Archive for the ‘What-cha making Mommy?’ Category

Avocados. Healthy, slightly exotic (at least in Canada!) without being weird, GOOD FAT!, also naturally green, and just tasty. They’re pretty much fantastic. And my favourite way to eat them?



And guacamole.

Oh and also these dee-licious tacos.

But mostly, just guacamole.


My in-laws, bless their heart, are from the south. Now when I say south, I don’t mean the REAL south. I mean the south that’s getting real close to Mexico and also California. The south that has Mexican restaurants with Irish sounding names. (Carlos O’Kelleys? Really?) The south that knows how to make good guacamole. I am glad that I am intrinsically connected to these people, because without them, I would never have had good guacamole. In fact, I probably would never have even eaten an avocado in my life to be honest, but that’s another story.

But the reason for this tangent? Because my little Buddy Bear can’t eat no milk. (I did that on purpose, I do know how to use good grammar, I just think I’m funny). And a little boy growing at the rate he is, needs FAT in his diet. (What a predicament, eh?) And a non-allergic child, well we would just stuff him/or her full of full-fat cheese, and cream in his oatmeal, and fatty yogourt for breakfast. It would be the life. But, we can’t do that. So, our pediatrician and I sat down for a brainstorming session to figure out how we can get more fat in Buddy Bear’s diet. The doctor’s prescription? More gravy. Extra olive oil on his food (Would deep-frying work?). And avocados. I wish I was this kid. He has got it made right now.

So, we tried the olive oil thing. He thought it was gross. I can’t blame him.

We’re not a meat and potatoes kind of family, so gravy is like a Christmas and Thanksgiving thing. Not happening.

Hmm… Avocados.

Not his favourite thing in the world, but he was willing to try them. But he’s just a small fry, so he’s not going to down the whole avocado in one sitting. Maybe half.

So what am I going to do with all these extra halves of avocados? I tried throwing the diced pieces in a Rubbermaid and keeping them in the fridge. The result? Brown nasty chunks that were probably still good, but looked very unappetizing.

The internet suggested a few things to help preserve my little avocado halves:

  • Put lime/lemon juice or vinegar on the avocados to keep them greener
  • Keep it in the fridge
  • Keep the pit (or stone?) with the avocado to delay browning
  • Not salting the avocado until right before you plan to eat it
  • Covering it with plastic wrap


Make guacamole for Mommy & Daddy.

That’s my great idea.

Because its healthy!

Try it. You’ll love it.

My In-Laws’ Guacamole Recipe

  • 1 avocado
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 to 3 tbsp diced/minced onion
  • dash of salt

Directions: Mash ingredients together. Eat. Repeat.


See? I told you, you’d like it! You could even skip a step and just make guacamole for the baby to eat/share. Done and done.


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Bacon. It is a foundational food in our home. Not that we eat it all that often…if every day is not that often. Just kidding 🙂 not that often at all. But bacon is one of those lovely little treats that make a weekend breakfast all the better or a Sunday evening dinner much more fun.

The thing I hate about bacon (and there aren’t many things!) is the mess it makes when you fry it. Bacon grease splatters everywhere. You get little pock marks on your arms from bacon burns. Your stove top becomes a slimy, greasy, splattered mess. Seeing as we don’t have a butler we have to clean it ourselves. It takes some of the fun out of bacon.

Have you ever seen the episode from NBC’s The Office where Michael burns his foot in his George Foreman grill? It is classic. I watch it every time I need a little chuckle.

Michael’s Foot

And then when we were done laughing we thought “you know that’s actually not a bad idea.” Because we have a busy toddler running around we are obviously not going to set up the grill beside our bed so we can wake up to the fresh smell of bacon buuuuuut once we are up it all makes sense.

Just throw a couple (and of course I mean more than just 2!) of strips of bacon on your grill.

Clamp down the top.

Flip once in the middle to ensure even, yummy crispiness. And we love our bacon crispy…that’s how we do it!

And then sit down to a plate of evenly cooked, succulent bacon. Revelling in the fact that you don’t have a huge mess to clean up AND that most of the bacon grease has drained off. That makes bacon practically a carrot stick!

