Big Batch Easy Cheesy Weekday Mac and Cheese Recipe

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We are lucky enough to live next door to friends of ours who have young kids around the same age as ours. Having built-in buddies next door means lots of impromptu play dates and last minute throw-whatever-we-both-have-together meals. A few days ago, we decided last minute to have lunch together (and had other friends with kids join us as well–it was a big crew!). I had some cheese that I needed to use up, as well as a costco supply of noodles in the pantry, so decided on mac and cheese. I called my Mom to ask her for her quick and easy mac and cheese recipe, and she guessed at the amounts of each ingredient (she never measures).

As luck would have it, it turned out great! This recipe was so quick and easy and everyone loved it (including us Moms). It was slightly chaotic, so I didn’t have a chance to take too many pictures, but did manage to pause and take one before I dug in. I put frozen peas in the bottom of each of the kids bowls and mixed the hot mac and cheese in (the peas cooled it down and added a nutrition boost), and served cut-up veggies and hummus on the side. When I had leftovers the next day, I chopped and sautéed some kale and added it in– so delicious! 


2 packages (about 900g) macaroni noodles (corkscrew, penne etc. work as well). I used this one from Costco:


  • 4 and a bit cups (approx) sharp cheddar cheese (I used 3 cups cheddar and 1 cup mozzarella)
  • 4 cups milk (I used 1 cup 10% cream and 3 cups 2% milk). You can also substitute chicken broth for 1 cup if you’d like. 
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp fresh nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground mustard
  • pepper to taste


  1. Cook noodles as per directions on box or package
  2. As they are cooking, melt butter over medium heat in a large sauce pan on the stove
  3. Once melted, add flour and stir with a spatula until well combined. Add milk little by little, stirring well until flour/butter mixture is incorporated evenly. Add cheese and stir until “saucy”. Add nutmeg and mustard, and reduce heat to low and cover (stirring occasionally). 
  4. Once noodles are cooked “al dente”, add them to the cheese mixture, and combine well. Add pepper to taste. 
  5. Serve with veggies of choice and taste before you add ketchup! We found that it was tasty enough without it!

For more easy kid-friendly recipes, check out my Facebook page, where I share recipes, nutrition tips and articles daily. Enjoy! 

My Top Five Slow Cooker Recipes

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A slow-cooker can be a life-saver on busy days, allowing you to have a home-cooked hot meal ready when suppertime rolls around. I find that it saves me the stress of trying to figure out what to feed my family at the last minute, which is worth the bit of planning that it takes to prepare a slow-cooked meal.

Because it’s getting cooler outside, and we’re all craving warm comfort foods (and because school and work are both in full-swing), meals in the slow-cooker are ideal for us right now. If you haven’t invested in a slow-cooker, do it and do it now. You won’t regret it. They range from about $25-$100+ and come in different shapes and sizes. I picked mine up from Superstore and love it (it was on the cheaper side). Make sure you buy one that has a “warm” setting, so that when the cooking time is up, it automatically turns to “warm” instead of off. Some people feel a bit weird leaving food cooking all day without being home to monitor it. It only takes trying it once to ease your worry- it will be fine. The great thing about the slow-cooker is that you don’t have to worry–it takes care of itself!

I try to get everything ready the night before, put everything into the slow-cooker dish and stick it in the fridge (if there’s frozen meat in it, it will defrost overnight which is perfect). That way, I just have to transfer the slow-cooker dish into the cooking shell in the morning and turn it on.

Here are my top five slow-cooker recipes that you and your family will love: 

Apple Cinnamon Slow-Cooker Steel-Cut Oats:

Let this one cook overnight so that you wake up to the delicious aroma of comforting apples and cinnamon. Leftovers chill and freeze well!

Maija’s Slow-Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup:

This is one of my favourite soups to cook in the slow-cooker. If you load it full of veggies (I add more than what it calls for), it’s a meal-in-one. Your kids will love it too!

