Sunday, June 27, 2010

Better Get Ready!

By now you probably know about the earthquake that recently hit my city. Well, it hit more than just my city. The area it hit was HUGE! According to CBC News the 5.5 quake was felt in Quebec, Ontario, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, and few other states. Luckily, the earthquake caused very minor damage, and most people said they didn't even feel it at all. Imagine the catastrophe if the quake had been as severe as the quake in Haiti early this year. Where would everyone go for safety? Where would we get food and water from?

Later that day, as I watched So You Think You Can Dance (I LOVE that show), tornado warnings scrolled across the bottom of the screen. Areas about 2 1/2 - 3 hours away were told to take proper emergency precautions. They were also calling for severe thunderstorms in my city and surrounding area. As a matter of fact, a few years ago a tornado whipped through the school across the street and cause so much damage, they had to rebuild. What would everyone do if their city was destroyed?

Then to top it all off, yesterday and today in Toronto, there were major riots protesting the G20 Summit. They were smashing store and bank windows, attacking police officers, smashing cars, and lighting police cruisers on fire. Anyone who lives or works in the Toronto City center had to deal with absolute craziness! Luckily the police are keeping things relatively under control (over 600 people have been arrested) but what would we all do if things continued to get out of control?

I'm not trying to be a fear monger or anything. What I am trying to say is that we need to be prepared for such emergencies. In my church, the leaders have been emphasizing emergency preparedness and strongly advising us to have a long term supply of food, water, and other provisions. It's challenging to build up such a supply and takes a lot of time and money to do so. I actually went to the store house on Saturday and canned $70 worth pf wheat, beans, sugar, oats, etc for our long term storage, but I'm not going to discuss long term storage right now. What I am going to discuss is a 72-hour emergency pack.

The government actually had commercials a few years ago urging everyone to get a 72-hour emergency pack ready just in case we were ever told to evacuate suddenly. My mother is a HUGE stickler on 72-hour emergency packs and gave us all one for Christmas one year. It doesn't take long to put one together and you probably have most of the stuff needed in your home already.

Here's a list of items to pack in your backpack.

3 days supply of food and water
1. Granola bars
2. Trail Mix or Dried fruit
3. Canned tuna, beans, stew, or pasta
4. Juice boxes
5. Other snacks
6. 1 Gallon of water per person

Bedding and Clothing
1. Change of clothing, including long and short sleeved tops, pants and shorts
2. Jacket
3. 3 pairs of underwear and socks
4. Rain coat
5. Hat, gloves, scarf, boots (only in winter)
6. Sleeping bag (try to purchase one at a specialty camping store that rolls up to the size of a Nalgene bottle)
7. Plastic tarp

Fuel and Light
1. Battery free flashlight. I got mine for $5 and all I need to do is shake it for a few seconds before turning it on.
2. Flares
3. Glow sticks. You'll need these if there's ever a gas leak. It's the only source of light that will not cause a spark
4. Candles
5. Waterproof matches

Other Equipment
1. Wind up radio
2. Can opener
3. Dishes/Utensils
4. Shovel
5. Axe
6. Pen and Paper
7. Pocket Knife
8. Rope
9. Duct tape

Personal Supplies
1. First aid kit and supplies
2. Toilet paper (in a ziploc bag)
3. Feminine products (in a ziploc bag)
4. soap, shampoo, hand sanitizer, dish soap
5. Tooth brush and tooth paste
6. Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen, allergy meds, children's medication etc.
7. Prescription Medication (for 3 days)
8. Extra contact lenses and solution
9. Diapers, wipes, and bum cream (if applicable)
10. Sun screen (including SPF lip balm), and bug repellent

Personal Documents and Money (store in a waterproof container)
1. Legal Documents (Birth/Marriage Certificates, Wills, Passports, Contracts, etc)
2. Vaccination Papers
3. Insurance Policies
4. Cash - strongly recommend rolls of coins for vending machines, toll booth, etc
5. Credit Cards
6. Pre-paid phone cards

1. Update your 72 Hour Kit every six months (put a note in your calendar/planner) to make sure that: all food, water, and medication is fresh and has not expired; clothing fits; personal documents and credit cards are up to date; and batteries are charged.
2. Small toys/games are important too as they will provide some comfort and entertainment during a stressful time.
3. Older children can be responsible for their own pack of items/clothes too.
4. You can include any other items in your 72 Hour Kit that you feel are necessary for your family's survival.
5. Some items and/or flavors might leak, melt, "flavor" other items, or break open. Dividing groups of items into individual Ziploc bags might help prevent this.

