Thursday, February 18, 2010


Big daddy & I seem to be trying to out-cool-craft each other these days.
Yesterday he made a "paper picnic and vegetable garden" with Lulu.
drawing, colouring and cutting out a complete set of veggies, soil, pots and gardening tools, plates, cutlery and even glasses of water.
when I got home the two of them were sitting on the floor having a "picnic."
very cute- and very creative.
So I felt I had to step it up and make some homemade play dough with Lulu today.
what can I say- we are a competitive family? ;
the recipe was given to me by mama-extraordinaire K-girl.
thanks k-girl.
it was a huge success- and we plan on making more colours when I buy some more salt from the grocery store.
When we ran out of the standard salt- Lulu suggested we use the Maldon sea salt instead.
that would be one expensive ball of play-dough.
so no thanks.

but here's the recipe for the perfect play-dough.

1 cup flour
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup water
1/2 cup salt
2 tsp cream of tartar

mix all ingredients in saucepan over med heat- stir constantly until ball forms
knead until smooth
enjoy hours of fun!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

If love is blind, why is lingerie so popular?

I've always considered myself to be kind of a go-with-the-flow kinda gal.
I love spontaneity- and not really having plans that are set in stone.
That is until recently.
I'm finding that the older Lulu gets- the more I feel I need to plan and book things.
Otherwise you never end up getting anything accomplished. (or seeing any of your friends)
The week is pretty structured for both of us- I love our routine and don't really like to stray too far from it if possible.
The weekend is a different story.
We usually wait until the day to see how we are feeling.
I love to embrace our time together as a family and try to do fun things around town while Lulu is still young enough that she actually wants to hang out with us on the weekend.
I try to avoid spending too much time at home- after-all that's what Monday thru Friday is for.
Plus truth be told- staying inside all weekend makes me go buggy.
well that, and guess who ends up being the personal chef and maid all weekend?
On the other end of the spectrum, Big daddy LOVES to stay home.
He's usually pretty "peopled out" by the time Friday rolls around not to mention that he is a complete home body.
I totally get that, but the days of lounging around the house reading the New York Times in bed are over around here dude.
At least for the time being.
So this weekend I took it upon myself to have a well thought out "itinerary" so to speak.
I figured a few outings, balanced with some quality time at home would be a good compromise for everyone.
We started the weekend off with a babysitter and went out for dinner.
I booked the sitter weeks ago- but didn't make reservations anywhere- I figured I would wait to see what big daddy was in the mood for after a very long, stressful week at work.
But after driving all over the city trying to feel some restaurant mojo- we ended up at our local sushi joint.
Funny enough the spontaneous driving around the city without a little person in the back seat asking a question a minute was the highlight of our date night.
That and you've got to love heated seats...
we were home in time to watch the opening ceremony for the Olympics- which I thought was fantastic.
Anyone else watch it?
Saturday we went to Harbourfront for the Kuumba (Black History Month) festival.
Lulu watched some live Krumping (though she wasn't a fan of the heavy base but she liked the moves) and did some crafts up in Miss Lou's room.
We bumped into one of Lulu's little friends from her ballet class and ended up hanging with her and her family for the afternoon.
They just moved to Canada from The Netherlands and were so interesting and fun to chat with.
Bonus that Lulu was thrilled to be with a friend from dance class and bonus that we ended up hitting it off so well with this family who lives down the street from us.
Totally spontaneous hook up- but really made our day.
We were originally supposed to go out for dinner with friends and share a babysitter- but the 9:30 dinner reservation kind of felt too late to eat- and neither of us really felt like going out for dinner two nights in a row.
wow we are getting old....
Instead we decided to have a cheese fondue for dinner- took me two years to open the box (christmas gift from my folks) wasn't a huge fan of the cheese recipe- maybe a broth fondue is the way to go instead.
Sunday we went to Niagara Falls- it was Lulu's first time seeing them.
I had this romantic notion that it would be an experience to remember.
Unfortunately the only thing I'll remember about it, was the fact that Lulu dropped her mitten over the railing into the falls.
And then the tears ensued and she was pretty much tramatized about it for the rest of the day.
Poor little thing.
I kept telling her we can always get another mitten- and I'm just glad it was only the mitt that went over the falls and not her!
(a wee bit too close to the edge I'd say- um big daddy...grrr... )
We did however salvage the day by meeting up with some friends for a nice (short- see above re: one mitten) hike in the woods over looking the Niagara Escarpment.
Spontaneous visit with friends is always good. (hi R)
we squeezed in one last visit with my brother and niece before they move out East.
We still managed to make it home in time to whip up a bit of beef with broccoli & black bean sauce for Chinese new Year.
Monday big daddy got his wish and stayed at home all day.
Me, I was out the door at 9 a.m. hit the gym and rounded up a few of Lulu's friends in the afternoon and took them to the park.
(my valentines day present to big daddy) xoxo who loves ya big d?
anyhow long winded blog- but that's kind of how the weekend felt for me.
Long and a bit winded.
I tried to plan things- but in the end, the best parts of the weekend was all the things that I didn't plan.
How about you- how was your weekend?
spontaneously unromantic like mine?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

