Thursday, May 28, 2009

Celebrating 10 Years in Québec

Poutine at La Banquise. Photo by Rob Ireton

There comes a point in all of our lives when we have to make a decision that ultimately shapes our future. For me that choice came ten years ago when I decided to move from Western Canada to the French-speaking province of Québec.

At the wise age of twenty, after a lengthy tromp around the globe, this country girl bought a one-way plane ticket to Montréal for a most honourable reason: to catch a certain man I had been dating long-distance. Bringing only an old army bag, my trusty MEC backpack and zero sense of style, I arrived in the city with no job security, no place to call my own, and about as much understanding of the French language as I had style-sense.

I had traded my home, family and mountains for the city life and a chance at true happiness with the geeky engineer with the bright eyes.

You know what happened after that, right? There's a happy ending, but first there was culinary school, many jobs, an engagement, a stage-turned-three-year-job at Toqué!, a wedding, a European honeymoon, a house purchase, other jobs, a baby boy, a blog, and another baby boy. That about sums up the last ten years and I'm pretty happy with the outcome. Gosh darn, I feel like the luckiest girl around.

So, I'm celebrating a milestone this month, I have now lived in La Belle Province for a whole decade. A decade.

Here is where you can help me out, please. I'm trying to decide how to celebrate.
I've already determined that I'm going to fête (party) for the month of June, maybe even the whole summer, but I need some good suggestions. Sure, I could just go get a poutine (and be sure that I will. Several, in fact) as has been suggested to me numerous times, but what else? It has to be something bigger. I mean, I'm in one of the best cities in the world to party!
(Please, no Club 281 suggestions; I don't mean that kind of party. I'd rather get my kicks on the Monster at La Ronde!)

Cirque Tents in Montreal's Old Port. Photo by Rob Ireton

Actually, I'm secretly hoping my hubby will surprise me with tickets to Cirque du Soleil--fitting, no? Their tents are set up in the Old Port right now; their bright colours calling to me.

No more cupcake tastings, though, I'm done! That was so last year...and the year before that.
Anyway, it's going to involve a lot of eating no matter how I celebrate, starting with that poutine...

Monday, May 25, 2009

Twitterpated over Roast Broccoli with Lemon

It's no secret that I *heart* Twitter.

I mean, where else can you ask a vague question such as "Anyone remember that broccoli recipe that was making the rounds on blogs a while ago?" and have an answer, THE answer, in less than a minute?
Twitter beats Google that's for sure! Try Googling 'that broccoli recipe' and see if you get any luck. Instead of searching through hundreds of recipes looking for a specific one, a friend on Twitter immediately sent me a link to the one I was thinking of and offered a tip on preparing it as well. Sweet!
Ah, what a great group are those Tweeple.

So this recipe
is a little far off from my usual repertoire of desserts and all things rich, but when Adam of The Amateur Gourmet called Ina Garten's recipe the 'best broccoli of your life', I knew I would have to give it a go. I changed it up a bit by tossing in some red peppers just because I had a bunch, and omitted the Parmesan cheese. Not that I don't think Parmesan isn't good on pretty much anything but I was temporarily out.
Guess what? The broccoli was still terrific. Meaty, tangy--it certainly had some soul to it, which made up for what it lacked in the looks department. It ain't pretty!
Looks aside, this just might be my new favorite vegetable side dish. Move over asparagus.

Did I really just say that?

Roasted Broccoli and Red Peppers
with Lemon

Adapted from "Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics"
Serves 6 as a side dish

4 to 5 pounds broccoli

2 red peppers

4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced

Good olive oil

1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Cut the broccoli florets from the thick stalks, leaving an inch or two of stalk attached to the florets, discarding the rest of the stalks. Cut the larger pieces through the base of the head with a small knife, pulling the florets apart. You should have about 8 cups of florets. Halve and seed peppers and cut into 1-inch chunks.
Place the broccoli florets and red pepper on a sheet pan large enough to hold them in a single layer. Toss the garlic on the broccoli and drizzle with 5 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper.
Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until crisp-tender and the tips of some of the florets are browned.
Remove the broccoli from the oven and immediately toss with 1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil, the lemon zest and lemon juice.
Serve hot.

