A few weeks ago, Little One and I drove to the north end of the Island to spend the day with my friend SuperAmazingMommy and Maria from Notes from a Brown House. SuperAmazingMommy invited us girls over for a key lime pie taste testing and a play date for the kids.
As you may know, I LOVE baking and creating delectable, sumptuous, scrumptious treats...but I don't like eating them. I'm not a fan of eating sweets, but I do love key lime pie! I love the tartness of it! LOVE it!
If you've been reading my blog for a while, you will know that my favourite place to dine on the Island is the Garden's Gate Restaurant. They have the most amazing key lime pie. I have scoured the internet for recipes that come close to the key lime pie at the Garden's Gate.
SuperAmazingMommy found the perfect recipe and asked us to be her taste testers. Ummmm...OF COURSE we said yes!!!
Well, she nailed it! The BEST key lime pie EVER!
The key lime pie was one of the highlights of the day, but time spent with "the girls" was even better. There's nothing like spending a Saturday with girl friends! Girls can talk about anything and everything. It's a much needed part of any Mommy's life. How else can we get time to talk to other adults, get advice, give advice, be there to listen, to vent, and to just laugh at silly things?
Incidentally, that was the first day I got to meet Maria in person! We started reading each other's blogs a while ago, and found out we had a mutual friend (SuperAmazingMommy). It's not too hard to find that you have mutual friends when you live on an island like we do. Maria and I are both "Island transplants" (as some people have dubbed non-Islanders). We've chatted on the phone, we've been FB-ing and she's the one who made Little One's amazing Baptism cake and Birthday cake!
Isn't she talented?! If you live on the Island and have a special occasion, Maria is the person you want to make your cakes!!! They're gorgeous cakes and so delicious! Everyone at Little One's 1st Birthday party and Baptism loved them! Gorgeous!
I had no doubt that Maria and I would hit it off. It was like hanging out with an old friend. It felt like we had known each other forever!
I am so looking forward to my next key lime pie date with SuperAmazingMommy and Maria.
It seems like just yesterday that Little One was still a tiny baby that didn't really do much at all. Well, except for sleep, poop, pee, nurse, repeat. Oh, and she'd give us the occasional super sweet smile, which we were convinced was not a gas smile!
How did she all of a sudden turn 15 months old? How is it that she now only nurses once a day and enjoys (and I mean really enjoys) eating whatever Mom and Dad eat? She went from not knowing how to even roll over to crawling. She went from not knowing how to sit on her own to standing!
Now, I fear that I am in trouble. Hubby caught Little One climbing the stairs last week. We have three flights of stairs in our house and each flight has its own baby gate. We just hadn't been very diligent about closing the gates all the time. We haven't had much reason to before. She was very mobile, but never went near the stairs. Now Little One is all over the place and into everything. Now the gates are closed all the time.
Even things I never imagined would be used to propel her onward and upward have become hazards. My sister-in-law from down south gave Little One a drum set. Inside the drum set are other musical instruments. Little One just loves her musical instruments.
I don't know if I'd go so far as to say she's musically inclined, but she loves how each instrument makes a different sound. Oh, and does she ever like trying them out!!!
Well, this drum set has been the source of
Now, this evil drum is evil for more reasons than the mess it brings with it. Take a look and you'll know why!
Okay, Little One is quietly SITTING on her drum. Sitting!?!?! When did she learn how to do that?! It's like I blinked my eyes and she grew up!
Looks innocent enough, right? She's watching The Doodlebops on TV and looking at one of her many Sandra Boynton books. I'm still not too happy about her sitting on her drum! Dangerous! The kid has no fear whatsoever!
Even worse! She's learned that she can not only sit on her drum, but use it to climb onto things!
That's it! I'm hiding the evil drum! :)
Whole wheat pasta, 1 pkg.
