Baking, Happiness, Lily's Food, Personal

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Cookies

Cookies have always been difficult for me to bake, they would would end up flat and burnt and crispy near the edges so it has been my mission for the last few months to finally and consecutively make perfectly formed and baked cookies and I’m proud to say I have figured it out. 

Part of the reason my cookies where coming out as flat is because most of the ingredients were warm and melted after mixing, to make the perfect for of a cookie refrigerate your cookie dough for at least half an hour and all the ingredients will come together, the flavor will intensify and you will get a perfectly formed and delicious cookie

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Cookies 

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk 
  • 1/2 teaspoon milk 
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup powdered sugar 
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips 
  1. In a large bowl mix butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer until the mixture is fine and creamy 
  2. Add in the egg, milk and vanilla extract and continue mixing
  3. Then add the powdered sugar and mix until it is fluffy. 
  4. Then add the flour, cornstarch and baking powder, mix again.
  5. Finally add the chocolate chips and stir well. Leave in the fridge for one hour. 
  6. Preheat oven to 375 F 
  7. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper,  take dough out of fridge and former balls (or use a cookie scoop) *the dough will be quite sticky* 
  8. Bake for 10-12 minutes depending on your oven 

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Happiness, Lifestyle, Lily, motherhood, Personal

In Pursuit Of Silence

The noise! 

That noise can not be blocked by hiding yourself behind the closed door of the bathroom…they find you there.

The noise will find you at night when you climb into bed next to your cos sleeping child that cries, laughs, snores and even smacks her lips in her sleep.

It follows you with those tiny three year old legs everywhere you go. The constant yelling, the constant screaming, the “please can I have a snack?  Why is it so windy outside, why is there an ant there? Why? Why? Why? 

Is it wrong to want peace and quite for longer then a few seconds? Every one says “that’s what having children is” or “better you just get used to it” as I pull my hair out because I can’t take this “advice” for the billionth time. As a mom, going crazy from no peace I will tell you it’s not wrong!

As a society we learn to just deal, we deal with having a job we hate, we just deal with a rude professor, we just accept. We just deal that as a mother we won’t get any quite….is that the right way to deal with it though? Why can’t we make it a priority to have a little more quite time, especially when we’re about to have about breakdown without it? 

What I’m trying to say is, don’t you dare feel guilty. If you need some quite time, do it. Take care of yourself and do this one little thing for yourself so all hell doesn’t break out. Do it before you get resentful, before you actually pull your hair out, before you start yelling about the little things because your already stressed out.  

  • Tell your partner to watch the kids for a few minutes as you walk out the door to get a coffee or tea
  • Pick up library books on your own. Your kids missing one library trip won’t  hurt them. 
  • Set up a big bowl of water in the kitchen on a kid table, add bubbles let your kids play and you go hide in your  bedroom, if you can fit into your closest you can have a few extra minutes of silence because they can’t find you there.
  • Put the kids to bed a little earlier. Bonus if you have them outside running for an hour and they will be so tired they might get to sleep quicker.
  • Have the kids help with the chores that you normally do after bedtime so that you don’t have to spend your free time doing them and you can relax. 
  • Ask a babysitter or family or friend to watch your child(ren) for a couple hours, not because your busy just to be alone, do not do erands or chores, just relax. 

Don’t feel guilty, guaranteed your not the only one feeling the same way, atleast be the one that does something about it.

Goals, Happiness, Homesteading, Lifestyle, Lily, motherhood, Nature, Personal

Lavander, The Gateway Oil

Sleep is not my best friend, back in high school it was normal for me to go 48 hours without sleep, it’s normal for me to not be able to get to sleep until 1-2 in the morning some nights, I’ve lived my life used to only having about 5 hours of sleep a night. Eventually I was told by my doctor I have “insomniac tendencies” and was put on a sleeping medication. 

