Friday, September 09, 2011

little boy, big day

and so a new day begins
just a simple, beautiful september afternoon
with me and my boys
out for a walk

change is here
apparently i wasn't ready for it
my eyes stinging from the flood of tears
that raged out
left my eyes a bright aqua colour
highlighted by once-white, now red surroundings
damn betrayal of tears

and callum
strong and brave and 4
anxiously clutching his hands

on a warm and sunny almost-fall afternoon
---are you cold?
"i'm okay, mommy"

and he sat
and assessed the situation

and every so often would smile back a nervous smile
my way
at the fence that separated the parents from the kindergarteners

i fought off the emotion
i didn't know it would all bubble up
take pictures

keep it together

sing a song with everett

and that worked until they filed neatly in a line
sang the song with mme robin
and left us at the other side of the fence
as he walked into something new
but older

and then i was done

Friday, June 17, 2011

30 day photography challenge

i like a good challenge, and one that makes me think of reframing ordinary, every day moments...even better

so, a group of mamas that i discuss every possible aspect of life with, well one of them posted a 30 day photography challenge - and i have joined in. so posting the pics in a few installments as 30 posts might be a little overwhelming - but a week's worth is all good.

this is the challenge -

days 1 - 7

-- first the pics, then my awkward attempts to explain the why behind the pics...

self portrait
what you wore today


something green

from a low angle

from a high angle

self portrait

- i work with my hands - so part of my self portrait
a bit cheesy as i hate being in photos

what i wore today

- was at the spa - the hydrotherapy pools so not much

day 3 - clouds

- got it at 815am before the clouds starting burning off - it's very sunny now, but had to decrease the contrast on this, but no other editing really needed

day 4
something green

- maybe not exactly what was intended, but early morning in the yard...

day 5 - from a high angle

(callum's legs dangling off our 2nd floor deck

day 6 - from a low angle

day 7 - fruit

- i bought mangoes and asian pears at one of the grocery stores about 30m away from our house here in chinatown. used my cheap p+s as i don't find fruit exciting enough to shoot manually

Thursday, June 09, 2011

i thank, and am thankful for, my friends

i had been feeling a bit like a solo act
on the outside
fringes of friendships

and then you all came here
and brought life and love into the spaces of my life here that can't be filled by husbands and children
unoccupied spaces
i've felt so far away
and that has changed

i am grateful for growing older
for knowing the value of these long friendships
not wrinkled by time
but fresh and alive and joyful
and each stage in this life and the moments i've shared with all of you
are so rich
and i thank you friends

i walk by these places we've now shared
and these places that were distant and far and hours away
and you've filled them up
i walk by ben ben
and i smile
the rejected fortune
a second more fitting one
the lone egg roll
and now you are all on my walk home from work

i can sit down on my beaten, child-worn couch and stretch out with a glass of wine
and remember how our talks brought the sunrise
a night of chat, wine and bringing in a new day together
i can't remember the last time i chose to stay up all night and greet the dawn with a red-wine-stained smile

all these simple, valuable moments - too many to put into words but tucked gently into memory
i thank you
i am thankful
and you have given me more home
by being here to share it :)

i love my 40yr old friends.
and this is my love letter to cherishing long friendships that continue to evolve and grow with truly amazing, strong, and fantastically beautiful women

Sunday, May 29, 2011

i thank these hands

i used to curse them...
the stubby fingers, deeply lined palms, thick knuckles
i thought they were ugly
these hands
silly with rings adorning the fat fingers
unfeminine, boyish, child-like, tiny

and then
i fell in love with my hands
small but strong
forceful and gentle

i can hover over skin and fascia and muscles and feel them
even before i move deeper
my little investigator hands that feel heat and energy and break adhesions and provide relief and facilitate healing
i realized - realize every day - with gratitude
how blessed i am to have these small, strong, stubby hands
where energy and strength travel over a short distance in the briefest amount of time
and feel
feel it all
and i am amazed, blessed, thankful
these hands i thought ugly
are unexpected gifts

communicate, clean, move

touch, embrace


and i thank my hands
after every treatment i draw them together and feel their sympathetic and wise energy
and i am grateful that they provide
they know
have purpose
i thank them for guiding me
for making good intentions real
facilitating health

and now
my chubby little hands are beautiful
their range humbles me
i am thankful
and i remember to thank them
for providing me with my life's work
two small strong stubby hands at a time

