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Monday, November 24, 2014

Yummy Mummy Monday: Zucchini 'Noodle' Lasagne

Have you been seeing all the great recipes for pasta made with zucchini 'noodles'? We've been making spaghetti & lasagne out of these squash for a while and love it as a lighter, gluten free (and paleo) option. For a GF option, it's great and there's an additional nutritional punch (bonus!). 

One of my friends recently made this with her kids and they loved it. (It's nice when kids help make dinner in addition to eating it!). She served hers in the classic way topped with cheese and with garlic bread, but you can easily adjust to suit your family's needs. :)

Yummy Mummy Monday: Zucchini 'Noodle' Lasagne

Serves 4
1 tbsp olive oil
3 zucchinis with the ends chopped off
Favourite pasta sauce*
1 large handful of spinach, washed & dried
2 cups grated cheese
Optional: Garlic bread 

Renee's lil man helping out with dinner! 
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees

2. Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat; while waiting to bring up to temperature, slice zucchini thinly lengthways; you want the slices no thicker than 1/8" (some cheese graters have a slicing side that works well; a mandolin is also a great tool for this)
The thinner the zucchini slices, the better
3. When cooking surface is warm, cook zucchini until softened, approx. 3 minutes on each side

4. In a 9"*13" baking dish scoop enough sauce to coat the bottom, followed by a layer of zucchini slices; follow this with some spinach. Continue alternating layers until you've used up all your zucchini slices (if you've sliced them really thin, only add spinach to every other layer).

Renee added mushrooms, red peppers & extra cheese to her lasagne layers- yum!
5. Top with cheese and pop in the oven for 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
The finished product!
Serve with your favourite sides & enjoy!
Renee made yummy garlic bread using Epicure's Herb & Garlic Dip Mix
We skipped the cheese at our house and this is so tasty you really don't miss it :)

* We love making our own sauce, for a recipe this size here's what you'll need:
1 lb ground beef
1 large onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can crushed tomatoes

3 tbsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp cayenne pepper
salt & pepper to taste

To make: Brown ground beef & set aside. Saute onion & green pepper until soft, stir in all other ingredients and bring to a boil. Taste as you go and add more seasoning as desired. Reduce to a simmer for 1- 2hours (this is great if you have the time to make ahead, if not using it right away is delicious too).

Thanks Renee for the photos and for helping with this post! For some delicious seasonings, spices, etc, check out her Epicure page on Facebook.

November posts sponsored by Cutie Pie Boutique

Friday, November 21, 2014

2014 Holiday Gift Guide

This year shop local and pick up something for everyone on your list while supporting these amazing brands based right here in BC (we've also tossed in a few faves made in Canada & the US). 

Whether you've already started crossing people off your list, or you're a last minute shopper, our 2014 Holiday Gift Guide has something for everyone- from the itty- bitties to the grown ups! Happy shopping! 

Because even Santa needs help checking off everyone on his list!

1. Stunning! Floral Headband: Arrow & Lace Designs- $28
2. I've got this in Ari's Christmas list ;) Lace Romper: Cutie Pie Boutique- $15
3. Cozy & stylish! Faux Fur & Leopard Print Infinity Scarves: Lille Mus- $24 & $22
4. Who doesn't love a little leopard print??? Beanie with Leopard Print Bow: Lille Mus- $20
5. Have you bought your lil lady's holiday dress yet? Maliha Dress: Arrow & Lace Designs- $26
6. Mark the milestones & take them with you when you move. Growth Charts: Ruler Girls- Starting at $25
7. Who can resist a bow accessory? Petite Bow Clip: Malini Alexandra for TPB- $7
8. Cuteness all around! Eyelet Headband: Malini Alexandra for TPB- $13
9. A fun activity that encourages creativity. Amazing Animals Craft Box: Curiosity Box- $26.95
10. Dress up your lil man in style! Plaid Bowtie: Lille Mus- $14
12. A cute take on a classic. Crochet Hightop Sneaker- Rock N Wool
13. Gender neutral style for boys & girls. Trex Tshirt: Jill and Jack Kids- $25
14. Like light- up Lego! 4 in 1 Helicopter Kit: Laser Pegs- $14.99
15. So cute we had to include two bowties! Plaid Bowtie: Lille Mus- $14
16. One of my fave accessories for Ari! Silver Bow Headband: Cutie Pie Boutique- $10
17. Cozy cuteness! Crochet Booties: Rock N Wool

Shop Canadian this Holiday season & check out some of our favourite items from Peekaboo Beans

1. Petal Perfect Skirt- $48
2. Long Embrace Leggings- $28
3. Feathered Friends Tshirt- $38

1. Woodland Coat- $115
2. Mountaineer Tshirt- $38
3. Outward Bound Pants- $50

Spoil some special gals!

