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May 31, 2013

Granola Energy Bites

Granola Energy Bites

These granola energy bites are small, but pack lots of flavour.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup honey (I use raw natural honey)
1/2 cup wheat germ or flax seed
1 cup oatmeal
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup dried cranberries or coconut flakes
2 tbsp sliced or chopped almonds

Directions:

Melt the peanut butter and honey in a double boiler.  Add in the remaining ingredients and stir until mixed.

Let cool and then, with damp hands, roll into small balls of approximately 1" diameter.   

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for one week (if they last that long!).  

May 29, 2013

How I Freeze Garlic

How I Freeze Garlic

I love fresh garlic in recipes, but sometimes it's nice to have the convenience of minced garlic ready to add to recipes where it will be simmered in a sauce or soup.  That's when I use my frozen minced garlic.

Here's how I do it.


Start with your whole heads of garlic.


Peel the cloves and make sure to discard any that you prefer not to eat.

Notice the arm of my small helper!

Mince them up in the food processor.  You can also drizzle in olive oil to help combine the mixture.  


Use a teaspoon to scoop the mixture and place the dollops on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment.  Each teaspoon is approximately two cloves of garlic. 


Open freeze until hard.  Then place into freezer safe containers for future use.  I only make enough to last a month or two at a time, but I believe it will freeze for up to a year like this.  

Have you ever tried this?  How do you preserve garlic?

May 28, 2013

Introducing the eBook Bundle of the Week - Summer

BundleoftheWeek.com, 5 eBooks for $7.40!
Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer, and this week’s bundle is packed full of inspiration for delicious food, fun activities and more to help you make this the best summer yet! You’ll find tips for planning a summer of fun without losing your sanity, daily activities for kids of all ages, recipes to help you make the most of the food that’s in-season, tips and recipes for eating well on-the-go and dozens of delicious homemade ice cream recipes that you can make with or without an ice cream maker!
Hurry, though, because this bundle is available at almost 85% off this week only!
The Summer Survival Guide by Jessica Fisher

Summertime, though rich in possibilities, can be a challenge for parents, especially when there are bored children about! Jessica’s Summer Survival Guide is filled with inspiring ideas and practical suggestions for making the most of the summer as a family, including 37 customizable planning pages, calendars, and worksheets for kids,  100+ family-friendly book and movie suggestions, inspiration for home management during the summer months, 16 summertime learning themes with related crafts and activities, and more.


Susan’s 2013 Summer Survival Calendar is a four-month calendar with over 120 activities to blast boredom and increase family time. It features at least one low-budget (and sometimes free) activity, craft project, or kid friendly recipe every day from May 1 to August 31, with clickable links so you can easily view project directions or supplies needed. It’s the perfect way to keep kids busy, happy, and engaged during those long, hot summer days!

Just Making Ice Cream by Marillyn Beard

Just Making Ice Cream is more than just a recipe book! In this ebook, Marillyn offers practical ice cream-making tips such as choosing an ice cream maker, how to make ice cream without an ice cream maker and the basic principles of delicious homemade ice cream. You’ll also find more than 30 ice cream & gelato recipes, 9 cultured milk recipes, 10 sherbet recipes and 10 sorbet recipes that will keep you busy taste-testing all summer long!

Simply Summer by Kate Tietje

Simply Summer is the perfect summer cookbook! You’ll find plenty of fresh, seasonal summer recipes — exactly what you need when you want to enjoy summer’s bounty — including grilled, marinated meats, fresh salads, fruit and even wonderful desserts! Many of Kate’s selections are allergen-free and GAPS-friendly to help families with allergies and dietary restrictions find recipes to enjoy as well.

Simply Scheduled: On the Go by Tammie Nelson

Feeding your family healthy food during the busy summer months can be a challenge, and Tammie’s Simply Scheduled: On the Go is your guidebook to creating easy, affordable menus away from home. With over 80 pages of charts, lists, menus and recipes, including printable recipe cards and pre-planned menus, this ebook will help you plan for camping trips, barbecues, picnics and road trips so that you can enjoy your summer without stressing about food choices or the grocery budget.


