Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Clean Eating Pumpkin Bread

This is a recipe I came up with to accomodate my family's sensitivities.  It is made with Spelt flour and sCoconut Palm Sugar.  Coconut Palm sugar is a healthier option because of its potassium, iron and vitamin content.  We exclusively use this sugar in our home.  This is still sugar and should be used in moderation.  Here is a clip from Dr. Oz coconut palm sugar:


Coconut Palm Sugar also has a low glycemic index.  Here is an explanation:


1/2 Cup Coconut Oil
1 Cup Coconut Palm Sugar
2 Eggs
1 Cup Pumpkin Puree
1/4 Cup Water
1 tsp Vanilla
1 3/4 Cup All Purpose Spelt Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 tsp Cinnamon

Combine Coconut oil and Sugar with mixer.  Once combined, add eggs, pumpkin puree, water and vanilla.  Combine dry ingredients in a seperate bowl.  Add ingredients to mixer.  transfer to a loaf pan and bake @ 350 for 50 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Homemade All Purpose Spray

I took a challenge to go Chemical free in my home about 2 1/2 years ago when my daughter was born. For the most part I do all my cleaning with microfiber cloths.  I love being able to clean my house with water and a little vinegar.  But sometimes I want to have a deeper clean.  Or something that will dissolve really sticky messes.  So instead of buying really expensive all purpose cleaner, I make my own chemical cleaner that is anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral.  This spray consists of 4 ingredients.  And it makes my Stove top and chrome sparkle like no chemical I have used before.

1 tsp Lavender Essential Oil
1 tsp Tea Tree Essential Oil
1 tbsp Castile Soap
3 cups Distilled water

I add the ingredients to a spray bottle and store under every sink in my home.  I do not feel badly about using it around my children.  Instead I can have them help me with my cleaning.  My daughter has sprayed this in her eye before and did not have any adverse reaction.  We rinsed it and she carried on without any tears.

In case you are wondering what castile soap is, it is a vegetable oil based soap.  Here is a picture of the brand I use:

You can use very small amounts of this around your home for many different purposes, from body wash to dish soap.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Homemade Teething Rail Tutorial

Unfortunately I did not see this idea on Pinterest before my first daughter chewed the finish off the top of the crib rail.  Nevertheless, I did get it sewn and on in time before my second daughter had teeth.  There are so many of these sewn teething rails on Pinterest that I am unsure of who to give credit.

I love this idea because it is way more interesting to look at than an ugly piece of plastic.  It is easily washed by throwing in the washing machine and does a great job of protecting the rail from sharp teeth.  Also, you made it yourself!

I bought these fat quarters at Walmart.  But you could use some of your favourite scraps.  I then quilted them together with a piece of fleece on the back. Hook and loop fasten the piece between the slats below the crib rail.  You could make covers for the side rails as well.  But my girls never seem to have bothered with them.

This is how you can do it step by step:

1. Measure the length of the rail you would like to cover.  Divide it by the number of pieces of fabric you would like to incorporate.  Add a 1" seam allowance to the number you came up with previously.

2.  Cut each piece of cotton fabric into 12" x the measurement from above.

3.  Cut a piece of fleece 12" x (length of the rail + 1")

4.   Place right sides of cotton together and sew the pieces together along the 12" sides with a 1/2" seam allowance.  Keep doing this until all your pieces of cotton are sewn together in a long strip.

5.  Put right sides of your fleece and cotton fabric together.  Sew around the pieces, using a 1/2" seam allowance, leaving a 4" opening. 

6.  Clip corners and turn right side out.  Press and top stitch around the entire piece.  You can also top stitch down each side of fabric to give a quilted look.

7. Hold piece up to crib and mark where the hook and loop should be.  I chose to place a piece every 3 openings.  I wanted it to be secure so that it would not be ripped off.

8.  Sew hook and loop on the teething rail at the appropriate spots.  Attach to the crib and voila!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Chalk Painted Television

I am so excited to show you this next piece.  I found it in the garbage and fell in love with the beautiful shape of the feet and top.  

 It turns out that this was an old television with the insides taken out.  When I picked it up on the side of the road it had wood panelling sliding doors and a piece of panelling in the back.  It had already been repurposed for storage.  I loved the shape and had my dad take the panelling out for me and put in a shelf and some bead board on the back.  He also added a rope detail to the front of the shelf.

I used my homemade chalk paint to paint this shelf.  I then distressed it and added two coats of wax.  This is what it looks like in my living room. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!!! 

Homemade Laundry Soap

Some of the ways I choose to contribute to my family is through cutting costs and going back to the basics.  As a stay at home mom, it makes me feel like I am doing something to contribute to the family finances.  One of the major ways I have learned to do this is by eliminating all chemical cleaners from my home.  I do this for cost effectiveness as well as reducing my families exposure to harmful polutants.  Instead I clean with good old vinegar and baking soda.  I also use Norwex microfiber cloths.

Laundry Soap is one of the major costs in household cleaning products.  Especially with a young family; I think I probably do 6 loads of laundry a week.  And they are jam packed full!  The great news is you can make your laundry soap for 2 cents a load.  I have used a couple of different recipes over the past couple of years.  The homemade liquid soaps are more economical.  But I like to use a powder now.  I like the way it washes and the fact that there is less mess in making it.

