Monday, September 29, 2014

Apple Crumble

For the second year, we went apple picking with Grandma and Grandpa. This year, Daddy went with us, last year he had to work. After a couple of cooler weeks, we had a very hot and sunny weekend, perfect for apple picking! Salean mostly sat in the wagon munching on apples (something she won't eat at home), but Daddy lifted her high into the trees to get a few for herself.


We got three bags that we were told would hold 10 Lb each...looks like a lot more than that to me! We stuffed the bags full! There is a bag for Grandma, one for Auntie and one for Salean & Mommy to bake with.


After apple picking, we went to the beach. It was at the bottom of the orchard. Salean tossed rocks into the water while Daddy tried to keep her out of the water. She ended up with wet sneakers :-)


So, our first apple recipe is apple crumble, a classic comfort dessert. I made this during nap time, so Salean woke up to a yummy smelling house. The recipe I used is an old one, the same recipe my Mom has used since before I was Salean's age.


Mix: 1/3 cup butter or margarine
1 + 1/4 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon.

Sprinkle over apple slices in a deep dish. Bake at 375 F for 40 minutes.


And finally, a delicious snack. Daddy is out, so he has to wait for dinner :-)

There are still a lot more apples to use up, I am planning on making apple sauce and hoping to try apple butter.

Hope everyone is having a Happy Monday!

~Natasha. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice

I am jumping on the Autumn Pumpkin-everything bandwagon! I stumbled upon THIS little recipe while perusing the pages of Pintrest for meal plans. I have a few recipes I'd like to try with Pumpkin Pie Spice, but never really got around to picking some up. I checked the spice rack, and I had everything needed to make the new mixture, so I picked up a new spice jar and went to it!


All the spices lined up, in order you need 2 tsp ginger, 2 tsp nutmeg, 3 Tbsp cinnamon, and 1.5 tsp of each the allspice and cloves.


Layered into a new jar with a fresh label. I get these jars at my local Dollarama, for 1.25 each. The labels I bought there as well, and just write on them as needed.


No fancy stirring needed, they are airtight so I just capped it and shook really well. Once the dust settles, it is ready to be used...now to find a recipe! 

Hope everyone is having  great first week of Autumn!! 

~Natasha. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Chewy Granola Bars

I am trying to eat healthier, for both mine and baby's benefit. As well, Salean is still super picky and so I am trying to introduce her to new foods. Since she isn't really wild about the store bought variety, I decided to try making granola bars. I found THIS recipe on Pintrest, and went with it since I would not have to purchase additional ingredients (Mr Picky is still out of work and having a hard time finding something either here or in another province).


I changed it up a bit, I used cashews instead of peanuts as they were all I had. Instead of mini M&Ms, I used full sized and just chopped them up. I also threw in a handful of dried cranberries as they are something little Miss likes.


The dry ingredients mixed together in one bowl. I mixed the wet in another and added them together.


It made two small 9X9 pans, I cut each into 8 pieces, and they smelled delicious baking! Once Mr Picky saw the dried cranberries, he refused to try them. He did admit, however, that they smelled good.


It took a little convincing, but the next morning Salean tried one for breakfast and liked it. She ate more fruit than granola bar, though.


We had another for snack and I found pieces around the room. She shared some with her doll.


She sat in her tent eating it (broken up in a bowl) and sharing with another doll, who is hiding to her right.

I really liked this recipe and I think I will make them again. I would call them about 50% toddler approved. She likes it sometimes and sometimes not.

I am hoping in the next little while I can convince both little Miss and Mr Picky that real foods are good. We usually have fast food at least once a week, but it has been a few weeks. Thursday we were out with his family and had DQ; we both agreed after that we felt blah. It kind of pushed him a notch closer to my side :-)

Hope everyone is having a great week, happy Friday!!

~Natasha.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Cheesy Hamburger Macaroni

With our mass load of groceries and huge budget loss last week, I decided it was time to start meal planning again. Last Friday, I went online and found recipes for each day of the week that I have to cook (every day but Thursday and Saturday, those are eat at Grandma's days). I once again turned to Pintrest to find recipes, and one of the ones I found was THIS, a nice comforting meal.


