I have been doing a lot of strange things lately. Maybe the most shocking is that I ate a piece of quiche over the Easter holidays. I am the all time egg hater; gagging, watering eyes, etc. It just looked so damned good. Plus I have always felt deprived of all these seemingly delicious egg dishes. I went for it, and it was well worth the risk. It must be noted that this quiche was loaded with Swiss cheese and bacon. Great flavor maskers, there was only one bite that was a little dicey. I powered through. It was the most egg I have eaten in a sitting. Ever. To be clear, my adventuresome egg tasting hasn’t progressed any further.
I have also had an overwhelming urge to garden, or at least make the yard look better. I tried a veggie garden a few years ago, didn’t love the process. I am in full agreement with my mother in law when she confirmed that she was perfectly happy to buy from local farmers and leave the work and expertise to them. This year I have planted a few flowers, some succulents and have been tending to the perennials that we semi-neglected last year. I have also better equipped myself to tend to things, better garden gloves, a watering can, tools and a little fertilizer. The boys are both at a great age to be outside and be really interested in the garden (usually worm and bug hunting). Fingers crossed. I will keep you posted.
I also spray painted, yes me the not crafty person. I picked up a weather wicker garden stool a few years ago at a garage sale. It has been in our back yard for the past few summers, but was starting to look tired. My first thought was white. I quickly tossed that idea out and decided yellow. Way more fun. The process was pretty fast and easy. My kind of project. The only downside was after priming and spraying two coats I had some pretty serious trigger finger (who knew your pointer finger could be out of shape). It now sits happily on our front porch, providing some much needed colour. Adding some colour to our house was one of my New Year's resolutions....so getting there.
I don’t know who I am anymore. Oh no wait…I am sharing a soup recipe. Sneaking in one more before full blast spring weather. Old me is back. Spinach, Bean and Pasta Soup, once again this is from the Spilling the Beans
Canola or olive oil
1-2 turkey or chicken Italian sausage (optional)
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 cups water
1 cup dry whole wheat pasta
14 oz can tomato sauce or diced tomatoes
3 cups chicken or veggie stock
1 tsp dried oregano or basil
Salt and pepper to taste
3-4 handfuls of spinach, torn or chopped
19 oz can of red or white kidney beans, rinsed and drained
Freshly grated parmesan for serving
In a large sauce pan over medium heat, drizzle in oil and sauté the sausage. Break up with a spoon and cook until no longer pink. Add onion and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes, until soft.
Add water, pasta, tomato sauce, stock, oregano and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes (until pasta is tender). Add the spinach and beans and cook for another 3 minutes. Top with parmesan cheese.
I loved how fast this soup came together. I also had everything on hand. I used navy beans because that’s what I had. The kids liked it because there was pasta in it, all the good stuff comes along with the noodles. One more soup day left I am sure…..
Anyone else been doing strange things? Maybe it is spring, a time of new starts.
Two years ago today I posted my first blog entry. For real. The time has gone really quickly. When I started out I wasn't really sure what this blog would look like or what sort of information I would provide. It quickly evolved to a recipe testing/transforming/sharing format. A much slower evolution also took hold; the sharing of more of my personal life. There was only so many ways I could talk about how I swapped out whole wheat flour for white, or Greek yogurt for sour cream before things get a little dry and repetitive. When I was younger I was a diary keeper, my last entries were done around grade eleven, After that I kept a yearly planner that included homework, weekend adventures, dinner plans, holidays and work schedules. I have now progressed to iCal on my phone. I keep track of the boys' big moments in the calendar too (I have yet to get a baby book started for either of them). I guess I have always had a need to document. The part that is missing is the details. Maybe that's where this blog fits in, a way to document some of the details.
It has also been a great way to keep track of my favorite recipes. I refer back often. There are still things I would like to do: add a print option, figure out a better way to categorize the recipes so they are easier to find, add a search box, etc. Someone asked me a while ago "Why do you write your blog?". I thought it was kind of a strange question. It was hard to answer. I don't make any money doing it. I guess it does provides some exposure for my business and website, but that's not the motivator either. I think I would still write entries even if no one was reading. I just really like doing it, which is really the best motivator. Of course I love that people do read, try recipes and realize that healthy eating doesn't have to be tasteless or difficult.
