Thursday, September 27, 2012

Who Doesn't Love Granola Bars?

Mmmmm ... granola bars. I love them, my kids love them and we go through them quickly.  I had always thought about making them, but the recipes I saw either seemed way to chunky and almondy (don't love almonds) or not enough surprises (I like chocolate and marshmallow bits what can I say?).

My friend Katie - mother of FOUR! by the way - slipped me this recipe (click link or see below) for home made granola bars while visiting last winter.

My homemade creations entering le oven

Mmmmm ... golden, toasted heaven!

These granola bars are so good. Just by tasting them you can tell they are much more healthy than the store-boughts, not to mention there is a sense of pride when you pull out home made bars for your kids ... and even better on a play date ;)


P.S. "Katie" also mentioned that she triples the recipe when she makes it and freezes what she doesn't need.

(Canadian Family Winter 2012)


2½ cups quick-cooking oats (not instant)
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
½ cup chopped raw almonds, pecans or pistachios
½ cup chopped dried cranberries
½ cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
⅓ cup whole wheat flour
¼ cup ground flaxseed
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
¾ cup canned pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
½ cup liquid honey
¼ cup butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla

1.Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with parchment paper, letting the paper overhang on two opposite sides (so you can use it as a sling to pick up the granola bars after baking).

2.Combine first 9 ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well. In a medium bowl, whisk together pumpkin, honey, butter and vanilla. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients. Mix using a wooden spoon until dry ingredients are coated with pumpkin mixture. Make sure there aren’t any dry oats in the bottom of the bowl! Stir, stir, stir!

3.Pour the wet granola mixture into the prepared pan and spread it evenly to the edges. Using your hand, press down firmly on the granola so that it’s tightly packed in the pan.

4.Bake on middle oven rack for about 25 minutes, until top turns a light golden brown and feels dry to touch. Remove pan from oven and cool completely on a wire rack. Lift cooled slab of granola from pan by holding on to parchment paper and transfer to a cutting board. Using a large, sharp knife, cut the granola into 16 bars, about 1½ x 4 inches each. (Tip: Press down with the knife to cut the bars and avoid a sawing motion.) Wrap bars tightly in plastic wrap and store in an airtight container, either at room temperature or in the fridge.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Wow! That Was Easy.

Seriously couscous, where have you been all of my life?


Now before y'all think that I have been living under a rock and have never heard of couscous before, let me clarify. I have had couscous, enjoyed couscous, see couscous in cook books and on menus at restaurants, but it was never somethign that was prepared for me growing up, nor that I have, up until tonight, cooked for myself.

I think my one couscous memory that sort of stereotyped the food for me was that of my older sister coming home from Trent University and being all proud to cook the fam a couscous/parsley/ something salad. Being that my tastebuds were not what they are today (it was 20 years ago) and given the type of salad it was I sort of pidgeon holed it.

Well, I have met my miracle food and greatest gift to time-crunched dinners. Add couscous to boiling water, wait five minutes and voila. Seriously? That's it? No waiting for thirty plus minutes like rice?

MMmmmm.... I added mint, feta, pomegranate, vinegar, OJ, pistachios and it was delicious.

Do you have any great ways to serve couscous that you enjoy? or better yet that your kids enjoy?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

From A Mother To A Child

Thought I would share this ... I read it on my friend Kate's Facebook page recently and was really touched by it. I don't know who wrote it or where it came from.

Letter from a Mother to her child: 

"My dear child, the day you see I’m getting old, I ask you to please be patient, but most of all, try to understand what I’m going through. 

If when we talk, I repeat the same thing a thousand times, don’t interrupt to say: “You said the same thing a minute ago”... Just listen, please. Try to remember the times when you were little and I would read the same story night after night until you would fall asleep. 

When I don’t want to take a bath, don’t be mad and don’t embarrass me. Remember when I had to run after you making excuses and trying to get you to take a shower when you were just a child? 

When you see how ignorant I am when it comes to new technology, give me the time to learn and don’t look at me that way... remember, sweetheart, I patiently taught you how to do many things like eating appropriately, getting dressed, combing your hair and dealing with life’s issues every day.

The day you see I’m getting old, I ask you to please be patient, but most of all, try to understand what I’m going through. If I occasionaly lose track of what we’re talking about, give me the time to remember, and if I can’t, don’t be nervous, impatient or arrogant. Just know in your heart that the most important thing for me is to be with you. 

And when my old, tired legs don’t let me move as quickly as before, give me your hand the same way that I offered mine to you when you first walked. 

When those days come, don’t feel sad... just be with me, and understand me while I get to the end of my life with love. I’ll cherish and thank you for the gift of time and joy we shared. With a big smile and the huge love I’ve always had for you, I just want to say, I love you... my wonderful child. "

Happy Mother's Day!

Having had a parent who was ill and slowed down sooner than they would have liked, I can tell you that having patience and perspective with ageing parents makes a world of difference and transforms those frustrating moments into tender bonding moments.

(it was originally a letter from Mother to daughter but I changed it to be to a child as I have two boys and thought it applied equally to both genders.)

Monday, May 7, 2012

A Nice Mother's Day Gift

I was recently enjoying a rare and peaceful moment to myself while at an indoor play park was looking through a recent Today's Parent issue. The page I turned to included stories from readers of their best mother's day gifts.  This one caught my eye so I thought I would share because it was so different, but sounded just great:

"On Saturday I check into my Jacuzzi suite at a hotel for a night alone.  I take books and bubble bath and leave my cellphone, worries and stress behind. I get 19 hours of uninterrupted quiet me-time. On Mother's Day, I meet my hubby, kids and mom for a wonderful brunch where I get homemade cards - and someone else does the dishes! Buffy LaBonte-Sias, Whitehorse"

It's sometimes hard to ask for or find the time just for us as individuals. Or we get the time and then, much to our own fault, fill it with laundry, other chores or things that "can't wait."  Kind of a nice idea to have the tradition built into Mother's Day.

My birthday is the same week as Mother's Day so I get the royal treatment two weekends in a row! I've had my birthday waffles and homemade birthday card so this weekend can only get better and better.

What are your Mother's Day traditions?

Enjoy ladies!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Laundry Injuries

Is it possible to pull a muscle while folding laundry?

Last night while folding the third of three baskets of laundry, something went awry and I'm having some rotator cuff issues today. This is pathetic!

Another question for my readers:  

It's probably not a good sign if I feel like I somewhat got an arm workout while unloading the dishwasher right? Time to up the intensity of my fitness routine ? :)

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