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Monday, March 30, 2015

Yummy Mummy Monday: Homemade Pasta Sauce

Pasta has always been a favourite meal in our house and probably gets made at least once a week. Over the years I've found that store bought sauces are good in a pinch but I'm not a fan of how much salt and funky sounding ingredients there are in some of them. I also have to read the labels carefully to make sure there's no gluten in the seasonings and/ or cheese added to the sauce. Will and I have also been spoiled because his Mom makes the best sauce from scratch and we haven't found a store- bought option that even comes close. Luckily she's happy to share her recipes (see this post for her amazing ribs- a great slow cooker meal) and we enjoy making the stuff up in double batches & freezing it. I'll admit we have never got ours to taste quite as good as hers, but we've come pretty close! Skip the beef if you want a marina that's more versatile or add in another protein (chorizo sausage is fantastic) to mix it up a little. Buon appetito!

Yummy Mummy Recipe: Homemade Pasta Sauce

Makes enough sauce for approx. 4- 6 full meals
2- 3 lbs regular ground beef
5 cloves garlic, crushed
3 yellow onions, diced
3 green peppers, diced
2 zucchini, diced
3 tbsp Italian Seasoning (add more to taste)
1 tsp ground cayenne pepper
salt & pepper to taste
4 tins crushed tomatoes (796mL)
1 tin diced tomatoes (796mL)
Add your other favourite veggies and/ or protein 

1. On medium heat brown the ground beef & then drain out the fat. Add the garlic and onion; saute until onion is cooked.
2. Follow with green peppers & zucchini and any other veggies and/ or meat you're adding, cook for a few minutes to soften.
3. Add seasonings & mix well, then add all 5 tins of tomatoes, stirring well as you add each tin.
4. Turn up to high heat and stir until sauce is bubbling, approx. 5 minutes.
5. Once sauce is bubbling and has been stirred well, reduce to low heat & simmer covered for 30 minutes- 1 hour. Stir & check the taste occasionally and add additional seasoning based on your taste preferences.
6. When ready, remove from heat & serve. Or allow to cool & scoop into freezer bags and freeze for an easy dinner for busy nights (we've cooked this sauce from frozen on many a lazy meal night). This sauce is great when enjoyed fresh and just as delish when frozen & thawed.

Have you ever made your own sauce? I'd love to hear what you put in yours! :)

And don't forget to check out lots of other great foodie posts on our Yummy Mummy Recipes page!

Image source: Table for Two

March posts sponsored by Little Dreamers Consulting

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Dairy Free Easter Basket

Easter & chocolate just seem to go hand in hand. But if your family is like ours & has to skip the chocolate in the Easter egg hunt it can be tricky to think of ideas to put in a dairy free Easter basket. Because I don't want my 21 month old completely hocked up on sugar I wanted our Easter basket & egg hunt to not only be dairy free but not stuffed to the brim with other sweet confections (see my idea for moolah below- Ari loves putting coins in her piggy bank & it's so cute to watch, so this is as much for my enjoyment as it is hers) ;). Since I don't think I'm the only parent thinking this way I thought I'd share 3 ideas for a fun dairy free Easter basket (I'm prepped a little early this year since #2 is due right around Easter weekend).

 1. $$$ for their piggy bank 
What kid doesn't love a little moolah? Plus it's a great way to use up loose change. Pop a few coins in each plastic egg for a fun Easter egg hunt idea                                        

2. Marshmallows or another sweet treat 
Peeps might be the classic choice but I love that these gourmet chick mallows are made with honey instead of corn syrup & there are plenty of dairy- free candy options out there. Just pick ones your kids love & are age- appropriate        
 3. Activity kit 
As a fun little gift to unwrap, why not give your kiddo something you can do together? A craft kit or something Spring- themes are great inexpensive ideas

#Shoplocal Where to Buy:
Honey- sweetened gourmet marshmallows- WHIPPED Baked Goods & Confectionary 
'My Little Box of Gardening' Kit- Local garden centre (I've seen these at a few stores)
(also see herehere, and here for some other fun craft/ activity ideas from 2 companies I like)
Bunny ears (for my little Easter bunny to wear on her egg hunt)- Cutie Pie Boutique

Have a Happy Easter!