Slow-cooker BBQ Pulled Chicken:

This is one of our all-time favourite chicken dishes. It’s so easy and makes tonnes of leftovers. I usually use a combination of boneless, skinless chicken thighs and breasts.

Julie Van Rosendaal’s Better Butter Chicken (in the crock-pot):

I often refer to Julie Van Rosendaal’s “Dinner With Julie” blog for recipes. They are all delicious, and most are nutritious and easy to make. We’ve made this butter chicken recipe a few times and all love it (including the kids!). We serve with coconut rice and steamed steamed broccoli and cauliflower.

Moroccan Lentil Soup In The Slow-Cooker: 

This soup is so flavourful and comforting, and it makes great leftovers. Lentils are nutrition power-houses, loaded with protein, fibre and many vitamins and minerals. They are also really inexpensive! If you’ve wanted to experiment with lentils for a while, try making this soup–you’ll learn to love them!


Here are six healthy kid-friendly breakfast ideas as well as seven after-school snacks that your kids will love!

And please feel free to pop over to my Facebook Page where I post daily nutrition tips and resources for parents and kids. 



Blueberry Cornmeal Cobbler Recipe

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One of the many reasons that I love Summer is because of the fresh berries. Not only are they packed full of vitamins, antioxidants and fibre, but blueberries also taste delicious and are really convenient when you have small children (they are the best and most nutritious finger food!). Both my three-year-old son and my one-year-old daughter devour them by the handful on most days.

It’s easy to find both organic and conventionally grown berries at most stores right now, but I personally prefer to go to the farmers market and pick up a pint of BC grown blueberries- somehow they just taste better. Maybe it’s because I know that they haven’t travelled too far! We don’t have locally grown berries for very long here in Canada, so I tend to stock up and freeze them near the end of the season to use in smoothies and hot cereal during the winter months. My son also loves eating frozen berries as a snack with a spoon- he calls it “fruit candy” (I won’t complain!).

When I was given the assignment to test out this Blueberry Cobbler Recipe for Canadian Living, I was thrilled at the thought of having a new berry recipe to add to my collection. This recipe called for A LOT of blueberries, so I opted to use a large package of fresh organic blueberries from Costco. It was also a great excuse to use up a package of cornmeal that had been sitting in the pantry for a while.

The cobbler was super easy to throw together and made for a great post-barbecue summer dessert that everyone enjoyed. It wasn’t too sweet at all, which is why the addition of vanilla ice cream was, without a doubt, justified.

I baked the cobbler beforehand, and heated it up right before serving. Everyone loved it!




I got two thumbs up from all of the kids (between the ages of one to four) and most of the adults went back for seconds too. We will definitely be making this delicious summer dessert again soon.

If you’d like to try it out, hop on over to Canadian Living’s website to view the full recipe here: Blueberry Cornmeal Cobbler 

And here’s a look at what the other Canadian Living Voices Bloggers had to say about this recipe: Canadian Living Bloggers Blueberry Cornmeal Cobbler Slideshow

Happy Summer!!



Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post by Canadian Living and I receive compensation for it. All opinions are my own.


Refreshing Summer Dessert: Grilled Peach Melba Sundae

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I had never grilled peaches until I received this assignment by Canadian Living to test our their July feature recipe “Grilled Peach Melba Sundae“. Not only was I excited about grilling peaches for the first time, but I was also excited by the fact that I got to test out a new tasty dessert (and so was the rest of my family).

Prepping the recipe was slightly more labour-intensive than I anticipated. Although the extra time that it took was totally worth it, I do wish that there was an easier way to peel and pit fresh peaches besides using a paring knife or carrot peeler (if anyone knows of one, please let me know!).



strained raspberries

Once the peeling and pitting was complete, as well as the pureeing, straining and heating of the raspberry sauce, it was smooth sailing. Grilling peaches turns out to be a piece of cake to do (make sure to continuously brush butter/sugar sauce on while grilling to maximize flavour and caramelization), and they were even tastier than they looked.


