Busy being a mother and a wife and taking on the biggest challenge yet, a permanent move across the world. Read here my random thoughts, feelings and stories about my life that is about to be turned upside down (literally).

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Gift

I have been given a gift, I've embraced this gift and it has opened my eyes. The gift of seeing my world in a whole new way. I have taken for granted the beauty that surrounds me, the seasons that carry me and the country that I love. Knowing that I will soon be saying goodbye to my life here in Canada, I have taken so much time and care to appreciate all of it. The birch trees that are scattered along the back field, how they glisten in the moon light. The loons I hear all summer on the lake as they sing to each other in the darkness. The rich beautiful tones in the trees as they turn colours in the fall, and the crunch of their leaves under my feet. The first snowfall which is the most beautiful one of all, light airy flakes that lightly fall and dust the ground. The hearty fire in our wood stove on cold cold days and sunny winter days that stream warm sunshine into my front window. The sleek frozen lake, spending hours on it skating, its wide vast surface that could take me miles and miles. The tobogganing track we work hard to build each winter and the snowmen and snowforts that are scattered on our back lawn. We caught a quick taste of spring last week, an unseasonable warm day with that distinctive spring smell bringing feelings of hope and renewed energy, motivating us to hang on for the last leg of winter.
In the past 8 months I have taken the extra time each day to really feel each moment. I watch my children discovering many of these beautiful moments as well and I ingrain in my memory the look on their faces, the pure joy of it all. This is how we should always live our life, like we will never walk by that beautiful maple tree again.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Opposites Attract

Although I've seen it many times, I was really intrigued today watching my two boys eat cupcakes. J, my 4 year old carefully licked off the icing savoring every taste and leaving an undressed cupcake sitting on his plate. H, my 2 year old casually swept the icing off with his finger smearing it onto the plate leaving him with a moist delicious cupcake which quickly turned into crumbs on his iced plate.
They fascinate me, these two boys who were created in the same way by the same parents. J's eyes are soft and hazel, H has the brightest blue eyes you've ever seen. J has olive skin, H is fair and light. From before they were born they were different, I sailed through J's pregnancy, a little nausea, a lot of energy, little discomfort and after a relatively slow and easy labour he popped out a week early weighing 6.8 lbs. H's pregnancy was the opposite, I was so sick that I lost 15lb in my first trimester, I had heartburn, varicose veins and he decided to stay in 7 days past his due date. When he was ready to come out he let me know with quick onset of extremely painful labour and a difficult delivery. He weighed in at a hearty 8lb 11oz. J was a great sleeper, sleeping through the night at 2 months old. H still wakes up throughout the night and in his first year of life I don't think I got to sleep for more than 3 hours at a time. J kicks his covers off in the night, H likes to snuggle deep under his blankets. J is petite and tiny, the smallest in his class, H is a big boy, almost as tall as his brother and close to wearing the same size. J is rambunctious, energetic and very independent, H likes to sit back and watch, he's a big cuddler and an even bigger mamas boy. J loves to sing and dance and do puzzles, H likes to line up his cars and play trains. When not happy with how things are going with each other J will fight with words, H will hall out and belt him. J is stubborn, H is easily persuaded.
Each day I notice how very different these boys are and I wonder what their relationship will be in the future. Will they grow apart because of their differences or will their opposite nature attract.
When H was born a girlfriend posted a comment on my Facebook wall congratulating me on his birth and stated that he and his brother will one day stand as best men for each other on their wedding days and at that moment I realized that no matter what they do in life, nothing would make me prouder.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Zucchini In My Cake (recipe)

In my quest to completely eliminate wheat, dairy and eggs from my diet (see why HERE ) I have taken to flipping through my cherished 3 ringed binder full of family favourite recipes to see what I can re-invent.
One of my favourites is Chocolate Zucchini Cake, passed on to me from my Mom during the summer of 2005 when my eagerness to produce a lovely vegetable garden resulted in a Zucchini overgrow. After many deliveries of giant Zucchini's to my neighbours I was still left with a pile of my own to deal with. I made every Zucchini recipe I could find and was not at all surprised when my husband banned me from growing Zucchinis the following summer.

The fruits (veggies) of my labour

This weekend I decided to turn this yummy Chocolate Zucchini Cake recipe into one that I can eat, one my husband and kids would enjoy as well. So with a few tips from my Twitter friend Maggie, who has a very resourceful Gluten Free baking and living website, I was on my way.
 ( Maggie's great recipes & tips are at She Let Them Eat Cake  )

My biggest concern about re-inventing this recipe was that in knowing how delicious the original flavour of the cake was, my altered one would not compare. I was up for the challenge anyway. Yes it does taste a bit different, it is not as moist and a little less sweet but overall is still very similar and I'm loving it. The most important part is that it passed the husband and kid test with flying colours. They are begging for more.

So here you go:

Chocolate Zucchini Cake (my style)

They look and taste as good as brownies
You'll need:
1/2 cup canola oil
1 3/4 cup sucanat (un-refined)
(Maggie suggested I could also use Evapourated cane sugar - refined but not bleached)
1 cup unsweetened applesauce  
2 3/4 cup gluten free all purpose flour 
(I used a brand I got at No-Frills called Bobs Red Mill)
5 Tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup almond milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups grated zucchini
(I don't peel mine because I like the look of the little green flecks in the cake, but unpeeled is a better way to conceal the fact that there are vegetables in the cake)
Handful of chocolate chips and chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)

Pre-Heat oven to 350 ยบ 
In large bowl add canola oil, sucanat, & applesauce, mix well.
In separate bowl mix, flour, cocoa, salt, baking soda & powder, stir together and add to the wet mixture.
Blend well.
Stir in almond milk, vanilla, and grated zucchini.

Pour into greased 9x13 or 10x10 pan
Sprinkle chocolate chips and nuts on top
Bake for 45 - 50 minutes. 
Let cool, cut into squares & serve. 

Enjoy :)