Monday, December 31, 2012

Crustless Herbed Quiche with Tomato Basil Salad

Go here for the recipe from
Look how much hair she`s growing!!

When faced with a list of seven possible options, the logical thing is to start at the top ask your preschooler which one they`d like to have. So, we started the list off with Crustless Herbed Quiche with a side of Tomato Basil Salad.

All the ingredients, ready to go

These are our local, organic, free range eggs! Love them

Parsley from the counter pot!

So easy.

Yellow = local, orange = store bought, Omega3 eggs.





Om nom nom...
Verdict: make again!
6 large eggs, beaten
2 T chopped chives
1 T chopped fresh parsley
1 t chopped fresh thyme
(1 t kosher salt)
(½ t black pepper)
½ c crumbled goat cheese (optional)
¼ c heavy cream (optional)
(1 t olive oil)
4 tomatoes, sliced
(2 T extra virgin olive oil)
(2 T red wine vinegar)
2 T sliced basil
(Salt and pepper to taste)
Preheat oven to 375°F. Combine eggs, chives, parsley,
thyme, salt, pepper, cheese, and cream, if using, in a large
bowl; stir with a whisk. Rub oil over the bottom of a 9-inch pie
dish. Pour egg mixture into dish. Bake for 40 minutes or until
lightly browned and set. Remove from oven; cool slightly
before slicing.
Arrange tomato slices on a platter. Combine olive oil,
vinegar, basil, salt, and pepper in a small bowl; stir with a
whisk. Pour dressing over sliced tomatoes; serve

We're back!

I recently (before Christmas) upgraded to a Samsung Galaxy S3. While I love the phone, and all its capabilities, it's a royal PITA trying to post actual blog entries, because I just don't like writing on it! I get more spelling errors that should be humanly possible, and it takes too long. So, I've become reacquainted today, with my laptop. Don't think that because I haven't been posting, that we haven't been really busy!

We celebrated a lot over the holidays, with three back-to-back feasts (Christmas Eve, Day and Boxing Day). It was lovely, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. We hosted Christmas Day dinner at our house. Fourteen people, a turkey, cranberry-apple sauce, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes and parsnips, red cabbage, roasted brussel sprouts and yams. It was deeeeelicious, if I do say so myself.

My lovely husband helped, A LOT, this time round, so I found the day to be much more enjoyable.

The children were quite spoiled, and very pleased with what they received. Santa brought Jakob a new fort building kit, and Ellie a cabbage patch doll.

They received a ton of other toys, clothes and books, and I was very glad that Jakob agreed to give the majority of his birthday presents to the hospital! Where on earth are we to find room for everything?

The tree's location this year was great. I think in years future, we will likely continue with a table top tree approach. Less likely that little fingers will destroy our precious ornaments, and we don't need quite as big a tree, dropping needles all over our carpet!

I was giddy with excitement, when I unwrapped the gift from my parents: a new Nikon D3100 camera. I'm in love with it.

Ellie had a sleep study on the 28th, which went well... at least, I think it went well. I know there were more apnea episodes than the last time, but she self-recovered quickly, every time, so that's a good sign.

As 2013 rolls in, I'm excited to welcome a new year. We don't normally do resolutions, but this year, DH and I have decided to try Paleo eating for a month. I've been having ongoing issues with joint pain, and skin issues, and girl issues, so I'm willing to try just about anything before resorting to medications. I really care about what I put into my body, and I've noticed the more baked goods I eat, the worse I feel. Hopefully I'll feel better! I've read a lot about the Paleo diet, and I'm a bit skeptical, but going to try it for a month to see if I notice any change. If not, then we'll just go back to plain "clean eating". I figure if I cut out all grains, it will be faster than trying to go gluten-free for a month, and wondering if that was enough.

I stumbled across a company, called emeals, that has weekly meal plans, complete with shopping list! They have so many options, like clean eating, gf, paleo, gourmet, vegetarian, etc... and the cost is relatively insignificant ($5/mo for a month's worth of recipes). They're doing a free week of Paleo meals, so I'm trying it out! Check it out here:
I`m going to do separate posts for each meal, to give my opinion of whether it`s worth buying into! Will keep you posted!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Happy Holidays

My friends,

What a a year we've had. It's been a year full of tremendous ups and downs, but I am happy to report that things are going very well.

