Easy and Quick Christmas Butter Cookies

I have a confession to make, I’ve never done Christmas cookies with my children when they were younger. They are teenagers and this is the first year that I made Christmas cookies from scratch. It was a lot of fun for me to watch my daughter and her friend decorating the cookies, and decide on their own to spread the cheer and share some with the neighbours. Loved it!

I know my way around the kitchen but I’m not a baker, I’m good at a handful of baked goods but cookies were not among them. This year with COVID and all the restrictions I needed to make the season a little bit different create new traditions to replace the ones we can do anymore. So searched up a few recipes, here is a tip if you search up recipes online, compare a few to make sure the recipe is actually correct 🙂 I didn’t compare my recipe first and ended up improvising to make it work, which actually turned out to be great.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1  1/8 cups unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 medium-size eggs (room temperature)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

Direction:

In a large mixing bowl beat the butter and sugar first at low speed and then at high until it turns light and creamy. Beat the eggs at a low speed one at a time, add vanilla, beat at high speed until you get the creamy texture back. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour and mix with the baking powder, then add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients. Mix at a low speed until all ingredients mix and you have a soft dough.

Divide the dough into two or four pieces, roll them into a cylinder shape, wrap in plastic or place in an airtight container, leave in the fridge for an hour or so. If you are planning to leave it in the fridge for longer you need to wrap the dough in plastic to make sure it won’t dry and crack.

 

Preheat the oven to 350°F

Remove the dough from the fridge let it sit for about 15 minutes or so, on a clean and dry cutting board cut the cylinder into discs of 1/4 inch thick. Place them 2 inches apart on a non-stick baking sheet, bake in the middle rack in the oven for about 12 minutes or until the sides are slightly golden.

 

Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack, when cold decorate with icing.

This is the fun part there is no wrong way of decorating the cookies just have fun!

 

Refreshing Summertime Beverage

It’s one of those hot summer days and my to-go drink is always a cold refreshing glass of Sekanjabin drink. Which is basically a mind n vinegar syrup drink.

This is a traditional Persian drink one of the oldest recipes that were passed on generation after generation. We don’t know exactly how old the recipe is but it was originally made with wild honey and not sugar so I imagine it dates before the invention of sugar.

The beauty of this drink is that it’s so easy to make. You can keep it for years in your pantry. And it’s so versatile. You can use it as a sweetener for lemonade or any smoothie, have it as a dip with fruits and vegetables or in alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks. Because it’s ingredients apple cider vinegar and mint it is also good for digestive health.

My absolute favourite is as a dip with roman lettuce. On hot summer days, nothing beats a healthy snack of roman lettuce dipped in Sekanjabin and ice.

Mint n Vinegar Syrup Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 4 Cups sugar – can be replaced by the equivalent of honey
  • 2 Cups water
  • 1/2 a Cup Apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Bunch of Mint

Direction

In a large saucepan bring water and sugar into a boil. Tie the bunch of mints and let it boil with the water. ( in a lot of recipes they add the mint at the end when the heat is turned off, I like the taste and flavour of mint so I normally let the mint to boil in the syrup to the end)

When the syrup is starting to thicken add the vinegar, make sure you have a window open or the hood on as the smell of vinegar will be strong when added to the syrup. Let the mixture boil for another 10 – 15 minutes. Remove the source pan from the stove, and remove the mint. Let the syrup to cool off and then strain it through a cheesecloth into a wide mouth mason jar.

This is will be more of a concentrated and thick syrup, you can keep the syrup in your pantry for years. However, if you didn’t boil the syrup enough you may find film of molds forming on top, which in that case you can remove the moldy section and boil the syrup to get thicker. The beauty of having a thick syrup as the base of any drink is that you can make it to taste of each person you are serving the drink too.

 

To hot summer days enjoying this versatile drink with your family.

 

Cheers!

 

 

5 Simple Ways To Preserve Summer Fruits From Going To Waste

We are one week into summer and it’s getting exciting. I love all seasons, I love walking in rain and snow in fall and winter and love the rebirth of nature in spring but summer is something else. It stands out for me, gives me more energy than any other season. Maybe it relates to my favourite childhood memory.

