Granola Bars

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!

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SuperButter!

As someone with eating issues – as in, there are a lot of foods that my body really hates and reacts strongly to – it is always exciting to find a new product that tastes good and is something I can eat.  Really – I have such simple desires……….food that I can eat.  🙂  Enter SuperButter.  First off, I love the name.  It’s like a superhero of food.  One of my favourite “butters” is Sunbutter, which is made of sunflower seeds.  This product ups the ante and uses sunflower, sesame and flax seeds.  Here is a quote taken directly from their web site:

 

We heard your requests and concerns from the beginning! SuperButter Premium Seed Butters are not only free of major allergens, but are also made in a facility that is free of peanuts, tree nuts (including coconut), dairy, eggs, wheat, soy, fish and shellfish. There is no chance of cross contamination – these eight major allergens are never allowed to enter our plant.

 

That makes me do a happy dance.  There is a guarantee that none of my allergens are in it, and cannot ever be in it.  Knowing this, my next step was to get my hands on some and taste it.  I was able to get all four flavours:  Original Creamy, Original Crunchy, Vanilla Bean and Chocolate.  My husband and I sat down with some spoons (many spoons – no double dipping here!), and tasted.

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Original Creamy – as stated, nice and creamy, and had a nice, nutty taste without having any nuts in it.

Original Crunchy – same flavour as the creamy, but with some texture.

Chocolate – hello, allergen free Nutella.  🙂  It’s almost a subtle hit of chocolate, but it’s definitely there.  Yum.

Vanilla Bean – probably the favourite for both of us.  You get the hit of vanilla taste almost as an after-taste, and then – hello vanilla.

Having assessed the product and found it much to our liking, I decided to use it in a recipe, so here you go –

SuperButter Drops

1/2 cup butter or margarine (whichever fits your dietary needs – both work fine)

1/2 cup non dairy milk (I used flax beverage)

1 3/4 cups sugar (I used organic)

1/2 cup cocoa powder (or cacao)

3 cups oats (make sure these are gluten free)

1/2 cup smooth SuperButter

Combine first four ingredients in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often.  Boil for 3 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Stir in oats and SuperButter.  Drop by spoonfuls onto parchment paper lined cookie sheets.  Refrigerate until set.

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As you can see, these were lovely, and shining with chocolate goodness.  I haven’t been eating much sugar lately, so I found them a little sweet, but my husband assures me they are just fine.

Enjoy!

 

The Entrepreneur’s 24 Hours

Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day.

I am trying to ‘have it all!’ I have two beautiful, incredible children that fill my hubby and I with so much joy! They love each other, they have fun together and they are such good friends! While we have plenty of parenting moments that cause us to sigh and cry, we have an absolutely wonderful family.
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I have a thriving, exciting, and delicious business! I am constantly looking to innovate and find new ways to conduct my personal business and help service my customers, but I am also working with 300 team members to help them do the same. I love our team meetings, training and the creativity that is shared among members. And again, while the businessMompreneur2, like any, has bumps in the road and difficulties to overcome , this business is an incredible blessing. I have so many amazing opportunities to meet other entrepreneurs and business woman, earn incentive trips and awards. Most recently, I was chosen as 1 of the 20 finalists (out of 17,000 members) in the Mompreneur community. I cannot wait to see where this business takes me next!
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I love working out, playing volleyball, volunteering with events at my church, mentoring high school girls and being present in my community.

So, how does an entrepreneur, a businesswoman with a family, or a mom trying to homeschool, etc. – how do we accomplish what we need to do in our 24 hours? I would love to hear from you! For now, here are my thoughts on our time…

1. Network with like-minded moms or entrepreneurs
For myself, I know that I cannot do it all. And while I still try….I fail, and I have to come back to the reality over and over again that I will need help. I rely on my network to help me find events, give referrals, or even trade services! Just today, in fact, I had my friend Craig from Shineco Cleaning Services come over and help me with my carpets and stairs in exchange for some of my business services (aka. delicious tea!). We both had a service the other was looking for and we could collaborate with each other to get it done!
Ps. I highly recommend Craig, of course! He does professional work, is friendly and great to work with on the job, and the proof is in the pictures – check out his work!

2. Multi-task….wisely!
I am the queen of multi-tasking many times to my own demise. I will “multi-task” by catching up on my favourite show while working only to realize that I need to triple-check all my work because I am not paying attention. That kind of work is not productive, efficient or helpful to your business.
The kind of multi-tasking that works for me are things like:
-Exercising while listening to a company conference call
-Catching up with a friend while packaging tea samples
-Bringing samples and information while I do errands to share as I go
-Inviting team members to my parties to train on the job

3. Schedule what’s important
As much as it sounds very boring and ‘adult’ to ‘pencil in’ coffee with a friend or a date with your spouse, scheduling has been key to helping my business and life run successfully. I need to know exactly what my calendar looks like – when is my free time to play with my kids, when are my conference calls and coaching calls with team members, when is my personal time, etc.
Personally, I like my online calendar best – I plug in everything on my computer and it syncs to my phone. However, you may prefer a day timer and that’s great – do what works!
Now, saying this…I completely missed an appointment at my chiropractor’s this morning because I forgot to look at my calendar. So…yeah. Oops!

