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Applesauce, Eggplant and Salsa

Every so often a little bit of awesomeness comes out of me (Toots own horn).  Today was one of those days.  I was in a baking/cooking mood so I decided to make some muffins.  I knew that I had left over applesauce in the freezer and I thought I should use it before it become freezer burnt.  I was going to make cookies but decided on the muffin thing since mornings can be a fight with Isabella to get her to eat something before school.  Some days it is just a handful of goldfish crackers, other days I can get her to have a yogurt or cereal bar.  This time around I thought maybe she would at least nibble on a muffin before her day starts, that and grabbing a muffin for myself on the early mornings does make it a bit easier for me.

I found a great applesauce muffin recipe, it was simple and basic and left a lot of room for different add ons!  So I took this wonderful recipe and played with it a bit, first things first I double the batch right off.  If you have a family like mine or neighbours like mine than you have to share!  My grandmother is in a retirement home and even though they have great meals, treats are nice once in a while.  As for the neighbours, they are the same ones who own the pool that Isabella has basically claimed as hers, the wife is a great cook and is constantly baking so we get a lot of goodies sent our way!  After figuring out all the measurements, math and Melissa are NOT friends, I started to mix and create.  Here is the recipe that I used today:

3 Cups of unsweetened applesauce (Organic preferably since apples are the top pesticide laced fruit)

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs beaten (free range –  let those birdies peck)

2/3 Cup melted butter (margarine = ew factor)

2 teaspoons baking soda (aluminum free if you can find it)

2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 Cup whole wheat flour

2 1/2 Cups flour (Maybe a bit extra a few tablespoons)

1/2 Cup ground flax seed

1/4 Cup nutritional yeast

1 Cup dried goji berries soaked in hot water until soft, than squeezed to get as much liquid out as you can.

3/4 Cup chopped chocolate (baker’s chocolate)

Mix the applesauce, sugar, egg, nutritional yeast and butter together. Set aside. In a separate bowl, mix together baking soda, baking powder, salt, flaxseed, flours and cinnamon. Mix wet and dry ingredients all together. Add in chocolate and squeezed goji berries.  Pour into greased muffin tins, and bake in 350 degrees oven for approximately 20 minutes.

Serious yum!  The best part about the base recipe is that you can add anything to this.  My next go at it will be with raisins, bits of apple, goji berries and a dark chocolate.  The muffins come out moist and not overly sweet at all.

My other feat today was a salsa.  I had made a batch a few weeks ago and while out shopping I noticed my mom wanted me to pick up salsa.  I am really not a fan of the  pre-made jar kind.  I find them overly sweet and to pastey for my liking at times.  My uncle does make a rocking salsa so I thought I would do the same with a little less cilantro!  My basics for the salsa are:

Tomatoes gutted (the firmer the better) – Local

Green pepper – Local

Jalapeno pepper – Local

Onion – Local

Garlic – Local




I can’t really give you amounts of the tomatoes because it depends on my mood, the same for the onion but usually I use 3/4 of a medium onion and at least 5-8 tomatoes. I only use 1/2 of the jalapeno and green pepper, maybe 3 garlic cloves depending on size and not too much cilantro.  I like the stuff but I prefer it with Indian food than Mexican.  Lime and Salt of course are to taste.  Nothing like fresh salsa and some nachos for a snack, or a meal depending on mood.

It’s grey, gooey, yummy, and garlicky!  BABA GHANOUSH! Again stealing this from my uncle, and since he is Arabic I’ll follow his instruction.  My family loves this stuff and it is so easy to make.  I know my batch this time around turned out a bit more greyish than normal that’s because I really didn’t feel like peeling the eggplant before cooking it; which I have done before.

The only ingredients you need are:

One large eggplant

Tahini (sesame seed paste)




Yes folks that is it! Cook up the eggplant in the frying pan until soft and mushy.  If you peel it before hand your dip won’t be as grey.  Once it is done put it in a food processor, add a good amount of tahini (at least 5 heaping tablespoons) salt, lemon juice, and the garlic (2 cloves or powdered)  this is all done by preference.  Mix until smooth, let it cool or if you are like my uncle you eat half while it’s warm and give the other half to the family after it has cooled, serve with pita.  I personally am not a pita fan so I like my dip with Triscuts.  Call me crazy!

