Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy St. Paddy's Day

I wanted to share a few photos from our weekend celebrating St. Patrick's Day.  As I scroll over my posts from exactly a year ago (also here), I realize what a long way we have come in just one short year.  It gives me hope that in another year's time, I will look back at our current struggles and feel yet again that so much has changed.

This past weekend, we took the kids to the St. Patrick's Day parade downtown.  I wasn't super looking forward to the potential prospect of dragging two screaming toddlers to a parade in the freezing weather, particularly since Saturday had been a challenging day for us. 

Ok, to be honest... it was mostly because we'd been out late the night before drinking with friends... But that's besides the point.


I'm determined to not let my kids' challenges get in the way of activities we would be doing otherwise, as much as my energy can permit, so we decided to go anyways. 

Ok, to be honest... we'd already told Logan the day before that we were going and I wasn't psyched about the idea of listening to him tantrum all day if we changed our minds.  So I popped a few Advil and headed out in the cold.

And we had a wonderful day.  Logan loved getting all dressed up and covered in tattoos and he was super proud to wear the craft that he had made at daycare.



Chloé wouldn't let anyone go near her with anything other than a tattoo (she now looks like a biker baby).  But both kids loved watching the parade and were super well behaved.  They must have known I'd had too much to drink the night before ;)
Logan loved getting his hair done green this morning for daycare.  Unfortunately, he then got a little grump and this is the best pic I could get:


And I got to sport my awesome dollar store earrings.  And share a pair with my favourite Starbucks barista, who has been making me lattés for as long as I can remember.  He happened to ask me to give him my pair for his birthday and Girl Scout me just happened to have an extra pair in my bag.  Happy birthday Matt!


Tonight's dinner was green pancakes and bacon, in a lazy, I've been busy working and running kids to therapy all day kinda way.  I wish I could say that the pancakes were green from spinach.  But that was my old life.  These were done with some good old fashioned, full of chemicals, green food colouring.  And with a gf boxed mix to boot.  And so far, we're all still alive to tell about it.  Though I can feel myself losing my readers as I write this!  My little picky eaters even dared eat to eat the green pancakes.  Goes to show how much they have changed in such a short time.









Happy St. Patrick's Day to all.  Hope everyone had a great weekend.


Monday, October 14, 2013

Homemade Dark Chocolate Nutella. Yum!

Mmmm nutella... That's about all that I can say.

Before going dairy-free, I really only ever ate Nutella when we would make crêpes.  Which was maybe only twice a year.  But now that I can't actually have Nutella, there is something that makes it that much more exciting to have found a Nutella that I can eat.  Belgian hazelnut chocolates have always been my favourite, and this is as close as you can get without flying to Belgium.

This recipe was sent to me by a dear friend of mine in France.  I basically sat back and let her do all of the work, testing multiple variations of homemade Nutella until she found one that she felt was up to par.  That's where I stepped in and decided to make some myself.  The original recipe can be found here.

Jérôme took the kids outside this weekend to splash in the water on the street as he emptied the pool.


Superman rocking a bathing suit
and rain boots
 


And to dig for endless worms:

 
And play some street hockey:
 


And ball:


Just like two years ago, it was warm enough to be out in short sleeves and much too nice to be cleaning up the leaves. 


The kids had a blast and stayed outside for hours.  Leaving me all alone inside for a short while to whip up some delicious Nutella.  Poor Chloé loves this so much that she pretty much has a temper tantrum every time that I put it away.  But if I just let her go at it, I think she'd eat the entire jar in one sitting.  Right off of the spoon!  It truly is that good.

150g whole hazelnuts
100g dark chocolate
1/2 C icing sugar (or a bit less if you find Nutella too sweet)
1 tbsp. cocoa powder
pinch of salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. hazelnut oil (or other flavourless oil - I used canola)

1.  Roast the hazelnuts in the oven at 400 degrees Farenheit for 8 minutes or until they are fragrant.  Alternatively, you can roast them for a couple of minutes in a pan. 



2.  Peel the skin off of the hazelnuts.  (The original blogger, Lucie, said she got blisters on her fingers doing this, but the skins slipped right off of mine). Don't fret if some of the skins stay on ;)

 
3.  In a food processor, mix the hazelnuts until you obtain a purée with a texture similar to peanut butter.


 
Lucie mentioned that this took a lot of patience.  She processed her hazelnuts in the food processor for approximately 20 minutes and then used a mortar and pestle to finish the job off.  I used my brand new VITAMIX!!!! and mine was like peanut butter within a few short minutes.

