Thursday, August 27, 2009

shoes and sewing projects

How ridiculous is it that a new pair of shoes will make me feel better after a crummy morning at work? Well, to be honest, it was a cute pair of shoes and a pair of boots. Hey, it's back to school time and I feel the need for a bunch of new stuff.

Which reminds me of the pile of fabric in my sewing room. AKA as the laundry/storage/cat's bedroom room. I decided in a fit of mummy do-goodness that I would make T a few pairs of long pants to meet his current criteria - long legs, skinny bum and must have elastic waist for easy on and off. And with summer's end just around the corner, I need to get them done. Preferably before next summer because then I'll have a pile of shorts to make. At least the pants will get me warmed up to make several pairs of pj pants as well. They need to be make for the same reasons.

Of course these would get sewn quicker if I spent less time reading novels, doing crosswords, going on-line to Facebook and blog, etc. Back in the days when I used to sew for myself, I usually had some big self-imposed deadline - trip, dance, meeting, etc - that I was wanting to wear the article to. It helped a lot with the sense of urgency as a motivating factor.

And I have to admit that I thought that sewing pants myself would give me some more style and colour options. Not the case - for pages and pages of patterns for girls, there were 2 patterns for boys. Sigh. And most of the kid fabrics are designed more on the girly side (pastels, princess patterns, pink and purple.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


D came home on Friday night with a gift of a bunch of Swiss chard. I've never had it before, never cooked it before. But after a few seconds of pondering I pulled out my trusty Rebar cookbook and there it was - a perfectly, simply perfect way to cook it. Saute/steam with olive oil, garlic, chili and when wilted add a splash of balsamic vinegar. Mmmm. It tasted yummy with an aftertaste of goodness. You know when something you eat tastes like it is good for you. Bring on the chard.

Saturday the boys hung out together while I went for a hair cut. The plan was that D take T for a walk and possibly pick blackberries (they are huge and plentiful this year). When I got back, all coifed and carrying groceries (hey - two trips in one) - there were no blackberries to be found. All the berries picked were eaten. Sigh!

The market was smaller than usual on Sunday - not as many vendors and not as many shoppers but the weather was lovely. T got to paint a rock at the children's craft table which will be used as my office paperweight. I was too late to buy large organic free-range eggs and had to settle for medium. They seem a lot smaller than the large ones. Sigh. I'll just have to get moving faster next weekend and make it to the market earlier.

Sunday night I made a corn custard with smoked gouda which was very tasty. I also experimented with portobello mushrooms - oven roasted them, then topped them with a saute of mushroom stems, red onion, spinach and sun-dried tomato pesto and then a layer of feta cheese and popped them under the grill for a couple of minutes. Tasty!

I had some egg whites left over from the corn custard. Now I've always been afraid of merangues but I hate wasting food and last night I got out my Delia Smith - Basics of Cooking Book and looked up merangue. I carefully studied the pictures and read the directions, I beat my egg whites, added in the sugar and when it looked stiff and glossy, I stopped and laid out some merangue nests on a baking sheet and baked them as per the directions (into a warm (300 deg oven)), turn it down to 275 deg for 30 minutes and then turn the oven off overnight. I took them out when I got home tonight and they were good. A bit stuck to the baking sheet because I didn't have any parchment (to do for next time). I whipped up some cream and we had mummy pavlova - merangue nest with sliced strawberries and whipped cream. Yum! T being unadventurous chose to have chocolate pudding over mummy pavlova - oh well.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

machines everywhere!

T loves (loves, loves) construction machines. And trucks, trains and dinosaurs but mostly construction machines. Concrete pouring trucks, cranes, earthmovers, dumptrucks, quarry trucks, pumper trucks (for concrete), and backhoes. Backhoes! When we go to the "libarry" he heads right for the truck section. We've taken most of their kids truck books out but several have come home with us several times. Each book must be carefully scrutinized from his seat on the library floor before the book is deemed acceptable to take home. Anything with a digger, backhoe or monster truck wheels usually passes muster.

