Pumpkin Spice Smoothie

This morning, my son and I crafted this tasty Pumpkin Spice Smoothie.  Well, I crafted it, and he pushed the buttons on the blender.

It went like this:

-Squash puree – 2 cups

-1 can coconut milk

-dashes of various spices: nutmeg, clove, cardamom, cinnamon

-2 tbsp bee pollen to boost immunity

-1/4 cup hemp seeds for protein

-3 tea spoons of honey to sweeten


I found these mason jar lids at Canadian Tire, they are handy!

Wishing each of you many happy, healthy fall breakfasts.




Marked Mondays: Canning Peaches!

In early September, my family made a trip to Niagara (on the train!) to visit with my parents and also embark upon a first time endeavour for us: canning peaches.  We had the peaches, mom had the equipment and (some of the) expertise!

It was slightly ironic since we bought the peaches in Toronto, and then brought them back to Niagara where they clearly were grown. 😉

I felt mildly unprepared for the endeavour, but my lovely husband and mother had much more determination than I, and it was their drive that got us through!


What you’ll need:

-clean canning jars and lids, roughly 12

-3 large pots, one deep enough for your specific size of canning jars.

-small circular rack for the bottom of the canning pot

-bowl for skinned, sliced peaches

-oven mit to handle jars

-4 cups sugar

-basic utensils – spoons, knives, etc.


Here are your basic steps to Canning Peaches:

1. Collect your mason jars and lids and make sure they’re sparkling clean.  Turn oven on lowest setting and set as many jars as you can fit into the oven.  When you next need these jars they are to be too hot to touch without an oven mit.

2. Wash peaches and remove skins.  I washed the peaches and my husband dropped them into a pot of boiling water for 30 seconds.  My mother then bathed them in an ice bath/very cold water and the skins just fell off beautifully.

3. Create your simple syrup. Now, if you know me, you know I despise working with regular white, refined sugar.  Quite frankly, I believe it’s a big part of what’s wrong with our world!  I don’t have it in the home and do my best to avoid it.  For these peaches, we actually combined 3 different types of sugars that we had left over in our pantry: coconut sugar, organic cane sugar, and (eek) raw brown sugar.  This wasn’t ideal for me – i’d rather have used honey, but we needed to use up these sugars and this seemed like a good opportunity.

*Back right pot is boiling water used to remove peach skins.  Bottom left is simple syrup.  Bottom right is canning pot to seal jars.

To create your simple syrup, we used a ratio of 4 cups sugar to 8 cups water and bring to a boil to dissolve the sugar.

4. Begin to fill your large canning pot and warm the water inside.  There should be a small rack on the bottom to make sure your jars don’t rest directly on the bottom of the pot.  Water should not be at boiling at this point. You may need to add/subtract water to get the jars completely covered.

5. Section the peaches and remove pits and the red ‘pit lining’. This was my station.  I cut open the skinned peaches and sliced them up after scooping out the red lining which apparently turns brown and makes them look less appealing once they’ve been canned and preserved.  Now, i’m not one for food aesthetics – I really don’t care, just give me the tasty, whole, natural food – but I just went with the flow on this one.

*I should mention at this point that these peaches were “seconds” and did not look very nice to begin with.  After I had sliced them, many left something to be desired.  Again, I did not care!  Just wanted to practice canning.

6.  From here things get moving.  You have your warmed jars, your simple syrup made and warm on the stove, your peaches skinned and cut up in a bowl, and your canning pot of warm water and a tray in the bottom ready.  From here, remove a few of the warm jars from the oven and fill 1/4 of the way with simple syrup.  Add your cut peaches, really packing them in there.  You can top with syrup if you think necessary, making sure there are very few bubbles in the jar.  From here, put your lid on loose and submerge jar into the canning pot making sure it’s completely covered.  It is important the jar is hot and the water is NOT boiling in order for the jars to not shatter.  We were able to do 4 jars in our pot.  Bring this to boiling and let boil for 20 minutes.

