2016 Is Going To Be An Offal Year

That’s right, this year I will be digging deeper into offal.  The offcuts of meat that North American’s rarely use.  Kidneys, sweetbreads, beef cheeks, tongue, those are on the menu this year.  My sister, Bre, gave me Sarah Wilson’s newest print cookbook, Simplicious for Christmas and it as a section on cooking offal.  I have dabbled in this a bit in the last year and think it’s time to kick it up a notch. 

This is a great way to save money while still having quality meat in our diet. Buying a quarter of an animal certainly helped, but they never include the offal (other than the pig’s trotter).  I assume they just don’t think people want those cuts or know what to do with them.

I’ve already cooked the Chinese Beef Cheeks from this book last weekend and will admit I didn’t love the flavour and have done beef cheeks better, but I will be trying the following recipes:

  • Mum’s Steak and Kidney Stew with Herby Dumplings
  • Sweetbread Tacos with Easy Slaw
  • Homemade Bacon

My butcher is going to love me.

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Cutie Pie

I have been thinking of making these little lemon meringue pies since I bought the I Quit Sugar book last year in Australia and it was finally time that I did.  

The recipe calls for stevia instead of sugar for the lemon custard and it turned out to be lemony yum.  I had to tweak the meringue as it called for rice malt syrup, which didn’t end up working for me.  In the end I used stevia for that too and it puffed up fairly well.   It isn’t one I’ll make a lot as it took a bit of time, but I did learn a couple new things and that is always worth the effort. Maybe I’ll try the Chocolate Mudcake next….

I hope you are enjoying some lovely treats as well!

Massaging Pig’s Feet

So this happened a couple weeks ago.  It was pretty much the end of our pig supply from Windsor Meats and I was determined to make it happen.  I have read about Marco-Pierre White bringing pig’s trotters back to fashion in London in the 80s, it was time for Dana Prescott to attempt something just as crazy in Vancouver.  Did it work?  No.  It was terrible.  But I can definitely claim it as a Ten New Things.  It certainly was the first time I shaved a pig’s foot with a ladies razor and massaged between the toes (hooves) to get rid of the dirt and ‘stuff’ that grows there.  You can picture it right? 

I have Asian friends who love these, but my version didn’t work out so well.  I followed this recipe, called Honey-roasted Pig’s Trotters with Vegetables, which would allow me not to have to spend 4-5 hours cooking them that I just didn’t have that day.  Also most recipes asked that they be cut into smaller portions by the butcher, so that was out too.

This is how they ended up.  Not too terrible looking.  Note the hot pepper stabbed in for just for Dave.

I kid you not, we got a quarter size piece of meat off of each foot and the cartilage was so unappealing that we didn’t eat it.

Has this ruined me for trotters?  No.  Knowing that in China people know how to cook them gives me hope that I could eat tasty pig’s feet.  So bring it on!  I also hear duck head soup is lovely, but I’m not willing to try that recipe at home…not yet anyway!

Our Visa forms are filled out and need to be submitted as our final big item to check off our list before we leave for China on March 26th.  35ish days to go!

If you would like to contribute a little to our trip to China to work with International China Concern click here.  Prayers are appreciated too, as Dave is hitting a tough patch in his Chinese learning and I’m fighting through exhaustion with anemia.  Pray that we build up energy and language skills before our trip so we are able to put our full efforts into helping the kids we meet.  Thanks!  Time for a nap!

 

We’re Going to China!

Remember how I said in my Ten New Things blog that Dave and I had something new and exciting coming up.  Well that new and exciting thing is a trip to China in March/April to volunteer with International China Concern.  We have been supporting this amazing organization for the past few years.  They provide housing, medical care, education, and most importantly love and a chance at life for children who are abandoned and/or have disabilities.

Every year, almost one million children are born in China with a disability, and often parents are unable to care or provide the medical needs for these children, so they are abandoned in fields, in dumpsters or on the doorsteps of orphanages, without much hope for a chance at life.  ICC has been very successful in its 20+ year history and has had such an impact that the Chinese government has started to provide financial support for the homes and programs they have created to help these vulnerable kids.

Location of ICC care home:  Sanmenxia, pop. 100,000
Location of ICC care home:  Sanmenxia, pop. 100,000

Dave and I will be going with a group of people from all over the world to meet in Beijing, then head inland to Sanmenxia, where we will spend two weeks interacting, helping and loving these kids.  This gives the long term volunteers and the local support workers a helping hand, relief, renewed energy and help in what is very tiring work.   

