Pumpkin Spice Granola

The world of Wonderland is slowly getting back to normal (whatever that is). My leg is now doing some weight bearing and Range of Motion (ROM) is getting better. I still have pain at night when I sleep, so now I sleep with a pillow to elevate my knee when I sleep on my right side. When I sleep on my back I use it to relax both my legs. It props up my knee into it’s most comfortable position. When I sleep on my left it is used to keep my right leg from interacting with my left leg. For some reason they cannot touch when I sleep on my left.

Truth be told I haven’t slept with this many pillows or this much effort since I was pregnant and we know how fun that was. For those of you who do know. It was awful. I am terrible at being pregnant. Anyway… every morning I wake up sore and stiff and wonder will this get any better?

I have seen some progress. In one week I went from being able to bend my leg 90 degrees to 120 degrees. That is huge, or at least my therapist made me think it was. I can also straighten my leg another 9 degrees. That was last week. This week doesn’t feel like much progress. I felt stronger earlier this week but now I feel like I need my crutches. Perhaps I was trying to push things too quickly. I went from using my one crutch to using no crutches in one day. Now my hips are sore. I think I am over compensating in another area of my body. Just so you know, that getting rid of the crutch was singularly my idea as is bringing it back, in the evenings. I just feel so ridiculous using it. It doesn’t even feel like i am using it.

In my quest to over do things, I decided this would be a perfect time to bake, and cook, and shop etc. Not to mention work getting a little bit in the way of rest and relaxation and also the exercises that I am supposed to be doing.  I try to fit my ROM exercises in everyday as that is more important than strength, but the other stuff has been kind of hit and miss. Perhaps that is why I feel like I am plateauing. Also when I go to do the wall ball squat and stairs, I have a some abnormal pain so I don’t really want to do them.

While I was procrastinating everything I am supposed to do, I decided I would try to make some granola. I have been meaning to make it since before the wipeout. Being alone and bored for hours on end, you end up eventually, deciding to go through your to do list. Granola was on my to do list.

I was “walking” through the grocery store and saw HIGH PROTEIN granola and wondered what was in it that made it high in protein. When I turned over the package and read the ingredients list, I was still wondering. Not one ingredient in there would I have associated with “high in protein” and there was a few that I would associate with “bad for you”. I guess that is the chance we take when we don’t make our own. I totally get it though, my pantry right now is full of processed stuff just because it’s cheap, they’ll eat it, it’s easy, and I have been laid up.

Hmmm. I wonder for how much longer I can use my leg as an excuse.

Ahem.

So like I was saying, the stars combined, the planets aligned and as luck would have it I had some groceries that would go into a granola. I sort of followed a bunch of recipes and I kind of measured. Really Granola is like the kitchen sink of recipes. you can though anything remotely granola-ish into it and it’s going to turn out pretty good. When you need to clean out your pantry, make granola. I decided I would make Pumpkin Spice Granola. Some recipes I found had one making the granola in one’s crockpot, so I thought I would try that. After all , God invented crockpots to make life easier right?

Well for this particular situation, I would not use a crockpot. I am an impatient person and 4 hours, stirring granola every so often so it doesn’t burn, is a little annoying. Others have said they prefer the crockpot as it is more forgiving in the burning department. I however, like to cross things off my list and spending 4hours mindfully making something that could take 30-45 minutes, tops, is frustrating.  So I guess if you are easily distracted and tend to burn things, or you just live and die by your crockpot, then maybe that kind of granola will “toasting” will work for you. Needless to say, I started out in the crockpot, gave up and turned it off, so I could pick up my son from school, then put it on a parchmented baking sheet and finished it off.

So what went it? That’s  good question. It was like a week ago when I started this post and now I am starting to forget. Remember how I said I didn’t really measure or follow a recipe? Well here it goes.

Pumpkin Spice Granola:

In a large bowl (or crockpot as the case may be) combine:

5 cups large flake oats

1 cup wheat bran

1/2 cup ground flax seed

1 cup uncooked quinoa (weird I know, but a couple of recipes had it so I tried it)

1/2 Cup unsweetened coconut

1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds

1 cup sliced almonds

1 tsp each of Cinnamon and Ginger

1/2 tsp cloves

1/4 tsp nutmeg

Because I was originally making in a crockpot I also added 1&1/2 cups cranberries. If doing in the oven, leave them out and add them at the end.

