Tuesday, 16 July 2013

DG Sets Fires, so Kidlets Take Over

To be fair, this was my first fire ever.  (And now that I've posted that, I'll be keeping a box of baking soda next to the stove at the ready!  Karma enjoys me.)

But, in my defence, how many people out there would expect that an IKEA meatball can go from frozen solid to a mass of tupperware-melting flames in less than 2 minutes????  I was getting Tamsin's dinner ready, changing her, and corralling the kidlets with a youtube video of a Stampede Princess with a lasso*, when Chris shrieks into the house after seeing the fire in the microwave, and panics.

I don an oven mitt, grab the glass plate from the microwave, and take the smoking remnants outside, to spread their noxious gases to the world.  We open every window, every door, and... nothing.  It is so stinking hot and humid here that there is no air movement at all.  At 6 pm, it's so hot that I have to double check that there isn't some kind of wiring fire behind the wall... nope, it's just that the kitchen window (no longer even in the sun) is open.  Ye gads.

But I digress.  I set up a fan, lit some candles, and ... well, I took a walk with Ailsa.  I would have brought Tamsin with me, but she was stinky.  And Vaughn was finishing a youtube segment.  Backing up a bit, I was taking Ailsa for a walk because she wasn't allowed to watch any more computer because of poor behaviour, and for some reason, I thought a nice after-dinner walk with Mommy would constitute a punishment.  Toxic fumes possibly clouded my judgement.  

Anyhoo, we had a lovely explore around the block, smelling flowers, watching squirrels, doing urban gymnastics, and generally getting all hot and sweaty, then returned home 10 minutes later for a nice cool bath before bed.  We opened our front door, to be hit in the face with a nice (but horribly stinky), cool blast of 24-degree air.  Home stench sweet home.

So, from now on, I'll be passing my Domestic Gauntlet to the kidlets, who are showing themselves more than worthy.  Some photos as proof:

We often make deeeelicious smoothies.
Sonny Bono sez:  "I like it too!"

We work together to measure and stir cookies and muffins.
(The key to taking great candid shots of kids cooking together is to take them quickly, before the bloodshed, bowl-flinging and wooden spoon wars)

This recipe, made yesterday, is "watermelon pizza".  They loved making it... and eating it too!
Nothing funny happened.  They did a great job!

* Princesses and cowboys?  Two birds with one stone!

Sunday, 7 July 2013

The Domestic Goddess is Suddenly Keen on Quinoa

A delicious, nutritious blog I follow just happens to be written by one of my Very Talented Cousins.*  Amy is a professional dietitian and a personal trainer, and has tons of great ideas on how to use any healthy ingredient in a multitude of ways.

Last night, I was flipping through it and saw a recipe I simply had to try:  Quinoa Granola Bars.  Technically, Amy took the recipe from another blog, but as she credits it, I feel that I don't have to.  Nor do I need to post the recipe.  This will possibly come across as lazy, but time spent cut-and-pasting recipes takes away from time spent eating quinoa granola bars.

I digress; not only did I have almost all the ingredients already in my pantry, but it would also help me use up some of my soon-to-be-heirloom quinoa.

Let's face it:  quinoa is great in soup!**  Great in salad!***  Great FOR you!  But I have a hard time getting past how it looks.  To me, a non-kalamari-eater, it just looks sort of ... squiddy.  Maybe that's just me.

But, as I inherited a monstrous bag of organic quinoa when our friends moved to Canmore a year ago, I had nothing to lose!  I also had some almonds, raisins, dried cranberries and agave nectar kicking about (as one does), and just had to buy some flax seeds**** to round it out.

Ailsa was my deputy DG today, as Vaughn seemed to have no interest in the kitchen, choosing instead to pore over his flyer for the Star Wars exhibit at the Aviation Museum.  Again.  Anyhoo, she was a great help in measuring, scooping, and dumping the dry ingredients into a big bowl, while I mixed the wet ingredients in a pyrex measuring cup, mixed it all together, and smooshed it over and over (as recommended by Amy) onto a cookie sheet lined with foil.  It baked for possibly five minutes too long, as Ailsa decided that she didn't like the brown edges, but the middle bit is incredible.  I cut them into 1-1/2 inch squares (which held together really well, probably due to the extra smooshing), and Vaughn kept asking for more.  I suggested that we bring a few to his daycare to share with his best friend, and for the first time ever, he said "no."

