Thanks

Monday, 25 January 2016

I just want to say thank you!

Thank you for all your kind words, comments and messages.  It seems that my post on PPD hit a few chords, deep down, in a lot of people..both mamas and otherwise.

Just let this post just be reinforcement to those who read it to offer a kind word or hand to any new or seasoned mama with a newborn....cuz if it's one thing us mamas are good at doing is soldiering through...sometimes with our head in the sand...and at times...definitely to our detriment.

I wish I could get a re-do. But I can't...so instead I will do my best to continue to share.


K.

Post Partum Depression

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

So it's going to be my little girl's birthday in a few days. She is turning 5.

I hate the cliche saying: "Where does the time go?"

It has absolutely no answer. Time is fleeting. Or is it?




Some days, 5 years feels like a lifetime. Some days....a day feels like a lifetime.

Welcome to parenting.

I know you parents know what I'm talking about....even you ECEs and daycare teachers and teachers.....


Something happened recently. Our tenant had a baby.

One night I was putting Emma to bed, and we heard the baby cry for the first time in her room. Just quietly...but still there.

Emma and I had the biggest smile on our faces. Awwww...

Who doesn't love the sound of the first time you heard a baby cry?

Something happened later that week.  It was a Saturday night. I was chilling; reading a book in bed.

I could hear faint baby cries.

Aww...

The baby stopped after a while. But then it started again....and again... until I realized that the baby had been crying on and off for several hours. My poor tenant (and baby).

Then something weird happened. I started to feel anxious. Like, really anxious.

What was happening?

All these memories of feelings I had. All the crying, Emma did.

I remember feeling so many different emotions. Not many of them good. Some of them, when I look back on it...pretty scary.

Annoyance and anger. (Just stop crying!)

A lot of anxiety about how feeding was going and Emma's weight gain... (don't even get me started on that).

Wondering how the hell was I going to stay home for a year, and do this.

I missed my friends. I missed work.

I missed sleep.

I missed my husband (he was working busy season, as an accountant, at the time).

Plus...it was a miserable, cold winter.

Not the best time to have a baby.



I don't know when I realized, after the fact, that I had post-partum depression.

I also can't exactly recall when I started to feel better.

It just was.  There was no heroic realization or solution. I guess I was lucky that nothing really terrible happened. Some families aren't so lucky.

Everyone was telling me how great I looked..focused on the fact that I could wear my old clothes right after the birth. Who doesn't want to hear how great they look?

I look back at it now and can see it so clearly, but couldn't see it through the fog at the time.

And I was a perfect candidate for PPD....not exactly the award you want to win.




What's even weirder is that I am a huge mental health advocate. I deal with it regularly in my job and in my personal life. I knew about PPD. I read all about it..was educated in the risks, the symptoms, the signs... Where did it all go wrong? I think one of the hardest things is to admit to yourself that something is not right. You tell yourself it's the baby blues. Tell yourself that it will get better.

Until, one day it does. (I was lucky)

But, it felt like a lifetime.



So that night when my poor tenant was struggling...I think it was my body's way of remembering all these awful feelings.

(So strange isn't it? How our bodies and brains remember high-highs and low-lows so well.)




I am really not even sure how many people I know, realize I had PPD.

Maybe you had PPD too.

I feel ya.

So as the anniversary of Emma's birth approaches, I will take this opportunity to see how far she has come, but also how far I have come as a parent. (Only a touch cliche, no?)

I look back on pics of Emma as a newborn and wish I could hold her. Wish I really could have enjoyed that early time. Those snuggles and the feedings. Cuz I really didn't.

That's right..I hated it.

There, I said it.

That's just my truth.

Cuz 5 years sometimes feels like a lifetime, but it only takes a crying baby to bring it all back and make it feel like it was happened today.

Happy Birthday, sweet girl.





Chili with Rainbow Veggies and Pulses

Sunday, 17 January 2016

We had a wintery weekend!

We had hockey, freezing rain, event cancellations, snow, shovelling, skating, sliding and hot chocolate.

Only thing missing was a warming supper.

On it.

So after my pulse-inspired posts last night, a friend, drew my attention to the "pulse pledge" that some individuals are taking. This is where you pledge to eat pulses, at least once per week, for 10 weeks.

While I have not formally committed to it...yet....I am certainly ok with trying to incorporate the idea for one meal a week.

So today..Chili.

Rainbow chili in Emma's rainbow bowl that she painted...trippy

Totally made sense for the weather and activities we have been participating in. Plus, it really freezes well and makes excellent lunches.

This chili is a combo of some recipes thrown together...so much so, that I can't even remember who to connect it to!

