Walking home from school the other day with Julian, I stopped suddenly when he gasped. What?! I looked around for what had surprised him. “Mom! You littered!” And sure enough I had, but not on purpose! The wrapper for the snack I’d brought for him had slipped out of my overstuffed pocket and onto the sidewalk. I quickly picked it up and apologized. Littering is a very big offense to Julian (and Esme, too). Kids are just natural environmentalists, aren’t they? They love nature and think anything that harms it is stupid. Which is pretty much the truth of it.
Because Laura and I work with Netflix, we got a sneak peak at the titles they’ll be featuring for Earth Month. There are few things I like more than a good nature documentary so this is pretty thrilling to me. I’m really looking forward to watching The Blue Planet: A Natural History of the Ocean and Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us?
The other morning, Julian and I started our day curled up on the couch with the iPad and Sesame Street. In a way that only Sesame Street can do, they brought to life one of Julian’s favourite concepts from nature: camouflage! In The Camouflage Challenge, Kyra Sedgewick and Elmo do a hilarious hide and seek number on the city streets and it gave me an idea for a great craft. It’s a classic diorama with an Earth Month twist. Plus a little Elmo thrown in for good measure – because, really, what does Elmo not make better? This is a fun and easy project that comes together pretty quickly. It’s a nice way to talk about our favourite parts of nature and what we can all do to look after it for Earth Month (and every month!). Read more
I was chatting with a friend recently who lives in New York City and she was telling me about the Farmer's Market her daughter's school hosts each Wednesday. The school has a lunch program so it has increased its weekly order of fresh vegetables and fruits with its local suppliers and then sells the surplus. Organized and managed by the eldest grades in the school, the market gives the surrounding community access to a bounty of local produce at a fraction of the cost of fancy organic markets. A great fundraising opportunity for the school, it also offers the neighbourhood access to seasonal food allowing for a farm to table lifestyle in the most unlikely of places.
Since this month is Earth Month and I’m on our school’s environment committee, the idea has me wondering how I can bring something similar to my daughter's school. In the meantime, I’ll happily still support our local farmer’s market where I am, frankly, excited to start seeing some Spring produce. Hello there asparagus, I’ve missed you. Read more
I recently had a girlfriend tell me she wakes up thinking about dinner, but not in that good way when you can't wait to tuck into a meal. Instead she wallows in her morning coffee about what dish she can finesse into her day so it winds up on the table in-time for dinner. It's the same ole song we all sing. Honestly, the only way I can survive the dinner question is by devising a meal plan on the weekend. (Plus it justifies the hour I exclusively date the internet on Sundays.) Otherwise I have a panic attack at 2pm that I didn't take anything out of the freezer. I also like to have a few family traditions like breakfast for dinner night, Mexican night and, of course, pizza night. This way even the menu planning is easier since I have a schedule to work within. I usually mix those regular evenings up as well. For instance, we had a chili night in January that has recently morphed into soup night. However, everyone has to do what works best for them. I have another friend who told me her meal plan is actually her son's school lunch menu from the week before. On Mondays when she drop the boys off at school, she snaps a photo of the week's lunch menu on the wall and then, voila, it's next week's dinner plan. I thought it was brilliant idea since she gets feedback on every meal before she even lifts a finger to prepare it. "Oh, what's that you say? The green beans on Tuesday tasted like flower stems? Well, ok, scratch that. It's your favourite roasted broccoli instead." How smart is that?
Happy Monday! So, this is spring? Um… am I missing something? Like sunshine? Flowers? Sigh. This is an old post that got a snazzy new photo but it's also one of my favourite comfort foods: Tuna Casserole. I wrote this in January of 2011. Sadly, the description of the cold is still suiting. Oh, well, if it's gotta be cold, at least we can have casserole! C.M.
It's cold in Toronto right now. Really, really cold. Like tights under your kid's jeans and then snow pants kind of cold. Sartre must not have had kids to say that hell is other people. Those of us who live with children know that hell is actually other peoples's stuff. Hats, mittens (which will NEVER stay on no matter what), scarf, snowsuit, boots… and that's for one child! Once you've covered every frost-bitable surface of the children –which of course makes them whine and complain — and jollied them outside for an activity like sledding or snowman making, you really want to come home to something warm.
And for this we need comfort food. SPC contributor and dear friend Heidi introduced me to this tuna casserole almost a year ago. I've made it several times since and have been meaning to post it. But this weekend was a comfort food emergency! It's a Rachel Ray recipe that I've modified a bit in the name of health. But honestly, my nod to health is really just a glance. This one is not going to get you into heaven, except that it's easy and really delicious.
Calling this week Green was perhaps overly hopeful on our part when we created our March schedule. Of course it was St.Patrick's Day on Monday but we were also hoping there might be some green grass shooting up by now, a few green leaves unfurling. Yeah, not so much. Instead it's rather grey and slushy out and really not what you want from the first days of spring. But we won't let the weather stop us from eating our greens, will we?
This is an old recipe that's been given a sparkly new photo. I love this soup because it's packed with veggies, obvs, but the potato and cheese give it a comfort factor I'm still craving while it's chilly out. This is a great soup to whip on a Sunday afternoon. You could put it in a thermos for a school lunch (or a work lunch, for that matter) or serve alongside a grilled cheese sandwich for a super easy weeknight dinner. C.M.
I know that there are technically a few more days left of summer but to me fall begins on the first of September. And in Toronto, it really feels like it. The sun is still mostly shining but wind is little more insistent and some mornings I have to wear a scarf to do the school run. If I can ignore the fact that winter is right around the corner, I love fall. It's definitely my favourite time of year to cook. Lots of local produce in the stores and markets and it's not too hot to be hanging out around the stove. And my favourite thing to make? Soup. I put up a soup question on Facebook and promptly got six great ideas for soups. And the bonus of a biscuit recipe from Michelle Berry — will be trying them this week. Read more