yoghurt parfaits!


my kids love to eat treats, but i’m not keen on letting them eat too much sugar. so, i decided to get creative and take ingredients that we often have at home anyway and just combine them in to something fancy. kids love fancy!
INGREDIENTS:
greek style yoghurt in your favourite flavour
granola or cereal
hemp seeds
your favourite berries

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. layer your ingredients into quaint mason jars (although drinking glasses work great as well) starting with the yoghurt.
2. i did yoghurt + sliced strawberries + granola + hemp seeds + yoghurt + granola , done!


xo, mama lola

nothing beats family fun!

this weekend we didn’t really have any set plans. there were a million ideas floating around and items on our to-do lost that needed attention, but then i realized the local multicultural festival was happening so out we headed!



the weather was ideal for spending hours outside riding fair rides and eating ice cream. we did find some yummy indian for dinner, as well!


bear was a little grumpy about going, but got over his anxiety as soon as we arrived!


afternoons like this that happen spontaneously, when everyone is in a good mood and the weather cooperates seem to happen every 10 years or so! i am so happy that we had this fantastic day together, especially since bear has been full of extra sass and attitude recently. 

and, there was a firetruck!


the firefighters were handing out baseball cards. one of them asked the boys if they were blue jays fans, and they just stared back at him totally confused! we are not a sports family, so no, our boys have no idea who the jays are, but, they got a deck of cards anyway! woohooo!


we saw lots of friends.
we had a wonderful time.
and left right before the kids lost their cool. got home, watched a few cartoons and headed to bed!

how was your weekend?
what did you do?

xo, mama lola

themed thursday :road trip tips for camping! (part 2)

we’re a camping family. we like to go on short car camping stints and also camp during our road trips. i know so many friends who like going on camping holidays as well, however, i know there are some who like using a caravan instead. if you prefer a caravan because it’s more convient then that’s fine, it might be a good idea though to check out something like this Campsmart site to give you a better idea of what else you could get for your caravan experience. i try not to let our food choices get too convenient or junky. i always round out an order of chuck wagon fries with carrots, cucumber or apple slices. and only allow ice cream once a day! haha!
here are some of the tips and tricks i have learned along the way…

#1. MEAL PLAN!

  • take into consideration how many meals you need to cover, for how many people, how much time you have for prep at camp and clean-up, and what can you do at home before leaving. However, if you are travelling around the country in a camper, be sure to check out One Sure Insurance for information on the benefits of ensuring a camper!
  • decide which meals will take place at your campsite, which meals will in restaurants and which meals will just be cream cheese bagels thrown together.
  • remember to keep tabs on the weather. cooking in the rain is quite frankly not an option! last summer we woke up to an epic down pour, so we all had bowls of granola and milk in the car. it was exciting for the kids and very memorable!


here are some my families favourite meals while camping or on the road. we’re vegetarian, but adding meat to any of these recipes is easy enough!

BREAKFAST:

  • porridge: using the quick oats it’s fast, easy and you can add fruit and berries for extra taste.
  • yoghurt parfaits: layers of yoghurt, fruit, berries and granola mixed together. kids love this!
  • breakfast burrito: we are an egg free family, so we make scramble tofu instead of the eggs. in an iron skillet fry up onions, peppers, tomatoes, whatever your family likes, add tofu and then toss the scrambled goodness into a wrap, add cheese and salsa for flavour and voila, a breakfast burrito.
  • coffee: i am a coffee lover.so, one day dear hubby bought me a plastic french press for camping trips. i cannot stand the taste of instant coffee, so this way i can enjoy a nice cuppa java at camp without turning into a grump!


LUNCH n’ TREATS:

  • fruit, cut veggies, crackers, pretzels, pop corn, tortilla chips….
  • dried fruits like raisins or apricots are great treat!
  • smores, ’nuff said!
  • ice cream cones filled with fruit and chocolate treats, wrapped in foil, and then a quick melt on the fire! yum!
  • the internet and pinterest is overflowing with awesome yummy camping treat ideas. THIS HERE is the link to my camping board on pinterest with lots of ideas and tips and tricks!

