So it’s been a while …

I promise you this won’t happen again.  It’s been far too long since I’ve been around here. I’ve spent a good portion of my time trying to navigate this whole … being a Mom to 4 kids thing!

My twins are now 2 and a half years old are completely bonkers most days. They keep me on my toes for sure. My other two kiddos have really pitched in to help with “life” and thank goodness for them. They keep me afloat most days. I don’t know what I would do without them! Have I ever mentioned that I’m married to someone who spends 1/2 the month away working? Yeah, factor that into 4 kid craziness and you’ve got the perfect recipe for disaster somedays.

I’ve been working on myself in recent months, trying to find a good balance of the craziness that my life has come to be. I’ve been working out everyday, working on my health and I’m happy to tell you that I’ve actually found a way to keep my mind, body and spirit healthy. (Don’t worry, I’ll tell you more about this later).

You’ll see some changes to things around here if you’ve been here before and I hope you like them! If you’re new to my page then I hope you’ll keep coming back! What I hope you’ll find here is inspiration to lead a HAPPY and HEALTHY life.  So, until next time my friend.

Sending you lots of love,

Jenny

 

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Finding Balance

I’m sorry…it’s been far too long and it seems as though every post I write starts with an apology. I’m sorry about that. Oops, there I go again;)

My life is mostly crazy and for those of you who know me personally know that it’s actually always crazy. Having four kids and a hubby away half the month will do that I guess. Not to mention, having twin boys who are now toddlers. Toddlers that like to try everything, throw everything, spit on everything (am I alone on this one?!?), stand on everything, hit each other, bite each other and well, basically, you get the picture right?  Also, two older children who are involved in sports and school and are just as busy as the younger two but in a much more organized and civilized way. Am I painting a delightful picture for you? Most people think that being married to a pilot is a glamorous lifestyle … if you still think that … read above just one more time. And, to think that half the month I am the lone soldier on the field. I’m the one putting out all the fires … ALONE. Now, don’t get me wrong, my hubby is my best supporter. He is my rock and is always cheering me on. But really, it’d be better if he could also join me out on the field more often so I wouldn’t feel outnumbered most of the time. Needless to say, I was lacking balance in my life.

Balance … what does that even mean? In amongst all the chaos I always felt like my life was spiralling out of control. Do you know the feeling of celebrating just making it through the day? I was falling into bed at night utterly exhausted and emotionally worn out. For so long, I’ve said, if just this was different, life would be easier for me. I looked at other people’s lives and thought … she couldn’t do what I do everyday. I tried to pump up my own tires, hoping that I’d wake up the next day feeling differently. Don’t get me wrong; I love my children and my life, but I just wanted one day where I felt like instead of just surviving I was actually doing something more. It had been such a long time since I felt that I wasn’t sure I’d remember what it would be like. I’ve taken the last couple of months to work on that feeling. To find my balance. I realize that this crazy life isn’t going to change – and truth be told – I don’t want it to. I want to change how I react to it every day.

Finding balance is something that I’ve needed for such a long time and only now am I realizing it. Instead of focusing on just surviving I try to focus on thriving. And, I say try, because it’s something I work on each day. Instead of focusing on the negative, I try to find the positive in each day. What I know for sure is that the old cliche that life is short is so true. Life is also what you make of it. Through this process I have learned so much about myself that I didn’t know or didn’t believe before. I am capable of much more that I ever thought I was. I get up in the morning and look at my kiddos and think wow, I am blessed! They are healthy enough to spit on my floor, climb on my kitchen table, and run around the house like little hooligans. Truly, I am blessed! I wake up every day and work out and fuel my body with foods that I know will help me instead of hold me back. I’ve taken time out for me. What I’ve realized is that ‘time-outs’ aren’t just for kids – they are what every Mommy needs. Take the time out of your busy life to realize that you are worth it. You have only one life … why not give it your best?

I’m finally at a place where I feel like all the changes happening in my mind and body over the last couple of months have been so worth it. I have focus and energy. I’ve lost extra weight I’ve been carrying around. Most importantly, however, I’ve filled my mind with positive words like, I can and I will. So, just as I have changed my mindset, you will see changes to my blog. And well, if it’s not your cup of tea, then I respect that. I will continue to grow and change … because you know what they say … change is good.

