Tips and Ideas for a Sugar Free Easter

IMG_2914It has been 3 years since we have had to eliminate all refined sugars from our diet. This was for the benefit of my son who was not only experiencing extreme mood and behavior but was having trouble sleeping as well.

Though it was challenging to do in our everyday lives, the real challenge came around the holidays, as in our culture there is a lot of focus around food and feasts, especially sweets. As you can imagine Halloween is the biggest, with the entire focus of trick or treating being on collecting candy, with Easter being a close second.

P4240615Over the years we have found many different tips and tricks to enjoy these holidays without the focus being on all the candy and chocolates. I have to admit our first sugar free Easter was a bit of a challenge. My son, who was only 7 at the time, was old enough to remember the basket and eggs full of chocolates and jelly beans, so when Easter morning he discovered a basket full of socks and books, he was a little disappointed and understandably so.

I did my best to compensate by making our usual Easter Brunch, complete with eggs and sausages, waffles and fruit of which he enjoyed immensely. He then got treated with a new pair of sneakers from Grandpa and a cactus for his room. He soon forgot about all the things he was missing and was enjoying what he had.

The next year was better, as in the interim I had taken a class on how to make raw organic chocolates so was able to make chocolates we could enjoy, in addition to the new treats that the Easter Bunny brought for us.

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Easter Chick

For the twins, it has been a non issue as a sugar free Easter is the only kind of Easter they have known. I imagine as they get older they will learn what other children do for Easter and it may or may not matter to them, but I believe that because they will have known our way since birth that they will have a strong foundation and may feel very happy with our Easter regardless.

Now Easter is back to being another fun holiday that we all enjoy with our various traditions and ‘treats’. The kids baskets are full of non candy items, the eggs full of cash, and a wonderful mid morning feast of our favorite breakfast foods. Of course we add in other things from year to year, but those are the ‘basics’. No one feels denied or left out, nor focuses are what’s missing but appreciates and gets excited about what we have.

If you are looking to reduce the sugar during this holiday here are some tips on how to do so without the kids feeling disappointed:

  1. Fill Easter baskets with toys, socks, books, sunglasses, seeds, gardening gloves, bubbles, chalk, etc. I like to buy things that are inexpensive but not cheap, as well as things that they will enjoy and use. One year Matthew got a movie he wanted and a few smaller items but that was it. It can vary from year to year but I am not one to buy junkie trinkets just to fill the basket.
  2. Make your own chocolate with natural sweeteners. It is easy to make your own chocolates; you can get Easter molds and add anything you want to it. You could even get the kids to make them with you, ready for Easter morning.IMG_2904
  3. Plan an Easter Egg Hunt. We have lots of those plastic Easter eggs that I fill with coins or stickers. Usually I leave a little trail from their bedrooms down the stairs and hide them all over the main level. Sometimes they even get hidden outside. There are many ways you can set up the hunt and ideas for non candy items to put in the eggs.  They could just be clues that will lead the kids to a prize of some sort at the end.
  4. Make a yummy (sugar free) Easter brunch or breakfast. If the kids are looking forward to their favorite french toast or waffles, they will likely be distracted and awaiting that yummy feast.
  5. Do Easter crafts or activities. Most kids love crafts, even my 10 year old son will still sit down and do a craft, painting or art project.
  6. Decorate the house for Easter. If the kids get into decorating the house this takes the focus off the candies and onto other stuff. The twins have been ‘decorating’ for weeks, setting up army men around the Easter tree or hanging crafts they made at preschool in their room. Decorating also makes it more than just about the one day and makes it more of an event.
  7. Get others on board. Encourage other family members and friends to get non sugary treats for everyone; then the kids see that everyone is getting the same, so it must be ok.
  8. IMG_2903Color eggs. You can do this on Easter as an activity or prior to. Either way it is another way of removing the focus and putting it onto something else that is fun and enjoyable.
  9. Be grateful. Encourage the kids to be grateful for what they have. Create a gratitude jar or choose another gratitude activity to do do with them.
  10. No matter what you do have fun. Whether you are creating new traditions, foods, crafts etc. enjoy the Easter holiday as a family and remember why we celebrate, and what is most important to you as a family this holiday.

