Monday, November 28, 2011

Quinoa Breakfast Cereal

I made this for Ash for breakfast while she was down, hoping that it might be somewhat edible for her. Amongst a long list of other things she can't eat right now, she's avoiding dairy and wheat these days, which makes breakfasts particularly challenging.  I've made quinoa for breakfast before and just substituted the milk with coconut milk for her.  I didn't try it, but she said she enjoyed it.

1 C quinoa
2 C coconut milk (or regular milk)
handful of raisins
1 apple, peeled and chopped
pinch of salt
honey/brown sugar

Put everything into the rice cooker and let cook.  Drizzle with a bit of honey or use a bit of brown sugar.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Bran Muffins

Today's cooking adventure went just as planned.  Logan surprised us by sleeping until 7:45 and Chloé was still asleep when he got up.  So instead of being greeted by the screams that we are used to, I awoke to hearing Logan chatting away quietly to himself in his crib.  And he pleasantly said 'hi' to me when I opened the door instead of whining for about 30 minutes.  I wish every day could start like this!

Logan and I headed out on a walk to the grocery store as soon as we were up, dressed and fed.  And then after some major temper tantrums to get him back in the house, I whipped up some hot artichoke and spinach dip (that we enjoyed for lunch) and started making the zuppa du jour that we will eat tonight.  After further temper tantrums to get Logan down for a nap - first time even in his big boy bed! - I started my cooking bonanza.   

As I type this, Logan is out with Jerome at the hardware store, Chloé is still sleeping in her sling (going on 3 hours now!) and I've got zuppa du jour and carrot and coriander soup simmering on the stove top, some maple surprise cooking in the crockpot, the muffins below in the oven and some dough for homemade donuts just waiting to be thrown into the deep fat fryer (that recipe to come, if they turn out to be any good).  The kitchen is a crazy mess, the dishwasher is full and running and I'm taking advantage of what will probably be my last few minutes of quiet to get this typed up.

I love, love, love the other bran muffin recipe that I have already posted, but they make about 60 muffins.  So at times when I don't have freezer space (like now), I whip up these ones instead.

I opted to throw some frozen blueberries into these muffins, as Logan is a bit young still to be having raisins.  He's really hit and miss on blueberries.  Sometimes, he picks them out, says 'uh oh' and chucks them right on the floor.  And other times, he picks them out and they're the only things that he will eat.  We'll see what happens with these muffins...

1/4 C margarine
1/2 C brown sugar (firmly packed)
1/4 C molasses
2 eggs 
1 C milk
1 1/2 C natural wheat bran
1 C flour (I used whole-wheat)
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 C raisins (optional)

1.  Cream together the margarine and sugar.  Add molasses and eggs and beat together.

2.  Add milk, and then add bran.

3.  Combine flour, baking powder, soda and salt together.  Add to liquid ingredients.  Add raisins, if desired.

4.  Place in muffins pans and bake at 400 degrees Farneheit for 18 to 20 minutes.

Makes 12.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Hot Bananas in Cinnamon Coconut Sauce

My kitchen is still yet to be fully cleaned from the disaster I made cooking yesterday, but I have chosen to blog this recipe instead of cleaning it in the few spare moments I have free before Chloé will need to be fed again. I'll tackle the kitchen tomorrow...

I made this recipe for dessert while my sister was down last weekend.  I used rice flour instead of regular flour to make it gluten free, as she isn't eating wheat these days.  It is also dairy free.  This is quite quick to whip up.  If you don't have a veggie steamer, you can cook the bananas in the microwave (still in their skins).  Start with 30-45 seconds for one banana and increase time if the banana is not cooked enough.  

4 large bananas
1 tbsp. flour
2 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 14 oz. can of coconut milk (I used light)

1.  Remove ends from bananas but do not peel.  Cook approximately 5-10 minutes in vegetable steamer.  Using tongs and a knife, peel off banana skins.

2.  In a saucepan, combine flour, sugar and cinnamon.  Gradually add coconut milk and stir until smooth.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils and thickens, then simmer 2 minutes longer.  Drizzle over hot bananas and serve.

