Homemade Granola

For all you granola lovers out there, this recipe is for you!! I have been experimenting with it over the past couple months and I finally got it the way I like it. It is crunchy and sweet, AND 100% free of any additive, presevatives and added sugars! It is also fully of protein and fibre. We eat it by the handful and my kids actually LOVE it. (which is a miracle because they are so picky these days) It is also delicious as a breakfast cereal with rice milk. I usually make a double batch each time because it gets used up so quickly. So be blessed and enjoy!

Mercy stirring in the almonds one at a time:)

 1/2 cup quinoa flakes

1/2 cup ground flaxseed or ground almonds

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup raw cashews

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

1/4 cup walnut or almond oil (purchased at a local health food store)

1/2 cup pecans

1/2 cup almonds

1/2 cup combined raisins, cranberries, and sunflower seeds

Preheat oven to 325 F. Mix the quinoa, flaxseed, pumpkin, cashews, maple syrup and almond oil in a bowl. Spread out on a baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and scrape up the mixture with a spatula. Mix in the almonds, pecans, raisins , cranberries and sunflower seeds and spread out evenly over the pan. Bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from oven and scrape up the granola from bottom of the baking sheet so that is doesn’t stick and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Store in an airtight container.

Easy Homemade Pizza!

We love pizza, in fact, every Tuesday night is pizza night:) Our children are pretty picky these days so making our own pizzas enables each of us to get what we want for dinner. My husband and I load ours with veggies but the kids like sauce, cheese and cashews on theirs:)

This recipe is a simple pizza crust, it takes about 5 minutes to mix and knead. Mercy loved kneading it with me today. We all love eating it, super healthy, fresh and way cheaper than buying them in the store!

Mercy freaking out at the thought of putting "bedgtables" on her pizza:)

Combine 1/2 cup all-purpose flour with 1/2 cup all-purpose whole wheat flour, 2 1/4 tsp pizza crust yeast, 1 1/2 tsp maple sugar and 3/4 tsp sea salt in a large bowl. Mix well. Add 2/3 cup very warm water and 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil. Mix until completely combined. Add more white flour if needed to make the dough soft (about 3/4 cups). It should be plyable and form into a ball. Knead dough on floured surface adding additional flour if needed, until smooth and elastic, this should take about 3 minutes. Pat down dough and use a rolling pin to roll dough in the form of pizza crusts. (They can be whatever shape you like) Spray a baking sheet with EVOO and put the shaped dough on it. (I make two small ones for the kids and 1 large one for Jim and I). Pinch the edges of the crusts. Spread with pizza saucce. Top with desired toppings and sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 425F for 12-15 minutes.

I usually take it out at the end, slice up the pieces and then put them back in for 3 more minutes to make sure that the center is fully cooked! It is such a treat to have fresh crust. The kids don’t even complain about eating it because it doesn’t get really hard like the store-bought stuff.

Serve warm and enjoy!! (We like to eat it with smoothies and salad)

The Joys of Juicing!!

At the beginning of November we dusted off the old juicer and decided to start using it again on a daily basis. I bought some bulk fruit and veggies; carrots, celery, apples and oranges and started juicing every day with our kids. It has been really fun to allow the kids to help me and to watch them really enjoy the different flavours of juices that we make together.

Their favorite juice is Apple/Orange/Carrot juice, its sweet and filled with goodness (recipe below). I also put 5 drops of children’s probiotics into the juice each day so that they are getting a regular probiotic, as we do not consume yogurt or other dairy products which sometime have probiotics in them.

Juicing provides vital nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals for our bodies to repair themselves, it also helps strengthen the immune system which is beneficial in these days when flus and other colds run rampant.

