Tuesday, March 23, 2010


I had bronchitis for a week, and couldn't cook... couldn't do anything but cough and sleep.  I feel a lot better!!!!  And miss cooking! 

I am on a bread kick, I am going to master the art of breadmaking.  I make an awesome biscuit (no yeast), have finally perfected fluffy, juicy, moist cinnamon buns (yeast), and now will move on to this bun recipe I found, it sounds soooo good!  I love Rosemary!


¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
2 ¼ tsp (1 packet) active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
3 ¼ cups bread flour
1 ¾ teaspoons sea salt or kosher salt
extra flour for dusting
½ cup butter, melted and cooled slightly
nonstick spray

1. In a small bowl, combine olive oil and rosemary; let marinate for at least 30 minutes.

2. Pour yeast into 1 cup of warm water (about 105 to 110 degrees… no warmer). Stir to dissolve the yeast and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes. Mixture should foam and bubble (a sign that the yeast is still good).

3. Insert paddle attachment into your stand mixer. Pour water/yeast mixture into the mixing bowl. Add ½ cup of flour and the salt and mix on low speed until incorporated. Keep adding ½ cups of flour until all flour is used up and incorporated. Remove the paddle attachment and replace it with a dough hook. Knead on low and slowly pour in the olive oil/rosemary. Increase to speed 3 and let the machine knead for about 2 minutes.

4. Remove the dough and shape quickly into a ball. Dust lightly with flour and place in a zip bag, pressing out air and sealing. Place on a cutting board and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size (about 1 hour). Punch down inside the bag and let rise again for an additional hour.

5. Punch the dough to deflate and let rest 10 minutes. Lightly spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Divide dough into 12 equal-sized pieces. Shape each piece of dough into a ball and transfer to the prepared baking pan. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise at room temperature for about 1 hour (until almost doubled). They’ll continue to rise as they bake, so don’t worry too much if they don’t look large enough.

6. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Remove plastic wrap and lightly brush each roll with melted butter. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 and bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until browned and hollow sounding when tapped. Remove to wire rack to cool.
Yield: 12

Cooking Tips:
*Use a candy thermometer or an instant-read meat thermometer to check for accurate water temperature.
*If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can always knead by hand instead. It’s just a little messy.
*Trick to dividing the dough into 12 equal pieces: Divide the dough in half, then in half again, then you can divide each of the four pieces into three equal dough balls.

I can already taste them!  Leigh's boss and his wife are coming for supper on Saturday, they will be my guinea pigs!   Saturday's menu will be:  barbecued strip loin with sauteed mushrooms and green onion (Leigh style, so so good), baby potatoes and carrots in butter/dill sauce, Caesar salad (Sharon's recipe, it is the best ever) and olive and rosemary rolls.  For dessert, hmmm... I'll have to think on that one. :)  I've been forcing myself to bake, and I am actually getting quite good at it!  It's the measuring and accuracy thing that turns me off :).  But since I started to do it more often, I actually find it quite therapeutic! 

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sensory Overload

I love Julia.  I love her more than life. 

She is my most challenging child.  She is my most sensory child.  Pretty sure she has Tactile Sensory issues.  The symptoms she exhibits:  avoids particular textures in food, clothes, or other substances, and dislikes wearing clothing, clothing tags, socks, and/or shoes.  Now, this could also be because she is four years old... but we consistently go through up and down periods, struggling with it, and have been doing it for a couple of years now.  It is frustrating, painful, exhausting. 

Julia has been sick for the last 3 1/2 weeks.  We've been to the doctor three times now, first she was treated for pink eye, one week later for bronchial pneumonia, and yesterday they decided to put her on a four week program with inhalers.  She is coughing up a storm, looks like she's been through one, and her moods are swinging out of control. 