Serves 4.

Maple Surprise

I have a bit of a blogging backlog these days. We've had guests down for 3 of the last 4 weekends (clearly to see the baby, not us!), which means that I've been cooking a fair amount - albeit relatively simple recipes.  But still.  And I haven't had a chance to blog any of them, since I've been so busy in between guests.  

Now that the visits have come to a halt, I'm going to try to get on top of blogging the recipes I've made over the past few weeks for our guests.  But tomorrow I also have plans to make all sorts of yummy things, time permitting (aka if my kids sleep!).  My plan is to wake up, walk to the grocery store with the kids and then cook whenever they don't need my attention.  Here are my plans:  I want to dig out a recipe for homemade donuts, make some muffins, zuppa du jour for our dinner, carrot and coriander soup to stick in the freezer to go with dinners and hot artichoke and spinach dip to use the leftover defrosted spinach that I still have in my freezer. Yes, I'm a nut :)  

Everyone keeps asking how in the world I have the time to cook and blog with an 18 month old and a new born.  The answer is due to a few factors:

1.  I may possibly have the world's easiest newborn (though I have far from the world's easiest toddler, so I figure it all evens out!).  She basically eats and sleeps. And then eats again.  And sleeps again.  And she barely even makes a peep when she is hungry.  It's true.  Ask my family.  I'm not lying to make you jealous.  And this leaves me at least a bit of time to keep cooking.

2.  We've had guests down for the past few weeks.  Which motivates me to cook.  And really, guests or no guests, you've gotta eat.  Baby or no baby.  And I'm really not a frozen food person.  Nuff said.

3.  I enjoy cooking/baking and prioritize it over other things.  Such as cleaning my messy house.  I would post pictures of the current state of my house to prove it, but that would be just too embarrassing.  You can just take my word for it.

4.  I have a wonderfully supportive husband who will keep the kids busy while I'm cooking away.  Or I'll stick Chloé in a sling while he plays with Logan.  My guess is that it's because he likes eating the good food :)

On to today's recipe.  My sister, Ashley, was just down for a few days with her hubby and 5 month old.  Some very chaotic, yet super fun days.  Three babies 18 months and under makes for non-stop noise and craziness.  Though we did have a brief moment when all three babies were asleep.  Can you say heaven??  The experience made me realize that I would never cut it as a mother of twins.  Or can you imagine triplets??? 

Beautiful Maddy

My favourite niece :)

Pure chaos!! 3 kids 18 months and under!
Due to some food intolerances that their daughter Maddy has, Ash is on a very restrictive diet, since she is breastfeeding.  Which gave me the challenge of finding food that I could serve to her that wasn't super complicated to make, since time is a premium these days.  I'd come across this very odd sounding recipe years ago in the The 150 Best Slow Cooker Recipes cookbook.  And since it was one of the few desserts I could find that Ash could eat, I figured I'd give it a try.  And it was actually quite delicious.

I used sugar pumpkins to make this, which are the little pumpkins that are sold all fall.  I always buy some around Halloween to decorate our stairs outside.  I typically make my pumpkin coconut soup with them afterwards.  But when I was pregnant with Logan, I got sick after eating this soup and haven't since been able to stomach the idea of making it again.  So this is what I made with them this year.  I used rum instead of vanilla extract (I mean, who are you kidding!!).  The first batch was way, way too sweet with the 1 cup of maple syrup.  Everyone was in agreement on that.  I put in 1/2 C in the second batch and that was much better.  And I'm going to whip up some more to freeze tomorrow with the remainder of our pumpkins.  I also omitted the walnuts, as Ash is allergic, as well as the candied ginger, as I couldn't be bothered going to get any.

The predominant flavour of this simple dessert is the maple. Just don't tell your guests what is in the dessert before they've tried it, or they may not want to eat it!

