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Because Jackie asked, I thought I would share with all of you my new secret weapon when it comes to weeknight sanity savers:

A recipe book called Fix, Freeze, Feast.  It is da bomb!  Literally.  I. Love. It.

Technically it was my present to Dale for Christmas.  Which now makes me feel more than a little guilty, since he got me two of the best presents ever (a Digi Photo Frame which I have been lusting over for ages AND a West Jet Gift Certificate with specific instructions to use it when I need a Gill and/or Mom fix or want to escape from Cold Lake for any number of weather/toddler/work related reasons).  Where was I? Right. Guilty.  So I feel a little guilty because I obviously love the book way more than Dale does.  But then again, I am stuck here in Cold Lake working full time and attempting to feed myself and a toddler for 3 weeks while he is gallavanting working hard on the west coast for 3 weeks with his buddies unit.

Anyway, the whole book is full of recipes designed to make multiple entrees of an item specifically to freeze.  For example, in my freezer right now I have the following:

2 family size garlic mashed potatoes

4 small pan lasagnas

4 chicken curry meals

4 cashew chicken stir fry meals (just add fresh veg to repare)

3 meals for 2 of French Onion Soup (just add hot water and broil for 5 mins)

2 loaves of banana bread

2 meals balsamic marinated pork chops

and Lots of Individual sized tomato basil soups for lunches.

This method takes some preparation, and toddler-free time to make the meals, but I think it’s well worth the effort to be able to come home at the end of the day and be able to prepare a healthy meal in less than 30 mins for the most part. A warehouse club membership is also handy so that you can buy some ingediants in bulk (especially meat).  I would have to say it’s a little heavy on the meat and light on the veggies, but it’s not tough to make a salad or steam some veg while your entree is cooking, expecially since there is little to no other prep required.

I have also tried freezing a few of my other fav recipes, like Mozza Sticks from the recipe book Deceptively Delicious (another fabulous addition to any kitchen with kids!), which I won way-back-when from Megan and these fabulous Yam and Black Bean Burritos, which also freeze really well and Nate can’t get enough of!

But now for what you really want to know – what firsts did Nate have today?

1) He climbed into his highchair by himself (and then onto the table to get his milk…but I’m attempting to forget that part)!

2) He walked around the house wearing one of my crocs and one of Dale’s crocs (and then tried to walk up the stairs in them – which I am also trying to forget!)

How cute and slightly terrifying is all of that?

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I’m now going to drown my sorrows in some Chocolate Brownie Pudding (my Mother-in-Law’s recipe).

Here’s the recipe if you’d like to do the same:

1 cup sifted all purpose flour

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 Tbsp cocoa

2 Tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup milk

2 Tbsp salad oil

1 tsp vanilla

3/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional and I usually skip them)

Preheat oven to 350′. Sift together first 5 ingredients.  Add milk, salad oil and vanilla.  Mix until smooth (makes a dough like consistency).  Stir in nuts.  Spread into greased 8x8x2 pan.

Mix together 3/4 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup cocoa and sprinkle over batter in pan.

Pour 1 and 3/4 cups hot tap water over entire  batter.

Bake at 350′ for about 45 minutes.  Makes 6-8 servings.  Tastes even better with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream 🙂

Congratulations Allison!

random.org picked number 5, so Allison (one of my real-life blog-reading pals) wins the $25 Gift Certificate to the Grassroots Store.  They have some great stuff, so you should all check it out if you’re in the market for green alternatives to everyday products.

Sorry it took me so long to get this post up, today has been a crazy day.  It seems like every time I turn around there was another mess to clean up.  I was making baby food this morning too so I have done more dishes than I can count!  Man am I ever going to be excited to live in a house with a dishwasher one of these days!!

Thought you might also like to know how my Green Smoothie Challenge is going now that we’re heading into week 3.  I must admit, everyday is not happening.  I usually miss every third day.  When I make a batch of smoothie there is always enough for two days, and then somehow the third day I just don’t get around to making more.  But then on day four I get back into the groove.

I think part of my problem is that I just can’t give up my cereal and coffee in the morning, so it tends to be closer to 11am by the time I get around to making a smoothie.  So if Nate’s naps get at all out of whack I fall off track really easy.  But, I am certainly drinking them more frequently than I was before and anything is better than nothing.

I haven’t been very adventurous with regard to trying new recipes.  Because fruit isn’t in season around here, everything but the basics is pretty pricey right now, so I’ve been sticking to various combos of apples, pears, bananas, frozen strawberries (I already had a big bag in the freezer) and mostly using spinach.  I am going to try Reesh’s frozen banana recipe later this week though and I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes! (Although I’m sure it’ll be delicious).

I haven’t posted any 365 pics recently, but if you’re interested you can check the most recent ones out here.  I’m still having a lot of fun taking everyday type photos and playing with my new remote shutter release.  This is definitely a projec that anyone who likes photography should try at some point.

Hope you are all enjoying your weekend!


