This is my simple cornbread recipe that I do. It's not an authentic cornbread recipe but this is one my family likes. The cornbread that has no flour in it is a bit too grainy and hard, so this is a bit more soft and fluffy but not like a muffin.
Here it is.

1 cup all purpose flour (can use whole wheat if you'd like)
1 cup cornmeal
.25 cup sugar
1.5 tsp baking powder
.25 tsp salt
1 cup milk (can use buttermilk, but then add .5 tsp baking soda as well)
.3 cup oil
1 egg

Preheat your oven to 375F. If you want muffins, grease or line muffin tin. I like to bake it in my cast iron frying pan so I'll add a bit of butter to the frying pan and put in the oven as it is preheating.

Mix the dry ingredients together and then add in the liquid ingredients.

Spoon into muffin tins, or if using the cast iron frying pan remove the pan from the oven, swirl the melted butter around and then pour the batter into the pan.

Bake until puffed and golden, which for muffins can be 17-19 minutes, or 25-30 minutes in the frying pan

Cool and enjoy.

Tim Horton's chili is a favourite among many so I decided to look for a copy cat recipe and there are many out there. I tried this on and seemed to be it.
This will be the chili that I make from now on.

You can find the recipe here at and if you are looking to do it in a crock pot this is their recommendation: 
If cooking the chili in a crock pot, drain the tomatoes; cover and cook on low for about 5 hours. Chili can be made ahead and refrigerated overnight. Freezes well too so would be good OAMC recipe
2 lbs ground beef
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 -3 onions, diced
3 celery ribs, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 (19 ounce) can dark red kidney beans, rinsed, drained
2 (10 ounce) cans mushroom pieces, drained, chopped
2 (10 ounce) cans tomato soup, undiluted
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
2 tablespoons chili powder, divided
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
1 -2 garlic cloves, minced or 3 teaspoons garlic powder


  1. Brown the ground beef in the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat until no longer pink; place in a large pot. Do not drain.
  2. Sauté onion, celery and green pepper in the drippings, in the same frying pan used for the ground beef, for about 5 minutes until onion is translucent.
  3. Add a little of the chili powder.
  4. Add sautéed veggies to the ground beef.
  5. Add rinsed and drained kidney beans, mushrooms pieces, undiluted tomato soup and tomatoes with the liquid.
  6. Add the rest of the chili powder, oregano, salt, pepper, sugar, and garlic.
  7. Stir ingredients together well.
  8. Cover and simmer for one hour, stirring occasionally.
  9. Remove cover and simmer for 30 minutes or more, stirring occasionally.

The t-shirts says it all.

If I could talk to my younger self, that's what I'd say.

This past summer dear hubby started to take a liking to oatmeal. While he likes oatmeal cookies and such things, oatmeal in a bowl has never been his thing. The change started when I bought some instant oatmeal packages for the kids for at the trailer. They were on a good sale (otherwise I would never have bought it) so I also picked up the Dino Eggs for fun. Our darling daughter dared Dad to try the oatmeal, which he did, and he discovered he liked it. Now his preference is to add just a small amount of water to just get the oatmeal wet. He does not like the mushy oatmeal in the picture. 

Now this change of heart lead to the purchase of lots of boxes of instant oatmeal, with hubby's excuse being that he's "taking care of my heart". But my heart was aching seeing all this excess packing in the recycle box, not to mention that even on sale, just how much more expensive this is then homemade oatmeal, and the sugar and extra ingredients in these little packages is a little too much than my liking. Not want to squash this new love for oatmeal in the family I looked to Pinterest. I knew there was a solution. Homemade Instant Oatmeal!

Looking on Pinterest there are lots of pins for homemade instant oatmeal. I tried one that added flour, thinking it would give that creamy texture, but it didn't go over well with my gang. You can add dried milk if you'd like, but didn't really notice a difference with that. I discovered while the kids do like cinnamon, they like a little while hubby likes a lot. In the end, it really is an embarrassingly simple solution... it's homemade oatmeal but not cooked in a pot.

