Butternut Squash Shake

I bought my first seasonal butternut squash at the market this past week. I am excited for this season and all the fun recipes I will be creating! I chose to bring in this Fall  season with a delicious shake. It’s kinda like pumpkin pie in a cup, but really cold.

After making it I envisioned so many alternatives to making this, the possibilities are endless!! So glad the season is just starting ;)

I wish I would’ve taken a better picture, but I had 3 little children tugging on me as I was photographing their dessert. Their patience was running thin and I decided to stop the torture and give them their treat. I will probably be making this again, and will hopefully get a better picture.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chopped butternut squash/ 200 grammes de butternut
  • 1 tray on coconut ice cubes (my trays make 16 ice cubes)– For this I planned a few hours ahead and froze coconut milk in an ice cube tray, the good kind coconut milk, with the cream and all./ 16 glacons de lait de noix de coco ( j’utilise du lait de coco soit fait frais ou en cannette ou carton, et je congele au joins 4 heures)
  • 4 medjool dates/ 4 dates medjool
  • 1 large frozen banana, sliced/ 1 banana gelee, coupee
  • 1 1/2 cups almond milk/ 1/3 de litre de lait d’amande (Ou un peu plus selon la texture desiree)
  • 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice/ 2 cuillieres a caffe d’epices d’autumn melangees (canelle, noix de muscade, clous de girofle)

Steps:

  • put everything in a blender and blast it on high until desired consistency/ mettez tout dans un blender et faites tourner a fond
  • I topped this with a few chopped pieces of dates and crushed pecans/ j’ai ajoutee des morceaux de noid de pecans et de dates pour decorer
  • this made enough for 2 adults and 2 children/ ca a fait assez pour 2 adults et 2 enfants

Dijon Balsamic Dressing

I asked one of my friends if there was a recipe of mine she would like to see on my blog, and, unexpectedly, she said my salad dressing! It’s true I often have compliments on my dressing. To me it’s nothing much more than a bunch of ingredients thrown in to a bottle to drizzle over my salad. But it’s true that it tastes great. And I’ve had many people compliment me on my salads over the years. And this dressing here, is a staple in my house. I use it for most of my salads. I’ve never measured the ingredients. As I mentioned, I just throw everything in a bottle, shake it up and pour it on my veggies. So for my dear friend, I measured the ingredients this time, snapped a picture and am now sharing it with you.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 TBS dijon mustard
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 TBS red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Steps:

  • put everything in a screw top jar
  • shake it shake it shake it shake it!!!!!!!
  • and you have yourself a nice thick dressing to use with your salads or even to dip artichokes in!!

Zucchini Banana Muffins

Every week, for 5 days, I send my daughter off to school with a snack and a lunch. That’s a lot of snacks and a lot of lunches, week after week. For that reason, at times I like to make a huge batch of muffins and freeze a bunch so that I can easily grab a snack last minute that will be nutritious and exciting for her. She can get bored of the dried fruit mixes and sliced apples.

This recipe is simple in taste, no processed sugars therefor not overly sweet and, in my opinion, nutritious and healthy so that she can stay full longer and have good fuel for her body. Store bought muffins (or coffee shop muffins), are glorified cupcakes without the frosting. In terms of sugar content, they are pretty much equally high. When made well, muffins can be an easy, quick nutritious breakfast/snack.

The kids loved these, I had to hurry and freeze a few batches before they ate them all. Which to me is a win. Giving them something they love while maintaining my nutritional integrity is important to me.

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Ingredients:

  • 3 cups flour (I used spelt and buckwheat here)
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 2 large ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup pitted dates ( I use medjool because they are so decadent and sweet and soft)
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp liquid vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini

Steps:

  • Preheat oven to 375 F
  • In a large bowl mix together first 6 ingredients
  • In a food processor combine the rest, except for zucchini
  • Add wet mixture to the bowl, add zucchini, mix well
  • Oil some muffin tins, fill them up
  • Bake for about 10 minutes for mini muffins, probably 20-25 minutes for large muffins
  • I made 72 mini muffins with this recipe!!!

Chocolate Soft serve

I love chocolate and I love sweets. I also love having a treat at night once all the kids are in bed :) But I also love my body and my health so I must be choosy of what I put in my body and how often. This one came together because I really wanted something quick and easy and I was really in the mood for soft serve This treat is just that! I think it took me under 3 minutes to put this together. And it hit all the right spots for me: it’s sweet, it’s chocolatey, it’s quick, it’s healthy, it’s creamy, it’s cold. It’s YUM!!!!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 2 TBS raw cacao powder
  • 1 large date (or any other sweetener you have on hand)
  • pinch of salt

Steps:

  • put all ingredients in blender and blend on high until smooth
  • eat immediately!!