Rainbow Veggie Chili with Pulses

2 tsp of canola or olive oil
1 package of ground beef or turkey (omit if you are going veggie)
1 white or purple onion
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 cup of chopped carrots
1 cup of chopped bell peppers (I used red and green)
1 tbsp of white sugar (takes some of the acidity out of the tomatoes)
2 large cans of salt-free diced tomatoes; undrained
1 can of drained and rinsed black beans or 2 cups of black beans cooked from dried form
1 can of drained and rinsed chickpeas or 2 cups of chickpeas cooked from dried form
1 can of drained and rinsed salt-free corn niblets



Spices:

1 tablespoon of chili powder
2 pinches of chili flakes (optional)
1 tsp of cumin
1 tsp of dried oregano
1 tsp of dried coriander
salt and pepper to taste
(I also added a tsp of onion powder, cuz it was in my cupboard)



In a large pot, sautee meat with oil, until browned.  Add chopped onion, celery, peppers and carrots and stir until softened.

Add spices to the pot, and stir around to toast them a minute before adding the undrained cans of tomatoes. Add the tablespoon of white sugar.

Cover and simmer until veggies are cooked...or up to an 1 hour.

Add corn, chickpeas and black beans.



Cook until beans/chickpeas are warmed through, and then it's ready to eat!

Serve with some yummy bread or rolls!

I also prefer it with grated cheese and a dollop of sour cream.


Today's a big week in our house!

Stay tuned for a revealing post in a few days :)

K.





Minimalism

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

A different kind of blog post ahead.....

I have been thinking about minimalist living. Cuz it seems that a lot of people are big into "minimalizing" their lives in 2016.

What is minimalist living? (cuz articles tell me that it's people that live in tiny houses with 5 clothes items, 5 personal items and 5 pantry items...well maybe not that little but you get the point).

Can you be a minimalist and be into fashion/clothes? home design?

(Things I am struggling with right now....)

One person's minimalism is another's wealth. Yes?

Is one person's minimalism some arbitrary amount?

How do you know you have achieved minimalism?

Does minimalism mean "cheap"?

Are you a bad person if you aren't a minimalist (cuz reading about minimalism makes me feel super guilty!)?

I strive to get rid of stuff I don't use...does that make me a minimalist?

Can you only be happy if you are striving to achieve or achieving minimalist lifestyles?

So many questions...no real answers...

What do you think?

My name is Katie...I don't think I am a minimalist. : /












Lentil soup!

Sunday, 10 January 2016


Welcome to the second pulse inspired blog post this weekend!

Cuz we are adults and we eat lentils! Darnit!

Cheese and lentils. Nom.

There are a lot of lentil soups out there.  I have made several; eaten a bunch. Read: I REALLY like lentil soups.

This is actually the first time I have made this recipe.

But I had faith.

This recipe was posted by Deb Perelman on her instagram account the other day. It was actually in tribute to it's writer, Chef Gina DePalma...who I am not that familiar with..but she was a close collaborator with famed "orange crocs", Chef Mario Batali (who frequented Iron Chef for a bit.when I would binge watch it from PVR).

She recently passed away of ovarian cancer.

Her last tweet from her twitter account was EPIC:

I am looped on painkillers still, but have chosen today to re-appear with this statement: Macaroni and cheese does not need pumpkin. TY

With a last social media sentiment like that...I had to make this soup.

Let me preface this recipe by saying...it's not vegetarian. Sorry!! I went completely veggie (vegan, if you ignore the piles of sour cream) yesterday. It's about balance right?

Gina DePalma's Lentil Soup (adapted)
- 2 Italian Sausage Links, casings removed (I got ours from Emin's Meat Market...super yum)
- 1 large onion
- 1 cup of diced carrots
- 2 stalks of celery, chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 can of diced tomatoes, undrained
- 2 bay leaves
- pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 cup of rinsed green lentils
- 6 cups of veggie/chicken or beef stock
-salt and pepper
- 4 cups of chopped swiss chard or kale
- grated parmesan cheese
In a heavy bottomed pot, cook sausage on medium, until browned (you could add 1/4cup olive oil, as per the recipe, but since sausage has so much fat already in it..it cooked just fine without it). Then add onions, celery, garlic and carrots. Sautee until veggies are softened.
Add the can of diced tomatoes, stock, bay leaves, red pepper flakes (if desired) and the lentils to the pot. Simmer on low until lentils and veggies are cooked. Add the chopped greens at the last minute. Serve with grated parmesan cheese. Deb suggests topping with garlic infused olive oil (1/4 cup of olive oil that has cooked 2 cloves of whole garlic until sizzling).