I think thats about right. 🙂

Mean while in a small sauce pan, on low heat, melt 1/2  a cup coconut oil ( you can use vegetable oil instead) Then turn off the heat and set aside.

In another bowl (smaller) whisk 2 egg whites for about a minute Then whisk in the following:

1 cup pumpkin puree

1/2 cup maple syrup (the real stuff)

The melted coconut oil

1/4 cup coconut palm sugar  (or brown sugar)

and 2 tsp vanilla

Pour over the dry granola mixture and mix till evenly-ish coated. If using a crockpot, cook it on high for 4 hours stirring every 30 mins. If doing in the oven, preset you oven to 325 degrees F  and put it in for 10 min, stir, then for another 10 min, stir, and then another 10 min. It should be done. But if its not quite go another 10 minutes. The amount you actually have on your baking sheet can affect cooking time. Let it sit and cool on the pan.

There Done Like Dinner  Breakfast.

Put it in a sealable jar, and take pretty pictures of it. Then post it on Instagram or pin it on Pinterest. It’s what all the great granola chefs are doing these days. 😉

This post was to go up over 2 weeks ago. I was waiting to take pictures of my beautiful granola to add to the post, but life got busy and the granola got eaten. It was good, very good actually, but I think I could tweak it to be better. Maybe a Chocolate pumpkin granola. That might be a bit overboard. Next time I’ll take pictures. Promise

 

 

 

 

 

Easter at home

With the way things have been going, it feels good to spend an Easter at home.Only one day of slight travel (across town) to my sister’s on Friday. She is hosting for the  first time. Sadly her kids couldn’t be there, the were with their dad, but it was fun all the same. My older kids haven’t spent much time with Aunty Jen since before she got married and Tweedle 3 can count the number of times he has seen her on one hand. Circumstances being what they are, she is finally free to enjoy the love of her family again. So we celebrated anyway. She looks so much happier and healthier. Sure things are hard and they will be for a while but if it’s right, then it’s right. The only one who can know if it’s right is her and her Heavenly Father.

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Yesterday (Saturday) we had the opportunity to clean the church. I know it’s weird but my kids love to clean the church and I figure I had better take them up on that. The certainly aren’t learning to clean all that well at home (it’s getting better) so they can learn at the church, where the company is good. My sister has a saying anything is fun if you have your friends. We were on vacuum duty and the boys helped clean surfaces. After the church we settled on colouring eggs and then a movie. Rio 2. Tweedle 3 would probably give the movie *****. There were things that I liked but it was kind of weird. I know I’m not their target market so I’m sure it’s fantastic. I would give it ***.

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Today, we got bunnied and then we went to church. Following church we rolled eggs. I know egg rolling isn’t that popular but the Mad Hatter told me today he only knows that my family rolls eggs. This couldn’t possibly be so. I took an informal poll and so far, through third hand, one other family that isn’t related to me on my dad’s side rolls eggs. Surely it’s more popular than that. Oh well. It’s what we do. That’s how we roll.

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Raspberry Chocolate Banana Bread

Its been cold. Not only outside but in my home too. Not as bad in the past but still. If one is wearing a hat all day and under 2-3 blankets just to get warm there is a problem. My body wants to put on insulation. I can’t believe how much I am craving the carbs right now. And it’s not even the good carbs. I want white flour and white sugar. Normally a hearty vegetable soup is on the menu or some  delicious chilli, but not now. I want cookies, muffins, bread, and cake. I almost never bake because I know that is a weakness.

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I have some theories as to why this is happening.

1. It’s cold and my body feels it and wants to put on insulation

2. I love Chocolate

3. Sugar is the quickest way for my body to get energy when it needs it.

4. Sugar also causes me to go into a coma like state where I want to sleep all day long under a blanket, thus conserving my energy

5. Baking turns on my oven and my oven makes my house warmer.

6. My Sister has been going through a stressful time and consequently I am stressed so I eat.

7. Have I mentioned I am cold.

8. My my go to comfort food is baked goods

Ok enough complaining. And lets get to the food. There is something great about banana bread, especially or singularly homemade banana bread. I don’t like most store bought banana bread. It tastes fake. Fake banana is gross. It starts off a little “sweet”, then you say “I think thats banana”, and then your like “nope, it not.” Then sadly that taste stays with you because there is some sort of oil that coats your mouth. Yuck.