This morning was not my finest moment.  Kennedy left for track, Leigh and Braedon left for work, and there I was, left with my (demon child) lovely Julia.  She got up fine this morning, after a very restless night of coughing and a slight fever, both me and her.  I have gotten sick in the three weeks she's been struggling through everything, we are both exhausted.  She got up this am, got dressed in green for St. Patty's day, asked for eggs and toast for breakfast... and then all hell broke loose.  All of a sudden, she's pulling on her clothes, she doesn't like the way they feel (she's worn them a hundred times before), but that's the thing, what feels okay to her today, doesn't tomorrow, doesn't half way through the day.  So after six outfit changes, yes six, searching for the only black pants that feel good to her when she is in this state, and not finding them... I threw up my hands and a whole bunch of rejected clothes, and left the room.  She screamed after me to help her pick out clothes, but I had had it.  I went back to the kitchen to make her "yolk" egg and toast.  She comes to the kitchen in her underwear.  Okay, one step at a time.  I get her to sit down and eat.  She tells me I burnt her toast and broke her egg.. and oh yeah, she wanted two eggs.  (yes, I did burn the toast a wee bit while trying to accomodate her little shopping spree in her drawers), but I sure didn't break that egg.  She proceeds to cut all of the egg around the yolk and eat it, and then ask me to puncture her egg for her.  I do that, she dips her toast, eats everything, drinks all her juice, washes her face... leaves the table to get dressed.  Sounds good, right, back on track?


She is mad again.  She is in her room looking for those black pants.  Inconsolable.  Nothing I say or do helps.  And I snap.  Again, not my best moment.  I yell at her.  I yell at my 32-pound little slip of a daughter and I give her a little swat on her underwear wearing behind.  I tell her that I can't do this all the time, she is making some terrible choices in her behaviour and she is hurting me and everyone around her.  Know what my little slip of a daughter does? She gets sarcastic.  She tells me "she can't help herself".  Seriously, do your 4-year old's tell you that?   That makes me even angrier, and I am feeling very "gotta get outta here" right about now.  

Anyway, the morning ended in a screaming match, her losing taking her bike to Auntie's for the day, and me telling her that I can't keep doing this with her... she gets really quiet, wants to hug me, telling me she's sorry (she just wants to win the bike back), I don't let her get to me.  I love her but I will not tolerate that kind of treatment, I can't!  .  She will not get rewarded for making our mornings insane, no way.   And, she's sooooo good at it!!!!!

But through it all, I love you Jules :)  (Bet you can't believe this looking at that angelic face, huh? :)


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Date Night

I need a date night!

Leigh and I have been doing "date night" for the past couple of years.  We never used to take the time to relax, unwind and enjoy each other without the kids running around.  We make sure we do now.  Not only does it strengthen our relationship and make us calmer and more effective parents, but it is a constant reminder that we are more than just parents, we are people, who love each other, who think it is very important to take the time to celebrate that.   We try to do it at least once a month, but it's been a busy 2010 so far and we haven't kept up our promise to each other.  So we are going to plan a date night.  Julia has bronchial pneumonia at the moment, so it'll have to wait till next weekend.  :)

A typical date night for us involves food and wine, of course!  Our favorite spot is McNally Robinson... we make a reservation at the Prairie Ink Restaurant, we get dressed up... Leigh always tries to order the fish feature, and they are always out :) (something about the fishery burning down... I don't know), but whatever we order is consistently good, they have a decent wine selection, and there is almost always an acoustical band playing on either Friday or Saturday night.  We get a frilly coffee afterward, they let you walk around with it, we look at books, we buy one or two... we go home and have another glass of wine, and talk, no interruptions, no sick kids, no-one but us.  It refreshing and re-charging and all couples need to do this on a regular basis. 

Don't forget about it, don't forget to celebrate your marriage every day. 

Don't forget to celebrate the life that you have and work everyday to make it the best life ever!!!!!


Monday, March 8, 2010

Buerre Blanc is a revelation!

Beurre Blanc.  Beurre Blanc... is perfection.  Beurre Blanc means "white butter" and is a rich, hot butter sauce made with a reduction of vinegar and white wine and shallots (onions) into which cold, whole butter is blended off the heat to prevent separation.  The result of which... is pure bliss!  Poured over fish it transforms the taste beyond anything I've every had!  It is heaven in the mouth.  You can thicken it with cream if you prefer, but we like it without.    You can use it with anything really, we've added over-top eggs, over pasta, chicken, any type of fish, vegetables... well really, it's butter, intensified, what could taste better? 

