Saturday, December 25, 2010

Full

For Christmas Dinner this year, my mother-in-law made:

2 roast chickens
A ham with pineapple
Dressing (both in the chickens and separate)
Mashed potatoes
Scalloped potatos
Gravy
Peas
Corn
Carrots
Sweet Potato
Squash
Homemade rolls
-served with:
Gherkins
Bread and butter pickles
Olives
Beet pickles
Cranberry sauce
Mustard pickles
-and for dessert made:
Blueberry pie
Apple pie
Pumpkin pie
-and served them with:
Coolwhip
Vanilla ice cream
Blueberry ice cream

Along with generous amounts of wine. Or eggnog, "flavoured" however you like it. She even thought of the pregnant lady and provided sparkling peach juice.

I may never eat again.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Walking... and Coffee

It's Christmas Eve! And I have not been this excited about Christmas in a lot of years, mostly just because I'm so excited to see how Eli reacts to his presents. I'm not expecting effusive outpourings of love and affection, but just the wonder in his eyes is so thrilling to see. Everything is so new when you're only 15 months old. I remember last year just trying to get him to focus his eyes on the Christmas tree. This year it's been a battle to keep him from knocking it over. A battle which, I'm pleased to say, I'm winning. So far. My ornaments have suffered no casualties (although I did notice today one of my snowman ornaments missing his carrot nose, but I can't necessarily blame Eli for that), the garland has remained on the tree and the lights have been untouched. There have been a few spankings doled out, but for the most part he knows enough to leave it alone.

Everyone warned me that once my child started walking I simply would not be able to keep up with him, or keep him out of things. I'm still a bit dubious about this claim - he was so quick and into things while crawling that I don't see a sudden drastic increase now that my toddler is actually... toddling. He improves daily, although still not a good walker, and he's very proud of himself.
I've heard so many different stories about what encouraged children to learn to walk. Lots are eager just to walk to their parent's arms. We watched a cute baby video of a friend's child starting to walk by reaching for his teddy bear. For me, it was shoes. My parents largely kept my shoes out of sight because of my single-minded obsession with them, but when they wanted me to walk all they had to do was dangle them in front of me and off I went. I have a friend who told me that her parents encouraged her to walk by holding out money in front of her, which I think is really funny. Since Eli started walking late he pretty much has done it on his own, no amount of encouraging gets him interesting in walking unless it's his idea, except for one thing.

Coffee.

Yes, my baby will only walk for coffee. I'm not sure what this says about him, or about us as parents, but the kid LOVES coffee. The best part of his day is if Mom or Dad allows him a taste from our cup. Maybe it's because I drank coffee through my pregnancy and nursing? Maybe it's because he sees how much we enjoy it? Maybe he's just inherited his father's addictive tendencies. Whatever the cause, he can't get enough of the stuff. Not that we let him drink it on a regular basis mind you, or fill his sippy cup or anything like that. Probably if we did that he would tire of the flavour pretty quickly, but the small tastes just keep him coming back wanting more. It's not even sweet - Cory drinks his coffee black and I drink mine with just cream, so it's not sugar he's tasting, it's straight up caffeine.

A few weeks ago the three of us were in Superstore getting our groceries. It had been a long day of shopping and Eli was tired and a bit cranky. We reached the end and were in line at the cash register, I was loading groceries onto the conveyor and Cory was trying to keep Eli amused by letting him have tiny tastes from the end of his coffee cup. The clerk (who was a teenage boy of I think about 14) said "Ummm... are you giving your kid coffee?" Cory and I both laughed and I said, slightly embarrassed, "Well, not much coffee..." He laughed and said that he'd never seen that before. I wouldn't have thought too much about the incident, it doesn't really matter to me overly much what a 14 year old boy thinks of my parenting abilities except that it got me thinking. What if it hadn't been coffee, what if it had been the end of a large coke? Would anyone have thought anything of it then, or would they have just laughed at the cute little boy sipping his father's pop? What if it had been some sort of undefinable red juice? No one would have blinked, even if he'd had a sippy cup full of it. And if he'd been drinking a cup full of orange juice or apple juice? People probably would have thought that we were excellent parents for bringing along such a healthy drink for him. The misconceptions about what is good for our bodies drive me crazy sometimes. I would way rather give my child the occasional sip of coffee, without any sugar in it, than any of those other things. People are starting to realize that sugar filled "fruit punch" type drinks are bad for children and linked to obesity (I've started to see some Gov. of Can. commercials about it), but 100% juice drinks are still being marketed as incredibly good for your kids. No one talks about how apple juice consumption has been linked to failure to thrive in babies, or how fructose is actually a worse sugar for you than sucrose. And don't even get me started on pop. We don't even need to go there.

