It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Garlic, mmmmm

I love garlic. Pungent and nutty and rich and savoury. Mmm, mmm, mmm. I love it in salads, in stir-fries, in dressings. I love it minced, raw. Sauteed. Roasted.

In fact, roasted garlic is something I discovered relatively recently. A pizza recipe I discovered has you roasting some cloves, then mashing them with a bit of Dijon mustard, and smearing the resultant paste on the naked dough, before adding the sauce and fixings. Oh, my! Yummy.

So when I came across not one, but two recipes for roasted garlic soup? Well, now! A garlic-loving, happy-in-the-kitchen woman just has to try them both! We had one batch last week, from a favourite website of mine, and we tried the second this week.

The verdict?

I like ‘em both. The second one is a sweet and creamy-rich vegetable soup with lovely earthy underpinning of garlic. The first is primarily garlic, rich and creamy. So, what will I do?

Combine, of course! The next time I make this — I tell you, vampires will stay miles away from our home for the next whatever — I will use Alanna’s recipe as my base. Because, really? Four heads are better than two!! I loved the sweetness that the carrots provided, though, so I’m going to toss a couple in as well. I’m not sure if I’ll double the onions, as per the second recipe, though obviously they added sweetness as well. That’ll be for next week’s batch!!

Heehee. I love cooking.

And for the curious? Did the tots eat these soups? They did indeed! Some liked it and went for seconds, some merely tasted it, but they all ingested some. And next time it appears, some of the former dubious will be a little more enthusiastic. We draw them into adult eating in baby steps, but they get there!

April 17, 2014 Posted by | food | , , | 1 Comment

Breastfeeding Women: Brave New Mavericks or Just Another Mother?

On my post with the pro-breastfeeding video, Zoe commented that she’d “never seen anyone turn a hair” at the sight of a breastfeeding woman in the city of Norwich where she lives. (Or the city closest to where she lives? Where do you live, Zoe?)

I was struck by that, because you know that? I haven’t, either. Well, not when I was nursing my own children. This is even more striking, perhaps, when you understand that my eldest is 28. She was breastfed till she was over a year old. In all that time, as a stay-at-home mother, I took her wherever I went and nursed her when she needed. Restaurants, libraries, bus stops, church (and no, I didn’t necessarily go down to the nursery, which was often too full of distractions and noise), coffee shops, malls… Everywhere. I never once took her to a public toilet to nurse, either. Ick. My two younger children are almost-25 and 20. They, too, were nursed till they were a little over a year old. They, too, went everywhere with me, feeding as required.

And in all that time, I never had one negative remark. I did have a few positive ones.

– From a very elderly woman in the church I was attending at the time, when I slipped into a pew at the back of the sanctuary to nurse, a lovely frail lady who tottered back to keep me company. “It’s so nice to see young mothers feeding their own babies again! I always thought it was such a shame when those ridiculous doctors convinced all those poor women that those concoctions in bottles were better than what God had given us to feed our babies.” If she was 80-something then, and had fed her babies when she was in her twenties, she was talking about the 1920′s. History, right there in the pew beside me!

– From the woman in the seat beside me on a trans-Atlantic flight. My eldest was 9 months old, and I was nursing her during the ascent to assist with the popping of her teeny eardrums. “Oh, such a smart idea. She’ll be so much happier.” (Turns out she was a pediatric nurse at Sick Kids in Toronto, and her lovely husband an Anglican priest.)

For the most part, people ignored me when I fed my babies. Granted, that could have been the averted eyes of the squeamish … but I never got that impression. For the most part, I assumed people were just respecting my privacy.

Oh, wait! I’m wrong. I did have one negative response. When my son, Adam, my middle child, was five days old, we were visited in our home by good friends. When Adam cried, I made ready to nurse him. The husband of the couple made an exclamation of dismay. “You’re not going to do that here?!?”, he wailed.

I raised one eyebrow (I can do that) and nailed him with a steely glare. My tone was measured, but ironclad stern. “Byron. This is my home, and my baby is hungry. Yes, I’m going to ‘do that’ here. If you don’t like it, you can go out in the kitchen.”

