december, the christmas month.

december

in finnish december is joulukuu, which when translated means christmas month.

and, at our house it sure is.

TERVETULOA JOULUKUU. WELCOME DECEMBER.

the advent calender has been hung up in our living room with great anticipation to see whether or not joulutonttu, the christmas elf, will leave any little surprises for the boys. joulutonttu is very discreet and the kids have never seen him. but, joulutonttu peeks in through the windows and from around corners to see how we’re all behaving, reporting back to his boss, joulupukki. speaking of him, the kids wrote letters to joulupukki with random wishes; bear asked for a hamster (as if) and 3 surprises (that’s easy). and, lion asked for a doll (again, easy).

dear hubby loves to bake during the holidays and after scouring pinterest he has bookmarked several yummy cookie recipes. this weekend he has been busy in the kitchen making lists, checking ingredients and just being darn cute.

we have been enjoying christmas music, as well. thanks to sirius radio, with it’s variety of different channels of holiday music.

and, then today joulu radio started in finland. i have been sitting, listening, feeling incredibly nostalgic for a finnish christmas.

it’ hard to sing along with this big ol’ lump in my throat.

logo_jouluradio

christmas is a very special time in finland. it is not as commercial or based in consumerism, the way it is here in north america. there are traditions that are deep rooted in many families and i will write more about those later this month.

are you excited for december?

what are some of your holiday traditions this time of year?

xo, mama lola

vegetarian thanksgiving menu!


don’t be fooled that thanksgiving is just for meat eaters, because there are lots of wonderful, interesting and delicious vegetarian menu options out there!

 

 
below i have compiled recipes that look appetizing and will get your mouth watering!
i love all the textures and colours; you can almost smell the scent of the yummy foods wafting in the air.


:: COMPLETE VEGGIE THANKSGIVING MENU ::

 
thanksgiving menu from oh veggies
 
 
:: POTATOES ::
 
 
from gourmande in the kitchen
 
roasted garlic mashed potatoes from steamy kitchen
 
 
:: STUFFING ::
 
 
vegan stuffing from novel eats
 

 

:: INSTEAD OF TURKEY ::

 

 
 
 
 
:: GRAVY ::
 
 
vegetarian gravy from two lazy gourmets

 

YUMMY!!!!

i deliberately did not include salads, cranberry sauce, roasted veggies or beans, or any squash recipes as they kinda speak for themselves as being veggie! i did make a squash round-up at the beginning of the season, which you can check-out HERE.

which recipe will you try?
i have pinned a few of these with christmas in mind!

happy cooking!

xo, mama lola

vegetarian crock pot recipe round-up!


this time of year, my crock pot is in full action. i use it a couple of times a week, for chili or soup or even for a hot breakfast! here are some delicious and healthy vegetarian crock pot recipes ranging from breakfast, soup to entree. YUM!

 

 
 

loaded baked potatoes from martha stewart

 
vegetarian chiliveggie chili from bear & lion
 

indian chole from while chasing kids
 

vegetarian soupafrican inspired soup from kalyn’s kitchen

 
overnight cinnamon apple oatmeal from chocolate broccoli
 
 
rice puddingrice pudding from bear & lion
 
greek yoghurt
greek yoghurt from the little red house

oh, my mouth is watering just thinking about these recipes!
let me know which one you’re going to try first!

xo, mama lola

korvapuusti or finnish cinnamon bun recipe!

korvapuusti, finnish baking
mmm…
korvapuusti, finnish baking recipe, cinnamon buns

i’ve shared our korvapuusti recipe before. the name korvapuusti is finnish for “slapped ear” based on the appearance of the bun. they are a common treat in finnish cafe’s and homes. they are simple to make, with most of the time spent waiting for the dough to rise.

this summer these treats became a camping tip hit in our family. DH would bake them before a camping getaway, and then we would enjoy them during our cool summer mornings at camp.

INGREDIENTS:

DOUGH:
1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
2 cups scalded whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
11/2 tsp salt
6-7 cups flour
1/2 cup butter

INSIDE FILLING:
1/2 cup cinnamon sugar

GLAZE:
1 egg *since we are an egg free family, we use coffee or a milk/ butter combo

INSTRUCTIONS:
– dissolve the yeast in the water and add the milk, sugar, salt, and half of the flour. mix vigorously for one minute.
– stir in butter and enough of the remaining flour to make a stiff dough.
– knead until smooth, about 10 minutes
– place dough in greased bowl and let rise in a warm location until size has doubled. may take up to 2-3 hours depending on current temperature.
– pre-heat oven to 375 F
– roll out half the dough into a 12 by 18 inch rectangle. spread with butter (DH melts butter and brushes it on) and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
– roll rectangle firmly into a log roll. cut roll diagonally to make triangular:ish pieces and press down on centre of each korvapuusti spreading out the cut ends.
– glaze each korvapuusti. place rolls onto greased baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes or until golden.
– do the same with the other half of the dough.

korvapuusti, finnish baked goods, baking recipe
korvapuusti, finnish baked treats, cinnamon buns

 

korvapuusti resepti, finnish recipe

my mouth is watering just looking at these pictures!
these are perfect school lunches too!
YUM!

xo, mama lola

autumn vegetarian squash recipes!


