"Tonight we celebrate the birthday of a king," proclaimed the minister during Christmas Eve service. Finn's ears perked up. He knew his birthday was just days away. "But I'm not really a king," he shrugged. Oh yes you are, my sweet ginger child, you are to me. And on this seventh birthday, I wish you years filled with as many wonderful adventures as we experienced together this past year. Here's to a boy who...
handles most technology more skillfully than some adults (okay, just me!)...
and rafts down rivers without fear...
and loves food (and non-food) more than anyone I know...
and feels just at home in the woods as he does playing with said technology...
and keeps us entertained every minute of every day!


scenes from a Christmas weekend

* loved the homemade decorations those boys of mine created and hung throughout the whole house
* loved the effort we all took to create special gifts for ones we love so dear
* loved the time spent in the kitchen baking up a storm with little hands close by to help
* loved the time spent merry-making with friends and family, creating some late nights, but well worth every bleary-eyed daytime minute
* loved creating new Christmas traditions with a Christmas Eve campfire with two special aunties who now live so very close by
* loved over-indulging in some good eats created by some very talented cooks and bakers I feel blessed to have in our family
* loved G took two buzzing boys out for a Boxing Day hike to burn off some of that excess Christmas energy - hoodies in December?? Where is that snow?
* loved the quiet of having the whole house to myself for an afternoon - a movie without interruptions, time to focus on nothing else but cooking up some soup, a moment to slowly enjoy said soup and a crossword puzzle
* loved every moment of these holidays
Post-feasting Vegetable Soup
6 slices of bacon (optional)
1 onion
4 cloves garlic
4 potatoes
2 carrots
3 C shredded cabbage
1/2 C sprouted lentils
1/2 C rice
1 can stewed tomatoes
8 C stock
Chop up bacon and fry in large soup pot.  Keep bacon grease in pot and add onions and garlic, frying until translucent. Add potatoes, carrots, cabbage, lentils and rice. Let them fry up together before adding tomatoes and soup stock. Simmer until veg are tender and rice and lentils are cooked through.



sunday in the kitchen

I know I'm running out of time. My kids remind me everyday as they count down the days to their most favourite day of the year. "Only seven more days!" they excitedly proclaimed this morning. I pretended to be as excited, but inside I was mentally running through the lengthy list of to-dos I still had to conquer and trying not to panic. Don't panic - if it doesn't get done, it doesn't get done, I tried to remind myself after I had a bit of a freak out. Because freaking out kind of defeats the purpose of the season, no? Freaking out takes so much precious time away from all of the joys of the holidays, like meeting up with old friends, and crafting with my kids, and just sitting and reflecting on what an adventure this entire year has been. 
  Once I came to this new realization, I stopped everything I was doing, took some extra time to make muffins with Nate, snuggled on the couch with my two boys to watch A Christmas Story, and took some time to edit pics from the boys' Christmas concert last week. That face is just what I needed! I couldn't help but laugh out loud at my little Grinch - boy, do I ever wish I knew what was going through his head at that very moment! 
And I took some time to feel good about what I have accomplished - like the annual homemade Christmas jammies!
And a few yummy treats I can't wait to gift!
Orange Chocolate Hazelnut Bark
12oz dark chocolate
1 C hazelnuts chopped
1 tsp organic orange flavour
Melt chocolate in a double boiler, or a boil over a pot of boiling water. Stir in orange flavouring and spread 3/4s of the chocolate onto parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle nuts over chocolate and drizzle remaining chocolate over top. Refrigerate about an hour - until firm.
Roasted Chick Peas
1 can chickpeas
1 tsp olive oil
1.5 tsp cajun spice
Drain and rinse chick peas. Pat dry before placing on baking sheet. Coat with oil and spice and bake at 450F for about 30 minutes - stir a couple of times during baking.


this moment

dressing it up and belting it out for grampa's birthday
Inspired by Soulemama


what will you do today?

