Thursday, September 15, 2016

Lemon Muffins for School



Where have we been???  I know, I know, we've been so AWOL and there are a million excuses but none that are really convincing.  I mean, we're still cooking and still eating but let it be known, life has changed a whole lot.

My kids are grown and just when I thought I was done, I have a new role.  Psychgrad and "R" now have 2 children - E and K.  E is now 4 and just started JK.  Hard to believe.  K will be 2 this month.  I guess I'm kind of freaking out a little.  I never really imagined myself as a grandmother but here I am in my new role.  The interesting thing is that I quite like it - truly the best club in the world to be in.

The whole JK thing seems to have taken Psychgrad and R for a bit of a rethinking of their menu planning.  All of a sudden E isn't getting meals in daycare anymore and now the bento box lunch kit has to include lunch, mid day and after school snacks.

R jumped in with creating interesting, fun and healthy lunches and snacks.  I'm loving that he made  these delicious  Martha Stewart lemon mini muffins.  Here's how;

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling (optional)
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest plus 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup whole milk, room temperature
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with baking cups. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs, zest, juice, and milk. Whisk in butter. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients, until just combined. 
  2. Divide batter evenly between muffin cups, adding a scant 1/4 cup to each. Sprinkle with sugar, if desired. Bake until tops spring back when lightly touched, about 20 minutes. Cool 5 minutes in pan, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely. 


    You'll notice how grown up E has become showing off her choice of nail polish as she models her Mini Lemon Muffins.

    So now, the big question.  What interesting things are you doing for your kids for lunches?  We're looking for great recommendations on quick, easy, healthy and most of all KID FRIENDLY!!  Your help with this will ensure parental mental stability and will make the grandmother look like a hero!!!


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Saturday, September 12, 2015

New Brunswick


I asked a colleague from New Brunswick for some advice on places to visit while in the province.  Her husband (from another province) said, "Nova Scotia" (which is a neighbouring province).  It's not true!  There are some cool things to see in New Brunswick.  Here are a few of them from our trip this past August and a previous trip from 2010.

For starters, after our visit to Quebec City (read my first post about our trip here), we continued on to a mid-way point between Ottawa and PEI, Grand Falls.  I could only vaguely recall visiting the fall on our first trip.  


It is probably because this is what they looked like at the time:


They were more memorable this time (and have added cables for zip lining) :


In 2010, we spent time in southern New Brunswick, camping at Fundy National Park.  The park has some great programming, including local musicians who come down and play in their amphitheatre at night.  There are also a lot of artisans in the area, making it a nice place to explore by day.



This area is known for having some of the highest tides in the world.  Here are some pictures of low tide.


One of the biggest tourist attractions in the province is Hopewell Rocks.  At low tide, you can walk along some really cool shaped rocks that have been eroded by the water.  But, you have to be very careful about going at low tide and giving yourself enough time to get out of there before the tide comes in.

 



This trip, we decided to visit Kings Landing Historical Settlement, which recreates life in New Brunswick in the 1800s.  I love going to these kind of villages and interacting with the actors who teach you about the era.  

I thought the actors did a really good job of staying in character and living life as they would have in the 1800s.  Many of them were working making good the way it would have been made in the 1800 (e.g., carpenter, wood worker, spinning wool, blacksmith, etc.).  One guy was making a wooden butter bowl by hand that would take him about 6 weeks to make.  


Aside from a fair bit of highway time, that's most of what we saw in New Brunswick, which is by no means a good representation of the province since we spent fairly little time in the cities (e.g., Fredricton, Moncton, St. John, etc.) and other areas of interest (St. Andrews by the Sea, Acadian Coast, etc.).

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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Montreal & Quebec City


About 5 years ago, we took a road trip to the Maritimes and I never blogged about it.  I love reading my old travel posts just to reminisce.  So, the fact that I hadn't blogged about the Maritimes has been bugging me for years now.

I have a renewed motivation to cross this off my mental list since we just recently came back from a second road trip to the Maritimes.  So, what you'll see in these travel posts is a combination of our trip pre-kids to Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and PEI and a trip with an 10 month old and a 3 year old to Quebec, New Brunswick and PEI.  

This trip, our ultimate destination was a cottage in PEI.  But, I wanted this trip to be about the journey as much as the destination.  So, we weren't in a rush to get to PEI.  Our general plan was to stop mid-day on each travel day to let everyone get out of the car, eat and burn some energy so that (hopefully) a good length nap would follow.

We decided to spend our first night in Montreal in a Airbnb apartment to take the kids to the Biodome.  It is near several other tourist attractions in Montreal that we've previously visited.  But, having never gone to the Biodome, we wanted to check it out and thought the kids would enjoy it too.  

Overall, I'd say the Biodome was pretty good.  You go through four ecosystems and see plants and wildlife that would be native to those habitats.  We got through it pretty quickly and found it to be smaller than we expected.  


Here are a few pictures from Olympic Stadium and the Botanical Gardens, from a previous trip to Montreal.





Football game at the McGill stadium (Stade Memorial Percival-Molson) 


Since I'm showing previous trips, I might as well throw in some pictures from another trip where we went to the Just For Laughs festival (digging these ones out was a trip down "pre-kids" memory lane).


Schwartz's Deli -- A Montreal (smoked meat) institution:


Marina




Back to this year's trip...

The next day, we continued east, with a stopover in Quebec City.  The old town in a fair ways off the Transcanada Highway, so the visit  got us into our next stop (Grand Falls) later than planned.  But, we enjoyed walking around the cobble stone streets.  It was a very busy day with lots of tourists.  I preferred past visits that avoided peek season.



Unfortunately, even after going through my three external hard drives, I couldn't find any of my old pictures from Quebec City.  So, I'm thinking my previous trips pre-date owning a digital camera.  
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