recipe: cozy winter soup

Ingredients:

4 tbsp oil, any
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
4 cups vegetable stock
1 cup coconut milk
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 large yellow squash, cubed
2 cups Basmati rice, cooked

Steps:

1. In a large pot, heat oil over medium. Add the garlic. Chop the onion and add it to the pot. Next add the vegetable stock, coconut milk, and lemon juice. Continue to cook over medium. 

2. Cut the squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the stringy bits and seeds. Scoop out the rest, cubing it and adding it to the soup. Cook for approximately 20 minutes.

3. In the meantime, cook the Basmati rice and set aside. Once the vegetables are cooked through, you can add the soup to a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth.

4. Return the soup to the pot. Stir in the cooked rice until completely combined. Serve warm.

Emory

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what every parent in waiting needs to know

It’s true that nothing will ever truly prepare you for parenthood, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t things you can do that’ll help to make the journey a little more straightforward. While you’ll never be able to get the full picture of things before the child arrives, you can at least begin getting a sense of what’s in store for you. There is, after all, a lot to know! In this blog, we’re going to run through some of the essential pieces of information that every parent ‘to be’ needs to know. 

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Your Life Will Dramatically Change

Some parents like to downplay the seriousness of the journey they’re undertaking. They have the idea that their life will carry on more or less as normal; it’s just that, now, they’ll have a baby by their side. This, of course, is not the case. It’s best to get rid of any illusion that your “old life” will remain intact. It won’t! But that’s not a bad thing. You’re moving into something that’s even better and more valuable. 

Everyone Will Have An Opinion

If there’s one thing to know about parents, it’s that every single one of them thinks they know the correct way to raise a child. And they’re very forthcoming with those opinions. You’ll be the same one day unless you actively work to prevent yourself from sliding into that role. When you’re a parent, you’ll have to put up with friends, family members, and complete strangers putting in their two cents’ worth on matters related to, well, just about everything. You can’t always stop people from sharing their thoughts, but you can control how you respond. Don’t let it annoy you!

Time Moves Fast

Time can move extremely slowly, but generally only when you’re not doing anything or when every day is the same. That’s why the coronavirus lockdown seemed to last so long! When you have a baby, you’ll be doing a lot of things all the time, and no two days will be the same. As such, you can expect that time will move extremely quickly. You’ll hit the 11 month mark before you even realise what’s going on. Meditation can help to make you more present, which can help to “slow down time,” somewhat. But the main thing will be to appreciate the experience! It’ll be rushed, but it’s always important to stop and smell the roses from time to time. 

The Parenting Style 

You’re not going to get everything right as a parent. And that’s fine — you shouldn’t expect to. However, there are things you can do that’ll push you as far in the right direction as it’s possible to go. One such approach is to figure out what you want your parenting style to be before your child arrives. There are plenty of different approaches to take, with none being necessarily better than the others; it’s just about what’s right for you. Once you have your style figured out, you’ll have something of a ‘blueprint’ for how to act/what to do as a parent. 

Be aware, however, that you won’t always stick to whatever approach you come up with. The child will have a mind of his or her own, after all. For instance, while you might want to prevent your child from watching television and eating dinner at the same time, there’ll be times when it just happens. Treat whatever approach you come up with more as guiding principles, rather than anything that’s absolute concrete. 

The Products They Need

It might be a little intimidating to think that you have to go through the parenting experience all on your own. Thankfully, that is not the case. Help is available everywhere, in the shape of advice, blogs, apps, and products. Products are especially important — there are just so many available that’ll help to make things run much more smoothly! You should buy some of the more essential items before the baby is born; you might not have the time you need to locate the item once he or she has arrived. When you’re still pregnant, read up on baby rockers, bouncers, and swings, so you can get the one that’s right for your needs. You should also take a read of the best baby apps; there’s generally something for every type of issue that a new parent would experience.

Working As A Team

You and your partner will likely have a long history of shared moments and so forth. But your baby is going to bring about your biggest challenge yet. In order to succeed as much as possible, you should actively plan to work as a team, rather than just hoping it’ll happen. It may well come together, but in nearly all cases, things run more smoothly when there’s been a conscious effort to develop a working system. The New York Yankees didn’t get to their level just by hoping that things would naturally work out. 

Working with your partner doesn’t just help you to become better parents. It also helps your relationship. Like it or not, having a baby does put a pretty big strain on a relationship. After all, it’s a pretty stressful and intense position to be in! To prevent drama and resentment from developing, think ahead of time and answer the big questions, such as who’s going to be responsible for what, how you’ll both give your time and energy to your child, and so forth. 

Make The Most of Sleep Opportunities

You’ll have heard plenty of horror stories about how little sleep new parents can get. And we’d be lying if we didn’t say that this is definitely a factor! But it’s not necessarily guaranteed. There are many babies who sleep all through the night — and often, all through the day, too. Still, there’ll likely be, at the very least, a period where you struggle to get as much shut-eye as you need. 