Easter Activities and Ideas

easter-bunny-2Well I have to admit that Easter has snuck up on me again! You would think that with calendars and the kids talking about Easter for the past month or more that I would have been more on top of it. But here we are the week before, actually only a few days away, and I have ‘clued in’ that maybe I should get ready for Easter.

We did dye eggs last weekend, which Luke and Chloe have been asking to do since the beginning of March, but that has been it so far. I always find there are so many cute and fun things to do around Easter and I have such great ideas! Then it comes and goes and we have done very little. And honestly the kids don’t notice really, but it is me who knows that we could do so much more!

IMG_0009The things we typically do for Easter are an Easter Brunch on the Sunday, an Egg Hunt and search for Easter baskets. Prior to the day we usually color eggs and make a craft or two. We used to participate in some of the community Easter events, which usually include an egg hunt, but the challenge is now, the treat at the end contains ingredients that we do not eat, so I think it’s unfair to take the kids out and not let them have the prize. So we find other things to do.

We also now have a sugar free Easter, which is a little more costly, but pretty easy to do. The Easter Bunny brings socks and toys, chalk, bubbles, play doh and the like. The twins love it and don’t know any different because that is what it has always been for them. Matthew still struggles with the lack of candy in his basket but overall does ok as they are all getting the same. It is challenging though as the kids get older and hear and see what other kids get for Easter, or any other holiday for that matter. I guess that’s one of our many challenges as parents, making a decision for your family and hope for the best, trusting that you have made that decision for a good and sound reason – though the children, nor others, may not always agree with you.

IMG_2907The bottom line is my kids still get to enjoy Easter and the many things that are part of it. The Easter Bunny still comes to see them, he’s just changed what he puts in the baskets and eggs. I have an Easter mold so I make some chocolates, so still get chocolate to enjoy and it’s better for us. Yes it takes a little more prep and effort but it’s worth it in the end.

So if you’re looking for ideas for things to do this Easter here are some great crafts and activities I have found over the years. Our favorites are the Easter Chick and dying Easter Eggs.

IMG_1224There’s also some great tips and ideas on how to reduce or eliminate the sugar fest in the Easter baskets, as well as ideas to plan your own Easter Egg Hunt. Also some fabulous recipes for Easter Brunch, my favorite is always the Impossible Quiche, quick easy and I have modified it to make it dairy free and no one knows the difference!

What are some of your favorite activities and crafts or Easter Brunch recipes?

 

Broccoli Cheese Soup

broccoli-soup-bryons-lrgI wanted to post a recipe today for something sweet, especially for all you party goers who are joining me from the UBP; but I finally perfected my Broccoli Cheese Soup recipe and had to share – now both dairy free, gluten free and delicious!

For the past while, I have been just making a straight creamy broccoli soup, which was ok, but I missed the cheese. And the kids, who use to gobble it up, were kind of taking it or leaving it when I made it. In fact I wasn’t eating it at all (ha ha)!

So earlier this week when I was making it for lunch I decided to experiment. First I decided to use brown rice flour instead of regular white flour, as I am trying to make more things gluten free in our house (plus I have noticed that I feel tired after some things with gluten). Then I decided that I was going to throw in some of this fabulous non-dairy cheddar cheese that I discovered by Daiya foods. See one of the things I really do miss about not having dairy is cheese. And though there are lots of choices out there now for non dairy cheeses, I just couldn’t find one that I liked. They either didn’t melt well, or taste good and they definitely weren’t tasty enough to put on a cracker (yuk!). But recently I discovered this vegan cheese made by Daiya, a Canadian company actually (Go Canada) based in Vancouver. It melts, it tastes good and everyone gobbles it up! I think it is very close to tasting like dairy cheese and they make it in all kinds of flavours! They even sell it in slices so, guess what? We are now having grill cheese once again, which honestly used to be a staple for lunch.US-Shreds-Cheddar

Anyway I tossed a handful of the Daiya grated cheddar into the blender and mixed it all up.  It was fantastic! Luke gobbled it up, I ate it and will eat it again (this is a good sign). And it tasted really cheesy, like you would expect a nice cheesy soup to taste. I think this means I can go back to making my Cheesy Potato soup now….