I remember picking fruits in my grandfather’s orchard in summers. It was exciting to go there play in the dirt, climb a fruit tree, sit up there and eat fruits right from the branch. I was free labour but I didn’t mind it I would pay myself with fresh pick fruit. I think I ate more than I put in my pail, but nobody cared.

It was fun to see all those fruits to be picked and boxed to send away. I was too young to know if my grandfather actually sold those fruits to stores or not. I do remember that sometimes there was just too much fruit so my mom would turn my grandparents garage into a market.  She would sell these luscious fresh fruits to the neighbours. It was fun to run around the neighbourhood nock the doors and inform the neighbours of the fruit sale.

Now we know where do I get my entrepreneurship gene 😉

Then it would come days of turning those fruits to something that we could use for the rest of the year. Nothing would go to waste, that’s the beauty of it. The fruits that were ripe and looking good would go to neighbours. The ones with a few dots or something would be turned into jams or canned. And those that were just too ripe or mushed would be turned into sauces or fruit leathers.

Now you can imagine how I look at fruits and vegetables in my household. Exactly like in my memory, nothing goes to waste.

Here are a few tips and ideas on what to do with different fruits when you have too many of them or they are going to go bad.

Fruit leathers

This is the perfect way of preserving fruits that carry a lot of water. Plum fruit leathers are my favourite, and something we made a lot when I was a kid. You can turn any kind of berries or fruits into fruit leather. They are a perfect healthy snack especially if you don’t add sugar to your puree.

 

Sauces

Making sauces is perfect for the end of summer extra tomatoes you pick from your garden. Or if you just have some tomatoes that are just too soft to add to any dish. I make small batches just to avoid the fruit to go bad and keep in jar in the fridge. When I have more sauce I add that to the jar too.  To make this last longer in the fridge I add a little bit more salt into my sauce. If I have too many small batches of sauce added in one jar, I cook the content of the jar once more so that all different batches cook together.

Canning or pickling

This goes for a lot of fruits and vegetables. Green peas, peaches, apples, cherry tomatoes. I do love canned cherry tomatoes, not sure if I’m doing it right or not but it works for me. Whatever leftover I have of cherry tomato that are going soft of me. I broil and then transfer them into a jar then I add salt garlic and olive oil. It’s a nice garnish to any pasta sauce.

Same with cucumbers I have a jar of saltwater and garlic and every time I have extra cucumber it goes in there.  Not gonna lie, I don’t even make the saltwater, I just keep the juice of the store-bought pickles for this purpose.

Jams

That is given, and one of the most used forms of preservation.  Berries, apples, peaches, grapes, even peppers can be turned into healthy homemade jams with little to no sugar added.

Frozen treat

The freezer is my friend in the kitchen. I do freeze everything that I can’t cook to something else or if I don’t have time to do that. Things that come to mind that I freeze are bananas, grapes, berries, peaches, watermelon and melon balls. The best way to freeze these is spread around on a parchment paper on a tray uncovered in the freezer for a few hours and then transfer to a container or a freezer bag. I do use a silicon freezer bag and sometimes Ziploc bag which I wash and reuse many many times.

 

There you have it. These are my ways to keep fruits from going to waste. Share with us your way.

Gardening for therapy – Part 2

Happy Mother’s day!!

One of my reasons for writing a 2 part blog post about gardening was to lead to Mother’s day and emphasize the necessity of us moms do something that gives us pleasure. As moms, most of the time, we put the well being and happiness of our children and everyone else before us. This comes naturally to us, and it was vital when we were cavemen but not so much nowadays. The more we take care of ourselves, the more we can take care of others and be present for them. So be kind to yourself and find something that makes you feel good and energized. Mine is writing in my journal and meditating every day.

Gardening is another way for me to calm myself and connect with myself and nature.

Planting in your garden

Last week we talked about preparing the garden and different weeds to pull.

This week I like to talk about the simple things you can plant in your garden that are easy to plant and care for.

I like to divide this section into two, food and flowers. I like to have both kinds in my garden to get the benefit of growing my food and growing the joy when I look out the window into my yard.

Flowers

I don’t want to fuss around flowers and plant them every year. The best thing to do is to pick some that are perennial, meaning they come back every year. I do have a few annual flowers here and there, but I don’t waste my time on annuals as much.

