’tis the season!

I never really got back ‘in’ to Pumpkin Spice it after the whole ‘milk-gate’ deal with Starbucks’ PSL. Pumpkin Spice everything popped up and I kind of shrugged at all of it [though, I did buy a pack of the Oreo’s when they first debuted]. That being said, I have always loved pumpkin, and religiously create several pumpkin-themed goodies when the season changes. This year is no different, but when I switched my protein powder over to Soylent 1.8 [more on that in a different post], I was in need of some added flavor and variety to the taste-neutral powder base.

Enter: Pumpkin. Not only is it delicious, but pumpkin is packed with so many vitamins, minerals and fiber! It is also a nice, lower-calorie, low-carb [I see you, Keto peeps!] addition to a smoothie that packs tons of flavor. I decided to freeze pureed pumpkin [canned, and make sure it’s plain pumpkin and NOT pumpkin pie filling!] in a silicon cupcake tray overnight, and use it just like any other frozen fruit. I’m sure it would taste just as good un-frozen too, but I prefer the consistency you get this way. I played around with adding the signature spices along with a few other ingredients, and was rewarded with a new Autumn staple!

Below, I’m going to share my favorite blend with a few modifications. The best part of a smoothie is you can try something a little different every time!

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Pumpkin Spice Smoothie

1.5 scoops Soylent 1.8 powder [or equivalent to your preferred serving of protein/nutritional powder]

4 oz. milk [I use unsweetened almond milk. You could always use water, but I do like the added smoothness]

4 oz. black coffee [If you aren’t feeling coffee, just replace with milk/water/etc. to create 8 oz. of added fluid. The heat of the coffee helps soften the frozen pumpkin a bit which makes blending go more smoothly.]

1 tsp Vanilla [you can skip this step if the powder you’re using is already flavored with vanilla]

2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice [I actually have been using All Spice because that’s all I have at the moment]

Stevia, to taste [or whatever your preferred sweetener choice is!]

Blend together until smooth. Enjoy!

I really want to add some peanut butter in the next batch. Let me know what your favorite pumpkin spice add-ins are!

 

Until next time!  -L

My First Thanksgiving Abroad

 Norway, I love you

Even after all of these years, a large portion of my heart is in Norway. When I was sixteen, I was lucky enough to be accepted into Rotary International’s Youth Exchange Program. While my eyes were set on South America, after extensive int

erviews, Norway was deemed to be my new home for a year.

Shortly after arriving I made a friend, Anne. She’s from Colorado, and is one of the best people I’ve ever been around in my life. She is kind, hilarious and truly a good person. We jammed and became great friends, quickly. A few months after our arrival, Thanksgiving was coming up. It was our first holiday away from home that year, and we both were homesick and craving the carbs that make up the main event.

The First Thanksgiving

On the actual Thanksgiving day, we had school- as everyone across Europe did. My second host family was away that evening at work and we decided to cook a small dinner just to say we did. That night we found out that mashed potatoes sh

ouldn’t be attempted to be made in the blender, and that stuffing needs more seasoning than we thought. But it was fun, we shared it with a mutual friend of ours, and had a blast cooking and sneaking wine.

Part Two

I can’t remember how this came to be, but somehow it came to be that Anne & I would cook Thanksgiving for

about thirty people. This included host families and Rotary Members. Anne’s host family was nice enough to let us take over their kitchen for a couple of days while we baked, prepared, and acted a fool. Neither

of us had ever cooked to this magnitude and we actually had no clue what we were doing. We had multiple birds, probably ten pounds of stuffing, mashed potatoes, rolls, gravy, and pies.

It was great, it was a bonding experience for everyone involved and we were looking forward to sharing it with everyone and we convinced ourselves they would love it just as much as we did. Once we were finished cooking, we all but dropped dead.

Show Time

One by one, the invited began storming the house. They were “hungry” and ready to try what these two teenage girls prepared. Yet, in true Norwegian fashion- most of them probably had a snack before eating as to not come off as greedy, and so they ate meagre amounts of food. They were polite, commented on how “strange but… good” some of the things were, and tried to enjoy themselves.

Naturally, we were heartbroken. We were expecting them to pig out, to love our food, to be crazy loud and just like Americans. But that’s the thing, we weren’t in America, and these weren’t Americans. In the moment I felt upset that we had let them all down, not understanding. Now- looking back and having re-attempted Thanksgiving for other Europeans, I get it. I do.

Here’s The Thing

This is our holiday, Americans & Canadians. This is the day that we spend the entire year looking forward to, and planning. It’s how Europeans see Christmas. While all of the people I’ve ever had over for Thanksgiving, with the exception of one person, have been wildly excited to “see what a real Thanksgiving looks like,” no one has ever appreciated it like I want them to. And they never will. It’s just not something they get. And that is so, so, so, okay. Because now I know, and now I can re-adjust

my thinking and planning.

