snack time (foodie fridays)

having snacks on hand for a toddler is a very important part of being a parent, amiright? i feel like every time i go out with ollie for an extended period of time i need to have a whole arsenal of snacks for him. while i like to think that i am not a crazy mother who thinks about every little piece of food being ingested by her child, i am definitely that mother sometimes. (i said sometimes, not always. i let loose last week and let ollie at a few chocolate chip cookies. ha!)

anyways, brian found a recipe for homemade goldfish crackers so we started making those a couple months ago. if we're being totally honest here, we probably make them just as much for us as we do for ollie. these crackers are so good. cheesy perfection, the apartment always smells so good when they are baking. and no, we are not crazy enough to cut them out like little goldfish. we just take a pizza cutter to them and make tiny square crackers. you can find the recipe here.

just this past week, a friend posted on facebook about homemade graham crackers and i was intrigued. they were way easier to make than i thought they would be and are so yummy. i make little triscuit sized cookies for ollie, but i'd really like to try making them the same size as store bought graham crackers and using them for s'mores. how decadent would that be? the recipe is from weelicious. here it is!

ollie is a baby with an interesting taste in food. he loves hummus. the more garlic the better, too! he eats hummus by the spoonful, out of a bowl, the same way other babies eat yogurt. i love that he loves it. made with chickpeas, olive oil, tahini and garlic, hummus is packed full of good-for-you's and it tastes good too. i tried a new hummus recipe today, made with red lentils (which are even cheaper than chickpeas, if you can believe it) and it turned out so good. it tastes almost exactly like traditional hummus, but it's a little more fluffy and creamy. brian even said he likes the red lentil hummus better. this recipe, approved by both my boys, is definitely a keeper.

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup dried red lentils
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons tahini
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. Heat water in a small saucepan over high heat until boiling. Add lentils and reduce heat to low. Simmer until almost all of the liquid has been absorbed, about 15 minutes. Drain through a fine mesh strainer and let cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes.
  2. Place lentils, garlic, and tahini in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade attachment and pulse until lentils are broken up, about 10 pulses.
  3. With the motor running, add oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper and blend until evenly incorporated, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and blend for 40 seconds more or until smooth.
and, last but definitely not least, ollies favourite snack and the easiest to prepare, watermelon! this kid can down as many slices of watermelon as the average adult. he eats it until he's bursting, juice dripping down his arms and onto his belly. it's adorable and very, very messy, which is why watermelon is an eat at home or at the playground (both places where he can be easily rinsed off) kind of snack.

crazy watermelon eating baby
happy snacking!



our little family, spring 2013.


our new favourite pizza (foodie fridays)

this thai chicken pizza is to die for. even though it seems a little weird to put zucchini on pizza, do not skip that step! delicious. i found the recipe here.



the ollie show

 our ollie is over 15 months old! he is growing so fast! he's still the long, skinny guy he has always been. he is over the 50th percentile for height, under it for weight and his head is in the 90th. this kid has a massive melon. lots of brains, that's what i say! inside his big head he has tons of teeth. i swear he has a new molar everytime i catch a glimpse. i think the grand total is 12 teeth? they make him look so grown up.

i often find him in the living room, pulling his books off the shelf and reading them out loud. he jabbers all the time. he finds phones, remote controls, anything with buttons, really, and "talks" to his grandmas. he had a long chat with his cousin joviah on the phone today. he says "mama" and something that sounds a lot like "hi dada!" everytime brian comes into the room. today he was playing with his friend jets toy bus at church and he kept on saying "ba! ba!" so we're pretty sure that means bus. cute! he says "what's that?" all the time and i think he's trying to say "truck" when he sees one drive past. i can tell he understands much of what i say, pointing at the bananas when i ask him if he wants one and calming down his fussies when i say, "do you want a drink of water?" baby boy isn't really a baby anymore and i feel like one day soon he is going to be walking and talking like a real boy.

as far as walking goes, we're not quite there yet, though he has started standing unassisted this week. it is so cute to see his little body stand on it's own. he holds his hands in the air and smiles at us. sometimes he claps when he's standing! he knows we're so proud of him. i cried the first time he stood on his own. ha! i'm crazy, i know. he has the most observant little personality; i feel like he is perfecting walking in his mind first, and one day he is just going to stand up and walk across a room perfectly.

 ollie loves food. his favourite foods are overnight oats for breakfast, yogurt & granola, apples, beef & broccoli, sweet potatoes and watermelon. he ate five slices of watermelon after dinner tonight! this tiny kid has a huge appetite; it blows my mind how much he eats sometimes!

most of the time, ollie is a happy, content boy. however, the picture below proves that he has a bit of a temper, too! ha. i just uploaded pictures from my camera and has almost forgotten about that gem. hilarious! (he really wanted the camera.) he is learning better to play on his own, but he still wants me to hold him while i am cooking because he is completely fascinated by the whole process.

crazy ollie!

ollie has radar eyes & ears. he can spot animals from blocks away and watches them until they are out of sight. he barks everytime he sees a dog and gets really excited when he sees birds. we have magpies that always hang out outside our apartment and ollie stands on the kitchen table and watches them closely until they fly away. yesterday while brian was mowing the lawn he found a baby bird that had fallen out of it's nest. ollie was fascinated by the tiny bird, but got a little too excited. in the second picture that little hand is about it smack the bird and knock out some feathers. yikes! shortly after we set the birdie free. ollie loved his little friend though. this boy is an animal lover!

 he is really looking so grown up lately. i think he looks like he's five years old in the pictures below! he is such a handsome boy.

