Sunday, October 24, 2010

::heidi walks::

Heidi technically took her first steps on Thanksgiving Sunday, going between the two couches in Holly's living room. But since then, she hasn't been interested in trying again. 

Until last night.

A friend would wait until she was scooting by toward me, pick her up and have her walk to me instead. Twice, she took five whole steps! There were many witnesses and I was very proud. (I was also holding another girl's newborn, so that may have been incentive to get to me!) And I figured it was a two-person job - one to steady Heidi and send her off, and another person to encourage her forward. Turns out, she is quite happy to walk toward me even if I am the one setting her on her feet.

Here is video of her third time walking all on her own. As you can see, she is pretty excited, too!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


On our trip home from Vancouver, Heidi and I stopped in Golden, BC, for lunch. I wanted to treat myself to a nice meal (meaning, not Subway or McDonald's), so we headed to the Whitetooth Mountain Bistro, which is on the main strip of the downtown. It was mid-afternoon, so the lunch crowd had died down, and it was also a Sunday. Perfect for an unhurried mother sick of driving.

Even though it seems to be quite an upscale place, there was no problem providing a high chair for Heidi and they didn't even mind the mess her granola bars and MumMums made. But aside from that, I ordered the most amazing soup and salad combo I've EVER had. It didn't sound extremely gourmet, and I'm sometimes let down after ordering something I expect to be amazing, so I concentrated on helping Heidi get at least some food into her mouth (instead of on the floor) while I waited for my small spinach salad and soup of the day: tomato, roasted pepper and artichoke bisque.

What I got was an absolute treat and I've been recreating it since I've been home. First off, the soup was virtually orgasmic and presented so beautifully that I eagerly dove in without thinking to take a photo of it. Here is a similar recipe that can easily be tweaked to mimic what I had, I'm sure. Just add a can of diced tomatoes, and Bob's your uncle. I must remember when serving soups to garnish with some of the ingredients.

Anyway, maybe I'm low in iron and that's why I'm craving spinach so much, but I think about this salad every time I look at the spinach in my fridge. I also have the perfect dressing recipe, courtesy of RealSimple Magazine, to dress it up and bring out all the right flavours. The way balsamic vinegar compliments cranberries and feta just blows my taste buds every time.

While I haven't ventured to recreate the soup yet (I will!), the salad is my go-to light lunch option these days. Try it - I hope you like it!

Whitetooth Mountain Bistro Spinach Salad
Organic spinach leaves, washed and trimmed
Dried cranberries
Cashews (roasted, if you prefer)
Feta, cubed (or crumbled goat cheese, if you like creamier cheese)
Sliced beets (cooked, cold)*
Balsamic-dijon vinaigrette

*the bistro used a "beet tapenade," or puree. Here is a simple recipe I've found for beet tapenade; I've just been too lazy to make it, as I love beets plain.

Photos courtesy of Whitetooth Mountain Bistro website

Monday, October 11, 2010


 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.
~Psalm 100:4

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for:

-new life growing inside me
-a daughter who is healthy, happy, has taken her FIRST STEPS!
-a husband who values the upbringing of our children more than money and material things, allowing me to stay home
-family who is never more than a phone call or email away, even halfway across the country
-new friends who make us feel like family
-a dog who loves me even when I am exasperated with her
-a warm home to live in, and a stocked kitchen to cook in
-Manitoba sunshine
-a God who designed me, knows me, and still chooses to love me, despite my many imperfections

Saturday, October 9, 2010


Here is my version of the Pumpkin-Carrot Cake I linked to in the previous post. I had Joy the Baker's Chewy Ginger Chocolate Chip cookies in the fridge from earlier in the week and decided, instead of eating them all myself, I should use them to decorate the cake. I cut them in half and aligned the flat edges with the cake platter to create a scalloped ginger cookie fringe.

When I finished icing the cake, I contemplated using the leftover icing to slather between two cookies and freeze to make a sort of Thanksgiving ice cream sandwich. Times 10. However, I restrained myself, put the rest of the cookies on a serving dish, and will take them to the Kings' house tomorrow to offer along with the cake. My thighs will thank me later.

Here's is Kraft's version of the cake, much more plain with just cinnamon sticks on top. 

Let's hope it tastes good!

::Jade's Sweet Potato (Yam) Crisp::

Last Thanksgiving, Wayne was still training in Gagetown (where he is now. Again. Sigh.). His buddy, Jason, and his wife, Jade, invited him to their house for Thanksgiving weekend in Halifax. The next day, after the turkey coma had worn off, Wayne called me gushing about the Sweet Potato Crisp Jade had made. On and on he went about it, saying it "tastes like candy," and "certainly cannot contain anything healthy!" Sounded good to me. :) So I promptly emailed Jade, asking for the recipe and I made it again for Wayne at Christmas. It was a hit. A great way to spruce up plain ol' boiled yams at the Thanksgiving table.

Of course, here in Manitoba, I can never seem to find proper yellow-fleshed sweet potatoes (below, right), only "yams," which I have been told many times, are still "sweet potatoes," but they are the large, orange-fleshed version (below, left). And the yams I found were more than 2lbs. each - HUGE!

Tomorrow, I am heading to the Kings' house to partake in their Thanksgiving feast, along with Dora and Heidi, of course. I asked if I could contribute the Sweet Potato Crisp, along with a Pumpkin-Carrot Cake with Brown Sugar Icing from the Kraft magazine. So here is Jade's recipe, complete with photos.

