Posted in Community, Daddy, family, Food, health, Parenting, Recommends, The Urban Daddy

Our Morning Smoothie: Simple, Healthy, Delicious.


Last month, the kind folks at Almond Breeze reached out to me and said this;

“Hey Urban Daddy!  Are you familiar with Almond Breeze?”

I replied with this; “Familiar???  Absolutely!  In fact, my oldest son and I have a smoothie for breakfast EVERY morning, and instead of using milk, we use unsweetened Almond milk from Almond Breeze!”

“No way”, was what I got back.  “Would you share the recipe for your audience, and we’ll send you some Almond Breeze.”

“Ummm, yeah!  Of course!”

So because we received chocolate almond milk, vanilla almond milk, regular almond milk and unsweetened almond milk, this constitutes a paid post, or compensated post, and as such I must (and I am) declaring it to be so.

The cool part, is that its already something we use, and enjoy, and have been using for years since we cut back on our milk.

Here is our breakfast every single morning;

Into the blender goes the following ingredients:

2 cups Almond Milk, from Almond Breeze.  I like the unsweetened, my son likes the sweetened ones, and before we got to make our first smoothie, he had polished off the chocolate Almond Milk, and by the end of the week, the Vanilla was gone too.  It’s high in protein which helps him as he swims competitively and needs to keep all that muscle on…

I digress… Back to the blender.

1 large banana

a handful of ice cubes

a table spoon of peanut butter

and that’s it!  Blend it on the smoothie setting, and drink and enjoy.

Sometimes, we add, protein powder for him, and a huge handful of spinach for me.  Sometimes I’ll pour in some left over coffee, add a touch of honey and some fibre, but the main ingredients remain the same and it is SO yummy, and fills me until noon.

 

So here are the facts about Almond Breeze which I did not know – so likely you did not know either…

  1. Almond Breeze is like a family themselves as they are owned by the Blue Diamond Growers who have been in the almond business for more than 100 years.
  2. Almond Breeze is one of the only brands to grow their own almonds

So let’s think about this for a second from the context of parenting and being a family.  Our family doesn’t have a family business which is passed on from generation to generation where the newer generation learns from the older generation and does that work with pride in order to keep up the quality and the respect the family name has earned.  There is a lot of pride, but also a lot of pressure!

It also surprised me – but makes a lot of sense – that this is the only almond milk producer who makes their own almonds.  I’m sure it’s a technical process and finding the right almond for the milk must be difficult as it has to be tasty, not spoil quickly and must be in an area where it leaves the smallest carbon footprint to make the product in order to keep the price reasonable.

It makes me feel comfortable knowing that the almonds are coming from a place where the growers actually care about the product because it’s not just the brand which is on the shelves, but it’s also the growers and their families.

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Posted in Canada, Daddy, family, Food, health, money, Parenting, The Urban Daddy, Toronto, travel

Travel With Kids! Yeah! As Much As Possible, Please!


I opened my Twitter feed this morning (I’m @urbandaddyblog if you’re not following me yet – and if you’re not… SHAME!) and the first tweet that greeted me was this one;

“Up next with on Travel Edition. Are healthy eating and traveling even possible with hotel stays and security restrictions? Tune in to hear more…

Then I thought about all of the travel we have done over the years with the kids and food, make that nutritious food, has never been an issue… anywhere!

By “travel”, I’m not just referring to East York, Mississauga, or GASP, Richmond Hill – which if you live in or near the Greater Toronto Area, you will know take 40 minutes to an hour no matter what time of day, and literally used to take “5-minutes” when I was younger…

Here are some of the places we’ve taken the kids (current ages are 8-13);

  • New Brunswick
  • Nova Scotia
  • PEI
  • England
  • France
    • Paris 3 times
    • Drove the country heading south
  • Spain
    • Barcelona
    • Madrid
    • Seville
    • Drove the country / took trains
  • Italy
    • Venice
    • Rome
    • Amalfi Coast
    • Florence
    • Drove the country / took trains
    • Tuscany
  • Ecuador
  • Galapagos Islands
  • Ireland
  • Switzerland
  • Belgium
  • Holland
    • Amsterdam
    • Ghent
    • Edam
  • Florida

I’m sure I’ve forgotten some…

We’re big into the experience, so I’m not including cruises, but we backpack – take the least amount possible, and when we look for places to stay, there are no hotels.  We want to experience our destination as the locals would, which is why Air BnB is great for us.

