Saturday, 1 December 2012

Pruning the bush

I made a goal of completing my porch decor for Christmas - in time for December 1st.

I was the house on the street that still had the pumpkins out - GASP! - I know right?! Brutal!

Oh well - the pumpkins have moved ti the side of the house (and are till waiting to be placed at the curb for garbage)

Hey my job is done - planters, wreath, lights - check.

Now Mr. Mom needs to toodle those pumpkins to the curb on Tuesday.

I am fortunate to have a friend and colleague who lives on a farm. For the past few years she's let me 'prune her bush'.....(giggle)

We plan a date and I head over there in with my pruning shears.

She has such wonderful things like dogwood, spruce, milk weed, tall grass with fluffy stuff on top, and many other shrubs that could use a trim.

The best part about this year was the Missy Z was able to experience snow for the first time. She wasn't too sure what to think - but enjoyed being carried though the property.

Mr. O always has a ball because he can run up and down the path, and though the brush.

My friend always has cats on her farm as well - and being such an animal lover, Missy Z. was right in there checking them out.

SO without further ado - here is the final product!

Nice bush eh?

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Maybe there is such a thing as November Blahs

A few posts back I mentioned that November flies by - and how as a kid the month of November seemed to take forever to complete..

 Well I'm feeling a bit of the November Blahs...

The month is flying by - and yet there hasn't been anything that has inspired me to discuss on the blog. 

The kids are well - having fun with one another.

 Mr. O is doing well at school and telling us about some inside jokes him and his friends have developed. I don't quite grasp the concept, but he is buckled over in laughter - so maybe the jokes on me? (I'm guessing this is just the beginning of that)

 Mr. Mom and I have been able to spend more evenings together- which is SO nice. We have somewhat figured out a good evening routine for the kids (finally)... but guaranteed - someone comes down with a cold or flu and we'll be at square one again... sigh.

 I am debating on outdoor planter decor - but really have been unmotivated. (random squash and pumpkins are still on the porch) 

Not sure what my deal is - since December is just around the corner.... Oh well.

 Mr. O and I did a craft together at the beginning of the month - we gave it to one of his friends who really enjoyed it! Other than that - not too much new here.

 Once I find my motivation, I'll definitely report back... until then..... enjoy a lovely Pintrest inspired craft....

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Mini Muffins with Baby Food

I wanted to use up ripe bananas - and I am not a huge Banana bread fan.... until I found this recipe. 

I totally forgot to pick up applesauce when I was getting groceries... so I improvised. 

I had baby food in the pantry - apples and carrots - how convenient.

What a great way to add the pureed fruits and veggies..... and the prep was non existent. 

Double Awesome.

Mini Banana Muffins - A Kid Favourite


4 ripe bananas
1 1/4 all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 egg whites
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/4 sunflower oil
1/2 cup carrot puree
1/2 cup un-sweetened apple sauce

Preheat oven to 350.

Spray mini muffin tins with cooking spray.
In a medium bowl combine dry ingredients.
In another bowl mash bananas until soft. Then add all other wet ingredients to bananas.
Add dry ingredients to wet - do not over mix.
Scoop batter into tins.
Bake for 50- 55 minutes.
Let cool.

The Original recipe is from "The Eat Clean Diet - For Family & Friends" cookbook. Find the Eat Clean site here.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Grocery Game

When Missy Z goes down for a nap or to bed - Mr. O and I play board games.

He loves them. And he catches on quick.

Some of his favourites:

Chutes and Ladders
Ninja Turtle Trouble
Elephants Never Forget (this is played at Gramma's house)
Ziggy (..also played at Gramma's)
Memory (it's amazing how good he is at this game)

Then one day I decided to introduce him to LIFE.

Well he just loved it!

Especially the Red Car and the spinning wheel.

What's hilarious is when he says "I'd like to buy Stock and I'll play the market" matter-o-factly.

He always buys Fire Insurance and Auto insurance - good boy.

Since the reception to LIFE was good - I brought out my beloved MALL MADNESS.

This was on the top of my Christmas list for years!

Finally - Sana brought it for me. Talk about excitement. **sigh**

I had some hesitations (being a boy and already having a distaste for retail therapy).....

..... but he totally enjoyed it.

He loves to arrange the clearance and sale signs when the computer prompts it.

He knows where the credit card goes when you need to buy or go to the bank.

But his favourite part is the small staircase that takes you to the upper level.

I absolutely LOVE the Baby Stage, and playing games like Peek-a-boo - but this stage he's entering is awesome too.

Playing games with him is fun.

I have to admit that my inner child giggles with excitement when my son asks to play Mall Madness....

or in his words "the Grocery Game".

Who would have thought I'd be playing this exact game (that I swooned over as a child) - with my son.


Then I get thinking .... maybe it's tolerable to him because he thinks it's grocery shopping rather than marathon retail shopping?

.... hmmm

No matter. 

Ignorance is bliss ;)

Wednesday, 7 November 2012


This past weekend was productive -

Week night menu plan + groceries- check
Use up extremely ripe fruit - check
Use up fridge items that were taking up space - check
Laundry - check
Clean bathrooms - check
Finish up on Sons of Anarchy season 4 - check (yes I know we're behind!)
Spend time with the the kids and especially Mr. Mom - double check

This may not have been possible without gaining 1 hour sleep.....