4 C squash or pumpkin, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/4 C melted butter
pinch salt
1 tbsp. dark or amber rum or 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 C maple syrup
3 tbsp. walnuts, finely chopped
3 tbsp. candied ginger, finely chopped (can be found in bulk food stores)
vanilla ice cream (optional)

1.  In slow cooker stoneware, combine squash or pumpkin, butter, salt, rum or vanilla extract and maple syrup.  Cover and cook on Low for 8 hours or on High for 4 hours, until squash is very tender.

2.  With a wooden spoon or potato masher, crush mixture to a smooth purée.  Spoon over vanilla ice cream, if desired, and top with walnuts and ginger.

Serves 6.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Flourless Chocolate Cake

This is a recipe that I've been wanting to try for awhile. Ever since Madeleine mentioned it to me way back this past summer, as we were chatting about our favourite recipes (that reminds me Madeleine - I promise that I will get around to blogging Jerome's chocolate mousse recipe one day soon).  She recommended this as a relatively quick, easy and absolutely delicious dessert and she wasn't lying.

I made this this past weekend while my sister was down, since she can't have gluten (Eliza - you need to get Madeline to make this for you, if she hasn't already!!).  And it was a perfect ending for a gluten-free meal. Delicious!!  We polished off the last two slices after dinner tonight and I am already missing it. If Ash could eat chocolate these days, I'd be whipping up another one for their visit this Wednesday.

This is a Martha Stewart recipeDid I mention that it is delicious?  As my sister said, it's probably pretty likely that any of her recipes are quite tasty, since she certainly has pretty high standards.  I should maybe spend some time digging through her website when I have some time (baha! time!!).

6 tbsp. unsalted butter, plus more for pan
8 oz. (240g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used a mixture of dark and semisweet Baker's chocolate, as that's what I dug up in my basement)
6 large eggs, separated
1/2 C granulated sugar
confectioners' sugar, for dusting
sweetened whipped cream, for serving (I didn't bother, though I'm sure this would be delicious!)

This is just how good this cake was... only two little slices left!

1.  Preheat the oven to 275 degrees Farenheit with the rack in the centre.  Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan.  Set aside.

2.  Place butter and chocolate in a large heatproof bowl and microwave in 30-second increments, stirring each time, until completely melted (I opted to melt the chocolate using a double boiler instead, as I've never had success melting chocolate in the microwave).  Let cool slightly (until it is cool enough that you can put your finger in it!).  Whisk in egg yolks.

3.  In a large bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form.  Gradually add granulated sugar, and continue beating until glossy stiff peaks form.  Whisk 1/4 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture; then gently fold in remaining egg whites.

4.  Pour batter into the prepared pan, and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.  Bake until the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan and is set in the centre, 45 to 50 minutes.  Cool completely on a wire rack; remove sides of pan.  Serve at room temperature, dusted with confectioners' sugar.  Serve with whipped cream, if desired.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Spinach and Parmesan Muffins

The cheese muffins I made earlier this week reminded me of some absolutely delicious spinach cheese muffins that I use to get in Paris... of all places... for muffins. The first summer that I spent in Paris, I worked in a little American bakery - the San Francisco Muffin Company. Which ceases to exist. It was owned by an American couple and they sold all sorts of delicious North American baked goods and sandwiches that, at the time, were somewhat tough to find in Paris.

And I think my absolute favourite thing they sold was their spinach cheese muffins. Wait... maybe it was their lemon squares... but these were a close second. So I started hunting for a recipe last week after making my cheese muffins. And I stumbled across one on the Good Food Channel and made them this morning.  Tasty indeed.  I think these are going to be my favourite side to a hearty winter soup in the months to come. 

This is also hopefully a good way of sneaking some spinach into Logan.  We'll see what he thinks of them when he gets home from daycare later today, but I suspect he will enjoy them just as much as he does any muffin.  Well, except banana chocolate chip muffins, I'm sure.  I had thrown a very small handful of chocolate chips into my maple-banana muffins with flax earlier this week.  Only a small handful because I knew Logan would be eating them, and I don't really want him eating chocolate just yet.  Well, the little monkey proceeded to smash the muffin into little bits, in a hunt for the few chocolate chips he could find.  And then, that's all he ate.  Even though he usually loves banana muffins.  So maybe he'll do the same and pick out the spinach?? Or maybe if I hid a few chocolate chips into just his spinach muffins???

