Hey everyone! So I’m just over a month postpartum with my second child and we are just starting to get into a routine. The past four weeks has just been filled with cuddles, feeding and just relaxing and recovering.
I am determined to start eating healthier. I was not healthy at all during this second pregnancy. I was too sick during the first trimester and too tired after that to exercise. And my diet was just atrocious – my intense craving for chocolate had me foraging all over my workplace for chocolate since I tried not to keep any in my office to tempt myself.
This is our last baby so I am anxious to start getting my ‘permanent’ body back. However, I am not going to rush the exercise as I need to fully recover from my C section for at least 6 weeks, and I just want to enjoy every lazy moment of cuddling on the couch and binge watching Netflix. (I have 15 seasons of Grey’s Anatomy to watch from the very beginning!) So, as a starting point, I’m going to start eating healthier. Keep in mind, this is not a diet – I need to eat healthy and I need to eat a lot because I am breastfeeding and breastfeeding burns up to an extra 500 calories a day. But I can cut out processed and junk food, sweets, and eat more fruits and vegetables.
Surprisingly, my husband is also onboard with eating healthier with me. He’s typically a meat and potatoes kind of guy, and he wants every meal to contain meat and starch. He is naturally athletic and fit though, and has a very physically demanding career, so he is always in shape despite eating and drinking whatever he wants. However, he has hit a plateau and wants to make some improvements in his fitness and he knows that a change in diet is the key.
So, although we will still have to make pasta dishes for our picky toddler, the two of us can start eating more salads. This chicken avocado bacon salad was my first attempt at making a meal-sized salad that is healthy and that would fill us up. The chicken, bacon and eggs provided loads of protein. Obviously, if you want it even healthier, you can eliminate the bacon or use turkey bacon instead. I would keep the bacon though – it really added amazing flavour when paired with the creamy avocado.
If you have extra time and want additional freshness, you can just dress the salad with equal parts freshly squeezed lemon juice and olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper. I just used store bought Italian dressing and it tasted amazing.
This was a huge hit with the husband so it looks like it’s on the weekly menu at least once a week!
I hope everyone had a good weekend! I had the most productive weekend – in addition to laundry and cleaning, I was able to test drive a couple of new recipes that I will be featuring on the blog this week.
First up is this recipe for banana chocolate chip muffins. I don’t know about you guys, but weekday mornings for me are a whirlwind of activity, especially if my husband is working too and I’m responsible for daycare drop off. On these days, I get up at 6AM to get ready for work. By the time I’m done, it’s about 6:45AM, and my toddler is stirring (she usually wakes up between 6:45AM-7AM). I head downstairs to get her breakfast ready (it’s just milk and an Eggo, because she gets a proper breakfast at daycare at 8:30AM), then I go upstairs to greet her, change her diaper and change her clothes. Then we head back downstairs and while she drinks her milk, eats her Eggo and watches Baby Shark on Youtube, I do her hair. Then, we rush out the door and into the van and off to daycare we go. I drop her off at daycare around 7:30AM, and then I rush off to work and try to make it there relatively on time. Every weekday morning at work, we have a daily 8:15AM meeting. And it’s usually AFTER that meeting that I’ll have to time to grab myself breakfast from my lunch bag (which is usually instant oatmeal and fruit, or a bagel with cream cheese).
Let me tell you, not having breakfast for more than two hours after waking up is not good for me. I get hangry and lightheaded, and I know it’s not good for the pregnancy. I wanted to make a relatively healthy muffin recipe, so that I can pack a couple in my lunch bag for these crazy weekday mornings. These muffins are easy to eat with one hand while driving to daycare or into work, so that I at least have something in my belly first thing in the morning!
Also, I had a few ripe bananas on my counter this weekend and two Paw Patrol vanilla yogourt cups that were about to expire in a couple days, so this recipe worked out perfectly in using up these ingredients! I hate hate hate food waste, so I’m glad I was able to salvage the bananas and yogourt without having to toss them in the trash!
There’s only one thing I would change in this recipe….I think next time I would add more chocolate chips. I had half of a little bag of chocolate chips left in my pantry and I tossed them all into the batter (just short of 1 cup). As you can see, the tops of some of my muffins look pretty bare. Next time, I’ll add another 1/2 cup maybe, and make sure I sprinkle some on the top of the batter in the muffin tins so that they turn out prettier.