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

leftovers casserole - chicken

it was a bit of a bbq kind of week and as often occurs, we bbq more than we can physically eat.
ah leftovers
once bbq-ed chicken just isn't the same re-heated which means time for a re-invent (a lot of hyphens going on around here)

my kitchen is often not supplied with all the ideal ingredients to make a gourmet remake of leftovers. so this is another make-do-with-what's-in-stock...

2 leftover cooked chicken breasts pulled into small pieces
2 sweet potatoes sliced
1 can tomato soup (condensed)
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp mexican chili spice
1 medium sized cooking onion chopped
1/2 packet taco mix
cheese if you please on top (i just added a bit at the end, after cooking)

- i spray with cooking spray then layer
- mixed the soup, garlic, mex spice, and taco mix together then added on top of the sweet potato, onion, chicken
- have a nice 350 oven for a slow bake around 40min

the boys both ate this. so did dh and me. pretty simple flavours but good simple flavours - and moister than a reheated chicken breast would have been

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

from instant to pho

i took an unexpected break from the blog
back with one less job (i quit), and no additional free time (upped the hours in the work i LOVE)

so...on those days when i have no time to conjure up a feast for myself, i try to improve something in an instant.

in the case of instant soups, i buy them in chinatown. i buy rice noodle versions, and a bit of chili paste, and whatever leftover meat to make it into a pho-style soup (i try to have bean sprouts on hand, but didn't this time.

so for this version, i had a chicken/rice noodle instant soup, added 1/2tsp of red chili paste and 1/2 leftover chicken breast from the bbq, sliced thinly. prepped the soup (boiled water...tough, eh?!), added chicken slices and done

tasty, easy and pho-like

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

it's turning into a ground chicken kind of week the specials and eating the specials.

so - extra lean ground chicken was on special last week and i stocked up...over 10lbs worth. i don't have a deep freezer, the packages with their ground contents needed to meet other ingredients.

so far this week i have made:
  • my chili, but replaced ground beef with ground chicken
  • my pad thai and replaced SHRIMP with ground chicken - this turned out...really well - am still kind of surprised. i did add 2 extra tbsp of fish sauce and i had run out of peanut pieces so smashed up some unsalted cashews instead (delish!)
  • my pseudo-shepherds pie
3 for 3 - a good week and a heckuva lot of protein to usher in spring.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

irish person of the year - write up

this is the short, abbreviated version of the many things that led to my mom being awarded the irish person of the year (click on the pages below to make them bigger)
and a link to the photos!/album.php?aid=637817&id=766555721&fbid=10150433140185722

mom's letters for irish person of the year

am veering away from the typical use of this space and am using the blog to post some of the letters my mom received as irish person of the year. clicking on the letter individually will make it slightly larger...

Monday, February 28, 2011

mexican week - version 2

last days in pvr
we recently returned from a fabulous 2 weeks in puerto vallarta - so this week was mexican-inspired. with snow falling outside, couldn't seem farther away...
banana muffins

rice cake nachos - just rice cakes topped with salsa, and a bit of cheese
pico de gallo
black bean dip

- red peppers stuffed with chili and rice - pre cooked the peppers at 350 for 15 min to soften them up then stuffed with chili and rice and topped with a bit of cheese
- fish and salad - simple - pan fried haddock in garlic and chicken broth
- arepas with shrimp and beans - used masa harina to make the arepas
- rice and bean casserole - there was enough of the leftover shrimp and bean mix to make into a casserole with 2 cups of cooked rice
- mexican rice with fish (subbed fish for shrimp/chorizo)

i share my weekly meal plans at - you can find hundreds of meal plans on menu planning mondays there...helped me get back into meal planning.

