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Monday, July 28, 2014

Yummy Mummy Recipe: Gluten Free Chicken A La King

Growing up my Mum would make chicken a la king and it would get gobbled up in no time. As much as I love her recipe- condensed mushroom soup and all!- I needed to come up with a version Will could eat sans gluten. Hmmm.... So I tried my hand at making a healthy version and was beyond happy with the results. The sauce & chicken could even be tossed in a slow cooker to save time.

Yummy Mummy Recipe: Gluten Free Chicken A La King

Serves 4- 6

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 medium- large onions, diced
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 green pepper, diced
3 cups mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup green peas
1 cup almond milk
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce (check for gluten in the contents)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cups rice (uncooked measurement)
Optional: 1 cup grated parmesan or goat cheese
Salt & pepper to taste

1. Heat oil in pan on medium heat; in a separate pot, begin heating rice.
2. While oil is heating, cut the chicken breasts into chunks. When oil is heated, toss in garlic, onions, & green pepper; sauté until onions are transparent (approx 5minutes); bring rice to a boil, then cover & reduce heat; cook for 15 minutes.
3. Add spices & Worcestershire sauce to the pan, followed by the chicken. When chicken is cooked, add in a 1/2 cup of the almond milk. Cover & simmer for 10 minutes (sauce should thicken a little bit).
4. In a casserole dish layer rice on bottom & cover with chicken mix. Take the remaining 1/2 cup of almond milk & heat it in the same pan to absorb any of the remaining flavour left behind. When hot, pour over chicken. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
5. Optional: Sprinkle with cheese and bake in the oven at 325 degrees for 15  minutes

For the slow cooker/ Crock Pot:
Nice & simple! Add the veggies and spices to the pot and stir (you can skip the oil). Add chicken on top followed by all of the almond milk; stir so that chicken gets coated. Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours. Just cook up the rice & you have a yummy meal ready when you get home from work!

Mmmmm delicious!

What was your favourite dish growing up? Would you ever give it a 'healthy makeover'?

July posts sponsored by Cutie Pie Boutique

Friday, July 25, 2014

5 Motherhood Confessions

When I first started TPB, I had a vision of offering a place for honest and candid discussion about Motherhood and family life. As a then new Mom, I was in a whole new phase of life and completely overwhelmed. I thought that no matter what my readers were experiencing- absolute bliss or exhausted insanity- they would hopefully find something to relate to. Even though we had planned for a family and I was so excited to be a Mom, sleep deprivation combined with a baby who cried for hours in the evening took a toll. And in those first few weeks, I felt that would be my life forever.

Since then, I've completely fallen head over heels with this experience and the precious first twelve months have come and passed- time really does fly. I've now entered another phase in Motherhood- returning to work- and have watched several of my girlfriends navigate this territory. Some with enthusiasm (at work you get breaks!), some with heartbreak and frustration ('I'm missing time with my child for this?'), and others who have shifted to part time work (no more overtime or working on weekends) or changed careers to accommodate their familial priorities. As I seem to feel about many things in life, I felt like a combination of all of the above.

Will and I always had the hope that I could find a part time job or one that accommodated Motherhood, but suddenly I found myself  yo- yo-ing with all the choices that suddenly lay before me. Work is work, and there is really no perfect solution. Add in trying to balance work with family and suddenly your head is spinning trying to figure out what a balanced life evens means. No matter what decision I made, I knew there would be some compromise. Welcome to life as a grown up.

I spent my mat leave trying to figure out what I would do when I returned to work. Unlike many of my friends, I didn't have a career to return to. Our family business had closed it's doors and I had no other option than to figure our a new path. Ultimately, I have found a job- career maybe- that I can do from home in addition to my work on TPB. But as great as this may sound on paper, I have had to accept a few things. The last year has been a learning experience in so many ways.

For all the Moms out there that have struggled with returning to work, trying to find time for themselves, felt guilty because they don't spend as much time with their kids as they want, or feel guilty because they crave some time away from the kids, I hope this reminds you that you're not alone. And it's ok to feel the way you do. (PS a glass of wine can work wonders!)

