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!