The Summer bundle is only available through 8am EST on Monday, 6/3. Get yours today.

May 27, 2013

Happy Homemaker Monday - May 27, 2013


The weather...
It will be a mix of sun and rain this week. Highs of 18C, lows of 7C.

Right now I am...
Sat typing this while Miss C is watching Caillou.  

Thinking...

about my plan for the week:
decluttering the house
visit the library
buy netting to cover my broccoli and cabbage
lots of time outside at the park and playing with the girls

On my reading pile...

Old copies of "Hobby Farm Home" magazine
Cookbooks
Your Body, Your Life by Kim Lyons 

On the menu for this week...

Monday: Sweet and sour pork stir fry with rice
Tuesday: Baked salmon fillets with green beans and rice pilaf
Wednesday: Homemade chicken nuggets with mashed potatoes and peas
Thursday: Tacos
Friday: Leftovers / buffet night
Saturday: Barbecue pork chops with butter and herb pasta and broccoli
Sunday: Spaghetti bolognaise with salad

On my to do list...
Laundry
Clean my fridge
Write grocery list
Change bed linens

What I am creating this week...
New recipes - bread, green smoothies, apple turnovers

Looking forward to this week...
Lots of time outside with the girls

Looking around the house...
I have some cleaning and straightening up to do after the weekend. 

From the camera...


If you would like to join in, please link up to Sandra from Diary of a Stay at Home Mom here.

May 24, 2013

Yummy Dessert: Yogurt Covered Strawberries

Yummy Dessert Yogurt Covered Strawberries

We have been enjoying these yummy yogurt covered strawberries for dessert this week.  It's so easy to do, I don't think it even counts as a recipe.

Gather your ingredients.  Suggestions for fruit you can use are strawberries, blueberries, bananas, kiwi or mango.
Dip your chosen fruit into the Greek yogurt.  I used plain yogurt and flavoured it with a splash of vanilla extract.  You could also just buy honey, vanilla or your favourite flavour of yogurt.  Swirl until evenly covered.  
Lay the fruit on a baking sheet covered with baking parchment or wax paper.  Place into the freezer for an hour or two to harden.  

Remove from the freezer and serve.  I find that the yogurt is not as tangy once frozen and tastes quite sweet with the strawberries.  A lovely way to finish a meal.  

Have you tried this?  Which are your favourite fruits to use?

May 22, 2013

Naturally Remove Stains from a Cup

Naturally Remove Stains From A Cup

This is a photo of my new favourite cup (which I bought in Disneyland).  It has been in use for a few months and has acquired a stain from the tea I drink.
So, how do you remove that yucky stain?  Easily. Use baking soda.  Dampen a cloth and dip it into a small amount of baking soda.  Rub all around the cup.  Rinse and admire your good as new cup.

May 21, 2013

Introducing the eBook Bundle of the Week - Kitchen Stewardship


This week’s bundle is a special opportunity to add five Kitchen Stewardship ebooks to your library at a fraction of their regular price! Whether you’re already a fan of the talented Katie Kimball or just hearing about these ebooks for the first time, this collection of real food ebooks includes not just recipes but plenty of information to empower you on your real food journey — and it’s available at almost 80% off retail this week only. Plus, purchasers will receive a special coupon code to purchase Katie’s latest ebook, Better Than a Box, at just 50%!
From soaking grains and using beans to stretch your budget to dozens of snack recipes for busy families on the go and tasty desserts that won’t leave you feeling deprived, Katie’s ebooks offer recipes and kitchen tips for every meal of the day.
P.S. Even if you’ve already got one or two of these ebooks in your collection, this collection offers a great value for the remaining books. And you’re welcome to pass on your duplicates to a friend or family member to encourage them in their real food journey as well!