We have a large selection of our own truck books plus a variety of trucks at home, in a variety of sizes as well. Some are assigned to the sandbox, others are for the beach and still others are for the park. Some are to be shared with friends and get taken to the park or daycare. Others are chosen to come for rides in the car when we got out - visiting, grocery shopping, etc - all have different truck requirements. We have a couple of 18 wheelers that end up carrying a variety of things as do the big Tonka quarry truck (it has no gate so it isn't a dump truck - it's a quarry truck) which is loaded by the Tonka Scoop. Right now most toys that aren't trucks usually end up in the quarry truck as cargo - as well as other things like books, kitchen utensils, toilet paper (unrolled from the rolls and scrunched up to make mountains), etc.

I've heard that you learn a lot from your children. I certainly have an expanded knowledge of types of dinosaurs for example but I have to say my knowledge of trucks and construction equipment has blossomed beyond my wildest imagining (not that I thought about it much prior to T). I guess the thing I notice the most is all the trucks and machines around. Did I just not see all these things before? There are backhoes, low loaders, garbage trucks, dump trucks, cranes, etc everywhere and before T there were just background. Barely noticed except when they caused an issue - traffic jam, detour, etc but I didn't really look at the details. What colour is that backhoe? What make? Does it have wheels or treads? Is the bucket one piece or is it a claw bucket? Are the stabilizers in use? I wonder what else T will teach me to see.

Last Sunday I spent a few minutes hosing sand off of a variety of toy trucks - the sandbox got a bit swamped in last weeks rain as the lid wasn't closed completely and some of the trucks got muddy. So here are the results of mummy's truck wash.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

tomato days

So I finally had enough tomatoes to make homemade tomato sauce.
I found a recipe on (tomato gravy) and waded in. Fourteen roma tomatoes later and a few hours simmering on the stove
yielded 1 small jar of sauce.
That was Saturday. The sauce looks really yummy so I'm saving it...don't know what for yet but I'm sure it will speak to me!

I tried again last night - had some larger tomatoes from the garden and the market so I did the recipe again. I didn't simmer it as long so it was not as thick. But I used it in a veggied up version of my vegetarian moussaka - I added roasted carrots, roasted mushrooms, spinach and spicy sausage to the middle of the casserole, mainly as the produce needed to be eaten and I had picked up eggplant and potatoes from the market again. If I didn't love the moussaka so much, I might actually go looking for another eggplant recipe just for some variety!

So the garden is producing beans and tomatoes at a fair clip right now, and a really fat zucchini is growing - the rest are all looking a bit lean. I've never really been a green been fan, as I don't like boiled beans but on Saturday night I decided I had to do something with the beans I got (at the market as D had eaten all of ours picked that day raw). I was going to do a green bean, potato, arugula salad from but didn't have any potatoes or arugula at that point so I made a plain risotto (well it doesn't taste plain) with lots of parmesan and between stirrings I threw some sticks of red and yellow peppers and the beans into the oven with some olive oil to roast. Once roasted I added a splash of balsamic vinegar and feta cheese. It was delish served with the risotto - at least D and I enjoyed it. T didn't touch it - preferring his cucumber and turkey dog - although he did parcel out beans to both of us.

Sunday night I made butter chicken with brown basmati rice and spicy corn cakes (from - I made them according to the recipe but changed up the jalepeno pepper with chipotle pepper. The corn pancakes were yummy so we'll be having those again.

I think I've decided that cheddar is pretty much a winter cheese. Lately my go to cheeses have been parmesan and feta. I've only given cheddar a break from the fridge for T's snacks and for the corn pancakes lately. Of course, I also go to goat cheese, camenbert, brie, stilton, bleu, etc.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

lazy days

Cooler weather at last. And some rain which was much needed.