For this entry I am sharing a recipe for lemon loaf. When I was younger I was not a lemon dessert fan at all. My Mom and Grandma love them. I was sure it was an older lady thing. Then it hit me like a truck. A sudden love of lemon desserts. I am officially an older lady by my own definition. Whatever, as long as there is lemon loaf. Of course I was looking for something a little more healthy, but still moist and very lemony. I used Meyer lemons
. Good lord, go out and buy some if you haven't already. First off they are the most beautiful yellow colour, they scream spring. They release the most amazing smell when you zest them (like candy). They are also easier to juice than their traditional cousins.
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
3/4 cup of sugar
1 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour
1/3 cup of canola oil
1 cup of low fat plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoon of lemon juice
2 teaspoons of grated lemon peel (I was very generous to achieve max lemon flavour)
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
1/4 teaspoon of baking powder
3/4 cup of powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Squeeze lemon juice from a fresh lemon. Then grate the peel.
Combine flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda into a bowl.
In a large bowl, stir egg, oil, yogurt, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and lemon peel. Once mixed, add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Mix well (it will be a pretty thick batter)
Pour mixture into a greased loaf pan.
Bake for 45 - 50 minutes.
While baking, mix together the sugar and remaining lemon juice to create a glaze. When bread is done baking and has cooled, apply glaze. I used a spoon to drizzle the glaze over the bread. Adapted from here
So yeah, delicious. I doubled the recipe (of course) and froze a loaf for a later date. I added a little more lemon juice to the glaze because I wanted it more tart than sweet. Loved it. Very moist.
A thing of beauty.
Thank you for reading, trying recipes and all your comments. The last two years have flown by. I feel so lucky to have something in my life that I enjoy so much.
Braden and I are both officially back to work. Braden's paternity leave is over. He was an amazing stay at home Dad. I am pretty sure he was better at it than I was. Maybe not better, but he enjoyed it more. I kept asking about breakdowns, tough days, challenges. All greeted with a blank stare. I was always sure the kids would be well taken care of, but thought the house would be in total disarray. Nope. This guy can cook dinner, fold laundry and coordinate play school drop offs and naps. The kids might of eaten more hotdogs and Kraft Dinner than I would have liked, but all survived. I am so grateful the boys and Braden got to spend this time together and feel so lucky to have such an incredible husband.
Up until now we have needed very little outside child care. My work has become more regular and with Braden back to work we need care three days a week. We have had so many discussions around what is best for the boys and best for us. Tough decisions to make. In the end we have chosen to go with a live out nanny. I like the idea of the boys being in their own space. I love the idea of not rushing them out the door in the morning. It also allows us to keep one vehicle. Braden can continue to ride his bike to work (Mr. Active) and I can take the trusty Versa.
I sort of forgot that we would be getting home at 5:00 and that we are all used to eating dinner at 5:30. I have been doing more meal planning, making double batches to freeze and making an extra meal in the slow cooker on the weekend to have later in the week. So far, so good. This recipe was a weekend slow cooker. It is kind of a combination of a few recipes. I have been calling it Butternut Squash Red Lentil Quinoa Curried Stew. Kind of long winded.
1 tsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp curry paste or powder (or more to taste) I used this
4 cups low-sodium chicken or veggie stock
1 cup red lentils
1/2 cup quinoa
1 butternut squash peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
2-3 cups greens of your choice (I used spinach)
Fresh grated ginger, to taste (optional)
Salt & black pepper, to taste
Rinse lentils; set aside. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and ginger; cook until translucent, about 4 minutes. Transfer to slow cooker. Add squash, stock, lentils, quinoa and curry paste. Cook on high for 4-6 hrs or low for 7-8 hrs. Add greens and stir until wilted. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot. Adapted from here
This was so good. I loved all the flavours. We had enough for two dinners (one eaten the next day and one in the freezer) as well as a few single serve portions in the freezer for quick lunches. The boys liked it too. Everything sort of melts together so no weird textures.
Sawyer loved it so much he flung it all over the walls.
