Feeding 200 people

Last year Calvin & I were approached by our pastor to see if we would cook the meal for our church's big fall party. We were given a budget, told to expect 200 people and given "make it cooler than burgers" as the only guidance. It went great so this year we did it again!

We did a pulled pork taco bar. 

A number of people asked for our recipes so I want to include them (roughly) below. The desserts were made by my mom but perhaps with enough requests we can get her to share her secrets. 

Pulled pork
Buy raw pork shoulder from your butcher. About 1/2 lb per person you're serving. Rub it generously with a mixture of cumin, paprika, Chili powder, brown sugar, fresh garlic and sea salt. Pour about an inch of Apple cider into the roasting pan you'll be using. Cook at 250degrees for 13 hours making sure the liquid doesn't evaporate. Remove any strings and shred. (If you're using this a main you should toss with a BBQ sauce but for our taco bar we kept it unsauced.)

Serve on authentic corn tortillas with the following:

Shred purple cabbage and carrots. Toss with an oil and red wine vinegar dressing. Add red pepper flakes, mexican oregano and sea salt. 

Corn bean salad
A 1:1:1 ratio of corn, rinsed black beans and diced bell peppers. Add lots of fresh squeezed lime, cilantro and sea salt. 

Pico de gallo (fresh tomato salsa)
Mix a few diced tomatoes with diced white onion, cilantro, lime juice and sea salt. Usually I would add jalapeños too. 

We also had out: jalapeño, red onion, lettuce, cheese, sour cream, hot red salsa, salsa verde, guacamole, Nacho chips and a veggie tray. 

Butternut squash soup
In an oiled baking dish roast 1 butternut squash cubed, a few onions chopped, a few bell peppers chopped and sea salt. Set a handful of each veggie aside raw. Once soft (15 minutes) cook in chicken stock. Use a hand blender to purée til smooth. Add reserved veggies plus corn and rinsed black beans. Cook half an hour longer. 

Do you want my extra supplements?

So I love trading.. I used to babysit for yoga money, write for juice, and lecture for child care. I would gladly work for trades with no money transfer at all, for life, if it was possible...

I was just cleaning out my supplement cupboard and was wondering if anyone would like these extras. 

I don't need money for them. Some are past expiration and others I've already opened (ask me if interested). Just suggest a trade you can do with me. I'm in the market for light pink nail polish, some dry pantry items (nuts, seeds, lentils, grains), material for making clothes/moby wraps/curtains, or second hand clothes for the kids (size 9 months, size 3T shoe size 10) or me (small/medium, shoe size 6.5/7), or anything really! Email me amyjoyharrison@gmail.com

Go trading go!

Con air easy start hot curling set
Salus Valerian (for sleep) & Nettle (for iron/other)
Vogel Molkosan (liquid whey supplement)
Vogel stinging nettle and Anti Stress
Flora floressene (detox tea)
Derma-E samples: a number of anti aging ones (and one is Yes to Blueberries), glycolic cleanser, scar gel, microdermabrasion, psoriasis cream
Natural Factors vitamin K & D
Swiss Papaya Enzymes for digestion 
Jamieson vitamin D
Natural Factors Anti Viral tincture
Vogel calcium absorber 
Genestra coenzyme q10
Now magnesium oxide powder
Pedis lute for when kids need electrolytes/rehydration 

I also have a large tub of a detox/cleanse powder to add to smoothies (too big for the photo)

Heck I might have other stuff you want -- clothes, cosmetics, I have millions of body washes and lotions and like dental floss for years, just ask. 

Convertible meals for parent, child & baby

I feel for the parents who have to make versions and versions of every meal because of food allergies or aversions. We are so lucky to have, essentially, none of those around here (though Cal hates curry.) I have enough trouble making meals that serve the needs of us adults, then 3 year old Oliver, and also 7 month old Dakota. Like, sorry here's a slice of spinach lasagna sweet little infant, see you in an hour? 