2 handfuls of grape tomatoes
1/2 red onion
chickpeas, 1 can
feta cheese, just a few sprinkles
1 handful of black olives
a few drizzles of balsamic vinegar and olive oil
1. Cook whole wheat pasta as directed on box.
2. Wash cucumber and grape tomatoes. Dice cucumber.
3. Finely chop red onion.
4. Drain and rinse chickpeas (if using canned chickpeas).
5. Drain black olives.
6. In a large bowl, add balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Add cucumber, tomatoes, red onion, chickpeas, red onion, and black olives.
7. Drain cooked pasta and add to the bowl with the rest of the ingredients.
8. Toss salad, making sure the balsamic vinegar and olive oil coats all the ingredients.
9. Sprinkle feta cheese on top.
10. Dig in! Yum!
That's it. That's all.
I think it's quite funny that a 15 month old just loves chickpeas and black olives!
This recipe makes a HUGE salad serving, so it's great to take to potlucks or keep individual servings of leftovers for lunches and supper the next day. Note that I don't ever use exact measurements. Use ingredients to match your taste and your liking. I actually use a whole cucumber and a whole red onion sometimes. The whole red onion is a bit potent for some people. It really depends on what you like. You can never have too many black olives though! ;)
**This recipe was meant for the gorgeous, funny, super smart and totally amazing Jane at MomGenerations.com. Her Kitchenette Confidential posts have inspired me to post some very easy, heart healthy recipes.**
I also miss Japanese TV shows! Too funny!!!
It's been crazy busy on the farm and since I've got to get some online work done before my Friday deadline, I'm afraid all I can give you is this...
Hey! I really am losing my mind!
Case in point:
Maddy's Mom and I were taking our girls swimming and on the drive to Stinkynola, we were discussing how crazy it is that she is due with her second baby in but a few months. She's more than halfway through her pregnancy and we spoke of how amazing it was that Little One was born at 28 weeks. We discussed all the things that could have gone wrong with Little One being born so soon. Maddy's Mom and I talked about finding out things about babies before they're even born.
Me: Oh! Doctors can find out if there's something wrong with a baby before it's even born?
MM: I guess through an ultrasound.
Me: Oh! They can tell those things from ultrasounds?
(We both break out into roaring laughter)
Me: Okay...DUH!!! That's why they do ultrasounds! To see if everything's okay with the baby!!!
Another example how my brain has turned to mush? Maddy's Mom, Maddy's Dad, Jack of All Trades, Jack of All Trades' sister, Hubby and I were playing a game of Balderdash and watching the opening ceremonies for the Winter Olympics. There were interviews conducted from a really cool looking hot tub.
Me: Hey! Is that hot tub made of ice!?!?!
(Laughter ensued. Everyone was killing themselves laughing)
I then realized that obviously it wasn't made of ice!
Hubby: Hun, what happens if you put hot water on ice?
(Okay, gotcha. The ice melts. Yadda, yadda, yadda)
The hot tub made of ice was a running joke throughout the evening.
Last Mommy Brain example for the evening:
In the midst of our Balderdash game, Maddy's Mom and I kept running back and forth between the dining room and Little One's room because Maddy and Little One kept going into Little One's room and we couldn't keep an eye on them in there.
Maddy's Mom: They keep going in there!
Me: I know! It's so annoying to have to keep going after them.
Maddy's Dad: Why don't you just close the door then?
Sounds like the most logical thing to do, right? For some reason, these things don't come as quickly to me these days. My brain is mush. It's not like I'm sleep deprived. Not too often, at least. Little One sleeps in her room and she sleeps from 9PM-9:30AM. Sometimes she doesn't sleep well and keeps us up. On those nights when she needs a little comforting, I have to admit that I bring her to our room (much to Hubby's dismay). Little One always ends up tossing and turning and Hubby's a light sleeper. What's worse is that she always ends up sleeping sideways so she can headbutt Hubby in the back and kick me in the ribs.
