29 July 2011

Henry's Smoothies

This is Henry these days. Not the one sock and no clothes bit but the popsicle bit. He eats 3 or 4 a day recently. When he wants one he knocks on the freezer door and says something along the lines of "cold cold". These are the popsicles I make from leftover smoothie so he is allowed to have as many as he likes though we do try to get some other food into him too. So for now I will be putting his whole smoothie allotment into the popsicle molds.

And yes, these pictures of a 17 month old eating a popsicle in the living room do give a good indication of the level of stickiness of our home.

PS - Today I tried adding a bit of leftover steamed cauliflower (soft and bland) into our smoothies and it worked beautifully.

28 July 2011


Firstoff, I decided to put a post about smoothies up on the blog because I wanted a reason to take photos of my most recent thrift store acquisition: the most beautiful blender the world has ever seen. But also since I've been making smoothies on and off for years and every single day for the past few months since Henry started liking them, I think I have some good knowledge on the subject to offer up to the internet community.

Back to my blender - isn't it beautiful. It's got avocado green, shiny chrome, and even faux wood grain. And it looks and works like new. And it cost just $12. I've been through 3 $150 blenders in the past 3 years. The first 2 that broke were luckily replaced under warranty. And after the third broke I did actually replace it with a cheaper new blender but I am happy to keep that one in the basement as backup so that I can have this one on my counter. I am hoping that this is one of those "they don't make them like they used to" situations and not an "Amy is way too hard on her blender" situation so that my new blender will last for years to come.

Of course this beautiful blender has created that age old problem of making my toaster and microwave look hideous but I think I can deal with it. Well, maybe I will keep just one eye out for an awesome thrift store toaster. But I don't think that microwaves are one of those "they don't make them like they used to" appliances. Besides, I don't think microwaves get much more vintage than our current one.

Onto the smoothies, I make some variation of this every morning. Assuming you are not taking pictures along the way, it takes less than 10 minutes for the whole thing.

First the veg (well 2 of these are fruits if we want to be technical). I add about 3 big collard leaves and avocado and, since zucchini are coming out of the garden right now, I've been adding those too. Add the collards to the blender first to be sure that they get well blended.

The protein: tofu, cashews, and flaxseed. I add a third of a 530 g package of soft silk tofu. I also sometimes add raw cashews, I find about 1/4 cup soaked in water overnight works well. I also always have soy protein powder in the pantry which I add if I am out of tofu or occasionally in addition to tofu.
The sweet fruit. I always add one banana and then about a handful of various frozen berries or peaches or whatever tasty fruit is in season. On this day I also added some raspberries and currants from the garden that weren't getting eaten. Mangos are also a really nice addition.
I meant to take a picture of all the ingredients stacked up in the blender, it looked quite nice but I accidentally pressed blend first so this is the picture showing the ingredients in the blender (some blended some not) along with the juice. I usually use orange juice but this is what I happened to have. It's a good idea to taste the smoothie before you take it out of the blender. If it turns out you added too much collard greens or flaxseed (too much and you can taste the bitterness) or even tofu (too much and the smoothie becomes bland) the best thing to add is raspberries as these seem to cover up those tastes the best. And if you don't like the grittiness of the flaxseed it is also a good idea to add raspberries because we are used to that gritty texture when we eat raspberry stuff.

I think that is just about all my smoothie knowledge. Of course just about any these ingredients can be substituted or omitted. The only balance that's important is the sweet versus non sweet ingredients.
So you can see these are pretty healthy. Lots of fruit and veg and protein. And calcium from the tofu and the greens. Henry has a serving of this, he sometimes drinks it all at once but it often goes in and out of the fridge while he works on it during the day. Having him get all this good stuff lets me feel a bit more relaxed about what he eats the rest of the day.

These ingredients made enough for 3 servings plus a little left over that I pour into popsicle molds. Henry and I both like to eat the popsicles that these smoothies make. And I found these great little molds at Dollarama that are nice and small for little Henry.

Here's the recipe just in case this information really is of use to anyone out there:

3 big leaves collard greens
1/2 avocado
1/2 zucchini
1/4 cup raw cashews presoaked overnight
1/3 pack soft silken tofu
1-2 TBSP flaxmeal
1 banana
~handful berries or other fruit
1/2 cup+ orange juice

Put all ingredients in blender and blend. Start with 1/2 cup juice and add more until well blended to desired consistency.

27 July 2011

Green Beans and Currants

The summer is flying by, we are just about done with peas and have moved onto green beans in the garden.
Above they are served with chickpea cutlets and sautéed zucchini.

Yesterday I also picked the red currants off the currant bush. We never get very many and they never taste all that good but I try to remember to pick them at least once each year. I think Henry liked the red currants. I saw him spitting them out at least once but he kept going back to them, reaching his lovely little hand into the jar and pulling out a little red ball.

And some other shots of my favourite kid. We are spending a lot of time out the front of the house these days, Henry's favourite place by far.

26 July 2011

A Lovely Evening

The three of us had a lovely evening together yesterday. It started with a nice restaurant meal at an indian place but Henry was not too co-operative about staying and being a good boy in the restaurant so it wasn't the nicest dinner. He just has to be outside recently and he does this thing where he comes up to you, grabs your hand and tries to pull you outside all the while saying "door door door". It's very cute but is always annoying when he does it during a meal.

