Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Healthy NO Bake Date Balls

I have a sweet tooth. So do our three children. And lets not even get started on the man of the house and his love for all things gummy bears, kit kat bars, maple cookies, chocolate chip cookies, orange jelly cookies covered in chocolate and any other cookie this world has ever seen.

I have been trying my hand at healthy versions of sweet snacks so that I can feel better about my family mowing down on treats and the after dinner cupboard raiding.

These will trick all the cookie monsters at your house too.

Healthy, no bake date balls are what will curb your families sweet tooth -- and fast. You can have these made and on the table in twenty minutes.

This recipe came about because a lovely girl friend sent me a recipe for date balls after I tried a delicious one she had made, I had to recreate them -- ASAP.

I'm totally serious. I begged for the recipe and then headed to the grocery store to purchase dates for the first time ever.

PS: They sell them in the produce section at my grocery store in little prepackaged tubs. :) I'm sure you can buy them in bulk as well.
The only thing is, I couldn't bear to use the butter or the confectionery sugar the recipe called for; I knew that there was probably a healthier alternative. So, I put on my frilly apron and then mixed and changed the recipe until I finally aced one that had my kids clapping with excitement. 

Dates, people. My kids were clapping for dates.

I'm pretty freaking proud.

To have your family clapping too, you will need to use:

1 1/2 cups of pitted dates
1 teaspoon of organic coconut oil
2 eggs
1/4 teaspoon of salt
2 1/2 cups of rice crispies (we used brown rice gluten free crisps)
1 tsp of vanilla extract
1/2 cup of apple sauce 
1/2 cup of raisins first soaked in hot water so they plump up
1 cup of sugar free flaked coconut or 1 cup of chopped peanuts (depending on nut allergies obviously)

In a sauce pan heat up your dates, eggs, apple sauce, salt, vanilla, raisins and coconut oil, the mixture will become nice and creamy after about 15 minutes. (NOTE: If you do not like raisins you can omit them and instead use only a 1/4 cup of apple sauce.)

With a wooden spoon mix well so that your dates mix in evenly. Remove your mixture from the heat and pour in your rice crispies (we used the brown rice gluten free ones, but any will do).

Once your mixture has cooled, spoon the mixture out and roll into a ball with your hands and then roll into your coconut or your peanuts.

I rolled ours with peanuts this time and rolled some in organic sugar for the kids. 

I love them rolled in coconut too. To be honest, I like anything rolled in coconut. It is totally a weakness.

I stored our date balls in a sealed container for about a week. They were still delicious down to the last one. I find that the date balls rolled in coconut freeze really well if you wanted to make these in a large batch or for a special occasion.

I'm pretty sure the kids and I are going to mix up an extra large batch in case we have unexpected visitors over the Easter long weekend. We are already talking about dipping them in dark chocolate (my idea) topping them with pink sprinkles (my daughters idea) and adding a surprise center of some kind (my sons idea).

This recipe changing stuff is pretty fun. 

The possibilities are endless and so are our appetites. 


Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Love Never Gives Up! {Some Wednesday encouragement}

Happy Wednesday y'all!

I hope the sun is shining where you are today. 

Here, in Ontario, yesterday we woke up to a carpet of white snow everywhere, and today the sun is just gorgeous and bright. Perfection really.

After a long winter, I find that the precious sunlight, and blessed vitamin D, do so much for the soul. I am digging my hibernating bear claws into anything that evokes positivity these days. It just helps a tired heart, you know?

Recently I had a small hospital stay and I have been dealing with some health issues; I am totally doing well, and milked my inability to cook and do laundry for 24 hours, obviously, projects and remodels have all but come to a halt, which is equally relieving and totally annoying.

Sharing and inspiring seemed to have gone on the back burner of my to do list and instead, regrouping and family time have been our focus the last couple of weeks. (ie; no new blog posts. I know you are dying to know if we hung one more tiny tile in our three-year-and-counting-master-bathroom-remodel)

I will leave you in suspense for a minimum of three more years at this rate. ;)

It is funny how half a dozen tests and a stint in a hospital gown, can bring life into perspective, isn't it?

(That is all for another post)

Today, I wanted to share something that touched my heart during this time of feeling yucky and the ever lasting winter blues.


I love this verse and I love the girls Kelli and Vanessa who so thoughtfully made this desk top screen saver for their readers. If you want to have this little bit of pretty reminding you that His love never gives up and ours shouldn't as well, then head on over to their blog where they offer this and a FREE i phone screen saver.

While you are there, make sure to check out some of the inspiring women they also share with their readers. There is nothing I like more than seeing women encouraging other women.

