Friday, 20 December 2013

Spiced Pecans

A close friend makes these every year, and they are so tasty that the husband and I need our own jars, because there's no sharing - they're just that good. They also go really well with a pre-dinner cocktail, which makes them even more irresistible. 

A few years back, she shared the recipe with me, and now there's no holding back. It's a Christmas miracle if they last more than 3 or 4 days before disappearing, especially since the boy loves them too. 

They are so simple and easy to make, that I thought I'd share the recipe so everyone can enjoy the deliciousness that is spiced pecans! 

Spiced Pecans 

3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Dash hot pepper sauce
1 lb (4 cups) Pecans

Preheat oven to 300
In a heavy skillet melt the butter
Add the spices and mix well
Add nuts and stir well
Place on a cookie sheet in a single layer
Place in oven, turn regularly until brown and crisp - about 20-30 minutes. 

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Chocolate Beet & Apple Muffins

So it's been a while (a long while) since I've posted, and I don't have anything really exciting to say about the boy, except to share a fantastic recipe he and I have made a few times.

We've gotten beets quite a few times in the last little while and I was running out of things to do with, especially since husband is not a huge fan. So I created a recipe for muffins that used them up, and they were a hit! The boy loved, I loved them, husband eats them, and quite a few friends have had them and enjoyed them too (or were too polite to tell me that they didn't!). So if you've got beets that need using up, or if you want to sneak some veggies into your breakfast, here's an easy way to do it:

Chocolate Beet Apple Muffins by victoria banfield

4-5 medium sized beets
1/2 c - 2/3 c apple sauce ( I made my own with 5 medium apples and it was just enough)
1 1/2 c flour
1/2 c hemp seeds (optional)
3/4 c cocoa (you can use less if you don't want a really rich chocolate taste)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 c sugar
2 eggs
1/4 c oil
2 tsp vanilla
3/4 c chocolate chips (or more if you like - or less if you're trying to be healthy. I also find that dark or semi sweet chips work best for the flavour)

Preheat over to 400
Line 18 muffin cups

Peel the beets and then purée them in a food processor/blender. You can make them as coarse as you would like (or fine if you're trying to hide them from people!)
Mix all your dry ingredients in a bowl.
In a separate bowl combine beets, apple sauce, eggs, oil & vanilla

Mix wet ingredients into dry ones. If the mixture seems too dry, add a splash more oil/apple sauce until mix is combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Spoon into muffin cups, bake for 13-15 minutes, muffins are done when a skewer comes out clean.


Monday, 27 May 2013

Where does the time go?

It's hard to believe it, but 5 years have flown past and my tiny little baby is now a great big kid. 

Never was this more in evidence than this past weekend. We held the boy's birthday and invited all his classmates. 13 5 year olds all playing mini golf. It was a blast! The boy loved it, His friends seemed to enjoy themselves and the parents did too. 

It was the first time he'd had a party that wasn't just family, and he revelled in it. Now that he's in school, the boy has become a real social butterfly, making the rounds of play dates, birthday parties and afternoons at the park with friends.

I'm so happy to see how much he's grown, but sometimes I really do wish for the little bundle that fit in my arms, not the nearly 40 lb boy that I have today. Especially when we're having one of those days where nothing is right and we all have frayed tempers by the end of the day. But then he'll turn to me and say, "You know what Mummy, I really love you" and it makes me so glad that I have a happy, healthy, chatty 5 year old. I can't wait for the next 5, 10, 15 years (and more) with my boy.

From this...

to this.. in 5 short years!

Friday, 19 April 2013

Just like it used to be

Now that the boy is in school full time, I feel like I don't get to see him nearly as much as either of us would like, and the time we do spend together is not always the best as he's often tired & cranky from long days at school. (As an excuse, it means I don't have as much to say over here)

This weekend though, his Dad has to go to work, very early, on Saturday, so I said to the boy that because Daddy wouldn't be home, maybe he and I would go for a walk and get a treat for our breakfast. He was really excited by the idea and couldn't wait. Tonight as I was tucking him in, he reminded me that it was just he and I tomorrow, and he was really looking forward to it. Then he said, 'yeah, Mummy, it's just like it used to be when it was just you and me, I like that". 