Friday, May 22, 2009

May Showers & Wedding Cake

Ever feel like you are living under the Big Top and your life is a three ring circus? Uh-huh. Last Saturday was Project Wedding Cake day and we could have charged admission to the circus that was our home in the morning--all we needed was a trapeze artist or two. We had the rest of the show: clowns (the boys of course), monkeys (yep, boys again), elephant (me after all the cake scraps I ate), gravity-defying acts (4 tiers of cake) and so on.

It wasn't lively only because I had a wedding cake to pull together on a standard rowdy Saturday morning, but the fact that we were all attending the wedding too; that added a challenging element. (Wait, who's idea it was to bring the kids anyway?) So of course that meant there were babies to bathe, tiny shirts and pants to iron, and many bags to be packed with activities, sippy cups and the appropriate stuffed animal.
Do NOT ask me how Brangelina do it--I only have two and it's work. Oh right, they have like 6 nannies.

All day I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, but it never did and the four of us plus four cakes made it to the ceremony and reception without incident. Oh, did I mention that it was pouring rain? Like the kind of intense downpour that hits the ground so hard it splashes up under your dress.Yeah, not nice.

I assembled the cake from the bottom up at the reception hall and decorated it with simple purple ribbon and fresh daisies. The bride's colors were purple and yellow and we worked together to incorporated them into the cakes design. She also had picked a cute Precious Moment's cake topper which suited her to a tee, and I think both the bride and groom were happy with the final result.

Later on that evening, as he busily snapped photos of the cake cutting, the wedding photographer asked me how I felt about my creation and the fact that it was about to be destroyed, ie: consumed. I assured him that unlike some wedding cakes, mine focused first on taste and second on appearances, meaning that it's ideal destiny was to be consumed down to the last crumb, not just to sit pretty. I would be ten times more upset if it was only for show and never got eaten and enjoyed!

That said, here's the lowdown on what went into the cake with recipes at the bottom. Hope you weren't expecting a DIY wedding cake tutorial, because frankly I am not the patissiere for the job! This is my sixth wedding cake over the last 10 years, not a very good ratio. I should probably decide soon if I'm serious about this wedding cake calling or not.

Alright, there was both One-Bowl Chocolate Cake and Yellow Butter Cake in the cake layers, with the exception of the second layer, which was double chocolate. After all, chocolate is a more popular flavor and I wanted extra. Cakes were filled with Chocolate Frosting and covered with Swiss Meringue Buttercream. Rolled fondant covered the cakes for the final touch.

Feel free to shoot
me an email if you have any questions about making these recipes in large quantities.


Yellow Butter Cake
Chocolate Frosting
Swiss Meringue Buttercream

One Bowl Chocolate Cake

From Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

3/4 cup warm water

3/4 cup buttermilk

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two round 9-inch cake pans or one 9x13 pan; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, sift together cocoa, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the eggs, warm water, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla; mix batter until smooth, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl to ensure batter is well mixed.
Divide batter evenly among pans. (If I have any extra batter I like to make a few mini cupcakes.) Bake until tops spring back when touched, about 20 minutes, rotating pan once if needed.

Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.

Frost as desired.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Foodie Facebook: Julie

Julie is one of those people you wish was your neighbor; you know, the kind with whom you can share a batch of cookies, swap a recipe or trade babysitting on occasion. Her scrumptious blog Dinner with Julie is a constant reminder that we live way too far apart.

Name: Julie

Place: Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Occupation: Writer/Eater/one who cooks and eats on radio & TV (this is always difficult to define!)

What is your earliest childhood food memory?

I'm not sure what would classify as my earliest... my Mom likes to tell the story of a 3 year old Julie asking when I could cook by myself - she said when I could read a recipe by myself, I could cook by myself. So I went off for awhile, and when I came back I asked her what a "Tbsp" was (pronounced as spelled). "Use it in a sentence," she said. "Add 2 Tbsp of sugar to.." and so on. I don't remember that myself, but awww, isn't it cute? So I guess cooking has always been my thing. I also have a memory of trying to make homemade cereal out of the long grasses in our back yard that looked just like the fields of blowing wheat on TV commercials. I doused it in sugar and made my sister eat it, and she cried. (That wasn't as bad as the time I invented -and built- a toilet for our fort out back, to save us having to come inside to go to the washroom.)

