Come to the Dark side, we have Cookies

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Last week I made some Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies, I haven’t made them in forever. Heck I haven’t done any baking on forever, between trying to keep up with Hazel and returning to work I just haven’t had time or the energy. Needless to say I was feeling slightly energetic last weekend, even with Evan working all weekend so I whipped up a batch.

Now I am all for eating healthy and adapting recipes to make them healthier but there are some things you just don’t mess with especially Chocolate Chip Cookies. I am not going to swap out the butter for apple sauce or the sugar for honey. Enjoying everything in moderation is the key, the majority of these health crazes never existed when our parents or grandparents were growing up and most of the ones I know are living long healthy lives. However I did mess with the recipe, I added two small ingredients, not to replace anything but to add a bit more texture and of course some extra nutrients. Here is the recipe, you can see me substitutions / additions below:

Oatmeal Chip Cookies

as seen in Company’s Coming Cookie Jar Classics

Hard margarine (or butter), softened 1 cup 250 mL
Brown sugar, packed 2 cups 500 mL
Large eggs 2 2
Vanilla extract 1 tsp. 5 mL
All-purpose flour 2 cups 500 mL
Baking powder 1 tsp. 5 mL
Baking soda 1/2 tsp. 2 mL
Quick-cooking rolled oats 2 cups 500 mL
Semi-sweet chocolate chips 2 cups 500 mL
Medium unsweetened coconut 3/4 cup 175 mL
Cream margarine and brown sugar in large bowl. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla. Beat until smooth.Combine next 3 ingredients in small bowl. Add to margarine mixture in 2 additions, mixing well after each addition until no dry flour remains.Add remaining 3 ingredients. Mix well. Drop, using 2 tbsp. (30 mL) for each, about 2 inches (5 cm) apart onto greased cookie sheets. Bake in 350°F (175°C) oven for 8 to 10 minutes until golden. Let stand on cookie sheets for 5 minutes. Remove cookies from cookie sheets and place on wire racks to cool. Makes about 60 cookies.

Now I didn’t add the coconut, as my husband isn’t a huge fan. Instead I added the following:

1/4 cup Chia Seeds

1/4 cup Hemp Hearts

By adding these two items to the recipe it didn’t change the structure of the cookies or the cooking time. Simply added a few extra nutritional elements to the cookies. You might remember that I add these two super foods to my oatmeal as well. If you missed that recipe click here for the details.

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How cute is this sign from Urban Barn? I think I need it for my kitchen :)

Xo. Andria


One Smiley Monkey

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I am super excited to share with you guys that I will now be contributing and reviewing for One Smiley Monkey. Angela has such a great site, its such an honor to be able to work with her. Head on over to One Smiley Monkey and check it out. She has everything product reviews, parenting tips and of course giveaways! You can find my first post here, Radio Flyer 4 in 1 Trike review, hope you enjoy!

Xo. Andria


Wordless Wednesday

It’s been a few weeks since I have posted a Wordless Wednesday so here goes. We have been super busy enjoying the amazing weather that September has been bringing us. Evan has been working lots of weekends so we have taken sometime to stop by his work site to say hi! We love our new Drench rainwear boots so we have been wearing them every chance we get here in Raincouver. Evan and I have managed to sneak in a date night to Whistler and an afternoon of cleaning house and grocery shopping with out Hazel (oh the little things you enjoy :) ) We’ve been making cookies, snuggling the animals and even learning about strollers, that’s a whole other post, for now here are the pictures!

 

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Xo. Andria

It’s officially fall!

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Well it’s officially fall, this means cooler weather, darker days and of course Halloween! Halloween is such a fun holiday, I mean who doesn’t like to dress up and collect candy? We didn’t take Hazel out last year as we went away and she was to little, but I think it will be a lot of fun this year. Of course we won’t let her eat all the candy, we will have to sample one or two pieces :)

Does your kid have their Halloween costume picked out yet? We are still trying to figure out what she should be this year, there’s one I have my eye on. I have included it in the line up of costumes I found below, can you guess which one it is?

