Long-Run Cakes

Today’s recipe – long-run cakes – (or beanie cakes, as we call them), was adapted from a recipe I found in a magazine while waiting for a chiropractic appointment.  Being as this is a chiropractor‘s office, they have all sorts of lovely healthy magazines.  This one was Runner’s World, and believe me, I have no business picking up a magazine about running!

That being said, once upon a time I dreamed of training for and participating in a 5 km run for my 50th birthday.  My foot, however, had other ideas.  I developed a weird little bone growth which basically meant my big toe could not flex, at all.  This being the case, walking was painful, and running impossible.  So, to fix this, I had a lovely surgery called a chielectomy.  I could attach pictures of my post surgery foot, but this is a food blog entry, and you would not feel like eating after you looked at those.  Suffice it to say that this fixed my problem, and my toe flexes just fine now, but the surgeon said, “If you go out and run, I will see you back here in a year.”.  Um…..no thank you.

Since it was from a runner’s magazine, this recipe was created to provide your body with fuel that would be long-lasting.  It has agave instead of sugar, which is lower on the glycemic index, and doesn’t have too much flavour on its own, so it doesn’t take away from the flavour profiles of the other ingredients.  It’s got protein from the beans, and if you don’t tell anyone, I’m pretty sure they won’t figure out the bean component.

1 cup applesauce (organic unsweetened is best, but whatever you have in the fridge will work too)

1 15.5 ounce can of black beans (rinsed and drained)

1 1/2 cups oat flour (just whip up some gluten free oats into a flour-like consistency in your food processor or blender)

1 cup cocoa powder (if you want to be super healthy, use cacao powder instead)

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1 cup agave syrup (this sounds like a lot but it’s divided into a lot of portions when you make the little cakes)

2 chia eggs (2 tbsp. ground chia seeds soaked in 6 tbsp. water until a gel forms)

1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat your oven to 350*.  In a food processor (or in my case, a Blend Tec) combine the applesauce and beans until smooth-ish.  Whisk together the dry ingredients in a bowl.  Combine agave and chia eggs in another bowl.  At this point (since your applesauce and beans are still in the food processor or alternate appliance), add in the agave/chia egg mixture and blend.  Next add in the dry mixture, and beat until smooth.  Use either grease mini loaf pans or greased muffin tins to bake.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.

(insert picture here:  I tried, I really did.  The picture would not upload for me.  Just think – a pretty little chocolate cupcake type deal with sneaky black beans as a component ).

 

You can make these slightly less healthy by adding in some Enjoy Life chocolate chips, or, as I did, melting some and spreading on the top.  Enjoy!

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Date Squares

Oops – it’s Thursday.  I am going to claim that the extreme humidity we’ve been experiencing caused a brain glitch, and that’s why I forgot (until now) to post my recipe.

Throughout my life I have gone to a lot of potlucks, and before I was diagnosed with all these food sensitivities, I ate a lot of wonderful food at these potlucks.  I have also been to a lot of baby showers, bridal showers, funerals, etc.  Inevitably the beloved date square shows up at these occasions.  Everyone seems to have a recipe that they feel is THE BEST recipe.  One woman at our church buys pans of them in bulk from someone she knows that apparently makes the best ones, freezes them, and has them on hand to contribute to any funeral lunches or other occasions put on at the church.

So, being as I like (no – love) to bake, I, too, have a recipe that is the best.  Ha, ha.  I hadn’t made it in a number of years because I wasn’t sure how to manipulate it for my dietary needs.  Having had a lot more experience lately with switching ingredients out for non-allergen ones, I decided to give them a try this past week-end.  After getting opinions from several people, I can now proclaim them a success!  One of those people is my husband and he is being so very helpful by cleaning up all the leftovers for me.  Such a thoughtful man.

(If my naturopath is reading this – I know they have a lot of sugar, but I cut them small and restrained myself while eating them.)