arepas with shrimp and beans

i made arepas with masa harina and pressed them until they were like a pancake's thickness.

then for the topping
1 can white kidney beans drained, rinsed and pureed
1 c salad shrimp (just a bit over - 280g - 9oz
1 can tomato sauce
1 tbsp each of minced garlic, cumin and mexican chili spice
2tbsp taco seasoning mix
.5c water
.5c cilantro loose leaf

- just put all of the ingredients in the wok and blended and heated over medium heat until ready.

this was tasty and easy. we liked it enough to use the leftovers in a quick casserole ( basically just added rice and a bit of cheese, and a few quesadillas for the boys.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

banana muffins - gluten free

should have taken another picture - lol
gluten free and more on the muffin side...
1c fat free sour cream
3 mashed bananas
2 eggs
3/4c demerara sugar
dash of cinnamon
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1.5tsp baking soda
1/4c butter melted
4c flour (sorghum/rice flour mix

bake at 325 - 20 to 30min depending on your oven

these are decent but not overly sweet - another 1/4c sugar and banana would have made these much sweeter, but i like them a little less sweet especially since i have an almost 4yr old and 17mth old munching on these as well

black bean dip

so i am trying to be better with my snacking
ban the doritos
make some lighter, healthier and more nutrition-rich dips
i've been feeling sluggish, and still have the demands of nursing a toddler wearing on my poor ol' body

so in an effort to clean it bean dip (snacking on it with cucumber slices and rice cakes right now

1 can drained/rinsed black beans (mine said 19oz - 598ml
1/2c salsa (only had mild on hand so had to add some spice
1/2c fat free sour cream
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp cumin
1 - 1.5 tsp mexican chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 cup loose cilantro
1 spring onion chopped
- took the hand blender and blended it down

yum - yes, very descriptive. i love love love cilantro, so i love having it fill up the flavour of this. could use a bit less
love black beans too - so versatile (have "hid" them in brownies and other treats to make them more nutritious

tasty enough to be ok with my ban on doritos and ketchup chips...but addictive in its own way too.

Friday, February 18, 2011

today on the deck

was supposed to be hard at work online today for my travel writing job

but then...i got distracted...mid february and snow melting
the incessant dripping sounds of snow melting
the beaming sun firmly reminding me of this one day only this month sensation
i surrendered
blended up some frozen strawberries, bananas, agave nectar, lime juice, water...and cheap mexican rum (whose only place is in a girly drink)
and this was the state of my work affairs...
...and just taking in the view of the snow-covered river and hills from my little part of the world...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

gluten free muffin base

so i think i have my muffin mix down pat at this point. you can change up the ingredients but i've had a half dozen perfect batches in a row so seems like that makes for a solid recipe

remember, i am no baker, i never professed to be, so what may be simple to other cooks is a triumph for me.

my gluten free muffin base

3.5c of flour - i use equal amounts of sorghum and rice flour
1.5tsp baking powder
1tsp baking soda
1tsp vanilla extract
dash of cinnamon
1/3c butter or margarine (both work - have tried) melted
1 egg
2/3c demerara sugar - more if no other sweet ingredients (i use bananas and berries a lot so 2/3 has become the standard)
3tbsp coconut milk, a bit more if not using fruit

i use a mixer for all - i don't have a specific order all the time but i do usually do wet ingredients, then sugar, then add the rest.

