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Wednesday 14 December 2011

Recipe of the Day - Buffalo Chicken Dip

Buffalo Chicken Dip  
(this recipe gets the most requested award... so here it is.  Also, as its party season its a great one for all your pot-lucking needs.  Thank you to Nicole Franks for the enlightenment!)

A fabulous dip perfect for game day, large groups or small,  kids and grown alike.  Serve it hot and reheat the leftovers for a second go.

2 small cans (or 1 x 14 oz large)  cooked chicken, drained (Crazy right?  It's better than if made with fresh!)
1 x 8 oz package cream cheese
1 cup ranch dressing
3/4 cup Franks Hot Sauce
1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese, divided

In a medium pan combine chicken and cream cheese and melt over medium heat until cheese is smooth.  Add ranch, Franks Hot Sauce and cook until hot bubbly.  Add half the grated cheese and stir until melted.  Pour into a shallow, dip friendly baking dish.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake at 350'F for 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and melted.  Let stand a couple of minutes before eating so no one gets burned.  Serve with Carrots, celery and tortilla chips.

Notes: You can freeze this dip before baking and pull it out to thaw day of.  You can make it less spicy by simply adjusting the amount of hot sauce you add.  You can also use whatever you like for dipping though after some experimenting I find carrots and celery to be truly the best.

Recipe of the day - DIY Homemade Ketchup!

Seriously this is so much easier than you might imagine! The taste testers include my family, the neighbors on both sides of us, plus kids and adults alike, and everyone agrees, it is the best! Other reasons it is the best are how inexpensive, easy and healthy (no high fructose corn syrup or hidden salt) it can be. It keeps in the fridge just like store bought (save your favorite bottle style to refill as needed) and you can freeze it so make a big batch and enjoy the benefits of DIY once more!

I have had so many recipes I have wanted to post lately that it seemed most reasonable to post something simple to get my blogging fingers nimble again... But seriously there are so many to come, I will try to post more faithfully.

Homemade Ketchup - all the flavor without the cost or excessive sugar and salt
Yield: Approx. 1 L or 4 cups

3 small cans tomato paste (organic if possible)
1 cup packed brown or raw sugar
1 cup cider vinegar (preferably organic)
1/4 cup Braggs or low sodium soy sauce
1 cup water
2 tsp kosher salt (1 tsp table salt)
Pinch cayenne or to taste


1. Combine all ingredients in a medium pot and bring to a boil, stirring fequently.  Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes or until all the sugar is dissolved and mixture looks like ketchup!

2.  Remove from heat and cool.  Pour into your favourite ketchup bottle and use as always.  Alternatively freeze in airtight containers for up to 6 months.

Monday 14 November 2011

A Highlight Reel

I have so many exciting things to share and recipes I need to post so bare with me as I try to bring this little blog of mine up to speed. I have taken this opportunity to add a few more pages to the blog, including 10 things you'd never guess, Contact Me and an About section that is as yet under construction.  I also added a page with info about my newest project The Kitchen Door Culinary Classes which is officially up and running.  I am so excited to be teaching in the kitchen again, so please feel free to check it out!  But first allow me to take you back in time to October, eek!

  • A friends wedding and Tricia the flower girl! She did great, not only did she sprint down the aisle, but she danced the night away and made friends with a hundred people. The best moment of the day? The removal of her diaper in the middle of the dance floor, thank goodness we've crossed over into the potty trained realm since the
  • Halloween: Tricia officially calls it "trickertreatin' to get the potty treats", she asked if she could go again just this past week...
  • Skin's game in TO with Ry and lots of Sunday football as a family of three.  Tricia says she loves football but she also naps through most of the game.
  • Christmas newsletter, there is a link for it at the top of this page
  • Thanksgiving in Maryland and Virginia Beach, first time meeting The Franks cousins! It was sooo much fun!
  • Eating snow. Lots of dirty sidewalk snow much to my chagrin... 
  • A new awareness of what it means to have a good vs. a bad attitude!  Tricia has been putting her babies in time out for bad attitudes ever since :)
  • Decorating the house and tree for Christmas. It is so fun to have our first child be old enough to share in the holiday fun and decorating together was a blast. So far there has been minimal damage to the ornaments and all the most delicate ones from Ry and my childhoods have been safely packed away for nostalgic purposes. They won't likely see the light of day for many years. Tricia will be getting a photo ornament with a little pic of the three of us as her first Christmas ornament, it's pink and purple of course!
  • Making a gingerbread house with mommy, again Tricia has coined it a "potty treat house".
  • Graduating from Sea Turtle at swimming lessons! We showed some major improvement from start to finish and can now do assisted swimming, lots of kicking, dunking and bubble blowing
  • Celebrating baby Jesus Birthday! On Christmas Eve Tricia told us not to "hit the baby Jesus" as he is "special".  Great point baby girl! Ha, the mind of a two year old!

