Tag Archives: Food

The Sugar Shack

Every year, close to springtime with snow still on the ground, my husband and I make a pilgrimage in the woods and head for a sugar shack. This is also known in our neck of the woods as “la cabane a sucre”, and it’s basically a chance to stuff your face. Bacon and eggs, beans in maple syrup, ham and cheese folded in a pancake, split-pea soup, and, if you have room, taffy on the snow.

What am I saying? Of course you have room! It’s the best part!

For the first time, my son got a taste. He loved it so much, he stole mine.

What do you get when you mix fresh cool air from walking through the forest and a jolt of sugar with the intense taste of maple syrup? A very sleepy baby!

 

 

I carried him out of the car seat like taffy slipping out of my arms and he barely fluttered his eyelashes. I plopped him down in my bed in full snow-gear and he had the longest nap in recorded history.

Sugaring off is such a short period of bliss. The very next day, the snow was gone.

Here’s a quick recipe I created to use up the maple syrup in a healthy way.

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Seven Confessions

Reading over my last post, I realize I painted an incomplete picture of my life. Anybody who doesn’t know me might think, well this mom has it all… good for her (with a thick layer of sarcasm).

Then, my friend Caroline over at Spoiled Fruits of Empire gave me the opportunity to be a little more honest about myself. She nominated me to play this little game where I reveal 7 things you didn’t know about me, and then share 15 newly discovered blogs for the same badge of honor. Plus, you make a link to the blogger who originally nominates you.

I’m so happy to plug SFE. If you haven’t yet, pop over for a visit. Caroline is a great writer, and her blog posts are the wittiest prose I’ve come across. One of my favorites, and the one that got me hooked, was about her daughter Poppy and her doting grandfather. If she printed out all her posts and bound them in a book, it would be a best-selling hit and soon after a based-on-a-true-story movie.

Now, it’s my turn to spill the beans about myself. In no particular order, here goes:

  • Lately, my husband and I have been fighting at least once a week. We bicker daily even, quick little outbursts of frustration, and mostly it’s about parenting issues. Usually it’s worse on days when my husband hears stories from other parents describing their perfect children. “How come ours doesn’t sleep well? Why does he throw his food and make a mess? Why doesn’t he listen? Why is he freaking out? We must be doing something wrong!” My answer is a variation of “Get a grip!” Then I tell him to read this book and that book and I give him the short version explanation. Clearly, he’s only read the pamphlet on parenting and had no idea it could get this tough. Yet, he’s really a loving husband and father who just worries a lot about doing a good job.
  • I’m an Austenite. No, I do not reside in Austin, Texas. I read, and re-read, all of Jane Austen’s novels. Yes, Pride and Prejudice is my favorite. I have no idea how many times I’ve read it, but I usually crack it open once a year. There’s something that thrills me about how Austen turns a phrase, plus I’m a sucker for romance.
  • I’m a very stubborn person. The best (or worst) thing you can tell me is that it can’t be done. Watch me.
  • My house burned down when I was 10. On my birthday, no less. This sucked for a long time. My parents and brother took me to the mall to buy me a gift. When we returned, the firefighters had blocked the street and my house was in flames. Sometimes I wonder, was it a good thing that we were not home? Or would we have been able to save our house on time if we had stayed?  I’ll never forget the time I stepped back into our home, and found our beautiful Christmas tree tossed across the living room and holes hacked in the wall by axes to find the source of the fire. Half the house was gone. My father, equally as stubborn as myself, tried to fix the house himself and over 20 years later, he’s still fixing it. I’ve lived all my childhood in a dumpy house.
  • I’m a freak about a neat bed. The bed sheets must be crisp and taught. The blankets must be straight. I drive my husband bananas because he could sleep on a pile of dirty laundry and I’m always rearranging the covers. Of course, now that I co-sleep with my son, consequently sleep-deprived most of the time, I think I can now sleep standing in a messy closet if I had to.
  • I sneeze funny. I always try to hold it in and it comes out like a squeaky mouse, like this: Ha-Tchweeeee! One day, while I was driving, I tried to sneeze with my eyes open. Absolutely impossible.
  • I can’t stand a hungry person. I must feed them. I only have 1/8th Italian blood in me, but it seems enough to compulsively yell, “Mange! Mange!” and to load up their plate up with food. I’m the Nonna with a black cardigan and a white apron.