I’m writing this post to share this adventure that Dave and I are going on, but we would also love your support in prayer and encouraging words as we prepare for this journey.  We leave on March 26th and return April 12.  We would love prayer for safety, strength and health.  Along side that we would like to raise a small portion of funds for the trip to cover some of our out of pocket, non tax-deductible expenses such as flights, shots, insurance and visas.  Don’t feel the need to donate if you can’t, your prayers and encouraging words are plenty enough.  

However, if you would like to donate click this link: China Trip Plumfund

This trip to China will be emotional and mentally and physically challenging, but in the same way life giving and eye-opening.  We are really excited to see how God grows us as individuals and as a couple as we spend time with these special kids. 

More to come as we prepare to head out the end of March!

 

Campfire

It’s been a while since I have posted a finished project.  There have been a couple, but my knitting has slowed down a bit and I’ve been spending more time reading and cooking.  I’ve been trying to find more knitting projects that spark my interest and lately, they seem far and few between.  But this project that I made for my newest nephew, Enders, had me doing a simple fair isle knitting, which I’ve done very little of before.  I rarely knit with two colours, but this turned out really well and it wasn’t that difficult.  

Here are the details:

Pattern: Campfire by tin can knits

Yarn:  Malabrigo Silky Merino (Green) and I can’t remember what the brown is, I lost the tag.

Colour: Lettuce and Brown

Needles: US 4 / 3.5mm and US 6 / 4.0mm

Knit For: Enders

It’s still a little big for Enders, but I suspect he’ll be fitting in it just in time for fall/winter.  Can’t wait to see it on him.

Challenge Complete

I had wrote about a month ago of being in the middle of a no-sugar adventure.  And I completed the 8-week challenge a couple weekends ago.  It went really well, I lost 4lbs in the last couple weeks of it and had more energy.  So well I was a little scared to have sugar again.  Scared of how it might control me again.  A couple weeks later and I still have that fear.  

I mean, hello, I live here:

Oy!  The conflict.  Actually, out of the 3 major desserts I missed, I have only had one, Earnest Ice Cream (see below).  I’m still in need of Chunky Monkey Bread from Trafiq and a piece of Chocolate Banana Cream Pie from The Last Crumb.  But they will come and I feel in control of that.

My first sugary dessert: Deconstructed Lemon Meringue Ice Cream Pie.
My first sugary dessert: Deconstructed Lemon Meringue Ice Cream Pie.

The past few weeks haven’t been without their challenges.  I was in Ontario and not having control over groceries and meal planning was a challenge, but everyone was accommodating and we made things work with minimal sugar.  I didn’t totally deprive myself while there, and only had the things that I really missed, like my grandmas baked beans, a chocolate chip cookie., and small pieces of my sister-in-law’s pie.  I only get these treats once or twice a year, so I didn’t want to pass them up.

The adventure continues and it is actually harder being able to have sugar again than not.  The choices don’t always seem so clear cut.  But I’m doing it, though I do feel more tired again during the day.  We’ll see how this goes.

Taking Action

Wow, have you ever seen a group of men this sexy? 

I don’t normally, okay ever, write about political stuff, but I have a strong leaning towards what the government is amending right now.  Canada’s prostitution laws are very outdated.  They use the term bawdy house in our laws for Pete’s sake!  This year that is all going to change.  Canada is looking for your opinion on how to change these laws.  Hopefully they will come out protecting woman and children and criminalizing those who keep this profession in demand.  

I have always had a heart for woman on the street and the hidden, or not hidden, children in this profession.  I’m so sensitive to sexual violence that I can’t about read about it or watch documentaries, movies or TV without repercussions on my emotions and dreams.  Did you know the average age of a person going into prostitution is 13.  The AVERAGE!  If you think about that even for a minute, you can think of a child you know who is hopefully safe from that reality.  Now think of those who aren’t.  If that doesn’t get your blood boiling or the tears welling up in your eyes, I don’t know what will.

Until TOMORROW, March 12, you can write your comments on the government of Canada’s site, where you can share your opinion about how we can save vulnerable woman and children from a life that is unimaginably horrifying and degrading on a day to day basis.  Canada wants your feedback.  

Personally, I want us to implement the Nordic Model.  Criminalizing those who use prostitutes for sex or profit, and helping create programs for woman and children to integrate safely back into healthy lives in society.  It has been a big success in Scandinavian countries and has reduced their number of child and adult prostitution significantly.  Canada can do this too!  It is proven that legalizing prostitution only brings more demand, higher crime rates and more trafficking of humans like you and me.  It’s proven.

Go please take a minute to go to this site and click Expand All.  Fill in one or all of the questions and send it off with the tap of a button.  http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/cons/curr-cours/proscons-conspros/

If bawdy house is a term that was used the last time we changed these laws, think of how long it might be until we do it again.  Do it now!