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August 30, 2013

Quick One Pan Chocolate Cake


I love chocolate cake and this is a great recipe when you're in the mood for chocolate, but don't want a large cake.  It only takes a few minutes to mix and bake.  Great for when you have company coming!

You'll need an ungreased 8" x 8" baking pan.

Place the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt into a pan.  

Stir to combine.

In a separate measuring jug, measure out the water, oil, white vinegar and vanilla extract. 

Pour onto the dry ingredients.  

Stir gently with a fork to combine.

Bake in a 350F oven for 30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Cool and then cut into slices.  Or you could do as my children do and pick pieces from it with your fingers straight from the pan!


One Pan Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup cold water
1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

1.  Heat oven to 350F.

2.  Place the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt into an ungreased 8" x 8" baking pan.  

3.  Stir gently to combine.

4.  In a separate measuring jug, measure out the water, oil, vinegar and vanilla.  

5.  Stir gently with a fork to combine.  

6.  Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out cleanly. 

7.  Cool and frost, dust with powdered sugar or eat plain.  


Enjoy!

August 28, 2013

How to Freeze Fresh Blueberries

The girls and I love blueberries!  We enjoy them in smoothies, muffins, on pancakes, with yogurt and as a snack by themselves.   

Blueberries are delicious and have wonderful health benefits:

*  Packed with vitamins C and E which helps with healthy gums, absorption of iron and a healthy immune system.  

*  Rich in minerals - iron, magnesium, potassium and manganese.

*  Help reduce free radical cell damage.

*  Help reverse age related memory loss and motor skill decline.

*  High in fibre which promotes a healthy digestive system.

*  Assist with weight loss as they activate fat loss in abdominal cells.


Here's how I freeze them:

1.  Put berries into a colander and wash with fruit/veggie cleaner, to help remove any dirt and pesticides.  Let drain for a few minutes.   

2.  Rinse with fresh water.  

3.  Spread out on clean teatowel and pat dry.  Don't use your best teatowels as they can stain.  

4.  Line a baking tray with parchment paper or another clean teatowel and spread out the berries in one layer.

5.  Flash freeze by putting the tray in the freezer for a few hours.

6.  Place into a ziploc freezer bag (pre-labelled with date and type of berries) and freeze.

Easy-peasy!

Do you love blueberries?  How do you preserve them?

August 27, 2013

Introducing the eBook Bundle of the Week - Real Food

BundleoftheWeek.com, 5 eBooks for $7.40!

This week’s bundle is packed full of real food resources to help you thrive on a real, whole foods diet. At more than 85% off, this collection is a great value with tips, reference guides, step-by-step instructions and plenty of recipes for your kitchen!
Real Food Basics by Kate Tietje
In Real Food Basics, Kate shows you not only how to cook real, recognizable foods — things like pizza, ice cream and french fries — with healthy ingredients in your own kitchen, but also why you need to make changes, what changes to make, and how to re-stock your kitchen to reflect a real food lifestyle.

Real Food Ingredient Guide by Kelly the Kitchen Kop
The Real Food Ingredient Guide has everything you need to make real food happen at your house. Included is a 7-page quick-reference guide with “buy this instead of that” details as well as in-depth chapters with facts on the different food groups and ingredients. With bonus tips for overcoming common obstacles when bringing your family from junk food to real food, Kelly has put together the ultimate ingredient guide to help you figure out what’s what!

Nourished Cooking by Sarah Smith
Nourished Cooking is a comprehensive cookbook that contains over 60 nutrient-dense, gluten-free recipes. This cookbook is perfect for those who eat traditional, real foods, as well as people on grain-free diets such as Primal, GAPS, and SCD. The recipes in this book are sure to please the whole family, and even people who don’t follow a traditional foods diet will rave over these foods.

Real Food Party Menus by KerryAnn Foster
Picking recipes to please a crowd can be difficult and time consuming, especially when you’re trying to stick to real foods! KerryAnn has taken the stress out of party planning with three gluten-free and dairy-optional party menus, ranging from casual to more formal meals, that are only made with ingredients that non-foodies will recognize. Whether you’re planning a casual party with finger foods, a hearty but casual sit-down meal or a more formal affair, you’ll find a complete menu with schedules and shopping lists to make your party planning easy.