 

Looking back on that first Thanksgiving abroad makes me smile, it makes me laugh thinking of how ridiculous we were and how far I have come in regards to expectations and cooking skills. I will forever cherish my time in Norway, and I will always love the memories that were made there.

-M
How amazingly awful is this throwback picture? #embarassing

 

“Us working moms have to stick together.”

As you’ll see in my bio and in many blog posts, it’s been a big [but positive] transition to living in a cul-de-sac [I’ve never really had the whole ‘neighborly’ dynamic, but have always wanted it]. The major perspective-shift happened this past summer when my husband was off work and I’d come home [often after 6p] to a slowly dissipating crowd of neighbors and kids packing up after an afternoon outside together.

My heart swelled for my kids, but from an adult-perspective, I felt so left out. My husband and another neighbor have summers off from teaching, we have a stay-at-home mom of three, retirees, work-from-homers, and a couple other schedules that afford work hours outside of the “M-F 9-5” world.

An internal battle started eating at me. How I could be a a great mom, fun and social neighbor, and help keep the household in order while still doing what they pay me to do at my day job? I’d never before been forced into such a headspace, and I panicked. I felt guilt. I felt anger. But most of all, I felt alone. Not because I’m the only mom on the street that works outside of the home, but because I felt like I was simply missing out on so much by being away. I looked around and everyone else had it so… ‘together’!  It started with my kids and husband, but when I became a part of a housing community, I consistently felt out of swing with them as well.

I say all of this to set the proper mental-scene for what happened next:

“Us working moms have to stick together.”

That’s not exactly how she said it, but it paints the same picture. The ‘she’ I am lovingly mis-quoting is actually one half of the lovely couple who sold us our dream home just about a year ago. We still somehow receive the occasional piece of mail mis-addressed to them, and she had offered to drop by on her way home from work to pick it up. This was around 930p, and after missing her first few “I’m here!”  texts because I was also still working, we had a bit of an empathetic chat about the dynamics of work/life balance.

And that’s when she hit me with that simple sentence.

Let me rewind a little, as will be helpful to fully paint the picture. Kate also has twins, as well as a younger child, and one on the way next month. When we first walked into the house and saw the decor, the photos of their twins — even their sweet music collection, both my husband and I knew in our hearts that this home would be perfect for our family. I never realized we would get the opportunity to know these people outside of their artistic tastes, or how much we’d actually have in common.

So there it was. The one thing I needed to hear. The one sentence that contained everything from empowerment to empathy in less than 10 words. This ‘has-it-all’ woman was standing on my doorstep — not just sympathizing with me — but relating to me! As a mom — particularly a twin mom — I have been bombarded with people [lovingly] preparing me for how difficult life is going to be since our pregnancy announcement. It’s forced me so deeply into this unrealistic headspace of ‘having it all together’, that it’s really blinded me to the simple truth: I’m only as alone in this as I choose to be.

Today, and every day, I challenge you to find empowerment in your struggles instead of weakness. You are not alone, and when we open ourselves to these conversations, we’re helping others see that as well.

xx,

L

Bomb Ass Applesauce

About a week and a half a go, a girlfriend of mine came to ours and shoved a huge bag of apples into my arms.  She, as it turns out, already had a bag of apples at home and didn’t want these ones to go to waste. Grown in her friends back yard, these apples were beautiful. Some small, some humongous, red, green, etc. They were bitter and sweet. Just a great mix.

For a couple days they sat in the kitchen, and I wasn’t sure what to do with them. Pies, cakes, cookies, my mind explored every possibility these little pieces of happiness could turn into. Until I realised, my daughter never eats applesauce.

WHAT!

Doesn’t every American kid eat applesauce? Isn’t this a right of passage in some way? See, they don’t sell small cups of it here like they do in the states, and we would never eat enough to justify buying the huge jar.

So for the first time in my life, I made this bomb-ass-applesauce. I hope you guys enjoy it, but fair warning- it is pretty spiced which probably isn’t for every toddler, but warm with pancakes will make any adult happy 🙂

What you need:

– Apples, probably between three and four pounds will be good for leftovers to freeze or vacuum seal.
– one lemon
– cinnamon- all-spice
– nutmeg
– water
– brown sugar (this is a judgement call. I put in about one tablespoon to just give it a tiny hint of sweet, but you can totally omit it if you or your kids are sugar free!)
-Hand blender/ blender/ potato masher

The (very easy) Method: 
First you need to peel & core the apples, and then cut them into slices about the length of your thumb. They don’t need to look good, they will get mashed.

-Slice two THIN slices of the lemon, careful here- don’t want bitter ‘sauce!

-Throw the apples, lemon slices and just a bit of water into a pot and boil. You want about two inches of water in the pot, you can always add more if the apples start to stick, but better to start with too less.

-Add as much of the spices as it fits for your personal/ families taste. I did about one and half teaspoons of cinnamon, two dashes of all spice, and a little less than a teaspoon of nutmeg. I eye-balled the amounts, you can smell how strong it will be and that is a great guide.

-Keep stirring, and once the apples are soft and cooked, remove the lemon slices.

