Jenn

Mar 272015
 

lentilI’ve been making a version of this dish for years and decided it could use a bit more excitement–and nutrition. Lentils are great, but just like with my Root Veggie Dhal, adding a bit of veg made this dish that much yummier, and healthier!

Ingredients

4T oil (coconut, olive, whatever)
1 med onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 leaves of kale or other greens, spine removed and chopped
1 cup peas, frozen
2tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice
3.5 cups homemade bone broth (or veg broth) or water
3/4 cup dried brown or green lentils, ideally soaked over night
3/4 cup rice of choice, ideally soaked overnight

How to

Heat oil
Add onions, garlic, spices and veg (except kale)
Fry about 5-10 mins
Add broth/water and lentils
Bring to a boil then let simmer for 10 minutes
Stir in rinsed rice then return to a boil and reduce heat, simmering about 25 minutes longer or until rice is cooked and water is absorbed. Add kale about 5-10 mins before the rice is finished cooking.

Enjoy!

Mar 262015
 
Smart BottleWell parents, in case you didn’t know it, we really, really need technology to help us parent. Maternal instinct? What’s that?
And get this: Whatever the reason a mom bottlefeeds, she must be too incompetent to figure out how to do it. Luckily, Baby Gigl is here!
It’s the world’s first Smart Bottle.
How Stupid!
From a press release, “Baby Gigl is the perfect tool in teaching everyone from a new parent to nannies or a friends the correct way to hold a baby bottle while feeding, reducing air bubbles and risk of colic, spit up and diarrhea. Detailed tracking information like length of time and quantity during a feeding are sent to the parent via smartphone, which provides unprecedented transparency and accountability in tracking the child’s feeding habits.”
My kids are breastfed, so maybe I just don’t get it… ? (If you bottle feed please, please do weigh in here. Am I missing something?) Maybe for those of us who breastfeed, they’re working on a USB we can implant in our boobs to let us know if baby is sucking for hunger or comfort. It will upload the information to various devices in the house so we can tell if our baby is still hungry.
I wouldn’t normally go out of my way to write about something in such a negative light, I just couldn’t resist. This is mindblowingly ridiculous.
Many women end up bottle-feeding because we live in a culture of fear and self doubt and we’re constantly placing limiting beliefs on ourselves. I can’t… I don’t know how to… I’ll never be able to… I’m not the type of person who… We live in a culture that sexualizes breasts instead of normalizing breastfeeding.
This Smart Bottle, however technically advanced, is a huge step backward. Whatever milk a woman is feeding her baby, we should be empowering her to be a strong and confident mom. Teaching her that she knows her baby better than any doctor, nurse, “sleep expert,” and certainly better than a computerized bottle!
Mar 242015
 

melissaSpring Sweepstakes with Little Passports

Little Passports has partnered with Melissa and Doug for a Spectacular Spring Sweepstakes! Enter The Little Passports and Melissa and Doug Spring Sweepstakes today! One lucky winner will receive the following Grand Prize Package worth $400 USD.

  • A 12-Month Little Passports subscription
  • World Coin Collection from Little Passports
  • Melissa & Doug prize pack: Sunny Patch Tent, two Personalized Sleeping Bags, four On The Go Activity Pads, a Pinball Arcade Battery-Free Game, and two Beeposh Plush Razzle Raccoon toys!
    The contest ends on March 31st, so be sure to enter today!

    Must be 18 years of age; Valid to residents of US to Canada (excluding Quebec and Puerto Rico/US Territories). See complete rules on entry form.

 

 Posted by at 11:57 pm
Mar 232015
 

kicker2If you’re reading this, I know where you live. Okay, not exactly where you live, but I know how many readers are in Australia versus Canada. I also know some of you live in the warmer areas of North America (my mom in BC) and some of you live down the street in Montreal, which still looks like Arendale just after Elsa ran away.

Montreal’s in deep, deep, deep, deep… Snow.

