BRAD     |     EMILLIE

Sunday, March 24, 2013

I'm so busy running I don't know how to stop

When did March break become two weeks long?!  Seriously, it was only one week when I was a kid (and I had to walk to school through snow drifts that went up to my waist!  Well, that only happened once... but STILL).

This week was defined by two things... Uliana turned 3 months old, and seems to have recovered from a lot of her digestive upsets (still a good sleeper with only 2-3 feeds a night despite reintroducing a lot of the foods that previously made her cranky).  And it finally got nice enough to dry my laundry outside!  So first I'll indulge myself with a cute photo of a frilly dress that Uliana got as a gift.  I think she'll wear it to Auntie Claire's Birthday party next week (we're heading to Vancouver to celebrate with her).
The next photo is from the Sidney Museum's Lego Mania display.  It's put on by the Victoria Lego User's Group, so a lot of the sets featured were from particular "era's".  We went with friends, and the two boys treated the display as though it was a giant lego shopping list. We toured the museum to the chorus of "I want that one, and that one, and that one..." 
Afterwards we walked around Sidney, stepping into a book shop, a toy shop and a bakery.  A quick visit to glass beach before heading home decided things for us... my friend and I were both going to go home and tell our husbands that we wanted to move to Sidney! 

I did a quick look for rentals in Sidney and discovered that we could get a 4 bedroom, 2 bath home (complete with fenced yard and a garage) for our current rent (2 bed, shared yard, leaky shed).  There is only one trick... the commute for Brad would take more than an hour... Since I currently count down the minutes until he gets home... I don't think I'm up for adding any more time to his commute.

The recipe of the week is a Russian or Ukrainian salad which is very seasonal.  Most of the ingredients are readily available at this time of year, and it's very colourful... leading to an Easter-like feel.  It is not a potato salad, so don't add extra potatoes or it will be too dry.  Also, for anyone on a low sucrose diet, omit the beets.

Ukrainian  Salat Vinaigrette
Place 1 lbs of beets in a pot of water.  Bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes.  Add 1 lbs of carrots and 1 lbs of waxy potatoes and boil for another 10 minutes (until potatoes are cooked).  Drain and leave to cool thoroughly.

Peel the cooked root vegetables and dice them up into small even cubes.  Toss them in a salad bowl with the following ingredients: 2 large dill pickles diced, 1 minced onion, 8 oz peas (canned, fresh or frozen), 2 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp black pepper, 1 tbsp parsley and 1/2 tsp salt.

Toss together and enjoy!  If you find it too dry you could add a bit more olive oil and vinegar, but it should be perfect as long as you don't over do it on the potatoes. (The photograph was taken by Nikolai.  He's got a folder of his own photos that mostly features toys... but he has figured out how to focus things.)

And here's the photo of Uliana from the week... getting ready for bed...

Saturday, March 16, 2013

I'm so tired my mind is on the blink

Oh My God... March break is here... two weeks without preschool...

I never knew how much I absolutely RELIED on those two and a half hours without Nikolai to get things done.  I am even more desperate for the weekend than usual, and I am wondering what I'm going to do when summer holidays come around!

Though I will admit that the insanity is partly self-induced....

...From the people who decided to take their 1 month old to a ski-hill birthday party comes the exciting new sequel: Throwing a Giant Saint Patrick's Day Party with a two-month old!

I have spent the week getting as ready as I can.  Highlights include: balancing 3 cases of beer on my stroller with my baby and preschooler in tow; and cooking with a preschooler while changing/nursing/soothing the baby.

This morning's adventure involved Nikolai accidently knocking a mixing bowl of chocolate-crispy buns onto the kitchen floor, and Uliana throwing herself backwards out of the carrier into aforementioned mixing bowl (while mixing batch number two).  Now if it sounds like I'm an over achiever for making food for the party, it's because you've never tried to make chocolate crispy buns as they are dead easy.

Anyways, I'm sure we'll survive the party intact (only 13 children coming + adults!) and I'm one step closer to being a completely insane parent (smiley face).

Now for some pics:

Nikolai as a dragon with a really cool dragon balloon from the French Festival
At the Victoria Royal's hockey game.  (It proved to be a bit loud for Uliana, she basically had a giant freak out afterwards).
Our first salad of the season entirely from our garden.  (I know it's bragging a bit... the lettuce was grown under cover, and Brad deserves credit for his green thumb).
And Uliana looking ever so pleased with Nikolai's rendition of "The Wheels on the Bus".

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Always keep on the bright side of life

It's been a busy week, but I've gotten on top of some cooking.  So rather than filling the blog with stories of our visitors, or tales of Uliana's overnight maturation from a newborn into a baby, I'm going to get right down to my newest pet project. 

Growing sprouts. 

Now I'll admit we do tend towards the granola-side of things, but sprouts are super easy to grow.  So rather than think about it as a hippy-food thing, view it as an early sign of spring, as it's the one thing you can grow in those dark days of January and February.  

When we moved last year we had very little kitchen equipment.  So I asked anyone and everyone to pass along anything that they were getting rid of.  It worked great!  Our kitchen pots, cutlery, glassware, blender, everything was all given to us!  We also acquired a set of sprouting lids for canning jars.  (Luckily they came with the instructions.) 

So we played around with growing sprouts until I got pregnant. (Sprouts are not recommended for pregnant women).  And now I'm back at it.  So here are a series of pictures of the alfalfa sprouts we grew last week.

Now for a less healthy recipe... Doughnut Muffins!  They literally taste just like cake-style doughnuts (though Brad asserts that they are much tastier).  As another sign of spring, Nikolai picked the crocuses in our garden.

Doughnut Muffins
Mix together 1 cup of flour, 1 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp nutmeg.  Add 1/4 cup of melted butter, 6 tbsp of honey, and 6 tbsp of milk. This will make 12 mini muffins or 6 regular muffins. Bake at 375 for 15-30 min (depending on the size of your muffins).

When the muffins are done baking baste them in melted butter (you will need about 3 tbsp), then roll in a granular sweetener.  I used about 3 tbsp of fructose mixed with 1 tsp of cinnamon.
Flavour add ins can include apple chunks to make an apple-fritter style muffin, or cocoa powder to make chocolate muffins.

The picture above is a close up of Uliana's famous cheeks.  The photos below are from a trip to a playground.  We walked past the local fire station when the firemen were out cleaning their pumper truck. Nikolai and his friend were invited to explore the truck!  I guess the firemen had some free time on their hands.