1 cup white rice flour

1/4 cup sweet sorghum flour

1/4 cup brown rice flour

1 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum

1//2 tsp. baking soda

1 1/2 cups gluten free oats

1 cup margarine (check for any allergens)

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

Date Filling:

1 lb. dates

1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

3/4 cup hot water

pinch of salt

Prepare the filling first.  Combine date, hot water, sugar and salt in a pan.  Cook over medium heat until dates are soft and water is absorbed, add vanilla and let cool.

Stir dry ingredients together; work in margarine with a fork until mixture is crumbly.

Spread 1/2 of the mixture in a greased 8 x 8 pan and pat down.  Cover with the date filling.  Pat remaining mixture on the top.  Bake in a moderate oven at 350* for 20-25 minutes.

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a) the original recipe calls for a 9 x 13 pan, but I find that way too big for the amount of filling.

b) mine took 25 minutes to bake.

c) as you can see from the picture, these held together impressively well.

d) I had one of these with a cup of Sleepy Chai tea as a nighttime snack, and it was so lovely.

Enjoy!

The Homemade Latte

This post is long overdue. I feel like every time I post, I could say the same thing. Time has been getting away from me these days. I absolutely adore summer. My kids adore summer. We swim, we go to the park, we swim some more. I feel like so many of my afternoons are spent trying to enjoy summer before it leaves us.

I wish I could tell you that my delay in posting, the general disorder of my house, and lack of crossing items off my to-do list were the pool’s fault. I can’t quite put my finger on it (yet!), but I feel like I’m constantly running out of time and simultaneously wasting too much time on silly things. Just keeping it real on the blog today!

The one thing that will always brighten my day is a homemade Steeped Tea latte. They are simple, delicious and cost-effective…and the best part is that you don’t need to leave the house or spend $5 at Starbucks.

They can be enjoyed hot or cold and personalized in probably a million different ways. My hubby and I have really loved experimenting with our lattes and it’s the perfect treat for a night in or that pick-me-up in the morning!

My mom and I made a quick video on making your own lattes at home for you all – enjoy!

Now, with my mom’s allergies, we wanted to take this a step further and look into some non-dairy options for your lattes. We wanted to try a few different options and explore the taste, texture and the froth it produced, as that is an essential part of a latte.

First up –IMG_8037 Flax Delight

These were all my mom’s choices, as she was the one who needed to find a topper for her latte. Any of the traditional replacements – almond or soy milk primarily – wouldn’t work for her with her allergies.
We knew right away that this one probably wouldn’t do the job – the fat content isn’t very high in a flax beverage. We thought it was worth a try though, just in case!

IMG_8038As you can see, no bubbles, hardly any froth on this one. The taste was fine, but it didn’t thicken at all, so probably not your best choice for a latte.

IMG_8039Next up –  Hemp Bliss

I had never come across this beverage before. I was impressed by the sweet taste, but again, the fat content is pretty low in this beverage, so we weren’t sure about how it would hold up to a frother.

If you take a look at the links, you can see the nutritional information for the beverages we tried. The fat content was slightly higher in this beverage, likely why it did a little better in our trial!
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The picture doesn’t really give the full idea on this one. There were some bubbles, it thickened a bit, had a sweet taste, but it wasn’t the thickness you would expect with a normal latte. However, we did find through our trials that you aren’t going to find the fullness of froth in some of these ‘alternative’ beverages to milk.

For many lattes, this beverage would do well as a topper, and make sure to add some Vanilla sugar or Apple Cinnamon topper to your latte as well!

Last IMG_8042one – Coconut Dream

We had high hopes for this one because, well, coconuts are delicious!
This beverage did not disappoint! It frothed and bubbled, tasted great (of course!), and was a great option for your lattes.
The only downside is that not all lattes , like a London Fog,  will suit itself to having a coconut flavour added. It’s all in personal preference, though! Now that I am thinking about it, coconut mixed with a London Fog might actually be a great drink…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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With that trial over with and adequate winners chosen, we thought we were done. My mother, the researcher, kept looking around and found one more she wanted to try, so we broke out the frother at the swimming pool later that day for one last test.

