Monday, 29 April 2013

Can't Have Nuttin' Nice if You're Living a Real Mama Life

My mom's (or should I say 'Momma') family is all from the Southern US.  I have a gaggle of aunts, uncles and cousins strewn about North & South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.  You might remember me mentioning our house in the mountains of NC here, here, and here.

One summer when I was about 11 the family sat on the long wrap around porch admiring my uncle Wray's new truck.  It was a big deal because it was his first brand new vehicle. This truck was the symbol of a lot of hard work.  Uncle Wray had started his own company years back and was just starting to reap some reward from all his hard work. It was heavily kitted out with all the extras.  I remember, even at 11, being rather in awe of this fancy truck. We walked down to the drive way to have a closer look and rub it with a diaper (I am totally sort of kidding)  While doing a turn around the truck I noticed a sizable scratch on the back bumper.

"What happened here?"

(read with your best in your head southern accent) "I don't even know, happened in the parking lot while I was in the store."  Shaking his head "Can't have nuttin' nice"

Even at the time I could relate.  Only a few years earlier my cousin Noah had broken my newly opened Barbie Bubbling Spa on Christmas morning.  I had barely had a chance to play with it when he broke the mechanism that made the bubbles.  My dad did fix it but had to crack open the back leaving it less than perfect.  I got closer to forgiving Noah after I punctured numerous hole in his new bongo drums with the Christmas nut pick but I never fully did and still carry a grudge to this day.

Really some of the worst damage to my 'stuff' has been done by pets.  This use to be a beautiful couch.  I had it professionally reupholstered about 7 years ago with a beautiful linen I found on sale.  Within 6 months of it being covered our dog barfed on it during the night.  By the time it got cleaned up the next morning the barf had bleached a lighter spot into the fabric.  Nothing that couldn't be fixed by flipping the cushions over but nothing could fix the damage the cat unleashed.

Then the kids took their toll - Spit up, barf, spilled drinks, dirty hands, dropped crayons.  Those poor cushion covers were getting more than their fair share of getting washed.  It wasn't long into the sleep deprived world of twins before Big Daddy accidentally put the covers in the dryer shrinking them to the size of doll house slip covers.  It was at this point that we gave up completely and bought a sheet and some large pillows, completely replacing the back cushions and covering the seat cushions. The one nice thing about this conclusion was that we could colour code the couch to the season - blue base and blue and orange pillows for fall and winter and a taupe and pale blue combo in the spring summer   It helped make it tolerable until a new couch could be budgeted.  But then this happened

This is our old dog's new trick and has taught us that until we are empty nesters we can't even have something that is vaguely nice.  This is a Real Mama Life

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Tuna Salad Boats

I wish the weather would finally decide weather it is going to be winter or spring (see what I did there?)  This year the seasons have felt particularly weird.  More and more of us are getting sick as the temperature fluctuates 10-12 degrees in one afternoon.  Yes I know that temperature or wet hair in the cold doesn't make you sick but it certainly taxes your immune system.

One particularly grim day after rushing the kids home from school in the rain I asked what the kids would like for lunch.  Expecting to hear hollers about guacamole and stuff to dip in it (a current favourite around here) I was surprised when Bea said "A Picnic!!"  Picnics seem so far a distant dream of dappled sunshine and wafts of honeysuckle, light weight clothes and toes twiddling in the grass.....and then the music swells and I burst into song.....see how fast I got carried away?  That's how badly I need the weather to get on with spring...

I agreed.  A picnic was needed. So instead of guacamole I sliced the avocado and we ate it along with tuna salad boats and a make shift fruit salad (what we had cut up)  I lay a blanket on the floor, we drank out of canteens and I even dragged out a couple of Lara Bars for dessert.  It made me feel a bit better but not about the weather.

Do you need a restorative picnic?

Tuna Salad Boats
3 tins of tuna (wild caught, dolphin and turtle friendly, no BPA lining and they sell it at Costco)
1/2 sweet pepper, minced
1 1/2 tbsp caper, minced
2 tbsp minced red onion
1 tsp lemon zest
2 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp homemade mayo or to taste, I go pretty light on mayo.  (To make this a true Paleo recipe the mayo could be made with avocado or macadamia nut oil.)
fresh ground pepper

Fresh whole romaine leaves, washed and dried

Mix ingredient in a bowl.  Spoon into lettuces leaves creating boats. Eat.  Pretend you are outside

Where to be on Sunday

The place to be on Sunday

I'll be there sitting with Jax at the Gluten Free Ontario Table (cause she's cool like that) See you there!!

