Vancouver: this weekend

Hi everyone – Sorry, it’s been so quiet! But, back to school and routine has been taking all of my energy. Hope it’s going well for everyone.

I have decided to try my best to post every week some fun activities that will be happening in Vancouver during the weekend. To begin this post, I will talk about  one of my favorate events in Vancouver. We went – Southlands Country Fair – for the first time last year and had such a wonderful day. I really recommend.

Southlands Country Fair (Sep 15)

has tons of activities hay ride, petting zoo, poney rides, food venders, games… It’s a great way to enjoy the day and feel like you are in the country.

http://www.southlandsridingclub.com/Country_Fair/countryfair2.htm

Vancouver Fringe Festival (Sep 5-15)

The Vancouver Fringe is a celebration of theatre for everyone featuring more than 600 performances by 89 artists over 11 days from September 5th to 15th, 2013. The Fringe employs an “everyone welcome” selection technique—the Mainstage shows are literally drawn out of a hat, giving all artists a chance to participate. The Vancouver Fringe also features unique site-specific theatre where artists stage their work in the nooks and crannies of Granville Island, as part of the Fringe Onsite Program. A lot happens during the Festival – so let me break it down for you.

http://www.vancouverfringe.com/

Adventure Challenge for Kids – Cultus Lake  (Sep 14)

Adventure Challenge for Kids is the ultimate celebration of outdoor athleticism. A multi-sport event that includes kayaking, cycling and trail running, the Adventure Challenge for Kids will be a fun and exciting test of your endurance and technical skills while you travel along one of two scenic routes.

The Fraser Valley event will be set in Cultus Lake Provincial Park. Participants will kayak the lake and road bike the paved park roads before running amongst old-growth giants on the Seven Sisters Trail.

Go to www.adventurechallenge.ca to register!

Kidstart Community Day

Come for BBQ treats and eats, try out your endurance on the stationary bike racer challenge, get your face painted, pedal power our music maker, learn to breakdance, bring your kids for a Pedalheads treasure hunt or become a kid again with an interactive workshop on juggling, tightwire walking and trampoline tricks from the Vancouver Circus School.

www.kidstart.ca

Grouse Grind Run Challenge (Sep 15)

The Grouse Grind Mountain Run has not changed, but this year it will be part of a bigger celebration – the ClearlyContacts.ca Grind Challenge. Each year the Grouse Grind Challenge draws competitors from across the country, to beat their best times on the gruelling course. This run also welcomes athletic newcomers seeking to conquer the mountain for the first time. At the finish line on race day, the chalet plaza will be buzzing with activity. Spectators and all participants can enjoy a BBQ, beer garden, live music, massage services, yoga and more while the awards are presented.

grousemountain.com

Autumn Shift Festival (Sep 15)

Join us for the 4th Annual Autumn Shift Festival on Main Street – a Mount Pleasant, family friendly event that celebrates sustainability, urban gardening, healthy living and community in Vancouver.

The festival will feature a local farmer’s market and nursery at Main Street and 7th Ave, three stages including the main stage at Main Street and Broadway, free popcorn & cotton candy at Main Street and 8th Ave, a Hot Art Wet City artist area, various vendors and plenty of FREE children’s activities! There will also be a smoking sausage BBQ cook-off at 2 p.m. (a fundraiser for the Greater Vancouver Food Bank) at Main Street and 7th Ave and a BLIM fashion show with Liveable Laneways at 4 p.m.

Richmond Night Market

The market features 250 merchandise booths, 80 food vendors serving mouth-watering food and desserts with a different specially featured and priced vendor each night, diverse family-friendly entertainment and more than a thousand nearby parking stalls. It also features carnival rides and a children’s amusement zone, adding thrills and chills to the nightly experience.

I hope this is enough to keep you entertained for the weekend. Fingers crossed the weather will be as nice as it has been this last couple of days.

Books for me! – a purpose for your kid’s old books

Let’s start the back to school time on a good note. A good friend just told me about this literacy foundation that is worthy of sharing with you. When was the last time that you went through your kid’s library? Fingers crossed was a while ago and this will encourage you to clean it up. Have you heard of ‘Books for me!’? “Books for Me! is a non-profit Society and a registered charity based in Vancouver. For many families, buying children’s books just isn’t possible. Books for Me! provides children from these families an opportunity to build their own libraries for free. Our program comes to life as children choose their own book to take home and keep.”

To find out more about ‘Books for me!’ check out their website http://booksformevancouver.org/.

Have a good 2013-2014 school year everyone!

Blueberries cream cheese french toast, Yum!!!

Be ready to serve and impress! A few weeks ago, we went to Laura’s house for brunch. She prepared this ridiculously tasty blueberries cream cheese French toast. I’m all about being practical and making my life easier. So, a cool thing about this dish is that you prepare it the night before making your hands free to prepare other things and/or to play with the kids while it’s baking. Oh or just so you can relax! After all you deserve it.