Saturday 8 October 2011

The Best Ever Corn Pudding - You might need to make it today!

This recipe is to be posted ASAP for my friend Susan who needs it for this weekend.  May I suggest you need it too?

Corn pudding is a classic dish on the tables of so many American families at Thanksgiving (in November there) and that is just where I was introduced to it, at the table of my Momma Franks, a Thanksgiving Feast expert!  It is basically a super delicious and extra rich cornbread with every good thing in it and all you gotta do is stir, pour and bake.  Then sit back and take all the credit!

Sue, I hope your family loves it, and remember: 
Thanksgiving is no time for restraint!

Side Note: My sweet Sue found a firm place in my heart as a young woman as she is one of the most caring, loving, snugly, strong woman I have ever known.  Like a second mother to me, this beautiful woman, wife and mother has never ceased to earn my respect with her courageous views and her love of God and His plans for her life.  She has also exemplified for me a willingness to apologize, forgive, laugh at herself, eat and be merry and never let life's pain take her joy.  Can you tell she is my hero?  The other night as I watched her sing softly in the ear of my beautiful daughter I felt cherished too.  Every time she loves on someone she gives it her all and I feel so blessed that she has extended that love to first my husband and now my child.  OK OK the recipe.... you know me and my feelings...

Corn Pudding - Courtesy of Momma Franks, another hero of mine, I will have to touch on that one too soon....

You are to add one box Jiffy Corn Muffin Online Store Mix but we can't usually get it here so the recipe at the bottom is my own version and it comes out great.  Or just substitute another corn muffin mix and measure what you need.

1 egg
1 can niblet corn, drained

1 can creamed corn
1 cup sour cream (low fat is fine, but are you sure you wanna do that?)
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 tsp Franks' hot sauce
1/2 tsp salt (3/4 if it's kosher)
1 pkg Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix (240g or 1 cup of the recipe below)

1.  Preheat oven to 350'F.  Grease a baking dish of your choosing, I like a classic smaller corningware dish or high sided crock.  Set aside.  Note: If you use a shallow baking dish it might take 10-15 minutes less to bake.

2.  In a mixing bowl combine all the ingredients and stir until all the dry is incorporated and everything looks consistent.  Pour into prepped dish.

3.  Bake uncovered for 45 min's or until light golden on top with a slight jiggle in middle when you bump it.  It should seem set but not firm.

4.  Let stand at least 10 minutes before serving.  Or, chill and reheat for your occasion.  Can be made up to 2 days ahead.

"Jiffy" Corn Muffin Mix
Use 1 Cup per recipe Corn Pudding.  This recipe makes enough for several corn puddings, wink wink.

2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp baking powder
2 1/4 cups cornmeal

1.  Mix all together and store in a cool dry place for many months.

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving 
Friends and Family!

Thursday 6 October 2011

Swimming in Coffee

Two things are on my mind today and as usual one is related to parenting and one to food, shocking I know!

Anyone who knows me well can tell you that I am opinionated.  It's not that I have to share my opinion, it's just that if you ask me what I think about any given subject, it is likely I will have thoughts to share.  Fortunately for me, my husband, family and friends appreciate this in me and often ask me for my thoughts.  As an optimist and an extravert, I feel honoured to be given an outlet for my thoughts and feelings amongst those I love.  Guess what?  That means you too my sweet blog readers!  If you came to visit this place then you have likely already realized I have a lot to say and I thank you for reading and also for returning!