The solution? Sleep when your baby is asleep. Many parents use that as an opportunity to catch up with housework and so forth, but that can wait. You’ll be making much better use of your time by getting some shut-eye when you can! 

You Can Trust Your Intuition

We mentioned earlier how there’s a lot of information out there about the correct way to parent and so forth. However, while those words of advice can be useful when you have no idea what to do, you won’t need to always get the thoughts and opinions of experts. Parenting is natural and you can trust your intuition; if something seems wrong, then don’t do it — if it feels right, then do it. You’ll find that having confidence in your natural ability to raise a child can ease some of the pressure you feel, plus it’ll just save you time, since you won’t always need to consult Dr Google.

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It’s Important To Stay Social

Your life is going to change significantly. But it’s important to avoid falling into the trap of excluding everything that you once knew and loved. With your child occupying so much of your time, it’s normal to discount friends and family. However, it’s really important that you stay social — you’ll be amazed at just how much of a difference it can make to your general well-being. It’s usually only after they’ve spent an evening with friends that most people realise just how important those moments are to their happiness. So while your baby will be your main focus, you can always take some time to see your nearest and dearest! 

Self-Care

The main priority for all parents is to ensure that their baby has everything that they need. However, that shouldn’t be their only priority. If you have a baby, it’s also important that you’re taking care of yourself. Is your mental, physical, and spiritual health all that it could be? If not, then allocate more time to it, and get to a good space. This will actually have a positive impact on your parenting skills, too — if you’re at your top level, then you’ll be able to give more to your family, and you’ll be happy while you do it, too.

Enjoy the Ride

Finally, be sure to enjoy the ride. It’ll be exciting, fun, joyful, stressful, and anxiety-inducing all at the same time. And you know what’ll happen at the end? You’ll get through it just fine. Don’t sweat the small stuff, and take the time to appreciate the path that you’re on. Take photos, slow down, and give yourself a break — it’s the least that you deserve. 

Conclusion

As we said at the beginning of the article, there’s nothing that’ll truly prepare you for the madness of becoming a parent for the first time. But as with all things, the more knowledge that you have, the better you’ll be able to navigate yourself along the way. While we can never promise that it’ll be a smooth journey from beginning to end, we can promise that it’ll all be worth it! 

** This was a contributed post.

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recipe: vegan pumpkin pie tarts

It’s almost Halloween!!

Full disclaimer- this recipe takes awhile to prepare. It is my promise though, that it is so worth it! Having fresh ingredients always makes a huge difference. As always, you don’t have to make this dairy-free. Simply substitute vegan butter and almond milk for those with lactose.

Vegan Pumpkin Pie Tarts

Makes 24

Ingredients:

(For the tart crust)
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 cup vegan butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cup cold water

(For the filling)
2 1/2 cups pumpkin puree, mashed
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 eggs
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground ginger

Steps:

1. To begin, start with a large pie pumpkin. Cut it in half lengthwise, scooping out the seeds and stringy bits. Using a large spoon, remove the inside flesh. Then place it in a food processor or blender, and blend until it becomes a smooth paste. (This took me upwards of 20 minutes in a blender. Be sure not to add water! It will get there eventually.)

2. Prepare the tart crust. Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease the muffin trays and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, and butter. Mix well at first, then knead by hand in the bowl. Slowly add the water, ensuring that it is well-combined before adding more. In the end the dough should be somewhat sticky but mostly crumbly. 

3. Transfer dough to a floured surface. Continue to knead until it is ready to be rolled out, cut into 24 circles, and place in the muffin cups. Once you have completed those steps, it is time to fill them.

4. Prepare the filling. In a medium bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, almond milk, eggs, brown sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, and ginger. Beat over medium speed for 2 minutes, ensuring that it is completely combined. Then scoop the filling into each tart, filling no more than 3/4 full. Place the tarts in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until filling has firmed up and tart shells have turned golden brown. Remove, let cool, and top with your favourite dairy-free (or not) whipped cream or ice cream! Or, just eat them as is.

Emory

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making breakfast the most exciting meal of the day

(Image Source)

Most people agree that breakfast is the most important meal you have each day. Having a good breakfast can be the difference between having a good or bad day, but it can be all too easy to neglect this part of your day when you fall into a poor routine. Families should always work hard to avoid this trap.

To help you out with this, this article will be exploring some tips that will help you to keep breakfast exciting, all without compromising on the healthy foods that you want to serve. You don’t have to spend much time working on breakfast when you fall into the right pattern with it.

Why Is Breakfast So Important?

Before we explore some ideas to help your breakfasts, it makes sense to think about why this meal is so important. Your body will work to digest food during the night, often leaving people with very little energy when they wake up. Eating a good breakfast can help to solve this problem, giving you the fuel you need to conquer the day and make the best out of the time you have.