4.  Melt the chocolate mixed with a bit of soy milk on the stove, stirring constantly.  We used some of that delicious dark chocolate we brought home from France for this :)))
 
 
 

5.  Add the remaining ingredients and process in the food processor.  Add more soy milk, if desired, until you have reached the consistency you want.




Enjoy!!  Keep in the fridge, due to the added milk and just take out a few minutes before you want to eat it so that it is easier to spread.  That is, if you don't just eat it right off the spoon ;)  

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Homemade Dairy-Free Strawberry Ice Cream

My kids are obsessed with ice cream these days.  Which is kind of funny, given that they can't actually eat real ice cream, due to their dairy sensitivities.  It all started a few weeks back, when I found these gluten-free ice cream cones (note: although we all like the sugar cones, none of us much cared for the gf cups, which just had an odd cardboard-like texture...).  I picked up a box of these cones alongside a carton of coconut ice cream as a treat for the kids when I discovered the cones.  A few weeks prior, Logan had been on the verge of tears, telling me about how all of the kids in daycare had gotten an ice cream cone while he had had a popsicle instead.

Little did I know that this was going to start a mad obsession with ice cream...  So we have been making various sorts of homemade "ice creams" lately.  Hopefully, I will get a chance to post a few more before summer is out.  Esspecially the particularly delicious mango version we made last week.


Our latest creation was based on an ice cream that Jérôme's grandmother used to make for him as a child.  She would crush fresh-picked strawberries with a fork, then add some crême fraîche and sugar and then freeze until ready.  Simple.as.that.


Since we are dairy-free, we used a soy cream substitute:


And I puréed the strawberries in the KitchenAid, since my kids are so particular with textures.  

 

This recipe only takes minutes to make and is delicious.  The kids have enjoyed it several times this week.  As have I.  Our neighbour's one year old son also got to enjoy a cone with us.     

 
 
 
  
3 pints fresh picked strawberries
1 carton Belsoy cooking cream or equivalent amount of crême fraîche or cream
1/2 C sugar, or to taste

1.  Mix all ingredients in the food processor.  For a more textured ice cream, crush strawberries with a fork and then mix in remaining ingredients.


 2.  Place ingredients in an ice cream maker, or freeze until ready to serve.




Difficulty level: easy

Monday, April 22, 2013

Brazilian Chicken Stroganoff

Oh my, blogging has taken a back seat in my oh-so crazy life... I have so much to share about life, but no time to sit here and do it.  Instead, a quick recipe...

Had I ever come across this recipe on my own I would never have made it.  Ever.  The idea of mixing chicken in ketchup and mustard and then throwing in some mushrooms...???  Well, it sounds just plain disgusting to me. 

Don't stop reading this post just yet.  I swear this recipe is actually kind of tasty.  And pretty effortless to prepare.  Perfect for my crazy life.

Jerome's cousin had been here staying with us for a couple of weeks in March.  She made this recipe for us the last time she came to visit, just before Chloé was born.  I ate it before I knew what was in it.  I probably would not have been eager to taste it, had I know how it is made.  But it's actually surprisingly tasty.  As an added bonus, both Logan and Chloé have taken to occasionally eating it. At first, we had to wash the sauce off, but now they'll even sometimes eat it with the sauce.  As long as we pick out all of the mushrooms beforehand.  Wouldn't want to accidentally eat a vegetable... ;) 

The recipe below is for a relatively big batch because I wanted to be able to put some into the freezer.  But you can easily half the recipe, if you just want to make enough for a couple of meals.

Now, I don't actually like mustard. So don't let the inclusion of mustard on the ingredients list turn you away if you're not a fan of mustard.  This doesn't actually taste like either mustard or ketchup. Just a little tangy.
 
2 onions, chopped
2 kg. chicken, cubed
just less than 1 1/2 C ketchup
2/3 C mustard (we used Dijon, but you can use anything)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 packages of fresh mushrooms or 4 cans of mushrooms
cream (optional)


1.  Cook the onions in a pot in a little bit of olive oil for a few minutes, until translucent.


2.  Add the chicken to the pot and cook until the chicken is cooked and the juice that the chicken has rendered has reduced completely.  


3.  Add the ketchup, mustard, salt and mushrooms.  Continue to cook for 20-30 minutes, long enough for the chicken to become tender.


 

4.  Optionally, you can add some cream at the end of cooking.

In Brazil, they serve this with something equivalent to hickory sticks and rice.  Even if I could eat gluten, serving this with hickory sticks just sounds too weird for me.  I served it with quinoa and veggies ;)

Makes 8-10 servings.