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I just love summer! Has that been mentioned before? For the last 3 days we have made every dinner on the BBQ. It’s yummy, doesn’t heat the house and we don’t do it in the winter. I decided to jazz it up a little tonight with a side of coconut rice. Ever tried it? Ever ate it at a restaurant and dreamed about it for months after?

We love rice at our house. It’s one of things that drew Beardie and I together, a love for a good dish of rice (that and watching international sumo wrestling). Happily we discovered in each other an affinity for REAL rice…no Uncle Ben’s, no Minute Rice. Good rice only. Rice that you buy in a 20 lb bag in the “Asian” food aisle. And Beardie even had a rice steamer when I married him, that played a large part in me saying yes. The Boo is also a rice fanatic. So we all know, if rice is on the menu we are happy.

Sometimes you got to mix it up a little. That is where coconut rice comes into play. The warm, chewy, satisfaction of a bowl of rice BUT with the added bonus of a sweet, mild, coconutty flavour. I recommend you try it…especially if you like coconut and rice. But even if you don’t maybe you should try it.

Also note aside: Coconut milk. I don’t know if it is healthy. 1/2 a cup contains 275 calories, 26 grams of fat. But also is high in fiber (2 g), protein and a bunch of other yummy nutrition. So may not be technically healthy but it is technically delicious! Thus it is a once-in-a-while treat for us.

Here’s how we make it. Crack open a can of coconut milk, stir it up because that stuff looks weird when it seperates. I do half a can of cocount milk (200 mL) for every 2 cups of uncooked rice. A subtle flavour you can adjust it for more or less depending on your taste.

Mix the rice, coconut milk and remainder of water (what I mean is the amount of water you normally do for your rice minus the liquid from the coconut milk. I do 2 cups rice, 200 mL/1 cup coconut milk and 3 cups of water…roughly). Cook your rice like you usually do. For me that is in the rice steamer for 35 minutes, until all the liquid is absorbed and your house smells like a yummy, coconut factory.

I find the coconut rice is a nice compliment to really spicy dishes like curry, tandoori chicken, buffalo chicken, anything hot and spicy. We did not have those flavours in our house today so I just went with a tasty Honey Garlic chicken. I didn’t regret it.

Thaw some chicken, throw on some sauce, throw it on the grill, grill until done but not too done (like I do! The Burninator strikes again!)

A sweet side dish is grilled corn. Ever tried it? If you have you know what I am talking about. Yum! Maybe not technically healthy but technically delicious.

I brush the corn with olive oil and then throw it on the grill with the chicken. Just like that. Turn and flip the chicken/corn as you see fit. Once the bottom side starts to get brown and crispy (or after you discover that your toddler has figured out how to climb the bench in the backyard…every stage she keeps on getting up on higher objects! This week: step stools, couches, benches *shakes head* which means it is further to fall)

And the chicken and the corn get all mixed up together. Eventually the corn ends up tasting a little like honey garlic and the chicken picks up a corn flavour. It’s beautiful. Just like family. We all end up together and start to rub off on each other and are all the better because we pick up on each others qualities. Chicken + Corn on the BBQ = True family.

My corn and chicken took about 30 minutes on the grill, the rice took 35 minutes. Dinner is served.

Verdict: Loved by all! Next time I would be a genius and thaw my chicken the night before and then let it marinade in the sauce all day. That’s a good idea. It probably won’t happen 🙂

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Iced coffee is one of my favorite parts of summer. That cold, smooth iciness mixed with the thrill of caffeine. Refreshing and invigorating, like a Slurpee with a kick…in the budget! Why is everything yummy so expensive? Which leads to the question, can I make iced coffee at home that is just as yummy?

When I was pregnant with Boo I tried so hard to follow all the “rules”. No caffeine, no deli meat, no soft cheeses, limit your sweets, don’t color your hair and avoid hot tubs. With our second little one my heart is still in the same place. I want to love and protect and give him or her the best possible start BUT Mommy has cravings. And hasn’t slept a full night in 18 months (by full night I mean that unrealistic expectation of 8 or more  uninterrupted hours).

I still try to avoid most deli meat, haven’t had soft cheese (the no-dairy rule made this easy), I really don’t eat sweets regularly, I haven’t colored my hair (because honestly I haven’t had time for that!) and I barely have energy to shower. You can forget about long luxurious soaks in hot water. That would involve either scrubbing out the tub or going somewhere with a hot tub. Hasn’t happened.

