Wednesday, 26 March 2014

A little happy news from us...

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Make it full screen and turn up your volume..some cute little kids have something they want to tell you.





Happy Wednesday everyone!!
Erica xo


Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Peanut butter/banana muffins packed full of veggies...and I swear they're delicious!

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I've been on a search for a while now for a muffin recipe that makes me feel like I'm eating a decadent treat, but that is actually stuffed full of hidden veggies.

My friends...I've found it.


I promise you, it tastes like the most delicious peanut butter/banana muffin you will ever taste...but it secretly has TONS of pureed cauliflower and carrots hidden inside. You'd never even know it as it is so moist and delicious.


My kids love muffins and although I've always made healthy ones in the past, I thought that I could bump it up a notch and see if I could get even sneakier and add even more healthy goodness to this beloved snack. So what's better than feeding your kids something that they love and sneaking some extra veggies into every bite that they take?  I promise, they'll never know.



My mother-in-law was over the other day and she took a bite of one of them, having no idea what kind of muffins they were, and her response was "Wow, are these peanut butter muffins? They're SO good!". Little did she know she was biting into a ton of carrots and cauliflower as well.

Muffin test = passed with flying colours.


So I whipped up a triple batch of these suckers one night when the kids were in bed, making regular sized ones for Terry and I (and of course I added tons of chocolate chips to ours--cause, really...the chocolate chips are probably canceled out completely by the amount of veggies that are stuffed into these suckers. At least that's what I'll keep telling myself).



And I made bite-size ones for the kids, which is the perfect size for their little hands--and I only put one little chocolate chip on top (none inside), to give them the illusion of a chocolate chip muffin--which they totally fall for every single time.




These have become a household favourite and a recipe that I will be making over and over again, because they're really THAT good. No one needs to know that they're so healthy. I certainly won't tell. 

So if you want to get you or your kids eating more veggies, give these a try. I promise you'll love them. Especially if you add the chocolate chips---cause remember, they're totally canceled out. Add as many as you want and ENJOY! 

Peanut Butter and Banana Muffins:

You will need:
-nonstick cooking spray
-1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
-1/2 cup natural peanut butter
-1/2 cup carrot or cauliflower puree (just boil veggies in a pot of water until soft, then throw in food blender with a bit of water until completely smooth)
-1/2 cup banana puree
-1 large egg white
-1 cup whole-wheat flour
-1 teaspoon baking powder
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-1/2 teaspoon salt

1) Preheat oven to 350F. Coat muffin tin with cooking spray.

2) In large mixing bowl, mix 1/2 cup of the brown sugar with the peanut butter, the veggie and banana purees and the egg white, using a wooden spoon. 

3) Put the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl and stir. Add to the bowl with the peanut butter mixture and stir just to combine (do not over mix--batter should be a bit lumpy). Add the remaining 1/2 cup of brown sugar and stir once or twice. 

4) Divide the batter among the muffin cups and bake until the muffins are lightly browned and toothpick comes out clean when inserted into middle, 15-20mins. 

5) Let cool and store in an airtight container (or, pop them in the freezer and they'll last for approx one month--and you can just pull one out and defrost it whenever you want one!). 

Enjoy!! 
Erica xo


*Recipe: Jessica Seinfeld's "Deceptively Delicous" 


Wednesday, 12 March 2014

One-On-One

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I still remember when I got the call. When I heard my name come over the PA system at my elementary school, asking me to please come to the office.

I remember walking down the hall thrilled. My little seven year old self, so excited. Bouncing with every step that I took, smile spread straight across my little cheeks, knowing that this was special...knowing that it was just for me.

I passed other kids in the hallway and grinned at them, wanting so badly for them to know exactly what was about to happen. Knowing that as I turned that corner towards the office I'd see him...my dad.

He was smiling as I ran up to him and I took his hand as he lead me out to the car. It was lunch time, and he left work that day to take me out to lunch. ONLY me. Just my dad and I, going to McDonald's (a real treat in our family). I couldn't have been happier.

Having a sister meant that my parents had to split their time with both of us, like most families with more than one child have to do. And so this was a big deal. It was a big deal because my dad made it a big deal. He talked about how he was going to leave work that day (at that time, a half hour drive to my school from his office)...he let me pick whatever restaurant I wanted...he told me that I could pick anything that I wanted off of the menu...he told me that I could choose whatever table I wanted to sit at...he told me how excited he was about being able to see me in the middle of the day--and he also let me know that he'd be doing the same with Jen another day. Because, fair is fair.  