::Jade's Sweet Potato Crisp::

250g (one brick) cream cheese*
2 lbs. (approx. 7 med.) sweet potatoes, peeled, cooked, and coarsely mashed**
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

Crisp Topping:
1 1/2 cups chopped apple (peeled)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
3 tbsp. flour
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp. round cinnamon (optional)
3 tbsp. butter, chilled and cut
2+ cups Honey Bunches of Oats cereal***

*I use only about 3/4 of this, or it can turn out runny. Adjust according to your preference. PS - Victorian Cream Cheese is SO MUCH BETTER than Philly or no name. So creamy.
**The "yam" in this pic is 2 lbs on its own. I used two that size but didn't double anything else in the recipe.
***I prefer Just Right cereal by Kellogg's, because it's lighter and less dense then Honey Bunches of Oats.

Preheat your over to 350 F.

In the pot in which you boiled and mashed your yammers, use your electric mixer to beat in the cream cheese, brown sugar and cinnamon. I like mine smooth and creamy, so I mixed it well. 

Spoon the yammy goodness into your fanciest oven-safe serving dish, with about a 2L capacity. This scalloped dish was a wedding gift and if it ever breaks, I think I'll cry. 

Smooth it out so it's got an even surface.

Top with chopped apples...

...and Craisins.

In a separate bowl, mix the flour and brown sugar with a fork. I like to add some cinnamon here, too, but that's your choice. It's your crisp, after all.

See how it's mixed in the corner of this photo? Then add your butter. Isn't my butter dish pretty?

Possibly one of my favourite pieces of kitchenware, is my butter dish. (Yes, this photo is a gratuitous one to show it off.) It belonged to my grandma, whom I never met. But I like to keep her in the kitchen with me in the form of her butter dish. 

Add the butter and mix with the fork until it resembles coarse crumbs.

Um, my butter was room temp so it looks a little more mushy than it should.
Remember: Do as I say, not as I do...
Use cold butter.

Add the cereal and feel free to use your (clean) hands to coat the cereal with the butter/flour/sugar/(cinnamon) mixture. 

Sprinkle over top of the fruit mixture in your fancy dish.

Stand back and admire your work.

Pop it in the oven for 35 or 40 minutes until it's heated through. The cereal should be a toasty golden brown. 

Serve immediately or keep chilled until tomorrow's dinner. You'll need to reheat it in the oven again. But if your oven is otherwise occupied with a turkey, I'm sure a nuke in the microwave wouldn't hurt. 


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

::take comfort in home::

Since the beginning of September, I have been craving slightly addicted to Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Lattes. They are ohmygoshsogood. But they are not cheap. And they are NOT fat-free (not that I usually care, because I use baby #2 as my excuse for any and every extra calorie I eat).

But the other day at the Meandher Creek Pumpkin Patch with my lil' Punkinhead, we wandered into the Farm Store and picked up some of the farm's homemade pumpkin pie spice. It was on my grocery list this week anyway, and I like to support local business (is 70 kms away "local"?), so it wasn't a stretch. And I thought to myself, "Why couldn't I make my OWN Pumpkin Spice Latte?" Wayne, being oh-so-thrifty and not a fan of Starbucks' overpriced coffees, would be so proud!

And huzzah! I have done it! And I would like to share my discovery, because I know everyone and their dogs have pumpkin pie spice in their cupboards this week, the week of (Canadian) Thanksgiving. So listen up and you can thank me silently as you snuggle into your OWN couch with your steaming cup of cheaper, less-fatty, pumpkin pie goodness.

Baxter-style Pumpkin Spice Latte

1/2 cup 2% milk (skim if you're really watching calories)
1/2 cup brewed coffee or espresso (adjust according to your taste)
3/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. real maple syrup
optional: whip cream/Cool Whip

Pour milk in your mug and heat in the microwave until hot but not boiling (mine has a beverage setting on it that worked well.) Remove and stir in pie spice and maple syrup. Add coffee, stir, and top with whip cream/Cool Whip if you're throwing your cares out the window!

Relax, and enjoy!

*Note: The last sip usually contains some leftover spices. It's pretty gritty, so I'd avoid it if I were you!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

::the kick:

It happened today. Perhaps it has happened before but the baby squirming on my lap outside was distracting me from the baby on my inside.

That tiny kick, a sweet little *poke* from the depths of my womb, and nudge to say, "Psst, Mom! Down here! Glad you got rid of that other kid so we can spend some time together alone!"

While Heidi was at the church nursery, and I sat in bliss in a pew without a wily toddler on my lap, my stillness magnified the inner bump and I was instantly gratified. After hearing his/her heartbeat two days ago (a healthy 145 BPM) and watching my belly now get big enough to officially catch crumbs (who knew the uterus had such incredible muscle memory!), the teeniest action inside my body is what made it all so REAL.

I will have TWO children. In the next year. But it's so hard to envision this new baby - how could a child of ours look like or be anything but Heidi?! She's my world. She's my heart. I can't believe I am growing a second heart and getting ready to let it walk around outside my body!

I had better stop before my head blows up from thinking too much about this! It's mind-boggling. It's overwhelming. It's inexplicable.

And that's's a miracle.