1. Don't you deserve to feel like a goddess???Goddess Hairband: Malini Alexandra for TPB- $16
2. Classics never go out of style. Houndstooth Infinity Scarf: Malini Alexandra for TPB- $20.50
3. Warm & cozy with flare! Fair Isle Sweater Dress: Muse Social Fashion House- $88
4. Do good & buy one of these beauties! Laptop Sleeve: Better Life Bags- $75 USD
5. Who can resist a good tartan accessory? Edinburgh Tartan Head Wrap: I Wear the Headress- $25
6. Customized wearbale love.XO Engraved CODI Necklace: Woodland Owl Trinkets- $22

For your fave dudes!

1. Show your local pride! Stanley Park Tshirt: The Hive Printing- $28
2. Perfect for the outdoorsman. Tall Glass: Bowen Island Glass- $20
3. Because really, what guy doesn't like beer? (Especially BC beer?) Drink Beer Tshirt: available at Brick and Mortar Living
4. A cheeky stocking stuffer for your fave dude. Mug: Blushface Paper Goods- $18.55
5. Help him look dapper naturally. Natural Shave Set (shaving cream & soap): Metiterra Soaps- $20

For all those who love indulging in edible goodies!

1. For the tea lover passionate about quality. Gourmet Tea Box: Tea Sparrow- $20
2. A great stocking stuffer for beer lovers. Beer & Pretzel Brittle: Whipped Baked Goods & Confectionary
3. A yummy hostess gift to bring along with homemade goodies. 100% Natural Apple Cider: Taves Family Farm
4. A fun date night idea. Cooking Classes: Well Seasoned- $60
5. The perfect addition to any hot cocoa! Toasted Coconut Gourmet Marshmallows: Whipped Baked Goods & Confectionary- $6

Please note: TPB did not receive any compensation or free product from any of the above companies to be featured in the Gift Guide. We picked items to be included based on the quality of the products & brands, with a focus on made in BC/ Canada/ US and in the spirit of supporting small businesses offering unique items. Show your support and let them know you heard about them on TPB!

November posts sponsored by Cutie Pie Boutique

Monday, November 17, 2014

Yummy Mummy Monday: Turkey St. Jacques

I'm always on the hunt for new recipes to try, especially those that can be adapted to be gluten and/ or dairy free. And my hubby is more than happy to be the guinea pig of these culinary experiments. Some definitely turn out better than others, but hey- you gotta try, dontcha?

When I was watching Cityline a little while ago I saw an idea that I couldn't resist: Turkey St. Jacques. Turkey say what??? It's a classic French dish somewhere between a pot pie & shepherd's pie with a poultry filling. Load it full of veggies & top with mashed potatoes and you've got yourself a winner. Also delish with chicken, but I think you'd be safe to swap in most other proteins and be happy with the result. (Stash this idea away for those frozen Thanksgiving leftovers and upcoming Christmas ones!).

Yummy Mummy Recipe: Turkey St. Jacques

Serves 4- 6
I adapted the recipe from Cityline to accommodate our family's dietary needs. To view the original recipe, click here

1- 2 cups mashed potatoes (or swap in mashed turnip or cauliflower for a yummy twist)
2 cups cooked turkey, chopped into 1" chunks
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
8 mushrooms, chopped
3 tbsp gluten free flour
1 tsp xantham gum (skip this if using regular flour)
2 tsp parsley (dry is fine, but fresh is better) :)
1 tsp each: oregano, sage, & thyme (again, fresh is great, but dried will do the trick)
1 tbsp poultry seasoning
1 1/2 cups almond milk
Salt & pepper to taste
Optional: 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese (or cheese substitute)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat.
2. Saute the onion and mushroom until cooked and remove from heat.
3. Add flour, xantham gum, parsley, and others herbs to the pot and stir until the veggies are coated.
4. Gradually add almond milk, stirring as you pour. Return pot to heat and add turkey.
5. Line the edge of a casserole dish with the mashed potatoes (get messy and use your hands to squeeze onto the edge & press with a fork for a piped look, or get fancy & pipe the spuds).
6. Spoon in the turkey mixture into the dish & sprinkle with cheese/ substitute if using. Cook for 20 minutes or until potatoes begin turning golden.

