Tuesday, May 29, 2012

What I've Been Eating (And Cooking)

 My poor neglected blog! It isn't that I have forgotten about you, more that I just have way too much in my head.  So I've decided just to write about one of my favouritest topics ever today: FOOD!

 Although I haven't quite done enough cooking this month, I have had a lot of fun in the kitchen.  Near the end of April, I made three pies for my church's fish fry(well, two were for the dinner, one was to keep my family from being angry at me for giving away pie).  Originally I had planned to make apple pies, something I am well-practiced at.  Unfortunately, I only had enough apples for one pie and nowhere near enough fruit in the house to make anything verging on familiar territory.  I took a deep breath and ventured out into the unknown: cream pies.  It took several phone calls to my best friend's mother(who is a prize-winning pie maker) but I successfully made two chocolate cream pies.  This victory launched me into the scary new ground of meringue pies.  I read my cookbook very carefully and then, with Kian's help, made my very first lemon meringue pie.  I even squeezed the lemons instead of using bottled juice. Uber fancy, I know.  Having extra limes in my fridge(having been purchased to make coconut rice and beans), I then tried a Key Lime pie.  It was also delicious.  (Just in case you can't tell, I'm super-duper proud of myself. I made a meringue pie, twice!)

 Next up came the rhubarb.  I love rhubarb but neglected to freeze any last year. This made for a very sad winter as I waited not-so-patiently for spring and made puppy-dog eyes at those lucky souls who had excess rhubarb in their freezers.  I had planned to buy some at the market, but my FIL dropped off some gorgeous thick stalks from his garden instead.  Kian was so excited about the rhubarb that he followed me around with a stalk, demanding that I cook it.  Unfortunately I had a massive headache so was not able to cook.  But as soon as the pain let up a little bit, I stewed up some rhubarb for us.  It only took about twenty minutes and then we ate it piping hot on vanilla ice cream.  We were both happy campers.  On a side note, the smell of rhubarb is actually quite nice when you feel like you're going to die from a headache. I wonder if it could be used as a remedy...

 Part of the reason I was so desperate to get my hands on some rhubarb was to try this luscious cheesecake.  Now some recipes sound amazing, only to leave you disappointed.  Not this one.  From the shortbread crust to the sour cream topping, this is a cheesecake worth making. Oh, and it was quick and easy, for a cheesecake.  I made it in less than an hour and then let it cool for about three.  I can't say for sure since I didn't really let my family eat it, but I think it may become a household favourite.

 Yesterday my friend wrote about making iced coffee. My husband agreed to start the cold brew for me last night and I finished it this morning.  If you are a coffee person, try this! I'm out of condensed milk, so didn't get to try that version, but oh is it good! We did not make the full recipe, but it goes quite far. I am currently a very happy woman. :) I added almond extract to my third glass today and it was fabulous!

 Speaking of iced beverages, I made iced tea out of orange rooibos yesterday.  We were planting our seedlings today at the community garden plot and were asked to bring along snacks.  Since it's been rather hot, I decided to bring a refreshing beverage.  My kids adore iced tea of any variation and I wanted to clean out my tea cupboard, so it was a win-win.

 I have not wanted to turn on my oven since it's been so stinking hot. Instead I made these black bean and quinoa burgers for dinner.  They held together quite well on the barbeque and were eaten by the pickiest member of my household.  The burgers are a little on the bland side which made them perfect for him.  In addition to the avocado, I topped my first burger with a lemon sheep's cheese and the second with Bulls-Eye Guinness BBQ sauce.  Healthy and delicious!  For dessert, I made banana ice cream. What makes this "ice cream" fabulous is that it contains only one ingredient: Bananas!  After blending it, I stirred in peanut butter and chocolate chips.  A friend said she added a teensy bit of chocolate sauce making it decadent.  I will have to try that next time.

 Next on my list of things to do include making limeade(I still have leftover limes) and quinoa salad(yeah, I have leftover quinoa too).  I've also been looking at various grain-free lunch options. My children have been extra-picky recently, so I'm not sure what they'll eat.  Kian tried a celery stick stuffed with mashed avocado, topped with peanuts and then dipped in soy sauce.  The recipe needs work, but my older children have decided that they don't like avocado.  It's very sad, I know.  And now I'm thinking of how to make the perfect Asian-style celery(It's a Wonder Pets thing)...I hope you've enjoyed reading about my culinary adventures. I know I have. :)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


I started this post quite awhile ago, immediately after the incident.  However, I never ended up finishing it.  So here it is, written as if the incident had just happened. 

Have you ever seen a miracle?

 Our society doesn't really like miracles.  We explain them away, rationalize them as coincidences or  as exaggerations.  But I have to tell you, I saw a miracle today.  My story starts a couple days ago.

 On Wednesday, Kian fell and hit his head.  He cried a little bit, but was soon up and running again.  I watched him for 24 hours and when he didn't die, I breathed a sigh of relief.

