Thursday, June 30, 2011

::sausage rolls::


Well, yes, Oren has his own sausage rolls. But actually, I made my own - edible - sausage rolls for the first time today and they are SO GOOD! I had some unseasoned sausages (the kind from a butcher, not packaged) in the fridge that needed to be cooked up. But Wayne is on a little road trip in his putt-putt (the Metro) and there's no way Heidi and I can eat 2 lbs of ground pork between us in his absence! So I dug out my President's Choice puff pastry from the freezer (always good to have on hand - they go on special for $2/box and I stock up) and away I went!

The recipe is from Canadianliving.com and it's a winner - easy, too. I did change it a little, so here is my version. Served hot with President's Choice Memories of Tuscany Balsamic Fig sauce - DELISH!

Puff Pastry Sausage Rolls
(adapted from Canadian Living magazine)

Ingredients

2 eggs, divided
1.5 to 2 lbs. pork sausage, casings removed
1/2 cup boxed stovetop stuffing for chicken, dry
2 Tbsp dried parsley
1/2 cup minced onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 package frozen all-butter puffpastry, thawed and chilled
3 tbsp Dijon mustard

Preparation

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

In bowl, beat one of the eggs until frothy; blend in sausage, stuffing mix, parsley, onion and garlic. Get dirty; take off your rings and use your hands! Set aside.

On lightly floured surface, unroll pastry; place both sheets lengthwise end to end, slightly overlapping. Roll out and roll over the seam to seal the two pieces. Cut lengthwise into three even strips. Brush each with mustard lengthwise down the centre; spoon about one-third of the sausage mixture lengthwise down centre of each.


In small bowl, whisk remaining egg with 1 Tbsp water; brush along one long side of each piece of puff pastry (on the inside of what will become the roll). Fold the un-brushed long sides over to cover filling and onto the egg-brushed pastry on the opposite side; press firmly to seal.

Cut each roll in half and arrange rolls, seam side down, on one of the prepared pans (you should have six half-rolls). Freeze until firm, about 15 minutes. Remove from freezer and cut each half-roll crosswise into four pieces; space about one inch apart on two prepared pans.

Brush remaining egg-water wash over individual rolls. Bake in 425°F (220°C) oven until puffed and golden, about 20 minutes.

Yum! Remember: these are best reheated in the oven or toaster oven, not a microwave.






Saturday, June 25, 2011

::May::


Wayne’s sister, Jennifer, and her husband, Keith, arrived mid-May in their new trailer! It was pretty snazzy. And so roomy that they brought their two cats, Buzz & Muffin, and two dogs, Beagles Taboo & Koda, along for the ride. We had nice weather, and I learned to make some yummy gluten-free recipes for Keith.  

I wish we could have visitors every month.

In May, I also started volunteering to write for the Carberry News Express, a little newspaper in a small town just east of Shilo. Quite a few military members live there and make the commute into the base every day, and the community centre here does its best to make them feel included by running ads in their papers, as well as running a bi-weekly column highlighting local Army life. So that is what I am writing and I’m finding it fun and therapeutic, actually. It’s nice to have an outlet and to know I’m reaching people who live the same lifestyle. Hopefully, the themes I write on can open conversations and encourage camaraderie among military families in that town.

Then, after May long weekend, we packed up the family – Dora, too! – and hit the road heading west, toward Vancouver. We travelled for three days by car, stopping in Swift Current, SK, and Revelstoke, BC, for the nights. It was a really enjoyable drive. I must say: portable DVD players are a MUST for toddlers. ;)

The drive through the national parks and the mountains were stunning, and I love it every time. But I can’t imagine doing it in the winter with a packed vehicle and ice/snow/avalanches. I feel like it would make me an irresponsible parent to put my kids at risk by driving through the mountains in such conditions. So we are seriously reevaluating going to BC for Christmas this year. Who knows? Maybe we’ll have more visitors here, anyway? (hint, hint)

Here are some pics from our trip:

 Nana B. snuggles with Oren

Nana Wood hangs with Heidi, Gigi and Wayne's wallet. ;) 

Catherine Lake on the Sunshine Coast: heaven. 

 Giant prawns we ate for supper, straight from he dock below Wayne's parents' vacation home in Secret Cove. Mmmm....

 Granville Island!

 Wayne sweet new ride: 1996 Geo Metro. It made it all the way back to Manitoba - no problems!

 Tanning together. ;)



Coming home to Shilo was so nice. We really missed it here. The flooding is not gone, but it seems stabilized, and the weather has turned to summer.

I went for my first post-pregnancy run tonight and we’re feeling the need to BBQ every night. I am so happy summer is here. It’s much more motivating than winter.

So that’s been my life in a nutshell. Having two kids under two really doesn’t allow for much brain function, which is why I haven’t blogged lately. But I have great ideas and thoughts I want to write about! It’s just a matter of sitting at the computer uninterrupted to get them out on the screen. Ah, life. Everything is a season.

Ciao!


