Homemade Hamburger Helper Saturday, Mar 1 2014 

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Homemade Hamburger Helper

1lb hamburger
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup green peppers, chopped (optional)
2.5 – 3.5 cups tomato juice*
1 3/4 cup buttermilk**
2 cups macaroni, uncooked
1tsp sugar
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
Cheese, optional

In large pot, fry meat, onions, and peppers. Add tomato juice, milk, macaroni, sugar, chili powder and salt. Simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring frequently, until noodles are tender. Stir in cheese if desired. I stirred in some parmesan and cheddar.

Quick-meal tip: I cook large batches of ground beef/onions and keep it in the freezer for quick meals. If you have precooked ground beef like that, all you do is throw all the ingredients together in a large pot, simmer until done! Quick and easy!

Variation: I’m sure the seasonings could be swapped with others to change up this meal a bit if desired. I like the simplicity of this one.

*I used whole wheat noodles and used 3 1/2 cups. With white noodles, you would need less. Start with 2.5 cups and add ore as needed until the noodles are cooked through.
**I used milk with a bit of vinegar added. I’m sure it would work just fine with regular milk.

No-Bake Energy Balls Monday, Jul 15 2013 

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I am preparing for the arrival of our third baby soon, and wanted to make some no-bake energy balls in the freezer for the labour, or post-partum. My husband and boys LOVE these as well, so hopefully there will be a few left for the midwives and I by the time the baby arrives!!

There are easy to make, and don’t heat up the house on these hot summer days. They are wonderful to bring on a car ride, picnic, play date at the beach or park, or anywhere else you go.

The recipe is a slight adaptation from here.

No-Bake Energy Balls

1 cup oatmeal (I use large flakes so they take longer to digest, keeping one feeling full longer)
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1/3 cup honey
1 cup coconut flakes
1/2 cup ground flaxseed/chia seeds/psyllium husks/hemp hearts
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (or use cranberries, etc!)
1 tsp vanilla
Mix all ingredients together, and put the mixture in the fridge for at least 20 minutes (to make it easier to handle). Shape into balls, and freeze on a cookie sheet. Once frozen, transfer them to a container or ziploc bag and either store in fridge or freezer – if they last that long!

Rhubarb Muffins Thursday, Jun 13 2013 

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I was excited to get some rhubarb again this year, and decided to try this new recipe from Simply in Season. They turned out wonderful! So moist, and perfect combinaison of sweet and sour from the rhubarb. It’s definitely a recipe I’ll turn to time and again in rhubarb season!

Rhubarb Muffins

1 cup buttermilk, sour milk, or plain yogurt*
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup oil
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups wheat flour
1/2 cup white flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups rhubarb, diced
1/2 cup nuts, optional

Mix together buttermilk, brown sugar, oil, egg, and vanilla. Stir in flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt until just moistened.Stir in rhubarb and nuts. Pour in greased/lined muffin tins.

Topping:
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp flour

Combine topping ingredients and sprinkle on top of batter. Bake at 375F approximately 20 minutes, until toothpick in center comes out clean.

*I make my own buttermilk by adding 1 Tbsp vinegar to my milk and letting is sit a couple minutes.

Strawberry Muffins Tuesday, Jun 11 2013 

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This is a recipe slightly modified from Simply in Season. It’s so simple to put together, and deliciously moist! It’s definitely a recipe I’ll be making again and again!

Strawberry Muffins

1 1/4 cup strawberries, mashed*
3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup oil
2 eggs
1 cup wheat flour
1/2 cup white flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder

Mix together sugar, oil, and eggs. Stir in strawberries. Add in dry ingredients, only stirring until combined. Pour into greased/lined muffin tins and bake at 375F for approximately 20 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

* I used thawed frozen strawberries.

Homemade Diaper Rash Cream Friday, Jun 7 2013 

My 2-yr old was recently battling a diaper rash. After trying various (expensive!) over the counter diaper creams, with no real results. During that time I ordered what I needed to make my own, and I’ve been so pleased with it! Even my son said “No owie!” after I put it on his rashy-bum. That’s quite a compliment! :)

I looked around online at various recipes for diaper rash creams, such as this one and this one, and  ended up making my own end product. I bought most of the ingredients from New Directions Aromatics (they have both a US website and Canadian website) as they have very good prices, decent shipping rate, and quick delivery.

Homemade Diaper Rash Cream

2 Tbsp coconut oil
1/8 cup shea butter
1/8 oz beeswax granules
2 tsp cornstarch
5 drops vitamin E drops (or empty one capsule) (optional, good for skin)
6 drops grapefruit seed extract (optional, as preservative)
1 Tbsp zinc oxide powder
1 Tbsp witch hazel (optional, its treats inflammation and swelling)
5 drops tea tree essential oil (optional, but anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal)
5 drops lavender essential oil (optional, but anti-bacterial, and anti-viral)

Place coconut oil, beeswax, and shea butter, and cornstarch in a double boiler (or place a bowl in a hot water/boiling water pot), melt the oils on medium-low heat. Remove bowl and put on counter. Add in zinc powder, vitamin E oil, grapefruit seed extract, witch hazel, and essential oils. Using a slick blender or hand mixer, blend in well, until smooth. Pour into a jar, and let cool.