First let's talk parenting.  Today was Tricia's first swim lesson.  She is passed out cold at present after givinh her time in the pool her all, like really her ALL.  She didn't appreciate my suggestions to follow the instructions for floating and she didn't care for the fact that she couldn't touch the bottom and so needed me for support throughout most of the class.  What she really wanted was to figure it out herself and go down the slide 900 times.  We had a couple of chats on the side about listening etc but those didn't change the fact that she LOVES to be in the water and I was in the way of total freedom.

I am happy she is brave in the water.  I am happy she is taking lessons and I am happy that we are both learning and growing everyday.  Her lesson today was different than mine, in fact I don't know if there was a lesson for her.  She just knows she wants to do that again.  The lesson for me is simple, it is:  Let Tricia be Tricia.  I cannot demand she be meek or mild.  I cannot demand she learn differently than she does (can you say experiential learner?) and I cannot be upset or embarrassed that my baby is not afraid of new things like her momma.  I was the most timid child ever and couldn't bare to be in a new situation without the support of someone I trusted.  Tricia on the other hand would happily come find me if and when she needs me.  I have actually prayed and asked God to give me children who don't learn to be afraid from me.  I don't want them to struggle through life missing out on good things because they can't overcome their fear of change or newness or different.  I want them to be bold, fearless and full of love and excitement for life.  I guess God knew He should start me off in the right direction with Tricia.  His ways are marvelous!

The second thing I have been thinking about is coffee.  Coffee is a big deal to me.  Some of you may already know that I have been serving coffee (good coffee) for 11 years and I love it!  The smell, the taste, the social moments shared between friends (kudos to all hot drinks), these are the foundations for my love of the stuff.  Now, while I consider purchasing locally produced products an important thing for us consumers, sadly I must inform you that coffee will never grow in Canada.  Due to this unfortunate reality buying coffee can present any number of dilemmas.  Type of bean, roast, location of plantation, price, packaging, organic and trade certifications.  These are all components of coffee that can have a significant impact on what ends up in your cup.  I am not a food snob, but I have to confess to you that I bought cheap ground coffee this past week and have been regretting it more seriously than you might believe.  Not only does it taste like burnt cigarettes but it lacks depth, cost me nothing, and I know nothing about where it came from, what's in it (type of bean and origin) or who grew it.  I feel sad for them wherever they are, I hope they don't drink it themselves.

The reality is that I truly and firmly believe in Fairly Traded Organic coffee (See this link for the Wikipedia low down).  I also love the idea of single plantation but am not tied to that one.  Already some of you are rolling your eyes and mumbling "hippy" to yourselves and that is fine by me.  It is likely because you don't have all the facts.  The reason fair trade is important is for the same reason that farmers markets are important.  It is so that you can connect to your grower in a unique and wonderful way.  It is so that you can walk away from your purchase with the knowledge that you are helping to sustain the livelihoods of folks who love what they do and want to continue to do it well.  The amazing thing is that it tastes better too.  Whether it is a woman's cooperative or a family run estate, Fair Trade certification makes field to cup possible on an intimate level that ensures the folks growing those beans care how they turn out, how they are stored and where they go.  They want your cup of coffee to be good so that you will want to buy their coffee again.  Do you pay a little more? Yup.  Is it worth every penny? You'd better believe it!  If you aren't convinced come to my house for a tasting.  I will convert you in moments and then we can have a great chat over a cup of Joe.  I won't talk organic now but you'll be hard pressed to find a Fair Trade grower who doesn't also grow organically, so there.

Now for a recipe.  I love hot coffee and I love iced coffee, I just hate lukewarm coffee.  The following instructions are for making your hot coffee and then using the leftovers for iced coffee.  No wasting when the coffee is good and you paid a fair price for it, right?

Coffee Katie Style
I use a drip percolator or filter cone into a thermos, but if you prefer a Bodum you just need to buy whole beans so you can grind them less finely than most pre-ground products.  Note: I also always pre-heat my cup with a little hot water and I use a wooden or plastic spoon to stir so I don't lose heat into a metal spoon.

