Happy Friday, Be Back Soon!

The past couple of weeks have been rough. My sister’s father-in-law, one of the most wonderful men in my life, passed away last week after an 18 month battle with cancer. I would love to tell you more about him, but I have had a head cold for the past week that won’t go away and every time I start to type something I start to cry, which makes me feel worse, so I’ll save it for another time.

Needless to say, I haven’t been cooking much lately. I hope to be back in the kitchen soon!

Happy Friday!

Strawberry Pecan Salad with Easy Balsamic VinaigretteΒ 

Strawberry Pecan Salad with EASY Balsamic Vinaigrette (Vegetarian)
Strawberry Pecan Salad with EASY Balsamic Vinaigrette (Vegetarian)

This will be somewhat short and sweet folks! Both the post and the recipe πŸ™‚

It’s been a crazy few weeks with a sick husband and a sick daughter, a very busy time at work and continuing to adjust to Molly being in Kindergarten (both her and me LOL). I’ve been going easy on myself when it comes to meal planning, sticking with simple and easy recipes and cooking whatever I think my family will eat, even if that means multiple dishes at one time (something I’ve been against for the past few years). This salad was made just for me on a night when I made the kids Daiya mac and cheese (I’m not a fan but the kids love it and since Oliver is lactose intolerant, it works for him) and A made himself a sandwich. I was craving the balsamic vinegar and strawberry combo, and it never hurts to add goat cheese (unless you’re vegan, in which case, just leave it off!). For the sake of preparing meals quickly, I either buy my greens pre-washed and packaged up, or I chop them up at the beginning of the week and toss them in a container with a wet paper towel to keep them crisp. I also try and cut up fruit so that it’s all ready to go to toss in with Molly’s lunch or serve for dessert.

And now I’m off to get ourselves ready for the long weekend! It’s Thanksgiving here on Monday and we’re heading to my in-laws for a few days. If you’re celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend, what are you up to?

Strawberry Pecan Salad with Easy Balsamic Vinaigrette
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 serving
 
A light salad for one person, easily made vegan by omitting the goat cheese and using agave syrup instead of honey in the vinaigrette
Ingredients
  • 2-3 handfuls salad greens
  • ½ cup strawberries, chopped
  • ¼ cup pecans, chopped (and toasted if you prefer)
  • 2-3 tbsp crumbled goat cheese (omit if vegan)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey (use agave syrup for a vegan dressing)
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
Instructions
  1. In a larger bowl, add salad greens and strawberries.
  2. In a small bowl, mix olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey and mustard. Add to salad and mix well.
  3. Top with pecans and goat cheese. Enjoy!

Β 

Open-Faced Smoked Tofu “BLT”

Vegan Open-Faced Smoked Tofu "BLT" from Mommy Doesn't Share Food.

“I don’t want to-poo!!”

This from Molly, one day a few months back, on the drive home from day care.

I can’t remember exactly what I’d had planned for dinner, but tofu obviously wasn’t what she’d had in mind. Her reaction though, perfectly sums up the attitude most of the general public has about tofu.

Tofu has a bad rep. I suppose it’s the spongy, moist texture and the bland taste that turns people off.

I love it!

When A became vegan, I jumped on the chance to use more tofu in our meals. It’s a good source of protein, calcium and iron and I love how it absorbs the flavours you cook it with. I’ve tried cooking with it several ways and will share my faves with you in the future, but I still haven’t found any way of cooking it that the kids will enjoy.

That is, until smoked tofu.Β 

Smoked tofu is the answer to the tofu blahs. It has a mild smokey flavour, which gives it a lovely bacon quality without getting Babe involved. Colour me surprised when my kids were not only willing to try it, but were eating slices right out of the package and actually asking for more! I find it to be quite versatile and have used it in a few different ways, but this open faced sandwich is my favourite. It’s my go-to lunch on the days when I’m home with the kids!

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You can certainly try and make your own smoked tofu, but these days I have an “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality when it comes to some foods, and this would be one of them. Veggie burgers are another. Smoked tofu is readily available in most grocery stores and is quite inexpensive. I like the Soyganic brand, mostly because it’s the only one I see in the stores I go to, but also because they use organic soy.

And can we have a quick chat about English muffins?? I have a slight obsession with them right now. The holes are pockets of flavourful goodness and offer a lovely surprise when you bite into one. A toasted English muffin with just butter?? Bliss. In this case you get a little dollop of tangy vegan mayo and it’s just the best!

I hope you enjoy!

