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

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 insuring 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. It is definitely worth investing in a good quality food cooler for your trip as well. Making sure your frozen food stays frozen is vital. Have a look around, because you can get a standard coolers to a rotomolded cooler and all of these have their pros and cons, making it really important to find one that meets your needs the most!
  • 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

theme thursday :: useful household tips for keeping a clean(er) home!

for today’s THEME THURSDAY i’ve pulled together some handy household resources. tips and tricks that work well for all sorts of problems that may arise in your home, from pesky stains to frustrating houseflies to ridding odours. plus, all of these easy solutions are kid and pet friendly and won’t hurt your bank account! GOTTA LOVE THAT!


i organized the list by rooms in your home. 

KITCHEN:




BATHROOM:




BEDROOM:




LAUNDRY AND STAINS:




OUTSIDE SPACES/ GARDEN/ BUGS: 




SMELLS & STINKS & SPILLS:




let me know if you have any tips or tricks i can add to this list.
i’m also working on an organizational post!


xo, mama lola

cookies! cookies! cookies!

we love cookies around here and the boys love to bake them! recently we made these family faves, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, with colourful chocolate sprinkles thrown in for good measure. this recipe is not really any different from most cookie recipes except, it is egg free!

INGREDIENTS:
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp egg substitute
3/4 – 1 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup colourful large sprinkles

*optional:
3/4 cup sun flower seeds or chopped nuts 

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. preheat over at 350F and line two cookie sheets.
2. add dry ingredients and mix in a bowl.
3. blend and mix wet ingredients in a bowl.then add dry ingredients and chocolate chips.
4. shape dough in to balls and place about 2 inches apart on the cookie sheets, then flatten. bake one cookie sheet at a time until cookies are lightly browned all over. approx 12-15 minutes. place on rack to cool.
5. enjoy with a glass of milk!

YUM! YUM! YUM!
what kind of cookies do you like to dunk into your cuppa tea or coffee?

xo, mama lola

recovering my dining chairs, again!

i did this project before (check out the details HERE), and i decided that i didn’t like the yellow vinyl, so i chose a slightly more neutral colour/ pattern. this dining table set is one that we use everyday, so it gets a lot of wear and tear. the kids are messy and having cloth seat covers just doesn’t make sense as they are impossible to clean properly. 

i bought my vinyl tablecloth from the grocery store for $4!


MATERIALS:
scissors
a vinyl table cloth 
staple gun fully loaded (extra staples on hand)

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. cut the tablecloth around the seat, leaving about a 2 inch margin. this measurement, really depends on how thick your seats are, mine are about an inch or so thick. you want to be able to fold the vinyl under the seat nice and tight. if you are unsure, be generous at first, as you can always trim the vinyl if necessary.

2. place your seat face down on the cut vinyl piece. fold the edge of the vinyl about an inch once and grab at the centre, stapling the material onto the chair a few times. then do the opposite side of the seat. this time you want to make sure you are tugging at the vinyl to ensure a nice tight, taught seat cover in the end.


3. you want to make sure your corners are nice and tight, so that they fit back into the chair frame with ease, but also for a neat appearance. i did my corners as though i was folding a gift. always ensure that you are pulling the vinyl tightly, to create a smooth seat cover. use as many staples as necessary, as they are not visible in the end. i used a bazillion.



4. i recovered four chairs in less than an hour. my wee lion was napping when i completed this project. 


now, our chairs are easy to clean after the kids (or adults) have made a mess!

xo, mama lola

theme thursday :: this years garden ideas!


although it is actually snowing outside as i type this, i have been busy on pinterest looking for ideas on how to improve our garden. we have a decent sized backyard, but it is quite shaded. this is good for the kids, as they can play and not have to be in the direct hit of the blaring sun, but it is not so good for my tiny, pathetic veggie garden. 

so, the plan is to rip out some patio stones next to the wall of the house that gets the most sun and build  raised bed for some veggies and flowers. it will probably look a lot like the picture below if all goes according to plan. this picture is from flickr, so no instructions, just looks pretty.



but, this raised bed below is similar and comes with great detailed instructions on how to build it from old town home.


for plant markers, i actually made these last year for some seeds i started. click on the picture to take you to the original post. how cute and easy are they to make!

we have some stone paths and i love way the cracks are filled with thyme and look so soft. i found this picture at scravings, and apparently the thyme fills the air with a wonderful aroma as well!


i love how lush this garden is from simplypix. there must be a flurry of activity with butterflies and insects and birds; my boys would love that! 


i love big containers over flowing with greenery and bursts of flowers. daisy’s are some of my favourites. so unpretentious, simple yet a true sign of summer! this picture is from vibedekdesign.


how about using old logs as planters? i think something like this would look great at the cottage! found this idea at the rabbit factory.
i will leave you with this funny, but true sentiment. i actually find gardening very therapeutic. it allows me to lose myself in my thoughts, providing new ways of seeing things and it is another creative outlet for me. i am not a good gardener, but each season i learn a little more! turning the soil with my bare hands and feeling the pulse of the earth in my hands connects me and grounds me. perhaps, that is why am so anxious for spring to arrive, because i feel like i need some garden therapy!


what will you be planting this year in your garden?

happy thursday everyone!
here, check out my pinterest board: grow THIS

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
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