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Archive for January, 2011

One of my favorite things…


I sometimes think I have too many hobbies to do any of them justice, but having dinner parties is one of my most favorite things to do…since I LOVE to cook.

This weekend, we hosted two of our closest couple friends. Getting together with these two particular couples is always so much fun. Our conversation is always plum full of ‘spice’.  Always guaranteed laughter.

The menu for Saturday’s dinner party was inspired by Moxies….yup, Moxies! Two of my favorite items on the menu. Steak Salad, and the Halibut.

Our family is pretty social. We love spending time with family and friends…our boys are following closely in our footsteps. So before hosting our dinner party, I hosted 2 of Kai and Zay’s friends, with a little dinner party of their own…Fajitas and Cheesecake!!

An ordinary thing.


Music is such an ordinary thing, but such a huge part of me. I don’t think I could make it through ONE day, without listening to music, drumming on a countertop, humming a tune, or playing around on the piano…

It’s pretty curious how music can set the tone for our mood, gives us motivation, it can make us cry, it can make us laugh, and inevitably, really good music makes us want to tap our feet, or get up and dance.

It’s also curious to me how we can develop likes and dislikes for various types of music. Is it because we like the way a particular type of music makes us feel? How do we remember sound…this is one of  the most curious thing of all…

Since Kaeden was born, every night, before bed, I sing ‘When You Walk’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPoS5ST6hXk . Without fail…When Kaeden was about 18 months, I was putting him to bed, and he sang his lullaby, word for word, right back to me. He couldn’t even really talk at that point. It’s not that I don’t know the power that music has, but it really impacted me that day.

Music moves us all…even when you’re wee little…so as much as I can, I encourage music. Maybe you’ll hate my choice of music, maybe you’ll love it…maybe you’ll even tap your feet. It’s an ordinary thing, music, but some ordinary things, are truly incredible.

French Toast Casserole


We ALL love French toast. at our house….and I hate wasting ‘ends’ of bread….figured out how to use them up!

No one in our household will eat the ends of the loaf. So, we freeze them until we have about a loaf worth of ends….then, I bread crumb them…

Glad to have found another use for them…deliciously yummy.

Ingredients

5 cups of cubed bread

4 eggs

2 tbsps ground ginger

3 tbsps of applesauce

2 tbsps cinnamon

vanilla extract

1.5 cups of milk (maybe a bit more)

8 x 8 baking dish

1/4 cup of white sugar

Method

Heat oven to 350

grease baking dish with butter (I used cooking spray)

Fill baking dish with bread cubes

mix one tbsp each of cinnamon, ground ginger and sugar…set aside

mix eggs, milk, and everything else together in mixing bowl

Pour mixture on top of bread cubes

Sprinkle the top with cinnamon, sugar and ginger mix.

Bake for 45-50 minutes or until browned on top…

Serve with maple syrup, honey, or chocolate sauce…mmmm!!

Kung Pao Chicken – no peanuts


Kung Pao Chicken – without peanuts

4 boneless & skinless chicken breast (best if brined overnight in sugar salt solution)
chili flakes to taste or desired ‘heat’
3 tablespoons EVOO
5 slices peeled fresh ginger or ground ginger 3 tbsp
2 gloves garlic (sliced diagonally)

1 stalk scallion chopped

1 red, yellow and green pepper sliced

1 red onion sliced

For the sauce

1 1/2 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons water

1 tbsp corn starch

3 tbsps of apple sauce or ½ grated apple

Splash of red wine

  1. Mix the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Heat up a wok with one tablespoon cooking oil and stir-fry the marinated chicken until they are 70% cook. Dish out and set aside.
  3. Clean the wok and add in the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil until it smokes.
  4. Add in the ginger and garlic slices and do a quick stir before adding in the dried red chilies.
  5. Stir fry the dried red chilies until they smell spicy, then add in the chicken meat.
  6. Add in the sauce and stir continuously until the chicken meat is nicely coated with the sauce.
  7. Add in the scallions, peppers and onions and stir evenly.
  8. Dish out and serve hot with steamed white rice

