Roasted Apple & Rosemary Tisane

The week following a holiday always seems to require extra effort to get the household routine back in order and running smoothly.

It was lovely to slow down over Thanksgiving, play game after game of chess with the boys – their current fixation – or putter in the dappled yard while the chickens bustle about in the fallen leaves. Getting back to school and work, however, was a little bumpy. By mid-week I was feeling overwhelmed with everything on my plate – and I couldn’t ignore the tickle in my throat that indicated I may be coming down with something.

I thought about how I could jostle my calendar to make it all work, but then, over a quiet cup of tea,  I decided to slow right down. Instead of jotting yet another to-do list, I took a few moments for myself, something that a mother who works from home seldom does. There is no lunch hour, no scheduled breaks, and certainly no quitting time when your work and your life overlap so closely.

[Read more…]

5 ideas for cooking with fresh apple cider

Where we live, when the jugs of fresh apple cider appear in stores with a sticker boasting “New Crop”, it’s time to snag one for the basket.

Fresh apple cider is sometimes called ‘cold pressed’ or ‘fresh pressed’ and is an unfiltered, unsweetened pure apple juice. It is often unpasteurized, and recognizable by its cloudy brown colour.

Cider can be purchased from farmers’ markets, roadside stands, and local orchards, but cider really tastes best when you make your own. Look for a tutorial coming soon on that very topic!  You can also find it in the refrigerated area of the organics section in your grocery store.

It may not look pretty, but fresh pressed apple juice has one ingredient: new apples, and it’s full of Vitamin C. My kids call it brown juice. On cold days, I serve it to them slightly warmed, with a little cinnamon sprinkled on the top. They tilt their cups far back to get every last drop.

[Read more…]

Mint and Melon Agua Fresca

I am learning a lot of things from the Brady Bunch re-enactment happening at my house this summer, but one thing I now know for certain is that blending drinks is surely easier than blending families. Both, however, make a hot summer day a lot more interesting.

The challenge for me this summer has been learning how to be a parent to kids that already have parents. It is as tricky as it sounds.

Parenting my own three girls along with my husband’s three kids is an intricate dance that requires a lot of fancy footwork to figure out when to compromise, when to give in, and when to hold true to what I think is best as a parent.

My new kids like sugar cereals and potato chips and boxed macaroni & cheese, but I like to shop at the farmer’s market. I now have two video game loving boys, though I haven’t owned a television (on purpose) for more than six years. Even my idea of a good time requires negotiation: Libraries vs. Movie Theaters.

[Read more…]

Homemade Orange Soda Recipe

The moment we were allowed to each summer, my sister and I would collect our quarters and jump on our bikes. We’d weave through our suburban streets, heading off in the direction of the asphalt path that would lead to the corner store.

Bike locks optional, we’d lean our pedals and handlebars against the brown brick exterior and head inside, the cold blast of air conditioning hitting us in the face and prying our eyelids open on the way in. In the back corner we’d sit, staring through the floor-to-ceiling cooler doors at the bottles of colored soda. [Read more…]

Berry Granola Bars

DIY Granola Bars

One of the hardest things for a mother to do is to get out of the front door. There is so much to juggle – Are the kids dressed? Teeth brushed? Shoes and socks on? Do you have all the pertinent papers, backpacks, sack lunches, and money? Do you have the car keys, sunglasses, and cell phone? And, by the way, did you remember to change out of your pajamas?

Remembering all that plus getting a nutritious breakfast in everyone can be overwhelming. But don’t be discouraged. There are strategies for feeding your family that don’t involve a drive-through window. One of them is to plan ahead and make some food bars.

They can be eaten one-handed while running a comb through a child’s hair, signing a permission slip, or while waiting at a stop light. Unlike the one-handed breakfast from the drive-through, these granola bars have lots of anitioxidants, whole grain goodness,  no processed sweeteners and a lot less fat. [Read more…]