Seeds of Joy – Butternut Squash

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We’re eating solids now. And speeding through vegetables. Today – butternut squash, baked. M found it reasonable but those seeds aren’t for baby consumption. I decided to see if they can be eaten like pumpkin seeds. I googled around and found that yes, indeed, these can be. But those recipes called for oven-roasting, which I didn’t have time for.

 

So – 

Sliced it down the middle to bake and scooped seeds out. Removed the strings, washed, mixed with a dash of salt and olive oil, spread on a plate, put it in the microwave for 2 minutes. As soon as they started popping, turned it off.

 

I went into it expecting to reduce waste and feel good about it. Turned out, it was so delicious, that I ate it all. Definitely recommend.

Nietzsche, My Advisor, and Me

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” – Jim Rohn, American author and motivational speaker.

 

I would have discounted words like this to the speaker being a lunatic. But there is perhaps some place between consciousness and sleep wherein lies lunacy. Or genius that’s construed as lunacy.

 

I have had some of my best ideas with my mind in a completely relaxed state. Intuition. Introspection. The minutes when awareness is slipping through the tendrils of my mind like gossamer silk, when they are being overpowered by dense honeyed sleep. A flash of an idea. A thought.

 

Flashes of a white board in my graduate lab with my advisor’s -isms, of words pouring forth from me about character building.

 

I am wont to proclaim and believe that doing something that we don’t enjoy and doing it well builds character. That it is good for one to do detestable tasks like dishes, vacuuming, laundry. That it doesn’t harm one. That it only makes one’s character stronger by developing patience and willpower. From the no man’s land of falling asleep one snowy night, I was jolted awake when the swirling white snow without solidified into a white board within. One of the -isms of my advisor that he liked to write on a board in the lab was a quote from Nietzsche. “What doesn’t destroy you makes you stronger”. Have the 5 years I spent in the lab come to shape my thoughts so much?

 

I remember arguing with him during the course of writing my first paper, that a comma wasn’t necessary before “and”, and it even looked wrong to me. He told me that he was going to teach me some of his bad habits by the time I was done. Look to the title.

 

Has he succeeded? Is he one of the five (perhaps more) people who average out to be the present day me?

 

Introspection.

Capsicum fried rice with salad on the side

As my friends A, A, and S will attest, I am a confirmed capsicum hater. You serve it to me, I’ll hate you too.

However, lately, I have come to try to put into action, what my heart believes and my mind knows. The more colourful a plate is, the better. All of the different phytochemicals that contribute to the colours make any dish look mouthwatering. Thus, I hit upon the idea of picking up organic peppers of different colours. Because, who can resist a dish turned out in multiple hues?

I took myself to the net to search for an appropriate recipe and found this one:

http://www.sailusfood.com/2006/05/16/capsicum-masala-rice/

I used green, red, and yellow bell peppers and must have used more of the masala, because mine turned out darker.

I also added some olive oil to the sona masoori rice before cooking it, because we were quite hungry and couldn’t wait for it to cool down before I wanted the grains to separate without getting crushed.

I used only oil, no ghee, so that it is dairy-free. I did use the peanuts, however, so it is not all potential allergens-free.

Add young snow pea shoots on top, and voila! A dish even I, the capsicum-hater couldn’t resist. I am going to add pictures, not because you’ll need them to figure out how it is made, but because I found the sight of the ingredients in various stages so appetizing that even I couldn’t resist it.

Confession: I loved it so much that I ate it for lunch the next day too!

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PS: Protein only comes from nuts and some lentils in here, so to make it a complete meal, one could add one’s preferred source of protein. Or add more nuts if you aren’t allergic. I am convinced that nuts won’t overwhelm the taste. I didn’t measure any of the ingredients, just eyeballed them.

PPS: I didn’t crush the red chillies in the roasting step so that I don’t cough; in the tempering step, because they were being used to garnish, not to spice the dish up.

Greens Smoothie – Salad in a Cup

Did I mention wheat-free, dairy-free diet?

