Thursday, May 26, 2011

Marshmallows

Raspberry Lemonade Marshmallows to be exact!







I got the recipe here: Raspberry Lemonade Marshmallows for a Great Cause.  They are easy to make (though I didn't count on it taking over an hour to cut them!) and delicious!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO)


Once again I’m proud to be Canadian! Started in Quebec in 2003 by the Fondation Émergence, it has now grown into an international day! They chose May 17th as that was the day that WHO finally took homosexuality off the books as a mental disorder. Yeah, hard to believe that it was only 21 years ago, the same year that I came out, that being gay was no longer considered a disease.

 It’s easy for me - I live in Canada where I can get married, adopt a child, own a house with and walk down the streets holding hands with another woman.  I don't want to forget that so many other Gay, Lesbian, Bi-Sexual and Transgendered people are living their life in fear and that if they were found out they could be jailed or put to death. Today I will be thinking of them as I join the fight against homophobia.


I hope that everyone stands tall and proud today and fights against homophobia.

Monday, May 16, 2011

One year

It’s been just over a year since Liam was officially diagnosed with ADHD and one year exactly since we started him on medication. While the first trial of medication from our family doctor didn’t turn out to be the right one for Liam, we have had great success with Adderall that the pediatrician prescribed. Seeing Liam in control and enjoying life has been wonderful. He has been so focused this year that he has gone from reading at a kindergarten level last September to reading just below a grade three level. I honestly don’t think he would have made this type of progress if we had chosen to not medicate for the ADHD.

Lately however, we have all been finding evenings to be much harder, as the Adderall is out of his system by about 5:00. While that only leaves 3 hours till bedtime, it can be very difficult to get through things like diner, homework, play dates, bath time etc when all it seems that we do is nag, yell, cry and nag some more all while Liam is bouncing of the walls, flitting from thing to thing and is completely out of control. It’s no fun for Hilary and I, and we can’t imagine that Liam enjoys it much either.

So we discussed it with the Pediatrician and she was on board with trying a second short acting dose, given late in the afternoon. The main concern is that it will affect his sleep, but we are hoping that it will be mostly out of his system by bedtime and that the melatonin that he takes anyway will continue to work its magic. Today’s the first day, so we’ll see how tonight goes!

Of course one of the other side effects of most ADHD medications is lack of appetite. We still struggle to get Liam to eat and are working to make every calorie count. We’ve gone back to giving him homo-milk and will do whatever we can to get him to eat more. Something is hopefully working as he did gain a pound since his last check up 3 months ago. This is the first weight gain he has had since being on the medication, so we are very excited. He’s also maturing and more willing to try new foods. He generally still doesn’t like them, but he’s at least willing to try them. And as fresh fruit season hits us, he will resume his regular intake of multiple peaches/apricots/pears etc per day.

Overall it’s been a pretty good year for Liam. The changes in him are phenomenal and he is growing into an even more awesome kid every day.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Hilary's Pizza Challenge

Hilary and Liam decided that I should make pizza this weekend.   I was good with this one, since I'm much more comfortable with baking and have made pizza dough quite often.  When we were discussing potential toppings, I suggested that Hilary pick out toppings of her choice and make me a "black box challenge" just like they do on some cooking shows.  In essence she would give me the ingredients and I had to put them together on a pizza.   I asked her to not go to crazy, but to find something that I might actually succeed with.

Here is what she came up with for me:
Fresh mozzarella, prosciutto and peaches. 

Ummmm.... okay?  Not things I would ever think to put on pizza, but hey! I was game.  Hilary explained that it's not much different then Hawaiian pizza - fruit, ham, cheese.  When I looked at it that way it didn't seem quite so crazy.


I ended up making 4 different kinds of pizza so that we could have some in the freezer for quick and easy meals.  I even made tomato sauce to go with it.  I started the day by being pretty stressed out and feeling overwhelmed, but it all came together in the end. 

From left to right: Peach and prosciutto with asparagus,  Grilled Vegetables,  Carmalized onion with  mushrooms and Fontina cheese,   Sausage and peppers.  

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Daring Kitchen Challenge - Gumbo

I've joined an on line cooking community called The Daring Kitchen.  Each month they post a challenge and then on the 14th of the following month all the participants reveal their creations/recipes/pictures on their blogs.