Bon appetit! 
November posts sponsored by Cutie Pie Boutique

Friday, November 14, 2014

From Baby to Teen: How to Foster Healthy Relationships with Your Kids

As parents, we are the first influencers in our child's lives. We teach them about love and security in our actions, body language, and the pitch of our voice. We help them feel safe and secure by showing affection and protecting them as they interact with the world around them. As they grow, our influence broadens as it shapes their behaviours and self esteem. How they act and react in different situations reflects both their individual personality and our influences as parents. 

The importance of recognizing our influences from an early age and throughout developmental stages can help us better understand the world from our children's perspective, help us have patience, and be able to communicate with them more effectively. When a healthy relationship is fostered between parent and child, children become more confident and develop a good self esteem. 

I recently had the chance to ask Parenting Coach Paula Milbradt how we as parents can 
foster healthy relationships with our children and encourage positive behaviour as they grow. While our role as parents is always an important one, it evolves and changes as our children grow from infants to toddlers, from kids to pre- teens, and eventually into independence- seeking teenagers.  Read on to learn how to develop and foster a healthy relationship with your children at any age.

Security is the most important thing in a child's life, along with love and support. What does a healthy attachment offer to young children?  It offers them self assurance, confidence, competence, and the ability to problem solve and work with others.  Children need limits and boundaries that match their behaviour and  based on their age and development.  It is important for parents to be consistent with each other in order for the child to feel secure. Here's how to develop a healthy attachment and relationship with your child at different stages:

During Infancy
Responding consistently to your child's needs will foster a healthy attachment.  From birth onward, your role is to offer a healthy and secure environment.  When you respond to your infants' cries, you are committing to their needs and wants, thus creating a trusting relationship.  From infancy onward they are communicating and conditioning you.  You begin to understand their cues and messages and now is a good time to introduce basic sign language to empower your baby.  

Your reactions during this time are very important.  Parents' will want to approach their infant with the empathy and understanding that they are in need of something or have discomfort.  During feeding, diapering, sleeptime and play time are wonderful ways to interact and attach to your child.  You have established trust. Love rituals are a nice way to foster a healthy relationship.  That can be by a song, a certain phrase or poem.

I love it when parents sing and play movement games that are interactive:  'All Around the Garden', and 'This Little Piggy' are popular favourites; physical touch and affection stimulate the brain and heighten a healthy attachment.  Also touching the finger tips, toes, and tips of ears heightens attachment.  

The Toddler Years
Understanding that all human beings want to be acknowledged and validated and that behaviour is learned is important.  Infants come into this world alone but are born with empathy towards others.  When the infant turns into a toddler (18 months) they are at an age where they need to explore and figure out the world around them.  Parents at this stage need to respond and acknowledge this new found curiosity and offer patience as their child develops a need for autonomy.  

I recommend at this age that the parent adopt an attitude that is empowering and communicates to your child 'I believe in you-  but you still need to be safe'.  Parents can sometimes have expectations of their toddler to share or to be friendly with everyone.  Labels start to be tossed around such as shy, good, and bad;  it is very important during any age that the behaviour be recognized.  For example, when a child goes behind their mom or dad they are saying, 'I am feeling nervous' or 'I am unsure of who this person is'.  

By acknowledging your child you are allowing them to be their own person and to have their own feelings.  I highly recommend using 'I' statements  and getting down to their level.  Giving children choices at this age also helps empower them.  The choices will have an outcome that you want, but the child will feel important and that they have a voice in situations.