I am not sure where my next adventure is going to be for the cooking portion.  I do know that I am making chili on Wednesday and I did purchase a butternut squash – curried squash soup anyone?  I would like to get some more baking done and freeze it, but the freezer is a tad full at the moment.  Who knows…I still have a hankering to make a quinoa salad again… mmmmmmmmmm quinoa!!!!

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A Day at the Fair

Well you can skip the ballgame and just take us to the fair, preferably with a wad of cash!  HOLY MAMMA!!

I took Isabella to a local fair this weekend, we had a blast I will give you that.  She loved going on the rides and seeing some of the animals.  She played one game and I played one also to make sure she won something, granted as long as you paid your 5 bucks you got a small prize.  The price of tickets blew me away, 24.00 for 20 tickets and since each ride takes at least 2 tickets they can go pretty fast, I feel sorry for anyone with more that one kid!

ImageIsabella had a blast on the swings and the firetruck that goes around and around and around.  Honestly, watching her made me nauseous!  I used to love amusement park rides, now I just cringe at the thought of going on one.  She went on the swings so many times the guy started to recognize her whenever she got in line.  She did go on the little train, but that wasn’t as exciting as ringing the bell on the fire truck and “driving”  or having her legs dangle going around on the swings.  We wandered around, she picked at a chicken wrap and managed to drop both pieces of corn in the dirt. We saw some of the animals they had and were going to go and peek in the barn Imagebut the smell hit me about 30 feet away and I decided she could live one more year with out seeing a pig up close. We did a bit more wandering and avoiding all the candy and junk that is for sale.  Once we were on the bend to head home I saw the face painting booth,  I had to get Isabella done so for $5 I had a butterfly mask done on her. Yes I know she’s mine so I am a bit one sided BUT did she ever look cute!  All in all we had a fabulous day and if it weren’t so humid, crowded and EXPENSIVE!!  I probably would have stayed a bit longer.

On the way home from the county I usually always stop at a road side stands to get some veggies.  This time around I bought eggs, tomatoes, onions, garlic and the guy gave me a bag of not so fresh peppers. No biggie since I roasted them on the bbq and put them in baggies to freeze.  Good as new once you defrost them and make them in to a salad or whatever else you want roast red and yellow peppers for.

The last time I went for a drive in the county, I bought an eggplant, squash and a basket of tomatoes, onions, garlic, peppers (hot and sweet) and pears.  This was on county road 50 called The Fruit Wagon.

I ended up using the squash for a soup… mmmmmm it was good and very easy to make.  The best part is that it uses up some old veggies that you may have in the fridge.

Roasted Veg Soup.

1 squash (acorn/butternut/or one that looks like acorn but is bigger) cut into 4s

3 leeks or 1 large onion cut in half

5 or 6 cloves of garlic

4 carrots

3 stalks of celery

1 apple

1 pear

1 sweet potato – peeled and cut up

2 white potato – peeled and cut up

cut to medium size and put on baking sheet with olive oil/salt/pepper/cumin/curry powder to roast until soft.

Once done put all the vegetables into a large pot with vegetable stock.  Put in 2 bay leaves, add more salt if needed, more curry and cumin plus a dash of cinnamon.

Simmer for about an hour and once done puree it all together.

You can freeze this part because there isn’t any cream in it,

To serve it I put a dollop of sour cream or goat cheese, plus a few homemade croutons.  It is so yummy!  Isabella will actually eat this and I’m glad since she has become a picky eater.  Chicken and french fries… and ketchup.  Or soup BUT only chicken soup Nonna makes.

If you decide to make this recipe drop me a line and let me know how it was and any tweaks you may have made to it!  I would love to hear.

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I’m ready…I’m ready….I’m ready…no I’m not.

5 more days until the start of school for both myself and Isabella.  I still need to finish up my lesson plans and get assignments together, powerpoints updated, papers copied, class lists printed, binders set up, and course outlines uploaded.  As for Isabella, I am still waiting on the “what to buy” list from the school.  She does have her first day of school dress, a jean dress my aunt bought her in Florida.  She is going to use the same backpack from last year since it is pretty much in perfect condition.  I really love the whole ImageDabbawalla line, it is like their stuff in indestructible!!  There is the cutest lunch bag that I want for myself.  How cute is this?  It is based of the classic Japanese Knot bag.  I love it!!  One day I shall have it, it shall be mine.

As for Isabella, I dind’t really overload her on new things for the school year this year since she still has a ton of summer stuff that fits and since this is southern Ontario, she can wear most of her summer clothes until the middle of October.  I just alter them with a sweater or legwarmers.  I do have to get her some new tights, the thick kind to wear under skirts.