325 oven for about 20min

makes 12-15 muffins when adding other ingredients like apples (or applesauce but then cut out coconut milk), strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, or my fave 2.5-3 really ripe bananas all mashed up.

if you can tolerate oats, i found i can also sub out .5c flour for oats instead.

mmm - made some muffins tonight with 2.5 ripe mashed bananas and 1/4 c blueberries that i mashed up too

Monday, January 17, 2011

chinatown finds - treats and treat wannabe-s

it's always a bit of a culinary adventure, just a few steps out my front door...
living in chinatown, with little italy just a few city blocks away, i am spoiled for choice.
...but living as gluten-free as possible the gift is chinatown
each discovery is like a little gift of heartburn free, bloat free, tastes.

i go to little italy for proscuitto and olives
divine coffee
decadent gelato
and to stare into the semolina-laced temptations - pasta...abundant
the wheat-dreamy breads
the pizza - luring as the aromas are set loose as the pie is scooped out of a dry, hot pizza oven

but then there is chinatown
with the foreign script
and the rice dreams
and i can shop and venture out of my comfort zone
and test myself and learn and create every week

and in terms of a few treats...
recent discoveries...
cookies from the top of the post

Sunday, January 16, 2011

a name is just a bunch of letters...

so my 3.5yr old, my blond-haired, grey-blue eyed boy surprised me the other day.

normally, he knows how to spell his name...starts with a c, is a half dozen letters long.

one morning he says... mommy look...i spelled my name...

maybe this would explain his penchant for pho - or any soup with asian noodles
his love of things just that extra bit spicy
his fascination with chopsticks
the way he can scarf down shrimp in black bean sauce
or noodles done in cilantro and a fish sauce base.

or maybe (and likely, i suppose)
it's just an incredibly odd coincidence
or the influence of living in chinatown.

Monday, January 10, 2011

another tour of asia week (well... mostly)

gluten free banana bread muffins
i love travelling through asia. there are many places i love. rich experiences. but if i had to choose my top 3 places in asia...well, that's easy for me...

1. chiang mai - northern thailand - i studied here, i travelled here, i learned enough basics to buy things and count and order off a menu and say please and thank you.  kop kuhn ka, chiang mai - far in distance, but near in thoughts.
2. hong kong - love hong kong. love the dirt and the smells and the chaos and the tai chi and the ferry rides and kowloon and lantau island and the gold coast. so much love can only be expressed in a run-on sentence, and there is so much substance to the place...more than i can write in that same long sentence.
3. yangshuo, china. so relaxed, such an expected rest stop in a country that is challenging to travel - from west peace (xi'an) to a 30hr train ride to yangshuo, surrounded by karst hills - my peace.

and now food, photos and recipes...

featured snack - banana bread muffins - gluten free (but could be made with regular flour
1.5c demerara sugar (or brown sugar
6tbsp butter
--- cream these
1 egg
3 mashed bananas
dash of cinnamon
1c sour cream (i used fat free
1 tsp vanilla extract
dash of salt
1.5tsp baking soda
1c rice flour
1.25c sorghum flour
3/4c oats (optional
---all of these mixed until fairly smooth
---300 oven for about 45min
makes about 18 muffins
(i added a few dark chocolate chips on top of each to make it look more treat like for the boys
---seriously yum and lots of great flavour and texture especially considering it is gluten free.

omelette- cheese
yoghurt and fruit
fruit salad

coconut rice crackers
veggies and dip
leftovers - lots and lots of leftovers


coconut/tomato curry chicken with rice - i did this in the slow cooker this time, and didn't change a thing and it turned out great.
  • chicken nuggets with peanut sauce in lettuce (for the boys
  • non asian - butternut squash soup and gluten free bread from the market
    some asian herbs - grass like blade on right is culantro
  • squid, green peppers, and baby bok choy with rice noodles in black bean sauce
    1/4c water / black bean sauce / squeeze of hoisin sauce / 2 tbsp rice vinegar / 2/3 lb squid / 3c baby bok choy / 1 green pepper chopped / 2 spring onions chopped / 1tsp minced garlic / 2 tbsp turbinado sugar / 1c bean sprouts / 3tbsp chopped culantro (vietnamese looks like a thick blade of grass - can use a bit more cilantro instead
    - quickly whip up in the wok or a pan
    - quick, easy and tasty - reheats pretty well for squid
  • chili and rice
i share my weekly meal plans at - you can find hundreds of meal plans on menu planning mondays there...helped me get back into meal planning.
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