For example, I like to suggest that parents allow their toddler to choose their own diaper, start stand up changes (urine only), and encourage them to pull their own pants or tights down, remove their own diaper and throw it in the garbage.  Encourage the toilet or potty. If the child is ready then they will sit, if not that is okay.  Never force your child to sit during that exchange, but recognize their contributions to the diaper change by thanking them.  Saying thank you to your child is an amazing way to validate their behaviour and teach them the value of being kind and understanding of manners.  

Young Children
One of the most important ways to foster a healthy attachment is to share with children why decisions are made for them.  It holds the parent accountable and offers learning for the child.  'Because I said so' is often heard;  since we as humans are born with the social emotional part of our brain first, it is important to recognize that we all respond emotionally first.  When parents take the time and explain to their children the honest truth they are saying I respect you, therefore helping children to respect themselves, their parents, and others around them.  

By showing unconditional love and forgiveness to your child, you help them understand   that mistakes are natural (they have only been on the planet for 0-3 years :) ), and that they are still learning.  Children are curious and want their parents to be proud of them.  However, I really encourage parents to say  'you should be proud of yourself',  'you worked really hard at getting that to work', alongside of 'I am proud of you'; expand on the achievement rather than simply saying 'good job' or 'good boy/ girl'.  All children are born 'good' and when they get conditioned to think that they have to be told that they are good, they can begin to feel that they are 'bad' when they don't hear it; this may lead to a lower self esteem.  

During the ages of 6 - 12years, your children need consistency and boundaries.  They also need for you to engage and ask questions like 'who is your best friend?',  'what is your favourite subject and teacher?' 'what do you like about those things and people?'.  These are just a few questions that will show them that you are interested in them.  They also want to spend time being active and engaged, eating healthy food and sleeping.  Their relationships with their peers are very important as well with the relationship they have with you.   

Although parents may believe that their child wants to be playing video games and always seem to have a screen in front of them, they actually crave social and live interactions with others.  Family meals and game nights are very important for this age group.  Having them cooking, baking, cleaning is also important....not only for allowance, but you are giving them the opportunity to know what responsibility looks like and it says I value you in this home.  

Have family meetings and ask them what they think is working in the routines and what could be done differently.  By empowering them they feel honoured and validated.  Again, self esteem and a sense of belonging is what all humans crave.  Supporting them to come up with consequences for their behaviour is also a great way to ensure that there is learning.  Have them write a contract out with you or have them involved in the solutions of what could happen next time.  

Time out is often really embarrassing for this age group, so I would have them take some time to practice meditation, or deep breathing.  I also believe that children of this age and younger should be practicing a gratitude journal.  Finding ways to celebrate what is going on around them is very meaningful.  As a family find a way to give back to community.  This also is a great way to demonstrate kindness and compassion in all of your lives.  

The Teen Years 
Teens are very influenced by their peers and will sometimes explore areas of danger or things that are adult like, such as alcohol, drugs, and sex.  Having meaningful conversations about how they are coping with their bodies, their friendships, challenges, and goals are great ways to foster that relationship.  We cannot control who they are hanging out with them but we do need to establish rules and guidelines for truth and positive outcomes.

Discuss what a reasonable curfew would be.  Establish trust and talk to them about their time away at a concert or other event.  When and if they say they don't want to talk about it, remind them that you are their parent and that your intention is to build a better understanding of their interests and are there to support them with challenges that they may and will face.  Leave an open door policy for them.  Allow them the ability to create boundaries that feel good to them and you.  If you are faced with challenging behaviour, use 'I' statements and tell them what it is your are thinking and most afraid of.  Effective communication is by far the best way to guide and support your teen.  

Paula Milbradt is a Parenting Coach and Early Childhood Expert specializing in supporting families develop positive relationships and guide behaviour that is respectful and developmentally appropriate. With the company she founded, Empowermil, she has worked with children and families for the past 20 years providing the tools and techniques to help empower both parents and children to foster healthy relationships.  She has worked with educators, coaches, and teachers in addition to families, working with ages 0- 18. Paula is passionate about teaching the importance of communication and social emotional support to create a healthy environment for individuals to thrive.

If you would like to learn more about Paula or would like her help, visit her website or contact her via email at paulamilb@gmail.com.

You can also find Empowermil oFacebook & Twitter: @childnurturer

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November posts sponsored by Cutie Pie Boutique