Sunday, 18 December 2011


To my Grandmother, dearly loved, forever remembered. 

I can tell you many things about my Grandmother. Like how she loved the Toronto Maple Leafs. That she read the paper everyday. How she used to torture us daily by listening to the local radio talk shows, and later Ralph Benmergui on CBC. I don't think I ever saw her without a book by her side. She made wonderful apple pies and I'm sure Grandpa will agree, but he will tell you she didn't make enough of them. And she loved a debate. And I mean ANY debate. It didn't matter if she was participating in it or watching it- it was a favourite pastime. She had very strong opinions. And I can't fault her for that! She was intelligent, and dignified, loving and generous. She loved good food, and though she complained that my mother couldn't cook anything that she could eat, she happily ate anything I sent her way.

Politics. Well. Let's put it this way. Before taking Jon to meet her the first time I remember saying ”Whatever you do- DON'T talk about politics....” And boy did she ever fish for a political debate that day! I hope I didn't spoil her fun:)!

She appreciated simple things. She loved going out for drives, particularly along the water front. In the spring it was to see the gardens. In the fall it was to see the colour, and of course the Christmas lights in winter. She loved my children, without reservation or explanation. Even when they ran around her house like little monkeys. She never let a visit end without telling us how much she enjoyed the time we spent with her. She thought I was nuts when I said that our youngest would be born at home with a midwife, but supported the decision nonetheless. She cut articles out of the paper on breastfeeding and made sure that I knew how important it was. When we faced medical problems with Owen she was far more understanding than most. Professionals urged us to seek a diagnosis, and told us that things were terribly wrong, but she simply stated “If he won't eat that, then feed him what he will eat.” and “He will talk when he is ready, and not a moment before.” Yes Nana, you were right. She loved him in all of his quirkiness and regardless of what the Doctors said. She was not afraid. If I can be half as wise and understanding as she was I will do well in life.

Nana loved animals, and has been a long time supporter of the Humane Society. I think she was quite pleased that I spent so long working with animals. Perhaps it proved that I had been listening to her all those years! She loved to garden. And watch things grow and change.

There were only a few things that she ever told me she disliked. Cruelty of course. Violence of any nature. Teasing and torture. The squirrels that kept tearing up her lawn and garden! Having red hair as a child. I think the red hair part may have softened a bit with time, because when she noticed Owen's hair had a red tinge she seemed rather proud!

I have been blessed to have had my grandparents in my life for so long. I have many happy memories of my grandmother, and I hold them close to my heart. There was a time that I may not have been willing to say this but I am quite a bit like her. I am opinionated, and stubborn as the day is long. I appreciate simple things, like listening to my children giggle. I planted a garden this year to help teach the little ones what she taught us not so long ago. I wait with eager anticipation for the holiday season each year just so that I can watch “White Christmas” and “ The Sound of Music”. I make my children sit through them too. It just isn't Christmas for me if there isn't trifle on the table. I mute the commercials on the television and complain relentlessly about how much I hate them. I put “Riverdance” in the DVD player just to watch Owen and Daisy dance. We love her dearly, and she will be sadly missed, but fondly remembered. And just for you Nana......I will smile every time I yell at those rotten squirrels for stealing my tomatoes and digging in my garden! 

Lillian McCoy 1917-2008

Tuesday, 13 December 2011


Good Morning Everybody!

Exciting news!  A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by Laura  on Twitter.  She saw my blog post on Mutant Popsicles and asked if I would be willing to share the recipe with her readers at MOMables!   Oh yes I am willing to share!  The more, the merrier!  I checked out both of her websites and loved them so much I have decided to try to send her recipes regularly!  If you have interest in healthy cooking and want some awesome lunch ideas for your picky kiddos be sure to check it out!

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Butternut Squash Vanilla Cupcakes

The batter for this cupcake whips up into a wonderful velvet-like texture that is a dream to work with. No more boxed mixes for cupcakes in this house!  These are delightful filled with lemon curd.  Mini versions make a nice addition to Holiday Treat trays.  To increase the fat and protein content I normally substitute 1/2 cup of finely ground nuts for 1/2 cup of flour.  Be mindful if you are adding nuts and putting them on treat trays- nut allergies can be fatal!



Flour – 2 cups
Baking Powder – 2 tsp
Salt – ½ tsp
Butter – ½ cup
Sugar 1 ¼ cup
Eggs – 2
Butternut Squash Baby Food – 1 cup
Vanilla Essence – 1 tsp


* Preheat the oven to 190deg C.
* Grease well or line 2 mini-muffin trays.
* Sift together flour + baking powder + salt 3 times. Keep aside.
* Cream the butter and sugar well on high speed until light and fluffy.
* Beat in vanilla essence, followed by eggs beaten in 1 by 1.
* Now beat in flour and squash alternatively till well incorporated.
* Put about a tsp full in each mini muffin casing, about ¾ full, as it will rise.
* You can add sprinkles on top if you like.
* Bake at 190deg C for 10-15 mins till golden brown.
* Remove immediately and cool on racks.
* If desired, ice them with a rosette of buttercream or ganache.
* Makes about 50-60 mini-muffins, which are ideal for a birthday party.

Note: This quantity also makes approximately 18 regular muffins.

This one has Chocolate Chip Vanilla Buttercream

Now for the frosting, which was by far the best tasting frosting I have ever made!  I only use real butter- I know, it's "bad" for you, but nothing that tastes this good could possibly be bad:)  Highly coveted recipe.....

1/2 cup of room temperature butter
2-3 cups of sifted icing sugar
1/4 cup frozen raspberries pureed with 1 tbsp triple sec or orange juice

Beat icing sugar with butter until creamy- add as much or as little as you like to get the best consistency- I mixed in about 2 1/2 cups and made a really stiff frosting first. Add the raspberry puree- again, you can add as much or as little as you want depending on how much of the raspberry flavour you want to come through- I went with the whole amount, which made a beautiful deep rose colour. Pipe (or spread) onto cooled cupcakes. Let them sit overnight so that the flavours blend.

Let me know if you give them a try, I would love to hear from you!