Maple Pecan Cereal

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This week with swimming lessons starting so early I wanted something easy the kids and I could eat before we left the house. I’ve made granola, I’ve made granola bars and in an attempt to combine my two go-to recipes to make oat bars, I came up with what I thought was a fail but turned out to be total genius. I give you…

Maple Pecan Cereal

6 cups of Quick oats

1/2 cup Flaxseed Meal

2/3 cup Pecan Pieces

1/3 cup Slivered Almonds

2 tsp Cinnamon

1 cup Maple Syrup

1 cup Butter

splash of orange juice or vanilla

In a bowl combine your oats, flaxseed meal, nuts and cinnamon. Then on a low heat melt the butter and maple syrup together in a small pot. When it comes to the boil take it off the heat and add either a small splash of orange juice or vanilla. Add this to your dry ingredients. Give it all a good stir and then dump all of that mixture into a non-stick 9×13 pan and press it down as though you were making squares. Bake this at 350F for 25ish minutes. Keep an eye on it..just bake until golden on top and looks like a square. Then once it’s cooled down take a fork and scratch it all up and transfer to a jar or container. Voila! Cereal! Delicious, unprocessed, gluten-free, homemade goodness.

We’ve been eating ours topped up with yogurt and peaches or milk. Enjoy for yourself or double the batch and share the love!

January 30th

In two short days it will be February 1st. February means going to visit my lovely sister and her family for a few days to help. It means Abigail is almost 2 years old. It means St. Valentine’s day and the beginning of Lent are just around the corner. Finally, for me, it means that we are slowly but surely putting dark days and cold nights behind us. I really shouldn’t complain. We have had the mildest winter I can ever remember having here, but, I confess.. I still struggle to find joy in the cold, dark days. The days when I really should take the kids outside to play but can’t find the energy or desire to do so.

We have spent a lot of time indoors lately and that has made me notice so many little projects needing doing. I gave my husband a little ‘honey-do’ list this morning and he is off to the shops to get a few odds and sods to get the jobs done. Bless his heart. I think our oven has been without a handle since May(!) I am also contemplating painting the half wall in our dining room with chalkboard paint to create a bit of fun for the girls.

Ben’s work has been an adjustment to be sure, but we are seeing the benefits of that work. Not only his work, but his environment. The food we eat as a family is changing in the way I always hoped it would, but that is a story for another day.

In the meantime, I am knitting, drinking a good many hot drinks and dreaming about holding sweet Rose and drinking in that sweet smell of a new baby.

What are you doing to keep the winter blues at bay? What are you looking towards in the weeks to come to keep you smiling?

Odds and Ends

The night before last I realized that if I didn’t quickly make the choice to do a bit of baking despite being tired from work that it just wasn’t going to happen before Christmas came. I finished work at 10pm and hit the grocery store to pick up a few odds and ends to do some baking. The girls were really excited to make some treats for our friends. We made peppermint bark and then a batch of cranberry-orange sauce. We also did laundry…very productive day! I did finish Abigail’s legwarmers but I don’t have a photo of them yet and they are hidden away in my room somewhere so I will show them after Christmas has come. Now all that is left is some gift wrapping and probably a batch of sugar cookies. It is snowing really lovely, big, fat, romantic snowflakes here so I think I will go and enjoy that with some knitting and a cuppa while the girls are down for their nap. A very merry Christmas to you and your families! We will be starting out our day by singing Happy Birthday to baby Jesus as we did last year..funny little tradition, it is. Peace!

Autumn Meal Plan

The time for soups and stews, crockpots and crisps is finally here! I could not be happier! Truth be told, I am a terrible summer cook. I grew up in a family that BBQ’ed a lot in the summer and it left me feeling like maybe we should just eat a bit of  whatever is in the fridge during hot days. I lack inspiration for meal planning during the summer, though I hope to get better at it with the years.

If you have been reading here since last Autumn, you might remember that I shared with you our month long meal plan. I won’t lie, it was totally unsuccessful and we didn’t stick to it. I think it was just too much variety and it made for expensive groceries. I still like the idea of meal planning and I think it can save you a lot of money so I am back at it!

