Recipe: Kid-Approved Frozen Fruit Smoothie

Smoothies are a delicious and easy way to get in a healthy dose of fruits (and vegetables!) into your diet. My eleven year old daughter loves smoothies and insisted we share one of her favourite recipes that she began making herself (with a little supervision) a few years ago. She loves smoothies as part of her morning breakfast and sometimes makes enough for several smoothies to either share or save for later. You can also freeze the blended mix into popsicle moulds for a tasty frozen treat! The below is her recipe as written by her and she also took the pictures. :)

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Kid-Approved Frozen Fruit Smoothie

The main ingredient is frozen fruit! We buy whatever is on sale that week, but mango is always in the recipe because it tastes the best.

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Blend together:

  • 1 avocado (or 1 medium banana) - this makes the smoothie creamy

  • 1 cup frozen berries

  • 1/2 cup frozen mango!

  • 1/4 cup of vanilla or your favourite yogurt (or one of the small lunch containers)

  • 1 teaspoon honey

  • 1 cup of water or milk (or more depending on how much frozen fruit you used - sometimes I put in too much and it jams the blender)

Frozen fruit smoothie

My mom sometimes adds some spinach or kale. I don’t.

Blend all ingredient until smooth then pour into a big cup and enjoy! Or if you made too much put it in the fridge for later. Yum!

frozen fruit smoothie in blender

5 Best Places to get Ice Cream in Ottawa's West End

Following Misty’s post on the 5 Best Places to get Ice Cream in Ottawa’s East End, I thought I would share my family’s top five favourite spots to get ice cream in Ottawa’s West End. Over the years, we have sampled a lot of ice cream in Ottawa’s West End including these five spots:

Best Places to get ice cream in Ottawa's West End

Brett’s Ice Cream

1 Beaverbrook Road, Kanata

Whether you are craving soft serve or a milkshake, Brett’s has that and more. Simply delicious and a perfect way to beat the heat while in Ottawa West!

Carp Custom Creamery

3763 Carp Road, Carp

Known simply as “Carp Creamery,” this ice cream shop serves up delicious homemade ice cream and makes ice cream cakes (among other things). They have over 60 flavours, which means there is a flavour (or two) for everyone in the family. They even sell it by the 1L tubs, should you want to indulge at home too!

Carp Custom Creamery has also opened a small location within the new Kichesippi Beer Brewery in Bells Corners! Yum!

Jo-Jo’s Creameria

1573 Stittsville Main, Stittsville

Jo-Jo’s makes ice cream even more fun with specialty cones and unique creations such as the “Cookie Monster" “Baby Shark” and the “Unicorn". Your kids eyes will be almost as huge as their ice cream cone when the see these fun creations. Note: it’s not inexpensive by any means, but it is definitely a fun summer treat for all ages - and they even serve vegan flavours!

Purple Cow’s Ice Cream

111 Colonnade Rd, Nepean

Located within the Merivale Acres Business Park, Purple Cow’s Ice Cream offers many different flavours of ice cream, homemade waffle cones as well as other sweet treats including fudge! This place is a hidden gem!

Redd’s Ice Cream

1523 Stittsville Main St. (Behind Quitters Coffee)

Open in the summer only, this bright red food truck located behind Quitters Coffee, serves ice cream from Carp’s Custom Creamery. There are always at least half a dozen flavours and there is outdoor seating if you want to eat your treat on site.

Honourable mention: Scoops Ice Cream

111 Waba Rd, Pakenham

A bit of a drive, but well worth it, Scoops is only open in the summer, but the drive to Pakenham is scenic and well worth it. We tend to grab our ice cream and then go sit by the stone bridge, located nearby. Scoops services soft serve and they make their own waffle cones! If you go, be sure to check out their specialty, the Hurricane!

Wacky Cake: The Easiest Chocolate Cake You'll Ever Make

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Wacky Cake is seriously the easiest chocolate cake you’ll ever make. I discovered it last year when my mom made it for my daughter. My mom got the recipe from my aunt… meanwhile, a close friend says she’s been making it for years. I cannot believe I did not know about this recipe before then! I am telling you - this chocolate cake is not only simple to make it is delicious!