People tell me how lucky I am that Little One sleeps through the night and wakes up 'late'. I guess the having no downtime is what's making me exhausted and often "not with it". Really, I'm not as dumb as I sound these days! ;)
Sometimes it makes me cry when I think of how I graduated from university with a BA in Honours English and after having my daughter, even the simplest things sometimes don't make sense to me.
Like hot tubs made of ice.
Now for a little randomness...
Just because I love Joni Mitchell.
Remember this? How about this? Well, here's another example of how talented these guys are!
Check it out!
I also blogged about how ever since I gave birth to my precious little daughter a year ago, I seem to be suffering from "Momnesia"!
I promised Jackie @ Jackie's Jumble of Life that I'd post the recipe.
Of course, I forgot! Well, I remembered that I told her I'd post it...but forgot to post the recipe. Confusing? Ha! That pretty much describes my life these days!
C's Homemade Lasagna Noodle Recipe
Making your own noodles really not as labour-intensive or difficult as one may think. It's far less daunting and time consuming as most people may believe...even without a pasta maker! Seriously, it took me less than ten minutes to make the noodles. You can tweak the recipe as you feel fit, but this is just something I put together. My Mom asked where I learned to make homemade lasagna noodles, and I sort of pointed to my head and said "from my head!"
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. basil
- ½ tsp. oregano
- ½ tsp. onion powder
- ½ tsp. garlic powder
- 1 ½ cups warm water
1. In a large bowl, mix flour, salt, basil, oregano, onion powder, and garlic powder together.
2. Add water and mix well. I use a wooden spoon and then to make sure I've got all the mixture properly combined, I use my hands.
3. On a lightly floured surface, knead dough.
4. Roll out the dough until thin. I try to roll it out as thinly as I can without it breaking when held.
5. To make even noodles, use a pizza cutter to cut into equal strips.
6. In a pot of boiling water (you can add a bit of salt to flavour your water), add a few of your lasagna noodles. Cook only a few at a time so the noodles don't stick to each other. Cook for five minutes. The noodles will look limp/floppy. Don't worry. They'll finish cooking in the oven.
7. Drain noodles.
8. In a baking dish, layer your homemade lasagna noodles and follow your favourite lasagna recipe. Bake in the oven. I usually do a layer of tomato sauce, noodles, ricotta cheese, spinach, sauce, noodles, ricotta cheese, spinach (you get the idea) and then top it off with Parmesan cheese or grated Mozarella cheese.Enjoy!
We know Little One loves homemade lasagna!
One of our nieces has Celiac Disease, so I can relate to Veronica's frustration when it comes to restaurants having dishes that are supposed to be gluten-free and end up being cross-contaminated or containing ingredients that are not gluten-free.
I was vegetarian for seven years (for the mere fact that meat, flesh, blood, gristle, and bones gross me out). At a party I hosted when I was in university, one of the guys brought this amazing pizza! He made three HUGE rice crust pizzas and they were devoured within minutes! It was just so different from anything I had ever had before.
Years later, when I was teaching in Japan, one of the restaurants I frequented had shrimp burgers that had rice patties in place of burger buns! What a novel idea! Gotta love the Japanese!
Photo from CBC.ca News
RICE CRUST PIZZA
3 cups cooked rice
2 eggs, beaten
3 cups Mozzarella cheese, grated
½ teaspoon oregano
1 garlic clove, minced
½ cup onion, minced
¼ teaspoon thyme
1 can tomato sauce
Mix rice, eggs, and 1 cup cheese together. Spread thinly with raised outer edge into greased pan. Bake at 450 F for 15-20 minutes or until lightly brown.
Simmer tomato sauce and herbs together for 15 minutes (oregano and thyme). Spread over rice crust. Add whatever toppings you like (olives, mushrooms, green pepper, ham, cooked chicken, etc). Sprinkle with the rest of cheese and bake at 450 F until cheese is bubbly.