T is growing again - out of his shoes last week so it is a good thing I had already bought a bigger pair and they were stashed in the cupboard waiting...In the summer it is harder to see the growing as he is in shorts most of the time. That's usually how I notice, when his pants suddenly get a lot shorter! He also tends to get rounder around the tummy just before a growth spurt and then goes all lean again afterwards.
He's been fascinated by toilet paper lately - making paper snakes so I'm having to reroll paper in all the bathrooms!

We have to go to the library every week to get more truck books - we recently found the fire truck section so this weeks books have been heavy on the firetrucks with a couple of books on road building machines.

The garden is also growing. We're getting tomatoes, basil, thyme, beans and zuccini at the moment. The slugs have eaten all the lettuce so I replanted in a different container and I might try radishes again in a different location and container as they did not do well in the shady patch of garden.

I made moonblush tomatoes again - here's what they look like after 18 hours in the oven.

Friday night supper was cheater mexican lasagna - onions, peppers, mushrooms, corn all sauted, then a jar of tomato sauce added, some grated cheddar cheese and then I added in quick succession, 1/2 package of non-ground round (Yves Veggie) and some torn up tortilla (plain and tomato which is what I had in the fridge).

Saturday I made another buttermilk lemon cake ( but this time with blackberries, blueberries and raspberries as all three needed to be eaten. It was delish!

I also made tomato and spinach tart (variation on the zuccini tomato tart from

Saturday night we had vegetarian moussaka - a recipe I adapted from one in Country Living UK. This time I made it in a 9x13 lasagna pan in 3 layers and it was wonderful. Layer thinly sliced and cooked potato, 1/3 jar tomato sauce, 1 roasted eggplant (thinly sliced) and then 1/4 of cheese sauce (3 tbsp olive oil, 100 g butter - once melted add 120 g flour and cook for 2 mins. Add 800 ml milk, mix well and cook for 5 mins. Cool and add 2 eggs, 100 g each of parmesan and feta cheese). Repeat the layers twice more - spread the last of the cheese sauce evenly over the top of the dish. Bake at 350 deg for 50 minutes or until the top is nicely browned. Let cool slightly before serving.

Sunday morning we went to the farmer's market in the rain. T had a great time splashing in the puddles with his Cars boots and looking very cute in his Thomas raincoat. There were lots of people shopping at the market as per usual which I was glad to see despite the rain. We are loving the second season strawberries now. Yum.

After lunch, T and I and Auntie K went to the Family Day at the local automall. T got to sit in a real fire truck (he got all goofy shy around the firemen and women unfortunately so missed a chance to wear the headset). He went on the kiddie ferris wheel and down the bouncy slide and then played on the bouncy pirate ship. After the rides, etc closed and the fire truck drove off, we had ice cream and then came home.

Sunday night I made a casserole layering uncooked potato slices, lengthwise sliced zuccini, parmesan cheese with 1 tsp flour, pepper and thyme, potato, zuccini, cut up cooked turkey, corn taken off a couple of cobs (uncooked) and then topped with a layer of potatoes, sprinkled parmesan cheese and 1 tsp flour, pepper and thyme and then spread a thin layer of sour cream over the top and more parmesan cheese. It was pretty good but time consuming. I baked for about 45 mins at 350 deg.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

our boy

Yesterday I watched T playing in his sandbox. Our busy boy. It amazes me some times that we created this child - our energetic, enchanting, exasperating, funny, independant, bossy, spoiled, smart, curious, social boy. I wonder about all kinds of things. What would he have been like if his twin had survived. What would we be like with two of them - beyond exhausted? Is T social and wanting people around all the time because he misses his twin - even though I lost his twin at 7 and a half weeks? Or is he just a social boy and it is part of his nature? Above all, how could I have lived so much of my life without him in it? I read a quote when I was pregnant about how having a child "was having your heart live outside your body". Sometimes it really does feel like that. When I stop and think about the miracle that is T. The rest of the time I'm just being mum, I guess - caught up in the daily stuff of life.