I love fashion, always have, but since becoming a mom, I’m the first to admit that I have put my passion for clothes on the back burner. Especially since COVID and the working from home life, it’s so much easier to lounge around the house in comfy clothes, even if they are not the nicest to look at.
Now that we are returning to the office more, weather is getting nice and we are going out more as a family, the spark has come back and I am in the mood to put together outfits, comb my hair, wash my face and take on the world!
I was gifted Elita Intimate’s Silk Magic Collection just in time for me to jump back into my spring wardrobe! I love that this collection is made from really soft material making it feel like luxury on my skin, and is also really light weight making it perfect for the warmer months!
I am ready to embrace my new body 9 months after having my 2nd baby. Check out my video and get ready with me while I get into 4 different outfits that are office appropriate but comfortable so that I can still run around and do mom things!
I though I was a pro at food and meal prep before having kids, spending about 15 hours on the weekend meal prepping for the week for only my husband and myself. However, since becoming a mother of 2, I have mastered the art of meal and food prep and have become more productive with my time! I am more efficient, am still able to make nutrient packed meals and still have time to spend with the family. Here are my 3 kitchen hacks that I use on a weekly basis to help me save time in the kitchen!
Wash all of your leafy greens
In our household, we always have bok choy, cabbage, lettuce and other leafy greens on hand for salads and stir frys. To ensure that our greens are not going to waste and actually ending up in our weekly meal rotation, I wash and cut all of my leafy greens as soon as I get home from the grocery store. I spin dry them in a salad spinner and chop them up so it’s easy to add to any dish. A brilliant hack I have is to reuse salad containers to store your washed produce in! Not only are you reusing something that would have most likely ended up in the landfill, but it’s also the perfect size, already made to fit your fridge!
Wash and prep all of your fruit
My family always has fresh berries on hand. To ensure their shelf life and easy access for the little ones, I wash soak them in a water and vinegar solution for 10 minutes before air drying them for half the day. Once they are dry, I store them in containers in the fridge so it’s easy to add to our oatmeal breakfasts and to the kids’ plates for meals. I also ensure that I chop up any fruit like melons or pineapple to ensure that I can save time when looking for a quick snack for the kids or to add to smoothies.
Prep minced garlic, onion and ginger
Because we cook the majority of our meals from scratch, I use a lot of garlic. To save me time in the kitchen, at the beginning of every week, I will add all of the cloves of garlic of an entire heave of garlic to a mini food processor and process until finely chopped. Then I store it in a small mason jar in the fridge so it’s ready to go. This saves me so much time when I am whipping up a weeknight meal. You can prep onion and ginger in the same way. Since I don’t go through ginger as quickly, I like to store them in ice cube trays in the freezer so that I can take out small portions as needed.
I hope you guys find these tips useful in your kitchen! Comment below on any hacks that you use in your kitchen that you would like to share!
Growing up, we always had these pickled carrot and daikon in our fridge, and I never what it was for besides in banh mis. We typically ate it during holidays or special occasions, and it wasn’t until I was much older (like in my 20’s) that I learned to appreciate these Pickled Asian Veggies! I like these in salads, wraps and on bowls. They are also great to have along side any really fatty dish to help lighten it up.
Nowadays I always make sure to have a jar of these in the fridge. So easy to make, crunchy and refreshing! Savvy Tip: when all of the pickles are eaten, save the pickle juice to add to marinades, sauces and dressings!
Comment below on how you like to have these Pickle Asian Veggies!
Now set forth and be savvy!
2 large mason jars (1L size), cleaned and sterilized
1 medium daikon
4 medium carrots
1 cup white sugar
2 cups white vinegar
2 cups water
Ensure your mason jars are sterilized and ready to go
Cut the daikon and carrots into 2-3 inch length match sticks. You can also use a mandolin or a food processor with the “julienne” blade.
Add the water and vinegar to a pot and let it come to a boil.
Meanwhile, add the cut-up veggies to your mason jars. I was able to fill 2 large mason jars with this amount of vegetables.
Add and stir the sugar into the hot mixture until dissolved.
Pour into the jars over the vegetables. The veggies should be completely submerged in the liquid.
Let the jars come to room temperature before storing in the fridge. They can be eaten the next day and stored for up to 6 months in the fridge.