I have to mention that it is Sawyer's first birthday today. My sweet, sweet baby is one. Everything with baby number two flies by. He has a tooth, he is sitting up, eating, walking, yelling, dancing, feeding himself, sleeping through the night (that one was hard earned this time around). I sniffed, savoured, photographed, videoed, stared, loved but nothing slowed it down. We have come so far, yet I know we are still so close to the start. Happy Birthday sweet boy....
So much has happened since I last posted that I can't even begin to write it all out, so I am going to offer the highlights:
1. Hudson turned three! He was so excited. It was the first year I felt motivated to pick a theme and really go for it. If you need a theme for anything choose a Hawaiian theme! It was really easy to find the decor, music, food ideas and everyone can dress in their summer clothes.
We did the decorating while Hudson was out of the house. All of his "this is for me?", "this is for MY birthday?" and declaring "all I want to do is dance" made the decorating more than worth it (even the oh so tedious for me cupcakes).
I won't even start on how incredible it is that my first born is three.
2. I finally bought a bottle of my new favorite hot sauce Chalula
. Go out and get some. Best ever. All the flavour without burn your face off heat.
3. I may have also watched the best documentary I have ever seen: Stories We Tell
. Incredibly emotional, I don't think I have stopped thinking about it since I saw it three weeks ago. My mother-in-law got us tickets to see it at the Comox Valley Art Gallery TIFF Film Series. I have no idea where else you can see it? But if you get the chance....watch. Hopefully it will make it's way to iTunes.
4. So I am not the greatest sports star, at all. But I have always had this secret idea that there was a sport out there that I had an incredible amount of natural talent. I just hadn't discovered or tried it yet. I was proven wrong with tennis. I enjoyed my lessons but my instructor wasn't blown away by my talent. I always thought rowing could be for me, but chickened out before signing up back in my UVic days. This weekend I tried cross country skiing
. Again I didn't have my instructor wondering how I was so good given it was my first time on cross country skis, but I for sure had more talent than one other person in the lesson (Yes!). Most importantly I really loved it. Can't wait to give it another go.
5. Lastly I discovered the recipe for Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies on the back of a bag of Trader Joe's gluten free oats. I never make cookies, more of a muffin girl, but this caught my eye.
1/4 cup butter
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup sugar
3 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
8 oz dark chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup natural peanut butter
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine sugar, brown sugar, and butter in a large bowl. Beat until creamy. Add eggs, vanilla, and baking soda: mix well. Add peanut butter and mix. Stir in the oats, chocolate chips, and nuts. Place dough by heaping teaspoons onto a lightly greased cookie sheet (I used parchment paper), about 2 inches apart. Bake 10-12 minutes or until light gold on the edges. Makes approximately 48 cookies.
Love these. I made them small because they are pretty calorie dens.There are about 100 calories, 3 grams of protein and 6 grams of sugar per cookie. I reduced the amount of sugar that was called for and they were sweet enough. They freeze very well. It is hard to believe that they don't have any flour in them. You can also get creative with what you add into the mix. Instead of chocolate chips and nuts you could do raisins and coconut or cranberries and sunflower seeds. Endless ideas.
A side note about oats and gluten. Oats themselves are gluten free, but are usually processed in factories that process wheat so there can be cross contamination. Look for uncontaminated or gluten free oats to be sure your oats are gluten free.
Any new discoveries you want to share?
I have seen a lot of recipes for mashed cauliflower. People claiming they make a great low carb substitute for mashed potatoes. I was not buying it. Not for one second. I envisioned a lumpy, spongy, beige mess floating in a watery liquid. Blah.
First off I am not a huge fan of cooked cauliflower. It always seems to generate a bad smell and is very easily over cooked. I like it raw and in certain Indian dishes where the spices are so rich they could cover any bad smell/taste. Second I really like mashed potatoes. Why mess with a good thing? One good reason: because you have a head of cauliflower than needs to be eaten before upcoming vacation. I cannot stand to waste food. I have been burned by this rational before. Kale chips: love chips, love kale, hate kale chips.
