Sunday, October 31, 2010

on halloween...costumes

i was blogging for work and stumbled upon this lovely costume. it's classic, and all, but certainly not one suited for the cooler clime i inhabit...
Foxtongue / Flickr
this one is for the birds (the eyeball is a nice touch)...
Halloween Costume
...and this one is for the dogs...
Bebe's Halloween Costume

Thursday, October 28, 2010

tapping the thymus - immune system/energy boost

the thymus - named by the greeks - definition: heart, soul, desire.

some of my life offline is dedicated to natural remedies, and to my work as a registered massage therapist. in the past several years i've been learning more about energy work, and simple applications in daily life.

this post on tapping the thymus is an expression of that simplicity - i do more than this, but it is a solid starting point especially as flu season creeps in.

the thymus is basically located in front of the heart, behind the sternum. on me, a heavy-chested mama, i take my four fingers (whichever hand you prefer), slightly curl them, and tap gently but firmly over the location of the thymus as in the picture below.

i do this for 30 seconds to a minute - sometimes several times a day - similar tapping to a slow heart beat.

so why tap the thymus?

in chinese/energy medicine it is seen as a way to give a boost to the immune system, provide a burst of energy...waking it up.
it's believed to work by causing vibrations across the sternum and into the thymus
the thymus is in many ways the heart of the immune system, seen as more important in childhood, fatty and atrophied by the time you are an adult. it is essential in the development of killer t cells...those amazing little internal infection fighters...our inner champions of wellness.
i figure that anything that can support the immune system and help me bring focus into myself is worth 30 seconds to a minute.

the beauty of tapping...simplicity

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

fudge - from disaster to delish (brownies)!

the final result - from fudge failure to moist, tasty brownies
i thought i could do it.
i thought i could make fudge and it would be thick and creamy and cut into beautiful squares...
for some reason i can't make fudge
the flavour is there but it doesn't set
so really, it's always been tasty-ish slime
and i suppose i thought with some of my recent baking successes that i could conquer my consistent fudge failures...

i started off hopeful, i found an easy recipe i had the ingredients for at home
with an impressive name like million dollar fudge - seriously - how could i lose?
ok, so i didn't have sweet german chocolate or marshmallow creme...but i did have hershey's milk chocolate chips (1c) and mini marshmallows - used 2c worth of these (mmm, midnight snack possibilities)
it started off well
but then, the didn't set
the slimey chocolatey mess had returned.
finally though, an idea for the fix.
i thought i was just a bit of flour, eggs, milk and baking powder away from delicious brownies
the fix
so i spooned the mess back into a bowl and added
1c bob's gluten free biscuit mix and 1/4c rice flour
1 egg
1/4c almond milk (i think any milk would have worked
1/2tsp baking powder
back into 2 pans and about 1/3 inch thick in each
in a 350 oven for 12-15min as the fudge had already been boiled and hot
i am sure i heard clapping in the background, or maybe it was lip smacking when these came out and were tasted, wolfed down with morning coffee
finally redemption after another failed fudge will be a while before i try to succeed again

Monday, October 25, 2010

didn't feel like cooking week

the week felt long
the endurance gone
just didn't feel like cooking
grateful for takeout / pre-made meals / leftovers in the freezer
i suppose starting the week with dh away for work for a few days and the boys on my own just left me tired
tired of cooking and organizing
so this is how the meal planning unfolded...
(note this meal plan is not completely gluten free this week)
yoghurt and fruit
leftover zucchini breakfast slices
leftover jam pie
cereal with soy milk
veggies and dip
spaghetti sauce over rice pasta
chicken breast pieces
raspberry sorbet - made in the ice cream maker
leftover slow cooker chili from the freezer, with rice
leftover slow cooker tostada lasagna with rice
meatballs and dipping sauces with caesar salad
chicken burgers and roast potatoes
leftover mac and ch-easy bake
pizza - takeout
dumplings - leek dumplings, chicken and vegetable dumplings - i boiled then fried them and served with sriracha sauce and soy sauce - pre-made meal

*** for hundreds of meal plan ideas visit

Sunday, October 24, 2010

reiki affirmation and new experiences

the reiki affirmation

just for today,
     i will not worry
i will not be angry
     i will do my work honestly
i will give thanks for my many blessings
     i will be kind to my neighbour and all living things

i had to write it out. i think it's beautiful. i will try to be mindful.

i took a course in reiki this weekend. i filled myself up with new experiences and blessings and empowerments and i brought it home.

my eldest has had this terrible, incessant cough dogging him
breaking sleep
body shaking
and he has been a brave little man
smiles and chat

so tonight i used my new tool
i gave him a treatment - tapotement, reflexology and general massage
and then i did my first reiki treatment
slow and thoughtful
and now he sleeps
an hour free from coughing so far

Monday, October 18, 2010

thanksgiving week meal plan with lots of leftover re-interpretations

one of the views from our 2nd floor deck - we live downtown and this is the trees in the backyard, the river and the hills, and it was a beautiful day for thanksgiving
the desserts i made - and the one i bought (pumpkin pie)
last week was thanksgiving. beautiful, colourful thanksgiving. it wasn't blazing hot, but the autumn wind held off and we were able to feast outdoors. our 2nd floor deck is covered and we love sitting out - we have table and chairs and the all essential slide, water table and cars and trucks present so dh and i could enjoy meal and wine.