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Bonus – So Delicious French Vanilla Creamer

This one just sounded too fabulous, it had to be a winner!

And oh boy…it was! It bubbled and frothed and tasted fantastic!

If  your latte could be complimented by this flavour, DO IT! It is a great option if you are avoiding dairy, soy or nuts.

20150729_170816This beverage was even child-approved!

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So, there you have it. Make your own lattes, at home, and do it all while avoiding your allergens!

Breakfast Cookies

Bananas

Oats

Sunbutter

Maple Syrup

Raisins

Don’t those all sound like lovely things to eat for breakfast?  Either on their own, or combined in different ways?   Yeah….that’s what I thought.  Yum-mo.  Recently Kate and I were privileged to review Kelly’s Bake Shoppe on our blog, and one thing included in our review was Kelly’s Skinny Cookie.  Now, while I would love to live close enough, and have the appropriate budget, to buy these cookies every single day, the truth is I live 45 minutes away, and my budget is….meager.   No worries – that’s what experimenting in the kitchen is for.  I would never claim in any way that I had perfected a recipe that Kelly’s Bake Shoppe has made their own, but as something I can make at home, these were pretty darn good!

4 roasted bananas

2 cups gluten free large flake rolled oats

1/2 cup Sunbutter

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 tbsp. baking powder

1/4 cup raisins

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1/4 cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips (mini if you want tiny bites of chocolate, chunks if you want fewer pieces, but a good bite.  Your choice.

First up – roasting the bananas

Preheat your oven to 400*F.  LEAVE THE SKINS ON THE BANANAS.  Plop those whole, unpeeled bananas onto a parchment covered cookie sheet, and bake for 20 minutes.  Let them cool completely.  I tried this recipe twice, and by far, the riper the bananas, the more successful this recipe is.  And by riper I mean use bananas with black spots on them.  🙂

 

Now for the cookies:

Remove peels from bananas and mash them up.  They will be very soft, so this will be easy.  Stir in the oats, sunbutter, maple syrup, baking powder, raisins, nutmeg, and chocolate chips/chunks.

Scoop onto parchment lined cookies sheets.  You can use an ice cream scoop, or a very heaping tablespoon.  Flatten the top slightly with a fork.  Bake for 20 minutes at 350*F.  Cool.

 

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I kept these in the fridge, and actually, I prefer to eat them cold, right out of the fridge.  However, I did not get many out of the batch as hubby found them, liked them, and…..ate them.

The Beach Analogy

Feeling as though today could be one of the last good opportunities to ‘get out and enjoy summer,’ my hubby and I, the kids and my mom and dad headed out to the beach. Turkey Point is a delightful beach just an hour from our house – the sand is nice, the water is usually warm(ish), and it’s an easy drive with great scenery!

As I was looking at some pictures that my Dad took today, I was thinking about some business lessons that I have learned in my (almost) three years as an entrepreneur

1. Dive into New Challenges!11214218_10152865879086571_3139861167921100036_nI am not a risk-taker by nature (far from it, actually!), but I have really learned to enjoy new experiences…just let me experience them at my own pace, okay?
The one thing that I have learned in business is…
1513196_779937275444541_8156650423251793579_nSometimes, in your business (or life!), you need to do something new to succeed. Or maybe, it’s a case of trying new things all the time! For me, this comes in many forms – talking to strangers and giving out tea samples all over town, calling customers on the phone to ask how they are enjoying their products, leading team conference calls, being assertive and asking someone to support you in the business, or perhaps speaking to a whole conference of people about your experience with Steeped Tea. (When you speak directly after Jim Treliving, that branches into a whole new category of “trying something new!”)

For me, some of the things that I have mentioned have less to do with the actual activity (talking on the phone or speaking in public), but more with the action or attitude behind them – being assertive, being out-going, being direct, etc. 