The recipe for this soup is really easy and doesn’t take any time at all to make. Give it a try! You won’t be disappointed.

And for those of you who are looking for a little sweet treat, check out Chocolate Peanut Butter Cereal Squares, Marshmallows, Chocolate Macaroons.

Do you have a favorite cheesy soup recipe? Please share it with us in the comments below.

Broccoli Cheese Soup

2 cups     fresh cut broccolibroccoli

1 cup      water

1 ¼ cup reserved juice, plus water if not enough juice left

1 cup      almond milk

1 tsp       chicken bouillon powder

¼ tsp     sea salt

1/8 tsp   pepper

2 tbsp    brown rice flour

1/3 cup   grated vegan cheddar cheese

Cook broccoli in water in covered saucepan until tender. Drain and reserve juice. Put broccoli in blender.

Add remaining 6 ingredients to blender. Process until smooth. Return to saucepan. Heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture boils and thickens. Makes 3 cups.

Serves 2-3

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Cereal Squares

Never Underestimate the Value of a Princess Dress

I have 3 kids. An older son and a set of boy girl twins. When I was pregnant with the twins I was sure it was a boy and a girl even though we did not find out until they arrived; yet when they were born I almost thought that I was going to end up with 3 boys. Which I had told my husband at the time if that was the case we were selling the house and moving out to a farm :) Boys need space, they need to run and play and get dirty. Not that girls don’t, but boys do more, as I am sure that those with sons can totally relate.

We knew Baby A was the smaller of the two, so when Baby A came and it was a boy, for a fleeting moment I thought uh-oh. But within minutes out came Baby B, a girl! She had fooled us all.

And she is definitely my girly girl, with all things bling. She’s only 4 but loves dresses and sparkle, jewelry and make up and of course, pink (which to be honest I hated pink when I was younger as I felt like it was a color that was forced on me because I was a girl so I should love it! Now I do love it, but not because I am supposed to).

Chloe’s favorite thing to do now is to get up each day and put on her Cinderella dress that she recently got for her birthday. She literally hops out of bed, takes off her pyjamas and grabs her underwear and her dress and puts them on. The dress is filthy and a little stained, as she wears it everywhere. In the house, outside playing in the dirt, preschool, shopping, etc. The amazing thing I notice though is that everyone who sees her in it, smiles and usually tells her what a pretty dress she is wearing. Or would she mind if they saw her dress (as her coat was covering it).

She is constantly engaged in conversation with people of all ages and genders. They love it, she loves it and it brings joy to everyone, everywhere she goes. Yes some may argue that she is 4 and she is cute, but her 4 year old brother is standing right there and he does not get the same attention. It’s totally the dress. IMG_2798 - Version 2

This made me think the other day, while we were in the passport office and it took twice as long to process our applications because the clerk and Chloe were discussing her dress, that you should not underestimate the value of a princess dress. Yes some may argue that it is girly and it stereotypes and puts girls into a certain box. But I would argue that we should all wear a princess dress. In fact there are some days when I wish I had one. Cause let’s be honest, we feel good, we feel pretty and we love the attention. People will help us, smile at us and maybe even ask us where we go it. It would also make cleaning the house more fun, or going out or even into the garden (thought possibly messing up our dress).

Imagine yourself in a princess dress right now. How do you feel? I bet you are already starting to grin, imagining yourself spinning, feeling really good about yourself. And you haven’t even gone out yet! Now imagine going out and all the compliments and conversations you will have. The people you will meet. I bet now you feel like a million bucks and you’ve only virtually put it on! You see what I’m saying?