1 3/4 C flour (I used whole-wheat)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. sugar
75g Parmesan (I used fresly grated Parmesan)
100g spinach, cooked, cooled and chopped (I used a 300g package of defrosted frozen chopped spinach, well drained)
1 egg
1 C milk
1/3 C vegetable oil

1.  Grate the Parmesan finely and set aside.

2.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit.  

3.  Sift the flour, salt and baking powder in a large mixing bowl.  Stir in the sugar, about 2/3 of the Parmesan and the spinach.  In a large jug, beat together the egg, milk and vegetable oil.

4.  Pour the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients.  Using a metal spoon, stir until just combined.  You must not beat this mixture or stir it too much.  It should be quite lumpy, but there should be no traces of dry flour.

5.  Spoon the mixture into muffin cups and sprinkle the remaining Parmesan on top.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until risen and golden.  Serve warm.

Serves 8 (I got 11 muffins)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Slow Cooker Chocolate Cake

Wow... this is a moment made in heaven. I'm actually sitting here blogging, with Chloé in my arms and Logan playing quietly at my feet. I'd better hurry up :)

When blogging last weekend, I clicked on my link to the Cheeky Kitchen blog to check out what Brooke had been making lately. And she had just made this delicious slow cooker chocolate cake, which I have stolen straight from her blog (though I did let her know in advance that I was going to post it here).  

Oddly enough, I happened to have everything on hand that I needed for this recipe, including the plain Greek yogurt and the chocolate pudding. And I say oddly enough because I've only become addicted to plain Greek yogurt (with a sprinkle of maple sugar) in the past couple of months.  And we never, ever, ever have pudding in the house. So I'm not quite sure why there happened to be a package of chocolate pudding lurking in the back of my pantry.  Must be fate. So I was able to whip this up immediately.  It really takes only a few seconds to make.

Brooke recommends checking your slow cooker the first time you make this, to be sure not to overcook. I second that recommendation. I checked mine after 3 1/2 hours and it was already a bit overcooked.  Jerome suggested a crème anglaise would have made this less noticeable.  But alas, with a newborn, I did not have time to whip up a crème anglaise.  Next time, I'll just check it a bit earlier.  We stuffed half of this into the freezer to enjoy at some other date.

4 eggs
1 C brown sugar (I used 3/4 C)
1/2 C melted butter (I used light margarine)
1 package chocolate pudding
1 C flour (I used whole-wheat)
1/2 C milk
8 oz. plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
1 1/2 C chocolate chips (I used dark)
1 tsp. vanilla

1.  Spray a large crock pot with nonstick cooking spray.  Plop all ingredients into the crockpot and mix together until combined.  Pop the lid on the crockpot and cook for 4 hours on low.  Check the cake by inserting a knife in the centre.  It should come out fairly clean.  You'll know the cake is done when the edges begin separating from the sides of the pot.  Your first cake you make might require some checking until you get to know how quickly your slow cooker actually cooks the cake.

2.  Turn the crockpot off and allow the cake to rest for up to 30 minutes.  Slice and serve with ice cream or whipped cream or sprinkle with powdered sugar to garnish.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Arugula with Bacon and Thin Spaghetti

These days, time is at a premium. Logan is in daycare pretty much every other day. And I feel like I spend every day that he is in daycare rushing around trying to clean my house, do dishes, laundry, etc. and do any cooking or baking I want to get done. I try to force myself to squeeze in a good nap every day that he's in daycare, even if I'd really rather be whipping up something yummy. So that really only leaves a few short hours without him before I find myself racing back to the daycare to pick him up. And all of that to have the majority of my hard work torn apart again the minute he walks in the door...

