Move it on Monday : Project 52 Update

Wow, volunteer work sure does get in the way of things!  But who am I kidding?  I do it because I love it!
However, it doesn’t fit on the list anywhere. (why didn’t I put it on there?  Because I never have a hard time doing it or saying yes, when sometimes I should be saying no!)..
#16. I did find a non fiction book to read this week and I even started reading it.
#17. And I had breakfast with Tine this month!  That is 1/12 in Month number one.
The non fiction book is called “Stepping Up” by John Izzo.  Heard him interviewed by Sheila McKay on CBC Radio 1 on Saturday morning, and I made Tine wait in the parking lot until I had heard the name of the book, because I wanted to read it.

Short and sweet, but I must cook!  More later!

Happy Packing!



A little Time on the Ice…

First Comp age 4

Occasionally, I do spend time thinking about something other than food!  One thing that keeps me busy is driving to and from the ice rink or arena.  As some of you already know, my now 8 year old skates a few days a week…  Actually, last week, it was 6!  But that was an anomaly, normally it is 3 or 4 days a week.   Currently, we are preparing for the upcoming Lynn Hetherington Memorial competition, which is also now the Vancouver Island Championships, and just a week away!  It has been exciting to watch the noticeable changes in her skating since Christmas break.  At the last competition, in October, it was her first time in Pre Preliminary…The first time that not everyone in the group gets recognition for their performance.  Top 6 only (and there are usually 10-12 in a group).  We came 9th out of 10.  After her skate, I knew she wouldn’t place very high.  While she had a wonderful performance (if there is one thing she can always do its put on a show), she missed the three key elements for pre preliminary: Her lutz jump, her flip jump and her camel-sit spin.  Other skaters in her group, while they weren’t as fast nor were they as bright and sparkly or light on their feet, had all completed the jumps and managed 3 rotations of each position in their combination spins.  Yes, she had the highest spiral, and the biggest smile, but Pre Preliminary is about the elements first, the show second.

Age 8

As a former skater, (and an active member of our club’s executive), I have a bit of knowledge that allows me to sit there and think, “Oh dear.”  but then you are prepared to deal with the child’s disappointment later, when the results are posted.  It reminded me of her first competition, where I don’t think she knew there were going to be medals until the actual moment they were given out.  And she whispered to me “Mummy, maybe I came first!”  I said, “Maybe you came 5th!”  in an excited voice, but she shook her head and said, “no I think I came first”…This was at four and a half.  She came 5th, but  was more disappointed that her friend (who came 6th) had a purple ribbon while hers was green.  Interestingly enough, she spent the next two years coming 2nd or 3rd (no, never first), and was always very pleased with herself.  She developed such poise.  And given that she was always in the youngest group (in her category), we logged more than our share of early morning starts, which can mean being privy to some technical difficulties.  One time, she had to start her solo four times, because of music problems.  Each time she went out with a huge grin on her face and a big “ta da!  Here I am!”  only to be returned to her coach on the boards to wait.  She came 2nd that time.  Another time, someone blew  a fuse in the arena and it was the one for the music system.  She (and all the kids in her group…cannot say girls, because there were two boys as well) had to skate to their music played on a portable CD player!  She came 3rd that time.

Age 7

So, in the past few weeks, I can see a marked change in her skating, and preparation. This is in part, I am sure, to growth both physically and emotionally.  It has me excited to see how (in a group of 12) she will be in competition next week.  I would never share this much with her, however.  That is not her style, so I keep my comments to recognition of hard work and great jumps and when I notice improvement.  I let her coach funnel the psychology part..
Her focus this weekend though is on the televised Canadian championships.  Last year, Nationals were held here on the Island, in Victoria, and I spent a week down there volunteering.  She was able to be there with me for a portion of it (at 7 she was not old enough to volunteer), and she got to watch the Senior pairs practices.  What a treat to meet the likes of Dylan and Kristen, and Rudy and Paige, Megan and Eric,  and they were so silly all the time (that is what made the biggest mark on her), and yet they worked so hard.  She found this amazing, and much more fun than watching the ladies practice (it’s so quiet Mum!).  This year, Nationals are in New Brunswick, so we are watching them on TV (and the internet!  Thank you, Skate buzz!).  And they are providing so much inspiration for this skating household!