The perfect family…


While I was making pancakes tonight, the kind to which you ‘just add water’…I was also watching a re-run of Rachael Ray, where she was talking about healthy eating, and meals made from scratch. A little earlier, I was reading an article on the importance of families having daily meals together. Ha. I chuckle for a moment. Then the guilt sets in. Hmmm. Dinner together every night? In my life? Lately, I have noticed boat loads of articles on how to get your kids to behave right, how to keep a tidy house, how to cook and eat organically, how to ‘dress for success’ and the list goes on and on. The quest for the perfect family life. This got me thinking….hmm…

So, the perfect family always has a clean house, well behaved kids with impeccable manners, who are always perfectly coiffed, and dressed in pretty things (name brand of course).

The perfect family eats dinner together nightly.

The perfect family has a boy, a girl, a dog, and  let’s not forget that white picket fence.

The perfect family has kids who keep an  ‘A’ average, sorry, I meant ‘4’s.

The perfect family has a handsome father who of course does laundry, bathes kids, and takes over for the evening to give mom a break and a wife who is stunningly beautiful, dresses to the nines, answers the door with a ‘ribbon in her hair’, and of course, is ‘never too tired’ for you know what…

One day, eating meat is no good the next, it is.

One day drinking wine is good for you, the next, it’s not.

Toxins in the air we breathe, water we drink….well you know what I mean…

The list goes on…so fill in the blanks…

There are so many versions of the perfect family, and so much pressure to conform. Even amongst friends, we judge each other, albeit silently…or maybe not so silently for the choices we make, and the paths we choose.

As a mother, a sister, a wife and a daughter, there just seems to be so much. So many ‘rules’ to follow. So much pressure to be the prefect family, and as I look around, I see the same struggles being had by many.

Solution? Who knows. Maybe we just try to be happy?

Eat SOME junk,

Drink SOME wine,

Eat meat SOMEtimes…well you get it…balance?  Balance.

So, maybe I will try to wear that ‘ribbon in my hair’ every so often… 😉 Perfect family? Sure. Pefect is what works for each of us.

There are no rules…

Ode to sisters..


Sisters are really, really, really special people.

Growing up with 2 brothers and 2 sisters was a really fantastic experience, especially since there is such a variance in ages…

Each of my siblings is unique, as our relationships with each other. I feel so lucky and blessed to be surrounded by such great people, and having not only one, but two fantastic sisters…

My older sister really is a great friend. The older we get, the more I realise this. She makes me a better person. She is smart, kind, loving, and very quietly wise. When I am freaking out about something, she is the one I immediately call to feel calm. She’s the one who tells me the TRUTH even when I don’t want to hear it. She’s the kind of person who you could tell anything, and she does not judge. She is full of encouragement, and always there to offer a hug, or a smile, or a knowing glance…her home is always so full of love, and warmth. You can feel it the minute you walk in.

My baby sister, is equally fantastic. Being 7 years older, she was my ‘baby’ when she was born….I remember waking up early, just so I could feed her with her morning bottle. Now that she is 30…geez. 30, we are the best of friends. She is honest, loving, kind, so sincere, and would take away any burden if she could. She’s the one I go to for fashion advice…laughs…and of course a good party.  She’s the kind of person who has ‘got your back’ no matter what. My little sister is an old soul. She has more compassion in her little finger than I know I could ever hope to have…definitely a gift…and, she has the voice of an angel.

Although my dad is gone, I see so much of his characteristics in each of my siblings…funny, I never noticed before…but as every day passes, I see him more and more, not less, as I expected. Some of the words they speak, the glances we exchange,  through the love we share, and especially through our children. Some people say that you don’t pick your family…you sure don’t, but boy, did I ever get lucky. I am blessed to have such incredible sisters….

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