As you will maybe recall, we spent much of the first four months of the year in hospital with our little Ellie. She spent fourteen weeks in the Transitional Care Unit of the ICU at BC Children's Hospital. When she was admitted, she was so small. She slept all the time, had very little voluntary movement, had difficulty breathing, and we were honestly worried for her.

The staff at the hospital were incredible, almost like a second family. They doted on her, loved her, made us feel like we were doing the right thing by leaving her in their care. While she was there, they sorted out her bipap ventilator, which she initially started using almost 20 hours a day. Then, when they established that she was doing well, and her airway was secure, they started her on what we now call her Miracle drug, growth hormone injections.

We started late in January, and saw almost immediate results. Our little girl, who was barely 10lbs, and 21" started to grow! In April, she came home (went back for a week, and came home again) in time for her first birthday. All I wanted was for her to be home, for us to be home together as a family. I got my wish.

Ellie had a huge hospital send off, and we were thrilled to have her home. Some adjusting was necessary, Jakob had to get used to having the four of us at home again, and was rather sad to lose his special "volunteer time". At the hospital, the Child Life program had incredible volunteers who would take him most afternoons to play. He loved the attention!

The biggest adjustment, was having night nurses come to our house, almost every night. Their presence allowed us to get the proper sleep to keep up with Ellie's day time appointments of physio therapy, occupational therapy, infant development, speech therapy, along with endocrine appointments, and breathing appointments. Let us not forget Jakob's preschool classes, which he loves! Busy, we were!

In the summer, we finally found the missing key, that would help Ellie the most. She was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, which is easily treated. Prior to this, her weight had plateaued, but she was slowly progressing, learning to roll over, sit up, and near the end of summer to start scooting around on her bottom.

With the addition of the thyroid medication, we finally saw noticeable growth. At her 20 month appointment, just this past week, our little peanut weighed in at 17lbs6oz, and was 29" tall! Such drastic changes from just a year prior!

In early fall, her doctors felt that she was ready to start weaning off her bipap support at night, having had a successful overnight sleep study. It would take a few weeks of hospital "sleep overs" to make the switch to breathing on her own, but what a welcome change! I cannot begin to tell you how relieved we were to find that she had improved so much.

In late September, our family hosted the One Small Step walk in Ladner. We initially hoped to raise $10,000, which was our personal goal. Our friends, family, and incredible community came out to support us in ways we couldn't possibly have imagined. When all was said and done, we raised almost $22,000, more than DOUBLE our goal. We were incredibly humbled to know so many generous people. Even greater than our own accomplishments with the walk, were the results of the international campaign. For 2012, the goal was to raise $1 million. The goal was surpassed, reaching $1,071,703.12! AMAZING. We are filled with so much hope, that one day our sweet girl will be able to live a life where she isn't hungry.

Ellie has caught up to where she should be cognitively, which is truly incredible. We have less and less appointments, and fewer therapy sessions. She doesn't miss a thing, and she's simply a joy to be around. In January she will be fitted with hearing aids (we missed a December fitting due to the flu!). She is almost walking, not something we're trying to encourage too much, she is already fast enough at scooting! She loves to cruise around the furniture, and get into mischief. We positioned our Christmas tree this year on top of a side table, to keep her away from the ornaments! Her biggest love in life is her brother, Jakob. He can do no wrong in her eyes, and she would gladly shadow him every moment of the day!

Jakob is half way through his second year of preschool, and just celebrated his fourth birthday. He played the role of shepherd in the church Sunday school pageant, and in his preschool's Christmas performance. It was lovely to see him on stage! The big debate is where to send him to kindergarten next year. I can't believe we're already discussing it, it seems like yesterday he was my baby! I am constantly amazed at how well adjusted he is, considering the months we spent trekking back and forth to the hospital. If anything, it's made him more outgoing, and willing to talk to new people. He loves to have us all together, loves play dates with his friends, and talking about his Transformers.

Jason is still loving his job, and busy. We started an involuntary renovation on our master bathroom, following a leak into our laundry room, and along with the help from his grandfather, has almost completed the project. What a big job!! I'm very much looking forward to the final reveal.

I started work in May at the BC Government, progressively working more hours, and I couldn't be happier with my work/life balance. I am incredibly fortunate to have flexible work hours, so that we don't need to send the kids to daycare. We're lucky to have grandmother child care on the days where our schedules conflict, and also for the odd parents' night out!