Here are three of my favourite flowers that are easy to plant and care for:

  • Tulips, basically you plant a set of bulbs mid-fall once then you have tulips springtime every year after that
  • Hyacinth, same thing. Plant them once and have beautiful flowers every spring after that
  • Rose. They come in a variety of colours and shapes. I would take pictures of the nursery and consult with someone there to pick the right one for my garden. The same thing you plant them once, and you have them for years to come.

Most flowers need full or partial sun, so consider where you want to plant them and the amount of the sun and water required. If not sure, reading the label on the flower pot or consulting with people who work at your garden center will give you enough information to make the right decision for the specific space you have.

I’ve even taken photos of the flowers I see around on my walks and take them to the nursery to show someone and ask if I can plant it in my garden. My front yard is mostly shady, and it’s a hard thing for me to find flowers that work well there.

 

Herbs

I do plant a lot of herbs; most herbs come back next year. Some even can weather a winter, but it all depends on how you treat them. Herbs like to be cut often; if they flower, they will go into the seeding cycle and become tough. The key is to cut the tips at the right time. You want to cut the tips when they have grown small stems on the side. When you do that, the side stem becomes more robust and will grow to produce its own baby stem. The herbs that are very easy to plant are:

  • Mint, be careful of this one. This herb can take over your whole garden, they grow like weeds, and they come back stronger every year. If you cut and use them often, they come back softer; if you don’t, they come back harder. At the end of the summer, early fall, I cut all of them from the ground up and dehydrate them for the wintertime.
  • Oregano, exactly like mints, they can grow and take over your garden. Be careful though they are not as stubborn as mint. If you take the roots out, they are gone. I learned that the hard way. Last year I asked my husband to get rid of the mints, he pulled all the mint roots and oreganos by mistake. The mints came back oreganos are gone for good.
  • Tarragon, these are funny herbs. They come back for a few years and then die. When they come back, they don’t seem like tarragon, mostly like some sort of weed. It’s best to plant them in a pot to know exactly what they are and not pull them by mistake.
  • Italian Parsely – I use Italian parsley in my cooking a lot, these will last you even during the mild winters. They are not like mint or oregano to die and come back. They last a few years if you treat them well, but if they are gone, they are gone. You need to plant another set. I find it that the more you cut and use them, the longer they last as long as you are not cutting the whole bush at once.

I do plant salad green, spinach and kale, but I’m still learning how to work with them, nothing to add in that department yet.

Berries and Vegetables

  • Cherry Tomatoes: I don’t plant that many vegetables. The only one that I plant year after year is the cherry tomato, which is not a vegetable anyway. One thing you want to do when you plant tomatoes is to make sure they have something around them to keep the vines off the ground. And when you plant them, take out the smaller leaf closest to the root and dirt to give your plant a boost to grow. 4

 

  • Strawberries: I do have a lot of strawberry bushes. Used to have more than 80 bushes at one time, which I almost lost them all by replacing them in my garden. When you plant a strawberry bush, give it a lot of space as they multiply by running vines. At the end of winter or early spring, make sure to cut all the dry stems and leaves to boost their growth. There are two kinds of strawberries, June strawberry and all season. I have both; the June strawberry is useful if you are into jamming as they produce a lot of fruit at once, and then they are just beautiful. All season strawberries will give you strawberry almost all spring and summer not too many at once, but they keep flowering and producing berries. Be careful when you plant strawberries bare fruit. You need to pick them right when they ripen. If you wait longer and they are too soft, Roly Polys will start eating them. One way I keep Rolly Polys out is to plant mint around the strawberry bushes. Seems like Roly Polys don’t like mint as much

 

  • Raspberry: These are taller bushed; they multiply as well not as many and as fast as strawberries, but over the years, you can triple or quadruple your raspberries. They love to be pruned and cut the dry stems at the end of the season to get ready for the next year.

 

That’s it. This is the extend of my gardening knowledge. I learn as I go and I ask a lot, being part of a gardening group on Facebook helps a lot 😀

One last thing before I sign off. Watering your garden, the right amount is key. I’m not good at it. I even taught my house plants to live on dry. But when I do water my garden every day they do way better, more flowers, juicier fruits. So do as I say not as I do 😀

 

Happy Mother’s Day!

 

Keep Fruits and Vegetables Fresher: How To Boost Your Immune System

Vegetables

Most of us understood that fruit and vegetables were important for our health. More specifically, fruit and vegetables helped to boost our immune system. However, did you ever wonder how these fruit and vegetables boost our immune system? Let us take a look at some common produce selections and their benefits.