I know that I need to work-out, and I love playing volleyball, so I plug into my calendar specific times every day to make it happen. I don’t just rely on free time to pop up and allow me to go do this. My husband is my number one supporter and dates with him are so important to me! However, with our family, miscellaneous activities for both of us, his work and my business, if we don’t plan dates, they aren’t going to happen. Just last week, we were trying to find a time to do something very simple – eat food and watch TV – and we kept failing to make it happen! I had a fundraiser meeting one night, he had a migraine the next night, then I had volleyball…life goes by too fast to just hope that you can accomplish all that you want!

4. Make S.M.A.R.T. goals for both the short- and long-term
Have you ever come across the S.M.A.R.T. system for goal setting? If you haven’t,  you need to take a look at this video that explains it quite well.

When you have both short- (monthly) and long-term (yearly) goals, you can work daily with specific action steps knowing that you are on the right path to achieve what you want to achieve. When you work spontaneously, randomly or frantically, you will get exactly those kinds of results.

Random Actions = Random Results

It’s truly as simple as that.

We all know – 24 hours goes by in a flash. Days turn into weeks and weeks into months and we sit back and wonder –

Why am I not progressing in this area of my life?!

I did that recently. I looked at myself in the mirror and thought – have I given up? When did I stop working out? When did I stop making this a priority?

I have had two beautiful babies and my body does not bounce back well (weight-wise) from having babies. My pregnancies are amazing, I feel so incredibly healthy and I truly love the entire process. Afterwards, though, it can take a toll on my weight.  I love working out, playing sports and being active, but somewhere along the way as I had these babies, launched my business, maintained two jobs (for two years) and did all the mom and wife things, I stoblog4pped planning to work out, scheduling it in my day, or setting goals for my physical activity.
Ps. No more!! Thanks to an amazing challenge from our founder, Tonia, I am back in the habit and so happy to be pushing myself in this area! Follow me here and I will cheer you on in your own journey!
So, my question for you is this – what are your goals and how will you achieve them? How will you use your 24 hours a day to maximize the opportunities that you have?

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Breakfast Cookies II

I’ve posted a recipe for breakfast cookies before, but since then have been more fully exploring Enjoy Life’s line of products, and found something that fits seamlessly into these cookies, and ramps up the flavour and crunch.  These cookies are great because they have no sugar (unless you throw in the chocolate chips, like I do), and they are filling.  I find I only need one for breakfast – but then, I’m not  much of a breakfast eater.

So then, what is this new product I found to use in the cookies?  Enjoy Life’s Seed and Fruit mix – Beach Bash flavour.  It’s so hard to find this kind of a mix without warnings of “may contain nuts…..” .  It’s a yummy mix, and adds a nice crunch and texture to these cookies.

Breakfast Cookies II

4 roasted bananas

Let’s talk about roasting the bananas first.  Preheat your oven to 400* F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and put your whole, unpeeled bananas on there.  Put in the hot oven for 20 minutes.  Here is a before and after picture of the bananas:

 

So yes, the bananas will look like a science experiment gone wrong, and that is perfect. And bonus – the riper the bananas the better, so if you can find some discounted at the grocery store because they are “overripe”, go for it!  Let them cool, then continue with the recipe.

So now, mash the bananas and add:

2 cups of gluten free oats, large flake

1/2 cup Sunbutter

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 tbsp. baking powder

1/4 cup Enjoy Life Seed and Fruit Mix

1/4 cup raisins

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1/4 cup (or more) Enjoy Life chocolate chunks or chips

Use 1/4 cup measuring cup and scoop out onto parchment lined baking sheet.  Use a fork to slightly flatten each cookie.  Bake at 350* F for 20 minutes.

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Cool, and store in the fridge for up to a week.  This recipe makes 12-14 cookies. Yum, yum.

 

Ranger Cookies

Today’s blog is inspired by…..my childhood.  I’ve always liked Ranger cookies, but wasn’t aware that the first time I had them was when we went on holidays as a family to Ranger Lake, in Northern Ontario.  Apparently I was either way more into the rustic lifestyle as a child, or forced to enjoy it by my parents, because by all appearances, this was quite….rustic.  Family lore has it that my Nana went to put on her shoe in the morning and there was a mouse in it.  Come to think of it, a psychologist might say that these kinds of early childhood vacations have ingrained in me my love of not being in rustic places to this day.  🙂

Anyway – to the recipe!  My hubby says this might be my best one yet.  I say he might be right.  These cookies were easy to make, and thanks to a new find in Enjoy Life foods product line, nice and crunchy.