Side Note: Of course the battery in my DSLR was dead when I went to take these pics. Of course. So I used my phone. Not how I wanted to start out my first food post on here, but they aren’t too bad! That’s what Photoshop Elements is for πŸ™‚

Open-faced Smoked Tofu "BLT" Sandwich20160916_112647
Author: 
Recipe type: Lunch, Dinner
Cuisine: Vegan, Vegetarian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 serving
 
Ingredients
  • English muffin or bread of your choice
  • 2 TBSP vegan mayo (I like Veganaise)
  • 4 slices of smoked tofu, about ⅛ inch thick
  • A few pieces of lettuce or other greens (basil is delicious!)
  • 2 slices of tomato
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Break apart the english muffin and place on a baking tray.
  3. Spread 1 TBSP of vegan mayo onto each muffin piece.
  4. Place two slices of smoked tofu on each muffin piece and top with lettuce and a tomato slice.
  5. Season with salt and pepper
  6. Heat up in the oven for 5 minutes or so and enjoy!

Hello to the Blogging Side!

Oh My.

I`m in a whole new world here folks.

Molly, my wee baby girl, who isn’t so wee anymore, started Junior Kindergarten this week. She just turned 4! How is it possible we’ve reached the age for school already?

I took the week off just to recover emotionally.

And also to launch my new blog! Huzzah! I’ve missed blogging like you wouldn’t believe. But I just haven’t had the time to focus on it like I used to. I’m hoping that’s going to change. My work schedule is now four days a week with Friday’s off, but with Molly starting school, our day care costs will go down a bit and we decided to put Oliver in day care five days a week, instead of just the days I’m working. I’ll have time people!! Time to do laundry (that reminds me, it needs to be switched over). Time to clean the house. Time to cook, and yes, time to blog.

I’ve decided to focus mainly on food related topics, and so I decided it was time for a name change. Mommy Doesn’t Share Food will be a space for me to explore the dynamics of feeding my family healthy, nutritious and mostly plant-based meals (see below for the scoop on that). I’ll share recipes, talk about challenges surrounding food, discuss food trends and culture, and since I also hate sharing food, it’ll be a place for me to whine now and then about my kids picking off my plate and rarely getting through a meal without a child on my lap. I was inspired by an episode of Friends, as most thirty-somethings are. The one where Joey doesn’t want to share his fries with his date? That’s totally me. JOEY MOMMY DOESN’T SHARE FOOD!

So what’s up with us? Not a whole lot. We’ve been puttering through the past year of my blogging absence without any major issues. Molly, as I mentioned, just turned 4 and is excited to be in big girl school! After a rather epic breastfeeding journey, Oliver finally weaned this past June at 27 months. Dude was attached! He’ll be 2.5 this month and has been moved to the Jr. Preschool room at day care! Next up for him: potty training. Ugh.

My hubby, A, is the notable exception to the putter. Last October he entered a weight loss contest at work. He did some research, which led to more research, and long story short, he’s vegan now. Yup! My meat-loving husband, who would begrudgingly eat the veggie meals I prepared, has given up all things animal. I haven’t switched to the V side yet, nor have the kids, but I dabbled in vegetarianism years ago so it wasn’t anything new to me. Since I respect his beliefs and also believe in the health benefits of a plant-based diet, we are pretty much vegan at home. However, the kids and I are omnivores when out and about. I’ll write more on why we haven’t made the switch another time. In the meantime, I’m finding it rather enjoyable planning vegan meals for my family and look forward to sharing them with you!

Oh, and A’s weight loss? My already handsome hubby has lost 50 pounds! I’m so proud of him!

I’m going to ease my way back into blogging. Expect probably just one post a week for a bit, as I get back into the swing of things. But I’m excited y’all! It’s time to do something for me!

 

Homemade Cheese Crackers

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Cheesy goodness, all 8 oz of it!

Molly is very much into crackers right now, particularly those lovely fish-shaped treats that come in a variety of flavours. While buying them isn’t a huge deal for me (I’m all about quick and easy right now), I came across a recipe a while back for a homemade version on the Tasty Kitchen website that looked like a lot of fun to make with my daughter. I’m not going to lie: given that I’m dairy free right at the moment, this was slightly torturous for me. Just look at all that cheesy goodness I couldn’t eat! I do confess though to tasting the finished product (what if they were bad? I can’t feed my child bad snacks) and are they ever delicious!! I particularly love the flavour of the old cheddar I used and knowing that there are only five ingredients makes me happy πŸ™‚

Molly and I got to work (she stood on her ‘stoo’) and mixed everything in the food processor. Her favourite part was pressing the start button.