Building the individual sundaes was the funnest part, attempting to make each bowl look prettier than the previous by delicately piling the perfect number of grilled peach wedges and raspberries on top of vanilla ice-cream, drizzle just the right amount of raspberry sauce on top and finish it off with perfectly toasted almonds (I used slivered rather than sliced, because that’s what I had). It truly was the most beautiful (and one of the most refreshing and delicious!) desserts I’ve ever made.


Of course, the Dietitian in me loved the fact that this dessert included seasonal and fresh fruits. Peaches are a great source of Vitamin C, which helps to keep your immune system healthy, heal cuts and keep your gums, bones, muscles, tissues and blood vessels strong. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant, which can help reduce your risk of cancer as well. Peaches are also high in potassium and dietary fibre.

Raspberries are also chock-full of nutrition. They stand out from other berries because they are high in ellagic acid, an antioxidant that’s has several anti-cancer properties. They are also a great source of anthocyanins, natural compounds that have anti-bacterial qualities as well as potential anti-cancer properties.

Although ice-cream isn’t the healthiest part of this dessert, it is the most decadent part. And let’s be honest–what is summer without ice-cream? Make sure to use a high quality ice cream (read: one with REAL ingredients like cream and sugar!) instead of a cheaper, chemical-filled one. And please…go for a full fat ice-cream and just manage your portion mindfully.

For the full recipe, see Canadian Living’s Grilled Peach Melba Sundae.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post by Canadian Living and I receive compensation for it. All opinions are my own.

Sesame Chicken With Fennel and Orange Salad

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Spring is finally making an appearance in our city, although there are still many remnants of winter, with snow on the ground and a chill in the air. My son has been dying to play in the park and ride his bike and it’s only been in the past week that we’ve been able to make that happen–even if only for 10 minutes at a time. Because it’s been such a brutally long winter, I’ve continued to stick to our usual go-to winter meals–hot steel-cut oats for breakfast and warm comfort foods such as soups, casseroles, stir-fries and pasta dishes for lunch and dinner. Needless to say, I was thrilled to be given the assignment by Canadian Living to test out this refreshing citrusy sesame chicken salad. It was about time that I switch things up and try something Spring-inspired. 

I have to admit, I rarely use fennel in cooking unless I’m making roasted root vegetable (usually at Christmas or Thanksgiving). Before I made this recipe, I don’t actually think that I had eaten fennel raw, which now that I’ve tried it, I can’t believe! It was delicious and paired perfectly with the red cabbage, orange and cilantro. Fennel tastes mildly like liquorice, which added to the complexity of the flavour in this salad.




The recipe (on the cover of the May issue of Canadian Living) calls for chicken breasts, but I happened to have boneless, skinless chicken thighs on hand instead, which worked out really well.  Both the sesame glaze and the dressing were a breeze to make, and I had almost all of the ingredients on hand (with the exception of apple cider vinegar, which I replaced with red wine vinegar). 


Because I had a sneaking suspicion that my 3 year old and 10 month old might not appreciate this meal as much as my husband and I would, we decided to feed them early and put them to bed so that we could enjoy dinner just the two of us–a rare “at-home date night” as we call it. My husband isn’t a huge salad fan, but he was pleasantly surprised when he tasted this one and even had a second helping. 


Because fennel and cabbage are fairly “sturdy” vegetables, this salad will make for great leftovers tomorrow (even though it is already dressed).  I would definitely recommend trying this refreshing Spring salad out–it was delicious, easy to make and allowed me to branch out from making the same old salad that I always do.  Not to mention the fact that this salad-that-eats-like-a-meal is jam-packed full of nutrition and is satisfying and filling. 



Check out the full recipe here: Sesame Chicken With Fennel and Orange Salad 



Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post by Canadian Living and I receive compensation for it. All opinions are my own. 

Souvlaki-Style Pork Tenderloin With Mixed Vegetables

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souvlaki style pork tenderloin

Easy to make, healthy, delicious and kid-friendly! You can’t go wrong with this Souvlaki-Style Pork Tenderloin With Mixed Vegetables.