It is VERY important here that I mention to you that the first two jars we submerged shattered!!  So we put in a quick call to my sister’s Mother-In-Law, Canning Lady Extraordinaire, Mrs. Money.  She quickly corrected our ways and we were fine.  Of course not without my Dad coming up to help and mentioning botulism.

7. Remove jars from pot and place on a dry kitchen towel, making sure the jars are NOT touching.  Cover them with another kitchen towel to slow the cooling process down a little.  Repeat previous step until all your peaches and syrup are gone!

If you notice in the picture, there is space at the bottom of our cans.  That is something we learned for next time – pack those peaches in there!

Happy canning,


Fruit Roll Ups

My generous neighbour recently let us borrow her behemoth of a dehydrator!  It was timed perfectly with our picking strawberries and also my recent second batch of homemade almond milk.

So far, I have dehydrated a batch of raspberry puree and also a batch of raspberry and applesauce puree.  The attempts were to make fruit leather, but I came up with more of a fruit roll-up situation.  Next time I believe the trick will be to just pour and not spread it out to create a thicker leather.

The process for the fruit leather is simple: just purée your choice of fruit in a blender and pour onto parchment paper and dehydrate at 135 degrees for about 6 hours or until leathery.  If the fruit is tart like raspberries, you can add applesauce and/or a little maple syrup to sweeten it up. The combinations of fruit are endless!

The almond milk recipe left me with 1.5 cups (x2) of almond meal!  So I made a batch of basic granola with the meal.  It turned out lovely, as babyJ would say in the mornings as he eats his granola and goat’s milk yogurt: “yum!”

I could get used to having the option to dehydrate!  Like Eddie says on ‘Friends’, “I’m a dehydrating maniac!!!!”

Happy dehydrating!



Stretch Mark Cream

The next natural beauty product I’ve been blessed to make is a Stretch Mark Cream.

Now, for my first pregnancy I’m so grateful to say I did not get stretch marks. But I’ll have you know I didn’t make and use this cream in my first pregnancy. All I did was put pure cocoa butter on my tummy, and it worked like a dream.

But this time around I had a recipe from For The Love of Body and all the ingredients, so I went for it!

The result is a smooth and buttery cream that I slather on my growing tummy as often as I can (1-2 times per day).

Here are the ingredients as pictured above:

-1 part shea butter

-1 part cocoa butter

-1 part coconut oil

-1/4 part apricot kernel oil

-1 part calendula infused olive oil

-vitamin E

Using your double broiler or a pot and stainless steel bowl, melt the butters and then add the coconut oil and melt.  Take away from heat and stir in liquid oils, then add a little vitamin E.  Pour into a jar and store at room temperature.  Use generously!

Happy belly-stretching,


Homemade Fig Newtons

When I was little, our house was an Oreo-free zone. But we were allowed fig newtons! Of course, at the time this was super boring for me. 

But now that I’m an adult and parent, I’m finding much joy in bringing back the things of my childhood. Probably also because I love whole, simple, healthy food! My husband and parents (if they were together) would have a comment about how nostalgic I always am…  😉

So a few nights ago I made my first batch of homemade fig newtons. A good while ago my wonderful mother-in-law bought us some dried figs, and it was high time they got used up.

Here they are! In all their beauty.  Refined sugar free, and can be vegan too!

Before baking:  

My husbands comment was: “there is no way to improve these!”  I was quite honored because he has rather high expectations in the food department. 
And the final product:

The process was quite detailed and lengthy, but unbelievably delicious!  Definitely am adding this recipe to my repertoire.

Happy baking!

Fat Tuesday

Hello People!
Today we celebrated Fat Tuesday, even though it’s Monday. Tomorrow we are going away, so had to make it today!

My lovely husband made BabyJ and I vegan blueberry banana pancakes! Baby gobbled them up readily. Of course with some real maple syrup!

May each of you enjoy Fat Tuesday, cleaning out your fridge and planning for lent if you choose to do so. Not sure what I may choose to let go of or positive change to make, but stay tuned!