  • Juicing unlocking nutrients in raw foods. Fiber is locked into many vegetables and fruits and the potential benefit of the fiber is lost as the digestive system does not unlock it. Juicing releases the fiber’s nutrition so that benefit may be realized.
  • Normally we do not consume peelings, seeds and pits of fruits and vegetables. These parts are a rich source of vital nutrients we normally throw away. A good quality juicer extracts juice from the whole veggie or fruit, including peelings, pits and seeds to provide vitamin and minerals that would otherwise be lost. I have also decided to keep the pulp that our juicer spits out and we make muffins and loafs with the leftovers:)
  • Heat kills live enzymes. A quality juicer minimizes heat in order to preserve the most live enzymes possible.
  • Juice is an excellent snack or meal replacement.
  • Antioxidant effects of juices help detoxify your body and help you eliminate the toxins, fats, preservatives and chemicals that a diet of processed foods leave behind in your body.
  • The most readily digestible or absorbable form of foods, not to mention the most concentrated form, is juice. Juicing makes foods easy to digest and thus, easier for the body to receive maximum benefit from the source food.
  • Making your own juices allows you to make any combination of fruits or vegetables that you choose into juice – and you know what’s in it, unlike produce on the supermarket shelves.

I recieved a Champion Juicer (www.championjuicer.com) for Christmas two years ago and it has been amazing. Check out their website for more details.

Here are a couple of recipes for simple juices.

Apple/Carrot/Orange Juice = 2 apples + 2 oranges + 2 carrots

Apple-Strawberry Drink = 5-6 apples + 1 cup strawberries

Pineapple Drink = 1/3 pinapple + 1 carrot + 1 apple + 1 stalk of celery

Pear Drink = 1 pear + 2 apples + 4 oranges + 1 grapefruit

The possibilities are endless and you can make an combination of fruits and veggies that you like. My kids love apples so in all the juices we always include apples. If you like tomatoes juices you can make them as well to make a natural V8 juice without the added sodium. V8 Juice = 5-6 carrots + 1 beet + 3 tomatoes + 1 bunch of spinach + 1 red bell pepper + 1 celery stalk + pinch of sea salt










Making these juices together has really reminded me of the importance of teaching my children by example. I have been able to explain to them how there are natural sugars in fruits that are good for us rather than the added sugars that we find in juice boxes and such. (We do drink juice boxes, but only as treats) And on another level I have realized that my kids learn more by my actions than by what I say. When I get them involved and we are hands on together it teaches them more than if I just do everything for them. So I encourage you to do things together and let them have the experience. It is definitely more time consuming and messy but I trust that it is worth the investment!











Homemade Oat Scones

This morning the kids and I decided to do a little baking and this is what we came up with. They are Homemade Oat Scones, really tasty and extra delicious with warm apple cider. There are not many ingredients so they are fun for little ones to help with. There is no refined sugar in them and you could replace the egg with egg replacer and the butter with non-dairy butter to make them vegan if you like.

1 1/2 c All-purpose flour (or whole wheat flour – add more rice milk if you use whole wheat flour so the scones don’t get too dry)

2 c Quick cooking rolled oats (not instant)

1/4 c Maples sugar

4 tsp Baking powder

1/2 tsp Sea salt

1/2 c Semi-sweet Chocolate chips

1  Egg, beaten

1/2 c Butter

1/2 c Rice Milk








Mix the first 6 ingredients together in a large bowl. Make a well in the center. In another bowl beat egg until frothy. Mix in melted butter and rice milk. Pour into the well in the other bowl and stir until dough is well mixed. Pat into two circles and transfer onto a greased baking sheet. You can make then whatever thickness you would like and if you want you could even make one large circle. Score each top into 8 pie wedges. Bake at 425F for 15 minutes. Split while they are warm and serve with a warm drink:)

“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him” Psalm 34:8.

May you experience the blessing and the refuge of our Lord today!

French Toast Challah Muffins!

Wahoo I have a few minutes today to share this “to-die-for” muffin recipe with you while my kiddos are sleeping. This recipe was given to me by a friend who said it was a Sobey’s recipe. I have modified it a bit to suit what I had at the time and it turned out SO DELICIOUS!!! I had to share this recipe with you because these are absolutely amazing and I think all of you should at least try them! I called it French Toast Challah Muffins because that was the only kind of bread that I had but you can use any whole grain bread as well. I was able to make with with the leftover Challah bread I had last week! They taste amazing, took 5 minutes to prepare, AND my kiddos loved them!

French Toast Challah Muffins

3 eggs
1/2 cup of rice milk
1/3 cup of maple sugar
1 tsp of vanilla
1 tsp of cinammon
10 slices of multi-grain challah cubed
1 cup of frozen berries (we love blueberries)
2 tbsp of maple syrup

In a bowl add the first 5 ingredients.  Add bread and toss until egg is absorbed, then add berries.  Toss and divide into muffin tin (12 lrg) and drizzle with maple syrup.