You Can Do This eCourse from Laura Coppinger
Are you overwhelmed by the idea of moving to a real food diet? In this ecourse, Laura walks you step-by-step through the first five steps to a real food kitchen with the promise that you can do this! Learn how to make healthy eating a reality for your family, one step at a time – on your time table, within your budget, and working around your taste preferences.

The Real Food bundle is only available through 8am EST on Monday, 9/2. Get yours today.

  

August 26, 2013

Happy Homemaker Monday - August 26, 2013

Hello everyone!  How was your weekend?  



The weather...
Lovely weather for the last week before school.  Highs of 32C.    

Right now I am...
Enjoying the quiet for a while.  Miss C is down for her nap and Miss S is riding her bike.

Thinking...
That I really want to enjoy this last week of summer vacation with my girls.   

On my reading pile...
Simple Blogging by Rachel Meeks

On the menu for this week...
Monday: Red wine and herb pasta with green beans
Tuesday: Breakfast for dinner - waffles/pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon and homemade hash browns
Wednesday: Chicken nuggets with peas and salad
Thursday: Tacos
Friday: Leftovers/buffet night
Saturday: Hamburgers and salad
Sunday: Dinner out

On my to do list...today
Laundry
Clean my fridge
Clean my kitchen
Write grocery list
Inventory my pantry, fridge and freezers

On my to do list...this week
House cleaning
Grocery shopping
Back to school shopping (some more clothes/shoes needed for the girls)
Paperwork/filing
Visit the library

What I am creating this week...
Nothing planned but maybe some baking with the girls.

Looking forward to this week...
A quiet week having fun with the girls.  The last few weeks have been busy with family and lots of travelling. 

Looking around the house...
Dishes in the sink to do, party decorations still up (that need to come down), general tidying up to do, sounds of the dishwasher and washing machine in the background.  

From the camera...

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

August 23, 2013

Easy Crockpot Chicken Alfredo


Easy Crockpot Chicken Alfredo

This is a super simple dish which the whole family will love.

Ingredients:

4 chicken breasts
Can of mushroom soup
1/4 cup Zesty Italian dressing
2 cloves of garlic, minced
8 - 10 mushrooms, sliced
4 oz (1/2 block) cream cheese
1 cup frozen peas

Directions:

Mix soup, dressing and garlic in the crockpot.  Add chicken breasts and mushrooms.  Cook on low for 6 - 8 hours.  Shred chicken with 30 minutes of cooking time left (either in the crockpot or take out and shred in a bowl).  Put the chicken back in to the crockpot and add the cream cheese and peas.  Stir together and cook for the remainder of the time.  

Serve with your favourite pasta or rice.  

Enjoy!

August 21, 2013

Four Today!!!

Today is my little girl's fourth birthday.  Happy birthday my sweet Miss C!


We love you. xxx

August 20, 2013

Introducing the eBook Bundle of the Week - Christian Marriage

BundleoftheWeek.com, 5 eBooks for $7.40!

Spice up your love life — in the bedroom and out — with this week’s ebook bundle, which includes 5 faith-based ebooks for married couples. With ideas for rekindling romance, being the best spouse you can be and improving your sex life, this collection is a fun way to rediscover the spark and prioritize romance in the midst of your busy lives.
Get all five of these ebooks for more than 65% off this week only!
The Wife Life by Marla Taviano
Is married life a little different than you thought it would be–or maybe a lot different? Do you wonder if something is wrong, if other people feel the same way about their marriages? Are you sometimes intimidated by wives who seem to have it all together? Marla has been there, and she knows what it’s like to adjust from unrealistic expectations to real life. In The Wife Life she offers hope and encouragement — with her trademark humor and the sensitivity of someone who’s been in your shoes.

31 Days to Great Sex by Sheila Wray Gregoire
In 31 Days to Great Sex, Sheila takes you step by step through the process of building a fun and intimate sex life. It doesn’t only focus on the mechanics of sex — though there are certainly exercises that will give you tons of fireworks — but also focuses on building friendship, experiencing real intimacy, and learning to have fun again.

Rekindling Romance Kit by Jason & Jami Balmet
Romance is a big part of marriage, and can be a very enjoyable part at that. But without care it can wither and perhaps even die, relegated to anniversaries and Hallmark holidays. In Rekindling Romance, Jason and Jamie have created the perfect romance kit, with 7 inexpensive date ideas and more than 30 pages of printables to help you reignite the spark!

