Monday 27 February 2012

Mama Musings

It's been a little more than a week since my last post! It always amazes me when time escapes me, and I'm simply caught up in the day to day happenings. The past week has been busy,mostly with being a Mama. My boys and I have been playing, discovering, learning, reading, laughing, tackling, chasing - living. Being the Mother of two boys has been an interesting and [at times] challenging experience. Yet I find myself on a daily basis being close to tears when I think of how much I love my boys and my gratitude for having them in my life. Being a Mama has shaped me more as a person than any other undertaking or role in my life to date. Two major life changes have occurred with the arrival of my boys: I became a distance runner with the arrival of my first son; and a vegan with the arrival of my second. My drive and desire to be better, push further, and become more increases with every passing day as I strive to lead my sons to become strong confident men. I have more challenges and struggles because of being a Mom - but my joy, fulfilment, and pure elation in life's simple things has increased ten fold. The sun on my face, snow flakes dancing in the air - a warm cuddle in the early hours of morning. Life is wonderful; and when I forget that, my boys are quick to remind me of it.

Friday 17 February 2012

Fruit and Nut Heaven

Do you like fruit and nut chocolate bars? My Amazing Husband loves them, and so by association I've come to appreciate the slightly salty, ever so creamy, tart and chewiness bar myself. The only problem is, now that I have decided to not consume milk products [for my reasons why, check out this post] I am on the outs with the good ol' fruit and nut bar. Being the innovative woman that I am, I decided to try my hand at making my own version, a healthier version of course, and see what my hardest critique [aka my Awesome Hubby] had to say. He tried theses for the first time while I was at the park with the boys, so I didn't get his first reaction to them, but I heard a loud, "THESE CHOCOLATE BARS ARE AMAZING!" when I entered the door. I think they passed the test haha! If you'd like to make a batch for your own sweeties,or for yourself and not to share with anyone it's simple, fast, and will tempt you to make them everyday, so slice the bars small, freeze them, and try to make them last as long as possible...or keep them in the fridge in an airtight container - and they'll be gone before you know it!

Organically Awesome Fruit and Nut Bars
an original recipe created by me!

1/2 c. natural almond butter
1/2c. natural peanut butter
2/3c. naturally creamed honey
1/2c. coconut oil
1c. chopped 72% dark chocolate
1c. rolled oats
1/3c. shelled pistachios
2/3c. raw whole almonds
1/3c. hemp hearts
1/2c. craisins

Combine ingredients from the oats on down to the hemp hearts in a large bowl, and set aside. In a heavy bottom saucepan, combine the first five ingredients and heat on medium low heat, stirring constantly. Once all the ingredients are completely melted, pour over the oat mixture in the bowl, and use a spatula to thoroughly combine. Prepare a 9x13 pan by lining with parchment paper, folding so the paper covers the sides of the pan as well. Turn the mix into the pan, and spread evenly with the spatula. Give the pan a couple of taps on the counter to let all air bubble escape and let ingredients settle, then place in fridge to set for at least two hours before cutting into bars. Yields 25 good sized bars, or 50 bite sized.

Feel free to play around with the nuts or fruit involved to satisfy your sweet craving!

What treat do you want recreated? I'm always up for a new challenge!

Tuesday 14 February 2012

Take it to Heart

On the website, there is a plethora of information on how to increase your energy and enthusiasm for life through eating to live - instead of living to eat. Today being Valentine's Day, pcrm is focusing on heart health, and the article on Dr.Barnard's Blog says it all! If you are looking for something to whip up for you sweet heart[s] today, try thinking outside of the take out box, and focus on produce. A meal based on fresh produce will not only fill you up faster due to all that yummy fibre, but it will strengthen your heart and help clean up your arteries too! For supper tonight, my little ones will be dining on one of our families favourite soups, which just so happens to be RED - perfect for Valentine's Day!

Ginger Beets Soup
An original recipe created by me!
5-6 beets
4-5 parsnips
5 carrots
1 bulb garlic
olive oil
1 " fresh ginger, peeled and minced
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 onion, minced
6-8 cups water
2 reduced sodium organic vegetable broth cubes

Wash, trim, and dice the beets parsnips and carrots. Toss in a bowl with 1 tbsp olive oil, then arrange in a pan. Trim off the top of a bulb of garlic and drizzle with olive oil. Roast in a 425*F oven for about 40 minutes, or until a fork can easily pierce the vegetables.

In a heavy bottomed stock pot, saute the ginger, celery, and onion until onion is tender. Add the roasted vegetables, water, and vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Once the soup boils, reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Let simmer for 30 minutes, then remove from heat. Once the soup is cool enough to be place in your blender without melting it, blend it in batches, returning the soup to the pot after each batch, until the entire soup has been pureed. Alternatively, you can use a immersion blender right in the stock pot.

Serve this soup with a fresh green salad, and homemade rolls for the perfect supper that all ages will enjoy!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday 11 February 2012


Eli turns One today! One! My baby is growing right before my eyes - literally. His sweet adventurous nature has him getting into EVERYTHING, and his big gummy grin gets him out of it all haha! For Eli's first birthday cake, I made a new coconut cupcake recipe, Darius choose to use his special dinosaur cupcake liners, and together we made one very special little boy very happy! If you have a birthday cake to make soon, read on for the recipe, and enjoy some sweet photos along the way!