Today I will awaken to a chorus of 'hallelujahs' coming from one ginger-haired 6-year-old who declared 'It's a miracle!' upon seeing the freshly fallen snow. I will watch my boys spring from their beds as if it were Christmas morn and ready themselves for school in record time. I will be reminded that there was a time when this white stuff filled me with so much joy and carry with me that childhood bliss as I trudged breathlessly through the unploughed streets to work.


sunday in the kitchen

It's a rainy, miserable Sunday in November. One of those days meant for curling up on the couch in jammies with a good book and a piece of chocolate cake. That's really what days like these were meant for, so come along and join me!
Chocolate Avocado Cake with Orange Chocolate Glaze
2 C spelt flour
1 C cocoa
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
1 C mashed avocado
3/4 C brown sugar
2 tbsp ground flax seed mixed with 6 tbsp warm water (or 2 eggs)
1 C soy buttermilk (add 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar to soy milk)
1 tsp vanilla
Mix together dry ingredients and set aside. In a separate bowl, cream together avocado and brown sugar before adding flax seed mixture, milk and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and stir until blended together. Pour into greased springform pan. Bake at 350F for about 45 minutes or until fork comes out clean. Let cake cool before topping with glaze
Orange Chocolate Glaze
1 70% cocoa chocolate bar
3 tbsp milk
1.5 tsp orange flavoured oil
Place chocolate in a bowl over pot of boiling water. Add milk and oil and stir until melted. Drizzle over cake. Sprinkle with a little powdered sugar if you like!


this moment

the sun goes down on warm autumn days
Moment captured by GZ
Inspired by SouleMama



sunday in the kitchen

It's Halloween tomorrow - in case you forgot. I've had little chance to forget as Finn has been counting down the days since the first day of school. And it's here...finally! It's been a busy Sunday of costume planning, trick-or-treat route mapping and pumpkin carving. 
Oh, and making something nutritious before the sugar on-slaught begins. Of course the boys wouldn't eat it - not shocking at all! But for this mama who likes to sneak a miniature chocolate bar, or two, or three, out of the boys' Halloween bags, this salad hits the spot! Happy Halloween everyone!
Carrot Salad
4 carrots grated
Sliced red onion - about 1/4 onion, or to taste
1/4 C roasted pumpkin seeds
3-4 leaves of kale shredded
1/3 C olive oil
1/4 C balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 tsp sea vegetable flakes or sea salt
Mix together dressing and toss into salad. Tastes great eaten right away, but even better the next day!


saturday morning music

Coffee brewed, sewing table cleaned off, Kathleen Edwards rocking my morning.


this moment

late october garden eats
inspired by soulemama


Sunday in the kitchen

G and I ran away from home this weekend. Left the kids behind and hit up the big city! So nice to have time away from home to reconnect, explore and eat exotic foods. But not before we got zombified at the Toronto Zombie Walk with friends! A little slow-paced...a lot creepy...but really good times for people watching!
What the heck do these autumn-inspired cookies have to do with zombies? Well, nothing, really! Just a little housewarming gift for our dear friend who has recently relocated to Toronto that I thought I would share with you! And they taste a whole heck of a lot better than brains! Although, looking at that pic below, one might not be able to tell the difference...but trust me, they really are super delish!
Flourless Apple Butter Bites
2 C oats
1 C roasted sunflower seeds
Grind the oats and seeds in a food processor and mix in:
1/4 C coconut oil melted
1/4 C honey, or your favourite liquid sweetener
2 tbsp ground flax seed mixed with 6 tbsp warm water 
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt - unless you use salted sunflower seeds
Form dough into bite-sized balls and press in centre. Fill centre with small spoonful of apple butter. Bake at 350F for about 10-12 minutes.


this moment

Everyday, in every way, it's getting better and better. - John Lennon
Inspired by SouleMama


this moment

Dramatic toad rescue - scooped up from the leaf pile waiting for town pick-up.
inspired by SouleMama


Sunday in the kitchen - holiday Monday edition

Boy am I ever giving thanks for what is likely to be the very last beach day of the year!
And for my three brave boys who plunged, full steam ahead, into the ice-cold water!
 And for family Thanksgiving feasts and 96th birthday celebrations - including easy peasy birthday pear pie!
Vegan Pear Pie
6-8 ripe pears peeled, cored and sliced
1/4 C agave
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp arrowroot starch
2 tbsp coconut oil
Put ingredients in medium sauce pan, cover and cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes - until pears are slightly tender. Pour into this most amazing pie crust - http://jonsiandalex.com/recipes - click on the raw strawberry pie recipe for the crust ingredients! Yum!


i give thanks

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.  ~Thornton Wilder

As our town picks itself up out of the storm, I give thanks for all that we have, for all that we are, and for all that we will become. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!