Happy Packing!

First Comp as Pre Preliminary

Bedtime Snacks

I had a parent ask me this week about bedtime snacks.  Did my children have bedtime snacks?  What did we have for bedtime snacks?  Could I recommend good bedtime snacks?
So I did a little bit of web-research, as well as checking out my copy of Better Food for Kids.

Some tips for planning bedtime snacks into your routine : You want to ensure that you are planning for complex carbs and staying away from proteins and sugar.  Protein takes a lot of work for your body to digest and can make it difficult to settle down and fall asleep.  A little bit of protein is fine (for example, peanut butter on toast) and dairy contains triptophain (like what you find in turkey!) and aids naturally in falling asleep.
Bedtime snacks that are factored into your young child’s diet can also give you an extra opportunity to ensure that you are meeting their daily dietary needs (although for many children the better options for bedtime snacks like dairy and carbs, are not what is lacking in their diet, lol)

When our children were little, we would often have bedtime snacks, but we also had a reasonably early dinner and didn’t have a multitude of extra curricular activities to work around.  For a while though, we had to stop having those evening snacks, because my son was not eating his dinner and instead waiting for bedtime snacks.  We introduced the rule (and still have it) that if you didn’t eat your dinner, you didn’t have anything until breakfast.  You could eat all your dinner, and have dessert and then have a bedtime snack if you needed to.

So, if your little one (or not so little one!) is not a good eater, you might want to try and keep your bedtime snacks as “uneventful” as possible, like plain toast or warm milk, so that there isn’t the intriguing option of having cookies or yogurt or banana later. 

We occasionally have bedtime snacks around here, but mostly they are post activity snacks, eaten as a supplement to an early dinner , or on the way home from soccer practice.

I asked my kids what their favourite bedtime snack was…   Cookies and milk (warm milk), was my son’s suggestion, while my daughter’s was yogurt and banana.

Other great ideas for bedtime snacks?  homemade peanut butter oatmeal cookies, plain yogurt and dried fruit or cereal, toast and cheese.

Happy Packing!


Here are some great links with more information on bedtime snacks.

 Healthy snack blog

Healthy Kids 

Sunday Food for thought

Another week, another week of meals, so here comes a menu!  Complete with three meals at less than $10.00 (for 4-6).

  • Sunday: Definitely NOT our meal for under $10.00, but a real treat instead!  (that is why we need to have those under $10.00 ones later on).  Bouillabaisse from Cooking with Cory.  (got to be one of my favourite go-to cookbooks for making something special)…Lots of fresh seafood in a rich steaming broth, plus homemade bread and a delicious winter salad: Spinach salad with beets and feta and pecans (and a maple mustard vinaigrette).
  • Monday: Slow cooker Pot Roast with mashed potatoes and steamed veggies (broccoli and carrots)
  • Tuesday: We are going out to dinner with our teenagers who are leaving us soon (one this week, one next), so it is “Unbirthday Dinner” and a trip to the chinese restaurant (but little do they know that it is not the buffet but rather something special instead).
  • Wednesday: good old fashioned Pea soup (which always makes my daughter sad, because she loves it but cannot bring any for her school lunch), for another hit at less than $10.00 for 6 people.
  • Thursday: Potato soup with kale.  A good $10.00 meal that everyone likes.
  • Friday: With all that cooking, I suspect there will be at least a few leftovers for Friday supper…   However, I noticed at school last week, that this Friday is movie night, which means there is pizza from the concession.  Our school’s movie nights start at 5:30, so that means supper comes from the concession.  Have to find out if the troops actually want to go to movie night first tho’!
  • Saturday: chicken pot pie.  This recipe makes a very large portion and therefore serves 10, and costs $12.00.   