But caffeine. Caffeine and I are tight this time around. I tried for the first 3 months to “limit” my intake. But then I got the go ahead from my midwife to enjoy one cup of coffee a day, she even said guilt free! And that studies have shown no risk to the baby with consuming moderate amounts of caffeine.

Oh the joy in my heart! I’ve never been a big coffee drinker. I never drink it black (yuck!). I put so many doo-dads in my coffee it is practically unrecognizable by true coffee connesiuers. In fact a true cup of full bodied coffee will make me jittery and hyper. I can’t even handle that small amount of coffee. I’ve developed a half and half approach. About 3 or 4 days out of the week (depending on the previous night), I treat myself to a cup of “mmmmm, hot! Hot!” What the Boo calls my coffee because she knows she is not allowed to touch it or taste it. I do have a few parental limits.

Half decaf, half full brew. Lots of sugar, cream (or fake cream), soy milk, syrup, etc. And then I nurse that delicious concoction all day long. Sip by sip letting it bring an extra edge of alertness (or not falling asleep in the car at red lights) to my day.

But now it is getting summery. My craving is for smooth and cold. Specifically for a Caramel Frappucino from Starbucks with extra whip (and enough calories for the whole family). Mmmm, so cold and refreshing. Sweet and yet coffee-ish. All my favorite things in a drink. That would set me back $4.50. We didn’t put “Sugary indulgences” in the budget so I thought my craving would have to silently sulk all summer never finding fulfillment.

But….oh glorious but (and not that butt, come on. Focus.) I stumbled across Pioneer Woman’s recipe for Perfect Iced Coffee and it was like a match made in heaven. All my favorite things in a drink (except for Beardie’s chili and steak. Or chocolate chip cookies. No pasta either. Or fresh baked bread. Or juicy watermelon. Or ripe peaches…so missing quite a few of my favorite things come to think of it). But contains coffee, sugar, creamy substitute in a smooth, cold and refreshing cup of joe.

I tried it. I made it my own. I put it in a travel mug at the start of the day and nurse that sweet little drink all day. Sip by sip. Every morning when I head to work I DO NOT stop at the Starbucks on the corner or the next corner (I actually pass 3 of them on my 10 minute drive to work. Sad, yes?) I make my own….this week alone I think I have saved at least $18 by not buying coffee. Actually I wouldn’t have stopped anyways, so I saved myself 4 mornings of inner grumbling about really wanting an iced coffee. Priceless.

Here’s how we do it:

Did you know you can cold brew coffee? Instead of breaking out the coffee maker you just add cold water to your coffee grounds and let them steep for about 12 hours. It makes for a less acidic and bitter coffee experience. Seeing as I am not a fan of bitter I like this approach. Seeing as I am not a fan of working I like how easy this is.

My ratio is 7 generous tablespoons of coffee grounds (I do half decaf, half flavored coffee…I told you I don’t actually drink REAL coffee, I drink a coffee-like beverage) to 4 cups of cold water.

When I got married Beardie had a sweet French press that he used for tea and other refined drinks (not a coffee drinker AT all, once I made him taste my coffee because it was so good. I thought it would convince him coffee is delicious. I believe his reaction was “yuck, bleh”….oh well, more for me!)

I mix the water and coffee grounds in the French press but you really don’t need anything fancy just a large enough container to hold your coffee and a coffee filter to strain out the grounds. Doesn’t that coffee mix look like some type of toxic sludge?

The next morning I press the press and voila! coffee.

Fill your glass with a few ice cubes (that’s why you make your coffee so strong it dilutes when the ice melts) and a splash (or in my case a river) of cream/cream substitute. I absolutely love the International Delight: Caramel Macchiato creamer. I think it tastes just as good as Starbucks (don’t tell the Buckers I said that!)

You could stop here. And enjoy your crisp iced beverage but on my days off I like to take it a step further and throw it all in the blender for a more slushie like treat.

See? Yummy. And completely adaptable to whatever you like in your cup! Super quick too. The four cups of coffee lasts me 4 days, I strain the remainder of the coffee through our re-usable coffee filter and then store it in the fridge. Every morning I just mix it up in my travel mug and am good to go.

What would you throw in your iced beverage? You could totally make this with chai tea, green tea, hot chocolate…I just might try them all!