I've never forgotten those moments from my childhood. Those moments where mom and dad specifically took time with both Jen and I to spent quality one-on-one time with each of us. To make a big deal out of something seemingly simple--to build up a special day to be perhaps even bigger than it was...but it worked. Because we felt that it was a big deal. We felt important. We felt like it was our special time where all of the attention was on us, individually.

So I want to do the same for my kids.

When I chose to only go back to work for 3.5 days a week after recently coming off of maternity leave with Carter, it meant that I was thankfully given the luxury of time with my kids. So I marked my calendar, and excitedly told Mya that we were going to have a "Mommy and Mya day". A day where we'd drop Carter off at daycare and wave to all of Mya's daycare teachers as she held my hand, proudly announcing to all of them that it was "Me and mommy's special day--ONLY me and mommy", with the biggest grin ever as she'd prance off to the door.  

She was so excited.
  
And even though this little girl woke up in a funk that very morning...that very morning that I had all of these plans in place, hoping for this perfect little day...it was still a great day and I would do it over and over again in a heartbeat. Because she felt that feeling. That feeling of being important. That the whole day was about her. That she was my number one priority all day long. And she loved it.

So we started our day by stopping off at the store and I told her that she could pick any treat that she wanted.

And you know what she picked?

Juice boxes.


That's all she wanted. A pack of juice boxes "with the straws, mommy". So that's what she got. And she was thrilled. We don't typically buy juice boxes, so this to her was a big treat apparently. So I showed her the special 'hold the wings' trick so that she wouldn't squeeze the juice out of the straw the moment that she took hold of that little box, and she was on her way to juice heaven.


And lunch time? Well, Terry left work that afternoon and met us at McDonald's to surprise her. And her other favourite person in the world showed up too for her special lunch...


her cousin Oliver -- who was just as thrilled about the juice boxes as Mya was.

The first thing that she told me when we bought those juice boxes was that she wanted to "save one for Oliver and one for Carter". So I packed them in my purse and snuck them in.


And when our lunch guests left, Mya and I spent the rest of the day playing with play doh that I had secretly made the night before, playing dolls and snuggling on the couch for an afternoon nap. It wasn't necessarily a fancy day--but all that mattered to her was that I was hers all day long.

And Carter? Well, he got his day the following week.

So we dropped Mya off at daycare and she smiled as she proudly told her daycare teachers "Carter's not staying at daycare--he's having a Carter and mommy day". As if she was an expert on the subject now...because she was. She knew what it meant. She knew that it was Carter's turn and she was surprisingly very accepting of the fact that I was taking Carter and not her. She wanted it for him too.

So we found a program where little ones could tear around a gym on bikes, cars and scooters...and where toys were at every corner.


Which he absolutely loved.


And his surprise guest was the same beloved surprise guest that Mya got.

He was thrilled to see Oliver.


And wasn't afraid to show it.

Thanks Oliver for always graciously accepting his big slobbery kisses. 



And the rest of our day was filled with blowing bubbles in the house together, racing cars down the dining room floor, napping in my arms and tearing all of the couch cushions off of our furniture once again to create the best climbing gym that a little boy could ever ask for.

Sometimes it's the smallest gestures that our kids will remember the most. The build up to a special day full of simple things like juice boxes, plastic bikes, play doh and car races is something that ultimately made these two feel special. Like it was all about them.

Because it was.

Happy March break everyone!
Erica xo


Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Puppy Chow mid-week treat

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You want a delicious little mid-week treat? Here you go:

I promise you'll thank me. Because it's not only delicious...it's super easy to make. You've probably heard of it before, but if you haven't, let me introduce the food that you won't be able to stop eating after you take just one bite. So you've now been officially warned...

It's called Puppy Chow. What a terrible name for something that tastes SO darn good.

I like to make it at Christmas since it's a great little treat to put out in bowls around the house for people to nibble on. But it's also perfect any other time of year--and if you have kids, they will LOVE it (and love helping you make it too--if you're brave enough to handle the icing sugar mess).


You only need 4 ingredients.


Peanut butter, icing sugar, chocolate chips and Chex cereal.

9 cups Chex cereal
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups icing sugar


Here is how you make it--it will only take a few minutes, I promise!

In a sauce pan, over low heat, melt the chocolate chips and peanut butter together. Mix frequently until smooth.

Remove from heat and stir in the Chex cereal until completely coated.



Pour small amount of coated cereal into a large ziplock bag, then pour a small amount of icing sugar over top.

Seal the bag and give it a shake (kids love doing this part!). Continue to add more cereal and more icing sugar until all of your cereal is coated. 


Place on cookie sheet until dry, then store in an airtight container. 


And enjoy!!!


Have a great rest of your week,
Erica xo

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