Thursday, June 30, 2011

Broccoli & Cauliflower Cheese Sauce

My friend Lila from Sweet and Lovely Crafts introduced me to this recipe and my little girl along with myself have loved it ever since we've tried it the first time! The recipe is from the cook book The Baby's Table by Brenda Bradshaw, which is available on or your local Chapter's (currently at 78% off at $4.99 at the latter)! I usually make a double batch of this recipe and freeze it! I normally add some Butternut Squash to it as well, to add a bit of sweetness.

Broccoli & Cauliflower Cheese Sauce

*2 cups of cauliflower
*2 cups of broccili
*1 tbsp flour
*1 tbsp butter
*1 cup of milk (I use regular milk, but you can
use breast milk or formula if you want)
*1 1/2 cups chedder cheese

1. In steamer cook broccoli and cauliflower.

2. To make the sauce: whisk butter and flour over medium heat until paste forms. Slowly add 1/2 cup of milk, whisking until lumps disappear. When it's lump free, add in the rest of the milk. Stir (use a spoon!) in the cheese until the sauce thickens to a smooth and creamy texture.

3. Since my little one is a bit older, I usually just mash the broccoli and cauliflower with a potato masher now and then pour it into the sauce. For even finer texture puree it to the desired consistency, using a blender.

Linking up with Skip to My Lou

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

First Time in the Pool this Summer

Olivia sure enjoyed the pool today - first time we were able to put it up this year! The bird wasn't so sure about the cold water or I guess she was sure about it, as she squeaked, letting me know it was too cold on her little feet! She loves the bath normally, so hopefully the water will warm up in the next few days, so she'll get to enjoy it, too.

While taking quite some time getting all of the dirty rain water & sand out of the pool, wiping it clean with a pair of "Mami, isch das am Daddy sieni Unterhose/Mami, is that Daddy's underwear?" (Yes, it's Daddy's old, CLEAN undies turned into rag) and filling it with fresh water, Olivia says to me:

Olivia: "Du bisch a liebi Mami."
Olivia: "You're a nice Mami"

Mami: "Wieso bini as liebs Mami?"
Mami: "Why am I a nice Mami?"

Olivia: "Will Du s'Schwimmbad putzisch fuer mi!"
Olivia: "Because you are cleaning the pool for me!"

Awww, best appreciation a Mami can ever get from her 3 year old, right?

Linking up with Welcome Wednesday Blog Hop & Wordless and Wordful Wednesday

Monday, June 27, 2011

Family Mobilization V 2.0

Some might recall the post that Sylvia put up a couple of weeks ago about our most loved Jetta.  Two weeks ago, something went wrong with the car (again) and I called from work to get it towed to the local shop around the corner from our house.  After a little while of checking it out, they thought it might be an issue with the turbo on the car, and said they were not equipped to fix it, and that we need to take it to a dealer shop.

Now, for those of you who care, a turbo for a Jetta is valued around $2000 for the part alone.

Since we knew that we needed a new car because the Jetta was getting far too small for the four of us and the dog, I took some time to scope out what was available that suited our needs.  A new car just seemed so damn diddly expensive, and there was nothing used local that tickled our fancy.  I went onto and searched for a Mitsubishi Outlander in all of the maritimes.  I chose this car first because we test drove a new one months ago, but didn't commit to the 2011 model because of the cost.  Anyway, I happened across a 2008 Outlander XLS in St John, New Brunswick, which is about 4 1/2 hours away.  This vehicle almost seemed too good to be true.  Dark colour, low kilometres, leather interior, in dash entertainment system:  In fact, there isn't an option that the previous owner didn't take! There were still another 2 years, 50,000km left on the full bumper to bumper warranty.

I got really excited, and Sylvia liked it too, so the next day, I called the dealership at noon, asked a few questions, and put a down payment over the phone.  After some schmoozing by Sylvia, the dealership knocked an extra grand off the car, and overall, we were able to save ~$16,000 compared to a new vehicle.  So here is our new car...

To no surprise, it was raining.

It may not be an EVO, but at least the steering wheel is the same one.

It may only be Rockford Fosgate, but at least it comes pre-equipped with a 10" - I wonder how many more I can fit in?