6 level Tbsp Fair Trade Coffee, medium or dark roast, ground (please don't skimp on coffee since the flavour is killed when watery)
6 cups cold water
Fixings for your perfect cup (I take 10% cream and 1/2 tsp organic sugar ideally)
1 cup Leftover coffee
2 tsp sugar syrup per cup, or to taste
2 Tbsp Milk, per cup
1 Tbsp10% Cream, per cup
1/2 cup Ice, per cup


1. Make a simple sugar syrup by placing 1 1/2 cups water and 1/2 cup sugar in a small pot and bringing to a boil.  Stir once and cool.  Keep in fridge for up to a month.

2. Brew your hot coffee and enjoy a cup with a friend or with a book, or at your desk.

3. Within 1/2 an hour of brewing your coffee, turn it off and let it cool.  Place in the fridge as soon as possible.  Once it is nice and cold and you are ready for a different kind of caffinated beverage combine the milk, cream, coffee and sugar syrup with the cold coffee.

4. Place ice in a large cup and pour coffee mixture over ice, let sit 1 minute so it can get nice and cold.  I recommend mixing the coffee separate from the ice so it doesn't need stirring.  Enjoy!

Saturday 1 October 2011

The Dirt on DIY Laundry Soap

Daddy takes T for an adventure!!
Laundry is such common ground for all of us.  Whether you're hanging it on the line outside your window in a Greek village, scrubbing hard in a river in Africa or using your state of the art energy efficient front loader to getter done, we all work hard to restore our clothing after life takes its toll.

My sister Bethany shared a recipe with me about a year ago for making my own all natural but effective laundry soap and I think it is one of those things that just has to be shared.  Not only is it free of dyes, perfumes and chemical additives, it does a great job of the wash, smells lovely and is basically free to make.

Shopping List:
  • 1 box Borax (available in the laundry aisle of the grocery store)
  • 1 box Washing Soda (same aisle, made by arm & hammer)
  • 1 Laundry bar (same aisle, no brand requirements just make sure it's pure soap)
That's it!  That's all you need and you will get many many batches of this soap from the Borax and Washing Soda so consider these items an investment.  

Special Equipment Needed:
  • Immersion blender (like to puree soup)
  • Large plastic tub that can hold 4 quarts or 2 gallons (same thing)

Note:  For a personal touch, add 6 drops of your favourite essential oil just prior to blitzing with the immersion blender, smells uh-mazing!!  My fav is lavender.

1.  Coarsely grate 1/2 bar of laundry soap.  Measure out 1/2 cup each Borax and Washing Soda, set aside.

2.  In a meium saucepan combine grated laundry bar with 2 cups water.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, stirring occassionally until almost all the soap is melted.  Add remaining ingredients plus 2 more cups water and cook, sitrring often for 2 minutes or until bubbly well mixed.

3.  Pour cooked soap mix into another 12 cups cool water, stir with a spoon to mix and then set aside for a couple of hours or until cooled to room temp.  You will find the mixture separates into a thick layer on top and a watery layer on the bottom.

4. Now puree the whole mixture until it is a smooth white gel, be sure you find all the lumps for evenness.  The laundry soap is now ready to be divided into containers of your choosing.  Use the soap for spot treating ahead of washing or just add 2 Tbsp (1/2 a lid full on most high efficiency liquid detergents). Of course you can add more or less depending on the size and dirt factor of the load.

Special friends always holding hands
Family Updates:

I always like to include a few tidbits about what has been happening in our household of late since Tricia is always up to her little ways and as she grows so does her capacity for mischief!