Sweet Potato Soup with Coconut and Quinoa

2 Large Sweet Potatoes - peeled and cubed
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 tbsp water
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup coconut milk
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cayenne powder


1) Steam your sweet potatoes - add 2 cups of water and prepped sweet potatoes to a pot with a lid. Steam potatoes by turing stove top to medium high. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer until softened (poke with a fork).  Set aside. *Or steam/soften any way you prefer

2) Add the 2 tbsp of water to a pot - add onion and soften (3 minutes)

3) Add qunioa and broth, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low then simmer for 15 minutes.

4) Add drained sweet potatoes, and puree with a hand held blender.

5) Add coconut milk and spices, sir, and increase heat to medium. Warm it to your preferred temperature,

This would be tasty served with cilantro.

The Original recipe is from "Quinoa 365 - The Everyday Superfood". It recommends serving with yogurt as well.

Can you tell this is my favourite cook book?

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Another October is Done

November blahs? Nah - Does November fly by for anyone else now?

As a kid - November seemed to drag on! - Christmas was such an anticipation! The first day to open your advent calendar seemed so far away on November 1st.

November for me is a great month - Remembrance day for one - and the cool crisp days - (hopefully not so wet as last month). And all the planning for the Christmas Season - yes I said Christmas Planning.

I totally saw a Pot of Gold Christmas (a.k.a 'Holiday') commercial on October 29th.

(We will never refer to it as the "Holiday Season" - It's Christmas - always has been and always will be. Period.)

Moving on....

We've survived Halloween - a better turnout of 'trick or treaters' than predicted that's for sure!

The Pumpkin carving was a success - however the attention span was minimal - and I was left to conquer it myself.... pretty sure I re-aggravated my 'tennis elbow symptoms'.

So Our little 'goblins' were Dressed as:

Raphael (TMNT)

Bumble Bee

Cute as a button! Mr. O was SO excited to have his face painted green. 

Missy Z was very warm and cosy in her bee costume - and LOVED standing at every door and meeting flirting (batting her eyes and giving the 'infectious' giggle/grin combo) with all the neighbours.

The bubble bath post 'trick or treating' was a welcomed event, let me tell you..... that's after we scraped them of the ceiling......

Is it bad that I loving taking the kids around - because I then reap the benefits of their 'Treats'?

I do try to buy candy that I wont necessarily enjoy (I try to pass along to others November 1st)-

But when the kids buckets are filled with crispy crunch, heresy, jersey milk, butter finger ....


SO GOOD.......

who says staring your day with a butter finger is bad?
They're SO tiny now!!.... (internal justification)

To pay homage to the Harvest Season that is wrapping up - I have a cookie recipe that was well received:

Pumpkin Ginger Quinoa Cookies

1/4 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup fancy molasses
1cup pumpkin puree
1 cup quinoa flour
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 c white sugar

Pre-heat oven to 350
In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar. Beat in egg and molasses. Fold in pumpkin puree. Set aside.

Mix flour, baking soda, salt, spices in a bowl - blend well, set aside.

Add wet and dry ingredients together - mix until dough is smooth.

Roll dough in to 1 1/2" balls.

Put the white sugar into a small bowl - roll each dough ball in the sugar.

Place the balls 2" apart on a baking sheet. Bake on the center oven rack for 8-10* minutes.

*Cookies will be soft - but harden as they cool. If you want then a bit more crispy, bake a few minutes longer.

Let them cool for 1 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.

This Recipe was modified slightly and the original one can be found in "Quinoa 365 - the Every Day Superfood" cookbook.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Mr. Mom Update

Mr. Mom is doing well.

Besides the busy days and nights, things are working out well. One of my worries returning to work was meals. Making nutritious meals that:

1) Mr. Mom approves of (tonnes of criteria - too extensive to list for you)
2) tasty
3) easy enough for Mr. Mom to tackle before I get home

You guessed it - Slow Cooker. We aren't 'saucy' people. We enjoy a glaze, but nothing too sweet and it's ingredient list must be low in fat, sugar and sodium - but high in protein and fibre .. and not full of pasta or rice (as per Mr. Mom).

This criteria is hard to find. This one is a winner!

Thank-you Pinterest!

Slow Cooker Chops


6 boneless butterflied Pork Chops (1-inch Thick is nice
2 Tablespoons EVOO
2 clove Garlic, Minced
1/2 cup Soy Sauce
1/2 cup Red Wine
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
¼ teaspoons Red Pepper Flakes
1 1/2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
1 1/2 Tablespoons Cold Water
2 cups Hot Cooked Basmatti Rice, For Serving

In a skillet, brown pork chops on both sides in oil; transfer to a slow cooker. Add garlic to the drippings in your skillet; cook and stir until aromatic or golden. Stir in soy sauce, wine, brown sugar and red pepper flakes; cook and stir until sugar is dissolved. Pour over chops in the slow cooker.
Cover and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours or until meat is tender. Remove chops – they will probably be falling apart by this time. Combine cornstarch and water until smooth; gradually stir into slow cooker. Return chops to slow cooker. Cover and cook for at least 30 minutes or until slightly thickened.
Serve over rice.

** I did change the original recipe a bit so here is the link to the original one. I did use the exact instructions though :)