I tasked Braden with finding a recipe and getting started while I was on my way home from work. Braden also not a fan of cooked veg in general, was sending disapproving vibes via text message. We powered through. He choose a Mock Garlic Mashed Potato recipe adapted from here
- 1 medium head cauliflower
- 1 tablespoon light cream cheese (optional)
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
- 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic (we used roasted garlic)
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
- 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh or dry chives, for garnish (optional)
Set a stockpot of water to boil over high heat.
Wash and cut cauliflower into small pieces. Cook in boiling water for about 6 minutes, or until well done. Drain well; do not let cool and pat cooked cauliflower dry between several layers of paper towels.
In a bowl with an immersion blender, or in a food processor, puree the hot cauliflower with the cream cheese, Parmesan, garlic, butter or margarine, and pepper until almost smooth.
Garnish with chives, and serve hot.
So yeah. Really, super wrong on this one. I didn't even bother taking real photos because I was so sure this was going to be a flop (sorry only iPhone photos). It was amazing. Great texture, taste, no bad smell, no weird watery puddle. We all (kids included) had seconds. Probably because we only took a small serving initially, because say it with me: we thought we would kind of hate it. Hudson reported they tasted like pizza, not accurate, but OK. I had intended to post a different recipe that I love, but this trumped it. It was very close to the real thing and a little faster too.
Put it on your to try list. A great way to add more veggies into your diet, you are going to want to eat a lot of this. If you are looking to reduce the amount of simple carbohydrates in your diet this is for you. The nutritionals for the above recipe vs the same recipe using potatoes (based on four 225 g servings):
Mashed Caulifower Mashed Potato
Calories 140 267
Fat 8.6 g 8.6 g
Carbohyrdate 11.6 g 42.3 g
Fiber 5.3 g 3.8 g
Protein 6.8 g 6.2 g
Looks like we are going to be eating a lot more mashed cauliflower and I am for sure looking forward to it. I was wrong and I can admit it.
I feel like I have been gone forever. There has been a lot going on since my last post. Of course there has been Christmas and New Years. Happy 2013! Spending Christmas with a 2 and 3/4 year old was magic. Kids bring back so much excitiment and pure joy. Sawyer was more than happy to bask in the choas of wrapping paper and boxes and enjoy the orange in his stocking.
I said I would never do matching, I caved.
I have become a resolution person in the last few years. Not typical resolutions or world changing things, more daily life things. My last three years' resolutions have been:
- Accessorize more. I already owned the stuff, so I decided to use it
- Compliment people, out loud. When I noticed something about someone that I liked/loved I was just making little mental notes. Telling people feels a lot better. I am the weird girl telling people they have amazing eyes, the best curls, a generous spirit, a thoughtful gift giver, the longest eyelashes.
- Accept invitations. My gut reaction is to turn down invites for whatever reason. When we moved back to the Island I decided it was time to get out there and go. So far only one "wish I had of said no".
2013's hasn't come to me yet. I will keep you posted.
The other big change is that I am back at work and Braden is on paternity leave for 8 weeks. Daddy daycare. I feel so lucky that my boys get to spend this time with their Dad. It also gives us a look into each other's worlds. Working full time I miss the little moments of the boys' day. Hugs and kisses before naps, laughing over lunch and impromptu art sessions. Braden, being home full time, is realizing it is amazing to spend time with your children but there are challenges that go with it. When to shower, how to fit in physical activity and why are there so many socks missing after laundry? I think he is doing an amazing job. Hudson looked at me the other day and said "Mommy go to work now, and Daddy stays home. It's fun". I think that is the vote that counts.
Around this time of year I am pretty done with all the rich food, desserts, chocolates, and drinks. I need a break. I started flipping through my Spilling the Beans
cookbook while drooling. My mother-in-law gave me this cookbook last year for Christmas and I love it. It has so many inspired ways to use beans, my favorite high fiber, low cost, high protein food. I eventually decided on Curried Sweet Potato, Carrot and Red Lentil Soup.