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What do we need?
12 slices day-old bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (I use whole wheat french or italian bread/baguette)
1.5 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, cut into tiny 1/4 inch cubes
2 cups fresh blueberries
10 eggs, beaten
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup coconut sugar
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
1 cup water
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 tablespoon butter
Cinnamon

How do we do it?
Lightly grease a 9×13 inch baking dish. Arrange half the bread cubes in the dish, sprinkle with cinnamon, and top with cream cheese cubes. Sprinkle 2 cups blueberries over the cream cheese, and top with remaining bread cubes. Sprinkle with cinnamon again.
In a large bowl, mix the eggs, milk, vanilla extract, and syrup. Pour over the bread cubes. Cover, and refrigerate overnight.
Remove the bread cube mixture from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before baking. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Cover, and bake 30 minutes. Uncover, and continue baking 25 to 30 minutes, until center is firm and surface is lightly browned.
In a medium saucepan, mix the sugar, arrowroot powder, and water. Bring to a boil. Stirring constantly, cook 3 to 4 minutes. Mix in the remaining 1 cup blueberries. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes, until the blueberries burst. Stir in the butter, and pour over the baked French toast.

Do I need to say that everyone loved it and there were no leftovers?

In my cookbook: delicious brownies

School is starting next week and why not bake something yummy for the kids this week to bid farewell to summer break? (I refuse to bid farewell to summer just yet.) This is a gluten free recipe.

Ingredients:
2 cups of milk or vegetable drink
4 tablespoons oil
2 farm eggs
2 cups of rice flour
1 ½ cup of chia seed
1 cup demerara sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 ½ cup of cocoa powder
For greasing 1 tablespoon (coffee) butter

Preparation:
In a blender, place milk, or drink vegetable and rice flour and beat until dough is smooth, adding oil and eggs then. In another bowl, mix the chia, cocoa and sugar. Toss the batter in the blender with the dry ingredients in bowl and beat again, then adding the yeast. Grease with butter and the rice flour. Preheat the oven and take the dough to bake in medium oven.

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Hope you like it!

In my cookbook: lentil salad with caramelized onion

Remember, I told you that for a recipe to make into my cookbook it has to be super easy to make and delicious? Here it is another one for you. As the summer is sadly coming to an end and we want to enjoy the weekend outside and not in the kitchen let’s take advantage of this delicious lentil salad with caramelized onion. I promise it’s to die for!

Lentil and Onion

ingredients:
500g Lentil
3 medium onions
2 spoons of oil
1 pinch of salt

Preparation:
In a saucepan place the lentils and cover with three times the volume of water. Place over medium heat and when it begins to boil, simmer for 15 minutes. Peel and cut the onions in half and slice each half thin.

Take a frying pan over medium heat. When hot, drizzle with oil and add the sliced ​​onion. Season with a pinch of salt and go stirring occasionally, until they are golden brown. (I personally suggest making the onion right before you serve)

Meanwhile, prepare the dressing and herbs:

ingredients:
½ cup (tea) of a neutral taste oil
¼ cup (tea) of olive oil
1/3 cup (tea) of white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon (tsp) sugar
1 teaspoon (tsp) cumin
2 teaspoons (tsp) salt
1 handful of fresh parsley leaves
1 handful of fresh mint leaves

Preparation:
In a large bowl, which will be served the salad, mix all the sauce ingredients except the herbs. Wash and dry the leaves of parsley and mint. Slice it thick to give a rustic salad. To get the flavor and freshly baked, stir just before serving.

The lentils need to be cooked, but still firm to not break. Check point and drain water well. Transfer to the bowl with the sauce and mix well. Still hot, lentils picks best seasoning. Serve at room temperature or cold. You can keep in the refrigerator for 24 hours. At serving time, add the herbs and fried onions.

It takes about 30 minutes to make and 10 servings. Bon appetite!

Fairy Tales natural hair product: head lice prevention

As back to school is getting closer, let’s start the week talking about head lice prevention. This past school year I received emails through out the year from both of my daughters’ schools regarding lice outbreaks. I am well aware that it’s not a diseases or anything serious for me to be concern about. But, the whole idea that there could be little bugs crawling, lying eggs … on their heads really bothers me. On top of it all the amount of work (which I don’t need like every other mom) that comes to get rid of the lice is increadible. And, to be honest I don’t love the idea of using really strong chemical shampoos on their head to kill the lice. So, talking to a friend about lice and my strong feelings against it (which thankfully she shared them too), she told me about this natural shampoo that she uses on her children that helps prevent lice. According to their website “Rosemary Repel® – the first line of natural hair care products proven to help prevent head lice using organic herbs of rosemary, tea tree, peppermint, lavender and geranium oils.” Here is their website http://www.fairytaleshaircare.com in case you are interested. That’s it, my friends, we went through a whole school year and not one case of lice in our household. Phew! I must say that I also took other prevention methods like putting their hair in pony-tails or braids almost everyday, asking them not to play dress up, and instructing them not to share jackets, sweaters or hats. Fingers crossed that 2013-2014 school year will be another head lice free at mine and your household. Have a great week!

 

From farm to table

Hi all! Last Saturday I went for dinner with Laura (Again? I know. Guilty!). This time she chose the place and wanted to take me there. It’s a small restaurant on 4th west – Fables. They use local fresh produce in their delicious dishes. Their slogan is: from farm to table. Laura and I shared two dishes and the dessert.

“P” Gnocchi: Peas, pesto, pea puree, pea shoots, mushrooms

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It had a rich delicious flavour. But, I’m glad I was sharing it with her because I would not have finished as it was a heavy dish.

Steak Frites: Triple cooked potatoes, mushroom, buttered spinach.

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I love steak! This one was tender and juicy. I wish it was a larger serving. the potatoes were made to perfection.

The service was excellent. Our waiter was attentive and very nice. Definitely a 20% tip if not more!

It’s not a place I would go with a large party – it did not seem they could accommodate a large group comfortably. But will definitely go back with just a couple of other friends. If you go check it out, let me know your thoughts.