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Lets be honest, let's talk Real Mama Life

Do any of us actually live the life we blog about?  Or take Instagram pictures of? Or Tweet? A fellow blogger friend Selena over at Le Petit Reve pointed out this blog post to me.  What Shauna writes about there seems to be part of the current collective unconscious (or shouldn't it be 'collective subconscious'?).  Now that the original rush of constant self promotion/social media frenzy is wearing thin.  Now that we can follow such brilliant tweeters as


Or the endless depths of deep thoughts from Kim Kierkegaardashian

I think many of us are craving for something real.  For real connection to a real community.  It is easy to sell the best parts of ourselves but often much harder to feel safe putting a more fragile self out there. The self that maybe couldn't live up to the projection.

Our projected selves have some how become more available than the real thing....almost more fully developed and yet, so much harder to live up to....and damn near impossible to connect to.  I pride myself on not projecting a supermom here but I also haven't let you see the greasy underbelly of making the life choices of being a real food mama.  Sometimes other things get left.

And sometimes they get left for a couple of weeks.  This is the pile of clothes that has been sitting on our dining room floor for over 2 weeks.  It isn't laundry but winter stuff the kids have grown out of.  As the weather has been slowly getting warmer I have been slowly cleaning out closets adding to this pile as I have dug things out.  I would like to say that I keep a spotless house but the truth is - I am way too busy to be able to keep up and the last few weeks have been worse than usual.  I know a pile of clothes on the floor doesn't seem like much but I need to stress the has been sitting there for almost 3 weeks and I'm still not sure when I can get to it.

So Selena has a great idea to start a blog link up.  Every Monday we all write posts on having a Real Mama Life and write reality, snap reality and tweet reality.  Every Monday we are getting honest yo! Every Monday we are reaching out to connect with other moms and find a place 

Where we embrace the glory and humour in the chaos. Un-staged and imperfectly beautiful.’

Care to join us? 

Link-up your own blog-post every Monday on the RealMamaLife blog post at, or share bits of your mad and lovely life on Instagram or Twitter – by simply by using the hastag #RealMamaLife.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Paleo Apple Cinnamon Muffins

I will come clean right from the start.  This recipe is not my that it is a very slightly altered version of the absolutely amazing Apple Spice Coffee Cake by Danielle at Against all Grain.

My kids will often say over a meal they particularly like "YUM! Mummy is the best cooker".  I won't give myself that much credit but I will say "I'm a pretty good cooker".  There is a saying that 'cooking is an art, baking is a science' and this couldn't be more true than when you are dealing with food restrictions. I am a pretty good cooker but I'm not a great baker.

This has forced me to look to other food bloggers better than me at the science of Gluten free and Paleo baking.......and it doesn't come better than Danielle.  I have tried a bunch of her baked goods recipes and been overly impressed every time.  Her Apple Spice Coffee Cake is one of our favourites. So much so that I needed a travel version.  Crazy I know ........

Now not all cake recipes can just be poured into muffin tins. Some need a little wigglin'.  And that is the case for this recipe.

The changes are
Add 2 tbsp of coconut flour to the dry ingredients
turn down the heat on the oven by 25 degree

Now I don't recommend changing anything in her baked goods but if a couple of minor changes means I can eat it more often I am all for it.  Thanks Danielle

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Chocolate Raspberry Oatmeal

Even though my household is slowly moving toward a mostly Paleo diet we are struggling with breakfast for the kids.  I can happily eat dinner leftovers but the kids are fond of breakfast foods.....and don't want eggs everyday.  I have been making huge batches of low-grain granola that is eaten with either almond milk or some fruit and yogurt but no one wants to eat that everyday.  On weekends I can make some grain free waffles but school days are difficult.  It also doesn't help that they have reached an age that they are acutely aware of foods that are being marketed to them.  I talk to them, usually in the grocery store while looking at the ingredients list, why we don't eat those foods.  I explain what certain ingredients are and how they make us sick.  I explain how lucky they are to have a Mummy that knows this stuff.

They are really good about understanding why we don't eat it and rarely really fuss or complain. It helps that I always promise to make a healthy version and more often then not they kinda forget these promises......but there is one they haven't let go of.....that some kids get to eat chocolate for BREAKFAST!!!  They bring this up fairly regularly.  Reminding me that I promised to make a chocolate breakfast.

So here we are.  Not Paleo, not grain free, but it is gluten free, dairy free and sugar free.  It is terribly simple and simply delicious.

Chocolate Raspberry Oatmeal
Follow the instructions on your gluten free oatmeal. Just before it is done stir in a couple of tablespoons of dairy and sugar free cocoa powder (I also like to make sure it is free trade real cocoa) Combine until creamy.  This might require the addition of a tbsp or 2 more of water.

Gently fold in fresh or frozen raspberries just before serving.  Serve with a tsp of coconut oil, honey and some almond milk.  And make sure you make a suitable fuss, so they think it is a big treat.