Meantime, his wife, appalled, rolled her eyes at me as she smacked him in the arm. “BY-ron!!!” He glanced at my then-husband for male support, and found none. He was a great guy, Byron, and knew when to admit defeat. He grinned, heaved a giant mock-sigh. “Oh, all right. I guess I’m outnumbered.”

I fed my baby. Byron did not run cowering to the kitchen, and discovered being in the room with a breastfeeding baby wasn’t as horrific as he’d feared. (Three or so years later, when Byron’s first child was born, he was the strongest supporter of breastfeeding his wife could have asked for. I take some credit in turning that around.) :D

Now, recall that all this was far closer to 30 years ago than 20. Three decades ago, pretty much, I nursed children in several cities in Ontario, with no backlash, no resistance, no negative comments whatsoever. Thirty years ago! Why, I wondered, this sudden flurry of defiantly pro-breastfeeding articles I’m seeing? As if women expect, as if they’ve actually been receiving, flack, push-back, disgust? I’m baffled.

The Canadian in me wants to suggests that it’s because breastfeeding is only just now being truly popularized in the (prudish) US, and so all these articles, posters, tweets and comments reflect American battles, battles largely won in Canada two and three decades ago. It could be that. Except that the video I posted was from Australia, of course. Hm. Is Australia equally prudish? I wouldn’t have thought so, but who knows?

Or was it that my experience wasn’t representative? I lived in urban Canada, in Ontario. Would I have experienced more revulsion had I been in rural Ontario? (Though that sweet little old pro-breastfeeding church lady? She was in Buffalo, New York, where I was living when my eldest was born.)

Or is it that there are pockets of prudery here and there, that people in those pockets post something on the internet, and the rest of us all read/watch what they’ve posted and come to believe it’s a bigger problem than it is? Because that happens. We know it does.

So, wanting to get to the bottom of it, I have a couple of questions. The first is for you currently (or recently) breastfeeding women.

1. How do most people respond to you? Positively? Negatively? Neutrally? (Not the outliers, now. The majority. I don’t want to hear about that one stinker every so often, and make him/her sound like they’re the norm. I’m interested in your everyday experience.) Though I admit I’m curious to know how frequently you encounter those stinkers, if you do.

2. How do you, breastfeeding or not, account for the sudden upsurge in defiant women demanding their right to … do something I thought was a non-issue 28 years ago?

I’m baffled. And curious.

February 27, 2014 Posted by | Canada, controversy, food, parenting | , , | 26 Comments

Menu Tuesday

Menu Tuesday. Yes, well. We did eat yesterday. Here you go:

Monday:
First course: roasted rutabaga (with ketchup for dipping, because, well, ketchup.)
Main course: Presidential chili
Dessert: bananas with chocolate and peanut butter chips (They push the pointed end of the chips into the banana.)

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Well, it was suggested they use the pointed end. Turns out they stick in the banana just fine if you use the other end!
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Nutrition, fine motor activity, and a craft, all at the same time!! Can I multi-task their educational environment, or what??

Tuesday:
First course: corn niblets
Main course: lentil-beet salad
Dessert: oranges

Wednesday:
First course: winter vegetable salad
Main course: meatloaf
Dessert: cantaloupe

Thursday:
First course: raw asparagus
Main course: lentil soup and biscuits
Dessert: muffins

Friday:
First course: cooked carrots
Main course: felafels in pita with yogurt sauce
Dessert: ??

January 14, 2014 Posted by | food | , , , , | Leave a comment

Menu Monday

Monday
First course: corn niblets
Main course: Spaghetti and veggie ‘meat’balls
Dessert: canary melon

Tuesday:
First course: salad
Main course: Veggie burgers
Dessert: apples

Wednesday
First course: carrot salad
Main course: basil coconut chicken
Dessert: clementines

Thursday:
First course: broccoli
Main course: tortilla chicken soup
Dessert: pineapple chunks

Friday:
First course: veggies and dip
Main course: peanut butter sandwiches
Dessert: peanut butter balls

As always, if you see a recipe you’re interested in, just ask!