So I stick to homemade banana bread. Even the Jessica Sienfeld cauliflower banana bread is better than factory bread.  Today I have a proven winner. Bananas, chocolate and raspberries. Please note that this is not a low calorie version, but it does have whole ingredients (aside from the white flour and chocolate chips, cause I want white flour and chocolate chips right now ). It is seriously delicious and makes fantastic muffins.

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Banana Bread – adapted from a recipe found on food.com by licked_cupcake

2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup organic coconut palm sugar
4 tablespoons softened butter
2 eggs (room temperature)
3 overripe bananas, mashed
1/3 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup dark semisweet chocolate chunks (I prefer the Safeway select jumbo chips if making a loaf)
1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
1 tablespoon flour

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F Spray a 9×5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.

3. Cut raspberries in half, then toss them with 1 tbsp flour. If frozen break them apart. Or if your lazy like me just leave it.

4. In a separate large bowl, beat the sugar and butter with an electric mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 1 minute). Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the banana, yogurt, and vanilla; beat until blended. Stir in the flour mixture; just until moist. Don’t over-mix. Stir in the chocolate chunks and then gently stir in the raspberries.

5. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 60 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes in the pan on a wire rack. Remove from pan and cool completely on the wire rack.

Just note: I had my loaf in for 50 minutes and it was fine, but the original cook had hers in for 70 min. Make sure you watch your loaf. If you make muffins check it after 20 minutes.

Below is a link to the original recipe.

Read more: <a href=”http://www.food.com/recipe/dark-chocolate-raspberry-banana-bread-501767?oc=linkback”>http://www.food.com/recipe/dark-chocolate-raspberry-banana-bread-501767?oc=linkback</a&gt;

Banana Oatmeal Pancakes

Breakfast is hard for me. It’s hard for my family. I believe in breakfast but I’m not awake and not hungry. Neither are the boys, except for Tweedle D, he is always hungry. I’ve also noticed what my kids eat for breakfast really affects their focus at school and their ability to tolerate the day. This sucks, because it’s so easy to give them chocolate hazelnut spread or hand them a box of cereal and let them “make breakfast”.

So in my divine quest to feed my children better and make breakfast, we have tried some new things.  We have tried baked oatmeal, which is liked best out of all the oatmeals, but receives about a 3 out of 5 on the likeness scale. That will do once in a while, but it’s also important that my kids actually get the food in their bellies so I like to go with proven winners. This is where Banana Oatmeal Pancakes come in. They are quicker than french toast, gluten free, refined sugar free, and depending on the milk/ yogurt you use it can be dairy free. It has 3 eggs so it has a the protein needed to help my boys feel fuller and stay focused through the day. I got the recipe from here. She has the cute pictures if you need to see how they look. She also has many recipes that are fantastic so I would recommend checking her out anyway. Here is the recipe.

1Cup Milk (I use silk almond milk, but you can use what you have)

1/2 Cup Greek yogurt (I use whatever I have on hand even if it is flavoured)

2 Tablespoons Lemon juice

3 Large Eggs

1 teaspoon Vanilla

1 Banana

2 cups Large Flake Oats

1 Tablespoon Chia Seeds

1 Tablespoon Honey

1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt (or whatever salt you have on hand)

1/2 Teaspoon  Baking Soda

2 Teaspoon Baking Powder

Place all ingredients, except the last 3, in a blender (I have a crappy one and this still works) and let it run. Then add the salt, baking soda and baking powder and give it a quick blend. In the past I’ve put it all in at the same time and it still worked. Cook on a hot griddle and stay close by because these seem to cook faster than normal pancakes. At least the cook faster at my house. Top with yogurt berries or maple syrup. Delicious. Each pancake, if you make the smaller ones is roughly 90 calories. The batch I made this morning made 16 but they were not all the same size. Close. Thats why it’s roughly 90 calories.

CTR: the cake that love built

This weekend my nephew is getting baptized. In our church we do that at age 8. So he being older than a baby, requested I make him a CTR shield cake. How could I turn him down? I made one for my other nephew and it seems that this cake might become a tradition. But who knows, 2 cakes does not a pattern make.

In out church CTR stand for Choose The Right. There is this whole armour of God thing in Corinthians and I think that is where the shield idea came from but I am only speculating.

It looks something like this.

This just in… the history behind the symbol. Turn out I was wrong…again. Anyway I digress. So here is a shot if the cake I made a year and a half ago. I like to call it: Quick take a picture before it gets eaten

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Here is the one for tomorrow. Its the same sort of idea, just altered a bit.