Loads of Gluten Free Love,

Jenny

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Best Ever Gluten and Dairy Free Carrot Cake

I know right … that’s a big promise to live up to … I mean the THE best ever? Are you kidding me? No. No, I’m not. This is by far THE BEST EVER dairy free and gluten free carrot cake that you will ever taste. It’s an incredible combination of moist, crumbly, melt in your mouth cake with that BAM of sweetness in the dairy free cream cheese icing. That’s right … I said DAIRY FREE! This cake is by far my favourite cake of all time. And let me tell you, I’ve tasted A LOT of gluten free cakes. Cake is my thing. I will take this delicious carrot cake over pretty much every other cake on the planet. Take note Honey, this is my favourite! (My birthday is coming up … hehehe) This is also a favourite of Ollie and Charlotte’s as well. They would even choose this cake over chocolate fudge cake … if that doesn’t say it all then I don’t know what would! You can also switch it up and alternate baking times to make yummy gluten free, dairy free cupcakes! But, don’t take my word on all this deliciousness … make it today and let me know how much you love it!

Best Ever Gluten & Dairy Free Carrot Cake

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Line two 9″ cake pans (or one 9 x 13″) with parchment paper.

In the bowl of your mixer cream the following and set aside:
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup canola oil
3 eggs

In a separate bowl mix and set aside:
2 cups Jenny’s All Purpose Flour* + 1 tsp xanthan gum
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp all spice
1 tbsp cinnamon

Shred 3 cups carrots. I like to use my food processor for this. It’s simple and quick to use.

Next, using your mixer add the flour mixture to your wet ingredients. Alternate with 1/2 cup coconut milk (+ 1/2 tbsp vinegar). (or your favourite dairy free milk).

Add in 1 tbsp vanilla extract. Be careful to not over mix.

Fold in 1 cup raisins and shredded carrots.

Pour batter into pans and bake at 350 F for 20 minutes. Then reduce your oven heat to 325 F and bake another 5 minutes. Remove cakes from oven and cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans.

While your cake is baking you can make your frosting.
Cream together 3 tbsp Earth Balance Soy Free Spread

Earth Balance Soy Free Buttery Sticks, 16 Ounce — 18 per case. by Earth Balance (Misc.)


List Price: Price Not Listed
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Used from: Out of Stock

 and 1 package Daiya Cream Cheese Style Spread using your hand mixer.

Add in 2 cups confectioners sugar slowly,  1/2 tsp vanilla extract and 1/2 tsp Wilton butter extract.
Once your cakes are completely cooled you can frost them. Sprinkle 1 cup chopped walnuts over your cake.

Note: You can also make these into delicious cupcakes. This recipe will make approximately 20 large cupcakes. Alter your baking to 18 minutes at 350 F.

Now sit down and enjoy, but try not to eat the whole cake!

Sending you loads of gluten free love,

Jenny

 

* Jenny’s All Purpose Gluten Free Flour

1 cup tapioca starch

1 cup brown rice flour

1/2 cup sorghum flour

Best Ever Gluten and Dairy Free Carrot Cake
 
Prep time

Cook time

Total time

 

Delicious Gluten and Dairy Free carrot cake. Impeccably moist with a perfect amount of sweetness.
Jenny Beaulieu:
Recipe type: Dessert

Ingredients
  • Cake:
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups Jenny’s All Purpose Flour + 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp all spice
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • ½ cup coconut milk (or your favourite dairy free milk) + ½ tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups shredded carrots
  • 1 cup raisins
  • Frosting:
  • 1 package Daiya Cream Cheese Style Spread
  • 3 tbsp Earth Balance Soy Free Spread
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp wilton butter extract
  • 1 cup walnuts chopped

