Friday, April 29, 2011

This Moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Gluten-Free Shepherd's Pie (with Vegan Alternatives)

You know, I don't think I ever had shepherd's pie growing up, and it still isn't my favourite. It's a brilliant meal for leftovers, but we always had dogs, so leftovers weren't really a part of our lifestyle.

However, now that we have a huge pet-void in our lives, leftovers abound. I'm still trying to figure out this weird phenomenon. But this idea of shepherd's pie has been a helpful first step.

The basic math of shepherd's pie involves leftover meat, leftover veggies, and leftover gravy mixed together and tossed in a casserole dish, topped with leftover mashed potatoes. Bake. Simple as... pie! Fricken genius.

Last night I only had leftover potatoes, though. So this is what I did:

(If you don't have mashed potatoes on hand, simply peel, chop and boil about 6, or more if you like, large potatoes for about 20 mins or until you can pierce the potatoes easily with a fork. Then drain the water and add some butter or margarine, a couple tablespoons worth or so. Also add milk, up to a cup or so. Any milk works: cow, soy, almond, rice, oat, that lonely bag of breastmilk in the back of your freezer... Ok, kidding on that one, haha. Or try coconut milk for a fun flavour! Add salt and pepper to taste. Use a potato masher or fork and make a beautiful creamy goop, and set aside.)


A Bunch of Mashed Potatoes
1 Medium Onion
2 tbsp Olive Oil (or Coconut Oil)
1 lb Ground Turkey (or chicken, beef, bison, venison, soy, lentils, WHATEVER)
4 tbsp Chopped Fresh Cilantro *see below recipe for herb & spice alternatives
2+ Cloves of Garlic crushed and minced
1 tsp Chili Powder
1/2 tsp Paprika
1/2 tsp Turmeric
2 cups Turkey Broth (or chicken, beef, veggie)
3 tbsp Arrowroot Flour
2-3 cups Chopped Veggies (the original recipe called for peas, carrots and red peppers. I used peas, carrots, celery, green pepper and tomatoes. Feel free to use anything! I bet mushrooms and leeks would be great!)
1 cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese (optional)


1. Make potatoes if none on hand. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. Chop onion and put into a large pan with oil over medium heat. Cook for a few minutes until a few onions just start to brown a little around the edges.

3. Add meat to the pan and cook until browned, stirring often. If using lentils or other beans, mix in and continue with recipe right away.

4. Add cilantro, garlic, and spices. Cook 2-3 mins, stirring often.

5. Add broth, flour, and veggies. Bring to a boil in the pan and cook 5-6 mins, or until liquid is thickened.

6. Transfer the pan contents into a greased casserole dish. Top with potatoes, and shredded cheddar cheese, if desired.

7. Bake 45 minutes, then let stand for a few minutes before serving.


*Instead of cilantro, you can try using fresh parsley. And then substitute the chili powder, paprika and turmeric for 1 tsp rosemary and 1 tsp oregano.

Monday, April 25, 2011

This is Why I'll Never be an Adult

I've posted this on Facebook before, but I came across it again, and in light of my recent cleaning and organizing attempts, it seems appropriate. And hilarious.

It pretty much sums everything up.

Friday, April 22, 2011

This Moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I See a Light at the End of This Tunnel!

Only one more day of this no Facebook crap!

I have learned a few things:

1. I suck at housework.

2. That's ok, I don't really care in the end.

3. People can love and accept me despite my flaws.

4. It's not the end of the world if I don't know what's going on with everyone.

5. It's nice to take a few moments now and then to spend with my thoughts instead of always going to the computer.

6. BUT the house gets trashed the same whether I'm on the computer or not.

7. I hate snow.

8. Ok, fine, I do miss Facebook a lot and feel totally out of the loop.


10. Next year I should give up something else.

I didn't stick with my exercising or purging, although I did make headway. To be honest, there were many days where I felt so horrible that just making it to bed time was a huge victory. There were also many good days. I think it was more important to be kind to myself than to force myself to keep up with my goals. The house will get done eventually, as long as I don't give up completely. And I have been watching Dr Who a lot lately, which makes me want to take up running. I think I might actually enjoy that. The gluten-free diet has been a huge success though, as I mentioned before. It was easy to keep up with that once we saw the results.

There are other, more deep and thoughtful things that have been going on with me since I've been disconnected, but that can probably wait. I still have some things to sort out first, I think. I feel like some big changes need to come very soon. There have been plenty of good discussions going on about these things which is exciting.

Here is a pic from today.

A little Ruthie foot print. It gives me hope for warmer days ahead. It was only 5 degrees (41F) out, but since we are stuck in the winter-that-never-ends it seemed warm, especially since the sun was finally out, so Ruthie insisted on playing outside and running through the puddles barefoot.