Tomorrow for family night, we're going to update our 72-hour emergency packs and make one for my son, since he doesn't have one yet. It's important to be prepared because as we saw this week, anything could happen.

For more important information on being prepared visit

Me Ka Aloha
- Elisabeth

Friday, June 25, 2010

Recipe Friday - Seafood Cucumber Stacks

Canada Day is next week so why not throw a party and serve yummy appetizers? Here's a fun one that reminds me of sushi, but way easier to make, and without the raw fish. These look like a lot of work, but they're not, so they're perfect to make when you want to "look" like a better chef than you really are :)

Seafood Cucumber Stacks


1/2 cup light cream cheese, softened
1 bunch chives, finely chopped, divided
Zest and 1 tablespoon juice from 1 lemon
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 (4-ounce) package Smoked Salmon OR 4 ounces smoked trout OR 8 ounces crab meat OR
12 medium peeled, deveined and halved cooked shrimp
1 seedless cucumber, cut into 24 slices


In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, half of the chives, lemon zest and juice, salt and pepper. If using salmon or trout, cut into 24 bite-sized pieces. Arrange a piece of seafood on each cucumber slice then top with a dollop of sour cream mixture and garnish with remaining chives.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Did You Feel THAT?!

I'm sure you've all heard by now, but just in case you're living in a bubble, we had an EARTHQUAKE today!! Wow, it wasn't very strong but it scared the dickens out of me! I didn't think we had earthquakes here and after what happened in Haiti, it sure makes me nervous. I didn't really feel the rumble because I was running up the stairs as it was happening, but I sure heard it. I walked into my kitchen and heard low rumbling coming from my sink area. I thought "oh geeez is my plumbing about to explode?" Then as I got closer I could hear the pots and pans shaking, and my microwave was shaking. I suddenly realized what was going on. My husband was downstairs when it happened and he yelled "Elisabeth, did you feel that?" He described it as feeling like someone was shaking the couch. The last time we had an earthquake, I was 19 (and I'm pretty sure that was the first earthquake I've ever experienced in my life) and it felt like someone heavy had fallen down the stairs or something. Any way, they say this earthquake measured 5.5 and it hit twice in Ottawa.

This reminded me that anything can happen and that we need to be prepared for it. It's important to have supplies and food on hand for emergencies and it's important to establish an emergency plan for your family. I know what we'll be talking about for next weeks family night!

Did any of YOU feel the quake? What was it like and where were you?

Stay Safe!
- Elisabeth

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Straw-b-b-b-b-berry (like the Strawberry Shortcake Song)

Last weekend my family and I drove to Muskoka to spend one final weekend at my Uncle's cottage because he just sold it. We've been going to the cottage for 20 years so it was sad to leave, but I'll always have many fond summer memories.

On the way to the cottage I saw a bunch of roadside fruit stands with huge signs saying "fresh strawberries" and I was craving them like crazy! When we arrived at the cottage, my sister-in-law had a big basket of fresh, locally grown, Ontario strawberries to share for the next day's breakfast, YUM! I just love strawberries and so does everyone else, since strawberries are the most popular berry in the world. Strawberries are in season right now, so now is the time to enjoy and indulge! We might even plan a family outing to our local strawberry picking farm and pick, and eat some fresh yumminess :)

