Birthday Favorites: Food

Hey, Friends! It’s that time again – this week is my birthday, and it’s tradition around here to share everything I’m loving right now, and the things that have made this last year enjoyable/delicious/successful/positive in any way.:)

Leave a comment sharing YOUR favorites, and you’ll be entered in a draw for a prize….

Today we’re talking about food! I love talking about food. I love making it, photographing it, studying new recipes for it, and…EATING it!:)

Here are my favorite things to eat right now:

Breakfast: Baked Apple Pancake

I will always and forever love my green smoothie for breakfast – I told Anika this morning that when I’m an old lady in a nursing home, she needs to come bring me green smoothies.

BUT. If I’m going to eat anything else, this baked apple pancake is my new favorite. I kinda made up the recipe. I cut up three apples and fried them in lots of butter and cinnamon, and then dumped them into a 9×13 pan once they were soft. Then I mixed up this pancake batter, and poured it over the apples. I baked it at 350 until it felt firm to the touch, about half an hour.


Lunch: Salads!

I don’t really have recipes for these – I just kind of throw together whatever looks good. I love having tons of fresh vegetables and herbs on hand, and making it a really filling salad with chicken or avocados and cooked eggs. I love experimenting with different oils, seasonings, and dressings.


Supper: Chip Potatoes

This is something I made up this last winter, and everybody in our family loves it, so we keep making it. So simple – just slice up potatoes super thin, cover it with chunks of butter and lots of sea salt.

potatoesBake it at 400 for 30 minutes, or until the potatoes start getting all brown and crispy.


Best Restaurant I Ate at This Year: Buccacino’s!

A few weeks ago, I was going out for dinner with a friend, and we couldn’t decide where to eat. I was in the mood for something new and different – the fantastic food on my trip to Ottawa had left me craving something exciting. We quickly googled gluten-free restaurants in Winnipeg, and chose Buccacino’s. It’s so delicious, I can’t wait to go back!

Besides the fact that I’m in Food Heaven whenever I can eat gluten-free pasta, I also was quite impressed with the reasonable prices.

New Recipes:

Because I’m constantly trying new recipes, it’s hard to choose just one favorite, so here are a few that we’ve been enjoying, in case you’re in need of some new ideas!

Best Ever Beef Stew

Veggie and Brown Rice Noodle Bowl

Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Blender Muffins

Energizing Protein Power Salad

Your turn! What are your favorite foods, recipes, and restaurants? I want to hear all about it!:)

35 Days of Favorites: Breakfast

This post is part of a series called “35 Days of Favorites”, in honor of my 35th birthday. You can read more about the details here

Let’s move on to food favorites, shall we? Breakfast, lunch, supper, and snack favorites coming this week.

But we’ll start with breakfast, obviously.

I’m still going strong with the green smoothies that I shared with you last year, but I’ve discovered a new favorite, which has come in handy for when I need a change, or we’re traveling, or we forgot to buy more cucumbers, or whatever.

Coconut Flour Biscuits.

coconut flour biscuits

I love them, but the rest of the family isn’t into them. This works out okay, because then I can eat them all by myself, and they last slightly longer.

If I followed the recipe exactly, I’m sure everybody would love them, but because of a few food allergies, I have to leave out the eggs and bacon suggested in the original recipe. Instead of eggs, I use flaxseed, which is why my biscuits look quite different than the originals.

Can I just add how much I love coconut flour? It is amazing. You can make delicious cake, pancakes, and muffins using coconut flour, all of which we’ve tried and love. (I used the coconut cake recipe for Kaylia’s birthday cake this year, and it was fluffy, moist, and rich.)

The awesome thing about coconut is that it’s gluten-free, low carb, and super healthy for you. I do not feel good when I eat stuff made with flour, even gluten-free flour, but coconut flour is completely different.