...sigh...i really do love thanksgiving, am just not thrilled with the end of a perfect summer.
(note this meal plan is not completely gluten free this week)
omelette -  cheese and pico de gallo
yoghurt and fruit
zucchini breakfast slices
leftover jam pie
leftover apple cinnamon caramel muffins
veggies and dip
spaghetti sauce over rice pasta shells
leftover slow cooker chili from the freezer, with rice
chicken breast pieces
raspberry sorbet - made in the ice cream maker

thanksgiving dinner
-meatballs and dipping sauces
-salad - caesar salad
-sides/main - turkey and stuffing (the only time of year i must have turkey)
- roast potatoes
- mac and ch-easy bake
-dessert - raspberry sorbet, chocolate chocolate chip and mini marshmallow ice cream (both in the ice cream maker), jam pie, apple cinnamon apple muffins

and...a week's worth of leftovers (all in this post)
- mac and ch-easy bake with spaghetti sauce in a skillet
- mexican flavours for turkey with chicken bacon and mayo with habernero on pico de gallo and lettuce
- turkey quesadillas
- turkey nachos (chopped turkey - in a skillet with black beans and green bell pepper cooked in mexican chili spice and the juice of 2 large hothouse tomatoes) then put that on tortilla chips, covered with cheese and served with sour cream and pico de gallo
- butter chicken (turkey) on rice

i share my weekly meal plans at - you can find hundreds of meal plans on menu planning mondays there...helped me get back into meal planning.

enjoyed by all!

thanksgiving leftover meals

butter chicken (turkey) on rice

turkey quesadillas

mexican flavours for turkey with chicken bacon and mayo with habernero on pico de gallo and lettuce

turkey nachos (chopped turkey - in a skillet with black beans and green bell pepper cooked in mexican chili spice and the juice of 2 large hothouse tomatoes) then put that on tortilla chips, covered with cheese and served with sour cream and pico de gallo

mixed mac and ch-easy bake with spaghetti sauce in a skillet

Saturday, October 16, 2010

as the weather turns...

...i couldn't help but think of warmer spaces. one of my favourite places in recent years is lanzerote (canary islands), and going on a camel trek day trip through the desert.

lanzerote has to be one of the most physically varied places i've ever been to - and am a bit wistful looking at the photos. this was the last trip we did before i got pregnant with my eldest son (the 3.5yr old). one day we will go back and show them this amazing, diverse space.

mac and ch-easy bake

wanted an easy side for thanksgiving, and knew this could also work for leftovers - with rice pasta (especially white rice pasta) i find you have to add a lot more liquid to soften it.
1 can each of cheddar soup and cream of mushroom
1c light cream
2c water (would be a lot less if a wheat-based pasta
1tsp garlic powder
1 pack of rice pasta shells (400g - almost a pound)
1.5c shredded cheese (i used marble cheddar)

i mix all the ingredients except the pasta and cheese so i can pour evenly

precook pasta to just under al dente in a pot of boiling water, then into a lightly greased glass baking dish (i think mine is about 10x14, and pour mixed ingredients on top

add cheese and jiggle it around so it's nice and even and into a 350 oven for 30 min

i like this a lot, but you do need to stir it after it is baking for a bit if using rice pasta to make sure it gets nice and soft. great for leftovers. no time to make it and you can alter the flavours and contents a lot.

turkey and stuffing

3 old everything bagels torn apart
2c chicken stock
3 green onions chopped
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1tbsp garlic
dash of salt
let it all soak then stuff the bird and some under the skin

even the 1yr old couldn't stop eating stuffing

turkey stuffed, basted and cooked!

gravy from the drippings
2tbsp beer (it was left open so wanted to use it up)
1tbsp garlic,
 dash of salt and pepper,
 1tbsp cornstarch, and about 1c water

apple cinnamon and caramel muffins - gluten free

i altered a recipe posted by laura at from taste of home
for the topping - oats are called for (i can handle them in small doses, but many with issues to wheat gluten may find it an this case the oats are not necessary at all - plenty of flavour without them

for sugar/brown sugar i used one of my fave natural sugars - demerara.
for flour i used a combo of rice flour, tapioca starch and about a cup's worth of bob's gluten free biscuit mix
for the apple - i doubled what was called for in the recipe and used an organic gala apple
for the caramels - i sprayed both the knife and caramels with pam to cut more easily
for the caramels - i didn't fold them in - i stuck them in individually
the muffin mix and the topping mix

yeah - see - topping not necessary - i think a bit of sugar, cinnamon and a tiny bit of butter would have been more than sufficient...

all cleaned up and sampled - delicious - we all loved these

Friday, October 15, 2010

jam pie - gluten free

thanksgiving - perfect excuse to try and make some new desserts. i liked this one because it looked easy to make, and easy to make gluten free.
so i used a recipe from one of my cookbooks (one of the company's coming), and altered it to make it gluten free.

