Feb 28, 2014

This Moment: Sweetness

A beautiful and fun Friday ritual. Inspired by SouleMama.

{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. – Amanda Soule

Feb 27, 2014

Deceptively Rich Bran Muffins (Low Fat, High Fiber)

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups wheat bran
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 cup lowfat buttermilk
  1. Heat oven to 500F. 
  2. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the bran with a whisk.
  3. In another large mixing bowl, beat together the brown sugar, molasses, egg whites, and buttermilk or yogurt (use fat-free buttermilk rather than 2% if you find it).
  4. Add the dry ingredients to liquid ingredients, and stir just to moisten, about 30 seconds. 
  5. Fill each cup in a 6-cup nonstick muffin tin three-fourths full and place the tin in the oven. 
  6. Reduce the heat to 400F. and bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 35 minutes. 
  7. Let the tin cool on a cooling rack for 10 minutes before removing the muffins. 
  8. To store, let the muffins cool completely on the rack. Seal them inside a plastic bag, and refrigerate or freeze.
Makes 6 servings

Nutritional Information
Calories 192
Calories from Fat 12
Total Fat 1.3g
Saturated Fat 0.3g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 2mg
Total Carbohydrates 44.3g
Dietary Fiber 8.6g

Sugars 17.5g

Feb 26, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Building the Tallest Block Tower Ever!


Click the pic above to get to other Wordless Wednesday Participants or go check out the following links:

Sweet Potato & Red Bell Pepper Pasta (clean eating, low fat, high fiber)

  • 8 ounces whole-grain angel hair pasta
  • 2 tablespoons  extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  •  4 cloves  garlic, minced
  • 3 cups sweet potato peeled & shredded (about 1 medium)
  • 1 large  red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup  diced plum tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup  water
  • 2 tablespoons  chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon  chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1 tablespoon  white-wine vinegar or lemon juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2 cup  crumbled feta cheese

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Cook pasta until just tender, 4 to 5 minutes or according to package directions.
Place 1 tablespoon oil and garlic in a large skillet.
Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is sizzling and fragrant, 2 to 5 minutes.
Add sweet potato, bell pepper, tomatoes and water and cook, stirring occasionally, until the bell pepper is tender-crisp, 5 to 7 minutes.
Remove from the heat; cover and keep warm.
Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
Return the pasta to the pot.
Add the vegetable mixture, the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, parsley, tarragon, vinegar (or lemon juice), salt and cheese; toss to combine.
Add the reserved pasta water, 2 tablespoons at a time, to achieve the desired consistency.

(Makes 4 servings)
Per serving:
402 calories;
12 g fat (3 g sat, 6 g mono);
7 mg cholesterol;
62 g carbohydrate;
12 g protein;
9 g fiber;

Heartbreak (updated)

It is particularly hard to have your baby be sick.  It is hard to have him feel so fragile and delicate at two years old that you are afraid to move him the wrong way, afraid to cause him pain.  In the last four or five days since his fall, we have been going through that with Little Prince.  Every time we moved any part of him, we had to be ever so gentle and careful.  He was so afraid of falling again that everytime he was near me, he clung to me so tightly he caused himself pain.  It broke my heart.

But it was wonderful to see the glimpses of his old self come back.  And as of yesterday, he was actually giggling and sweet and more himself.  He may have to wear a brace for another week, but I am thrilled to see him feeling happier.

Now, he is autistic and he doesn't eat well at the best of times, so it is no surprise that since his fall, his eating has been DREADFUL, but I am hopeful that as he continues to feel better, he will start to eat better.

UPDATE:  He ate!  He ate!  He actually ate a good breakfast today!  I am thrilled.  I tried a different one of the few foods I know he likes and he ate it!  We were tiptoeing around while he ate, scared to distract him from his food and make him change his mind.


Feb 25, 2014

Buffalo Chicken Fingers (low fat, clean eating)

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into finger-sized pieces
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  •  1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup whole grain bread crumbs
  • 2 egg whites, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon Hot Sauce (to make a little more mild, replace with equal amount of water)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C). Coat a baking sheet with a nonstick spray.
  2. In a bag, mix together flour, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. On a plate, mix the bread crumbs with the rest of the garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and salt.
  3. Shake the chicken pieces with the seasoned flour. Beat egg whites with Hot Sauce, and place egg mixture in a shallow dish or bowl. Dip seasoned chicken in egg mixture, then roll in the seasoned bread crumb mixture. Place on prepared baking sheet.
  4. Bake for about 8 minutes in the preheated oven. Use tongs to turn pieces over. Bake 8 minutes longer, or until chicken juices run clear.