2 Tbps canola oil
1 onion, chopped
1-2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 Tbsp grated ginger (I opted for none)
1/2 cup dry red lentils
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 tsp curry paste or powder
4 cups low sodium chicken or veggie stock
salt to taste
plain low fat Greek yogurt for serving
In a large saucepan heat oil over med-high heat. Saute onion, garlic and ginger for about 5 minutes. Add lentils, sweet potato, carrot, curry paste, stock, and salt along with a cup of water. Bring to a boil, turn heat down, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
Use an imersion blender to puree. Serve with a dollup of sour cream or Greek yogurt.
This is just what I needed. The whole family loved it. I used an orange curry paste that is pretty mild. You may have to adjust the curry powder or paste based on your desired level of spice. I love using lentils because they cook up pretty fast compared to other dried beans, making this an easy weeknight soup.
So holiday food gone as well as all the Christmas decorations. Our house looks a little bare and drab. Maybe 2013 resolution will be adding more colour...to my house and my wardrobe. Grey is always calling to me though. I will keep you posted.
Our house came with a wooden bird house on the fence outside our kitchen window. About a year ago we started putting bird food in the bird house. I have to tell you it has provided endless moments of joy and wonder. We all eat breakfast around the island. Hudson sits directly across from the window, and loves to see the birds coming to have their breakfast too. I have seen birds that in all my time living on the West Coast I don't ever remember seeing. There is a woodpecker that comes often and likes to give the fence a little hammer just to make sure we know he came for a visit.
When I realized how much enjoyment I was getting out of the bird feeder and it's visitors, I questioned if I had turned 85 overnight. It then became clear that these little moments of happiness made day to day life more joyful. Of course I love holidays, vacations, parties, weddings, births. But these big moments of joy are not a daily occurrence. I find my daily joy in the little things: birds outside my window, drooly kisses, Sawyer's wildly messy bed head, clean sheets, surprise bursts of sunshine, blog comments (hint, hint), warm egg nog lattes on cold mornings, watching old Arrested Development episodes on Netflix while eating popcorn (oh, Buster) and watching my family dance wildly in our post-dinner dance-off. So maybe I am not 85. But maybe I have found a little wisdom to enjoy the moment for what it is. I try to avoid looking ahead to the next big joy, so I won't miss the little joys along the way. I can't lie thought, I know our Maui trip is only 45 days away ;)
I must also add that this recipe for Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Pasta brought some joy to my life. I have always wanted to try roasting my own peppers, and no need to say why goat cheese would be appealing.
3-4 whole red bell peppers
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup fat free creamer
4 oz. herb goat cheese
1/2 cup grated parigiano reggiano cheese
1/2 lb. whole wheat pasta, cooked to al dente
salt & pepper, to taste
| || |
FYI: I was able to find this at most grocery stores, but not Superstore.
Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Place red peppers on a foil lined baking sheet and bake 20-30 minutes until peppers are charred. Remove from oven and cover with foil 10 minutes. This can be done ahead of time.
In the mean time, saute onions and garlic in olive oil for 5 minutes or until tender. Pour in creamer and goat cheese. Stir to melt goat cheese into sauce and keep warm over low heat.
Uncover peppers, peel off skin and remove stem and seeds. Chop into large pieces and place into sauce along with parmesan cheese. Stir to melt cheese and remove from heat. Pour sauce into food processor or blender and puree, or use an immersion blender. Place back into hot pan and toss with cooked pasta. Taste and adjust seasonings. Top with more parmesan cheese, pepper, salt and parsley, if desired. Adapted from here.
The roasting of peppers went really well and they were super easy to peel. Don't be afraid of black spots. Of course this was amazing. Very rich and creamy without the cream. Both kids ate it up. I am sure it looked enough like mac and cheese to lure Hudson in.
If making a meal the whole family likes doesn't bring you some level of joy, then maybe you need a bird feeder.
There is a storm brewing here today. The wind is picking up and there is a wind warning. Crazy wind storms remind me of when Sawyer was born. He finally decided to make his exit on March 11, after eight days of overstaying his welcome. The following day was the once in 30 years storm. We were fairly sheltered from it all. The hospital has generators to maintain electricity and the building is big enough not to notice much of the noise and chaos (plus it is hard not to stare at your new baby all the time). We were told our midwife was unable to discharge us due to trees down on the road. There was some talk that the power may be temporarly off at our house. Another midwife in the practise was able to come in and send us on our way. As soon as we pulled out of the parking lot, we realized the true magnitutde of the storm.
