10 (Clean) Diaper Bag Essentials

Reposting an article on diaper bag essentials I helped compile.

10 (Clean) Diaper Bag Essentials

“When I was pregnant with my daughter, I spent an indecent amount of time searching the web for non-toxic, clean baby products. As parents, we want to do everything we can to protect and keep our children safe.

For the conscious shopper, selecting the right baby gear can end up requiring the time and research it takes to put together a dissertation.

We’ve tried to relieve some of this crazy-making stress for you by calling on our editors to share their lists of clean essentials. This one is for your diaper bag.”

Read the rest by clicking on the link: 10 Clean Diaper Bag Essentials.

Mom’s Keer (Pakistani Rice Pudding)

1 litre homogenized milk (whole milk if you’re in the US)

1 litre half and half

¾ cup of dry basmati rice, wash and soak over night

7 green elachi (cardamom pods)

¼ cup white sugar (then adjust to taste while cooking)

handful of slivered almonds

8-10 green pistachios, cut up into small slivers (garnish)


Put milk, half and half, and elachi pods into a pot and bring it to a boil. Then reduce to a simmer (lowest heat possible, so as not to burn the milk) and let it cook away for 2-3 hours. Stir occasionally to move the milk fat that forms to the side.  Once the colour of the milk changes from white to off white/pinky, you need to get your rice ready.

Rinse the soaked rice and drain all of the water.  Take a mug full of the hot milk and put it into a blender. Add the rice and blend up the rice so that it becomes teeny tiny pieces, but not completely pureed.

Increase the heat to medium-low (you don’t want to boil the milk..more like a strong simmer) and stir the milk while adding the blended rice mixture. This is where you have to stand for a looong time and stir the milk mixture frequently*. Otherwise, the rice will clump and burn.  Once the rice-milk mixture thickens (should not slide off the spoon), add the sugar and almonds. Stir continuously and once the sugar has melted, taste the milk. The trick to getting the right sweetness is to make the hot milk sweeter than usual, so that when it cools, it’ll have the right sweetness. I added about 3 extra tablespoons of sugar to the hot milk.  Once the keer has thickened to a pudding like texture, remove from heat and spoon it into a dish. Garnish with pistachio slivers. Cool before serving.

*Tip, if you want to avoid the looooonng stove top cooking, you can turn your oven on to 350C and cook the rice-milk mixture in there.  Put the mixture in a oven-safe roasting dish and put it on top of a cookie sheet. Cook the mixture, uncovered, in the middle of the oven. Stir it every 5-10 mins to ensure the milk on the sides doesn’t burn.  Once the milk thickens ((should not slide off the spoon), add the sugar and almonds. Stir continuously and once the sugar has melted, taste the milk. The trick to getting the right sweetness is to make the hot milk sweeter than usual, so that when it cools, it’ll have the right sweetness. I added about 3 extra tablespoons of sugar to the hot milk.

Raw Beet Smoothie

I don’t like or NOT like beets. For me, they land somewhere in between, “Oh, this is disgusting! Why do I even have this on my plate?” and “Wow!! This is better than chocolate!”

My mom used to bring home beets and force them on us at dinner.  We’d all take 1 or 2 slices of boiled beets and push them around our plate until we knew we couldn’t avoid eating them any longer. It wasn’t the way the beets looked. But more so of how they tasted that made us kids not like them so much. The taste of a beet can be described as, well…. “beety.”  If you’ve had beets before, you know what I mean. You can’t really describe it, but you can certainly recognize the flavour.

So why post a recipe with beets if they’re not you’re favourite vegetable, Hinna? Well, a few weeks back, I got pretty sick and couldn’t eat anything. In the first few days of recovery, I was limited to rice cakes, crackers and water.  As the days passed, I was able to reintroduce yogurt, broth, mushy rice with lentils, fruits and vegetables into my diet.  Refined sugars, chocolate, milk and coffee were off limits while my stomach lining healed.  In those 1-2 weeks of healing, I discovered that a lot of my joint pain and old-injury pain had dramatically reduced or had disappeared. The refined sugars, chocolate, milk and coffee were increasing inflammation in my body, causing aches, pains and literally making me sick to my stomach.  With this knowledge, I have started shifting my focus to eating my healthy, whole foods…and well that means adding beets to my diet.

This raw beet smoothie comes from the Choosing Raw blog.

Raw Beet Smoothie

Raw Beet Smoothie

Raw Beet Smoothie

1 raw medium beet, peeled and cut into small pieces (you will need a high-speed blender to break down the beet)
1 cup fresh strawberries, hulled and cut in half
1 peeled orange, whole
1 cup homemade almond milk

Put everything into a high-speed blender, cover and let it blend until smooth.  Pour into a glass and let it chill in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.  Enjoy!

Amaranth Porridge from Green Kitchen Travels

Finding something that my two-year old daughter will eat for breakfast has always been a challenge for me. Since birth, she’s been a nibbler, so I always have to make sure that what she’s eating is hearty, healthy and filling, because chances are, she will have a few bites and declare that she’s “finished!”

In comes Green Kitchen Stories‘ most recent cookbook, “Green Kitchen Travels.”  This book is beautiful! It is filled with colourful images from far away places and has a wide variety of recipes inspired by the travels of David and Luise, the bloggers at Green Kitchen Stories. Flipping through the book, the recipe for Amaranth Porridge with Caramelized Plums caught my eye as something that could work for my daughter.  Plums weren’t in season when I made the porridge, so I subbed in caramelized apples. The original recipe also called for unsweetened coconut flakes for garnish, but I didn’t have any at home.

