Monthly Archives: May 2013

Healthier Oatmeal Cookies

This week has turned out to be so busy! Monday was pretty normal, as was Tuesday. But on Wednesday, we crammed in enough activities to make up for that! In the morning, we had a messy playdate organized by my friend who has two littles. The kids got to paint a big canvas with ‘worms’ (spaghetti covered in acrylic paint), catch bugs in nets, and decorate their own caterpillar. It was great! Little B would still rather be on his own, doing his own thing, not getting messy at all. He must take after his mum.

Then we went home, did a quick change into our ‘farm clothes’ and grabbed some snacks. There were some hours available at the farm and we thought we’d better take advantage!

After a couple of hours we returned home, scrubbed off in the tub (another grungy ring to clean) and threw together some batter for a Deep Dish Cookie Pie. I didn’t even have time to bake it before we had to leave for dinner at the same friend’s house we were at earlier (I baked it when we got there).

On Thursday we had another playdate at the library. We hung out there for a bit, had some snacks and then I took Braeden down in the stroller to grab some groceries at the store before driving back home. It was so hot!

Today there are more hours to work at the farm so that’s where we’ll be!

Here is a cookie recipe that I made last week when I had a sweet craving:

Healthy Honey Oatmeal Cookies: From food.com

photo 1After gathering all my supplies, I mixed together the wet ingredients. I only used one 1/4 cup of brown sugar instead of one 1/2 cup. I knew that if these were going to be devoured in an instant, I needed all the help I could get.

photo 2Then I added the dry ingredients. I’m a bad baker sometimes and I don’t sift my stuff together before I dump it in. I do try to shake it evenly over the top so I don’t get clumps of salt anywhere! I must say, I’ve never had a problem with that happening. Also, I added about a 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, just because I love that flavour in an oatmeal cookie!

photo 3I used a tablespoon to measure the cookies out onto the pan.

photo 4

I baked them for 15 minutes but they were a touch overdone. I usually bake them a few extra minutes because my oven runs cool but I think I got sidetracked this time.

photo 5But they definitely hit the spot! These could be made vegan by using egg replacer (flax, chia, NRG Egg Replacer) and maple syrup instead of honey.

What is your favourite healthy-ish treat?

 

 

 

 

Beginner DIY Garden Project

So, I’ve been blogging for a couple of months now. Sadly, I keep breaking the cardinal rule of blogging, which seems to be: Take Photos of EVERY Step on EVERY project! Oops. I got kind of carried away with this one because it was so hot out and I had a baby strapped to my back…

Anyway, this summer, we are participating in the local CSA project by working the garden to pay off our share of veggies. I also decided that I’d like to start my very first small backyard garden to see if I’m capable at all of growing my own food. Since Chris wasn’t able to dig my little garden for me, I decided to try something else.

I found this post about a DIY pallet garden. It seemed pretty straightforward so off we went to Canadian Tire to pick up our supplies! Canadian Tire (our local one, anyway) gives away plain wooden pallets to anyone who wants to pick them up.

I also grabbed some pea gravel, organic potting soil, landscape fabric and some organic pea seeds to get me started.

photo 1-1

The only thing I’m worried about, is that my slats seem much closer together than the pallet in the original blog. I’m hoping my little plants will still get enough sunlight once they poke through. I tried to place the pallet on a very sunny part of the yard. Oh, hi Danger!

garden 2I stapled the landscape fabric to the underside of the pallet and layered in the gravel and soil, just like the original plan stated. I then gave it a good watering and told myself I’d plant the seeds the next day. I soaked the seeds overnight in some water and they had begun to sprout a little so hopefully they’ll grow ok! We just had a good bit of rain so we’ll see. I’ll do an update once I get the rest of my seeds. Wish me luck!

 

What We Ate This Week [8]

This week was really great in terms of meals! I tried something new and ate some really yummy (gluten and dairy free) comfort food.

Monday: We had FINALLY gone out to get some groceries to put in my very empty fridge. I bought a ton of fruits and veggies so dinner was basically made up of us snacking on different things as I washed and prepped everything.

Tuesday: I came across a recipe for a simple looking rice and bean dish. I had always wanted to try it so I gave it a go. I wish I had discovered it sooner! The flavours were smoky and it was like comfort in a bowl. I can’t wait to try it with my home-grown cilantro (once my seeds come!). I think it would be good with some sliced avocado for some extra veggie goodness.

beans rice

Wednesday: Speaking of comfort food… A week or so ago, I had made him my delicious chili cheese fries. I had accidentally made WAY too much of the cheesy sauce so I’ve been waiting until I had some brown rice elbow macaroni so I could make some gluten free, dairy free mac ‘n cheese! I’ll be writing a separate post with the recipe for the chili cheese fries and the sauce, don’t you worry!

mac cheese

Thursday: I follow a website called Weelicious on Facebook and they had a post about spinach pesto on quinoa. It seemed like a no brainer, since I always buy a huge bag of spinach but this week I was having trouble getting through it. I doubled the recipe, however I only used 1tsp of salt and it was still plenty salty for us! I added in some leftover chicken as well. My son loved it!

spinach pesto

Friday: Keeping with the comfort food theme, I cooked up a couple of steaks with some mashed potatoes and frozen veggies. I cut each steak in half so I’d have lots left over for salads. I mixed in some original almond milk, salt and pepper for nice and creamy mashed potatoes and only used steak spice to season the steaks. Very yummy.

I hope next week is just as yummy as this one was! Did you try any new recipes this week?

Peppermint Mocha Frappuccino: Frozen Sweet Summer Treat!

