#SpringFreely dirt cups

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A couple of months ago I was contacted by a representative from Enjoy Life, who wondered if I would like to take part in a product sampling, and a campaign called #SpringFreely.  Of course I said yes!  I waited in anticipation, and at the end of last week a box was delivered to my door.  In it was a box of brownie mix, two different types of cookies, a small mason jar, mini chocolate chips, a recipe card, and a seed packet for dill.  I added a couple of items of my own – the decorative flowers, the CocoWhip, and some coloured organic coconut.

After waiting for a day when Kate and the kids were available (she’s WAY busier than I am), we finally got together to make our dirt cups.  And although she didn’t make it into any pictures, my Mom was also there, so this was a four generation endeavor!

*It is my opinion that, when assembling edible goods with a toddler and a four year old around, you should also have a dog.  My dog Toby saved me a LOT of floor clean-up work.*  Ha, ha.

I made chocolate pudding that morning, so we would be set to go when they got here.  Our first step was to stir some dry brownie mix and mini chocolate chips into the pudding, to created a textured “dirt”.

Baby girl was just enjoying life in the background, and sneaking cookie pieces.

Next we put our “dirt” in four small mason jars.

Now for some gritty texture.  We put a few of both kinds of cookies (Vanilla Honey Graham and Double Chocolate) into separate Ziploc bags, and used a cup to bash them into pieces.  That was fun!    We finished off the smashing of cookies with our fists.

We layered light crumbs, Cocowhip, dark crumbs, more Cocowhip, and coloured coconut, to simulate grass growing.  Lastly we topped them off with a flower, for springtime!

And finally, just so nothing would go to waste, Jackson consented to clean up the leftovers.  As you can see, just because Enjoy Life products are free of the top eight allergens does NOT mean they lack in flavour.  Children don’t eat what they don’t like!

Oh – and look at that – my Mom DID make it into a picture (see below).  Not that she’ll be happy about it, but we’ll leave it, and maybe she won’t notice.  Ha, ha.

Thank you, Enjoy Life, for including us in this product campaign.  We loved it, and we would be more than happy to help spread the joy of your products and sample in the future!

 

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Made With Love (#MadeWithLoveCookbook)

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At the end of last week, I got my hands on (and by “got my hands on” I mean, saw it at Costco, grabbed a copy greedily, hugged it, and did a little happy dance) the new cookbook put out by the mother/daughter team of Kelly Childs and Erin Weatherbee, owners of Kelly’s Bake Shoppe and Lettuce Love Cafe in Burlington, Ontario.  I love to go to Burlington and walk the pier and waterfront area, ending up, of course, at Kelly’s Bake Shoppe for a treat to eat, and some to bring home.  If you’ve never been, check out the blog post we wrote here, when we were chosen to feature and review them on our blog.

Because I am on their mailing list and follow them on Facebook, I knew this cookbook was coming.  I was excited, but also wondering….would they really share some of the recipes that they had perfected…..recipes that had made them famous?  Well, let me tell you – they did!  It is entitled Made With Love, and from the helpful notes and pictures, it truly was made with love.  There are a great variety of recipes, from smoothies and juices, to savory dishes and desserts – actual duplicates of things they sell in their restaurants!  I’m excited – can you tell?  :)

Here’s a link to the cookbook:  http://kellysxo.com/made-with-love-cookbook/

I made the difficult choice of what to bake first, and I chose the Ginger-Chocolate Cookies.  They turned out exactly as shown in the book’s picture, and were given an enthusiastic two thumbs up by everyone from my four year old grandson to my mom, whose age will not be published.  Ha, ha.

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Next I recreated my chocolate potato cake, and used the Chocolate Ganache featured in the book.  This is the same ganache used to fill their cupcakes and ice their fantastic brownies.  It turned out perfectly as well.

And finally, for supper last night I used the recipe for Sweet Potato Quinoa Burgers.  The flavour of these was great, and they held together amazingly well.  They were quite yummy, with a lovely blend of spices to perk up the flavour of the sweet potato.  The exterior became crispy as I prepared them in a thin layer of garlic olive oil in a pan.