After reading ‘Simplicity Parenting’ by Kim John Payne recently, I have decided to really simplify our meal plan for this fall. I usually make a new plan every single week and although it’s nice trying new things I actually find it a lot of work and the girls start asking for their favorites over and over again. We decided to put together a week’s worth of our absolute favorite meals and use it week after week for at least a few months and see how we like it. The beauty of it is that it makes groceries a no brainer and I can shop for all of my pantry/freezer stuff for the month in one trip. The other lovely thing is that one batch of soup or stew is enough for two meals and I can freeze enough for the following week. Here is what we will be eating:

Sunday: Pork roast, applesauce, mashed potatoes, veggie of some kind

Monday: Chicken Stew and breadrolls

Tuesday: Cottage pie made with leftover roast

Wednesday: Pumpkin Soup and breadrolls

Thursday: Crockpot Vegetarian Chili

Friday: Cabbage Rolls

Saturday: Homemade Pizza

I will try and remember to blog about this in a few weeks and let you know how it’s going. Lucy is very excited about Pumpkin soup and has been talking about it for a few weeks now. I take so much comfort in these meals and these recipes that have been part of me since I was a child. I cannot wait to start making apple crisps and do more baking with the girls. The air is definitely changing and we are grateful for these days that are slowly getting cooler. I even bought tights for the girls today!  A sure sign that the cool days are coming.

Going To Market

I’m back from my little weekend away and let me tell you, it was fantastic. I have lots to share about my two days but until I get a bigger chunk of time to sit and write I thought I would just share what the girls and I got up to this morning.

Ben and I were making a huge effort to get to the Farmer’s Market here once a week for the several months leading up to our move. It felt great supporting local farms, local people and local products. Unfortunately once we moved in, Ben needed the car a lot to get to work as we transitioned our lives and appointments closer to home. Now that we have the car a little more often we can get back on the Market wagon. Lucy is particularly fond of going and asked me if we were going to the “BIG BIG Market?” Oh yes my little dear! They opened at 8am this morning so we did our morning usual of breakfast, tidy up, get dressed and then just headed out. There are days where it’s nice to take it slow and hang out all morning but there is something fun about getting ready to go out. Even our little ones know something fun is about to happen.

I was pleasantly surprised to see how much deliciousness was in season. We bought lettuce, broccoli, mushrooms, tomatoes, strawberries, snap peas and Sunflowers. I also picked up a little case of Garrison Raspberry Wheat for my sweet hubby. A special treat since we don’t often buy beer. I’m excited to try since I tend to lean towards lighter beers with some fruity flavour.

Shelling peas makes for a great bit of fun for an almost 3 year old who claims she is doing her job. She did this for almost 15 minutes and loved every moment. We also had a great chat about how her Pappy (my dad) used to be a farmer and about how all of our fresh fruits and vegetables come from a farm.
A bit of sunshine on my table.
I hope you are all enjoying some little summer adventures. It’s a beautiful day here and I’ve got the kiddy pool all set up for when the girls get up from their nap. Gotta go enjoy the day! Be back soon 🙂

A Summer Salad

Last December we had the pleasure of hosting two missionaries serving with NET Canada for a time. They were two of the loveliest girls I have ever met, one from Australia and the other from Alberta. While serving with NET often times there will be someone who’s birthday doesn’t get celebrated because it happened before they came on the road or will happen after they’ve gone home. To make sure that everyone has a chance to be celebrated, they have Unbirthdays. It just so happened to be one of the girls unbirthdays the day they came to stay with us. As her host mom I was given the chance to get in on it and make her very favorite meal from home. I jumped at the chance, having once been on the road myself and wishing I had the comfort of familiar home cooked meals at times. I am so glad that I decided to make this meal, our girls loved it, Ben loved and so did I. Introducing a super simple, quick to put together, summery meal called….

Rice Salad

1 cup long grain white rice (uncooked)
1 x 19oz can Black Beans, strained and rinsed
2 x 12oz cans whole kernel corn, strained
2 red peppers, diced
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
6 green onions chopped
1 teaspoon oil

I usually start by putting all of these ingredients (minus the oil) in the refrigerator in the morning. When you’re ready to make it, mix it all together except the rice which I cook in our rice cooker or you can cook in a pot of water for 12-14 minutes. Drain the rice and toss with the teaspoon of oil to keep it from all sticking together.