Isabella has been quite excited to get back to school, she’s been asking since the start of summer and I wish I had put her in at least a day or two a week but the break from not having to pay was nice too.  It does get expensive!!  But soon the school year will start again and so will those monthly payments.

Before the summer comes to an end, I want to take her to the fair in a small town near by.  She loves animals so this should get her fill.  I doubt she will go on any of the midway rides however, she’s been a little sensitive to loud noises and new things.  I hope the shying away from trying something new is a short lived phase.  She normally is gun ho to do things, and not shy away from the dares (sometimes I wish she would) but she’s been a bit timid with certain things.  I am not sure if it is just the loud noise or if she’s just not feeling it all together.

On another note:  I really should get my butt back in gear and finish this work, especially since it is time for bed for her.  Tomorrow should be a quiet day hopefully so I can get my stuff together and be finished before the long weekend is over.   I really would like to be ready for the school year instead of scrambling.  My first year teaching was an eyeopener, this time around I have things a little more organized!!  The more I do this the better I am getting! 🙂

Ok.. I’m going to sign off now… I have a semi naked kid running around avoiding bedtime!

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I Have Returned! (for now)

I miss this world, the blogging world.  A place to put it out there and write, share and read.  I have been neglecting this blog over the last year.  It has been a fairly busy year for me though.  I started teaching at the local College, my baby girl who is really not a baby anymore started going to Montessori three times a week, I have finished one programme for my own studies with College and am starting University courses online come January.  I bought a car, went on a mini vacation up north, traveled to Toronto to see some friends, and basically tried to spend time with Isabella as much as I can.

I am not going to blog about my job, I will say that I love it.  There have been some trying times, but that comes with the territory I guess.  The amount of prep and marking I have is a bit overwhelming, but the end result is always a good one.  In the end I really do like it, but won’t get into details about things in case students have found this blog.

Isabella has been growing in leaps and bounds, just looking at her pictures here on this blog to what she looks like now brings tears to my eyes.  My little baby has grown into a very independent, vocal, happy, toddler.  When I mean vocal, I mean she is using things I say to her and saying them back to me in the correct context.  Here is a good example, when she starts to get a bit hyper I would usually tell her to calm down or relax.  One day I had asked her to do something for me and I had to ask her more than once,  that is when she turned, huffed, sighed and said in a snotty two year old voice. “Relax MOM!” After trying not to burst out in laughter I finally gave in and died.  It was just hilarious to say the least, and more than once since then she has thrown something back at me that I say to her.  My mother’s favourite line is “For Pete’s sake”  now Isabella does the same when she get exasperated with something.  I love these years.

This summer was a hot one, very little rain and lots and lots of hot, humid, sunny days.  Thankfully our neighbours have a pool and we have full access to it.  My little fish has gone from a jump off the ladder to full on swan dive (belly flop) off the diving board.  She has her little puddle jumpers on and I am at the bottom of the diving board waiting for her, but she still has no fear and just goes for it.  She always has this great big smile on her face when she launches herself in the air.  She also can swim/paddle herself from one end of the pool to the other.  Who knows?  2028 Olympics??? Either way she had a blast this summer in the pool and her bathing suit is literally falling apart right now.  She also has a killer tan!  Yes I do use sunscreen, in fact I slather her so much she’s like a greased little pig.  For those that know me, I don’t use a lot of commercial products on her and I like to stick to the organic and natural products.  I used to use California Baby sunscreen until I found out they are using titanium dioxide a possible carcinogenic.  So now I use either Badger or Green Beaver both of which use zinc that sits on the skin.  They also are a very greasy formula so it stays on her a lot longer when she is in the water.  Yes I am that anal about things.

As mentioned, we did get up north this year.  It was an interesting 8 hour drive with her but she did well.  The portable dvd player was well worth the money.  We left around 7:30 and managed to get there around 3:30 with a few stops in between. I really wish the rest stops on the 401 had Tim Horton drive thru.  Nothing like her sleeping in the back and me jonesing for a cup!  Once we arrived it was  different story, she was so excited to get out of the car that she had a fit when we went inside.  It was raining out, but she honestly didn’t care, she needed to stretch her legs.  Soon she settled and we started our vacation.  Isabella had her first ATV ride, and I had my first one in about 6 years.  She wasn’t impressed, I however was geeked to get back on the bike.  I think the bike was too loud for her even with the earplugs in.  She had a look of …”hmmm no so sure about this….”  on her face the three times she got on the back.
She asked to go on once, and after about 10 minutes had enough. I think the bouncing around doesn’t help, she was seated securely and dad wasn’t going fast, but this is all new to her.  I on the other hand couldn’t wait to leave and go out on a ride.  I finally got my turn and Dad and I with two other people went down the old haunt.  We did hit a trail or two that  havent’ been down before.  If you click on the map it will make it bigger so you can see, the blue is the main road and the red is an “idea” of where we went.  We did about 130km in 4 hours with breaks in between, but that still didn’t save my shoulders and butt at the end of the day!