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Do I start every food entry with “This is one of my favorite meals!”….I just might. But I love food, I love to eat and I LOVE to eat good yummy food. It could be that every yummy meal is one of my favorites.

This little number though has a special place in my heart for being incredibly easy, almost easier than a box of Kraft Dinner. And just as quick.

I think we will call this Italian Pasta Delight or maybe Delightful Italian Pasta with an emphasis on Light because it is pretty easy on the tummy.

The guest list for this party in my tummy is pretty short. Italian Sausage (I first tried the hot which was so yummy but a little too spicy for the young’un, so now mild is my forte), a 19 oz can of tomato sauce and a box of your favorite twisty-turny noodle. I started out with Penne but than didn’t have enough so I threw in some Fusilli. The Boo actually liked it better that way.

And then whatever veggie you have kicking around in your fridge. Like a family there is always room for one or two more additions 🙂 We had mushrooms (you could even use canned), spinach and peppers. But other cuties that might join the party next time would be zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, eggplant, onion, peas, pretty much anything.

Fry up the sausage, drain off most of the grease. Chop up your veggies and throw them in with the meat, adding the ones that need to cook longest first (i.e. carrots first, mushrooms last). And cook. Just like that.

Meanwhile in the same room and space you are boiling a pot of water to cook your pasta. And then the water boils and you cook your pasta.

Drain the pasta, stir up the meat and add your can of tomato sauce. The longer you leave the meat/veggies to simmer in the tomato sauce the more the “flavour” will come out. But if you are just STARVING, the flavour can always wait.

Put your pasta on your plate and cover with a pile of sauce. Delightful, yes?

Or you could throw a tossed salad on the side. Or go for carb over-kill and serve with a slice of garlic bread (mmmmm!). Or sprinkle with a little parmesan *groan*. Or cheese bread *starting to drool*. Or just stick with what I said….then it will still be easy. But a green salad on the side would be yummy.

And that’s how you do it! One of my favorite walk-in-the-door-from-work-we-are-all-starving-need-dinner-in-15-minutes meals. To me it is delightful!

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Yay summer is definitely, mostly here! Although living in the northern part of the northern hemisphere in the land of unpredictable weather where it has been known to snow in absolutely every month of the year (including July and August!), I have learned to embrace absolutely every warm, sunny day.

Do you know is one of my absolutely favorite parts of summer? If you have perused this blog and observed my many odes to eating, you might guess FOOD! And you would be right. You would have also been right if you guessed not having to wear 5 layers of clothes just to leave your house without threat of death by freezing.

All winter we suffer through “fresh” produce that is limp, bland and colorless. That is not what fruit should be! And then summer finally comes and going to the grocery store is my favorite part of the week. Although being 5 months pregnant may mean that eating is also one of my favorite things to do.

Summer time means that most of my cravings are for big slabs of juicy, yummy-nummy fruit. This will hopefully make up for the chips, coke, sugar and chocolate cravings that surfaced throughout the long dark winter. Sorry my little growing baby! Mommy will make up for it during the summer.

The Superstore by my house has watermelons on sale this week for only $3.99. We are on our second watermelon in 4 days. And these aren’t little dainty winter watermelons that taste like dirty water. These melons weigh more than my daughter and are lush, red and juicy.

The Boo and I sit down to a plate full of watermelon and devour it in minutes.

I love watermelon! It’s amazing. I just thought it was amazing because it tasted so yummy BUT then I did a little research and found these facts about just how amazing watermelon is FOR you. It was kind of like having a crush on a cute guy because he is cute only to find out that he also has an amazing character. Although with Beardie I did a lot of my research on him before I met him, so it was like knowing he was amazing but then finding out that he was also yummy…looking.


1) Delicious, tastes like summer. I could eat it all day. I do.

2) Reduces inflammation caused by asthma, diabetes, colon cancer and arthritis.

3) Packed full of antioxidants including 24 % of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C and 11% of your RDI of vitamin A. All in just one cup of watermelon…which I eat in 1 minute.

4) Neutralizes damage caused by high cholesterol, decreasing your risk for heart attack and stroke.

5) Watermelon is high in lycopene which is rumored to prevent cancer.

6) Contains a massive amount of B vitamins which increase our energy levels. As a preggo mother of a toddler (who is still working on sleeping at night) I need all the (healthy) increases in energy that I can find!