We headed to my parent's to pick up Hudson. They were hudled under blankets with jackets on to stay warm. According to BC Hydro's website we weren't scheduled to get back on the grid until the following afternoon. Super cold, dark house and one day old baby = no way. After a few quick phone calls it was determined that the Coast Discovery Inn had power. We booked in for the night. Our new family of four headed downtown. I remember thinking that if this had of been my first baby, and I was spending the first night out of the hospital in a hotel room, I would have hyperventilated.
It ended up being a great night. I had a nice, hot shower and got cozy in the bed I shared with my sweet, sweet baby boy. The breakfast buffet the next morning was perfect. Our midwife Sheila came to the hotel the following afternoon for Sawyer's first check-up. By then my parents had power again. We stayed with them for a few more nights until ours was back on. It was so nice to finally return to our own house with our two boys.
For a while we referred to Sawyer as Thor; the god of thunder, lightening and storms.
Campbell River today.
Stormy weather makes me want comfort food. Warm, hearty, make your house smell good, food. My Mom's side of the family has been making Beans 'N Stuff (yes that is what we call it) for as long as I can remember. It is a slow cooker staple at casual family gatherings in winter and summer. I decided I needed to make it, and of course make it a little more healthy. I have no idea where the original recipe came from.
1 lb. ground turkey
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 onion, chopped
2-3 celery ribs, chopped
1/2 cup vinegar
19 oz. canned stewed tomatoes (low sodium preferrably)
16 oz. canned kidney beans, drained and rinsed
16 oz. canned black beans, drained and rinsed
14 oz. baked beans with pork (or baked beans on tomato sauce)
1 tbsp. molasses
2 tbsp. brown sugar
Tabasco sauce to taste
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
Clearly I don't have an issue with generic products.
Brown ground turkey with celery and onion. Combine with remainig ingredients in the slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours. You can do this on the stove top as well. The longer it simmers the better.
This is what happens when you put the bag of brown sugar down on the hot burner you just used for browning meat. Not recommended.
The best way to describe this is zesty, it isn't at all the flavour of a chili. Use any combo of beans you have on hand or that you prefer. I have tried chick peas, black beans, kidney beans and navy beans, all great. This can be made with extra lean ground beef if you prefer or vegetarian. The beans provide more than enough protein with added fiber bonus. I found I didn't need to add any salt as the beans in tomato sauce provided more than enough. It is great the next day and freezes well. Of course I loved it. Hudson ate around the beans (so turkey) and Sawyer loved it (we have yet to find something he won't eat).
Perfect to pack for lunch.
Grab a blanket and light a fire (or in my case turn on the fire), Thor is at it again. Stay warm and dry.
Last post I discussed the things I like and don’t like (loved all the feedback and comments that post generated). I am sure you noticed things like yoga, working out at the gym on my not enjoy list. People often assume that I eat healthy and am fit and active. I do eat healthy, but fit and active, not so much. I find fitting regular activity into my life difficult. It isn’t even a time thing, I just don’t feel like it for the most part. I know all the benefits and reasons for activity, but at 7:00 pm they are not always convincing enough. When I have spare time I want to read a book. Having two small boys I am often on the move. I am not sitting with my feet up for the most part. At the same time I know I am not getting my heart rate up or breaking a sweat. My husband is one of those people that doesn’t have trouble building activity into his life. He chooses goals like doing a triathlon or running a marathon and works towards that goal (the wallpaper on his iPad is his training schedule). Marathons, triathalons, so not for me.
I know the activity that I am more likely to enjoy and therefore stick with. I need a class with a start time. I also like a group and music. I grew up taking dance classes so those things feel right to me. That being said I have a three month pass to Stereo Fitness
waiting to be started. Since August....no joke. I have managed to create legitimate reasons (to myself) why the present month was not the month to start. I went to some classes while I was pregnant with Sawyer and loved them. I had every intention of starting back up as soon as my midwife gave the go ahead. They even offer child care.