The only thing to be careful about is that it’s got a TON of fiber – three times the fiber found in whole wheat flour, so you can’t go overboard with it! Work your way up slowly.;)

I buy coconut flour at Bulk Barn, in case anyone’s interested in trying something new, and wants to know where to get it!

What are you enjoying for breakfast these days?

10 Ways to Have a Happier Morning

I love lists, and I love problem-solving.

If something is not working, chances are good that the solution can usually be found with a little bit of brainstorming, and a good list.

I’ve been doing this a lot recently, as I examine our morning routine. A bad morning routine can put everybody in such a bad mood that we’re lucky if we recover by noon.

As we’ve been making changes around here, our mornings have gradually been improving, which means we start off the day with a much happier attitude than we used to.

Here’s what’s been working for us:

1. Take care of the basics.

There is no way that I can stay calm and happy if I am not taking proper care of my body. How I sleep, what I eat, even how much water I drink, can all affect my mood. Praying desperately for some divine intervention and miraculous mothering skills is great and all, but I wonder if God sometimes thinks I should just go to bed earlier.

2. Clean up “Your Spot”.

I read once that everyone has a “spot” – that one spot in your house that makes you feel victorious when it’s clean, and defeated when it’s out of control. I didn’t think I had a spot, but it turns out that I have two: my kitchen sink/counter, and my living room floor.

If I come out first thing in the morning to a mess in those spots, I’m behind before I’ve even begun.

However, if I make sure that they’re cleaned up the night before, I come out in the morning feeling pretty fantastic about my clean house. It could be a mess in other areas, but as long as I have my kitchen counter and my living room floor, I’m good.

I highly recommend finding out what your spot is, and then protecting it like your day depends on it.

3. Get your schedule in writing.

We have a laminated chart on our fridge which Anika loves to check off each morning. I got SOOOO tired of nagging her every morning to get things done, that one day, I got some paper and markers, and I made the most thorough list I could think of. It’s even got “Clean boogers out of nose” on it. Everything that I want her to do each morning is on that list.

We have a separate list for Sundays, because we need to do different things to get out of the house for church on those days.

I still need to remind her at times to stay focused and get stuff done, but I nag a lot less than I used to.

4. Start with some quiet time.

First thing on my own schedule is getting up an hour before the girls (thank goodness they usually sleep until 8 am, I’m totally spoiled!), to spend some time reading my Bible, praying, and exercising.

I used to be very cranky in the mornings because I woke up when they woke up, and had no time to ease into my day. That is a BAD idea for me. I need my time to “wake up slowly”.


5. Pick a verse for the day.

When I’m reading my Bible, I try to pick one verse or thought to keep on my mind throughout the day. Sometimes I memorize it, sometimes I write it out and stick it on the fridge, just to keep it there to come back to again and again.

6. Turn on the music!

I don’t actually like listening to music during the day. Weird, since I love music and I’ve taught piano for years. But my favorite time to listen to it is when I’m driving, and can focus completely on listening to it.

When it’s on as I’m going about my day, I find it distracting and sometimes slightly overwhelming. With homeschooling, and housework, and everything else that demands my attention, I find there’s only so much noise I can take in at once.

However. When it comes to the mind, and learning to “take every thought captive”, music is the best way for me to be continually reminded to get things on track.

Ben’s been turning on the worship music each morning so that I won’t forget, and it makes such a big difference to have it playing. I think I could get used to the “extra noise”!
7. Plan a breakfast menu.

Giving kids a choice for what they want to eat may sound like a good idea, but it’s never worked out well for us. They always want different things, it takes so long for them to make up their minds, and the whole thing kept dragging out so long, that one day, I just quit.

I made up a breakfast menu, stuck it on the fridge, and now the girls know exactly what to expect.

It has completely cut out the complaining about what we’re eating for breakfast. It’s nothing fancy, and we usually stick to eggs, oatmeal, leftover pancakes in the toaster, that kind of thing, but it switches things up a bit, and it saves so much time.