For the most part, when I look at my business and my numbers aren’t where I would like them, I can look back over the past week/month and realize that I have been only doing what’s comfortable. 

2. Face Your Problems Head-On11813464_10152865878491571_7051549647048869506_nThis picture makes me laugh – I just had to include it!  For my darling baby, her big ‘problem’ was that she wasn’t holding a sandwich, and she certainly made sure we knew about it! Every time someone took a bite, her nosy little self would whip her head in their direction and stare them down.

Back to my point…

Don’t run from your problems, big or small! I have had those times, TRUST ME, I have had those times when something gets miscommunicated and a customer is upset, needs some returned, doesn’t react to your services as you had hoped, or perhaps *gasp!* has a bad experience.

I have found in many cases, it is often not the circumstance, but how you handle circumstance that is remembered by the customer.

3. Find a Good Support System
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When you are a business owner or entrepreneur, you don’t have the normal coworkers to lean on through your work. You are your own boss, you don’t have anyone setting your schedule for you, or telling you what to do.

This is always good…and bad. You need to find self-motivation and discover for yourself what works and doesn’t work in your business.

You also don’t have anyone patting you on the back, praising you for your good work, helping you through a problem, or giving you tips and advice.

You need to find people that will do all of this for you – both those who are in business like you, and people who were already in your life before your business. You need people who will tell you the truth, keep you positive, encourage you, or help you problem solve and work through a situation.

I am so thankful to have great training, support and cheerleaders through Steeped Tea – both in the corporate head office and other leaders and team members. I also have a few friends and family members that are #1 cheerleaders, they come to events with me, support my ideas, give honest feedback, and let us not forget my hubby! The man supports everything I do by taking care of the house and kids when I need to leave, plus cheering me on with every step!

4. Change Your Perspective
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At the beach today, it sure looked dreary at times, but then you would look up and see the sun peeking through the clouds!

In business, there are many times where all a situation or problem needs is a different perspective. 

You may do an event – a trade show, open house or party – and have very poor results. However, if you are a business owner,  you cannot be stunted by short-term thinking. If you want to make your business work, you need to work it like you are there for the long-haul. 

There have been many, MANY times where one event that goes poorly turns into a number of excellent contacts, events and opportunities a year down the road. I have met some of my best customers through poorly attended or low sales events. 

How does this happen?! Long-term thinking. 

Don’t write something off because it didn’t give you the results you expected right now. Keep working those relationships – find out how you can benefit each other, network together, and don’t lose hope! Through good communication, follow-up, and a genuine spirit of trying to help others, you will learn to turn these events into positives for your business…in the long-run!

Note: Sometimes you do need to know when to walk away, too. There is a fine line between trying something over and over again or using all your energy on something and realizing that you need to walk away and find a new opportunity.

5. Stay Positive!
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A positive attitude will carry you a long way in business, especially when you are relying on yourself to make it work!

I believe I have said it before on the blog, but it’s worth saying again – My Grandpa said (months before cancer took his life), “You can look at a situation in your life in one of two ways – with hope and hilarity or with despair. Either way, you have to deal with it.”

These were quick thoughts from a water-logged mama after a wonderful, wavy, crazy beach day. (Yes, we were some of the few crazy people jumping the huge waves and swimming in cold water!) I would love to hear your thoughts and tips on running your own business!

Chocolate Swirl Squares

First Day of School

Once upon a time these three lovely children lived with me, at my house – mostly because I gave birth to them, and they were mine.  Slight family resemblance between the three of them!  Later they left me and got married.  I don’t want to discuss that.  Ha, ha.  At least they all still within the region, so it could definitely be worse.

Anyway, this picture is one of many that are all similar in style.  It’s a “first day of school” shot.  We all have those, right?  This one happened to be the first day of Kindergarten for my youngest, the first day of grade two for Kate (your friendly neighbourhood tea lady!),  the  first day of grade five for my oldest, and the first day at a new school for all of them.  Hence the looks of trepidation.