So yes little girls love to dress up in their pretty dresses and they get lots of attention and we let them. What I think is important though is to not forget that little girl who loves to dress up and bring her out a lot more often! We all need a princess dress and we should not forget to put it on. So dust off your shoes ladies, as Moms, friends, co-workers etc. go out into the world and shine! And if you’re in your princess dress than all the better!

Party! Party! Party!

scaled_photoWelcome! I am very excited to be joining the Ultimate Blog Party 2014 again this year! I think this is a great opportunity to get out there and connect with other bloggers while sharing the things that you love, including your own blog! Thank you to Janice and Susan of 5 Minutes for Mom for hosting this fabulous event.

If you are new to Momma on the Move I’d like to thank you for stopping by and for those of you who are returning welcome back. It is a pleasure to have you all here.

8095971047_2a93f46d0a_bMy name is Carmen and I have 3 beautiful children, 4 year old boy/ girl twins and an older son. I grew up on the East Coast and have a deep love for the ocean. I love the outdoors, travelling, exploring new places and to getting out there to enjoy and embrace life!

The kids keep me busy with the twins now in preschool and our decision to eat sugar and dairy free at our house. When not playing with or helping the kids, I am in the kitchen trying out or modifying recipes to meet our needs. I have even been dabbling in some gluten free recipes over the past year as well.

IMG_2646We made the decision to remove sugar, back when my Matthew, my oldest was in grade 2, due to behavorial and sleep challenges with him. It was amazing the difference it made! Shortly after we went dairy free as I discovered both myself and my daughter had an intolerance and the gluten well, when I discovered I was still feeling tired after eating a dairy free/ sugar free muffin, gluten was the only thing left!

I have always loved to write but started blogging because I felt that I could share more faster and reach a larger audience. I find that there are so many things to share and explore, as life is a story. Everywhere we go I am taking pictures and thinking about how I make this into an informative, yet interesting blog post for my readers. Everything from crafts and activities for kids, our adventures camping and in the outdoors, to the many sugar and dairy free recipes, I like to blog about it!

I also like to include tidbits about the importance of taking time for ourselves, gratitude and being ambassadors for our planet.

I like creating a community where we can share, interact and learn from each other. Plus it’s stretched me in the world of technology as well!

IMG_2106Now that you’re here, sit down grab a cup of coffee and take a look around. Let me know what your favorite posts are, what you’d like to see more of. Leave a comment sharing with me who you are and where I can find you so we can connect and get to know each other. I’m looking forward to visiting everyone’s sites and making new friends.

Here are some of my favorite posts:

Firewalking

Rainy Day Activities

All Things Pumpkin

Natural Sugar Substitutes

RAK your Brain

Firewalking

Firewalking

 

Grasshopper Popsicles

Enjoy! See you at the party!

Let’s stay connected! Here’s where you can find me

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Google+

Fabulous Baked Beans

IMG_2839Growing up I always loved a can of baked beans. They reminded me of sitting around the campfire and enjoying them usually with hot dogs. But when we changed our diet canned baked beans was another thing that had to go! :( Usually made with brown sugar and molasses (molasses being the worst culprit; which is 50% sucrose and is actually a by product of making refined white sugar, with the added chemicals) I had to forgo baked beans for awhile.

In fact, I never thought that I could make my own. Funny enough I thought they come in a can so how could I? Yet one day we went for supper at my neighbors house and he had made them from scratch. Thinking nothing of it, a little while later my mother said she wanted to make baked beans for the camping trip that she and my father were taking my oldest son Matthew on. I then remembered that my neighbor had made them and kindly asked for his recipe.

eden-foods-barley-malt-24412By this time I knew enough about different natural substitutes to make the necessary changes in ingredients. Barley Malt is often substituted for molasses and we had found a ketchup, that was not only organic but sweetened with honey. It was perfect!

And of course I love using my slow cooker, putting something in in the morning and let it cook slowly all day, the sweet smells wafting through the house as it cooks. By the time they are ready to eat our mouths are watering in anticipation!