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Once the dough was in the fridge setting, as per the instructions, Molly kind of lost interest. It was up to me to finish up, so when it was ready I rolled out the dough and used my adorable new mini cookie cutters I picked up at our local bulk foods store a few weeks ago. Funny story, I actually bought a set once before but they’re so small I tossed them out with the what I thought was empty bag (I know, I know, I should be saving and reusing my plastic bags. Sue me. There’s only so much I can focus on at one time right now! Things easily slip through the cracks.).

Aren’t they cute? That’s a hippo in case you couldn’t tell. DSC_7980 copy (1280x1024)

The original recipe contains a tutorial for making your own fish-shaped cutter, but I’m lucky I had enough time to do the actual baking!Β  The dough was easy to roll out (I only used half to start; the other half is in the fridge still) and the shapes easily came free of the cutter. I placed them on parchment and put them in the oven.

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And this is the result! DSC_7992 copy (1280x848)

Because my dough was probably a little thicker than what was done for the recipe, it took an extra 10 minutes in the oven to get them nice and crispy. Molly loves the final result and so do I! The flavour of the cheese explodes in your mouth. If only I could have more…DSC_7996 copy (1280x1024)

Belated Father's Day Present

I was a bit behind with my Father’s Day gift for A. I decided to recreate the trio of images I did last year with Molly, this time with the both of them. Considering my subjects were a distracted toddler and an oblivious 3 month old, I think it turned out pretty great!

Father's Day 2014

Here’s last years for comparison:

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Friday Ramblings

On it’s F-ing Cold Here…

It’s -38 degrees Celsius here in Toronto this morning (with the wind chill). For you American peeps, just to put things in perspective to Fahrenheit, it’s at -40 degrees where Celsius and Fahrenheit are the same temperature. It was cold yesterday too but I had no appointment and was able to stay home with Molly. This morning though I have my OB appointment and had to bundle us up to go out. It was cold enough that Molly actually kept her hat and hood up in the car!

On A Tough Week…

I had a bit of a scare on Monday. I was carrying Molly downstairs and my foot slipped and we both went tumbling down. It was so fast I don’t even know what happened. I managed to grab Molly’s leg before she hit the floor too hard but she still ended up with a black eye. I landed on my bum and now have the biggest bruise ever. If it wasn’t my bum, I’d post a picture. It scared the shit out of me. We cried, the two of us and I hysterically called A to come home. Luckily my sister was at my moms so she came over to stay with me until he got there. And just to be on the safe side, we went to labour and delivery to make sure the baby was ok. Despite falling on my bum, it was quite jarring and I wanted to make sure he wasn’t too jostled. They monitored me for a few hours and his heart beat was perfect. I had no contractions and no bleeding or other fluid leaking out. My blood work was great and so they sent me home. Whew!
I swear, parenting is going to give me post traumatic stress disorder. I was so scared for Molly and the baby.

On Christmas…

We had a good Christmas vacation. It would have been great but we all ended up sick. Again. Molly had another ear infection, I ended up with a sinus infection and A had a good old fashioned cold. Still, we had a lovely and relaxing time at my sister’s family cottage (her hubby’s family) and then with A’s family. Here are a few pics:

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On New Years…

I confess, I was in bed and asleep by 9:30 on New Year’s Eve. I was achy from my fall and, well, I’m pregnant, so there’s all the excuse I need! A came up and woke me a few minutes to midnight though and we rang in the New Year together. That’s really all I needed. As far as resolutions go, I’m not making any. I have to be realistic. I’m about to have another baby and will be a stay at home mom to two kids for a year come the middle of March. I’ll do what I can when I can but I’m not going to make myself any promises and end up being disappointed about not keeping them. I am looking forward to 2014 though; lots of change and excitement coming our way πŸ™‚

I hope everyone had a lovely holiday season! Back to work for me on Tuesday. Oh and did I mention it’s my birthday tomorrow? 36. Wow.

18 Weeks – Baby #2/Weekend Wind-Up

I was remiss with my pregnancy update over the weekend, so I’m combining it with my weekend wind-up to kill two posts with one stone πŸ™‚

Weekend Wind-Up

Our weekend was just grand!

The weather on Saturday was just miserable. It was cold and rainy. But there were a couple of events to brighten the day! One was the birthday party for my friend M1’s little girl who turned two! She held it at a local community centre in a gym that had all sorts of activities for kids around her age. It was awesome to just let Molly roam free, knowing everything was safe for her to play with. After play time we all headed to another room for food (we watched proudly as Molly ate a whole slice of pizza, without cutting it up!) and cupcakes. A fun time!