Clean Coconut Cupcake
an original recipe created by me!

1 1/2 c. stone ground whole wheat flour
2 tbsp. baking powder
pinch of sea salt
1/2 c. shredded coconut
1 tbsp. honey
1 c. coconut milk
1 tbsp. coconut oil
1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce

Mix all ingredients together ensuring that the flour is evenly distributed through the batter. Scoop the batter into cupcake liners, filling them about 2/3 of the way full. Bake in a 375*F for 12-14 minutes, until toothpick inserted into the centre of the cupcake comes out clean. Cool in the pan for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the icing, take a look at this post. Whipped coconut cream is a delicious alternative to icing!

For a little bit more creaminess, I cored the cupcakes, and filled them with coconut cream pudding - so yum!

 Most of our swimming time was spent with Eli in tears, cuddled right into me - poor baby was so overwhelmed with the noise!

The past year has been incredible, getting to know and love every little bit of you has been an adventure, and I am so happy to be your Mommy! Thank you for brightening my day, teaching me new tricks, and laughing along the way. Your smiles are contagious, thighs are rolley-polley, and teeth so tiny yet you still manage to grind them incessantly! Darius loves you so much, and you and Daddy are inseparable!

Happy Birthday Sweet Eli!

Friday 3 February 2012

Cleaning Up

My Mom is amazing, and one of her specialities is baking - cookies in particular. Growing up we often munched on delicious, hot out of the oven, gooey chocolate chip cookies. My siblings and I took for granted just how awesome my mom's cookies were/are, until we started having play dates at other kids homes and the cookies were...well, far below what our Mom had brought us to expect [sorry to all those Mom's whose cookies I snuffed at!] The first thing I learnt how to make in the kitchen was cookies. In fact, when I got married cookies were still pretty much the only thing I knew how to make. Oh, and brownies and cake. You get the picture? My Mom's recipe calls for refined sugars, loads of butter, and refined flour, and so I haven't baked a batch in, well, a very long time. As I was up with Eli much too much in the night, it occurred to me that I am more than capable of creating a clean chocolate chip cookie recipe that could [and does!] taste just like Mom's. So today that is just what I did! I baked up a batch of delicious cookies that bring back all the warm and gooey memories associated with my Mom's baking, but without all the animal products and refined goods! I hope these cookies satisfy your sweet tooth as they have mine!

Katie's Chocolate Chip Cookies

an original recipe created by Me!

1 c. coconut oil
1 c. unsweetened apple sauce
1 1/2 c. naturally creamed honey
1/2 tbsp pure vanilla extract

3 c. old fashioned rolled oats
3 c. stone ground whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
3 tsp baking soda

2 c. dark chocolate chips [the better the quality chocolate the better - believe me, it matters!]

Preheat your oven to 350*F. Mix the wet ingredients [the first four listed] in the bowl of a stand mixer until creamy and fully incorporated. The mixture will lighten up as it mixes. Next, add the dry ingredients, starting with the salt and baking soda. Mix those two into the wet ingredients, then add the flour and oats and mix until dough forms. Now add the chocolate chips* [or chopped chocolate if you prefer!] and mix until combined. Drop the dough onto a non stick baking pan** using a cookie scoop***. Make sure the dough is about 1" apart on the pan to avoid cookies blending into one another. Bake cookies in preheated oven for approximately 8 minutes. The cookies will be golden, but look a little gooey in the centres still - don't worry, they'll firm up as they sit on the pan, resting on a cooling rack. Give the cookies 5 minutes before transferring to the cooling rack to cool completely. Yield approximately 6 dozen cookies.

*Substitute all, or half, of the chocolate chips with raisins for a oatmeal raisin cookie.
**feel free to use a silpat pad, just avoid non-stick cooking spray as it makes the dough spread.

***a cookie scoop ensures uniformity of cookie size and shape, and provides portion control.

Wednesday 1 February 2012


My little men are sponges - literally! They wake up are are thirsty for new ideas, sights, sounds, thoughts [not to mention food haha!] and they go, go, go until their little appetites are full. [In fact, they've played themselves right out today, and are currently recovering before supper time hits!] As I rounded the corner to home with two sleeping babes in the Chariot, it struck me once more what an amazing blessing and opportunity to learn being a mother is. Each day, as I try to look at life through the lens of an 11 month old on the prowl for new tastes, or through the ears of an almost four year old whom picks up on even the tinniest nuance, I am amazed at the sights, sounds, and tastes I didn't notice before. The 'go getter' attitude that children are born with is a gift not to be squandered or belittled! We should become more as the little children we love, instead of trying to mold them into the ridged constraints of adulthood!

My little Darius believes he can do anything. He tries to jump into buckets as he sees a little boy do on TV; he leaps over boxes, believing that he flies; he stands on the couch every morning to show me how much he grew in the night...the list could go on forever! An attitude of belief in oneself, hope for the future, and eternal optimism leads children to run faster, climb higher, and leap bigger - isn't it about time you did the same? Sure, children fall sometimes, but they also get back up and try again! Open your eyes to the possibility that today is a great day, your ears to the sounds of your own personal cheering squad, and your mind to the revelation that you can do anything! Life is truly awe inspiring when you open yourself up to it!