Saturday, March 22, 2014

Puddles and Banana Bread

  Remember Spring as a kid; knee deep in puddles and soaked by the end of the day?  As I stand on the edge of the giant lake that has formed in the sandpit at the school I teach at, I find myself wincing in horror with every cannonball into it, but flashing back to the fun I  had in puddles as a kid. I patrol the trenches built to allow more water to enter the lake from the surrounding field and watch the children pound the ice with their boots.  One of my students always stands directly in the middle of the giant puddle, guarding it like it belongs to only him. I have a desire to go running through it at top speed, not caring that I am wearing a skirt and tights. The boys tell me that they are building trenches so there will be more water beetles this year.  One of my students wants to get a really big one and bring it into the classroom.  Of course I am already terrified. It is so much fun being a kid.  I am lucky because I revisit my inner kid every day at work.  I am surrounded by different stages of being a kid. 

       There was a maple bug on my shirt in the staff room on Thursday and a fly on my kitchen roof today. Spring is springing loose. Of course we will see an increase of temperatures and soon buds on the trees.  Then we will get slammed with the biggest snow storm of the year!  My prediction.  I would like to be more positive on this one, but it happens every year. I will have just put away the last of the last of the winter clothes away and BAM, winter appears out of no wear like some villain.  Spring has it's moments.  I am looking forward to barbecues and longer evenings before the entire world's population of mosquito larvae hatch in my back yard.  My favorite part about Spring is the scent of the first backyard fires of the season.  My oldest son has been waiting for a marshmallow roast.

Since Mother Nature is having emotional issues (I have them myself) and blew a hurricane of wet snow and cold temperatures our way, I decided to bake.

Here is a very delicious and moist banana bread recipe using coconut flour as a the sweetener.  Try it, and add whatever your heart desires.  I stumbled on this recipe from the Civilized Caveman blog. I modified it slightly. It is so fabulous!!

Paleo Banana Bread

  • 4 bananas
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 4 tablespoons of coconut oil or butter
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • pinch of sea salt
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Combine your bananas, eggs, and nut butter, and coconut oil or butter in a blender or  food processor, or mixing bowl and mix well.
  3. Once all of your ingredients are blended, add in your coconut flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, vanilla, and sea salt and mix well
  4. Grease a loaf pan or muffin tins with coconut oil. If you use a metal pan it will probably bake in 35-40 minutes so start checking at 35 to ensure the middle stays moist
  5. Pour in your batter and spread it evenly throughout
  6. Place in your preheated oven and bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. If your baking with a glass pan, bake for 55 minutes or so.

I put some dairy free carob chips in the batter.  They were delicious in the recipe. I am going to use this same recipe and try making muffins.  The bread is so light and fluffy.

The coconut flour provided the sweet flavor along with the carob chips.                                                     

Hope you enjoy!!
Saturday, March 1, 2014

After Dinner Pumpkin Spice Loaf


     Winter is a hideous beast.  It hangs on with a grip so tight, you can feel it ripping your skin.  Winter is so cold at times it makes your nose bleed and your body hurt. I dread winter beyond Christmas. No, I just dread winter.
          In my grade 4 Social Studies class we are learning about Alberta's First Nations.  We have talked about winter and what the first natives had to endure living outside.  Can you imagine waiting out winter for 5 months while living outside?  On a night like tonight, so cold and unlivable, I think of them.  I hope those that are homeless are finding somewhere warm.  I worry for them. 

         The house was cracking very loudly last night.  The cold was settling into the bones of our old creaky house.  The house is cozy but is drafty in places too.  The hardwood floors can get cool in spots so I have to keep socks or slippers on the boys.  I felt grateful to be wandering about our little home in my pajamas all day long, baking and cooking.  I wanted something warm and full of delicious flavor.  A pumpkin-spiced loaf would do the trick.  This recipe is moist and so delicious.