Next thing to solve was the dino eggs that the kids love so much. They like to dig them out before the hot water is added and see who had the most. Too me these eggs are just excess sugar and junk in our food brought on by good marketing. Once in a while is a treat, but every morning is unwise. I think I came up with a much better option; yogurt covered peanuts (my kids don't like raisins) and the kids seem to like them even better than the dino eggs. Another win-win.

So now we have our own homemade version of Instant Oatmeal, listed below, so easy even hubby makes it.  I make up the mix in a container and then in the morning all that is needed is a half cup of the mix, enough hot water to your liking and top with "dino eggs" or more cinnamon and the family thinks they are getting something so much better than homemade oatmeal. Some have even asked if they could have it for lunch at school. Crazy isn't it. I tell ya, it's all in the marketing.

Homemade Instant Oatmeal - Cook House Style

4 cups oatmeal (I used the quick oatmeal but whole should work too.)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix this up in a container to store.

Another kid funny.
At supper we were talking about where different family member have travelled or lived and mentioned that "Uncle M use to be the army". Our youngest looked at me with amazement and said "Uncle M was saving the world from the evil droids?!"
Too much Star Wars you think.
We are avid "save for it before you buy it" people. Granted, you can't really do that with a house, but focus on paying down/off the house asap. How can anybody do that? Absurd? Life with mortgage and car payments is just the way it is. Not true.

It is possible to become and live debt free, but takes commitment to the goal and the process. It takes a budget. Eek! Budget!!! Budgets are essential to accomplishing your goal. It's like a recipe to a cake, a personal trainer to fitness, its a tool to your financial accomplishment.

A budget can look different to each person, but in many cases will have common items like mortgage payment, grocery expenses, insurance payments, bills. But what will look different is the amounts, what's coming in and what's going out in different manners.

Once we had accomplished much of our initial financial goal from when we first married, we have kind of coasted for a while, not giving much thought to budgets, albeit distracted by childhood cancer a long the way, but maintaining the pay as you go mentality. Kept us out of trouble, that's for sure. Recently a new direction was becoming apparent. While we had been putting some money away for retirement, the question became how much, along with the kids educational future and with a special needs child, there is more too. RRSPs, RESPs, RDSPs and TFSA's so many initials and all needing attention. And as usual there is only a certain amount of money coming in, expenses going out and now decisions on how to fit in the rest. Once again a budget plan comes into play with new goals.

A budget isn't all about restrictions and limitation, to us it has actually been relieving. Knowing there is a plan, what is doable and while there is give and take, it is much more freeing knowing that choices over where money is going is keeping the
families best interests in mind, and not to let the cheap pleasures of today keep us from that. Smells like frugal living you say? Why yes it is. Frugal doesn't mean being cheap, eating macaroni cheese for supper each night and only using one light bulb in the house. It's about putting your money to things that matter! Not just cheap thrills of the moment. We enjoy our lives because we purposely spend and save our money to things that matter to us, not the Jones'.

I'd like to do a little study on what people really think of budgets and how they work in the real world. There are many methodologies of personal finance and curious to know how well people succeed by them and stick to them. Let me know, do you budget? Has it helped you? How do you budget?

Been reading the book Wheat Belly and so I thought I'd try a wheat free week. Well maybe not completely wheat free but at least our supper meals.  Baby steps, right. Being wheat free isn't really a goal of mine but I am trying to be more aware of glucose index (GI) and wheat does have a high GI so it can't hurt to try these Wheat Belly recipes. Note: not everything below is from the Wheat Belly Cookbook, just those that are italicized.

Peppered steak, quinoa and green beans. Wheat Belly doesn't actually agree to using quinoa because it has carbs, but it is an OK level of carbs and eating it with steak will lower the GI impact on the meal anyway.

Tuesday: Almond crusted chicken, carrot rice and salad. Again Whet Belly doesn't encourage rice, but its going to be
basamati rice which has the lower of GI of the rices out there, so I'm good with that.