According to Wikipedia, Wacky Cake may have been created as the result of rationing during World War II, when milk and eggs were scarce. “The cake is considered a popular delicacy at bake sales in numerous rural regions of the United States.” Given how simple it is to make and how delicious it is - I can see why!

Wacky Cake Recipe

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Celsius

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp baking soda

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 3 tbsp cocoa

  • 1 cup of white sugar

Mix all of the dry ingredients in a 9x9 pan. Once they are mixed, make three wells and then pour in:

Wacky Cake: The Easiest Chocolate Cake You'll Ever Make

Wacky Cake: The Easiest Chocolate Cake You'll Ever Make

  • 1 tbsp vinegar (into one well)

  • 1 tsp vanilla (into the other)

  • 5 tbsp oil (into the third well, don’t worry if it spills over)

Pour 1 cup of water over everything and then mix together with a fork. Once well mixed, pour 1 cup of chocolate chips over the batter (you can also add chopped pecans, if desired).

Bake for 30 minutes.

Mixing up the Wacky Cake: The Easiest Chocolate Cake You'll Ever Make

When the cake comes out of the oven take a knife and spread the melted chocolate chips over the top of the cake as though it is icing… and you’re done! Alternatively, you can omit the chocolate chips and sprinkle icing sugar over the top or use buttercream icing. This cake takes less than an hour from start to finish and is so good. My daughter asks for it all the time and I always make it for guests.

Baked Wacky Cake: The Easiest Chocolate Cake You'll Ever Make

Do you have a go-to dessert recipe? Have you made a wacky cake before? Leave a comment and let us know!

Simple Cakewalk Ideas

It’s that time of year again! It’s cakewalk season at many schools! I will admit it – when I see the cakewalk memo in my daughter’s school bag I let out a big ol’ sigh. It’s not because I am opposed to cake walks, but because I am not a talented cake decorator and I hate the idea of disappointing the hundreds of little faces who walk from cake-to-cake trying to decide where to put their tickets. 

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If you’re not familiar with a cakewalk, it’s a school fundraiser where a bunch of cakes and cupcakes (typically bought or baked by parents) are lined up on tables typically in a gymnasium. The kids walk around looking at all of the cakes and cupcakes, and then pay for tickets to deposit in the bags or boxes belonging to the cakes they hope to win. Once all of the kids have done this, tickets are drawn and kids win cakes! Usually it’s one cake/package of cupcakes per kid.

The pressure is on to get the cake with the most tickets!  

Or is it?  

I have learned over the years that most kids don’t really care what the cakes or cupcakes look like – especially the younger kids. What they do care about is the amount of chocolate, candy and sugar the cake has! The more the merrier! 

Having said this, it doesn’t alleviate the pressure as much as it should for me. I would love to be a talented cake decorator, but I am anything but! Every time I see a cake walk memo my mind spins with ideas of what I should create versus what I CAN create. I would love to be that mom who can create a life size minion cake that looks so realistic that you expect it to talk (this cake actually existed at one of my daughter’s cake walks – that mom is one heck of a cake decorator let me tell you!). 

I know some parents purchase baked goods and I believe that is great if that works for them because for me, it’s all about participating. I, however, like to bake (it’s the decorating part I loathe). So, I try and bake something “attractive” for each cake walk. The first couple of years I would bake a cake similar to what you see below from the blog of Mrs Rachel Brady. A simple chocolate cake with chocolate icing and Smarties as polka dots. Perfect.

Easy chocolate birthday cake via  Mrs Rachel Brady

Easy chocolate birthday cake via Mrs Rachel Brady

Then my daughter mentioned that many parents make cupcakes and break them into four containers with six cupcakes each or six containers with four cupcakes each. Genius! This means there are more “cakes” for the kids to win and covers off any parents who may not have contributed. So, now I make cupcakes. 

