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Posted by karen
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Getting ready to fly back home as an unattended minor. A little nervous but not anxious. That is "huge".

I have been planning to post this blog about Stosh, one of my three grandsons, for....years! I cannot put my finger on why today is the day but I do know this is the right day. This past summer Stosh spent a week with his Papa and me, first time without his parents and siblings. We had a wonderful time; watching the FIFA World Cup on television, hiking along the ocean, and camping.

 

Getting together during summer vacation is a very common story for grandparents and grandchildren. What makes it so special for us is that several years ago Stosh was diagnosed with autism. Watching his journey towards health and overcoming obstacles has been amazing, heart-warming, and with much gratitude to his parents - especially his Mom, Dawna, as she researched and worked so hard (doggedly) in changing dietary and lifestyle habits, as they determined this diagnosis was not going to be a limiting label for their eldest son.

At my request in 2012, Dawna wrote this article about autism and their own specific journey. Now, two years later, after just spending a week in their home taking care of Stosh and his two younger siblings while his parents were away, it is so apparent to me that diet has totally turned our grandson's life around. I honestly feel that nobody would have any idea of Stosh's former diagnosis. I'm not sure if there is such a thing as a typical 10-year-old. But this guy (and yes, he's my grandson but I'm being as objective as possible :) is affectionate, engaging, helpful, responsible, in control of his emotions (...and pain, "when I hurt myself, instead of crying, I close my eyes and just take lot of deep breaths"!), and attends a "regular" school.

Autism covers a broad spectrum. And sadly it sweeps with a wide brush. My research tells me that 30 years ago autism affected 1 in 10,000 children. Today it is estimated to afflict as many as 1 in 50. Mainly boys. Dawna has written a very informative article which includes hope and help and courage. I encourage you to read it and share. This is her website if you wish to contact her. Or you can also contact me and I will be happy to forward your request.

 

Posted by karen
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This has been a summer of all summers for hot beach days. And when you have a house full of grandkids (those six beautiful kids you see above) -  that's a wonderful thing.

Our favourite beach for this energetic bunch is 20 minutes from home, and with the kids able (pretty much) to pack their own gear/bags, our "getaway" time is fairly quick.

That is, as long as the snack department is prepared - and some days that is Nana's department. 

To accommodate food sensitivities and health issues - and to meet our healthy, real food standard - our choices may be deemed different than the contents of other picnic coolers. But the proof is in the eating - coming home with empty containers (and sandy towels, toys and bathing suits) - without an aftermath of digestive upsets, but appetites asking "what's for dinner?!"

Here's a recent beach snack list - good for a couple hours of fun in the sun and sand.

- fresh fruit: cut up watermelon, cherries, fresh strawberries or blueberries - great finger food packed with phytonutrients and loaded with water

- bag of raw nuts that have been soaked (for better digestion), drained and rinsed - walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts (a special treat)

- sunflower seed paté (recipe below)

- eatmore energy bars (recipe below)

- plenty of bottles of water

 

Click → Printable recipe for Sunflower Seed Paté

Sunflower Seed Paté

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

5/8 cup warm water

1/4 cup olive oil

1 onion, peeled and coarsely chopped

1/4 cup tamari (I substituted coconut aminos for non-soy option)

1 large potato, peeled and diced (I substituted sweet potato: a colorful, sweeter, healthier option)

1 cup raw, shelled sunflower seeds

1/2 cup whole-wheat flour (I substituted buckwheat flour for gluten-free option)

1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes

1 or 2 garlic cloves (or 1/4 - 1/2 tsp. garlic powder)

1 - 2 tsp. dried herbs of your choice: I used oregano and basil

Instructions: 

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until very smooth.

 Pour into two greased (or parchment-lined) fruitcake loaf pans.

Bake for 60 - 70 minutes or until set. Cool thoroughly, remove from pans carefully and wrap well in plastic. Store in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Serve with home-made pita chips or baked nachos, or by itself is delicious too! Also tasty cut in cubes and tossed on a salad.

(Baked in small fruitcake pans, this would make a great gift, if you can resist eating it all yourself!)

