Monthly Archives: May 2012

Endurance Crackers

When I stumbled upon this recipe last week on Oh She Glows, I knew we had to give it a try very soon.  Gracen loves all things crunchy (crackers especially) and lives for nuts and seeds, so the recipe really couldn’t be suited to her any better.  Plus, the list of ingredients includes things we always have in the house… Score.IMG 3843

To get started, we collected our ingredients (this has become one of Gracen’s favourite parts of cooking… I retrieve the items from the cupboards and fridge, and she walks back and forth, carefully depositing them on the butcher block one at a time)…  Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, Chia Goodness (plain chia seeds would work just as well), sesame seeds, finely chopped sweet onion and garlic, water, and kosher salt is what you’ll need.
IMG 3845Start off by dumping your pumpkin seeds into a large mixing bowl.IMG 3848

Add the sunflower seeds…
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Sesame seeds…IMG 3853

And Chia Goodness (or plain chia).

IMG 3858Give the seeds a little mix and set the bowl aside.

IMG 3863Get out a separate smaller bowl, and dump in your onion and garlic.IMG 3866

Then add the water.
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Stir the mixture for a minute.IMG 3874

Next, pour the water mixture into the seed mixture.
IMG 3876Stir really well, allowing enough time for the chia seeds to absorb the water and thicken the mixture.IMG 3882

If you’re a seed fiend like this little one is, now would be a great time to sneak a few pinchfuls into your mouth.
IMG 3883Next, take a few pinches of kosher salt, add them to your mixture, and stir again.IMG 3887

Dump the mixture onto a large parchment-lined baking sheet.
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Using the back of a spoon, spread the mixture out into a very thin layer.  Don’t be too worried about holes – they’re easy to patch up at the end.  (If you’re working with a little one, this part will definitely require a little grown-up help.  I let Gracen flatten the mound at the beginning and pat down my spreading job at the very end and she was pleased with that.)
IMG 3894If your monkey is anything like mine, they may try to lick the seeds straight off the pan.  (No joke – this really happened. Multiple times in fact.  Crazy girl.)IMG 3898

In the end, we settled on her licking the spoon in exchange for keeping her tongue off of our oven-ready crackers.
IMG 3904Next, it’s time to pop the pan into the oven.IMG 3906

Halfway through the baking time, remove the pan from the oven and slice up your crackers (I used a pizza cutter and it worked great).  Crackers can be as big or as small as you want them to be and can be cut in squares, triangles, diamonds, or any other shape your little heart desires.IMG 3909

Once cut, use a spatula to help you flip the crackers over (this step was surprisingly easier than I expected it to be) and pop them back in the oven for the remainder of the time.
IMG 3913When you take them out, they should be crispy and golden.IMG 3922

Allow to cool, then gently remove them from the pan.
IMG 3920Serve to your very anxious and excited toddler.  Be prepared to hear “Mmmmmmmm!” and “More! More! More!” endlessly.

These crackers are truly delicious.  They’re light and crispy and have a perfectly nutty / savoury flavour.  Not to mention that they’re vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free, sugar-free, and oil-free, so they’re the perfect snack for just about anyone!

Endurance Crackers

  • 1/2 cup of raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup of raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup of raw sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup of Chia Goodness (or plain chia seeds)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of finely chopped sweet onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt, or to taste

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, mix the seeds together. In a small bowl, mix the water, garlic, and onion. Whisk well.
Pour the water mixture onto the seeds and stir until thick and combined. Season with salt to taste. Add spices or fresh herbs if you wish.
Spread the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet with the back of a spoon until it’s less than 1/4 inch thick. Not to worry if a couple parts become too thin, you can just patch them up at the end.
Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, slice into crackers, and carefully flip onto other side with a spatula. Bake for another 30 minutes, watching closely after about 25 minutes. The bottoms will be lightly golden in colour. Allow to cool completely on the pan. Store in a container or plastic baggy.
You can see our other favourite homemade crackers here.
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iPhoneography // Vancouver International Children’s Festival