But wait, there is more, and this is just ridiculous!  I call a couple of days later to Costco Roadside Assistance, and ask for a tow for our Jetta from the current shop to another shop.  They proceed to tell me that they can't tow from the shop, because I chose the shop, and that it was my fault that they couldn't fix it.  I say that is absolutely absurd.  The dude says that they would have diagnosed the problem over the phone and towed it accordingly.  Really?  You are going to diagnose the turbo going over the phone?  I wish I was an all seeing God that can figure out that the turbo is going on the car over the phone!  This guy took douche-baggery up to a whole new level.  So needless to say we didn't get a tow from them.   The following weekend, we got a tow from my father-in-law's CAA to our usual VW shop.

The tow truck driver who came was a piece of work.  I don't think that I have seen an angrier person before.  The guy was throwing chains, flashlights, hell, even his glasses!  I was fearing that he might come after me with a tire iron or something.  In the end though, he took the car without dismembering me, which I am happy about on all kinds of levels.

Being prepared for the worst, I was pleasantly surprised that the car was not only dianosed, but also fixed today already and cost a mere $185 to fix. Turned out it was a burst hose.

As the Care Bears say: every cloud has a silver lining:
The car breaks down and we are told that it is the turbo :-(
We take the initiative at this time to look for and find a new car :-)
We get the Jetta fixed for next to nothing :-)

We are now a two car family.  All I need is for Sylvia to allow me to drive the old car to work.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Enjoying a Beautiful Summer Day

Oh how I love beautiful, warm summer days! There have been few and far inbetween, but when the come along, they are muchly appreciated and enjoyed - not just by our two little girls, but also by their Mami (yes, that is the german way of spelling mommy). :)

You got it! Daddy bought Olivia this shirt - surely my friend Crystal at Crafty Ave would have probably freezer paper stenciled it!

Our Littlest Girl, playing with her favourite Teether/Book.

The Children's Place - Monster Sale (up to 70% off)!

The Children's Place has its Monster Sale on for 4 Days Only (June 23 - 26, 2011), where you can save up to 70% off, when you use the online code 2N9D2011 or print their e-mail for instore purchases (store associate is to use code 001). Stock up for next summer! If you did not receive their e-mail, leave me a comment with your e-mail address and I will forward it to you asap. :)

Applesauce Muffins by Jessica Seinfeld

My dear friend Lisa and I decided it would be a great idea to try and make one recipe a week from Jessica Seinfeld's cookbook Deceptively Delicious, so that's what we are going to do! I'm very excited about this, so here's the second recipe from Jessica Seinfeld's cookbook - it's such a pretty one! I love all of the pictures in it! Here goes the Applesauce Muffin Recipe:

Prep Time: 20 min
Total: 40 min
Makes 12 muffins

*Nonstick cooking spray (I used pretty silicone muffin cups instead!)

Topping (Streusel)
*2/3 cup old-fashioned oats
*1/4 cup firmly packet light or dark brown sugar
*1 tsp cinnamon
*2 tbsp trans-fat-free soft tub margarine spread, melted

*1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
*1 cup old-fashioned oats
*1 tsp baking powder
*1/2 tsp baking soda
*1/2 tsp cinnamon
*1 cup unsweetened applesauce
*1/2 cup nonfat (skim) milk
*1/2 cup butternut squash or carrot puree
*1/2 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
*1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
*1 large egg

1. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Coat a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray or line with paper backing cups.

This is what the topping (Streusel - my favourite!) looks like - only takes 2 minutes to mix together!

2. To make the topping, stir together the oats, sugar, and cinnamon in a bowl. Stir in the margarine.

This is what the dry and the wet ingredients look like.

This is what the batter looks like - ready to be put in the muffin tin!

3. To make the batter, combine the flour, oats, baking powder, baking sodar, and cinnamon in a large micing bowl or zipper-lock bag and stir or shake to mix. In a second bowl, mix the applesauce with the milk, vegetable puree, sugar, oil, and egg with a wooden spoon. Add the flour mixture slowly, stirring until just moistened. Do not overmix - the batter is supposed to be lumpy.

First, the batter is evenly distributed, then the streusel topping is equally divided up.

4. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups and sprinkle with the streusel topping. Bake until the topping is lightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the muffins, 18 to 20 minutes. Turn the muffins out onto a rack and serve warm or cool.