With my return to work somewhat imminent, I've been neurotically obsessing over what the kids will eat when I'm away. So I jotted down a few of my favourite meals that are easily converted from baby to child to adult. 

1. Oatmeal
I slowly cook plain whole oats in water, with small chunks of raw apple and a shake of cinnamon, until creamy. I place about 1/3 cup aside to cool for Dakota. Then I stir in honey or maple syrup and almond milk. Scoop out a bowl to cool off slightly for Ollie. Then I grate in ginger and add some pink sea salt for me and serve mine piping hot. Perfect. (The oatmeal needs to be fed to babe with a spoon. BLW would not be pretty here.)
2. Fruit smoothie 
First I blend all the fruit with plain yogurt into a purée and set some aside for Dakota. Next, add orange juice and blend, pour a cup for Ollie. Then I dump in any crazy greens/vitamins/hemp powders that I'm currently into and there's a serving for me. Babies can be fed the purée from a spoon or let them enjoy it from a cup. Sometimes I do banana + yogurt and add cocoa powder and then espresso. 
3. Veggie soup
There are two ways I do this. I either cook the veg and then give it right to Dakota BLW style (like a huge chunk of roasted or steamed butternut squash) or I continue by pureeing it with stock and give it to her then with a spoon. Then I salt it a bit and ladle some for Ollie. Some days he asks for cheese, sour cream or (gag alert) ketchup in his soup. Maybe some crackers. And for me a crack of black pepper and some hot sauce, pesto or balsamic reduction. 
4. Tuna/salmon salad
Mayonnaise is likely not the best thing to give to a baby but she's okay with all of the ingredients so.. I do what I do! I mix a can of tuna or salmon with a spoon of mayo. There's Dakota's (with a hunk of peeled cucumber to gnaw on). I put Oliver's on a whole grain mini pita with cucumber and lettuce. Then I add red onion and maybe Granny Smith apple to mine. Curry powder if Cal's not home. Radishes are welcome for the grown up variety too. 
5. Quinoa salad
Easy, just cook up dry quinoa in veggie stock. Whether it is fully soaked up or has a bit of liquid this is the time to cool some for baby. The kid one can have Italian dressing plus cucumber and cherry tomatoes. Then I take Ollie's version and put cilantro, lime, green onion... Whatever I'm craving that day. 
6. Taco salad
I usually serve this DIY style anyway so it's particularly easy to covert. Prep up shredded lettuce, cubed tomato and avocado, cook ground meat or beans, shred cheese, and have ranch & salsa on hand. I eat it all (plus hot sauce and crunched tortilla chips), Ollie too (unless the salsa is spicy) and Dakota shoves meat/beans, cheese and avocado in her mouth.
7. Squash Mac n cheese
Lazy and mildly unhealthy recipe but here's how we do: cook macaroni noodles (whole grain ones!) until al dente, leave a few spoons of it to look longer til really soft. At the same time boil butternut squash, cubed, and then blend into a purée adding water if needed. Dakota gets soft noodles and squash. I then add cream cheese (or a KD cheese powder pack I suppose) and mix with the rest of the noodles. He eats this and I mix some spinach and red pepper flakes into mine! Done!

I hope you've enjoyed reading these Convertible meals for you to make for your family. It's not easy when different ages make different versions necessary but try these suggestions and you should be pleased!

Update 7 months & 37 months


Miss Koty won't be weighed until her 9 month appointment but she's certainly long and heavy. She wears mostly 9 month on top and 6 month on bottom. She loves. To. Eat. All fruit (cinnamon baked apples are her favourite currently), all veggies (spinach blended into other things are a current worst in the diaper department), as well as eggs, shredded cheese and plain yogurt. She likes those baby puffs and rice teething crackers although I'm not fully sold on their benefit. She drinks some water but nurses 150,000 times a day. She rolls, sits (with lots of falls), and feeds herself. She still hates her car seat. She still loves her brother. And she adores swimming. 