In an attempt to add back calcium into my diet, I turned to calcium fortified rice milk (an empty carton can be seen in the background of my basket of love). But that is an unnatural way of getting calcium. I have since found out that many many greens are rich in calcium. “Eat your greens, child.” Not such a joke now, eh?

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Romaine lettuce-banana-rice milk

It tastes surprisingly good! I’ve even tried this with kale. Next stop, arugula.

Quickie Dinners

When I was single, I used to cook more elaborately than I do as a mom or during pregnancy.

 

That commute during pregnancy! Don’t get me wrong, I love my job. I love everyone I worked with. But… the 3 hours back and forth just about killed my pelvis, rendering me useless to do much else for the day and after the weekdays, for much of the weekend. Throw in sitting for 4 hours for language classes… R tried his best to cook for me but there were of course days when he couldn’t or wasn’t in the mood to cook.

 

Sample quick meals (and I truly enjoyed them gleefully too):

 

Bread and Havarti cheese or such with sliced cucumbers and/or tomatoes heaped on the cheese.

 

Bread and hummus with cucumber slices.

 

Heated frozen chapatis with grated carrot-radish, spruced up with some lemon juice and salt.

 

All of these were almost always followed by a cup of milk or plain homemade yogurt before bed.

 

Today (yesterday?) was one of those days. The kitchen was fairly clean and inviting to cook in but somehow, we didn’t want to cook. And I am all proteined out for today. Given that I am now on a wheat-free and dairy-free diet, none of the above was an option for me. I turned to my other time-tested grain. Organic corn. The home-popped variety. Seasoned with olive oil, salt, and cayenne pepper. Add sliced organic English cucumber with a dash of salt, a pinch of pepper, and a squirt of fresh lemon juice on the side. Meal complete. Watermelon for dessert. Rice milk for pre-bedtime snack.

 

Happy camper, I am.

 

Pop, pop, pop, you put the corn in the pot.
Pop, pop, pop, you shake it till its hot.
Pop, pop, pop, you lift the lid out and what have you got?
Pop. pop, pop… popcorn!!!

 

PS: M said poppoppop today, right after I sang this to her. Coincidence?

Project Babywearing

About a month ago, we the members of the Wee household, took ourselves to Enfant & Compagnie in Saint Leonard (there’s a bus from Viau Metro on the Green Line that stops around the corner from the store). To buy ourselves a baby carrier or should I say, buy me one, because I use it most often with M. On the Metro, bus, at home, visiting…

 

It is a nice little store with an attached cafe, a play area for children with various play sets that I don’t yet know the names of, M being too young to play on them, and an additional room where they hold mom and baby classes and also rent out for parties in the evening. They cater or one can bring their own food. Just before we were leaving, the lady gave me a chocolate cupcake. Yummm! This was before I went off dairy. More of that, perhaps in another post. 

The helpful lady there showed us various carriers of the Ergo and Beco families. I don’t remember the exact kinds of Ergos we saw, but we definitely saw a Beco Gemini and a Beco Butterfly 2. M decided to be most cooperative, letting herself be moved from carrier to carrier and from person to person. Drawing compliments from everyone there. It is an entirely different issue that when I started to try it on at home, she was at her uncooperative best initially. Or was it my ineptness with the new carrier?

 

Anyway, we really liked all of the carriers we saw. We felt that M was in a comfortable sitting position and her weight was distributed evenly across our shoulders and hips. I was leaning towards the Beco both because of the cute prints and because I had read not too nice things about Ergo as a company and of its business practices. I cannot verify this information, though. The Gemini can be worn in a front/back/hip carry, with infant facing in and out in the front carry. Butterfly 2, only front and back carry, both facing inwards. What cinched the deal for us is the Y-fabric in the Butterfly 2 (Organic Cotton, Tyler) that enables easy transfer from adult to adult. R and I successfully used it once at a store. Quite easy. The same feature also smooths the way to moving baby from front to back carry and vice-versa, which I have used several times, all by myself with my not too happy left wrist. Essentially, the Y-fabric is an additional piece of fabric attached to the main part of the carrier and forms a pouch in which baby sits. So, even if I were to unbuckle both sides, she would still be in the carrier at least until she decides to explore her newfound freedom within the carrier.

