Not too many favourites to share today - we had a busy but successful week. We had some good meals, got out for some workouts, did some reading, kept the house relatively clean, and the weather is starting to warm up.
I picked out these tulips because of the pretty colour but I hadn't really noticed the variegated tops. They are lovely.
I made this lentil soup on the weekend to have for my lunches. It was surprisingly good for being so simple and it has lots of power foods like lentils, kale, squash, and carrots. I used all lentils because I didn't have split peas but I had everything else on hand. I used the turkey broth I had made at Christmastime, maybe that's why it was so good. I have a few leftover in the freezer for the future.
I need some ideas for my summer playlist that I've already started (I realize it's barely spring let alone summer). I have four songs on it so far - Sunflower by Post Malone, Thank U Next by Ariana Grande, Shallow from A Star is Born, and September by Taylor Swift. Any other suggestions?
I am making the case for olive oil, salt, and pepper. I know I probably don't have to, but recently we have had some meals with just these items and they are so so delicious. I like recipes with lots of fun ingredients too, but it is also easy to keep it so simple. Honourable mention goes to lemon juice and garlic.
Roasted vegetables - This works for any type of vegetable, use simple olive oil, salt, and pepper and let the vegetable itself shine through. I will line my baking tray with either parchment paper or tin foil, spread out the washed, trimmed, and cut vegetables and then drizzle with oil, and season with salt and pepper. I don't completely dry them off after washing them, but they aren't soaking wet when I put them on the pan. Some people toss their vegetables in a bowl with these things but I skip that step. You can also group together multiple vegetables on the same pan (provided they are roughly the same shape, and keeping in mind that some, like kale or tomatoes, will take less time than cauliflower or sweet potato). Then bake at about 400 degrees F. If you have a convect roast option, use it.
Now what can you do with these vegetables?
- Serve as a side dish
- Top a salad or make a bowl
- Add to a jar of pre-made pasta sauce for some extra flavour
- Top croustini or toast (like this recipe)
Chicken marinade - This is where the lemon and garlic come in handy (fresh garlic is fine, but garlic powder will work too). It doesn't take that long for the flavours to come through, even 30 minutes will help. You cut it it up and fry it in the pan to add to a pasta or salad bowl, or you can BBQ it.
Salad dressing - You can make lots of good salad dressings with honey, dijon mustard, buttermilk, fresh herbs, etc, but if you're stuck for time or ingredients, just use these staples and it will be fine. Typically you use one part lemon juice to two parts olive oil or it will be too tangy. I would leave the garlic out since it will be raw and can be overpowering.
Flavour - Any dish can be upgraded with a drizzle of olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. I had some leftover quinoa the other day that I just added some frozen edamame, and some leftover black beans, added oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and it was delicious.
We don't use anything fancy - just Classico olive oil, sea salt, and peppercorns, all from the grocery store.
In each of 2011 and 2016 around this time of year, we announced that we were expecting our babies. One of my friends is having her baby soon so I was just remembering all of that.
What I'm loving...
Spring is on its way. I wrote about that on Monday. It hasn't warmed up significantly yet, but I can get by without a hat or mittens in the morning, so it's a start.
What we've been up to...
We celebrated Dave's birthday last week and trying to get outside a bit more on the weekends.
What I'm dreading...
Dave will be away for a few days next week and it means I can't get to work at my usual time and will have to leave early so I can manage drop off and pick up. It's not a big deal but it means I'll be rushing around.
What I'm working on...
I've decided I need to do some major cleaning up. For example we have four loaf pans, at best, I will only ever need two at a time, so I don't need to keep the other two. I've folded my clothes the Konmari way and there are plenty of things I can get rid of that do not spark joy. Although it is work, I do love throwing stuff away.
What I'm excited about...
Maybe excited is the wrong word, but we will start potty training Q in the next few weeks. It will be great to get him out of diapers even if it means a few accidents and outfit changes along the way. I wrote about potty training here. We'll be following that again.
What I'm watching/reading...
We are watching Season 3 of Fargo on Netflix (Ewan McGregor!) and not much else on a regular basis. I will watch Queer Eye and catch up on This is Us when Dave is away.