The recipe turned out beautifully and so delicious! I often make them myself when we go camping and just reheat when we get there. I even make them at home from time to time and they are always gobbled up! I have a friend who I introduced them to, who now says that he will never be able to go back to the canned ones. Which I guess is good and bad :)

True, this is not a recipe that you can whip up in 30 minutes, but it is totally worth the time it takes to make them. And really it only takes a little prep and preplanning.

IMG_2836Now the original recipe calls for only 1/3 pkg. of bacon but I use the whole thing. In fact I buy the cheapest and fattiest brand I can find, which is probably why mine are better than my Mum’s even though we are using the exact same recipe! (sorry Mum)

So whether you are looking for something around the campfire or warm comfort food at home these beans will not disappoint! Once you’ve tried this recipe please return and share your comments about how they turned out.

Baked Beans

2 cups red kidney beans (soaked overnight)

1 pkg. bacon

1 onion chopped

1/2 c. Honey Bunny Bodacious Ketchup

1/3 c. pure maple syrup

1/4 c. barley malt

1 tsp. dry mustard

Soak beans overnight in water. Use a large container and add in generous amounts of water as beans will soak up quite a bit of it. Cover with lid.

Boil gently soaked beans until soft. Put beans into crock pot. Mix the rest of the ingredients together in a bowl and pour over beans. Cover and put on low. Cook all day (for a minimum of 8 hours)

*if you prefer a sweeter recipe you can adjust maple syrup and barley malt to taste

Going Beyond Earth Hour

Earth Hour is a global event that takes place near the end of March each year. In this hour of darkness, 152 countries in 7000 cities, hundreds of millions of people turn out all non-essential lights to show how a small act can make a difference.

But this is not all Earth Hour is about. It’s not just about turning off your lights for an hour and seeing how much the power usage drops. The organizers of Earth Hour say that the measure of success and actual goal of Earth Hour is to go beyond the hour. Demonstrating how small acts done on a regular basis contribute to a sustainable planet.

In 2011, the logo ’60′ which represented the 60 minutes of darkness; was changed to ’60 +’ to promote going beyond the hour. Projects were iniated all over the world, to help protect and sustain our planet. Projects such as planting 5000 trees in Uganda and protecting 3.4 million hectares of sea in Argentina and there are many more.

But it’s not just about the big global projects, though important, it’s also about doing what we can close to home, in our own backyards. Simple and easy changes that can be made to reduce our usage and impact on the planet.

Here are 10 ways to help reduce your impact on a regular basis and are things you can easily involve children (the ambassadors of our planet) in doing:

  1. Use LED lightbulbs – studies have shown that this alone significantly reduces our power usuage. The cost to buy the bulb long outweighs the savings
  2. Install a programmable thermostat – these are more accurate and easy to use helps reduce your heating bill
  3. Recycle – this may seem obvious but there are still many people who don’t recycle. If you already do, go the extra mile such as recycling your coffee cup when you go out for coffee or get a refillable one
  4. Carpool – even sharing a ride with one other person saves one car. If you choose transit or foot, saves even more!
  5. Use reuseable cloth bags – get the kids to decorate the bags
  6. Have a candlelight dinner hour – the kids will love turning the lights and having dinner by candlelight. Or set the mood for later with your partner post bedtime :)
  7. Have a picnic supper – serve a variety of cold dishes, such as yummy salads, fancy sandwiches and a no bake dessert
  8. Grow your own garden – even a small garden plot can be fun and rewarding. If you don’t have the yard space, get an old wooden pallet and put garden fabric on the back and fill it with dirt. Voila instant garden!
  9. Compost -many communities in Canada have a green cart program, but it’s easy to compost in your own backyard.
  10. Create your own Earth Hour project either with your family or within your community

 

Activities to do with Kids During Earth Hour

ehourThis Saturday, March 29, 2014 marks the 8th celebration of Earth Hour, a global event to turn out all non-essential lights from 8:30-9:30 pm local time.

First held in Australia in 2007, Earth Hour went global in 2008; and is a demonstration of how people can reduce their impact on the environment by turning out all non-essential lights for one hour. It is amazing how the power usage numbers drop during this one hour and the positive impact it has on our environment and entire planet. During this event, many famous landmarks such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Tokyo Tower, Eiffel Tower, Buckingham Palace, Times Square, Niagara Falls and more turn off their lights.