It does the same thing as sunlight does for me.

 It warms my soul.

Take care lovelies, I cant wait to share some new ideas I have brewing in my renewed heart.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Spring Soup {A fresh look at traditional.}

"Oh, what lovely winter weather we are having this spring!"

Said no one ever.

Around here, it is still super cold. Thankfully we have had some days where the sun is shining bright and the birds are chirping; combined, their loveliness has made this freezing Spring a little more bearable.

To say the least, the weather is consuming most conversations these days.

There is a consensus. 

We all are hopeful that the snow banks will melt with the bursts of sunshine and we are all craving summer foods. But, if we are honest, the foods of the fall and winter are what really hit the spot these days.

Recently, I made up a new soup recipe (surprise, another soup!) one that reminds me of the farmers market and one that is filled with fresh ingredients and fresh herbs. 

To me, it tastes like Spring.

If I cant send you sunshine myself, this bowl of soup, and carefully created recipe, will have to do.

You will need:

 7 cups of filtered water.
3 cloves of garlic
2 tbs of salt
1 large chicken breast (or two small ones)
2 chopped carrots
4 celery stalks sliced
1/2 yellow onion diced
3 peeled and chopped potatoes
1/2 cup of fresh corn (frozen will work too)
3 tbs of extra virgin olive oil
4 tbs of fresh chopped dill
1/2 tsp of chili flakes

Fill a stock pot with your water, chicken, garlic, salt and potatoes, cover and bring to a boil. 

Then add your carrots, onion, celery and corn, simmer until all your veggies are softened to your liking.

Add your evoo, chili flakes and dill the last few minutes of cooking. Top with more dill if you please, or add a scoop of sour cream for a creamier version of this delicious soup.

 The fresh dill is so refreshing and is the star of this spring meal.

 If I was a pun-loving-gal I would say that this soup will leave you with a spring in your step....

But, I am not, so you don't have to worry about cringing and wincing while reading the rest of this post.

 You can simply go to the grocery store, or the market if you are lucky, or to the garden, if you are extra lucky, and you can whip this meal-in-a-bowl up in mere minutes. 

While out, I'm sure someone will ask you about this longggg-crazy-winter-weather, but you know what, enjoy the complaints while they echo through the isles, cause their days are numbered. It is only a matter of time, and time is on our side at this point.

I, for one, will see you in the sunscreen isle. 

I will be the crazy lady stocking up on Coppertone and trying on aviators.

Wishful thinking is magical. 

Me and my arm loads of sunscreen are decidedly focusing on imminent Spring climates. 


Friday, March 28, 2014

Entry Way Revamp {White and bright for Spring!}

The other day I began to spring clean our home. 

So, I did what any woman would do, I turned up my music super loud, put on my frilly apron and got to work. 

I thought I would start by cleaning the baseboards, trim work and the doors in our home.

You know, since I cringe when visitors come in the day time. There is a reason why I only invite guest over in the evening. Darkness hides a multitude of home sins.

I'm not sure how it is at your place,but here, the kids scuff up walls and doors and after a long dark winter the longer days reveal scuff marks everywhere.

My kids are known for crazy exhausted antics after a freezing cold snowman building session. They lay exhausted and soggy on the floor, and kick their soaked snow pant clad leg wildly, until their muddy boot flies off and hits a random wall.

 After all the trim was cleaned, I decided to try out all of our white paint selections on the beat up bathroom door that is in our entry way and got slightly side tracked. 

You know how that goes. ;)

I decided that our entry way needed some brightening up. I mean, it is suppose to be Spring and yet we are still enduring the longest winter ever. If it isn't the brightest outside, it will be inside!!

Its snowing outside as I write this.

I recruited my hubs and son to add trim to our entry way hooks and then I filled all the holes with putty and got to brightening up the space with the brightest white paint we had on hand.

I kind of am in love with it.

The space went from bold blue and fun...

To soft and neutral:


This dreary weather has me craving everything and anything bright. This paint has certainly helped. 


I painted a little thrift store stool white as well. I figure the kids will have a place to sit now, instead of sprawling on the floor and kicking non stop.

 Boot removal is going to go so much smoother now.

The kids have already put the stool to good use; the little ones are using it to stand on and are now able to hang up their own coats and back packs. 

Win win.

I took down the dark frames that were previously above our hooks. See more pictures HERE. Instead, I spray painted some large vintage frames and put them in their place. Immediately the space feels more open and airy.


Now, when you come over to visit, you will see this space.

Before we moved in, the house looked like this....