Here are a few confessions (ie things I have learnt to accept) from over the past year

Motherhood & Type A personalities don't mix
Some people make to- do lists to stay organized or to help them remember everything they have to do. Or both. Now I simply won't remember everything I'm trying to do if it isn't written down. My favourite line (admittedly one I've borrowed from my own Mum) has become 'If it's not written down I won't remember'! This applies to everything from grocery lists to chores to you name it. There's just too many things for one brain to process in one day! I've learned to let things go- something many wise ladies suggested for us to hold on to our sanity. trying to get everything done just isn't worth the stress.

It's a juggling act
Baby. Hubby. House. Work. Repeat.
The idea of being a work from home Mom sounds like a piece of cake, and there are definitely perks. It's also very busy. My days look like a layer cake, with my time segmented with everything that needs to get done.When my young lady naps, it's work time for Mama; I also get up 1- 2 hours before she does (5- 6am) to get work done and put aside time at night after she's in bed. And then of course my hubby wants- and deserves- some time. Did you notice something missing? Where's the me time? Squeezed in somewhere between hubby & bedtime most days. ;)

Sometimes you feel like a human yo- yo
No matter who you are, what your baby and/ or kids are like, or if you are lucky to love your job, some days you just feel haywire. We all have proud Mama moments- especially on those precious calm days- but all have those WTF days where you find frustration at every turn too. With each new discovery our children make, it seems to be a mix of excitement and anxiety: they're learnt something new (exciting!) but what does this mean (they can do _____ now?!). I don't even want to think about Ari learning to drive or moving out, or...I've been warned that I'll worry about my kids for the rest of my life.  Fine then, bring on the bellinis!

There's no such thing as perfect. So stop trying to find it!
This ties in with my first point. I'm far from a perfectionist, but it's hard not to compare you and your family with others- no matter how hard you try not to. Things like Pinterest and Instagram glorify a beautiful home and family, and it's always fun to look. But it isn't worth stressing over trying to take on all the DIY projects and crafts and recipes and decorating, and, and, and.... Period. Keeping up with the Jones's is a recipe for a nervous breakdown or stroke (there's a reason heart disease is the #1 killer of women ladies!). Relax and enjoy life for the crazy, messy, coffee- needed journey that it is!

Messy house, dirty kids, happy Mom
Where housework got done on my days off before (and got finished!), it now gets slotted in where I can fit it. It's a distant priority behind my family time and work. That being said, I don't live in a pigpen and I do keep my house tidy, but I don't fuss over the dusting and having everything perfectly in it's place. Plus you know as soon as you've cleaned, it's going to be messy 5 minutes later anyway! I've also learnt that like me as a kid, my young lady enjoys being active which can involve getting dirty. That's fine. I'll take my happy grass- stained kid over a primped miserable one any day (except for family photos!). ;)

So Moms, whatever it is you are facing, struggling with, trying to figure out- it's ok to be whatever it is you feel. Bliss. Exhaustion. Both. And everything in between. 

Relish in the joys and laugh when you feel overwhelmed. I'm just as guilty of the next person of feeling anxiety when I don't know what the heck is going on. As my parents like to remind me, kids- and life- didn't come with an instruction manual. So on the days when you're don't know whether you're upside down or right side up and can't get enough coffee- you're not alone.

July posts sponsored by Cutie Pie Boutique

Monday, July 21, 2014

Yummy Mummy Monday: Easy BBQ Recipes

BBQ season is in full swing! If the weather's hot it's perfect to enjoy some sun and avoid overheating the house with the stove & oven.

Some of our family faves are ribs, burgers, fish (we're coming up on an epic salmon run here in BC soon!) and veggie skewers (you need to have a little green to go with all that BBQ protein! ;)

So, to go with all this vitamin D, here's some quick & easy ideas to toss on the barbee!

BBQ Menu: 
Homemade burgers with veggie skewers & yam fries

 Mouth- Watering Homemade Burger Patties 
You can't beet a fresh, homemade patty!
Makes 4 patties

1 lb ground meet (for a fresh alternative try ground buffalo-amazing! Ground turkey or a chicken breast are also great lighter options)
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 white or yellow onion, diced fine
1 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 egg
1/3 cup bread crumbs (for a gluten free version, use gf breadcrumbs or finely chopped kale)
Optional: 1 tsp each of ground paprika, chipotle chilli and/ or cayenne for added flavour & kick

Mix everything in a bowl & shape into patties (if skipping the breadcrumbs, it may be a good idea to cook the patty on a piece of foil to avoid it crumbling over the bbq grates). If using a chicken breast in place of a patty, create a dry rub with the garlic, onion & spices. Grill on medium heat until cooked through; approx. 10 minutes.