Despite the weatherman’s prediction of a sunny day, in true Vancouver style, we woke up a healthy dose of  liquid sunshine this morning.  Instead of putting our plans on hold though, Gracen and I decided to throw on our gumboots,  brave the rain, and head down to Granville Island for the Vancouver International Children’s Festival as planned.  And I’m glad we did.  Gracen really enjoyed the Twist & Toddle activity tent, as well as the shadow puppetry tent, face painting station, and the musical performances, and the rain really didn’t bother us in the least.  I’m looking forward to attending again next year when more of the activities are age-appropriate for this little lady…
Children s Festival

puzzle play // water table fun

firefighter Grae to the rescue // mama’s baby bird

colouring // shadow puppetry (Grae was the fish)

face painting pro // sweet cheeks

lunch in the rain // puddle jumping

If you’re a Vancouver mama heading down to the festival to partake in the activity zones, be sure to bring cash, as that’s the only form of payment accepted.  Also, something to be aware of is that everyone has to pay to enter the activity areas, including mamas supervising their little ones and the teeniest of infants, which is a little unusual.

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iPhoneography // Afternoon Snapshots

Afternoon SnapshotsToday was a work day for this mama…  And although I really do like the the teaching part, I sure do miss my little lady while I’m away.  Luckily, a classroom of 25 to 30 students keeps me more than busy for most of the day, but some days I just wish I could snap my fingers, avoid the {sometimes slow / stressful} commute, and arrive at home to soak up more moments like these…

mini cleanaholic // rolling machine

making cookies // chocolate play dough chocolates

bath time mohawk // bedtime stories with baby

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Toddler Food: What Miss G Eats {13}

Toddler Food

Okay, so on to week 13 of Toddler Food…  This week, a fellow blogger asked:

Do you mind me asking how much you spend on groceries per week?

Ugh…  I don’t even know if I want to say in case it’s a ridiculously high number in comparison to other families!  Although it’s less than what we regularly spent in Kuwait (KD 50 – 60, which equals out to about $200), it does seem like a lot when taking into account our back-to-making-Canadian-dollars budget.  The answer is – we normally spend about $150 per week.  That’s for our little family of three and includes basic toiletries, cleaners, and some organic items (mostly for Grae).  About $110 to $120 of it is spent at a regular grocery store and the other $30 to $40 is spent at the market on fresh produce. Is it just me, or does that seem like a lot?  We have started regularly taking big stock up trips down to the States, which, although not good for our Canadian economy, do save us a pile of money (and filling up our tank while down there makes the trip even more worth while!), but I find a small cart full of ‘just the essentials’ here in Vancouver easily adds up to $100 or more. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me.

Anyways, on to what the little miss has chowed down on recently…
IMG 3356Breakfast // Breakfast banana split (baby banana halved vertically, 2 mini scoops of Greek yogurt, a drizzle of all-natural almond butter, a sprinkling of organic oats, and strawberries on top!)IMG 3562

Breakfast // Greek yogurt with Chia Goodness, banana bits, and cinnamon.
IMG 3646Breakfast // {Heart-shaped organic} egg in a {wholewheat multigrain} basket.  Banana slices and blueberries.

IMG 3823Breakfast // Cream of Wheat with Mama’s yogurt mix and whole organic milk.  Apple slices and a grape daisy (which very quickly became apple cars).
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Snack // Red grapes.
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Snack // Cereal mix (organic o’s, organic shredded wheat, jumbo raisins, and raw almonds).

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Snack // Raw pumpkin seeds, raw sunflower seeds, and no-sugar-added freeze-dried raspberries.

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Snacks & Lunch {on the go} // All-natural brown rice sticks.  Raw cashews.  Organic apple chips.  Veggie sandwich on artisan multigrain (all-natural cream cheese, fresh spinach, and avocado). Blueberries.  Steamed edamame. Organic no-sugar-added fruit leather.

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Snacks & Lunch {on the go} // Avocado.  Organic apple chips.  Peanut butter and oat cracker sandwiches.  Almonds and walnuts.  Strawberry slices.  Carrot.

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Lunch //  Homemade creamy tomato basil soup (made with pureed red lentils for added protein) with homemade wholewheat croutons, fresh parmesan, and herbs.

