Our season of life

Life has been so chaotic lately that I’ve decided the only way for me to sort it all out is to start writing everything down. Thus I am once again dusting off this blog for its third reincarnation.

A brief list of things that are happening or have recently happened:

  • Had a baby
  • Husband left work due to extreme spinal issues.
  • Postpartum depression reared its head along with a large variety of issues.
  • Husband saw a doctor and discovered whatever is going on is not a simple back issue and may, in, fact affect his entire body. Mainly back, heart and eyes currently.
  • Hit a snag with his EI/disability paperwork moving forward and had to start all over again.
  • Admitted my struggles to my PHN and booked some counselling, but have to wait 6 weeks to get in.
  • Mai had a decent regression
  • Hubby saw an osteopath who confirmed at least the spinal issues. Put request in for nuclear scans.
  • Romans heart issues keep getting worse and hit every sign of heart attacks
  • Fixed paperwork but then had the joy of sitting around biting our nails hoping it got approved
  • Finally got approved and heard back about a date for the scans to be done on the same day.
  • I saw a doctor for my issues as half of them don’t seem like typical postpartum symptoms.
  • Roman gets in to see an optometrist for the eye issues and one step closer towards a full diagnosis for full body issue

That about catches us up. And of course in that period of time there have also been two major holidays and a whole lot of sleep loss due to baby and toddler.

It seems crazy to think that my previously never-even-gets-the-flu, healthy, 28 year old husband may need to be getting spinal, heart and eye surgery in the near to immediate future. It makes me very glad we haven’t followed through with our plan to move to a smaller town yet. Victoria may not be huge but at least all the specialists are here.

On the other front, I’ve been having severe memory loss and confusion. To the point I honestly don’t remember much of what’s happened in the last couple months and some memories seem to just be totally gone. It makes me very sympathetic to the Alzheimer’s patients my mom used to care for. At least in my case, my doctor is pretty sure I’ll be able to be back to normal with a little help.

One of the reasons I feel compelled to write this all out here is, how exactly do you explain to friends that you’ve basically gone crazy and your husband is falling apart? That’s never going to be a simple conversation and definitely not one that anyone would want to have multiple times.

So there it is. A very strange season currently.

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Mini strawberry sheet cake with mint cream


Since our lifestyle switch a few months back I’ve been on a mission to broaden the girls (and my) palettes with a staggering variety of fruits and veggies we rarely eat or have never tried. However a few more normal things have stuck in our regular rotation: pears, lemons, strawberries, papayas, and literally ALL the Bananas. I’ve also been having fun using coconut cream as a Whip topping for unicorn toast, chia pudding etc.. and I’ve finally combined those with my cake obsession. The goal of this cake was to be both delicious and fresh, but also not super messy (away, evil crumbs!). The end result ended up pretty perfect, if I do say so myself. 

Strawberry Cake

  • 1.5 cups all purpose Flour
  • 0.5 cups sugar
  • 0.5 cups oil
  • 0.5 cups water
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 strawberries cut up very small
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp baking powder

Mint Cream

  • One can full fat coconut milk (Thai kitchen is the best brand I’ve found) that’s been in the fridge overnight 
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsps sugar
  • 3-4 large fresh mint leaves 

 Preheat oven to 350┬░. Mix all cake ingredients together until thoroughly combined. Pour into a greased 5×5 baking pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Set aside to cool.

In a seperate bowl scoop thickened coconut cream out of the can and either discard remaining liquid or save it for smoothies or something  ­čśë mix coconut fat with sugar, vanilla and finely chopped mint leaves and pop into the fridge until your cake is completely cool. Top cake and enjoy.

Family Day

Yesterday was just beautiful. The sun was shining, it was warm, but the breeze had enough of a chill to it that it wasn’t HOT. Totally enough of an excuse to actually leave the house. We packed the kids up (took three hours, let’s be real) and headed out to Sidney to go see my Grandmother, and do some light shopping

First stop was the fish market. I have been meaning to stop in here for years but just never got around to it. They had some beautiful crabs we were eying rather lustfully but we ended up buying some red snapper. I served it with some fresh corn for dinner and it was honestly out of this world delicious. 

Next we stopped by the bakery. I don’t think it’s possible to go to Sidney and NOT stop in here. Mai tried to convince me we needed a full cake (all for her) and I basically wanted everything. 

Lastly we stopped by the florist. For a small place they had surprisingly good prices. As someone who aims to always have fresh flowers on hand, cheap florists are always good to know. 

Grandma was beside herself with how cute the Lil beasts were. Mai ended up leaving with a vintage watch grandma had bought during a trip to Hong Kong ages ago while Etta reacquainted herself with her beloved metal measuring spoons. 
Totally worth the hour long bus ride.

Girls day.

