7.22.2015

No-Bake Peanut Butter & Chocolate Oatmeal Flax Cookies

Looking for a delicious treat that you can whip up in a few minutes AND is good for you? Well look no further!  These Peanut Butter & Chocolate Oatmeal Flax cookies are no-bake, gluten-free, dairy-free & egg-free.  And with only a handful of real, natural ingredients they are good for you too!  The kids love them and they're lovely and rich and no one would ever guess that they are filled with loads of goodness.


No-Bake Peanut Butter & Chocolate Oatmeal Flax Cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup Natural Peanut Butter (or substitute your favourite nut-butter)
3/4 cup Honey
1/2 Coconut Oil
2 cups Gluten-free Oats
1/4 cup ground Flax
1/4 Hemp Hearts
1/2 tsp Vanilla
6 tbsp Cocoa powder

Instructions:

Combine peanut butter, honey and coconut oil in medium sized pot.  Heat on low and stir frequently until all ingredients have blended together and remove from heat. You don't want to cook out all the goodness from the honey!

Next, stir in your vanilla and cocoa until combined.  Then add in the oats, hemp & flax and mix well.

Once everything is nice and blended and ooey-gooey, drop by spoonfuls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  I smoothed the cookies out with the back of my spoon, but you can totally leave them as little stacks if you prefer.

All that's left to do is pop the pan in the fridge (or freezer if you're impatient) and wait for them to set. Once they are nice and chilled, keep them in an air tight container in your fridge or freezer and enjoy a little healthy indulgence whenever you like!

(P.S. With the flax, oats & hemp heart; they make great lactation treats too!)


7.08.2015

10 Thoughts While Camping with Kids

Last week we packed up and headed out on our first camping trip of the summer.  Three days, 2 kids, 2 dogs and us in one tent trailer.  Oh man!  Well, we survived and here's a glimpse of how the trip went...


10 Thoughts While Camping with Kids

  1. What was I thinking? Who's idea WAS this??
  2. OMG, the kids (and dogs)are SO dirty!
  3. Dear Lord, can we all just get along?! 
  4. Hey look, they're quiet...and getting along.
  5. Could you just stop barking already??
  6. The kids are SO dirty & happy!
  7. Kids in jammies by the fire...adorable!
  8. Go the F*@& to sleep!! Where's the wine?
  9. Hey, the kids slept in! It's a miracle.
  10. When's our next trip?!
You know, camping with kids and pets is trying to say the least.  But even with wanting to pull my hair out multiple times, it was still a blast! Once the first day gong show was over and everyone settled in, we all had a great time.  Both girls said it was the best day ever on multiple occasions.  And seeing everyone sandy, sun kissed and smiling made it all worthwhile.  

And wine helped too!


6.25.2015

I Hate Running

There, I said it.

You may have noticed I've been MIA lately.  And while there's no excuse, I do have a few decent reasons.  So ya, I've been busy working, being a mom and working on school.  But what seems to have occupied most of my time recently is hating running.

If we go back in time a couple months, you may remember that I trained and ran my very first half marathon.  And it was shortly thereafter that I also learned I had a femoral stress fracture.  (and a pelvic stress fracture that the Dr. says I shouldn't worry about)  So that means I haven't been running...well kinda.

All of my training has come to a screeching halt.  And aside from walking/jogging two 5k races and one half marathon (shh....don't tell my doc) I haven't been doing any running, or much of anything.  And needless to say it's making me crazy.

My Instagram and Twitter feeds are filled with inspiring runners, running gear companies and race sites.  Each time I look at my phone it hurts a little more.  Getting my Canadian Running magazine   last week crushed me.  And to be honest... I think I hate running.

I hate running because:
  • I can't do it anymore.
  • it took up such a big place in my life, I feel empty without it.
  • I loved it so much I ended up injuring myself.
  • the runner's high was so amazing that I want it all the time and I can't have it.
 
So I guess this is my rant.  As I drive past runners on my way to work I think "what great weather for a run" and then the bitterness sets in.  Maybe this post is just a way to get some of my feelings out and deal with this injury. Running used to be my outlet, my therapy, my me time and now that's gone.  I'm hoping that some of this anger, disappointment and negative self-talk will light a fire under my ass and get me doing something else.

Unfortunately, I'm still limited to what I can do physically, but somethings gotta give or I'm gonna explode.  They say there are 7 stages of grief and after a quick Google search it looks as though I'm stuck somewhere between stage 3 & 4 - anger and depression.  So I guess I'm grieving; grieving the loss of  running - my confidant, my motivator, my inspiration, my therapist and my friend.

So yes, I hate you running... because you left too soon.

6.13.2015

Adventures in Growing Food

I'm pretty excited as this is our first year with a proper vegetable garden.  This time last year we had just moved to our new home in small town Southern Ontario and even though our new yard was perfect for planting, we just didn't have the time.  But this year I was on a mission!

A mission to grow food for my family!