Linking up with Skip to My Lou

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Footprint Bumblebees for Daddy on Father's Day

This year for Father's Day I baked Jessica Seinfeld's Applesauce Muffins (which I will post soon) and wanted for the girl's to make a sweet Father's Day "card" for their Daddy. This was our very first attempt at the Footprint Bumblebee. I had found the idea on Pinterest (feel free to click on the red "Follow me on Pinterest" button below the blog header) which is from I pinned it a couple of weeks ago and couldn't wait to try it. Here's what we did.

With a big enough ink pad (purchased at the Dollarama of all places!), I got my 3 year old's and my almost 11 months old's foot prints on a white piece of paper. Using this ink pad was really easy, as I was able to just wipe their feet clean with a baby wipe, once done!

As you can see, Olivia didn't get one of her toes properly printed :)

Next, we painted 3 black lines onto each of the bees. I actually dug out my 16 year old Caran D'Ache water colours for this project. I used to paint with it at my school in Switzerland, where I grew up and probably haven't used it in 16 years! They worked perfectly, except for the white paint, because it comes in a tube.

Then I needed white paint, but the 16 year old tube that came with my water colour set, was dried out, so unfortunatly we had to make do with grey for the eyes of the bees. My 3 year old finger-printed on the eyes for each bee. She used the index finger for her bee (the bigger one) and the little finger for her baby sister's bee (the little one).

Older kids can surely do this by themselves but I painted on the wings, eye brows, mouth and antennas of each bee.

To finish up, I wrote a little message to Daddy from his Little Bumble Bees. I think this would even make a really nice art work on the wall, if framed. This wasn't hard or time-consuming at all and Olivia had so much fun - try it!

Linking up with Skip to My Lou

Conversations with a Three Year Old

What every father wants to hear on Father's Day:

"Happy Mother's Day Daddy!"

What every nerdy father wants to hear:

Olivia: "No daddy, don't wear your Superman shirt, wear your Batman shirt like Olivia!"
Me: "Sorry Sweetie, but I'm going to wear this shirt."
Olivia "Ok, Olivia is going to get her Superman Shirt!"

What every headbanger father wants to hear on Father's Day morning:

Olivia (picking up my ipod touch): "Daddy, can Olivia listen to Metagallica (Metallica)?"

I am on a good start to make the first born into an image of me. I hope that this will run off onto the second.


Three Cheese Lasagna

Prep Time: 1hr + 3hrs Cook Time: 40min

(c) Helpfuldaddy - guaranteed to widen you arse

I am going to start off with saying that I hate making lasagna. I love to eat lasagna, but making it seems like such a chore to me. Ironically, as it turns out, lasagna is my wonderful wife's favourite meal. Once a year (maybe, twice a year) I cave in and make her a lasagna. I can't say that this is the healthiest lasagna that you will ever have, because it is loaded with cheese (which of course, makes it so great). So on with the show, here is what you will need:

Homemade Bolognese Sauce - I posted this last year some time. This is where a lot of the time comes from.
1 package of fresh pasta sheets. We like the whole wheat kind
1 250ml tub of cottage cheese
500gm of pizza mozzarella cheese - shredded
2 cups of milk
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Make the Bolognese sauce as per instructions on linked post. Keep over low heat until needed.

Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit. In a saucepan, over medium heat, heat up the butter until it just starts to melt, then whisk in the flour. When that becomes a smooth texture, keeps whisking and pour in the milk. Whisking constantly, keep the sauce at medium heat until it just starts to boil, then reduce heat to a little hotter that low. Add the Parmesan cheese and whisk until it is thoroughly melted into the sauce. Keep at this temperature, stirring occasionally, until needed.

Now for the fun part - assembling the beast. In a 13x9 casserole dish, start by putting a thin layer of sauce on the bottom, just for some moisture for the pasta sheets. Add a layer of pasta sheet. Top this layer with the whole tub of cottage cheese, and a little sauce to boot. Add another layer of pasta sheets. Top this later with a thin layer of sauce and some white sauce. Add another layer of pasta sheets. Top this layer with another this helping of pasta sauce and a generous layer of cheese. Add the final layer of pasta sheets. Top this layer with more pasta sauce and another generous serving of cheese. Cover the lasagna with tin foil and put it in the oven for 30 minutes, the take the tin foil off and leave in for the remaining time, or until the cheese is nice and bubbly and gooey on top.

