How very unpatriotic of us. Sorry, Canada.

Confession time. As you were all celebrating Canada Day with your backyard barbecues (enjoying this as your sauce), drinking cold bevies, awkwardly laughing at some joke about Newfies and Torontonians – which of course you quickly stopped laughing at when you realized the person sitting next to you was from Newfoundland or Toronto,  sucking on a red and white popsicle for dessert as the fireworks went off at your neighborhood park, I was doing no such thing. Oh no my dear friends, I was in fact across the boarder in the U.S of A. shopping at the outlet malls for a little retail therapy.

That’s right, you heard it correctly. I was cross boarder shopping on Canada Day. DUH, DUH, DUHN!!! Something that my husband and I find hugely enjoyable, is shopping for great deals. No matter what city we live in, we always travel to the U.S. for a couple of days and do some shopping, about 3 times a year. My current work situation somewhat limits my holidays, so the only real time we could go without me taking an extra day off work was the long weekend. Sorry, Canada (how very patriotic of me to apologize to my country for my behavior), but there was no other time to get this in. Plus I needed new shoes ;)

Eating well while traveling always presents a problem for us. I never used to think it was a big deal to eat whatever I wanted while away from home. But the constipation that I get from eating that way is really not worth it. Oops, sorry, did I just make this awkward between us? Please excuse me, as I am honest about these things. I learned the hard way, pooh is important.

Usually we plan ahead, bringing snacks and finding a grocery store to purchase fresh berries and yogurt for breakfast. However, this was a spontaneous trip and we booked a hotel where a breakfast was included. Perhaps our logical thinking was distorted by the numerous shopping bags and single digit sales tags, but when we woke up in the morning and trotted down to breakfast we were greeted by a sea of BEIGE food. We were able to make do with instant oatmeal, hard boiled eggs and a banana as these were the only options that did not contain high fructose corn syrup or a load of sodium. When we returned home from our weekend adventure, it was time to get back on track.

This is my morning Kale Smoothie that I drink to help curve my sugar cravings through the day and keep me regular. It’s a great way to get the dark greens into your diet and make use of those chia seeds (they help remove toxins from your body). Get the kids involved and have them make the smoothie with you. That way they will be more likely to drink it. Of course I would suggest that you don’t leave your blender plugged in with the lid off and your smart toddler near the buttons of the blender or your kitchen will end up covered in dark red smoothie…how was I suppose to know he knew what the power button looked like!?!?

Kale Smoothie
 
Ingredients
  • INGREDIENTS
  • 1 cup kale, no stem, torn into pieces
  • 1 whole ripe pear, peeled, cored and cut into chunks
  • 1 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 - 1½ cups very cold water
Instructions
  1. DIRECTIONS
  2. Place all ingredients in high powered blender. Blend until smooth. Makes about 16oz. Drink immediately or place in travel cup and take for your morning commute. It's that easy to get your veggies in. Enjoy!

Put a smile on your face muffin cakes. A tribute.

Do you ever find that “the powers to be” are always giving you a reality check? A little reminder to say “Don’t get ahead of yourself there cowboy!”? Well, that is what happened to me when I was trying to take the photos of these delicious muffins. Or as we like to call them in our house hold ‘muffin cakes’.

When I made these I forced my family – well mainly my husband – to stay away from the ones that I thought were the best for the photo shoot. Repeating it over and over again “Don’t eat these ones, I need to photograph these for the blog!”. I made the muffin cakes on the Friday and still hadn’t gotten to the photo shoot by Sunday. My husband showed great restraint from eating the muffin cakes. So, on Sunday afternoon, when I had finally gotten our son down for his nap, I was all gung-ho to get this show on the road! I knew I had a small window of time to get things set up and snap as many photos as possible. I had arranged the set with a blue background, black wood flooring a teacup and of course the muffin cakes. I was snapping away but the photos just weren’t looking the way I had hoped.

I got up to grab a vase with flowers in it to place on my ‘set’, walking away for only a moment. Did I mention that this ‘set’ of mine was located on the floor? Only a few feet away from my resting dog. Yup, you know where this is going…

When I returned from grabbing the flowers (which never made it into the photos because they were too big for the picture) I noticed that I was missing a muffin cake and my dog was now sitting in the corner of the room with his back to me. When I called to him he just looked up at me as if I was a fool to think that the muffin cake was going to make it into the photo shoot. You left this for me, right mom? My husband and I had a huge laugh. Obviously if the food is on the floor then it’s for the dog! And of course he ate the prettiest looking one! The universe was making sure I was in check – at least it was funny! Thanks universe ;)

This week’s post is dedicated to our dog, who passed away on Monday due to heart failure. Our dog was a huge part of our lives and was with us from almost the very beginning. He was a large part of my healing from my cancer therapy. He was the reason why I got out for fresh air, taking walks around the block and getting some exercise. Our dog would snuggle with me while I rested from my treatments and was always by my side if I was crying or felt alone.  Any time my husband or I would raise our voices, he was right there climbing up our legs reminding us to stay calm and talk it through. Our dog was even included in our wedding photos (my husband tried to convince me he should walk down the aisle with our rings, but I thought best not too – he was always so stubborn I can’t imagine him making down the aisle). He was a great dog and a wonderful part of our lives. While our hearts are full of sadness, we remember the moments with him that made us laugh and put a smile on our faces.

Banana Oat Chocolate Chunk Muffin Cakes
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup organic butter, softened
  • ½ cup honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 over ripe bananas, mashed (I find best results when they have been frozen)
  • ½ cup butter milk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1½ cups rolled oats (gluten free)
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 3 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped into chunks
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat muffin tin with a little olive oil.
  2. In a bowl, mix together butter, honey, eggs, mashed bananas, butter milk and vanilla.
  3. In a separate large bowl, stir together rice flour, oats, xanthan gum,baking soda and salt.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, folding with your trusty spatula. Try not to over mix the ingredients or it makes the muffin cakes very dense.
  5. Fold in the chunks of chocolate.
  6. Scoop batter into muffin tin filling each one about ¾ full .
  7. Bake for 40 - 50 mins or until golden brown. Makes 12 large muffin cakes or 24 mini muffin cakes. Enjoy warm or cooled!