The next week is going to be filled with lots of festivities, with family, with friends, with food and love. There's something so special about this time of year, when we gather inside, around the warmth of the fire, under the twinkling lights of the tree, to spend time with the ones we love, and to reflect on how grateful we are to be here, to be healthy, to have our beautiful children.

We are so blessed. 

And so, with warm hugs, I wish you the best of the holidays, and a happy New Year to come.
Susanne (and Jason, Jakob and Ellie, too)


Friday, December 7, 2012

One week to HEARING!

I talked to the audiologist today, and booked our appointment for NEXT FRIDAY!! I am over the moon excited. She talked to Dr. L, Ellie`s ENT, to get approval for Ellie to be fitted with temporary hearing aids. We have two options, air conductor hearing aids, which go over and into the ears, or bone conductive hearing aids, like this, which sit like a headband, and place the amplifliers, or whatever they are, directly above the inner ear. SO excited!

I`m sort of hoping that they go with this latter option, because, HELLO! How cute is that!

Monday, December 3, 2012

I've had a few days to process things, and I've calmed down a lot since my last post. It helps that I was sick, and Ellie was sick, so I couldn't do much phoning.

Today, I've been in touch with the ENT office, who confirmed for me that it would be 3-4 months, at least, until Ellie gets the surgery she needs. She said she would try to book something for us if the cancellation list coughs up an opening, but explained again that they're limited in the number of beds they can book in a day.

So, I decided to just leave that alone, seeing as they have something like 9000 patients a year, and I do understand they're busy. I am quite alright with delaying the surgery, because at least it gives her more time to grow and catch up. I don't fancy the idea of having her in hospital during cold and flu season anyway.

I've called her audiologist, and left a message, and I've also called the audiology department. My goal is to get Ellie hearing aids. She is on the At Home Program, that covers hearing aids. I want them for Christmas. Here's hoping I hear back today, or tomorrow from someone who can hopefully put this all in motion. I don't need loaners, I just need this to happen, so that my sweet belle can hear everything like she should.

I was a lot nicer on the phone today, and people seem to respond well to that.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Mama Bear is Raging

For the first time in this Ellie journey, I am absolutely raging mad. RAGING.

I've been meaning to call the ENT office, because they told me at our last appointment (both the doctor and the secretary) that Ellie would be scheduled for surgery at the beginning of January, and that if I hadn't heard back by mid-November, that I should call.

I just called. The receptionist told me "there is no way she's going to be booked in for January, probably not until March at the very earliest" Blah, blah, blah, two surgerical days in January, blah, blah, blah, high priority cases, blah, blah, blah, waiting lists....


The audiologist told me that if they couldn't do her surgery, Ellie needed hearing aids. Her hearing impairment is affecting her development. But, can I get her in to be fitted in the mean time? NO. No openings until SPRING.

What the hell am I supposed to do with that?? Ellie NEEDS to be able to hear. She's going to be facing enough issues developing her speech as it is with her PWS diagnosis, don't you think it's important that this VERY repairable issue be fixed?!

I asked to be put on the cancellation list, and was told that because Ellie needs to stay the night in ICU, there is NO chance of her being able to claim a cancelled spot. No chance.

So we have to wait until March, or probably even later, because the biotch on the other end of the line said "I can absolutely not guarantee she'll get in by then" for Ellie to be fixed.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Creme Brulee Pie and Pavlova

This morning, a friend of mine posted that they were going to make creme brulee today. As soon as I saw those two words, creme brulee,  it's all I could think of!

To make matters worse, people are preparing for American Thanksgiving, and everywhere I looked there were people talking about pies.

Creme brulee + pies = creme brulee pie??


The recipe, which I found here calls for 7 egg yolks... that leaves 7 egg whites. What to do? Make something healthy, like an egg white omlette?

I made a pavlova. Whipped the eggs til stiff, added about a cup of superfine sugar, whipped til glossy, added 2 tsps corn starch, and 2tsps vinegar. Baked at 250F for a couple hours. I intend on freezing the rest (you know, the part that isn't already in my belly!), and will serve it eventually with whipped cream and berries.


The difference a year makes...

This was November 20th, 2011. Exactly a year ago.
Wasn't she tiny? I remember that day. We went to the museum of natural history, and Ellie was awake the whole time we were there. I remember, because it was SUCH a big deal to me that she was awake. She was 9lbs, still between preemie and newborn clothes. She couldn't sit up, or roll over, or really do anything but snuggle.