Here's some healthy reasons to eat strawberries.
1. Full of anthocyanidin, a powerful flavonoid which protect against cancer and heart disease.
2. Strawberries are an anti-inflammatory, which can offer pain relief to such things as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, asthma, atherosclerosis, and cancer.
3. Excellent source of vitamin C
4. Excellent source of fibre
5. The ancient Romans believed that strawberries alleviated symptoms of depression, fainting, inflammation, fevers, throat infections, kidney stones, bad breath, gout, and diseases of the blood, liver and spleen.
6. Folklore holds that if you split a double strawberry in half and share it with the opposite sex, you'll soon fall in love. (who needs lavalife LOL)

Nutrition facts:

Serving size: 1 cup fresh strawberries (166 grams)
Calories 50-55
Protein 1 gram
Carbohydrates 11.65 grams
Dietary Fiber 3.81 grams
Calcium 23.24 mg
Iron 0.63 mg
Magnesium 16.60 mg
Phosporus 31.54 mg
Potassium 44.82 mg
Selenium 1.16 mg
Vitamin C 94.12 mg
Folate 29.38 mcg
Vitamin A 44.82 IU

Here's a yummy Strawberry Salad recipe from Rachel Ray and


  • 2 teaspoons strawberry jam
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, eyeball it
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 pint strawberries, sliced
  • 4 to 5 cups chopped romaine or mixed greens of any kind


Place jam in a medium bowl and whisk in vinegar then extra-virgin olive oil. Season the dressing with salt and pepper. Add the strawberries and greens to bowl and toss to coat evenly in dressing.


Friday, June 18, 2010

Recipe Friday - (almost) Sugar Free Banana Bread

I LOVE banana bread a little too much. I've been known to eat half a loaf in just one day, and it takes a lot of restraint to keep myself from devouring the entire thing. The 45 minutes it takes to bake in the oven and the amazing smell that fills the air makes me so hungry that the 3rd degree burns I get from eating it hot are totally worth it (jk, don't try that). I was so happy when I attempted to make banana bread without sugar (aside from the chocolate chips, which are optional) and it turned out GREAT. My husband didn't even notice it was sugar free and my kids loved it too, but who doesn't LOVE banana bread?

(almost) Sugar Free Banana Bread
3 Ripe Bananas
1/3 cup melted butter
1 cup skim milk powder
1/2 tablespoon liquid Stevia
1 beaten egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Pre-heat Oven to 350
1. Mash bananas
2. Use electric mixer and mix mashed bananas with butter on med speed for 1 minute
3. Add Stevia, skim milk powder, egg, and vanilla and mix for another minute
4. Add baking soda and salt. Mix 30 seconds
5. Mix in flour until dough forms
6. Stir in chocolate chips (optional)
7. Pour into greased loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes


Me Ka Aloha
- Elisabeth

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Laughter is the BEST Medicine!

My good friend Al showed me this comedy group a long time ago and I almost peed my pants laughing when I saw them. I emailed my brother the youtube link, and he learned how to play this song on his guitar. Now every time we get together he busts out his guitar and we all have a good old sing along/laugh. If you've been feeling down lately check this out (even if you've seen it before) It'll totally make your day!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

I Have a Confession to Make...

Seriously, I was bad this weekend, I should be sent to my room after what I've done. I had a very busy weekend filled with fun and friends and FOOD! I feel like a total hypocrite having a blog called healthy families after all the food I indulged in this weekend, but it was so delicious!

On Friday night some friends treated us to dinner in Niagara Falls (who could say no to that?) So, we made the trek to the "Falls" which was totally worth it by the way, and arrived at a restaurant called Copacabana. If you've ever been to Niagara Falls, you've probably seen this restaurant because it's really big and it looks really cool from the outside. Copacabana is a Brazilian "all you can eat" steak house and believe me, I ate everything in sight! Here's how it works. There's a buffet with amazing mashed potatoes, breads, soups, salads, pasta, rice, deviled eggs, etc and you can eat as much as you want, although the waitress warned me not to fill up on the buffet. The waitress gives you a sign to put on your table and one side says "fire it up" and the other says "cool it down". When your sign says "fire it up" you are letting the (hunky) servers know that you want to eat more MEAT. When it says "cool it down" it means you need to take a break. They come around with over 20 different types of meat and they cut a piece off for you to try, and you can request as much as you want. They have prime rib, filet mignon, suckling pig, Parmesan pork, plank steak, Moroccan chicken, cheddar beef, leg of lamb, garlic chicken, you name it, they have it, AND IT'S SO GOOD!!! Seriously, every minute there's some good looking guy standing next to your table offering you a juicy piece of sizzling meat and it just looks and smells delicious so you just have to try some. I used to be a vegetarian and I've never eaten so much meat in my life! I totally pigged out (and feel kind of guilty now). Oh, they also have this amazing roasted pineapple and I swear I ate at least 6 pieces! I'm craving that pineapple right now! I need to learn how to make that because it was delicious! There's also Brazilian dancers with huge feathers on their heads that dance around the tables, shaking their stuff haa haa.