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You will notice that both cakes have a different shape for the shield. There is a good reason for that. I don’t like to waste cake. The “metallic sheen” comes from lustre dust mixed with lemon juice. I used both silver and gold. The rivets  are made by using a #3 piping tip, just in case you ever need to make a rivet. This decorating took longer than normal, as my first batch of marshmallow fondant that I swear by, decided to crumble on me. So I had to toss it out. I made a second batch and significantly reduced the amount of sugar but it was still cracking. Not cool. So if Laura comes on here and sees this she will know it wasn’t just her.  I think the air might be unusually dry right now. Whatever, my old standby is crumby, at least this time. I managed to cover it up mostly. At least it’s done. Now doesn’t that sound like love.

 

oz the great and powerful

Most mornings I don’t have the TV on. I just putter around, work on things, do some laundry, and visit pinterest. Occasionally I will leave the house and exercise. That happens less often than I like, but c’est la vie. Anyway I’ve been organizing the rental taxes and for noise in the background I happened to turn on the tv.

Now the Dr. Oz show didn’t come on right away, but I eventually got there. Prepping these taxes takes a long time. On the show he talked about a 3 day detox and what got me was the fact that there was food (in the form of a shake that you made from real food). No silly starvation “detox”. I also hadn’t watched him in years so his credibility with me, is probably a little higher than it should be. Remember Dr. Phil, yeah he is a sell out now. But I guess people get bored of watching real people work out there troubles, and you have to get all Jerry Springer or bye, bye show. Ok, it’s not that bad, at least I don’t think so, I haven’t seen a chair fly, but I digress.

So being the non committal person that I am, but wanting to take good things into my life, I decided before I would go full on 3 days of liquid meals (remember I am decaffeinating right now) I decided to just try the smoothies as a meal replacement sometimes.  The breakfast drink was pretty good, not the best, but yeah doable. I did feel hungrier sooner than they said but nothing I couldn’t handle. Today I tried the lunch drink. NOT good. I admit it wasn’t the worst thing I have  ever drank or tasted (cough medicine still holds that honour), but I couldn’t finish it and it had a texture thing. I think it could use more apple or pineapple and less celery. I chopped up the celery leaves with it too and that may have been where I went terribly wrong. I am not sure I could do that for 3 days. I still have yet to try and make the dinner shake. It looks like something I could tolerate.

I do notice though, that the days I do have a shake I feel lighter and less sluggish. If I could just eat 2 celery stalks and add half an apple to the shake, I might be able to handle the lunch one. Ugh, but then I feel like I am cheating. Whatever, it’s not like it’s chocolate.

you are what you eat.

Lately my legs and knees (especially the left one) have been quite achy. I can’t say that it’s really because I have been doing a whole lot, because I haven’t. I want to, but the timing is all wrong. I’m still working out bugs in my schedule. Anyway, I have taken it easier these last three weeks (aside from the long run on saturday) but my legs wake up sore and get worse through the day.

It could be a number of things really. It could be the extra 8 lbs I’m carrying. It could be that my shoes aren’t supportive enough. Or, it could be my diet. Actually it could be a combination of all three and more, but I can’t help but wonder if what I am eating could be causing inflammation and consequently pain. I am currently 23 days without a caffeinated or diet beverage so yay me, but my sugar intake has increased. I have also noticed that the last 2 days I have consumed a lot of tomatoes which are night shade vegetables. Normally this wouldn’t bother me but my knee is acting up again and when I see joint pain and nightshades  together I get a little concerned. I am thinking of trying an elimination diet, but I need to read up on how to do that.

I remember a time that I could eat anything I wanted and seemingly there was no consequence, but now I really see my body holding me accountable. It always will.

giving up

So Wednesday feb 13 was the beginning of lent, and although I am not catholic, I decided, I have something I needed to give up. I didn’t always have this addiction to pop. In fact growing up we only had it on “special occasions”. In high school, I will admit that I had the occasional coke for breakfast. When I was working retail and was tired I would go and get a Pepsi. But really, I could get along without it. That was until child #3.

For some reason (pure exhaustion) I needed it. It peaked in the last year as a daily treat (sometimes multiple daily treat). Then somewhere along the way it became a de-stressor. When my kids were cruddy or I had bitten off more than I could chew or when life threw junk at me, I would turn to a nice cold glass of bubbly goodness. Also due to the frequency I changed over to diet.