Monday, April 18, 2011


I'm honestly not a huge chili fan, but Dave really likes it so I make it every so often.

(Sorry the photo is so bad, I have had no desire to put any effort into my photos lately, it's sad.)

Here is the recipe I use:

In a medium to large cast iron Dutch oven (or a large pot could work) over medium heat, saute 1 medium diced onion in olive oil for a few minutes.

Add 1 lb of ground meat or meat alternative and 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley (or 1 tbsp dried parsley). Cover and let cook until all meat is browned, stirring occasionally.

Then add:

1 15oz can of beans (Pinto, Kidney, Mixed, whatever...) drained and rinsed.
1 28oz can of peeled whole tomatoes, dump tomatoes and liquid into the pot.
1 5.5oz can of tomato paste.
1 tbsp chili powder.
1/2 tsp cumin.
1/2 tsp paprika.
Salt and Pepper to taste (I use garlic salt).

Mix well, and try to mash up the tomatoes as best you can.

Then add whatever veggies you like. I usually add a handful of frozen corn, a handful of frozen peas, a handful of sliced mushrooms, and a handful of sliced carrots. Sometimes even a handful or two of baby spinach. I'm not sure if any or all of those are truly "chili-worthy" but I live way up north so as if I'd know. Zucchini might be nice too.

Mix well, cover, and simmer on low heat for 1 hour (but make sure it's still bubbling a bit).

Add 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro (or 2 tsp dried), mix well and serve with fresh, home-made bread! A salad or some kind of fresh veggie side would be good too.

Friday, April 15, 2011

This Moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Friday, April 8, 2011

This Moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Lamb Chops (and bonus lamb burger recipe!)

Dave and I have only recently discovered how wonderful lamb is.

I have blogged before about using ground lamb in lasagna - and I have also made really yummy lamb burgers (1lb ground lamb, 1 egg, handful of bread crumbs, 1/4 cup finely chopped shallot, splash or two of Worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp or so (I never measure) each of garlic salt and parsley, about 1/2 tsp rosemary, and a few shakes of pepper. Mix well and form into patties, grill, and serve topped with feta cheese, lettuce, tomato, olives and Greek dressing on foccacia buns!).

So I decided to be adventurous one day and try lamb chops. I got a recipe from the internet (I forget where, sorry) and it was DE-LISH. I must share.

Lamb Chops

3-4 average-sized lamb chops

1/4 cup fresh rosemary (or 1 tsp dried)
1/4 cup fresh mint (or 1 tsp dried)
1/4 cup fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried)
1 tbsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp pepper

1 tbsp olive oil

1/4 cup minced shallots (or 1 small onion chopped plus a couple cloves of garlic crushed)
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup chicken or veggie broth

2 tbsp butter

1. Chop herbs if fresh. Mix herbs, salt & pepper together in a small bowl. Rub into meat (make sure that everything is evenly dispersed over meat). Set aside for 15 minutes to absorb flavour.

2. With a cast iron skillet over medium heat, add olive oil and lamb chops and cook for 3-5 minutes per side. Remove from skillet but keep warm.

3. Add shallots to skillet until browned, then stir in broth and vinegar. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until sauce is reduced by half. Remove skillet from heat, add butter and mix until melted.

4. Pour sauce over chops and serve!

It is a really quick and easy meal for me, and I was actually quite surprised at how yummy it is! We are having it for dinner tonight and I am so excited!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


I miss Facebook.

There, I said it.

The first couple weeks were great, but now I just feel disconnected. I should have made sure to get people's contact info before I left Facebook, I can't believe how much I rely on it for communication. And there are so many times, like today, where I am bored and exhausted and just want to waste time reading everyone's musings and ignoring my own crap. *sigh*

Is Lent over on Good Friday or Easter Sunday? I can't remember. This is only my second year doing Lent. Maybe next year I will pick something else to give up...

Tomorrow was supposed to be the last day of my 30 Day Shred & Purge. I have done the Shred 3 times, plus I worked out with a friend once. Boo. I also didn't purge according to my plan after the first few days. Although I did get a lot done. I still have a lot to go. It seems to go in spurts. Some days I do nothing, and other days I do a ton. I guess I can just be happy for what I have accomplished, and continue on. I love making plans for stuff, but just suck at following through. It's like my subconscious always wants to rebel against what I decide consciously...