My husband and I decided on a perfect spot for the garden that would allow us to enclose it (read: keep dogs & rabbits out) and still have some big open spaces for romping.  We decided that some raised beds would work best given we live on a giant sand dune and I really didn't want to spend days tilling and trying to make our dirt suitable for veggies.  And then it was on to finding materials to build our beds.  We definitely didn't want pressure treated wood given all the toxic chemicals that would leach into our homegrown veggies and cedar was super expensive.  So what then?

But as luck would have it we managed to find a much more environmentally friendly and frugal solution.  We had a dead tree taken down a few weeks before and the guys that did the work live on a farm right around the corner.  Their property is gorgeous and littered with piles of lumber and boards!  So hubby headed over to ask them if they had any planks for sale.  Talk about perfect...not only did that have wood, but gorgeous 12 ft aged ash boards that they would deliver for us!.  I don't even remember how much wood they brought, but it was way more than we needed and it was only $50!  And even cooler was the fact that these brothers also have a small sawmill so that had made the planks themselves from other trees that had taken down in the area.  So cool!

So then we built the beds, or rather my handy husband did.  We decided on four 12x5 beds with walk-ways in between. We lined the area with heavy duty landscape fabric and installed the beds.  And then it was shovelling and more shovelling.  We ordered 4 yards of triple mix soil and had to lug it all from the front yard to the back.  And then wood chips to fill in the paths and make our garden area complete.  All I really remember from that week was shovels, calluses and sore arms.

But wow, did they ever look good.  We then needed to protect the area from rabbits, and our dogs who would tromp through all my seedlings. Talk about good karma, our neighbour had 2 large rolls of chicken wire she didn't need and happily donated it to the cause.  And my crafty husband then found some awesome metal trellis/fencing that someone was getting rid of and that's how we crafted our enclosure.

Then of course it was on to planting.  I had started all kinds of seeds inside in the early Spring and couldn't wait to get them in the ground.  I had everything just about planted the weekend before Victoria Day.  In hindsight, it was way to early, but I was just sooo excited!  So after having to cover up all my plants multiple times over the following 2 weeks due to frost I was home free!  Let the garden grow!

Everyday we take a tour through our new little plot.  The kids love checking out whats popping up and all the veggies that are getting bigger each second.  We've already started picking some of our veggies including kale, lettuce, spinach and radishes.

I remember being sweaty and cranky and in the thick of building and filling the boxes and my husband saying "wouldn't it be easier to just go to the grocery store?"  And initially, there were times when I definitely thought so, but now, watching my plants grow and seeing my kids get excited about picking food for supper I know that growing our own food may not be easier, but it sure is way more fulfilling AND delicious!

Have you got a garden this year? What are your favourite things to grow?

6.03.2015

Bringing the Fun back to the Run

This past Sunday was my first run since my first half marathon - Forest City Road Races at the end of April.  In case you missed it, a few weeks ago I was diagnosed with a femoral stress fracture.  So needless to say my running streak has been cut short.

So last Sunday was the first Run the District event called the Chuckle Run.  I was so excited to be selected as one of the Run the District ambassadors, but not super pumped about my stress fracture.  How could I be running ambassador and not run?   Well, I walked.  Yup, I walked my very first race ever.  And I have to say it was pretty incredible.

Besides the pouring rain and freezing wind, I really enjoyed the Chuckle Run.  And walking the race has given me a whole new perspective.  While waiting at the start I found myself surprisingly relaxed. Gone was all that nervous, anxious energy I usually have before a race.  No fiddling with my iPod or my watch, no last minute shoe adjustments or freaking out because I forgot something.  I just stood in the rain, with my tutu and frog umbrella and waited.  When the horn blew I headed out, back of the pack with a brisk walk.
There's me at the back with the tutu & froggie umbrella.
Fairly quickly, I ended up pretty well last with the medics on the golf cart in front and a police escort behind me.  But I didn't care, not about anything.  I didn't care that I was one of the last racers, that I was soaked to the bone or that I wasn't on pace...heck I didn't even wear my watch and couldn't care less about time.
Our fave Cop photo bomb!
What I cared about was the experience -enjoying every puddle, every cheer from spectators and actually keeping up with my friend Shannon.  Usually at races we start together and once the race starts we've gone our separate ways and find each other at the finish.  But not this time, for the most part we stayed together almost the entire race.  We laughed and joked and cursed each puddle we stomped through, but what was best was just having fun.

Throwing away all those self doubts, goals and pressures for a race was so liberating.  Running (or walking) without a care was fantastic.  And the best part was getting to watch Shannon cross the finish line ahead of me.  I was so excited for her!
There's goes Shannon, kickin' my butt!
So I may have finished 5th last at the Chuckle Run, but it sure felt like a PR! I really encourage everyone no matter how serious or casual a runner to pick one race and just run it for fun.  No goals, no watch, no PR....just fun!  There's so much more than just a finish time!

What's next for me?  Well, Run to the BBQ is in a couple weeks and I will be walking it too...but who cares?  I don't!
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