Strawberry White Chocolate Scones

7/14/2015


Strawberry season is upon us and we are sooo happy about it! Fresh strawberries do not even compare to the grocery store version, it's almost like they are different fruits entirely. While I was slaving away at work today... haha, it wasn't really quite like that, the littles got to go strawberry picking! We have the world's best nanny right now. I can't possibly call her a nanny - she is more like an aunt, or a friend, or a lifesaver; but she is looking after our children and we are so thankful to have her. So, while I missed out on the actual picking, I came home to tons of fresh strawberries, just begging to be eaten. 

All four us us stuffed ourselves full of fresh berries, and then decided that strawberry milkshakes would be perfect for desert. Instead of just throwing some berries and icecream in the blender, we let Soren use his StarWars cookbook, and we made "Jawa Jive Milkshakes". They called for white chocolate chips, which sounded good in theory, but ended up clogging up the milkshake straws. And milkshakes kind of suck when you can't slurp them up... right? Anyways, no drops of mediocre milkshakes were left over, so the kids couldn't have hated them. Once they were off to bed I decided to bake something, but strawberry baked goods are surprisingly rare. Blueberries get all the glory. 

Instead of muffins, I opted for scones, and followed a really basic recipe: 2 cups of flour, tablespoon of baking powder, pinch of salt... then add 5 tablespoons of really cold butter. Pinch with your fingers until the mixture looks crumbly, and then add about 3/4 cup of cream. Knead mixture together, add strawberries and chocolate chips, and bake for about 12 minutes at 425. Super easy. 

The problem was, the scones looked kind of unappealing. The strawberries don't hold their shape at all, or their colour, so the tops of the scones were looking odd. I sprinkled a little icing sugar on the top and I think that helped a little. Perhaps that is why strawberries are not baked with as much as their cousins the blueberries. But... they do taste great! I am already excited to eat one tomorrow morning with my coffee. Any other strawberry recipes I should try? Cheesecake seemed to come up as a top hit, but I usually only bake cakes for a purpose, a purpose other than eating them by myself on a tuesday night, that is. I'd love to find a perfect go-to strawberry muffin recipe. 



Oh yeah - and Boonstra Farms is the best. I took the kids last summer, and we had a blast playing with baby animals, going on a tractor ride, eating ice-cream, and of course, strawberry picking. They have a wonderful set-up and it is definitely worth the trip.

Staying cool - Our fave Winnipeg activities

7/12/2015




It's 10:39pm, and it is currently 81degrees in our house. it. is. HOT. This summer has been a pretty crazy one - with intense heat waves stretching across the country. Luckily, we have lots of fun activities around us - typically involving water. Here are some of our favourite Winnipeg-area hot weather activities.

- splash pads and wading pools. Hands down, these are the BEST for babies and toddlers. I've often wondered if there are just as many in other cities... winnipeg seems to have an abundance of them. Our favourites are the riverview wading pool - with a slide! - and the river heights splash pad.
- movies for Soren. The last two weekends, Tyler and Soren have gone to sunday matinees. They dress up in long pants and sweaters, and escape the heat in the super air-conditioned movie theatres. Soren loved Inside Out, but thought the Minion movie was 'kinda silly'.
- shopping! While the boys have been at the movie theatre, Pop and I have strolled the malls, flipping through summer sales and stopping at coffee shops.
- our cottage / patricia beach / any of the great MB beaches. We are so lucky to have amazing beaches within an hours drive... a lot of sundays are spent driving north on hwy 59 in our bathing suits. Patricia Beach is really quiet, and also has super soft sand and a gradual entry. Great for babes. Grand beach is great too, just a bit busier. We usually make it to the west side of the lake at least once a summer, and stroll up and down the pier in Gimli.
kildonan park pool - it's awesome.
- homemade popsicles - or trips to the BDI
- no-cook dinners. Salads and BBQ-ing are our go-to meals. Not much can justify making the house hotter.
- painting the house white. haha... this shouldn't make the list! I've finally decided to take the plunge and tackle our interior walls. I want them white... all of them. This is going to be a very long project, but I actually got started with some paint on the walls this weekend. Nope, painting in 80-degree weather is not the most fun. I'm treating it like a work-out - sort of like hot yoga. And then 'treating' myself to an ice-cold beer when I finish a section. They don't give out beer at yoga... :)

Happy summer! I love the heat, so as hot as it is, I'd prefer it to minus 30 any day.

Fast food is the new evil drug

7/08/2015



Last friday afternoon, we headed to costco around 5pm. As we were leaving, Soren asked if we could have dinner there - chicken fingers and french fries were his requests. I didn't have anything planned for dinner, so that sounded ok to me, only I decided to have a picnic instead of eating on the concrete floors of costco. We took our order to go, and drove to our local wading pool to eat just before it closed. Luckily, I had the kids swimming stuff in the trunk, otherwise we would have had to choose a different park.

As we were getting out of the car, pepsi drinks in hand, balancing french fries and babies and all the assorted condiments - Tyler looked at me and said something along the lines of 'doesn't it seem wrong to be bringing all this junk to the pool?' And it got me thinking... yes, the food we had chosen for dinner was absolutely unhealthy. We didn't have a fruit or vegetable in sight, and surely all the other 'responsible' parents would be judging our selection. What would I think if I saw a family coming to the park with their hands full of fast food? Probably not much.

It's so ridiculous, really, that we are so judgemental of each other. I shouldn't feel embarrassed about feeding the kids french fries on a friday night. We never have french fries at home, it's a treat, and we were enjoying that treat alongside arnold palmers and lots of dipping sauces. Then we played in the pool. It was a fun night, and everyone was happy.

Recently I have heard that McDonalds is not allowed to advertise pop with it's children's meals... and for a moment I agreed. But on second thought, what's the difference? If my kids go to McDonald's once a year - maybe they want a coke! I probably drink pop about three times per year, and if I was at a burger place that would be one of those times. Moderation is the key to healthy living (I know it's not as simple as that statement) and to me, whether McDonalds shows a burger and an iced tea, or a burger and chocolate milk, it doesn't really make a difference. The burger is still a burger, and will never be as good as eating at home. If I really thought about it, I would argue chocolate milk or juice are probably WORSE for kids... as they view them as 'healthy', when in fact they are laden with sugar.

My point was this - it's a little sad that we need to feel guilty about picnicking in the park with something other than homemade quinoa salads and greek yogurt. I have no idea the solution to ending childhood obesity, diabetes, heart disease, etc., but I doubt it comes from shaming people. We are all trying to do the best that we can, and sometimes that involves unhealthy options.