Stereo Fitness is currently running a fabulous health and wellness challenge
. Last night was the kick off. The participants were given their challenges and were introduced to the Health and Wellness Squad, which I am included in. It was inspring to see so many people excited about making healthful changes in their lives without the focus being on weight loss alone. Well guess what? It was enough to kick my sedentary butt into gear, drop the excuses and get active. It is about damned time.
Back to food. At my son's playschool parents take turn making snacks for the entire class. For my turn I decided on Pineapple Carrot Mini-Muffins and a fruit tray.
If you look in the top left of this photo you can see a little hand reaching for more Cheerios.
- 1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/3 cup canola oil
- 1/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup grated carrots
- 2/3 cup crushed pineapple, stir before measuring
Directions:Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, soda and cinnamon. Combine remaining ingredients and add to dry blend until moist. Do not overmix. Spoon into muffin pans (greased) and bake for 25 minutes at 325 degrees farenheit. Adapted from here
I made a double batch because it used up the whole can of pineapple and I love to have muffins in the freezer. Compared to the original recipe these muffins are higher in fiber, lower in sugar, fat and sodium. I also like that there is a variety of fruit and veg in them. The pineapple makes them very moist. A double batch made 36 mini muffins and 12 regular muffins. The mini muffins were perfect in my oven between 15 and 20 minutes of baking.
They were a hit, no leftovers sent home. One of Hudson's class mates called them "delicious". These are a great on the go snack, or work as a part of breakfast or lunch.
Not to be outdone by active husband, the wallpaper on my iPad is the Stereo Fitness class scedule. Hope to see you there!
I think the mommy world can feel a little bit judge-y and competitive at times. This is somewhat supported by social networking sites like Facebook and Pinterest. Both provide a steady stream of mostly perfect or desirable images, cheerful status updates, and recent holidays and purchases. This can leave us wondering things like "Why don't I have the time/energy to spray paint pumpkins for Halloween?" or "Am I a horrible mother because I haven't signed my child(ren) up for a second language course/piano lessons/toddler expressive dance?" or "Why haven't I made a decortative box to store my nail polish in?" or "How come I'm not out for a super fun girls night?". To combat this self-doubt/anxiety I try to keep clear the things I like and the things I don't.
The things that bring joy to my life and allow me to feel fufilled are:
-spending time with friends and family
-recipe reading, cooking, blogging
-talking, laughing and hearing people's stories (and telling my own)
-working outside the home a few times a week
-reading; specifically fiction and Macleans magazine
-clean, clutter-free kitchen counters
The things that I don't enjoy and seem to drain my energy or patience are:
-decorating my house for any holiday other than Christmas
-crafting with very few exceptions
-gardening and yard care
-working out at the gym
-being super outdoorsy
The things that I am hoping to one day enjoy:
- having a chaise lounger in our master bedroom
This helps to remind me that I have things in my life that I love and that I am good at. There are things outside the realm of motherhood on my list. Being a mother isn't my only role or the only place I find fufillment. Once I admitted to my list of don't enjoy I was off the hook. No need to feel inadequate in those areas because I tried and they are not my thing. I also have some stuff to look forward to on the last list. Makes it real easy to keep my priorities straight.
Of course I still love Pinterest. I just like to point myself in the right direction, which is how I found the recipe for Cheesy Quinoa Bites.
2 cups cooked quinoa (about 2/3 of a cup dry quinoa to 1 1/3 cups water)
2 large eggs
1 cup shredded carrot
2 stalks green onion, diced (I didn't have any so I added 1/2 cup of shredded spinach instead)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbs all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
I like to use an ice cream scoop for filling muffin tins. It makes it easier to get a uniform amount in each cup and minimizes drips and spills.
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix together quinoa, carrot, egg, green onion, garlic, cilantro, cheese and flour.
3. Distribute mixture into a greased mini muffin tin, filling each cup to the top.
4. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Adapted from here
This was popular with the whole family. Two and a half year old and seven month old devoured them. I got close to 24 bites. Great as leftovers and easy to double and freeze.
I hope you can take more joy in the things you love and drop the things you don't and feel good about it. I want to make it real clear it is not Martha Stewart Living over here....like you ever thought it was.