Last night, little bugger-baby and I (finally) went grocery shopping. I had run out of instant decaf coffee (I am so not a coffee-snob… I don’t bother with a coffee maker at home because I don’t drink it that often) so I grabbed a new bottle.

As I was putting away the groceries, I had a brainstorm. I boiled some water and filled an ice cube tray with coffee! “Tomorrow morning is going to be AWESOME.” I said to myself. And it was.

I love my Starbucks. It’s no secret. There isn’t a decent coffee place in town and the nearest Sbux is 1.5 hours away (blasphemy, I know). I drink tea if I want a hot drink at home because I know I can never replicate my soy, decaf Americano misto with sugar-free vanilla. But, I digress.

Peppermint Mocha Frappuccino:

  • 2 cups brewed coffee (brew to the strength you prefer – I like it strong)
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk (I used almond but feel free to use cow’s milk)
  • Starbucks peppermint flavoured syrup (until it’s as sweet as you like – I used 2 pumps)
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder

Pour the coffee into an ice cube tray and freeze overnight. You might want to chill it a little before you dump it into the tray. I had a hard time getting the cubes out because they were packed in there too tightly. I put six cubes into my Kitchen Ninja.

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I added all the other ingredients and used the ‘Crush’ setting. I had to add a little extra almond milk to get it the right consistency.

IMG_2293I poured it into a fancy glass and enjoyed my delicious treat!

IMG_2294For a sugar-free drink, try adding some stevia to sweeten, and a few drops of peppermint extract.

What’s your favourite coffee drink?

 

 

Our First Day at the Farm

I first heard the term ‘CSA’ (community shared agriculture) a few years ago from my sister. She was a member of her local CSA in Thornbury, Ontario and every week she would get a giant box of fresh, local veggies. They also have a catalogue that they can order grains, seeds, and other items like nut butters and such. I thought, wow, what a great idea! A local farmer produces food, and you just go and pick it up! Fantastic.

Well. Then we moved. I didn’t find out about the CSA here in our little Alberta town until after the season had started so all the shares had been sold. But I got on the waiting list, and the owner asked me ‘paid share or working share?’

Hm?

I can WORK instead of PAYING?! Sign me up!! I got on the list for a full working share for this season and I couldn’t wait to get started. It works out to about 50 hours at the farm over the course of the season (May to September-ish).

Today was our first day. I was a little nervous because I’ve never really planted anything and had it survive (heh) except for a tree. When I was 6. So I brought some water, sunscreen, hats, sweaters, raincoats (it’s Canada… you never know what the weather is going to do!) and a couple snacks. I drove out to the farm, popped Braeden in the Ergo and off we went.

I planted cabbage (red and green), broccoli, and kale. Others were there as well, digging holes, watering plants, making trenches. Kids were playing on the swings and trampoline. Braeden did well but I could tell he was getting bored after a while. I took him out of the Ergo and sat him down in the field. He played with dirt (and did a little taste test, too) contentedly.

We only stayed for two hours. I didn’t want to over-do it for either of us on our first day. But, I think this picture sums up the day pretty well. Let’s just say I have to clean the tub again after we came home and had a bath…

Dirt baby 2

I can’t wait to watch the little seeds grow, and eat all our yummy local veggies!

What We Ate This Week [7]

Last week was a little hectic to say the least! Being a military family definitely has its ups and downs. Anyway, things are as ‘back on track’ as they can get for the time being!

We had a little bit of an ‘uninspired’ week of dinners.

Monday: Fresh veggie rice wrap spring rolls with homemade peanut sauce.

Tuesday: Tofu bake, once more! One of these days I’ll get a picture of it…

Wednesday: Veggie wraps. Again. The reason for this was because I had made waaaay too much sauce on Monday and we had to use it up. Here is a pic from mid-dinner. You can see the remnants of red pepper, cucumber, tofu strips, egg and peanut sauce.

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Thursday: I grazed on quinoa bean salad with half an avocado.

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Friday: I made a simple salad with lettuce, grape tomatoes, cucumber, plain chicken breast, and hemp hearts. I drizzled olive oil and apple cider vinegar over it for a simple dressing. It was actually really tasty! I got a really nice organic apple cider vinegar and it makes such a difference compared to the Heinz I was using before.

IMG_2273

Maybe this coming week will be a little more interesting!

Hmm, What is This #Blend2013 You Speak Of?

I used to follow lots of celebrities on Twitter. Then I started blogging, and I thought… what benefit is this to me, aside from a little pre-bedtime amusement? Well, that’s a stretch – it was more like mindless blathering most of the time. So I did a mass unfollowing and started fresh with a couple of blogs that I had previously read;  then I went to their following/follower lists and picked a few here and a few there. Currently, I follow 309 people and/or blogs.

I started out with 11 followers, myself. Now, since I have started this blog, that number is sitting at 90! I think that’s pretty good, for not really putting forth a ton of effort to get more followers.

Since most of the people I follow, follow each other, I noticed a #trend lately: #blend2013. Hmmm… what is this?

So I visited the website. Blend Retreat is a weekend get-together (blog + friend = blend) for bloggers across the US and Canada – this year it’s in Utah. It’s sponsored by a bunch of great companies and focuses on health (natural healthy food being served), fitness (boot camps and hiking are included in the ticket price) and networking with a whole gaggle of awesome, blogging, like-minded women! Plus the prices are pretty reasonable.

Anyway, I think I want to add attendance to a future Blend Retreat to my long-term goals. I will keep blogging and instagramming and tweeting… I will get there!