 

How does this relate to a food blog?  Well, imagine kindergarten, plus twelve grades of school, times two snacks and a lunch, times three kids.  I’m not even going to do that math.  Suffice it to say – that’s a lot of food!  Also (don’t tell anyone) I “may” have continued to pack lunches for my youngest while he lived at home and went to college, and I “may” have made him hot, fresh muffins a lot of mornings.  Maybe. While I know that squares and cookies aren’t health food, at least when they’re homemade you know what’s in them, you can control portions,  and you know they aren’t full of preservatives.  Also, it’s most cost effective to make them yourself, especially if you have some go-to recipes that are basic, easy, and quick.  It happened more than a few times that I thought I was ready for the next day, only to check, and someone – be it husband or child – had eaten the last of the snack items.  Seriously, people???  It got so that I would label things with notes such as – “Do not cut!  For lunches!”, or “Do not dig a square out of the middle of this pan!!”, and “I need six of these left for the morning.”  You say a lot of things as a mother you never thought you would.  🙂

This recipe is quick and easy.  It doesn’t have many ingredients, and having made it this week, it works just as well as an allergen free recipe.  Here you go!

1/2 cup butter or margarine (whichever you tolerate the best)

3/4 cup sugar (1/2 brown, 1/2 white)

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1 chia egg (1 tbsp. ground chia seeds, 3 tbsp. water – soak to form a gel)

3/4 cup white rice flour

1/4 cup sweet sorghum flour

1/4 cup brown rice flour

1 tsp. xanthan gum

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

3/4 cup Enjoy Life miniature chocolate chips

 

Combine butter, sugar, vanilla and chia egg.  Mix well until blended.  Add in the rest of the ingredients. Spread in a greased 8 x 8 pan.

Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over top.  Bake in 375* oven for 1 or 2 minutes, until chocolate chips start to melt.  Pull out of the over, and run a knife through the chocolate chips, creating a swirl.  (This is not an exact science.  Just….swirl things around.)  Bake for 20 minutes more, until firm and the edges are browning.  Cool and cut into squares.

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Easy-peasy!

The Entrepreneurial Mom

This isn’t the blog that I had planned to write this week, but after last night’s experience, I knew I wanted to write this blog to encourage all entrepreneurial or “work at home” moms, like me!

This…is my office. A corner office with a window, how fancy!
IMG_8096We do the best with the space we have, but this is the only and the best space for me and my computer. We don’t have a spare room, and as a mom, I often need to be central and ‘in the mix’ of everything even when I am working. On those crazy, busy days, it is a dream of mine to have an office with *gasp* four walls and a door! I have a conference call? Swoosh, the door closes and it is….quiet. Ahhhh. A space with no kids’ toys, with bookshelves, a desk, a comfy chair, a kettle and a mini fridge…what a dream that would be!
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Or, let me dream even further…how about an office totally separate from the house? Oh my….don’t let me dream that dream!
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However, that dream is not a reality, so last night, I was doing a Customer Appreciation Online Party (on Facebook) to launch our brand new catalogue, and I was doing it right from my couch.

My husband is my #1 supporter and cheerleader in my business. But…the man has insomnia. So, even when he sometimes wants to be there and take care of the kids and do exactly what I need him to do for my business, he just plain needs to sleep. Last night was one of those nights.

And summer, blessed summer, I love you in so many ways…but summer can really mess up a kid’s sleep schedule sometimes! My toddler had slept in late (until 4:30 p.m.), plus there was a storm brewing, so he was very excited about that / he had lots of good excuses why he couldn’t fall asleep.

My newborn is normally a sleeping angel. She does so well with sleep and usually quite regimented…except for last night. She decided to nap until 7 p.m., and my online party started at 7:30…great. I was set-up for an interesting night! When things got started at 7:30, my newborn was still in her high chair eating and my toddler *was* in bed. We shall see how long that lasts!