It wouldn't be an Emily Blog Post without some sort of rant about nutrition now would it? And you thought you were going to escape when I got talking about Christmas and Eli walking. Anyway, those are my thoughts of the day. Eli's napping right now, Cory's over at the church writing his talk for the Christmas Eve service tonight and his sermon for Sunday morning, we're heading over to Lynn's in a few hours to skype with the BC Vails and eat yummy food, and before you know it it's going to be Christmas morning. Our friend Dallas bought Cory and I a wireless router off Kijiji for Christmas, so I'm very much enjoying writing this blog post curled up in a comfy chair in the living room (sipping - of course - a cup of coffee!) instead of at the computer desk. What a great present! I have cloth diapers to stuff and a kitchen to clean... but I may just procrastinate a little longer.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

My Latest Kick

Smoothies! Ok, I've held off for a long time joining the whole "healthy smoothie" craze, mostly because I wasn't convinced they were that healthy. Throw five or six servings of fruit in a blender and call it healthy? We would never sit down and eat that much sweet fruit in one sitting normally, and I really don't think that much fructose is beneficial. Not to mention that I'm allergic to strawberries, and my stomach won't tolerate raw bananas (weird, I know), two things that are in almost every smoothie ever made. So I didn't bother. But I did know that my Mom and Dad have a smoothie for breakfast every morning, and theirs did look pretty healthy, it just included strawberries and bananas, so I never tried it. But I've been hearing more and more about the "green smoothie" craze that's going around health nuts, and finally decided to give it a shot. It sounded incredibly unappealing to me until I realized that it's not actually green in colour, just in content. It contains greens! Spinach, kale, collard greens, beet greens, what have you. And it's such a fabulous way to eat really quite a large quantity of vegetables, raw, without getting tired of chewing. I'll admit it - I actually like spinach, so I didn't think I needed this because I eat it fairly regularly anyway. However when you put it into a smoothie, you end up eating sooo much more than you would as a salad. And plain kale or collard or beet greens are just kind of yucky. Cooked isn't bad, but not a favourite among the men in my life. Plus the smoothie is just such a good way to work in a few other things that should be eaten regularly but we forget - like flax oil! Anyway, here's what I've been doing and LOVING (I'm sipping one right now!) As per usual, I don't have accurate measurements, but the beauty of smoothies is that it doesn't really matter, you can just add more or less to taste.

Green Smoothie

1/2 to 1 cup raw milk (cow's or goat's, I tend to like cow's the best)
Splash of cream
Couple spoonfuls plain yogurt
1-2 cups organic baby spinach
Teensiest pinch of stevia
Splash of flax seed oil
Splash of maple syrup EDIT: I don't add this anymore!
blend
About 1 cup frozen mixed berries (I use blueberries and raspberries)
Blend until combined

So delicious! Because Eli seemed sleepy today and a bit out of sorts, and I reeeeally don't want him catching the flu that I just recovered from, I also threw in a couple of 1,000 IU Vitamin D tablets and blended them right in with the smoothie. For mine, I just drink it right out of the blender. For Eli I mix smoothie with a bit more milk (to make it runny enough to flow through a sippy cup) and added 4 D-drops to get loads of Vitamin D into his little system. I really don't want the poor baby sick before Christmas!

I've toyed with the idea of adding a raw egg in there too, and probably will at some point, but it's grossing me out a tiny bit right now, especially with my still touchy stomach. Last night I made a different recipe, with milk, flaked almonds, flaked coconut, an organic apple and blueberries. Delicious, but I actually prefer the spinach. Carrot is a good ingredient to add as well I'm told.

Anyway, it's just my lastest phase and we'll see how long I stay on it. For now though, I feel very good knowing I'm putting good, raw, organic food into our bellies. Hope it keeps us well through the Christmas season!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Thankful

This Christmas, I am thankful for:

-Christ, coming to earth, our redemption and justification and continued sanctification because of him
-My sweet husband who teaches me so much every day
-My little boy, who showers me with love and kisses
-My new baby, and healthy and so far pretty easy pregnancy
-My spacious yet cozy apartment
-My church family
-The cuties in my Sunday School class
-Christmas cookies
-Eli's early bedtime and long daytime naps, enabling me to get things done during the day and in the evening
-My KitchenAid Stand Mixer. It makes life a lot easier
-My wonderful husband who makes me laugh until I cry
-Good food
-My mother teaching me how to crochet when I was little - it's been a fun way to pass the time and be a bit creative this holiday season
-Short lines at the grocery store today!
-The continued excellent health of my family
-My amazing husband who is so kind and helpful around the house
-The internet. I wouldn't know how to cook without it
-My long straight hair. Shallow, I know, but I just really like it
-My fake-yet-still-attractive Christmas tree
-Coffee
-My husband. He's the best

This is the short list. There are lots more things, these are just the ones coming to mind right now. It's so nice to be thankful...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Curry!