    After Dinner Pumpkin Spiced Loaf

    4 eggs
    1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
    1 cup coconut palm sugar
    3 tablespoons canned coconut milk, full fat, room temperature
    1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped or 1tsp of Vanilla Extract
    1/3 cup coconut oil, liquid
    1 cup fine blanched almond flour
    1/4 cup coconut flour
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
    1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

    Mix the eggs, coconut sugar, coconut flour, vanilla bean, and coconut flour.  Whisk until mixed.
    Mix the almond flour, coconut flour, baking power, baking soda, pumpkin spice, cinnamon, and ground cloves in a separate bowl.  The black spots in the picture are the vanilla bean.  The inside of the bean was mushy.  I slit it open and scraped it out.

    Pour the batter into a large loaf pan or two small pans.  I only have four small pans.  The batter filled two.  Make sure you grease the pan with coconut oil or butter. 
    Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes.  The house will smell fabulous.
    This is lovely served warm with butter.  Hollie shared a recipe for an icing that I have not tried.  Mix 1 cup of butter, 2tsp of cinnamon, and 1 tsp of butter.  Whip together.

    Here is a picture of the vanilla bean.  My first vanilla bean experience.
    I usually buy a bag of slivered almonds and grind my own flour.  It is cheaper.  I use almond flour in a pumpkin recipe here on the blog that is so wonderfully addictive. 
    I would love to hear about how your recipe's turned out.  I have made this twice now. My husband really enjoyed this loaf.
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Wednesday, February 19, 2014



So lately food, the environment, outer space, and other things have peeked my interest and I have been doing some further reading on these topics.  It rather blows my mind what I did not know or what I sort of knew but took no interest in before.  The most incredible thing that blows me COMPLETELY away is; we live in a solar system that revolves around a star that is in a galaxy along with over TWENTY million stars that most have planets revolving around them.  Then when you leave our galaxy, you head on out into the rest of the universe where over a billion other galaxies are with their twenty million stars. Wow! It makes you think how special we are, how small we are, and what is out there. 

About two years ago I had this moment of clarity. My husband was reading this book and doing further reading about the universe and society and was talking out loud about it. I found myself wanting him to stop telling me about the universe because it made me think about life and death and that scared me, then I wanted him to stop talking about the war with the Americans over in Iraq because it made me realize that maybe the government is corrupt and cruel and this made me feel unsafe.  I wanted him to stop talking about people on the other side of the world who were starving and dying because that wasn't our problem but rather their own government's problem and it made me sad.  My clarity came when he told me what cognitive dissonance was.  And I had it! Most of our society does.  Every time I heard or saw something that made me question my beliefs or pushed me to think about negative things going on in the world I experienced the dissonance.  Refusal to believe or entertain anything more than what I already had known or decided what life is like.  I didn't want to get in touch with the planet we live on and how the human race behaves because it didn't make me feel safe. I didn't like what I saw.  So ignorantly, I went along with the people who said that people dying on the other side of planet was not our problem.  How ridiculous! Would we not all ban together if we were possibly invaded by something cosmic or foreign to the human race? When did we stop being a human race?  I ignored environmental issues because 'someone was going to figure that out' and I didn't have to change but rather enjoy life 'cause it's not happening in my lifetime'.  Clearly I was out of my head. One day I just woke up from being ignorant and it all came rushing in and I felt angry that I had become this person. Now I rant about the environment and the injustices of our world and I am called "one of those tree huggers" (which makes me laugh because I would only hope that my children saw me in that light).  I have had people tell me I am being silly for even worrying about wars on earth, poisoned water, bad air, cancer causing foods, corrupted people in power that only care about money and their own gains, (again I laugh because I can only hope my children are silly too and take part in change). So I encourage you to read things that question your beliefs, rant more about being earth friendly and healthy, and talk more about world issues because our children are the future and their children are theirs'.  We all should be shouting from the roof tops that we want to breath clean air, eat food that is not going to give us cancer, and stop fighting with each other over green paper, stop stripping the earth of the resources we can't replace, but rather come together and listen to new ideas and curve our beliefs for our children.  I want my children to be kind, smart, proactive, and most of all, think, so that they can be apart of positive change that every one desires but won't let their voice be heard.