The Highlight Reel:
The cousins composing
  • Breaking an Entering - Tricia is always veering off the path, but the other day off the path didn't seem adventuresome enough for this girl.  So she quickly and efficiently (before I could catch up) made her way up a driveway in our neighbourhood, entered their side screen door and wandered into their kitchen to check things out.  I felt embarrassed as I announced my own presence and tried to verbally warn these strangers of the trespasser, sheesh!
  • Petty Theft - Toddlers are always collecting treasure and everyday Tricia tells me that pretty much everything in my house, at the store and in the world is hers, or "Mine!" as she so deftly puts it.  Well, with this belief firmly in her mind she took a pair of keys the other night, put them in her purse and there they stayed until after she got home, had daddy put her to bed and then heard him sneak back in to her room to check her purse for them.  Mommy was stranded without them and had been searching at their friends house for a good 1/2 an hour!
  • Falling in Love... with Football! - Always in search of something new, Tricia recently discovered the fun of  watching football as a family.  Much to her mom and dad's delight I might add.  We love our Redskins, we make special snacks and we have fun snuggling on the couch with her.  Now she just needs a jersey to wear so the whole family matches on game day.
  • Shoe Fetish - "My shoes!!" are literally the first words out of T's mouth every morning, and if she can't find the pair she has her heart set on then watch out cause you will be looking for them until they are found and she has them firmly in place.  That is of course until she sees another pair she would rather wear and it all begins again.... what's wrong with being barefoot?  Oh yeah, and she refuses to wear socks.
  • Public Displays - "Cause baby you're a firework" is the new tune of choice as Tricia discovered this song is not only great for dancing to, but also singing over and over and over.  She even added her own lyrics "Doggy, doggy, doggies, dog!".  In other public moments  we have been making friends with everyone we meet.  We say "hi", "bye", "friend" and then we tell them something interesting about ourselves, our mommy, our doggy or our babies at home.  I of course translate and folks sweetly give us their attention and interest.  It's amazing to watch people I would avoid, melt on the spot, it is good for me to be reminded how approachable people really are when their guard can be lowered for a moment.
We start swimming lessons this week, I'm working hard on prototypes for my business (you have to have inventory to sell inventory, hah) and we're gearing up for my friends wedding. Tricia is the flower girl and I can't wait but I'll confess I am also nervous about what she might come up with... like taking off her clothes in the middle of the isle?? This month we also get to have a shower at our house, Cowgirl themed and all!!

Thank you all for voting on the recipe poll, it is very helpful and will totally influence the recipes I post.  I hope you like this soap one, let me know if you have any questions or need more information as usual and I will respond promptly.  In the meantime, enjoy fresh smelling clean clothes!!

Tuesday 20 September 2011

Chai, the spiced drink of life!

At L's wedding, I got to wear a Lengha!
The Back Story
About a decade ago a dear friend of mine went to live in Africa and has since found her permanent home there with her now young family.  However, whenever we have a chance to see one another it is always over a cup of chai (aka tea).  The last time she returned home she brought me a new variation on spiced chai called Shaax.  Shaax is the African version and is made with canned evaporated milk instead of fresh (try keeping milk cold in some of the hottest places on the planet!) 

I was sixteen when I tried my first sip of Masala Chai ('masala' means spiced, while 'chai' means tea in many cultures).  I was at an Indian restaurant in the city where I live and they brought out this little pot with whole spices floating around in the steaming milky liquid.  I was in love at first taste and have never tired of making  this incredibly warming and delicious tea for myself and anyone who needs a chat and a chai.   

FYI: I always know the chai is ready when I boil it over all over the stove!  May I recommend keeping a close watch on yours until you get the hang of it or until you accept your fate as I have.... I will share both recipes so you can decide for yourself which you prefer.  I use a stove top glass tea pot with a built in strainer at home, but it was a long time before I was given this ingenious pot so I will write the recipe with instructions regardless of
the tools you have.

A quick word to my sweet friend:  Sweet L, I miss you!  How does the time go by so fast and how did our families grow so much?  I cannot wait till you meet my girl, she and Sophia are going to love each other! I think of you often and look forward to our next cherished cup of chai together.  I lift you and your family up and love you dearly.  Please hug your daughter for me, and your husband, and yourself and the new life growing inside of you.  All my love, Katie

Masala Chai
As with every spiced dish, once you read this, the recipe is yours to do with as you wish, so experiment and enjoy!  The recipe for Shaax is linked here on My Recipes.

1 x 3" piece cinnamon stick
1 star anise
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
8 whole cloves
8 whole green cardamom, lightly crushed
6 whole black peppercorns
4 slices fresh ginger
2 cups water
2 Tbsp loose black tea or 4 x tea bags (Darjeeling is preferred)
2 cups milk
1-2 Tbsp Sugar or more to taste (sugar is traditional and helps bring out the complexity of the spices)
1 tsp vanilla

1.  In a stovetop tea pot, medium saucepan or tea kettle combine the dry spices, ginger and water.  Bring to a boil.  Add the tea and continue cooking for 1 minute.