What did you eat today?

My days always start out well - granola, oatmeal (I mix barley flakes with oat flakes or pot barley with steel-cut oats when I make porridge, which ups my fiber intake - I have officially turned into my dad) or grainy toast with peanut butter, and an Americano (which has far less caffeine than regular coffee!). Then they inevitably go downhill as I progress into the day. I'm trying to get off the bread and boost my vegetable intake, so for lunch I made an asparagus-chick pea and brown rice dish with lemony tahini dressing from 101 Cookbooks that was pretty fab. Dinner was at my Mom's tonight (to celebrate being honoured for her contributions to arts and culture in Calgary) - we ordered in Thai food, which was tasty but a little too spicy - made my nose run.

Is there anything your kids aren’t allowed to eat?

Pop (regular and diet) for sure, but my son is still only 3, so that's sort of a given. All the overly manufactured candies and sugary cereals out there, and anything that still contains man-made trans fat. Although there are some things I won't give him (generally overprocessed food, McDonald's and the like), I have a hard time saying "you're not allowed to have that", because anytime anyone has said that to me I want it even more! I used to spend my allowance on stuff I wasn't allowed to have, or sneak over to my friends' houses for bowls of Strawberry Shortcake cereal and such. I was obsessed! I can only hope that by teaching him why things are unhealthy choices he may understand why he can't have some things, or shouldn't!

What do you always have on hand in your fridge?

Milk, butter, eggs from my sister's coop or from the goat guys at the farmer's market, half & half for coffee, a dozen or so pots of jam, pure maple syrup, tahini, a tub of spring greens, tons of apples and pears for W, and if I'm lucky, a bottle of prossecco.

What is your beverage of choice?

Depends on time of day and my mood. Probably a really good espresso/Americano/latte, or wine - red or prossecco or muscato. Or gin and tonic with lots of lime. Or a milkshake.

If you could have dinner with anyone in the history of man, who would it be?

It would be hard to not choose my Grandparents. Otherwise, John Cusack. Which may sound lame considering I have everyone in the history of man to choose from, but let's just be honest here - he is the very best man in the history of. And tall. And from what I've seen, a great conversationalist. While I'm dreaming, I'd have a 28 inch waist and he would fall madly in love with me over dinner.

OK, it’s your last meal ever, what do you have?

It's hard to say - I would answer this differently every day of the week! In fact, to demonstrate, I'm going to come back to this over the next few days and add to the list what I would choose for my last meal at that exact moment. Today I think I'd go for some very well-prepared butter chicken, garlicky, buttery naan, samosas with chutney, peas and paneer... my Grandma's brownies for dessert, warm, topped with vanilla ice cream.

Today - nothing is better than spinach sauteed in olive oil with garlic, with two good eggs cracked into the pan once the spinach is pushed off to the side, and served with the very best bread, with butter from Vital Green Farms (while we're talking last meal here) and coarse, flaky salt. And a hot fudge sundae from Peter's Drive-In.

Wait - I've just remembered two meals I had at SoBo in Tofino (on the very west coast of Vancouver island - about as far west as you can get in Canada - I highly recommend a visit) - SoBo stands for Sophisticated Bohemian. Everything they have there is stellar, but a few weeks ago I ate Honestly, this dinner was perfection on a plate; crispy-edged just-caught halibut over perfectly mashed potatoes, with roasted asparagus, red, purple and orange carrots and beets and wilted greens. But the sauce - a deep, intense, burnt orange sauce that was at once familiar and elusive; when I asked what it was again, I was told it was fresh carrot juice and just a hint of orange, cooked down and then enriched with butter and cream. It was neither creamy nor buttery, but rich, complex and brilliantly intense. Had I known what it was in advance, an orange-carrot sauce would never ever sell me, but this was pure genius. With a butter tart for dessert, this could be my ideal meal. Would a nap count as part of dinner?

Thank for taking the time to be interviews, Julie! It's was a great read. I could never decide between those choices for my last meal--hopefully I'll never have to!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Chocolate Banana Pancakes and Signs of Hope.

Dear Noah.

I'm confused. I've had you pegged as a picky eater for some time now, but it seems like lately you're toying with the idea of becoming a foodie.