 

Vegetables

Fruit And Vegetables Boost Immune System

According to SFGate, focusing on the different colours of the produce, they all have their own special benefits:

1. Orange and yellow: Citrus fruits like oranges and lemons have a high vitamin C content. Vitamin C is commonly used to help with colds and other illnesses. They contain many different bioflavonoids that help with inflammation too.
2. Reds: Cranberries, gojiberries and tomatoes fall into this colour group. Cranberries help with urinary tract infections. Goji berries help with the immune system by increasing immune cells called lymphocytes. Tomatoes contain lycopene that prevent immune cells from oxidative damage.
3. Blues: The anthocyanins in blueberries help to increase the amount of natural killer cells, which are a type of immune cells. Purple grapes are great to increase immune cells too.
4. Greens and Whites: Green vegetables are an excellent source of vitamins and chlorophyll which help strengthen immune cells. White vegetables like garlic are know for being antibacterial and antiviral properties.

Storing Fruits And Vegetables

Since the lock down, it has been harder to pick up fresh fruits and vegetables. It is not wise to pick up too much at one time as fresh produce can rot easily. When you leave the produce inside plastic bags, the moisture inside tend to collect and rot the produce. You may then choose to just leave the produce in the produce drawer in your fridge. This method can help to prolong them a bit longer. Ultimately, you most likely will lose your fruit and vegetables to the compost bin. There must be a better way! This is why cotton reusable bags help to save you time and money. Even when I cut up bell peppers, the cotton bags can help to them fresher for more a week!

Bags That Saved My Leafy Greens

Growing up in a household that loved eating leafy green vegetables, I observed they were left in the open for customers to pick what they wanted. Nowadays, plastic bags kept many of these leafy greens separated by bundles and prevented customers from picking freely. Sadly, these plastic bags also sped up the yellowing of the leafs. One way that my mother taught me to slow down this process, was to wrap paper towels around the vegetables. Afterwards, she would place them back into the plastic bag. I thought that was a bit of a waste, both the plastic bag and the paper towel.

Bags

As an adult and then a mother, myself, I really wanted to reduce the amount of plastics bags used for my lettuce and bok choy! The discovery of cotton GogoBags helped changed the way my family stored and ingested leafy greens. Imagine being able to enjoy fresh and crisp vegetables even on vacation!

Bags, Leafy Greens and Vacation

From experience, there were two main ways that the GogoBags helped:

1. On a trip: From going away on a vacation to going on a road trip to camping, I would pack the vegetables and leave them in the ice box. I would also bring empty ones, so that I could purchase fresh ones and leave them in the “salad” bags.
2. Away from home: My pet reptile required fresh leafy greens everyday. My friend was able to have access to fresh leafy greens to help feed my pet for over a week! These GogoBags were able to keep them fresher even after two weeks.

Finally, I would like to emphasize that despite the fact one had to spend some money to purchase these vegetable bags, they saved my money in the long run. Imagine being able to eat all of my vegetables instead of composting almost of it at the end.

Avoiding Food Waste at Home

avoid food waste with these bags

 

 

Although we are not able to control the amount of food waste at the restaurants, we can at home. Reducing food waste is better for the environment and for our pockets too! As we see in the media, a lot of the food in the food supply is often discarded. Hence, we, as consumers, can try to reflect our concerns through our purchasing habits.

Reduce Food Waste At Home

According to Love Food Hate Waste, three simple steps can be take to reduce food waste.

1) Meal plan: Meal planning helps to calculate the exact amount of groceries that is needed to be bought. When you use recipes, you are able to calculate exactly how much you need.
2) Use it up: Try to use up every thing that you buy. It is wise to look through your fridge and cupboards regularly to look for close to “best before” dates. This can help eliminate the need to throw away food.
3) Keep it fresh: Discover new ways to keep your food fresher longer allows you to be able to use up more of the food.Using all natural and reusable equipment like mason jars or cloth bags can help save more food. Mason jars can be used to keep soups and food frozen too! Another tip, GogoBags Fresh bags are able to keep fresh fruits and vegetables fresher. There will be lesser amounts of rotten produce sitting in a corner of your fridge.

