From the beginning of this website's life, kale has really been Laura's thing. I mean, I liked it well enough and understood its nutritional benefits but to be honest I was always a bit meh on actually putting in my grocery cart week to week. While Laura was putting it on pizzas, pureeing it into pestos and practically bathing in it on the regular I just couldn't get excited about it. But now? I'm like that super cool person who tells you about this amazing show called Mad Men. Have you seen it? I'm so late to the party that everyone else has moved on to food crushes on freekeh and hemp and I'm over here going, "Oh, my God, kale!" I'm going through at least one bunch per week and think I could easily add another to my grocery list.
What changed things for me? Honestly, I have my friend Claire Tansey to thank. She taught me the simplest step to add to kale recipes: massage the kale. It's a game changer, people. Once you've removed the tough spine from each leaf, just drizzle the tiniest bit of oil on the kale and get in there and really rub for a few minutes. It makes the kale more tender and pleasanter to eat. And here's the icing on the cake that I came up with all on my own: you can get children to do it. Both of my kids groan when they see me washing and slicing up kale now but they roll up their sleeves and massage those greens! And angels sing!
In this honeymoon phase that kale and I are having, I've done lots of different salads but this is my current favourite. It's substantial enough to be a meal on its own and would be perfect to bring along to a picnic or barbecue. You can change up the ingredients as you need to — almonds instead of pecans, strawberries rather than blueberries — but you'll always end up with a healthy, hearty meal. Just don't change the kale — it's so good! Read more
Coming out of the first long weekend of the season (in Canada, anyway) really has us feeling summery. We had a picnic with friends to welcome their new baby one afternoon and a barbecue birthday party with other pals the next. There was time outside for the kids to run around and work up an appetite and the return of lots of our favourite summer foods. Potato salad, pressed sandwiches (recipe coming soon), burgers and strawberries so sweet they only needed the tiniest bit of ice cream to become dessert.
Our summers are so short that I always feel the pressure to knock out the most warm-weather recipes I possibly can. This year's bucket list includes home made ice cream, salads made on my spiralizer and many more ways to use the grill. As much as I love a steak cooked over flames, I feel like you don't need me telling you how to do that. But can I interest you in a fresher, lighter way to use your barbecue? Something like these salmon and zucchini skewers, for instance? They're easy to prepare, quick to cook and I find that putting ingredients on a stick helps kids get over whatever aversions they might have to them. Esme and Julian both love salmon but are on and off with zucchini but seeing these skewers made it very much an on. Read more
The month of June is like the month of December to me. It's jammed with events and as the month wears on, like my stress level, my schedule only gets more intense. If you have a family, June is the month when everything that has framed the school-year (studies, extra curricular clubs and sports as well as outside activities and sports) comes to a spectacular end. And by spectacular, I mean frantic. From final projects (please, God, don't make me buy another bristol board) to recitals (Really?! Do we actually need a photo day for that gawdy dance costume? Sorry, dance costume people.) and final tournaments. Plus don't forget all the end of school gifts for teachers and administrators. If I didn't take an extra few minutes before the week to plan our meals, then I'm sure we'd be eating crumbs off the floor.
Even a person who is committed to cooking at home for most meals needs a get-out-of-jail-free card, you know? We have a couple of places in our neighbourhood that give me that kind of break when I need it. One is Terroni, well known in Toronto for their amazing pizzas (although both Laura and I live for their Nizzarda salad), and the other is our local sushi spot. The staff are incredibly sweet and one of their walls is covered with my kids' art so you know how often we're there. We all have our usuals on the menu. Esme and Julian love the gyoza and California hand rolls, Ben likes the hamachi sushi and I always order a salad that combines greens, sushi rice and sashimi.
I'm not a believer in home made sushi but I'd always thought about tweaking that salad into something that could be made (safely!) at home. And this is it! It's accidentally trendy with the current obsession for bowls, and it's a light yet satisfying dinner. I could eat this thing every night if no one else complained. Feel free to freestyle with the veggies and go with what you've got. I particularly love it when the fish and rice are still warm but you could absolutely make those parts in advance and assemble it cold.
And don't think that because I've figured out how to make one of my favourite restaurant meals at home that I don't still take a break from cooking. I do, my friends, I really do. Read more
I sometimes forget I'm the mom. Wait–let me clarify that. I don't mean that I forget that I'm the one who runs around each day without a head (or sometimes a clue) getting Scarlett from home to school, from school to lunch and then back again, from play date to ballet and then, finally, at dusk, who agonizes with her over a 40 word spelling test. It's just each year when Mother's Day rolls around my gut reaction is to think of my mom. She's who I'm used to celebrating and, any one who knows me knows, she's my best friend. I'm also still very reliant on her. Maybe I don't need her to tie my shoe any more but no one, and I mean no one, can talk me down from a ledge better than my mommy. So I think of her first each May.