Friday, March 23, 2012

#33. This Moment: Multitasking.

Breastfeeding and Cat Cuddling
{this moment}
A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savour, and remember.
If you're inspired to do the same
leave your link in the comments 
then go to Soule Mama and do the same.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Vegan Whipped Coconut Cream on Strawberries

Are you ready for the easiest vegan desert in the history of amazingly easy vegan deserts?!
Vegan Gluten Free and Unbelievable.
Yes. Yes you are.

This whipped topping is made from coconut milk and is completely dairy free, egg free, soy free. Vegan. So light and delicious. And only four simple ingredients. I have attempted this recipe a few times on a few different occasions and each time it just keeps getting better.

Coconut milk can frost a cake, for real.  
For my lovely friend Leslie's Autumn birthday I made a vegan gluten free pumpkin cake and used this recipe as the orange icing, it worked perfectly.
For Squeaky D's First Rainbow Birthday Party I used it to frost the rainbow cupcakes.

Cold Creamy Coconut Milk
And the other night I noticed the can of organic coconut milk I had in the pantry was about to pass the "Best Before" date. I popped it in the back of the fridge overnight. By morning the thick creamy coconut milk has risen to the top of the can and what little bit of coconut water that is left is at the bottom of the can. I scooped a spoonful into my coffee and decided to save the rest for this desert, perfect for a sunny spring day.

What I Used
1.5 cups sliced strawberries
Sugar or sweetener to taste (I used organic raw Agave Nectar)

1 can premium organic coconut milk
1 tbpsn icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla
small pinch of cinnamon

What I Did
Earlier in the day, I sliced up the strawberries, drizzled them in agave nectar, stirred them around in a small but deep bowl, and popped them in the fridge. The key is letting the strawberries soak in the sweetener and make that nice yummy syrup. I like to stir them (and taste them!) a few times over the course of the day. Hey! I never said it was healthy, I just said it was vegan.

 Just before serving, I took the can of coconut milk from the fridge and took extra care not to flip or shake it. When I opened the top to scoop off the thickened coconut milk into a bowl I was happy to see well over half the can was creamy and thick, which is why I buy the premium organic coconut milk. Once in a bowl I added the icing sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon and then using my mixer I whip it until it is light - very little time at all, really.
I take every excuse to use my vintage pyrex bowl.

We had more than enough whipped coconut cream for our strawberries in syrup that we dipped a few other fruits as well. This topping is so versatile, in coffees, hot chocolates, on cupcakes, or pancakes, pretty much worth trying on anything sweet!



Friday, March 16, 2012

#33. This Moment: Away he goes...

Away he goes...
{this moment}
A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savour, and remember.
If you're inspired to do the same
leave your link in the comments 
then go to Soule Mama and do the same.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Squeaky D's Rainbow Birthday of Awesome!

I have been trying to write about Squeaky D's First Birthday for almost four months now. First I nearly lost all of the photos that were taken that day. Very very few photos were taken, but to lose them all in a technical glitch? I don't want to think about it. But I did recover some photos, thankfully, and I've decided to let them mostly speak for themselves. Yes? Yes.

I made the Royal Birthday Baby a quick birthday crown.

I know babies don't really care about their first birthdays. And that is totally cool. But I really wanted to invite over all the people who love him and give everyone a really spectacular day. Since Squeaky D's favourite thing at the time was colours (uh, isn't it every baby's?) I decided to keep it a really simple Rainbow theme and just have fantastic food and a colourful experience for everyone. A big thanks to D's Auntie Kaylin who came over a few hours in advance and helped out big time!

An old parachute hung from the ceiling and a rainbow umbrella.
I was kind of nervous to have a bunch of kids in my house. There, I said it. It scares me! I used to work with kids, so it is strange that I am nervous about it. It isn't because I don't know songs or games to play! There weren't even that many coming, really, it was an adult-heavy event. I decided I would build the children a fort in our second bedroom, fill it with all the toys and a ton of rainbow balloons, and encourage them to make their own good time? It worked. Perfectly.
White and rainbow holiday lights lit the parachute from behind.
The view of the birthday fort from above... several days later!
I kept the grab bags really simple. Every one, even the adults, got a paper bag that I decorated with old scrap-booking leftovers. The children's bags had homemade rainbow playdough, bubbles, a colourful pen, tattoos, and a jar full of rainbow jelly beans, a chocolate, and a disco ball holiday ornament.
Sad goodie bags that were left behind.

Jars full of Jelly Beans for everyone!
 I really didn't get a lot of shots of the food or drinks. I did rainbow fruits and rainbow (as much as possible!) vegetables. I had the usual meat and cheese and hummus and dips and some mini-tacos that went way too fast. I did gluten free and dairy free chocolate cupcakes that were so delicious, iced them with coconut-milk frosting and topped with sprinkles in rainbow colours. Desmond's cupcake was the only one with more than one colour. 
Not a huge fan. He didn't take one bite!

One of each colour. 
I put up a Rainbow Photo wall but only one guest had her photo taken there - and she slept right through it! Squeaky D's good friend Attia brought her Mama, Sarah from A Random Sampling, but was too tuckered out to stay up for photos.
Sarah and Attia
I hand-dyed the orange streamers myself. No joke, a month after Halloween and no orange streamers to be found. And I went to five different stores. So I made my own. Ha!
Our little family is one year old.
At the end of the day, The Squeaker had a fantastic time. He spent most of the day chasing around the other kids and laughing his face off. That's all I really wanted. Oh yeah, and delicious food. 

Happy Birthday, Squeaky D! I love you.

