Wednesday, 27 March 2013

The Adventure to Delicious Blueberry Tart

               Over the years, baking and cooking have become my therapy when I need that little bit of cheering up or some stress relief. Inspiration for theses therapy sessions can come from any where but usually while watching tv {cooking shows or commercials},reading magazines, or sometimes just thinking about a food.

               My previous post I shared that I have been battling a sinus infection (Finally, fingers crossed, I am on the mend. Sinus infections really suck.) So yesterday while being sick and chilling out watching The Chew, I was inspired to make a recipe for home made Toaster Tarts {} that Michael Symon was making. They looked so yummy and would be a perfect remedy for feeling crummy. I also was in the middle of having one of  my cravings for some blueberry jam so I decided to give the recipe a whirl. Like it usually happens, you start to gather the ingredients and realized I was short some of the things I needed. Improvisation! I figured out if I scaled down on things that I would have enough to try the recipe. It turned out great though the dough was a little to sticky for the individual tarts so I made it like a pie. See there's my friend improvisation again. I really don't like to follow rules that much when I cook and now that has spilled over into baking. I go by taste. My goals when I am in the kitchen are to have fun, be creative and {hopefully} make something tasty. I tried it and thought it tasted really good so I got my tasting team {Tasting Team =My husband, my son, and sometimes my cat} to try it as well. It was a hit! But due to my ingredient shortage there weren't any leftovers. I also wish I had taken a picture of  how it turned out.

            Today I tried to recreate the same inspired recipe, Blueberry Tart, I made up yesterday. This time I made a bigger batch and still made it as a tart. I put it in a glass pie dish and poured my blueberry jam on top. Popped it in the oven for around 30-45 minutes. The tart cooked but wasn't as golden as I would have liked either I will have to par-bake the crust or put it in a darker dish for next time. It tasted good but not as good as yesterday. Lessons to be learned from today's cooking adventure - thinner crust cooked in a darker dish. By doing this it will help to get the crust to be browner giving that deeper flavour. Even though the crust wasn't as brown as I would have like, it sure did taste delicious.

         I remembered to take a picture this time. Yeah!

Thursday, 21 March 2013

The Juggling Act of Being a Mom and Blogging

Wow! So I am still working on the balancing act of my toddler and blogging. For the past five days, my son decided that he wasn't going to nap at all during the day. {Crossing my fingers} I think we are back to napping again because he definitely needs it. I am really not sure if it was the switch to daylight savings time or that he just didn't want to stop playing. Oh the learning adventures of being a Mom. LOL.

The process has been challenging since I am not a night owl and blogging after my son goes to bed is not an option. I think my brain turns off after 7pm because I am pretty sure I couldn't even solve 5 plus 5 at that point. Nights may not be my thing but most mornings I have no problem springing out of bed. I say most mornings because some days when you are sick or you have been up several times a night you just don't want to get out of your warm and cozy bed. Since having my son, my husband and I seem to be sick a lot which also interferes with my springiness. As I am writing right now, I have my second sinus infection this year. The pressure in my head feels like it's in a bench vise and every time I bend down I feel my brain slam up against my skull. Not fun but like the saying goes I must carry on. Though I am trying hard to write on a regular basis I have become to realize that some weeks it may be a day or two later than I wanted but I got it done and that's the main thing.

My plan for the next few weeks is to publish some of my from scratch recipes (A hint: Cinnamon Turkey Meatballs is coming soon), my bedroom makeover, and more adventures in Mommy blogging so stay tuned.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

My Journey to Cooking from Scratch

              Today, I am writing about my journey to cooking mostly from scratch. About four and half years ago, I set out to lose weight before I have kids and to become healthy. I have struggled with my weight my entire life so I knew I would need help. I joined Weight Watchers. I had tried the program before and it had worked but I always stopped after a few weeks thinking I could now do it on my own. Well, one of the keys to my success in weight loss is the support I get from my Weight Watchers meeting along with exercise and healthy eating. (Please note: I am not a Weight Watchers spoke person. It was the program that worked for me.) Over a period of about two years, I lost 45 lbs. It may seem like it took me a long time but my philosophy has always been slow and steady wins the race. My weight did not go on overnight so it wasn't going to come off overnight. I worked hard going to the gym and cycling, as well as eating healthy smaller portions. I would have never dreamed before my weight loss journey that I would ever start cycling but it is something my husband introduced to me. Now I love it. The process became about making choices I could live with for the rest of my life.
              There is nothing I cannot eat but I make the choice not to. I became conscious of the ingredients of my food. Part of what I learned from the program was to read the labels on prepared and packaged food. As I began doing so, I noticed that there were a lot of things I could not pronounce or recognize what they were. This scared me because if I cannot say the word or recognize what it is why should I put it in my body. So from that point on I decided to make as much as I can from scratch. I started slow and began to build my repertoire. The first thing I made was taco seasoning. Tacos are a favourite of mine but the seasoning mix that comes in the taco kit has a huge list of ingredients that I couldn't say or pronounce, as well as a lot of sodium. After doing some research, I realized that cumin, chipotle chile powder, garlic powder, and salt would give me the same flavour as the kit. The cumin gives it is smoky flavour and the chipotle chile powder adds the spicy chili flavour. From there, I made my own tomato soup, tomato sauce, bread, pizza dough, brownie mix, vanilla cake, macaroni and cheese, and continue to add to weekly. The food just seems to have a much better flavour. I soon realized that Parmigiano-Reggiano freshly grated has unbelievable nutty taste and texture that you cannot compare. The same goes with pure vanilla extract. I grew up using the artificial stuff but one day when watching on of my cooking shows they said that the pure extract is better. It makes logical sense that the pure version would be better that the artificial but I had to find out for myself. So I bought an expensive bottle made with Madagascar Bourbon. I can't believe what a difference it makes and how many different kinds of vanilla extract there are depending on where the vanilla is grown. Definitely worth the cost for both the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and the pure vanilla extract. Also, the flavour is so much more vibrant you don't need to use as much.
          Since I started my "from scratch" journey, I had a baby making it even more important that I know what is in our food. I want the best for my son and my family. For me, "from scratch" is just as easy and in most cases takes the same amount of time to prepare. Now I will admit I am not the poster child of "from scratch" sometimes I do use processed things. Mostly because I haven;t figured out how to recreate it or I am simply busy and stuck in a pinch. This marks the beginning of my recurring posts on my food "from scratch" journey.Believe me making it from scratch is both satisfying knowing what is in your food and tastes a lot better than the stuff out of a box.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

A Month of Blogging

It's been a month now since my first post. I can't believe how much I have learned and how much I still have to learn about blogging. It's been a real growing process especially trying to find the time to write while taking care of my toddler and balancing home life. I really like it so far and look forward to blogging more.

Please hang in with me as I am still working/learning on my site design.
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