Friday, May 27, 2016

Greek-Style Quinoa Cakes - Kid Approved

Turning Mommy greek style quinoa cakes

I am super excited about this kid-tested, several batches botched but finally perfected, tasty, easy to-do recipe.

Excited for several reasons:
  • It's got quinoa - hello! Protein and fibre, such an awesome grain
  • It actually can be used as a snack or meal (add a salad, or some pasta sauce and side veggies)
  • It is freezable, so you can make a batch and freeze for whenever you need
  • Completely filling and so versatile
  • My kids ate it!!!

I had friends try this as well, and a few of you have asked for the recipe, so without further or due, here you are.

2 cups cooked quinoa
1 small chopped red onion
1 diced red bell pepper
2 handfulls of chopped baby spinach
2 tablespoons of feta cheese
finely chopped green onion
2-3 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
a dash dried oregano

3 eggs

Mix all the ingredients (except for the eggs and crumbs).
Turning Mommy greek style quinoa cakesTurning Mommy greek style quinoa cakes

At this point this makes a great greek quinoa salad.

Turning Mommy greek style quinoa cakes

Crack the eggs in the salad, one by one and mix thoroughly.

Turning Mommy greek style quinoa cakes

Then add bread crumbs slowly while mixing until you get a mixture that is sticky but mold-able to hands.

Slightly grease a baking pan with olive oil I found this gave the cakes more of a crunch vs. just baking on parchment paper). 

With your hands take a golf ball size amount and roll, then slightly press into patties or cakes.
Turning Mommy greek style quinoa cakes

Bake at 350 for about 20 min, until browned and crisp.

If not eating right away, let cool and then freeze in a freezer bag. 

Tip:  If frozen, just pop into the toaster oven.  Or pan fry on low heat.  Add lemon juice to moisten.


Turning Mommy greek style quinoa cakesTurning Mommy greek style quinoa cakes

Turning Mommy greek style quinoa cakes


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

My Endless Day, That is Still Going...

They say when it rains it pours...I say when it pours, put the kids to bed and pour open the wine!

I am all about positive loving parenting and spreading that warm, precious, heart clenching feeling.  That is all there, even in the bad days...but I would not be honest if I were to say I didn't sometimes want to scream "ok seriously??".

Let's keep it real.  We are moms and we are always lushing over our kids and love them to pieces and see glitter and rainbows when they poop.  Yeah right...not always sunshine. 

Let me run down my day.

My parked car gets crashed into...although it is not my fault, I had to spend the entire day talking to insurance, gathering information, estimates and a rental.  Fricking sucks...and although accidents happen, it seems unfair that, me being innocent, it still creates grief and headache for me.  Now I am stuck and wasted a day where I planned to have a shower.  There goes that.

Rayna decides today I will stand up in my crib and practice leaning over.  So of course,  lowering crib had to be done today, and for some reason did not go smoothly.  It was a series of "why is this harder than last time" feelings.  After which, led to her then deciding she completely hates her crib and wants to only nap/sleep in my arms.  (I am writing this while she is on top of me...her sweat and drool has created a nice puddle on my neckline.)

All while Caiden decides today is the day I will run around with my blue crayon and draw portraits on the walls, closet and my face.  Thank god they are washable and he likes to clean.

At dinner, they collectively decide they would like to drop dinner on the at a time...and then I join in by accidentally having my plate flop over...all after I have cleaned up their mess of course.

Babies eat and get clean.  Caiden asks for pudding.  I did leave him for 2 hours (to run and get car estimates) but took Rayna, so I thought he deserves a little treat.  That and the fact he actually asked to eat something had me over the moon.  I leave him be...tend to Rayna...only to come back and see he has fed his entire cast of angry bird toys the pudding, with his hands, and decided his shirt decided some pudding love too.   Yes he already had his shower.

Finally ready for bed.  FINALLY.  Caiden has his warm milk in his sip bottle.  I walk away for .5 seconds...and of course the sound of a bottle hitting hardwood floor ensues.  Sympathetically he says "sorry mommy..."   Of course...why not let the day end with spilled milk. 

Finally the kids are asleep.

They look so precious when they sleep.

They are so quiet.

What a fricking day.  I deserve a drink with hubs.  I ask him to pour me one...I won't have to feed now. 

I can chillax.

I sit.  I sip.  I sigh. 

The day was a monsoon of craziness.  At several moments I impressed myself by not snapping.  Vick was at work, but if I didn't have his guidance or encouragment that it will be all good...I might have gone into a corner and cried a little bit.  But it was all good. 