That’s all I’ve had time to test so far, but I have no trouble in believing that each recipe will be equally good.

Well done, Kelly and Erinn!

Veggie Burgers

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Hi all!  I missed posting last week – oops.  Last week was incredibly busy for me, as I had the privilege of being involved in our church’s Easter production called The Rock.  It was a one hour original play with music and drama, and was just so fun to be a part of!  I played K2 – the second keyboard, responsible for all string sounds.  In case you want to check it out, I will post the link here.  It’s probably not what you think of when you think of a church play, so check it out.

Anyway, hours and hours of practice led to very little cooking or baking time. There was NOTHING original going on in the kitchen.  Ha, ha.  Something that I also did that week, and the week prior, was to cut out most of the sugar in my diet.  Sugar suppresses the immune system, and I wanted the best shot at staying healthy for our five performances.  And now, I think I want to keep sugar out for a while to give myself the best shot at not being embarrassed around the pool this summer.  :)

This week’s post will be a healthy little veggie burger.  This recipe is heavily based on one by Angela Liddon – Oh She Glows – with a few changes to make it one that I can eat.  They hold together really well, and I’m wondering if they might even hold together well enough to put on the bbq this summer.

1 tbsp. ground flaxseed plus 3 tbsp. water

1 15 oz. can of black beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup grated sweet potato

1 tbsp. dried parsley

1/2 cup sunflower seeds, plain or toasted

3/4 cup gluten free oats, processed into flour

1/2 tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. chili powder

1 tsp. oregano

1/2 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. salt

pepper to taste

Mash the beans into a paste.  Stir in the rest of the ingredients.  Adjust seasoning to your own taste.

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Shape into patties with your hands.  (7 or 8).  Place on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake at 350* F for 15 minutes.  Flip over, and bake for 10-15 min. more.

(picture below is missing two patties – hubby grabbed two before we took a picture)

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Tropical Green Smoothie

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  In honour of the day, I’ve made myself a green smoothie for breakfast.

For those of you that suffer from multiple food sensitivities/allergies, as I do, you know there are some days that you can’t even look at food.  As much as you try, there are days when  your belly goes into overdrive, for no particular reason. It seems that, as  careful as I am, from time to time something sneaks into my food that I am sensitive to, throwing me off for days.  Does this ever happen to you?  Please tell me I’m not the only one……🙂

Anyway, on those days, I find a good option for me is a smoothie. I can still sneak in a lot of nutrients, and the BlendTec breaks everything down for me, so it’s easy to digest. I can take sips through the day and before you know it I’ve “eaten” some fruit and veggies.

I borrowed heavily from Angela Liddon’s Tropical Green Monster Smoothie recipe for this one, switching up some things for personal taste.  Check her out over at Oh She Glows.  Her recipes are awesome!

I used to  make this when I babysat my grandson, so in his honour, we’ll call this one…

Jackson’s Green Smoothie

1/2 cup coconut milk

1/2 cup water

1 cup frozen mango chunks

1/2 cup frozen pineapple chunks

1/4 cup curly parsley

1 inch piece of fresh peeled ginger

Throw all the ingredients into a high powered blender (I am fortunate enough to have a husband who agreed with me buying a BlendTec- when I found one on sale).  Set to Whole Foods and let ‘er rip!

Enjoy.

Copycat Reese’s “Peanut Butter” Squares

It’s Friday!!  It’s March Break (next week)!!  So many good things about today!

What better to celebrate all that good stuff with than a peanut butter cup?  Well, in this case, a pretty darn close in taste “peanut butter” square.  :)

(The square in this picture is sitting beside an Alice Collection tea cup from Steeped Tea filled with Chocolate Earl Grey tea.  I sense a chocolate theme starting for today….)

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“Peanut Butter” Squares

1/2 cup margarine

1 cup creamy SuperButter

1 cup allergen free graham wafer crumbs (I use these)

2 cups icing sugar

Melt the margarine and SuperButter together in a microwave.  Do it in 30 second increments, stirring to combine.  Stir in the graham wafer crumbs and icing sugar until well combined.  Press firmly into an ungreased 8 x 8 pan.