Wednesday: Meatloaf , mashed potatoes and salad. I don't know what Wheat Belly thinks of potatoes yet; haven't finished
the book yet, but what is meatloaf without mashed potatoes.

Thursday: Thai Chicken Curry Soup with salad on the side. Sounds yummy to me, not sure what the kids will think but gotta keep expanding their horizons.  If you notice salad a lot, I like to make a big batch and then I have for a couple of meals and only chop veggies once.  Dressing is always on the side at each meal.

Friday: Taco Pie and veggie sticks.  The taco pie will use the Wheat Belly version of tortillas.  Sound good too and kids
do like tacos.

The weekend usually is for eating up leftovers and/or what ever comes to mind.  I like to plan the weekday meals as the weekdays are most busy and that is when I benefit the most from planning.  I think this should be a good week for supper. The meals look more than reasonable. Now if I tried a bean week, I'd have a mutiny on my hands I'm sure.

Who else does menuplanning? Do you plan weekly, bi-weekly or whatever?  I find if I do this it helps me out a lot because I don't have to ask "what's for supper" every day.
As for our middle, he just doesn't like skating in general which is understandable. Having Down syndrome and low muscle tone the feeling of feet sliding willy-nilly underfoot is not for him. We will keep trying but for now if going on the ice with boots makes him comfortable that's OK. He enjoyed smacking a puck around either way.
Today was a beautiful sunny day and not too cold to be outside. We went to our school's ice rink and while I bit bumpy, it was great. The ice rink volunteers have been doing an awesome job of making and flooding the rink.

We were the first ones out which gave us much freedom in racing around and shooting some pucks. Our youngest is learning hockey, and lets just a hockey career is not in
his future. Turns out he doesn't really like skating/hockey as much as he thought he would but none the less he actually enjoyed himself and even asked to come back tomorrow. I think he just liked that he could just do whatever he wanted and not do drills.

Our daughter is the one that always loves doing things and find almost anything fun, so she naturally she enjoyed herself and was the last one to say lets go home.
My big kid, hubby, enjoyed it lots too. He plays hockey with a bunch of guys once a week. The type of playing that you give it all and don't hold back. However today the ice won. He caught his skate on the ice on a turn and fell hard to the ice, land in the boards. I missed seeing but two of the other kids saw and thought it was great. Hubby's elbow didn't find it all that great. We debated if he should go get an x-ray but after icing it for a while he said it was feeling better and could lift it higher than before. A bit swollen on the funny bone area, which probably was the reason for the tingling running up and down his elbow.

I read that some Montreal scientist predict that there will be fewer and fewer ice rinks in the future based on weather data in the past. ( Considering that last year a rink couldn't even be built and this year, and this year the ice building couldn't even start until the end of December, there could be something to this. The volunteers had battled plus degrees temperatures and basically had to start over again once already. Recently we had a good cold spill, but plus temperatures are expected again this coming week. Guess we better get the skating in while we can.
I had my doubts that these wheat-free pancakes would work or even taste good, but they did. I used recipe in  "The Wheat Belly Cookbook." I did change it a bit; I exchanged one cup of the ground almond with chickpea flour. I did that for two reasons; 1) chickpea flour is cheaper than ground almonds, and 2) I thought all almond flour would be too grainy.
The family ate them just like any other time. Overall a great
success. Will make them again. 
Imagine, no coffee. For a coffee addict as I, that would be tragic. And then not only no coffee but no sweets like cookies, cake, chocolate! Heaven forbid! Well heaven didn't forbid but I CHOSE to forbid...for a week!

Let me explain. My church plans a week of fasting in January each year, so knowing it was coming up I decided I needed to do something. Now I sometimes have trouble with low-blood sugar so a complete fast didn't sound wise and quite simply I also didn't think I could do it. But I wanted to do something so at first I thought sweets.... and then I added coffee too. Oi, I must be crazy, but I was serious. 
This fast had to be something that meant something and these are two things that I enjoy, a lot.  So it started two Sundays ago in the afternoon. Here is a breakdown of my week.