What is up? Is this a ploy to give me false hope or are you really tuning over a new leaf?

Tonight at dinner, you devoured two shrimp and avocado summer rolls like a seasoned eater (peanut sauce included) and not at all like the finicky three-year-old of the past. Sure, you suspiciously inspected the mango and cilantro inside, but they didn't seem to deter you and you asked for thirds--a request that made my heart beat a little faster, I have to admit.

Now that I think about it, you've been slowly evolving in the food department; I'm remembering that entire chef's salad you ate recently. Salad!

"Look, Mom, I'm just like Benjamin Bunny!"
you said, as a bowl full of lettuce disappeared down the hatch.

Oh, and don't think that we haven't noticed that you are calling us "Mom" and 'Dad" now, instead of mommy and daddy. Humph.

Yes, I know, you're getting to be a big boy now. You can count to a hundred, write your name and do simple math, so have you also decided not to be picky anymore and eat your dinners like a man?

I've always told you, life can't be all-pancakes-all-the-time, but just in case this recent progress doesn't last, I'll keep this recipe handy.

Love Mom(my)

Chocolate Banana Pancakes with Nutella and Fresh Banana Slices

1 cup sour cream or yogourt
1 ripe banana

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup milk
or buttermilk
2 eggs

pinch of salt

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

2 Tablespoons cocoa

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

2 Tablespoons coconut (optional)

2 Tablespoons wheat germ

1/4 cup butter, melted

Combine sour cream, banana and vanilla in a large bowl and pulverize with a hand blender until smooth. Add milk and blend some more. Crack in the eggs, add a pinch of salt and mix thoroughly.

In another bowl, sift together flours, cocoa, and baking soda. With a wooden spoon, stir in coconut and wheat germ, if desired, then add entire dry mixture to the sour cream wet mixture.
Fold gently together. Pour in melted butter and mix just to combine.

Heat a cast iron pan and grease with vegetable oil. Ladle a few tablespoons of batter onto the pan to make several small, round pancakes. Add a slice of banana in the middle if you like, but be sure to dab more batter on top so they don't stick to the pan when you flip the pancakes. Cook on even medium heat until bubbles start to form. Flip pancakes and continue cooking.

Remove from pan and layer with Nutella and fresh banana slices. Serve!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day and Giveaway Winners!

Happy Mother's Day to all! I hope it was special. I can't believe it was my fourth Mother's Day already, I still feel like a new mom.
By now your little ones are probably tuckered out and fast asleep in bed--I know mine are! We tired them out tromping around Mount Royal, hunting the first wildflowers of the season. Hey, we had to work off our lobster lunch somehow. We found some flowers.

Oh, would you look at that! A lovely glass of chilled Mission Hill Pinot Blanc has just appeared at my elbow--it appears there's still a few hours of pampering left for this mother! OK, I won't keep you for long, but we have some winners to announce!
Did you forget? My giveaway ended last night and three lucky commenters are going to win a copy of "The Day My Baby Was Born" by LaNita McMeekan-Cates.

Ready? Thanks to selection by our winners are...

Kim McKee



Congratulations, Ladies!! Please contact me ASAP with your mailing addresses and we'll get those books shipped out to you soon.
A big thank you to everyone who entered, and for your super sweet comments and words of congratulations. They mean so much. I wish I could sit down with each one of you over a cup of coffee and hear your birth stories!

Remember, if you still would like a copy of the birth stories collection, it is conveniently available to order on my sidebar!!

I leave you with these photos that keep cracking me up of Noah holding the lobsters we cooked up today. We dined in for Mother's Day lunch, creating a vibrant spring warm lobster salad with poached rhubarb and fiddleheads. You must try this recipe, seriously.
Anyway, after much begging on my part, Noah got up the nerve to pick up first one and then two live lobsters. That is no easy feat for a three-year-old, I mean, those things thrash around something fierce and they are heavy--and slippery. For those of you who don't know him, he may look like he is smiling, but these are expressions of sheer trepidation.

