31 July 2014

To Everything There is a Season

Hi all,

I won't even bother with my usual excuses for having been away from the blog this last little while. They're pretty tired out, those excuses are, and besides, there's one really good reason behind my absence that has put things into perspective and allowed me to make some decisions recently that are both sad and exciting at the same time.

I know many of you will totally get it when I say that lately I've been battling a sort of blog ennui. If I'm honest, it's been a struggle for a couple of years now to define who I am as a blogger and what Money Pit Love really is. What began as a practical forum to share stories with family (and who I'm not sure even read the blog anyway!) became a labour of love, then one of nearly unlimited fun, and then one immersed in an epic identity crisis.

MPL has been limping along ever since, being less a creative outlet than an ill-fitting suit. I struggle with the self-imposed parameters of MPL. I feel like the brand itself is suffocating in response to my internal pressure to remain true to it.

Because the truth is: I'm not a brand. I'm a person, and what I want to represent is my life, not a product.

The fact is, I'm changing. Money Pit Love still feels to me like the 'little blog that could', chatting about my renovations (in the old Money Pit), design and d├ęcor. Now, those interests represent only a small part of me. There is so much more I'd like to explore, share, and discuss, and much of it feels inappropriate for this blog.

The bottom line is, I've decided to close up shop here at MPL. This will be my last post here, though the site will remain live. There are a lot of links out there in the internet that lead back this blog, and nothing frustrates me more than when something interests me and I click to a dead link. KILLS ME. So I won't do that. Just... no more posts here, and an invitation to join me over at my new venture, Life of Plenty.

Life of Plenty is where I'll be hanging my blogger hat from this day forward. I hope the amazing friends I've made through MPL - all of you, out there - will make the transition with me, too. What I write about will remain largely the same - lots of food, lots of kid stuff, lots of life stuff - but in a way that lets me feel free to celebrate those things as a holistic whole without worrying about how I'm being perceived or whether I'll lose my place in the YMC Community if I don't post for a week.

So, Life of Plenty. My new blog about life: all of it. Food, family, heath, parenting, design, the arts, travel, home, career, leisure.... ALL. OF. IT. I hope to see you there.


08 July 2014

Foodie Tuesday | Tuna Pasta Salad

Let it be known that I am NOT a pasta salad kind of girl. I never have been: the very idea of noodles with salad dressing turns me right off. When I tried to eat it in the past, my throat literally closed up and said, Nope. Not going to happen. Spit it out, 'cuz it's not going down.

So when I met Daryn ages and ages ago, and he said to me, My mom makes this pasta salad with tuna and pickles and green peppers, and it's awesome. You should totally try it. I was like, Um, NO. Thank you. I'd rather eat dirt.

But I was young and totally in that stage where you do things even if you don't want to, to make the other person happy and to like you more and think you're cooler and better than any girl they've dated before you, so when he said, Seriously, try it, I was like, OK. And so I did, thinking that probably I was going to have to excuse myself immediately to deal with my throat-closing-over issues and wondering how I could keep him thinking I was cool even while I was totally failing the Mom's-Noodle-Salad-Test.

But you know what? The funniest thing happened. I LOVED IT. I ate a little bit, and then a little bit more, and then a little more after that... and then I asked for a whole bowl and ate the whole damn thing! And ASKED FOR SECONDS. Because as weird as it sounds and sort of looks, it TASTES amazing. I could literally eat this salad for breakfast, lunch and dinner (full disclosure: I have totally done this.)

Great on the beach, at a backyard barbecue or in a bowl on the couch, it's a chilled-out alternative to traditional pasta meals with all flavor-punch of a summer salad. Also, if you excuse that whole cup-of-mayonnaise thing, not terrible for you! So the next time you're looking for a filling and satisfying but not hot and heavy summertime dinner, look no further than Tuna Pasta Salad. Just chop, toss and enjoy!

Preparation: 20 minutes + 1 hour | Cooking Time: 14-20 minutes | Serves: 6
  • 500g whole wheat Rotini pasta
  • 3 cans light flaked tuna in water, drained
  • 1 cup dill pickles, small diced (6-12 pickles)
  • 1 cup green pepper, small diced
  • 1 cup old cheddar cheese, small diced
  • 1 cup Miracle Whip
  • 1/4 cup pickle juice
  • 3 tbsp. yellow mustard
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
Cooking Directions:
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to directions, until noodles are just al dente. Drain (but do not rinse); allow to cool for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking and allow even cooling.
  2. Meanwhile, drain tuna and flake into a large mixing bowl or storage container (I use a container with a snap-on lid, to make mixing easier down the road).
  3. Dice green pepper, pickles and cheese. Add to tuna; stir to combine.
  4. When pasta is cool, add it to your tuna mixture. Toss to combine.
  5. To the pasta add pickle juice, mayonnaise, mustard and pepper. If you've used a mixing bowl, stir with a large spoon until the pasta is evenly coated with dressing. If you're using a sealable container, snap the lid on and shake like crazy until the dressing is evenly distributed.
  6. Taste-test for preference; add more mayo, pickle juice and/or mustard as desired. Chill for at least one hour prior to serving. Can be served cold-cold, or slightly cooler than room temperature. Either way is delicious!
If you want to make your salad even more pickle-y you can add 3 or 4 spoonful's of Bick's Dill Bits relish in addition to the chopped pickles. It gives it a little extra "oomph" in the tartness department, which I think is awesome. Otherwise, it's perfect just as it is!

NOTES | EASY, KID-FRIENDLY (depending on the kid)

01 July 2014

Foodie Tuesday | Bruschetta Pasta + Goat Cheese & Fresh Basil

Happy Canada Day, peeps!

What better Foodie Tuesday dish to celebrate Canada's birthday than a festive red-and-white one? I can't think of any (except maybe cupcakes, but we're trying to keep it healthy around here at the Pit so you know... not those.)

Even better than a better-than red and white dish? One that's super easy to make, and can be served at room temperature. It's a perfect (perfect!) cottage weekend dinner.

Preparation: 20 minutes | Cooking Time: 20 minutes | Serves: 6
  • 10 firm plum tomatoes, medium diced
  • 1/2 sweet onion, finely diced
  • 6 tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. + 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. chili flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. coarse salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2-4 oz. plain goat cheese, crumbled (or, however much you like)
  • 6 cups whole wheat rigatoni, uncooked
  • 1/2 to 1 cup fresh basil, chopped
Cooking Directions:
  1. Cook pasta according to directions, until al dente (tender-firm). Drain well, but don't rinse with water. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine tomatoes, onion, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, vinegar, garlic, mustard, chili flakes, salt and pepper. Whisk to blend well.
  3. Add pasta to mixing bowl; toss to coat evenly. Add basil and give it another stir.
  4. Top with crumbled goat cheese (to taste) and serve at room temperature.
I often make the tomato mixture a few hours ahead of time, and let it marinate until it's time for dinner. The tomatoes absorb the other ingredients and intensify the flavours.

Be forewarned: this is a very romantic meal only insomuch as the garlic and raw onion will drive everyone away who's not eating it with you. Don't expect to get all lovey-dovey with your leading man (or lady) unless he or she is eating it right along with you.

Otherwise this dish tastes like a million bucks, and looks equally as festive. A more Canadian-looking dish I've never cooked!

So hap-hap-happy Canada Day, folks! Enjoy the festivities; however you might be celebrating, be safe and eat well.

{gently adapted from The Art of Living Well cookbook by Rose Reisman}