I didn't really read the recipe thoroughly the first time, so when I went to make it and realized dinnertime was close but the noodles had to be cooked in the sauce for an hour, I said uh oh and improvised. The sauce I made from a can of tomatoes with garlic and herbs, I put it in the blender for half a minute as the recipe suggested. To it I added oregano, paprika (but not enough to alter the taste, next time I will use cayenne pepper, I think. ), salt and pepper, a handful of grated cheese, and the cooked hamburger. While the pasta cooked, I let the sauce simmer to thicken. 


When the past was cooked, I mixed it all together and put it in a baking dish. On top I sprinkled a mozza-cheddar mix and then I stuck it under the broiler for a few minutes. The masses were starting to grumble, so I didn't keep it there long enough to brown, just melt nicely. 


A healthy toddler sized portion, she only ate about half of it. No matter how you dress it up, beef is beef and little miss does not like it. Mr Picky, on the other hand, liked it and went back for seconds. Although he said it tasted the same as when I made it last time. One of his favourite meals is what he calls goulash, which is hamburger, macaroni and a can of tomato soup mixed together, similar but nothing like this :-P Men. I really liked the spicy difference and will definitely be making it again. 

I am having a hard time finding meals for next week, everything seems to call for an ingredient I do not have, and I have zero budget this week. The only thing I can pick up are a few fresh veggies that I can use a gift card for, from a produce store that doesn't sell boxes, bottles and cans. I will have to figure out some fancy substitutions, I guess. 

Have a good week, everyone!!

~Natasha.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Peanut Butter & Banana Cookies

Another week has flown past, and another weekend gone. We had lots of fun, we saw a car show, a fair, a motorcycle ride for charity (Salean absolutely loved waving at the riders as they drove past, and some even waved back!), and we found a great buy one get one sale at our local supermarket, so we stocked up on as much as we could to tide us over until the first Alberta paychecks come in.

I went to grab a banana a few days ago for breakfast and found them a tad to ripe for eating, but almost perfect for baking. I looked up banana recipes on the Kraft cooking website and picked THIS one.


As you can see below, the batter was very wet. I checked it again, read some comments and added about 5 heaping tablespoons of oatmeal. I was still wary about them baking without spreading into a cake, but they turned out perfectly.


As per other comments, I also added some chocolate chips and a smidgen of nutmeg. I think I should have added more, I couldn't taste it.

These are a quick, soft, delicious recipe. I can't tell you if they are toddler approved because she is in bed :-) We will find out at snack time tomorrow. As for me, they are on the remake list.

Have a good week, everyone!!

~Natasha.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Snickerdoodles with a Toddler

It has been a rough week for poor Miss Salean. She is still a little mixed up from our move last weekend, and so is our new house. I can tell she is also confused that Daddy has been home all week, but it has been a great help to me because she has been clingy and whiny, wanting to be in the same room, but preferably beside or on top of one of us at all times. This morning, Mr Picky had to go to town for the day to take a First Aid/CPR course in preparation for going to Alberta, so I decided to make some cookies that he has been requesting for the last few weeks. Since Little Miss won't let me go, I figured it would be a good time to start baking lessons. 

After about 4 days, she finally got back to her usual sleep from 7 PM to about 8 AM routine. I got up early and prepped everything for the cookies. At 20 months she is a bit little to be scooping and measuring ingredients, instead I decided this would be an introduction to the mixer and a small pouring lesson. The recipe I used is posted HERE.


 The butter is in the mixing bowl (no sense wasting another dish when it starts out in the bowl anyway). Then there is brown sugar, white sugar 3 eggs, flour with soda, cinnamon and nutmeg mixed in, more flour and finally the cinnamon sugar dip mixture. I have 2 measures of flour because I usually mix the soda etc with only half the flour. Some days a recipe needs a little more or less flour, depending on the humidity and weather, and I don't want to waste flour or other ingredients that are already mixed in. Today, the cookies needed about a half cup extra.