Poor Dad is brutally sick this week so, instead of my usual “kid free Thursday/cake day”, the girls and I had a delicious day on the town. We started by getting Mai a new hairstyle. Etta thought the whole process was fascinating and very blatantly wanted to chew on everything at Lizzy Lee’s  (a kids hair salon).

Next stop was lunch. Mai picked sushi, so off to Azuma’s we went. That kid..I tell ya.. getting her to finish a meal at home is like pulling teeth, but take her out for sushi and she eats two rolls and half an order of katsu all to herself. Our waitress was shocked. 

After lunch we hit up Ruth&Dean for some dessert. The chocolate cupcakes were calling our names! We also got a nanaimo bar for Dad, and a cookie for little miss Etta (who mostly just ate half my frosting). 

Then we did some shopping, while Etta munched on goldfish. We found a pretty darling vintage dress for Etta and Mai is still obsessed with all things Gap. I’m just glad that, at least while she’s with me, Mai avoids all the pink glitter stuff. 

Then we headed home with some lunch for Dad. I really love these kids. Not a single fussy moment from either of them! 

Kale Almond Pesto Noodles

Our landlord has a killer greens garden in our back yard. Rows and rows of different types of lettuce, kale, Spinach, Swiss chard… the list goes on. Today we’re all feeling a bit under the weather so I decided to make some comfort food for lunch: noodles. I really love any and all types of pasta but my go to lately has been Japanese, thick, straight Ramen noodles. Fast to cook and just the right amount of chew. With a couple handfuls of kale from the garden this recipe came together pretty easily, and has enough garlic to best back any bug. 
For the pesto:

  • 2 handfuls rinsed kale leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (or more depending how loose you want your pesto) 
  • Pinch of dried Rosemary 
  • Salt and freshly ground Pepper to taste

Other ingredients: 

  • 2 servings cooked Pasta
  • 2 tbsps creamy add in (cream cheese, Greek yoghurt, Sour cream.. whatever you have on hand)
  • 1/4 cup water

Mix all pesto ingredients in your food processor until thoroughly blended. In a large bowl (or Pasta pot) mix Pasta, cream cheese and a couple heaping spoonfuls of pesto. Serve with an extra spoonful of pesto and some more fresh pepper. 

Serves two large servings or 4 appetiser sized servings.

Easter Celebrations 

Happy Easter everyone!!! The past few years we’ve had some pretty basic easter egg hunts and dinner at grandpa’s. Space was always an issue, both indoor and outdoor.  This year, however, we have lots of space and, even though it’s not even close to finished, a big ol yard.

 This morning the kids woke up and discovered their baskets and giant bunnies (Etta’s is and bout the same size as she is).. and then helped rid the yard of all those pesky chocolate filled eggs the clumsy bunny dropped on his way out. 

 

After finishing our egg hunt, we got everything ready for our family dinner tonight. I found that cute bunny table runner while we were shopping yesterday. It’s got little pompom bunny tails on the end that just kill me! Also any excuse to use my vintage daffodil silver makes me a very happy lady…

We finished up our day with a big family feast. Thankfully my first attempt at ham turned out beautifully( or so the guys claimed.) After some cake, specially ordered and selected by Mai, the girls have settled in the living room playing with their new toys from Papa. 

Easy seitan chick’n nuggets

My older daughter has gone through some pretty picky eating phases in her short life. One stretch saw her really only eating Cereal.  The next stretch saw chicken nuggets as an only source of protein  (the cheap, made from pink slime ones. Ew) So as soon as I started experimenting with seitan, I knew chicken nuggets were one of the first things to make. These went over ridiculously well between both picky kid and meat loving husband.

Chick’n Nuggets

  • 1 cup gluten Flour
  • 1/4 cup + 2 cups all purpose Flour
  • 2 tbsps + 1/8 cup vegetarian chicken seasoning 
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp + 2 tbsps chili powder
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/8 cup oil
  • Pinch of rosemary
  • Salt to taste

In a large bowl mix 1 cup gluten Flour, 1/4 cup all purpose Flour, 2 tbsps chicken seasoning and 1 tbsp chili powder. Stir a few times then slowly add 1 cup of water to formula a dough. Once everything is fully combined, knead dough for about one minute or until it becomes stretchy. Bring a large pot of water, 1/8 cup chicken seasoning and pinch of Rosemary to a boil. Drop chicken nuggets sized balls of dough into boiling water. Turn heat down and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain “meat” in a colander and set aside. In a small bowl mix 2 cups Flour, 2 tbsps chili powder and a sprinkle of salt. Heat a medium frying pan with 1/8 cup oil. Dredge seitan nuggets with flour mixture and then fry until golden brown.  

Serve with sweet chili sauce or any other favourite dipping sauce.

Makes about 10 large nuggets.