Sleeping medication though I’d also not my best friend,  it took me testing many different medications to find one that mostly worked. The first one I tried gave me horrible night sweats and if I wasn’t set to go to bed with pajamas on then I was out of luck because if I didn’t fall asleep in about ten minutes the medication didn’t work,  or the one medication that gave me terrifying dreams that I felt like we’re reality. The medication I decided to use (I honestly just ran out of other medications to try that were covered by benefits) leaves me with a sleep hangover, one that does not simply go away with a few cups of coffee. 

With my new lifestyle changes for a healthier family I decided to finally try to end my many years of relying upon sleeping pills, and look for a more natural way to help me and my daughter (who at the time was having nightmares and waking up through the night also) I tried by getting outside and taking in fresh air more in my day which did help, and adding more exercise and outdoor running games with me and my daughter which helped her sleeping issues. I though was still having problems staying asleep at night.

Then I found essential oils. Lavander to be exact, a few drops on my pillow and 20 minutes of reading in bed smelling that scent I had the most amazing sleep I had, had in months, amd without that horrible sleep hangover! I ventured to my local farmers market that weekend and went to the essential oils booth and purchased  some chamomile and the scent combination has helped me wonders. I can tell when I forget to sprinkle a few drops of oils I have a long night that I wake up constantly. Lily is also sleeping so much better, I sprinkle one drop of each on my daughter’s favorite teddy bear she sleeps with each night and she’s begun to sleep the entire night with no scares.

*Don’t forget to like my Facebook page @ahappinesshomemade *

eat local, Goals, Happiness, Healthy Food, Homesteading, Lifestyle, Lily, motherhood, Nature, Nutrition, Personal

Crunchy Mom, My Badge Of Honour

 A “crunchy mom” is a woman on a quest for more information.  A mom who is environmentally, health, and socially conscious.

 I was called a “Crunchy Mom” a few weeks ago, and from the rest of the comment, it was definitely meant to be an insult. I’ve heard of the term, but have never thought of myself of being one, I definitely though never thought of it as a bad thing, it was one of those mom things that seemed like a good thing to aspire too. I mean look at the definition!  Coming from a girl that was in the environmental club through my school years, volunteered at the food bank, and even tried to start my own charity to give your old sleeping bags that just take up space in your closet that you never use to the homeless during the winter so that had a chance to stay warm in a freezing Canadian winter where shelters were packed full I think that looks like a real honour to be called a “Crunchy mom” but was I one really? 

First, I went to my boyfriend and our best friend Dave, I mentioned the comment and wondered what they thought. Obviously I had to kind of explain what the term exactly meant, but once I got the jist of the definition out I was promptly told “well of course someone said it, you are one!” It wasn’t one second of mulling it over, not one brief pause. So the two people I spend talk to the most and spend my weekends with believe I’m a “Crunchy mom” but I still questioned myself, that seems like such an honour to be called ( in my opinion) and I didn’t just want to take that label and run with it, I wanted to make sure I’ve earned it.

Where else to turn to? Well I don’t have many mom friends (social anxiety at its finest, I really have to just push myself and find more mom friends) and went to Facebook groups, one I had been invited to was a natural parenting group and I went there, as I read through these moms comments and questions I felt even more like I wasn’t one of them.  These were moms that went all vegan, moms that travel the world with there children, moms that bathe in the lakes they find while there road tripping through life in there mini buses there family lives in (ok not all, but I did find one mom that was doing just that!) I was nothing like that, I’m flexitarian, my kid bathes in a bathtub and my kid isn’t travelling mingle with different cultures on there natural land.

But was that what I had to do to be a crunchy mom? Or are there levels of “crunchiness” ?

I decided to open up, went to the post section and wrote how I had been deemed a “Crunchy mom” as an insult and felt like I wasn’t really doing enough to be “crunchy” so asked, am I really a crunchy mom? I couldn’t just ask a bunch of strangers and get a proper response so I decided to explain a bit about what I do, that I think is a bit “crunchy” but I still don’t think is enough.