With over 45 healthy snack recipes and ideas including traditional granola bars, iron-packed Popeye bars, and a dozen “larabar” style variations, Healthy Snacks To Go is the resource you need for healthy snack ideas. Complete with time-saving tips, frugal options and allergy notes, plus diaper-bag friendly snacks that are toddler-approved, this will become your “go-to” cookbook to keep your cupboards filled with nourishing yet quick choices.
The Everything Beans Book by Katie Kimball

This comprehensive resource explaining everything you want to know about beans and legumes. In The Everything Beans Book, you’ll find recipes for homemade beans and rice, refried beans, wraps, Mexican fare, soups, pasta dishes, and even a dessert, plus frugal tips and substitution ideas! Beyond recipes, this ebook also offers over 20 pages of information to facilitate your new love of beans and make sure you can cook with dry beans without any stress.
Smart Sweets by Katie Kimball

Katie’s goal with Smart Sweets: 30 Desserts to Indulge Your Sweet Tooth is to give you options that are way better for you than you’ll find in the grocery store, usually better for you than another homemade version, and sometimes downright good for you. You’ll find less sugar, healthier sweeteners, whole grains, soaked and sprouted grains, no grains, probiotics and even some vegetables in these desserts recipes, without sacrificing taste or enjoyment!
Is Your Flour Wet? by Katie Kimball

In Is Your Flour Wet? Soaked, Sprouted, or Soured: Grains Recipes from Our Kitchens to Yours, Katie offers a basic introduction to soaking, sprouting and sourdough, plenty of how-to tutorials and more than 45 recipes from a variety of real food bloggers, including breads, snacks, pancakes and waffles, oatmeal, cakes and more!
The Family Camping Handbook by Katie Kimball

If you’ve always wanted to try camping as a frugal family vacation but are nervous because you have little ones, The Family Camping Handbook will show you how to survive and even thrive out in the woods with young children. You’ll find an overview to help you get started camping, packing and to-do lists and, of course, real food adaptations to standard camping fare. This ebook includes a total of 36 camping recipes and techniques, including paleo/primal/grain-free adaptations.

The Kitchen Stewardship bundle is only available through 8am EST on Monday, 5/27. Get yours today.

May 20, 2013

Happy Homemaker Monday - May 20, 2013


The weather...
It's going to be wet this week.  I'm sure there will be lots of puddles for the girls to jump in.      

Right now I am...
Sat on my couch watching Miss C dance to the music Miss S is playing on her keyboard.

Thinking...

that I have lots to do this week (as usual!).

On my reading pile...

Your Body, Your Life by Kim Lyons

On the menu for this week...

Monday: Baked chicken with Spanish rice
Tuesday: Cheese tortellini with caesar salad
Wednesday: Baked ham, mashed potatoes and broccoli
Thursday: Spaghetti bolognaise with garlic bread
Friday: Leftovers / buffet night
Saturday: Hamburgers and salad
Sunday: Roast chicken with trimmings

On my to do list...
Laundry
Clean my fridge
Write grocery list
Change bed linens
Housework 
Clean Marlin (the fish)

What I am creating this week...
Nothing planned so far.

Looking forward to this week...
Not one thing in particular, just a good week.

Looking around the house...
Dishes to be washed, laundry folded ready to be put away, a bit of a messy kitchen and dining room.  Lots to do!

From the camera...

The girls at the zoo this weekend
If you would like to join in, please link up to Sandra from Diary of a Stay at Home Mom here.

May 17, 2013

Cheesy Pasta Bake

Cheesy Pasta Bake

Ingredients:

1lb uncooked rotini pasta
1lb ground beef
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
6 button mushrooms, sliced
3 to 4 cups of your favourite tomato pasta sauce
6oz cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup sour cream
6oz mozzarella cheese, grated
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Directions:

Heat the oven to 350F.

Lightly grease a 9" x 13" dish.

Boil pasta and cook until al dente.  Drain and set to one side.

