Make, Jane, make!

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

DIY Halloween: Down the Rabbit Hole We Go...

Family costume group costume mad hatter alice cheshire cat

How many more years of matching costumes will my kids allow me? I don't know. My eldest is now almost seven and surely will tire of mommy's cute family costumes soon. In fact, I was worried that this year was already the beginning of store-bought, licensed costumes since their first costume requests were for Tranformers and various Marvel comics characters.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Mini dumpling factory II: Gnocchi!


I know some people think it's a little crazy to cook or bake with kids. The mess and the bickering and the inefficiency and all. But when you love to do something, you want to share it with those that you love. (Besides, I'll never be able to kick back and enjoy a meal made by my kids if I don't start training them now).


I love that the kids can surprise you and learn skills and have perseverance beyond what you (under) estimated for them. Check out my son in action. Turns out that little fingers are ideal for perfectly dimpled gnocchi. (And yes, the video is almost completely silent cuz that just how serious my little number two is).


It's also true what they say about kids being more interested in eating a meal they had a hand in making. I'm sure that my veggie phobic four year old would not have gobbled down these chard gnocchi in quite the same way if he had not made half of them himself. Never mind that they were a dreaded green colour and tasted fairly strongly of chlorophyll.


Additionally, I hope that my kids will grow an appreciation of food; where it comes from, what goes into it, and the people who prepare it for them. This chard gnocchi even gave them a glimpse of "from farm to table" since they picked up the chard, potatoes and eggs from the farm (Round The Bend Farm) with me earlier in the day.

Just because they can't bring home the bacon, doesn't mean that they shouldn't kiss the cook who fried it for them!


P. S.
Yes, the dishes and many other chores in our house often get ignored in favour of doing stuff with the kids. And no, we did not drink all that beer in one sitting... It was at least two.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Mini Dumpling Factory


We're having a cool summer which has been fantastic for kitchen work. Normally in the summer, my kitchen feels like some kind of medieval torture chamber... Except instead of being slowly immersed into a dunk tank, I'm drowning in heat and humidity. This year, we've barely had the a/c on at all and the windows and doors are open most days with a cool breeze flowing through the whole house.

Recently, we capitalized on the cool weather and had the kids help out in the kitchen to produce some delicious dumplings. We had some vegetarian dumplings to wrap as well, so the younger ones could help without running the risk of inadvertent raw meat consumption.


Of course having three kids do anything in the kitchen (or anywhere for that matter) will eventually result in all kinds of silliness; and these industrious faces were quickly replaced by laughter and giggles and dumplings made in every possible shape you can think of.


And as annoying as it was to endlessly repeat that "dumplings which are not closed at both ends will not stay together when mommy cooks them" I had to remember that my brothers and I used to play the exact same games when we "helped" in the kitchen.

There'd be the biggest dumpling ever. The smallest dumpling ever. The flattest dumpling ever. The dumpling with the thickest skin ever. The dumpling with only one piece of choy (vegetable). The dumpling that was only meat. The square dumpling, The triangle dumpling. And so on and so on.  I remember, my mom would separate any dumplings that she could recognize as our handiwork and make the offending party eat them. In fact, if my mom and dad are reading this right now, they are probably laughing about my brother's specialty dumplings that would only contain "one snot of filling" and thinking that I deserve whatever my kids dish out to me for the endless grief I must have caused them.

In any case, I hope that the kids enjoy learning about our food and culture. I look forward to the day that they will be able to share these things with their own families... cause what greater joy can a parent have than to one day witness their children passing on beloved family traditions and have karma come and bite them in the <fattest dumpling ever>?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

And pause...

Once in a while, the stars align and everything goes more or less according to plan. Hubby and I actually sat down to a quiet adult lunch while the boys are at school, one daughter naps and the other plays happily in her jumper.


Now I sit and digest (both are strange and rare sensations) and contemplate what I shall write to my neglected blog. Or rather, what I can write given the limited time that this total eclipse of child-demands will last and my proficiency on a phone keyboard.


Perhaps, I should stop while I'm ahead and simply say that Martha's tomato tart with its roasted garlic crust was heavenly, eaten in a quiet and clean (as can be expected) kitchen. And that soon my blog should be awash in photos and entries about Halloween prep.... If the heavens allow and all goes according to plan, of course.

P. S. And inevitably, I'm no longer sitting and digesting. Instead I'm nursing a baby to sleep and embellishing this post with pictures from my phone camera.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Radicchio and Corn Salad


This dinner was the epitome of eating as local as possible. The maple mustard chicken is locally raised and bought from our neighbourhood butcher. The carrots, potatoes and turnip that roasted under the chicken legs came from our Round the Bend Farm CSA box. And the beautiful chopped salad (save the dressing and cranberries) uses ingredients that are also from our CSA box.

(Jump to the recipe...)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Pasta Nicoise


It's been the summer of the salad. The cool weather has provided our farm and CSA box with much more lettuce than anyone probably ever imagined possible. There was a point in time when hubby and I were eating mammoth salads for lunch and dinner plus green smoothies for breakfast and snacks.
(Jump to the recipe...)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Vietnamese Sausage (Nem Nuong) Lettuce Wraps


Summer always calls for meals that are full of fresh and raw greens served with grill-marked meats. And although the heat never fully arrived this year that didn't stop anyone from firing up the charcoal and enjoying some outdoor cooking, right?


This summer, we've received such beautiful lettuce and radicchio from our farmshare that it was inevitable that we would consume a lot of it in cup/wrap form. And what's our favourite filling for our lettuce wraps? Nem nuong. Delicious grilled pork.

(Jump to the recipe)