I'm afraid to tell you this, but it's true, ladies!
Momnesia does exist.
Simple, uncomplicated, every day things that we used to never think twice about all of a sudden become a challenge. Forgetting that we've done things or that we have to do things just becomes part of our daily lives. Crazy.
Fatigue, stress, and hormones can contribute to this strange "loss of memory" or moments of sheer ditzy, scatterbrained behaviour.
My latest Momnesia moments:
1. Feeling upset with myself for forgetting to wish my twin nieces a Happy 1st Birthday, when I actually did wish them a Happy Birthday when I spoke to my brother on the phone.
2. Tearing the house inside out and upside down so I could find my 2008 Notice of Assessment (for tax purposes), only to discover that it was one of the first places I had looked. It was with the other tax papers...of course!
3. Calling my friend up to tell her something really important, only to forget why I called her in the first place.
4. Overbooking myself a million times over. What I would give for just one day to do nothing but laze around the house with Little One. Hasn't happened yet since we've been on the go every day of the week (appointments, meetings, errands, chores, online and offline work, visits, dinners, etc).
5. Forgetting the baby's wipes and soothers at home when we went on a day trip off-island. Gah.
6. Totally forgetting to give Hubby his messages and then get upset when he "forgets" to return phone calls he never even knew he received.
7. Crying my eyes out when Hubby makes himself bacon and eggs and completely dismisses my need for breakfast too...not remembering that he asked me twice if I wanted anything to eat for breakfast. Poor Hubby. I can only imagine how worried he was that his wife was "losing it".
The absentmindedness, ditsy behaviour, temporary memory loss, and general "not being with it" was happening too often. The more I spoke with other Mommy friends (and our family doctor and some of the nurses!), I discovered that there is a thing called Momnesia! After I gave birth to Little One, my doctor told me that I had "Mommy brain" and it was something that wasn't uncommon after having a baby.
Women can balance a zillion things at a time. However, if we pile too much on our plates, sooner or later, things will start falling off said plates. It's no wonder so many of us have these slip ups occasionally. I remember after Little One was born and I had to go for my six week postnatal follow-up, the receptionist asked me for my phone number. I stood there with a blank look on my face. I completely forgot what my phone number was! For the life of me, I had no idea what it was and it really upset me. The receptionist smiled and said, "It's okay. You've got baby brain. Don't worry about it. Oh, and it gets even worse as they get older!"
My friend, Maddy'sMom told me that Momnesia can last up to the time the baby turns two years old. In other words, I only have two years to use this "excuse"! ;)
I found this interesting book online. It's called Momnesia: A Humorous Guide to Surviving Your Post-Baby Brain.
In the meantime, time spent with family and friends is a good remedy. My friend, E and I have come up with what we call "Download Days". Every woman should have "Download Days" to just relax and chat with friends over dinner or tea. Or, if you are lucky like me to have friends like SuperAmazingMommy, key lime pie days are great too! I don't like sweets or baked goods, but one thing I have no reservations about accepting is a slice of key lime pie! The sour/tart flavour of the pie and some good laughs with friends are just the perfect combination for a Saturday "chill out" session. Thank you, SuperAmazingMommy, Maria @Notes from a Brown House, and E!Little One says that SuperAmazingMommy's key lime pie is the best ever!
Buy kids all the toys in the world and they just play with the boxes the toys come in. Give kids a Rubbermaid storage bin, and it's hours of entertaining themselves!
Little One and her "boyfriend" (SuperAmazingMommy's youngest son).
Little One standing on her own. Yikes! I think she'll be walking on her own any day now. The thought of her walking just makes me want to cry. Seriously.
"Hyper Parents & Coddled Kids" is an eye opening program.
Even before birth, we want the very best for our kids. From enrolling toddlers in ballet classes and soccer classes, to putting three and four year olds in reading and math programs, parents want their kids to have a leg up above all the other kids. The documentary discusses how "beneficial" (or detrimental) all of this can be.