March posts sponsored by Little Dreamers Consulting

Friday, March 27, 2015

Surviving Teething with Tiny Teethers {+Review & Giveaway}

I will say this: whoever decided that teething would be a prolonged experience had a cruel sense of humour. Anyone who's experienced it will attest to the roller coaster ride that is a little one cutting teeth. Ari seemed to handle her earlier teeth coming in fairly well, but she has been a chomp monster at times. And now she's got her molars coming in. Yippee

I'm not sure what's more wine- inducing: a teething baby or a teething toddler (did I mention I'm 8 months pregnant and the closest I can get to a glass is sniffing the grown up grape juice?). Ah yes, this mama has been digging through her bag of tricks trying to find options that sooth her soar gums and are safe for a toddler to chomp on (to learn about what teeth come in when and for more information on teething, check out this post). Among some of the items I've found most helpful are her amber anklet, camilia drops, frozen wash cloths, and chompable jewellery, aka teething necklaces. 

When Tara from Tiny Teethers contacted me about a possible collaboration, I couldn't have asked for better timing. I have seen these chompable accessories that Moms can wear for their little ones to chew on in stores and at various events and had bought a different version for my little madam which she has since lost. I loved that Tara's necklaces are made from plastic that is BPA and phthalate free and that she offers a variety of styles and colour options so you can find a necklace that suits your little one's teething needs and your fashion style. Bring on a fashionable way to tackle teething! 

Here's a little bit from Tara about Tiny Teethers & how she got into making teething jewellery
I started Tiny Teethers in the fall of 2013, shortly after the birth of my first son, Andreas. I used to design jewellery, but I stopped after he was born and then once he started teething, I stopped wearing jewellery all together! I had seen this type of necklace once before and thought it would be the perfect business for me, combining my passion for jewellery design and making something fashionable that mothers could wear for their little ones to enjoy.

We sell silicone teething necklaces for moms to wear and babies to teethe on, along with pacifier clips; our necklaces range from $12.99 to $29.99 and our pacifier clips are $14.99. We expect to release a signature pendant by May of this year. 

The idea came to me during one of our daily walks. As soon as Andreas was down for his nap that afternoon, I started researching to see if it was even feasible. The pieces of the puzzle fell in place quickly and I had myself a business!

My favourite part is definitely connecting with mothers. I love their reaction after learning what my product is and how it can help them! So far my biggest challenge is taking the vision I have for Tiny Teethers and expanding it across Canada. There have been many hurdles along the way, but I feel like I’m starting to overcome them. Another challenge has been limiting my son’s ever- growing Tiny Teethers collection!

For women who are looking to start their own business, I say to go for it! I never thought running my own business was something I could accomplish without a business degree, but it is and it rocks. There are not too many jobs I’ve had in the past where I enjoyed working until midnight on a Friday or Saturday night! 

Why I love this brand
These teething necklaces are 'jewellery with a purpose' and I love that when you purchase from the company you're supporting a local Mom in business. Her products are beautiful while serving an important purpose: 'Fashionable for Mom, safe for baby'. Tara sent me one of the teething necklaces from the Primrose Collection which features round & oval beads (see photos below). 

How pretty is this??? I LOVE that pop of colour!

Ari loves checking out my jewellery and suddenly being allowed to chomp on one of the pretty beaded pieces was a fun new novelty. There are so many options available on the market for teething, but I'm glad that options like these exist, free from BPA and other chemicals. And think about it: if you're allowing your little one to put something in their mouth that will be enthusiastically chomped on, don't you want it to be one less thing to worry about? I feel good letting her play with and chew on this necklace and know it will get well used with #2. And as for cleaning, all you have to do is wash with warm water & soap. 

Product features:
100% silicone
BPA free
No lead, cadmium, or phalates


Want to win one of Tara's amazing teething necklaces for your little one? Head over to the blog's Contests page to enter to win this pretty turquoise necklace from the Bluegrass Collection!

To see the full collection of Tiny Teethers products, check out their website & find them on Facebook & Twitter. For other ideas to help sooth your little one, check out this post.

Tara & Tiny Teethers will be at the  Healthy Family Expo on March 29th at the Vancouver Convention Centre, which is one of my favourite events of the year!
Come meet Tara in person & pick up one of her amazing teething necklaces for yourself! For more info on that event, click here.

March posts sponsored by Little Dreamers Consulting