The TikTok Tuncado recipe has taken the internet by storm with its unique combination of tuna, avocado, and seasonings. I wanted to veganize this recipe with smoked tofu! In this blog post, I’ll show you how to make a vegan version of the TikTok Tuncado recipe using smoked tofu instead of tuna and made gluten free using The Thin Artisan Flatbread from Little Northern Bakehouse. I also used furikake to add some fishiness to the smoked tofu that you would usually find in canned tuna. My toddler and infant loved this “tuna” salad as much as I did and it will definitely be added to the lunch rotation!
I developed a hobby for cooking and baking at a very young age. I have early memories of watching my mom bake cakes and muffins where she allowed me to participate, which helped me develop my own confidence and skills in the kitchen. When I first started to bake on my own, the first thing I learned how to bake were oatmeal cookies. I still feel nostalgic almost 20 years later making this recipe.
To make these cookies healthier, I love adding raisins and whatever nuts you have on hand to make these feel appropriate for both breakfast and as a dessert. I also prefer my cookies to be mini and bite sized and used a mini cookie scooper to shape these, but feel free to make them larger if that’s what you desire.
Hope you guys enjoy this recipe.
Now set forth and be savvy!
~makes 48 cookies
2 flax egg (2 tbsp ground flax seed, 6 tbsp hot water) OR 6 tbsp of aquafaba
1 cup vegan butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 ½ cup white flour
3 cups rolled oats
4 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp salt
½ cup raisins
½ cup chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
If using a flax egg, make your flax egg by mixing the ground flax seed and water in a bowl, set aside.
Cream the butter and sugars together in a stand mixer (or with an electric mixer or by hand).
Add the flax egg and mix until well incorporated.
Add the flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon, vanilla extract and salt and mix until well combined
Using a wooden spoon or spatula, mix in the raisins, chocolate chips and walnuts (or whatever nuts you have on hand)
Using a cookie scooper, scoop out about 1 tbsp of the batter and place on a cookie sheet and flatten with the back of your spoon
Toddlers are naturally curious and always want to lend a helping hand. Whenever we are doing chores around the house, we see this as an opportunity to engage our toddler by allowing him to “help us”. Not only are we able to continue on with our weekly chores, but it allows us to bond as well as burn some much-needed energy, especially during the winter months when it’s hard to get outdoors!
See below for 3 toddler friendly activities you can include your toddler in!
I don’t know about your toddler, but my toddler is absolutely obsessed with water. In the summer time, we have a water table that he likes to play with in the backyard, however during the winter months, it’s hard to get some water play. Since I water my plants once a week, I decided to include him in this activity! With a spray bottle or a small measuring cup, I allow him (with supervision) to help water the plants. It also allows me to teach him the importance of taking care of plants!
I reserve my intensive meal preps for the weekend when my husband is home and can watch the little ones. But sometimes during the week, especially when my toddler has a lot of energy, I like to bake with him. This is a great way for me to share my passion of cooking with him while also teaching him life long skills. I like to set out all of my ingredients on the counter and we will measure the ingredients together. His job is dumping and taste tester!
The third activity is usually one he helps out with my husband, since my husband does the majority of the cleaning around the house. We will allow him to help wipe down any spills and press the on button for the vacuum. It’s also great because it teaches him the importance of cleaning up after yourself. We’re lucky because our toddler loves to clean up his own toys after he is finished playing.
I hope these activities help inspire you to look for opportunities to include your toddler in your daily routine. Not only will it serve as great bonding time but it will also help teach your little one life long skills!
Comment below on what activities you like to share with your toddler!
It’s the new year and if you are looking to incorporate more plants into your diet, I’ve got an easy vegan teriyaki “fish” burger that you can add to your repertoire to use all year long. This burger is so flavourful, easy to make and is a crowd pleaser. Pair it with a bun for a burger or use this tofu as a topping on a salad, curry and even rice!
If you make this recipe, don’t forget to share it and tag me @thesavvypantry!
Now set forth and be savvy!