  • Uses coconut oil religiously as moisturizer,  and make my own body scrubs with coconut oil
  • Lily and I have a minimum of one hour of nature time a day
  • I buy most of my cheeses, vegetables and meat from local farmers
  • All our sweet treats and desserts are home made
  • I’m attempting to make as much ourselves, soups, marinades, condiments and my quest to make our own breads is ongoing (see mu last post) and I hope to one day make all our sandwich breads, buns and such from scratch.
  • Instead of turning up the heat I try to use blankets and layers, or in the heat flowing clothes instead of turning on the air conditioner
  • I do yoga with Lily as much as I can to teach her how to calm her mind and body down.
  • I try to limit Lily’s tv time to one movie a day  (when she gets bored of the movie and runs off to play, the movie is paused and when her interest comes back to the movie the tv turns back on until she loses interest again.
  • I use essential oils for everything from making sure I have a good night’s rest ( chamomile and lavander) to muscles pains and growing pains for Lily.
  • I’m trying to cut down on processed foods, and snacks are only whole foods versus pre packaged snacks.
  • we are flexitarian,  we do eat meat but we don’t make it the only way we get our protein.
  • Lily and I still cosleep, even though she’s starting to move around more during the night and prefers my side of the bed, after almost four years were still comfortable. 

After writing the comment and posting it I had had revelation. Why do I need these mothers to approve that I am a crunchy mom? Why do I need to be approved to have this title?  I’m trying my hardest to be eco conscious, trying hard to make sure my daughter understands where her food came from, and how it’s made versus that it’s just something you buy in a store. I’m teaching my daughter to be aware of the world around her, and to not harm anything even as little as an ant and I’m teaching her that there are other ways to get rid of anxiety, pain and other ways to deal with sickness then popping a pill.

So yes, I’m a crunchy mom, and I wear that title as a badge of honor.

Check out the Facebook page for this blog @ahappinesshomemade 

Baking, Lifestyle, Personal

Determination and Bread Making

Determination is an amazing quality to have and to say I have that quality is an understatement. I’m a girl that grew up with social anxiety and depression without realizing that was my problem until I was 14 years old, it lead to many years of missed classes and assignments unfinished because my anxiety was to great to finish the project. Many teachers, counselors didn’t know if I would be able to finish high school with a diploma but I was determined and ended up graduating high school on the honour and with more then one award. I’ve been through abusive situations and have been able to get out with determination and strength. I’ve been a single mother for four years, I plan on opening my own business and when people told me I wasn’t able to do it a I am determined to show them wrong. 

When I started on a whim a few days ago I decidd to master making a simple loaf of white bread I used that same determination that has gotten me through life…and that determination was needed because at first it was an epic fail. 

Here’s my first tip, make sure your yeast isn’t expired. Growing up my mother would keep yeast in the cupboard, not in the recomended refrigerator. It made sense when we were younger because my mother made bread much more often and it was used up quickly but know that yeast is not used for months at a time keeping it in the cupboard is not the greatest idea which I learned after waiting three hours for my dough to rise and it hadn’t moved at all. 

The second tip I can give you, if you don’t have a kitchen thermometer that perfect temperature for yeast to activate is lukewarm. I was trying three different temperatures for water, hot from the tap (which is actually 130 degrees F) tried boiling water, and tried just steaming and of course it never worked, you don’t have to throw away the idea of bread making just because you can’t be exact at the water temperature, try lukewarm and wait for those bubbles ( go drink a cup of coffee by the end of the cup your yeast should be perfect) 

Third tip is add flour half a cup at a time, if you add to much it is difficult to work it all together again (if that does happen a couple drops of lukewarm water should fix that problem) work the dough but make sure you don’t over work it, and trust yourself if you don’t think you can add that last cup of flour without it turning out to dry, then don’t.  

Be patient let that dough rise, it might take you all day but it’s so worth it, and let it rise in the pan, don’t just plop it in there and rush it into the oven, let it rise and grow into the corners of the pan. 

It might take a couple tries, it might take a few more then that but it is so worth it for a loaf of bread that you can feel proud you made yourself. 

* I used the Joy of Cooking white bread recipe* 

Baking, Happiness, Homesteading, Personal, Uncategorized

Honey Madeleines

 

Having a madeleine pan since Halloween last year I felt it was finally time to check this off my list of things I have mastered in the baking world, I didn’t want just a plain madeleine but I wanted something simple due to the point that honestly I have never tasted or seen a madeleine in person and have only seen them in photos online, in cookbooks or on cooking competition shows.

The best tip I can give you though while cooking madeleines is use shortening and I’m not talking about in your recipe. Many recipes call for you to butter and flour your madeleine pan, or sometimes even just simply spraying baking spray on it. I will tell you though that none of those always work, there are going to be one or two madeleines that will probably stick, there always ends up being that one. Spreading shortening over the pan like you would butter makes the madeleines just slide out after a minute or two of cooling. IMG_2868

Honey Madeleines 

  • 2/3 cups unsalted butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 heaping cup of white sugar
  • 2/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon heaping of honey*
  • Shortening, enough to grease the medeleine pan
  1. Melt butter in microwave or in a small saucepan
  2. In a large bowl, or in the bowl of a mixer whisk together the eggs and the sugars until the mixture is thick (about 2-3 minutes)
  3. Add the flour, baking powder and mix. Add the honey and melted butter. mix until everything is well incorporated and the batter is a thick consistency
  4. Leave the batter to rest in the fridge for at the least one hour (incorpates the honey flavour into the mix and cools down the butter and makes it ready for baking)
  5. Preheat oven to 500 degrees fahrenheit
  6. Generously grease the madeleine pan with the shortening
  7. Place a generous tablespoon of batter or use a piping bag
  8. Place the tray in the oven and turn down the temperature to 450 fahrenheit
  9.  Bake until the madeleines have risen and are lightly golden on top, for a large pan like I used its about 7-10 minutes.
  10. Once madeleines are cooked, pull out the pan, let cool for a few minutes and remove cakes from molds, and place on a cooling rack lined with parchment paper.

*The better the honey quality the better the flavour

*Spray your tablespoon with a baking spray before pouring the honey into the tablespoon so the honey comes out easier and easier to clean.

 

Baking, eat local, Healthy Food, Lily's Food, Nutrition, Personal, Uncategorized

Strawberry Cake Loaf

When asked as a young girl what my favorite food was I would never have said brownies, no chips were the best flavour, no Mcdonalds chicken nugget invoked true happiness for me to be my favorite food, the food I loved to eat by itself, with a tiny sprinkle of sugar, cut up into pancakes or with a dollop of whip cream for dessert like my grandmother would give us, it was the perfectly red strawberry.

To this day I will tell you I love my strawberries, I don’t often eat them by themselves sadly but I love when they are in something, cut up into yogurt, in a smoothie, cooked into pancakes or waffles and of course baked into delicious treats like this amazing strawberry cake loaf, its baked into a bread pan and is a moist and delicious cake reminiscent of a pound cake. IMG_2921

Strawberry Cake Loaf 

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese
  • 6 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup strawberry yogurt *
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped strawberries
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit
  2. Line a 9×5 loaf pan with parchment paper
  3. Cream butter, cream cheese, sugar, and salt in large bowl until fluffy (about 2 minutes)
  4.  Beat in eggs and vanilla extract until combined
  5.  Add flour, baking powder and baking soda to the mixture
  6. Add strawberries and stir until just combined
  7. Pour batter in prepared pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes. If top browing to quickly tent aluminum foil over bread.
  8. Cool in pan for 10 minutes remove and cool completely on wire wrack, serve with whip cream. Perfect for dessert or to eat alone for breakfast.

* Try to find a strawberry yogurt that is flavoured with real strawberry pieces rather then an artificial flavouring or the taste will be a little off in the end.

Homesteading, Lifestyle, Lily, motherhood, Personal

What Moms Really Want For Mothers Day 

a beautiful new coffee mug is perfect, the awesome Wonder Woman journal my daughter picked out for me this mothers day is absolutely amazing but if you have no idea what a mother in your life is really wishing for this Mothers Day I’ll let you in on the real list.

  • Let us sleep an entire night without having to get up because someone peed the bed
  • Don’t wake me up at the Crack of dawn after we spent hours outside running around yesterday…how are you not still exhausted!?
  • Stop chugging your juice! I just want to drink half just HALF my coffee while it’s still warm not sit down for five seconds then get up to refill your cup, please
  •  No a cookie is not breakfast food please stop crying 
  • PICK UP YOUR DINASOURS AND STOP HIDING THEM UNDER BLANKETS those things hurt more then Lego
  • Don’t ask me for a grilled cheese, eat one bite then say “my tummy says I’m full” …then ask for a cookie
  • Stop asking  for Frozen, I love the movie also but the DVR erased it because it was to full with shows I never get to watch
  • No you can not eat the baked goods that JUST came out of the oven please stop asking they will burn your mouth
  • Please don’t lean your head against the oven while it’s on, your scaring me 
  • I love that you tried to help by putting sunscreen on yourself but please let me do it myself
  • Stopping watering every random object you are pretending is a plant! The floor is soaked now, and so are my socks
  • Please take a bite out of the food on your plate instead of having me convince you for 15 minutes then you saying “yummy” we all know your going to like it
  • Please don’t bring three stuffed animals to bed then take over my side of the bed because you have no more room
  • Please fall asleep before I do tonight

And the most important one of all

  • Please keep giving me hugs today, and have a smile on your face so that I know im doing things right. 
Happiness, Homesteading, Lifestyle, Lily, motherhood, Personal

A little dirt and a lesson 

kids make messes, kids push boundaries,  kids make mistakes, kids knock over the plant that you just finished planting all over your couch not even a minute after we finished planting it. 

That beautiful dream I had of picking the seeds from a strawberry and planting them in an indoor pot until they grew enough to plant outdoors, the plan that in my mind would grow into plenty of strawberries, enough to bake special treats. Well that plan had a standstill when Lily was standing on the couch looking at the pot on the ledge she somehow knocked the entire contents onto our couch. 

I can’t really be angry with her though (ok I won’t lie I did have an angry tone when I told her to step back while I vacuumed but I think I deserved to have a little bit of an angry tone) Lily offered to help, she pointed out areas I had missed and helped give me company when I went back to the strawberries and stared picking the seeds off again. 

Kids are naturally curious, they want to understand everything and we as parents need to let that curiosity blossom. Even though there’s some questions that are hard to answer or questions that you have answered before and can just not deal with answering it yet again we have to so that our children learn all the things they want to learn.

We have to understand our children are new, things that are obvious to us are not to them…why we put oil in a pan before we cook something, how worms come out when it rains, that we don’t need to water the flowers and the leaves but the dirt the plants come from so we get to the roots. 

There hands will get messy,  there’s going to be times you have to hose them down before they even get into the house because there so dirty, days your mind is so jumbled because you don’t even know how to answer that one mind boggling question. But take it how it is, a lesson. 

Baking, Happiness, Homesteading, Lifestyle, Personal

Chocolate Chip Snack Cake

My grandmother moved to a new home earlier last week and I wanted to make something easy for her and my family to snack on while packing and unpacking and wanted something that was not to sweet that they would have a sugar rush with the inevitable crash. 

I looked through a few of my baking cookbooks and this one snack cake that used cream cheese in the recipe stuck out to me so I decided to try to make a vanilla snack cake that used cream cheese to keep it moist and chocolate chips to add more flavor. 

I was able to use measures new Kitchenaid for the first time, Lily enjoyed pouring in the ingredients and every last crumb was eaten. 

Chocolate Chip Snack Cake

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 (8 oz) pkg. Cream cheese,  softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla 
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  1. Heat oven to 350F. Grease a 9×9 baking pan and line with parchment paper. 
  2. In large bowl beat butter and cream cheese together, mix in sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla, and eggs one at a timebeating well after each addition. 
  3. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt  mix well. 
  4. Stir in milk and chocolate chips. 
  5. Bake in oven for 30-40 minutes.