Despite being squeezed for time these days, I still love to cook/bake and to be able to keep eating homemade meals all of the time. So as a compromise, these days, I've been making things that are pretty quick and easy.  I was looking for a quick, new recipe to try this week and stumbled upon this. It comes from from The Joy of Healthy Pasta cookbook.  It really did take only a few minutes to whip up and made my whole kitchen smell all garlicky (probably my breath too!).  I realized at the last minute that there wasn't enough protein in this for my husband, who is diabetic, so I threw in two small chopped chicken breasts, which I cooked before adding.  

1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 thin slices bacon, finely chopped
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 1/2 C low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 lb. thin spaghetti (I used whole-wheat)
2 C finely chopped arugula (1 bunch)
4 tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1.  Heat oil in a large skillet and sauté bacon until it is almost crisp.  Add garlic and red pepper flakes, and cook 1 minute longer.

2.  Add the broth, bring to a boil, and reduce by one third, about 5 minutes.

3.  Cook the pasta according to package directions.  Drain and add it to the skillet.  Toss well over medium heat.

4.  Add the chopped arugula and toss well.  Transfer the pasta to a bowl or a platter, add the cheese, and serve right away.

Makes 4 servings (we got 5).

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Drunk Man's Chicken

I picked up a couple of whole chickens this week on a super sale, figuring that a roast chicken is a quick and easy meal to whip together on nights that I'm pressed for time. I haven't made this recipe in years, but used to make it quite often.  It only takes a matter of minutes to get everything ready and in the oven.

Somehow though, as the day got progressively crazier, last night's dinner plans went from roast chicken with a homemade pasta/veggie salad and fresh peas to roast chicken with quinoa and peas to a Tim Horton's sandwich and Diet Pepsi... 

Let me explain. The chicken was in the oven, the quinoa in the rice cooker and the water was boiling for the peas.  Just had to get Logan, fresh from the bath, into his pyjamas and off to bed and we'd finally get to sit down to some well deserved adult time, including a glass of wine.  Wiggling around on the change table as usual, as I reached for a wipe right in front of me, Logan gave a big kick, arched his back and flew right off the end of the change table, head first. Basically landing vertically, on his head. I was right there, only inches from him and just couldn't grab him in time.  And there goes the roast chicken...

Although he seemed fine to me, after a call to Info-Santé, we decided to follow their recommendation of taking him to the hospital just in case. Insert Tim Horton's sandwiches for dinner here. Long story short, he was fine, as we suspected. And our roast chicken sat half-cooked in an oven that was turned off as we walked out the door to emerg, complete with 2 1/2 week old. Thankfully, it nonetheless finished cooking while we were at the hospital and we were able to enjoy it for dinner tonight instead. And of course, very thankfully, there was nothing wrong with Logan (well, aside from his temper, if you ask me!).

Funniest part is that the kid didn't even learn that it's not a good idea to wriggle around like that when he's being changed. I'm going to have to find a new location to change him, before he one day kills himself... as he started the whole routine again today. But this time, I anticipated the major back arch as he kicked into the table and caught him in time. Kids...

In any case, here is the recipe for you to enjoy. Much tastier than a Tim Horton's sandwich for dinner.
1 chicken (3 1/2 lbs/1.75 kg)
4 to 6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 onion, peeled and quartered
1 stalk celery, cut into 4 pieces
1 tsp. dried thyme (optional)
1/2 C chicken stock
1/2 C dry red or white wine
1 tbsp. Worchestershire sauce
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. flour
salt and pepper

1.  Remove giblets and neck from chicken.  Rinse and pat dry inside and out.

2.  Using fingers, gently loosen skin from chicken breasts to form pockets.  Stuff garlic pieces into each pocket, patting gently to spread and flatten slightly.  Stuff onion and celery into cavity of chicken.

3.  Tie legs together with string.  Tuck wings under back. (I didn't bother with this step).

4.  Sprinkle chicken with thyme, if using.

5.  Place chicken, breast side up, on race in small roasting pan.  Pour in chicken stock, wine and Worchestershire.  Baste chicken with mixture.

6.  Roast in 325 degree Farenheit oven, basting every 30 minutes for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until juices run clear when chicken is pierced and meat thermometer inserted in thigh registers 185 degrees Farenheit.

