Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Blender Avocado Cream Sauce {Easy Vegan Garlicky Deliciousness}

I throw 'pasta' on the meal plan each week knowing it will likely end up with some homemade tomato and meat sauce, some gluten free noodles for our little gal and topped with my personal love language...cheese.

This week pasta night also happened to be the night a precious and overpriced avocado was about to go from flawless velvety green to camouflaged mush. Why you gotta be so fickle avocado!?

Pretending I was in some reality cooking show - I had to use the ingredients of my kitchen and this avocado to make one perfect stunning meal for my family all while the composting grim reaper loomed over my innocent avocado.  

So I did what everyone does, looked at seven Pinterest recipes, five googled recipes and ten food blogs for a recipe bearing likeness to what I had concocted in my brain....then I just made it how planned to from the beginning. 

Here it is, the EASIEST vegan, creamy, garlicky pasta sauce you could whip up for your whole family. We had this sauce on pasta noodles with chopped spinach, chopped peas and farm-made ham. The saltiness of ham or bacon and the fresh crunch of the peas balances the denseness of this sauce nicely.

1/2 cup cashews (recommend soaking them in water for at least half hour and then draining before use)
1 avocado, peeled and pit removed
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tbsp salt
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
a sliver of lemon
1/2 tsp oregano
1/8 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp basil
1 to 2 cup almond milk

1. Add all ingredients but the almond milk to a blender/food processor and blend on high
2. Gradually add almond milk to desired consistency
3. Spoon onto freshly cooked pasta and enjoy.

*Makes about three cups of sauce, which is a LOT of sauce for something so rich, so you might wish to make a half batch if you are serving four or less people.

For all our family favourite gluten and dairy free meals check out my Pinterest board.
For tips on going gluten and dairy free, read here.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Uptight with Expectations {A Wife's Heart and Cheese Platters}

I got a text message from my Mother In Law 'can we take the kids for a week in March?', as fast as I could spell out D. U. H. we were plotting our escape from this small town. 

Four nights without our two toddlers and the city’s vibrant arms wide open.  Yet I sat there pregnant, bloated and ambivalent.  I had expectations. Expectations for this trip to be like our last (non-pregnant) one: intimate, exciting, sun pooling over us as we ate and drank and wandered streets like newlyweds in Italy.

Instead I stressed over the accumulating bill we’d be handed, the busy schedule of visiting our loved ones, and wondering if the kids could possibly bear one more day away from their home.  By day three I was blanketing all of these hidden hurdles in my heart with platters of chacuterie and buying overpriced peasant, I mean maternity clothes. 
The view from one of the hotels. I saw dollar signs, he saw mountains and something about boats and barges that I didn't quite catch. 

I was ruining it for myself because I put all these limits on what I wanted, when what we really got was something pretty special.  We had freedom, maid service, shopping, great food, and even better company. My kids were having the best and dirtiest time of their lives on my in-law’s farm.

I wish I had let myself see the trip through my husband’s eyes from day one. He works so hard for our family and he was giving himself the permission to unplug from our home life, to enjoy the opportunity to spend hard earned money and appreciating this getaway as it unfolded before him, no strings attached.

I can look back from this time and think of other things I’ve ruined for myself (and probably my husband) because I had certain expectations. Not that there is anything wrong with hopes and plans, but how I handle it is the spoiler. 

Then this verse started flashing like a marquee overlaying the landscape.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful Cor 13:4-6
At first I scoffed at it. Then I told myself it was probably about my husband. Then I waved the white flag and claimed it for myself, tucking it under my arm like a stinky, wet wool blanket.

How often I find myself insisting on my own way. Is it just me or are wives bad for this? It’s not usually about material things, but about something or someone not meeting our expectations.  The conversations we wanted to have, the feelings we wanted to feel, the atmosphere we were trying to achieve. We have an idea of what we want and we want our spouses to want it too. So we try to sugar coat our pitch. It doesn't work. Guys aren't that complicated, when they say no, they mean it. But we push in our 'tender and sweet' ways. Still no, in his 'tender and sweet' way. Eventually silence and maybe some sulking. 

I’ve had people tell me I seem really laid back, but the truth in my heart is that I can be really uptight. I know I am because even the mention of this word makes me feel cold and clammy.  All my life I’ve wrestled with what I want things to be and what they are.

Then I look at my husband, wandering the city streets with my shopping bags in his hands. Maybe he was appeasing his cheese-gobbling, swollen-footed wife, but he wasn’t unhappy. I take for granted the carefree spirit in him, maybe I even resent it sometimes. He always makes people around him happy and relaxed because he lets himself be. 

It did end up being a really great trip once I let my brain and heart parallel the same thought - that being away from the kids was probably hardest for me alone, mom problems. My husband hailed cabs for my swollen feet and knees (does anyone else get pregnancy arthritis?! No I'm not 67, it's a real thing!). We chatted, laughed, ate, found peace in the moments of silence and kept on exploring. Then we ate some more. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Double Standards for Moms and Dads of small Kids

Over at Parentdish Canada I shared five double standards between moms and dads.  This is a list I have slowly been compiling since I became a parent. At Parentdish I talk about the double standards for moms and dad's on things like the  'Honey-Do list', weekends away and running errands. READ THE FULL POST HERE

But I think this might be an ongoing list as my kids get older....here are a couple more I'm adding to my list:

Mom has packed the family’s luggage for a weekend away. As they get to their destination Mom lays out everyone’s clothing for the day and everyone gets dressed into their designated items. Dad doesn’t much question the style choices made for him. He has learned it is acceptable for a woman to dress her man, after all she knows best!
One time Dad was taking Mom out for dinner. She got dressed in a pink blouse and maxi skirt. Without thought Dad blurted, ‘Oh, you are wearing that?’ To which Mom retorted, ‘Well what do you WANT me to wear?!’. Dad can either voice his vote for the black cocktail dress or opt for the more socially acceptable retraction of, ‘Honestly, nothing but a smile, but you look wonderful in that and I can’t wait to stare at you all night’. It is assumed that all of a man’s fashion choices for his woman are based on an internal frat boy rating of ‘hot or not’ and that he better keep them to himself.

Mom had a night out with the ladies. They jam-packed three board games, charades, appies, a candle party and dancing at the bar and into five hours. She is home by 11:59pm and she creeps quietly into a sleeping household. With her smoothest moves and whispers she wakes her husband for some midnight love and is met with a surprised smile.
Dad had a night out with the guys. They jam-packed a full game of golf, three platters of nachos, five pool games, burgers and drinking beers from twenty countries in eight hours. He knocks on the door at 2:47am because he can’t find his keys. The sight of his blurry-eyed wife in her stained housecoat triggers passionate emotions in him. He spends the next seventeen minutes loudly following her through the house professing his love for her. Then he realizes he’s hungry and asks her to make him a sandwich. She storms to bed and wakes in the morning to find him sleeping on the couch, tv on, he’s blanketed himself with a bathroom towel and has his hand in a bag of shredded cheese.

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