The program likened children to "investments" for their parents. Being the best of the best is key. In theory, getting into the best preschool leads to getting into the best school. That leads into getting accepted into the best university...which leads to getting a good job. A good job leads to a good life.
In some cases, parents being over involved in their kids' lives and "hovering" extends into university years and even when their kids enter the work place.
Children are the most prized, precious, and important to parents. Because they'll do anything and everything for their kids, it is suggested that due to over-parenting, the result is children growing up with the feeling of self-entitlement, and being spoiled, demanding, and unrealistic. Generation Y people are as a whole described as a generation that is "challenging". Paying their dues does not enter into their vernacular.
The documentary shows how those who were fed with a silver spoon could end up not knowing how to handle their own issues, problems, or conflicts when they are in the working world.
Hubby chuckled when a clip of a baby taking swimming lessons came on. Yes, I take Little One swimming on Mondays. She has play group on Thursdays (if she wakes up early enough). She has play dates a few times a week with different kids her age. I read to her often throughout the day and I have a time of the day when she listens to music and dances with me. We have play time when we play with her toys.
To me, this is just something I can do for her while I have the chance...and the time. I know that as soon as I go back to ESL, I won't have that time with Little One to help nourish her mind and cultivate her curiosity as I do now.
I can't see myself being the kind of Mom who goes to her university with her and lines up with her at the Office of the Registrar. Though I know I will worry about her and I want her to go through life without too many hiccups, I know she needs to work things out on her own. That's how she will learn.
What do you think? Have a look at Hyper Parents & Coddled Kids. You can watch the full program here. Definitely food for thought.
I have no idea what this crazy cupcake craze is all about, but I cannot stop baking cupcakes! I don't even like eating cupcakes! Weird! People get a kick out of the fact that I do so much baking, but don't eat baked goods!
Hubby, my family and my friends don't mind being my taste testers though.
I bought these Smoothie flavoured Jelly Bellies for decorations on my cupcakes. I haven't figured what I'm going to use them for, but they are so yummy! They really do taste like smoothies!Aren't they pretty?
The Smoothies Blend flavours consist of Strawberry Banana, Mandarin Orange-Mango, Mixed Berry, Pineapple-Pear, and Cherry-Passion fruit. My favourite was the Mixed Berry. It tastes just like mixed berry yogourt. Yum! Second in line would have to be the Strawberry-Banana. It was the perfect mixture of flavours. I like anything cherry (except Cherry Cordials! Gross!). The Cherry-Passion fruit gourmet jelly beans were delectable. I have to say that I wasn't a fan of the Mandarin Orange-Mango or the Pineapple-Pear! Odd, because I LOVE Mandarin orange, mango, pear and pineapple! The pineapple and pear together just tasted really weird. I thought I was eating wax. Not that I'd know what wax tastes like or anything! It just tasted really artificial and "off".
Now, if you've been reading my blog for a while, you will know that I'm not one for following instructions. Well, not when cooking! Other than that, I assure you that I am a law abiding citizen!! Really. I am!
Most of my recipes don't have exact measurements. It's mostly "a little bit of this and a little bit of that" or "a pinch of this" or "whatever you like". Easy. It's not rocket science.
Baking is an all-together different story though. Everything has to be exact or else sometimes the recipe fails. It is a science with baking. I like to think of it as the perfect marriage of science and art.
I was pleased with my first attempt at cupcake decorating, so I decided to try a different design.
I baked some chocolate cupcakes (pretty standard recipe. I can post it if anyone wants it).
I saw a segment on Steven and Chris on how to make perfect and easy decorative cupcakes. C'mon, you've gotta love two guys showing you how to make beautiful meals, decorate your house, and wear the latest fashions! I love Steven and Chris!
Oh, right. Cupcakes. It looked pretty fool-proof on TV. Boy, was I a fool! This is why I DO NOT follow recipes! The instructions totally did not work out!!!