Lunches for packing…

  • Monday: Left over spinach salad and bread for the Man of the house; the kids will be taking Spanikopita, and veggies with Raita for dipping.
  • Tuesday: the plan is for there to be enough leftover pot roast for all the lunches.
  • Wednesday: Ham and cheese sandwiches, with veggies and dip
  • Thursday: tuna and cream cheese roll ups, ginger cookies and fruit salad
  • Friday: Peanut butter and banana roll ups, or peanut butter and apple roll ups (which ever one we have left by Friday).

Lunches for little people…

  • Monday: “Hamburger” soup
  • Tuesday: crustless spinach quiche with toast
  • Wednesday: Ham and cheese sandwiches and vegetable soup
  • Thursday: whole wheat pasta and meat sauce
  • Friday: cheese pizza

Happy Packing!


    I love bread.

    And really, who doesn’t?  All warm and fresh fromthe oven, sometimes even still warm enough to melt the butter you put on it.  Yum…

    I found recipe for Whole Wheat Challah over at Simply Life a few weeks ao and I quite like it. Especially the whole “no kneading needed”, for it! Not that I don’t like kneading bread, because I do like that part of bread making.  Except for the cleaning up afterwards part.  The recipe called for vital wheat gluten, which I had never used before, but when I began to investigate what exactly it was, I decided that it was something that would enhance our diet, and began adding it to most of the bread I make (especially since it enhances whole grain baking).  One thing I often do (a trick I learned from the mother of my best friend, and also the master of the one bread recipe my children adore!  I just tell them that I used Grandma Ann’s recipe and it is all good….just no one tell them that Grandma Ann doesn’t use a recipe for her bread!), is adding rolled oats to the mixture.  Sometimes it is quinoa flakes even,
    they don’t notice!
    So this recipe quickly  morphed into something quite different from what I started from.

    Helping you get your protein fix Bread
    Makes 2 loaves.

     1 cup All purpose flour
    1 cup whole wheat flour
    1 cup whole spelt flour
    1/2 cup Kamut flour

    1/2 cup quinoa flakes

    1/8 cup vital wheat gluten

    3/4 tsp traditional yeast
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 1/2 cup skim milk – lukewarm
    1/8 cup canola oil or grape seed oil
    1/4 honey
    2 eggs
    1/8 cup milk or cream + 1 egg yolk, mix at the time you preheat the oven.  

    At least 15 minutes before you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Set aside.

    Combine dry ingredients and mix with a fork.
    Add wet ingredients and mix (without kneading), with a wooden spoon.  Set aside for 3 hours (or overnight if your house is cool like ours).
    Add 1/2 cup flour to mixture and stir a few strokes, it will be a sticky dough.  Turn out onto floured surface and divide into two balls.  (you can keep up to three days in the fridge if you don’t want to make two loaves at once).  Roll each ball and then cut into three portions.  Roll into three long pieces for braiding.  Braid each loaf on the parchment paper.  Let loaves rest up to 40 minutes.
    Brush each loaf with mik and egg mixture.  Place loaves in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes.  Allow to cool before slicing.
    A great accompaniment to soup for supper.

    Happy Packing!


    Move it on Monday: Project 52 Update

    So…one week in and where are we at?

    2. The De-clutter calendar: I successfully screwed up the wireless printer when I tried to print this calendar…I am thinking that this isn’t going to happen.  We still can’t get the computers to talk to the printer and we have been trying for a week.

     3. Double the number of blog entries this year over last year… Only one week in and my page views for January are already ahead of January 2011 for the whole month.  Plus the new blog routine means more blog posts.
    13. A new blog routine?  Done and posted on January 7th…yay, me!  Now, let’s do it.
    14. Two weeks in a row, the menus are posted, and in a reasonably timely fashion
    29. New calendar was up before the kids went back to school (and everything else) on Tuesday, so I am one for twelve so far…
    45. The new calendar and the new daytimer are here and hard at work.

