Friday, July 23, 2010

The Monkey

Now I know that he's my child and everything, but isn't he just so handsome?

It's been a hard day's play...

Jet would like to give some shout outs to the team of people who help make him one stylin' baby: thank you Carly Jean for the shoes, and to Uncle Adam and Auntie Ive for the outfit, and last but not least, to his Daddy, for inspiring the 'do.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Applesauce Pumpkin Muffins

I know that it's not Fall but I love pumpkin-flavored things so I made some muffins from The Eat-Clean Cookbook today. Typically muffins are a major health-trap as they usually are high in fat, sugar, and white flour. Some muffins that some coffee chains offer can pack up to 600 calories - not a good way to start your day. These muffins are not that sweet and are packed with good-for-you ingredients and are delicious in any season.

- 1 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
- 2 large egg whites + one yolk, lightly beaten
- 2 Tbs. + 1 tsp. canola oil
- 1 Tbs. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 skim milk
- 1/2 cup quinoa flour or flour of your choice (I used brown rice flour)
- 1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
- 1/4 cup maple sugar flakes (I used sucanat sugar instead, you can find this at Whole Foods or a health food store)
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries or raisins

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line muffin pan with paper or coat with nonfat cooking spray.

Combine oatmeal, pumpkin, applesauce, milk, eggs, and oil. Mix until all ingredients are blended.

Mix together dry ingredients then mix with wet ingredients until just combined. Add dried fruit. Fill muffin cups and bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned on top.

(I doubled the recipe but it originally yields 12 muffins)

Nutrition value per muffin: Calories = 189, Protein = 6 g, Carbs = 21 g, Sugars = 8g, Fat = 8g

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Village Market

I had read about The Village Market online and have been dying to check it out; it's a year-round all-organic farmer's market about 25 minutes from us and we loved it. Definitely want to make this a staple place for grocery shopping.

I absolutely loved buying produce straight from the people whose hands sowed and toiled for it; there's something so gratifying about this interaction.

This market is held inside a school

Checking out the goods. A lot of the produce and meats run smaller than their typical grocery store counterparts due to the lack of hormones and chemicals and the taste is amazing. The peaches we bought were about the size of a plum but it was some of the best tasting peaches we've ever had. So even though we've been ingrained with the notion of "super-sizing" to feel like we're getting the most out of each dollar, what you're paying for in size is not worth what you're getting in all the unhealthy products and techniques they're using in order to give you "more."

Some corn-spelt-millet bread

We purchased: a handful of green beans, 3 avocados, 4 grapefruit, 4 peaches, 4 onions, 6 apples, 1 bunch of spinach, 1 head of lettuce, 1 whole chicken, 1 loaf of bread, 2 pounds of grass-fed ground beef = about $60. It's a little pricey but definitely worth it; Matt and I have just resolved to cut spending in other areas of our living in order for us to have a budget for organic purchases since that is important to us, so know that it is possible to make healthy-living affordable whatever your budget.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Cottages are a very Canadian thing and a popular cottage destination here in Ontario is Muskoka. This area is about 2 hours north of where we are and it reminds me of the Pacific Northwest in a lot of ways. Lots of celebs have summer homes up here (a.k.a. Tom Hanks, Goldie Hawn, etc.) and I can see why - there are so many beautiful lakes and waterfronts with a lot of absolutely gorgeous cottages. The Sylvesters have a trailer in Muskoka so we went up there along with Mark and Tara for a few days to go visit Daniel since he's living there for the summer working. We had a great time hanging with the fam, doing some siteseeing, breathing in the delicious fresh tree smells, and enjoying the relaxing pace of our little getaway.

Locally made icecream - the lines here during the summer resemble the ones at Disneyland, but we scored and didn't have to wait too long

Now I know that I'm always talking about eating healthy and blah, blah, blah, but everyone knows that a little splurge once in a while helps keep you on track:) And it was worth it - so good!

Yummy icecream = Happy people

Even Jet got into the action

Mark and Tara are serious boardgamers and Monopoly is one of their favorites so we play a lot with them and guess who always wins? The one who doesn't even like boardgames - my hubby!

Cool house

The Rapids in Port Sydney

Monkey loves the water - like father, like son!

What a hunk!

I love this little bum!

Such cute little buildings all over town

A little bit of wildlife - my goal is to see a moose one day

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Jet's Special Sauce

Harvest Baby Shower

Yesterday evening was Harvest Durham Church's first official baby shower celebrating the birth of 3 firstborns: Audrey, Madelyne, and Jet. We had such a great time talking, laughing, and eating, and us first time moms were spoiled with everyone's sweet and generous gifts. I am so excited to see how the Lord will continue to develop our friendships with one another as we unite to launch this church in September.

From left to right: Jet, Madelyne Dowding, Timothy Wong, Audrey Bolton, Joshua Hales. Poor Joshua, everyone has a snuggle buddy but him, but it looks like he doesn't seem to mind

The boys

Jet and Joshua: the Sylvester-Hales legacy continues

Could there be something in the water? Talk about baby boom!

And last but not least, if there isn't a more appropriate onesie! Thanks Kristin!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Chocolate-Covered Strawberries

Chocolate-covered strawberries have got to be one of my most favorite desserts for plenty of reasons:

1. It's quick and easy to make.
2. It always looks stunning.
3. It tastes amazing.
4. It's healthy!

Just get yourself some dark chocolate (70% cocoa is good), I used Green & Black's organic dark chocolate - thanks so much Ive! Chop up the chocolate and place into a bowl over a pot of simmering water (a.k.a. bain marie); this prevents the chocolate from burning or scorching. Once the chocolate is all melted, dip your cleaned and dried strawberries in and place them on top of some wax or parchment paper lined on a cookie sheet and place in fridge until the chocolate hardens. Place on a serving dish and you've got yourself a bonafide crowdpleaser!