Now, this is a boy that has insisted I pack up a tupperware full of "Indian food" to share, a thermos of Faux Fraser soup (complete with dixie cups for sharing), and every cookie we've ever made, ever.  But these are apparently too good to dole out to his friends.  High praise, indeed!  Not to mention the incredible healthfulness of all those superfoods crammed smooshed into one big pan.  I feel virtuous in having a second helping.  And maybe a third.

Nom nom nom.

*  There are far too many of us to name, but we're all spectacular.

**  Ok, I made one great soup with quinoa, involving a mirepoix base, chicken stock, and diced tomatoes, but it was completely legendary.  

*** Or so I've heard.  My one attempt at quinoa salad had my ratios woefully off.  

**** As the recipe calls for ground flax seeds, I recommend that you purchase your flax seeds whole, and grind the quantity you want, as needed.  Ground flax seeds are vacuum-packed for a reason; once you open the bag and expose them to the air, they denature incredibly fast.  Also, keep your whole flax seeds in the freezer, with all your nuts, to preserve the flavour for longer.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Domestic Goddess' Complete Parenting Fail...but I blame TVO

I was leaving the childcare at the gym the other day, with just Tamsin in tow, and I noticed that there was a nature show on the tv.*  A few cheetahs were oh, let's say, playing a friendly game of tag with an ostrich, so I signalled to the person in charge that it was about to get messy for the ostrich.  As I left, I started thinking about the reaction that Vaughn would probably have to watching something like that.  And I knew it wouldn't be good.  Possibly Definitely, hysterics would be involved.

THEN I started thinking that maybe we have been over-sheltering him.  He saw a bit of Ratatouille last week during TV Night (one of two half-hour television sessions they get per week), which is cute and funny... except for one scene involving a crazed old lady with a shotgun.  Despite his professed fascination for guns, he was off the couch in a flash, knocking over my glass of water while frantically trying to get to me, and sobbing, while shouting, "that naughty, mean, stupid lady!"  Now, he knows that you never, never call someone stupid, so I could tell this was a big deal.**  We talked him down, explaining that it was just a movie, and all pretend, and how funny it was when she shot her whole ceiling down.  He calmed down, but I decided we need to start exposing him to "real life" a bit more.

(Disclaimer:  the rest of this post is not exactly family-friendly, so you probably shouldn't read it aloud to any children.  Or let your children read it.  In fact, you should probably stop reading now, too.)

So, this afternoon, while the kids were napping, I scrubbed the moss off our side deck (oh, the humidity), then came inside to fold laundry while watching "parent tv".  They woke up soon after I sat down, and I had just flipped to TVO, a program called, "Cheetah vs Lion" or something like that.  Chris and I  had talked about the nature show issue, and had agreed that we would start exposing the Hufflings, as long as we were there to discuss it with them as need be.  Discussion points are in blue.

The first bit involved a female cheetah being chased into a thicket of trees by three male cheetahs ("Hey look!  They're playing!"), and then, for lack of any better term available, gang-raped by all three of them.  ("Um, that's just how they play... to...um... practice hunting...")  She's fighting pretty hard, and they're so occupied with their activity (bastards) that, without their noticing, a lion saunters up, takes everyone by surprise, and literally bites the female's head open while the male cheetahs just take off.  (Bastards.) ("Well, lions are wild animals and they need to hunt other animals to be able to eat.")

I was actually rooting for the lion.  And if I was the female cheetah, I think I would have been, too.

The next scene involved MORE jerky cheetahs being so busy forcing female cheetahs to mate with them ("Ha ha!  look at them, still playing that game!"), that they also get attacked/killed by lions.  I have figured out where the plot for every single horror movie comes from.

Then, they showed a sweet little pride of lion cubs:  tiny, wee, adorable lion cubs.  And a big lion, who must be the proud fa--- OH MY GOD HE IS EATING ONE OF THE BABY LIONS!!!!  ("You know how Daddy wrestles with you?"   --I jump between Vaughn and the tv and go "rarr rarr rarr" on his tummy.)  SWEET JESUS, HE IS NOW DISEMBOWELING A SECOND ONE!!!  ("rarr rarr rarr -- Chris, where is the remote???  Rarr... rarrr, oh thank goodness, it's off.")

("Silly lions.")

So, that experiment ended, and the Hufflings are back where they should be: in the dark.  And I am recovering with a glass of wine.  Or thirty.

Any parenting suggestions, moving forward, are welcome.

* Why the heck GoodLife has televisions and videos in their childcare rooms is beyond me; after all, if I'm going there to lift weights, do plyometrics, sweat and strain it all out for an hour, I sure don't want my kids sitting still, watching tv.  Because it's not fair.

** Oh, and the hysteria, too of course.  I know my child.  Kaff.