Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Beet Noodles Salad

I can always tell when my auto-immune is being mismanaged because I can't focus.  I can't see projects through and I feel easily overwhelmed.  Motivation is absent, exhaustion is present and my brain doesn't work.

Remember my last post about June and it's attempts at homicide?  Well there are a few days left and it has about done it's job.  I would like to say that my 'to do' list is getting smaller but that would be a lie.  Our calendar has been so busy that I have barely been able to keep up with the day to none of the weekly, bi-weekly or monthly this month has happened.  I still have a whole garden of my own to put in that has been completely ignored because of my commitments to the school garden and 'Le Grande Installation' trade we did for a friend (more on that later).  Super lame I know but holy cow give me a break eh?  I am hard enough on myself.

So I haven't been cooking up a storm but I have been able to play a little so this is the result of some experimentation on my more energetic of evenings.  It might have also been a desperate attempt at dinner that worked

Remember my beet noodles?
and my Pickled Onions?

Mix them with toasted walnuts and a little goat cheese.  I would recommend adding a little arugula which I would've done if my garden was in.  Then add a dressing

Simple Balsamic Dressing
2 tbsp honey
4 tbsp balsamic
1 tsp dried mustard
1/3 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Monday, 17 June 2013

#RealMamaLife June's Chaos

Am I delusional?

I must be delusional to think I can do all the stuff that I sign up for.  I am delusional to think that someone can keep sane with this many balls in the air.  Let's face it, I have truly, irrevocably, ambitiously, insanely, signed on for a REAL #RealMamaLife and lost all the marbles to my Hungry Hungry Hippos along the way.

Why do I think I can 'do it all'?

Good question......

June and September seem to be the hardest months of the year.  The beginnings and endings of the school year comes with huge transitions - not just the school transitions for the kids but a huge endless list of 'To dos' that start and stop in June and September and could be called "My Fiscal Year" - although it has little to nothing to do with finances. Spring and Fall bring with them
  • Canning Season - In the spring, all the jams, jellys and chutneys for the year.  In the fall, the canning of tomatoes, ketchup making and pickling of vegetables.
  • Spring Cleaning - I know it would be smart of just keep the place clean all year round but if you live in an area that gets 4 complete seasons like I do, you too would be amazed by how filthy the place looks when the new brighter sun of spring shows up.  Even just the windows!!
  • Wardrobe Change - The swap out of season appropriate clothes - this is a whole different undertaking for parents of growing kids. For the adults in this house it means using different drawers in our dressers that stock the lighter wear.  For the growing beasties it means packing up the out grown last season stuff for donation/sale/give to friends, putting aside and packing away the stuff that might still fit next year, dragging out the stuff from last year that you thought might fit this year, sorting through it to find that very little of it does fit, dragging out the stuff you have purchased too big (usually because it was too good a deal to pass up) over the last couple of years, sorting through all of it and then filling in the blanks with a couple of shopping trips.
  • The beginning and year end of two major volunteer positions.  Chairing the Parent Council at the twins school and the work I do with TPOMBA (Toronto Parents of Multiple Births Asso) all fall within the school year and take some work to get rolling in the fall and then put to bed in the spring.
  • The Gardens - cleaning up the 3 garden plots I work in. Our back yard, the school's garden and a city plot all need to be clean up and planted in the spring and then harvested and put to bed in the fall.
  • June and September have hang overs - Any spring programs the kids are enrolled in either through the city, private or school, run until the end of June. Any summer programs they are enrolled in start in June.  There are usually a couple of weeks of everything......meaning that there is some extra-curricular activity everyday and some days there are two.
  • Birthday Parties - I am a summer baby (Aug 26) and I hated that most of my friends were away on holiday during my birthday.  I don't know if parents have just wised up to this disappointment or if my mom just never thought of it but now parents of July born babies are having birthday parties in June and August babies in September.  So now not only are we insanely busy these months but eating huge quantities of party food...oy vay!!
  • School Events - In June it is the end of school celebrations, parties, play days and field trips.  In September it is club sign up, set up and new routines.
And none of this includes day to day, the laundry, the blogging, the cooking and recipe development, the being a Mom, a wife, a friend....or some one who bathes with some regularity.

We’re linking up our #RealMamaLife stories every Monday…check it out or join in!

Find this weeks edition here.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Shrimp with Asian Style Beet Noodles

Some recipes come easy and others take real thought, effort and experimentation.  This is one I have been working on for a couple of weeks.  It has taken more work, effort and experimentation than any of the other recipes I have ever done.  There is no research I can do on beet noodles and how others have cooked them and then try their versions to see which works best for my recipe....this is totally my own and I have had to figure it out at every step.

As a result I have never been prouder.

Please try these.  It really is so yummy and really really healthy

Asian Beet Noodles
2 cups cooked shrimp**
3 large beets, peeled and 'noodled' on a spiral slicer, or cut into matchsticks
1 large carrot, peeled and 'noodled' (pic below) or cut into matchsticks (like pic above)
1/2 a sweet pepper, thinly sliced
pickled onions to taste
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup gluten free tamari
1 tsp garlic puree (I grate one lg clove on my microplane)
1 tsp ginger puree (a small knob grated on a microplane)
a handful of washed cilantro
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

** I lightly sauteed mine in a little garlic and oil but you can also boil them with your noodles and it will save you a pan to wash
  1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil, throw in the beet and carrot noodles and bring the pot back up to a boil.  Let boil for 3 minutes (add shrimp for the last 2 minutes if cooking them this way), drain and quickly cool down with cold water.  Once cool really let them drain as much water off as possible
  2. In a small bowl whisk together the oils, tamari, and garlic & ginger purees
  3. This is a good time to cook your shrimp if you aren't including them in the boiling water
  4. Combine all ingredients but the shrimp in a large bowl and toss until all ingredients are equally covered in dressing.  Let sit for 10 minutes (this also give the sauteed shrimp time to cool).  The salt in the tamari will release some of the juice from the beets which finishes off the dressing.
  5. Toss again and put in bowls to serve, top with shrimp and toasted sesame seeds.
I made this so many times I got some shots of the kid friendly version
This time I 'spiralized' the carrots and left out the pickled onions

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Perfect Pickled Red Onions and Why I need them.

I have been on a quest.  I have been so in love with my new spiral slicer that I have been on a creative high finding reasons to use it almost every day and inventing dishes or variations of old classics just to have another reason to use it.  Well I have done it this time.... .and I had 5 kids taste it and they all loved it.......but this post isn't about that recipe but about something I had to make for that'll have to wait for the good making this stuff first.

I have been working on this one recipe for a while now and something was needed something sharp to cut through the unctuousness of the oil and it couldn't be more needed onion but not a raw onion flavour and it needed needed pickled onions.

I sifted through what was probably 25 different pickled onion recipes.  It needed to be vinegary but not super sour if that makes sense.  It couldn't have a dill taste or any other heavily flavoured pickling spices and I had to pay attention to the type of vinegar...because they all taste so different.  So this is what I came up with and it was so simple it feels stupid that it took me as long as it did.

Pickled Red Onions
1 large red onion, thinly sliced (surprisingly I didn't use the spiral slicer but I suppose I could've)
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

Using a large glass jar like an old pickle jar combine the vinegar, sugar and salt until the sugar and salt are completely dissolved.  You can whisk them in a bowl but that seemed like a waste of time to me so I shook them in the jar.  Add the thinly sliced onions.  You can pack them in tight because they will start to break down and shrink in volume by 1/3 over the next coupe of hours.  Here is an example

First packed

2 hours later