The first post of my blog. Actually this is the second time that I’m writing this but my daughter, Madison, clicked-off the internet on my laptop with her little foot and I lost the whole thing.

By the way this is Madison-thanks to my dear friend Michelle who is an amazing photographer and is the reason we have any pictures of our little one. Check out her blog. michellebarbeau.blogspot.com

Madison is nine weeks old and is a large reason why I am writing this blog. Which brings me to; Why this blog? Why a blog at all?

Nine weeks ago I became a mother and for the first time I’m at home. Not taking a course, not spending the time in my garden (too cold yet), not sleeping much and really needing something to remind me of who I am on top of being mommy to Madison.

Don’t get me wrong-I adore, love, worship this little girl but my brain feels like it’s on hiatus. I’ve found myself looking forward to making dinner each day. Sounds crazy but I was a chef before I went back to school to become a teacher. Cooking is something that makes me feel like myself again. I cook in between her random naps and use each night’s dinner as a way to be inspired to do something artistic or simply remember my childhood (especially my Grandmother’s cooking on the family farm).

It also gives me a chance to explore my other passion-environmentalism. I was always interested in the environment and its connection to our food. I’ve been trying to have our family eat as much within 100 miles as possible for the last couple of years and sourcing out local producers. We don’t eat aspargus in February anymore but let’s face it; life would not be worth living without chocolate, coffee and olive oil (not to mention a lot of terrific spices that make local food taste even better). Environmentalism has become even more important to me since I found out that I was unexpectedly but joyfully pregnant.

In this blog I am going to try to chronicle my journey through beginning to be a mother, exploring all the good food out there and focussing on local products. How do I create yummy meals though at a decent price?

By the way, there won’t be much of me rambling each day-I’ll focus on the recipes. The recipes will also all be ones that you can be working on but leave when let’s say a baby cries. I’ll aim for five postings a week. Some recipes will be for desserts, some for mains…you get the idea. I’ll try to get some pictures of my inspiration for the night’s meal. I usually eat the leftovers for lunch the next day and send some iwth my husband to work too.

In the past couple of weeks we’ve had: pea soup, upside down pizza, peanut noodles with spicy tofu, dill and tomato soup, mac and cheese, coq au vin, beef stew, pea risotto, lamb burgers…

I also control colitis through my diet therefore anytime you see milk in one of my recipes assume that it is goat’s milk or soy and butter is either lactose free margarine or goat’s butter. Cheese is lactose free or goat’s cheese and unfortunatly there is a lot of meat in our diet.

Here is what I’ve found lately.

1) Dave and Diane at Ashton Glen Farm have the most spectacular pork and beef. The animals are well treated and it comes through in the end. Order early because they sell out, their prices are terrific and they supply Bekta restaurant.

2) Matt at ottawaorganics.com takes care of me with local and not local produce, flour, dairy, soy… This is all delivered to the door at the same or less price than what I would pay at the grocery store. In fact, I spend less as I don’t see all those other things that I must have as I wander in the grocery store.

3) I think that I’ve found a source for lamb and chicken now but more on that when I’m sure.

4) I use a lot of Epicure selection spices (epicureselections.com). In fact, I use so many that I became a consultant to get myself the discount. You can use these or not, I’ll add in the equivalent of regular spices (not blends) in the recipes that I put into these pages.

The inspiration:
I want something that uses up what I have in the house (local cucumber, bib lettuce and tomatoes from a Quebec greenhouse) before my organic bin comes tonight and something that celebrates the day’s beautiful weather. I also want to find time to work out and take Madison for a walk in between washing diapers and cleaning out a closet in the basement. I’m thinking of blue skies and blue water which makes me think about Greece.

On today’s menu:

Spicy pork meatballs on greek pitas

Meatballs
In a bowl mix: 1lb. of ground pork, 1 egg, 1 garlic clove, 1 lemon grass stalk finely chopped (I just use the dried and use a pair of scissors to chop it over the bowl), one inch of ginger finely grated (I get a big piece and freeze it and then use my microplane grater. I’m just finishing off what I grew last year), 2tsp harissa (you could use paprika for a different but still great taste), small handfull breadcrumbs and small handfull of chopped cilantro (I get the frozen stuff from Loblaws as I find the fresh goes bad too quickly for me-in the summer I walk out the door and get it from the garden).

I tend to throw everything in the bowl when the meat is frozen and form into balls when it is thawed.

Form into balls and place on a baking sheet that is covered with either a silocone sheet or piece of parchment. Bake until cooked through or you could form into patties and BBQ them.

Serve with: humous (I sometimes make it but usually I get a big tub from costco and freeze portions of it in small containers), chopped cucumber, lettuce and tomatoes on warmed greek pitas or tortillas or buns.

We’ll have cut-up apples and pears with a bit of dark chocolate for dessert.

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