We're back from our weekend away for Thanksgiving (in Canada), and are all feeling a little exhausted, but happy from our trip. We saw a lot of family, ate a lot of great food, went to The Rockton World's Fair, and stayed up waaaaaaaaaaaay too late!!! But it's all good, and it's all part of getting the most of the time we have while visiting family!
Anyway, I wanted to share a healthy, pretty simple to make granola bar recipe with you! I shared a gluten-free granola bar recipe a while back, and although it is super-tasty, it's not that healthy. Thumbs down.
I've been feeling more convicted about feeding my kids better foods, and so I knew I needed to try to make a cleaner version of their take-to-school granola bar. It also needed to be nut free, as the school had to go nut free this year with some new students coming in with allergies (we've been spoiled the last few years with no allergies and being able to send whatever we wanted!). So, I got to work, knowing I wanted to eliminate refined sugar from the bars, still have them be soft (not hard and crunchy), and most importantly to have good food ingredients in them. I choose sunflower butter because I feel strongly about not using soy butter (read a great article here from The Wellness Mama about why NOT to use soy butter) or any soy products at all. But, if you do the soy-butter thing, you can use that in these bars too. If your school isn't a nut-free zone, you could also just use any nut-butter you wanted to!
Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, Refined Sugar-Free Granola Bars
* ** You can also just use all dates or all dried apricots instead of a mix. And also be sure to check the ingredients label for the dried fruit you use as some companies add oils, salt and sometimes sugar
I generally make a double batch of these, and will freeze the whole lot, pulling out the bars as I need them to pack into snacks or road trips. If I leave the dates & apricots too big, Caleb (who hates raisins) won't eat them because he's sure the bits he's seeing are raisins! So, if you've got a raisin hater, be sure to blend the dates & apricots up very well! When I've done a more thorough job of blending, Caleb eats these bars happily. Score one point for the sneaky Mom! : )
I hope everyone is having a good week so far! It feels like it should be Monday for me because we only got back last night, the kids have gone back to school, Adam is off to work, so it's got a Monday vibe. But, vibes aside, it's fully Wednesday, so I wish a grand Wednesday to all!
Peace out. Yup.
Apparently today is the last day of summer....geepers. I 100% thought it was on Monday, so when all is said and done, I feel as though I've gained a few extra days of summer!
The last few weeks we've been eating (and enjoying) a lot of peaches! Ontario leads Canada in both peach and nectarine production with 82% of the national production (found this factoid here), so I mean, we're serious about peaches here in Ontario!
I knew I would be eating them as-is, but also that I would be making some cobblers/crumbles too. I made a paleo peach crumble (or crisp, whatever you chose to call it!)) last peach season, and it's good. But one vegging out night watching episodes of "House", I wanted a warm peach creation, but not a crumble. I wanted a "cobbler", which is a batter or biscuit topping baked on the fruit.
I have a thing for mug cakes (here's a few!), so I knew it could be done! I wanted this thing more peachy than cake-y though, so you can feel free to use less peach if you want. But peach amount aside, I think we can all agree that a mug cake is a perfect Wednesday treat. It's quick, it's simple, there's only enough for one which means 2 good things: you can't share it, and you can't overindulge either!
Paleo Peach Mug Cobbler
Wednesday....oh Wednesday....I start loosing steam by Wednesday....
We were visiting some friends last night, and we got home late-ish, and I hadn't had a chance to prepare lunches in the evening like I usually would. So I got up at a ridiculous hour (before the sun!) to get a good lunch packed for my hubby then for the kids. I know 9pm will roll around tonight and I'll fall asleep on the couch (watching "House"), but, I do quite end up enjoying my quiet mornings. I prefer the usual ones that begin at 6:00-6:30, not 5am like today, but still, it's nice. I'll probably need me some mug cake tonight though, that's for sure!
You can do it! Get through Wednesday!
We're back! It's been 16 days of being away, but we've made it back safe and sound!