Serve with your favourite buns & fixings (we love avocado for a yummy substitute for mayo)
If you're on an uber health kick, swap the bun for lettuce leaves- a fave for those on a paleo or gluten free diet.

 Veggie Skewers 

Kick up the nutritional value & add flavour with some seasonal veggies
Makes 4- 6 skewers

1 zuchinni, sliced into medallions approx. 1/4" thick
Red & green bell peppers, chopped into 1 1/2" chunks
Red onion, chopped into 1 1/12 chunks
Other ideas:
Mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, mango chunks

Alternate the veggies on your skewers (make sure they're bbq safe- we had a set melt once!) leaving some space between items to cook. Pop on the bbq for approx 10- 15 minutes, covered at medium heat.

 Yam Fries 
A sweet & smoky twist on your typical spud side!
Makes 4- 6 servings

2 large yams, peeled & cut into wedges (see photo)
1- 2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp chipotle pepper
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt

Combine the oil & seasonings in a large bowl & toss in yam wedges. Mix until evenly coated. There are two ways you can tackle these: slow cook them on the grill for approx 30 minutes in a foil pouch with a tbsp or two of water until soft, then place on grill to char; or place directly on grill at low heat for approx. 30 minutes & then turn up heat to medium to char (it depends how much you want to babysit them- the foil pouch & water will be a little more forgiving if you're distracted by your company offering you a fresh beer every few minutes!) ;)

Enjoy with your favourite dipping sauce (try combining garlic, onion, avocado & chipotle in a food processor for a mayo dip alternative)

Great, now I want to BBQ! Hope this inspires you to fire up the grill!
For more yummy & healthy recipe ideas, check out our Yummy Mummy Recipes page!

Image Sources (in order of appearance):
Let Them Eat Burgers!- Epicure Selections- courtesy of Renee Schuck (learn about this Amazing Mom here!)
Veggie Skewers- Katherine Petrunia
Yam Fries- Health.com

July posts sponsored by Cutie Pie Boutique

Friday, July 18, 2014

Healthy is Sexy: Catching Up on the Juicing Craze with Sexy Juice

​Everywhere you turn right now, juice is all the rage. At home juicing, cold- pressed, fresh squeezed... what the heck is all the hype about and what does it mean to you and your family? Will has been a dedicated juicer for some time now and a dear friend of mine swears by it. But here's my confession: it can be messy and time consuming. Worth the work? Yes, definitely. But for many of us, time is of the essence and sometimes adding a kick of nutritious goodness means picking up something out of convenience.
So, for all you busy Moms & Dads looking for a boost, or for those picky kiddos who just don't dig their fruits & veggies, a serving of fresh juice could be a great on- the- go solution. There is some scepticism about many of the options out there, so to help me figure out where the benefits lie I spoke with the lovely Summer from Sexy Juice to help me wrap my mind around the juicing craze. 

Healthy is Sexy!

TPB: What are the benefits of having juice in your diet?

S: There are so many!  First though I should clarify that these are the benefits of COLD PRESSED juice.  Cold pressed juice contains the most whole nutrients, enzymes, minerals, and proteins; this is because of the way cold pressed juice is extracted - no heat!   Drinking a cold pressed juice is such a easy way of ensure you are getting your daily nutrition.  
I am the mother of a three year old and an entire day can go by and I've only eaten a couple bites of her scraps.  If I can start my day with a juice, that is 16oz of pure goodness - nothing processed.  You really do feel amazing, if I can go as far as to say elated.  When I first started implementing cold pressed juice into my diet, they are so nutrient dense it was an actual physical reaction, I felt amazing, alert, energized.  They taste great.  