2.  Reduce the heat, add the milk and simmer on low for 10 minutes in order for the spices to infuse and the tea to get good and strong.

3.  Remove from heat, stir in sugar and vanilla and if using a glass kettle, serve.  If using a saucepan use a small strainer to carefully lift the larger spices out of the pot and them pour the whole mixture into a tea pot with a built in strainer small enough to catch the remaining spices (don't worry if you don't have the right tea pot, the tea I was served when I fell in love with this drink always had spices floating around). If using a tea kettle, place a small strainer over each cup as you serve the tea in order to catch the spices as they pour out (be prepared for a little spilling).

4.  Gather sweet friends or neighbours and enjoy one anothers company over a cup of chai!

Note:  You can also turn this recipe into a spice syrup you can then just stir into hot milk when you feel like it.  To adjust the recipe, just omit the milk and all but 1/2 cup of water and increase the sugar to 2 Tbsp. Cook to dissolve sugar, strain, chill and keep in a squeeze bottle for easy access.  You will likely use about 2 Tbsp of syrup for a nice big cup or a small pot of masala chai.

Tuesday 13 September 2011

Sweet and Salty Popcorn!!

As with most things in my life, this blog has finally arrived back at food.  It`s not that I am obsessed or anything, it`s just that food makes me happy.  More importantly, it makes the people I love happy too.  Family BBQ`s, Sunday Football Snacks (GO SKINS!), a spoonful of peanut butter for my toddler, a handful of fresh picked tomatoes from the neighbours garden.  All of these shared food experiences make my people happy, and that makes me happy!  Go to the `My Recipes` page for Sweet and Salty Popcorn at Home.

Perhaps this is simplistic, but I think my husband loves me more because I feed him well.  I know he could love me if I never cooked again, but that would be cruel given the sheer joy on his face when his belly is full of fresh and flavourful food!  Even Tricia gets these looks on her face when she eats something delicious, realizing she is happy with what is in her mouth.  I kid you not, some days she barely eats.  The next day she makes up for it with twice the food.  It`s a sight to see.  AND she know what she likes!  Giver her a carrot stick but not a pepper.  Giver her broccoli but not a cucumber.  Giver her grated cheese, not a slice of cheese.  Wow, we are all unique.  When she gets a guava Popsicle I can tell she is disappointed (but we have to eat them up) since she knows what she likes and it is not guava, its LYCHEE!

The point is, my background is food and I feel like my future is food too.  It`s in me to make good food and I believe part of the reason for this is that I was taught to eat, to taste and to feed people.  My mother is an amazing cook, my sister too.  My grandmother was a pastry genius and the years she spent cooking at hunting camps gave her an incredible knack for taking simple things and turning them into feasts (hello moose meat pie!).  Growing up I also learned to preserve through canning and not waste anything.  I remember gagging when my mom would tell to cut around the bad spots in an apple or tomato since the rest was still ``perfectly fine``, ughh.  Remarkable to find myself years later telling my kitchen staff the exact same thing about a bushel of pears or a case of peppers.  Much to their chagrin, I`d happily grab some slimy carrot, hold it up and declare it good to go (in certain applications only of course and it wasn`t just one, it was 50 lbs worth, hah!).  The truth is, all the best food experiences have humble beginnings.  Even a slimy carrot, once peeled, blanched, refreshed and sauteed with a little salt yields a more than palatable end.

Making food experiences matter for Tricia will take some effort, but a worthwhile effort it will be.  No one with fabulous food memories can disagree.  I want her to love to eat, share, taste, create and get up to her elbows in the creation of food.  So while we will focus on healthy eating in our home, I will also have to confess that I found my passion for food in candy making.  My mom wasn`t going to buy it, so I made it instead!  So much fun was had, just not by my mother`s kitchen!  She was a good sport though, always asking if I had in fact read the recipe the whole way through before I launched into one of my creations.  Ultimately she got her reward; a certified chef, the manager of a neighbourhood cafe, a happy home cook with a good set of taste buds, a good eater with many favourite things and great kitchen in which to play!