Glaze:

Melt together 3/4 cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips and a heaping tbsp. of margarine.  Spread over squares.

Refrigerate to firm up.  HOWEVER – remember to cut them before the glaze is set, or it will just crack and break apart as you cut your squares.

Ta-da!  A simple Friday recipe to make for a yummy treat.

The Moment.

Before I begin today, I want to start by saying that I know that there are many single dads, stay-at-home dads and just dads in general! However, when I write posts like this, I write from the perspective of the mother and do not try to constantly write “mom/dad.” I am writing from my perspective and I know that many will relate to my stories, but some won’t – moms and dads included.

I have a unique perspective…at least I like to think so! I know what it’s like to be a working mom (outside the house). I know what’s it’s like to be a work-at-home mom. I can relate to stay-at-home moms, but some things are a lot different for me because I am running a business as well. I will not pretend that one (working mom, WAHM, SAHM) is more difficult because I know that being a mom is hard no matter what you “do.”  It’s fun, exciting, tiring, difficult and wonderful all at the same time!

Okay, let’s begin.

As a parent, there are so many moments that stand out in the life of your kids. Moments that make you say, “Thank you God for protecting my child!” Moments that, when you look back, make you say, “How did I make it through?!” Moments that cause you to laugh until you cry because seriously…is THIS the life of a parent? You think to yourself, “My friend just went on a business trip to Europe….and I just scooped poop out of the bathtub.”  (Though, we must not forget about the many, many women who are thinking, “I am traveling alone for business and she just got to snuggle her baby to sleep.”)

I was doing my glamorous work-at-home job today, like everyday, and I had the house semi-quiet as my son was at preschool. I had a coaching call scheduled with our Sales & Field Development Manager for an hour this morning, and I thought to myself, “Piece of cake. One’s at school, the other is self-entertained. I got this.” My baby, now a year and a half, was quite jolly this morning, so I let her play for awhile and then put her in her chair and let her watch some Paw Patrol on my lap top. She was especially thrilled, as we typically only turn on shows on Saturday.  I wasn’t terribly pre-occupied or trying to multi-task…a quiet moment.

I don’t have an office, and I needed to keep an eye on my child, of course, so I was camped out in the living room. We have a cut-out design in the wall overlooking the kitchen, so I could walk around the room watching her and chatting as needed. After awhile, I started hearing noises that I was not expecting, so I carefully continued with the call while tuning my ear in my baby’s direction. I heard the mouse click…and click…and click…and quiet giggling. I started wandering over to the kitchen, all the while trying to not lose my concentration or become dis-engaged with the call.

And this is what I found…

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The girl has got some upper arm strength, it seems! As well…she was not very remorseful.🙂

This is what it’s like being a work-at-home mom or a stay-at-home mom.

And these are the moments that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

Granola Bars

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A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine posted a link on Facebook to Tasty’s Facebook page, with a video and recipe for granola bars.  They looked good, and I’m glad I printed the recipe out that same day, because Tasty posts so frequently that I can’t find it anymore!  I was able to revamp it for my allergies, and was able to use a couple of my new favourite products in them as well.  Win/win.  The only concern I had was whether they would hold together well, and as you will see in the pictures, they do.

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Granola Bars

4 tbsp. coconut oil

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup honey

1/2 tbsp. creamy SuperButter

1/2 tsp. vanilla

2 cups gluten free oats

1 cup Enjoy Life crunchy rice cereal

1/2 cup (or so) Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips

Melt together coconut oil, brown sugar, honey, and SuperButter in a saucepan.  Cook on medium heat until thickened. Remove from heat and add vanilla.  Fold in oats and cereal.  Put into a parchment line 8 x 8 pan, flattening slightly with a spatula.  Sprinkle chocolate chips on top and press down to help them stick to the bars.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes or so before slicing.

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So easy, so good!