One of the most glorious childhood memories has to be sitting in front of the oven, watching cookies bake. And who can forget that smell? It smells like love. The warm, gooey taste that follows is decadent. I love breaking out my trusty stand mixer and making batches of cookies with my sweet boys. Working the dough to form the cookies is such a fun sensory experience; letting them feel the squishy sensations between their fingers is so fun. It’s like play dough with culinary potential. Who says you can’t play with your food? As long as it’s not at the table, it’s fine with me. This one is Hudson’s favourite.
What’s a toonie? Like canoeing, Gord Downie and striped blankets, it’s a quintessential symbol Canadian pride. Many of us take such a ‘small’ sum for granted. Individually they may slip under car mats and between sofa cushions, but gather a bunch of them together, and they can completely change lives. 1.1 MILLION lives. As parents, we get thoroughly annoyed when our littlerless lunches return home containing untouched food. Not only have we purchased and prepared these delicacies, but we know that learning is enhanced when tummies are full. Kids are more attentive, astute and relaxed after nutritious snacks and meals. But we also know that across Canada, 1 in 8 households are food insecure, meaning that 1.15 million children are living in homes that struggle to put food on the table. It’s not only kids from these homes who need support with food during the school day, however. My kids are a prime example. Besides getting distracted by recess…..forgetting lunch, growth spurts and not liking the sandwich I slaved over are all typical excuses. For other kids, lengthy commutes, parents who have to get kids to school extra early to get to work can leave children hungry and unable to make the most out of their school day.
This spinach salad was a party favourite growing up. We always dried the spinach in a pillowcase after washing it for big parties. As a little girl I got to do the shaking. Now, I’m more of a salad spinner person, but this brings back some fun memories that make me smile when I’m getting a big salad ready for a party. I love entertaining and a good salad makes that easier to execute when I’m busy with kids in sports who need to be shuttled all over the place. When you’re used to being stretched thin, you start to develop tips and tricks that make things less stressful and this is a good recipe for those occasions.
January is the time of year where everyone is loving on salad so I thought I would share with you one of my favourite salad recipes. Salad doesn’t have to be boring, after all. It can be delicious, decadent, and it’s such an easy thing to put together when you’re entertaining a crowd. When you add a protein like chicken, or seafood, it can be a nutritionally complete standalone dish, or it can be a tasty side to your latest culinary creation. It’s just so versatile!
Making a meal, even just a salad, is a great opportunity to invite conversation with your kids about where food comes from. When you have a garden, fresh salads are good for decreasing your carbon footprint by using the food right outside your door instead of driving all the way to the store. Because we live on an island, we try to grow what we can at our house so we don’t have to bring as much food over from the mainland. It’s just so much easier to have things close at hand, and it’s easier on the earth. I hope you enjoy the spinach salad and the conversation!
- 4-7 pieces crumpled bacon
- 3 c. croûtons fried in bacon fat garnish with egg slices
- 3T. Lemon Juice
- 2T. cider vinegar
- 1⁄4 t. dry mustard
- 1⁄2 t. salt
- 1 clove crushed garlic
- Cut bacon into thin strips with scissors. Fry and cool on paper towels.
- Hard boil eggs. When cool, slice them.
- Wash and dry spinach.
- Combine dressing ingredients in a jar and shake well.
Do you enjoy cooking up fun? I love spending quality time in my kitchen, cooking, baking, adapting recipes and trying new things with my family. It makes my heart happy to put out delicious food for guests. I love entertaining and feeding my family -whether it’s experimenting with things like Chipotle Ketchup or making a family favourite recipe. I also love my Netflix. Here are some fun food related choices on Netflix that I thought you might enjoy:
With the recent engagement of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle, the Royal Family has been a subject of much conversation online and in the tabloids. When and where it will be, who will be invited, and who won’t be invited are being discussed with excitement. It’s hard not to get carried away with excitement for two people so clearly in love. With winter break upon us, here are some Netflix selections you can indulge in to satisfy your interest in the Royal Family once more:
I love being able to delight my family with holiday treats that include a twist. Traditionally, my family would serve sinfully delicious ice cream in special dishes reserved for entertaining. The kids would sit at a special table, fully decorated for the festivities. I get giddy just thinking about melding tradition with new recipes and décor that are more on trend and appropriate for my family at this time. We all grow, change and develop, and this year I will be cooking and entertaining without using dairy. The beauty of this type of change is that you don’t have to alter much in order to change a lot. Using the right products, traditional dishes can be morphed and elevated to something exquisitely better than the original. That’s what growth is about.
Stroganoff is one of those dishes passed along for generations. A comforting, hearty winter meal, I envision my grandparents dining in front of a roaring fire while watching the snow fall. The only issue for me is that traditionally, it is meats (and leftovers) that are turned into stroganoff. My husband despises turkey, and I want to entertain over the holidays with elevated dishes that give a nod to the past without using the double creams favoured by generations past. In order to satisfy all of my goals, I decided to alter the original recipe to include a variety of mouth-watering mushrooms, replace the dairy with Silk Almond Beverage and present everything inside a delectable puff pastry cup that uses no dairy.
I never met my husband’s mom, and it makes me sad every day. I wish I could thank her, cherish her and appreciate her in person, but the family lost her to cancer before we met. I have seen photos and heard stories, but that’s not always enough. There is, thankfully, one holiday tradition she began that I can continue. Every Christmas morning, we make her special German Omelette recipe. Through the flavours of this delicious strata, I connect with her on special occasions every year, and am able to share in some small part of the blessings she bestowed on her family.
My sons do sports and run around every chance they get, and most of the time, are so passionate about play that they are too distracted to eat. Our family has tried so many things in order to give them continuous energy on school days, but the very best solution has been to make sure they eat eggs in the morning. (We’re still working on finishing school lunches but at least they have some sustained energy from breakfast!) The only problem with this lofty egg goal is that Mommy doesn’t always hear her alarm…. The truth is that eggs aren’t just for weekends. Sure – you can reheat ‘weekend eggs’ during the week, but it’s amazing to make them fresh – and fast – every day. I’ve come up with easy ways to ensure they get this amazing protein each day – even when we all have a wee sleep in.
Today Ford was home sick from school so we took some time to bake a family favourite recipe that I so love on our Facebook live segment. We usually have Facebook lives on Mondays and Thursdays at noon Pacific time and baking and cooking is something I really enjoy doing live on Facebook. Normally when I’m making this particular dish, I double the batch so I have more to eat and some to freeze so that I can enjoy it later. It’s such a time saver!