tons of teeth!
how we do whipping cream in our house...ha! our baby is growing fast. he learns new things all the time and is always making us laugh. he is such a goof! keep growing healthy and strong and smart, sweet boy. we love you!


thai pork (foodie fridays)

thai pork is a family recipe. i have no idea where my mom got the recipe, but she's passed it on and it is delicious. it tastes like take-out, minus all the m.s.g. and questionable meat sources. ha! i used to dip each and every piece of pork in the egg and then in the cornstarch and it took foooorever. i've recently adapted it with a "shake & bake" approach; mix up the eggs in a bowl, toss the pork in a stir to coat, put it in a bag and throw some cornstarch in. close up the bag (make sure there's some air in there) and shake! it should we well coated but not overloaded. i also find i usually use more than 3 T of corn starch, but just eyeball it.

thai pork

1 or 2 pork tenderloins
2 eggs beaten
3 T corn starch
1 carrot, thin shreds
1 green pepper, thin shreds
½ cup slivered celery
2 T sugar
2 T vinegar
1 boullion cube
1 cup hot water
4 T oil 

cut tenderloin into half inch pieces. roll in beaten eggs and then corn starch. (see above modification.) wax paper to dry. place veggies, sugar, vinegar, boullion cube and water; set aside for 20 minutes.
heat oil in large frying pan and fry all meat. brown quickly over high heat. add veggie mix and stir over medium for 2-3 minutes. serve over a bowl of rice. the leftovers are so yummy, too!




when i moved to edmonton almost six (!!!) years ago, i arrived with high hopes for a bright future. i had taken one semester of university courses in regina after i graduated from high school, after which i decided to apply for the journalism program at grant macewan in edmonton. i opted out of a second semester at the u of r (because none of the courses would count towards my journalism diploma) and spent the next eight months working several jobs, saving money, playing with my friends and brushing up on my writing skills. i applied and was accepted to the journalism program in edmonton. i was thrilled. i felt that i finally had a set direction; i was going to move to edmonton, complete two years of schooling plus an internship and become a successful writer. i had dreams of marrying and becoming a mother too, don't get me wrong, but i longed to write and be read.

school was different than i thought it would be. i struggled with some of my courses more than i thought i would, realizing that journalism was a lot different than i thought it was. i wanted to write the stories about people, the feature stories, but i had to get through dry police stories, traffic write ups and political editorials first. when i went home to work for the summer between my first and second year, i seriously considered dropping out. my mother urged me to complete the program (thanks, mom!) so i did. second year was a whole lot better than first. when i graduated i got an internship with a local magazine where i would write feature stories about the 20 most successful edmontonians under the age of 30. musicians, business owners, entrepreneurs, designers and olympians, just to name a few. i was brushing shoulders with the elite and it felt good. upon completing my internship, i set out to look for jobs.

nothing happened. i had one interview in a tiny town outside of edmonton. i didn't get the job, nor any other journalism/public relations job. so i did what i could. i worked at a grocery store, at curves and at the optometrists office where i could continue to work for almost two years. it was a good job and i liked the people i worked with, but i would be lying if i said i didn't yearn almost daily for a job where i could put to use the skills i had acquired when i was in school.

fast forward to now. i checked facebook last week, ollie crawled around on the kitchen floor, pushing a car along and making whirring sounds with his mouth. an old friend of mine from journalism school had posted a few pictures. she was leaving her job at ctv to take a job as a social media/communications worker for NAIT, a trade school here in edmonton. i was blown away. i felt a little jealous, but was also so amazed by her success. i looked back at the years since she & i parted ways and felt that she had accomplished so much more than me. i commented on her photos, congratulating her on her success and on her new & exciting job. she responded quickly and this is what she said;

thanks lauren! it's great to see your success too. your boy is beautiful!

wow. i cried when i read her response. here i was, standing in my kitchen (barefoot, at that), in my stretchy pants and my baby still in his pj's. i hadn't yet been successful in washing the breakfast dishes. i read her comment a couple more times and even went back to it later. my success. my boy is beautiful. it felt so good to read those words and to realize that yes, my life has been successful too. it has not been the success i thought i would achieve, the success that she has achieved, but my life is good. i am blessed. i love my baby boy and he is beautiful and wonderful. her words stayed in my mind for days.

at church on sunday, our teacher in relief society began her lesson by writing the word "success" on the board, with two sub headings; in the world and to the Lord. immediately my experience earlier in the week popped into my mind and i was later able to share it and bear my testimony of the beautiful success that i have experienced in my life, despite it being different than what i imagined it might be. i expressed my thankfulness for this friend of mine who so sweetly reminded me of the greatness of my life. it was so unexpected but so needed.

i am in no way intending to offend or hurt those who have chosen schooling or career over family, nor those who feel the pain that is yearning for, but not yet having, a family of their own. i am so glad i was given the opportunity to go to school, to work hard and to gain an education. i learned so much and would not give those years up for anything. however, i know that where i am now is where i am supposed to be. i work a job that is 24 hours a day. i've been thrown up on more times than i can count and i just keep coming back for more. i cook. i clean. i scrub poopy diapers. yes, there are mundane tasks that must be done, but i also get to snuggle this sweet baby boy of mine. i get to kiss his face whenever i want to and tickle his little body. we go for walks and bike rides. we have adventures together and he helps me cook dinner. i love seeing him pick up a book, open it and babble to himself. i've said it before and i know i'll say it again; being a mother is the most rewarding job i have ever had. i'm so grateful to be called "mama."