Despite their anemic-lack-of-chocolate-chips look, they are absolutely delicious and I’ve already had two this Monday morning. Give this recipe a try and let me know what you think!
Does anyone else have a super picky toddler? I swear, all my daughter wants to eat is scrambled eggs, toast with peanut butter and jam, pears, nectarines, yogourt and pasta. And not just any yogourt, but the Paw Patrol yogourt. And not just any pasta – it has to be the tubed ones like rigatoni or penne. I try to sneak in veggies wherever I can – I scramble her eggs with chopped up spinach and I try to sneak in some veggies in her pasta dishes, but she usually just picks around them and just eats the pasta. Her daycare teacher tells me that she eats very well at daycare, but I find that hard to believe. Or maybe she enjoys eating with the other little kids, who knows. All I know is that dinnertime is such a hassle with her. My husband and I certainly don’t want to eat pasta every day, so what I end up doing is making a big pasta dish for her every other day, so that on the day that she’s eating leftovers, my husband and I can actually eat something else for dinner!
This broccoli and cheddar pasta is her absolute favourite and she would eat it every day if I let her. When she sees me plating it up, she is grabbing at my leg, pointing, yelling “pasta, pasta!” , and can’t wait to sit down at the table to devour it. I don’t mind making this for her often because it is easy to make and takes only about 20-30 minutes. I sneak the broccoli in there but she just picks around it. I don’t mind though, because I like to eat all the broccoli out of it while she eats all the pasta. Win-win! I also like that you don’t have to cook your broccoli separately. I just cut it up into small florets, rinse them and leave them in the strainer. Then, when my pasta is done cooking, I drain my pasta through that same strainer. The boiling water from the cooked pasta will cook the broccoli just enough to turn them bright green but still retain some crunch.
I like to use Bothwell medium cheddar cheese for this recipe, but feel free to use marbled, mild or strong cheddar. I find that the medium adds just enough bite and flavour without being too bland or too overwhelming. I grate the cheese using the biggest holes on my grater – it just helps the cheese melt faster and more evenly. I use up the entire 170g block of cheese and you can often find these on sale at Safeway for about $4.99 for a small block.
I highly recommend this recipe for picky eaters. Give it a try and let me know what you think. I’ll be making this again in the next few days so follow me on Instagram if you want to see the play by play on my Instagram stories!
Approx 500 grams of pasta (I buy the 454 gram boxes or packages of penne or rigatoni)
2 tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups of whole milk
1 cup of half and half cream
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 small head of broccoli, chopped into small florets
170 grams of medium cheddar cheese, grated
salt and pepper to taste
Chop your broccoli into small florets, rinse and leave in the strainer.
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook your pasta according to the package instructions; drain with the same strainer that the broccoli is in
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic and shallot and cook, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes.
Add in the flour and whisk for about 1 minute until lightly browned. Gradually whisk in milk, cream and Dijon mustard until it thickens, about 5 minutes. If you feel it is too thick, add in a little bit more milk. Season with salt and pepper.
Stir in pasta, broccoli and grated cheese until well combined, about 5 more minutes.
Well, cold and flu season is upon us and we are feeling it hard in our household. My toddler has been sick off and on for weeks. She has a runny nose and a cough that will come and go every other week. I kind of expected her to be sick more often after starting daycare in the fall, but not this much! I’ve had a cold a couple times over the past couple months, but sometimes I don’t know if it’s a cold or just the typical congestion that comes with being pregnant. But this weekend, my husband really went down for the count. He’s congested and has completely lost his voice. He was working 14 hour days for a few days there and didn’t see our daughter for awhile. The first night when he came home in time to see her before bedtime, he tried talking to her and she lost her mind! She was so scared of his raspy voice!
I wanted to make a really healthy soup to help the whole family feel better. My toddler is still napping 2-3 hours in the middle of the day, so that gave me plenty of time to make this to enjoy for lunch and dinner that same day. There was a lot leftover so I also took some for lunch today, and I’m sure my husband will be eating some for lunch at home today as well since he’s still off sick.