 

 

i love squash. so does my whole family.
this time of year is harvest season and all the gourds and squashes are ready for the picking!

here is a round-up of various vegetarian squash recipes. some recipes are vegan too!

 

roasted butternut squash with goat cheese from anja’s food 4 thought
 
 
spicy asian spahetti squash from slender kitchen
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
black rice with acorn squash from vegetarian mamma
 
 
 
 
 
 
butternut squash lasagna from bon appetit
 
 
 
 
creamy butternut squash (vegan) pasta from dishing up the dirt
 
 

butternut squash soup from bear & lion

 

this time of year the thought a piece of yummy bread with hardy stew makes my mouth water!

i’ll let you know which recipes i’ll be trying!

xo, mama lola

perfect fall apple recipes!

fall has arrived.
the kids are officially back to school. the trees are starting to slowly change colour and lose their leaves. people are taking about going apple picking and there’s even a crispness in the air on some mornings, oh yes, fall has definitely arrived.

this time of year i like to use my oven a lot for baking and dinners; we don’t have our furnace on so it’s a great way to warm up the house when needed. here are 10+ fall recipes to get your home smelling delicious and cozy this fall!

apple sandwiches from oh she glows
 
old fashioned apple crisp from blissfully delicious
 
apple chips from whole living
 
caramel apples from dot come women
 
orange cocoa apple bread from kitchen illiterate
 
spirit tree apple pizza from off the beaten palate
 
apple muffins from the girl who ate everything

 

 

apple pie bites from yummy mummy club

apple sauce from canning basics

(vegan) apple pie from the southern vegan

which one is your favourite?
let me know if you try out any of these recipes!

xo, mama lola

fun vegetarian lunch ideas!

i know many kids have already returned back to school. my eldest goes back next week, and to prepare i have collected some healthy, fun lunch ideas! my bear gets easily distracted from eating, so i’m hoping if i change things up a little and create little fun surprises, then maybe he’ll be more inclined to eat. we’re vegetarian and his school is a nut-free, waste-free zone, meaning there are certain foods i’m not allowed to include in his lunch and we need to use a steel lunch box to reduce product waste. i’m not bothered by this because i’m very conscious of dietary issues and always do my bit for the environment! anyway, i want to make sure he’s getting everything he needs in a day with these restrictions in place!
i guess only time will tell!

how do you get your kids to eat their school lunches?

it’s so easy to always make the same thing for lunch. i love these ideas, because it shows that if you think a little out of the box you can really get creative!

here’s what to think about:

  • presentation is key; it’s not just about fun shapes, think brisght colours too
  • hitting the oh-so important food groups
  • cutting things into smaller, bite-sized portions
  • don’t forget about drinks too
  • investing in good BPA-free containers that are easy for kids to open and close
  • don’t forget to label all the pieces of the lunch sets


sooooooooooooooo…. here we go!

 
 

make your own sushi from bear & lion

(i think the bread actually has meat inside, but you could easily substitute with hummus or cream cheese.)
 

healthy choices from i pack lunch

vegan club sandwich from healthy. happy. life.

roasted tomato grilled cheese from the wimpy vegetarian

falafel & tzatziki from peas and thank-you

pizza pops from bear & lion

vegan sweet potato, coconut milk and sweet chili ravioli from  reclaiming provincial

christmas cactus from organized bites

coming up soon… hot vegetarian school lunch ideas!
perfect for cool fall or chilly winter days!
xo, mama lola

the first leg of our epic summer road trip!

and so our second annual family summer road trip started with a weekend at the cottage with dear friends. we left home on a stormy friday afternoon and arrived at the cozy cottage where the weather was calm and beautiful. so, we decided to get our bathing suits on and jump in the lake! it was a great way to start the weekend!
our weekend was fun in the sun; we swam, chatted about everything under the sun, sat by the fire, roasted marshmallows, drank various drinks, the kids played and played… it was glorious!


we left the cottage on a hot sunday afternoon and headed north on highway 400. our first stop was french river. it is a beautiful spot, perfect for a picnic and stretching your legs. we did both!

our first night of camping was fine. dear hubby and i were a bit out of sync, but seeing as it was our first night on the road, we allowed ourselves the learning opportunity to figure it all out. it took a lot re-organizing to get things into good order. for example, packing up my camping kitchen, i just tossed things into my bin at home, but here at camp i organized it as now i knew what i needed first when starting a meal. We had to look at getting the best heavy duty camping chair (well two actually), because we couldn’t stay on our feet constantly!

we also bought the kids their own camping chairs and surprised them at our first campfire. they seriously believed us when we told them the forest fairies brought them! it was so sweet!


our first morning at fairbank provincial park and this is what the crater created lake looked like. kinda unbelievable!


then we hit science north in sudbury! (a shout out to all the sudbury peeps, YO!) man, it was fun, awesome and did i mention fun? if you’re even by the big nickel, hanging out on the rock go check this place out!

this big guy here, was the tallest man alive once-upon-a-time. he too had some issues with his pituitary gland, different from mine, but i felt a bond with this freakish moving robot man!