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Where the Wild Things are and Bulldog costume are from Pottery Barn Kids

Pumpkin and Elephant are from Old Navy. The elephant was Hazels costume last year.

The Tinkerbell costume is from Kmart.

Xo. Andria


Hazel’s Big Luau

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I have been meaning to share Hazels birthday party with you for a while now, almost 3 months to be exact, oops. Life has been busy you could say :) As Hazel was born on a long weekend we opted to host her party the weekend after in hopes that the majority of our friends and family would be able to attend. We achieved exactly that, we had about 70 of our closest friends and family out to celebrate our little girls first birthday. We had people come in from places like Vernon and Mission to help us celebrate, it was the perfect excuse to get everyone together. The last time some of these family members saw each other was our wedding so it made the occasion just that much better.

gramma and grampa editedHaving been to Maui at the age of 5 months, this girl was already turning into a beach babe. She loves the water and spending an afternoon at the beach (clearly her mama’s girl) so we knew with out a doubt a Luau was going to be our theme. A few of our guests even came dressed for the occasion, wearing their Hawaiian best. How cute are my grandparents in their matching Hawaiian shirts?

We were hosting her party at my parents place in their back yard so we had lots of room for kids to run and play and for the adults to mingle. As it would turn out, the weather gods were not on our side for the majority of the day. We had maybe 5 whole days of rain this summer and her party was one of those days. Luckily for us Evan was able to borrow a large tent from work and our friends lent us another. We set these up in the yard for all the adults to huddle under, the kids didn’t seem to mind the rain and continued to play. We had borrowed a bouncy castle from some friends for the kids to play in. We also set up different play stations with lawn bowling, golfing, bubbles and a water table. We kept the party fairly simple, leaving it to be more of an open house type of party. We gathered everyone around to sing happy birthday to the birthday girl and watch her destroy a cup cake, but other than that left everyone to mingle. Our “tropical storm” eventually passed and the skies cleared to some beautiful sun.

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We also kept the food fairly simple, as we wanted to spend more time with our guests instead of fussing over food preparations.  We opted to go with your typical casual bbq food, veggies and dip, salads, chips , popcorn, and lots of sweets! We BBQ’d McLean’s All Beef Hotdogs that were very generously provided to us by McLean’s Organic Foods for our guests. These were a hit with our guests and I highly recommend them if you like hotdogs as they are 100% preservative and nitrate free. You can find them at a variety of local grocery stores.

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We went a bit crazy when it came to the desserts for the party. Evan and I made her a classic 1 shaped cake. Of course we started this at 9pm the night before, nothing a little wine couldn’t help us get through :) For our first birthday cake I think we did pretty good, and can’t wait to see what we come up with over the next 20 years, haha! We had two different types of cupcakes, Pineapple butter cream and Chocolate with coconut butter cream. Evan’s sister brought over a bunch of Orchids to decorate the cupcakes with. I spent the Friday night before the party baking and decorating 96 sugar cookies. Thank goodness for the baking classes I took at Posh Pantry earlier this year as the cookies turned out really good. They most certainly didn’t last very long, which I can only assume is a good thing :)

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Aside from the food and baking Evan and I went to town on the DIY projects for Hazels party. We decorated the food tent with a bunch of luau themed decorations. I strung her 12 monthly photos above the food for all the guests to see how she grew and changed over the year. I also created a large 1 shaped pinata for the table. We made a poster that highlighted her current growth states, as well as her favourite things and her recent achievements, such as walking.