 On Thursday, Kian fell and hit his head.  He cried a little bit more this time, but was soon up and running again.  I watched him for 24 hours and when he didn't die, I breathed a sigh of relief.

 On Friday, Kian fell and hit his head.  This time he didn't stop crying.  I cuddled him for about 45 minutes before Steve came home from work.  As he was still crying and not responding well to questions, we decided it would be best to take him to the ER.  As I was getting ready to leave, Steve decided to come along.  His parents agreed to take the older kids, so we dropped them off and headed to the hospital.  Kian's screams were quietening down, but only because he was falling asleep.  Unsure as to whether that was a good idea, I told him stories about other hospital visits on our drive.  He listened somewhat cheerfully as I recounted the tale of my very first concussion and the gash on his sister's head that required stitches. (Why is it that children like to hear stories of other people's injuries so much?)

 My poor little man was not happy to be at the hospital.  And we're not sure if it was because of the head injury or his screaming, but either way we got through triage fairly quickly.  Kian does not like to be touched by strangers even on the best of days, so getting his blood pressure taken and all the rest was not pleasant.  Thankfully my mad parenting skillz came into play as I convinced him that the blood oxygen monitor was a crocodile and the blood pressure cuff was a boa constrictor.  That calmed him enough to allow those procedures to happen.  Then he was back to screaming.  I think the whole waiting room was aware that he did not want to be there.

 Soon we were ushered back to the toddler area.  It was a cute little cubicle with a dinosaur bed and colourful dinosaur paintings on the wall.  Normally Kian would have been fascinated.  But all he did was scream.  Having been given permission for him to fall asleep, I cuddled him in and sang "I love you forever".  His cries to go home gradually faded out as he passed out in my arms.  Eventually I was able to put him in the toddler bed.

 When the doctor came, he informed us that Kian had a concussion.  He explained what to watch out for, what next steps would be and let us decide whether or not he needed a CAT scan then.  We opted out of it then, choosing to go home and watch him.  So back home we went to tuck our little boy into bed.  He slept well, but we didn't as we were up checking him every couple of hours.  At some point during the night, Kian woke up and asked to sleep in his own bed.  We breathed a sigh of relief, thinking he was back to normal. We were wrong.

 Waking up in the morning, I heard Kian whimper. At first I thought he was just stirring.  Then I heard him say something about having puked.  Steve got him and didn't notice anything but Kian kept insisting that he had thrown up.  And then the vomiting started in earnest.  Kian could not keep anything down.  Not only that, but he also couldn't answer questions about his siblings or his age correctly.  Fear gripped my heart.  Plunking Kian in the kitchen with a bucket, we hurriedly pulled together a bag and headed back to the hospital.  Steve dropped us off and then went to park the van and get us breakfast.

 I was very nervous walking back into triage.  I needed to let the nurse know that we had been there last night and that things were worst.  Communicating with people is often scary for me and I was concerned that miscommunications might happen, especially if the nurse was very busy.  As I first walked in, there was no nurse in sight.  But as I signed us in, the nurse came out to look at the sign-in sheet.  To my great relief, she was an acquaintance, the wife of a close childhood friend.  I quickly explained what was going on and she rushed us in to triage.  This time Kian wasn't fighting very much.  He was grumpy and almost not talking, but not screaming. I didn't know whether to be relieved or concerned.  Soon we were placed in a room in the critical part of emerg to wait some more.

 Waiting was scary.  Kian became stiller and stiller, talking in a voice so quiet that we could barely hear him.  Whenever we asked him questions, he would respond " tired..." in the saddest little voice we've ever heard.  I was terrified.  That was when I really started praying.  Until then I had been busy, wrapped up in getting us where we were supposed to be.  As we sat there, silently, I begged God to heal my baby.

 A new nurse came in, asking us the same questions we had answered many times previously.  After taking his history, she began to examine Kian.  He was lying so still and quiet.  But as she looked at him, he began to respond.  He let her touch him, then sat up and moved his arms and legs.  He began to answer questions and then, at her prompting, he hopped off the bed and walked with her to get a popsicle.  Steve and I looked at each other in amazement as Kian hadn't walked more than a step or two for 18 hours.  He came back happily with his popsicle that he proceeded to eat and not throw up.  Five minutes later, he began to climb the bed and slip through the rails on either side.  Kian was strangely, miraculously better.  We waited for the doctor to come back, mostly so he could send us home.  There was no other explanation but that God had healed our little boy.

 The doctor posited that perhaps it was a coincidence and that Kian had contracted a stomach virus at the same time as the concussion.  He advised us to feed him sparingly.  However, upon arriving at his grandparents house, Kian demanded food.  He ate like a starving man before running off to play lego.  Bemused, we rejoiced in his rambunctiousness.  It was a welcome change.

It's several months later and Kian is absolutely fine.  We are blown away by God's goodness and so thankful for Kian's complete recovery. 

Linking with Imperfect Prose today;