My Top 3 Things To Make Instead of Always Buy

Sure you COULD make them yourself but why WOULD you when it’s easier to run to the store?

  1. It’s inevitably healthier (and fresher) to make something at home with all natural (and organic, preferably) ingredients than to buy a commercially-packaged item.
  2. It’s almost always cheaper to make your own, and if it’s not right now, consider that you’re investing in your health so that you don’t have to shell out cash for medical expenses later on.
  3. Once you build up a bit of a collection of natural products and foods, it becomes easy to make things from scratch.

Here are our top 10 things to make rather than purchase:

bread

Homemade Bread:

Of course, we eat one loaf straight from the oven.  Ya just can’t help it.

You can buy bread bags with ties from Walmart for a couple bucks.  I let my loaves cool, then go ahead and place each one in a bag with tie, then freeze.  Simply set on counter to thaw, then use as normal.

Delicious!  You DO have butter, right?

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 3 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast (OR 6 3/4 teaspoons active dry yeast)
  • 1/4 cup organic, unbleached flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar/sucanat
  • 2 cups oats
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 4 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar/sucanat
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 10 cups organic, unbleached flour

Directions

  1. In the mixing bowl of an electric mixer, stir together 1/2 cup warm water, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1/4 cup flour, and yeast. Let grow for about 5 minutes. It will bubble almost immediately.
  2. Measure oats, 4 1/2 cups warm water, whole wheat flour, salt, 2/3 cup sugar, and 2/3 cup oil into the mixing bowl. Mix on low speed with a dough hook for 1 to 2 minutes. Increase speed slightly, and begin adding bread flour 1/2 to 1 cup at a time until dough pulls away from sides of bowl. Humidity determines how much flour you need before the bread pulls away from the edge of the bowl. It is normal for the dough to be sticky.
  3. Place dough in an oiled bowl, and turn to coat the surface. Cover with a damp cloth. Let rise in a warm spot for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
  4. Divide dough into five or six pieces.  Shape loaves, and place in greased 8 x 4 inch pans. Let rise until dough is 1 inch above rim of pans, usually 1 hour. (No need to cover the bread to let it rise in pans.)
  5. Bake at 325 for 30 minutes, or until tops are browned. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes, and then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.

Now. Time to get your bake on!

Get ready for your kitchen to be invaded!  You won’t have to say a word.  The wonderful aroma of fresh-baked bread will draw all of your children away from their favorite activities asking for a slice…..and for butter.  I really hope you have butter.

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pancakes

Homemade Pancake Mix

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups organic unbleached flour
  • 1/2 cup organic whole wheat flour
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 31/2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons wheat germ
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups milk (add more once mixed if too thick)
  • 4  tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Directions:

  1. Mix dry ingredients.
  2. Add milk, eggs, and melted butter (not hot, though).
  3. Stir til combined.
  4. Lightly butter griddle and turn to medium-high/ high heat setting.  Once hot, pour 1/2 cup or less onto griddle for each pancake.
  5. Flip when bubbly.
  6. Pat your pancakes. (Insert wink here.)  If they jiggle when you pat them they need another minute.  You don’t want raw in the middle.
  7. Serve with butter and honey or maple syrup.

This is a regular batch for me, but if your family doesn’t need this much, feel free to cut the recipe in half.  I usually have a few pancakes left and I either put them in the fridge for the next morning, or freeze them for whenever.  You won’t regret making too many, I promise!

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soup

Homemade Cream of Chicken Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (or less; taste to test)
  • 1/4 teaspoon parsley
  • dash of paprika
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 3/4 cup flour

Directions:

1. In medium-sized saucepan, boil chicken broth, 1/2 cup of the milk, and the seasonings for a minute or two (longer if using fresh onions or garlic).

2. In a bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 cup of milk and flour. Add to boiling mixture and continue whisking briskly until mixture boils and thickens.

*This yields the eqivalent of about two cans of store bought condensed Cream of Chicken soup.

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Victoria Park in Truro, Nova Scotia ~ A Hidden Treasure & A Must stop this Summer !

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m not just saying this because I live here but Victoria Park in Truro is one of the most beautiful natural parks with activities to suit the entire family I have been to. Once you pull in the driveway past the Tennis Courts, ball field, fenced playground and sprinkler for the toddlers you would have no idea you were in town!