Sometimes things get piled on.  But even the toughest of days come to an end and the silence makes you appreciate that you are kind of a big deal...damn we do alot.

Yes managed to also do 2 loads of laundary and dishes and order Rayna's birthday supplies and email 2 preschools.

Ok time to relax. 

Ohhh Bachlerotte was Pvr' thoughtful of Vick.  Ah one nice legs feel awesome now that they are off the ground.



Silly're not done yet. 

Friday, May 20, 2016

Peaches N'Oat Smoothie - Better Than It Sounds

This smoothie rocks!

Peach oat smoothie - turning mommy

I am a huge fan of healthful, nutritious, smoothies, that offer protein and fibre and essential nutrients. This one is killer in those areas.  I have always played around with oats in my smoothies, but since I have Caiden helping me make them 90% of the time,  I really consider what his growing needs are too.  Especially since food is "gross" to him these days.

This particular trial combination had me like "whoa".  So I had to share with smoothie lovers.

Just blend together the following, and I mean blend well...

1 scoop of rolled oats
1 handful of frozen strawberries
1 handful of frozen peach slices
1 Tablespoon of chia seeds (or flax seeds)
1 Tablespoon of natural peanut butter (or almond)
1 dash of ground cinnamon
Top with skim milk

Tip: This is quite a thick smoothie, so add milk to your liking.  The more milk the thinner the consistency. I personally add the milk at the end and fill the remaining space with it (so I am not totally sure how much milk I use). 

And enjoy! 

By the way this is perfect for breakfast, if you are trying to lose weight...or not.  For Caiden, I usually have this with him as a post-breakfast/pre-lunch snack.  Gives boost of energy and much needed fibre, as well as essential fatty acids good for the brain and growth.

Peach oat chia smoothie prep - turning mommyPeach oat chia smoothie prep - turning mommy

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

5 Signs You Are an Awesome Mom

Through my whole life I feel I can push myself to see things to the end and achieve things that sometimes feel like is a feat.  However, I never had anything to lose and the end result usually had a celebration of sort to show "hey, you did awesome!".  Enter becoming a mom, I feel I have everything to lose, and constantly freaking out if I am doing right by my kids with little validation that I am on the right path.

Having Rayna, my second, chilled me out...okay, only a little bit.  I learned that my efforts of trying to be the best mom, keeping up with reading things (but not over-reading), talking with friends and family, and just trusting my gut is all leading me down the right path of taking care of my babes.  

Having said that, I think we all still look for some signs that we are good moms. 

Sometimes you get that dreaded tantrum stand-off in the mall, or your baby won't sleep at all, or your toddler takes a whack at someone who wanted to play with the same truck...all things you immediately panic on and think "OMG am I a bad parent?"

Relax.  The answer is no.  
We all have been there or going through it.  Kids go through phases, and as long as you are there for them, chances are they are just fine.  Don't take it what I am learning.

So I thought, hey, why not give all you moms some indications that you are super crazy awesome, even if sometimes you doubt it.  

1.  They love playing with you or showing you something they just did.
Kids will be kids, and soon learn to play on their own.  However, every now and then I notice Caiden wants to show us this super high tower he just built, or tells us to sing along, or tries a new thing on the playground and says "look at me".  Even though their independence grows, they still love to show off to mom and dad, and it's great to see he looks to us to share in something that makes him proud.

2.  They laugh!
They may cry, they may pout, but they still laugh.  They laugh hard, they laugh daily and they laugh with you.  They love to be happy and you know how to do that. 

3.  If they can't sleep, they look for you.
Regardless of the day's activity and no matter how old,  when they wake up in the middle of the night,  your comfort is what they seek. You are the boogie-man's cryptonite and all things soothing.

4.  They give you hugs.
At this tender age, they love cuddles from their momma.  When they get hurt, scared, or upset, your arms are their solace.  They know they are safe with you and where they feel loved. 

5.  After time-out, or any punishment, they look to you.
We hate it but we have to do it, on occasion. At that moment, you seperate being a friend and know it's best...and at that moment you think they hate you. But as soon as time-out is over they run to you and love you for freeing them. They are generally happy because you are happy with them too.

I know all moms worry, and there are no ways for little ones to say "hey mom, I was a tough kid today, but even though I refuse to listen I think you are so awesome", just know that they say it in other ways. And know you are doing a great job just by always being there and caring.