At the same time, in a separate pan, cook ground beef with the onion until no longer pink.

Add the mushrooms and garlic.

Stir in the pasta sauce and simmer for 15 minutes.  Season, as needed.

Layer the ingredients into the dish.  Use half the pasta, all the cheddar cheese, all the sour cream, half the sauce, the remaining pasta, all the mozzarella cheese, the remaining sauce and top with the grated parmesan cheese.  

Cook for 30 to 40 minutes until bubbly and piping hot.

Enjoy!

May 15, 2013

100th Blog Post and 10 Fun Facts About Me

Today is my 100th blog post.  Thank you all for reading and commenting.  I appreciate you taking the time out of your day to come and visit.  

I thought I'd celebrate this milestone by sharing 10 fun facts about me.


1.  When I was young I tried eating cat biscuits because they looked delicious. Note to everyone - they are disgusting. Do not try them!

2.  I am a huge fan of rollercoasters.  My favourite so far is the Dueling Dragons ride (now Dragon Challenge) at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  

3.  I love food. I love eating, baking and trying new recipes, but do not enjoy the clean up! Some of my favourite shows are Chopped, Barefoot Contessa, Iron Chef and any show with Michael Smith, Jamie Oliver or Nigella Lawson.  

4.  I have an eclectic taste in music.

5.  I'm a morning person and always have been as far back as I can remember. When I have a lie-in (which means 7 a.m. if the littles stay in bed), I feel like I've wasted half of the day.

6.  My legs are only 28 inches long.

7.  I like to travel. I have been to Greece, France, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the U.S., Canada and various places in my native England. New Zealand and Italy are on my bucket list.

8.  I love lemons.  I can eat them raw.

9.  I hate spiders!! I remember once when I lived in England, I woke up one night and felt something moving on the bed.  It was a gigantic spider. I don't think I've ever moved so fast in my life!

10.  I'm a bookaholic.  I read every day and have a collection of over 300 books (including novels, craft books, cookbooks and parenting books) and love to visit the library regularly.    

May 14, 2013

Introducing the eBook Bundle of the Week - Beauty & Fashion

BundleoftheWeek.com, 5 eBooks for $7.40!

Beauty is more than skin deep, and this week’s bundle is designed to help you feel beautiful from the inside out! Discover the secrets to jump starting your energy,  inspiration to get your weight under control, and beauty and fashion tips to help you prioritize yourself even as you juggle your busy life — all for 75% off, this week only!
Embracing Beauty by Trina Holden
In this candid and sometimes hilarious book, Trina shares her journey to embracing beauty in the season of motherhood. Every chapter is crammed with practical inspiration and tips for defining your style, choosing clothes and accessories that work for you, and combining it all into a look that will bring joy and confidence to your day.
The No Brainer Wardrobe by Hayley Morgan
The No Brainer Wardrobe is a book to help women learn to love the clothes they have, lose the clothes they hate, and shop for items to fill the gaps. Hayley offers images outlining outfit selections, tips for how to shop, and instructions for creating a lookbook plus encouragement to help you save time and money and feel great in what you wear.
Energy Explosion by Arabah Joy
Energy Explosion will give you the plan you need to regain your energy. In this 7-day guide, Arabah gives step-by-step instructions for jump starting your energy by addressing your body, mind and spirit, plus printable charts and checklists to track your progress!
Frumps to Pumps by Sarah Mae
Getting dressed in the morning often makes us more hospitable, more productive, more playful and more energized. In Frumps to Pumps, a one-month motivotional (motivation + devotional) from popular author Sarah Mae, you’ll find encouragement and practical tips to help you get into the habit of getting dressed so you can love people (and yourself) well.
100 Pound Loser by Jessica Heights
Jessica’s 100-pound weight loss story is inspiring, encouraging and motivating. In this short but candid ebook, she shares her story plus practical advice to help readers conquer their weight loss goals and appreciate their bodies, regardless of the numbers on the scale.
The Beauty & Fashion bundle is only available through 8am EST on Monday, 5/20. Get yours today.
Note: Affiliate links included within this post. Thanks for your support of Simple Joys of Home!

