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Posts Tagged ‘easy’

Smart, thrifty, baby cuddling mama/papa seeks comfortable carrier to hold baby, go lots of places, and wash easily. Preference given to carriers that are not the most expensive of the world.

Does this sound like you? Then I have a response that you’re gonna love.

You see this? This exceptionally long piece of fabric? Its gonna change your life. Not in a E-Harmony, my life is complete now, change your life. More of a baby-lugging, wallet-saving life.

Let me explain…

Required Items:

  • Very Sharp Scissors
  • Exceptionally long fabric (At least 5 yards (15 feet) though I think an extra yard would have made it easier for Mr. Man to use)
  • A friend with a discount card for fabric for extra savings(or maybe you are this person already, then nix that step)
  • A friend who has a baby in some form (or maybe  you don’t have a friend to share with, or maybe you want two carriers for yourself, or… you get the picture)
  • Instructions

I could not find the cotton knit with curling edges that the instructions suggested, mainly because I am helpless in a fabric store. BUT I did find a lightweight cotton-type material that curled on the edges (read: does not need to be hemmed). Mr. Man says it looks like the inside of his gym shorts. I said I didn’t care, because all the little holes make it way cooler than a jersey-type wrap. That’s what I said anyways, I have no proof either way. But once we bought the material we simply cut it in half lengthwise so we had two long-narrowish (about 30 inches a piece actually) pieces of fabric and we were done.

Yes, that’s it.

Ok, maybe wash it too.

Especially if your baby likes to suck on everything like mine does.

If you have 2 and a half minutes, 3 minutes if you’re a slow cutter and $20 (less if you are a better dealfinder when it comes to fabric) and you have a completely functional and super comfortable baby wrap. Perfect for schlepping that darling little one from here to there and back again. If you get a nice manly colour, then you can pawn baby off on daddy when  you are schlepping around together.

TADA!

If this is your first time using a non-structured wrap, PLEASE make sure you are tying your wrap correctly before putting baby in it. There are lots of tutorials and instructions online. You can just youtube videos of the different ‘carries’ or if you are a visual/text learner like me, I found Wrap Your Baby was excellent for a step-by-step guide for tons of different carries.

Try it, see if it works for you, love it, report back.

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Its officially summer in our house. And do you know how I know? Because at any given point I have at least 4 different varieties of fresh fruit in the house. FOUR. As adverse to our other season of winter where we have bananas. OR apples. Both of which suck. At least compared to the awesomeness of mangoes, and watermelon, and nectarines and blueberries, AT THE SAME TIME.

In case you didn’t get the picture, I love having the abundance of fruit that appears in our home during the summer. Its like it suddenly becomes almost easy to eat healthy. Why go through the trouble of making chocolate chip cookies if I could just eat a piece (or 17) of watermelon. Less hassle and I get to eat way more!

You know what I love almost as much as eating copious amounts of fruit? Watching our little Buddy Bear eat copious amounts of fruit. He is loving it. In a “Woman, why have you been holding out on me all this time? This is way more awesome than that other stuff you’ve been feeding me!” But in a cute way, not in a Stewie from Family Guy sort of way. Mostly.

The side effect of Buddy Bear’s absolute delight in our summer abundance?

This.

 

Food everywhere! And let me tell you, blueberries stain. Everything.

And you know how I feel about laundry. I hates it.

So don’t do laundry! In the summer, babies don’t have to wear clothes. Just a diaper and you’re good to go. Or nothing.

I chose naked eating because…

  • Way cuter. Sorry, babies are just so cute when you can see their chubby little legs and tubby bellies.
  • Less laundry. You don’t have to wash clothes that haven’t been worn!
  • If I looked that cute in my underwear, I’d do it too!
  • Bathtime can be a bonding experience. For Dad. While mom takes a nap/drinks a coke/hides from her responsibilities.
  • Its organic!

So choose organic for your baby.

Choose naked.

(In your own home, restaurants, etc. generally frown upon public nudity…)

 

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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.

ODE TO WATERMELON

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.

PICKING A WATERMELON:

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

=

 

Yum….

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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This is such an easy-peasy recipe I don’t know if I should be allowed to call it a recipe. But I love it and it brings joy and happiness to my Boo.

Popsicles are so delicious! Who doesn’t remember a warm, sunny day running around and playing until you are all hot and sweaty and then running inside and getting a freezing cold popsicle and savoring the coolness dripping down your hand. Popsicles are all about summer! I need to share that joy with my little Boo! If only there was a way to have “healthy” popsicles.

I tried to find the 100% pure fruit juice popsicles but honestly those are pretty pricey and then there is the whole “rule” about not drinking more than 1/2 cup of juice in a day. Oh the rules! Why are there always rules?

Ideally I would love for us to just eat the fruit itself. That is where we get all our yummy, nummy, vitamins, nutrients and fiber from. (Hmmm, fiber is our friend).

So Apple-sicles are born.

I bought this popsicle tray from the dollar store for….you guessed it a DOLLAR! And it works great, they are just the right size for a little hand and aren’t so big that she ends up with frostbite by the end.

The easiest thing to do is to just grab a jar of unsweetened applesauce, crack it open and fill each little cup with applesauce. Pop in the little tops and VOILA! Easy-peasy apple-sicles. All fruit, all healthy, still yummy.

Sometimes I mix it up by using the different flavored applesauces. All the unsweetened ones, poor little girl doesn’t know what sweetened fruit tastes like. The little cups of Mott’s applesauce fill4 little popsicles perfectly, so each popsicle is about 30 mL or 2 TB of fruit.

These little treats were a life-saver when we were cutting teeth. The later ones anyways, once she was already eating solids. An ice cold apple-sicle really cut the “owie” for a set of 3 back molars that came through in a week. I was more than happy to keep on feeding them to her!

But then I started thinking (it is dangerous I know!)…what other yummies could we make into popsicles?

Here’s a few I’ve been brave enough to try:

Berry sicles: Apple sauce pureed with a cup of our favorite berries.

Calcium sicles: A tricky one 🙂 because of the no-dairy we give the Boo a calcium supplement. Which is kind of gross. I found that if I mix it up with a strong flavor like blueberry and applesicle then freeze it is a popsicle she thinks it is amazing! If your life includes yogurt this would be delish with yogurt and pureed whatever fruit you like.

Orange cream-sicles: An orange, a banana, something creamy, pureed and frozen.

Pretty much the gist is….puree fruit and freeze it as popsicles!

If you wanted to get a little crazy…what about throwing in a handful of spinach into the berry-sicles (see no green, taste no green) or maybe a jar of baby food carrots in the orange sicle?

What would you try? And what have you tried? And what would you recommend to never try again???

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