If you watched my Instagram stories yesterday, I did document how I made this. One of the things I talked about was cleaning my chicken breasts. My mom does this with all of her meat, especially if she’s using it in a stew, soup or braised dish. Have you ever noticed that when you boil meat, you get impurities that rise to the top in the form of scum or foam that you have to skim off? If you clean your meat before cooking it, you won’t have as much (or any) of these impurities to skim off. What I did with my chicken breasts was give them a healthy sprinkle of salt on both sides. I have a cheap box of Windsor table salt that I use purely for this purpose. Then using my hands, I scrub the salt well into the chicken. It’s like you’re exfoliating the chicken! Then rinse the chicken well under cold water to get rid of all the salt. After doing this step, I did not have any impurities to skim off my broth at all. The chicken boiled nice and cleanly. My mom does this all the time with pork, chicken, beef, fish, etc. I must admit, that I don’t do it all the time, but I will now that I see how nice and clean and pure my broth was!
There’s also a step in this recipe to make a roux with butter, flour and a little bit of cream to make it into a creamy chicken noodle soup. I love all types of creamy soups, so I added this step. If you’re just a broth-soup type of person, just omit this step!
Give this recipe a try to kick any of your winter colds and flus!
4 small chicken breasts (you can also use boneless chicken thighs)
6 tbsp butter, divided
1 onion, finely chopped
3 carrots: 2 grated and 1 sliced into half circles
2 celery sticks, thinly sliced
2 cups of rotini
2 cups frozen corn
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp dried dill
salt and pepper to taste
Clean your chicken breasts by giving them a healthy sprinkle of household table salt on both sides and scrubbing with your hands. Rinse in cold water and set aside.
In a large soup pot, combine 6 cups chicken broth, 5 cups water, and 1/2 tbsp of salt. Bring to a boil and add your chicken breasts. Boil uncovered for 20 minutes. Skim off any impurities that rise to the top (you shouldn't have anything thing to skim off if you've cleaned your chicken well).
While chicken is cooking, place a large pan over medium heat and add 2 tbsp butter. Add chopped onion and saute for 5 minutes. Add grated carrots and chopped celery and saute for another 5 minutes.
Remove chicken from the pot. Add the sauteed vegetables to the pot and continue to let boil gently.
Using two forks, shred the chicken and return to the pot.
Add 2 cups of dried rotini, sliced carrot, and the frozen corn to the soup pot and continue cooking at a low boil for 15 minutes.
(You can skip this step if you just want a broth soup, instead of a creamy soup). In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, melt 4 tbsp butter. Whisk in 1/3 cup of flour and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, whisking constantly. Add in 1 cup of the hot broth from the soup pot into the flour mixture and whisk until well blended. Add in 1/2 cup of heavy cream, and whisk until well blended. Transfer to soup pot and stir until well blended.
Add in 2 tbsp of dill and salt and pepper to taste. Continue to cook at a low boil for another 5 minutes.
Once a week, usually on a Thursday before I do my weekly grocery haul the next day, I go through my fridge and stirfry everything in sight. I have a habit of buying carrots, broccoli, and peppers every single week, convincing myself that I’ll make a crudite platter to snack on or that I’ll bring fresh veggies for lunch..but inevitably, at the end of every week they are still there in the crisper, begging to be eaten. I almost always have frozen chicken breasts in the freezer, since I like to buy them in bulk from Costco or Safeway and then freeze them in bags of 3. All you need to remember is to put some chicken breasts to defrost in the fridge the night before and you can whip up this stirfry in under 30 minutes.
You can basically use any vegetable you want in this stirfry (except for cucumbers or tomatoes – those have too high of a water content). I consistently use onions, peppers and carrots, and for the green vegetable I’ve used broccoli before and I used asparagus in the pictures you see in this post. You could substitute snow peas as well for the green vegetable.
Served with some hot jasmine rice, it makes for a filling and satisfying meal. My husband and I devour this stirfry and there are never any leftovers so I’m going to say that this recipe makes enough for 2 hungry people, maybe 3 people.
Give this recipe a try the next time you are looking for a quick weeknight meal!