This was enough for just one serving. And in all honesty, if I have doubled the recipe, it probably would’ve still only been enough for one serving ;)

Raw Green Onion Crackers

I eat so many raw crackers, they are a staple in my house. So coming up with new flavors that I love is always awesome. This one didn’t mean to be so tasty. I just really needed to make some crackers as we were out and didn’t have much around so I just did what I could with what I had. What I had was a bunch of green onions. And now I have super simple, super tasty crackers :)

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Ingredients:

  • 4 sprigs of green onions
  • 1 1/2 cups of flax seeds, soaked for a minimum of 4 hours in 3 cups of water
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup tamari
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups water

Steps:

  • Put the onions, flax seeds, tamari, salt and water in the blender and blend until the flax seeds are broken down
  • Mix everything in a bowl
  • spread on dehydrator sheet at least 1/4 inch thick
  • dry on 105 for about 8 hours
  • score, flip and finish drying until crisp, about another 8 hoursStore in an airtight container for weeks!!

Run for your kids

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“Luca! LUCA!! COME HERE LUCA!!!” I hear her shouting from the sidewalk. I am down the hill at the playground and I look up. This overweight mom is shouting after her what appears to be 2 year old boy, to stop running as he is getting closer to the street. A passerby stops the runaway boy as the mother huffs and puffs her way to thank the man. She proceeds to grab the child and yell at him. Now, I won’t pretend to know what was going on in this situation. Maybe she wasn’t even the mother? Although her behavior and interaction with the boy made it seem like so. Maybe she has a health condition that makes it she can’t run or exercise? Very possible. But it got me thinking, so here I am sharing my thoughts.

If you have no health conditions preventing you from exercising, I say: Run parents. Or ride a bike. Or swim. Or play a sport that gets your heart pumping. Whatever you do, make sure it is something that keeps your heart and lungs healthy enough to run after your child. Not only will it be fun for them to have an active parent, but it will be SAFE.

What if there were no passerby’s to catch this child before he made it to the busy street? I was far enough down the hill to not have been able to make much of a difference.

I exercise regularly. I actually get paid to help other people exercise as I am good and knowledgeable about it. My reason’s for exercising are quite numerous, and here are some of my top ones:

  • I exercise so I feel good everyday. My youngest is 9 months old and sleeps in our bed. No matter the amount of sleep I get (or don’t get, really), if I am strong and fit, I manage to make it through my days without too much sluggishness. Getting my blood pumping and my muscles activated allows me to keep going even on little sleep.
  • I exercise so I can keep up with my kids. Being able to chase them around, to roll on the ground, to run up and down hills, to play at the beach and go on hikes, is how memories are created. Most kids are active by nature. Being active makes it that I can participate in their life, be a team player and not a “bleacher mom”.
  • I exercise so I can react quickly in any given situation (like my kid running into the street). Feeling strong and capable allows me to have more fun and be more relaxed. I can let my kids wander around as I know I am fast and I can get to them quickly if I need to. I can pick all three of them up at once and lug them out of the street if they aren’t listening to me as a bus is coming towards us. I can take them on more challenging hikes knowing that if they can’t keep up anymore, I can carry them.
  • I exercise so my kids see me doing it. I want fitness to be something normal and natural for them. I don’t want them to have to struggle as teenagers or adults because I didn’t lead by example.
  • I exercise because I like to look good. Yes it’s true. I am not going to pretend like part of my motivation has nothing to do with looks. Because looking good feels good to me. I am proud of my body. I have stretch marks and flabby skin. I have cellulite and muscles. I am strong. And I find strength beautiful. But in all honesty, looking good is not a good enough reason on it’s own for me to keep up with my workouts. I need all those other reasons first in order to be consistent.

I try not to let it get to me, but it can’t help it. It saddens me to see parents not take care of themselves like this overweight woman. It saddens me because there is no way this woman feels good in her body. Not when she is huffing and puffing like she was. And it saddens me because she is the person that this child has to look up to. She is his example in life, and she is not doing a very good job. Yes, by my standards, I am aware of that. But if my standards make it that I feel competent in keeping my kids safe, than why wouldn’t I want that for other kids?