IMG 3808Lunch // Chickpea patty with parmesan and avocado on a multigrain bun.  Grapefruit sections.
IMG 3353Lunch // Mexican rice bowl (brown rice, no-salt-added black beans, corn, and tomatillo sauce topped with cheddar, avocado, and fresh cilantro).IMG 3781

Dinner // Homemade tomato and brown rice {medley} soup.  Curried tuna salad (low sodium white tuna, green apple, corn, green onions, curry powder, black pepper, and just a touch of olive oil mayonnaise) on fresh garden greens (leaf lettuce, spinach, and beet greens). 
IMG 3527Dinner // Red coconut curry with steamed veggies and roasted wild haddock on organic wholewheat couscous.IMG 3560

Dinner // Chicken cashew stir-fry with black bean sauce, wholewheat noodles, and fresh cilantro.
IMG 3821Dinner // Tomato, spinach, and orzo soup with fresh parmesan.  Multigrain bread sticks.
IMG 3830Dinner // Red chicken curry with steamed veggies and egg noodles.

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iPhoneography // Breakfast

BreakfastWithout thinking, I put some apple slices and grapes on Gracen’s plate next to her hot cereal this morning.  Harmless, right?  Well, the moment I set it down in front of her, she started jamming the two together while announcing, “Apple – car!  Apple – car!  Apple – car, pleasche, Mamaaaaa!”  I should’ve known…  They are one of her all-time favourite snacks after all.  So out came a piece of spaghetti, and in no time the little lady had a fleet of cars to zoom around her plate.  Of course, she drove each one for a few seconds and then promptly disassembled them.  Then it was on to feeding Num (a.k.a. a tiny Hello Kitty figurine that she carries around everywhere).  Breakfast as usual with our little monkey.

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One… Two…

A while back Gracen learned how to count {to two!} and she’s been counting things ever since.  This morning I took a little video of her counting the stairs to send to her grandparents, and when we arrived home this evening from picking up Papa, she wanted me to take another.  She waited until I got my phone out, then began climbing when she knew I was good and ready.  Obviously she lost track of what she was demonstrating, and when Papa asked if she was going to keep counting, it was back down to the bottom again!  My favourite part is her full-on army crawl up the stairs by the end.  I have no idea what that was all about, but it was hilarious.

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Small Style {3}

Well, this week’s Small Style post definitely gives you a glimpse into our crazy Vancouver weather…  Some days were sundress and sandal days, while others were full-on hat, jacket, and boots days.  C’est la vie!  Here are some of the things the little lady wore last week…

IMG 3179Flatcap: Joe / Shrug: Unknown (gifted) / Striped tank: Old Navy / Leggings: H&M / Gladiator sandals: JoeIMG 3193

Flower clip: Handmade by Mama / Dotted blouse: Unknown (gifted) / Pleated denim skirt / Unknown (gifted) / Glittered ballet flats: Payless
IMG 3303Crocheted flower hat: Handmade by a friend’s mom / Rain jacket: Baby Gap / Polkadot dress: Baby Gap / Cream tights: H&M / Gumboots: SportTekIMG 3642

Flower headband: Handmade by Mama / Floral sunglasses: Joe / Striped sundress: H&M / Multicoloured sandals: Joe
IMG 3324Rain jacket: Baby Gap / Black cardigan: H&M (boys’ section) / Grey tee: Joe / Purple belt: H&M / “Cousin” jeans: H&M / Glittered flats: PaylessIMG 3432

Teal cardigan: American Apparel / Ruffled birdie dress: Old Navy / Gladiator sandals: Joe
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Flower headband: Handmade by Mama / Long-sleeved tee: H&M / Denim shorts: The Children’s Place (handed down) / Metallic flip flops: Old NavyIMG 3536

Hairclip: Unknown / Floral sunglasses: Joe / Teal cardigan: American Apparel / Striped romper: Old Navy / Gladiator sandals: Joe
IMG 3655Monkey hair clip: Unknown / Denim tunic: Joe / Black leggings: H&M / Glittered flats: PaylessIMG 3813

Hooded vest: Joe / Heart print tee: Baby Gap / Jeans: H&M / Gumboots: SportTek

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Happy Bum

Gracen: (pulling at the seat of her pants) Owah!