(Recipe adapted from The LEADING VEG Cook Book - printed by Vegetarians of Alberta, 2002

 

Click → Printable recipe for Eatmore Energy Bars 

Eatmore Energy Bars

1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

1 cup raw sesame seeds

2/3 - 1 cup cocoa powder (or carob, for caffeine-free version)

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup almond butter

1 cup date pureé (soak dates for min. 25 minutes; pureé in blender or food processor, adding date-soaking water as needed).

Instructions:

Mix together coconut, sesame seeds and cocoa (or carob) in a bowl. Heat nut butters and date pureé together slightly for easier mixing - add to the dry ingredients in the bowl and mix well. Press into lightly greased 9x9 pan. Refrigerate for a couple hours to set before cutting to serve. Yum!!

Beach fare or otherwise, these two recipes  - new-to-me this summer - are fast becoming favourites.

What are your favourite healthy beach-picninc snacks? 

Posted by karen
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Salad meals take centre stage any time of the year -  and are top billing especially now with summer's bounty of garden greens and the cornucopia of fresh veggie toppings.

But don't stop there.

Make it a meal deal by adding cooked beans;  nuts and seeds; chunky fruit.

There is still something missing .... the dressing!!

This is what gives Eat This - Meal Salads & Whole Food Dressings "podium status" as compared to many other salad recipe books: Renee Tougas has included dressing recipes that bring nutritious satisfaction and delicious balance "to the plate."

 As a (w)holistic nutritionist I wholeheartedly recommend this product - as Renee's proud Mom, I am delighted to encourage my readers to buy this e-book. And as an affiliate I sincerely endorse this product; authentic to my philosphy and passion for real food nutrition.

Click at Fimby to purchase Eat This.  At $4.99 it's affordable to get one for yourself and a friend (know someone heading off to college?). These recipes have been successfully tested and tried for children too so don't forget the younger set in your circle of family and friends.

(P.S. there's non-salad recipes too - bonus!)

Salads and yummy dressings - you'll want Eat This... for your newest recipe resource.

Posted by karen
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{Breaking news! There is a winner for the giveaway, Nurturing Creativity: a Guide for Busy Moms. Comment number 6, as drawn by an online random generator, is the lucky recipient. Congratulations, Sara - please connect via my contact page with your email so Renee can send you your copy. Thanks to you all who left comments, and thanks to Renee who offered this copy to give away through my blog.} 

This is a remarkable day: one of memory and deep joy for my daughter.

Renee (Tougas) has launched her first e-book, Nurturing Creativity: A Guide for Busy Moms

 

Let me introduce you to the author I know.

Renee is my close friend, the mother of three (amazing) children, and lives authentic to the life she writes about in her blog, FIMBY. She home schools her three-some: sharing her passion and skills for language and learning, ever encouraging her students' imagination (and mess) to craft and display their creative works. Cardboard castles with knights and stables; glue guns, fabric, beads and markers;  soil, moss, plants and a jar with a lid - all these and more have taken up residence in their home and ours. 

Renee's grandmother (whose birthdate is today) expressed her creativity with fabric, yarn, nature's bounty -  Mom would have enjoyed this milestone day. The two of them could have reminisced those days at Grandma's house, creating slippers out of masking tape, baking together, and designing water slides for the lawn. 

Renee has nurtured her mother's creative soul: giving me permission to forego a spotless house if I'm "being called" to write or garden or knit. To pursue a dream at any age. To embrace the journey of trying new things and the time it takes to explore them. Thanks, Renee.

But of utmost importance, Renee has discovered and tended her own creative self - and from that she shares her experience -  encouraging young Moms that making creativity a priority can add meaning and beauty to their lives, that "everyone has the desire to create..."  

This guide was written especially to young Moms - but it will inspire others too...I've read the book! 

Some of the topics she addresses are:

- seasons of motherhood

- the value of creativity

- celebrating your uniqueness

- filling your well

- letting go of perfection

Included in the e-book are experiences of six other creative Moms. It's all wrapped up in about 50 PDF pages:  a nice length for busy Moms, busy anyone! 

Today, I am offering a giveaway of a downloadable copy. The one lucky winner will receive a download of three versions of the book. A printable PDF, a mobi file for your Kindle and an epub file for all other e-readers. To be eligible, all you have to do is leave a comment!

I will choose a winner at random on Friday night. Comments close at 8pm AT Friday, March 23rd.

If you aren't the lucky winner, you can purchase Renee's book here or at Amazon. At $3 a copy, Renee's making this book affordable for any budget.