3 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced (on the diagonal if you're feeling fancy)
small broccoli crown, chopped into small florets (or substitute any hearty green vegetable - in my pics, I used asparagus)
1 small onion, cut into wedges
1 sweet pepper (any colour), sliced into strips
a handful of fresh spinach leaves
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 tsp cornstarch
1/4 cup oyster sauce
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar (or mirin)
1 tsp brown sugar
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
In a wok or a deep frying pan over high heat, add a small amount of oil and brown the chicken in batches, sprinkling with a little soy sauce as they brown. Remove each batch of brown chicken from the wok and set aside.
Add a bit more oil to the wok and saute the ginger, carrots, broccoli (or asparagus), and onion for 3 minutes. Add the pepper strips, spinach leaves and chicken (along with any chicken juices).
In a measuring cup, whisk together the chicken broth and cornstarch until no lumps remain. Pour over the vegetables.
Add the oyster sauce, rice wine vinegar, brown sugar, and soy sauce. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook for about 5 minutes until the sauce thickens.
Hi, my name is Elizabeth and I am addicted to online shopping. This addiction started during my first mat leave when it was just easier to order things online and have them delivered to my door, instead of bundling up the baby and heading out to the stores or to the mall. I started off ordering books, baby items and household items from Chapters Indigo; then I graduated to ordering household items off The Bay; and then after a few trial and errors when it came to proper sizing, I’ve now started ordering clothes and shoes off of The Bay, Banana Republic, The Gap and J.Crew.
I’ve been back at work for over a year now and I am downtown 4-5 days a week so I’ll sometimes walk to the mall during my lunch hour. However, I find that there are better deals to be found online. Also, I hate trying things on in stores. I’d rather order clothes online, and then return them if they don’t fit! Most stores (like Banana Republic or The Bay) have really easy return policies where you can just send the clothes back or even return it in person in the store.
So with the Christmas shopping season upon us, 90% of my shopping has been done online. I mean, there are always a few items that you can’t easily buy online, like wine, but for the most part, I’ve scored some amazing deals on great presents online. The majority of the purchases were made on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so if you’re on my Christmas gift list, you’re getting amazing, quality presents that I managed to get a great deal on!
Another reason why I love online shopping – Ebates!!! I mean, you guys have probably all seen Ebates commercials on TV where the actors say “get paid to shop online” or whatever, right? I know I’ve seen that commercial a million times and I’ve always just written it off and never looked into it. But then my sister told me all about it and she started getting cheques back from Ebates, so I signed up as well. I mean, you all know how I love Checkout 51 and getting cheques from that, so I thought I’d give this Ebates a try.
It’s really easy – you just sign up for an account at Ebates. And then before you shop online, go to the Ebates site first, and then click through to the online vendor that you want to shop at. Most of the online vendors that I frequent are linked on Ebates (Chapters, The Bay, Sephora, Banana Republic, etc). Then you just proceed to shop as normal, and once your order is confirmed, the vendor sends a confirmation to Ebates and you’ll get an email telling you how much cashback you’ve earned on your purchase! The cashback percentage will vary, but I’ve gotten up to 8% cashback on my purchases before. And when you spend hundreds of dollars at Sephora or Banana Republic like I do, that 8% really adds up! The cash accumulates in your Ebates account and every quarter, they’ll send you a cheque for the amount in your account! The last cheque I got was for about $35!
It is so easy. Honestly, the hardest part is to remember to go to the Ebates site first before you start shopping. I know I’ve forgotten a couple times, and I kick myself whenever I calculate the cashback that I could have earned!
If you’re ready to earn cashback on your online purchases, use my referral code below to sign up!
Well, I’m about 21 weeks pregnant with my second child now, and I’ve already started working on my maternity leave stockpile. One of the things I implemented prior to my first mat leave was a stockpile of household items. Knowing that I would be on a reduced maternity leave income for a whole year, I spent most of my pregnancy buying household items on sale, using coupons and Checkout51, and creating a stockpile so that I wouldn’t have to spend money on these basic household items during my mat leave. It was a huge success and for the entire year, I did not spend a dime on toilet paper, deodorant, shampoo & conditioner, and body wash.