Day 1 - Monday
First morning getting up and no coffee. Regular morning tired but then hubby made his coffee. I could smell it stepping out of shower. Didn't say anything. Didn't have too. Hubby did for me.  "Mmm, Cooofffffeeeeeee" as he greeted me when I came down.  That's OK I will be fine with.... tea, herbal tea. I like tea, not like coffee, but I like it.

I was expecting a headache, a big headache this day, but while I did have one, it wasn't that bad. Yeah for me! As the day went on I felt so incredibly tired and the mild headache didn't help, but what could I do. Mid afternoon my eyes were closing on me while working at my desk. If I put my head down I'm sure I would be asleep before my head hit the desk. I got up and walked around a bit all the while not trying to think of coffee and cookies and how they would give me the pick-me-up I needed. 

Kids came home, made super, I think. Don't really remember. There was picking one of the kids up from something as well, don't remember but its on my calendar and the kids are all accounted for so must have done it. Finally the kids are in bed etc and hubby and I sit down to watch TV and I'm out like a light. Didn't see much of Castle.

Day 2 -  Tuesday
Started much the same as the day before but this time hubby is trying to be nicer and made coffee in the Keurig thinking it wouldn't smell as much.  Wrong, can still smell it, but thanks for trying.

The headache was still there as the day went on, but not as distracting. I thought about how comforting a coffee and chocolate or cake would be. Addiction is not only physical but psychological as well. Must stop thinking about it and think about what I can have. More tea, yogurt, apple, banana, pretzels... OK I'm not feeling that comfort feeling but this wasn't about comfort, this is sacrifice.

Day 3 - Wednesday
Went for a walk after the kids were off to school before starting my work day.  That felt good. Sunny shining, breathing fresh air and no more headache. Alright!

Later I noticed an acquaintance was blogging her 28 day cleanse which intrigued me.  No coffee, no diary, no wheat, no sugar, you get the idea. Serious stuff here. She did admit to coffee cheats the first few days because family needs a happy mommy too. Then the thought crossed my mind, I could cheat, right? What's a half a cup of coffee? But no, I can't and I won't.  Jesus didn't cheat and come off he cross for a break. Said to myself, does coffee really have that much a hold on
me? I won't let it. It's one thing to honestly forget or slip up, but a cheat is purposeful. Besides, I now have almost three days invested into this and starting to feel better.

An interesting thing I noticed this day. While I didn't have a headache, when I thought of coffee, I got a headache. Stop
thinking about it, headache gone. What a hold caffeine can have.

Other exciting thing was I got my FitBit today in the mail.  I'll talk about that later but you can look it up on
if interested. In a nutshel,l its an activity tracker.

Day 4 - Thursday
Today I had back pain. Started last night and didn't sleep well because of it. So now tired and sore. I'm not accustom to back problems so while it probably wasn't as bad a pain those with back problems do have, it was for me. Got the heating pad for while I worked and it helped.  I googled caffeine withdrawal symptoms and there are a lot of symptoms related to coffee.
While body aches is one of them I conclude the back pain is not part of caffeine withdrawal but probably from the new Kick Box workout I tried (which I didn't think I did that hard) a few days earlier. The back pain is distracting so not thinking much of coffee or sugary treats.

Coffee and sugary treats really do go hand in hand. If I'm going to have a coffee something most times needs to
go with it. I don't put sugar in my coffee, but you could say I put it on the side.  I am missing sweets as well.  I'm not a hard candy girl, but chocolate? Now that's another story. I know I eat too much sugar and been trying to cut back so this is a good thing, but I'm struggling to think what else to munch on. Investigating new snacks that don't include sugar, refined sugar that is.  I'll eat fruit and dried fruit. I'm realizing I'm not getting that sugar rush anymore.... I miss it, but I know this is good for me.  In fact it will probably help straighten out those low-blood sugar levels I get at times.  I'm probably experience caffeine and sugar withdrawal, not just caffeine.  I did notice in the beginning I'd get these fluttering feelings in my chest, like heart
palpitations but don't know if that's what it really was.  I asked my sister-in-law, who is a fitness/health guru, and she says it is those types of feelings that go hand in hand with cutting out the junk. Isn't that comforting, but they aren't happening that much anymore so its good.

