Sunday, 18 November 2012

Work it, Baby.

I work out by SashaWarner
I work out, a photo by SashaWarner on Flickr.
Lately, I'm loving the convenience of YouTube fitness videos.

Scarlett loves doing whatever Nevin is doing.

Nevin's new favourite thing is doing YouTube fitness videos with me. It ranks somewhere above biking, but below making police car noises at the top of his lungs.

Since we're all on such a health kick over here, it seems like the perfect opportunity to share our new favorite salad. Scarlett will eat anything. Nevin will eat almost all of the components, as long as they have never actually been in the salad, have no dressing and aren't touching. Shawn and I find it entirely addictive.

Quinoa and Kale Salad
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 bunch kale, stems removed and chopped
3 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup (or less) feta cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1. Cook the quinoa according to the package directions.
2. In a large pot, put about 2 cm of hot water and the chopped Kale over medium-high heat. Steam the kale until it has turned a brighter green colour, about 3 minutes. Drain any water that is left.
3. Put the quinoa in with the kale. Add the onions, dried cranberries, walnuts, and feta cheese to the kale and mix well.
4. Combine the olive oil and vinegar. Pour over the quinoa mixture. Done!

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Taking the long way home

Taking the long way home by SashaWarner
Taking the long way home, a photo by SashaWarner on Flickr.
This weekend, we went to Hamilton to visit my brother's family. On the way back Sunday morning, we decided to take the scenic route home. Nevin has never seen the CN Tower.

Shawn: Nevin, in a little while we are going to stop at a really big tower.
Nevin: Why?
Shawn: Because its reeeally cool.
Nevin: Are we going to stop there?
Shawn: Maybe... we'll see..
Nevin: Because I'm sure gonna want to.

We didn't go up, but Nevin thought it was pretty amazing. We did stop at the National Air Force Museum in Trenton. The kids thought the planes and helicopters were really cool. Shawn and I were struck by all the memorials and names of men and women who have served in Canada's Air Force. I don't think it was a coincidence that we ended up there at 11am on Remembrance Day.  It was a pause we needed.

So much excitement meant Nevin, the new anti-nap king, fell fast asleep for the last bit of the trip.

Tonight before dinner, we said what we were thankful for, like we do every night.  I leaned towards the sappier side of things.  Nevin said, "the tower. And the planes. Oh! And the tall buildings by the tower! And this soup. I love this soup." It was Shawn turned to me and said, "I'm thankful for his nap."

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Angry Jack

Angry Jack. by SashaWarner
Angry Jack., a photo by SashaWarner on Flickr.
We left the Jack-O-Lantern carving until the last minute. It was 4:30pm on Halloween and we only had a pumpkin. So instead of having a special destined-to-be-posted-on-facebook-to-prove-to-the-world-we-are-the-best-parents-in-town photo op of carving our pumpkin as a family, Shawn carved the pumpkin whilst I took the kids to visit my Grandmother. Doing both activities would have been ideal, but when time was short, it was an easy choice. The kids can't get an Oreo cookie from a Jack-O-Lantern.

Nevin is at the age where he knows things are coming, but is shocked and delighted when he sees it in real life. He knows about Jack-O-Lanterns, and had requested an angry face yesterday, but he hadn't connected the concepts that OUR plain pumpkin was going to be THE Jack-O-Lantern.

When we got home from Gram's and Nana's houses, Shawn had the Jack-O-Lantern carved and lit. Nevin gasped. He said, "Our pumpkin... is screaming!" He was thrilled.

Having left it all to the last minute, it was very tempting to do one of those really neat, quick and beautiful painted pumpkins as our Jack-O-Lantern this year. I couldn't though, because it felt like such a waste. You cannot eat painted pumpkins.

This morning I lopped off half Jack's face and put it in the slow cooker. We had easy, yummy pumpkin soup. I think it'll be our new tradition. I may not be the best parent in town, but by golly, I'm well fed.

Jack-O-Lantern Soup
(from Skinny Ms.)
8 ish cups pumpkin, chopped in large chunks (don't bother peeling it)
2 apples, peeled and diced
1 onion, chopped
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups milk, preferably not skim
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Put the first four ingredients in the crock pot. The original recipe said to cook on low for fours hours. I left it in the slow cooker for the entire work day, and it was fine.
After the first ingredients are cooked, puree them with the bottom four ingredients. Enjoy!
p.s. You could make this with canned pumpkin instead, but then you wouldn't need to use the slow cooked, because the pumpkin is already pureed.
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