happy 60th

My mom turned sixty this week.
Most people say wow that's so young!
and that's true- it is pretty young compared to most of my friends parents.
we are exactly 20 years apart.
She was already an empty nester by the time she was the age I am now.
But I feel very lucky that we are so close in age.
I can't believe she is sixty though.
to me she looks maybe 50.
She is one of those energetic young at heart people that everyone loves.
I hope I'll be so lucky in 20 years.
anyhow, it was really nice to host a special family birthday dinner here at our place.
Nothing too big- just family and her two grand daughters.
she was thrilled.

I made a nice dinner that I think she appreciated.
everything turned out perfect.

Mom's 60th birthday dinner

Pol Roget 1999 extra cuvee de reserve

Rillettes De Canard Foie Gras on mini Crostini

Shaved fennel, radish & Owensound fresh smoked Trout Salad

Heirloom golden, candy cane & ruby red beet & blood Orange salad with organic greens and Pallot de Chevre Cheese with a
Champagne vinaigrette

Beef tenderloin with fresh Oregano & Thyme with a roasted garlic & horseradish aioli

Sweet potato Rosti

Paulines famous Death by Chocolate birthday cake

happy birthday mom
xoxo pg
not that you know about this blog- but still.
love you xoxo

oh and c & d- if you are reading this thanks for the bubbly- we were waiting for a special occasion to pop the cork- and this was it.
so lovely and worth the wait.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

essential ingredients

When talking about essential ingredients what usually comes to mind?
Maybe it's the holy trinity of carrot, celery & onion-the base of so many delicious soups, stews and sauces?
or perhaps it's flour, sugar and water?
or maybe it's something completely different.
not food at all but emotions, energy or fate?
what am I rambling on you might be wondering?
well I just finished a fantastic book- The School Of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister.
Or should I say- delicious book.
I devoured it as the back cover promised I would.
Reading it was like eating a decadent organic dark chocolate bar for me- I always try to savour it and eat it slowly so I can appreciate all the subtle yet rich flavours, but more often than not I end up finding myself covered in chocolate crumbs with an empty wrapper in front of me wondering why I ate it all in one go?
Which is exactly how I read this book- all in one sitting- in one day.
The book was recommended to me by my favorite person that works at my favourite book store.
She special ordered it for me and has been telling me to read it for months.
I'm so glad I did.
The past several months I have been stuck in a reading rut- reading book after book that didn't really resonate with me- that is until now.
On the contrary, I was sad when I finished this book because I wanted more.
Just like that decadent organic dark chocolate bar...

Anyhow, this book is the story of a chef who runs a cooking school.
It follows the lives of eight students who gather in Lillian’s Restaurant every Monday night for cooking class. It soon becomes clear, however, that each one seeks a recipe for something beyond the kitchen. Students include Claire, a young mother struggling with the demands of her family; ( boy could I relate to this character in particular) Antonia, an Italian kitchen designer learning to adapt to life in America; and Tom, a widower mourning the loss of his wife to breast cancer. Chef Lillian, a woman whose connection with food is both soulful and exacting, helps them to create dishes whose flavor and techniques expand beyond the restaurant and into the secret corners of her students’ lives. One by one the students are transformed by the aromas, flavors, and textures of Lillian’s food, including a white-on-white cake that prompts wistful reflections on the sweet fragility of love and a peppery heirloom tomato sauce that seems to spark one romance but end another. Brought together by the power of food and companionship, the lives of the characters mingle and intertwine, united by the revealing nature of what can be created in the kitchen.

If you are looking for a light but delicious read- this one won't disappoint.
now where can I sign up for a monday night cooking class?