Ingredients – Teriyaki Marinade
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp Bull’s eye BBQ Sauce
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 clove of garlic, minced
1-inch nub of ginger, grated
Ingredients – Spicy Slaw
½ cup vegan yogurt
2 tbsp sriracha (or Asian hot sauce of your choice)
1 tbsp pickle brine (or can use lemon juice)
1 tsp granulated garlic
1 tsp granulated onion
½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
1 cup red cabbage, sliced
1 cup green cabbage, sliced
1 green onion, sliced
Ingredients – Burger
4 burger buns of your choice
1 Block of Extra Firm Tofu, divided into 4 blocks
3 tbsp flour
2 tsp ground flax seed
6 tsp hot water
3 tbsp panko bread crumbs
1 tbsp Furikake (or 1 tbsp toasted black and white sesame seed)
1 tbsp oil
Ingredients – Mushroom Topping
1 package oyster mushroom (150 g)
Directions for the Marinade
Cut the block of extra firm tofu into equal squares
Place the tofu into a heat safe container
Add all of the ingredients for the marinade to a small pot
Heat the marinade mixture over medium heat until it just comes to a roaring bubble, about 5 minutes
Take the mixture off the heat as soon as the marinade bubbles
Pour the marinade over the tofu blocks and set aside to marinate while you continue preparing the rest of the ingredients – ideally let this marinade for minimum 1 hour in the fridge – if you can, overnight is ever better.
Directions for the Spicy Slaw
In a large mixing bowl, mix together the vegan yogurt, sriracha, pickle brine, granulated garlic, granulated onion, salt and pepper until well combined
Add the cabbage and green onion to the sauce and toss until well combined
Set aside until it’s ready to assemble your burger
Directions for the Tofu
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Set up a dredging station with 3 bowls:
Placing the flour into 1 bowl
Combine the flax seed and hot water in a 2nd bowl
Mix the panko breadcrumbs and Furikake in the 3rd bowl
Dip each piece of tofu into the flour mixture until well coated, then into the flax mixture to create a binder and then finally into the panko mixture until the tofu is completely crusted
Set each piece of tofu onto a wire rack over a baking sheet
Reserve the rest of the marinade for the mushroom topping
Using a pastry brush, brush oil onto the top and bottom pieces of the tofu, reserving the remaining oil to cook the mushrooms
Bake the tofu for 20 minutes, flipping them over halfway through
Directions for the Mushroom Topping
Wash 1 package of oyster mushrooms, peeling the large mushrooms into smaller pieces from the head down to the stem of the mushroom
In a medium sauce pan, heat the remaining oil from the tofu over medium-high heat until the pan gets hot, about 1 minute
Add the mushrooms to the pan and sautee until they start to get some nice color on them, around 5-7 minutes. A tip to help them develop their caramelization is to not move the mushrooms too much, tossing them only occasionally so they get a chance to brown on each side
Let the mushrooms cook down until they are half their original size
Add in the rest of that tofu marinade and cook down until the majority of the marinade down until it has reduced and you’re left with a glaze on the mushrooms, about 3-5 minutes
Take the pan off the heat and set aside until assembly
Directions to assemble the burger
Starting with your buns (toasted if you like), place a mount of slaw on top of the bottom of the bun
Next, place a piece of your baked tofu on top of the slaw
Top the tofu with some of the mushroom mixture
Serve with your favourite sides!
You can also use the tofu in a salad or bun-less for a low-carb option!
With the holidays right around the corner, I wanted to share an easy recipe you can include with any holiday breakfast or brunch! I’ve partnered with Little Northern Bakehouse who is sponsoring this post to bring you a super easy, gluten free vegan French toast recipe.
Little Northern Bakehouse products are certified gluten-free, allergy-friendly (peanut and nut-free), non-GMO, and plant-based, making it suitable for any lifestyle. They can easily be found in your freezer section of the grocery store and in most natural food retailers. They are also certified as Glyphosate Residue Free and display the Bio-Checked Non-Glyphosate Certified seal, ensuring that consumers can feel confident that Little Northern Bakehouse products use third-party testing to confirm the absence of this chemical which The World Health Organization classiﬁes as a “probable carcinogen,” or cancer-causing substance.
This pregnancy has been so different when compared to my first – I have more aches and pains, less energy, felt more nausea in the first trimester, to name a few symptoms. I am also craving more sweets than before, which is very new because I usually prefer savoury snacks.
Because I strive to have healthy treats in the house, I decided to make this Cookie Dough Energy Ball recipe to have readily available in the fridge and freezer for all of those mid-afternoon sweet cravings. These are especially delicious alongside a matcha or raspberry leaf tea (to help prepare for birth). Ezra even loves these, calling them “cookies”, so the name is well suited!
Usually energy balls require nut butters, but I wanted to make something more accessible with things I had already in my pantry, such as whole roasted cashews, oats and mini chocolate chips.
Try out this recipe and be sure to have a stash in the freezer for when you’re also craving something sweet, but healthy!
