About two weeks ago, my youngest son had an adenotonsillectomy which prevented him from eating for several days.  Popsicles and sipping drinks was just about all he could handle for the first week, a week that seemed like an eternity to me.  I tried everything to get this child to eat, puréeing, and overcooking just about anything I could think of.  You name it, I tried it.  I resorted to making a lot of bland, creamy soups as anything spicy, acidic or chunky was out of the question for my little man.  Finally on day 10 he started to come around and began eating, mostly out of hunger I think, as any food that went down his throat still brought him so much pain.

While I tend to make many soups over and over again, I’m lucky if they turn out the same each and every time as I am sometimes limited to what I have on hand.  The following hearty bean soup is one that I make often and my son was able to eat with little discomfort as his recovery progressed.  I usually use the beans that I have on hand which may include: pinto, limas, red and white kidney, black-eyed peas, red and green lentils, yellow and green split peas, navy, black, red, garbanzo beans, etc.  If you are new to working with dried beans and don’t have many varieties on hand you can usually find a 13 bean soup/chilli mix in the natural section of your local grocery store or just use 2 mixed cups of what you have.  This soup freezes well without changing the texture of the beans.  You can substitute a few cups of water for broth if you prefer once you add in your veggies.  Some of you may like to add tomato paste, but I think it tastes nice without.

Hearty 13 Bean Soup
2 cups dried 13 bean mix
10 cups of cold water (preferably spring or filtered tap water)
5-6 cloves of garlic, chopped
8-10 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped (3 tsp dried)
1 tsp sea salt
2 medium carrots chopped
2 celery stalks chopped
1 onion chopped
Juice of ½ a lemon
Sea salt and pepper to taste


Wash and soak the beans overnight if possible or at least for a few hours if you have the time (this will greatly reduce the cooking time of the beans).  Drain and rinse the beans, placing them in a large soup pot.  Cover with the water and add in the garlic and sage.  Bring the water to a boil and then cook for several hours until tender (this time varies depending on how old the beans are and how long they were soaking).

Once the beans are almost tender, add the salt (but not before or it will interfere with the cooking process of the beans).  Add in your carrots, celery and onion and cook for about an hour.

Once the cooking is almost finished add more salt and pepper to taste along with the lemon juice.  Serve with your favourite bread (I personally like rosemary focaccia, a recipe I will post soon!).  Enjoy!

As children, we listen to others tell us that we can do anything we set our minds too.  As adults we tell our children this, but we get so wrapped up in our day-to-day tasks that we sometimes forget this amazing piece of advice ourselves.  I am a firm believer of this and definitely had these positive thoughts in the front of my mind this past Sunday.

I’m still coming down from a Runners high.  Actually, I think I’m still experiencing it full force.  It’s been almost two days since I ran the full 42.2 km at the Hamilton Road2Hope Marathon on Sunday, November 6th, 2011.  We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day.  While starting off a bit cool the temperature rose quite quickly and with the sun blazing down on us you wouldn’t have known we were already into what we would have expected to be a cool November.  What an amazing day for a race.

Its been about 18 weeks since I started the training, which at sometimes seemed quite intense.  Looking back I have to say I loved every minute of it.  As I have been a half-marathon runner for quite some time now, I really didn’t know what to expect when I woke up Sunday morning.  The distance still seemed a bit far off the regular 32-33 km I was used to tackling on my long Sunday morning runs.  Ten kilometres in a car doesn’t seem very far while you are driving.  But running that distance after running 32 km is a completely different story.  But, it’s an amazing story.  With as much physical energy as it took me to complete the full 42.2km, it took just as much, if not more, mental and emotional energy.  What a feeling it was to have completed this goal of mine.

If you are seriously considering tackling this ultimate distance or setting any other running goals such as a 5 km or 10km, be sure to have a plan in place.  Your strength can be built up over time but you have to be sensible about how you do it, especially if you are starting from a level of low fitness.  Any beginner attempting a marathon for the first time should aim to have at least one-year worth of solid running before beginning a training program.  Speak with your health-care provider first to get the go-ahead if you are unsure.  I have done this in the past and have even had my heart monitored just as a precaution.

I am very blessed to have such an amazing and supportive family and group of friends that have encouraged me with my running and marathon training.  Having a running partner or close friend who shares the same interest in running is a wonderful thing.  They can join you on your long runs; keep you motivated and on track to reaching your goals; and ultimately, share in your celebrations after achieving something you never thought was possible.

Enjoy your run!

(Reposted from 10/13/2011)

Fall is one of my favourite times of the year.  I love the changing colours that come with the season and the delicious assortment of foods that come out of the autumn harvest.  One of my favourites this time of year is butternut squash.  I especially like to make this recipe after the kids have picked the apples and the squash off the farm themselves.  What I usually do is cube a few large squash and freeze them in equal cup portions so that I have them on hand to make this delicious soup.

Preparation Time: 15 mins.
Cooking Time:  40 mins.
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings:  6

5 cups of butternut squash (peeled and seeded), cut into 2cm cubes
2 cups of carrots, cut into 2cm cubes
1 medium onion, cut into 2cm cubes
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp oil
2 large, firm apples cut into 2cm cubes (peeled and cored)
1 tsp curry powder
4 cups vegetable broth
1 cup apple juice (or cider)
toasted pumpkin seeds

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Combine squash, carrots and onion and drizzle with oil, stirring well to combine. Sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper.  Roast for 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and add apples, stirring well to combine. Roast for 15 minutes.  Remove and add curry powder, again stirring well to combine. Roast for 5 to 10 minutes more or until vegetables are very soft. Vegetables should be browned a bit.  Puree roasted vegetables in a blender with 2 cups of vegetable broth. Transfer pureed mixture to a stockpot, add remaining broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and stir in apple juice. Sprinkle with more pepper and toasted pumpkin seeds.  Enjoy!

(Reposted from 10/13/2011)

  While I have always enjoyed running, it wasn’t until after I had my youngest that I looked at training seriously to increase my endurance and mileage.  Running a marathon had always been on my bucket list but the thought of training for one was daunting.  After being inspired by a family member, I decided to start training for my first half marathon.  I was absolutely thrilled a few months later to have completed my first half marathon.  Crossing over the finish line and seeing my family there at the end filled me with so much emotion it truly is difficult to put it into words.  At that point it was hard to picture my life without running. 

I now participate in several races each year, usually trying to pick ones located in different cities so we can turn race-weekend into a mini vacation.  Running helps me continue on this wonderful journey through motherhood.  It is my time.  It keeps me physically fit and emotionally healthy, which I think is so important in setting a perfect healthy example for my children.  I encourage each one of you to get out there and be active in any way you can.  Breathe in the fresh air and really enjoy your surroundings.  Little steps will bring about big changes in your health and everyday life.  Even though we may not all be marathon runners, we are all marathon moms.  We all need to be Healthy Marathon Moms. 


(Reposted from 10/13/2011)