When we moved in, we ripped up the flooring and the carpet and laid down neutral tile and new carpet. We added new baseboards, trim work, crown moulding, lighting, paint, some hooks and our own decor.


After some painted trim work, some slight changes to our decor and a painted stair railing our entry looks like this...

Add a dozen strewn boots everywhere, and the scene would be accurate.

Now, to finish my initial plan, and get back to painting that door. 


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Master Bathroom Progress {Free furniture is always fantastic.}

I am a recovering perfectionist.

This means that I would much rather show you lots of pretty pictures then the awful ones I am about to divulge for your curious, non judgemental eyes.

My favorite part about other peoples renovations are seeing the progress pictures. I love to feel like I am right there, amidst the chaos and somehow getting the inside scoop on the design details.

When it is our OWN renovations though, I like to cancel all social events, chase the mail man away and close my eyes when I walk into a room that we are working on.

But since I am a recovering perfectionist, I am trying hard to share the meatiest parts of any renovations, the "during".

As you know, our projects take wayyyyyy longer then the rest of the worlds, but that is fine too, sine it leaves us lots of time to change plans and to roll with new ideas.

Rolling we have done.

That (the picture above) is wall paper folks! 
I shared the above picture on my Instagram account a few days ago.

If we had of stuck to an appropriate time schedule, we would have been done this bathroom, but since we are us, we have been slowly plugging away and adding wallpaper, changing out our first vanity choice and adding other fun elements as we go.

As progress goes, we have a few more tiles up in our master bathroom and with each one I think my husband gains a new wrinkle. It has turned out to be very time consuming to place those itty bity tiles with his big man hands, but he is trucking along and we are loving the outcome so far.


And if you stand in our bathroom, just so, and turn your head a little to the left, you can ignore that there are two half walls left to tile and you can simply take in the beautiful view of the one finished wall.

Paying attention to details is hard work.

And then there is me.

 I'm the type of girl that flies by the seat of her pants, that rolls with the punches, that covers her bedroom with building supplies and that whips something together in an afternoon.

Read: Wallpaper adventures part #2

The first time I wallpapered it went very smoothly. 

But this is round two.

Round two that I threw up during nap time.

I will have to do a whole post on what I learned from my day of wallpapering our itty bitty space, but for now I will just let you know that it is always good to figure out if your wallpaper is pre-pasted or not before applying it to your wall. 

This will save you tons of precious time and your darling fingernails from peeling off all the gunked on, crooked, awful wallpaper that seemed like it just didn't want to cooperate.

Thank goodness for patient perfectionist husbands who encouraged me to relax and leave the hard wallpapering job to him.

Thank goodness, also, for my own intuitiveness and for knowing that my perfectionist husband would never actually add this job to his "to do list."

Thank goodness for perseverance and coffee. 
Lots of coffee.

Once the wallpaper was hung, which didn't take that long after I uncrumpled those handy instructions, I lugged up the old discarded side table I had found road side one day.

We decided that if we could rig the drawers up, to fit in with all the under the counter plumbing, then it would make a pretty nice vanity.

The piece is solid wood and has the "Bombay" company name stamped into the back of it. Of course it was free, but I also prefer it to some of the ones we have seen that were worth hundreds.

It ends up being the perfect height with the addition of our bowl sink. 

BACK STORY: (We had both the counter and the sink from a previous reno we had done to our salon bathroom. Once we found a vanity that better suited the style of the salon, we put the sink, faucet and counter in storage. Unknown to us, though, the previous faucet that we had, ended up corroding in storage when a bottle of toilet cleaner burst on to it. Yes, I totally blamed the kids and the dog. It could not have happen because I stuffed all the bathroom supplies haphazardly into a box?)


Lucky for me, when the kids and I went treasure hunting last weekend I found this perfect faucet at our local ReStore. It was also %50 off day, so we happily scooped up this almost new beautiful faucet for $22.50. 


Once I lugged all of the new pieces into the newly wallpapered space, I switched over the old knobs from the vanity for some new blingy ones.

I love that they are shiny and pretty and will go beautifully with the mirror that I talked about HERE.

But guys, now I stumped. 

I'm left with the idea of painting this cabinet out a pretty colour or leaving it as is. 


In the mean time, which could be any time between now and next Christmas, my hubs will be putting up some moulding to finish off the faux bead board. I will paint the trim and bead board making the whole space look bright and white. 

So, do I refinish the cabinetry and make it white as well? Do I use this opportunity to bring in a pretty pop of colour? Hmmmm. I truly am stumped. 

Anyone want to offer their two cents? I would love to hear your thoughts.

This is how she is right now. :)
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