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

bear’s 5th birthday :: the loot bags.

BIRTHDAY WEEK!

truth be told, i kinda loath the whole loot bag idea, but it is what it is and i have to work with the system. in years passed, we have made some kind of non-edible gift for our friends to take home. we’ve sent our friends and family home with magnets, bow ties, pinwheels and one year the kids just got a balloon!

this year, since bear is in school and the kids have learned to expect a certain amount of candy and junk, i just caved and gave them what they wanted. i got each kid a helium balloon, a few dollar store items like foam animal masks and funny monkey buttons and glow sticks. 
then we made a yummy sweet n’ salty treat bag for the kids to take home. 


the treat bags included :
pop corn
unsalted pretzels 
valentine’s M&M’s 
other various heart shaped candies

we took normal lunch paper bags and bear decorated one bag per guest. he worked so hard writing everyone’s names on them and decorating them with party themed drawings. i attached the paper treat bags to the plastic loot bags and the kids were thrilled! unfortunately i didn’t get a pictures of all the final bags, but you get the idea. so simple, quick and easy, and a fantastic way to get the kids involved!


what do you about loot bags? do you nix them or hand them out?
tomorrow i will post about bear’s fantastic cake!

xo, mama lola

almond butter & apple snacks!

we are not a peanut butter family, instead we are an almond butter family. growing up in finland, we never had peanut butter. it’s just not a part of the diet there, the way it is here in canada. my kids don’t really like peanut butter, even though i’ve purchased different kinds to try and encourage them to like it. but, they prefer almond butter or cashew butter! so be it!



i like to make almond butter with apple wraps for the kids! they love them! it’s the perfect lunch or snack. i love mine too! yum. 


what do you like to snack on?

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

tomato n’ cheese sami’s.

these are the perfect sami’s for lunch on a cold, damp fall afternoon. 


all you need is bread of any kind, butter, cheese of any kind, tomatoes, fresh basil, and fresh ground sea salt n’ pepper. i buttered each piece of bread first, layered some thinly sliced extra old cheddar cheese, then i placed the tomatoes  and tucked a big leaf of basil in. on top i put thick chunks of cheese (i found some left over havarti, which was yum).



preheated the oven at 350F, once it was hot enough, i baked the sami’s for about 10 minutes. obviously, this will vary for everyone depending on your oven, but it’s a fast, delish lunch.


i served them with ketchup and pickles, the kids loved ’em!

xo, mama lola

healthy quinoa patties for dinner!

i have been looking on pinterest for more interesting lunch ideas for bear. he loves wraps and sandwiches just fine, but they look pretty plain and no amount of avocado will jazz things up enough!

while pinning, i stumbled upon this recipe for quinoa patties from an aussie food blog, cook republic. yum! we have quinoa in the pantry and the kids love it, so i made them, just like that. i had to customize the recipe, removing the eggs and using ground flax seeds instead. i also added and removed ingredients according to our likes and supplies on hand.
:: INGREDIENTS ::
2 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
egg replacer : 2 table spoons of ground flax seed mixed with 6 table spoons of water to make paste
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 handful of fresh spinach, chopped
1 tablespoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
1 teaspoon mild paprika
sprinkling of sea salt & ground black pepper
olive oil to pan fry
:: INSTRUCTIONS ::
mix all ingredients in a bowl. heat olive oil in pan. take a spoonful of the quinoa mix and mould the patty in your palm. i found that if i made them slightly thicker initially, they flattened out better. i made my patties about 2cm’s high with a 5cm diameter. the patties are very fragile and can easily crumble, but if you fry them on a low heat and remain patient you can get good shapes.
i used red quinoa, the patties are not burnt.
quinoa patties, healthy dinner, vegetarian
quinoa recipe, patties, healthy dinner
we enjoyed our quinoa patties with a bowl of potato and leek soup, and a green salad. i made a quick sour cream dressing (sour cream, white vinegar, sea salt, sugar, fresh dill)l to dress up the patties, instead of having ketchup as suggested by cook republic.
next up, home made crescent rolls. i like the idea of the small snack, but hate to think of all the additives and chemicals used in the ready-made stuff in tube. and, if i make lots i can freeze ’em! and they can be jazzed up with various fruits and seeds, oh my!
what kinds of things do you make your kids for lunch? i’m looking forwardto the day i can send bear with a thermos of warm food in it.
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