So I made a beef curry for dinner tonight with some leftover steak I had in the fridge, and Cory and I both loved it SOOO much that he made me promise to write down somewhere what I put in it so that I could replicate it. Because I pretty much totally made it up, and I'm sure by tomorrow will have no recollection of what I put in it. So... if you cared... here's what was in it. I'm not writing down amounts because I honestly have NO IDEA what amount of anything I put in, I just tossed in ingredients. When in doubt, a tablespoon is always a good place to start. At least that's my motto. Except for the chili flakes. That would be bad.

Emily's Own Beef Curry
Olive oil and butter
Diced onion
Minced garlic
Thinly sliced beef (I used leftover steak)
Ginger (I use the prepared stuff in a jar, fresh is probably better!)
Chili powder
Peanut satay sauce (just a spoonful or two from a jar)
Cumin
Curry powder (lots!)
Chili flakes
Fish sauce (just a dash or so)
White sugar (I know, I'm a hypocrite. Just a tablespoon though!)
Lime juice
Tomato paste (a spoonful)
Chicken stock (around 2 cups??)
A can of coconut milk

I brought it all to a boil and simmered on the stove for about 2 1/2 hours so that the beef would be nice and falling apart. It was! Toward the end of the cooking time I thickened it up a little bit with some flour and water (use arrowroot and water for a GF version). I was going for a Thai-style curry, and so tried to stick to the four "S's" of Thai cooking: sweet, spicy, sour and salty. Hence the sugar, spices, lime juice and fish sauce. You could easily use other ingredients, it's just good to remember those four flavours and try to get them all into whatever you're cooking. It will turn out delicious! I made a Pad Thai the other day that was really good too, not authentic by any stretch of the imagination (the sauce contained ketchup), but very good none the less. Could have used more sauce (note to self).

Anyway, so I served my curry on top of brown rice with broccoli on the side (another authentic Thai ingredient, ha ha), and all three of us had seconds. And/or thirds. And/or fourths. That might have been me.

If I'd had the motivation, I would have cubed a potato or two and thrown that in there, also cauliflower or chick peas would be really good just to flesh it out a little, but I didn't have either of those on hand. A handful of fresh cilantro thrown in at the end of the cooking time would also have been divine, but I didn't have that either. As it turns out it didn't really matter because it was so good, but it would have made it a little more gourmet!

Alright, that's written down, Cory will be happy, I'll be happy next time I go to make it that I can find what I did, and the world is a better place. Good night!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Perfect Mother



I'm doing it again.

Was it only a few months ago when I wrote that post about all my worries of not being able to afford the very best educational toys and books for my son, and how I was fast becoming convinced that he would wind up an unproductive and uneducated member of society if I didn't buy him the right stuff? My conclusion was (as it usually is) that I'm crazy and need to trust God more and worry less. Much less.

But I'm doing it again.

I see what everyone else is doing for Christmas, and I'm stressing out. We don't have traditions yet! We've only been married for two years, this is our third Christmas together and we honestly don't have anything figured out yet. I know everyone else doesn't either, but it feels like they do. Adorable advent calendars where they all do an activity together as a family every day. Christmas baking, volunteering at local food banks, etc. etc. I wasn't so worried last Christmas because Eli was only 3 months old, and I knew he wouldn't remember anything. This year he's going to be 15 months old, and even though I still know in my head that he's not going to remember this Christmas, I so want it to be special now that he's old enough to start doing some activities.

But I'm struggling with coming up with stuff. I'm not the super creative type, I don't make cute decorations for my house, I don't scrapbook or make handmade Christmas cards, I'm just a "keep it simple" kinda gal. And you know what? I'm learning that that's ok. My mom wasn't the super creative type either, she never did Christmas baking or made cards and although she always provided materials for creativity I don't remember any big Christmas crafts or projects that we all did together. And do I have sad, negative memories of the Christmas season growing up? Of course not! I loved Christmas, just like any kid does! Sure those types of things can be fun, but so can curling up and listening to Mom read Christmas books and stories to us (she did a LOT of that!). We didn't have fun activity advent calendars, just the missionary ones we got from Sunday School. No chocolate or games, but that didn't lessen the excitement of opening the new square every day.

I'm no longer sure where I'm going with this, but I guess my point is just that I need to stop worrying about making great traditions and just enjoy the holidays with my husband and my little boy. Merry Christmas everybody.