Bake at 375F for 15-25 minutes.

Serve warm and add more maple syrup as desired!

Operation Organization!

For the past month or so I have been diligently organizing my home especially the kitchen, playroom and living room. I have been challenged to become more organized so that I do not waste time trying to get organized at difficult, high-stress times of the day. I have found that the more I organize my home the more efficient I am at making meals, cleaning up and planning ahead. I would like to include a disclaimer before you read this post. When I refer to organizing I am not talking about maintaining a perfect home by any means, homes are NOT meant to be perfect they are meant to be lived in, I am talking about how to keep your home organized so that you can enjoy living in it. There will be days when the inevitable happens and messes rage like a forest fire in our homes but  like forest fires they can be contained and taken care of when we act strategically! I hope some of these tips and tricks help you out to maintain a simple and peaceful home. My first tip is to buy a label maker and begin to label everything that can be labelled:)

The Kitchen

My kitchen is one place that I spend a lot of time and therefore it has been beneficial to spend a lot of time organizing my cupboards. I label my jars and organize my fridge so that I can access incredients and food products easily. I know where all the snacks are, I know how much of different food items we have and I can whip up meals quickly without trying to figure if I have the proper ingredients. This is especially important when my kids are hungry. I use glass jars as storage which allow you to see how much food is available so that if things are running out I can take a quick inventory and mark the necessary items on my grocery list. Glass jars are also good to keep food fresh and to avoid plastic leaching. I find that glass jars are great to store food in the fridge as well, they are space savers and because they are clear you can see what you are looking for.

The Playroom

Our playroom is the one room in our house that we are the hardest on. Toys, running, jumping, hockey, crafts, music, homeschooling, and various other activities take place in this room. It is so important for me to keep things in order here otherwise it can become a war zone very quickly:) Our rule is that crafts (playdough, crayons, markers) stay at the craft table and everything is always returned to its place right after we are done using it. When we are done school in the morning, all our books go back in the book shelf. If we do painting or stamps, the aftermess is cleaned up immediately after we are done to avoid future messes:)

I have organized all the toys in such a way that if I need to take a quick sweep through the playroom I can have everything in its rightful place within 5 minutes. Having bins that are labeled also make it easy for our children to put away their toys without needing direction or instruction on how to do so. I go through our playroom on a regular basis and purge any toys that are broken or unused. Playrooms can quickly and easily become junk rooms so to avoid this I go through it every month.

Living Room

This is the room that we spend the most time in as a family. It is also the room which is the most visible in our home. I have had many people comment on how clean my house looks when they walk in and how clutter free it is. I can honestly say I do not spend every waking moment cleaning, in fact, it is quite the opposite. I do have a TRICK though and I will share it with you. Are you ready? Here it is…..drumroll please…“I always clean up right after an event takes place”. Profound isn’t it?:) Whether it is crafts, toys, eating lunch, bathtime, reading books, puzzles, playing dress-up, whatever the activity if you always pick up right after you will never end up playing catch-up. For example when we wake up in the morning, first thing we do is make beds and get dressed that way there is no room for messes to start in the rooms. After the toys are played with in our living room, everything goes back into it respective drawer; puzzles in the puzzle drawer, books in the book drawer, etc. And with toys and kids activities THEY cleanup their own messes and I stand by to help them tidy up, I am NOT an advocate of cleaning up after your kids all the time, they need to learn!

When we come in the house from an outing, all shoes, bags, coats, are put away immediately before we move onto something else. When we eat, all the food, is taken out, consumed and cleaned up right away. The only thing that they are allowed to keep out are their water bottles which they can access at any point during the day. We also have distinct times when we eat; breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, bedtime snack. I quickly learned the importance of scheduling meals when I had children. If I let them, they would graze for the entire day I would end up making and cleaning up meals 24/7! Having set meal times also really encourages the kids to eat well at each meal because they know they cannot eat whenever they want.