On our ride home I finally stopped at the French River and went over the snowmobile bridge they constructed.  I have been meaning to stop there every time I drop by it but never did.  This time I put Isabella in her Boba,  strapped her on and we walked to the bridge.  A great idea if I wasn’t fighting my asthma and a lung infection. It was a nice walk up and I did manage a nice picture or two of the French River.  I would love to go back when I can actually breathe and do the trails along the French.  Even just a short one.

I still have a lot of work to do to prepare for the new semester. I am lucky enough to teach all the same course that I taught before so I don’t have to do much research but I do have to get the lessons together and figure out the schedule/syllabus for each class since we have two holidays to contend with.  I’ll get to that as soon as monkey goes for her nap.

I hope that I can keep this up again, I really do miss it.  I have a few things I want to blog about that I use for Isabella and some great ideas and recipes.  Yes I do the Pinterest thing, but I am not that faithful to it.

I hope I can get back some of my old readers.  I’ll finish this blog off with two pictures of my monkey.  One of her nearly a year ago and one today.  The first one is her first day of school and the second is me training her on Starbucks!

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Tattoo Artist

Isabella has become obsessed with stickers, to the point where she demands them.  If there aren’t any stickers to be had she throws a fit. I know I shouldn’t allow this behaviour, but she’s so darn cute.  So one day she wanted a sticker and of course there weren’t any, me in my infinite wisdom decided to take a pen and write on her hand.  I drew a heart, a flower, a smiley face, and a squiggly line.  She was happier than a pig in mud.

But now, my darling daughter has decided that anytime she has a pen in her hand she can draw in herself.  Today being no exception.

If you notice, not only is the pen on her body, but her shirt and diaper.  She also has it up and down her one arm but she wouldn’t let me take a picture of that.  I know it’s my fault that she’s doing this, it really is only a matter of time though before she figured it out on her own.

I guess I should be happy that it was only pen and not permanent marker, like fellow blogger Jentography’s little girl decided to use!   And the same with Jen’s little girl, how can you look at her and get mad with a face like that??

On another note:  The weather here has been disgusting.  40C plus with the humidity.  It has been so hot that the thought of going outside causes you to break a sweat.  Windsor is hot.  In fact we broke a record on how hot it was in this city.  The worst thing about Windsor though is the humidity, it is so humid that I swear you can take your fish out for a walk.   I would have loved to take Isabella swimming during this massive heat wave, but it was too hot to take her outside.  I’m hoping for cooler weather because she loves it in the water.

Right now I am debating about going outside to hang the laundry, I know I should but I really don’t want to.


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Soapy Nuts

Well I washed all of Isabella’s diapers today using the soap nuts.  What can I say besides OH EEM GEE!  Seriously!

The inserts to the diapers were starting to get a stink to them and I was having a hard time getting the smell out.  I tried stripping them with bleach once a month, sometimes twice.  I would sun bleach them, but it really wasn’t doing much.   One wash and yes I mean ONE full wash with the soap nuts and the smell is gone!!  GONE I TELL YOU!!!  GONE!!!!

*takes deep breath*  Ok now that I’m a bit calmer, you have to understand that as much as I love cloth diapers it can be frustrating.  And now that I found these soap nuts, I’m so excited that I can get the diapers to smell fresh again.

I also find that there isn’t a soapy residue on clothes or on the diapers, and they do come out soft considering I don’t use fabric softener on anything.  I would have to say at this point these nuts are great for sensitive skin.  Remember, I am not a doctor (stop laughing people) so you can’t hold me for what I say, but Isabella has very sensitive skin and she wore the diapers all day today plus clothing that I had washed in the nuts and not a reaction what so ever!  I think for people who want clean clothes that smell fresh with out all the chemicals, this is the way to go.

I will definitely buy more nuts once I use all these!!  I have a new love.

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