May 13, 2013

Happy Homemaker Monday - May 13, 2013

Happy Homemaker Monday

I hope everyone enjoyed a relaxing weekend and felt loved and appreciated yesterday for Mother's Day.  I ended up being ill most of the weekend (trying to fight off a migraine), but I felt better Sunday afternoon.  We spent some time with DH's family and then had dinner out at Montana's.  

The weather...
Has been beautiful.  Highs of 26C throughout the weekend.  It will be cooling down later in the week.     

Right now I am...

enjoying the quiet as Miss C has just gone down for her nap.

Thinking...

that I have quite a mess to clean up from this weekend.  I did not do much housework and the girls spread their toys across the house!

On my reading pile...

Digital Fortress by Dan Brown

On the menu for this week...

Monday: Butter chicken with rice
Tuesday: Cheesy pasta bake
Wednesday: Tacos
Thursday: Sweet and sour chicken with rice
Friday: Pizza with green salad
Saturday: Barbecued steaks with baked potatoes and corn
Sunday: Roast porkloin with trimmings

On my to do list...

Laundry
Clean my fridge
Write grocery list
Change bed linens
Housework 

What I am creating this week...
I picked up some wool while I was in Michaels recently and I will be attempting to make dryer balls from it.  

Looking forward to this week...
The long weekend (to celebrate Victoria Day).  We're likely to be outside enjoying the weather.  Maybe we'll take a trip down to the river or to the zoo.   

Looking around the house...

Toys to be picked up, laundry mountain to conquer, listening to the birds singing outside.

From the camera...

Miss S skipping at school to raise money for the Heart and Stroke Foundation
If you would like to join in, please link up to Sandra from Diary of a Stay at Home Mom here.

May 10, 2013

Watermelon Ice Pops

Watermelon Ice Pops

We have been enjoying nice weather this week, so I decided to make some watermelon ice pops for the girls.  I bought a mini watermelon and cut it in half.  Then I cut it into chunks and pureed it in the blender until smooth.  I wanted to make sure that there were no seeds in the puree, so I pushed the mixture through cheesecloth.  Then I poured the watermelon puree into tiny ice pop moulds (these ones were from Canadian Superstore/Loblaws) and froze for 8 hours.  

When ready to serve, simply run the moulds under warm water for a few seconds and pull out. 

You can also add in chopped fresh fruit (blueberries, strawberries, kiwi) for variety.  If you don't have popsicle moulds, you can pour the mixture into paper Dixie cups or ice cube trays, cover with aluminum foil, slit a hole in the top for the stick and freeze.  

The girls loved them!

What is your favourite flavour?  Feel free to share your favourite recipe in the comments below.

Have a great weekend everyone.

May 08, 2013

How to Descale a Kettle

How to Descale a Kettle

My kettle gets a lot of use.  I love my morning cup of tea!  I also live in a hard water area so limescale builds up quickly. It's best to try and deal with it regularly to keep it in check. Descaling your kettle is a quick and easy job.

Here's my kettle before (yuck!):

and after:

Nice and shiny!

Pour in a cup of white vinegar and then fill the kettle with cold water about half way up.  Boil this mixture. Then wet paper towel sheets with vinegar and lay them around the top edge of the kettle and into the spout.  Gently pull the lid down (not completely), then let the whole thing sit for an hour or two.  

When the time is up, wipe the top edge of the kettle using the paper towel and pour out the water/vinegar mixture. Make sure to rinse the kettle out thoroughly with clean water.  

Enjoy your sparkly kettle!

May 07, 2013

Introducing the eBook Bundle of the Week - Blogging

BundleoftheWeek.com, 5 eBooks for $7.40!


