Halloween

Westham Island Pumpkin Patch

October 28, 2012

Halloween is on it’s way… Adam and I went to a Halloween pumpkin-carving party Friday night (as Catwoman and a Locked out Canuck player, a little too close to home?) and another party Saturday (as Zach Morris & Kelly Kapowski), and we won Third Place for costumes! BOO-yah.

Today we (read: I) wanted to head out to the Pumpkin Patch to gather some gourds for Wednesday night. On the way we made a quick stop to Ikea to look at couches, I think we’ve finally decided on a leather sectional after much debate and searching.

It’s been a little tradition to head out to Westham Island Herb Farm to get our pumpkins. Growing up in Tsawwassen I remember going there when I was younger, and I love the small little farm market. Plus, I always like supporting local growers.

Being the last weekend before halloween it was pretty busy, cars lined up down the street. We found a spot, and started looking for the Great Pumpkin.

 {a creepy gremlin greeted us}

{mini-barn mailboxes}

{Searching for the great pumpkin, charlie brown}

{Found One!}

 {Artichokes, all in a row}

{Adam’s face after I told him he should become a farmer, cause he looks cute in a field}

{Adam’s face after I said I wanted him to buy me a farm house 😉 }

 {Adam’s face after I said I could be a farmer’s wife, informing me I’d have to wake up at 5 am. No thanks}

 {Another Successful Pumpkin Patch visit}

 

Breakfast

Two Ingredient Pancakes – Gluten Free, Dairy Free, 100% Natural

October 26, 2012

When I found out I had more food allergies I knew I would have to give up a lot of my favourite foods. However, I am truly amazed at how well I feel now. I felt SICK all the time before. Adam would constantly complain that I said “my stomach hurts” after almost every meal. That of course wasn’t helping me in any way, and it put a damper on events or nights out. I had no idea what was going on with my stomach. Throughout high school and the years after, I remember eating a bowl of cereal for breakfast, Special K (a “healthy” option then, now I know of better ones), with Milk (before I realized I had a dairy allergy). I remember feeling uncomfortably bloated, and pain in my abdomen following breakfast. Not a great start to the day. Now, after dealing with and finding out all of my lovely food allergies I know better, and have completely changed my eating habits to reflect a healthier happier life, and belly.

I was never a real lover of bread, probably because of how it made me feel after eating it. I was more of a smoothie for breakfast kind of girl. Adam, however, would like some pancakes or waffles on the weekend for our Sunday breakfast. I would usually make waffles or pancakes, I actually prefer waffles to pancakes because their crispier and lighter, while I feel pancakes are quite heavy. I would jazz up a pancake/waffle recipe by subbing out butter/oil for apple sauce, add in some banana or fruit to the mix to make it ‘healthier.’

But, I would still feel like crap after eating them (before I knew of my wheat allergy). I started making them just for Adam, and maybe sneak a bite or two. I then discovered Bob’s Red Mill pancake mix, which is gluten/wheat/dairy free and would add a purred banana to it, and was pleasantly surprised that for the first time I wasn’t feeling sick after eating a meal like pancakes. However, I still wanted something healthier, cleaner and with less ingredients.

I was SO excited when I saw a link from The Skinny Confidential via Blogilates on twitter about two ingredient pancakes. Really? Could it be this easy?

The answer is YES.

Banana. Eggs. That’s it. No need for other filler ingredients like flour, sugar, butter, oil, baking soda/powder. Just two simple ingredients that are amazingly fluffy like a buttermilk pancake. They’re also filling! I had about 4 smaller pancakes, and was quite full. Adam said he could have eaten more, he also had a side of bacon. But you can make as many or as little as you like. Also – a good dose of protein, with 14+ grams !

The list of ingredients is getting shorter and shorter. First, 5 Ingredient Date Bars, now 2 Ingredient Pancakes.

You can add in other things, good things, like cinnamon, natural (not artificial) vanilla, a few tsp. of ground flax seeds (they help hold it together), nutmeg etc.

And – Instead of covering them with syrup, warm up some frozen or fresh berries for a compote!