 

Finally, one last suggestion, when you go shopping for groceries, pay attention where the store managers reduced the prices of certain items as they are close to “best before” dates or are not “pretty” enough. Sometimes, I actually look for these discounted items. I constantly pick up these items and cook them up that night as a surprise!

 

 

Plastic-Free Awareness For Our Family and Friends

When I first brought my own recycle bags to buy my groceries or go shopping, people thought that I was being very weird. I was trying to increase plastic-free awareness about reducing single use plastics. Why would I want to drag around these reusable bags when I could just pick up a bunch of free plastic ones at the store? What a hassle!!

To be honest, it was my father who inspired me to do just that. He was quite frugal himself and grew up in an era where everything was saved to be reused. (He used to reuse those plastic bottles until I told him to stop and to use a decent reusable bottle instead.) It was a bit embarrassing when I was much younger, as it seemed so unnecessary. However,as I grew older and learned more about the negative impact of single use plastics like those plastic bags and water bottles, I felt proud.

Awareness

Ways To Inspire Awareness

Just talking about reducing plastic usage to your friends and family might not be enough. We need to be more proactive and use our actions to inspire them.

1) Bring your reusable bags and grocery bags with you when you shop with them. Lend them one when you see that the store clerk offers them a plastic one.
2) When you go out for dinner or meet up with your buddies, take a reusable take out and coffee mug to bring leftovers in. Bring an extra one to share with your friends!
3) As a gift, think about all the different types of zero-waste bags and containers that you can give to them. Pay attention to their reactions when you share your reusable containers. Each person’s preference depends on their lifestyles.

Always remember that every single action taken towards being plastic-free is worth it!

Make A Gift Day: Time To Make One Today

Make a gift

 

Did you know that each December 3 is Make A Gift Day?

This unofficial fun holiday reminds us that handmade presents are excellent ways to add some personal touches and save some money too! As I mentioned before, I made most of my presents by hand. As an adult, I would shop for great deals on items that my family and friends needed, but, I would still make some of the gifts as I had always been quite crafty. Time was passing, I watched my children began to get older, they were also starting to make their own gifts for the family too.

Make A Gift

Make A Gift Ideas

Today is a perfect day to start brainstorming for ideas and inspirations to add some handmade gifts to add to your gifts. Here are some gifts that can be adapted to different skill levels

1. Beginners: ​

– Make a collage of past photos that you can download or cut out from photocopies. Then put it behind a frame.

-Using the same collage idea to make Christmas ornaments. Looks for those small photo frames that you can tie a ribbon to that they can hang it on their Christmas tree.

-Buy one of the Christmas cookie doughs that only require to cut and bake on a cookie sheet. Fill up some cookie tins and give them away!

2. The Next Level:

-Make a sketch, a drawing or paint something that the recipient loves. For example, you might even use some fancy calligraphy to write out a motivation quote and put that into a frame.

Make a gift

-Go to a craft store and buy some quick dry clay. Roll it out and use a Christmas theme cookie cutter to cut out some shapes. Remember to make little hole at the top of a piece of ribbon. Wait for them to dry and then paint  away! You can write the name of the recipient and the current year on the ornament.

-Search out for a nice and fancy cookie recipe and bake them from scratch…Yum!

Make a gift

Remember, the holiday season is about giving and sharing your love of others. We all need to step back and rethink about what kinds of messages are we trying to convey to our loved ones.

Holiday Party Zero Waste Inspirations

Christmas cookies

 

December is just coming around corner. Are you pondering what to do this holiday season? Are planning to host a holiday party yourself or visiting a friend’s home as a guest? There are many things to think about… As with any gathering, holiday parties are notorious for producing a large amount of plastic waste. Let us begin to think about how we can reduce this amount of waste as much as possible.

Holiday Party Hosting

Cup and plates

As soon as the host decides to invite guests over for a party, most tend to think about what to serve as food and drinks. Then, the shopping list begins to grow.

1. Serving utensils: Instead of running to the dollar shop to pick up those disposable plastic forks, and knifes, bring out your own washable utensils. If you do not own enough glass or stainless plates yourself, you can consider asking your guests to bring their own plate to use. Depending on the event, only purchase compostable paper plates if you really need to pick some disposable ones. Leftovers are common after a party, so have some reusable containers on hand for guests to pack and take home.
2. Decorations Around the House: Looks for décor lights that are rechargeable instead of ones that use batteries or remember to use rechargeable batteries if you must. Also, avoid using the plastic glitter, as you can make your own with a hole puncher on scrap paper wrappings and holiday catalogues. Try to reuse the decorations each year instead putting up disposable ones.