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Sydney Opera House & Harbour Bridge

Sponsored by the World Wildlife Federation, Earth Hour can be a fun event that brings families, communities and the entire planet together for a common cause. There are many events and projects that are held locally that celebrate this event and promote the awareness of reducing our footprint on the planet. 2011 was the first Earth Hour to ‘go beyond the hour’ and encourage supporters to think about what else they can do to make a difference throughout the year. Some of these include, and are as simple as, turning the lights off when you leave a room, recycling and growing your own garden.

A great part of Earth Hour is getting the kids involved! As it is the younger generation that are the ambassadors for our planet; and need to be taught it’s value and how to protect it. It is easy to get them involved with some of these fun activities you can do at home.

The first thing to do is explain to them what Earth Hour is and why it is significant. Depending on the age of the child will depend on the length of your explanation. Keep it simple in terms that they can relate to and understand. Then play with them during the hour of darkness. Not only will they have fun but you will too! Plus it creates some bonus family bonding.

Activities for Earth Hour

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARead books about the Earth and the environment. Books like Uno’s Garden by Graeme Base, The Lorax by Dr. Seuss and The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle are all wonderful children’s books with an environmental message. Choose an appropriate book and read by candlelight or flashlight.

Play board games. Gather the family together, set up a few candles and choose a favorite board game.

Make shadow puppets. Grab a flashlight and shine it against the wall. Have the kids create animals or figures using their hands and casting the shadow on the wall. Mum and Dad can participate as well. Have the kids create a dialogue or a short play about the environment.

How_to_Make_Shadow_PuppetsPlay hide and seek. Playing hide and seek in the dark is lots of fun. Set clear boundaries and guidelines for the game to ensure everyone feels safe and young children are not scared. If some children are afraid of being alone in the dark, play in pairs so that they feel safe during the game. Place candles safely around the house to provide some light or give each person his own flashlight. Establish where home base is so that anyone who feels he would no longer like to hide knows where to go.

Stargazing. This is the best time to go out and look at the stars! With all non essential lights out, there will not be all the extra light interfering with what can be seen in the  night sky.  The kids will be able to see more from their backyard than they could before! Everyone will be able to see quite a bit with the naked eye, but if you have a pair of binoculars or a telescope the kids will enjoy using these to see even more. This could start a dialogue with the kids as to why they can see more during this hour and what light pollution is.

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What activities will you do with the kids this Earth Hour? Add to our list by commenting below and share with others your ideas.

A Few of my Favorite Muffins

8I have fond memories of muffins growing up. This may sound a little weird but I was a competitive swimmer for many years and that meant early morning practices before breakfast. My mother would often make muffins and after practice we’d have muffins and juice before being dropped off at school. As a result, my Mom tried all kinds of different muffin recipes, so that we could enjoy variety and not get bored with the same old banana muffins 3 times a week.

IMG_2690One of my favorite muffin recipes was one that was filled with jam. Though not quite as tasty as a jam filled donut, I loved these because of the ‘surprise in the middle’. I also found them to be quite tasty and very moist due to the yogurt that is in the recipe.

Of course when we moved to eating dairy free I had to forgo these muffins for a while. Until recently, when I discovered some of the non-dairy yogurts out there. Though most varities are made from soy, you can find brands that are made using coconut or almond milk as well.

With this discovery, I was now able to recreate these delectable muffins! Of course I had to experiment a bit as I needed to substitute the sugar as well and although most natural sugars can be substituted one for one, I find that when you are also altering another ingredient sometimes the sweetness factor needs to be adjusted to.

This was the case with these muffins as though the kids gobbled them up the first time I made them, both my older son and I felt they could be a little sweeter. So the next time I made them I experimented a little adding a little more coconut sugar then the recipe called for. As I result, I did eventually find the perfect combination.

nancys-cultured-soy-plain-58308The yogurt I use is Nancy’s Organic Cultured Soy, plain. Though they offer many different flavors as well. It is a little thicker than dairy yogurt but definitely works. (Also works fabulously in the Cheesy Greens Macaroni dish that I make, which is soooo good!) I have yet to try a coconut milk yogurt but imagine that this would work out the same.