Dressing:

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2  garlic cloves
1 Heaping tablespoon chili powder ( I use 1 tsp)
1 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup oil, either canola or olive should be fine

Whisk your dressing together and then pour into your salad. Toss and serve. *I made this with 1/2 cup of oil and I find it just as nice and it lowers the calories*

If your kids are anything like mine they will probably love this. They love all the little bits of different foods to pick out and eat. It’s also very colourful and could be served as a side to some BBQ goodness or brought along to a picnic or potluck.

Less Is More

Here we are, not even a week into Lent and the days are already getting lighter and slightly warmer. I’m not complaining, in fact I am loving it! but it does make for an interesting Lenten season. Our parish priest hit the nail on the head this weekend when he said during his homily, “we tend to think that when we are unhappy and really struggling that God is most pleased with us” or something to that effect. Yes, Lent is about saying no to ourselves but it is also about saying YES! to something else, something bigger or should I say someONE bigger.
My greatest vices at this point in my life are not alcohol or sweets or shopping. What gets between me and Jesus is the same thing that gets between me and my girls, me and the man I love, me and the laundry. Friends, I gave up Facebook for Lent. Of all the ridiculous things to be obsessed about, I love facebook. Being a stay at home mom who doesn’t have work colleagues, doesn’t have lots of community just yet and whose husband works a whole heck of a lot, it is my way of reaching out and communicating to the world. I doubt seriously that I will ever permanently give up facebook, as we have a lot of family and friends who are spread all over the world and it is a very easy way of keeping in touch with them. It is getting easier but I must say how shocked I was at myself at how many times I felt the inclination to ‘quickly’ check facebook, to hit refresh and see what everyone else in the world is up to. I gave up facebook with the intention of having less and I got so much more this week and so did my family.

I got more prayer.

I got more sleep.

I got to read more stories to the girls.

I got to slowly start potty training Lucy.

I did more loads of laundry than I can count on both hands.

I made more meals from scratch.

I spent more time with Jesus.

I spent more time living in the moment of my own life and not everyone elses. It is almost a relief to not feel the need to ‘check in’ all day long. I was using facebook as homebase and now I am trying like mad to make Jesus my homebase. To make Him the person I turn to when I am fed up with the moment I am in and not feeling like cleaning, parenting, cooking, etc. It has made me sad to see how much I try to escape throughout my day but God is so good and He is working in my heart, let me tell you.
The snow is almost entirely gone here and that means big things for the Andrews girls! It means getting out of the apartment and out onto the deck even if only for a few minutes at a time. I put their boots and coats on and they are in and out for nearly an hour. We also put their cardboard box house out there to play in. Take that super-overpriced Fisher Price houses!
With the house hunting and everything else going on I feel like bursting at the seams I have so much to say.
My lovely husband, Ben turned 30 a few weeks ago now and we celebrated him in a big way. There were lots of people, lotsssss of kids, a few Priest friends, lots of food and cake and lastly a guitar! He has wanted to learn the guitar for several years now but we could never afford to buy him one, let alone pay for lessons. I thought him starting a new decade was worth getting all our close family and friends to get in on it and people were so generous. We had more than enough to get him a guitar, a bag for the guitar, a tuner, some picks and at least 6-7 lessons. Ben works tirelessly and without complaint and he really deserved a good party and a gift that was really something just for him. I love that man!



These two are so cute! Painting together at the table.
Miss Lucy has started cutting her two year molars. Not fun at all. Poor girl has had a low but constant fever for the last few days and seems to have now started a cold to top it all off. I think she may also be having growing pains as she has called out to us in the night complaining of sore arms and legs and asking us to rub them with cream. If you could please say a little prayer for her, I know it will help her little body get through this rough spot. She spent most of the day lying on the couch watching cartoons or fighting with Abigail who seemed to know she wasn’t feeling well and just wouldn’t leave her alone.
Remember when I said I was going to stuff my face with Glazed Pear and Yogurt Cake? Here she is, in all of her glory. It was delicious and I totally plan on making one again sometime soon. It was dessert to start, it became breakfast with a cup of coffee and was snack later in the day with a glass of milk. I love food that is versatile like that 🙂 
We saw three more houses yesterday that were not great. We are going to see another one tomorrow morning that we are really excited about at 10am so please keep us in your prayers!
I hope God is speaking to you this Lent and showing you ways you can grow closer to Him. If you’re finding it difficult, just remember that when we say no to ourselves it leaves more room in our hearts to say yes to someone else who can give us so much more than anything this world has to offer.