Today, she's so different!

We trekked into Vancouver for her RSV clinic appointment. We are very lucky that she qualified this year, I know many kids who didn't. The lovely nurse weighed her, and I nearly keeled over with shock. Ellie weighs SEVENTEEN pounds!!! Our goal at the last endocrine appointment was to get her to 16lbs, because Ellie had been at 13 pounds for months.

The only thing that's changed is an increase in the amount of protein we give her. They didn't measure her, but I know she's grown more than they expected, based only on how she seems to be busting out of 6 month clothes. We are almost ready to bring out the 9 month gear!

I think we have an endo appointment in December, so we'll see how that goes when we get there. We still have a sleep study to deal with after Christmas, and we're still waiting on her surgery booking for January.

We popped in to say hello to the PICU people. Ah, it warms my heart how much they love her, and how much they gush at the progress she's making. Also SOOO glad to just be visiting, I don't want to go back for real!

Sunday, November 18, 2012


We have a plan and we have a timeline!! We are lucky to have tradespeople in the family, so our crappy shower plumbing set-up will be fixed by BIL and I can get advice on carpentry questions from dh's grandpa.

We are going to install the backer board after the plumbing is fixed and the shower base is replaced. We will mud and tape, and then apply a waterproof membrane to the walls and flooring underlay.

We have someone coming in to do the tiling, because I don't want to argue with DH about it, and my OCD would mean I would spend a whole day making sure everything was perfectly in line.

We bought the white subway tiles for the shower, to be paired with white grout. I found my floor tiles at Rona (yay!) and they'll go with grey grout. Bought a new toilet and my lovely new vanity and mirror. Also bought Martha Stewart bath accessories and what I need to bead board panelling, chair rail and baseboards!
Everything should be done by the 15th of December!

Will post photos of everything as we go. Sadly, our camera is out of commission... Thanks, Jakob.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Comfort food

For reasons not acceptable to be discussed online, I have been rather grumpy of late. When I am feeling like this, the one thing that makes me really happy is creating in the kitchen. That, and cleaning until everything sparkles.

Today, decided on comfort food, so I am making slow-cooker pulled pork (two pork loins, a mini can of coke, and BBQ sauce, set on low for 6-8 hours) and fancy Mac 'n cheese. For dessert, I made chocolate banana muffins.

The macaroni involves a number of steps, and the more steps, the more therapeutic.

Slow-Cooker doing its thing while the bacon sizzles

Two onions, sliced thinly, and fried (slowly!) in butter until caramelized.

Half a pack bacon, fried, with the grease reserved, chopped and set aside.

Boil the noodles for half the time indicated on the box. I like whole wheat pasta. Drain.

In the noodle pot, melt a quarter cup butter, add the bacon grease. Whisk in 1/4 c flour, and cook for a minute, stirring constantly. Add 2 cups milk, and cook until thickened. Add two eggs and beat well. Mix in cheese. I used a couple cups shredded cheddar, Parmesan, and about a cup cottage cheese. Add the bacon and onions, mix well. Add the macaroni!

Pour into a greased baking dish, and bake at 350f for 20 minutes, or until bubbling.


Muffins... I didn't really measure. Two overripe bananas (I keep them in the freezer if we don't eat them in time), 1/2 c sugar, 1/4 c cocoa powder, 1tsp baking soda, 1 egg, 1 cup flour, and a tsp of vanilla. Mix it all up and spoon into lined muffin tin. Bake at 350f for 20 min.
Between the kids and I, there are four left...

Monday, November 12, 2012

Fall cooking

I made a super easy chicken-bean-potato casserole tonight for dinner. Great-grandpa came by with a few jars of his canned green beans (which I LOVE), so I threw one drained can into a pyrex dish with three chicken breasts, and half a bag of mini potatoes, and one chopped up onion. Sprinkled 3 tbsp olive oil over, and topped with Italian seasoning. Baked at 350F for an hour. Yum!

On the stove, I have my trusty slow-cooker making Jambalaya. This recipe is a winging it version, with two chopped up chicken breasts, two chopped up brat sausages, a large can of tomatoes, one green pepper, three celery stalks, an onion, some garlic, a cup of chicken stock and chipotle spices. When it hits an hour left, I will throw in a cup of wild rice. At five minutes to finish, I will add in a bunch of shrimp. Another YUM!