Event number two was a very much overdue date night for me and BFF B! She met me at my house to say a quick hello to Molly and A before we headed off to a really lovely restaurant down by the waterfront. I had a very tasty meal of duck confit perogies to start and grilled salmon on a bed of salad for my main. Dessert? Pumpkin creme brulee! We had an awesome time catching up. We’re in touch all the time but there’s nothing like chatting in person with your best friend πŸ™‚ We vowed to try and do it more often, especially now that I’m not needed to put Molly to bed.

Sunday we ran a few errands, including picking out the ever important pumpkin to be carved later on in the week. We mostly just relaxed, as both of us were feeling under the weather. But not enough under the weather to miss dinner at my parents! I brought a special dessert, which I’ll write about later this week.

I’ll leave this portion of today’s post with these adorable pics of Molly:

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In the second one I said “smile for Mummy!” and this is what she gave me. Such a cheeky monkey!

18 Weeks – Baby #2

I didn’t have an 18 week update with Molly because that’s the week A and I got married! Aw. This is my favourite shot from our wedding day:

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It’s just so perfect, in so many ways. I was 18 weeks 1 day pregnant. And here we are again. Life is surreal sometimes, isn’t it?

How Far Along? – 18 weeks (plus three days as I write)

Size of Baby – About the size of an mango, 6 inches long, around a half a pound.

Gender – We hopefully find out one week tomorrow!

Picture

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Maternity Clothes – Yup, and so happy to be wearing them! I went shopping last week and over the weekend to pick up some ‘winter’ staples: a pair of skinny cords and skinny jeans, some long comfy sweaters and a maternity winter coat!

Stretch Marks – No change

Weight – Seven pounds gained. We’re doing good!

Sleep – Meh. I’ve got some sort of cold/pregnancy related nose stuffyness that’s making it uncomfortable to sleep.

Movement – Absolutely! Little pops of movement now and then, becoming more frequent as the days pass.

Symptoms – Nothing major. Still in the second trimester bliss period! May have some serious pregnancy related sinus issues though. I’m so stuffed up! It could be a cold though. My eyes are watering too. I bought some saline spray to use to hopefully loosen things up.

Cravings – Iced tea, which I learned has less caffeine in it than chocolate…since I haven’t given up chocolate to avoid caffeine, I figure iced tea is a go!

What Do I Miss – Caffeine (coffee level caffeine)…and that’s about it.

Nursery –I need to hop on Pinterest and start gathering ideas.

Emotions – Pretty good! I woke feeling glum this morning but that’s because I had the kind of dreams that stay with you. I dreamed everyone was mad at me. So awful!

Best Moment of the Week – Feeling the baby move more. It’s incredibly reassuring!

Weekend Wind-Up

We had a pretty decent weekend, despite the fact that it started with A working Saturday morning πŸ™

But everything worked out! My mom was able to come watch Molly while I went for my much anticipated hair cut! The verdict: I love it! It’s just to my shoulders and my curls are much more defined. I’ll have to be careful with blow drying, even with a diffuser (POOF!), but all in all it feels so much lighter and fresh (check out yesterday’s post for a visual). I can still pull it back if necessary, which is great too.

The weather ended up not being so great on Saturday, so we deferred the pumpkin farm and instead once A got home we all went shoe shopping. Five stores later and we left with nothing. We were defeated! By shoes. If we even managed to find a style we liked, they didn’t have our size. Ugh. I HATE shoe shopping. We came home, Molly and I napped, we played for a bit and then had an early supper of beets and perogies. A and I had date night planned and needed to eat early!

My parents arrived just after six and we headed off to the movies, our first in a year and a half. There wasn’t much playing that I felt like seeing other than Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2, so that’s what we saw! It was cute. We loved the first one, and though not as good, I was amazed by the imagination the creators had when thinking up the food world. Amazing! We saw it in 3D (sidenote: why does EVERYTHING have to be in 3D now?? Personally I don’t get the appeal, and with my horrible vision, I end up with a mild headache because my eyes can’t catch up to the change in depth and quickness of motion). We were home just after nine and asleep by ten. A pregnant lady’s dream date!

Sunday was just beautiful and we deemed it the perfect day to visit the pumpkin farm! Molly enjoyed seeing the farm animals and especially loved the tractors! We had a quick lunch of hot dogs (Molly and A) and pumpkin curry (me) and then headed home. We thought about the hay ride but I was concerned Molly wouldn’t sit still for it. We decided to head home, without a pumpkin, as there weren’t any there that suited us. Still, a great visit and Molly managed to hold off falling asleep until we got home.

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The rest of Sunday was spent grocery shopping and relaxing. Not a bad weekend at all!