    I have also made a point of going around and visiting some of the other blogs participating in Project 52, and added myself as a follower…I am hoping others will follow suit.  My #53 on the list of Project 52 is to increase my followers to 100 this year…

    Wow, let’s see how we do this week.  Our skating club is hosting a skating competition the end of the month and somehow I am on the Local organizing committee.  this means the next two and a half weeks will be soooo busy!  (good thing the menu and the calendar are posted!).  Plus, our international daughters will be heading for their home countries in just a few weeks as well. Hopefully, the success of this week will give me the energy to plug away at some more of the list…
    I am really looking forward to February…nothing but birthdays and Valentines to make…  Hahaha!  Who am I kidding, really?

    Chewy Oatmeal-Spelt Chocolate Chip Bars

    Here they are…oh so yummy!  I spied the recipe in my binder a few days ago and I realised that I hadn’t made it in a while (butter, sugar and white flour, I wonder why).  When I say “awhile” I mean like probably not in the past two years.  So, I pulled it out and set it aside, with the thought that I would “fix” it when I had time.

    Yesterday, my 10 year old pointed out, “Hey Mum, you haven’t made chocolate chip cookies in a really long time.”  Never mind that he enjoyed a whole lot of his grandmother’s chocolate chip cookies over the holidays, which I pointed out.  “Yeah, but those have walnuts in them.  I really don’t like the walnuts.”
    The mention of chocolate chips brought me back to the recipe I was going to fix.  I dug it out and decided that tomorrow (so today!) I would give it a try.

    First off, all white flour.  Well, I was pretty sure that something with 3/4 cup of butter in it could handle some whole wheat or even spelt.  I decided on 1 cup of whole spelt flour to 1 1/8 cup of all purpose.  Next I increased the egg from 1 egg + 1 egg yolk to 2 eggs.  The final change, I added 1 cup of quick cooking rolled oats.  Now to give it a try.
    Oh my goodness!  These are wonderful!  (there is whole grain flour in here?  Really?).  I also know that a little bit of the sugar can go next time we make them.  Kids liked them too (“A keeper, Mum”)

    Chewy Oatmeal Spelt Chocolate Chip Bars
    Preheat oven to 325F.  Line a 9×13 inch baking pan with aluminum foil (enough so that the foil creeps over the edges by about 1 inch to enable you to lift them out easily).  Spray foil lined pan.
    1 cup whole spelt flour (or other whole grain flour)
    1 1/8 cup all purpose flour
    1 cup rolled oats (quick cooking)
    1/2 tsp salt
    3/4 tsp baking soda
    3/4 cup butter, melted and cooled some
    1 cup brown sugar
    1/2 cup granulated sugar
    2 eggs (or one egg and two egg whites)
    2 tsp vanilla extract
    2 cups chocolate chips
    1 cup unsweetened, dried cranberries (optional)
    Sift flour, salt, baking soda and rolled oats in medium bowl and set aside.  Combine butter and sugars in large bowl and whisk until well combined.  Add eggs and vanilla, mix well.  Add dry ingredients to egg mixture and using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula fold dry into wet, being careful not to over mix (think like you would for making muffins).  Add chocolate chips and fold into mixture until just combined.  Transfer batter to prepared pan and spread out evenly.

    Bake for 25 minutes until beginning to brown on top, and just starting to pull away from sides.
    Cool in pan on rack until room temperature.  Then using foil to lift out of the pan, tranfer to cutting board and cool for another 5 minutes.  Cut into 2 inch squares and serve (with ice cream!).  Very much like a chocolate chip blondie/brownie type square.

    I am thinking these will be great in lunch boxes this week…If there are any left of course!
    Happy Packing!

    Adapted from “Back Packing Snacks” (source unavailable) recipe for Chewy chocolate chip squares.