 

Ranger Cookies

1/2 cup margarine

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 chia egg (1 tbsp. ground chia seed + 3 tbsp. water – let set into a gel)

1 tsp. vanilla

3/4 cup white rice flour

1/4 cup potato starch

1 tsp. xanthan gum

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. baking powder

3/4 tsp. salt

1 cup Enjoy Life Crunchy Rice Cereal

1 cup rolled oats (make sure these are gluten free)

1/2 cup coconut

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

 

Cream margarine and sugars together.  Add in the chia egg and vanilla.

Stir the flours, xanthan gum, powder, soda and salt together.  Mix into the creamed ingredients.

Add cereal, oats, coconut and chocolate chips.  Mix well.  The batter will be thick.  Roll into one inch balls and arranged on a baking sheet (lined with parchment paper).  Bake at 375*F for 7-8 minutes, until bottoms are browned.

Makes 3 dozen.

Eat.  Enjoy.

(As always, the more organic ingredients you use, the better.  I used organic sugar and coconut, and of course, the Enjoy Life products are “free from” foods, so no worries about allergens there!)

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recently we were invited to join the Canadian panel of bloggers involved with Enjoy Life products.  This is a great opportunity, not only because I already use these products all the time, but also a chance for me to spread the love!  Everything of theirs I have tried I’ve loved, and I’m really looking forward to taking part in sampling and sharing new products with our readers.

The first thing that happened was that a box was delivered to my door.  I really, really love getting packages in the mail.  🙂  Upon opening, I found inside two packages of mini chocolate chips, two boxes of Cocoa Loco bars, and two pamphlets from Enjoy Life, outlining their dedication to “free from” foods.  A quote from their web site:  “Free-from living means leading a life without exposure to food allergens that can harm your body. It’s not always easy, but with information, determination and a stock of tasty allergy-friendly foods (like those from Enjoy Life Foods!), free-from living becomes “freedom for living.”  It is so freeing to know I can pick up anything with their label on it and EAT IT.  If you don’t have food sensitivities, I’m happy for you, but if you do, you will completely understand what I mean here.

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Seeing as this blog is done jointly with my lovely daughter, the next step was to take everything over to her place to gleefully show her, and to sample.  And seeing as the kids were there and not napping, we had extra willing little samplers on hand.  Since I had already used the chocolate chips plenty of times, we opened up a box of the Cocoa Loco bars.  As you can see from my grandson’s face, they were a hit!

 

The first recipe I am sharing using some of these products is one I created for oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.  But before I share the recipe, I have to share an interesting thing  I learned when making these cookies……apparently when you use Sunbutter and baking soda in a baked good, there is some sort of chemical reaction that goes on that turns the inside of your cookie…..green!  Ha, ha.  The first day everything was normal, but the second day I bit into one and it was green.  A little shocking, but nothing that taints the flavour or affects the quality of the cookie.  Upon doing a little research, I found that if you add a little vinegar to your batter, it could combat this reaction, but hey – I said I’d be honest when I started this blog, so yeah…..cookies that were green on the inside.  Think…St. Patrick’s Day.  🙂 If you make these, eat them anyway – you don’t want to waste those delicious chocolate chips!

 

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Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

3/4 cup brown rice flour

1/4 cup tapioca starch

1/4 cup potato starch

1 tsp. xanthan gum

1 cup gluten free oats

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup margarine

1/3 cup Sunbutter

1 chia egg (1 tbsp. ground chia seeds + 3 tbsp. water)

chocolate chips (no measurement given because…..I usually just grab a handful and throw them in)

Combine your flours, xanthan gum, oats, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.

Beat together the brown sugar, margarine, Sunbutter and chia egg.  I just used a wooden spoon and my muscles.  🙂

Add dry ingredients and chocolate chips.  Stir well until nicely blended.  Roll into 1 1/2 inch balls and place on parchment paper on a baking sheet.  Flatten slightly with a fork.  (If you dip your fork into one of the flours you used, it won’t stick to the cookies.)  Bake for about 8 minutes – every oven is a little different, so peek at the bottom of the cookie.  If it’s brown, the cookies are done.

These stayed fresh for days! I was quite impressed.  Sometimes gluten free baking tends to get stale quickly, but not these.

So – go grab yourself some delicious Enjoy Life “free from” chocolate chips and get baking.  As a matter of fact, I have to go get some more myself, because maybe, just maybe, I ate some of the chocolate chips I was sent, and need more for another recipe…..

Have you ever made something that tasted just fine but looked….odd…..like my green cookies?  Post a comment and let me know!