Every Tuesday we take Turner to  Agility.

Every Tuesday after Agility we watch The Biggest Loser.

Every Tuesday on our way home from Agility we stop at Timmies (The quintessential Canadian coffee shop for all my friends south of the border!)

And every Tuesday when we stop at Timmies we order donuts.  An Apple Fritter for me and a Chocolate Glazed for Dale.

How ironic is that?

I have to give a shout out to Megan over at Sorta Crunchy, who recently hosted a Deceptively Delicious Giveaway, of which I was the lucky winner! Thanks so much for sharing Megan! I can’t wait to try out some recipes from this new book. Those of you who know me, realize that eating healthy food (especially veggies) is NOT my strong point. In fact, that’s an understatement. Although I’m getting better. Much better. Really. I am. In fact, I’ve cooked three real meals this week. Count ’em. Three! And they ALL included vegetables.  So, thanks again Megan!

I’ve also been meaning to send you all over to Jackie’s blog, where she has started a Thursday Challenge theme.  Gently encouraging us on a weekly basis to be better member’s of our community.  Jackie is the kinda gal who you would definitely like to have as a neighbour, or to be on a committee with.  I find her challenges relevant and inspirational.  They’re also easy enough that a new Mom can handle them, so I’m sure you can too!  So if you’re looking to push yourself in a social-responsibility sorta way, then be sure to check it out!

Well, the non-stress was pretty uneventful. They monitored the baby’s heart rate for about 30 minutes and everything looked great. The hospital was pretty busy when we were there. The best part was that we ran into a couple from our Prenatal classes who had just had little baby boy names Aiden on Wednesday morning. Unfortunately Mom ended up with a C-section because the cord was wrapped around his neck a few times and was causing him to yo-yo up and down. But both Mom and Aiden are fine now; they were heading home this morning and Dad looked beyond ecstatic about their new addition. He was all excited that it might be time for us…but we assured him that our babe was taking his/her sweet ol’ time!

I was waiting till later today to blog hoping to have a further update from our midwives appointment this afternoon, but we didn’t end up having one because just as we were arriving there was a quickly progressing home birth happening and Sadie needed to rush out to help the first midwife who was already there. So instead Dale took me for a nice dinner at one of my favourite restaurants, Atlas. It was great. We had baked Brie and Roasted Garlic on Foccacia to start, I had the Mediterranean platter which includes their stellar Greek Salad and fantastic hummus, and Dale had a wrap, and then we finished with Belgian Chocolate Espresso Mousse. So super yummy….did I mention I love mousse? It’s this perfect mix of rich and delectable and smooth and light.

At the moment I’m having contractions about 6 to 8 minutes apart (and have been for the last hour and a half), but we’re trying not to get too excited in case they stop again. In any case, it would be prudent for Baby Campbell to wait at least a few more hours since I’m sure Sadie and Deb are still busy with the other home birth right now…and we’d really prefer not to have to go to the hospital.

Oh – and before I go, I just thought I would pass on a story to those of you who read my post on organizing your digital photos and having been meaning to get to it soon but aren’t quite there yet. One of my scrapbooking friends, Heather, recently had her computer hard drive fry on her and lost a whole ton of important photos, including her daughter’s first birthday. Luckily I had shared my method with Heather a while ago and she had some of her pics printed and/or backed up, but she still lost a lot. So…yet more reason for you not to delay! In case you missed my post the first time around you can find my method here. It really doesn’t matter what method you use – just use something so you don’t end up with no photos!

So – hopefully these contractions will keep going and tomorrow there will be much more exciting post, but given my track record I’m not getting my hopes up. In the meantime Dale and I are gonna chill on the couch and watch Supersize Me.

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Click here for the recipe.

Jen is baking. Yes that’s right – baking. It usually only happens at Christmas, or in the presence of especially inspiring people. But no – here I am, sitting home alone on a random Tuesday afternoon baking what promise to be the biggest, gooiest, yummiest chocolate chip cookies ever! Or at least the best ever made by me. If they turn out well…I’ll post the recipe for everyone to try. If not…maybe I’ll post it anyway as a way to occupy myself tomorrow in the seemingly never-ending baby-waiting contest.

As a side note – I’d just like to comment on the fabulous September weather we’ve been having here in Comox. I am almost starting to forget (almost – but not quite) the fact that this was a truly rotten summer weather wise with way too much rain, wind and general yuckiness. The beautiful sunshine and crystal clear mountain views remind me of the fall Dale and I moved here. Can you believe that was 4 – yes 4 – years ago!?! We had a super warm fall then too and Dale and I spent every free moment exploring all the parks and trails around. I’m hoping the weather will hold out for a few more weeks so that when the soon-to-be Grandma’s are here we can get out and about with the fabulous new stroller (thanks MOM!) to walk the beast (that would be Turner) and show off the baby.

Oh – the oven is beeping. I’m off to try my cookies, but I’ll leave with a few pics taken way back when.

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