We have a ton of apples to do something with, so I made a huge pot of apple-cinnamon oatmeal, and I'm baking a braided apple pie.

Organic apples from the Okanagan!

Chopped for Oatmeal

Cook with water until softened

Add oats and cook. Don't burn the bottom of the pan like I did...
More apples! Tossed with sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice, and baked for 10 min at 350F

Put cooked apples on cut pie dough

Pause for a photo with cute baby

Feed said baby oatmeal!

Bake braided pie for 20 minutes at 350F

Serve with caramel sauce... or don't! (You might not be able to stop eating it!)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Never DIY with renos unless you know what you're doing!

My bathroom is gutted. I cannot tell you the number of time we both looked at eachother and simulatenously said "WTF?!".

There is a huge hole in the ceiling. HUGE, like 4x4 feet. It was masked by some decorative plastic backsplash. WHY is there a hole in the ceiling??

Instead of making a hole large enough to pass an extension cord through, they cut the outlet end of the cord off, and taped it back together, inside our vanity, where any leak of the sink would surly have electrocuted us. It was wired in to a non GFI outlet. Lovely.

They covered half the shower in a waterproof membrane. It wasn't placed to drain into the shower basin like it was supposed to, it drained right into the drywall. Lovely.

The grout wasn't mixed properly. They used the wrong adhesive.

They didn't grout behind the toilet.

They didn't replace the toilet O-ring when they replaced the toilet.

There are three levels different levels of plywood on the floor.

It is a miracle the in-floor heating system didn't light our house on fire.

They glued the mirror to the wall using something that looks like tar.


At least it's all out. We are letting the dust settle (literally), and then are going to wash it out, bring our plumber in to look at the plumbing (the shower is leaking, even though the water is off), and have DH's grandpa assess the damage to the woodwork. He'll do the carpentry, hopefully put our ceiling back together, spackle, we'll put the shower base back in, put the shower backing back together properly, finish the other walls, install the panelling, have our talented tiling friend come in for the shower tiling and flooring, put the glass back in for the shower, bring in the toilet, vanity, mirror, and hopefully be done.

Properly, this time.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Baking and Renos

Tonight we're celebrating two family members' birthdays, so I've been baking since 8am! I have just finished a St. Honore for my dad, and a tuxedo truffle cake for my brother. For the St. Honore, I used a slightly different version of the recipe I used a couple weeks ago, and this time I didn't burn the caramel (although I did burn myself - OUCH!)

My brother likes tuxedo cake. Heck, I LOVE tuxedo cake! It was what we had as our wedding cake, and I had no idea it would be easy to make. Marble cake slab, chocolate mousse, white chocolate mousse, and a chocolate ganache. Yum! What I didn't count on was for how HUGE it turned out. My word, it's a massive cake.
In other news, we discovered a leak from our upstairs bathroom, and so now we're in the throws of renovating a poorly done DIY that we inherited from the previous owners. We're taking the opportunity, in spite of wanting to sell this place, to do it right, and put in a nice looking, up to code bathroom.

This is our inspiration:
 We found the vanity they used at Home Depot:

This is the flooring we're using, it's from Rona:

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Breakfast Pizza

Yesterday, a wicked someone pointed me in the direction of an INCREDIBLE food/recipe resource. It took me about three nanoseconds to become completely hooked.

For tomorrow's breakfast, I am making Breakfast Pizza

(Apologies for the crappy photos. I was cooking in my dark kitchen, with only my iPod as a camera)

My mixer is in storage, so I used my KitchenAid food processor to make the dough. Following the recipe, it said make it the night before, so I did... in the future, I will just make my dough the day of. I have a great pizza dough recipe (actually, the pizza yeast container has a great recipe) which has never failed me. I'm not sure if it's because I wasn't using a conventional mixer, but dough was not forming when I followed the water/yeast/flour ratio provided. I added a couple tablespoons of olive oil, and some extra water.  I also don't have a pizza stone, and 500F in my oven would burn everything to a crisp. I preheated my oven to 425F, and baked the pizza(s) for 12-15 minutes until the crust was golden and the cheese was melted.
Yeast proofing

Mix, mix, mix


Frying bacon and onions

Add mozza, parsley, salt and pepper. Top with bacon and onions, and crack three eggs on top!

Soooo good!