The park features:

  • Tennis Court
  • Baseball diamonds
  • PlayGround
  • Sprinkler
  • Canteen
  • Band Stand
  • Bird Watching
  • Large Grassy areas for Frisbee, outings, etc (Quite often summer camps come by bus to make a day of it)
  • Paved walking Trails & Board Walks
  • Dirt trails for biking, Hiking Trails
  • Shallow Brook runs throughout the park which the dogs love to play in ~ Dog Friendly ~
  • Jacob’s Ladder (it’s not uncommon to see people training on these stairs ~ running them ~ )
  • Natural Waterfalls & Swimming Hole
  • Modern up to date Swimming Pool with Family Pool, Baby pool, water slide, shaded areas, areas to tan, changing rooms

I could go on and on. I have taken many people to Victoria Park and people always say, “OMG I had no idea this park was here it’s beautiful, I’ll be back for sure” . In the summer it is a popular place and it’s not uncommon to see people bring BBQ’s and have family reunions, birthday parties and more. There are picnic tables too 🙂

The band stand frequently has bands and different activities throughout the summer.  July 1st there is always a huge celebrations with free face painting, ice cream, music, fun, games and more 🙂

Throughout the summer the park is monitored by police on horseback & mountain bike.  There is a security/first aid station manned during the tourist season.

It’s not uncommon to see wild life such as deer 🙂

**The pool does have a charge however they have very reasonable summer rates**

The park is layout to allow for those who require wheel chairs, scooters, etc to be able to enjoy much of the park including trails.

Victoria Park is a 400-acre (1.6 km2) natural woodland urban park in the town of Truro, Nova Scotia.

Situated along a hill occupying the southern edge of the Salmon River valley near the town’s southeastern boundary, the park is dominated by Lepper Brook, which joins the Salmon River downstream from the park near the town’s business district. Within the park, the northward flowing Lepper Brook follows a dramatic gorge which is carved out of the hill and features two waterfalls (Joseph Howe Falls and Waddell Falls).

Except for a small developed area at its northern edge, the park is heavily forested with old-growth trees and features unique geological features including a fault line.

History

Woman in Victoria park, ca. 1915.

The park was established in 1887 when Susan Waddell Stevens donated 25 acres (100,000 m2) of land for the creation of a public park. The town of Truro formed a Board of Trustees and named Sir Adams G. Archibald as chairperson; the park was named Victoria Park in honour of Queen Victoria, the monarch at that time. In 1888, the park was enlarged by six additional donations of adjacent land parcels. Subsequent donations over the next century would enlarge the park to its present 1,000 acres (4.0 km2).

In 1901, the Board of Trustees was renamed and incorporated as the Victoria Park Board of Trustees. The town introduced a set of by-laws for the park in 1913 which included controls against private business use, impact to wildlife, firearms, alcohol, profanity and speed limits of vehicles.

Until the early 1980s, it was possible for park visitors to reach deeper areas of the park on paved roads with motor vehicles. However, due to vandalism done by some young people, who used vehicles to facilitate their crimes, these areas were closed off to all motor vehicle use. These paved roads still exist, and are used by park maintenance staff when needed.

The forested part of the park through the Lepper Brook gorge, as well as the forested hills on each side, hosts a variety of challenging walking and hiking trails. Extensive boardwalks have been built to protect steep hillsides from pedestrian-induced erosion near the Joseph Howe Falls (named after Nova Scotia premier Joseph Howe and the Waddell Falls (named after the park’s founder).; one locally-famous route to vantage points above the waterfalls is “Jacob’s Ladder”, a wood staircase comprising 175 steps up the side of the gorge.

Several crushed gravel multi-use bicycle and walking paths have been graded on more gently sloped areas in the forested part of the park and are groomed for nordic skiing in the winter season. The Dr. Jim Vibert Memorial Trail is a hiking trail which covers the upland area beyond the gorge, extending to the edge of the Town of Truro’s reservoir.

The northern edge of the park bounded by Adams Street is a flat open area in a protected valley that has been developed with the following facilities:

  • Victoria Park Outdoor Pool (funded by the local Kinsmen Club and the town of Truro) includes a toddlers pool, children’s water spray park, water slide, and a large swimming pool for lane swimming and diving.
  • Victoria Park Playground (also dually funded by the Kinsmen Club and the town of Truro).
  • Public washroom facilities.
  • J. Arch Fraser Bandshell which hosts the Sunday in the Park Concert Series every Sunday during the summer.
  • Tennis courts, operated by the Truro Tennis Club.
  • Picnic Pavilion.
  • Ross Monument, honouring a local barrister who volunteered many years to the park’s enlargement and improvement.
  • Holy Well, replica of an early Acadian well from the area.

