Family

Book Review: Green Kitchen at Home

Green Kitchen at Home

It's hard to find inspiration sometimes, especially when cooking. If you follow a specific diet - like vegetarian, gluten free, or vegan - it can be even more difficult to find inspiring, easy recipes without too many specialised ingredients, which is why we are so excited about the Green Kitchen at Home cookbook.

This book was written by David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl, the family behind the Green Kitchen Stories blog. It's full of versatile recipes for all types or meals and snacks. We picked up this book a couple of months ago and have been testing it with great (and delicious) success! 

Where this book Succeeds

Delicious food! The recipes in this book showcase and combine veggies in new and delightful ways - it made us love cauliflower and fennel like nothing else! We also love the side tips on how to elevate the recipe. We especially love the Mediterranean Tray-bake with Halloumi Chunks and the Green Pea, Broccoli, and Mint Soup with Puy Lentil Topping. 

It reads like a narrative. We weren't familiar with the Green Kitchen Stories prior to picking up up this book, but now we feel like we've known them for a while. The authors do a great job talking about why they picked these recipes and how their family (they have 3 little ones) feels about every dish they talk about. 

Versatile recipes! They have options for everyone - whether you're vegetarian, gluten free, or vegan! If you are an omnivore, you can easily add meat to most recipes as well! 

Points worth noting

Some recipes require a lot of ingredients. They're not necessarily speciality items but they also may not something you have on hand or shop regularly for, which can add up if you're getting them on top of your usual grocery list. 

Many recipes also require more prep work than others, which may be difficult or hassle full for some folks. We found most recipes we had to plan for - it wasn't something we do in the spur of the moment. 

If you want to check it out but are unsure about committing to purchasing it, the Toronto Public Library has several copies on hand! 

Love, 

The Spectrum Team

 

Easter: 5 ways to make it your own.

Easter

Do you like Easter but you're not religious? Me too. Growing up in Romania in the 90s was a strange time. During communism, any religious celebration - including getting married in church - was prohibited. That changed after the revolution and, although Romania is a secular state, it is one of the more "religious" countries in Europe. But this isn't about Romania - what I'm getting at is that I didn't grow up religious/never have been and I love holidays. So I ignore religious undertones to holidays and make up my own meanings. This gets a little harder at Easter - which is still presented as all about Christianity (and bunnies). So what do we do - especially when starting a family?

Well - a while back, Heather McDougall wrote an article about the pagan roots of Easter. I really really loved it - but it didn't help in guiding what to celebrate around Easter. So - I made it my own and turned it into a spring Thanksgiving! What's a spring thanksgiving you ask? Well - I'm happy to give you a few pointers:

1) Get together

(Chosen) Family gets together for a meal - homemade or bought, doesn't matter. 

2) Eat

Meal is inspired by seasonal - spring - ingredients (I know this is harder in Canada depending on where you live)

3) Pick and choose traditions

Pick and choose Easter traditions you like, make them your own. The Easter Bunny? Invite them in! Painted eggs? Go ahead! Chocolate? Every damn day but more on Easter! Who's gonna stop you?

4) Make up traditions

This is my own, but you can take it. Give everyone a sheet of paper and a pen. Ask them to write 3 things they are grateful for this past winter, 3 instances where they made a difference/did something good, and 3 hopes they have for themselves during the warmer seasons. Go around your (chosen) family circle (whether it's 2 or 20 people) and have people share as much or as little as they'd like. 

5) Everyone helps

Everyone helps with clean up. I'm serious about this one. 

That's it. I hope this helps and may you have a wonder filled spring where you change, grow, and feel connected. 

Love, 

Corina and the Spectrum Team

My Body That Could. . . and Did!

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My journey to motherhood began in 2002, the year my husband and I were married. Right after our wedding we stopped all prevention and started down a long and bumpy road. After six years of tracking cycles, taking temps, ultrasounds, meds, and intervention, we came to a cross roads. We thought long and hard about what our next move would be in the mission to become parents, and like a ton of bricks it hit me, I didn't need to be pregnant, but I did need to be a mother. This propelled us onto another path where we would become foster parents, and eventually welcome, our now oldest daughter into our home and hearts. We had done it! We were parents and we were a family.

Our conceiving a biological child became insignificant and we looked forward to giving our all to our darling daughter. Less than a year after our daughter came to us I discovered I was pregnant. Sadly nine weeks later that pregnancy ended in miscarriage. I was so sad, so mad and for a long time never thought I would forgive my body for such a cruel trick. Months past, five to be exact and I was pregnant again! I was in disbelief, but in an instant, I knew what my miscarriage was meant to teach me, it taught me to believe in my body, have faith that it could do, what for so many months and years I was angry for it not doing.

We welcomed our second daughter into the world in April 2009.  Seven years after we began our journey to parenthood, there we were the beaming parents of two beautiful girls. My journey to motherhood had been full of so many emotions, and in the end the biggest one was joy. I knew if my body would allow me, I had to give that joy to another woman who was unable to carry a baby herself.

I set out to help a couple find that same joy of adding a biological child to their family. After discovering Joanne, Robyn and the Canadian Surrogacy Options agency, we found an incredible couple. In 2012, another beautiful baby girl was brought into this world, with the help of my body. A few months after she was born, I felt compelled to be a surrogate again. As much as I wanted to help another couple who had a long and heart-breaking path to grow their family, I was asking of my body for another miracle to share. CSO helped connect me with another couple and professionals to ensure that what my body needed to do was done safely and healthy for everyone involved. It was an honour again to help a couple in need and in 2014 we welcomed a beautiful baby boy into the world…again my body did what I knew it could. I have been so blessed, so incredibly blessed to carry three children, one of them my own, and two whom I was able to give back to their mommies once they were ready for the world.

Becoming a parent wasn't easy; making my choice to become a surrogate was a simple choice and CSO added to that comfort, lending support every step of the way. Lending my body, opening my heart to a connection that no words can express has truly shaped my soul. Now, I am bigger part of the CSO family and have been given the opportunity to support other intended parents on their journey to making their dream of a family come true.

ABOUT JULIA HOWELL

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Julia began as a Surrogate with Canadian Surrogacy Option and has now joined the CSO team helping to support surrogates and intended parents through each of their respective journeys.  Julia is a mother of two, a surrogate of two and currently carrying her third gift of life for an excited couple from Newfoundland. She currently lives in Trenton with her family.

If you are interested in becoming a surrogate or in search of one, you can contact Julia and Canadian Surrogacy Options directly through any of their networks. Their egg-donation division, Little Miracles, is also available for anyone seeking services. And you can follow Canadian Surrogacy Options through Facebook and Twitter.