It’s March and our heat is still on, as it’s on every March. Birds want to sing, buds want to grow, but still it’s chilly. No one is sleeping naked yet and we’re happy to have these awesome new “Kickers” pjs from Baby Dee Dee to keep Babe and Bug cozy.
kickerThe one piece, sleeveless zip up  Kickers are made in India of the softest high quality fleece. No flame retardants have been added to the fabric. They come in Slate/Hot Pink, Peacock or Slate/Khaki are one size (2-4). Both my kids weigh about 35lbs. She’s about six inches taller than he is but both fit perfectly. The pjs measure 34-42″.  As you can see in the pics, Babe is rocking the hot pink and Bug is looking adorable in the Peacock. The cotton shirts you see in the photos do not come with the Kickers. Bug is learning how to zzzzip! and has been zipping up his own kickers as well as his sisters. Babe tends to get hot at night, but because she pretty much sleeps on her own, and kicks off her blankets all night, this Kickers are the perfect solution. And… I think I’ve just clued into the product name!
Baby DeeDee is offering one lucky mamanaturale winner a pair of Kickers in your choice of colour.
If it’s already warm where you live, don’t let that deter you from entering the contest. They last for years!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Mar 182015
 

meditationBookshelves. Don’t you love looking at other peoples’ bookshelves? It can give you insight into a friend’s interests, who they are, or what they aspire to be like. I have multiple bookshelves. Some of my book collections are on the shelves of other people.

One of my favourite bookshelves is the one at my school, Yoga Re:Source. Can you imagine what a resource it is? During our weekend seminars we have a two hour lunch break. Some people venture into the cold for a walk. I make lunch then peruse the shelves.
There was this one book that jumped out at me again and again. Autobiography of a Yogi looked heavy, and although I know it’s something every yoga teacher is supposed to read, I hesitated.
After weeks of avoiding this book, I received an envelope from Quest Books. Meditation as a Way of Life: Philosophy and Practice. It was Rev. Alan L. Pritz’s book based on the teachings of Yogananda! Someone did the reading for me, delivering the messages in a modern and very understandable way.
Meditation as a Way of Life is an excellent guide for anyone interested in yoga, spirituality and religious studies. It can serve as an introduction or for people looking to deepen their understanding of yoga and meditation.
This book is not about religion. Yoga is not a religion. But Pritz has a large scope, allowing readers of any faith to identify with Yoganandas teachings. Because let’s be honest, it’s all the same message at the core.
One of my favourite pages demonstrates mantras we can use to help us concentrate. Pritz includes Christian, Jewish, Islamic, Tibetan Buddhist, Hindu and “secular” chants. But again, it’s all the same thing. The other day, I found myself sitting in a circle chanting Allah! Allah! It took me by surprise but was invigorating. While certain words are less relatable to us, chanting Allah! is just the same as chanting Om Mani Padme Hum. Or Shanti Shanti Shanti. For some, it’s reciting a familiar prayer.
The book starts off as a funny, interesting autobiographical account of author Rev. Alan L. Pritz’s journey to finding his guru, or Enlightened Guide, Paramahansa Yogananda.
Cartoon illustrations show us practical stretching exercises for the entire body, as well as breathing exercises like alternate nostril and Full Yogic breath.
The author explains also goes in depth, walking us through the mental, spiritual and physical applications of the 12 Principles  of Spiritual Understanding, and an intro to chakras.

Meditation as a Way of Life: Philosophy and Practice
By Alan L. Pritz
Published by Quest Books

 Posted by at 7:24 pm
Mar 162015
 
Sacred Suenos

The magical Sacred Suenos

Thank you, Rise, for sending us a case which included of each of your flavours, even kinds we had never tried before! The case didn’t last long– we shared one daily until they were all gone, making our way through Ginger, Mint Chlorophyll, Lemongrass, Blueberry Maple, Rose Schizandra and Hibiscus Rose Hips. All the ingredients in these drinks, brewed in Montreal, are organic, fair trade, raw and vegan.

I have to say, the only thing cuter than a four year old saying the word “kombucha” is a two year old asking for it!