These are a great weekend, or week day breakfast if you have time. It’s also the weekend before Halloween! Adam and I are going to two parties this weekend, tonight I’m going as Catwoman. Tomorrow, Adam and I are doing a ‘couples’ costume, lame but bound to happen =)

Two Ingredient Pancakes 

Serves 2

Ingredients: 

2 mashed, ripe bananas

3 eggs

Directions:

In a medium bowl, crack your eggs and add your banana. Using a hand mixer/beater, fully blend together the egg and banana so that there are no noticeably large chunks of banana. Add spices, flax etc. if you like.

On medium heat, spray/coat a pan lightly. Using a ladle, scoop about 1/4 cup onto the pan. Allow to cook on one side for about a minute, until bubbles appear on top. Carefully flip over, they will be less firm as a regular pancake. Allow other side to cook.

You can add as many banana’s / eggs as you like for a crowed, I would say an egg and a half per banana.

Enjoy with Berries!

{Pardon the ugly pic, but you can see their just as fluffy as regular pancakes!}

{Flip, and they’re golden!}

{You could have them plain, but they’re delicious with berries! Or maybe Almond butter??}

 

Bars & Squares

Sweet Traditions – Healthier Matrimonial Squares

October 24, 2012

My Grandma Alice was well known for her sweet tooth. I blame my Mother’s side for my sweet tooth, and my Father’s side for my love of savoury foods (the Italian side).

When my mom and I would go to visit my Grandma, we would take her out to shop, and then for lunch (almost always for Chinese food), and afterwards my Grandma would want something sweet for dessert. One of her favourite desserts were lemon tarts, or lemon squares. She loved lemon desserts. She was also Diabetic, but she never passed on dessert. My Grandpa was also notorious for eating an entire bag of chocolate bars (they would try and hide them from him, but he found it).

{Grandma}

When we would get together for family functions my Grandma would make one of her specialties – Nanaimo bars (tooth-achingly sweet), Butter Tarts, or Matrimonial Squares. Now, My moms sisters, my cousins and myself carry on these recipes (I’ve mentioned it before here and here ) I loved Matrimonial Squares, and would always look forward to a family gathering because I knew one of the above treats would be served. Apparently my Grandma would even add lemon to her matrimonial squares, so I’ll have to try that next time. I haven’t had them in a quite a while, but when I was searching the other night for a ‘bar’ recipe, I happened to stumble upon a recipe for 5 Ingredient Date Bars. They reminded me so much of Matrimonial squares, or cake,  that I didn’t hesitate to make them. If my Grandma were here I know she would have loved these, and wouldn’t have even missed the sugar! I’ll have to try these out with my Mom’s family at the next gathering to see how they like them. I don’t think they will be disappointed.

I probably could have eaten the entire tray myself. They are amazingly close to the real thing, with no added sugar, wheat free, dairy free, and vegan! And, no bake. Definitely a repeat recipe for the future. And even great as a dish for a brunch or breakfast buffet.

Healthier Matrimonial Squares or “5 Ingredient Date Bars”

From, Oh She Glows, original adapted from Karen

Base:

  • 1.5 cups whole raw almonds
  • 1.5 cups oats (I used Gluten Free/Wheat Free Oats)
  • 10 Medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut

Date filling:

  • 25 Medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped (about 2.5 cups)
  • 6-8 Honey Dates
  • 1/4 Cup Water

Directions:

1. In a food processor, process the almonds and oats until fine. Next, add in the 10 dates and coconut and process until crumbly again. Melt the coconut oil and add to the mixture and process until it becomes sticky, and clumps together, You can do this on pulse mode.

Remove from processor, set aside about a cup to use as top layer later, and press the rest of the mixture very firmly and evenly into an 8×8 or 9×9 un-greased pan. You can use your fingers, or the back of a spoon to do this.

2. Next, take your pitted and roughly chopped 25 Medjool Dates + Honey Dates and water and process in the food processor until a paste forms. You will have to stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl often. Feel free to add more water if the paste is too thick, but you don’t want it to be too thin either. Scoop out the date mixture with a spatula and spoon onto the nut/oat base. Gently spread with a spoon to get it even.

3. Last, sprinkle by hand the 1 cup of mixture you set aside and gently press down. Refrigerate in the fridge until firm – about two hours or overnight.

Cut into squares and serve. Store in the fridge or freezer.