TPB: What are some good ingredients to look for?
S: If you're going to drink one juice every 1-2 days I would suggest to go with a greens one - especially with kale.  Anything with dark leafy greens will be good for you all around.  However, drinking 16oz of fruits and veggies - you can't go wrong.
TPB: Can you suggest some 'top 3' combos? (ie for a cleanse, energy, etc)?

S: I don't think any specific combo is better than another.  All fruits and veg have so many benefits.  However, here's a good way to look at it: if you want beauty, go for something with beets; if you're looking for energy, find something with chia seeds or ginger.  It comes down to taste, if you like the taste you are much more likely to drink it often which is key for the juice to be most beneficial.

TPB: What are some popular juice(s)?
S: Our Good Morning Sunshine seems to be the most popular, anything with pineapple is really popular too and our nut mylks are a bit hit. 
Everyone is different and everyone has their favourites but my team spent a lot of time and effort crafting and re-crafting these recipes so they taste good and your body will crave it.

TPB: Any other info that's important for people to know about juices? 
S: People often get caught up that they have to do a cleanse to get the benefits of a cold pressed juice, which can be really daunting.  They're just a great item to include in your diet, cleanse or no cleanse. I have a lot of mom customers who have 3- 4 a week. They're good just to have in the fridge on those crazy day's when food seems to be the last priority. 
About Sexy Juice: At Sexy Juice our message is 'healthy is sexy', it's not about being a certain size, the things we aquire, the color of our hair, how put together we are.  We are encouraging our readers to keep health simple, go back to the basics by feeding your body whole and un-processed ingredients.  Keeping this things on hand is key to success, you truly will feel amazing from the inside and that shines through to the outside - every time.​ 

For more info about this awesome local company and to learn about their workplace program, click here! Find them on Facebook and Twitter & Instagram: @s_e_x_y_juice 
Want to find out what all the hype is about??? Sexy Juice has offered a 10% discount to TPB readers on orders over $50. Use promo code. THEPAMPEREDBABY at checkout to redeem.
The promo code can be used towards a 1- day cleanse for choose from their a la carte menu.

Images courtesy of Sexy Juice 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Yummy Mummy Monday: Popsicles!

Wow. Summer is in full swing. And it's hot! 
If you live in the Lower Mainland or surrounding areas, you know what the temperatures have been like lately. And while we definitely appreciate a change from the grey & rain we get for most of the rest of the year, we appreciate a cool treat to help us cool down. What could be better than a classic popsicle? Why not try your hand at making your own healthy versions? Take advantage of all the delicious berries & fruit in season and whip up some healthy sweet treats. Whether you make them for your kids or for the kid in you, these delicious pops are a Summer must- have. 

Each recipe makes 6 popsicles. 
Tip: If using popsicle sticks, freeze for approx 30 minutes before inserting sticks. Allow 3- 4 hours for popsicles to freeze completely.  

Sparkling Fruit Popsicles
A fun way to get your kids to eat fruit!
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1 kiwi, sliced
1/2 cup fresh pineapple, chopped
1/2 cup fresh strawberries, quartered
Sparkling water or coconut water (for a grown- up version, try with champagne or sparkling wine!) ;)

To Make
Fill popsicle moulds 1/4 full with sparkling/ coconut water, followed with alternating fruit pieces
Fill the rest of the mould with sparkling/ coconut water & tap lightly to remove bubbles
Freeze & enjoy! (the carbonation of the sparkling water is refreshing on a hot day!)
(Tip: Add the fruits by colour to make a rainbow popsicle)

Blackberry Coconut Popsicles
A delicious dairy- free option!
Coconut milk
2 cups blackberries
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp honey
Juice of one lime (optional- but adds a refreshing kick!)

To Make
Wash & strain blackberries, then puree them in a blender. Pour through a strainer to remove seeds.
In another bowl combine coconut milk, vanilla extract, & honey (and lime juice if using)
Pour alternating layers of the two mixtures into the moulds
Freeze & enjoy!
(Tip: If in a hurry, you can blend everything together in one bowl & skip the layers)

Berry Yogurt Popsicles
Enjoy seasonal berries in abundance!
1 1/2 cups yogurt 
1/2 cup milk (sub with coconut milk for a tropical twist)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 fresh berries (strawberries, blueberries, & blackberries are great local options)

To Make
Mix yogurt, milk, & vanilla in a blender
Mix in berries and pour into moulds 
(Like with the blackberry coconut popsicles, you can blend the berries with the yogurt mix if you prefer everything blended)

What's your favourite way to cool down in the Summer? Have a favourite popsicle recipe? We'd love to know about it!