Whatever your motivation for moving your body, if you are a parent, keep in mind that they will look at you for inspiration.

So what is your motivation? Why do you exercise? Why do you not? I would love to hear your thoughts!

The hidden beauty of weening my child

Sometimes difficult decisions are necessary in order for positive change to happen. This is what happened to me when deciding to start weening my almost 2 and half year old son Kekaula, from breastfeeding. Since I did not have to ween my daughter, now 6, as she did it by herself by two and a half, I was unfamiliar with the process as well as heartbroken that I had to make the choice and not my son. It was an internal battle for me to find peace with my decision. I truly love breastfeeding. I love the bonding that happens. I love the snuggling. I love being able to provide for my child in that way. I also know that once the breastfeeding is over, I will never get those moments back with my child.

But Kekaula has not been breastfeeding alone. For the past 9 months he has been sharing the breast with his baby brother. As far as blissful happy mothering moments go, tandem feeding has got to be my number one. And one that proved to be challenging towards the end there. I knew I would not cut off Kekaula from the breast when his brother arrived. For many reasons, and the main one being I did not want Kekaula to feel as though I was giving him less because another baby was in the house. I did not anticipate the amount of bonding that would happen between the two of them as I would feed them at the same time. Some of my most precious moments were looking down at the two of them, plugged in it at the source as I like to say it, and seeing Kekaula gently stroke his brother head (or vice versa) while they share in one of the most natural human experiences there are. Sometimes they would hold hands, sometimes they would giggle. Always, they shared food and love. The most perfect combination in my opinion.

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But it got physically draining for me. Jolan, who is just 9 months old, breast feeds on demand, which is many times a day. After several months of letting Kekaula breast feed on demand as well i had cut him down to  twice a day: after nap, and in the morning when he comes in to our bed. The mornings started getting brutal. Jolan is not a sleeper. He wakes up ALOT at night. Nothing terrible, he goes back to sleep very quickly, but it is still frequent. Needless to say, I have been sleep deprived for months. Add to that a boob demanding two year old at 5 or 6 in the morning and you have a recipe for a grumpy start of the day. I am not down for grumpy at any time of the day. I make a point to do what I need to do to be genuinely positive and happy. And these 5 am demands became draining and made me genuinely grumpy. I knew something had to give. It was a battle for me. I kept on looking for ways to make these early morning feedings work for everyone. But this was the time when a difficult decision had to be made in order for positive change to happen. And positive it was!

First of all the process wasn’t nearly as terrible as I had expected. It’s been hard, and it is not fully over yet, but it hasn’t been terrible. Second of all, the amount of bonding that has been happening between Kekaula and I is so much more than I could have imagined!! When Kekaula comes in demanding the boob in the morning, I tell him no, we don’t do that anymore. The first few times were hard and he would cry and I would try and unsuccessfully explain myself ( to a 2 year old, yes I know). But then he started asking for a snuggle instead. This boy is the best snuggler I know. Seriously. And I have 4 people I get to snuggle as much as I want on daily basis. He is the best (thank goodness 2 of them can’t read this).

This morning, as usual, Kekaula comes in early and asks for the boob. I say no but we can snuggle instead. After a couple minutes of complaining he gives in and it was the best snuggle I have had all week. His little body fully embracing mine, his breathing deepening as he falls back asleep on my chest. In the mean time Jolan wakes up and because Kekaula and I feel like one in this moment, I can easily shift my body in order to feed Jolan while still holding Kekaula close to me. As I lay awake, holding both of my sleeping children, I am overcome with happiness. The long nights, the tired mornings, the frustrated moments in my day, are all worth it because of moments like these. Moments I had dreaded in my mind that turn out to be more beautiful than I could have imagined. Weening Kekaula did not mean cutting him or me off from any bonding moments, it just means we had to shift the way we were going to do that. And in all honesty, even though I still feel a tinge of sadness at the fact that I will never again share a breastfeeding moment with him, I get so much more out of our snuggling time than I did out of him latching on. And eventually, he will just come in and lay down in bed and snuggle without a fight for the boob first. And I will look forward to that because eventually, that is another moment that will have an end. Although I anticipate the snuggling years to last much longer than the breast feeding years :)

(If anyone is interested in knowing details in how I weened Kekaula, I am happy to share, just ask)

The Snack Plate

It’s 10:30 am on a saturday. The kids have been up for several hours. They have had breakfast and snacked on fruit. Yet they keep on asking for food. I don’t like refusing them food because I don’t want to pretend to know when they are hungry or not, but I also do not want to be serving them food all day and then have them not eat at meal times. My remedy? The beautiful, nutritious Snack Plate.

