Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Homemade Kale and Basil Pesto

I am always on the lookout for any way to sneak some veggies into my semi-picky eater's diet. Despite doing baby-led weaning and have a one year old who would eat literally anything (except mangoes....who doesn't like mangoes?), my baby has turned into a typical toddler who turns her nose up at most vegetables (with the exception of beets and purples carrots... ONLY purple ones).

One of my favorite strategies is to add veggies into her favorite foods. My girl loves her pesto (because cheese) and will gladly devour spoonfuls of it (like momma like daughter). We use it as a pasta sauce, or, our favourite, making pesto pizzas. Sneaking in some veggies is so easy. Just halve the amount of basil you would usually use and add your favourite leafy green. I usually do kale but spinach and arugula both are great too. Garlic scrapes also taste amazing, but I didn't get garlic in the garden this year.

Not sure if everyone makes pesto from scratch, but it is quick and easy, and is pretty cheap using the veggies from your garden. Basil and Kale are sooo easy to grow. Last summer I exclusively container gardened (because we moves halfway through the summer) and I had heaps of each.

Quick tip: I use walnuts or cashews rather than pine nuts to make it more economical. Like so many things, after getting used to the fresh homemade version, I can't go back to store bought pesto.


This version is easy to freeze as well. I usually just spoon some into a freezer Ziploc and date it (Goal: invest in small jars so I can ditch the plastic). Pesto never lasts long at my house, but it seems to keep just fine.

The end result: Hannah and I have a delicious treat while getting our greens. No, perhaps not a full serving (though if I let her, she might just devour a whole batch in one sitting). However, this is an argument-free way to sneak some extra veggies into her life!


One large handful basil
7-10 Kale leaves (remove stems)
1/2 cup cashews
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
2-4 cloves of garlic (I like a lot of garlic and use 4)
1/4 tsp salt
A few squirts of lemon juice (bottled) or the juice of one lemon

Add all ingredients to food processor and blend until smooth. Add more olive oil if needed to smooth out consistency.


Saturday, 1 July 2017

The Five Reasons I Chose to Cloth Diaper and What I Told the Haters

From the time I was a child, I knew I would cloth diaper my babies. I had zero role models who used cloth, or who were eco-friendly in pretty much any way except good ol' curbside recycling, but as the generation who grew up with Fern Gully (amazing... so emotional!) and environmental awareness thanks to the disappearing o-zone and rainforest, I was turned on to being green at an early age. I firsts heard of cloth diapering from a Baby Sitter's Club book (my passion as a nine year old). As soon as I read about it, I knew it was the only way I could diaper my babies.

Fast forward to 20 years later and I held the same convictions, plus concerns about chemicals on my baby's bum, plus wanting to save some dollar bills! I was determined and after I saw so many cute diaper prints, hooked!

This did not make my start into cloth diapering easy. I had zero support from ANYONE in my family. My husband thought it was disgusting and would not pitch in a cent to buy them, my grandmother, who had cloth diapered herself, told me it was too much of a hassle, even my usually incredibly supportive father said, "You know, Cindy, no one is going to judge you if you change your mind and use disposables." Luckily, I am a little pigheaded and when I decide to do something, I usually stick to it.

In the end, I was right. I have loved every second of my cloth diapering experience, and my critics are now cloth diaper proponents. Even my husband, who though it would be dirty, disgusting and a waste of time and money, know fully admits he was wrong and recommends it to friends. My sister and cousin have also begun to cloth diaper their new babies as well. I am proud of myself for sticking to my convictions and making this positive choice for my little girl, who now cloth diapers her own baby dolls!

Here are my best arguments when convincing others (or yourself!) about the wonder that is cloth diapering.