then it was time to hit the road. the kids were quiet and sleepy after such a busy morning, which made for easy driving. we did get stuck behind the road painting truck, which was super frustrating and hilarious at the same time!


and then we saw this sign (see below photograph). we passed the english version before i could snap a photo, but here is the french version (canada is billingual). the sign reads “please do not feed the bears”. then on the brown part “bears are dangerous”. um yeah they are! they have massive claws and teeth, which are not there just for looks! and, here i thought there is no way in hell anyone in their right mind would want to get near an actual bear, never mind feed it. clearly i am naive!


we drove to sault saint marie, arrived after dinner time so the kids were grumpy and had a hard time finding a good place to eat. eventually, we decided to get a room at the motel 8 and get some grocery store sushi, cheeses, baguette and fruit. kids loved it, i loved it, and dear hubby loved. it was easy and delicious!

the next morning we piled into the car and headed for the famous canal locks. we arrived just in time to see an american tourist boat experience the strange wonder of the locks. the boat started out at one water level and then slowly was lowered to another water level. it’s actually super cool, but also scary!


we visited the bush plane museum in the soo. it was very well organized, and even though it’s a small museum, there is a lot to see and do. the boys of course loved it!


after the soo, we headed along the trans-canada highway north to camp at a provincial park.

that was when we discovered the wonder that is pancake bay.


as we set up camp we could hear a deep rhythmic pounding in the distance. so, we walked over the soft, sandy dunes and saw this.
a breathtaking view of sand and water and sky and forest.

dear hubby and i sat and watched as the kids played in the water, becoming more and more soaked as the waves kept crashing into the shore, and as the kids kept running into them. the boys were not bothered at all by the frigid temperatures of lake superior, or the cool wind that was blowing over the lake; they laughed while running and playing! it was perfect.


then, evening came. dear hubby put the kids to bed, i hooped…


and then this happened. wow.


more pictures and tales to come later from our epic road trip!

xo, mama lola

a wonderful post on breastfeeding!

i don’t often do this, but i wanted to share a very specific post by another blogger with you. it’s about breastfeeding. there is so much information out there, but as i remember my days as a nursing mama, i distinctly loved hearing about other women and their own experiences with feeding baby safely. even the “easiest” of babes can have various problems or concerns when it comes to nursing and then there are babes who need extra care of attention and mama needs extra skills to get things flowing properly! (like the pun?)


even though, i’ve been a non-nursing mama for almost a year now, i am still keen on spreading good information to new mama’s when i stumble upon it!


kritstin at one organic mama wrote a post about her experiences as a nursing mama. but, her post is so good one, as in REALLY GOOD… she shares her stories, she has a great list of resources that are totally my kind of resources (kelly mom, dr. sears etc)

this her post: BREASTFEEDING REFLECTION

read it!

* * * * * * *
just a little fun story to share: when bear about a year old, facebook was giving lots of mum’s i knew trouble for posting pictures of themselves nursing their cute babes. i too had picstures removed and received warnings. so one sunday afternoon, i decided to send emails to various news services and programs i thought should know about this. the local CTV station contacted me within hours, asked to come to our home and interview me. i was on that evening news report, ranting about facebook’s sexist policies!

anyhow…. here are a few of our family’s breastfeeding pics…

when i would nurse baby-lion, bear would often sit with me a nurse one of his babes or friends.

this was taken on bear’s first birthday. i was a sobbing mess. for some reason i thought because he was now one i would or should stop breastfeeding or that he would stop! boy was i wrong!

here’s lion nursing after a play crisis. he ate chalk and the barfed, but nothing a little of mama’s milk couldn’t soothe.

happy day to all!
xo, mama lola

millions of peaches… 20 awesome peach recipes!

we LOVE peaches! and, when they’re in season we devour baskets of them! to get ready for the world’s best peaches, which will be in season in a matter of weeks here in southern ontario, i have collected some awesome peach recipes, from pizza’s, to sorbet’s to salsa’s!
i did include a crisp and a cobbler for good measure, as well!
YUM… here we go…

{ 20 PEACH RECIPES }
 gouda and peach frilled cheese from winthrop chronicles
 carolina peach margarita from garden and gun
shrimp
 bellinin sorbet from the hungry australian
rustic grilled peach pizza from love cook eat
peach cake from i heart eating
grilled peaches from the snails view
 lavender peach cobbler from the baking bird
 blackberry peach crisp from the key ingredient
peach dumplings from LGB studio
molasses glazed salmon, sweet n’ spicy peach salsa from grab a plate
sweet peach pancakes from spicy southern kitchen
 fish taco’s with pineapple peach salsa from kristine’s kitchen
peach tart from the patterned plate
peach, mango & carrot smoothie from eat, drink & be merry
 peach salad from feasting at home
peach wine coolers from annie’s eats
summer peach rolls from my recipes
peach jam from better homes & gardens
mmm… my mouth is seriously watering after compiling this peachy list of yummy peach recipe’s. let me know if you try any of them or if you have a must-try peach recipe of your own!
xo, mama lola
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