Friday, June 28, 2013

BBQ Margherita Pizza

After a week of rainy weather the sun has finally decided to reappear.  It's actually starting to feel like summer vacation now with blue skies and hot weather on the way.  Though the hot weather brings mixed emotions for me this year since my feet are already noticeably swollen on the cooler days...  Ah well, my cankles and I will enjoy the pool later this weekend once the heat wave hits.

Another great thing about the warmer days is cooking more meals on the BBQ.  We discovered a simple and delicious BBQ recipe last summer that has become a new staple around here and I thought it was the perfect day to share.  (You can find the original recipe HERE.)

Quick Grilled Pizza Margherita

1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp chopped garlic
2 cups (or about 1 can) whole Italian plum tomatoes with juices
Pinch of sugar
Pinch of salt

I chose this President's Choice brand of tomatoes from Superstore and it turned out delicious.  One 19 oz can seems to be enough for just our family, but our kids are not big eaters so you may need to double the sauce recipe and use 2 cans (and possibly triple it if you're serving guests).

Heat olive oil in a pot over medium heat.  Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds or until it starts to smell sweet.  Pour in the tomatos and squish with a potato masher (I usually just chop them up with my spatula as they are cooking).  Add a pinch of sugar and bring to a gentle simmer.  Simmer on low-medium for 15 minutes or until rich and saucy.  Season with salt.

Once the sauce is ready it's time to spread it on the Naan bread.  The original recipe has instructions to brush the bread with olive oil and partially grill it before putting on the sauce but I decided to skip this step and keep it simple.

This is the bread I use, also from Superstore.  (It was still frosty from living in my freezer over the last few months but a little defrosting took care of that.)

Spread your sauce...

The original recipe just calls for sauce and then the cheese (a true "margherita pizza" I guess) but feel free to customize with the toppings of your choice.  We like ours with pepperoni and mushrooms...

Next comes the BBQing.  This part happens quick!  Once your BBQ is hot and ready, place the pizzas on.  They will take only about 5 minutes before the cheese is melted and the bottom is nicely toasted.

Finally, top with fresh basil (we've been enjoying some fresh from our garden these days) and dig in!

Not only simple, but a crowd-pleaser as well and perfect for entertaining...

Happy Summer BBQing!

Monday, June 24, 2013


There is no shortage of free entertainment around here for the kids.  I guess it's not technically "free" but it's definitely entertaining...  This morning the trusses were delivered before school started.  The kids and I watched out our front window while the enormous crane lifted them from the the trailer on the road all the way to the roof of the new house.

By the time the kids came home from school the house was looking much different yet again.

So, once again, here are some pictures of the house progress...

Front of the addition:  Top floor left window is a bedroom and the right side is the living room.  Bottom floor will be another bedroom on the left and the Erik's parents' future master bedroom on the bottom right.

It's always fun to look back to where it all began.  Here's the front & side of the house at the beginning of April.

And a picture taken from a similar angle today:

 The west side of the house before:

The west side of the house now:

Back/side view before:

Back/side view today:

Back view before:

Back view today:

I also snapped a few photos of the inside of the house. Starting on the bottom floor - the inside set of stairs:

A future guest bedroom (a little wet from all the rain we've been having):

This picture is dark but this is the future master bedroom for Erik's parents (looking out to the pasture on the west side of the house).  As I mentioned before, this lower floor will remain unfinished for the time being.  So consider this the floor hockey room...

Now up to the top floor.  This is the living room facing the street:

The bedroom (also facing the street):

Big, big windows from the kitchen/living room area facing out to the west pasture:

The kitchen at the back of the house (facing south):

The view from the kitchen window:

And that's it for today...

Saturday, June 15, 2013

One Week

In one week, a lot has happened around here.  Last Saturday we woke up bright and early to watch the concrete slab get poured.

Before breakfast and even before getting dressed for the day...

Erik's aunt and uncle are visiting right now so they got in on the action.

The older Toews brothers watching from the sidelines.

 The kids' favourite part was watching the workers make the concrete perfectly smooth.

Once the concrete was smooth as glass, Erik and Micah started envisioning future floor hockey games...

