Christmas Traditions – 25 Christmas Books

My memory is filled with Christmas Traditions from my childhood. New pyjamas on Christmas Eve, baking and singing Christmas Carols with my Memere are some of my warmest memories. Now that I have my own kids, I want to make Christmas time magical for them so they will always remember what the holiday is about; family, friends, cookies, giving, love and laughter.

I saw an idea floating around Pinterest last year, where you collect 25 Christmas Books and wrap them up. Each night, your kids gets to open one to read before bed time. I already had Christmas Books lying around, so I put them away to use for this. I also picked some up at Value Village. Value Village is my favourite place to buy children’s books. They are only $0.99, and if you buy 4 you get the 5th free.

I introduced them, by my some waking up one morning and finding them under the tree with “Elf the Elf”. Elf the Elf, is our Elf on the Shelf. He is a magical Elf, that returns to the North Pole each night to tell Santa how the kids he lives with were. My son had the choice to give him any name he wanted, and he choose Elf the Elf 🙂

 

I look forward to adding new traditions as we grow as a family. One day, I hope my children can pass along their warmest memories and traditions to their own family. What are some of your favourite Christmas Traditions?

Gluten Free Raw Protein Balls

I am a busy Mom of a 3 year old and 4 month old. I barely have time to eat, and when I realize I am hungry and haven’t had lunch yet, I grab something unhealthy and unsatisfying. I love making my own granola, and one day I tasted the mix before I baked it and it wasn’t bad. So, I decided to use the mix to make these little protein balls. I had recently saw a version of them floating around the internet, forgive me for not giving credit for the inspiration.

These are full of fibre and protein, perfect for any busy family. They don’t last long around here!

So yummy and healthy!

 INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups gluten free rolled oats
  • 1 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup raw, unsalted pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup hemp hearts
  • 1/2 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup raw slivered, chopped almonds
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried cherries ( You can use cranberries, or any dried fruit. I use cherries because there is no added sugar)
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup ground flax
  • 1 cup all natural peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup honey or maple syrup ( I use whatever I have on hand)
  • 1 tsp vanilla

First, gather all your ingredients. I like to buy in bulk, then store in Mason Jars.

Mix all of the dry ingredients together

 Next, add the peanut butter, maple syrup or honey and vanilla then mix, mix, mix. I always used to do this by hand, then got smart and used my Kitchen Aid mixer which was much easier!

Next start by grabbing a small handful and form into balls. I like to make them about the size of a golf ball. The mixture should form quite easily, if you find it is not sticking together you may want to add some more honey or maple syrup.

So yummy and healthy!

I ended up with about 36 balls. Store them in an airtight container in the fridge for a about a week. They never last a week around here. These are the perfect little snack!

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cheesecake

Cheesecake is one of my favourite foods. Truth be told, I hadn’t tried cheesecake until I was about 24 years old. I thought cheese shouldn’t be in cake, I was picky. One day, I tried it and now I feel like I need to make up for all the years I miss out on cheesecake!

I headed out to my local health food store and found some gluten-free ginger snap cookies to use as the crust. At $6 a box, I will have to learn how to make my own cookies! We gobbled up this within a couple of days. It isn’t too sweet, tastes a lot like pumpkin pie and you would never know it is gluten-free!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups crushed gluten-free ginger snap cookies
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup white sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup for garnish )optional
Start by crushing the ginger snap cookies and pecans. I used my blender, which made for a very fast job.

Add the butter, then press into a spring form pan, or you could use a 9 inch pie plate.

Bake the crust for 10 minutes in a pre-heated oven of 350 degrees F

While the crust is cooling, gather your softened cream cheese, sugar and vanilla and mix until smooth. Mix your eggs in 1 at a time until everything is blended. Now set aside 1 cup of this mixture for later.

Blend in the sugar, pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg into the remaining mixture.

Spread your pumpkin mixture onto the cooled crust, then drop spoonfuls of the batter you set aside on top. Run your knife through it to create a marbled effect.

Pop it into the oven for 55-60 minutes. Your house well smell delicious while this is baking away. When it is finished, run your knife around the outside edge then let cool. Once it is cooled, pop it into the fridge for 4-6 hours. I drizzled home-made maple syrup on it, along with fresh whipped cream.

 

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a medium bowl, mix together the crushed ginger snap cookies, pecans, and butter. Press into the bottom, and about 1 inch up the sides of a 9 inch pan. Bake crust 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Set aside to cool.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar, and vanilla just until smooth. Mix in eggs one at a time, blending well after each. Set aside 1 cup of the mixture. Blend 1/4 cup sugar, pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg into the remaining mixture.
  3. Spread the pumpkin flavored batter into the crust, and drop the plain batter by spoonfuls onto the top. Swirl with a knife to create a marbled effect.
  4. Bake 55 minutes in the preheated oven, or until filling is set. Run a knife around the edge of the pan. Allow to cool before removing pan rim. Chill for at least 4 hours before serving.

My Battle with Gluten

Who doesn’t love comfort foods? Breads, pastas, and cookies are some of my favourite foods. I know they aren’t good for me, and I don’t eat cookies and pasta a whole lot. In fact, I always buy/make whole wheat or grain bread, I always make whole wheat pasta and try and stay away from other “white” carbs. Over the past few months I’ve noticed something bad happening to my body after eating these foods. I would become very irritable (which I would shrug off as being tired, I do have a new baby after all!), become very bloated with abdominal pain, have almost daily headaches, and I would have no energy. I started to become a person I didn’t like, I wasn’t myself and I felt terrible. I felt like I kept feeling worse and worse as time went on. Keep in mind, our family eats very clean. We don’t eat any processed or pre-packaged foods. We eat whole grains, lots of fruits and vegetables and lean meats. I bake/BBQ/steam most foods, so we aren’t eating fried food.

I read a lot and have a friend that has a gluten allergy. A lot of my symptoms were similar to hers. When my daughter went for her 2 month check up, I mentioned to my Dr. the way I was feeling, I thought perhaps I could have some PPSD or that I could have a gluten intolerance. Since I was still consuming gluten rich foods, he decided to order a blood test. He told me to continue eating the way I was, and that my results would be back within a week.

Last week, he confirmed that I wasn’t in fact going crazy and that I did have a gluten intolerance. Next steps are to find out how badly the intolerance is, and if I have Celiac Disease.

I am also pondering the idea if eating gluten my entire life and having an intolerance has stunted my growth? – One can wish!

 

Welcome

Hello friends! I haven’t blogged in close to a year, life has been busy! I decided to get back into the blogging world and my husband kindly helped me out with a new domain.

This is the main reason why life has been so busy.

In May, our family of 3 became 4 with the arrival of Clara Marie. She surprised us by coming 3 weeks early, and we weren’t anywhere near ready for her arrival. We quickly adapted and now we can’t imagine life with out her. The biggest change came to Hayden, he now had to share Mommy and Daddy, but being the sweet boy he is, he opened up his heart to his baby sister. He is the sweetest, most caring, gentle soul I know. I feel so blessed.

With the seasons changing, we have been enjoying our time outdoors. I hope to post here more frequently so family and friends from afar can keep up with us.

Thanks for stopping by, and please visit again!