Image Sources (in order of appearance):
July posts sponsored by Cutie Pie Boutique

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Party Planning 101: The Truth About Parties

I am going to be honest: this post was intended to tell you all about how to plan a birthday party (or any special event, really) that was both stress- free and as cute as those photos you covet on Pinterest and Instagram. I'd be lying if I told you planning Ari's first birthday was stress- free, but as this post hopefully shows, you don't have to spend hundreds of dollars to have a great party.

Overall, everything worked out and I was happy that my hard work paid off, but there were a few bumps in the road on the way (the hubby and I totally ended up fighting as we juggled all the day- of prep for the family party). For any Mom planning a birthday party, or celebration- or for any lady who has a shower, wedding, or other special event to plan, I hope this gives you an honest & realistic idea of what is involved.

Proceed With Caution!
Like so many friends I know, it started with Pinterest. I pinned ideas that I loved and before long had more than a few ideas about what I wanted to do, a theme, and how all the little touches would make it perfect (this process very much reminded me of planning my wedding, and how easy it is to get carried away with ideas). It isn't hard to get excited- and overwhelmed- by all of the cute and beautiful ideas out there for special occasions. But I have learned that like so many things, you have to prioritize. It's easy to get carried away!

Break Up the Celebrations
I am very lucky to have some wonderful friends that I wanted to share the occasion with, and knew that it would be best to split up the celebrations into a friends party and a family party (the family party alone would be around 20 people!). I decided to go with pink and gold, with Minnie- Mouse inspired polka dots and decor. 

And now for the fun!

The Decorations
Tip: Save money by making some or all of your decorations. Get creative with dollar store staples such as streamers, tissue paper & ribbon- the options are endless! (I made tissue tassels & streamer curtains that made a big impact without dropping a lot of money).
Keep decorations that can be re- used for other parties & celebrations (like multiple birthday parties!)

I carried the pink, gold, & polka dots throughout both parties, re-using some of the decorations for both. A fun bonus was the Minnie Mouse balloon sculpture courtesy of Coco Globo balloons- it was the perfect fun finishing touch I was looking for.

The Family Party
From this...

...To this!

The Friends Party
From this...

...To this!

Thank you to Coco Globo for the Minnie Mouse balloon sculpture!

The Goodie Bags
Tip: Keep these fun favours budget friendly by combining some homemade goodies with 1 or 2 larger items.
I did slightly different bags for the lil ladies & gents (but all had some sugary treats for the parents, including some homemade candy skewers!)
 For the lil gents: 
Bow tie from Cutie Pie Boutique
Sun visor 
Sidewalk chalk
Candy skewer & lollipop (for Mom & Dad!)

 For the lil ladies: 
Clippie set from Cutie Pie Boutique
Sidewalk chalk
Sidewalk chalk
Candy skewer & lollipop (for Mom & Dad!)

The Food
Tip: Don't be afraid to ask for some help with the menu! I was fortunate to have my Mom and Mother In Law help with the family party and one of my girlfriends contributed beautiful homemade cupcakes for the friends party to help offset the cost & work.

The cakes lovingly made by my mama in law! (I LOVED the smash cake!)

And the gorgeous cupcakes my friend made for the friends party- eek those bows!

The freebie cake from our local Thrifty's (you get a free cake when your lil one turns one!)

Even though these ideas show girly colours, you can easily swap them to suit the colours of your theme. I hope some of these ideas inspire you for your next special event- whether it's a birthday party, shower, or wedding! oxox TPB 

I want to say how grateful I am to Cutie Pie Boutique and Coco Globo for helping me make these celebrations extra special. See below for info.

Cutie Pie Boutique- adorable hair accessories & rompers for your little lady!
Etsy Store
Instagram: @cutiepieboutique

Coco Globo- amazing balloon sculptures for all your special events needs!

July posts sponsored by Cutie Pie Boutique