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

granola bars.

i’ve decided to make our own granola bars, again. the packaged ones are so full of additives and unnecessary junk my family does not need. i checked out a couple of recipes from here and here, but ultimately made my own version as i didn’t have the right ingredients or patience for some of the steps..


so, here we go… in a bowl in no particular order i chucked in


2 cups oats
1/2 cup unsweetened cocunut
3/4 cup dried cranberries
10 dried plums, cut up
2 large tblsp cashew butter
1 large tblsp butter
1/2 to 3/4 cups of honey
1/4 cup sesame seeds
sprinkling of salt


mix it up really well. after each ingredient or so i stirred and stirred as it’s so sticky. 

obviously you can add or decrease whatever ingredient you want. i suggest tasting it as you go. 

i found ours to be too sweet, that’s why i added the cashew butter (plus, dear hubby finished off the almonds i thought we still had, which i was planning of crunching up and putting in).

once all the ingredients were mixed in well together, i oiled an oven safe dish and pressed in the granola mixture. i pressed down hard to ensure that any air would be squeezed out and that the bars would hopefully have an even texture to them.

i was also hoping this would make them less crumbly. that was the problem with previous bars. i sectioned off the bars before putting them in the oven. i used a knife and spatula to really try and separate the sections.

i pre-heated the oven to 400F and placed the dish in for only 5 minutes. i wanted the ingredients to adhere to each other. then i set the dish to cool for several hours first on the counter and then in the fridge, in hopes the stickyness would really stick and make the bars more shapely and not crumbly.

final verdict: kids and dear hubby loved ’em! i think they could have used less honey and more crunch, like almonds. they were so easy to make, so it’ll become part of my kitchen repertoire for sure. especially, since there is so much room for creativity depending on the ingredients available and the seasons.









xo, mama lola

ho! ho! holiday traditions!

i am desperately trying to incorporate finnish christmas traditions into our canadian holiday season. i find food is an easy and fun way to do that..

on the weekend i made some joulupuuro, translated as christmas porridge, which i think is basically rice pudding for all you english speakers. i also made some kiisseli to go with it. it’s like a thick fruit soup and you can use any ol’ fruit (fresh or dried), but for this time of year i use dried plums, apples, apricots and raisins. (in the warmer months i sometimes make rhubarb soup and my mom makes a wicked blueberry soup.)

for iltapala (bedtime snack) we each enjoyed a bowl of warm joulupuuro with a big heaping of kiisseli on top. the cinnamon smells wafted through the house adding to the holiday magic at our house.

the instructions are in metric as that’s what the finns use. easy enough to convert if you need to thanks to google!


this is where i got the recipe and directions from.

kiisseli.


200 g dried plums
1 l water
3/4 dl sugar

place plums (and other fruit), water and sugar into a large pot. let it simmer on a low heat for 20-30 minutes* or until fruit is soft. add water if needed.


1/2 dl water
21/2 tblsp potato flour/ potato starch
mix water and potatoflour/ potato starch in a bowl. add slowly to pot with steaming fruits and let it simmer for a few minutes.


the amounts are a starting point i find. i didn’t measure my dried fruits, but just grabbed a handful of each and threw them in. i also increased my water and potato flour amounts slightly. the potatoflour is a thickening agent, if you want the soup to be thicker add more potato flour. i also threw in a cinnamon stick and a sprinkle of nutmeg.

* this time may vary depending on how hard your fruit is.

also, we made some more reindeer cookies using chocolate chip ready-made cookie dough. they tasted delish and looked adorable!

time to go and wrap gifts. we haven’t done any yet! yikes!
also, just wanted to mention that i am loving the sirius radio and the all day x-mas music we get to listen to! fun! fun! fun!

xo, mama lola
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