The beauty with online parties is that no one can see you and the crazy mess going on around you! Online parties are also just plain fun – people are asking questions and commenting like crazy, trying to win specials, earn points for the draw, and just having fun! The only thing missing, of course, is having tea together!

I always have the majority of my posts or ideas planned out, and the majority of my posts already written, and the pictures/videos ready to be cued up. That way, I can concentrate on the flow of the party and commenting and answering questions! This normally would work quite smoothly, and while it is very exciting and busy, the party goes by quickly and you are left with a great night behind you, sales, new customers, and feeling quite relaxed and happy with your business!

From 7:30-8:30, it was a whirlwind of CRAZY. The craziest night we have had in awhile. The storm was brewing, my toddler was restless, my newborn was up way too late and I was on edge. Working at home is so incredibly rewarding, but it also presents a lot of challenges. You have your night set-up how you want it, and then one thing happens – like a late bedtime, or a sleeping husband or mom not eating supper yet – and you start to wish you worked outside the house. In my case last night,  it was ALL the things.

My son was in and out of bed must have been five times…going to the bathroom, changing his pajamas, just being restless and being woken up by the storm. At one point, just after 8:00, he just joined me in the living room because he needed help with his pajamas but I couldn’t run up the stairs and help him right then.

It was about at this time that my newborn was finished eating and was now crawling the living room like a crazy little girl. Her favourite things right now are trying to climb the stairs, walking along the couch to try and get my computer, and generally just being fast all the time.

Right in the middle of my wonderful, exciting online party with some of the best customers you could ask for…my toddler interrupts my thoughts (again!) and asks, “Mom, why do you have those strings hanging down?” I was distracted with the party and just gave a “Huh?” and kept going. He walks over to touch the “strings” and immediately runs over, holding his finger, crying about being hurt. What???IMG_8095

Yep…wax. I hadn’t been paying attention (obviously!) and my candle has gotten too low, spill over…and over…and over…and all down the wall.

So now, right in the middle of one of the best online parties I have ever had…wax down my wall. I would have left it alone, except my newborn thought it might be a good idea to eat it. Of course.

So now, I am running back and forth from the wall to the computer, trying to keep up with posts and keep her away from the wax. I am frantically ripping the wax off the wall, moving her away, computer, moving her away again, wax…you get the picture.

I think all is settled and I sit back down at the computer and ask my toddler to “PLEASE, OH PLEASE…stop asking so many questions and just put your pants on!” (Yeah, moms say weird things.)

I look over and my newborn is back at the stairs (again) and I get up to go grab her when she slips a bit, scares herself and starts crying like crazy. I am holding her, comforting her…and typing with one hand. I decide to change her, on the couch right beside me and my party of course, and my toddler is still running around the room and quite out-of-character for him just not listening very well. I ask him to slow down, calm down and, you guessed it, put his pants on! He is running back across the room to get his pants on and he slips and falls and starts crying like crazy (hello, overtired!).

My hubby comes down and saves the day. Love that guy.

My hubby gets my son to bed, I get our newborn a bottle and up to bed and back to finish the party. Whew, what a night.

Being a stay-at-home mom is not easy. You never get a break from those crazy days. Being a work-at-home mom is not easy either. You get breaks from the crazy, but then have to work-at-home during the crazy.

However, I am telling you – if you ever get an opportunity to work from home, do it!! Having income + a flexible schedule + spending time with my kids + training, incentives and recognition = an amazing life!

It isn’t easy being a mom who, instead of taking maternity leave, works the whole year. I don’t even know for sure that I can just stay home because of trouble with my hubby’s job and our financial life. Howeve11745942_1464297240531961_1126037578256149671_nr, as soon as I am able, working only from home will be something I enjoy every day for the rest of my life!

Ps. If you have never seen how an online tea party can work, you really should check it out here! They can be so much fun!