Our May hostess, Denise, of There’s a Newf in My Soup!, challenged The Daring Cooks to make Gumbo! She provided us with all the recipes we’d need, from creole spices, homemade stock, and Louisiana white rice, to Drew’s Chicken & Smoked Sausage Gumbo and Seafood Gumbo from My New Orleans: The Cookbook, by John Besh.

Even though I live in the land of seafood, I decided to try chicken and sausage first.  Hilary acted as my sous-chef, helping to cut up the chicken since I'm not quite ready to go that far in my quest to cook.  Gumbo is fairly straight forward without too many ingredients.  We could not find File powder or Andouille sausage, but I think it turned out just fine without either of them.  And so far those who have tasted my Gumbo seem to agree.


The Holy Trinity of Gumbo - onion, green pepper and celery


All the ingredients ready to go.


The longest part of making Gumbo is making the Roux.  I used canola oil for my fat and it took about 20 minutes to get the rich dark colour that I wanted.

Ready to simmer.


Okra is used as a thickener.  It adds nice flavour as well.


The final dish.  Chicken and sausage Gumbo, served over rice.


The following weekend I set out to make the seafood and sausage gumbo.  This time my roux darkened up much faster, and may have even been a bit burnt.  It had a very strong smell and flavour. The combination of the roux and the sausage seemed to overpower the delicate flavour of the lobster stock that I used.


I combined lobster, scallop and shrimp since I really dislike prawns (yes I know they are really just shrimp, I just don't like my food looking at me while I eat it!)

The final dish.
I would definitely like to try the seafood version again, with a strong fish stock and a lighter roux.  Overall though, it was still pretty good.  I can't wait to find out what the next challenge will be.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day 2011

So far 2011 has not been a stellar year.  Dad dying, lice, a trip to the ER are some of the big highlights, but even the mundane day to day stuff seems to be kicking my butt.  So it was no wonder that I had no idea that Mother's day was only days away when a colleague asked me my plans.   I am going to be cooking what will hopefully be a yummy dinner for Hilary, but beyond that we are plan-less.

Since I started this blog in 2008 I've posted a Mother's day post each year, last year going so far as making it a full weeks event.  This year I don't have much to say.  There are some underlying family issues going on between my Mom and my Grandma which are weighing heavily on my heart.  So I give you instead a recap of my past posts:

2008 - A poem that I had written 5 years earlier when I celebrated my first Mother's Day as a Mom

2008 -  Contest - I wrote a story about the day my Mom got me and become a Mom for the first time.

2009 - Linda & 2009 - Iris Being adopted can mean remembering Mother's Day twice.

2010 For the week leading up to Mother's Day I wrote a tribute post to all the Mom's that are in my life.


Saturday, May 7, 2011

Venturing out in cooking

I'm daring to make dinner again!  3 dishes - but all roasted in the oven at the same temperature.

Roasted baby carrots with fresh rosemary.

Rosemary new potatoes.

Roast beef with a cognac Dijon sauce.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Fun with food

Pokémon Cheese Ball

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Grieving the other stuff

My father passed away very quickly and unexpectedly in January. It’s been hard, but I’m working through the grieving process. What I didn’t expect was how much I would grieve the losses beyond just the loss of my Dad.
  • No more homemade maple syrup. Even though my parents didn’t make maple syrup last year, there was still the possibility that they might make it again one day. 
  •  No more homemade wine. Some of my best childhood memories are from unloading cases of grapes in the garage, pressing them, tasting the fresh grape juice, helping to siphon the juice into the barrels and then months labour enjoying the new wine. 
  •  No more garden. My parents always put in a huge garden. While it’s gotten smaller over the years, it was still plenty big. There is something so wonderful about being able to walk barefoot through the deep rich soil, pluck a cucumber from the vine, clean it on your shirt and eat it.
  • No more campfires at the cabin. Watching Liam have his first roasted marshmallow in my parents bush is a memory that will be with me forever. I had always expected to share more campfires with Liam, as they were a regular occurrence in my childhood.

For now my Mom is staying in the house, on the farm. So I don’t yet have to grieve the loss of my childhood home, eating wild leeks in the bush, going for walks through the trails while beating off swarms of mosquitos. But I know that those loses are closer now than they ever were before.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

I did it!

After bitting my nails for {cough, cough} 35+ years, I have finally stopped!  And stopped to the point that they are long and I can make them pretty!


I got all sorts of lovely colours in my Easter basket last weekend.  I'm working my way through them!