Gluten-free (GF) has been a huge success! Dave has decided to be GF permanently, as it has helped him a lot. He no longer craves sugar like he used to, and actually has energy when he is home. Gluten doesn't seem to affect me as much, but I did eat healthier overall while eating GF, so I am going to stick with it for the most part. At least I know I can have a bagel now and then and it won't bother me. =) GF hasn't been as hard as we anticipated either. I make most of our food from scratch anyway, and it's mostly packaged and processed foods that contain gluten. We also found a local place to buy authentic corn tortillas, and a new gluten-free marketplace just opened up right by our house! We haven't checked it out yet, but it's exciting and great timing.

Well, that's my update, I guess. I miss everyone. =(

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Ice Cream Cake

I've been feeling super blah lately, so I needed a fun little project. Since Gideon's birthday was coming up, and we now have an ice cream maker, I decided to venture out and attempt to make an ice cream cake from scratch. It was really exciting, not to mention delicious, and helped to distract me from the fact that the weather seems to have missed the memo that it's actually Spring now.

Gideon's party was set for Sunday night, so I had to start on Thursday night.

First I found a large bucket to use as a mold. I could have bought a huge pan, but I like to be more resourceful (ok, cheap) than that. The one I used was 2.5 Imp. Gal. (whatever that means, but that's what it says on the bottom of the bucket), it is the bucket that contained the 15kg of honey we went through in the last 6 months.

So, Thursday night I made up a batch of vanilla ice cream. I use the Kitchen Aid stand mixer ice cream maker attachment, and used the recipe from the booklet. You have to make up the mixture and then chill it for 8 hours in the fridge before putting it in the ice cream maker, so that is a big part of the reason that I had to start early and have a plan. Your ice cream maker may be different, so follow its instructions. Or, you could always just buy ice cream, let it soften a bit, and then use that. But what fun would that be?

The vanilla ice cream recipe calls for:

2 1/2 cups of half & half
. In a medium to large pot, cook on the stove over medium heat, stirring constantly, until steamy but not boiling. Then remove from heat and set aside.

8 egg yolks (the kids enjoyed scrambled egg whites for breakfast the next day!) and 1 cup sugar. Mix together with stand mixer and wire whip attachment on speed 1 for about 30 seconds. Slowly add the half & half. Once all integrated, turn off mixer and transfer everything back to pot and put back on the stove over medium heat, stirring constantly, until steamy and a few large bubbles form, but DO NOT boil.

Add 2 1/2 cups whipping cream, 4 tsp vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. Mix well, then refrigerate (you can transfer mix to a container, but I was lazy and just covered the pot and put it in the fridge) for at least 8 hours.

Friday morning, I made up the ice cream in the ice cream maker.

I sprayed the inside of the bucket down with canola oil cooking spray (you could use whatever you want to grease it up), and lined it with waxed paper. I traced the bottom of the bucket on the waxed paper and cut out the circle so that it fit snugly, and then lined the walls. The oil helped to hold the waxed paper in place. It worked magnificently and I felt like a genius!

When the ice cream was ready, I poured it in the bucket. I also added the chocolate fudge sauce and Oreo crumbs at this point, but that ended up being bad, don't do that. A bunch of the fudge leaked through to the bottom of the cake, and it all ended up sticking to the wax paper and was a huge pain in the butt to scrape off later. So, just put the ice cream in the bucket, cover with waxed paper and put in the freezer to set (minimum 4 hours).

Friday night I made up the chocolate ice cream mixture. The chocolate ice cream recipe calls for:

2 cups half & half, heat same as before and set aside.

Heat 1/2 cup whipping cream in a small pot over medium heat with 2 squares of unsweetened baker's chocolate, and 2 squares of semi-sweet baker's chocolate. Mix constantly until all chocolate is melted, remove from heat and set aside.

Same as before, mix 8 egg yolks, 1 cup sugar PLUS 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder with stand mixer and wire whip attachment on speed 1, for about 30 seconds or until all mixed.

Slowly add chocolate mixture, and then half & half to the mixer bowl. Once everything is mixed well transfer back to the larger pot and cook as before, until steamy but not boiling, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat, add 1 1/2 cups whipping cream, 4 tsp vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. Mix, cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.

Saturday morning the girls and I made up the chocolate ice cream in the ice cream maker. Next time I do this, this will be the point when I make up the chocolate fudge sauce.

The fudge sauce recipe calls for:

1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk, 4 squares semi-sweet baker's chocolate (broken apart for easier melting), 2 tbsp butter. Combine together in a small pot over medium heat while stirring constantly. Remove from heat once everything is melted and integrated, and then mix in 1 tsp vanilla extract. Set aside.

I suggest making up the fudge before putting the ice cream in the ice cream maker, so the fudge has time to cool (but DO NOT refrigerate).