We landed in Amsterdam on August 2nd, then travelled to Haaltert, Belgium where we spent a week visiting Adam's family, and also visiting Brussels, and many of the cities around the western side of the country. After that, we headed south where we spent 2 days in paris, France. Oh boy, that's a story! I'll get to it eventually, but not right now! After those 2 days, we travelled north, stopping again in Belgium, in a place called "Londerzele". Look familiar? It's where my husband and his family (the Van Londersele's) are named after. "Van" in a lot of European names means "of", or "from", so our last name is "from Londerzele". Anywho, we continued on our journey, going to the place where my Dad was born and spent the first 7 years of his life. A lovely place called Breda, in The Netherlands. We spent the day there visiting my family, then headed more north/west toward Rotterdam (for 1 night and day), then Haarlem (for one night and day), and finally ending in Amsterdam for 3 nights and 3 days!
I took a lot of photos....a LOT! I plan to share many of the photos in the next few weeks (or months), as I share recipes from the places I visited. I also ate a lot of different foods! I had chocolate everywhere I went (big surprise there, right?). I had kaas (cheese), croquettes (a small breadcrumbed fried food roll containing, usually as a main ingredient, mashed potatoes), saucijzenbroodje (sausage rolls) & stroopwaffle (thin waffles with a syrup filling) in The Netherlands. Crepes, baguettes and croissants in France, and frieten (fries-NOT french fries), waterzooi (a fish or chicken stew), crevette grise (little, tiny shrimps), and, of course, waffles in Belgium! Belgium is famous for mussels too, but I couldn't go there, I'm not into mussels. I did try some nice Belgian beers though (they sure do like their beer!), which I don't generally enjoy, but I did find a few that I quite liked. Anyway, back to waffles!!!
The recipe today is for a simple gluten-free waffle, which, incidentally, more closely resembles a real Belgian waffle in taste and texture than our very Canadian or American version. Over on this side of the pond, our waffles are very light, fluffy, and barely coloured (not browned too much). Oh, and we drown our waffles in syrup! In Europe, waffles aren't even really a breakfast food at all. They are served in restaurants, but mostly by street vendors and small shops. Also, in Belgium.....get ready for this....there are no "Belgian Waffles". That made me laugh!
There are two main types of waffles, the Brussels waffle, and the Liege waffle. The really, really, really simplified way to distinguish the 2 waffles is that Liege waffles are made with a thicker batter that is similar to bread dough, and they have uneven edges. Pearl sugar is mixed in with the dough, which caramelizes when the waffle is cooked. Ya, I know....drool! The Brussels waffles are made with a yeast-leavened batter, which makes them lighter and crispier. They are rectangular with defined edges, and they also have deeper pockets or holes.
So, my waffles are North American is shape and size today, but they are more Belgian in texture. It's the love child of the two countries. Whomp whomp. I plan on getting my apron on and experimenting with my waffles to share with you both types of Belgian waffles very soon! But, for today, I share these. Alstublieft! ("here you go", or "if you please" in Dutch and Flemish....which, incidentally, is the same language) :)
Eating a waffle in Ypres, Belgium. I chose a Liege waffle with banana and chocolate. Yummm-o! :) And you can see a window display of some of the waffle toppings available. Oh, and that's Adam with "Manneken Pis" (translation: "little man pee"), a famous statue in Brussels. The real statue is actually only about 2ft tall. And it isn't teal.
Caleb and Keziah eating their waffles. We generally eat ours as dinner with syrup, bacon and fruit.
I'm glad to be back! Travelling was really fun, meeting family in Europe was wonderful, walking between 10-20 kilometers a day was something I actually enjoyed! But being back to real life is my favourite. I love our house, and the farm. I like every day, there is beauty in it, though it's easier to see the beauty when you've been away for a time.
Until next time, tot ziens ("so long")!
I thought today was Monday.....