(c) Helpfuldaddy


-In the layer with the white sauce, add some thinly sliced zucchini or spinach for some green

-I like to make the sauce a head of time. The last time I made this, I prepared the sauce the night before, and let it simmer while I was watching a movie, then put it away just before bed. Sauce is always better the next day - it gives the herbs and spices more time to infuse their flavours.

-Even if you aren't rather fond of cottage cheese (which we in this house aren't), it is still great when it is melted in with everything else. It adds a bit of creaminess to the lasagna.

-If you make the sauce specifically for this dish, there will be some left over. I like to make a smaller lasagna with all the left overs and freeze it for another time.

-The great thing about lasagna is that you can add just about anything to it to jazz it up and it still will be delicious.


Linking up with Skip to My Lou

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Our Beloved VW Jetta 2003 GLS TDI...

Anyone else get a kick out of the "three hands" of the tow truck guy?

...or not so much beloved anymore? Oh, how we loved our VW Jetta 2003 GLS TDI when we first bought it at 2 years old (I'm generously including my husband but it was bought from my savings, which I was quite proud of!). Well, it's now 6 years later and we've had lots of repairs for the last year or so, the last one costing us over $800 only being 3 weeks ago.

Hubby went to get some groceries last night,calling me on his way home, saying that he hit a bump and now the car was making this God awful noise. He was actually afraid of it maybe blowing up, meaning the noise must have been pretty bad.

Today the Jetta was towed away to a nearby garage, who decided to call us soon after receiving it, saying that we'd have to take it to a Dealership, as their not qualified to deal with our Jetta's issue: the turbo might be going! Isn't that the diagnostic everyone wants to hear?

Here we are, on our journey of getting a new car and this time, it's for real! The only reason we have not gotten another vehicle already, is that it's so darn hard, maybe because we are too darn picky! We'd love to get another Diesel, but unfortunatley there aren't very many in North America and we're certainly not looking at getting a Jeep. The VW Touareg is definitely out of our league right now, so what options are we left with? I guess we'll have to settle (setteling is NOT our forte!) for a non-Diesel vehicle, which is unfortunate. We are hoping for a cross-over SUV type car, which hopefully will have the option of third row seating. Any suggestions?

Our Little Girl is ready for Summer!

This past weekend we were at my niece's 3rd Birthday Party - how time flies! My niece got one gift that we've been contemplating about getting Olivia this year, but it hasn't gone on sale low enough for me to justify buying it, nor can I find a previous loved one on Kijiji.

Well, Olivia was thrilled to play with her cousin's BBQ this weekend on a beautiful day. I'm sure she'd love to barbeque along Daddy's side with her own little BBQ. However, the questions remains: will there ever be any more sunny days in Nova Scotia this "summer"?

GYMBOREE - The Big Red Balloon Semi-Annual Sale!

Since I love the quality of Gymboree clothing, I'm quite excited that they are having their semi-annual Big Red Balloon Sale, where items are up to 70% off! Hurry to stock up on clothing, accessories, Birthday & Christmas gifts for the little ones in your life!

Please note that all prices in this post are in US dollars.

*Accessories - $0.99
*Knit Shorts, Tops & more - $3.99
*Sweaters, Pants, Dresses & more - $6.99

Plus earn $25 Gymbucks for every $50 purchase at Gymboree (now through July 10 2011).

Also, if you'd like me to forward an e-mail from Gymboree to you, you can receive a $30 enrollment bonus coupon, when you sign up for the Gymboree Visa Card through the e-mail. (Leave me a comment with your e-mail address and I will forward it asap).

The Children's Place - Summer Weekend Blowout Sale!

The Children's Place is having a Summer Weekend Blowout Sale, where there are items up to 60% off! Sounds like a good time to stock up on some clothes and accessories.

*All Tees & Tanks - $5.99 and up
*All Graphic Tees - $7.99 and up
*All Matchables - $5.99

Another perk of shopping at The Children's Place right now, is to earn 10x Bonus Air Miles Reward Miles when you spend $20 or more.