Once chocolate ice cream is ready, take out the bucket from the freezer and pour the chocolate fudge over the set vanilla ice cream. Then sprinkle on Oreo cookie crumbs (just enough to cover the fudge, I used way too much and then the cake was all crumbly when I cut it). Then add chocolate ice cream on top, smooth it out and cover with wax paper and return to the freezer. You want to do this all quite quickly so the ice cream doesn't melt!

(As you can see, I did it backwards, and FYI it was not good. Well, it still turned out well and was yummy, but there was more swearing involved than I would have liked. Trying to remove the fudge from the wax paper and then spread it back out was not fun.)

Cover with waxed paper and freeze for at least 4 hours so the chocolate ice cream can set. We left it overnight.

Then Sunday morning we made up some whipped cream for the icing.

Using the stand mixer and wire whip on speed 2, whip some whipping cream (I used a whole 1L carton, but it made a ton so you could use less depending on how much you want. A good idea would be to buy 2L of whipping cream for the whole project, and just use whatever is leftover for the whipping cream.) until it starts to thicken. It can take a long time, so be patient, it WILL work eventually, I promise! Once it starts to thicken, add some icing sugar. I used about 1 cup or so, but just add a little at a time while it is mixing and then taste to see if it's right yet. I also added probably 1 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract, but again, add to taste. I don't generally measure stuff unless I have to. Continue to whip until there are stiff peaks.

Take out the bucket from the freezer, and carefully remove the cake. I first went around it with a knife, between the bucket and the waxed paper.

Then Dave, Judith and I put our hands on it for a minute to warm it up a little.

Dave then picked up the bucket and dropped it down on a large cutting board (you could also use a pan or something, as long as it's big enough to support all of the cake), and out it came.

He carefully removed all the waxed paper, and then I quickly iced the cake with the whipped cream. It was melting quite rapidly, even though it wasn't very warm in the house, so I rushed it back to the freezer on the cutting board.

Then I added some sprinkles on top, as per Judith's request.

It stayed in the freezer for several hours to let the whipped cream firm up. Then when it was party time, it was ready for eating!

It wasn't perfect, and it wasn't exactly cheap or simple either, but it was DELICIOUS!!! Totally worth it and I am so proud of myself! It was much better than a DQ cake for sure!

I still have half of it left if anyone wants to come over today (Tuesday) and help us eat it. ;)

I am also fully intending to make another ice cream cake, possibly with coffee ice cream and chocolate ice cream, for my birthday in June. I can't wait!

*Sorry that the photos aren't great quality and the writing can be hard to follow, but I'm too tired to fix it right now. If anyone has questions, feel free to ask!

Basically, you just do a layer of ice cream, a layer of fudge sauce (I'm sure you could even just buy a fudge sauce if that's easier!), a layer of Oreo crumbs, and another layer of ice cream. Then top with whipped cream. The end.

Here is the complete shopping list, if that helps:

4 1/2 cups Half & Half
Approx 2L (or 8 cups) Whipping Cream
1 14 oz can of Sweetened Condensed Milk
16 Egg Yolks
2 cups Sugar
Approx 1 cup Icing Sugar
Box of Oreo Cookie Crumbs
1/3 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
2 squares Unsweetened Baker's Chocolate
6 squares Semi-sweet Baker's Chocolate
2 tbsp Butter
9 tsp + 1 1/2 tbsp Vanilla Extract (yeah, that's a lot)
2 pinches of Kosher Salt (or any salt, I just like Kosher)
Sprinkles or Other Decorations
Waxed Paper
Cooking Spray


Large Deep Baking Pan or Bucket
Large Cutting Board or Strong Cookie Sheet
Stand Mixer with Wire Whip
Ice Cream Maker
Large and Small Pots
Stove Top
Freezer with lots of Space (preferably a Deep Freeze)
Spoons and Spatulas/Scrapers
Butter Knife and Large Knife
Measuring Cups and Spoons
Helpful Husband and Children (optional)

(My clean up crew)

I know after all that, you're just going to ask me to make you one though, right? ;)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Happy 3rd Birthday, Gideon!

I can't believe my little man is 3!

Here is his birth story, in case you haven't read it, or would like a refresher. =)

Gideon is my sensitive child. He can be intense at times, but he also loves deeply and it's so sweet. He likes things to be "just right". He has excellent pitch, and we think he will have a talent for music. He loves animals, I hope we can get him a pet some day. He also loves the computer, and of course trains and cars and monster trucks. He has excellent fine motor skills, and loves to draw, although he can't catch or throw a ball to save his life. He just may end up being a nerd like his parents. He loves and idolizes his big sister, and often is sweet to his little sister (other times not so much). He loves life and is easily excited, is adorable beyond words, and I am SO blessed to be his mama!

I love you Gideon, happy birthday!

Friday, April 1, 2011

This Moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.