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Line two 9 inch cake pans or one 9 x 13 cake pan with parchment paper.
  3. In the bowl of your mixer cream the sugar, oil, eggs. Set aside.
  4. In a separate bowl mix Jenny’s All Purpose Flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and all spice. Set aside.
  5. Shred your carrots. (I like to use my food processor for this – it’s easy and quick!)
  6. Using your mixer, slowly mix in your flour mixture with your wet ingredients. Alternating with the coconut milk. Mix until fully combined but be sure to not over mix.
  7. Fold in your raisins and shredded carrots.
  8. Pour batter into your pans and bake at 350 F for 20 minutes. Reduced temperature to 325 F and bake another 5 minutes. Remove cakes from the oven and cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans.
  9. While your cake is baking you can make your frosting.
  10. Cream together your Earth Balance Soy Free Spread and Daiya Cream Cheese Style Spread using your hand mixer. Add in the confectioners sugar slowly and vanilla extract.
  11. Once your cakes are completely cooled you can frost them. Sprinkle chopped walnuts over your cake.
  12. Note: You can also make these into delicious cupcakes. This recipe will make approximately 20 large cupcakes. Alter your baking to 18 minutes at 350 F.

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A Little of This and a Little of That …

I’ve survived the Christmas season. Why is it that we make Christmas cray cray crazy? Seriously … why?

This year I tried really hard to make the whole Christmas experience magical and less crazy for our kids. In case you’ve forgotten, I already live that most ridiculous lifestyle … I’ve got four kids, and a husband who’s away half the month for work. Yes, coffee is my fuel most days. I survive on it. I used to be one of those people who only enjoyed coffee occasionally and never past 3 pm. If I drank it too late, I could most definitely count on being awake until the wee hours of the morning. Now, coffee is in my blood stream for most of the day and into the evening. When I do manage to hit the pillow at the end of the day, I am utterly exhausted. So, sure, I’ll have another cup. Anyway, I digress, back to the Christmas season talk….

So, hubby was away for work most of the Christmas break. He’s got the most glamorous lifestyle. He’s a commercial pilot and pretty much everyone I meet says … “oh you’re so lucky to be married to a pilot” and my all-time favourite stranger comment is “oh you must travel ALOT and get great deals!”  Ok, let’s just take a moment and think about those two statements. Yup, I’m lucky, blessed, fortunate … whatever you want to call it … to be married to my hubby, but not because he’s a pilot. I’m all those things because he’s an all around amazing guy (I could go on an on about him, but ya didn’t come here to hear all that sappy stuff!). Seriously people, give your head a shake. He’s a pilot … it’s his work. He flies you to your most amazing beach getaway and then turns right back around and comes back. He doesn’t stay and if he does, he stays in a hotel room, sleeps, eats, tries to recover from the 3+ time zones he’s been through in a day, all so he can get up and do it again. Oh yes, and let’s not forget to mention that he misses most holidays, if not all of them, because he’s busy working. And as for the second comment … We have four kids, hubby works full time and I also have a real job, so finding time to travel is unheard of.  Sorry, once I again I digress. Anyway, back to Christmas talk. Hubby worked. Santa had to make an early pit stop on the 22nd … the kids wrote a lovely letter at the beginnning of December explaining the situation and Santa once again came through with an early Christmas. Oh yeah, let’s not forget to mention he was gone over New Years as well. So, making our Christmas season less crazy was my ultimate goal. What I really try hard to teach my kids is that Christmas, and most other holidays, isn’t about gifts, it’s about being together with those you love. I think this year we did a great job of doing that. We spent our early Christmas together and then enjoyed extended family homes on the actual Christmas day. Christmas was lovely, but I’m glad to get back into routine. O and C thrive on routine. And really, so do the twins. Now that they are back to school and our routine is back, things are going a lot more smoothly. Christmas was as mellow as we could make it, and that made me happy.

Our kids keep us cray-cray most of the year. When strangers ask me if I have kids I just want to scream …. CAN’T YOU TELL FROM THE BLACK CIRCLES UNDER MY EYES! I can most definitely say having twins is one of the hardest, most exciting, fun (and mostly crazy) experiences of my life. You can’t even imagine my life … it would be easier if you just came to help out. You know, witness it first hand. Seriously, message me … I need all the help I can get! The next time you see a twin mom out and about, bite you tongue and resist saying all those comments that pop into your brain … I can guarantee they’re probably ridiculous (I’ll let you know in a different blog post all the stupid things strangers have said to me), she’s heard them before and she most certainly doesn’t have time to have idle chit chat with a stranger … instead buy her a coffee. That’s what she needs the most. Coffee ….