It's a super classic and simple. All the flavours were complimentary....basically it's like an Italian grandmother's, nurturing soup (I don't have one so I am kinda making that up...but you get the idea). Perfect cold weather, comfort food!
Ugh....wish I had crusty bread in the house.
I hope you guys have enjoyed all this pulse talk this weekend...in fact...it has inspired me...to find more pulse recipes I enjoy....although I shut the front door at lentil brownies.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

K.







Falafel

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Welcome to my first "pulse" inspired recipe post!

This one involves chickpeas...aka garbanzo beans.

I enjoy chickpeas from their dried form and from a can (Our Compliments makes a salt-free version, which I enjoy best).

The technical definition of a pulse is dried seed....and so I am supposed to say I am only gonna use the dried version.

I admit...I love the convenience of the canned version.

If you decide to use dried chickpeas...you have to rehydrate and then cook them.  The best way to rehydrate them is to let them soak in a pot or bowl of water (to cover) overnight.

Then you cook the poop out of them...

Hmm....maybe there is a more delicate way to do it....don't take my word for it...look at this lovely worded version by the Wimpy Vegetarian (love that name!) Click here!

Either way, you get your chickpeas, is fine in my books.  If you prepare from the dried version, you will probably end up with more than you need...and you can freeze or refrigerate the rest, for another day!  Nothing wrong with that, right?



I can't remember the first time I tried falafel...but I do remember that it tasted amazing...

I came across a recipe in House & Home yeaaarss ago...and clipped it out and have been using it for a long time.

The recipe is fairly versatile...the key pieces that you really need besides the chickpeas themselves are garlic, cumin (in my opinion), some sort of green herb (people use parsley, cilantro, mint...or some combination), a binder (flour usually) and a levener (baking powder).

There are certainly a lot of recipes out there...changes and tweaks to be had...

But here's mine!

Falafel (adapted from House & Home)

2 cups of chickpeas
1 small onion, chopped finely
2 minced garlic cloves
1/3 cup of chopped Parsley
a handful of chopped cilantro
1/2 - 1/4 tsp salt (depends how salty you are feeling that day)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp of AP flour
Fresh black pepper.


Again, here is where a blender or food processor comes in handy. Whiz all the ingredients up together, or mash cooked chickpeas with a food masher, in a large bowl (you will just have to finely chop all the other ingredients and incorporate. It makes for a more chunky falafel..but still super tasty).



I let this chill for a half hour in the fridge to let the flour suck up some moisture. Then use a small ice cream scoop to portion the "dough".

Today..since it's a Saturday...we shallow fried ours in my heavy bottomed dutch oven (canola or vegetable oil). The oil should be hot enough to sizzle when you drip a small amount of the batter in the pot. If frying, roll the portions in a bit more flour before dropping in, a few at a time. Flatten a bit to make little patties. Cook until golden brown and rest on paper towel in a warm oven until ready.

This cat plate with high edges is perfect for dredging!

You could also deep fry, or shape and then bake on parchment paper/cookie sheet! If you bake, you just have bake on one side until browned (about 10-15 mins) and then flip for even browning for another 10-15 mins.

Emma loves them with sour cream...me too!

Falafels are awesome by themselves or in a pita with tzatiki, sour cream or yogurt, lettuce tomato, cucumber, onions...whatevs!

Hope you take the plunge and try it :)

************

On another, sadder note...my thoughts have been consumed all afternoon, by a local, young girl, that made an adult decision. My heart truly broke, to hear of such sadness and pain...imaging her sadness and pain. Thoughts are with her family and friends, as well as, her. 

K.




International Year of the What?

Friday, 8 January 2016

Happy Friday folks!

It was the first week back to work, of course..and I think it was a good week!

While I am definitely tired, I always find a good long break, means I am more productive (for a while) at work....which I think I was (guess it depends who you ask).

So I thought I would write a prequel blog post, to some posts I am hoping to do this weekend (go on with your productive self!).

Let me preface this prequel (whoa...it's gettin' complicated) by saying: I love lots of different kinds of meat.

I love steak, pork, bacon (cuz bacon deserves it's own category right?), chicken, turkey...even some wild game meats (I heart and miss moose meat!)

Oh, and fish...(getting there with the shellfish!)

But even I (Mme meat lover), recognize the importance of incorporating plant based, meat-alternatives into my diet.

I even try to do one vegetarian meal a week (it's usually pizza...but hey..it's something right?)

I must admit though....I love a good vegetarian dish (mmm...curry) when we take the time to make one..and both A. and I enjoy a variety of types of lentils, beans and chickpeas (not quite there on soy/tofu...but hey...we can't have it all can we?)

Some food bloggers and chefs, I follow regularly are huge promoters of lentils, beans and chickpeas..also known as "pulses", in their dried form. (I know...weird name..but it is what it is)

The pulses in my cupboard had an awesome photo shoot, no?