You're supposed to let your cupcakes cool and then ice them. Fine. Done. Then you're supposed to take marshmallows and lay them horizontally and cut them into five segments. Cut close to the end without cutting through completely. Gently fan the segments out to look like flower petals. Overlap the first and last petals and it should stick together. The marshmallows are really sticky and are supposed to "glue" themselves together.
Lay your opened flower on top of the cupcake and add a colourful jujube in the middle. Et voila! You should have a gorgeous flower cupcake.
Ummm...It totally didn't work for me. The marshmallows DID NOT stick together. They kept lifting off of the cupcake. FRUSTRATING!! Did I mention that I'm not the most patient person in the world? The jujube wouldn't stay glued in the middle of the flower either. I tried applying a dab of icing to act as "cement" and it still didn't stick!
Really frustrated, I went against the instructions and completely cut through the stupid marshmallow. Did I mention that I hate marshmallows? Well, maybe I like them in S'mores...but in nothing else! Okay, maybe roasted over a campfire. That's it.
I placed i-n-d-i-v-d-u-a-l petals on each cupcake and plunked a jujube in the middle of each flower. Done!
Not as pretty as the cupcakes I made the other day. Oh well. It's all part of the learning experience.
I have discovered since today's cupcake decorating session that marshmallows are the bane of my existence.
Today was Little One's 1 year corrected birthday. She was supposed to be born a year ago today, but arrived three months early. We had a little luncheon with her grandma, Lola, Grampy, and some of her little friends (whom she will be going to school with in a few years). I made grilled chicken, red onion, honey Dijon mustard and avocado paninis and spinach salad. I saved the top of Little One's birthday cake (and froze it) so we could eat it on her corrected birthday. I must say that Hello Kitty's head preserved very well! Thanks, Maria (for baking the birthday cake)!
I couldn't sleep because I've been plagued by an over-active mind. I ended up cleaning my kitchen at 3AM and then once I was done, I decided it would be a good idea to BAKE! That's what I do when I can't sleep. I clean and bake.
I really don't know why I bake. I don't even like eating baked goods. Perhaps it's the sheer fascination with creating beautiful things for others to enjoy. Maybe that's what I love about baking. I always end up giving my baked goods away or bringing them to dinner parties or community events.
I've decided that I want to learn how to decorate cupcakes. Why? I have no idea. I came up with this design. I piped petals out of icing and used chocolate chips for the centre of the flowers. Making the leaves was the fun part. I fashioned each leaf individually and even drew the veins in with a knife.
Along with teaching myself how to decorate cupcakes, I'd like to teach Little One sign language. It's something I thought was interesting and even good for Little One's development. I'll let you know how that goes!
My piping skills leave a lot to be desired. The petals looked better before the photos were taken. Oh, well. Not bad for my first attempt. Hubby was impressed.
If I ever give you a basket full of decorative cupcakes, a Red Currant-Rhubarb torte or a Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake, you'll know I had insomnia or a lot on my mind!
**Updated to add:**
While I was cooking supper, Little One decided to be helpful and Swiffer the kitchen floor for me. Sweet, isn't she?
Meanwhile, if I weren't crazy enough to bake cupcakes at 4AM, I decided to make homemade whole wheat lasagna noodles for our lasagna tonight.
Mmmmm! Homemade spinach and ricotta cheese lasagna!
Little One thoroughly enjoyed it!
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About the Blog Author
City girl moves to the country, falls in love, and marries a farmer. She tries to incorporate her city ways with her new country lifestyle and blogs to keep in touch with friends, family & students who live far, far away :) Can this city girl go country? Watch as she learns all sorts of exciting things about life on the farm and in a small rural community. *UPDATE* We are now parents! Our baby girl was born on Nov. 11, 2008 (at 28 weeks gestation- 12 weeks premature, but she's quite the trooper)!!!