Homemade Sunscreen Thursday, Jun 6 2013 

I made sunscreen, following this recipe, last week. The next day was a bright direct-sunlight day, so we got to test out the sunscreen! Josiah took the boys out on a long bike ride, and none of them got sun burnt! I’m so excited to have a good homemade sunscreen, with natural ingredients I don’t mind smearing on my children’s skin. I’m also excited to have a sunscreen that I can use on our 6-mth old baby when we move to Niger (Africa), next January.

Homemade Sunscreen

1/2 oz beeswax pastilles
1/4 cup (2 oz) shea butter
1/4 cup (2 oz) coconut oil
1/8 oz buriti oil (optional, good natural sunscreen properties)
2 Tbsp (1 oz) zinc oxide powder
5 drops vitamin E oil (optional, good for skin)

Place beeswax, shea butter, coconut oil, and buriti oil in a double boiler (or place a bowl in a hot water/boiling water pot), melt the oils on medium-low heat. Remove bowl and put on counter. Add in zinc powder, and vitamin E oil. Using a slick blender or hand mixer, blend the zinc powder in well, until smooth. Pour into a jar, and let cool.

Strawberry Yogurt Popsicles Wednesday, May 8 2013 

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I have made our own popsicles for the past 2yrs or so. I love making my own as I know exactly what is in it, and its not loaded with food colouring and sugar. :)  There are many cute popsicle moulds out there too, such as the one my son is holding in a start shape. The main one I’ve been making is Smoothie Popsicles, but we also really like the Coffee Popsicles! While I searched my blog for the links to those two popsicles, I came across one I totally forgot about, Peanut Butter Popsicles!

This week, I tried a new one: Strawberry Yogurt Popsicles. It is DELICIOUS! It’ll definitely become a regular part of our popsicle selection this summer. :)

Strawberry Yogurt Popsicles

1 cup strawberries, mashed
1 cup plain yogurt
Honey, to taste (or other sweetener of choice)

I put my strawberries through the blender, leaving some small chunks for texture. I quickly blended in the yogurt, and sweetened to taste with a bit of honey. Freeze in popsicle moulds, or in small cups with a spoon or popsicle sticks in it. Enjoy! :)

Sunshine Muffins Friday, May 3 2013 

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Last year, I was given an old recipe box, with lots of old newspaper clippings, with recipes. This recipe is from one of those clippings, so I don’t know where to give the credit! Of course, I did my own variations anyways. :)  We all loved this recipe, and so did our neighbour kids! The 3.5 dozen (double recipe) didn’t last 2 days! Very moist, fresh, and delicious! Definitely will be making it again.

It’s a versatile recipe, feel free to change the add-ins to sunflower seeds, poppy seeds, grated apples instead of the grated carrots, dried fruit, etc.

Sunshine Muffins

2 cups flour (I did 1/2 cup white, 1 1/2 cup spelt)
2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp ground flax
2 Tbsp hemp hearts
1 Tbsp sesame seeds
1/3 cup sunflower seeds/poppy seeds, etc (optional)
1/3 cup coconut
1/3 cup chocolate chips
2 cups grated carrots
1 banana, mashed
3 eggs
1 cup oil
2 tsp vanilla

Combine flour, baking soda, sugar, and cinnamon together. Stir in sesame seeds, coconut, chocolate chips, carrots and banana.

Beat together eggs, oil, and vanilla. Stir into flour mixture until just moistened. Spoon into greased/lined muffin cups and bake at 375F for 15-20 minutes.

Makes 1.5 dozen.

Granola Bars Thursday, May 2 2013 

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A friend gave me this recipe a few years ago, and I remember really liking them. I finally got around to making it again, and yes, still just as delicious! These are pretty sweet, more like a dessert to me, but hold together really well.

 

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Granola Bars

3 cups oatmeal
2/3 cup slivered almonds
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup butter
3/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp maple extract
1/4 cup maple syrup

Mix thoroughly, by hand. Press it on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375F for 10-15 minutes, or until it bubbles in the middle and is just a bit brown. Cut when warm, and leave in the pan until completely cooled.

Brown Rice Pudding Tuesday, Apr 30 2013 

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We had company last night, and I made rice. Lots of rice. Loads of rice! I had a lot of leftovers, and decided to try a brown rice pudding recipe. I googled, and got a few ideas. This morning I made the rice pudding, and while it looks like oatmeal, it’s much yummier!!

The recipe is an adaptation from Versagrain’s.

Brown Rice Pudding

1 1/2 cup brown rice (I used brown basmati)
2 cups milk, divided
2 Tbsp sugar*
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1 egg
1/4 cup coconut (optional)
3/4 cup raisins (optional)
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp vanilla

In a medium size pot, combine rice, 1 1/2 cups milk, sugar, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until pudding is thick and creamy – approximately 10-15 minutes.

Stir in remaining 1/2 cup milk, beaten egg, coconut and raisins. Cook 2 more minutes, stirring constantly. Remove pudding from heat, stir in butter and vanilla. Enjoy warm!

* I reduced the sugar a lot compared the original recipe, and still found it too sweet because of the added raisins, sweeten to your taste!

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