’t smoke but I think he thinks he looks pretty smokin’ in it) from the Son of Stitch ‘n Bitch book.
In my search for this swirly hat, affectionately named the ‘snail hat’, I came across a knitting pattern designer, the wooly wormhead. These patterns totally opened up a new door for me and I’m looking forward to trying out some of these styles next.