After the gigantic meal and after more meat in one sitting that I eat in a month, we went out for ice cream. I don't know how I managed to fit and ice cream cone in my stomach after all that, but it did. Seriously, that restaurant was SO GOOD, and everyone needs to experience it at least once, but I do feel bad for eating such an insane amount of meat, especially in the summer time when there is so much fresh fruits and vegetables available. I think I'd feel less guilty if it was winter. I told my husband that we should go back in 10 years because that's how long it'll take me to work it all off LOL. All in all it was a great night with great friends and great food. My goal is to learn how to cook meat like that, because I've never really been good at cooking meat.

So there you have it... you can slap me on the wrist next time you see me, or just visit Copas yourself and we'll be even :)

Me Ka Aloha
- Elisabeth

Friday, June 11, 2010

Recipe Friday - Potato Topped Chicken Pot Pie

    When I got married I received a lot of cookbooks. I flipped through most of them and decided that there was nothing interesting, and they sit on my shelf being totally useless. I did however get the Canadian Living Cookbook which has a lot of great recipes and the BEST part is, they're family friendly! The recipe that I probably make the most (I made it tonight for the in-laws, and they really enjoyed it) is called Potato Topped Chicken Pot Pies. It's total comfort food!


    lb (454 g) boneless skinless chicken breasts
    2 cups (500 mL) chicken stock
    2 cups (500 mL) button mushrooms, quartered
    1 onion, chopped
    2 carrots, chopped
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    2 bay leaves
    1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
    1/4 tsp (1 mL) pepper
    1 pinch nutmeg
    1 cup (250 mL) frozen peas
    1 tsp (5 mL) Dijon mustard
    1/2 tsp (2 mL) lemon juice
    1/2 cup (125 mL) all-purpose flour
    6 Yukon Gold potatoes
    1/2 cup (125 mL) milk
    4 tbsp (50 mL) butter
    1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
    1/2 tsp (2 mL) pepper


Topping: Peel potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch (1cm) chunks. In large saucepan of boiling salted water, cover and cook potatoes until tender, 15 minutes; drain and return to pot. Add milk, cheese, butter, salt and pepper; mash until smooth. Set aside.

Meanwhile, cut chicken into 1/2-inch (1 cm) chunks. In separate large sauce-pan, bring stock to boil. Add chicken, mushrooms, onion, carrots, garlic, bay leaves, salt, pepper and nutmeg; reduce heat, cover and simmer until chicken is no longer pink inside, about 6 minutes. Stir in peas, mustard and lemon juice.

In small bowl, whisk flour with 1/3 cup (75 mL) cold water; whisk into stock mixture and bring to boil. Reduce heat and cook, stirring often, until thick enough to coat back of spoon, about 5 minutes.

Make-Ahead Meal: Ladle into four 2-cup (500 mL) ovenproof or foil dishes. Spoon or pipe potato mixture over top. Let cool for 30 minutes. Refrigerate until cold. Cover with foil and overwrap with heavy-duty foil; freeze for up to 1 month.

Thaw in refrigerator; remove heavy-duty foil. Bake on rimmed baking sheet in 400°F (200°C) oven or toaster oven until knife inserted in centre for 5 seconds feels hot when touched, 25 minutes. Uncover and broil until golden, about 3 minutes.