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I have seen photo-booths at a few party’s now and thought it would be a lot of fun for our guests. This was probably my favorite of all the DIY stuff we did for the party. Evan painted a large canvas with a beach mural, which we hung from my parents deck. I gathered some luau themed accessories from our local party store for our guests to dress up in and hung Mylar balloons that spelt Aloha above. I purchased the balloons from Confetti and Sparkle Party Shop.  Aside from everything becoming quite wet from our “tropical storm” our guests had a great time with it and it created some priceless photos.

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Overall we had a great time celebrating our little girl. We had a couple really good friends and of course family members help us with the set up, take down and hosting of the party. We of course couldn’t have done it with out them. As well as all of our guests who braved the “tropical storm” and hung out until the sun came out. Thank goodness these bebes only turn one once, the next party will definitely be a little more low key :)

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Xo. Andria


#SimplyHealthyKids Giveaway with Gnusante

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Hazel and I received some samples of GnuSante Creations Gnubees earlier this summer and they were the perfect addition to our picnic basket. Gnubees are a nutritional beverage for kids (and adults) created right here in Burnaby. They are hand crafted in small batches and are made of all natural ingredients and contain 15% of all recommended vitamins and minerals. One of the great things about Gnubees is they are sold in pouches with a spill proof spout and choke free cap. They can be served room temperature or cold. This makes them a perfect beverage for when your on the go as they can be kept in ones purse, diaper bag or car!

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Since we love our Gnubees so much we of course want to share some with you! Gnusante is very generously giving away several one month supplies of Gnubees and we have one to give away to one lucky reader! To enter to win a Gnuesante Snack Pack you simply have to leave me a comment below using the hashtag #SimplyHealthyKids about what you do during the winter months to keep your kids active when the weather isn’t ideal to go outside. Make sure you fill out the Rafflecopter as I have several ways for you to earn bonus entries too! Once you’ve entered head on over to the Gnusante site where you can enter to win another Gnusante Snack Pack and have a series of DIY crafts, recipes and much more!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway is open to residents of Canada. All entries will be verified and any found to not follow the criteria will be removed. Giveaway closes September 30th at midnight.
Xo. Andria

 

GH Cretors

Growing up there was nothing better than sitting down to watch a movie and snacking on a giant bowl of popcorn just dripping in melted butter. There was something about the flavor, the warmth of the melted butter and how it made your fingers nice and greasy that just screamed comfort food. With the addition of microwavable popcorn and seasonings specifically for popcorn, this has drastically changed the way we look at popcorn. Gone are the days of greasy popcorn and in are the days of healthy popcorn that can be enjoyed as an everyday snack.

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Last year at my nephews birthday party I was introduced to GH Cretors Chicago Mix, this was the first time I have ever seen cheddar and caramel flavored popcorn mixed together in one bag! I can’t believe it took  me 20 something years to discover this combination. To me this was mind-blowing, why would anyone want to mix these two flavors? I like both savory and sweet snacks but I don’t like to mix them. Yes, I am that person, the person that stands there hovering over the bowl picking out all the caramel corn and leaving the cheddar behind for everyone else. My sister-in-law laughs at me but is slightly thankful as she enjoys the cheddar J Don’t get me wrong I like the cheddar flavor but the caramel just has a special place in my heart, err belly.

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Recently a large box of GH Cretors popcorn showed up on my door and I was beyond ecstatic. Yes I know you can get very large bags of the Chicago mix at Costco, but you can’t get the bags of JUST caramel! Two bags of just caramel popcorn and  this mom was in heaven and believe me I wasn’t sharing. I pretty much consumed an entire bag the other night before dinner, oops!  What I love about GH Cretors popcorn is that it is made with all nature ingredients and is completely free of GMO’s and artificial flavors and colours. The caramel corn is made with Cane sugar and real butter, allowing it to almost melt in your mouth as you enjoy. The Cheddar popcorn is made with real cheddar which contributes to its full flavor. Because it’s made with natural ingredients I don’t feel guilty sharing this snack with Hazel. Of course because she is so young I make sure to break up the pieces so she doesn’t choke and boy does she love the cheddar popcorn!

