carrot, apple & cranberry salad.

i usually do my groceries on a tuesday morning with lion as my co-captain. that means, on monday i often end up scrounging ingredients for dinner. this past monday was no exception. then i found some yummy, seasonally perfect ingredients for a quick and yummy salad!



INGREDIENTS:

SALAD:
2-3 carrots 
1-2 apples
1 small bunch of parsley
1 handful of dried cranberries
1 small handful of sunflower seeds

DRESSING:
1 cup red wine vinegar
1 tblsp olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp sugar*

DIRECTIONS:
1. shred peeled carrots and apples (i left the peel on) into a bowl. choose how many to shred depending on how big the goods are and how many mouths you’re feeding.
2. finely chop parsley.
3. add in rest of ingredients and mix in.
4. make dressing and once all ingredients and mixed well, add to salad. ensure you mix the salad well and let it sit so that the dressing gets absorbed. i let it sit for about an hour.



*if the taste is too tart for your liking, add more sugar and/or a little water.

this was the perfect salad to serve with my mashed potatoes and baked salmon. yum! my kids gobbled it right up, especially lion who still refuses to properly chew foods like raw carrots!

HAPPY THURSDAY!
we are definitely having a better today than yesterday!
phew.


xo, mama lola

pizza pops!

bear complains that he doesn’t have enough time to eat at school. he is an excruciatingly slow eater at home and i’m sure at school he is even slower, as he gets distracted so easily. i’ve tried to figure out how to fill him with lots of good calories, fats and energy, without loading him up on sugar. 


here’s my first try at pizza pops/ rings. i found the recipe from here, at “cooking with my kids”. her recipe is super small and simple, but i thought it was good place for the bones of the recipe. since i only have one tiny muffin tin, i also pulled out my donut pan to see if i can make pizza rings. the donut pan purchase was inspired by tiffanie at corner blog who has a 101 donut pan ideas.


INGREDIENTS:

1.5 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1.5 cups milk
2 egg, lightly beaten (i just used my egg substitute)
1-2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded zucchini
1 small handful of pitted black olives

1 sprinkling of dried oregano
1 sprinkling of sea salt & fresh ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat the oven to 375F degrees and grease muffin and/ or donut pans.
2. Chop up olives, shred cheese and zucchini and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder; whisk in the milk and egg.
4. Stir in the mozzarella, veggies and olives and let stand for approx. 10 mins.
5. Stir the batter and divide among the pans. Bake until puffed and golden, 20 to 25 minutes.
6. let cool on a cookie rack before serving!

* i think using tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, other cheeses and whatever else you may find in your fridge, would create great  flavours for the pizza pops. 

* i did try a couple of pizza pops, with pasta sauce mixed into the dough, but they turned out really soft. a bowl of sauce for dipping might be the way to go, as suggested from the original recipe.

[ lion shed a few tears as he waited for the pizza pops to cool down. ]


a big hit with the boys and a perfect after school snack for my hungry cubs!

YUM!

xo, mama lola

butternut squash & ricotta pizza pie!

dear hubby has taken on the sunday dinner responsibility around here. since buying a bread maker from a friend a few months ago, he has started making his pizza dough in the maker. it’s easy for him, as long as he just has to plan it ahead of time.

this past weekend, dear hubby made a pizza that was one of the best he has ever made; a butternut squash and ricotta cheese delish pizza pie! i found the recipe on pinterest, but THIS is the site it’s originally from. the directions are so nicely and clearly spelt out there, tha i am not going to re-write them here. 
so, go check it out!


this time of year squash is bountiful, fresh and local for us, so we’ll be eating various foods made with it. in fact tonight for dinner for the kids, squash soup. dear hubby and i will skip the soup and go on a long over due date night!

happy friday everyone!

xo, mama lola

maple pumpkin oat muffins :: oh, my!

i came across this perfect fall, thanksgiving muffin recipe on pinterest. i’m not the biggest pumpkin flavour fan, but there was something about these muffins that made me want to try them. so, i did.

the recipe for the maple pumpkin oat muffins with maple glaze is directly from the hazel bloom.

yield: approx. 12 muffins.

Ingredients:

Maple Pumpkin Oat Muffins

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon*
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger*
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves*
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg*
  • 1 cup buttermilk (if you don’t have butter milk, take one cup milk and mix in 1tbsp of lemon or white vinegar.)
  • 1/2 cup pure pumpkin puree – canned or homemade
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 egg (i used egg substitute)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Cinnamon-Maple Glaze

  • 1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, depending on your tastes
  • 3 teaspoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons milk
Directions:
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Line 12 standard (1/3 cup) muffin cups with cupcake liners.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, pumpkin, maple syrup, brown sugar, oil, egg, and vanilla.
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and whisk just until the ingredients are well incorporated. Try not to overmix!
  6. Bake for about 22 – 25 minutes, until the top of the muffins spring back when poked and a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the muffins comes out clean.
luckily for me, i had some seriously cute help. lion was a wonderful mixer of ingredients!