Have a great day ladies!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Tri-Colour Fruit Pops

Fruit Popsicle turning mommy

If you know me well, you know I love creating frozen snacks.  Now that I'm a mom, seeing the amount of sugar in anything that looks exciting to a toddler, frightens me....literally.

While I am no drill sergeant and do allow Caiden to have treats here and there, I do prefer that for the majority he is consuming stuff relatively healthy.  With summer just around the corner, ice cream and popsicles are going to be in high demand.  So I like to have some yummies on hand.  

I have been trying out new frozen treats, and this baby was a slam dunk.  My son loved it, my baby loved it...I loved it...and no sugar!

It requires just a bit of patience and a blender...and fruit.  Ok I added a few extra things here and there.  These particular pops, I went for tropical flavours, strawberries, pineapples and watermelon, and went together well.  I also snuck in some chia seeds into one of the layers.  I mean why not add some additional nutrition, and chia seeds are great for those polyunsaturated fats, B12 and fibre...all that make the pops more healthy, but not in an obvious way.  

Like most of my recipes, the ingredients/flavours can be played around with, so have fun with it.

(I say that a lot don't I?)

Check it yum!

Strawberry Layer:
Blend together well ripened fresh strawberries, whole milk and a dash of vanilla.
Once blended, pour about a third (or more) of the way into the popsicle mould.  Do not put the stick in quite yet.  Let this freeze for about 15 minutes, at least.

Pineapple Layer:
If you have a pineapple, I almost always do, great, cut it up into chunks.  If you don't, pre-cut is just as fine.  Combine some chunks, some milk and a dash of the chia seeds.  Blend away.
Pour a layer over the strawberry, however thick you like, but do not put the stick in still.
Freeze for at least 15 minutes.

Watermelon Layer:
This one is easy.  Nothing but watermelon...cut it up, blend it up and pour into the mould.  After this layer, add the stick in.  You will have to push it into the pineapple layer just slightly.

Freeze at minimum of 20 minutes more.


Turning mommy - fruit pop

Turning mommy - fruit pop

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Girls and Chocolate

It is obvious, girls love chocolate.  We do!

This weekend I attended a chocolate making class (by the Perky Parsnip) in honour of my cousin's 30th birthday.  It was a girls only thing, Rayna included.  And it was awesome!

I think I am super guilty of getting caught up in family time and being there for the kiddies, I sometimes neglect the much needed girl time, once in a while.  Although, I still see my girls, I think it is nice to just unplug and catch up and eat...I mean...make some chocolate!

It got me refreshed and feeling girly again, and guilt-free. I love being a mom but having some female bonding time away from that I think is good for both the kids and you.  

Aside from that, we really learned some awesome chocolate recipes.  I love the fact we used actual cocoa, and each person controlled the sweetness by adding maple syrup to their liking.  Mine was quite dark, just how I like it.  Using all natural peanut butter we made the best cups I have ever eaten, and then had at it to try different creations.  Real cocoa is great for antioxidants and using things like nuts, natural nut butters, dried blueberries and coconut kept the treats relatively healthy yet still delicious.  

I think if you are a mom, or just a busy lady, and looking for a girls day activity..definitely try this class.  You will love it!

Well the wine with the chocolate making was nice too...

Visit the Perky Parsnip for class details.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Sibling Moments - This is What It's All About

One of the best things for me is going into the room, after any one of my kids naps, and seeing them fully rested with a huge smile on their face.  Times that by two...well you have just made my fricking day!

Although Rayna takes 2 more naps than Caiden, they have now synced to taking one nap around the same time. That synchronized nap gives me about an hour to do something I need, laundary, broom or mop, or write a post here.  But the beauty of that nap isn't in the quiet time I realized. 
Ok ok...that's not totally true, as much as I insanely love my kids, one quiet hour is super nice.

What I realized is that when the kids wake up, from a good nap, they wake up with no tears and big smiles...rejuvenated and ready for more discovery and play.

Nowadays when they have this full nap, I find that I hear laughter coming from the main bedroom...I sometimes put Caiden in the big bed in my room for a nap, and Rayna's crib resides in our room.
As I approach the room I can hear little voices and giggles.  I open the door slightly and see Caiden is standing by the crib, talking to his sister,  or sometimes in my bed and just talking to her from there.  Rayna is alert, sitting up and giggling and baby-talking back.  Sometimes they are talking and sometimes Caiden is singing and Rayna is clapping and cheering him on.

I stand there in silence, basking it all in.  This is so beautiful to witness.  They are so little sometimes we discount their awareness of each other and that they are developing their own special bond and connection. Their bond will grow, in time,  face its challenges and so forth, but it has started. 