My lovely husband gave me Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking", volumes 1 and 2, for valentines day.  We don't normally celebrate the Hallmark holiday, so after giving him a bit of heck, I burst into tears.  That man knows his way to my heart :)  The recipe as per Julia:

Yield: 1.25 cup
In small saucepan heat liquids to a boil, adding shallot and white pepper. Boil down to a syrupy glaze.
Remove pan from heat and whip in two lumps of butter, then two more.  Set pan over very low heat and continue to add butter as soon as the last lump has been absorbed.  It should be smooth like mayonnaise, and the butter should not melt.

Leftover sauce. It will congeal. Use like flavored butter, or heat it a little bit at a time, as for Hollandaise: …set a small saucepan in another sauce- pan of warm water, and stir the sauce by spoonfuls into the small pan, warming it a bit at a time.

It is soooooo easy to make, and so wonderful!  Try it, you will love it!!!!  


Friday, March 5, 2010

My Baby is Eleven!

Today is Kennedy's 11th birthday.  Leigh and I spent the morning time we had together reminiscing, we were sitting having a cup of coffee and remembering that we were doing that same thing 11 years ago, having some breakfast and getting ready to go to the hospital to get induced.  All my babies were induced, it is a very calm way to go into a birth.  It gives you time to prepare, well, not for the pain, but for the event itself.  We had to be at the hospital at 9:00 am, Leigh had a melt-down in the parking log (he does it with every baby) and we were on our way!  Ken was born at 11:37 pm, one push, adjust, one more and out she shot!  She couldn't wait to join the world and we couldn't wait to welcome her into it!  Big brother Braedon came the next morning, Leigh went to stay at my Mom's house that night, Braedon was already there, and the long awaited sibling was introduced to him.  Braedon was nine when she was born, sixteen when Julia was born, I like to rest in-between babies, what can I say!  :)

Kennedy continues to amaze us every day of her wonderful existence.  She is a joy to be around (okay, except first thing in the morning :), she has so much to tell us, teach us, share with us... she is a ray of light in our lives.   She is very easy to like, very talented and lovely to everyone around her.  Thank you for being a part of our lives baby, and Happy Birthday!


Monday, March 1, 2010

Sick House - Pink Eye

Sick is running through our house.   Actually, sick has been living here for a while, it takes a week or two vacation, but, then it's back, infecting one kid, two kids, or all five of us.  All at once, one at a time... but consistently there is something lurking around.

Julia has pink eye.   On top of that she has had a dry hacking cough, runny nose and low grade fever for the past week.  She woke up Sunday morning with one eye glued shut, screaming because she didn't know what was going on, nose running, coughing up a storm, she was a mess.  It does wonders for those lovely mood swings too :).  Off we go to the Gama Medical Clinic in Warman, I love it there.  The doctors are great with the kids. Dr. Franco saw Jules, confirmed my diagnosis and gave her viscous drops to treat the pink eye, and quarantined her at home until Tuesday (very contagious) so we could get a round of medication in her eyes.  Has anyone ever tried to give a sick, grumpy four-year old viscous drops in their eyes?  Well let me tell you, fun times!  I have to psych myself up as much as Julia to get her to stay still long enough to get them in there.  The "drop" comes out as a gelly type blop, it warms and turns to liquid.  I get it.  I understand the concept.  It makes sense.  Drop in the gel, it warms, melts and spreads to the eye.  Great for an adult.  For a four-year old?  Not so great.  Picture this, I lie Julia down on the bed, holding her there with my legs so she can't escape.  Feeling really good about this whole thing at this point.  She knows what's coming, I know what's coming.  I have to do both eyes (the other one is infected this morning as well).  She has to keep her eyes open, ha!  I have to hold her eye open and "drop" the gel into the pocket, ya right.  Julia is then supposed to gently close her eye, not touch it, not move while it warms and melts and spreads over the eye.  At this point I am holding Julia's arms to her chest because she wants to reach up and rub her eyes to get the "owie" out of them.   In reality, she slams that eye shut, crying and squirming, squeezing it together as hard as she can, asking me to make it better right now mommy, right now, please! (crack goes my heart) ... how much of that stuff is actually staying in there I wonder?  So viscous drops, no, I don't recommend that for a four-year old, the old fashioned run-everywhere type drop works better.  At least then you have a hope of getting them in there quickly, apply a kleenex to whatever is dripping and you are done.  Did I mention that the viscous doesn't melt right away?  It sits there, where it is dropped, and takes some time to melt.  All this with the squeezing, thrashing, crying, pleading... fun times.