7) One cup of watermelon contains only 48 calories but has a huge amount of nutrition. Which means (unlike my other taboo source of energy…the Coca-Cola) lots of reward for small amounts consumed. Coke has no nutrition for any amount consumed.

8) Loved by many! What’s not to love about a fruit that comes with a built in handle?

9) Super easy to prepare. Slice. Eat. Spit out seeds if necessary. Repeat.

10) There are many different ways to eat it. I don’t actually buy into this one. I only eat watermelon one way. Shove it in my mouth. Sometimes I eat if off the rind. If I am being classy I cut it and put it in a dish. But you can puree it with some yogurt or mix it into a salad. That is only 2 ways to prepare it. I was right, pretty much watermelon is meant to be eaten all natural.

11) Bonus fact: Watermelon is very low on the allergenic food scale. Meaning it is safe for the Boo and all her little friends.


Is like picking a man. It is what is inside that counts! Unfortunately in both cases we don’t know what is inside until we make our purchase. A good watermelon should be heavier than it looks, be smooth and not overly shiny or dull. The bottom side should have a distinct yellow or creamy tone showing that the melon is mature and wasn’t harvested too soon, this gives it the best taste, texture and juiciness. I also like to knock on my watermelon before I buy it. If it sounds hollow then I take it home. I will let you draw your own conclusions on how to pick a man.

Are you in love yet? Are you wondering why you aren’t eating some watermelon right now? So am I.

Nutritional info obtained from: The World’s Healthiest Food

Devoted love for watermelon obtained from: The Bottom of my Heart

Picture from: http://www.thefatlossauthority.com/fat_loss_tips/how-many-calories-are-in-watermelon

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When we first discovered that Buddy Bear was allergic to dairy, my first thought was “You mean I can’t have ice cream???” Ok, actually my first thought was “He’s dying! My baby is dying!” *hyperventilate* But after I settled down and realized that Buddy Bear wasn’t actually dying, then I mourned the loss of my daily ice cream habit. For 3 whole weeks.

But I’m a tricky mommy, so I haven’t just sat down and taken the blows dealt to me and give up on ice cream forever. I love my little Buddy Bear, so I wasn’t willing to just ignore his symptoms/discomfort and have my ice cream anyways. So I put my thinking cap on and set to work on finding a way to have ice cream and a happy boy.

I tried that age old frozen banana in a blender trick. And it was good, but without the Oreo pie crust and chocolate sauce/ganache and everything else delicious in Penny’s Chunky Monkey Pie, it was essentially just frozen bananas. And not ice cream.

I tried sorbets, like this Mango Sorbet at Annie’s Eats. Fresh mango, lime juice, it was delicious! But ice cream it was not. And mango season was almost over anyways. So the hunt continued.

I thought maybe it was the creaminess that I was missing and not ice cream per say, so I tried coconut panna cotta. After 3 tries I finally got it to work. For only having 5 ingredients  you’d think it be easy to make. Not so much for people who can’t follow instructions (me).  But when it did work, it was delicious! I especially liked this recipe. But it was more like a creamy, chocolate jello, and I still wanted ice cream afterwards…

So I got tricksy and even more tricksy and took…

The smooth texture of the banana trick


The method from the mango sorbet


The creamy coconut milk in the panna cotta




It only took 6 weeks, but I found a way to have my ice cream and still be dairy free! I love it!


Peanut Butter Banana “Ice Cream”

These measurements are all approximate, so feel free to play around with them and personalize it to whatever works best for you. Like adding crushed Oreos. Those would definitely be awesome.

Frozen Bananas (if your freezer makes them very hard, let them sit on your counter for a little while and soften up, just a little bit)

A big gob of peanut butter

A squirt or two of chocolate sauce (check the label to make sure its dairy free)

A splash or two of coconut milk (Or another dairy free milk, coconut is my favourite)


Put all ingredients in a blender and blend together until nice and creamy, about 30 to 45 seconds. Stir in any additional toppings and mix-ins.  Serve immediately. Repeat.


Suggested Variations:

Chocolate pieces

Coconut Flakes

Oreo Pieces

Frozen berries instead of the peanut butter and chocolate make a delicious and even healthier combo!


What would you add to make this “your speciality”?

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