Ollie has had a number of amazing accomplishments this month. We haven't purchased diapers in who knows how long. We do keep pull ups on hand for night time but he wakes up dry every day. We did a 4 hr long road trip to the Muskokas and he wore underwear (he did pee on the floor of a rest stop but he was just trying to be weird -- he really likes peeing in odd places). He also used to hate being put to bed or nap so he'd literally hang out with us in the common areas of our house or wherever we were until he crashed, which caused some late nights. He now brushes his teeth (independently), gets in his jammies (with help to pull his day shirt off) and lays in bed until he falls asleep. Alone. It's a miracle. At 8:15pm our house is QUIET. Thank Jesus, I mean it. He also has learned that "mommy doesn't say yes to whining" - it helps a lot! 

As you can see I've ditched the old idate format but here are some photos. 

He hasn't stopped riding since we bought it. 

Laughing at my hopes of accomplishing a double nap. 

A car we made and painted. Sucks being raised by a hippie?

My first time watching his hair cut. 

But is she real? I want to eat her. 

Buddy did a ton of fishing. 

We've coined this "the look". By the way we couldn't find him in this clothing store and then he busted out of the change room wearing this brown decorative rug and yelling Bear on the Loose!

Who is the wiener who designs playgrounds to be inaccessible for kids 3 and under? Like would it hurt to add some stairs? 

A week of meals for a Muskoka cottage vacation

We spent the past 9 days at our family cottage in the Muskokas. I have many requests from friends and readers (and reader-friends!) wanting to see photos of what my family eats. Well if you'd like to see a nutritionist slipping up at her best here it is! I documented six days in a row. They were supposed to be roughly themed around international cuisines. They had to be gluten-free-friendly and preschooler-friendly. 

First "German" day. We cooked up wheat-free breakfast sausages and made traditional (Mennonite) devilled eggs. Then we had my mom's famous baked potato soup for lunch. At dinner Cal bbqed farmers sausage and we served it with delicious "hash" and cabbage slaw. 

For "Greek" day we had a Greek yogurt bar with fruit and other toppings at breakfast. For lunch we had pita and hummus and a big Greek salad. We also cooked up some freshly caught perch. Lastly for dinner we had rice, more salad, and amazing chicken kabob with tzaziki. 

For "Asian" day breakfast was tricky so we just did make your own omelettes. We had fried rice for lunch by Angela and then pad Thai served with peanuts, green onion and hot sauce. 
"Italian" day started with pancetta egg cups. Then some pizza of course. For dinner we had an amazingly creamy pesto bacon dish and those eating gluten free had (rice) spaghetti and meatballs. 

"Canada" day quickly turned to pub favourites, starting with blueberry pancakes and Canadian bacon, lunch was poutine naturally, and ending with something new we tried: buffalo chicken- loaded potato casserole. And Calvin's special: bacon wrapped cream cheese jalapeños. 

Who could forget "Mexico" day: breakfast tacos, beef nachos (one of my worst photos for sure) and an incredible dinner of pulled pork enchiladas!

I do promise during this time I ate some fruit, cucumber and a whole jug of coconut water. But I also drank 4 cups of black coffee per day and had nightly ice cream like it was my job. 

Oliver's FROZEN birthday party

This past weekend we hosted Oliver's 3rd birthday celebration in our backyard. We had about 50 guests and the theme (as chosen by Oliver months ago) was Disney's Frozen. Here's how we did it. 

Step one was decorations. I made this chalkboard sign while the kids played on the grass one day. 

This sign helped everyone know were to go. 

Just so they knew they were entering he frozen land of Arendelle a few snowflakes were hanging from the gate. 

Calvin found Frozen themed balloons at a local party store. 
And this banner. 

A place to put presents. (It says "Let it go: place your gift here").

The next step was: what to do? My friend Pastor Blair lent us this snow cone machine. We fed ice into the spout and fresh snow came out. We had 7 syrups and coloured spoon-straws. This led to numerous snowball fights, which we loved. 