I have yet to find the just Caramel corn locally but have found the just Cheddar and of course the famous Chicago Mix. Each bag of the Chicago Mix contains 2 cheese to 1 caramel, but if you ask me it should be the other way around ;).  The GH Cretors website has a list of local grocery stores that sell their popcorn, you can find that information here and of course you can always go online and have the popcorn shipped right to your door!

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Xo. Andria

 

Disclaimer: GH Cretors kindly supplied me with a sample to facilitate my review, however all opinions stated in this post are 100% my own.

Toddler Meals

I’ve been pinning again! This time I have been busy pinning away toddler meal ideas.  Hazels taste buds are growing and she is being more and more adventurous with what she eats lately. Not to mention she is so busy running around, that shes been eating like crazy trying to store up energy. How cute are these bento boxes I found on Pinterest by Marvelous Mommy?

 

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I think I will have to try to recreate these for as I think she would really enjoy them! You can find more toddler meal ideas that I have been posting over on my Pinterest Page. If your not following along yet, come and join us!

Xo. Andria

Go to baby gift

I know, I know, two gifting posts back to back. I’m sorry but I’m shipping these items off to Oklahoma in the morning and they are just too cute to not share with you!

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Aren’t those moccasins the sweetest? They are giving me some serious baby fever over here. You can find them at Minimoc and a few specialty retailers in the Vancouver area.

The headband is part of the new Vonbon collection they just released last month. I am loving all the new patterns they’ve introduced and there are more new leggings coming soon!

The Zoe Organics Baby Bath Time tea is a favourite in our house. It smells so delicious, I could almost drink the bath water! It’s completely natural and great for soft and delicate baby skin. I purchased mine from local online retailer Eco Diva Beauty

There you go a few of my favourite baby items. A modern spin on traditional baby gifts if you will :)

Xo. Andria

Gifting made easy

Still have a wedding or bridal shower to attend this year and stuck on ideas for a  gift?  When it comes to wedding shopping there are always so many do’s and don’ts, how much do you spend or give if you are giving cash. What colours do you get if picking towels or sheets. The list goes on and on. Since a lot of it is personal preference and in this day and age most couples are already living together or have two established households, I find the easiest thing to do is go off of their registry. The registry is a great pointer at telling guests what items they currently don’t have or would like to upgrade as well as what colours they have in their house. In saying that the registry is not set in stone but it’s a great tool to ensure what your putting together matches the couples taste.  We recently went to our 3rd wedding of the summer and here’s what I put together for the bride and groom.

To put together the above gift I went straight to their registry and picked out the focal part of the gift, the roasting pan. From their I wanted to personalize the gift, make it my own. Evan and I spend a lot of time in the kitchen together. We both usually work together to prepare our meals, only on the odd occasion is it just one of us in the kitchen cooking dinner. I thought it would be fun for this couple to cook a meal or two together, especially knowing this groom isn’t to handy around the kitchen (he may or may not have recently burnt a bag of jelly beans that were on the stove) So I picked out one of my favourite cook books for couples cooking. If you have a beautiful roaster and a nice meal you just spent hours preparing (ok maybe 30 minutes) you have to have something nice to serve it with. So when I spotted the gold serving spoon on the Chapters website I knew it was the perfect fit. I went with chocolate brown placemats and matching napkins, keeping the colours neutral to go with the couples décor. The initial napkin rings were a nice little touch, especially since the bride is taking the grooms name, it gives them just a bit of sentimental value. I picked out letters for their first and last names. And to finish it off I placed a bottle of my favourite wine from Blasted Church which I picked up on our recent trip to the Okanagan. The finished product (I of course wrapped it nicely before giving it to them)

 

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And there you have it a simple wedding gift from the couples registry with just a few personal touches to make it special. Here’s hoping they invite us over to share the wine and enjoy a recipe from their new book :)

Xo. Andria