With that said, how does this tie into the healthy planet oat bar recipe below?  Part of being proactive in the future of our planet is to nourish the people on it.  The recipe is fun because you can be creative and add what you want to it.  I will provide the basic ingredients and give some ideas of what I put in mine.  Other wise you can be creative and make sure you share your thoughts and ideas below!



1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup packed coconut sugar
2 cups quick cooking oats or rolled oats (I use gluten free)
1 cup crispy rice cereal (I used gluten free)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons mini carib (dairy free) chocolate chips

Additional things I added:
-golden ground flax
-skinny B cereal mix (hemp hearts and chai seeds)
You can add anything your heart desires!


In a large bowl, stir oats and rice cereal together. Set aside. In a small pot, melt coconut oil, honey and coconut sugar together over medium high heat until it comes to a bubble. Reduce the heat and cook 2 minutes. Pour in vanilla and stir. Pour over dry ingredients and mix well to moisten all ingredients. Spread out on a small cookie sheet and pack it down to desired thickness.If your pan isn't small enough, pack the mixture into one side. You really want to press them down so they stick together. Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips and press down lightly. Cool on a countertop to room temperature for two hours or until the chocolate chips are set before cutting into bars. Wrap in parchment or plastic wrap and store at room temperature.

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Sunday, February 2, 2014

Groundhog Day 2014 Predictions

Description Well it's Groundhog Day and Super Bowl as well.  Will Seattle beat Denver?  We shall see.  For now let's have a look whether or not we will be enduring six more weeks of winter or an early spring.  Of course here in Alberta we will most likely will see winter well into May but you never know with Alberta weather. 

Let's have a look at the most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil's prediction. Phil started Groundhog Day off early this morning, with the same bad news as last year; Six more weeks of winter. What a bummer Phil!!! That won't stop those Punxsutawney partiers today from enjoying fun filled activities well into the night. 

                                               Ontario's, Wiarton Willie, came out from his cozy den this morning an saw his shadow immediately!  No good news there since it has been a long and cold winter already. 

Fred La Marmotte from Quebec poked his nose out this morning and did not see his shadow!!! Fred rendered an early spring! Now you're talking Fred!
Despite our furry friends predictions, Environmental Canada is predicting the frigid temperatures much of Canada has been enduring lasting throughout February.
Check out today's prediction chart from the other furry critters in Canada and the United States.
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Friday, January 3, 2014

Cookie Monster


     I am standing in the kitchen on yet another snowy day during this Alberta winter.  I am procrastinating preparing to return to work after these glorious two weeks I have had off for the holidays.  I am also procrastinating doing the dishes that have piled into a rather large hill in my kitchen sink.  I think I would rather stand here listening to The Lumineers , drink tea and make cookies. 

The holidays were good.  I most definitely put on a "holiday five" (five pounds) for sure.  Maybe a "holiday ten".  None the less, I have eaten every fabulous scrumptious holiday treat I could find, and over indulged for sure.  I have decided to not beat myself up over it but rather make it a holiday tradition! I'll try to keep it down to a "holiday two" instead. 

I was trying to explain to my husband the other night about my addiction to chocolate and sweets in general.  I dig them.  I love them.  What I just said is actually an understatement.  Before Christmas I was sitting at our dining room table wrapping presents and my husband comes sauntering in with a tray of chocolate covered almonds.  He set them right in front of me.  "Don't set those there.  I will eat all of them."  I warned him.  He left them there. He tried a couple then walked out of the room.  Of course I ate them all.  They are chocolate covered almonds.  Then he returns and is baffled I tore through them so fast yet he doesn't learn.  He sets out trays of Ferrero Roches, tries a few then leaves them open in front of me or he comes home with boxes of Lindors..Lindors!!!  "Control yourself!" , he tells me over and over again.  I don't need to explain this to the ladies.  I don't.  They understand.