Turns out its Tuesday and I'm loosing touch with reality! :)
Adam was working all weekend, then yesterday (which was Monday, incidentally) we just got things done around the ol' homestead.
So, anywho, today I bring to you a simple recipe for a paleo tortilla. We do a "Taco Tuesday" night every few weeks here, and I am always happy to just pile all my taco toppings onto a mountain of salad. We were low on the leafy stuff though one day, and I thought it might be nice to have an alternative to my usual taco salad and actually have a vessel to carry my taco goodness in.
I started searching the web for some good recipes, and they all had either cauliflower which I didn't feel like cooking, mashing and draining, or coconut milk, which I was out of, or one million eggs to make up for the crazy amount of coconut flour used (coconut flour is very absorbent!).
Simple is my main objective in the majority of my recipes, so I just thought, "well, these will only be for me (we had regular, gluten free taco shells for the rest of the family), so I don't need to make a million of them, I'll just aim for 2-3!". And I set off on the task!
The result was a simple, 3 ingredient tortilla that was bendy, but strong, and was totally satisfying!
That's it! I've made these a few times for a few different purposes. Once I added cinnamon to the batter, then once they were cooked I spread some almond butter in one of them, and rolled it around a banana! It was a great snack!
I've also added cayenne pepper to the batter, then I wrapped up diced leftover chicken, avocado, tomato, & onion. Yum!
So, these are a blank canvas, really! Use them as you please!
Have a great Tuesday!
Today is April Fool's Day, but today also marks the beginning of Autism Awareness Month!
I have been woefully negligent of my blog lately....my life is suddenly very busy! I always like to keep busy, and that often included working away at the blog, but lately I've been for realz busy, and haven't had any time to sit and blog! Thumbs down emoji.
Anyway, I really, really, really plan/hope to at least get some autism posts up every Thursday of this month (Thursdays are/were my usual day to chat and share about raising a boy with autism), because I want to keep making more and more people aware of autism and what it is, what it looks like & how to 'handle' it.
Anyway, I'm way off base from french toast right now!
French toast! A delicious meal idea made better by turning it into a "monte carlo" type french toast. A monte carlo is when you make a meat and cheese sandwich (with mayo and mustard), then dip it into an egg and milk mixture, and fry it until it's golden and delightful. This breakfast version has nut butter and banana made into a sandwich, dipped in an egg and milk mixture, then fried with a sprinkle of cinnamon, then you eat it with syrup, as you would any french toast!
Banana & Nut Butter French Toast
So, as I mentioned in the ingredients list, this super-filling monte carlo style french toast can be adapted a few ways. We've used peanut butter, cashew butter, & almond butter. We've also used sprouted grain bread, 'regular' bread, and gluten free bread. And one of my favourite variations is to use thinly sliced apples in place of the banana. So good.
I have, incidentally, never made an actual monte carlo sandwich, but perhaps I will some time. It seems like it would be very yummy!
Alright, well, that's it!
Pancake Tuesday!!!! :)
I love pancakes, in case you didn't get that!
Today is Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday which marks the beginning of lent which is the 40 days leading to Easter. That was a ramblin' sentence.
Last Shrove Tuesday I gave a brief summary as to the "why" of Pancake Tuesday. It is basically a cleaning out of all the foods one wasn't supposed to eat during lent in preparation of Easter. For a better read on the history of this event, look here. It's a nice, short read, but gives you a batter look at what this day is all about.
Last year when I made pancakes for Shrove Tuesday, they were tasty, but they were flat! Flat!!! Pancakes are self-redeeming in a way though because if you add chocolate chips, and slather them in syrup, who cares if they are thick or thin?!?
We all know that above statement is true, but we also know that deep down, we want our pancakes thick so that they can soak up some of the maple syrup so that we can add more.... :) Hahaha, it's true, right? I also just enjoy having a thick pancake to get my fork into! Having thin pancakes means I need a stack to get a good bite on my fork.
Am I over-thinking this....?
