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My life has been forever changed!

There are a handful of recipes I make the call for shredded chicken and I dread shredding the chicken every.single.time. When I first started shredding chicken, I did it the old school way – chicken and two forks. And it took forever. Then I got a little more high tech and began shredding it in my magic bullet. Easier than shredding it by hand. But still not ideal. You still have to chop the chicken into little cubes, and you can only do half a dozen cubes at a time. And the chicken becomes basically minced instead of shredded. But it works. For any recipe I’ve ever needed shredded chicken for, it’s fine.

But now I have found the easiest way possible to get perfectly shredded chicken in next to no time.

The Kitchenaid. (Or, I assume, any stand mixer.)

Toss still-hot, cooked chicken into the bowl. No need to cut it. Throw in the whole pieces. Use the paddle attachment and, BAM!, chicken is shredded and life is changed.

Happy shredding!

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Hello 2015 readers!

I’ll spare you the long drawn out “it’s a new year and I’m going to blog more and eat healthier” post because I say it every year, and I never follow through. Instead I’m going to skip straight to a fabulously delicious recipe I made this morning and let you question my sanity when I tell you that these bran muffins are actually AMAZING. They’re seriously so good!

Let’s give credit where credit is due. I found the recipe on Pinterest, and it seems to have originated here on a page called “The Recipe Rebel”. And I definitely plan on perusing through the page some more because this recipe was such a hit! Hopefully the rest of the recipes on the page are as impressive!

Anyway, enough with the suspense!

INGREDIENTS
1¼ cups All-Bran Original cereal
¾ cup milk
3 large overripe bananas
1 egg
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 cup whole wheat flour
¼ cup cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
½ cup chocolate chips, plus additional for top if desired

INSTRUCTIONS
In a large bowl, combine cereal and milk. Let sit 3-4 minutes until soft.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin pans with about 16 paper liners.
Add bananas to bowl and mash with a whisk. Whisk in egg, applesauce and brown sugar.
Add flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt to the bowl. Stir in with a spatula. Stir in chocolate chips.
Ladle into prepared muffin pans and bake at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes (Mine baked exactly 19 minutes) until a toothpick comes out clean or mostly clean.
Let cool to room temperature (you can dive in before that, but the paper liners are difficult to remove from warm muffins!).

Yield: 16 muffins

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Surprisingly enough, this recipe actually did yield 16 muffins. Sometimes I find that muffin/cookie/cupcake recipes are very unrealistic with their predicted yield. But I used large size muffin pan liners, and this turned out spot on!

And they’re delicious.

Seriously, go make them!

Today was a brick wall.

I haven’t posted in forever, but I need the outlet. So here goes…

I usually do pretty well about missing my mom. I mean, I do well with accepting that I don’t get to have her around. It’s hard and it sucks, but I do okay. Except when I don’t. And then it hits me like a brick wall.

Today was a brick wall.

It’s almost Christmas. And my son is two, and is really going to be FUN at Christmas this year. And she LOVED kids. I mean, lived for them. They were her life. She was second mother to all my cousins and all their children too. So she would have just been the.most.amazing grandmother. The most amazing. And she loved Christmas. So much. So the combination of him and Christmas would have been such a fantastic thing for her to experience. And it kills me that she never got that opportunity. And I just miss her in general more this time of year because everything is so family-oriented. And I heard a Christmas song on the radio called “Hello Mom and Dad”, and I cried so much. And I thought it would get easier as time went on. But it doesn’t. At all. I actually think it gets harder. Because as time goes on, she’s missing more of the things she would have loved to experience.

So today was a brick wall.

Tonight I have a sooky boy who refused to sleep anywhere other than in my bed, and I’m letting him. I will snuggle that boy so tight and give him so much love from his Nanny that he never got to know.

Because today was a brick wall.

Meal planning!

Saturday evening, I sat down armed with my work schedule and hubby’s work schedule and planned out our meals for the next two weeks!

There are actually a ton of long overdue reasons for choosing to plan our meals I’m advance:

Eating healthier: when we don’t meal plan, we resort about once a week to picking up unhealthy takeout for supper just because we have no idea what to make. Which ties into the next reason…

Saving money: it’s a lot cheaper to plan a healthy supper and buy the necessary ingredients than it is to pick up takeout. We also waste less when we meal plan because we just buy what we need (or staples that are on sale) rather than walking aimlessly around the supermarket and buying stuff we don’t actually end up using. And we plan on what to do with any leftovers. So they don’t sit in the fridge until they’re thrown out a week later. Lots of ways to save money. 🙂

Reducing stress: I dread for about 3 pm every afternoon to come, because that’s when I’m faced with the task of deciding what to cook for supper. I’m generally a very organized person, so not having a plan stresses me out. Having our suppers planned ahead of time reduces that stress.

Adding variety: when we don’t meal plan, we eat the same handful of things over and over and over again because they’re quick and easy and we have the ingredients on hand. Before long, we’re sick of eating the same thing over and over. Actually taking the time to plan meals ahead of time allows me to reduce the repetition. I planned those two whole weeks of meals without any repetition in our main dishes.

I’m sure there are other reasons too. But those are the ones I can think of offhand. And it’s going really well so far. We even bought a dry erase board to keep in the kitchen with our meals for the next week or two written on it. Here’s hoping we can keep it up!

Happy Canada Day!! :D

Happy Canada Day, everyone!

Today is one of those very rare days that hubby and I both have off from work together. Normally, I work on his days off. But one of the few perks of working in retail is that the mall is closed on major holidays. So we’re actually both off today, and the weather forecast looks awesome. So we’re planning a full day of family fun! 😀

There are tons of pins kicking around on Pinterest these days of recipes for super bubbles. And my kid is a bubble fanatic. So I decided to give one a try. I used this one.

3 cups water
1 cup liquid dishwashing detergent (Joy is a good choice)
1/2 cup white corn syrup

They actually turned out quite awesome! They’re certainly not unpoppable. But they’re quite strong, and you can make pretty big bubbles with the mix! Most importantly, Alexander (and my man child husband :P) loved them! We now own a ton of different bubble wands, and spend a lot of afternoons hanging out on our back deck blowing giant bubbles! And it’s awesome!

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It’s actually not that easy to snap a picture of a bubble at the instant it is blown. But these are a couple of the best pics I could get. 🙂

Yup. Last night was our first night without a pacifier.

We decided to go it cold turkey cause we had no idea how to go about getting rid of a pacifier from an almost-21-month-old. We had never imagined he’d have a pacifier this long. Actually if you could rewind two years and pop into the mind of my early-2012 self, you’d see crazy ideas of my yet-unborn child never having a pacifier. EVER. Oh, poor naive, early-2012 self. We caved on that about 2-3 weeks into parenthood when our child decided that if he didn’t have an actual pacifier, mommy’s breast would do just fine.

By 8/9 months, we had cut it down to only nap time, bedtime, and cars trips. And to avoid the occasional public tantrum. Haha. Our intention at that time was to have it gone completely by his first birthday. But then something terrible happened…

MOLARS.

First year molars. Big, evil teeth slowly clawing their way through my precious baby’s delicate gums night after night. Because that’s how it happens. Molars don’t just pop up delicately in the middle of the day. They terrorize your family and disrupt your sleep. So the pacifier stuck around. Just for nap time and bedtime.

And here we are. More than six months later.

Cold turkey night #1 went pretty well. It took Alexander a little longer than normal to settle for bed. But he didn’t whine or cry for it. And we did have one spurt between 10 and 10:30 where he cried off and on for a while. But, overall, I’ll consider it a success.

Right now, he’s currently napping pacifier-less. Fingers crossed that it goes well.