1. Environmental concerns

The number of disposable diapers that wind up in a landfill is absolutely staggering and disgusting. Wikipedia states that 27.4 BILLION disposable diapers are used each year in the U.S. alone, resulting in 3.4 million tons of trash! If that is not enough to make your stomach turn, I don't know what is. My number one reason for cloth diapering is to cut down on garbage polluting the earth, especially now that I have a little one that will inherit all the problems this and previous generations have caused to Mother Nature. Some people argue that cloth diapers use a lot of resources both in manufacturing and washing the diapers, but I still believe that this is less harmful than using disposables. Purchasing diapers second-hand, re-selling diapers and choosing sustainable materials such as bamboo or hemp, and hanging diapers to dry can also offset the environmental impact.
(Courtesy of: baby.steals.com)

2. Financial Reasons

No doubt about it, cloth diapers are a cheaper way to go. There are options that can have your baby diapered for $100 or less if this is your top priority. 

Although I chose to buy pricier diapers and had a set of newborns and one-size, I figured after a year in diapers I had made back the money I originally invested. That means the second year was free (minus water, electricity and laundry soap). I plan on having using the same diapers for my next child, so the savings will multiply!

Not to mention, many diapers hold their value over the years. Some limited edition diapers (yes, that's a thing) even sell for more than they were originally sold for. I plan on selling all my diapers after I am done having kids to recoup some of the upfront cost. You can't do that with disposables!

3. Chemical concerns

If you are like me, you are concerned about the number of chemicals used, especially in baby products. I have read stories about babies getting chemical burns or rashes when using disposables. I know lots of babies who can't use certain brands of diapers because they react badly. I felt comfort in knowing my baby had natural fabrics  next to her skin.

4. Support Local/Small Businesses

There are many diaper companies that are run by WAHM's. Often diapers are made in Canada (or the US). I have diapers made by a small business located twenty minutes from my house. Additionally, most stores that sell diapers are local businesses, rather than big box stores. Supporting community members rather than big box stores is important to me!

5. They Are So Cute!

Honestly, diapering is not a fun part of motherhood (and fatherhood). There are tons of adorable prints out there that make diapering just a bit more fun. It can become addictive and there is a great community to support you!

Hopefully that gives you enough information to defend yourself against critics. At the end of the day, you are the decision maker for your child. It doesn't really matter what family members or friends say. My best advice would be to go right ahead and do what you want. Whether you invest in two diapers to give it a try, or, like me, have a full set ready to go, jump right in. I know you won't regret it.

Keep following this series for more instalments on cloth diapering info, tips, tricks and FAQ's

In the meantime, I would love to hear from you. What is your number one reason for cloth diapering? Do you have a support network, or are you like me, a cloth diaper lone wolf?🐺

Friday, 30 June 2017

Clean Eating Popsicles...Just in Time for Canada Day!

Now that we're on summer vacation, I have been looking for ways to keep Hannah outside on the deck with me. She is turning into an inside girl (terrified of bugs... she got a horsefly bite yesterday and I've never heard her scream so loud!). One snack she loved as a baby was popsicles, so I wanted to make some sugar free treats for her to enjoy outside.

These were super easy to make. She has been going through berries in stages (loves one or two kinds of berries, but refuses the rest and changes her mind about every three days). As a result, I had some raspberries about to go bad. I lightly smushed (technical term?) the berries and filled each popsicle with half raspberries and half coconut water. They froze great in my Dollarama popsicle moulds.

End result? She loves them! Now to teach her you can't leave the popsicle on the deck floor and come back to eat it five minutes later!

Popsicle instructions:

Raspberries (or any other kind of berries)
Coconut water
Popsicle moulds
Freezer :)

Gently smush raspberries until mushy
Spoon in a couple spoonfuls of raspberry into each mould
Fill moulds to top with coconut water
Put on lids and gently shake (this will disperse the berries through the popsicle rather than having one big clump).
Freeze for several hours or overnight.

These were a hit with Hannah! I'm looking forward to experimenting with different berries and maybe mangoes and kiwis as well!

Hope everyone has a great Canada Day! How do you plan on celebrating?