I make pancakes (almost) every Saturday for the kids, and I have been trying every week to get a better, thicker, fluffier pancake! Some weeks were close, others were crepes by accident...geepers. I found a few good pancake mixes over the year, one I got from The Royal Winter Fair, but the company didn't have a web-site for me to find out where to buy more or order more, so that mix got used up and I was back to square one.
I think most people have a recipe that doesn't work, so they tweak one thing, then another, and try different variations until it's right. I tend to go, "oh, it didn't work! Try something totally different!!!". Which is dumb.
This recipe today is literally just a pinch different than my thinner pancakes from last year, but it took me all year to get it right. Less liquid, more flour. Duh.
Well, whether you like them thick or thin, I've got you covered! If you prefer thin, look at last year's hot cakes. If you want to try some paleo pancakes, thin ones are here, thick ones are here. And if you want your bacon right in your pancake, do it! Here's that recipe!
Gluten-Free Pancakes, Thick & Fluffy Edition
I won't say much here since my intro was a long-winded one!
Just have a great day, and make some pancakes tonight for dinner! Even if you do it for non-religious reasons, it's a great dinner! Add some bacon and fruit, maybe some eggs, and you've got a fantastic meal!
It's time for maple syrup therapy! Stat!!!
Today is a beautiful, blustery, blizzardy day...and buses are cancelled. No big deal except Friday was a p.a. day, and we had a busy weekend and I had counted on having today to recoup....alone! I have some whacko cold that is running into it's fourth week, and I just needed a "sick day" to sit around in warm and comfy clothes, drink a lot of tea, read something good, and attempt to give my body a chance to get better. No such luck.
So, in lieu of having some quiet time, I think it just needs to be pancake time instead.
These pancakes happened a few weeks back when I suddenly had the urge to eat pancakes, which I haven't had in a while, paleo or otherwise. I wasn't interested in wasting my time making some pancake that would end up flat, I needed me some big, fluffy pancakes!
So, by using a mix of flours, baking soda activated by lemon juice, and a pinch of love (haha, I'm just kidding), these lovely dears came to be!
Paleo Chocolate Monkey Pancakes (for one)
I forgot the lemon juice in that collage above....oh well...
It seems like a lots of ingredients, but it honestly comes together in just a few minutes, and is worth every tiny effort!
I suspect you could also make these with an avocado in place of the banana (perhaps just a half an avocado?), or maybe even some baked sweet potato (maybe 2-3 tablespoons?). I haven't tried either, but I could see it working well.
You don't taste the banana really at all in these (in my opinion), so if you're worried about that, stop it. :) I only really called them "chocolate monkey" so you would have an idea before reading the recipe that bananas were involved. No surprises!
So, whatever this Monday has for you-make the best of it!!! Either with the people you're with, or the place you're in, and if nothing else, with the ingredients you have on hand to make a yummy treat! :)
Muffins! Sometimes you just want a good muffin to go with your coffee, am I right? Read that like you're from Brooklyn, it sounds way better.
Anywho, I'm back with a paleo recipe today, a tasty, make-and-freeze kind of deal. I'm not saying you have to freeze them, just that you can, and that makes them a handy little snack you can pull out when you need it.
Let's just get to it!
Sweet Potato Chai Muffins
Adapted from PaleOMG
My favourite way to make and eat these is to freeze them after they have cooled completely, then when I want one I will warm it in the oven and eat it like it's fresh and hot out of the oven. Which it is, sort of....?
Either way, I find that paleo baked goods sometimes have the tendency to be wet (just a hair past moist), and warming it in the oven dries it out perfectly. Not dry as in choke it down dry, but dry as in a nice crunchy top, and a warmed inside. That's all.
I hope everyone had a good weekend! Mine was good, busy, interesting? I can't explain now, but perhaps I will some time!
Anyway, I've still got little miss middle child home today with her chicken pox, and we went for a really nice wintery walk (I pulled her in a sled so she wouldn't get worn out and feel more sick, and I got some serious exercise!). It's the kind of beautiful, mild winter day where the snow if falling silently in big, heavy flakes. So lovely, and a great start to a week!