Aloha from Hawaii!

I have been enjoying the sun and surf with my family in Hawaii for the past week and a half and I’m trying not to think about the fact that we are flying home to the bitter cold in a few days. We’ve been getting updates from friends and family back in Calgary about the cold weather–it sounds like we decided to vacation at the optimal time (not to rub it in fellow Calgarians)!

We’ve been loving the beautiful weather here in Maui and have managed to get to the beach everyday for at least a couple of hours of swimming and soaking up the sun. Our three year old has been in heaven, building sand castles and “surfing” with his boogie board. Our 7 month old has never been happier, getting her fair share of ocean time and playing in the sand.

One of the highlights of our trip has been the amazing food. The fresh fish and seafood, fruits and veggies, macadamia nut treats and coconut drinks to name a few favourites. But one of the best meals that we’ve had so far on the island was tonight’s dinner, Souvlaki-Style Pork Tenderloin and Mixed Vegetables. I made this delicious recipe because it was my first assignment (so exciting!) as one of the Canadian Living Network bloggers. This recipe will be featured in Canadian Living’s March 2014 issue (hits newsstands today!), so I was asked to recreate it and write about it on my blog. A few months ago, I was thrilled to be chosen to be a part of Canadian Living’s “CL Voices Network”, which means that I will be writing blog posts (on this blog) for Canadian Living, testing and sharing tasty recipes like this one, writing about healthy products and taking advantage of any other exciting assignments that are thrown my way. As a longterm fan of Canadian Living, I am bursting with excitement about this new venture and am honoured to be a part of the Canadian Living team.

This is one of the best pork tenderloin recipes (my hubby and kids can attest to this) that I’ve ever tried. Although this recipe incorporates mostly greek flavours (which I love), I thought that is would be fitting to mention the fact that pork is actually a big part of the Hawaiian cuisine–being that traditionally, pigs were raised for religious sacrifice–and is often served at Hawaiian celebrations (such as Luau’s).  I had planned on barbecuing instead of baking (because the thought of turning on the oven in this heat and humidity was not appealing), but decided at the last minute to follow the recipe as is and bake it. I’m so glad that I did because it turned out perfectly! Not only was this delicious, but it is also very nutritious. Pork tenderloin is extremely lean, so it doesn’t send us over the edge calorie-wise like some higher fat red meats do, but it is also very tender and moist if cooked correctly. The medley of vegetables alongside the pork is colourful and nutrient-rich. There is no need for an additional starch or grain with this meal because the nutrient and fibre-rich sweet potato provides all of the starch needed. Any leftover pork will be perfect in sandwiches, on pizza or paired with leftover veggies for lunch or dinner the next day.

Here is a link to this delicious recipe: Souvlaki-Style Pork Tenderloin and Mixed Vegetables







Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post by Canadian Living and I received compensation for it. All opinions are my own.


Chewy Triple Ginger White Chocolate Cookies

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Triple-Ginger-Cookies That’s a mouthful isn’t it? And a delicious one! These chewy ginger cookies have been holiday family favourite for a few years now and I’ve been meaning to share the recipe for a while. The original recipe (Chewy Triple Ginger Cookies from the Atco Blue Flame Kitchen) did not call for white chocolate chunks–my Mom so brilliantly decided to test out this addition and it worked beautifully (which isn’t surprising). These cookies, although not “healthy” overall (c’mon, it’s Christmas!), contain a lot of ginger, which on its own may possess many health benefits ranging from easing stomach upset and acid reflux, to treating bronchitis and menstrual cramps. But let’s face it- you the only benefit you will likely be thinking about when you eat one of these is how amazing it tastes.

If you are a fan of ginger, you will absolutely LOVE this recipe. I would double the recipe, because they will disappear in no time over the holidays. They make for a great hostess gift too! Oh, and you should also try out this amazingly delicious warm ginger cake recipe too.

