To all of the daughters, sisters, mamas, grandmothers, women everywhere, happy International Women's Day! May we create world and communities where we all thrive and support one another. A movement towards togetherness over competition. Love over all.Read More
This past Monday, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. I finally recognized that I need help at home. That the daily one-woman show is not sustainable. That being in a city without any family nearby to help-out is not the best situation for my young family. That replying, “mommy will read to you later” continually to my daughter while prepping dinner and feeding her brother (and thinking about the laundry, garbage and a million other things) doesn’t create the home scenario that I had originally envisioned when I chose to stay at home. That someone has to do these chores but maybe, just maybe, it doesn’t always need to be me. That one-on-one time with each child is not remotely possible when I am home with all three children.
When I had my third child this past summer, a dear friend passed on some advice from her mother-in-law (a mother of four). The advice was simply to hire someone to help. While I accepted the advice, I secretly thought that it probably wouldn’t apply to me. That somehow, I was different, stronger or more resilient than the rest. Or, that there are also loads of other women in the same situation as me that are thriving (just look at their gorgeous Instagram accounts!).
But, this is a myth. This myth is perpetuated in the media because conventional motherhood is so loaded and controversial. Everyone has an opinion about the right way to mother. The curated and outside image of “doing it all” is viewed more favourably than admitting that help is needed. As a result, caregivers are rarely mentioned on social media. Of course, safety and privacy reasons play into posting a photo of a caregiver, but I think it is safe to say that omission in writing is done purposefully. Michelle Ruiz comments that given the intimacy of the Instagram platform, it is worrisome that caregivers are omitted.
The myth of the “mother as all” or the independent family is slowly decaying. I think we can help this process by admitting out-loud that help is needed. That babysitters, nannies and other help outside the home are so incredibly valued. That these roles require immense respect and that they shouldn’t be in the shadows.
I recently hired a nanny this past February to help me out part-time. We adore her already. My only regret is that I waited so long.Read More
Happy Friday, friends! It's been quite awhile since I've made a Friday 5 post. I had forgotten how fun it is to research and let myself just get carried away.
Cake has been on my mind a lot. Family and friend birthdays give me an excuse to experiment with different cake types and decorating. I have found myself rather paralyzed by the number of fantastic recipes out there. My list of "cakes to try" is ever-expanding. For this post though, I wanted to bring you to cake dreamland. These are cakes are works of art that I would find very difficult to cut and serve. And yet, that is why they are made. Similar to the fleeting lives of flowers, these cakes celebrate and mark something precious in the lives of people that bring them into their homes. They demand that we seize the moment.
Enjoy and have a lovely weekend.
My copy of My Sweet Kitchen by Linda Lomelino (her blog, Call Me Cupcake is a favourite of mine) is starting to look a little beat up. Dustings of cocoa powder have added some grit to the pages. Well-used recipes are a bit sticky from icing sugar that I attempted to wipe off with a damp cloth. There is a splatter of chocolate on the chocolate cake page. While I do try to look after it, I sometimes get into the "baking zone" and things start flying. The concern is that I have owned the book for less than a year! For a baking blogger, the book is a gem because it offers the beautiful photography and recipes that one would expect as well as tips on how to create that imagery. For the home baker, the recipes are approachable and often have a bit of a twist.
It is in better condition than my mom’s cherished 1980’s Better Homes and Gardens cookbook but I think it is well on its way to having that” loved look” to it. On days when I am in the kitchen, whipping up dinner and then taking a long time to make the perfect dessert, my husband’s sighs and mutters “you cook like your mother.” He is referring to flour on the floor, the bowls piled in the sink and the use of all the available countertop space. Of course, I take this as a compliment and celebrate the fact that I do something similar to her.
If you are looking for a delicious chocolate cake that has more of a wow factor, than look no further. Chocolate addicts rejoice as this recipe has three types of chocolate: dark, milk and cocoa. The cake itself has a moist crumb and it is easy to achieve excellent results with this recipe (even in my finicky oven). The drippy layer of dark chocolate is the most difficult part to achieve a consistent look. I had planned to share this recipe months ago, but I had to practice dripping the chocolate down the sides. Balance is achieved by the toasted meringue frosting.
The house is filled with the scent of baking granola. Warm cinnamon mixed with the buttery smell of roasting walnuts. Paired with thick yoghurt and fruit, it makes for a lovely morning and just radiates cosiness.
A healthy breakfast. Non-fussy mornings so that we can get out the door on time. It is quite the achievement when snowpants, boots, mittens, hats, scarves have to be found and then put on the body. I like to start the process with the kids at least 20 minutes before we have to leave the house. Inevitably, a mitt will have gone missing or someone will not feel like getting dressed today.
But, I do love winter. I love the extremes. The snowstorm that rages all day and night and leads to the school being closed. Then, the next day, greeted by sun and a foot or two of fluffy, white snowflakes. The cold weather that the kids and I play in only to come inside to a warm home filled with blankets, pillows and candles. The option to curl up with a book by the fireplace or skate on the ice rink down the street. During the cold months, I give myself permission to indulge in more reading and the arts. To have a burst of fresh air and then spend time indoors.
Given all the Oscar buzz around Lady Bird, my husband and I went to see the film. I had no idea what to expect and ended up loving it. It resonated on so many levels but most significantly, the mother-daughter relationship. The film depicted what it is like to be a secondary school student with brutal honesty. The casting was very thoughtful and I left the theatre a little nostalgic given the 2002 aesthetic.
Big gulp. What have you been doing for the month of January? Do you gravitate towards films or more wintery hobbies?
The Snow Man
What I like about this recipe:
Walnuts: known for their loads of health benefits, from reducing inflammation to improving moods. My favourite part is the buttery taste when they are perfectly toasted.
Pumpkin Pie Spice: allows me to skip the step of combining cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg together. There are some haters out there, but I think this dislike stems from the pumpkin spice latte phenomenon. The convenience and flavour combination works!
Rolled Oats: again, loaded with health benefits (prevents constipation, nutrient rich, assists with weight loss). More importantly, they are satisfying and help maintain that full feeling.
Less Sugar: The granola is not overly sweet as it is only sweetened with maple syrup.
Feel Good Walnut Granola
Makes: 6 cups of granola
Time: Prep time (15 minutes) + baking time (35 minutes)
½ cup (100 g) coconut oil
½ cup (160 g) maple syrup
4 cups (400 g) rolled oats
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
½ tsp fine grained sea salt
2 cups (100 g) walnut pieces
½ cup (60 g) dried cranberries (unsweetened or sweetened with applejuice)
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a small saucepan, slowly melt the coconut oil. Stir in the maple syrup. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl mix together the oats, spice and sea salt. Pour the oil and maple mixture over top of the oat mixture and stir well. Spread the granola onto the prepared cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Take the pan out of the oven and mix in the walnut pieces. Return to the oven for 15 minutes (or 20 minutes if you like it a little toastier). Remove from oven, mix in the cranberries and allow to cool at room temperature. Store in a glass container for 1-2 weeks.
Serve with yoghurt, fresh or frozen blueberries or raspberries, hemp hearts and bee pollen.
Adapted from Make Your Own Rules Diet by Tara Stiles