50-60mL whiskey (about 2oz to a little more) - i used 50mL of crown royal
1.5c jam (i used strawberry
1 egg
1c butter softened
1/2c sugar (i used demerara)
3c flour (i used 2c rice flour and 1c bob's gluten free biscuit mix flour)

cream butter and sugar in bowl, add whiskey and egg (beat in), and add flour

take 2/3 of dough and press in a 9x13 pan

spread jam on top

use the rest of the dough on top (the original called for a criss cross pattern but i was going butterfly themed as we had recently gone to a butterfly show

in a 350 oven for about 30min until lovely and golden like this
i am not a huge baker but as you can see by the few ingredients, this one is hard to screw up. the flavour does rely on the jam and the booze so i went for a triple fruit jam and good quality whiskey and it was really lovely. total keeper - you'd never know this was gluten free, as the booze and butter seemed to elevate the finicky nature of gluten free flour and make it a lot like the glutinous, wheat-y version.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


i don't know why i don't make these more often. this is a recipe based on one my mom showed me before i went away to university when i was 18. stunningly, this means it's decades old

i like how easy these are to make, and i sometimes make dipping sauces, sometimes just break out a jar of bbq sauce or whatever else i may feel like having.

ingredients (i had to write down the amounts, years later i still do these from memory)
makes between 40 and 50 meatballs - 46 this time around
1lb lean ground beef
1lb ground pork
1 pack onion soup mix
3 tbsp chicken soup base
1 tbsp garlic powder
dash of pepper
2 or 3 eggs (i used 3 as they weren't huge brown eggs)
1c bread crumbs (any kind, gluten free works here too, multigrain, any)

you basically just mix everything together in a bowl. i use my hands for this recipe - it's therapeutic - squishing the ingredients, rolling them into balls (have included a pic with my hand and the meatballs to give an idea of the size.
please bear in mind i have very small hands (my niece had bigger hands at age 12) - looking at the pic you will see why the blog name makes sense.

into a 350 oven for 20-25 minutes. i love these. i ate a few right off the baking sheet. these served as apps for thanksgiving and snacks/lunch after.

Monday, October 11, 2010

3 meals = a week + of suppers/lunches

peach sorbet
this past week did not begin with the intention of making something new out of recipes, but this is exactly how it evolved. 3 recipes - 2 of them altered a bit made 6 unique meals, plus a hearty pasta sauce and breakfast squares and peach sorbet...made for a surprisingly easy week of meals. next week's will feature thanksgiving pics and fixings.

happy thanksgiving to all my friends and family in canada. was a beautiful weekend/day for it...and now the meal plan...

omelette -  cheese and chicken bacon
yoghurt and fruit
fruit salad
zucchini breakfast slices

sour cream and onion popcorn
veggies and dip
peach sorbet - made in the ice cream maker

 spaghetti sauce (my dad made it and sent it up with my mom when she visited) over rice pasta shells
easy baked cod with salad
fish chowder (made from above)
lemongrass pulled beef in rice wrappers with peanut sauce 
pulled beef pho
beef pho with rice noodles
salad with pulled beef and peanut sauce

i share my weekly meal plans at - you can find hundreds of meal plans on menu planning mondays there...helped me get back into meal planning.

easy baked cod

so easy
tasty too
and it made this dish
and a fish chowder

recipe 1 - baked cod
8 cod fillets (about 800g - a little under 2lbs)
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1tbsp minced garlic
5 chopped green onions
salt and pepper to taste
1 zucchini grated
1/4c light cream
3/4c water

- fish into a greased baking dish and season with salt and pepper
-mix the other ingredients in a bowl and pour over fish
-in the oven for about 30min in a 350 oven
...the taste of this was great, but i put in too much liquid (didn't need the cream or water as the zucchini seemed to release a lot of with the extra liquid i used that as the base for a fish chowder.

recipe 2 - fish chowder
ingredients - there were about 2c of leftover liquid
- into a pot
5 medium potatoes boiled, peeled and mashed in about a tbsp of butter then add into pot with liquid
2 cod fillets (we ate the fillets and used the liquid from the 1st recipe but you could just use 2 fillets worth of leftover cod if you have it - flake into small pieces when cooked)
a bit more garlic and a dash of cumin and fresh chopped parsley from the garden to taste

add more water to achieve desired thickness, stir it all together
...oh this unexpected surprise dish was a hit! the one year old probably ate more of this than anyone else.
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