As A Guest

Christmas cookies

Here you are reading about the details in your invite, time to think about some concerns.

1. What: Is there a gift exchange? Look for presents that can be reused often. Furthermore, when you look wrapping the present, look for creative ways to wrap it like using a reusable cotton bag instead of plastic cellophane for baskets.
2. When: December tends to be quite busy on the road. Plan ahead to avoid traffic jams, where cars tend to spew out more exhaust when they are stuck in a jam.
3. Where: Look at the address of the holiday party…. Do you know if anyone of your family or friends that live near you are also invited to the party? Perhaps you can suggest to carpool with them so the guests will have less cars on the road that day.
4. How: As with many dinner parties, leftovers are the norm.You can bring your stainless steel or glass containers like Mason jars for soups.
HOliday party

 

It is important to remember that every little action helps. Remember that we need to be kind and respectful of others and not shame anyone into being zero waste. Instead, you need to use love and kindness to move the world.

Jack o’ lantern Carving : How to Use the Pumpkin Seeds

As I was picking up the children from school, I noticed that some of the younger ones were carrying around different sizes of pumpkins. The students told me that they had just visited the pumpkin patch that day. What fun!! Did you visit your nearby pumpkin patch yet? For the past few years, my children got to pick out their pumpkins at a local community gathering. The coordinators would decorate the whole paring lot and community garden like a pumpkin patch. Then the children got to choose their pumpkins for their jack o’ lantern designs.

Initially, the children tended to search for the largest or the smallest ones. Then, I would remind them that they might want to think about how they were going to use the pumpkins. If the pumpkin was meant to be just painted on and left intact, then they might want the tiny ones. However, if they wanted to be able to carve a detailed jack o’lantern, then they perhaps needed a much larger one.

The Other Side of Jack o’lantern Carving

Painting a pumpkin with paints would just as fun as carving. However, the children and I enjoyed and looked forward to brainstorming for ideas. Back when they were small, I was the only one doing the carving by myself. The children would try their best to scoop out the strands of slimy pumpkin flesh. Afterwards, they helped me to separate the tiny little seeds into a strainer. It was a great way to practice their fine motor skills there.
Now, what did I do with those pumpkin seeds? I toasted them as a snack!

Here is my recipe:

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

  • Ingredients
    -Pumpkin seeds of one large pumpkin
    -1 or 2 tablespoons of coconut oil (mine was a Jalapeño flavoured)
    -A sprinkle of herb salt (I used Herbamare) or Himalayan pink salt

Directions
1. Rinse and dry the pumpkin seeds. I spread the seeds out on a cooking sheet, lined with parchment paper to dry overnight.
2. The coconut oil that I used was already liquefied, so melt yours before you drizzle onto the seeds.
3. Toss the seeds around on the cookie sheet while sprinkling the seasoning.
4. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F or 150 degrees C.
5. Once oven is ready, place in the middle rack and bake for around 45 minutes or until the pumpkin seeds begin to change colour. Golden brown is what you are looking for.

 

Enjoy those pumpkin ? seeds !!

Leftovers From Thanksgiving: What To Do

Thanksgiving Day was this past Monday for us up in Canada, and many of had a wonderful feast. Each family celebrated this feast in a different way. Traditionally, there would be a turkey with bread stuffing, garlic mashed potatoes, roasted root vegetables and tons of gravy. Then, dessert would be pumpkin pie. This day would be one very special day. On this day, most of the family members would gather together. The overabundance of food often happened. This would result in an enormous amount of leftovers mounting up in the refrigerator. These leftovers would turn into a lot of food waste if not eaten. What could be done?

Use The Leftovers

In order to reduce the amount of food waste to left over in the host’s home, here are some ideas that you can think about for your next Thanksgiving!

1. BYOB: As the host, you can mention and remind your guests to bring their own box or reusable containers to bring back whatever leftover that they like to eat the next day. Make sure that you have some containers in your kitchen, just in case a guest forgets or run out of containers. Mason jars are a great idea to have in your kitchen because you can use these to fill up with soup without the worry of spillage.