Here is a healthy chocolate chip cookie recipe that I refer to as a breakfast cookie because of its natural ingredients, the high protein, and they are very filling.  I have been implementing clean eating into our home for almost a year.  These cookies are right up a clean eaters alley plus they are so delicious and addictive.  My good buddy Hollie made these for me on my birthday and I have gone back to this recipe over and over.  It is my favorite.  This one is for us ladies!

This recipe has been modified the Civilized Caveman's Macadamia nut chocolate Chip Cookies.

Healthy Chocolate Chip Breakfast Cookies

  • 1 cup almond flour (96 grams)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/4 cups macadamia nut meal (75 grams) (blend raw macadamia nuts in blender or food processor) I make my own almond and macadamia nut meal in a bullet.  I find it a little cheaper to buy the bag of nuts and grind them up rather than buy bags of the meal/flour in a store.
  • 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut (93 grams)
  • 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) of softened coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup (158 grams) (can sub raw local honey) Both are fabulous.
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup of chocolate carob chips
  1. Preheat your oven to 325 Degrees Fahrenheit (163 Celsius)
  2. Place your almond flour, sea salt, macadamia nut meal, shredded coconut in a bowl and mix well by hand or using a hand mixer
  3. Add your butter, maple syrup, eggs and vanilla in a separate mixing bowl and mix well
  4. Add your wet ingredients to your dry and using your hand mixer or whisk, mix well until you have a nice dough. It may seem a little runny but it bakes nice.  You can thicken it with more almond and macadamia meal
  5. Add in your chocolate chips and mix well
  6. Using a cookie scoop or tablespoon, place cookie rounds on your parchment paper lined cookie sheet in the shape you want them to cook
  7. Using a medium cookie scoop I got 12 cookies but you can make them whatever size you would like
  8. Bake for 12-15 minutes for a still chewy but nicely baked cookie (adjust time to your liking)
  9. Remove from the oven and let cool
  10. Enjoy
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Check out Hollie's new clean eating blog: Cave Wife's Cookbook by clicking the picture below.
Cave Wife Cookbook
Sunday, November 3, 2013

Cryptic Foggy Letters

I haven't logged into my email account in a long time.  I have always accessed my account on my phone or desktop. Today, however, I was logging in using another computer. I tried my password at least eleven times but had forgotten it. I panicked when I could not get in and needed to access it quickly.  I was relieved when I saw this convenient link below the Sign-in bar that asked so friendly 'forgot your password?',  I  thought, "why yes I have forgotten my password and I am so relieved you are here!" With one click I was dragged in by the neck and sent on a wild goose chase through the black hole known as the Internet. Let me just walk you through a bit of a password change process; After typing your email address and the password you "thought" it was, you are taken to white page with a black box that has a blurry cryptic word in foggy black lettering in it. You are asked to type the blurry message underneath. You will not be able to read the word because the font is a melting style that globs the letters together making it almost impossible to see that hidden number. After two failed attempts you are kicked off the page for being a robot or something and a potential security threat. Now, if you are lucky to make it through the foggy cryptic gate, you are then sent to answer a series of security questions. Questions that you at one time made up and gave answers to.  What is your favorite movie of all time? Love Affair I type. Nope. Sense and Sensibility  I type again. I was positive it was that one. (I love the scene on the hill in the rain.) No. It doesn't work.  None of them do. They don't work because I have a new favorite movie every five minutes.  I finally am redirected to another question. Who are you meeting on top of the Empire State building in 2014? Who? Who?? Dear god that is coming up! Fail that test.  After failing miserably at the questions you are then kicked out for being a potential hacker and you try again.  Finally you fight your way through gate after gate, those web pages that don't let you use the back button so you have to retype the search address to get back to where you were, and the three hundred attempts to pick a password that has 8 characters in it, one uppercase letter, 4 lowercase letters all of which are vowels, and must pass the too weak, weak, strong test.  You are finally given a new password via email, so off you go to your mail host website to retrieve your password.  But BEFORE YOU GET YOUR NEW PASSWORD you have to click on the link that sends you to a page that has cryptic foggy letters on it. 

And it begins again.