Amaranth Porridge with Caramelized Apples

Amaranth Porridge

1 cup amaranth seeds
a pinch of salt
2 cups filtered water
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 apples, cored, peeled and chopped
1 tbsp maple syrup

Soak the amaranth seeds in cold water for at least 30 minutes or up to 8 hours. Then rinse and drain. Place amaranth, salt and measured water in a pot. Cover and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce heat and cook gently for 20 minutes or until creamy.
Heat coconut oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add apples and maple syrup and saute until tender and caramelized.
Remove amaranth porridge from heat and let it sit for a few minutes.  When it has set a bit, stir in almond milk until creamy. Serve in bowls with another splash of almond milk and top with caramelized apples.

Kids Aren’t Expensive, But That Other Thing Sure Is

Less is more. 🙂

This House Is Our Home


My husband and I have always wanted a lot of kids. (Of course, “a lot” is a relative term, depending what your social circles look like, but for the purpose of this post, we’re going to call “a lot” more than 3. Ha.) Over the last 6 years, when we’ve made our feelings known, we’ve often been met with one particular phrase: Kids are so expensive!!

Well, on the one hand, I suppose they are. Depending on your particular situation – medical bills, dental care, school tuition, etc. all definitely add up. So I’m not trying to be flippant with what I’m about to say, but I do think it’s an important distinction to be made when one is saying how “expensive” children are.

Kids aren’t expensive. Greed is.

Kids don’t “need” designer clothes, Etsy outfits, brand new everything, more shoes than they can wear before they grow out of…

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Artisans and Grandmothers: The Value of Apprenticeship

A Muddy Life


I love that the french word “apprendre” means both to teach and to learn. I like to think that when we share our knowledge, passion or life’s work with someone, there is an exchange in which both parties learn from each other.

Whenever we visit France, I’m always happy to see that apprenticeships are still alive and well. Carpenters, metal workers, mechanics, glass-blowers, bakers, butchers, gardeners, “chocolatiers”, artisanal cheese, bread and wine makers, even shoe-makers still hold an important place in society as revered artisans.  As my husband says, when we purchase from an artisan, we make an investment in a quality product as well as the artist, and we ensure the continuation of their art form. These artisans learn by “apprentisage,” by experience, often from a family member or local master, and pass their honed trade down to others–generation after generation. I like to keep this in mind when I’m eating a…

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Why I grow roots when my toddler tantrums

I need to grow some roots…

Stephanie Mackley

We have a new contender for Most Challenging Kid in our house.

I’m relieved about the switch over. That is to say, it’s sweet to preference Jo for a change. I never thought I’d say this, but Jo is just so reasonable. And even when he’s unreasonable, he and I have been there and back so many times that we just know how it goes.

Alternately, Cal is developing into his own little power pack of a person. Compared to Jo, I hardly know him. When Cal is happy, it’s a dream. He waves at every person, airplane and truck.  He scritches his nose up, closes his eyes into little slices with a grin, and cackles like a heavy smoker. He walks like Godzilla, flinging his soft pink arms around. But let me give you a word of advice about Cal: don’t take away his keys. Or rather, if you…

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Good for You Apple Crumble

Firstly, I want to apologize for the large gap between this post and my previous one.  If you’re a parent, a stay-at-home parent, you know that there is no such thing as “me-time.”  That oh-so-precious “me-time” where you could do anything your heart desires like, watch TV, blog, shower, exercise or sit down and have a quiet moment with a book and steaming cup of coffee..well it doesn’t exist anymore.  Gone are the days where I could play with a recipe and blog about it in the same day. Now weeks and sometimes months go by before I can get few minutes to myself (usually I have to skip a bathroom break) to write anything down here.  I’m going to type as fast as I can to get this recipe up before a little someone decides she doesn’t want to sleep anymore!!

This recipe comes from The Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon.  I came across Angela on Instagram a while back and when she announced that her cookbook was coming out, I knew I had to buy it.

I never intended to tweak the recipe, but ended up having to because I didn’t some of the ingredients she used.

Good For You Apple Crumble

Apple Crumble

Apple filling:

6-7 heaping cups of peeled and sliced organic Honey Crisp apples (you can use any apples you like)

1 tbsp cornstarch (Angela uses arrowroot powder)

1/3 cup coconut sugar (Angela uses Sucanat sugar)

1 tbsp chia seeds

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice (not bottled..yuck!)

Crumble topping:

1 cup quick oats (Angela uses gluten-free rolled oats)

1 cup thinly sliced almonds

1/3 cup almond flour or almond meal

1/4 cup organic grade B pure maple syrup

1/4 cup organic coconut oil, melted

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp fine-grain sea salt

Preheat the oven to 375F. Lightly grease an 11 x 9 inch baking dish.

Put diced apples, cornstarch, coconut sugar, chia seeds and cinnamon in a bowl. Stir to combine. Add lemon juice and stir. Pour the apple mixture into the baking dish and smooth it out until evenly distributed.

In the same bowl, stir together the oats, almonds, almond flour, maple syrup, melted coconut oil, cinnamon and salt until well combined.

Sprinkle the oat mixture over the apples evenly.  Cover the dish with foil and use a fork to poke holes in the foil.  Bake for 40 minutes or until apples are fork tender.  Uncover dish and bake for another 10-15 minutes until the top is golden.  Serve by itself or with some frozen yogurt.