Diet to Reduce High Cholesterol

I am researching ways to improve my cholesterol, beyond the regular lose weight, which I am working on anyway.  Here are somethings I have learned so far:

  1. Get rid of high saturated fat, high cholesterol, or "junk foods." 
  2. Select cholesterol-friendly foods by "shopping the perimeter." Stick to:
    1. fresh fruits 
    2. vegetables, 
    3. lean meats, fish and seafood
    4. low-fat dairy products.
    5. whole grains
    6. egg whites
  3. Concentrate on "high-fiber" or "whole-grain" and look at the Nutrition Facts Label listed on packaging. 
  4. Prepare foods by using baking, steaming, boiling, broiling, grilling or microwaving techniques. Avoid frying foods.  
  5. Fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds are good snack options
  6. Foods that some consider to help lower cholesterol: 
    1. green tea
    2. oatmeal 
    3. walnuts
    4. tomatoes
    5. apples
    6. avocado
    7. salmon
    8. olive oil
    9. flaxseed meal

Good! and not so good . . . .

I got some blood work back from the doctor and I was surprised to learn that I do NOT have diabetes!  I was told when I was pregnant, that they thought I was probably diabetic all the time because of the way my numbers had been and I have been delaying getting the testing done because I was scared to know, BUT . . . I DON'T  Yay!!!  Most of my numbers were great.  I don't have thyroid issues either, so that was wonderful to learn! 

I did find out that I have low iron.  Which explains my lack of energy, I was attributing it to being a very busy mother of four beautiful children, but I guess there was more too it than that.  I also have high cholesterol and high triglycerides.  So that means I have to pay more attention to my diet.  I am the research queen of the universe . . . so I will be looking up which ways of eating will be good for losing weight, low iron and high cholesterol and high triglycerides.  So updates on that later. 

Feb 24, 2014

Eating Clean Slow Cooker Saucy Pineapple Chickpeas

  • 3 cups cooked chickpeas (from can or from dried)
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 3 T maple syrup
  • 2 T soy sauce (or alternative)
  • 1 T chili powder
  • 1 sweet onion chopped
  • 2 carrots peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 fresh pineapple chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves minces
  • 1 inch knob of ginger minced
  • 2 cups green beans or sugar snap peas
  • 2 red peppers chopped
  1. Throw first 11 ingredients into slow cooker, put on low for 6 hours
  2. Add green beans and red peppers, cook on low for additional hour

Notes: To have peppers and green beans/sugar snap peas tender crisp, don't put them in at the beginning of the cook time, but rather, closer to the time of serving. This way, they get slightly cooked, but still crunchy!

Serve over rice! Yummy!

Finally . . .

Little Prince is finally seeming to be feeling a little better.  It will be weeks before he is himself, but he is starting to perk up and be happier. I am so glad.  It breaks my heart to see my poor little boy feeling so yucky and not able to tell me about it.


Feb 23, 2014

Easy Dry Curry Chicken (clean and paleo)

This is easy, sorry, I have no amounts, it is kind of done to taste.
  • chicken
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Turmeric
  • Curry Powder
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  1. Cut up chicken 
  2. Season both sides of all pieces with seasonings
  3. Put into a roasting pan and roast for 45 min at 375.
Super yummy and oh so easy.

St. Patrick's Day Fun

Here are some fun ideas for St. Patrick's Day Crafts and St. Patrick's Day Foods for Snacks if you want to make it fun for your family like I do. 

St. Patrick's Day Homeschool Work


St. Patrick's Day Snacks

Green Krispie Treats

St. Patrick's Day Footprint Shamrock


Here is an idea that made me laugh: Leprechaun Pee . . . .


Or Not . . . .

I know I am blessed.  I have a beautiful family that I adore with every fibre of my being, but I am not posting a Gratitude Sunday this week.  My baby is in pain,  I would give anything to be the one who is broken and not able to move and to be in pain instead of him.  He is so sweet and tiny and he doesn't understand.  He is miserable and I hate it.   I have other ugly yucky stuff going on and I am not feeling particularly full of gratitude this week.  I wish I could just snap my fingers and come up the money to move to Nova Scotia right now and I would be able to be closer to the Autism Clinic there and I would NOT be dealing with all this garbage.  I am sorry, this is usually a happy, cheerful blog, but I am not feeling that way today and it is hard to fake, you know?