But the biggest cost savings that I achieved was creating a significant stockpile of diapers ahead of time. Using Checkout 51 and watching for sales, I was able to buy diapers at less than half their regular price! For example, Pampers at Safeway are usually $34 regular price, but often they go on sale for $19.99. Checkout 51 also often has cashback of $2-$3 for Pampers products. When I combined the sales with the Checkout 51 offers, I got these diapers for $17 for a big box!
My stockpile numbers were pretty on point, but there was one time where we ran out of size 3 diapers and I had to go out and buy a box at full price. Let me tell you, it really hurt to buy a box of diapers for $34+tax. I tracked what my diaper stockpile numbers were and what my daughter used and this is the guideline that I’ll use to build my stockpile for my second child. Keep in mind that these numbers are for Pampers products for a baby girl, born at 7lbs, consistently measuring in the 100th percentile for height and at the 60-70th percentile for weight.
N/A – my daughter is 2 years old now and just recently transitioned to size 6 diapers.
We used Pampers Swaddlers for the newborn size, size 1 and size 2. At size 3 and 4, we used a mix of Swaddlers during the day and Baby Dry at night. This was around the time my daughter was 4 months old and we had sleep trained her so she was sleeping 11-12 hours through the night. We found that Pampers Baby Dry with their 12 hour protection were perfect for bedtime. At Size 5, we used a mix of Cruisers and Baby Dry, as she was more mobile and the Cruisers were designed for babies on the move.
There was one size (I think it was size 1) where I had an extra box so I just sold it on VarageSale for $10. There are always other moms on VarageSale looking to buy diapers or trade diaper sizes.
For all you moms-to-be out there, I highly recommend you start a diaper stockpile! Either use coupons and watch for sales, or start having family and friends gift you with diapers!
I am rapidly getting into the Christmas spirit here in our household. Our tree and decorations are up, I’ve begun my Christmas shopping, I’ve wrapped some of the presents that I’ve purchased ages ago, and I’m starting to dig up some holiday recipes. I made my ginger molasses cookies the other day to fill up our cookie jar, and the flavours of ginger, cinnamon, and molasses totally reminded me of Christmas!
We’ll be visiting some family this Christmas out of town, but we are also expecting some family to come to us in Regina since being pregnant with a toddler makes travelling super exhausting for me. In anticipation of overnight guests, I wanted to find a breakfast recipe that was Christmas-y but also didn’t require me to be in the kitchen away from all the visiting and opening of presents in the morning. I started experimenting with some overnight recipes and I’ve tweaked the perfect overnight eggnog french toast casserole recipe. It takes some prep the night before, but in the morning, all you have to do is pop it in the oven for 40-50 minutes. Perfect amount of time for visiting over coffee and opening presents!
I served mine with some blueberries on top and a side of bacon (because my husband loves bacon!). This french toast casserole is pretty sweet, so you do not need any syrup on top. A sprinkling of icing sugar might make it prettier but trust me, it is plenty sweet on its own. This recipe would easily serve 6 people. We had four big pieces left over, so I heated a piece up this morning for a quick breakfast before work and it was delicious!
Give this recipe a try for your Christmas morning!
Well, hello everyone! It’s been a minute since I’ve posted anything on here. I do have a reason though – I’m pregnant with my second child! We basically found out days after my last post on here in August….and the morning sickness (or all day sickness) started shortly after! From August until October, I was completely useless when it came to cooking and food. I was basically a vegetarian for three months because the smell of meat would send waves of nausea through me, and my husband and toddler had to survive on his cooking and on Skip the Dishes.
I’m about 20 weeks along now and I’m finally feeling better, so stay tuned for more recipes as I start cooking more often. I’m still craving a lot of vegetables over meat, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I do have more questionable cravings though, including super sugary iced tea, Cheez Whiz, basic Chinese food (like ginger beef and chicken balls), and gummy candies.
My toddler is also super clingy lately – it’s like she knows that a big change is about to happen in our family. She will cuddle with me for an hour after I pick her up from daycare. I’m not complaining – I need that chill time too, but it does make it hard to make dinner every night. Stay tuned for even easier recipes coming on this blog, as I figure out what I can easily pop in the oven without sacrificing cuddle time!