Mar
30
2015

Redefining Family Night: Dance Like EVERYBODY Is Watching

If You Can't Beat them, Join them!

Redefining Family Night: Dance Like EVERYBODY Is Watching

Redefining Family Night: Dance Like EVERYBODY Is Watching
Many years ago, while my firstborn was still in utero and my second was just a twinkle in my eye, I had a vision about what motherhood would be like. I imagined pushing my children on swings in the playground, coffee dates with my girlfriends while our toddlers quietly played together and our babies slept peacefully. I also imagined a weekly family night in which we would all happily eat snacks and play board games.
 
As you know, things don’t always go as you imagine they will. Pushing one child on the swings would guarantee the other would get stuck on the climbing structure or perhaps start eating the playground gravel, and as for the coffee dates, they were spent chasing a toddler around, holding the wailing baby on my hip while the coffee sat, cold and untouched. 
 
And what about family night? Well, it happens, but not the way I thought it would. You see, my boys are now 9 and 10 years old, and do you know what boys that age want to do for fun? They want to play video games. 
 
For a long time, I tried to arrange family night to be true to my vision. I would set up board games and put out bowls of snacks, but to be honest, it was a bit of a bust. What they really wanted to do was quickly finish a round of the games I chose so they could get back to their video games. At first I was discouraged, but then a light bulb went off - what if I played what they wanted to play?
 
Here's the thing: family night should be about spending time with family, not about me and my pre-conceived notion of what it should look like. I was so busy trying to create a family night based on MY ideal that I didn’t pay attention to what the rest of the family wanted to do.
 
I’ve changed my tune and redefined our family night, keeping in mind the motto if you can’t beat them, join them! I've learned that it’s all about compromising and finding a common ground, and discovering experiences that the whole family can enjoy. 
 
As I started to take interest in their video games, the boys started to take an interest in finding ones I would enjoy. When the boys introduced me to video dance games, we had a winner. How could I say no to dancing to my favourite tunes? Family nights are now a dance party where we each choose the songs we like to dance to, and we cheer each other on.
 
 
Finding a common ground between parents and kids has been a struggle, but in my house, we can always agree on three things:
 
  1. Mom's rendition of most songs is a thing of beauty.
  2. Group dance songs we can all dance to at the same time are the most fun.
  3. Delicious treats are an integral part of family night, all that dancing works up an appetite!

During our last family night, we enjoyed Marvellous Creations. These are not your ordinary, run-of-the-mill candy bars, they are Cadbury Dairy Milk paired with deliciously different flavours, such as Banana Caramel Crisp, Cookie Nut Crunch, and Jelly Popping Candy.

The best part is that these scrumptious candy bars are the perfect size for the whole family to share and enjoy!

Sharing with each other and spending precious time together. Isn't that what family night is all about?

Just like Nicole has redefined her family nights, Cadbury Dairy Milk Marvellous Creations has redefined the candy bar. They are the perfect way to break up your own family night.

Find out how these families also redefined their family time together:

  See how family night can be so much more fun when your family is dressed to the nines!

  Teach your kids about their culture and family traditions by focusing on food and fun.

  Cooking with kids is a great way to teach them to be creative in the kitchen. This resourceful mom shows you how to do it in a marvelous way.

  Turn your family fun night into a night to connect with these tips that will teach you how to make relaxing a priority.

Mar
25
2015

Ditch the Mix: Best Vegan Vanilla Cake

WHIP UP A HOMEMADE DELIGHT IN MINUTES!

Ditch the Mix: Best Vegan Vanilla Cake

vegan_vanilla_layer_cake_with_chocolate_Frosting

In my house, spring is cake season! Starting with my older son's birthday in March, and ending with my dog's birthday at the end of May, there is an occasion for a cake every three weeks. Hooray for cake!

However, even the most enthusiastic baker (i.e., ME) gets a little weary after the third or fourth cake. It's tempting then to just grab a box of cake mix and a container of frosting. I understand! It seems like the easiest solution: grab a box of mix, dump it into a bowl, beat it with some water, oil, eggs...but wait! 