DINNER:

  • tacos: we like hard taco’s with the flat bottoms, so it’s easier for the kiddo’s to fill ’em up with what they like!
  • taters: we love to eat tater’s at camping! two ways to make them: first, chop up potatoes into bite sized pieces, add butter or oil, a chopped onion and a few cloves of garlic and a sprinkling of sea salt. wrap carefully in several layers of foil and add to the grill above fire. or chuck above mentioned ingredients into your skillet and do them on the camping stove! delish!
  • pasta: pasta is super fast. boil the water, toss in noodles. you can use ready made pasta sauce from a jar, pesto sauce or sautee a few veggies in olive oil and add those to the pasta. done and done!
  • hot dogs: a camping fave. do up the dogs in your fire, add various condaments
  • salad: most grocery stores sell various kinds of ready-made salads. we would often grab one for lunch to share as a family. great way to still get all those nutrients and vitamins!


#2 EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES!

  • camping stove, propane for it, matches.
  • wash basin, dish soap, tea towels, a few clothes pegs.
  • foil, paper towel, table cloth and table cloth clips to attach to the picnic table.
  • condiments: ketchup, dijon mustard, pickles… you should downsize them into smaller containers
  • cooking oil (we prefer olive oil), garlic, onions, salt, pepper.
  • metal plates, wooden bowls (we use grandma’s old salad bowls instead of yucky plastic ones), metal cups, small cutting board, a sharp knife, spoons n’ forks, a wooden spatula,
  • one small cooking pot, one cast iron skillet. either can go in the fire on a grill, or can be used on a camping stove.


#3 THINGS TO CONSIDER!

  • remember that many foods require proper refrigeration, but some foods don’t, which are ideal for road trips and camping! foods like eggs, nut butters, salsa and some cheeses, don’t actually have to stay cold for food safety reasons, we’re just so used to it here in north america. that’s why they are perfect for travelling with. a quick almond butter and apple wrap is a great snack in the car, or a bagel with cream cheese is a fast lunch for the kids.
  • do buy ice along the way of you have milk or yoghurt. remember, the bags of ice often have holes and will flood your cooler.
  • buy big jugs of drinking water WITH A SPOUT! some jugs only have the screw top lid, but other ones have a proper spout so you can control easily how much water comes out. much easier when filling water bottles!
  • always have a water accessible when cooking with fire. save dirty dish water for the end of the night, to pour over your hot coals to properly extinguish the fire.
  • if possible, chop or precook foods at home before leaving. this makes things just that much easier onsite. pack foods in re-usable ziplock bags, label them and then at meal time it’s easy for anyone to help out.

HAPPY CAMPING, CAMPERS!
feel free to share your tips and tricks with food while camping. i’m always keen to see what works for others!

still to come:

  • activities, games and crafts for the kids
  • toiletries and first aid kits info
  • what to consider for sleeping, setting up camp etc…


xo, mama lola

the best banana bread!

i found a recipe from here, the whole living web magazine, but as usual i had to tweak it a bit to make it my own.

it was best banana bread loaf i had ever tasted, never mind baked myself! it was perfectly moist, just sweet enough and my family agreed as it was all almost gone by bedtime!

banana bread, baking



INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled 
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 ripe bananas 
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs OR egg substitute of your own choosing
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds

 
INSTRUCTIONS:
 
1. preheat oven to 350F. butter your loaf pan.
2. in a bowl mash your bananas, add melted butter, eggs/ egg substitute, vanilla and both sugars. in another bowl add flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. then combine all of the ingredients, careful not to over mix.
3. fold in seeds and pour into baking pan.
4. bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a tooth pick comes out clean. let cool for about 15 minutes first and then transfer to a wire rack.
 
i had some help, as usual. a pro masher in fact!
look at that colour! perfect!
tasted as good as it looked!
 
banana bread, baking
banana bread, baking, treats
let me know how you like it!
xo, mama lola

mother’s day treats!

i know, i know treats and yummy things can be unhealthy, but on special occasions i think, a little something delicious is worth the extra calories! here are some treats i compiled that i would be delighted to taste, enjoy and devour if made for me on Mother’s Day!
 
WHERE TO FIND ‘EM!
1. chocolate covered strawberries from family fresh cooking
2. blueberry greek yoghurt no bake cheese cake from bareroot girl
3. cake pops from at kokken
4. momfoku banana cupcakes from cupcakes garden
5. no bake chocolate strwberry cheesecake from how sweet it is
6. ice cream sandwiches from the kitchy kitchen
7. rose cupcakes from the cupcake daily blog
8. funfetti cake waffles from buns in my oven

let me know if you’re lucky enough to try one of these, or if you decided to make something from here for another mama.
 
xo, mama lola

i am conflicted and torn.

i’ve been having a really hard few days. the internal dialogue in my head is confusing and i feel as though my will power and determination is being tested. and, i hate it.