I am reading American Marriage and I love it so much. A few times I have almost missed my subway stop because I have been so engaged in the book.
What I'm listening to...
"Sunflower" from the Into the Spiderverse movie.
What I'm wearing...
I've said it before, but I am tired of my winter work clothes, so I will be excited when I can get my summer clothes again!
What I'm doing this weekend...
I have no idea, we have zero plans.
What I'm looking forward to next month...
Easter and getting outside more.
What else is new...
Q is moving up to the preschool room from the toddler room (another reason why the potty training is more important now), and E's reading has really improved in French and English. We are still working on it through the Raz Kids app on the iPad, which is now provided by the school.
What is your favourite Easter side dish?
Scalloped potatoes, since we usually have ham. And a good roll is always important, not sure if that counts as a side "dish".
For dinner on Friday we ate the leftover macaroni and cheese, and there wasn't much leftover so we supplemented with extra snacks. Since it was Friday night family movie night, Q went right over to get the popcorn ready. He wore his bucket while I filled the machine.
Then to the couch. We actually watched the Smurfs movie and it turned out to be really good. Definitely some 7 year old humour that had E giggling and I laughed out loud a few times too.
After our popcorn we made some nachoes, really just for a vehicle for our leftover salsa and taco meat from the birthday tacos.
I was up bright and early for Saturday morning barre. It was a great class and nice to get moving so early in the morning. I have had to forego these workouts all winter since Dave and E were skiing and Q and I had swimming. Glad to be back.
When I got home, I had some breakfast and did some tidying up. Dave took the boys outside while he cleaned the garage. The weather was still cool but the sun was out!
Q enjoyed some ice cream cake after his lunch.
Then I picked up this teenager from a birthday party. Seriously, why does he look so old!?
When Q up, we drove over to our friends' house to drop off our high chair for their little baby. We visited with them for a bit and then took advantage of the playground across the street for a little while.
We started spiraling into not knowing what to make for supper and then Dave suggested we stop by Sweet Potato (in the Junction) to pick up ingredients for a stir-fry. That seemed easy enough and Sweet Potato is a fun organic market in a new location from when I used to go there to get baby food ingredients.
When we got home, I made supper and Dave took the boys down to the water on their bikes. The river is free of ice now but the parking lot is still covered. I wonder how long it will take to go away.
After supper we watched an episode of the cooking show we are watching on Netflix, and also enjoyed this snack. After E went to bed Dave and I watched If Beale Street Could Talk.
Sunday morning and off to church. I was still dressed for winter but these guys were fine in sneakers and a light jacket/sweatshirt.
After lunch I walked up the street. I am officially an old lady as I take the wheelie cart to do errands. I used to have the stroller to carry stuff back with but if I'm going alone, I can carry it all.
When I got back, I made some cinnamon bread to use up the buttermilk I had in the fridge from the week before. I had also made lentil soup in the slow cooker that morning so I finished that up. Then I took Q to a birthday party. It was at the Little Gym in Mississauga, a gymnastics gym for little kids. He took a few minutes to warm up, but then was off running and jumping.
He sat right up to the table, asked to put his party hat on, and ate the pizza, fruit, and chips. He had a few bites of the ice cream cake but decided it was too cold. So he finished up and went back into the gym to play until it was time to go home.
Meanwhile Dave and E went to the pub for supper and to watch the Raptors game. I ran out of time to get to yoga, but my evening was better spent getting set up for the week, putting clothes away, cleaning the kitchen, and making lunches.
Welcome to the first full week of spring in 2019! We made it. Actually aside from a few weeks of snow, I didn't find winter to be too bad. It was tolerable and we weren't too burdened by the snow and cold. But that's over now, so welcome spring!
A few of my favourite things about Spring:
Chirping birds. I really noticed the lack of birds this winter; I'll be happy to welcome them back to our yard. I wish we could put out a feeder but the squirrels (and racoons) are relentless so the birds don't even benefit.
Asparagus. I know you can get asparagus all year round but it is always the first Ontario vegetable that comes out in the spring and I like making it- roasting in the oven, pan frying or adding to a pasta.
Opening the windows in the house. It is so nice to get a breeze blowing through the house, even if it's still a little cool.