More information on the town of Truro website click here

Stress and Intimacy

stress-at-work

Stress triggers our body’s fight-or-flight defense mechanism. When we feel stressed, angry or scared, our body will automatically turn off any system that’s not needed for safety or protection. So when we experience emotional stress, the sex hormones get turned off and we experience a dramatic drop in our libido and sexual desire.
 
Our lives can get pretty stressful because of family and work demands. Just driving in city traffic can easily elevate your stress. Our modern society is filled with chronic stressors that wreak havoc on relationships and intimacy. Here are four easy ways you can release your emotional stress and get your sexy feelings back.
 
1. Breathe deeply.
 
Deep breathing not only calms your mind, but also increases your dopamine, the calming hormone. Take a deep breath in, hold it, then exhale to release all your stressors. As you’re focusing on deep breathing, add positive affirmations such as “I am safe,” “I release this anxiety and inhale peacefulness,” and “I am calm and filled with love.” As you release the negative emotions of fear, anxiety, and anger from your body, you allow the emotions of peace, love, and happiness to enter. When you feel peace, love, and happiness, you’re more receptive to love and affection in your relationship.
 
2. Take a bath or shower.
 
The warm water of a shower or bath caressing your body not only calms your mind, but also increases your oxytocin, the love hormone. Imagine the water washing away all of your stresses, worries, and negative thoughts and feelings. Let those negative emotions move from your body and circle down the drain. As the water caresses and soothes your body, imagine your lover’s touch caressing you and holding you. Allow the water to wash away your negative emotions and fill your body with love and sexual desire.
 
3. Exercise.
 
Negative emotions get trapped in our body, blocking our ability to feel love, joy and sexuality. Exercise is a great way to redirect negative emotional energy and release those emotions as physical energy. Go for a run, work out in the gym, dance, bike, jump, or just move your body more. Exercise not only clears your mind and body of negative emotional energy it also stimulates testosterone, the hormone responsible for sexual desire. Increase the sexual benefits of exercise by imagining yourself engaged in sexual activity while you are exercising. Using your mind and body to elevate your testosterone levels will greatly increase your sexual desire and libido levels.
 
4. Express your emotions.
 
If you feel resentment, anger, fear or sadness, it’s awfully hard to connect with your partner. Passionate couples express their emotions in healthy, safe, non-blaming, non-attacking ways. Learn and practice successful marriage and relationship “SMART Talk” to create a stronger bond with your partner. Give your partner specific non-blaming information on what may have triggered your emotions and why you think you are reacting. Let your partner know specifically what you need from them and what you are going to do to help resolve the situation. Sharing emotions in a healthy, safe, and supportive way releases negative emotions while increasing trust, love, intimacy and sexual desire.
 
relax
 
 
 
Chronic stress and loss of libido don’t need to be a part of your life. Get rid of stress right now and create the perfect environment for intimacy, great sex and a loving, connected relationship.
 

Picky Eaters In Your House? Try These Unique Breakfast Wraps!

PBJ_with_SBG__WrapPicky Eaters?  Try this idea for breakfast…. great for teenagers who are running out the door too.

1 Whole Wheat Wrap
1 Tbsp reduced fat peanut butter
1 Tbsp sugar-free jam
2 strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/4 banana, cut in half lengthwise
2 Tbsp low fat granola


Spread peanut butter evenly over entire Flatout. On one rounded end, spread jam. Layer strawberry, banana and granola. Roll, cut and enjoy!


263 Calories ● 14g Protein ● 50g Carbs ● 12g Fiber ● 8g Fat

Strawberry Shortcake Skewers

Mmmm how delicious do these look?  Perfect for a light dessert or even an after school snack! 

strawberry shortcake skewers

I’ve seen this recipe on quite a few sites and they’re really so simple to make too.  You could make these using an Angel Food cake mix put up into squares or a Pillsbury Biscuit mix cut into small circles… get creative!

I’ve also seen them with just the cake & strawberries on the skewer then dipped in a dish of whipped cream or you could even do chocolate too! Mmmm!

For those wanting less carbs or with dietary restrictions ~ omit the cake/biscuit bites and add in a layer of sliced banana and pineapple chunks to make a fruity delicious snack!