-Get your hand blender/ blender/ masher ready- and mash/ blend to preferred consistency- the best is when there are still chunks!

Enjoy warm, enjoy cold, just make sure to enjoy!

-MacKenzie

My 5 Favourite Vegan Snacks

When you choose to eat vegan, you’re doing a whole lot of good across the board. Unfortunately, we can run into some serious hunger pangs when we are out and about. And while the best option is to always have a piece of fruit or veg with you on the go, it doesn’t always happen that way.

Here’s the List!

1.) Crackers + Hummus! The nice thing about this easy snack is, you can vary what kind of crackers you take with you (Mary’s Gone Crackers are my fave, but unfortunately they are way too expensive on this side of the world.) You can take seed crackers on Monday, herb flavoured ones on Thursday & even homemade curry crackers on Saturday. The same with hummus! While I always recommend making your own, there are so many options on the market. Spinach, pesto, chilli, and and bell pepper hummus are also great buyable choices.

2.) Roasted Chickpeas. Super easy snack to make in the morning while you’re having some brekkie. This is also a snack my daughter is obsessed with, her favourite is with curry powder.  Here’s the recipe. 

3.) Ants On A Log.  This is a super quick snack to pack up. Grab some celery, your favourite peanut butter (preferably without sugar) and raisins! If you’re not a raisin fan, give dried cranberries a go.

4.) Shakes. When I made the switch over to vegan, the first thing I did was go out and buy a tub of meal replacement shake from a local company. I don’t drink it every day, but it truly is a perfect solution when Lily is running out the door and I haven’t eaten. I just throw the powder + nut milk in the shaker, and go. If I’ve got a minute more, I blend a banana in with some chia seeds and my stomach is happy. Check out some local shops, or even Target and see if you can find a shake that you like. Just please- no Herbalife.

5.) Cashews & Dried Fruit. Or almonds, whatever floats your boat. Grab a gallon sized bag & mix up some nuts and dried fruit (goji berries if you’re fancy, cranberries, dried blueberries, banana chips, etc). Throw it in the cupboard and when you’re on the way out, grab a handful (or five) and put it into a smaller container of choice.

 

-MacKenzie

Roasted Chickpeas

What you need:

  • 15oz can of chickpeas
  • a spattering of olive oil
  • salt
  • seasoning of choice, examples: curry, garam masala, salt & pepper, rosemary & chipotle

 

The method:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350F or 150/200C
  • Separate aquafaba (liquid in can) from chickpeas & freeze for later usage
  • Remove the “skin” on the chickpeas if you’re feeling ambitious
  • Mix the chickpeas with enough olive oil to coat them but not drenched
  • Add around 1 TBS to 2 TBS of the seasoning of your choice
  • Add salt and mix once again
  • Pop in the oven & wait until they are crunchy (this can be 20 minutes or 40 depending on your oven & taste)
  • Once finished and cooled off, put them in a plastic holder and cover it.

-MacKenzie

About Lindsey

My name is Lindsey, and while I go by many aliases and variations throughout both my professional and personal life, I’m most commonly known as simply ‘L’.

My typical M-F lifestyle is an intricate balance of working full time in the design industry and being the mom and wife that my loved ones [Husband, twin toddlers, & three Chihuahuas, to be exact] deserve.

I’m a self-proclaimed ‘Alt-Mom’. Sure, I bought a house on a cul-de-sac, ditched my two door 6-speed for an SUV, and have religious pilgrimages to to Starbucks in yoga pants, but I’m also still getting bruised up in mosh pits, hitting up comic and video game conventions, and dying my hair whatever fucking color I feel like.

As a contributor to Alles Mommy, this is my space to both rebel and relate.

Cauliflower Soup

It’s Tuesday night, the kids are running around making you crazy. You don’t want to cook, but you know everyone needs to have their daily servings of veggies. Here is the easiest soup recipes you’ve ever made in your life.

Ingredients:
– 1.5 kilo cauliflower chopped (3.3 lbs; either one huge head or two normal sized ones will work)
– 2 to 4 carrots peeled & chopped ( I saw two to four because it depends on if you like them, have a bag that needs using up in the fridge, etc.)
– 700 mL water (3 cups)
– 1 white onion, chopped
– however much garlic you want, I’m not here to judge. We use a full bulb but we like it garlicky, our daughter- does not.
– 1 cube of veggie broth
– salt & pepper to taste

How to do it:
-Get that water boiling with the cube of veggie broth.
-Once boiling throw in the onion, garlic and carrots and let cook for about five minutes while you chop up the cauliflower.
– Throw that chopped cauliflower in the water and cover the pot for 15-25 minutes while it softens
-Once the cauliflower is cooked through, grab a hand blender and puree it.
– Add salt & pepper to taste

There you have it, the easier soup recipe that your kids probably won’t love but you will. Serve it with a fresh loaf of bread and vegan butter.

*you could also throw in other veggies that need using up such as leek, potato, celery, etc.

 

-MacKenzie