The Irresistible Husband by Jason Gratehouse
The Irresistible Husband was written to help every husband live up to his potential to be irresistible to his wife. This book is simple, practical and easy-to-read, and the principles within will help you have the marriage that you and your wife have always dreamed of. If your marriage has reached a plateau, or is even in a state of decline, this book could be the spark to rekindle the flame.

Is your marriage in a rut?  Take action with these fun date ideas that won’t break the bank.  This is a quick, Christian-based ebook that includes Scripture from God’s Word for your marriage plus tips for a healthy relationship and 33 date ideas to help you rediscover the romance!

The Christian Marriage bundle is only available through 8am EST on Monday, 8/26. Get yours today.

August 19, 2013

Happy Homemaker Monday - August 19, 2013


The weather...
Sun and more sun.  Highs of 30C.  

Right now I am...
Planning out my day.

Thinking...
That it's going to be another busy week.  

On my reading pile...
Charlie by Lesley Pearse 

On the menu for this week...
Monday: Roast ham with baked beans and eggs 
Tuesday: Baked chicken with homemade mac n cheese 
Wednesday: Miss C's birthday - hamburgers and birthday cake
Thursday: Crockpot chicken alfredo with broccoli
Friday: Leftovers / buffet night
Saturday: Pizza
Sunday: Baked salmon and salad

On my to do list...today
Laundry
Clean my fridge
Clean my kitchen
Write grocery list
Listing items to sell on Kijiji

On my to do list...this week
House cleaning
Prepare decorations for Miss C's birthday
Bake and decorate birthday cake
Grocery shopping

What I am creating this week...
Decorations for Miss C's birthday

Looking forward to this week...
Miss C's birthday!

Looking around the house...
The girls watching Mike the Knight, lots of cleaning to do as we have been out and about this week.

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

August 16, 2013

Trim Healthy Mama Skinny Chocolate

THM Skinny Chocolate

This recipe is from the Trim Healthy Mama book by Serene Allison and Pearl Barrett.  

Over the last few months, I have been reading and re-reading this book (it is 650 pages long) and starting to implement the life style changes.  The good thing is that you don't need to give up chocolate!  

The main ingredient for this recipe is coconut oil.  Coconut oil has wonderful health benefits, such as increasing the body's metabolic rate, strengthening the immune system, improving the digestive system and lowering cholesterol levels.  

Ingredients:

1/2 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup cocoa powder
natural sweetener to taste (I use coconut sugar or stevia)

Directions:

1.  Put all the ingredients in a glass bowl and heat gently over a saucepan filled with simmering water.

2.  Mix together.

3.  Pour into silicone muffin tins, just until the bottoms are covered, or onto a baking sheet or plate lined with wax paper.

4.  Freeze until hard.  Store in the freezer as this will melt quickly at room temperature.

Enjoy!





August 14, 2013

How To Clean A Vase

How To Clean A Vase

After use, a vase can have a build up of mineral deposits and stains.  Here's how to gently clean a vase using basic kitchen ingredients.

1.  Fill the vase with a 50/50 mixture of warm water and white vinegar.  If you have a large vase, make sure to at least cover any white film area of the vase.

2.  Add a few drops of dishwashing soap and a handful of uncooked rice.

3.  Gently swirl the mixture around for a few minutes.

4.  If necessary, use a bottle brush to help remove any remaining film from the vase.

5.  Remove the contents from the vase.

6.  Wash with a mild soap, then rinse and air dry.

Your vase should now be sparkling, ready for your next bouquet of flowers.


August 13, 2013

Introducing the eBook Bundle of the Week - Gluten and Grain Free

BundleoftheWeek.com, 5 eBooks for $7.40! 
With this bundle, you’ll discover even more tips for a gluten-free kitchen as well as almost 200 recipes for every meal of the day. Whether you’re just getting started or you’ve been gluten-free for years, this bundle is sure to provide inspiration and delicious meals for your family! Get all five of these ebooks for almost 90% off this week only.
The Gluten-Free Baking Mix Cookbook from Lynn’s Kitchen Adventure
Gluten free food is also often thought to be time consuming and expensive to make, but it can be quick, easy, and inexpensive, especially if you already have a mix made up and ready to use just like the big yellow box from your local grocer.  In The Gluten-Free Baking Mix Cookbook, Lynn shares her all-purpose baking mix recipe plus more than 50 recipes for every meal, making this a must-have for any gluten-free kitchen!

