Is your tummy (or heart) in need of a satisfying, wholesome, veggie-dense, comfort-food lunch? Look no further than this rustic vegetable soup with chard and chickpeas. Sprinkled with parsley and parmesan, and served with a slice or two of dense multigrain bread, this is a meal-in-a-bowl that cultivates happiness and full bellies.
To say this soup is adaptable is a huge understatement. It’s basically my clean-out-the-fridge project. This time, I had a couple of cups of shredded cabbage leftover from a slaw – tossed it in. A 4-inch stub of zucchini? In it went. Feel free to use white beans or lentils instead of chickpeas, or even leftover chicken, shredded, in lieu of legumes.
Sometimes I even just use water instead of stock, but in that case you want to let it hang out a bit longer with the mirepoix for good flavour, simmering for maybe 30 minutes at least before adding the pasta, etc.
You know that pregnancy brain is a real thing right? When your body is investing so much energy in growing another human, your thinker is less sharp. That’s fair, I guess.
Short term memory, in particular, is affected. Poor Oliver is suffering the consequences – his life right now is feast or famine.
Either I forget I’ve already fed him and he gets second-breakfast (just like mommy!) – or his tummy starts audibly grumbling by 1 pm, when he starts pathetically pawing at his dish to let me know I’ve starved him, again. Poor furry guy.
I think I should use this short-term memory loss to work some humour into my life. Like, saran wrap my own toilet before I go for a walk. When I get back? Boy, will I be surprised!
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Saag Paneer is a vegetarian Indian curry that literally means “Spinach-Cheese”. It is bright and fresh (compared to many curries that are slowly simmered for hours), and a lovely lighter counterpoint to a rich Indian meal. I personally like to make it my main course, but hubby does not consider cheese a fair substitute for meat.
Have you tried paneer? I love it.
It’s a fresh cheese made simply by boiling whole milk, curdling it with lemon juice or vinegar, and straining it. The result is a creamy (but not too rich) block with a mild tang and nice, semi-crumbly texture. Interestingly, it is made exactly like ricotta! Because of this similarity, I tried this recipe out with both ricotta and its less-commonly available indian counterpart. Both were lovely, but the former just needs a bit of prep.
To get the ricotta to a a firm enough texture to cut in cubes, you’ll need to remove the excess moisture: line a strainer with cheesecloth (or a clean dish towel), pour in a tub of ricotta, pick up the edges of the cloth and squeeze the cheese to release as much moisture as you can. Then flatten it into a brick shape ( while still wrapped in the cheesecloth) and place it on the counter on top of paper towels. Put your heaviest pan on top to press it down, and let it drain for about an hour, like this. (In the meantime, you can proceed with the rest of the recipe – the paneer only appears in the last step.) If you do go with ricotta vs. paneer, be very gentle with it once you stir it in – it’s a wee bit fragile (but rest assured, even if the cubes don’t stay perfect, it will still taste perfect!). Continue Reading »
My belly. It’s taking over the WORLD.
…or at least it’s taking over my lap. The laptop has officially become a kneetop. And I’ve got nine more weeks left.
NINE! Never has this number seemed so immense.
A stranger said to me, “Wow! You’re ready to pop – must be due any day now?” – I politely told him
to go take a long walk off a short pier “no”.
I have a discovered a good alternative to high socks on chilly days, since I can no longer bend over far enough to shave the bottoms of my legs.
And my sushi joint started including two sets of chopsticks with my (no raw fish) order. I think they’re trying to tell me something.
I know this recipe isn’t altogether seasonal – the thought of fresh, local strawberries might make my heart go pitter-patter, but I accept that it will still be many months away before they reach my belly. However, I walked past a display of California berries the other day and I just couldn’t resist.
This dressing has a secret ingredient – Worcestershire sauce. My mom’s version calls for a lot of it – there’s even a scribbling at the top of her recipe, “Note: amount of Worcestershire not a mistake”. I think hers called for something like 1/2 cup – granted, it yields a large amount.
Unable to track down the index card where I had scribbled her formula, I riffed on it – with very tasty results. Continue Reading »
I went to a friend’s baby shower this weekend. She’s 6 weeks ahead of me, and having a boy, too! I made cupcakes. Chocolate cupcakes, with Oreo cream cheese frosting.
As far as cravings go, mine have been fickle and transient. (Potatoes were the only itch that just could not be scratched.)
This week was Oreos.
Know why? Because I saw them in a tv commercial. Continue Reading »
… or as I like to call them (drumroll, please)… Branana Muffins!
They’ve got the super-moist, delicious banana muffin thing going on, with a bit of extra fill-you-up fibre.
I threw in a handful of chocolate chips – helpful if you have trouble persuading your kids (or HUSBAND) to eat something that has bran in it. Even though, honestly, you’d barely know it’s in there anyway.
I like to make a big batch of muffins and freeze them in big ziploc freezer bags. I thaw them in the microwave in about 50 seconds – 25 right-side-up and 25 upside-down to warm them evenly – and they emerge as if freshly baked.
Try it! Your future self will thank you for such a thoughtful treat.
I made a super yummy roundup of Valentines Day treats on Pinterest, and I wanted to share it with you! Because what better way to express your devotion to someone than with something fresh out of the oven?
There’s a Moist Chocolate Cake, of course. Also, there’s some Upside-Down Chocolate Raspberry Cakes, some Chocolate Almond Meringues, a few Mini Fudge Scones… certainly enough chocolate to get anyone twitterpated.
Check it out! And follow me! I heart pinterest!
Happy Valentines Day!!!
Photo via instagram
These gooey, cheesy, bacon-crowned slices are called Cheese Humps for a good reason: when you make them the way it was done in the 80s – with a thick slather of Kraft Cheez Whiz – they’d puff up like a balloon and make an inflated, cheesy hump.
I assume because Cheez Whiz is practically plastic? Ok, maybe that’s not fair. But I do see a long ingredient list, with “cheese culture” being the only cheese-like substance, and it’s way down at the bottom with paprika – meaning there’s not much in there…
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I’ve got another grandma recipe for you. I’m not always so nostalgic, I think it must be the pregnancy hormones (which my mom aptly calls “horror-mones”) making me sappy.
Hermit cookies. These were Grandma’s most favourite cookies – a New England classic that travelled up the the coast to infiltrate its Canadian neighbours. Google tells me that while the Canadian version features dates, its American counterpart is just raisins and nuts.
Add the dates, Americans! They’re so luscious and chewy and sticky-sweet; a perfect addition to these lightly spiced gems.
The cookies are sweetened with just brown sugar – imparting an irresistible caramelly flavour and chewy texture that will have you reaching for a third, then maybe a fourth… which is not as terrible as you might think, because they’re actually lighter than most cookies.
“Lighter” with air bunnies around it, that is – they’re still cookies, they won’t do sit-ups for you – but they do have 1/2 the amount of butter that many other types do…
They’re jam packed with raisins, dates and walnuts, and scented with warm spices – but these are no spice cookie; the flavours are subtle.
Because they haven’t got a lot of butter, it’s really important to prep your baking sheets or they will stick – parchment paper is ideal: easiest removal, practically no cleanup, no need for extra fat. If you like to bake, I really recommend you keep parchment paper on hand. Otherwise, just grease ‘em well!