7.  Transfer chicken to platter.  Cover with foil and let stand 10 minutes before carving.

8.  Meanwhile, transfer pan juices to measuring cup and skim off top layer of fat.  In saucepan, melt butter and sprinkle with flour.  Cook over medium heat, stirring for one minute.

9.  Pour in 1 C pan juices (adding more liquid if necessary) and salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a boil.  Cook, stirring, until sauce is smooth and thickened.  Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.

10.  Pour into warmed gravy boat and serve with chicken.

Makes 4 to 5 servings.

Note: can cook potatoes and carrots beside chicken.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Cheese Muffins

I should have known as I woke this morning that it was going to be one of those days... 

The day began with me lying in bed, groggily watching Logan playing with some of his cloth diapers. Until I came to the realization that he was playing with the dirty diapers from his diaper bag. Could have been worse - at least they were all wet and not dirty! But still... how disgusting is that?

Heather called me early this morning to join her at Ikea. The last thing she said before hanging up was "no rush". Good thing. Apparently, there is no such thing as being able to leave your house in a rush when you have kids. Or, viewed alternatively, it is always a huge rush to ever be able to get out of the house... To the point that I'm wondering how I'll ever get out of the house for 7:30 a.m. twice next week to get to our doctor's appointments on time?!?!?!  I was just about ready to leave to meet Heather, but wanted to quickly change the kids' diapers before leaving. And then Chloé peed all over herself and the change table... that's how life goes with newborns.  

A few moments later, I gave Logan an applesauce pack - the ones with the little spouts you can sip from, which tend to be pretty mess free. I quickly put Chloé into her car seat and turned around to see Logan, with a huge grin on his face, shaking the applesauce pack as hard as he could. And there he was, covered head to foot in applesauce. As was the floor of my entrance, the living room, as well as two doors. Lesson learned. It is not advisable to give your toddler applesauce as you are getting ready to leave the house. Quick clothing change for Logan... that's 4 outfits to wash from today and counting, and it wasn't even 9:30 a.m. yet. And I had just *finally* caught up on all of the mountains of laundry the night before. *Le sigh*

So finally out the door and off to Ikea. After a relatively uneventful trip to Ikea, as I went to put Logan in the car, I realized that he had peed through his outfit (and all over the stroller) while in the store.  No chance that I was gonna pack Chloé back up to change him in the store, so I opted to change him in the trunk of the car. Much to the alarm of a few people who glanced in our direction, giving me "most terrible mother in the world" glares. Come on!!!  It was a bit chilly outside, but not that cold and he was only naked for a split second. And really, he survived, so that's all that matters...

In true child style, Logan fell asleep just seconds away from our house. I didn't dare wake him up, for fear that he might not nap at all today, so I decided to drive around until he woke up (enjoying the precious silence and a tea!). Only to get home to realize that I hadn't done Chloé's car seat up before leaving Ikea!!! And that's the moment where I got today's first nomination for the "best mother in the world" award. I can only be extremely thankful that we didn't get an accident on my leisurely scenic tour around the West Island...

After lunch (yes, it was still only noon!), we were off for an uneventful walk to the grocery store, followed by a trip to the park. I'm still really getting the swing of managing this whole two kid thing. Or I should say, not getting the swing of it, but hoping that I will soon. I quickly laid Chloé down on the bottom of a slide to put her back in her sling only to turn around to Logan dumping handfuls of sand directly onto her face. Poor thing is only 2 weeks old and she's already being picked on by her older brother! At least she was sleeping, so her eyes and mouth were closed...

And then we finished off our park visit with Logan pulling a Superman stunt off of one of the park structures. He was playing with (which is a politically correct was of saying pushing around) a little girl at the top of a slide. And I looked down for one second to get Chloé to feed and looked up to see him basically jumping off the top of the ladder. How can kids move so fast??? Good thing the random stranger I had just met at the park had the wherewithall to catch him. This is when I got my second nomination for the "best mother in the world" award... Even though I saw it happening and was close enough that he wouldn't have hit the ground. But there's something super embarrassing about not being the one to be the first one to respond to your kid's suicide attempt.