Me Ka Aloha

- Elisabeth

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Trainig for Team Diabetes

A very good friend of mine has been working his butt off, training for a marathon in Iceland!! The participants are required to raise a certain amount of money for Canadian Diabetes in order to participate. He is looking for pledges and every little bit counts. You can pledge online at

Remember, it's for a good cause!!

Me Ka Aloha

- Elisabeth

Sunday, June 6, 2010

BEFORE AND AFTER PICTURES and Losing my Race Virginity

I must be a crazy person for agreeing to do this, but as promised, here are my before and after pictures. The first picture was taken about 2 months after Joseph was born. I started doing the Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred and lost about 10-15 pounds in the first month or so. Then I became a total slacker during Christmas and then my baby got sick, then I got sick, and yada yada yada, 4+ months had gone by and I hadn't worked out at all. I slowly got back into it a while ago and also started running. Thing were going great and then I got sick for over THREE weeks!!! Man! That really set me back, especially since I had to train for the Moon in June. Any how, I still lost a bunch of weight though not as much as I wanted. I would still like to lose another 10 pounds, hopefully by the end of summer. Ok so are you ready for this? I know I'm not!


Haa haa ok so not the kind of before and after you were looking for right? Seriously, my before pictures of my flabby body are EMBARRASSING! I was 168 pounds of pure FAT, no muscle or anything, just loose flabby flab. Ok, so there are a bunch of people out there that can make 168 pounds look pretty good because they have muscle and the weight is distributed evenly and stuff, but MY 168 pounds wasn't so pretty. Now I weigh 145 pounds and I think there's some muscle there. I weigh less than I did before I had Joseph and I still have a few more pounds to lose before reaching my goal weight. Maybe when I lose my last 10 pounds I'll post REAL before and after pictures. Something to look forward to, right?

Ok, on to other things...
So you're probably all wondering how the Moon in June went. It was so much fun!! It took place down the road from the store I used to work at and I've always wanted to do it. There were around 800 people running the 5 km and a bunch of my friends were running too. My friend Adam busted out his 80's short shorts, which was HILARIOUS by the way and my friend Joel wore a black spandex suit which covered this entire body, head to toe. I'm not kidding, this outfit covered even his entire face. I wish I had a picture of him but I'm sure it'll show up in the newspaper or something. Ok so my friends and I all gathered at the very front of the starting line, next to a few runners I know that usually win every race. My heart was pounding because I was so darn nervous. This was after all, my very first race! I wanted to be able to run the entire thing and do it in a reasonable amount of time, I mean really, I didn't want to be the one strolling in last place. I just didn't know what to expect and all the people around me just made me nervous and excited all at the same time. When the race started a bunch or runners raced on ahead of me. I just kept on running at the pace I was used to running (which isn't very fast at all) My heart was racing faster than I was running and I knew that if I didn't settle down, I was going to have a really hard time finishing. I felt like absolute crap during the first half of the race, which doesn't surprise me. I always feel the worst during the first half of any run. Any way, as I was running around the 2 Km mark, some punk kid with a skate board decided to dart in front of a bunch of the runners to mess them up. He thought he was being funny. He darted in front of me and as I tried to dodge him, he darted in front of me again! It totally threw me off a good 10 seconds or so. Well after that deterrent things were great. There were people standing on the sidewalks giving high fives and cheering everyone on, and I totally gave some cute kids on a bike a high five as I passed. As I raced a bunch of faster runners passed me including some kids that must have been like 10 years old or something. I wasn't sure if I should be impressed by they're speed or depressed by my lack of speed. Well, I ran and ran and ran and never stopped and as I reached the finish line, the guy on the loud speaker said "just about 20 more steps. YOU CAN DO IT!" and I DID! I did it! I finished my very first race, running the entire time. I guess you could say I lost my race virginity haa haa! When I crossed the finish line Dave and the kids were there with the video camera, cheering me on and Joseph had had enough of all the loud clapping and shouting. Joseph was absolutely mad and crying like crazy. As I crossed the finish line, Dave handed Joseph to me right away. The job of a mother is non-stop! Well, I may have not won the race, or even won in my age category, but I did it AND I walked away with a free case of Gatorade :) My next goal is to finish the race with a better time, maybe 3-4 minutes faster. I think I might run a 5 km race in October at the Zoo because my older brother and his family might do it too. I'll keep you all posted.