Feb 22, 2014

Slow Cooked Clean Eating Chicken Noodle Soup

  • 2 chicken breasts (whole)
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 celery stick, sliced
  • 2 spring onions, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 1/2 Litres home-made chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 1/2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 8 peppercorns

  1. Place all vegetables in the slow cooker
  2. Add herbs/seasoning to the stock and pour over the vegetables
  3. Place the chicken breasts in the slow cooker sitting on the vegetables, ensuring just covered with liquid.
  4. Cook on low for 5 hours.
  5. At the end of the cooking process, remove the chicken breasts, shred and mix back in. 
  6. If you have a favorite whole grain noodle/pasta, stir this in towards the end (allowing cooking time) to give the soup some more body.

Saturday Photohunt: Amber and Wrapped

The Saturday PhotoHunts for this week are Amber and Wrapped.

One picture I came up with is of Princess Magpie in the playland at her sister's birthday.  She looks like she is gift-wrapped through the glass and there are definitely some amber hues to the colors reflecting in the glass.

The other picture I am sharing is of the mermaid the girls met at World Oceans Day in Halifax.  There is definitely some Amber in her tail and she had treats wrapped up beside her for the kids.

Feb 21, 2014

Healthy Banana Split Bites

  • 24 – 1″ pieces pineapple (about 1/2 small)
  • 2 large bananas, sliced into 24 bite sized pieces
  • 12 small to medium sized strawberries sliced in half
  • 150g (5oz) good quality dark chocolate
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • Chopped nuts or coconut for rolling in, optional
  1. Cut fruit and assemble into stacks. 
  2. Press a tooth pick through the fruit and freeze until solid. 
  3. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  4. Melt the chocolate along with the coconut oil on the stove-top or in the microwave, stirring frequently to prevent burning. 
  5. Once completely melted, remove the frozen fruit from the freezer. 
  6. Dip the fruit in the chocolate, let the excess drip off and then place on the sheet to harden. 
  7. If desired, dip the chocolate covered side immediately in chopped nuts or coconut before placing them on the sheet to harden. 
  8. Once the chocolate is completely hardened, remove from the sheet and place in an airtight container to store in the freezer until ready to serve. Makes 24 bites.

Notes: Make sure that your bananas aren’t too ripe. If you use a ripe banana the sugars break down, which will result in a mushy banana once thawed. Using an unripe banana with prevent this.

This Moment: Poor Little Prince

A beautiful and fun Friday ritual. Inspired by SouleMama.

{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. – Amanda Soule

Broken! :(

My poor baby fell out of his crib and broke his collar bone.  I feel awful, my baby is broken!  We were at the Emergency room getting looked at for 6 hours until 1am.  He has a little brace on his tiny little back to help hold his shoulders so that he won't move his arms too much and cause himself pain.  This is the first broken bone among my kids and it had to be in my littlest baby, who is autistic and non-verbal and doesn't understand. 


Feb 20, 2014

Easy St. Patrick's Day Craft Ideas

I thought I would find some more St. Patrick's Day Craft ideas that would be suitable for my little girls.  They needs things that are easy, fun and uncomplicated.  Here are some ideas:

Paper Plate Shamrock

Shamrock Craft

To Catch a Leprechaun

“I spy” bottle

DIY Vases

St Patrick's Day Wreath

Feb 19, 2014

Italian Turkey Sausage and Kale Rigatoni

2 cups rigatoni
1 pkg Italian Turkey Sausage
4 cups chopped kale
1 cups chicken broth
parmesan cheese

Prepare rigatoni as directions.
Take the sausage out of it's casing
Brown like hamburger
Once it's brown, add kale, and chicken broth
Simmer until the kale is wilty and chicken broth is gone.
Serve over rigatoni and top with a little parmesan cheese.

(Would be good with mushrooms added to sausage while browning)

Wordless Wednesday: Dress-up and Story Time


Click the pic above to get to other Wordless Wednesday Participants or go check out the following links:

Feb 18, 2014

Really? Is there any more?

I am having one of those days where everything seems to be piling up on me at once.  I have people throwing big changes for our future at me, people throwing major illnesses in estranged family members and other than the phone calls I have made, I am not sure how to deal with that, I have a sick baby, I have cranky kids and I just feel a little overwhelmed.  I am just feeling a little sad and overloaded for a minute.  But don't worry, I  will be fine, I am the mommy, I have to be. 