Today`s recipe is intended to save us all some money!  I`m sure you all know that oh-so-good sweet and salty popcorn you can buy for $4-$5 a bag.  It`s all the rage.  Well, it`s also rediculously easy to make.  Here`s my recipe after some careful trial and error, I hope you enjoy!  Note:  there is one special piece of equipment needed so check out `Stuff I Like` for the details on where to get your own Whirley Pop Stovetop Popcorn Popper!!


Thursday 8 September 2011

One fish two fish red fish blue fish

Dr. Seuss has officially re-entered my life!  I missed those books and am happy to see them back again.  In fact, many of the books which are Tricia's favourites are books written before either of us were born.  A classic is a classic and good things don't go out of style.  For this post, I would like to get back to my point form stylings and give you some Classic Franks North updates.

Popsicles, or "popdicalle" as they are sometimes called - You may recall Tricia loves her popsicles.  So much so that in the mornings when I wake her up (she's always sleeping in) she often groggily informs me that it is not time for a Popsicle just yet, "no popdicalle, not yet".  I agree saying something about after lunchtime.  Tricia is often reminding Ryan and I that there have been boundaries placed.  Just last night she told Ryan in some sort of run on sentence that "no hit, just gentle; no soapy; no more potty treats, just one; and no suit." As the weather has changed Tricia has been a little depressed that she can't wear her swimsuit everyday....

Best Homemade Popsicles  
(thank you neighbour Amanda for this!)  

1.  Go to the juice section at the grocery store and buy tetra pack gourmet juice (i.e. the not from concentrate kind where the first ingredient is the fruit itself)
2.  Return home and open the box.  Pour into clean popsicle moulds.
3.  Freeze until solid and serve to everyone who needs one.

Note: After some experimenting our house fav's are Lychee fruit and Mango Nectar, they're uh-mazing! Please see Stuff I Like for the best ever Frozen Jewel Popsicle Molds.

Foster Family for Dinner - Another milestone this past week was a visit from our dear and lovely Foster Family.  I literally can't say enough about Tricia's guardians from birth to July of this year.  These dedicated sweet people aren't just caring for babies until they find homes, they are creating a home and a relationship that children can re-visit and stay connected with.  Sure Tricia is exceptional and even Dodo and Roy will tell you they have a special place in their hearts for her, but these folks treat everyone with such incredible care and having them to our house for dinner was an honour.  The best part was how little time it took Tricia to remember them and get right back in their arms for snuggles.  She even provided a pre-dinner dance show that wouldn't have ended if supper hadn't been ready!  When I dreamed of my ideal adoption scenario it looked a lot like this reality.  A whole group of people invested in Tricia's well being, willing to love her as she grows and in love with her because of who she is.  It doesn't get much better than that!  Since their visit last week every time I ask her if Dodo came for supper she exclaims "DODO, ROY, RAY" with tremendous enthusiasm and laughs at her own memories.  We can't wait for the next visit....

Letter to birth mom - Just wrote it today.  Kept it simple, caring and open with little tidbits about our girl.  If you think of it, we would love to have this letter lifted up in thought and prayer that it would be received in an appropriate way and that it might be the first of many.... thank you!

Ryan's Birthday - The Skins come to Toronto, and we've got tickets!! - Ryan is 31 and we celebrated with Breakfast in bed.  Then we washed all the bedding since we had that much fun with Tricia and Miley joining us, so fun.  We also took a trip to the zoo with Josh and Katie, had a family feast and had some special calls from Franks Central.  The big news of the day however was Ryan's gift from his oh-so-lovely wife of tickets to see our beloved Washington Redskins play at the Rogers Centre in October - woohoo!!  Dream come true!  Now, who wants to babysit??

Potty Training Update - #1s are off to the races, with almost no accidents and no diaper needed during nap time.  Hooray!  #2's are a different story and despite Tricia placing her baby dolls on the potty for "poopy" we haven't seen much progress.  She is upset when things go "a-muck" but not enough to make any changes.  Her newest funny thing is pretending to poop in a serious way with her face going red and not breathing she is "pushing" so hard.  Only problem is she is not on the potty and doesn't need to go.  Oh pieces, please come together, we're so close....hah!