Baking with Coconut Flour by Starlene Stewart
Baking with Coconut Flour is not a recipe book but an instructional guide that will answer your questions about baking with coconut flour. Starlene shows you how to successfully reproduce other people’s recipes, how to work with coconut flour, how to adapt your favorite family recipes, how to troubleshoot your flops, where to find coconut flour and more. She even includes a handy worksheet to help you convert recipes!

In Awaken: 30+ Egg Free and Grain Free Breakfasts, Karen offers 30 delicious breakfast recipes that are egg- and grain-free with step-by-step instructions and photos as well as tips for stocking a gluten-free pantry, egg and sweetener substitution charts, and nutritional information estimates.

Afternoon Tea by Suzanne Perazzini
In Afternoon Tea, Suzanne offers a variety of delicious recipes to accompany your afternoon tea time (or any time you’re craving a sweet treat!). In addition to more than 45 grain-, gluten-, dairy-, nut- and sugar-free treats, you’ll also find her collection of base recipes, information about various ingredients and full-color photos to accompany each recipe.

Cara’s known for her grain-free meal plans, and this collection includes recipes for 3 meals a day, 7 days a week for two full weeks plus grocery lists, prep instructions, indexes, and more to take the headache out of meal planning for your family.

The Gluten-Free bundle is only available through 8am EST on Monday, 8/19.  Get yours today.
  

August 12, 2013

Happy Homemaker Monday - August 12, 2013


The weather...
Hot with thundershowers.  Highs of 30C.   

Right now I am...

Enjoying the quiet.  The girls are in bed and DH is visiting his family.  

Thinking...

That I hope I recover soon from my zipline adventure.  I have much to do this week and I don't like the feeling of slowing down due to injury.   

On my reading pile...

A Royal Duty by Paul Burrell

On the menu for this week...

Monday: Gammon steak with baked beans and poached eggs 
Tuesday: Spaghetti bolognaise with salad
Wednesday: Dinner out
Thursday: Pizza
Friday: Dinner out
Saturday: Hamburgers with salad
Sunday: Roast chicken with trimmings

On my to do list...today

Laundry
Clean my fridge
Write grocery list
Return books to library

On my to do list...this week
Paperwork
Look through recipe books for inspiration

What I am creating this week...
Nothing!

Looking forward to this week...

Day trips out with family enjoying the beautiful weather. 

Looking around the house...
Toys to pick up, papers to file, a clean kitchen as DH did the dishes for me.  

From the camera...
 

The girls in a bobsleigh

Weekend Fun

Hi everyone.

What a busy and fun weekend we had.

Friday night was my in-law's anniversary party to celebrate their golden anniversary.  This was at a beach house in their local town (which I forgot to take photos of).

All dressed and ready to go

My pretty girls
The cake
The cake table

I have mentioned on the blog about the guest book that Miss S and I had been working on and here it is.


Miss S drew pictures of England, her Nana and Grandpa dating, the church where they were married, flowers and wedding bells, dressed in their wedding finery, the train taking them on honeymoon and a picture of Edinburgh Castle where they spent time on honeymoon.  

The pictures were scanned in to the computer and I added lines in Word where the guests could write messages.  Then all the pages were printed onto parchment letter paper and cut to size.  The covers were made from chipboard and Italian metallic paper.  Then everything was hole punched and I carefully bound it all together with satin ribbon.  It was a long process, but fun.  

Here's an example of the inside pages.  

Nana and Grandpa dating
Saturday afternoon was the family and friends party at my in-laws' house.  It was lovely to see everyone.  


The cake that my lovely sister-in-law made

Yesterday I managed to cross off another item on my bucket list.  I went ziplining!

I went to the zipline at Canada Olympic Park.  This is the fastest zipline in North America.  Riders reach speeds of between 120 and 140 km/h.  The zipline has a vertical drop of more than 100 metres (30 storeys) and is 500 metres (1/2 km) long.  

I was both excited and terrified to do this!






Some of the bruises I have
I had a fantastic time on the zipline.  The views from the top were amazing.  The only thing that spoiled it was the very severe stop at the end (which you are warned about and even have a parachute to try and slow you down).  You hit the spring /shock absorber at about 100 - 120 km/h and it is quite the jolt!  I have bruises on my elbows, right shoulder, rib cage and am generally quite stiff and sore in my neck and shoulders. Saying that, I would absolutely do it again!

Hope you all had a great weekend too.