Mama:  Grae, is your bum hurting?

Gracen: No-oh!  Grae Grae bum hap-peeeeeey!

And on a completely different note, the winner of the 100 followers giveaway can be seen here.

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Moon Dough Sensory Bin

I’d been waiting a long time to show Gracen the magic that is moon dough, and today was the perfect day.  It just so happened we had white flour in the house and I randomly came across a half bottle of baby oil when organizing the bathroom cabinets…  So it was kind of meant to be.  Plus, it was plenty warm to be outside doing something messy, but not so beautiful that you wished you were sitting on the beach or beside an outdoor pool.  Gracen helped me make the moon dough first, and then I transferred it into one of our empty sensory bins, gathered some fun stuff from around the kitchen, and brought everything into the backyard.

IMG 3677Gracen had wanted to get her hands into the dough from the time we started mixing the oil into the flour, so she was more than ready to get started.IMG 3686

She began by filling up the bowl and silicon baking cups one spoonful at a time and patted each one down when full, just as she does when making sandcastles at the beach.  She quickly decided that the straws were the perfect ‘cake’ toppers.  She’d carefully place them in one container, take a sideways glance, then move them to another, as if she were trying to get it just right.  Turns out, the big bowl was the best place for all of them.IMG 3696IMG 3706IMG 3710

And though filling up the containers was fun in itself, she was extremely pleased with the discovery that she could tip them over to make little moon dough castles.  (While the plastic bowl was harder, the silicon baking cups were perfect for this because she could give them a little squeeze and the castle would pop right out.)  Of course smashing the castles was just as much fun as making them.IMG 3689IMG 3712

Next, we tried making some balls.  She loved the finished product, but got frustrated with the fact that she couldn’t make them independently.IMG 3718

It didn’t matter too much though because in no time, she’d pushed all of the moon dough over to one side of the bin and started playing one of her very favourite sandbox games – ‘Where are Gracen’s hands?’IMG 3724IMG 3725

While the dough was all over on one side, we tried something else too – making imprints.  Gracen pressed in the spoons and cups, and then we tried the same with our hands.IMG 3728

The best part though, happened when she got busy with the cookie cutters.  She was fully enjoying pressing them into the dough and seeing the outlines they created when this happened…  Puzzling!  It took her a second, but she figured out.  She tried to make it happen again afterwards, but sadly, no luck.

Bird Cut OutOf course, she ended the sensory box experience in her usual way…  You should have seen the look on her face as the silky smooth dough smushed up in between her toes.  Pure delight!IMG 3762

This sensory bin was ridiculously fun.  Grae played with it for almost an hour and I can see us revisiting it very soon.  The only thing I might do differently next time is either add more moon dough or use a smaller container so that there is a thicker base in the bin.  And although I may be brave enough to try it indoors on a very rainy day (on a giant blanket in the kitchen), I think I’d rather keep this one outside as it’s just as messy as it is fun.

You can see Gracen’s beach, ocean, and gardening-themed bins by clicking on the links.

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Making Moon Dough

This is something I’ve been planning to make with Gracen for a long while now and I’m so glad we finally tried it today.  Moon dough, often also called cloud dough, is a silky, mouldable mixture of just two ingredients many families probably already have on hand. Fun and easy – love it!IMG 3663

To whip up your own batch of moon dough, all you need is some white flour, some baby oil, a mixing bowl, and a whisk.

IMG 3666Start by adding 8 parts flour into your bowl.

IMG 3668Then add 1 part baby oil.

IMG 3671Mix for several minutes, ensuring all the large clumps are broken up and the oil is evenly distributed through the flour.

IMG 3676When you’re done, the mixture will be light and fluffy and the clumps should be minimal.  That’s it – so easy!  Transfer it into a large bin and add some cups, moulds, straws, spoons, and cookie cutters for your little one(s) to use while exploring.

Cloud Dough

  • 8 cups of white flour
  • 1 cup of baby oil

Put the ingredients into a large bowl and mix really well.  Store in an airtight container or bag for several months.



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