Me Ka Aloha
- Elisabeth

Friday, June 4, 2010

Recipe Friday - Roasted Red Pepper Pesto

Let me start by saying "Happy 1st Birthday Joseph!" I can't believe it's been a year since I gave birth to a little (well not so little) 9 pound 9 ounce cutie pie. It's been a great first year and I love my little guy so so much! Ok, more about that later... Time for a recipe!

Here's a twist on traditional pesto. I decided to make this one day because roasted red peppers were on sale. It turned out really well and it was actually faster than my usual pesto because I didn't need to grate all that romano cheese, AND lower it's in fat. This recipe is perfect to make on one of those busy days when you feel like your head is going to explode from all the running around (for me, that day is today!). In the time that it takes to boil a pot of pasta, you'll be done and your family will enjoy a healthy, homemade meal. It's faster than ordering a pizza!

Roasted Red Pepper Pesto

300 mL jar of roasted red peppers, drained (or 3 whole roasted red peppers)
3 cloves of garlic
3/4 cup olive oil (I use extra virgin, but you can use regular if your kids don't like the strong taste)
1 small bunch of fresh basil, washed and stems removed

Put all ingredients in a blender. Blend about 2 minutes. Serve over whole wheat pasta and sprinkle with a bit of Parmesan cheese.


- Elisabeth

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

My Deadline is FAST Approaching!

Remember my promise to post before and after pictures on Joseph's 1st birthday? Well that day is soon and I WILL post some, grudgingly. I haven't met my goal yet and unless something magical happens, like the weight loss fairy coming to grant me my wish, I doubt I'll loose 8 pounds in 2 days :( Sorry to say that I am far from looking like a super model, unless there's a super model out there with a mummy tummy. Oh well, I'm not giving up! Being sick for over 3 weeks this month really set me back and prevented me from being able to work out, but these things happen. One goal that I'm pretty sure I'll be able to achieve is my goal to run in a 5 km race. I signed up for the Moon in June 5 Km and I'll be running it on Saturday. I'm just praying and hoping that I will have the energy and strength to finish the race, injury free. I ran 5.4 km yesterday for the first time in a month and it was rough! At one point during the run I thought I was going to throw up, and then later I felt like I was going to hyperventilate, but the important thing is that I FINISHED it! Saturday's race will be interesting, that's for certain, but at least I'll have my friends with me to keep me motivated. I'm just praying that everything will go well and that I won't embarrass myself since so many people I know will be there. Wish me luck, and throw in some prayers too because I sure need them. I'll let you all know how it goes.

Me Ka Aloha
- Elisabeth

Yoga for Kids

At church I am in charge of activities for the girls aged 8-12 years old, yes that's right, the "I love Justin Bieber" age. They're a bundle of energy and test my patience on a regular basis, but I always have fun at every activity. For tonight's activity I decided on doing a little yoga class. I naively thought if I told them how important it is to be quiet and breath during the poses, that I would avoid the usual "she's looking at me!" "did someone cut the cheese?" "did you bring us a treat?" interruptions that I'm always dealing with. WRONG! The soothing yoga music was accompanied by giggles and "this move is impossible!". Oh well, I tried. One thing I did notice is that the girls loved trying the poses that were named after animals. There were a few kids that did yoga before in gym class or with their mothers (yay moms) and they were pretty into it. Here's a list of poses that the girls loved. You might want to try them with your kids.

1. Cat Pose and Cow Pose

2. Downward Dog

3. Cobra Pose

4. Tree Pose

5. Triangle Pose

6. Dolphin Pose

It's a (distant) goal of mine to become a certified yoga teacher and maybe I'll start a children's yoga class. Try some of these poses with your little ones and let me know how it goes!

Me Ka Aloha (with love)
- Elisabeth
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