My heart melted, and now, apart for the fantastic weather, I really can't wait for summer so I have 2 months to spend with just my boy. (Although check back with me in September to see if I really did enjoy it or if he managed to drive me crazy!)

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Easter Decorating

The boy has been very keen to decorate the house for Easter, my version of Easter decorating is normally some fresh flowers or plants on the table, but that wasn't enough for him!  So we've hung some the crafts he's made at school, and we've gotten the Easter baskets out, but he wants more .

I remembered how much fun he had making the wreath at Christmas and thought that I could use plastic eggs instead of balls to modify Lindsey's Amaze-Balls wreath. I figured that I could buy a couple of packs of eggs from the dollar store and if it didn't work, it wouldn't be a big deal.

So just like at Christmas, I used the glue gun and the boy was the artistic director and guided the layout. And I have to say, it looks really cute. I'm quite pleased with how well it turned out. It's bright and cheery - a perfect spring pick me up, and it was a fun afternoon crafting with the boy. A definite win all around!

And now we're decorated for Easter!

Thursday, 7 March 2013

It's a girl colour

The boy and I were having fun after school drawing yesterday. He was using his purple marker when he looked up at me and said 'purple is really a girl colour isn't it?'

I asked him, rather incredulously, where he had heard that. He was a little vague and couldn't really tell me. But I know that it came home from school (sometimes I really dislike the fact he's in JK now).

I said that there was no such thing as a girl (or boy) colour and the next time he heard someone say that he should look them straight in the eye and say 'that's ridiculous, there's no such thing.' We practiced a few times and he thought it was hilarious but is fully prepared to tell his friends off the next time it comes up.

We also talked about how boys and girls can like the same things, and it doesn't matter what they play with. We talked about how it doesn't matter if someone is a boy or a girl, because we're all just people and we have our own likes and dislikes.

With it being International Women's Day, I think it's even more important that my boy knows about equality, fairness, and social justice. While teaching the boy that labelling colours as boys or girls is wrong may seem a minor point, it's a starting point, and if at 4 years old he can stand up and say everything should be equal, then I'm off to a good start.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

A social media win or why the boy is also going to be an astronaut

The boy has decided that besides being a teacher, who gives lots of hard homework, he might also like to be an astronaut. The reason? Chris Hadfield. I've been following Chris Hadfield on Twitter (@Cmdr_Hadfield) (and Facebook and Tumblr) and sharing his pictures and videos with the boy. The boy loves finding out cool space facts, seeing pictures of the earth, and he was glued to the TV on the weekend watching the EVA (or spacewalk, for those of us not in the know). 

Thankfully, Chris Hadfield says he's got lots of pictures still to share, so even when his mission ends, he'll still be tweeting. 

With Chris Hadfield coming home from the ISS today, I would like to thank him for getting social media 100% right. He entertained, informed and inspired us all. 

The boy's picture of the ISS with Chris Hadfield inside it

Ground control to Major Boy. . . 

(If you haven't seen Chris Hadfield's cover of David Bowie's Space Oddity, you should go check it out now. It's yet another reason to love social media )

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Valentine's Cake!

The boy was so excited for Valentine's day this year. We made little bags of goodies for his friends, he made cards for them all and cards for his dad and I.

But the real highlight for him was making and decorating a heart shaped cake for dessert tonight. We made it together and then with a little bit of guidance he decorated it on his own.

So tada, the boy's cake! Happy Valentine's day.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

I can do it on my own

"I am not sitting here, 15 whole feet away from my kids, because I am too lazy to get up. I am sitting here because I didn't bring them to the park so they could learn how to manipulate others into doing the hard work for them. I brought them here so they could learn to do it themselves." From Please Don't Help My Kids by Kate Bassford Baker

A few people have been sharing this great post about letting kids do things on their own as a way of learning, rather than coddling them. I love it. It's something I struggle with, but I know that it's best for everyone if the boy falls every once in a while. Now I just need to keep reminding myself of that.