 

2. Make some sandwiches: For the families that make turkey as their main dish, you can remove the leftover meat and make some delicious sandwiches for lunch the next day.

3. Make some broth: If you have a slow cooker at home, you can toss the bones in and add some water and root veggies to make a soup. In our family, we add a cup of rice to make congee (Chinese rice porridge). You can use this broth to make some delicious oatmeal too!

Do you tend to have leftovers at your Thanksgiving dinners also? What do you usually do with these leftovers?

Autumn Activities For The Families of All Ages

Autumn activities

The autumn season is beautiful time for us in the Northern Hemisphere. Bright shades of red, orange, and yellow fill the autumn sky and on the ground around us. The temperature is beginning to drop, but sometimes the sun is still continuing to come out the play. There is so much to do to celebrate this change of seasons, both inside the home and outside the home.

Autumn Activities

Here are two activities that you can do with the little ones:

Autumn Leaf Hand Print: Pour out platters of red, orange and yellow non-toxic finger paints and have the children and yourself, stamp an open hand print onto some scrap paper. Then, you can wait for them to dry. After the hand prints are dried, you can cut out the “leaves” with the children and begin to decorate the house! For example, you stick the leaves onto the windows for the falling leaves effect. For the more advanced little ones, you can make a wreath out of the “leaves”. Just cut out a circle from stiff cardboard and glue the “leaves” with the fingers facing outwards… The more layers you have, the fuller the wreath is going to be! You can even glue some acorns that you may have found outside as decorations too!
Pumpkin Patches: For a great outdoor activity for both the young and young at heart, you can visit a pumpkin patch. Depending on your family, you can choose a local one that is close to your neighbourhood or do some research for a farm that is out-of-town. Families with younger children may prefer the shorter car rides to and from the pumpkin patch. For the older children, going out further to visit a farm in the country is a learning experience all on its own! They are able to stay awake longer (no need for naps) and can actually have more hands-on activities. Some of these pumpkin patches even have their own corn mazes!

 

The autumn season is not only for the students going back to school, but it is also wonderful time to remember the farms and their dedication to the harvest of fruits and vegetables. What are you planning to do to celebrate this autumn season?

Ten Must-Do Outdoor Activities Before School Starts

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It’s the middle of August already! What happened? Where did the time go? Did you get to do everything you wanted to do with the children? Many young ones were busy with summer school or camps. Therefore, they spent a lot of time huddled indoors working on their indoor activities. Since the weather is still sunny and very peasant in most places, let us think about what else we can do outdoor! Depending on the age of the children, you may pick and choose which one is more suitable for your family.

Ten Must-Do Outdoor Activities Before School Starts

1) Go on a hike: First of all, do some research before you go to make sure that the demands of the trail matches the endurance level of the children and especially, your own.
2) Shop at your local farmer’s market: It is wonderful for the children to learn where their food and produce comes from by talking with the farmers themselves. Also, vendors showcase their homemade jams and delicious goods too. The children can learn that not all food comes from factories.
3) Take the bike out: Most the time the bicycles at our house is hidden away for most of the year. But, since the sun has been shining, the children try to take them out as much as possible.
4) Visit the local library: When was the last time that you visited the library? For most neighbourhood, there should be a library close to home or even a bike ride away.
5) Have a picnic: You can pack up some sandwiches and some reusable water bottles and head to a lovely lawn outside! It can be at the park or just outside your own lawn too.

6) Berry picking: There are many blackberry bushes around the city, so we usually can visit our friends and families and pick some berries anywhere. You can even visit those U-Pick Berry and Cherry Farms and make that a day trip too.
7) Dine at Dusk: The daylight time is getting shorter, but it is still quite bright at dinner time. Why not have an earlier dinner at the beach and watch the sun go down….?

Feeling Creative?

Murals in our city…

8) Art Installations: Summer time is the best time to slow down and search for the different art works that the city has commissioned to be put up. Walk up close and notice how each piece is put together.
9) Admire the Murals: Our city is very fortunate that there are parts of the city that official murals are decorating the walls of warehouses. They are meant to be walked up to and photographed too!

10) Finally, JUST GO OUTDOOR!:
Even if you only stand outside your front door and take a moment to savour the last couple weeks of the summer sun.