Okay, there you have it. Some of it is weird, some of it quirky. So now…

Tag, you’re it! (But only if you want to play along. Really, I’ve made this list to thank my favorite bloggers and to share some great blog resources for cooking and parenting.)

The fun stuff:

Just Wondering – Matt is a cool Seattle dad who loves to photograph gargoyles in his beautiful city. He uses some high vocabulary words, which I think makes reading his posts a lot of fun and get me thinking deep thoughts. Plus, his children are beautiful and sweet. Read this cute little post about their potatoes.

Momma Be Thy Name – Stephanie is the proud and exhausted mother of a toddler and baby twins. Consequently, she has great parenting insight and a life-saving sense of humor. Her latest post describes what her household is like when everything goes well.

On Becoming Mommy – Nikki is a healthy fitness mama who shares loads of ideas on healthy eating tips  for toddlers, on what’s worth buying for moms, and rounds up advice from other moms for great strategies on the first year. Her son is adorable, and I love reading the latest update on his new words.

Sapphire and Rain – I don’t think I’ve ever met a woman with more gumption. I say that with the highest respect I have for Jess, a single mom who has returned to university despite the heavy debt and stress load. She inspires me. Her little boy is a cutie and genius, just like her mom. And funny to boot.

The Monster in Your Closet – Another blogger who greatly inspires me. In the high seas of the Internet, Deborah challenges hundreds of readers to call-to-arms. Not only does she manage to read and respond to nearly everyone’s comments, she’s also a great mom and a published author, who loves  making silly stick figure cartoons and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I really got to start watching those.

And now for the useful stuff:

Veggie Smugglers: It’s hard to think of nutritious meals for toddlers. This mom has a zillion ideas and all kitchen and kid-tested in her home in Australia.

Chasing Cheerios: This blog has me wistfully wishing to be a stay-at-home mom. Loads of ideas on fun crafts and activities for toddlers. A few kooky ideas too… who decides to dye bags and bags of rice for a Rainbow Rice Pit? She does!

Simple Kids: When you need tips on a more zen parenting style, fun craft ideas or interesting books, visit Simple Kids. Oodles of fun links!

Made By Joel : Crafty Daddy alert. This is the kind of dad who can make bits of wires into a fun toy.

Smitten Kitchen: Mouth-watering stuff, all made from scratch, which fuel my dreams for a future life when I don’t have a toddler hanging off my leg.

Inquiring Chef: More food porn and great recipes, particularly this one, No-Knead Pumpkin Rolls. It was much easier than expected and delicious too!

The Pioneer Woman: She has the Best Pizza Dough recipe I’ve ever tried. Don’t doubt me on this. I’ve made it often, and all my friends have begged me for the recipe. It’s easy, and can stay in the fridge for up to 4 days. But that’s not the only reason why I love this blog. Her husband wears chaps. Yup, he’s a real honest-to-goodness cowboy. Oh goodness, check it out.

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Baby Muffins

We’ve just survived a bout of eye infections, ear infection, runny nose, cough and last, but not least, gastro. In other words, he had the plague.

It’s been a long road back to health, and it’s also been difficult to find ways to tempt his appetite. I’m usually quite lucky on that front. Though he has a rough time sleeping, he is not a picky eater and most of the time even loves broccoli. There are days he eats so well, it looks like I’m shoveling coal into his mouth.

This time, it’s taken a while to regain his usual feeding frenzy. When he’s getting over an illness, I always make chicken broth from scratch. When he’s willing to slurp that up, I also bake him some healthy muffins. He devours them, and most of his baby friends do too when they come to visit. The parents love them too. So I thought I’d share our favorite muffin recipe with you:

Zippy Muffins are made with raspberries.

Banana Flax Muffins (makes about 12)

Dry ingredients:

1 2/3 cups unbleached flour

1/3 cup flaxmeal

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tbsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. nutmeg

Wet ingredients:

4 mashed bananas

1/2 cup of applesauce, or more if you need to add moistness to the batter.

1/2 cup of vegetable oil

2 eggs

1 tbsp. vanilla extract

A dash of whole milk, just enough to make it a little more wet when mixing into dry ingredients.

Simple instructions: Mix wet into dry ingredients. Don’t overmix. Bake at 350 for about 25-30 minutes. You can add raspberries or other fruit into the wet ingredients, but keep at least 2 mashed bananas.

For the vegan version, my Zippy muffins, see this post on my food blog. I assure you that unlike most vegan muffins, these are light and airy.

For simple chicken soup, here’s my remedy for the flu.

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