My standby, “Oh crap, I forgot the cakewalk is tomorrow!” cupcake is ‘worms and dirt.’ It’s the chocolate cupcakes and chocolate icing or crumbled up cookie topping with gummy worms. Quick and simple to make and a hit with the younger kids (so I hear anyway).

This year I wanted to venture out of my comfort zone. I asked on Twitter if anyone had thoughts and made it clear that cake decorating it not my forté. It was recommended that I check out Pinterest, but the only cakes I ever saw on there were way out of my talent-league. But then someone sent me a link to cakewalk cake ideas on Pinterest and right away I spotted something I could do! It was simple, fun and cute!

The little piggies cupcakes were so easy to make and when I dropped them off the students collecting the cakes thought they were adorable! I can see myself making these again for the next cakewalk. 

Simple Cake Walk Ideas - Little Piggie Cupcakes

Suffice to say, I have learned to accept that I will never be the minion cake-making parent. Instead I am proud of myself for contributing something to every cakewalk my daughter has been a part of and that I made something that hopefully made a kid smile. Albeit, sometimes that kid is my own because she notices there are no tickets for my contribution and chooses to put her tickets in to win it. ;)

Are you a talented cake decorator? What are your favourite cake walk ideas?

The New Canada’s Food Guide: Encouraging Healthy Eating

The new Canada Food Guide was released on January 22, 2019, and before its publication there was a lot of speculation surrounding what foods would be eliminated and what foods that were previously highlighted would be minimized. In truth, the new Canada’s food guide encourages healthy food choices. They want Canadians to, "make it a habit of eating a variety of healthy food each day."

What does this mean? It means eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grain foods and protein foods – including protein that come from plants. It also means limiting highly processed foods (note: they do not say to avoid them altogether, but to eat them less often and in small amounts).

The picture on the new Canada’s food guide shows a plate half-filled with vegetables and fruits, with the other half split between protein foods and whole grain foods. Gone are the graphics for milk, yogurts and meats. Instead, meat protein shares its space with protein from nuts, tofu and legumes.

My favourite addition is to, “make water your drink of choice.” There is no substitute for the healthiness and necessity of water. We are mostly made from water, so it’s no wonder we should be focusing our beverage choices on water as opposed to sugary and artificially-flavoured drinks. 

The new Canada’s food guide also focuses on healthy eating habits. It encourages you to use food labels, and to limit foods high in sodium, sugars and saturated fats.

In a fast-paced world, the new food guide encourages us to take our time to eat, plan what we eat and involve others in planning and preparing meals. This is especially important for families.

As a registered dietician, and mother of three young children, Cathy Richards believes eating healthy as a family does not have to be time-consuming or difficult, and she’s happy to see that the new food guide recommendations support the scientific evidence on diet and health.

The focus is on whole foods and it’s presented in an easy to understand format. A visual of the plate makes it easy for my clients to understand how they should be aiming to balance a meal. I really like the interactive nature of the website for the guide, as it makes it a fun activity for families to explore together by trying new recipes or incorporating the tips around mindful eating.”

Food marketing to kids is also a very relevant concern and Cathy is, “happy to see some direction for parents around this. The research supports cooking at home more often and eating together as key health behaviours to prevent obesity in adulthood. To be honest, I haven’t been referring to Canada’s food guide with my clients for years but with this new addition I’ll definitely be directing more of my clients there to explore the website and learn with their families.” 

Canada’s food guide website has many healthy recipes the entire family can enjoy preparing and eating together. The guide also has tips on how to eat healthy anywhere as well as outlines nutritional needs based on age and life stages.

Canada's food guide has changed, but it has changed because with the many food options available to us in grocery stores, online and in restaurants, it can be confusing to know what eating healthy really means. After all, “healthy eating is more than the foods you eat.”  

For more information on the new Canada’s food guide, visit their website. You can even download an educational poster and post it on your fridge as a reminder of what it means to eat healthy.