What is kombucha? It’s fermented tea. It’s fizzy, often sweet, and full of probiotics. Probiotics = healthy guts for the whole family. Babe happily drinks kefir but Bug skips dairy, so I like to get a little bit of kombucha into him, and he doesn’t mind. Kombucha is an antioxidant, immune system strengthener, it fights agains stress, stimulates digestion, increases energy and balances intestinal flora. Because of companies like Rise, kombucha consumption might be on the… rise… but it’s certainly not new. It was discovered 2000 years ago!
Have I sold you, yet? If you’re wanting to try it for the first time, or already a bit of an addict like I am, Rise is giving away a case of kombucha to one lucky winner in your flavour choice. Read on for details!
The first time I ever tried kombucha, I was three hours up a mountain in Southern Ecuador. I was woofing on a Permaculture farm called a Sacred Suenos.

There was no electricity. It was dinner time and we were sitting around by candle light eating a beautiful soup made of veggies from the gardens.
POP! Or was it BANG!?
Whatever it was it was loud. We all screamed. A gunshot here on our mountain?
Nope. There was too much pressure in the kombucha bottle. It exploded everywhere and the owner of the farm, Yves, brought out a new one. And we all laughed as our heart rates returned to normal and we sipped the fizzy drink. It tasted slightly vinegary but invigorating. I was in love.
The next day, Yves showed us the process of making the fermented drink– “the symbiotic relationship between yeast and a fungus.” I’ll never forget that line.
RISEA few years later, I was living (with Papa) in Montreal and my neighbour gave me scobie babysitting duties while he went away and I unfortunately left the scobie (fungus) sans attention in the back of the fridge. There was something intimidating about making my own kombucha. Maybe I have PTSD from the mountain incident.
As far as fermentation a go, I’ve had great luck with crockpot yogurt, milk kefir (made with powdered cultures as well as kefir grains) lacto-fermented carrots and sauerkraut. Less luck with beet kvass and water kefir. I’d love to try making sourdough bread and of course, kombucha.
I promise to keep you posted on my kombucha making adventures (you can make your own with this recipe), but until I get to it, I’m going to keep on buying it!
My all-time favourite flavour is Ginger (did you catch my Ginger Zinger Kombucha recipe?) although the Mint is a close second. Babe liked Rose Hibiscus (I just realized it’s made from black tea–whoops!) the best and Bug didn’t seem to have a preference.
Enter the copter here for your chance to win your own case of Rise!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Mar 142015
 

We went to a recent Petits Party Rockers, which takes place once a month in Montreal’s Mile End. It was a pretty big effort to get there, complete with car drama. But it was so worth it! Babe and Bug are usually fast asleep at 3pm–when the party started, so we knew in order to avoid total meltdowns, they needed to get a nap in the car. We left early, and they slept in the car while I bought the finishing touches for Babe’s 4th birthday party the following day.

We arrived on time, and they were bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and ready to rock! We heard Michael Jackson on the way in.
There were about a hundred people at the event– families with children of all ages.
I was impressed was how smoothly organized the whole event was. Things were so calm and the venue is setup for exactly these types of activities. Though we’d never been somewhere quite like this before. The whole premise is that we can go dance with our kids and listen to Not Kids Music. Aside from MJ, there was Prince, Aretha– “it was like being at home,” reflects Papa. It’s true. There were also pop songs I’d never heard before cause I’m super out of the loop! The space, Centre Vida Sana is rented out for all kinds of events and it’s beautiful.
dance
To be honest, my particular kids on this particular day were not particularly into dancing. We spent some time with the bigger kids on the dance floor, but Babe was into the gym area, climbing on monkey bars and balance beams, swinging on ropes and jumping on the trampoline. Bug was so content in the area with books and toys. There was food and drink for sale. I wish we’d gone for some of the yummy homemade curry they were serving, instead of heading out to China Town afterward. But you live and learn.
Call me selfish, but one of the reasons I was so keen to drag the whole family across town (from Verdun to Outrement) was I knew I’d get to meet friends I’d never met in person. I’ve “known” Laura and Enza  for years but we’d never met in person. The day of the party, I found out that the reason Laura started reading this blog (how we “met”) was because Enza introduced her to it! Four years ago, Laura, a stranger, helped me through the toughest breastfeeding times.
I also finally got to meet Vivian Doan (she and her family are even more gorgeous in person, which I couldn’t imagine was possible. And the  event organizer, the lovely Jennifer Roberge, who I interact with at least weekly online. I also ran into my old friend Pilar, who was the MC at my wedding and another internet friend named Tatiana.
There’s nothing quite like dance music, laughing children, great food, wine and old friends to feel part of a beautiful community. The thing is, as I mentioned there were 100 people there. Still–it was as intimate and comfy as an old fashioned house party.
The next dance party is Saturday, March 21 at 3:30pm – 6:30pm at Centre Vida Sana
435 Beaubien ouest
Tickets on sale through EventBrite:
https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/family-dance-party-tickets-16143480585Space is limited so purchase your tickets early. Tickets are $8.61 each online before the event. $10 at the door.