This is even more important for children, with their time at school being heavily impacted by the breakfast they eat each morning. This will be the first meal they have before they do a whole morning of work, making it crucial that they are able to focus on the things they are doing. In the long run, this could have a serious impact on your child’s education, and this is worth considering when you are preparing breakfast.

What Makes A Good Breakfast?

While most people will want their breakfast to be tasty, there is more to this meal than mere flavor alone. You also need to make sure that your breakfast provides you with energy that will be released slowly throughout the day. Having an overly large breakfast can make you feel too sleepy, making it worth thinking about the portion sizes you serve on days when people have things to do.

Using Fresh Ingredients

While it doesn’t guarantee a healthier breakfast, using fresh ingredients will help when you are working on this side of your daily routine. There are loads of fresh ingredients out there that can allow you to make delicious breakfasts. Fruits are great for this, but options like meat, bread, and dairy products can also make for a very satisfying and healthy breakfast.

Making Cooked Breakfasts

Alongside using fresh ingredients, making cooked breakfasts can be a good way to improve the meals you make each morning. This isn’t something that you have to do each and every day, but it can help to make the mornings in your house happier when everyone wakes up to something delicious to eat.

There are loads of cooked breakfast options out there, and many of them are very healthy. You can find recipes online to help you with this, giving you the chance to improve your cooking skills while you make breakfasts that the whole family will love. Options like oatmeal, tasty egg waffles, and even toast can all be great for this, providing you with easy meals that will get everyone in your family ready for the day.

Having Plan B

It will be hard to make cooked breakfasts each and every morning for your loved ones. This makes it worth having a plan B in place for the days when you don’t have the time or energy to handle your breakfast. Cereal can be a good choice when you are looking for options like this, but you need to make sure that you aren’t eating this each and every day.

Getting Everyone Involved

Getting the whole family involved at breakfast time can make it harder to finish the meal, but it will also make it far more fun for your kids. You can have everyone work to come up with their own breakfast ideas throughout the week, making the whole experience something that your kids can enjoy. Of course, though, you have to make sure that their choices are both healthy and affordable.

As you can see, making sure that you and your family get to enjoy good breakfasts each morning is easier than you might expect. This can be achieved while also making this meal more exciting, giving you new things to eat each day without making you bend over backward in the process.

** This was a contributed post.

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5 reasons to choose frozen

One of the most insignificant things that people want to shame others for is eating frozen dinners. When you’ve worked all day and the kids need to eat, sometimes chucking frozen meals or meats into the oven is the easiest way to make sure that everyone eats a good dinner before bed. Not everyone has the time to make gourmet meals from scratch, with homemade sauces and everything chopped fresh. 

Does that mean you’re not eating well? Absolutely not. Sometimes, choosing frozen Mexican food or frozen Chinese food is a quick, convenient way to eat and it’s still nutritious. You can still eat just as well on frozen food as eating on fresh foods and when you utilize frozen food, you can save time and make easy meals that are filling and healthy. With this in mind, here are five reasons to go ahead and choose frozen.

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  1. Packed with nutrients. It’s a common misconception that frozen food is less nutritious than fresh foods. The thing is that through the winter some of the fresh fruits and veggies aren’t available all year around. Once the veg is picked in the summer, it’s blanched and flash frozen, which locks in all of the nutrients to make sure that the food tastes amazing. Frozen fish and meats are just as good-tasting, too.
  2. It’s affordable. Frozen foods are cheaper than fresh foods, and that’s a fact. That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t taste as good! There is less waste, less spoilage and you can keep the food for longer. Fresh carrots are often more expensive than a bag of frozen carrots, and the bag of frozen carrots will last longer.
  3. They’re easy. There is nothing easier than breaking open a bag of already chopped veggies and chicken and making a meal out of it. Everything is usually trimmed, portioned and packed up for you, so you don’t have to worry about standing around chopping and storing anything. You can steam most frozen veggies, too, which makes for much tastier meals and they’re easy to prepare.
  4. A sensible option. Frozen meats, fish and veggies can all be prepared for a delicious meal just as fresh food can, so not all frozen food has to be nuggets and pizza. It’s very easy to throw on pizza and garlic bread, but it’s even better to throw on meat, veggies and delicious sauces. You can even add frozen fruit to a blender and have delicious smoothies without having to buy in tons of fresh fruit that could go bad.
  5. You can be creative. There are so many options with cuisines and flavors when you choose frozen foods. You can buy fried chicken, Mexican, Indian – no matter where the food is around the world, you can buy it frozen and cook it up as you please. You can try new and added veggies in sauces, so frozen food doesn’t have to be boring.frozen 

Next time you are planning your meals for the week, make sure that you don’t discount the frozen section. You can believe it’ll be a good option for you!

** This was a contributed post.

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  • Welcome, friends! My name is Emory. I am a wife and mother to four (two on earth, one in heaven, and growing another). This is our life on the Canadian prairies.
    email: helloscarlettblog@outlook.com

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