So, until next time ….

Sending you lots of gluten free love with a side of twin love,

Jenny

 

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Catching Up

Yup, I’m baaaaaack! So it’s taken me a while to get back in the saddle … so to speak. Its definitely been a wild ride.

I’ve left you all hanging for quite a while now, so I’ll spill the beans and let you know what’s been happening in my world.

So, I managed to carry my twins all the way to the end! Woot woot! (Applause!) Let me tell you that being pregnant with twins wasn’t a cake walk. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my life. Those 6 months (we found out at 3 months in we were expecting twins) were filled with worry and anxiety and, well, exhaustion. Near the end, just getting out of bed was a chore. I was HUGE! It was a crazy feeling to always have someone moving, squirming and kicking. At 37.5 weeks my water broke and that’s when the real fun started. 12 hours later I was holding our little boy in my arms, waiting for the other babe to make it’s entrance. It took another 28 minutes for our second boy to make an appearance. They were born and our lives changed forever. Little L spent 5 days in NICU. He was just a little small at 4 pounds 12 ounces, but he was mighty. Mr. E was born 6 pounds 4.5 ounces. Yes, the .5 of an ounce does count! After having them, I felt like I could run a marathon. We had relief knowing that our boys were perfect in every way possible. I went home with Mr. E the next day and then spent the following four days running back and forth to the hospital. It was tough trying to juggle the other three kids around, all the while wanting to be there with Little L. We managed to take shifts at the hospital and waited ever so patiently for Little L to come home. I do not understand how parents who have babes in the NICU for months at a time manage. We were lucky it was less than a week and when he came home everything really changed

Since coming home from the hospital life has been a blur. Seriously, what a crazy life we have now! It’s taken me a long time to be able to manage to come back here. I keep waiting for life to slow down, but it just doesn’t! I am enjoying every moment with all my kids. People always told me to “Savour every moment, because in a blink of an eye it’s gone.” And, it’s soooooo true. Oliver is now 8. He’s still gluten and dairy free and I’m not sure if that will ever change. He’s doing so well now … growing like a weed, smart as a whip and well, always on the go. Charlotte is 6. She’s still gluten free and we are now just doing a trial of dairy products on her. I’ll let you know how that goes in a future blog post! And, the littlest of the bunch … they are both gluten free. Mr. E is on full dairy and seems to be doing quite well now. Little L is dairy free. So, we’ve got quite the mix! E and L came home from the hospital on lactose free formula (Little L threw up every time he had regular formula in the hospital). They did well on the lactose free formula until about ten weeks old. Then everything came to a screeching halt. I mean EVERYTHING. A day apart, both of their GI systems, just shut down. I had to start giving them suppositories to poop! Ok, enough about that, but after 18 days of not having bowel movements on their own, my doctor finally put them on a hypoallergenic formula. They did quite well and continued on that until about a year old. That’s when we switched Mr. E to regular dairy. It was kinda scary to think about switching him over. We were doing so well and given this family’s track record, I wasn’t sure I wanted to even try. But, Mr. E did just fine and has continued to flourish. Little L on the other hand didn’t do so well. He had all sorts of issues. GI issues, constant runny nose, he stopped sleeping and well I don’t know what else. So, it was back to the drawing board. At that point in time I decided to put him on rice milk. And since September he’s been drinking rice milk without too many issues. I’ve been taking him to see our naturopath. She’s been helping to resolve some of his gut issues with probiotics. He’s doing quite well now. People always ask me if they are sleeping through the night. No they aren’t, but why is that always one of the first questions? As if it’s some kind of standard that all good parents have to achieve to be added to the good parent list. I always say, we’re working on it. And, truth be told, I probably will be until they leave home!

Life hasn’t been dull this past year and a half. I know how lucky and blessed I am to have four healthy children. It’s been a wild ride, like I said before, and I don’t think it’s going to get any less crazy as time goes on. I’ll continue to write as often as my life lets me and well, that’s that. Keep checking back for more recipes and more crazy life stories!

 

Much Love (and Exhaustion),

Jenny 

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