Sunday, March 27, 2011

Cookbook Cleaning

Life has been busy during the last few weeks but in all the craziness of doctor appointments, dentist visits, playdates, classes and mama getting a tattoo. I decided to start cleaning my cookbook stash.  I will choose one cookbook at a time a work my way threw it trying a variety of recipes. The first book I am working with is "Company's Coming Meatless Cooking".  

I bough this book about a year ago thinking that it would be nice to have some recipes to make homemade veggie burgers and sausages; however was highly disappointed when I realized how many of the recipes include cream of mushroom soup or condense tomato soup. - Ingredients we never use in our house. That being said we have had a few great recipes from this book like "Dhal" and "Chessy Nut Bake".

I also found a few recipes that once altered a bit were a hit with C Monster.
So all in all I don't think I would recommend this cookbook and will probably not keep mine; just copy the recipes I like.

Saturday, March 26, 2011


C monster had his first visit at the dentist this week.  I really should have taken a picture of him but well it slipped my mind.  He had perfect teeth, very straight and no cavities.  We opted out of the fluoride treatment for this time however I really need to research it and decide if we are going to give him fluoride or not.

If you have an opinion on the subject I would love to hear it.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Book Shopping

Yesterday I ventured out with a friends to some of the more unique book stores in Toronto in search of some books for C Monster.  I have been trying to find books for him that talk about life subjects such as how people are different, emotions, weaning, nursing, becoming a big brother (no I am not pregnant) and so on.

However I find that finding these books at Chapters and such are a little harder and often I do not like the choices I have.

So our first stop was Glad Day Book Shop. Here I picked up 3 great books for C Monster.

Yuck! That's is not a Monster! - a cute little story about 3 monsters born at the same time but one of them is cute and cuddly instead of scary like a monster "should be".

A Tale of Two Daddies - This is the story of 2 friends one has 2 dads; the other is all excited and amazed to find out things about the 2 dads like who braids her hair or who gives her a bath.

My Princess Boy - The title says it all; this is the story of a little boy who likes to dress up as a princess.
Stop number 2 was at Toronto Women's Bookstore. Here I found a great book on pregnancy. That I bought for C Monster as a tool to understand what his mama will be going threw once we get pregnant. It's called What's Inside Your Tummy Mommy? This book breaks down your pregnancy by month and explains to your child just what baby looks like in your tummy.  I would highly recommend this to anyone who is pregnant with a young child at home.

After our stop there we continued just down the road to Parentbooks. OK to a little about the store first if you are a parent and your child has any special needs from hearing to diet to Autism to anything under the sun that you can come up with you need to check out this store. Every single book in the store is about parenting. Here I picked up 3 more books for C Monster.

We're Having a Homebirth!! - A great simple picture book you can use with a child probably even as young as 18 months to help explain a homebirth to them.

Maggie's Weaning - A simple story explain to a child as he grows up he will need less and less breastmilk until one day when he will no longer need any.

Michele: the Nursing Toddler - A book normalizing toddler nursing and also explaining that all toddlers one day stop nursing.

And that ends my shopping trip yesterday...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Rocket Pack

For the last 2 week C Monster and I have been gathering components for a Rocket Pack. I can't remember where he saw one but it stuck.

Yesterday we built it and this afternoon once all the glue was dry C Monster decorated it with stickers.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Beef Jerky

We bought ourselves a dehydrator this winter with the aid of Pierrette's parents (Christmas present). We've used it for a bunch of things, from vegetable flakes to "raw" crackers, to home-made yogurt.

One of the things I've been using this for is Beef Jerky, dehydrated on wire racks. It's pretty simple, and I like it. I'm still pretty new at it, so I'm not going to get into details like marinades that I'm still experimenting with, but the jerky itself is worth quickly describing.

Basically, you find a cut of meat that's reasonably lean and cut it into strips. Cutting against the grain makes the jerky more tender, although slightly more fragile. Cutting with the grain makes the jerky chewier:

I'm still working on finding cuts that I'm happy with, but since fat doesn't dehydrate as well and spoils more easily, you want to keep the fat to a minimum. Large strips, especially on the outside, can be trimmed off, but marbling is too spread out to be removed:

Grass-fed beef is probably better than grain-fed, here, and alternative meats like Bison might be worth further investigation. These are fruitful paths of investigation for me. It's often easier to cut your meat thinly if you cool it to near-freezing in advance, which makes the meat more firm, and thus easier to slice.

You can marinate it at this stage, although simply adding some salt and pepper and letting it cure a little overnight is tasty. I've experimented a little with marinades, but it's too soon to form strong opinions. After that, you put it in the dehydrator at 155ºF and give it 4-6h.

When it's done, it should be pliable and not brittle. I'm still working out the details on exactly when it's done. Taking it out sooner tends to make the jerky more tender, but if you take it out too soon, it won't be thoroughly dehydrated and will spoil. Getting that balance right can be tricky.

Once you're done, pack it up, store it and eat it. If you're new to jerky, refrigerating some of it is probably not a bad idea. If some of it spoils, you won't lose the whole batch.