Upcoming.... Swim Lessons - I will do anything apparently (including be in a swimsuit in the middle of winter) for my child.  No but seriously, it'll be fun.  We're going with friends and it's high time Tricia started learning some water safety, the girl is obsessed with water in any form and needs to know how to be safe.

Curry Feast for Nicole - let's link it to a stand alone page, cause it's that good (it might not be up right when this gets posted so be patient with me)! Recipes and how to's for a do-it-yourself curry feast just like we had for Nicole's birthday this past winter. xoxo my sweet sis-in-law. Link:

Keep the comments coming!  This tool has been therapeutic for me, the new mom, but I would love to hear from you (my readers) too.  Share your own story with us, or picture or anything at all.  I love my community of people from near to far, from here to there, and interesting things are everywhere!

PS - my sister Bethany and I are starting a little business and are preparing for launch as we speak.  More to come on that but we will hopefully soon have both our Etsy shop and website up and running.  For now I'll just share the name, Firefly Creations by Katie and Bethany, can't wait!

Friday 19 August 2011

Franks North meet Franks Central!!

As the Franks family (well 8 of them) poured through the door in an excited rush Tricia bit her dad's hand.  Not too hard, just enough to let him know she knew this was BIG!  I love the idea of telling the world how you feel through your actions and sometimes overwhelmed could most definitely equal the desire to bite down on something reassuring, soft and firm.

The week of meeting some of the Ryan's side of the family could not have gone better.  We watched as our little extravert roamed the house, showing, telling, watching and laughing.  Tricia literally loved on and was loved on by everyone in the family.  See photo albums here  With some she was in their arms in 10 minutes.  With others it took a couple days but as a new parent watching our toddler assimilate, I felt sheer joy!  These are the folks who will be in her life from now on.  Granted, Tricia has an unusually large number of folks to get to know but you know how they say that children know where they belong?  Well, Tricia's remarkble sense of self has announced to me and everyone around her that this is where she belongs.  Mimi (Gma Franks) and Grandma (Gma McLennan) were love at first site.  Papa (Gpa Franks) and Grandpa (Gpa McLennan) were love at first silly.  As for the aunties and uncles?  Let's just say Tricia thinks them all quite attractive and has eyed them up, cuddled them up and snuggled them up.  Tonight she even said Maggie for the first time so clearly, yay!

The thing about Tricia is she let's you know how she feels about everything.  You may have noticed this is a theme throughout my postings but it is so fundamental around here I feel I need to touch on it often.  Humour me as I list yet more examples....

  • The bird bath is a smallish dish of water sitting on the table in the garden.  For Tricia all water is her water and this water was just so inviting.  As we sat on the patio eating supper we watched as fingers dabbled, toes stretched up, clothes came off, and our girl climbed up to perch atop the bowl just before fully immersing her lower half in the "bath".  She stayed there for almost 45 minutes all the while talking and gesturing to herself about who knows what (see pics and let me know what you think she is saying) PS - the bird bath has been moved from the table to the garden safety purposes
  • "I would like to potty train" became clear the night she peed on the potty on the patio with just her and 5 of the Frisbee team boys out back after dinner at roughly 9 pm while the house was brimming with folks (no joke like 30 people).  No treats, no nothing.  Just "yup it's time to pee for the first time" here and now.
  • "Light!!"  Tricia is a little obsessed with light switches.  Also, she loves stools for reaching things.  Tonight Daddy said not to touch the kitchen light switches.  He said no twice and the second time was a serious discussion.  The third time Tricia was rushing not be seen and all of a sudden the stool gave way, Tricia's hands dragged down the wall as she smoked her face on the way down.  Bloody lip??  No problem, this is the second round of a bleeding face this week.  The first one was a face plant on the driveway (very sad for mommy and daddy).  Really Tricia doesn't mind these little mishaps as they equal snuggles and ice in a cloth to suck on.  She is fascinated by "bo-bo's", hers or anyone's.  That said, she did not notice last night when her father had his nose broken at Frisbee, or when we left her for the hospital, or when he looked horrible tonight. I guess she thinks he can handle it.  PS - clean diapers are amazing for blood collection.