8. Stay away from sugar.

When we were living at camp, I noticed how Anika always crashed hard, mid-morning, after those big, sugary breakfasts that were served at the lodge. It made homeschooling a nightmare, so we decided to experiment, and only allowed her to have sugar on weekends, when she didn’t have to do school.

It made such a huge difference! She eats sugar-free jam or a little bit of honey on her pancakes during the week, and it’s this big treat to get syrup on the weekends. At first, she hated it, but now it’s just normal.

I’ve noticed how it affects me, too. Usually, I have my green smoothie for breakfast, but every once in a while, when the pancakes are fresh, I’ll grab one.

And oh, my goodness – it makes me feel completely different. I cannot believe the difference in my mood. I don’t do well with carbs, especially first thing in the morning, and I find myself extremely irritable after eating anything like that.

9. Stay calm.

My movement therapist once explained to me that a muscle at rest is ready to move in any direction, at any moment. A tense muscle, on the other hand, has to relax first, before being ready to move in the new direction.

I find it’s the same with moods. When I’m relaxed and calm, and something unexpected comes up, it’s far easier to go with the flow.

But it I’m rushing around, we’re running late, my morning’s frantic and crazy, it’s only going to get crazier. I’m too tense, not ready and available to move in the direction I need to go. I’m trying to remember to take a few deep breaths, and calm down.

10. Be flexible.

I can make all the lists I want to stick on our fridge, but I cannot guarantee a perfect morning, every morning. Life happens. And that’s good – it’s the way it should be.

I need to be ready to ditch the lists, when necessary.

And maybe not every morning will be perfect, but lots of mornings are pretty good.


I’m trying to begin each day with this verse on my mind:

This is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.


How can I be glad in it?

What can I do to help things run more smoothly for my family?

In what ways do I need to become more disciplined so that I can be the wife and mom I need to be?

It’s a work in progress!

Any tips you’ve come up with over the years? I’d love to hear them!

(If you want some extra reading, Micheal Hyatt wrote a great post called How to Become A Morning Person. His first point is quite brilliant.)

34 Days of Favorites: Breakfast

Hello, everyone!

After a weekend at the lake which included much boating, tubing, and relaxing, as well as tornadoes and no electricity, I am finally back to share today’s favorite with you! I truly love this favorite, so I would say it’s worth the wait!

So. Breakfast.

Have you ever heard of something you really wanted to try, and you knew it would make your life much better, and you’d feel great if you could just make it a regular habit….but you just never got around to doing it?

That is my life, with green smoothies.

I kept reading about them everywhere. I tried making one a few times, but I just didn’t really like them.

This disappointed me, because I knew lots of vegetables, first thing in the morning, would be a fantastic thing.

Finally, I stumbled upon a recipe for a green smoothie which didn’t sound too awful.

I stalked up on the ingredients so I could make it a few days in a row.

And then I made it happen.

The first morning, my main thought was, “Well, I don’t hate it.” Progress.

The second morning, I really, actually kinda like it.

The third morning, I couldn’t wait to drink it.

And we’ve been living happily ever after, my green smoothies and I.

I cannot describe how wonderful my insides feel when I drink this. I feel fresh and clean. I feel energetic and ready for the day.

But it does not sustain me for hours and hours. It’s vegetables. Your body digests vegetables in 15 minutes, while meat or grains take three hours. So obviously, a green smoothie will not satisfy you for the same length of time as steak and potatoes.

So I make sure to add some healthy fats to the smoothie to stretch it out as long as possible, and usually have a mid-morning snack.

Curious what’s in it? Here’s the recipe:

Green Smoothie

1/2 of a long cucumber, peeled

1/2 a red or yellow pepper

1/2 a tomato

2 handfuls of greens (I use romaine lettuce or spinach)

1/2 an avocado

the juice of 1/2 a lemon

1 1/2 cups water

1 Tbsp. chia seeds

1 Tbsp. coconut oil

Blend it all up, and drink it all up.:)

(This will make 2 large glasses, which means you can somehow drink it all yourself,  share with a loved one who needs more veggies, or put it in the fridge for a snack a little later. It doesn’t keep for very long, though.)