Day 5 - Friday
I'm tired of tea, really, there is in love affair going on here. Don't get me wrong I like tea in general and will drink it and prefer the herbal teas, but it's not coffee, the warm soothing, relaxing coffee. Oh well, if I want something warm to drink, its tea.

On this day I'm really starting to feel awake, alert and with energy. Back is still bothering me if I sit too long but better than the day before. I'm finally getting over the caffeine stupor. Not saying that I have boundless energy but the fog has lifted.
Yeah! Hubby even waved his coffee under my nose and I was OK with it, sort of. He is such a helpful, supportive guy, isn't he.

My daughter has also picked something to fast this week; desserts/candy. When she came home from school she told me she slipped up. At school they had a party type of thing at the end of the day (pajama day at school) and there was some candy things and she ate some and then realized she shouldn't.  Honest slip up.

Day 6 - Saturday
Glad for the weekend, get to sleep in to 9am or at least lay in bed until then.  Now with some extra sleep I'm really feeling good and energetic. I work from home most days and can get cabin fever at times so today I/we cleaned the house in the morning and then my daughter and I head out to the mall. I have my fitbit on and my daily goal is to get 10,000 steps in a day so lets get moving. After a while at the mall my daughter was thirsty so I got a juice at Tim Horton and didn't even order a
coffee for myself. Such craziness I know! I also went to Timothy's to pick up some more K-cups my hubby asked for and didn't order a coffee to go either. The guy at the register looked at me like I had three heads when I said "that's everything".

Made it a pizza night coming home from the mall and my mom had stopped by to join us for supper.  She had picked up some treats for the kids too.  My daughter said thank you but declined eating hers, and my mom said "oh, its almost the end of the week". I tell you, the look on my mom's face when my daughter said no to eating it was priceless.  She felt so sorry for her, but  it's a good thing. It's commitment, stick-to-it-ness. My daughter said "Jesus didn't come down from the cross for a break either." Love that girl.

Day 7 - Sunday
Coming to the end of the road today.  This was the day I was thinking of at the start of this week, the day I thought I'd be just gaga about, but I was almost sad.  OK, not really but I found out some interesting things about myself. I can live without coffee and sugar, and it can and will stop calling me "over here, I'm here, warm and yummy". I also discovered other munchies that are OK. (not going to lie, there is still nothing like a good ole sugar rush, but won't do it because its a
slippery slide down. Really, if I start, I won't stop.) The best part is that I can take control over my body and not be held victim to it. That is part of what a fast is about; to be serious and committed enough to deny your body what it wants or needs. The other part of this fasting is to pray and be in tune with God. Many people will fast for other reasons, be it a cleanse to detoxify or protest, but that more known as a hunger strike. What ever the purpose, it takes away the excuse "I can't do it".

So the afternoon came and now was the time for my first coffee in a week, the anticipation... OK it wasn't that big a deal. It was good, not like before though, but the psychological feeling of sitting down to a relaxing cup of coffee, yup, that feeling of enjoyment is still there. Still holding back on the sweets thing and going to try to keep that at minimum.

But there is more to this day. We went out as a family to Chapters afterwards and of course there is the Starbucks there too.  Hubby likes Starbucks, but me, dare I say, not so much. Hubby went and got a coffee and one for me too. I did drink it. I only like the blonde, won't drink the other stuff. Nothing unusual here. Now come bedtime, I couldn't sleep. Seriously I couldn't fall asleep.  After a while I started reading stuff on my phone to pass the time... 2:30am hubby wakes slightly and mumbles "what? you not sleeping?" and dozed off.  Me, didn't finally doze off until about an hour later. 

The evils of coffee. What a pay back.