Maple-Bourbon Glazed Salmon Clean Eating

  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 3 Tbsp. bourbon whiskey (or orange juice)
  • 4 4-to 5-oz. salmon fillets
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
  1. Preheat broiler or grill. For syrup glaze, in a small saucepan combine maple syrup, orange juice, and whiskey. Cook, uncovered, over medium heat while preparing salmon.
  2. Lightly sprinkle salmon with salt & pepper if desired. Either broil or grill for 5 minutes. Remove 2 tablespoons of glaze and brush on all sides of salmon. Turn salmon and broil or grill 5 minutes or longer or until salmon flakes easily when tested with fork.
  3. While salmon is finishing cooking, stir chopped nuts into remaining glaze, heat on high for about 5 minutes or until glaze reaches the consistency of syrup. Serve salmon topped with remaining glaze and nuts.

Feb 17, 2014

St. Patrick's Day Craft Ideas

I thought it would be nice to find some for St. Patrick's Day Craft ideas to do with my preschool aged Princess Snifflefritz and kindergarten aged Princess Magpie.  They love the fun of doing crafts during homeschool and Princess Belle loves to participate even she is older than they are.

Shamrock Toilet Paper Roll Stamp


Shamrock Footprint 


Leprechaun Hat Toilet Paper Roll Craft 


Leprechaun Handprint Craft 

Pom Pom Rainbow Craft For St. Patrick’s Day 

Pot of Gold Treat Bags

Rainbow picture collage

Clean Eating Pancakes

 Oatmeal Pancakes with Cottage Cheese

  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup of oatmeal
  • 1 egg

Blend, fry in olive oil 9 (or in pan sprayed with PAM), and serve with sugar free jam or fruit.

Oatmeal Pancakes - no cottage cheese and whey required.

  • 1/2 cup whole rolled oats
  • 1 tbsp flaxseed meal
  • 2 tbsp wheat germ
  • 1/4 cup wheat bran
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (or skim milk)
  • 2 large egg whites, 1 whole egg, or egg replacer equal to one egg

Optional add-ins -
  • 1-2 tsp maple syrup, honey, or agave
  • 1/2-1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup canned pumpkin (may need to cut out egg whites)
  • 2 tbsp chopped nuts
  • 2 tbsp dried fruit
  • 2 tbsp shredded dried coconut (unsweetened)
  • 1/2 cup blueberries or blackberries
  • 1/2 cup finely diced apple or pear
  1. Pre-heat NON-STICK skillet over to medium-low heat.
  2. Mix together all dry ingredients in a small bowl. Add in your nuts or coconut at this time as well.
  3. Separate egg whites from yolks and whisk until slightly frothy.
  4. Add milk and sweetner and pumpkin (if using) to egg whites and whisk to combine.
  5. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the milk mixture.
  6. Mix until well incorporated and pour desired amount onto preheated skillet.
  7. When poured, sprinkle on fruit, if using.
  8. Cook until golden brown on both sides and done in the center.
  9. Serve warm with fresh berries and almond butter and enjoy!

Snow, Stories, and Creations

It is stormy . . . AGAIN!!  Princess Belle went outside and came back in within 3 minutes because, "It is COLD out there!" I have had more than enough snow now!

Daddy was reading one of their favorite books last night.  They know this book, but they love it and it was fun to see that even big sister sat to listen to, "I Love You, Stinky Face!"

Princess Belle has been having fun with my recycling, using it to make barbie doll crafts and creations.  She has such fun using her imagination to make new and interesting items for her barbie dolls.

For breakfast this morning, I thought I would be creative and make some peanut butter and jelly pinwheels.  They were fun and easy to make and they had a great reaction from the girls.

Feb 16, 2014

Apple Cinnamon Steel-Cut Oatmeal (clean eating recipe!)

  • 2 apples, peeled, cored, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (2-1/2 to 3 cups chopped)
  • 1-1/2 cups fat-free milk
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup uncooked steel-cut oats
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  1. Coat inside of 3-1/2 quart (or larger) slow cooker with cooking spray. 
  2. Add all ingredients to slow cooker. Stir, cover, and cook on low for 7 hours. (Watch it carefully as some slow cookers cook faster than others.) 
  3. Spoon oatmeal into bowls; add optional toppings, if desired. (Recipe can be doubled in 6-quart or larger slow cooker. Increase cooking time 1 hour.)

Gratitude Sunday

Gratitude Sunday
Sunday's heart felt tradition. A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.

Here are some things I am grateful for this week:

1.  An adorable easy going baby boy who makes everyone around him smile

2. A warm house with full of love and yumminess on cold stormy days

3. Two little girls who love to play together.

4. A big girl who is always right there to help out when her younger sisters and brother need her.

5. Simple things that made our Valentines day special.

- like cake 
 - and cupcakes
 - and chicken pot pie with heart shapes
 - and a few simple presents for my babies

6. Little girls playing with shadows.

7. Little girls playing dressup together.