 

 

The Conversation with a Stranger.

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I have been having this conversation with strangers ever since my son was born four years ago. Sometimes, it feels like it happens every day. Other times, I get a small break and then it comes up again.

Scene – Grocery shopping or doing errands with one or both of my kids. We are having a sweet moment of hugging, kissing, laughing or just being together. 

Stranger: “Enjoy this now while you can! Soon, they will be teenagers and they will have so much attitude!”
(Alternative scripts include, “they will hate you,” and “soon they will be grown up and it will all be over.”)
Me: “Ummm…”
Stranger (talking as she walks away): “Seriously, my daughter is 14 and gives me so much attitude.”
Me: “Well, we will be fine.”

End scene.

How is this encouraging in any way? It’s like they are trying to ruin your special moment because they wish their kids were babies, or perhaps, they are just intending on ruining your thoughts of your future? Seriously. This has to stop! I have been having this conversation over and over again since my first child was weeks old, and I am sick of it.

Even before we were pregnant with our first, I was very prepared to enjoy every stage of that pregnancy, no matter how much sickness, pain or discomfort I felt because I knew that I would just be so happy to be pregnant. Even more so, I knew that so many of my friends would love to have a child and don’t yet and knew my complaints would hurt them. Now, having two kids, I go back to the same attitude time and again as I look at my kids and am so thankful to God for the blessing that they are to us. An attitude of gratitude. Pregnant

 

 

Finding out I was pregnant with our first!

Maybe these random strangers are just having a tough day with their kids – we’ve all been there! I believe, for many, it’s so much deeper than that, though. They are not living with an attitude of gratitude that allows them to see both the struggles and also the great joys of EVERY stage of life. From newborn to toddler and elementary to high school, each child will progress through stages that contain amazing moments of triumph and joy and also hardships, both for them and the parents. However, I truly believe that an underlying joy can be present that helps you get through every stage, thankful for that stage of life.

Sidenote: Every child and every parent is different. There can be extenuating circumstances that brings much more difficult struggles than the ‘norm.’ I am not naive enough to say that life is easy, get through it and just keep smiling. I am very optimistic by nature, but I understand that some seasons of life are extremely difficult.
2nd Sidenote: No, I am not a mom of teenagers yet. I do not have experience in that field, only with preschool and under. I have volunteered with teenagers for 10 years and have spent a lot of time with teenagers, but no, I have not been a mom to a teenager.

As I seriously thought about this conversation today, it did strike me as funny what she was saying trying to compare the two stages – baby/toddler and teenager. Baby/Toddler = easy, fun and enjoyable. Teenager = horrible, difficult and painful. She was trying to do me a service, I guess, and warn me that having teenagers can be hard. Well, complete the picture and tell me how having teenagers can be wonderful, too, because every stage has both positives and difficulties.

Think about it…
Teenagers can be messy and forget to clean up after themselves.
Babies spend hours and hours of their lives ripping containers out of your cupboards on purpose and throwing them on your floor.

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Teenagers can keep you up at night waiting for them to come home before curfew.

 

Babies keep you up…all the time.

 

Teenagers can give you attitude and test their boundaries on obeying you/finding their independence.
Did I ever tell you about when my toddler told me that he prayed to God to help me be less stern with him?! Yeah, that happened. 🙂 Oh, and be sure to ask my hubby about the look he gets from our 16-month-old when he can’t guess what she wants!

Teenagers (boys) can be rude and belch/fart at the dinner table, leave their stinky clothes around the house, etc.
Umm…did you ever read my story about the trip to the library bathroom??! And have you ever had to scoop poop out of a bath tub?

Teenagers have homework that will make your head explode…and oh yes, teaching them how to drive?!
You have to teach babies….EVERYTHING.

I could go on…and on…but I digress. I laughed my way through this list and had a million more examples I could have given. I think babies are hilarious and exhausting, brilliant and complex, adorable and little stinkers all at once. I absolutely love the newborn stage, the baby stage and the preschool stage…even though each stage has major obstacles to overcome or difficulties to work through. Each stage of a child’s life will present challenges, but I am not about to complain my way through it and waste these years. I choose to have an attitude of gratitude and just love my kids, teach my kids, and serve my kids as best as I am able, no matter the stage. Some days rely on a lot of prayer, Matcha and counting to 10. Some days, I just need a break. However, no matter the day, I know this –

“The days are long, but the years are short.”

So, to the next stranger that gives me a “warning” about my future….just don’t. It’s not needed. I know there will be difficulties ahead….I don’t care! I love my kids unconditionally, I thank God for my kids every single day, and I am fully prepared to face the teenager years with my husband with a lot of prayer, relying on God, and drinking my Matcha…just like I have done through the early years.
Oh, and ps. I plan to actually enjoy my kids as teenagers, too. 🙂
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