This week we had the best time celebrating Dave's birthday! In the morning we had some breakfast pastries from The Danish Pastry House (procured from their location in Union Station) and we enjoyed some tacos for supper. Presents (all opened by Q), and a Moose Tracks ice cream cake from Bake Sale.
On Thursday night we got a sitter and Dave and I went out for dinner and drinks. We don't do this often but we try to go out for the special occasions.
I picked up this new wreath at Home Sense last weekend. Our fir wreath had been on the door since before Christmas and it was getting tired looking, along with the decorative baskets, they all had to go. It's not exactly time to start the spring yard work but it will be soon (Sunday is calling for double digits!).
I saw this post on Instagram this week:
So I did it for my birthday and found the following headlines "Florida man arrested for dialing 911 when he wanted vodka"and "Police: Man called 911 with fake story to get a ride to Hooters". I wonder if it was the same guy.
Every so often I turn on Spotify at work to get me through the afternoon. Thies week I put on some good old country music - Brooks and Dunn, Alabama, Reba - doesn't get much better than that!
The other day someone from out of town asked me for a restaurant recommendation. I had to think about it briefly but I thought I would put together a list of a few solid places so I would know exactly what to say next time. My focus is in the downtown core, rather than including some of my other favourite spots in the West end. These places are not chain restaurants (not that I don't love The Keg on occasion) so they are unique and the prices are fairly reasonable.
Buca - on King West
This is probably my favourite restaurant in all of Toronto. All of the food is amazing and I love the location. It can be difficult to get in without a reservation made well in advance, but not impossible, so worth checking it out on Open Table to see what you can get. There are also tons of other places around there to grab a drink if you have to wait.
Drake One Fifty
You know we love the Drake Hotel on Queen West, but the downtown version is equally satisfying. The cocktail menu is a treat and the food is always tasty.
Terroni - on Adelaide
Terroni has solid Italian food with lots of choices. The building on Adelaide is an old courthouse and has some really neat seating. I have never been disappointed with my meal there. If you are early enough it is also appropriate for children. There is another location on Queen West, also good.
This restaurnt is owned by Ivan Reitman (director of Ghostbusters, father of Workin' Moms, Catherine Reitman) and it has a California vibe which I like, especially if it's the middle of winter in Toronto. I've eaten full meals here and also just stopped in for drinks and dessert.
Real Sports/ Elleven
I grouped these two together since they are in the same building so where you go would depend on the atmosphere and food you want. Obviously Real Sports is a sports bar with your typical sports bar offerings, although done very well, lots of beer on tap, and screens galore to catch your game. It is an experience that is worthwhile for tourists and Torontonians. Also a great place to bring kids because it is loud and the TVs provide distraction. E11even is right next door and is a bit classier with more traditional plates. It won't let you down. Both are great if you are heading to a Leafs or Raptors game since it is beside the ACC Scotiabank Arena.
This one is right on the water, so technically slightly outside of the downtown core, but you can still get there quickly. We have eaten here in the summer on the patio, which is lovely of course, but also in the fall when we got to enjoy the cozy inside. Again, it is great for kids with lots of choice for beer and on the food menu.
Today we are celebrating our favourite guy! Although we are born in the same year, Dave will always be slightly ahead of me when it comes to age, hah! We wish you a happy successful year ahead with lots more adventures. Cheers to Dave on his birthday!!
Like I did last year, I asked E some questions about Dave.
What is something Dad says a lot?
Quinn, you're funny!
What makes Dad happy?
Playing video games
What makes him sad?
When someone dies in our family.
How tall is Dad?
How old is he?
What is his favourite food?
Does he have a favourite child?
Yes...no, he doesn't. You know why? He doesn't have "a" favourite child, but "two" favourite children.
If Dad could go anywhere, where would it be?
Inside his heart...heheh. Uh, to go to my school for party!
What is his favourite song?
*sings* "Everett is my favourite child"...
Under Pressure..no wait, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (we recently watched Mary Poppins)
What is his favourite movie?
Where was Dad born?
In a hospital in Halifax
What is Dad's favourite show to watch?
I don't know that, you should know that!
Who is Dad's best friend?
What is Dad afraid of?
A giant snake who is going to eat him, who is in Harry Potter.