RELATED: Pair That Cake With Banana Ice Cream (No Ice Cream Maker Required)

This recipe takes approximately 45 seconds longer to pull together than a boxed mix, and it tastes so much better. It uses ingredients that you likely have right now in your own kitchen - nothing complicated or requiring a trip to a specialty store. This delicious vanilla cake is also vegan, much to the (pleasant) shock and surprise of my non-vegan family!

Pair this cake with my favourite 2-Ingredient Chocolate Frosting, and you've got yourself a quick and easy cake that's perfect for any celebration, made with items you already have in your own pantry. Perfection!

Ingredients

3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups water
1 cup vegetable oil (NOTE: I use grapeseed, but any mild tasting oil will do)
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

 

Directions

  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two 9-inch round pans by greasing or spraying well. (SEE NOTE BELOW)

  Stir together flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Add water, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract and mix until combined.

  Gently stir in apple cider vinegar.

  Spoon batter into cupcake tins or 9-inch round pans.

  Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.

  Cool completely before frosting. Place one of the cakes on a plate or cake stand, bottom-side-up. Spread frosting over the cake surface; place second cake on top, right-side-up. Frost top of cake and sides, if desired.

  NOTE: This can also be made into cupcakes; simply decrease baking time to 20 minutes. My 9-inch round pans are not very deep, and so I get 2 9-inch round cakes and about 6 cupcakes from this recipe. It's the best of both worlds!

Start with two 9-inch rounds (and maybe a few cupcakes).

Flip one layer over, and frost the bottom-side-up.

Set the other layer on top, right-side-up, and frost.

Slice. Eat. Repeat.

Want more easy and delicious cake ideas? Try my Not-Just-Plain Vanilla Cupcakes, my Va-Va-Va-Voom Velvet Cupcakes, or my Pot of Gold Cupcakes and choose your own frosting adventure!

Mar
23
2015

Vegan Kitchen Hack: Amazing 2-Ingredient Chocolate Frosting

I CAN'T BELIEVE IT'S NOT CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM

Vegan Kitchen Hack: Amazing 2-Ingredient Chocolate Frosting

vegan_chocolate_frosting

Let's set the scene: it's 9:00 pm. The school bake sale is tomorrow, and you just found out over dinner that you were "volunteered" to bring two dozen cupcakes. You've finished helping with homework, overseeing baths, getting the kids into bed, AND baking the required cupcakes. You pull the beautiful, fragrant cupcakes out of the oven only to realize that you have no frosting and are all out of butter and icing sugar.

What do you do? Do you a) leave skidmarks on the driveway in an attempt to get to the grocery store before closing time, b) send the naked cupcakes to school in the insane hope that kids won't care about frosting, or c) curl up in a ball and cry? 

The better answer is d) whip up this amazing, two-ingredient chocolate frosting using items in your pantry. Frosting makes everything better, and this chocolate delight takes baked goods from ordinary to extraordinary. This is a vegan recipe, which is perfect if you are dealing with allergies or are otherwise unable to eat dairy. No one will believe you if you tell them it's vegan, though, because of the delectable buttercream-like consistency. Remember "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter"? This is "I Can't Believe It's Not Buttercream"!

RELATED: Only 3 Ingredients To Make This Dessert You Won't Believe Is Vegan

Ingredients

2 cups chocolate chips (dairy-free if needed)
1 cup full-fat canned coconut milk
 

Directions

  Place chocolate chips in a heat-safe bowl.

  In a small saucepan, bring coconut milk to a boil. Pour over chocolate chips, and stir until very smooth.

  Refrigerate the chocolate mixture for 2-3 hours. 

  Scrape into a mixing bowl and beat on medium-high until mixture is fluffy and spreadable - about one to two minutes.

  Use on cakes, brownies, cookies - or just eat straight from the bowl! I won't judge.

Bring the coconut milk to a boil.

Pour it over the chocolate chips.

Stir! Stir! Stir with all your might!

Now chill. Chill-axing.

Firm - but not too firm! 

Then whip it. Whip it good.

Want more Vegan Kitchen Hacks? Here's how to substitute coconut oil for butter, how to substitute flax for eggs, and how to substitute heavy cream.