 

i skipped the glaze part, as i thought the muffins were sweet enough and the sticky mess from the glaze was not something i wanted to to deal with.we all loved the muffins.
to all my canadian friends, go whip up a batch this weekend for thanksgiving this weekend! yum!

xo, mama lola

fall wreaths.

i love wreaths on front doors. here are four of my faves that i found on pinterest. aesthetically, the cob one is not the best, but i love the idea. 

things to consider:

  • the gourds are probably quite heavy on a wreath, so when using them it’s important to attach them well. 
  • think about how much traffic is going in and out of your door. it’s important the wreath does not fall or bash into your door too much.
  • how much direct weather the wreath will have to endure when choosing which kind to make or purchase. the sun, rain, wind, varying temperatures and snow can all do a number on your wreath.

our front door has a large window, so i have to be mindful not to scratch the glass with wires or other materials. it’s also a good idea to make the back of the wreath pretty, so that it is pleasing to the eye from inside as well. 


1. floral wreath from here.
2. cob wreath from here.
3. gourd wreath from here.
4. floral/ leaf wreath from here.

we’ll be making a wreath this season, and my plan is to incorporate something from each of the wreaths above. i will post pics of the final product!

happy tuesday to you!

xo, mama lola

layers of yummy.

don’t you just love smoothies? i’ve been on a bit of a smoothie kick as it’s a great breakfast boost for the kids and the perfect way to get that needed protein into them. especially now that bear is in JK all day!

i check the fridge for various  fruits bits, veggie chunks and other possible smoothie ingredients. i chuck what i can find into my container and blend away (i just use my immersion hand-held blender). i always make sure i put in flax oil, tofu, unsweetened organic almond milk and some kind of fruit. often i use banana’s, berries, or left over fruit salad chunks. sometimes, i’ll throw in a dollop of plain organic yoghurt or a splash of organic whole cow’s milk. when i was on my cleanse i was encouraged to make smoothies with spinach, so i now i put in big handfuls of the fresh organic green stuff. once i had no spinach so i threw in some kale. the spinach is tasteless when mixed in, but provides awesome nutrition. this smoothie pictured below also has ground flax seeds in it.


i don’t measure anything when making smoothies. i add until i like the colour, consistency or taste. i only use about a 1/4 cup of flax oil and one heaping table spoon of the ground flax seeds. 

have fun! enjoy!

do you have favourite smoothie flavour?


xo, mama lola

recovering.

we’re home.
finally arrived yesterday just before dinner.
the last couple of days of our road trip were trying to say the least. the kids, especially bear was feeling fatigued. and i get it, so that’s why we got home slightly earlier than planned.

our two week summer roadtrip out to the maritimes was such an adventure and i am so glad we pushed through with such stamina. even when the chips were down with rough weather or fighting siblings in the back seat, we got through it! dear hubby was the coolest of us all, but that’s just the kinda guy he is and anyone who knows him won’t be surprised to hear that! two weeks of just the four of us, all day every day, was a bit demanding at times!

[ Quebec City, Quebec ]


the kids did better in some ways than i had expected, but they did throw some wicked, earth shaking tantrums when i least expected it, as well. the routine of our home life was completely dismantled on this trip, which is the nature of a roadtrip, but that left my two little boys scrambling for regularity at times. plus, throw in a time zone change of an hour and well, as many parents know, time changes can be very stressful for kids. 
that being said, dear hubby and i are already planning our next trip! we will take the lessons we learned on this trip and move on new adventures. (i will actually make a detailed list of what i would change in an upcoming post.)

this was our first real holiday as a foursome and what a thrill it was to explore new parts of our vast land with my guys. it was such fun watching them help set up the tent or snuggle close every night as family. although the kids probably wont remember much of this trip, i will and so will dear hubby. for us this trip, was about being a family, being in the moment and being together.

[ St. Andrew’s, Nova Scotia ]


today is sunday and we are hunkering down, getting back into the groove of things. the boys are wild with glee as they rediscover their toys and are reintroduced to books left at home. i have been super aggressive about getting our laundry done, and with five loads already washed, folded and put away i am now left with washing three sleeping bags. phew! it’s been kinda wild! dear hubby is airing out our stinky camping stuff and will tend to our tent as it so desperately needs a good soak! and, the car needs a supernclean too. we may just take it in to for a partial detailing, as there is a slight odour lingering. yuck.

[ Random beach on the Atlantic, Nova Scotia ]

i took about 1500 photo’s and feel rather overwhelmed at the thought of editing and sorting them! obviously many of them are not worth keeping or posting, but stay with me as i eventually organize the photo’s into slide shows or something. 

and our house. sweet, sweet peppermint patty as we lovingly named her, stood waiting for us when we pulled in the driveay. we arrived to clean floors, cupboards and fresh sheets on the beds, all things i carefully did before our trip. and boy am i glad i did! my garden outside is a bit of a disaster, though. while we were away there was lotsa rain and the weeds have taken over, making the front look very wild and unkempt. i will have to get out there for a few hours and atleast try to tone down the jungle!

[ Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia ]

the list of things to do is growing, as we have busy week ahead. bubba and patty are getting married next saturday, so we are in full wedding mode now. we all have various responsibilities at the wedding and reception, so not only do we have to look fancy and clean, we have to have our ducks all lined up!

happy to be home.
happy to have watched the closing ceremonies of the london olympics.
happy to see friends tomorrow.
just happy.

xo, mama lola

baking (blueberry) peach ring things.

it’s that time of year again when fresh ontario peaches are in the markets. yum! today with the cooler temperatures i was inspired to get my baking groove on. so, we got busy and a little messy with baking THESE today, kinda. i got the idea from tiffanie over at cornerblog. i was too lazy to find the actual recipe as suggested from the joy of cooking, so i used a finnish crepe/ lettu dough instead, one that i have winged countless times from memory as i’ve been making lettuja for so long, recipe for them found HERE


i bought my donut pans at a local bulk store a while back and have been getting my ice makin’ groove on during these intense heat waves. lotsa lemons and blueberries! yum!

back to the baking…

lettu/ finnish crepe recipe

5 dl (2-3 cups) of milk
2 eggs (we used the boxed egg substitute)
2 dl (approx. 1 cup)flour
2 tbls (a dollop) butter or veg oil
2 tbls spoon sugar
1 sprinkling of salt

1-2 peaches (depending how big your slices are and how much you sample!)
and/ or as many blueberries as you think look yummy!

i filled each ring with the dough. then, i cut the peaches into fairly thing slices and placed 2-3 pieces into each ring. i had to do some pretty serious peach sampling, as they were screaming to be eaten. oh boy! i preheated the oven to 350F and once ready baked the ring things for about 20-30minutes. a slightly hotter oven would have been better, but this way they cooked pretty evenly. i will keep perfecting this recipe : it’s a keeper!


well, they are a humongous hit!
both of the the boys, yes lion included, have been sneaking up onto the counter to try and get more peach rings! 
silly boys!

it’s finally raining. i hope it rains all night. we have not had a decent rain fall in a very long time, not only is everyone’s grass yellow, but i wonder how all of the wild animals are faring. 

xo, mama lola

maternity leave bye-bye’s.

it’s always hard to say good-bye, or more accurately see you later to friends when their maternity leaves come to an end and they head back to their jobs outside the home. another MAMA friend of ours went back to work at her office this week and i am left to explain to bear why he can’t see his friends as often. 
we’re going to miss you MAMA j, you’re AWESOME!

it’s tough.
it’s hard, because my kids have no idea what day care is. it’s tough because my kids miss their friends and i miss mine, and we lose the weekly play date routines we have established over the past year or so. it’s so different being a stay-at-home-parent and being a stay-at-home-kid. 


and finally,

HAPPY 1ST BIRTHDAY MISSe!!!

our lovely, little friend has grown into a smiley, intelligent, observant, hilarious, and loving little lady. every gal needs her own boat and sand toys! missE loved the toys and gave us her chewy, drooly approval! 



i’m leaving you on this hump day with a plank off! it was a competition between dear hubby and MAMA j to see who could hold a plank the longest or at least a minute. missK was judging form and ensuring there was no cheating! 




xo, mama lola

friday, i’m in love.

friday afternoon bear had a quick visit to JK classroom. he was scared as we were leaving the house and was the first kid to start crying in the classroom, but according to the teacher, mademoiselle C, he was also the first to stop. by the time we showed to take him home he was busy colouring the turtle they were given as a craft.

whew.
maybe he will be ok.
i sobbed in the car. this september is going to be heartbreaking for me. the thought of missing him, brings tightness to my chest and sadness into my eyes. 


anyhow, to balance out the stress of the afternoon we filled friday evening with loads of fun and wonderful family memories. because, our summer is so short and i want to make sure we take advantage of these warm dusk hours before it’s too late. 



first we enjoyed a beautiful, colourful dinner outside in our backyard. we gobbled up roasted new potatoes and brussel sprouts, a tofu n’ bean scramble, and a lush garden salad with homemade croutons. 

[ brussle sprouts halved, new potatoes halved, several chunks of butter
and a generous sprinkling of sea salt, baked in hot 400F over for 30-45mins.
take out of oven and mix every so often to ensure the buttery goodness is absorbed. ]
[ 1 yellow onion, 2 carrots chopped, 1/2 broccoli chopped, 2 cloves garlic, half can of black beans, half can of chick peas, 1 package of medium tofu, 1/2 tsp tumeric, 1/4 cup tamari sauce, few shakes of black pepper, fresh chives and basil leaves from the garden. all done in cast iron pan stove top, quick easy, fast. ]
[ all it is is romaine lettuce, apples, tomatoes, sun flower seeds and lotsa fresh parsley from the garden. the croutons are plain bread cut in squares and mixed with olive oil and baked in the oven for about 10-15mins 
at 400F. mix ’em up every so often for a more even bake and colouring effect. ]



after dinner we drove down to the river and for some ice cream! as we sat and ate the creamy goodness, we were surrounded by tons of geese and goslings, which of course the kids were thrilled with! 



then we hit the park!

run daddy, run!!!




today wasn’t half bad either, but tomorrow will be glorious! we are hitting our favourite beach for the day. oh, the sun, waves, sand and fun!

xo, mama lola
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