Sunday, 20 May 2012

Eating Fresh

Summer is coming!  In honour of the warm weather I thought I would post some of our favourite salad ideas.  Just like The Sandwich Generation post I am keeping this short- just the basic ingredients with no specific recipes, hoping to inspire you to experiment a bit with flavour!  What are your favourite salad ideas?

Dilled Potato Salad

A long time favourite- baby potatoes, finely diced onions, and fresh dill with mayonnaise and a splash of dill pickle "juice".  Make this the day before you need it- I always double the recipe because you can never have too many leftovers.
Coconut Curried Rice Salad

 Grated carrot, onion, red pepper, garlic, sugar snap peas (or edamame), kale, mushrooms- or anything that you find in the bottom of your fridge, lightly sautéed and tossed with a cup of cooked jasmine rice.  Dressed with coconut milk, green curry paste (to taste) and a dash of soya sauce.  I like this slightly warmed, but everybody else enjoys it cold.  To each his own.
Orange Glazed Pork with Mango Salsa and Mixed Greens
 Boneless pork chops glazed with orange marmalade, grilled and sliced.  Mango salsa (mango, pineapple, cucumber, red peppers, finely diced onions, garlic, lime juice and fresh cilantro) served on a pretty bed of mixed spring greens.  Orange sesame dressing.  DIVINE.
Carne Asada Marinated Steak Salad

Grilled steak with tomato, cucumber, avocado, grilled corn on mixed baby greens.  Lime vinaigrette- fresh squeezed limes, orange juice and honey and cilantro.  I wish I could eat like this every day!

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Dairy Free Sorbet

One of my biggest struggles with food sensitivities and feeding disorders is having to say "no" to a lot of foods that we used to think of as staples of childhood.  Just take a moment to think about ice cream on a hot summer day.  Walking around a busy street lined with cafes and patios, all of them promising cool creamy treats. Families wandering around with ice cream cones in hand, the creamy goodness dripping down the side as it melts. Think of birthday parties with cakes that are always laden with milk or milk products, and the cool, creamy ice cream almost always served on top.  I've even heard it said that ice cream is the best way to end a perfect day.
Stop the drips!  A marshmallow in the bottom of the cone helps control flow!

Now imagine having two kids that can eat it, and one kid (the tiny one that rarely asks for food) that can't.  He never cries if I say no to food.  But my heart breaks every single time.

As luck would have it, I have an ice cream maker, and I am stubborn.  Truly a great combination.  I've tried  a number of ice cream recipes over the past year and often been disappointed with the results.  Not creamy enough, too eggy, too solid to scoop.  The list goes on and on.  And perhaps the worst part- most of the ice cream I've made to date was full of milk products, so it was something that we grown ups ate if the kids were in bed.  We've tried some commercially made "ice creams" that are made with milk substitutes but they always fell way short of awesome.  So I started looking for dairy free sorbet.  But since they are fat free and only around 80 kcals per serving I needed something a bit richer for my skinny little guy.

Creamy, Dreamy Coconut Milk.  What would happen if I added half coconut milk and half water to a sorbet recipe?  The answer, my dear readers, is an excellent, dairy free, super rich summer treat.  This is as close to "ice cream" as you can get without milk ingredients.  So rich that you only need a mini scoop to feel like royalty.  And best of all, in our house, we got to see all three monsters with chocolate ice cream dripping from their chins.  That is a memory that will last forever!  This may look labour intensive, but other than cooling and freezing time you can whip it up in less than 15 minutes.

Chocolate Sorbet

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp high quality cocoa
4 oz semi sweet or bittersweet chocolate*, finely chopped (you can use chocolate chips if you prefer)
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp espresso
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup coconut milk (go for organic full fat, not "lite", trust me!)
1 shot of alcohol (Bailey's Irish Cream*, vodka, rum, Chambord, Grand Marnier, brandy, Cognac, Bourbon) 

Freeze ice cream maker bowl according to manufacturers directions.

In a saucepan, combine water and sugar.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 4 minutes.  Meanwhile, chop chocolate and place in a bowl.  Sprinkle with cocoa.  Pour hot sugar syrup over the chocolate and cocoa, whisking until smooth.  Add salt, vanilla and espresso.  Place chocolate mixture in the fridge for 4 hours, or overnight.
Whip cold coconut milk until fluffy- about 2 minutes.  Add the chocolate mixture to the coconut milk and blend well.  Pour into ice cream maker and process for 20-30 minutes (this will depend on your machine).  Scrape in to a freezer safe bowl.  Enjoy!

*If you are going dairy free, make sure you double check the chocolate you are using for milk ingredients, and avoid the Bailey's Irish Cream.  Vodka leaves the least amount of flavour in your sorbet.

Chocolate Sorbet on home made Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

A Photo Challenge

My awesome friend,  Liz McLellan has graciously issued a lovely photograph-challenge to her fellow bloggers, as per this challenge from Hostel Bookers 7 Super Shots. I was lucky enough to host a bit of a Twitter party this past weekend, and I got to meet a number of local girls and share a ton of cake, a number of stories and some of the best laughs of my life! I love a challenge, so here goes!

The challenge:
1. Choose 7 of your own photos, one for each of the following categories:

  • A photo that…takes my breath away
  • A photo that…makes me laugh or smile
  • A photo that…makes me dream
  • A photo that…makes me think
  • A photo that…makes my mouth water
  • A photo that…tells a story
  • A photo that…I am most proud of (aka my worthy of National Geographic shot)
2. Write a short description for each image.
3. Write somewhere in your blog post: ‘I am taking part in HostelBookers 7 Super Shots.
4. Tell us you have participated and tweet the hashtag #7SuperShots
5. Nominate 5 other bloggers by including a link to their blog in your post.
We will be retweeting and sharing the best posts from participating bloggers

A photo that takes my breath away

 There it is, a large piece of my heart running around outside of my body.  Breathless, I wait and watch, hoping that the world will be a gentle place for him.

 A photo that makes me smile or laugh

"What pie?"

A photo that makes me dream

I dreamt of you.  I dream for you.  But most importantly, I will dream with you.  My cup runneth over.

A photo that makes me think

There is no safer place in the world than in your father's heart.

A photo that makes my mouth water

Lemon Ice Box Cake

A photo that tells a story

The longest day.  Surgery number two.  Black and white to spare you the blood on his lips.  

A photo that I am most proud of (aka my worthy of National Geographic shot)

Something about the way the sunlight was dancing on her curls.

So I am totally cheating on the list of nominations, since I don't want anybody to miss the great post that got it all started, or the wonderful bloggers that I got to meet this past weekend!  

Liz McLennan from Life with Belly Monster is the mastermind behind my post- Thanks Liz!  Nothing like a full day being lost in the Sprung archives!

Jonathan Sprung of Life in the Wrong Lane 
Sara Hamil from They Call it Gumption
Jennifer May-Anderson of Thinking Christian  
Mandie Henderson from Voices in my Head
Christina Davies from Life with Drama Queens
Kay from Hey Mama