Mar 122015
 

rise-kombucha-ginger-414ml-9dcBabe was coming down with some sniffles. I whipped this up and we all reaped the benefits. It might have been a little too spicy for the kids but it seems to have kicked the sniffles!

2 cups Ginger Rise kombucha
1″ ginger, peeled
2 carrots
1 orange
Blend in a Blendtec,or other blender until it’s all mixed together. Mmmmm!

That Blendtec link is an affiliate link. I have this machine and love it. If you purchase a machine or accessory through this link, a little of that money goes towards financing this blog without any cost to you! Happy shopping, happy blending, happy kombuchaing.

Mar 092015
 

eco3Because we’re both self employed, Papa and I are able to avoid crowds most of the time. We don’t tend to go grocery shopping, for example, on a Saturday morning. We also generally avoid museums when we know there will be crowds. But it was March Break!

We took the kids to see The Butterflies Go Free and to the Ecomuseum, on March Break. Oh boy there were crowds! But in both cases, it was so worth it.
We often go to the Ecomuseum Zoo, and there are always people there, but nothing like this! We knew we were in for it when we had to park at the back of the full lot. Kids came in by the school bus and there was a lineup when we got to the front.
ecoWhile crowds bother me in some situations, I was overjoyed to see this many people supporting such a beautiful organization. As I’ve mentioned before, the Ecomuseum is home to over 115 animal species from Québec.
For the March Break, the museum put on twice daily presentations. On the day we visited, Laura, who is in charge of the reptiles, did an amazing presentation on snakes, in perfect English and French, which was appreciated by the large audience. Laura showed us (and let us touch) a long piece of snakeskin and explained that the fact that the snake had shed in one long piece means he is healthy and his environment is moist enough. Babe didn’t get to hold the snake, and she was a little disappointed, but she got to hold the skin and quickly eco 4touch the big snake’s tail. The guide also fed the snake, but we had taken a water break, and I’m okay with that. The last time we watched a baby bird get eaten to death by ants, Babe was a wee bit traumatized!
We’re all a little wintered out by this point (who isn’t?) so while we visited some of our favourite animals (the Arctic Fox and the Snowy Owl) we were all happy to head in to see the reptiles downstairs!
Before getting back in the car, headed home, we staked out a spot in the busy cafeteria and warmed up with homemade soup (they have a microwave!) Then we went for yet another round in the honeycomb installation. We played eye spy, hide and seek and a lot of crawling in the holes!
eco2We’ll likely be back soon on a weekday morning to enjoy the same freedom and space as the animals at the zoo, but a couple upcoming activities that are going to be a blast: April 4-5, during Easter weekend, there is the Great Easter Egg Hunt and lots of fun stuff for kids. Also, when we were there, we saw ads for some kind of Froggy concerto one night in May. More details on that to come! You can see all the upcoming activities here, including and English storytime for toddlers at the end of March.
The Ecomuseum Zoo is going to give one lucky mamanaturale reading family a pass for one of the days during Easter weekend. Enter the copter below and hope to see you there!

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