What an awesome kid. I'm one proud mama this Mother's Day.
Good night all!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Maple Walnut Cookie Dough Ice Cream

I love May for so many reasons; watching the tulips waving from their beds, receiving Mother's Day construction paper cards, celebrating seven years of married bliss, being excused from housework to garden, attending weddings...Oh, that reminds me, I have a wedding coming up and a cake to make.

It always seems like such a fun idea when I agree to make a cake; it is usually on a dismal January day, when the month of May and its weddings seems like a distant fantasy and I have no recollection of those panicky days leading up to 'cake day'. Heck, why not, I tell the client, it will be fun! I wish this time was different, but as I stockpile butter and eggs and sketch the anatomy of the four-tiered beauty, I'm feeling the familiar butterflies and am wishing it was over already! Oh well, don't worry about me. I'll find a way to channel my stress! At least the client is a friend, and a polar opposite to a Bridezilla--she a sweetheart.

Enough about Project Wedding Cake--I also love May because it ice cream time!
OK, so this bonjour!-to-summer ice cream is amazing. Is actually Maple Ice Cream with Maple-Walnut and White Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. Enough of a mouthful?

When Julie professed her love of these Maple Walnut White Chocolate Cookies and sang the praises of the dough itself, I knew I wouldn't be waiting long to try them. A bottle of homegrown maple syrup from our families sugar shack outing was calling from the fridge and fortunately I had just stocked up on white chocolate chips from Bulk Barn. (A first in Quebec, Bulk Barn is my latest and greatest culinary discovery. Think Costco meets Ares meets Anatol.)

I don't think it was coincidence that I also had a half a batch of Ben & Jerry's Sweet Cream ice cream base in the fridge. The other half had already been made into strawberry ice cream and consumed entirely, but the rest was awaiting a destiny of cookie dough ice cream.
So I chunked up some cookie dough with a knife, spread it out on a tray, and threw it in the freezer to freeze solid. Then I added 2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup to the ice cream base, churned it 'til it was hard and folded in the cookie dough right at the end. A few hours in the freezer and it was ready!

It was way better than the B& J original cookie dough ice cream--and I am a huge fan. I love nuts in ice cream so the walnuts made me happy. It was just nice to have a maple ice cream that didn't taste artificial.
You could leave out the white chocolate chips as maple cookie dough ice cream is pretty spectacular as it is.

And if you don't have an ice cream maker, or *gasp* ice cream just isn't your thing, try a batch of Julie's cookies. They will rock your world! Recipe at the bottom of the post.

Maple Walnut Cookie Dough Ice Cream with White Chocolate Chips

1/2 recipe raw Maple Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookie dough (recipe below)
1 recipe Maple Ice Cream Base (recipe below)
White Chocolate chips to taste

Have a 1 quart sized Tupperware container chilling in the freezer, ready to receive the ice cream.
Chop the cookie dough into bite-sized pieces, place on a tray, cover and freeze.
Prepare the ice cream maker and add Maple Ice Cream Base. Freeze following the manufacturers instructions until quite stiff.
Add the chopped cookie dough and a few handfuls of white chocolate chips. Continue freezing until the ice cream is ready. Scoop into your chilled container and place in freezer to freeze further. Enjoy licking the dasher of the ice cream maker--this is one of the fine things in life.
Enjoy your ice cream!

Maple Ice Cream Base
adapted from Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream & Dessert Book

2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
1/4 cup pure maple syrup

Using a hand held blender, whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Whisk in the sugar, a little at a time, then continue whisking until completely blended, about 1 minute more. Pour in the cream and milk and whisk to blend. Finally, add the maple syrup and whisk thoroughly.
Chill completely before churning.

Go ahead and bake off some to eat, too.

Maple Walnut White Chocolate Chip Cookies
From Dinner with Julie

1/4 cup butter, softened

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup pure maple syrup (not flavoured pancake syrup)

1 large egg

1 tsp. vanilla or maple extract

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

3/4 cup each white chocolate chips/chunks and chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a large bowl, beat the butter, brown sugar and maple syrup until well combined — the mixture will have the consistency of wet sand. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth. Add the flour, baking soda and salt (stir them together first only if you want to) to the butter-sugar mixture and stir by hand until almost combined; add white chocolate and walnuts and stir just until blended. It may seem dry at this point - I always find it easiest to get in there with my hands toward the end. Drop spoonfuls of dough (or roll rough walnut-sized balls) about 2” apart on a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with nonstick spray. Flatten each a little with your hand, just to give them a head start. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until pale golden and set around the edges but still soft in the middle. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Makes 20 cookies.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Mother's Day Announcement and a Giveaway!

