One of the things I love about the Fall season? Pumpkins!
There’s so much you can do with pumpkins, from carving funny faces in them, to making pumpkin pie to baking the seeds for a crunchy snack. Today, we visited a pumpkin patch at a nearby farm and there was plenty of fun for kids and adults alike. We went on a tractor ride, frolicked through row upon row of pumpkins, played hide-and-seek in a cornstalk maze, visited farm animals and devoured delicious freshly baked pumpkin muffins! The weather was warmer than usual for October, the perfect temperature for an afternoon outing!
I’m always on the look out for new tasty recipes, particularly ones that are kid-friendly and nutritious. Last week I stumbled upon this delicious bean enchilada recipe. It was scrumptious and very easy to make. The main ingredients are beans, chopped tomatoes, onions, grated carrots wrapped in tortillas and topped with a dollop of yogurt and grated cheese.
Now, my kids have an onion ‘radar’ second-to-none, but I was able to disguise the onions by chopping them up as small as possible and frying them in some delicious spices that the kids could not resist. (The spices were Dhana jeera and Garam masala which can be found at Indian stores and some supermarkets. If you are unable to locate these particular spices, you can whip up something similar using ground coriander, cumin, cloves and turmeric).
You can use any type of bean for this recipe (I used black beans) and even include some lentils. A green salad complements the enchiladas nicely. This recipe was a hit with the entire family and refrigerates well for a subsequent meal. I hope you enjoy your enchiladas as much as we did!
19 May 2006. It was a cold, rainy night. I had spent the day eagerly preparing for Brendan’s birthday. We were still dating at the time. Before heading out for dinner, I gave him his hand-made birthday gift and tried to impress him by performing his favorite classical piece on my YAMAHA keyboard.
We boarded the subway and headed downtown to the Queen Elizabeth Hotel. A friend of ours had given us a gift card to dine at the Beaver Club Restaurant and we were looking forward to eating out in style for a change. Although I had dressed up for the occasion, the rain and wind had turned my hair into a slightly disheveled state and I felt a bit like a wet rat. As we arrived at the door to the restaurant, a waiter approached us at lightning speed reaching for our coats and umbrella. I felt slightly embarrassed at my appearance as I handed him my dripping wet coat.
As we walked in, regular patrons to the club lifted their heads, some eyeing us up and down, some with conspicuously raised eyebrows. I asked Brendan if we had come to the right restaurant. I felt out of place. As we approached our designated table, another set of waiters seemed to appear out of nowhere, one pulling out our chairs for us, one pouring water into glasses and another presenting us with menus. I was not used to such finery!
But all my initial discomfort disappeared as Brendan and I celebrated 3 years of being together as a dating couple and his 28th birthday that year. The food was exquisite! Brendan and I chuckled at one of the courses that consisted of a tiny piece of expensive, rare fish placed squarely at the center of a huge plate. Was that all there was? We gobbled up the sumptuous fish in one bite, hoping we were not breaking any etiquette rules.
After our delicious meal, Brendan asked if I wanted to go up Mount Royal for a walk. Concerned about my already disheveled hair (I have unruly curly hair that only becomes more unruly when faced with moisture of any kind), I asked if we could walk somewhere closer instead. He agreed, and as we walked outside, he suddenly pulled me into the park at Dorchester Square. “I’d like to say a little prayer for us, Mali“, he said nervously. I fiddled with my hair and distractedly positioned the umbrella over our heads trying to avoid the rain.
As we closed our eyes, he held one of my hands and proceeded to pray. When I opened my eyes, he was down on one knee with a ring in his hands. As the realization of what was happening began to sink in, his tender voice shook “Will you marry me, Mali?” Red rose petals swirled all around my feet in the tiny rivulets of rain. He had discretely sprinkled the petals on the ground while my eyes were closed. I screamed and threw down the umbrella, all worries about my hair completely forgotten. I embraced him, kissed him and said a resounding “Yes! Of course I will, babe!”.
We skipped off to the to subway like little children, hands clasped firmly together. We were completely drenched and water dripped down our clothes forming little puddles on the floor of the subway. We hugged and giggled, high on the euphoria of being engaged to be married. People stared, some smiling, others shaking their heads. With all of my focus on Brendan’s birthday, I never imagined he would propose to me that particular night.
We were married exactly one year later, on 19th May 2007, Brendan’s 29th birthday. I was 26 years old. We had a very simple wedding in the Laurentians of Québec, Canada with about 100 guests. Our wedding invitations were hand-made and addressed in my favorite calligraphy writing. We couldn’t afford catering so our friends chipped in and brought food. We had a feast! My mother made our wedding cake…out of 10 boxes of brownie mix! Our friends decorated the wedding venue for us. My mother and one of my brothers walked me down the aisle and I knew my late daddy was smiling down at me from heaven…on what was one of the most special days of my life!
I am always looking for new ways to cook fish and this week, I found an absolutely mouth-watering recipe for making salmon. Since I am cooking for a family of four and time is of the essence, my goal is to make recipes that are tasty yet easy to make.
The salmon recipe courtesy of Closet Cooking consists of a simple marinade made from cilantro, lime (juice and zest), and garlic. Jalapeno chilies are an optional ingredient. I made the salmon with a side of mashed potatoes, tomato and corn salad.
What I loved about this recipe:
The marinade keeps the fish moist during cooking
Makes use of healthy ingredients such as garlic and cilantro
Tasty lime flavor
Easy and fast
Try to avoid cooking for more than the recommended time as this will dry out the fish.
If you don’t have much time to marinade the salmon, then marinade for just 15 minutes prior to cooking. This will still make a difference in bringing out the tasty lime flavor.
To enhance the appearance of the salmon, garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and lime wedges
I hope you enjoy your cilantro and lime salmon dish!
I have been really enjoying trying new recipes regularly. It gives me something to look forward to in the kitchen, I get to surprise my family with something new and it is helping me to get more organized with my meal planning!
This week’s new recipe is an easy, healthy breakfast recipe courtesy of Super Healthy Kids.
It consists of eggs, spinach, red peppers and cheddar cheese baked in a muffin tray.
What I loved about this recipe:
Fast and easy
Colorful appearance from the spinach and red peppers
Versatile (you can vary the ingredients you include)
Great way to use up left-over vegetables
Freezes well for future meals
Kid-friendly (although one of my kids did pick out the red peppers!)
Only fill the muffin tray 1/2 to 2/3 of the way up because the egg expands upon baking.