Since I switched to this new recipe, my grandmother has commented several times on the brightness of my whites.  I take this as a compliment as she is a real laundry perfectionist.

I have lately been using this recipe from Stone Gable Blog:


I exclude the Downey Unstopables as I do not like to use synthetic fragrances in my home.  My girls struggle with eczema and therefore I stay away from any fragrances on their skin.

1~ 4lb 12 oz box of Borax
1~ 4 lb box of Arm And Hammer Baking Soda
1~ 3 lb 7 oz box of Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda
1~ 3lb  container Oxy Clean
4 bars Sunlight Laundry Soap, grated (Or 3 Bars of Lindas)

Grate bars of soap and then put them into the food processor.  Pulse the soap until they are small and easily dissolved in the laundry.  Dump soap and all remaining ingredients into a double bagged garbage bag.  Mix thoroughly and store in a 2 gallon container.  This is what the soap looks like.  Use 1 tbsp per load.  And 2 tbsp when washing cloth diapers.  

This recipe is so easy and does such a great job of cleaning the laundry.  When I first found it, I could not stop telling people about it.  I have even converted my Mom and she is the queen of convenience.  I hope I have inspired you to simplify your life and save some money by making your  own laundry soap.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Cold Chaser Thai Soup

This soup recipe quickly became my favourite after I discovered Thai Chicken Soup at a local restaurant.  I was looking to be inspired by both clean eating and a low carb option.  I normally leave out the rice noodles and add extra bean sprouts.  Inspiration for this recipe came from my knowledge of hot and sour soup and further researching flavours in thai soups such as, Tom Yum and coconut curry.  It quickly became a family favourite and I have made pots upon pots by request for my Mom and sister Amber.  Even my niece at 10 months laps it up.

This soup freezes extremely well in Mason jars (as you will see in other blogs, I love my mason jars for meals).  Make sure to leave enough head space to avoid breaking the jar.  This is especially helpful for families on the go or shift workers like myself. I have become the envy of the lunch room, as the aroma of this soup fills the break room.  This soup is especially beneficial for those suffering a cold, due to the large amounts of ginger and garlic. The stock preparation can be used with your favourite chicken soup recipe to increase its cold fighting power and give it a little thai-spiration.

The Cold Fighting Stock
1 1/2 Box Chicken Stock
2 Cloves of Garlic (chopped finely)
2 Stalks Lemongrass (outside brown leaves peeled and cut in rounds 3/4 of the way up the stock. discard top 1/4 of stock as it is bitter)
4" Piece of Ginger (chopped finely)

Main Soup Ingredients
2 Cans Coconut Milk
2 1/2 - 3 tbs Red Curry Paste
2 Tbsp Fish Sauce
1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire
2 Tbsp Sweet Thai Chilli Sauce (or 1 tbs of Chili Garlic Sauce and 1 1/2 tbs Honey and 1 tsp Sambal Oelek)
3 Tbsp Ginger (finely grated)
1 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
Zest and Juice of 1 Lime
3 large Shallots (thinly sliced)
2 Chicken Breasts (thinly sliced)
8 oz pre-sliced Cremini Mushrooms
5 oz Matchstick Carrots
1/2 lb Baby Bok Choy (Chopped and white end discarded)
1/2 Bunch Cilantro (roughly chopped)

Finishing the Soup
Zest and Juice of 2 Limes
1/2-1lb of Bean Sprouts
1/2 Cilantro Bunch (roughly Chopped)
1 Cup Fresh Pineapple (small bite sized)

Garnishing & Serving
Chopped Tomato
Chopped Cilantro (The second half of the bunch)
Finely Chopped Mint (few leaves per bowl)
Lime cut into wedges
Rice noodles

Add Chicken Stock, Garlic, Lemongrass, and Ginger to a large soup pot.  Bring to a boil and turn down to a simmer for 30 minutes covered.  Strain broth and add back to the pot.

Add, Coconut Milk, Red Curry Paste, Fish Sauce, Soy Sauce, Worcestershire Sauce, Sweet Chili Sauce, finely grated ginger, Rice Vinegar, Zest and Juice of Lime and shallots.  Bring back to a boil and add Chicken. Allow to cook for 10 minutes then add: Mushrooms, Carrots, Bok Choy and Cilantro.   Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes.

Adjust soup to taste by adding more, Sambal Oelek, Red Thai Curry Paste and Ginger.

Take soup off heat.  Add zest and juice of 2 limes, Bean Sprouts, 1/2 Bunch of Cilantro and Pineapple.

Laddel hot soup over vermicelli rice noodles and diced tomato.  Top with fresh cilantro, fresh mint leaves, and a wedge of lime.   Allow soup to sit for 3 minutes to allow noodles to cook.

Let guests add extra spice with Sriracha and to cool down those tastebuds a Cool Coconut Smoothie coming soon to the blogs.

Signing off with a smile and a happy heart! Thanks for letting us share a little piece of home with you.