 

It also comes with an infant insert that velcroes onto the main body with quite a wide velcro, to make the pouch smaller. M is already at the high end of the infant insert weight. So, we didn’t bother with it. The headrest can be stored in a small pocket at the base of the carrier and is useful to prevent the baby’s head from lolling around when asleep. If awake, she can still look around from side to side.

 

It has taken many iterations since and seeing it in use by another mom in M’s Mother Goose Rhyme Time at the library to figure out the right position for me. I have heard people say that they can go hours with their baby in the beco. Perhaps because of the added weight of all the layers on her and me, the coat, and diaper backpack, I can do an hour comfortably; 2 are ok, but past that, I begin to feel quite tired with it. That said, I have used it while folding clothes, doing dishes, or just bouncing around with M at home quite comfortably. And could possibly go for quite some time.

 

Found this very useful. And help is available to local babywearing moms here. Thank you, Mamasupial!

 

Now, to hunt for a coat suitable for frigid weather. Something that goes right over M and me.

 

I looked into a couple of options – the M coat (not so named for my M) and the Kinder Coat. The M coat (Canadian goose down, so naturally) is quite expensive and only works for front carry position. What about next year when she’ll be on my back? Deluxe Kinder Coat. It has a fleece inner layer with a plastic outer shell to block those arctic winds. It also comes with many additional pieces for various babywearing positions. I haven’t tried any other than front carry.

 

I found it in-store at Maman Autrement in St. Bruno. Unfortunately, she only had black at the time. As patience isn’t a virtue I learnt, I couldn’t wait to order a different colour online. I am currently in a reflective strip hunt. The website talks of reflective strips but they’re too thin to be of real use, I think.

 

It felt quite warm when I test-drove it with M outside the store. I find the zipper a little difficult to maneuver by myself. I am sure if I were able to see what I am doing with it, it’d be a lot easier, but with M in front carry position, I cannot see a thing. But we’re managing! I like that it has an additional panel that keeps my neck covered whether M’s head is sticking out of the coat or is hidden inside the coat. The jacket can also be tightened around the bottom edge so that it forms a snug fit around baby’s legs. All of these features and more make it quite bulky, but is it all worth it?

 

Carrier-coat combo put to the test at -18 C wind chill on the way to chiropractor and back for that unhappy left wrist. It was quite toasty in the coat. And I could cover M completely in it. Granted, I draw strange looks from people, wondering why this huge lady is jingling along her way. But I have a smug smirk on my face. I am out and about in the cold with M and we are warm.

 

Keep warm everyone! Warm apple cider-y solstice and holiday wishes.

Basket of Love

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the number of moments that take our breath away”.

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Or indulging myself in a dose of blogger license, “…by the number of Dear Diary Moments”.

 

This Sunday past, H and I co-hosted a baby shower for one of our expat friends at H’s house. M set the ball rolling when she threw one for me. Stealing some ideas from my shower, I came up with a holiday themed belly measuring tool – a garland of snow flakes. I had the vague idea that I would cut it up to size and make a waist band out of it for mom-to-be. Didn’t happen. You know what else didn’t happen? A name game. I asked dad-to-be all kinds of questions before the shower but forgot to ask – have you picked out a name? Apparently, they have, and as the big game was going to be with names…you get the picture!

 

I did however, follow through on the fruit basket with mini-heart windows, carved out of the flesh of a watermelon. The idea blossomed merely to make a fruit container. It shaped into a theme underlying the main theme – the baby shower. A woman protecting within her, her precious little, tiny little baby, her own flesh and blood; her eyes, windows into her heart and soul as she gazes at her newborn. Love, welling up from within. Soft and tender.

 

Wishing F a magical journey into motherhood. Wishing mothers everywhere. Happy Motherhood! Because we’re magic.