So if you’re up for a yummy nutritious treat with a surprise in the middle, give these muffins a try. And if you do use the coconut milk yogurt come back and comment and let others know how it worked out.

Jam Filled Muffins

1 1/2 c. flour

1/4 c. + 1/8 c. coconut sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 c. Earth Balance vegan spread

1 c. non dairy yogurt

1/4 c. almond milk

1 egg

1/2 tsp. vanilla

Favorite sugar free jam

In a medium bowl blend dry ingredients. In a small saucepan melt Earth Balance. Take off heat, stir in yogurt, almond milk and blend. Beat in egg and vanilla. Add Earth Balance mixture to dry ingredients and stir until moistened.

*Line cupcake pan with liners or grease well. Spoon in half the batter. Place about 1 tsp. of jam in each muffin, then top with remaining batter.

Bake at 375 F for 15-20 minutes.

Makes 12 muffins.

*Note: I have found with these muffins if you have the cupcake liners that that is best due to the jam sometimes overflowing a bit.

Earls on 4th Reopened and Better than Ever

IMG_2733As one of the many businesses that was affected by the June 2013 flood in Calgary, Earls Tin Palace celebrated it’s Grand Re-opening last week.

With more than 20 new dishes and ‘Creative Cocktails’ added to their menu, the newly renovated location reopened on February 26.

It was one of their busiest lunches with tables full of people coming to check out the ‘new’ Earls. Completely gutted this $4 million dollar reno does not disappoint. From the beautiful artwork at the front entrance (a topographical map of the Bow river), the all around bar in the restaurant to funky bathrooms with specially created vintage Earls wallpaper. Even the bar side is just as cozy as the restaurant side with the large screen tvs tucked behind the bar. Still viewable to enjoy the game but not interrupt your intimate conversation.

Seafood Louie Salad

Seafood Louie Salad

I had the pleasure that day of joining Cate Simpson, Earls Communications and Ellen Percival of Calgary’s Child for a fabulous lunch learning about and tasting the wares of this newly renovated location.

To be honest, I had not been to Earls for quite a long time, having thought from my last experiences that the menu was not that great and that it was just another run of the mill restaurant; that I had often frequented in my university days. I was excited and pleasantly surprised to learn that this was not the case!

Earls makes all their own sauces and salad dressings in house, everything is from scratch and they use the freshest ingredients. They are working diligently to provide gluten free and other dietary options to meet the needs of customers who are moving more towards those choices. They add 3 or 4 dishes to their menu each season to keep things fresh and in sync with the times and are continually researching and developing not only their food menu but their wine offerings as well! They now offer some of the more expensive wines for those who choose to indulge.

Dynamite Prawn & Mango Roll

Dynamite Prawn & Mango Roll

My biggest treat/ surprise was their sushi. I am not a fan of sushi, I have tried it a number of times in different ways and each time I did not like it at all. But when they brought out the dish I thought I’d try it, being in the spirit of things. They brought out a Smoked Salmon Pressed Sushi, Dynamite Prawn and Mango Roll and a Crispy Tuna Sushi Cone, all of which I loved! The lady beside me at lunch, Marnie, whose both husband and herself are chefs was so pleased and delighted that I liked it. She was very excited that I had now entered into the sushi world.

These dishes amongst many others, such as calamari, Seafood Louie Salad and the classic Earls Crispy Dry Ribs were all excellent.

Creative Cocktails

Creative Cocktails

The new Creative Cocktails were also a delight. From the Mad Hatter which is served in a steaming tea pot, to the Cabin Fever (all Canadian and served with a pinecone), these and  the other new cocktails delight the tastebuds!

Earls Tin Palace is definitely set to draw in the crowds. And will be a pleasure to peruse now and on the patio as the warmer weather begins.