December 16, 2013 Posted by | food | , , | 1 Comment

Menu Monday

Monday
First course: raw veggies and dip
Main course: Singapore noodles
Dessert: applesauce

Tuesday
First course: ratatouille
Main course: Fish provencale and rice
Dessert: cantaloupe

Wednesday
First course: Vegetables with peanut-butter sauce
Main course: Cheesy vegetable galette
Dessert: clementines

Thursday
First course: Vegetables with sesame sauce
Main course: lentil-rice cakes
Dessert: apples

Friday
First course: beet-carrot salad
Main course: stuffed green peppers
Dessert: peanut-butter balls

As always, if there are any recipes up there that interest you, just ask in the comments, and I’ll post them.

December 9, 2013 Posted by | food | , , | 1 Comment

Menu Monday

Monday
First Course: SW bean salad
Main Course: Spinach pie
Dessert: Muffins

Tuesday:
First Course: Vegetables and dip
Main Course: Black bean soup on pasta
Dessert: honeydew melon slices

Wednesday
First Course: lemon-braised kale
Main Course: Meatloaf (I make mine with a veggie layer, for added nutrition/fibre)
Dessert: clementines

Thursday
First Course: cucumber raita
Main Course: Tandoori chicken on rice
Dessert: muffins

Friday

First Course: red pepper slices
Main Course: Singapore noodles
Dessert: cookies

December 2, 2013 Posted by | food | , | Leave a comment

Menu Monday

Monday:
First course: salad
Main course: black bean enchilada bake
Dessert: gooey cranberry squares

Tuesday:
First course: corn niblets
Main course: toad in the hole
Dessert: cantaloupe

Wednesday:
First course: cooked carrot sticks
Main course: lentil soup and baking powder biscuits
Dessert: clementines

Thursday:
First course: winter vegetable salad
Main course: Cuban shredded beef on rice
Dessert: cantaloupe

Friday:
First course: cauliflower au gratin
Main course: stuffed green peppers (vegetarian version)
Dessert: Timbits

As always, if there’s a recipe you’d like to have, just ask!

November 25, 2013 Posted by | food, health and safety | , , | 1 Comment

Swedish Meatballs

Ingredients:
1 small onion, grated
1 egg
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 teaspoon allspice
500g ground beef
oil
6 cups sliced mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon dry thyme
ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups beef broth
1/2 cup sour cream

Method:
Whisk together onion, egg, bread crumbs, mustard and allspice. Mix in beef. (It’s best to use your hands when you add the beef.)

Form the beef mixture into 1-Tablespoon balls. Bake at 375F for 15 minutes. (Makes about 30 meatballs.)

Meantime, in a pot big enough for the amount of pasta you’ll need, heat water to boiling.

While meatballs cook and water comes to a boil, cook mushrooms, thyme and pepper over med-high heat until just brown, about 10 minutes.

By now your water should be boiling. Drop in the noodles. Give them a quick stir, turn the heat to medium-high then return to the mushrooms.

Sprinkle mushrooms with flour. Stir till absorbed. Add broth and sour cream, and stir a minute. Add cooked meatballs. Cook till sauce thickens a bit, about two minutes.

Serve over hot egg noodles.

August 15, 2013 Posted by | food | , | 1 Comment

Menu Monday

Monday:
First Course: salad
Main Course: Swedish meatballs on egg noodles
Dessert: muffins

Tuesday:
First Course: carrot-peanut salad
Main Course: lentil-rice patties
Dessert: fruit

Wednesday:
First Course: raw veggies and dip
Main Course: Southwest bean salad
Dessert: fruit

Thursday:
First Course: pesto on naan
Main Course: tofu in peanut sauce
Dessert: fruit

Friday:
First Course: salad
Main Course: peanut-butter sandwiches
Dessert: muffins

August 12, 2013 Posted by | food | , , | 2 Comments

Menu Monday

It’s a long weekend here in Canada, so no Monday menu on Menu Monday!

Tuesday:
First Course: gazpacho
Main Course: spinach pie
Dessert: muffins

Wednesday:
First Course: cauliflower and cheese sauce
Main Course: stuffed peppers
Dessert: fruit

Thursday:
First Course:salad
Main Course: enchilada bake
Dessert: fruit

Friday:
First Course: couscous salad
Main Course: lentil curry
Dessert: gelato

August 5, 2013 Posted by | food | | Leave a comment

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