With Air BnB not only do we save on accommodations because 5 people at hotels require an extra room, or extra charge, but we ensure we have WiFi, Air Conditioning and most importantly a kitchen!

With a kitchen, the food, especially healthy food, never becomes an issue.   We are so lucky to have a spouse who is almost certified as a nutritionist, and who is so incredibly organized that when we (read: she) plans our accommodations and itinerary around grocery stores so we can gather the food we need for breakfasts, lunches and dinners.

Without having to rely on eating out all the time, we save money, and eat much better and much healthier, plus we have snacks available for taking with us on our excursions / day-trips.

That’s how we get to experience the world with children, while eating healthy, and having a ton of fun.

 

 

Posted in family, Linus, Stewie

A Glimpse into the Future


This afternoon I caught a glimpse of how my boys are going to be when they are both in University, together.

Linus, 2 grades ahead of Stewie likes to be bossy and tell people what to do.  He coordinates, sets down the rules and you play by them or he kicks you out.  Stewie is a good kid who gets better the more Linus gets worse.  I love it.  I was like that with my sister.  The more she got in trouble, the more helpful I became.

So here is the scenario…

We’ve been sick a lot as a family the past couple months, and in conjunction, I noticed my boys do not drink enough water (I see lots of yellow pee).  So on Saturday I decided that every hour on the hour we were going to wash our hands and drink a cup of water.

By 11am, I was feeding the baby, Berry, and there was Linus on the counter taking down a cup for him and cup for his brother so they can have a cup of water.  While feeding the baby, I obviously became focussed on her because I missed the scene that was developing behind me.

When I turned around this is what I saw…

Stewie sitting at the counter with 5 cups of water surrounding him.

Linus sitting on the counter with the water running, filling up the 6th cup.

Turns out Stewie had already downed 3 cups of water… Linus was re-filling them.  He wanted to see how much Stewie could drink.  Happy to oblige, Stewie would have drunken until he passed out. 

I could picture the boys in University in the bar.  Stewie with 10 beers in front of him and Linus – with no beer – chanting “chug, chug, chug” to his brother until he passed out or puked all over the place.

Needless to say, Stewie’s pee was crystal clear the rest of the day and night.

Kids…

Posted in Recommends

This Urban Daddy’s favourite instant coffee – Nescafe Encore


I really did not intend on writing a post about what kind of instant coffee I like.  It’s kind of personal and a little (okay a lot) odd.  But this post kind of fell into my lap on Friday morning…

Background:

Pretty much every day on my way into the office I grab my one and only cup of coffee and that usually is a Tim Horton’s large double double, except for the odd morning where I head to Java Joe’s for something different.

This Friday morning I came into the office with a large cup of pumpkin spice coffee from Java Joes and upon smelling the strong scents of pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, one of my staff asked me what was in my cup. 

Well I showed him mine and he showed me his…

He was drinking instant coffee.

So I asked him what kind it was.  He said, “the kind in the green bottle”.

Ugh, I thought to myself.  Most instant coffee is (as quoted by my kids) gross beef. 

“Have you tried Nescafe’s Encore coffee?” I asked him.  “It has chicory”.

“What is chicory?” he said.

“I don’t really know”, I said, “but I’ll Google it right now”.

So here is what I found.

Chicory – used as a coffee filler or substitute – also known as blue-sailors due to it’s blue flowered herb and long white root.  Parts of chicory, known as endive, are found in salads, as either a vegetable or a green.

The thick chicory root is roasted and powdered to be added to coffee. The origins of adding chicory to coffee as a filler and flavor enhancer began as early as the 15th century. The tradition spread to the French, and it became common in parts of Europe where coffee could not be grown or because it was cheaper.

Eventually, it became quite popular in the U.S., specifically in New Orleans. Unlike coffee, chicory does not contain caffeine.  It tends to have a flavor like chocolate.

The salad versions of chicory come in broad and curly leafed varieties. The narrow-leaved version is also called curly endive and the broad leafed variety is also known as escarole.  The outer leaves are green and have a bitter taste.  Inner leaves are lighter in color, even white, and have a mild taste.  Endive is often added to blander lettuces in a salad to add flavor.

Chicory is also purported to have several health benefits, including possibly aiding in digestion.  Because it contains a compound called inulin, a soluble fiber, chicory may assist digestion by aiding the probiotic bacteria in the digestive tract.

So with all that, I recommend you try this coffee;