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I tell them if they are hungry they can eat as much as they like on this plate. I make it a point of not putting any fruit because I know that that is all they would eat and although fruit has many benefits, it is still loaded with sugar and I do not want them eating that all day long either. I try and feed them a balanced diet, and providing this kind of snack plate makes it that they have no other option but eat vegetables if they are hungry. It works. This morning there were only 2 and a half celery sticks left on this plate by the time lunch came around. They weren’t super hungry for lunch, but since they had already eaten a good serving of fresh vegetables, I didn’t really care how much they ate. It takes away from my worrying if they are getting enough veggies in their diet, and it also takes away from the stress of constantly asking them to eat their vegetables during meal times. If all they wanted for lunch was eggs and potatoes, that’s fine by me.

Kids love to snack. Heck, I do to. Keeping healthy convenient food around makes snacking a nutritious stress free thing. Plus, as snacking can often be a mindless habit, it is even better to have this kind of food available for my kids. If they are watching a movie and want to snack during, putting a plate of fresh veggies guarantees they will eat them, because they barely pay attention to what they are putting in their mouth while watching a movie. This is Ninja Parenting right here folks ;)

The better we eat at home, the more relaxed I can be with our diet when we are out. And I love being relaxed about my diet when when we are out :)

It’s that time of the day (usually around 3-4pm) where I start to fade. Having some black tea or even a coffee sounds nice. The effects aren’t always beneficial (sometimes they are though, I will not dis tea or coffee as they are great at times in my life). I’ve noticed that sometimes having coffee to help stimulate me, will result in me crashing a little later, and I don’t like crashing :( So here I am, feeling tired and I still have to make it through a good portion of the day with the kids. I personally don’t like to “make it through” things, I rather try to feel good as much as possible. So instead of reaching for a quick caffein fix, if I have the time, I make a green juice, my version of an energy drink :)

This juice was particularly tasty and that is why I am sharing it with you. Before 3pm. In case that’s when you start crashing too ;) I made this one yesterday around and it definitely perked me up enough to take all three kids to the playground and have a great playground workout.

I realize you have to be in proximity of a juicer to make this, but if you are not, you can make this juice in advance and bring it with you to work or where ever you may be and keep it in a cooler or fridge. The vitamin content will go down with every passing hour, (it’s best to drink your juices within 30 minutes of making them) but the satisfaction of drinking it will not. And if you don’t have a juicer, you can buy already made juices at most health food stores. I do not have a recommendation for which one is best as I do not usually buy them.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 1 whole lemon
  • 1 small cucumber
  • 4 large leaves of kale
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro (about 1 cup chopped)
  • 1 apple
  • 1 large chunk of ginger

Steps:

  • wash and cut everything to fit in juicer
  • Feed through juicer
  • poor in glass or mug (I used a mug here, because really what I wanted was a coffee ;) )
  • Add a couple ice cubes for a nice chilled beverage
  • Drink and feel your body come alive!!

Raw Oatmeal

I ran out of my favorite breakfast foods this morning and had no milk on hand for my raw granola, so I improvised quick before I  got too hungry and reached for something that would not nourish me as positively as this did. I call this Raw Oatmeal because it had the look and consistency of oatmeal and left me feeling full for hours the way oatmeal would. But it was way faster to make than boiled oats and in my opinion, much more nutritious.

Although I could just have eaten fruit and nuts or nut butter, which I believe can be a satisfying breakfast, some days I feel the need to sit down and eat something out of a bowl, with a spoon, to make me appreciate what I am eating. And today is one of those days. As usual, sorry for the photograph, this tasted much better than the photo looks, I promise :)

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As it so often happens, I made this on the fly without writing down or taking specific measurements, so below is an estimation of what I put in this tasty bowl. I am already seeing all the substitutions and possibilities with this that having just one recipe would be so limiting ;)

Ingredients:

  • 1 large apple
  • 1 banana
  • 1 chunk of ginger
  • 1 TBS sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1 TBS almond butter
  • 1 TBS  shredded coconut (for topping)

Steps:

  • Put everything in the food processor and combine until desired consistency
  • Top with coconut and enjoy!