So after the meal we made sure to do something that was fun for Henry too - we went over to Waterloo Park. And we all had so much fun. All of a sudden Henry was the perfect age for everything there. He loved walking along the train tracks.And he was really into the animals. Here he is with the turkey, he is pretty good at saying "turkey" too.We didn't even take the stroller out of the car, Henry did a great job at walking along with us. And when we told him there were "more animals" over this way he was happy to follow along. Here he is putting his fingers a little too close to the pig's mouth.He led us over to the playground. Suddenly he was very into going down the slide himself, positioning himself and sliding down backwards. He used to do this months ago but then stopped after bopping his chin too many times.
And Kevin and I were amazed when we looked up and saw that he had climbed into this car rocking toy all on his own. And then he even started rocking himself. What a big boy! He LOVED it.
When we got home we relaxed on the front porch with a fancy trappist beer while Henry played outside. It was perfect.

23 July 2011


We had the first of the zucchini from the garden last night. This year I planted yellow thanks to a tip from Kevin's Aunt Linda that they are easier to spot before they grow humungous. I made a simple vegetable sauté that I think turned out so well that I thought I ought to post the recipe. We had it alongside smoked tofu sandwiches. I am in love with this Soyganic smoked tofu. Our Sobeys seems to get it in only about once every 3 months so last time I saw it I bought 4 packs but since I've had it twice this week I don't think that was nearly enough. It's just tofu with smoke flavour in it, none of the modified ingredients or msg that's in other meat substitutes. Last night our smoked tofu sandwiches were extremely good with red onion, tomato, avocado, lettuce, and mayo. Here is the recipe for the vegetable sauté.

Zucchini Sauté

1 TBSP vegetable oil
1 medium red onion, diced
1 red pepper, chopped
2 medium zucchini, sliced
2 large potatoes, cubed and either steamed or baked*
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp cumin

Heat the oil on medium-high heat in large fry pan. Add onions and peppers and sauté for 5 minutes. Add zucchini and herbs and spices and sauté until zucchini is soft, about 5 minutes. Add cubed potato and stir. Serve.

*I baked my potatoes in the microwave like so:
wash potatoes, poke several times with fork, wrap in paper towel, microwave for 5-10 minutes until soft
when cool enough to handle cut into 4 spears by making 2 cuts lengthwise and pull off the peel/scrape off the potato, then cut into 1 inch cubes

Henry had enough of staying in the house on Thursday so yesterday to stay cool (I am on a break from the heat for a while) we drove to the mall.

21 July 2011


I am so excited to get into arts and crafts with Henry and was starting to get a bit bored of finger painting. Markers are too difficult because he has to put the exact right part onto the paper and crayons are too difficult because he has to push too hard. At car free Sunday in Waterloo Henry seemed to be having some luck with the sidewalk chalk. So I went out and got him some of his own chalk and a chalk board and we tried it today. And it's a success. He purposely drew with the chalk and I think he enjoyed it.It`s very hot today (34C feels like 46C) so we are staying in the air conditioning. Here are some of the other things we`ve been doing to keep occupied inside the house.
Eating popsicles even though it`s nice and cool inside
Getting out all the toys, these are usually kept away because all he likes to do is throw them around
A pillow fight, it was a bit one-sided but Henry loved being hit with a big pillow
Some guitar playingRunning around the sewing room. Kevin hates my blurry pictures and is always telling me to give it up and turn on the flash but didn`t this one turn out awesome?!And some boring old finger painting. Henry's finger painting has really improved over the past month or so - it has become so deliberate, he totally gets what he's doing and moves the paint around with one finger.I think I`ve used up all my ideas for activities, not sure what we'll do when he wakes up from his nap.

A little baby dress

We have just discovered that one of Kevin's old high school friends has just moved to Waterloo and she has a 3 month old daughter. We are very excited to have more friends in the area and I was excited for an excuse to do some little girl sewing. I know little girls usually have lots of beautiful dresses but I am hoping that since this is brown with blue flowers it is at least a bit different to her other dresses. I used this old vintage pattern and I think it turned out well. Can't wait to give it!

20 July 2011

Spruce Trail

We tried a beer from the LCBO a while back that used spruce instead of hops! And it was meant to be drunk at room temperature. We really liked the taste and were very interested in the idea of brewing our own beer with spruce. We liked the idea of doing something a bit different and as an added bonus, hops are quite expensive and spruce is free since we have a HUGE spruce tree in front of our house.
We took some tips from the internet, especially this guy. You should only use the new tips in spring (luckily we decided to do this back in May, just in time to pick those tips) and you should use about half an ounce per gallon. And other than that, Kevin just made up his own recipe - very adventurous for such a newbie beer brewer. And we called our beer Spruce Trail.
So we made the beer and it seemed to work and we got to taste it last week. It is delicious. We tried it 3 ways: room temperature, cold, and in between. We both liked it best at room temperature just like the original. Kind of nice to have a beer you like to drink at room temperature, frees up some fridge space at least. But not such a great summer beer.
And with the spent grains this time I made chocolate chip cookies using this recipe. They turned out great, tasted like a healthier granola-y version of chocolate chip cookies.

18 July 2011


I made a pie that I am so proud of that I just had to take pictures. And then what else would I do with the pictures but put them on my blog. I made a blueberry pie because Freshco had blueberries for $1 a pint and I went crazy and bought 4 pints. I used the pastry recipe from the book Vegan Bake Sale. It is by far the best pastry I have ever made but it was quite a bit of work so I think for my next pastry I will try following the recipe but skip a few steps and see how it turns out. And yes I really ought to buy a proper pie dish except I kind of like the idea of being known for my extra deep dish pies.I am most proud of my lattice crust, I almost didn't bother thinking it was too much work but it really wasn't and looks so good.

And with the extra pastry I made some little turnovers.
Some with raspberries from the garden:
And some with an old apple I found in the fridge: