Two Key Messages for a Good Start to 2015

I usually write about parenting because I spend a lot of time doing it. With six crazy kids, parenting is a full-time job. But, like most busy moms there are other things going on in my life and I try to keep positive in those areas as well. My perspective is the only thing I can control and it has been my best survival tool.

I thought I’d share a couple of quick “non-parenting” messages that are important to me. If you embrace these simple ideas for 2015, I think you’ll be happy you did.

1)      Be a good friend. On top of sharing great times together and being supportive, I believe the number one thing to practice in your friendships is one of my favourite friendship quotes:

2)      Try not to care what people think. I know it’s hard, but I try to be a lion every day. I put myself out there, and sometimes I cop criticism or get visits from “trolls” about my ideas or opinions. I remind myself that I’m the best qualified to live my life the way I want and raise my family according to what I think is best. People who judge from afar are the sheep. Roar loudly and ignore all the “baa-ing” in the background.

Are you facing the New Year with any key messages you hope to carry with you throughout 2015?

About the Author:

Julie Cole Mabel's Labels

Julie Cole

Julie Cole is co-founder of Mabel’s Labels Inc., the leading provider of kids’ labels, and a proud mom of six.

Holiday Leftovers

When all is said and done, after those big holiday meals you are left with a fridge full of bits and pieces that will either bore you to death or set you up for quick second suppers.  Here are a few ideas of what to do with the leftovers.

Leftover Sweet Potato or Mashed Potatoes

There are many ways to use these starches again. Here are three including one of my relatively healthy recipes for a sweet potato topping that can be used for biscuits or in sweet potato pie.

  1. Thin mashed potatoes with broth and use as a base for soup.  Mix any cooked vegetables in and blend with an immersion blender or in a regular blender once cooled.
  2. Add sweet potatoes to pancake mix and stir in cinnamon. Pan fry and top with cooked apples or applesauce.
  3. Use in biscuits or as a pot pie topping (see recipe below)

Sweet Potato Biscuit Topping

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 cup whole milk

1 tablespoon honey

2 cup baked, mashed sweet potatoes (about 2 medium potatoes)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, frozen

Combine flours, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a large mixing bowl and set aside. In a separate large bowl, mix together milk, honey and mashed sweet potato until evenly combined.

Grate frozen butter through the large holes of a box grater and toss with dry ingredients until butter is coated. Add milk mixture and mix lightly until dough comes together.

Turn out mixture onto a floured surface and knead just until it comes together. (The dough will not be smooth.)

Divide into two circles and use a floured rolling pin to roll dough to a thickness of about 3/4 inch. Place dough on top of meat pie mixture and freeze immediately. Once solid, wrap in plastic and a layer of foil.  Stores well in freezer for up to 2 months.

To bake: Place directly from freezer into a 375F oven uncovered for about 1.5- 2 hours depending upon the depth of the pie plate.

Cooked Chicken Recipe Ideas or Turkey Leftovers Tips

Of course you can make sandwiches or turkey soup but here are a couple more ideas for your pantry.

  1. Mash meat in a mini-chopper along with feta cheese, garlic and oregano. Spread on bread and bake to warm through or serve cold.
  2. Gather shredded lettuce, peppers, fresh herbs and pull meat into small pieces. Add boiled water to a large bowl and dip rice paper wraps in to soften. Roll veggies and meat into spring rolls and serve with peanut dipping sauce.

Leftover Greens

Most people throw away cooked broccoli or green beans thinking they will be too mushy to reuse. Here are some tips so those veggies won’t go to waste!

  1. Toss in a small amount of extra olive oil and spread onto a cookie sheet. Roast until crispy and top with sea salt.
  2. Use to top pizza.
  3. Mash or chop into Greek Yogurt with hot mustard and dry dill to serve as a dip.

Never ever throw away leftovers, they really are mother’s little helpers!

 

About the Author

Theresa Albert

Theresa Albert is a Food Communications Specialist and Toronto Personal Nutritionist. She is @theresaalbert on twitter and found daily at www.myfriendinfood.com

The PANK Perspective: Santa isn’t so jolly when you’re a kid.

Some children don’t mind the big man in red, while others cringe at the thought of being placed on his knee.

A few years ago when my oldest nephew was 3 years old, he wasn’t impressed with having to sit with Santa and pose for a photo. He didn’t kick or scream, cry or yell; he simply just wasn’t impressed.

See?

Obviously, Cole wasn’t excited to see Santa!

 

For the latter part of that day, we called him Daemon.

The last couple of years he’s been much better. He understands Santa’s role and has mastered the art of grinning wide and saying ‘cheese.’ Now, I’m not sure how his brother who just turned 1 will handle his first greeting of the Supreme Claus. I don’t think he will cry, but getting him to sit still might be tough. Good luck to my SIL on that one.

When I was young, I didn’t like Santa much until I was about 6. My Mom has a picture frame she displays every holiday season of my brother and I over the years. For the first bunch of photos, I’m bawling my eyes out. In fact, there’s one where I’m so beet red in the face from screaming that you’d think it was the end of the world. I don’t know what my problem was with Santa. Maybe it’s because he wears a suit in a colour that is often associated with anger and anxiety? Or maybe it’s because his beard hides his mouth and all you can see are his beady eyes? Or maybe it’s simply the fact that a child is being handed off to a stranger and must pose for a photo? I have no idea, but as I said, I didn’t like the guy for many years. But, I always left him sugar cookies so I made up for the crying. I think.

What do your kids think of the jolly man in red?

Happy Holidays!

About the Author:

Diane Morris is a PANK; Professional Aunt, No Kids and works for Mabel’s Labels as the Sales Coordinator. She’s an Aunt to two boys, and an “Auntie” to her boyfriend’s niece and nephew. She’s a sucker for romance, country music and peanut butter.

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