Once they see me, Caiden usually says "oh hi mom" and I join in.  I see they are both happily greeting me and its moments like this that make me realize...geesh...this is what it's all about. 

These tender, precious, quiet, moments where you see innocent children interactions (no screaming, fighting and pouncing), is the beauty of raising siblings.  I love it.  Somedays it is tough and you want so badly to do right by them and raise them to be happy kids. So when you witness their happy faces,  without you being the sole cause, it warms the very inner core to the max.

All the anticipation of adding to the family,  it's so worth it.  I mean we wanted Caiden to have a sibling and this is really what, to us, having a family is all about.


Sunday, May 1, 2016

"What I Have Learned" Series - Featured Mommy: Celine Khakh

Celine loves being a mommy, it shows in her enthusiasm when speaking about her beautiful boys Dylan, 3, and Johnny, 4 months.  She knows that being a good mom means also valuing her own time and needs.  While managing her career as People Potential Partner at Lululemon Athletica, she also fits in time to sweat (workout). Her workouts include a love for circuit classes and running, and currently doing the Fit for Two stroller classes with her baby. Aside from her work and working out, Celine enjoys meeting other moms and travelling (been to Disneyland 15 times)!

Celine says she always knew she wanted to be a mom someday, though she didn't quite realize just how much she would love it, until she had her sons. This mom definitely has an infectious spirit and loves to share her insights on mommyhood.

What would you say is your biggest learning(s) since being a mom?
Making time for yourself is really important and it does not mean that you are not prioritizing your kids and family.  If I get a chance to sneak away for a quick lunch with a girlfriend, go to the gym (by myself), or a pedicure. I come back refreshed and re-energized to be with my family.  I feel that it makes me a better mom.

What, if anything, was the hardest about transitioning to mommyhood?
Balancing your new duties as a mom, wife and friend.  It is really easy to jump on the mama train and not take time for your husband and your friends as you are prioritizing your child. However, your children will grow up and leave one day and you will be there with your husband. I received great advice from someone that I need to make sure that you are prioritizing your relationship with your husband as well as your children.  My husband and I have 1 date night (or day date) a month.  I also make time to see my girlfriends, whether we go for a run, coffee or lunch, it is important to have girl time.

What is your favourite thing to do with your children?
Go to the park or beach and have a picnic.  Dylan (my 3 year old) loves helping me pack the snacks before we leave and kicking the ball around the park.

How do you balance work, family, hobbies?
This in an ongoing practice for me.  Some weeks I feel really great about the balance in my life and then other weeks seem crazy.  One thing I love about my job is that I can workout during the day, whether it is going to a yoga class or a run, I get to sweat during the day rather than taking away time with my little ones when I get home from work. I sit with my husband and we go through our calendar for the month, upcoming birthdays, family events, weddings, etc.; and we make a priority to select a date night and figure out a couple of options of dates that he can hangout with his friends and I can hang out with my friends.  This way it helps to plan with the kids and also gives you something to look forward to for the month.  My husband and I are planning a week long trip as a couple in January (when Johnny turns one).  Our goal is to have one family vacation and one vacation (just the two of us) per year.

What advice would you give to new moms?
Every mom has good days and bad days. On the bad days, just survive, get through the day and think tomorrow is a new day.  Everyone posts the "good" pictures on Facebook and social media, they never post the pictures of the baby that just pooped his diaper and it soaked through his sleeper; puked all over you and him; or just had a meltdown because they did not want to put on their socks before preschool.  We all go through it and your good friends will talk to you about their good and bad days, and you will laugh together, because what else can you do.
Also, get a house cleaner!  After I had baby Johnny, my mom gave me a birthday present for her house cleaner to come to my house once a month.  This is really great so that each week I can clean and do the maintenance cleaning (which doesn't take that long), and then the house cleaner can do a big clean every month.  I really appreciate this so much, so that I can spend more time with my boys, especially when I go back to work.

Is there any item or anything in general you would say is a must-have or must-do for parents? and why?
A good stroller makes a huge difference.  This was advice I received from a friend before I had my first son.  She said make sure you spend money on a good stroller because you will use this everyday.

I loved interviewing Celine, and think other moms alike will love hearing about her love for her boys and also how it is important to also take the time to take care of yourself also.  How achieving a balance sometimes takes some thought, but it's important.  Doing so just makes you a better mom overall, and Celine shows it is true.

Turning mommy feature mom: Celine
Celine and her boys, Johnny and Dylan