 Salean was a little wary of the noise the mixer made, she doesn't really like loud noises. But she watched with interest while the ingredients mixed. I tried to get her to pour the sugar and eggs into the bowl, but I got a "you want me to what?" look, so I just let her observe. She did get into it a bit after it was all mixed and I started scooping, she tried to scoop with her own spoon and managed to get one good sized cookie made.


 I got 37 out of today's batch, and the house smelled delicious first thing in the morning. She lost complete interest while I baked she went to play without me, for the first time in a week!


Finally, the best part! Once snack time came around, she had one with some juice. She seems to like them, and Daddy will be happy when he gets home tonight.


So our move went great, aside from a clingy toddler and a wonderful messy house; but this is the second recipe I have baked this week. I am so happy to get into a big kitchen again and be able to bake and cook without bumping into things!

Have a good week, everyone!!


~Natasha.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Halifax, Nova Scotia.

We were expecting some bad news in regards to Mr. Picky's job, so last week he decided to take two days vacation so we could get ahead on our moving (we are due out of our old place this coming Friday) and take the weekend to go to Halifax. This is a trip to another province, Salean's first, and there was a specific destination I had in mind. He figured it was now or never and so very early Saturday morning, we were off. Here are some of the 175 pictures I took over two days!


For someone who was pulled out of slumber and plopped into the car seat, Little Miss was in good spirits!


We followed the clouds to the border, it rained off and on the whole way to Halifax.


Windmills at the New Brunswick / Nova Scotia border. I took about 30 pictures of them over the 3 or 4 minutes it took to drive past, both coming and going. This is because his Mom loves them, and I was trying to get a really nice shot for her. 


Half way between the equator and the North Pole, we stopped for a leg stretch at a place called Mastodon Ridge in Stewiacke, Nova Scotia. 


Looking through the UFO with a little help from Daddy. 


The reason this place is called Mastodon Ridge. 


The first place we visited in Halifax was called The Discovery Centre. They have a Sesame Street exhibit, and Salean loved running from activity to activity!


Posing in front of the Sesame Street door. 


Activities on another floor included this really cool mirror, Salean didn't know what to think of the other 'babies' in the mirror. She played with them for quite awhile. 


This building was outside of the Discovery Centre, I thought the windows were really neat; each one has an old time star. 


After the Discovery Centre, we went for a walk along the waterfront. This beautiful island is out in the harbour. 


We also saw Theodore Tugboat! Salean thought he was pretty neat. 


A monument representing the people that built our great nation, Fathers leaving their families to immigrate here for a better life. This was near the Pier 21 museum that we visited, where the immigrants first landed all those years ago. We were not allowed to take pictures inside the museum. 


After Pier 21 and lunch, we drove around to Dartmouth. This is one of the toll bridges that goes between each city. We preferred to save the toll and take the drive. We then visited the mall and went back to our hotel for dinner and a swim before bed. 


Sunday morning was beautiful. We went for another walk along the waterfront to look for the Cows Ice Cream Parlour. We found it, and we all had our first Cows ice cream. Yum! 


Pictures from our drive home. 


And a final scenic shot when we got back into New Brunswick.


One of the reasons we went to Halifax was to visit the Build a Bear Workshop. They no longer have one here. We made a bunny for Salean to give her baby sister when she comes, and a bear for her to get from her sister. We dressed them in matching outfits. 

I am glad we decided to take this quickie vacation, we decided it was going to be a now or never trip pending the upcoming job announcement. And this morning we found out the news...next week he will be leaving us to go to Alberta for work. He will be gone at least 21 day at a time and have 7 to 10 days home. We are hoping it will only be for six months, but it could be indefinitely. We will adapt and hopefully learn to get along without Daddy for longer periods than we already do (currently he is away Monday to Friday most weeks). And hopefully six months from now he will be back in New Brunswick where he belongs! 

Well, that is our little trip. I hope everyone is having a great week (and summer, I guess, since I have been lacking in the post department).

~Natasha.