It is easy for our homes to get out of order quickly because there can be so much going on. I firmly believe that we can maximize our time as homemakers by maintaining organization and not letting things get out of control. Cleaning up can can be a daunting task it we wait too long and then become overwhelmed with a vast array of items spead everywhere. Maintenance is always best! Like a vehicle, it is better to take it in regularly to get checked rather than have it break down and need to get fixed because of necessity, and in turn find out that the breakdown could have been avoided if you would have come in a month ago for a check up:) Our homes need regular organization or “check ups” to avoid larger disasters. If you don’t already, try this “maintenance trick” for a week and I guarentee you will see great results:) It has made my life more simple and stress free and blessed me with even more time to spend with my little ones and enjoy being a mommy!

May you be free from the stress and worry of trying to be organized and enjoy the things that really matter in your life! May you experience the freedom and joy of living a simply beautiful life in a simply beautiful & organized home!

Yummy Vegan Treats!

A wonderful friend of mine gave me the website for these amazing treats and I have since lost the link to the site but still have the recipe. These delicious “treat balls”, as my kids call them, have become a family favorite. When I make them I usually triple the recipe because they get eaten so quickly:) They are a completely natural and healthy way to enjoy some treats while pumping your body full of iron and protein. They are called Cocoa Coconut Balls. The recipe makes 12-14 balls depending how big you make them. Here is the recipe, try them and let me know what you think. My kids actually think they are chocolate because they are so sweet and appear to be brown because of the cocoa colour:)

1/2cup raw almonds

3/4cup raw walmuts

10-12 medjool dates (or 20 smaller dates) – pitted

2T unsweetened cocoa powder

1T coconut oil

2T unsweetened shredded coconut

1t vanilla extract

In a food processor blend the almonds and walnuts until they become a crumble. Empty them into a bowl. In the same food processor process dates, cocoa powder, coconut oil and vanilla. Add nut mixture back into food processor and pulse until all the ingredients are combine, do not mix too long. Empty into a bowl and form the mixture into small balls. Place on a cookie sheet and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Take them out and wrap in ceran wrap and store in the fridge. ENJOY!!

Carob Oatmeal Chip Cookies

1 1/4 cups all purpose whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup carob powder
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
egg replacer equivalent to 2 eggs (2tsp egg replacer + 4 tbsp water)
1/3 cup rice milk
1/2 cup mashed bananas
1/4 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 cup pecans or walnuts chopped
1 cup rolled oats

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease 2 baking sheets. Combine flour, carob and baking soda. In a large bowl mix egg replacer and oil. Mix in rice milk, bananas and lemon juice. Gradually add dry incredients. Once it is all mixed add nuts and oats. You can also add in dark chocolate chips or carob chips. Bake for 8-10 minutes until golden. Allow to cool and serve with rice milk or almond milk. I can’t wait for Judah to wake up and taste them! Mmmmmm…

Vegan Chickpea Burgers

1 lb cooked chickpeas or 2 x 14 oz cans chickpeas
1 onion finely chopped
2 cloves or garlic
2 medium potatoes cooked and mashed
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp lemon juice
pepper to taste, whole wheat flour, extra virgin olive oil for frying
Put chickpeas into a bowl and mash well. Add onion, garlic, potato, soy sauce, lemon juice and pepper. Mix together well. With floured hands, shaped into patties. Coat well with flour and refrigerate for 1 hour. Heat a little extra virgin olive oil in a pan and fry burgers on each side until golden brown. Serve with whole wheat buns. Top with sprouts, spinach or lettuce, fresh cilantro, pickles and tomatoes!

Sweet Potato Salad with Avacado, Apple and Corn

2 or 3 Sweet Potatoes
1 cup frozen corn
1 large apple
1 ripe avacado
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
pinch of sea salt
1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds

Cut up  sweet potatoes into cubes. Bring to a boil and cook for 3 mins or just until tender, add the corn and let boil 2 minutes longer drain and let cool. During the cooling time toast the pumpkin seeds until they “pop” in the skillet. Add cubes apple, lime juice, cilantro, olive oil, and salt. Mix together and sprinkle on the pumpkin seeds just before serving. This is an easy and filling reciepe, you can make it in the morning and store in the fridge until supper! You can also serve this over spinach leaves. This reciepe is full of flavor and nutrients, there is protein from the avacado and pumpkin seeds as well as essential fatty acids. It is one of our family’s favorite!