Mother's Day is just around the corner and so this post is keeping with that theme...
A while back I hinted at a small announcement I would be making soon and I asked "What do you get when you combine a Pregnancy, a Pen and a Publisher?" Well, for starters, let me just say that NO, I am not pregnant as a few of you speculated...but I am thrilled to share that I have had a short story published. For reals!

It's a true story, one very dear to my heart, because it is about the birth of my firstborn, Noah. My story, together with over fifty other birth stories from real moms around the world, is published under the beautiful title "The Day My Baby Was Born...".
Could there be a better announcement for Mother's Day?

I wanted you, dear readers, to be the first to know, because so many of you are mothers yourself (some very recently!) and you are the best group ever! At the bottom of the post you will have a chance to win one of three copies of this book, so keep reading.

About the book:

Let me just say a few words about The Day My Baby Was Born (Sourcebooks Trade, 1 Edition April 2009). It is beautiful, honest, humorous, raw, inspiring, emotional and impossible to put down. Reading it will make you so proud to be a woman! I heartily recommend it as a gift for that special mom in your life. It has just become my #1 baby shower gift!
This book was the creative idea of author/mother LaNita McMeekan-Cates and a result of several years perseverance trying to get the manuscript published. I am honoured that she chose my story to be included in her remarkable project. Congratulations, LaNita, on your first book--your hard work paid off beautifully!

My contribution to The Day My Baby Was Born is entitled "Night of the Full Moon", and is neither an astonishing nor particularly exceptional birth story. It is merely the story of one very stubborn 27-year-old determined to give birth without medical intervention and wishing to embrace the experience without painkillers. Along the way she discovers a deep inner strength, one that she believes is bestowed upon all women, and this strength helps her reach her goal. It's an enlightening moment for her, and one that she will compare all future struggles to, knowing now that she is infinitely stronger than she had ever thought.

Mother's Day Accolades:

Since this is already a lengthy and personal post, let me just take this opportunity to quickly spotlight three moms who I think are extraordinary (read their stories and you'll see why) and wish them a very special Mother's Day.

My sister Haidi gave birth to her third child just a few weeks ago. She delivered it at home. By herself. Yep, that's right. A home birth had been planned, but the baby came so fast she beat the midwife. My sister did what she had to do and caught the perfectly healthy Amélie Soleil herself. I think I would have called 911, but hopefully I'll never have to test that theory. You're hard core, sista'!

Caroline is my sister-in-law, mother to 11 month-old Angelique and pregnant with her second baby. So far this pregnancy has been similar to her first, except for the fact that her husband has been deployed on a six month mission with the Canadian Forces to Afghanistan. Caro, your strength, faith and steady smile are amazing to see. We're here for you. Happy First Mother's Day!

Although she is a distant relative and we have never met, I have been grieving with young mother, Gigi, over the recent loss of her only child, five-year-old Braeden. Sweetie, know that he is looking down on you this Mother's Day and is suffering no more. Your strength and peace is an example to us all and a true testimony of the amazing woman you are.

Of course, sending lots of love to my own dear mum, Zoe!

Mateo & I. Photo by Tim Chin


**Update:This giveaway has ended and the winners are posted! Thanks to all who commented!**

The book's author, LaNita McMeekan-Cates and I are teaming up on a giveaway that will allow three of you a chance to win The Day My Baby Was Born. I will host the giveaway, and after a week pick three winners. You will send me your shipping addresses and LaNita will ship each of you an autographed copy of this precious book!

All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this post!

Note: for extra entries you can Twitter this giveaway (leave another comment letting me know you have done so) OR blog about it, making sure to link back to this post so I can track you.

Giveaway ends Saturday, May 9 at Midnight. Winners will be announced on Mother's Day (May 10)

If you are feeling unlucky or wish to own The Day My Baby Was Born regardless of the outcome of the giveaway, you can purchase it through the Amazon widget on my sidebar. That would just make my day! Thanks!

Good luck to all!!


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