Monday, May 30, 2011

Singing a song, come sing along

Dare I say, it's just about Summer?! The girls spent the day in their bathing suits, which greatly distracted them from helping me plant a few long awaited herbs and two very different varieties of tomatoes. I chose "Sun Golds", for their small size and sweet, lush flavour. And "Carbon" tomatoes, with a promise for large, almost-black beefsteak tomatoes. My mouth waters as I think of crunching on the little guys and drizzling olive oil on the big'ns. I purchased my herbs and tomatoes from a young couple that runs Creekshore Farms
opting to support a local organic farm instead of a big box operation. Assuming I am acclimatized to the cold Canadian weather which delights us almost year round, I was sweating bullets after an just an hours worth of gardening, and so a second shower was much called for, after which time dinner was much requested.

Turning on any hot appliance in the kitchen was the last thing on my mind. Instead I grabbed two cups of cooked chick peas from the fridge and went to work. (There are several foods I keep ready to grab and enjoy at all times - one of which is a large amount of chick peas, soaked one night and cooked the next morning - another is avocados, lime and cilantro, and a very large veggie tray, this being my favourite as our family vegetable consumption has skyrocketed since I began doing so.)

For any of you who have suffered from any kind of digestive issues, you know the happy dance we jiggy up when a dinner goes down and easily transforms into whatever it may be purposed to do in our bodies, rather than bringing with it side effects too unpleasant to speak of.

Today I broke out into song.

Sing with me if you will, or are alone in the room...
I feel good, danananana... I knew that I would now! So good, so good! I've got FOOD!
It truly is rare that I feel perfect after any given meal, but this one was a winner. I chowed down two of these wraps, felt full but not pregnant, energized not from a sugar rush.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus and Sprout Dinner Wraps


2 cups freshly cooked from dry and cooled chick peas

1/2 cup roasted red peppers, drained if using canned

2 tbsp lemon juice

3 tbsp olive oil

1 1/2 tbsp sesame tahini

1 garlic clove

1/2 - 1 tsp coarse sea salt

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Place the garlic clove and salt in a food processor or blender, pulse to chop garlic. Add remaining ingredients and puree until smooth.

For each wrap:

8 inch flour tortilla

diced cucumber and plum tomato

a handful of fresh sprouts

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

a drizzle of olive oil, if you're an addict as I am

Prepare your wrap by spreading hummus on a tortilla, leaving a one inch border. Add cucumber and tomato dice down the centre, top with sprouts. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Fold up one side of the wrap, then two sides towards the centre. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Back Burner

There are seasons in life when new chapters begin, and others are put aside, neatly, on a burner, in the back, which is hardly visited at first, with hopes of renewed time in the days to come. Our family has started one of these chapters, we have transitioned into home schooling. Over whelmed at the thought of taking such responsibility on at first, I now see it as a very natural extension of my parental privileges. I secretly wait for a moment of panic, for stress to settle in, but for some reason, educating my children at home simply works.

I am often asked about the "whys" and "hows" of home educating. I can tell you of negative experiences at public school, or perhaps harried schedules, but in the end, it's the possibilities I am after. The unity it creates in our family, the real life learning there is so much more time for.

We've spent afternoons fishing with cousins.

We've read in the sun. On comfy chairs. With a pretty darn cuddly class pet close by.

We've cooked a whole bunch, too. In a matter of days, the girls are cooking me eggs for breakfast and quesadillas for lunch.

As for dinners, well, it's been the perfect time to pull out family favourites, leaving culinary explorations on the back burner.

Here's an example of what's on the menu.

Whole roasted organic herbed chicken, probably with a garden salad or some sort of vegetable dish.

Baked potatoes stuffed with all sorts of enticing things, like steamed broccoli and a homemade cheese sauce. An omelet might be on the side.

Homemade refried beans, Spanish rice, guacamole and a crisp salad has quickly become a number one choice.

I love to make fresh pasta lasagna, entirely from scratch right down to the marinara. Oh, and I make a bechamel rather than using ricotta or cottage cheese. Mmmmm. Left overs are the best, so I make a good amount.

Chicken souvlaki, Greek salad and roasted potatoes is a staple, too. I make tzatziki with fresh ingredients. I can't get enough of this!

Soup. Nuff said.

Some days we eat pancakes and fruit... as in any busy home!

What are your family favourites?


Spanish Rice

Serves 4

2 tbsp olive oil

1 shallot, chopped

1 1/2 cups Time Wise brown rice, or Basmati rice, if you prefer white rice

2 1/2 cups quality chicken stock

1/2 tomato salsa, any heat level (I do love the hot stuff!)

1/4 tsp salt

Heat a saute pan (if you have a lid for it, if not use a large stock pot) over medium heat. Add the oil, then the shallot and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring once in a while to prevent browning. Add the rice, toast it in the oil for about a minute, then pour over the chicken stock and salsa, season with a little salt. Close the lid, bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to low. Cook until done, about 15 - 20 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork, then serve.