And by the next afternoon, the hockey action was in full force.  The best part is that this lower floor will remain unfinished for awhile and will be a big space for the kids to play hockey or maybe even ride their bikes during the rainy months.  Can't wait until I can send the kids "to the basement" to get their energy out this coming winter...

On Monday the framing began.

By the end of Day One, the house was starting to take shape.

Then the 2nd floor joists started going in.

Erik pausing for a photo...

Now the plywood is in place on the 2nd floor.  Yesterday, Silas and Uncle Gary golfed balls from the new house into the pasture.

Then, of course, they had to go find them...

Pretty soon everyone got in on the driving-range action.  Me thinks our neighbours are going to find an awful lot of golf balls in their blueberry field this summer...

And here is the house at the end of the week!

Can't wait to see how much more has progressed by next Saturday...

Friday, June 07, 2013

The Homestretch

It seems there are really 2 major projects to be updated on these days:
Project House-Addition & Project Baby-Addition

The house hasn't changed much since I last posted, so we'll make this particular update about Baby Toews...

(32 weeks)

She certainly hasn't stopped growing in the last couple of weeks.  In fact, when I went in for my recent visit at 31.5 weeks, I was measuring at 33 weeks.  I'm pretty sure I always measured right on or even a little smaller with my other pregnancies (even though the rest of me seemed enormous).  Perhaps this means that I'll deliver earlier than I did with the others?

Ahh, likely wishful thinking.

The real reason I'm making a big baby this time is probably because I've been diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes :(

I was pretty shocked to hear that I had "failed" my glucose test at around 28 weeks since I had never had any problems with this test in the past.  And after watching my sister-in-law deal with GD a few months back I thought, really, what are the chances?

But it just so happened that my levels were high enough to lump me in the diabetic category.  So after a 3 hour diabetes training session at the hospital I implemented a new diet and started checking my blood glucose levels several times a day.  Now that I've been at it for a few weeks it really isn't so terrible.  I've found some decent replacements for the sugary sweets that I crave.  In the grocery store I keep my eyes peeled for items labeled sugar-free or no sugar added.  I quickly learned that the diabetic candy is actually kept in the pharmacy section of most grocery stores (go figure!)  I've learned to be careful about which fruits I choose to eat (hint: tropical fruits are higher in sugar than fruit grown in North America...)  And I've learned to be mindful of the sugar content in things like breads, chips and french fries...  It seems strange to be on the prowl for artificially sweetened foods when I've grown accustomed to the idea that "natural is best".   But thankfully it's only temporary.  And in the meantime I'm grateful for sugar-free options to curb those pregnancy cravings...

The bonus to all of this is that the numbers on the scale have slowed down significantly.  And hopefully I will have less to lose when all is said and done.  Of course, it could go the other way - when the baby is born and I can have sugar back in my life, I may just pack on all the pounds after all...  Oh well.  We'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

It's funny how I thought I was huge 3 months ago.  I forgot how big "huge" really is.  And I've still got  8 or 9 weeks to grow.  I've discovered that my belly has become a bit of an unwieldy battering ram.  Silas' head happens to be right at the same height as my rounded tummy and I have 'belly-checked' him multiple times in the last several weeks.  Whether we're trying to fit through a doorway at the same time or I simply turn around too quickly with him beside me... It's a bit humorous how many times I've nearly knocked him off his feet with it.

With the 3rd trimester well under way I'm starting to experience a lot more aches, pains and exhaustion.    Simple tasks are starting to feel overwhelming and when the days are a little hotter like they have been, it seems like I'm doing everything in slow motion, especially by late afternoon.  I've determined that an afternoon nap is vital in helping me function with those school pick-up to bedtime hours.

Thankfully we have a welcome addition to the farm these days that has made both the late afternoon hours and the heat a little more bearable.  This previously owned pool has seen better days (and is losing water daily despite our patching attempts) but it has already provided hours of entertainment for the kids.  And I may or may not have awkwardly climbed my pregnant self in there and lounged on that green floaty tube.

I can foresee much more swimming/lounging happening here in the next couple of months.

It's hard to believe we're in the home stretch of this pregnancy.  School will be done in a few short weeks and then the real countdown is on!