That’s a lot of vegetables. Even if you changed nothing about the way you ate for the rest of the day, you would already probably be doubling the amount of veggies you eat in a day. How could you not feel better?!

After I had been drinking this smoothie for about a month or two, my chiropractor wanted to test the level of antioxidants in my body. He had no idea what I was eating, and was quite shocked with my test results. According to his charts, I was in the highest possible category for healthy levels of antioxidants. Apparently only 1% of the world’s population eats enough fruit and vegetables to get into that category.

My chiropractor asked what in the world I was eating, and when I told him, he said to keep with it.;) (My dad says he doesn’t believe those tests anyway, so take it however you wish, but I’ve decided to go with it, because I’ve had my share of negative test results – why not celebrate a good one!)

There you have it. In a culture that eats dessert for breakfast, and rides the rollercoaster of sugar rushes up and down the usual breakfast carbs of pancakes, french toast, muffins, and sugar cereal, I personally think a green smoothie is an excellent idea! It most definitely can’t hurt!

Alright, everyone! Time for you all to give me your healthy breakfast suggestions! (You can’t lure me away from my green smoothies, but I still have a family to feed, so I eagerly await your suggestions!)

And it’s the same deal as usual: Anyone who comments during my “34 Days of Favorites” will be entered in a draw for a free gift. Here’s the list of favorites, in case you missed any!

Sleep Habits

Body Brushing


New Camera

New Friends

Serious Music

Happy Music

Apple Cider Vinegar



TV Show



Tasting the Love in the Eggs

Our girls always make breakfast such an interesting time in our home.

For one thing, Kaylia constantly keeps me guessing. Spoon is “Poon” and Rice Krispies are “Pee-pees”, and in a home with a toddler who’s in the midst of potty training, “poo” (with a very quiet “n” at the end of it) and “pee-pees” will get you a very quick trip to the bathroom, rather than a bowl of Rice Krispies. Fortunately, she’s getting better at pronouncing both those words, and also at shaking her head very violently when she does not need to go to the washroom.

Her food choices surprise me – kind of mature for a one and a half year old. She loves Raisin Bran. We’ve had to limit how much she’s allowed to eat because her diapers were suffering from all that bran. She also always wants to eat my breakfast food. I’m in the middle of a quinoa kick, and have been making a delicious bowl of quoina flakes, chopped pecans and coconut oil every morning. I love it, but I find it interesting that Kaylia gobbles it up, too.

Anika is even more of a breakfast girl than Kaylia. She gets all of her nutrients for the whole day just at breakfast, it seems. Her favorite breakfast is 2 bowls of cereal, 2 pieces of toast, and scrambled eggs. I cheat and make scrambled eggs in the microwave, which turns out very differently from the eggs her grandpa makes when we go to the city. Not sure how it started, but they call them “Love Eggs”, and the first time I made microwaved scrambled eggs for Anika, she took a bite, and then said with much disgust, “These eggs do NOT have love in them!!” After explaining to her that of course I had put love in them, she decided that she just can’t taste the love in my eggs.

Here’s a picture of her enjoying her Rice Krispies along with some friends:

At Last

Ben’s flight came in after midnight last night (he was supposed to arrive at 10:30!), and we finally got home around 2:30. He had promised Anika that he would wake her up when he got back, and give her a big hug. She could hardly wait, and she sleepily greeted him with the news that Kaylia walked for the first time yesterday! She wanted to be the first to tell him.

Kaylia was very unsure about Ben at first. She let him hold her, but it took a little while for her to start acting her usual self around him. By the time he needed to leave for breakfast this morning, she was in his arms and waving good-bye to me!