And yes, I came home from all of this exhausted and with a splitting headache and vegged in front of the tv with Logan playing at my feet, Chloé in my arms, counting the minutes until Jerome came home. But the day's fun was not quite yet over. Logan managed to puke all over me before the day's end. Self-induced vomiting. Caused by a major temper tantrum over I-don't-even-know-what. 

And then for one last grand finale, while I was running his bath (and in his bedroom putting away his laundry), he managed to reach a bucket on the counter (gosh he's getting too tall!), stick it under the tub faucet a good number of times, and create an artificial lake in our bathroom... good times... Lucky for him, he went to sleep without a peep, or I might have just lost it.

People have been asking me since Chloé was born if I find the adaptation to having two kids easier or harder than adapting to having a first baby. Or if I find it tough that they're only 18 months apart. Up until today, I'd have said that the adaptation to two kids wasn't all that particularly challenging. But that was before I was nominated for any awards. Funny how much one day's events can change your perspective. Today, I felt like I couldn't even handle one of them, never mind two. And I'm sure that everyone reading this who has kids has had these kinds of days where you count the minutes until your husband gets home, until your kids go to sleep, until you can finally go to sleep... and I guess that's just part of the game. 

Luckily, even in the craziness of days like today, there are many moments that help you quickly forget the struggles. Like watching Logan giggle his head off as he ran through the tunnels in the play structure or through the leaves. Or getting to cuddle with him beside me, Chloé in my arms at the end of the day. Or watching him give Chloé 10+ kisses in a row saying "mmwa" every single time. Or getting a huge chuckle over one of his first combinations: "bum boy J" - I call Logan stinky bum boy when I change his diaper, which he repeats as "bum boy" and he has gotten into the habit of calling Jerome "J", imitating myself. I'm not quite sure what he meant when he said "bum boy J" this evening, but I laughed so hard that it made up for all of the crap he put me through today!!

And I'm sure that tomorrow will bring a whole new set of adventures... though Logan is in daycare about every other day, which means that I'll have a bit more peace for some of the day tomorrow.

Given what I just wrote, I guess that it's evident that I haven't had a ton of time to be cooking/baking since our return home from the hospital with Chloé.  I have made a few of my tried and true recipes that are already up here on my blog. Particularly, recipes which tend to be pretty quick and easy to whip up, such as:

shredded chicken

chicken coconut curry soup: 


mom's mac and cheese:

date and apple muffins:

maple banana muffins with flax

apple cream cheese pie for my parents' visit this past weekend:

Logan has been on a muffin binge for the past week or so, eating more muffins than Jerome and myself combined. And since I was home without Logan on Monday, I took advantage of a quiet moment while Chloé was sleeping in her car seat to whip up a batch of cheese muffins, which I haven't made in ages.

4 tbsp. butter (I used low-fat margarine)
1 1/2 C flour (I used whole-wheat)
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. paprika
2 eggs
1/2 C milk 
1 tsp. dried thyme
2 ounces (60g) sharp cheddar cheese, cut into 1/2-inch dice (I used low-fat cheese) (next time, I'd throw in some extra cheese)

1.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Farenheit.  Melt the butter and set aside.

2.  In a mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and paprika.

3.  In another bowl, combine the eggs, milk, melted butter and thyme and whisk to blend.

4.  Add the milk mixture to the dry ingredients and stir just until moistened.

5.  Place a heaped spoonful of batter into muffin cups.  Drop a few pieces of cheese over each, then top with another spoonful of batter.  For even baking, half-fill any empty muffin cups with water. (hmm... I didn't read this step until just typing it right now... I just grated the cheese into the batter. But this sounds like it would have been tasty. I think that next time, I'll grate some of the cheese into the batter and then put some of it cubed into the middle).

6.  Bake until puffed and golden, about 25 minutes.  Let stand 5 minutes before unmolding.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 9.