I hope everyone has a great Monday!
Well, hello there! Merry Christmas (belated)! We are still away visiting family, but we'll be heading home today.
Our time away has been good, bad, and itchy. Yes, itchy. As in chicken pox itchy!
We had barfers, skooters, accidental double bookings for Christmas dinners (which left us driving back and forth through town to be at both parties). Then there were chicken pox (which meant another family gathering got altered because some of my siblings who have younger babies didn't want them exposed).
I'm griping a lot here...but the truth is, it was still good to come "home for the holidays". I went to the opening night of "Into the Woods" with my sister, ate some great food (3 full-on Christmas meals at 3 different family get-togethers!), had some great conversations, stayed up late, slept in, sang carols, laughed and was merry.
I had to give myself a little pep-talk after our first day or two away. I was feeling overwhelmed and seriously blue. I talked to myself about my attitude, and how no matter what I get to choose how I react to situations, how I feel about the situation. I can be crabby and sad, or I can feel grateful for what I have and who I have in m life.
So, all that to say, I had a pretty good time away. The things making up my time might not have always been the best, but there was always something worth enjoying in every place we were in.
Now, onto the cookies I am sharing today! Christmas brings out a lot of memories from my childhood, and my Christmas childhood memories involve Dutch traditions and Dutch treats. So, here's another for you!
Arnhem is a city in the Netherlands, the capitol of it's Province, actually. And "meisjes" means girls, so, these are "Arnhem Girls", and not the "lady of the night" kind of girl, but it's meant as a sweet little girl. And that's just what these cookies are, sweet little cookies.
Some people think you can just get store bought puff pastry, cut out a circle, cover it in sugar and bake it. But that's not really quite right.
Puff pasty is made by folding a simple dough over butter, and doing more and more folds, while rolling the dough flat in between each fold over. That gives you a very layered pastry.
These little darlings are simpler than that by far! They turn out with a slight poof, and a few layers, but the dough is bread-like and buttery. In fact, as you bake these the house will smell like you are baking bread.
They are a wonderful coffee cookie (just ask any Dutch person), and you will be happy to have them! :)
The dough needs at least 2 hours fridge time
The cookies will puff up, the sugar will caramelize and you will have a wonderful and unique cookie to serve with coffee, Dutch style!
These cookies require some work, but really nothing that is too complicated or difficult, and the end result is very much worth it! Trust me!
Look at the inside of this fantastic cookie! Yumm!
Alright, well, I hope everyone has a good Monday. I am looking forward to the drive home and getting settled into "normal" life again.
You'll hear from me again this week, so you had better look forward to that! :)
I had a friend who I have not seen for years and years and years. He (and his Mom and Dad) used to make the best boterkoek in the whole wide world!!!
This is not their recipe, but it is really good! What? I just told you I hadn't seen this friend in forever and you expect me to have his recipe? I haven't seen him since long before I was married and I was not baker-lady back then. Back then I ate others baked good and said, "yummmm", and that was it.
Anyway, boterkoek is what it sounds like boter=butter, koek=cake. See, so simple. Now, I ask you, why would you not want to try making this? It's called butter cake!?!? It's kind of a no-brainer! :)
You can see how the outside has a beautiful golden, crunchy finish, and the centre is super dense and moist. This is really a fantastic cake, and whether or not you're Dutch, you will like it!
I hope everyone had a great weekend, and is looking forward to the week ahead with Christmas celebrations!
Hi, I'm Amy-Lyn!
I am the lady behind this here blog! I live in the sticks with my animals, my super handsome husband, and my
3 amazing kids!
Here you'll find things from recipes (gluten-free, paleo, and strait up junk food!), DIY ideas, thoughts on raising a son with autism, and whatever else pops into my brain! : )
Read more about me by clicking here!
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