Chewy Triple Ginger White Chocolate Cookies 


  • 2 cups (500 mL) flour
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) ginger
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) baking soda
  • 2 tsp (5 mL) cinnamon
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) cloves
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
  • 1 cup (250 mL) packed golden brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup (125 mL) butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup (50 mL) molasses (tip: spray your measuring cup with a oil spray first- the molasses will slip out much easier)
  • 1 tsp (2 mL) vanilla
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) finely chopped crystallized ginger
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chunks or chips
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) grated fresh ginger (tip: keep your fresh ginger in the freezer- it’s easier to grate and lasts a lot longer)
  • Sugar for rolling


  1. Combine flour, ginger, soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt in a bowl. Using medium speed of an electric mixer, beat together brown sugar and butter until fluffy. Add egg, molasses and vanilla; beat until blended.
  2. Add flour mixture and mix just until blended. Gently stir in crystallized ginger, white chocolate and fresh ginger. Cover and refrigerate dough for 1 hour.
  3. Shape dough into 1 inch (2.5 cm) balls. Roll balls in sugar and place 2 inches (5 cm) apart on parchment-lined cookie sheets. Bake at 350ºF (my oven is super hot so I had mine at 325)  for 12 – 14 minutes or just until cookies are cracked on top. Cookies will be soft to the touch; do not overbake. Cool on cookie sheets for 1 minute. Transfer cookies to racks and cool completely. Store in a tightly sealed container for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 2 months.

Makes 4 dozen smallish cookies.



Here are some of my latest posts on my Yummy Mummy Club Blog:

How to Avoid Food Battles With Your Kids Over The Holidays

Introducing Solids: Baby-Led Weaning vs. Spoon Feeding

Why Your Child May Become Smarter If They Play With Their Food



The Best Butternut Squash Soup Ever

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butternut squash soup

I love soup- especially when it’s cold outside. I find that soup is one of the easiest ways to ensure that I get enough veggies throughout the winter months (because raw veggies and salads aren’t very appealing in – 20 C weather). Soup is also a great way to help control your appetite this time of year, because warm food is more satiating and tends to keep us fuller longer. During the winter months, our serotonin levels drop (increasing our cravings for carbohydrate-rich foods), we’re typically not as active and we don’t eat as many vegetables and fruits. These are a few reasons why many of us tend to notice a bit of a weight gain during the winter. It’s important that we consume enough veggies (at least 4 servings a day–1 cup of veggie soup= ~1 serving), we get enough sleep (something I will talk about in a future blog post) and that we continue to be as active as possible.

As a busy Mom, I also find that making big batches of soup (whether it’s an all-in-one meal soup or a veggie soup) is an easy way to ensure that my family eats a balanced, healthy meal and also provides as easy option on busy nights.

This velvety butternut squash soup is so delicious- you’ll want to make a big batch! We paired it with grilled chicken thighs and a salad, but it would be perfect with a panini or grilled cheese sandwich too.

The Best Butternut Squash Recipe Ever


  • 2 large squash, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • ½ tsp hot chili flakes
  • 2 1/2 tbsp grated fresh ginger (I keep mine in the freezer so that it’s easier to grate)
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp  of each nutmeg, cumin and paprika
  • 8 cups of chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 cup coconut milk (more or less to suit your taste)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F
  2. Place squash halves on a greased large baking sheet. Rub the squash with oil and then Sprinkle squash with cinnamon and baked covered with foil for about 45 minutes to an hour (when you insert a fork, it should be soft.
  3. In a stockpot, heat oil over medium. Sauté the onions for about 5 minutes. Add the chili flakes and sauté for another 2-3 minutes. Add ginger, garlic, salt and sauté for another 2 minutes.
  4. When squash is ready, remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes or so. Scoop out the squash- it should be very easy to remove from the skin. If not, you didn’t cook it long enough. Add Squash to the stockpot with the sauteed onions and other spices and along with the 8 cups of veggie stock. Simmer for about 15 minutes while stirring every so often to allow flavours to combine and deepen. Add the maple syrup.
  5. Transfer the soup in a blender or keep the soup in the stock pot and use an immersion (hand) blender and blend until smooth- I wanted mine extra smooth so I blended for at least 5 minutes until it was velvety smooth.
  6. Add coconut milk and blend for another 10-20 seconds or so.
  7. Return to the pot and warm again and serve. Test it out and add more spice and salt and pepper if needed.
Yields 10-12 servings.

Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

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Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

Happy Thanksgiving! We just arrived home from an amazing Turkey dinner at my parents house (which was extra special because we also celebrated my husband’s birthday today). For his birthday breakfast this morning, I wanted to make him something delicious, but easy to throw together (think crazy toddler and hungry baby), so I turned to a recipe that I’ve been eyeing on the Yummy Mummy Club Blog (“Pumpkin Pie Pancakes” by Karen Humphrey). I changed the recipe slightly, but they turned out amazing. It was the perfect Fall/Thanksgiving/birthday breakfast. For some reason I was out of fresh fruit (that never happens, but it did today!) so I made smoothies with yogurt, milk, and frozen blueberries and mango to go along with the pancakes. If you don’t have any breakfast plans for tomorrow morning, you must try these!


  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (you can make this yourself by combining 3 tbsp cinnamon, 2 tsp ground ginger, 2 tsp nutmeg, 1 tsp ground cloves, and 1 tsp allspice)
  • dash of salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp butter for frying



  1. Combine flours, sugar, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice and salt in a large bowl
  2. Beat egg, milk, oil and pumpkin puree in another bowl
  3. Combine wet and dry ingredients until just moistened
  4. Heat a large skillet or frying pan on medium heat and melt butter
  5. Using a 1/3 cup measuring cup, drop 1/4-1/3 cup dollops of batter into heated pan, turn once  when golden brown

*Makes 6-7 medium size pancakes. Drizzle with maple syrup and serve with a yogurt and fruit smoothie (or yogurt and fresh fruit).


Come on over to my Facebook page (if you haven’t already) because I am now posting a nutrition “tip of the day” every week day for Moms, kids and families as well as helpful resources, blog posts, articles and questions/answers from other Moms.

Also, if you are someone who tosses their food out on the “best before date”, read this.



Herb and Garlic Spaghetti Squash Recipe

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This is one of those gourmet sounding (and tasting) dishes that is actually super easy to throw together. The only thing that you will have to keep in mind is the roasting time (1 hour 15 minutes). I had heard of people using spaghetti squash to replace actual spaghetti noodles in dishes and always thought that it would be sacrilegious (c’mon…veggies for pasta?). I was very pleasantly surprised though- it made for a wonderful pasta alternative, not to mention a healthier and more filling one. It’s kid-friendly too.

Why do I love squash? It’s nutritious (it actually has 120 mg of Omega 3 fatty acids per cup!), extremely versatile, very reasonable in price, SO tasty, and easy to cook with. Besides being a source of Omega 3, it also contains calcium, magnesium, potassium and Vitamin C.

Here’s the recipe!


  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3  green onions, chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped finely
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped finely
  • 2 garlic cloves sliced thinly
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 375 F
  2. Place squash on a cookie sheet, stab with a sharp knife all over. Roast for 1 hour and 15 minutes
  3. Remove squash, slice in half, remove seeds and “fork” squash out into a bowl.
  4. Heat olive oil in a shallow pan over medium heat (2 mins). Add garlic, green onion, and rosemary. Sautee for a couple of minutes
  5. Toss squash into pan and sautee for another 2-3 minutes until herbs are dispersed evenly. Transfer squash mixture into a pretty bowl and top with fresh parsley.
  6. Serve alongside BBQ chicken (I marinated mine in balsamic vinegar, garlic and salt and pepper) and a salad.

More recipes, tips and resources for Moms can be found on my Facebook Page.

My latest blog posts over at the Yummy Mummy Club are:

I’m Becoming A “Fooditarian”

The Top Shortcuts To a Healthy Weeknight Meal

Homemade Raincoast Crisps