A piñata full of candy proved to be a challenge for the kids until a big strong boy came up and wailed on it. (Pictured is a cute, little girl however). 
And this precious one. 
The pick up. 
Oliver showing off his loot. 
Dakota slept through all of it. 

Some very kind neighbours lent us their slip n slide which was very entertaining. 

And opening presents took about 2 hours. Thanks to all the helpers - you rock!

Lastly, food. We put out a layered nacho dip with tortilla chips, veggies with dip (baby carrots were labelled as Olaf's nose) and cold drinks. Then for lunch we served "we finish eachother's sandwiches" bar. Bread, crossaints, mayo, mustard, deli meats, cheese, tomato, lettuce, onion and pickles. We also served quinoa salad, broccoli salad, potato salad and potato chips. Lastly a Corronation Day punch made of lemonade and blue-raspberry drink enhancer. Notice the wall of black and white photos. 
Frozen themed serveware. 
You can see the speakers in the background (playing the Frozen soundtrack) and ice skates which were part of my mom's beautiful display. 
And for dessert we put out watermelon. And...
Olaf cake pops. They were carrot cake mixed with cream cheese icing, rolled and dipped in which chocolate then decorated. We offered a chocolate variety also. 

The party was enjoyed by grown ups (in the shade)...
... And kids alike. 

It was an entertaining party. Oliver had a blast. 

Update: 6 months & THREE YEARS

Size -- I pulled out some 9 month and 12 month clothes thinking "this'll fit in a little while" ... Nope! Now! Every mom says their child is growing like a weed but I'm serious. She's huge. 

Food -- phew, to list what she's had in these like two weeks of trying solids ... Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, pear, apple, watermelon, cucumber, potato, broccoli, and eggs. She eats like a monster. 

Activities -- let's be honest she still spends most of her time blanket- hanging (like with Grey below) or in the moby wrap. She plays with some toys and eats and has been swimming. 

Likes -- swapping seats in the stroller with big brother. Now that she can confidently sit up she's welcome in the front seat of our Valco. 

Dislikes -- fat shaming. 

Size -- big enough to wanna do everything "mine-self" small enough to ask to be held. A Mommy's dream :( He was 26 lbs when we went to his pediatricians for strep throat which is tiny but he's always been low on the percentile for age. His height is top of the charts though. Size 3T and 10 shoes. 
Food -- here's a packed lunch of salmon on whole grain, mixed berries and cucumber. We have been eating from the garden a lot lately. 

Activities -- swimming and shooting water guns make top of the list. 
My mom, sisters and I took the kids to Kusterman's berry farm west of the city. Oliver rode a huge horse but his favourite part was the go-kart track. 

Likes -- one morning this month he told me his cell phone (an old LG flip) needed a new battery and that he'd pay with his own money (displaying a wad of Canadian Tire cash he'd collected) so I got him and Koko in the wagon and we walked to the ol' CT. Sadly they don't sell vintage cell batteries (?!!!??) but he found a chocolate bar to drop a dollar on, and he was able to show me a thousand expensive things he wants for his birthday. Including this baseball kit. 
His very favourite things ever (if you're looking to buy him a birthday gift) are: baseball, Special Agent Oso, hockey, kidscape playground, cars, motorcycles, puzzles, bath toys but mostly water guns, Mickey Mouse, Frozen, goldfish crackers, cherry tomatoes, chocolate, makeup and nail polish, trains including Thomas, birds, fish, bears, turtles, pretending to cook, actually cooking, knife skills, taking photos, the forest. 

Dislikes -- strep throat kicked his buuuuuutt. It was the worst. He was cap-locks MISERABLE for over a week. Here he is drinking a mix of echinacea, raw honey and garlic with warm water and apple cider vinegar. 
The pic below is from a super fun birthday party we attended but it proved he dislikes focusing on something for more than six seconds. Can't believe my camera could take this photo of him in a beard fast enough. The stereotype is true: all the girls did amazing and the boys just went crazy. 

A great time for us - Oliver celebrates 3 times around the sun and Kota has her first ever half birthday.