so, i started a liver cleanse last week. it means i am on a strict diet of whole foods, avoiding coffee, sugar, all flours, anything refined or processed, with limited fruit intake but, i’m allowed to eat all the veggies in the world (there are other diet guidelines but i’m not going to get into all of it). i do the cleanse, because it clearly demonstrates to me the bad habits i develop with food. ya know, having that extra cheese slice, finishing off all of the kids left overs, nibbling on various treats at the end of the day and sometimes drinking too much coffee and not enough water. 

i did the cleanse last year at this time and was totally pure. 
this year, i’ve been thrown a curve ball and it has really challenged me.

on wednesday i went (hula) hooping with a group in town and threw my back out. on thursday i was in so much pain i could hardly walk at times. i cried and cried on thursday evening as dear hubby tried to figure out how to help me. luckily, i had booked an appointment with my chiropractor for the next morning, for my chronic neck issues. so, on friday morning i limped in to the office with lion in tow (because this almost immobile mama, still doesn’t get the day off) and my chiro twisted, adjusted and stretched me in ways that felt so good! she explained that i have shifted a disk or disks in my lower back, an area where i already have some issues with badly positioned disks, and i am to take it easy, but not too easy. i am to include many rounds of stretching and icing, and to keep walking ensuring i don’t become lazy with all of this pain.

the curve ball is this… during a liver cleanse one is not supposed to take anything for pain management either, because your liver is the organ that processes all those drugs and medicines. but, for survival i have been popping advil gel caps as though they are tic-tacs. not sure how much they are helping, but i feel like i need them.

because the cleanse food is all made from fresh ingredients there is a lot prep that takes place for the meals and snacks. just standing in the kitchen chopping veggies is brutal on my back and knees. yesterday evening i started losing my focus and my willpower for the cleanse. i cried about the pain to dear hubby and shared my concerns about continuing because of the demands placed by the cleanse. all i had wanted to do for days was overindulge on some “poor me” chocolate! i texted my beautiful friend and she reminded me that the cleanse ultimately was about habits and that maybe i could bend the rules and allow myself to have a little something like coffee or a boozy drink or cheese to help me get through my painful days.

this has become one of those internal fights in ones head. i know if i cheat with food during the cleanse i will feel terrible and that i will beat myself up over it for a long time. my negative self talk is a very loud and powerful force inside of me. it is another bad habit i am trying to improve upon. i also know that i have very high expectations of myself with certain things and this cleanse appears to be one of them; it’s a way i can prove to myself that i can control my eating habits, my caffeine intake and my overall relationship with food. we eat fairly well at our house, but it’s all about who you compare yourself to, right? and, i guess i just want to tweak our habits a bit as a family, but a lot for myself. 

do i stick with this cleanse, while in immense pain? do i relax the rules for myself a little giving myself permission to not complete the cleanse as purely as i initially wished, and in doing so hate myself? or what?

blargh.

we went to the sugar bush yesterday. it’s a place where they have tapped the maple trees to make maple syrup. it was a bright, sunny day and perfect for being outside. i walked slowly with dear hubby as the kids ran and played. it was nice to be outside, even if i limped around.


i hate feeling like a failure, even though i suppose i feel like that a lot of the time. i think most people do.

i will end here, as i could keep going on and on about this subject matter.

hope you had a wonderful weekend! 
here’s to a pain free week!

xo, mama lola

hop-hop easter recap.

easter has come and gone. we had a fantastic weekend, with friends and family, and the sun decided to join us in all its glory, as well! 


we started good friday at home with chocolate filled croissants and an easter table with all sorts  fun, colourful things for the boys to look at.


then we we walked to the park. there is a super fun easter egg hunt that happens at the park up the road from us. we went and joined over a hundred other kids and their families. neighbourhood volunteers had about a thousand easter eggs hidden all over… plastic eggs with all sorts of wonderful treasures hidden inside.


the park is scattered with plastic eggs and the rule is only up to 8 eggs per kid. so, once you’ve collected your loot, then you need to empty your eggs and return them so they can be re-used next easter. check out the dudes below comparing their finds. it’s so funny watching the kids at this event!


we spent the rest of the weekend with my folks. the men and women separated on saturday. the guys went to a huge park in town, and saw llama’s out for a walk with their keepers! my mum and i went to the one of a kind craft sale in the city. it was such a nice time with just my mum, away from the kids and the chaos they bring. 

the sun was so warm on the weekend. we spent hours and hours outside soaking up the rays and the warmth! the boys really loved it! my mum had a beautiful easter table set with delicious food, which we all enjoyed a lot!


our weekend was fun and spring like, filled with so much laughter and joy, that it’s hard to get back into the routine of things!

hope you enjoyed your long weekend!

xo, mama lola

butternut squash soup recipe!

i have shared several soup recipes already, but we really are a soup kinda family! my kids adore soup and it’s such an easy dinner to make. here’s another family favourite of ours, butternut squash soup and this time i added some kale to it for an extra kick of health!