This isn’t the first time I tried to give this up. I managed to go without before, but when my time was done I just reverted to the old ways. I am now officially in my second week and the headaches have started. I knew this would happen, but it seems worse this time. My stomach is reacting terribly this time too. I’m getting cramps and nausea, that although I have been exposed to viruses, I am pretty sure it’s not related. I’m not entirely sure the stomach issues are caffeine withdrawal symptoms, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were. The cravings started at 4 days in, but they haven’t been anything I can’t handle.

Anyway, I can’t wait till I feel better. I actually can, but I can’t. So I will and because this has been crummier, I’m hoping not to take it up again.

I have been posting, but they have all been personal me stuff. Stuff to close to share. I’ve also tried a million times to post light things, but when one doesn’t feel light, it seems rather silly. Just so you don’t worry. There is nothing going on except my 1st world problems, but they are , were (hopefully still in the past) problems, that I have learned and grown from and now time to move on.

School has been in for a week and I am adjusting to the schedule. So is everyone else, except the Mad Hatter who is away and kinda runs on his own clock anyway. Today was the first day I got out for a morning run. It felt … um… like a run, but a lazy one at that. I only went 2 miles and I keep telling myself 2 miles is better than no miles, but I also feel as though I let myself off the hook. I really wanted to do 3 or 3.5 miles, but I was by myself and the recent female sexual assaults in the city had me thinking that today I will stick to the more populated paths, so 2 miles it was.

I like having my mornings. I like coming home to an empty house and getting a load of laundry in (notice I didn’t say done), having some tea, and watching a show or reading a book. I only have 2 hours. Tweedle 3 just has morning kindergarten so there really isn’t time to get a whole lot done. Perhaps tomorrow I will take a shower.

About that tea, I am not much of a tea drinker. Herbal teas always promise deep flavours with their amazing aromatics, but only give a watered down version. I could steep longer but then it would be cold. I’ve tried some kinds of roiboos. Recently I purchase a small amount of chocolate chai, but am finding it lacking in the chocolate department. There is a spice that is really strong in their mix that is overpowering everything really. Maybe I’ll add some chocolate syrup. Haha just kidding. I think one of my english ancestors just died again. Anyway if you have a type that you like (has to be herbal) then let me know. By the way I don’t like flower flavours or a lot of fruity flavours. See what I mean. It’s hard being me and trying to enter the world of teas. What I really wish is someone would make a chocolate hazelnut in a herbal mix. I saw a black tea that had that so I think it can be done. Come on people. Help a girl out.

As for the book. I am currently reading “The Dark Is Rising” sequence. Why it is not called a series I don’t know. Anyway I finished the first book and now I am reading it to the kids. They really like it and are amazed at all the washing that english people do before they ate. Really one should keep a tally at how many times they say they are going to wash. It would be like a fun family joke. The first book is called “Over Sea and Under Stone.” I am reading to my self the second book called “The Dark is Rising”. It’s supposed to be the book the movie “The Seeker” is based on but oi. Did hollywood ever bash that one up. The book, aside from names (and they even got a lot of those wrong), the quest to find the signs of light, and the time of year, is nothing like the movie.  Absolutely nothing! Some have said that is a blessing because the movie was so bad. I however didn’t mind the movie and my kids liked it. Anyway I just wish when one bases a book on a movie they could at least get 80% of it right not the 10% they used. That being said this book would have been difficult to do as a movie people would have been getting lost. I dunno maybe Peter Jackson needs to do this one. All in all the series, sequence is going good. I’m enjoying it.

 

 

Orange

This years jam session was made possible by farmers from the province of british columbia. Thanks farmers.

I make apricot jam. I think it’s the Mad Hatter’s favourite. I prefer raspberry or strawberry, but those berries are gone before I get there or too expensive. Apricot is a close second and because it’s super easy I’m really not settling.

You take four cups chopped up apricots 1/4 cup water, and heat in a pot. As the fruit starts to fall apart add 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 3 cups of sugar. Then throw in  a few apricot pits (4 or 5) bring to a boil and then reduce, simmer for 20 minutes and

BAM!!

you have

JAM!

I process them for 10 minutes. in a water bath. There is a bit of a trick to this though. You can’t really walk away you need to be stirring the whole time you are making the jam. Otherwise it will froth and burn and be less than desirable.

10 lbs of apricots – the ones eaten by the family produced 16 jelly jars. I hope they last the year but I kind of doubt they will. Tweedle J is a big fan of jam.