This is definitely one dessert that rarely ever results in leftovers

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th of July!

As America celebrates another year of enjoying its independence, I find myself missing the good ol' States as I start this next chapter of my life in Canada. Don't get me wrong, Canada is a great country and I am looking forward to me and Jet enjoying dual citizenship as we lay down our roots here as a family, but I never thought I would ever not live in America and I am already feeling nostalgic for it. Over the last few years I've grown in my knowledge and appreciation for the USA by reading some really great history books on its rich heritage. I highly recommend David McCullough's "1776" as a good primer.

To see how the country began, to see people standing up for what they believed in, to risk all they had, including their lives, in order for the country to exist in the name of liberty and freedom, is a fact that is all too often taken for granted by the people living in it now. There is no perfect country, and America is no exception, but I love the USA and all the noble ideals its forefathers fought for and embodied. I miss you dear country, may you always be "the land of the free and the home of the brave."

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Roast Chicken

So remember that organic whole chicken we picked up the other day at the farm? Well I cooked it tonight and boy was it delicious! (Carly, you were my inspiration since it reminds me of the one you made us for lunch!). And if I remember correctly, we both used Ina Garten as our guide. Follow this link if you want to see what I based mine on:

Even though the thought of having to deal with an entire chicken may seem intimidating, roasting a chicken is one of the easiest meals you can make, and when you bake it on top of some vegetables you basically have your whole meal all ready to go. Throw in a green salad and you've got yourself an amazingly simple, healthy, and tasty dinner.

For the veggies you will want with your dinner, choose from the root family, I used potatoes and carrots but you can also use squash, parsnips, etc. You'll also want to throw in some aromatics like celery and onion for flavor, but they tend to get pretty soggy while they roast so I just toss those after baking. Toss the veggies in some olive oil, sea salt, and fresh ground pepper. Inside the chicken I put cut up pieces of lemon, this gives it such a nice flavor and if I had it on me, I would also put in some peeled pieces of garlic and fresh sprigs of rosemary, but the chicken still tasted great without it. For the chicken, rinse it completely and then pat it dry with some papertowels, rub olive oil, sea salt, and pepper all over it and inside as well. Bake in the oven at 425 degrees for about 1 1/2 hours or until juices run clear.


We loved this meal! And by the way, we also ate the organic cantaloupe we picked up from the farm for dessert and I think it was the best cantaloupe I've ever tasted - so sweet and juicy!

And here's the latest shot of our little Monkey, my Baby is growing up so fast!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Happy Canada Day!

Thanks for the jammies Uncle Adam and Auntie Ive!

Organic Goodness

Yesterday was such a great day, filled with spending time with family and friends and going on some organic escapades! First, we had brunch with Erin and Jamie Coates (thanks for the yummy and healthy breakfast burritos Erin!). They leave for Edmonton tomorrow where Jamie is going to be an Associate Pastor at Grace Reformed Baptist Church. We praise God for this next chapter of life for them and are excited to see how He will use this family to glorify Himself.

Then we headed up to Guelph where Matt's brother and our sister-in-law, Mark and Tara, are living for the summer. Tara grew up in this town and it was mine and Matt's first time visiting there. We loved the area, very farmy, spacious, and green. That got us thinking about what kind of area we would like to have a home in someday and we both are definitely leaning towards more of a country landscape (one of my life dreams is to have my own organic garden). Since moving here I have been surprised to see that what I thought would be pure suburban-ville is actually very much countryside as well.

In Guelph, we went out for lunch at Borealis Grille & Bar - this place is awesome! Most of what they serve are local organic goods and the energy they use is powered by wind and water. The food was delicious and their example of sourcing from local family businesses and how they're being environmentally-minded is one to be emulated - I wish there were more places like this. I talked with the server and she did say they have been doing very well and that they are seeing more people come in as they learn more about the pros of wholesome, organic eating. They're even opening up a second location this Fall. Check out their website for more info:

On our way to see Mark and Tara, we drove by a farm displaying a sign saying they were an organic farm that sold items every Wednesday from 2:30pm-7:30pm; we were so excited to check this place out so after lunch we all went to Greenfields and ended up buying a handful of items. Afterwards, we had dinner at Tara's parents' place and we had such a fun time eating, talking, and laughing. They were so hospitable and kind in hosting us for the evening; the hours flew by and it was with a sense of regret to say good-bye for the night. Thanks for hosting us family Team V - we had a blast!

Loved this place!

Matt ordered the prime rib burger made from grass-fed cows - so tasty!

I ordered their "True North" flatbread that came with grass-fed ground beef, caramelized onions, and mushrooms with a side of local organic greens - SO good!

So thankful to have stumbled upon this place. If you haven't seen the documentary Food, Inc. do yourself a favor and order it from Netflix or check it out at your local video store - it's a must-see!

I was happily surprised by their prices

Straight from their garden - wish I could've bought everything!

Check out their website:

Our entire organic purchase: one chicken, 2 grapefruit, 1 bag of whole-wheat cous cous, 1 broccoli crown, 1 head of lettuce, 1 cabbage, 1 cantaloupe, 3 Tuscan zucchinis. Total cost = $38. That's actually a pretty good price, especially since you would pay about the same amount or even more when you purchase non-organic goods in the supermarkets.

Tara's mom, Laurie, got this outfit for Jet when she visited Cali soon after he was born - thanks so much Laurie! Is he not the cutest?