Learn the secrets of successful bloggers and take your blog to the next level with this week’s ebook collection. From balancing your blog and family and setting boundaries for your online presence to monetizing your blog, writing an ebook of your own and using Pinterest to grow your brand, this bundle is packed full of resources for bloggers. And it’s available for 70% off this week only!
Blogger Behave by Laura Booz
At the end of the day, your blog is just one part of your life, and Laura shares the secrets that have helped her blog welland live well. Learn to develop a vision statement for your blog, strategize blog content that benefits your life, blog authentically without regrets, gain control over blogging time and much more!

Pinteresting by Tabitha Philen
Pinteresting: Pinterest Strategies for Brands and Bloggers is a step-by-step guide for understanding Pinterest from Tabitha, a professional blogger and Pinterest expert. You’ll learn how to create a show-stopping Pinterest profile page, keep your account fresh and inviting, build a solid community of followers who are actively engaged, develop solid strategies for your Pinterest account, optimize your website by making it more Pinterest-friendly and find the tools to help you manage your Pinterest campaigns.

Blog at Home Mom by Christin Slade
Christin offers both practical and encouraging tips to help moms balance their life at home with their blog or online business in Blog at Home Mom. You will find ideas for organizing and prioritizing your blog and writing time, as well as setting goals and keeping balance with your home and children.

It is possible to make money from your blog, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy! In 25 Simple Steps to Make Money Blogging, Tara shows you how to monetize your blog through increased readership, ads (including the pros and cons of various different types of ads) and paid writing opportunities. She even shares what works (and what doesn’t work) on her blog.

In 30 Days to Make and Sell a Fabulous Ebook, Angela draws from her own ebook publishing experience (earning five figures a year!) to speed you on your way toward producing, marketing and selling an ebook. You’ll find 30 bite-sized daily lessons, daily challenges, additional resources and quotes from experts to help you create and publish a successful ebook!

The Blogging bundle is only available through 8am EST on Monday, 5/13. Get yours today.
Note: Affiliate links included within this post. Thanks for your support of Simple Joys of Home!

May 06, 2013

Happy Homemaker Monday - May 6, 2013

The weather...
Gorgeous.  High of 28C this afternoon.    

Right now I am...

not feeling so well today, so I'm sitting on my couch typing this while watching Miss C play her Disney matching game.

Thinking...

that I have to plant my veggie garden this week while the weather is nice. 

On my reading pile...

Cookbooks - I'm looking for menu inspiration!

On the menu for this week...

Monday: Spaghetti bolognaise with salad
Tuesday: Chicken with mushroom sauce over rice
Wednesday: Barbecue pork chops with new potatoes and green beans
Thursday: New recipe from my cookbooks
Friday: Homemade pizza with salad
Saturday: Something barbecued?
Sunday: Mom's Night Off!!

On my to do list...

Laundry
Clean my fridge
Write grocery list
Change bed linens

Realistically, I'll probably do a couple of loads of laundry and write my grocery list.  If I feel better later this afternoon, I'll clean my fridge in preparation for grocery shopping tomorrow.  

What I am creating this week...

Still working on updating my home management binder.  

Looking forward to this week...

Lots of activities outside this week while the weather is so beautiful. I bought the girls a bubble machine and they had a lovely time chasing the bubbles this weekend. I'm sure that will be getting lots of use this week! I have to plant my vegetable garden, do some clean up work outside and take a few walks to the pond / park with Miss C.     

Looking around the house...

Dishes to be washed, toys to be picked up, paperwork to be moved from the table and filed properly.

From the camera...

May 04, 2013

Scenes From My Day

Photos from our fun Friday.


The snow has finally melted, so I'm able to wear runners.  Yay!

We had fun creating with play dough.

Freshly baked banana bread.  Mmm, mmm!

Enjoying a play date with friends. 

Brightening up the driveway

Running errands with Miss S and her friend "Rainbow Bear"

Hunting for ladybugs

Enjoying a soccer match before bed