INGREDIENTS:

1 butternut squash
1 medium yellow onion
4-6 kale leaves
2-3 cloves garlic
1-3 tsp fresh ginger
4 tblsp olive oil
1 tsp coarse sea salt
1 generous sprinkling of fresh ground black pepper
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp cumin
4 cups water

* i’m pretty relaxed about measurements and tend to just throw however much in. during cold season i tend to be more generous with the garlic and ginger.
INSTRUCTIONS:

1. preheat your oven to 400F. then take your squash and stab it a few times with a fork, randomly. place the squash in an oven safe dish with about an inch of water. bake until soft.

2. once the squash is thoroughly baked (it will be soft to a fork poke) cut the squash in half and spoon out the seeds and guts. then cut or peel the squash out of it’s skin.

3. in a soup pot heat olive oil and add chopped onion. once onion is slightly browned add the squash. stir regularly, adding the rest of the ingredients and the water last. keep stirring until everything has heated through well and the flavours are wafting a mouth watering smell.

4. once the soup is cooked, take your immersion blender and blend the soup until it is nice and smooth. serve with sour cream or feta cheese on top! yum!

we made some yummy brie cheese and avocado sami’s to go with the soup! yum!

let me know if you try the recipe!
maybe you have your own version, would love to hear what you like to put in!

xo, mama lola

make your own sushi!

many people are very surprised when i tell them that sushi is my families favourite food. bear, in fact, hates cooked fish and refuses to eat it, but will happily gobble up raw salmon in a flash. strange? perhaps, but i don’t mind. it’s healthy and the benefits of salmon on his wee body are so amazing. i’m always encouraging the boys to eat more as i list the parts of their bodies that will reap the rewards… their brain, skin, muscles, hair and eyes. 


we’ve fed the kids sushi since they started solids. it’s healthy, served in perfect bite sized portions and has all the foods kids generally enjoy like, avocado, fish, and mango.  these are all super soft, flavourful and great foods for early eaters.
anyhow so, here’s how we did it and what we made. we kept it pretty simple.

INGREDIENTS:
1 avocado
1 carrot
1 mango
1/2 english cucumber
1 package dried seaweed sheets 
2-3 cups sticky rice
2 cups 

* as desired
pickled ginger
wasabi paste
soy sauce or tamari sauce
edamame

** you will also need a sushi rolling mat or something like it to roll up the ingredients in.


INSTRUCTIONS:
1. cut and slice all ingredients first.
2. take your rolling mat, place one sheet of seaweed, then a layer of rice and finally choose which flavours you want inside. the guys chose salmon and avocado, carrot and mango, shrimp and carrot, and so on. it really doesn’t matter, just make what you like!
3. carefully roll up the ingredients. it may be useful to push down a little as you are rolling. use a little water to make the seaweed sticky and once the roll is ready, cut up into bite sized pieces.
4. serve with edamame, pickled ginger, wasabi and a sauce for dipping. we prefer tamari sauce to soy sauce.


the danger with sushi is eating too much, and we made way too much for dinner. but, these bites sized delights are perfect for school lunches or for afternoon snack. 

xo, mama lola

holy moly, guacamole!

is there such a thing as too much guacamole? i don’t think so. today for a family dinner, we were asked to contribute some guacamole, which i was happy to make.

is this not the most perfect avocado you have ever seen?


INGREDIENTS:

2 ripe avocado’s
1 tomato
1/4 of a lemon’s juice
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp paprika
generous sprinkling of black pepper

this serves 4-6 people

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. dice up tomato and cut up avocado. place into a mixing bowl. 
2. mash avocado and tomato with a fork. add salt, paprika, lemon juice and black pepper. mix ingredients well.
3. chill before serving.



my kids love guacamole. we eat it not just with tortilla chips, but often on crackers, toast or we dip various veggies into it. so healthy, so good for you skin, hair and your brain!

after dinner there was some serious trouble gaming going on! remember that silly board game from the 80’s? well, bear received it as a gift at christmas time and he is what some may call, addicted! 



xo, mama lola
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