::April::

Getting to know Oren was a pure joy. All parents know the first six weeks of parenthood are pure survival, and it’s no different the second time around. You just have to factor in a toddler! Heidi was (and still is) so sweet with Oren – we couldn’t ask for a better big sis for our little guy. Of course, he hasn’t started trying to play with “her” toys yet, either. ;) We made the mistake of introducing him to her as “your brother, Oren,” instead of just “Oren,” so she calls him “brudder.” And when she does try to say his name, it still comes out as “Onion.” Here is some footage of Oren's first day, and their first meeting, the day after he was born:


Wayne was quite apprehensive with Oren at first. When Heidi was born, he left less than 24 hours later to go back to Gagetown, NB, to complete his training. So he never lived life with a newborn, and this was all new to him. I admit, Oren reminded me just how small babies come, and they do seem fragile. So we learned together and gradually, Wayne and Oren have become good pals. Wayne even changes his diapers now!

My girlfriends on base, Laura and Amanda L., threw me a surprise baby shower for Oren. It was so nice! Poor Wayne was on the hook for getting me there, and is not the best liar (which is a good thing!), so I had a hunch. But I acted dumb and let him fumble his way through his excuses without calling him out. J Laura hosted and did such a great job. She even handmade wooden blocks with Oren’s name and some boy imagery burned on the sides. She is SUCH a talent! And Amanda made a stunning cake. It was so nice, I didn’t want to cut it! We had a blast and I was beyond blessed by the girlfriends I have made here.



Amanda and Becca 

More visitors came to see us in April: BFF Danielle and her daughter, Georgia. Georgia was 14 months old at the time and Danielle decided she would learn to walk while she was here. And sure enough, it worked! Heidi was ripping around Gigi all week until Gigi decided she needed to keep up, and that walking would help her cause. I caught it on video but for some reason, it won't load.  :(

They were here for Easter, and they wore matching dresses, made for them by Danielle’s mother-in-law, Joanne, who is an unbelievable seamstress!


 Gigi and Heidi went to an Easter egg hunt at the community centre on base and Gigi introduced Heidi to the glorious world of chocolate.



We really enjoyed having them here. We watched snippets of the Royal Wedding, drank a lot of coffee, and had lunch at Lady of the Lake. We even shaved Oren’s head, as all his hair on top fell out, leaving a cul-de-sac ‘do. He looked like George Costanza from Seinfeld, it was so ridiculous. Thanks to Danielle for the idea. It grew back quickly and much more evenly!

We miss you guys!




Friday, June 24, 2011

::March::

Wayne went to England for 10 days with his battery from the regiment to visit some British bases and learn more about the origins of his trade (Surveillance and Target Acquisition). He left two weeks before my due date and returned safely and before Oren was born (because my children arrive fashionably late, of course). He brought me a BEAUTIFUL wool shawl from Scotland, and of course, a commemorative magnet depicting Wills & Kate for the royal wedding!

Here he is at Edinburgh castle…

A lot of people were wide-eyed in shock when they realized I was “letting” Wayne take this trip to England so far along in my pregnancy. But I didn’t “let” him do anything. I thought it was a fantastic opportunity (how many people get a free trip to England?), and I knew he really wanted to go. Honestly, I would have felt horribly guilty if I’d asked him to stay home, and then the baby arrived past due anyway (which he did). I knew I would have been well cared for in Shilo in his absence if Oren had decided to arrive early. But he didn’t. I used to be much more cautious in these kinds of situations. But being an Army wife really makes you reevaluate your “need” for your husband’s presence at all times. Granted, I would have been terribly disappointed if he missed Oren’s birth! But I also understand that women around here do this ALL. THE. TIME., and that going to England was a great break for Wayne. It’s all about perspective.

The week of Oren’s due date (which was March 22), my cousin Sarah travelled with her hubby and four kiddos by car to Shilo from Surrey. They got to see our crazy spring snow and even delayed their trip home to meet Oren, who was born a week late. It was so good to have family here, and Stu cooked us an amazing roast beef dinner – we had leftovers for a week! Heidi had a blast with her (2nd? 3rd?) cousins!


video
Here is Heidi learning how to “play the drums” with her cousin, Oliver.

And then, OREN WAS BORN! March 29 was a good day. We met our son after an AMAZING birth at Brandon’s hospital with our midwife, Kari. I couldn’t have asked for a more attentive, caring, and witty lady to share our experience and welcome Oren into the world. The amazing Amanda Lazarski photographed his arrival and the birth went so smoothly, I would do it again in a second! It was relatively short labour – had irregular contractions while Sarah & Stu were here, then again in the night, and went into the midwives’ office for 10 am. Leah swept my membranes, and we were at the hospital by noon. Kari broke my water and Oren was born that afternoon at 3:30! I wish my labour with Heidi had been so controlled. I really panicked with her. But with this one, I felt every little thing, and even though the pain was, well, painful, it was incredible to know exactly what was happening and what to do! If you’d like to see the photos (they are really not gory at all!), let me know and I’ll send you the link. Here are a few…