Friday, March 9, 2012

All I need to keep breastfeeding my toddler.

When Desmond was five months old I managed to slip away one afternoon with out him.  I was a new size again, and I wanted to go shopping. I called my best shopping friend and she took me to the mall, the biggest mall, the one that makes me the most lost ever. It was a cold day, but it felt like spring, and we ran through the parking lot with no jackets on.

The reason why I remember this so vividly is because we were talking about breastfeeding. Desmond was almost 6 months and I was proud that I had made it to this milestone. I told her I definitely planned to keep nursing for at least a year ...Maybe even two. She was shocked, but only a little bit. She asked me sincerely, could I handle that kind of responsibility to my child for two ENTIRE years? At the time it seemed overwhelming to me. Five months had felt like forever, already. Could I really make it two years?

At this point I guess I can't answer that question. I'm only 15 and a half months in. But over these past 15 months things have only became easier relative to our rocky start. When I am honest with myself, I realize I have only grown to love it more. Every hurdle we meet we approach with an open mind and then we stride over with such ease that I think maybe we were meant to keep doing this a little while longer.

This past December, Desmond was 13 months old. We were celebrating Christmas with our extended family and, of course, I was nursing him. I am most comfortable nursing away from my family and, of course, no one said anything to me about it. It was almost laughable how I felt it bubble up inside me, the need to justify it to those around me.

There are so so so many reasons to justify breastfeeding a toddler. More than any one person could spew in a minute or two just to fill awkward silence. BESIDES, I said too loudly, my doctor told me to go all the way to two years old!* --cue nervous laughter and shifty eyes--

The truth is, I don't need to justify it to friends, family, or strangers. I don't need you to like it. I've done the research and I know it is what's best for my son and best for me, and that is all that I need to keep going.

Four hundred and seventy one days of breastfeeding, and no reason to stop now. 

So cheers to all the moms breastfeeding toddlers right now, are you reading this blog? How old is your nursling?

*My doctor did recommend we breastfeed until "at least" 2 years old, for a multitude of reasons, but mainly THIS.

#32. This Moment: Sunny Days.

{this moment}
A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savour, and remember.
If you're inspired to do the same
leave your link in the comments 
then go to Soule Mama and do the same.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Ten and a half things.

In the interest of posting more lately, and because I feed off the tidbits of information my internet-pals put out there, I will happily play the role of the tagged in this meme, as dictated unto me by Sarah of A Random Sampling. She rocks, and so did her 10.5 things, so I couldn't let her down. Here are mine:

#1 - A picture of me. I chose this picture because lately I feel like such a wuss. I need to challenge some of my own inner bad ass.

#2 - 10 Random Facts about Me

  1. I still have an old Super Nintendo system kicking around, even though we don't have a TV, and I swear that I will kick your ass at Dr Mario.
  2.  We have very little art hanging on our walls because we rent this house and the walls are made of thick old plaster. And it chips. And we're terrified of being charged for damage. This leaves me feeling really uninspired by our place right now.
  3. I really super duper love rainbows. I have a lot of rainbow things, like mugs, shirts, scarves, and yes. Suspenders. 
  4. I collect records. It's something that happened after my dad bequeathed me his amazing collection of albums and 45s from 1956-1981. I fell in love with the sound of needle on vinyl and I've been adding to my collection ever since.
  5. I grew up in the country and I know how to toss a bale of hay around.
  6. People are usually surprised by this because I go to Burning Man, but I'm actually not super duper into electronic music. I mean, some of it is pretty good and I've enjoyed some DJs more than others, but nothing beats live grungy dirty rock and roll. No? 
  7. I'm afraid I might be addicted to chips. I might be, you guys. I eat a lot of chips.
  8. I used to be able to write poems. I used to have the time and inspiration to write something that could sound good and be witty and more than 140 characters. Sigh. 
  9. Clean sheet day makes me happier than it should.
  10. My absolute most favourite book in the world is Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins. 
Sarah's Questions:

1. What was the first album you ever purchased (vinyl, tape, or cd)?
The first CD I ever bought myself was The Offspring - Smash in the 6th Grade. It opened my eyes to punk music! 
2. What was the first accessory you bought with your own money?
I bought this little grey and black messenger bag purse in Grade 7, I thought I was so slick.
3. Favourite gift you’ve ever received?
Someone once wrote a song for me for my birthday. <3 
4. The coolest person you’ve ever met?
Don't tell Mandude, but I think he is pretty cool. 
5. The item in your home with the most sentimental value?
My old teddy bear. 
6. The grossest thing in your refrigerator right now?
My coconut yogurt went bad before I even opened it. Very green. 
7. Something you always purchase at the grocery store?
Nuts of some sort. Coconut milk.
8. One thing you hope to accomplish this year.
Write. Write. Write. 
9. Your current favourite song.

10. What we’d eat together if I showed up on your door step today.
I would make you some of our leftovers from dinner, a buffalo chicken wrap with daiya cheese, some vinnyegrett (Russian beet salad), and maybe a power fruit smoothie. No seriously, I didn't name it.

Tagged: Jessica, Riley, Opal, Amanda

1) What would 17 year old you say if they could see you now?
2) It's your birthday and you can eat anything you want all day with no repercussions. What's on the menu?
3) Name one thing that scares you.
4) What book have you read that has changed you?
5) What song gets you up and motivated?
6) If you could be anywhere right now, where would you be?
7) What is your favourite app on your phone? If no smart phone, favourite website.
8) Name a guilty pleasure.
9) Which famous person would you like to meet?
10) Describe your hugging style in three words.