On to of that, The Children's Place has a Summer Savings Pass in order to save an additional 15% off - if you didn't get this e-mail (which you need to print to get the 15% off), please leave me a comment with your e-mail address and I'll be happy to forward it to you asap - it's valid until July 4th. :)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Tomato, Sweet Potato & Cheese Sauce

I made this Tomato, Sweet Potato, and Cheese Sauce for my almost 10 month old daughter. It was the first time I didn't puree a meal and she just gobbled it up. Let's hope she'll still like it in a couple of days! Hope your little one enjoys this recipe as much as mine! This is another recipe from Annabel Karmel but this recipe is from her cook book More First Meals CANADIAN EDITION and is actually called "Tomato, Sweet Potato, and Cheese Sauce with Pasta Shells". This book features over 80 recipes with handy food diary and meal planner. It can be especially handy for first time parents, as it has complete meal plans for a week etc., but really any parent. It looks really great on top of that!

As always, I didn't keep completely true to the recipe below, as I probably made a batch and a half and didn't have any cheddar cheese (I used Mozzarella) or enough carrots and eye-balled the crushed tomatoes (I used diced) and sweet potatoes, but my husband and myself both tried it and it actually turned out really nicely. Another change I made to this recipe, was that I steamed the sweet potatoes and carrots first, then added them to the onions and garlic. At the end, instead of pureeing the sauce, I just used a potato masher to make it a little smoother and therefore did not have to puree it at all.

Another big plus for this sauce, is that it's suitable for freezing! The recipe saysto serve this sauce with mini pasta shells but I had some rice left over from the day before, so that's what I mixed in the sauce. Orzo would also be perfect to mix into this sauce, as it's small enough and in the shape of rice but tastes more like pasta.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

*Makes 8 portions of sauce Picture from
*Provides protein, calcium,
beta-carotene, vits B6, C, D, & E,
*Sauce suitable for freezing

*1 tbsp olive oil
*1 onion, chopped
*1 clove garlic, crushed
*2 cups peeled and chopped sweet potatoes
*2 medium carrots, peeled & sliced
*400-g (14 oz) can crushed tomatoes
*Scant 1 cup boiling vegetable
stock or water (I used water)
*1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
(I used Mozzarella cheese)

Heat the oil in a sauceman and saute the onion until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute longer. Stir in the sweet potatoes and carrots, then pour in the tomatoes and boiling vegetable stock or water. Bring to a boil, stirring. Cover the pan and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.

Let cool slightly, then blend the sauce to a puree and stir in the cheese until melted.

Cook pasta (or rice) according to the directions on the package. Drain the pasta and mix with the sauce.

***Serve over mini pasta shells (about 2 heaped tbsp for each portion of sauce - I used Basmati rice)***

Linking up with Skip to My Lou

Pin It

Friday, June 3, 2011

Macaroni & Cheese by Jessica Seinfeld

Today, I'm going to share a recipe from my Deceptively Delicious cookbook by Jessica Seinfeld. It's simply Macaroni & Cheese, just a bit healthier than usual, so here it goes:

Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: 15 min
Serves 4

*1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni
*Nonstick cooking spray
*1 tablespoon olive oil
*1 tablespoon all-purpose flower
*1/2 cup nonfat (skim) milk
*1/2 cup butternut squash or cauliflower puree
*1 1/2 cups shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese (about 8 ounces)
*4 ounces (almost 1/4 cup) reduced-fat or nonfat cream cheese
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1/8 teaspoon paprika
*1/8 teaspoon pepper

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the macaroni, and cook according to package directions until al dente. Drain in a colander.

2. While the macaroni is cooking, coat a large saucepan with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Add the oil, then the flour, and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture resembles a thick paste but has not browned, 1 to 2 minutes.

3. Add the milk and cook, stirring every now and then, until the mixture begins to thicken, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the vegetable puree, Chedder, cream cheese, and seasonings, and sir until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth. Stir in the macaroni and serve warm.

On the day I tried this recipe, I didn't have any butternut squash or cauliflower puree, so I just used sweet potato puree, which tastes just fine. You can buy Jessica Seinfeld's book Deceptively Delicious on or for $13 or less - might be worth the investment! :-)

Thanks for the pictureChez Lisa: Quest for Favourites! :)

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