Check out recipes by Michael Smith, Jamie Oliver and a couple of my fave food blogs: www.sweetsugarbean.com by Renee Kohlman (who has a dessert cookbook coming up soon!) and www.smittenkitchen.com by Deb Perelman.

The "pulse" has seemed to have been increasing in popularity, as we, as a species, learn more about sustainable, healthy food options....which lentils, chickpeas and beans seem to be...I admit I am not an expert in this area...but I think you can trust the research.

In working in the cardiovascular health field (I am a medical SLP that works with stroke patients and have a lot of interaction with dietitians), you learn pretty quick that plant based foods, are the way to go for improving your diet....they can be expensive....but the way to go...

But wait a minute....pulses are cheap?

Sweet!  (Which also appeases the accountant husband.)

So in short (or not that short)...2016 has been declared the "International Year of the Pulse" by the United Nations....i.e. you should get on board with trying this stuff too!

Hope you enjoyed this prequel post and enjoy the two, planned, blog posts to follow!


New Year's Resolutions

Monday, 4 January 2016

So speaking about the new year...

Did you make a new year's resolution?

Have you ever made a new year's resolution?

Kept a new year's resolution?

I feel like a lot of people have opinions about new year's resolutions....myself included.


I see a lot of people making fun of new year's resolutions on social media.

Lots of memes. Cranky, jaded tweets and statuses.

Why?

Because people don't typically keep new year's resolutions?

Emma did not make a resolution to become a yogi...don't let her smile fool you. 


This past fall, I took a course in motivational interviewing.  People that work in the psychology/counselling field, dietetics/nutrition field, education field, and even some physicians, are used to this term (and I am sure that I am missing a bunch of others..my apologies).

Motivational interviewing is basically a fancy way of determining someone's readiness for change.

What I learned from the course:

(and on an aside...this is my perception of what I think what motivational interviewing is all about...certainly not taken word for word from the presentation)

- humans are not really designed to make change from their "ordinary" (and many human's version of "ordinary" may not be the best in terms of lifestyle...and certainly humans have difficulty wearing allll the hats)

- asking a human to change, is asking them to do something that is outside of their "ordinary" (this could be anything from quitting smoking, to trying a vegetable, to keeping in touch more with friends).

- shaming or forcing someone is never going to motivate or help someone to make a change (in fact it can be more damaging in the long run...because if they decide they want to make a change, they would never come back to you for help)

- people will most likely have difficulty along the way to making change

- how you react to someone's difficulty in making change can negatively or positively affect someone's ability to or success in making change

- people want to hear acknowledgement about how tough it is to make change


So what does this have to do with New Year's resolutions?

Why use social media to make fun of someone, that may be on your newsfeed, and unbeknownst to you, is trying to or wanting to make a change?

Cuz it may, in turn, affect someone's feelings about making change.

If you think new year's resolutions are BS.... that's cool.  Don't make them and be a supportive ear and cheerleader, to someone that is trying to make change.

ORRR maybe make a new year's resolution to be less judgemental.

End of new year's resolution rant.

K.










Happy New Year!

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Happy New Year folks!

Hope it's been a restful, fun or least-miserable, holiday season, as possible! 

I have one more day off tomorrow, but I must say, I kinda wish I was getting back into a routine. I am not finding motivation to organize or clean or something else, at home...and I have sat around aloooot. 

I wanted to take the time to say thank you for reading, these past few months (since July, 2015).  With almost 8,000 hits on this page, I am happy to see someone is interested in reading what I might have to say or see what I am up to. 

On that note, I am also interested to see what you are interested in reading about! The ticker on the side of the blog shows the most read blog posts...so you can see the top 10 for 2015.  I also can see that from about the total of 60 posts, you like hearing about how the house is coming along (or not coming along) and definitely some recipes. 

What else do you want to read about? Msg me! or comment!

I really hope to share lots of news this upcoming year re: our house-to-be. 

We have a lot of choice and sourcing to do in the upcoming months.  Something I am looking forward to, but, I am concerned re: budget. Hopefully, I can source my readers for opinions. 

I also hope to do some more writing to let you know more about me. I guess sometimes in social media we tend to put our best face forward.  Not a bad thing, necessarily...just not the whole picture. I very much, look forward to it...

On that note...here is my best in nine from 2015. 



Some are so weird...like the iphone?  !  The selfie was a vulnerable moment for me re: my new specs....so also kinda awkward...

But the rest?

Thumbs up....from my girl, to my nan, to our land, to the pic of my AirBnB that got my most ever likes for a instagram post..

All the best for 2016!

K.