Now set forth and be savvy!
Makes about 20 energy balls
1 cup unsalted cashews (roasted or unroasted, use whatever you have on hand)
3 tbsp maple syrup
½ cup almond flour
¼ cup rolled oats
¼ cup mini chocolate chips
Start by creating the base, which is essentially a cashew butter. In a food processor, add the cashews and maple syrup and process until a smooth butter forms, about 1 minute
Add in the rest of the ingredients except for the mini chocolate chips and process until a dough forms
Once a dough forms, you can either mix in the chocolate chips by hand or pulse them into the dough just until incorporated
Using a mini cookie dough scoop, make the energy balls by rolling them out in your hand
Store in the fridge for up to 1 week or in the freezer for even longer (we usually ate them up in a month!)
I am finally getting around to putting together a blog post about the details around our kitchen renovation that we completed back in September 2021.
I am so happy that we finally did it after living in our small 1100 sq foot townhouse for over 5 years. Originally, since Milton, Ontario was seeing huge increases in sale prices of homes, especially in townhomes , we were looking to upgrade our home during the pandemic. However there were so many bidding wars and even if we were able to sell our house, it was very hard to find a home that we wanted to upgrade to.
The pandemic allowed us to save loads of money we would have otherwise used for travel and decided to invest it in our kitchen and our home when we decided to stay, at least for a little bit longer. Even though Ezra was only a year old when we started construction, as well as us working from home full time. he actually adapted really well and it worked out for us in the end. We had set up a little station where we were able to to live on the top floor and utilize our bedrooms as different play stations for him. I was especially proud because out of the 6 weeks that it took to complete our kitchen renovation, I was able to make the majority of our meals at home – I think we only ended up ordering once or twice during the entire process!
See below for the details of our before and after!
Our Old Kitchen:
The original layout of our kitchen wasn’t very optimal – there was a wall that created a hallway from our front door to the dining room / living room area. The kitchen itself had dark cherry wood cabinets and had a kitchenette that faced the front of the house. The space wasn’t optimal as we hardly ever used the kitchenette and there was a lack of sufficient pantry space so we had a large 5 x 5 Ikea Kallax unit that I got of Kijiji to hold all of our kitchen necessities. The floors were also very dated and overall the kitchen wasn’t really my style. Honestly, when we had originally bought the house, I had certain things on my wish list and literally nothing on it was met, so this kitchen was really getting on my last nerve especially spending so much time in it during the pandemic.
Originally I was going to DIY and paint the cabinets white and change the counter tops ourselves, however the space itself was still not an optimal layout and we decided that we would just invest in a rennovation as it would increase the value of the hosue, whether we were going to sell or rent it – either way, it was a plus!
The Interviewing Process:
I knew I wanted a farmhouse inspired kitchen with gold elements as well as a large farmhouse sink. Luckily for me, this is the style of most modern kitchens so when we were researching contractors, it was very easy to show them inspo photos for a quote.
We started the research for a contractor in May 2021 and had received quotes from 4 companies with the description of our dream kitchen in mind. We received a range from $30K to $80K for what we wanted to accomplish.
This included a full demolition, knocking down walls as well as changing our floors. The best advice I received when we interviewed different companies was that you didn’t want to necessarily go with the cheapest or the most expensive, and to choose the company where you could build a good relationship with.
In the end we decided to choose Eureka Kitchen & Bath for those reasons. They ended up being mid range and we decided to choose them because we got along really well with our designer, Annie. Annie really brought our vision to life and we worked together to incorporate things that were both functional and decorative as well as practical for our growing family.
Our New Kitchen:
The majority of the materials were included in our quote and I liked how the cabinets were also made locally in their facility in Oakville. The only materials that were not included was the flooring and light fixtures – however the flooring company, Milton Factory Tile Depot did give us a great discount.
We had implemented some upgrades, such as removing our popcorn ceiling, installing pot lights as well as lights under the cabinets, which was well worth it because it really helps to elevate the kitchen.
Originally we wanted a subway file for the backsplash, but decided to go with a herringbone pattern which I think elevates the look of the kitchen even further. We also upgraded our hood range (no more microwave for us! That’s right, we do not have a microwave in our home) and installed a drink station which is perfect for our family.
Our budget in the end was $50K and the kitchen cost us under $45K. We are very happy with the end results and even almost after a year later, the kitchen still feels very new and fresh! Can’t wait for our next potential renovation!