apple chips

Maple Cinnamon Apple Chips

Today I’m packing up the family for two nights in a secluded cabin in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. Friends of ours have a cottage in the woods, and we’re slipping away to join them over the weekend.

The maple and oak trees have started to don their fall foliage, and the weather is much cooler. This is our favourite time of the year to hike and immerse ourselves in the forest.

We won’t quite be camping, but I’ll be doing some cooking over an open fire, and am adapting our meals for a simple, outdoor setting. I want to relax on this little getaway, which means plenty of food prep in advance. Today’s maple-sweetened, cinnamon-spiced apple chips are part of that plan.

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Spinach Crepes with Maple-Stewed Blueberries | Simple Bites #breakfast #brunch #recipe

Raising Healthy Eaters: notes and observations

“If my life were a movie, mealtime in our home would be the gory part…” I wrote over eight years ago in an emotional post my hobby blog, Under the High Chair.

I had a toddler and a baby, and was devastated to report that the disaster we called ‘family dinner’ was a real let-down. “Things will get better” I was told by many people, and of course they did eventually. But at the time, when everything I made ended up on the floor and I struggled to eat everything one-handed, I wondered nightly “What is the point?”

The truth is, the family table is a wonderfully intimate yet ever so imperfect gathering place.

During the good times, it’s the best spot on earth – and when things get ugly, we have to will ourselves to stay in our seats and endure. If you’re enduring, I’m here to tell you what other parents told me – things will get better, in their own time and in their own way. In the meantime here are a few things to remember about feeding kids that helped me over the past decade.

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Weelicious Lunches

The School Lunch Blindside

There are a few things that happen after a car accident that they don’t tell you about. Such as how the muscles in your ten fingers will ache and simple tasks – like wrapping your daughter’s ponytail with an elastic or shampooing your hair – become all awkward and send spasms up your wrists to your elbows.

But everything aches. It’s just that sore fingers are a new sensation after thirty seven years.

Before Sunday, I never knew what would happen nearly every time you close your eyes in the days following a car crash. I’ve discovered that as soon as they’re shut, your mind hits “Play” on a little memory it has called “The Moment of Impact”. The replay is startling every single time: from the sickening, heart-dropping slam of metal on metal to the thud of your head on the side window.

What people do tell you is that you will be sore, maybe even for weeks, and that you should rest as much as possible. Oh perfect. Not a problem. Just as soon as I get these three kids a hot breakfast, out the door for their first day of school, meet the teachers and lug a wailing and writhing Clara out of the school yard because she wants to go to ‘cool too.

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Clara picnic

29 Summer Survival Tips for Families

School’s out! Upon finishing Monday afternoon, my boys’ excitement was so palpable, I was immediately compelled to lay out a survival plan of action.

For the next eleven weeks, we will all sleep in as often as possible (yeah right). There’s no screen time before noon, so don’t even ask, thanks. Lunches are made on your own most days and there’s a mandatory quiet time following lunch so mama can get some work done. Oh, and we’re outside as much as possible, especially for meals.

Amidst this quasi-structure of the day-t0-day, there’s plenty of fun planned as well. Also a great deal of learning, and a handful of daily chores, too. Of course I made a list. And then decided to share it here. It’s a bit of a summer bucket list, but contains plenty of practical sanity savers. It’s just basic survival as we hunker down until September.

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Homemade Instant Maple Oatmeal with Ground Chia Seed Recipe | Simple Bites #camping #breakfast

The Best Camping Foods (a round-up)

So far, the seemingly endless rains of June have kept us from packing the car, heading to a lake and pitching a tent; but we haven’t given up hope.

Weather permitting, we’ll have our summer solstice camp out again, perhaps just in the back yard, with dinner over the open fire. Then later in the summer we’ll camp for real: fish for our dinner and sleep deep in the forest. It’s our favourite family activity in summer for nine years and counting.

The weather generally dictates how much food we consume during a 2-day camping trip. If it is gloriously sunny and we are busy hiking trails or swimming, food takes a backseat until about six in the evening, when we regroup around the campfire and devour a hearty dinner. On the other hand, if we are cold and damp, much time is spent stoking the fire and eating our way through provisions. Either way, it is safe to say that food is an important part of a camping trip.

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