Fermented Honey Garlic

This is also known as “garlic-infused honey” because the recipe is much like an infusion in addition to fermentation. This recipe can be used in so many ways. Drizzle or use in salad dressings, serve alongside vegetables or use it as a glaze for meat.

The fermented garlic is not only tasty, it’s great for your body. The fermentation process allows minerals and nutrients to be more accessible to your body. It is also known to help combat colds or flus.

This recipe is beyond easy! The only hard part is remembering to “burp” your garlic jars everyday. As the honey and garlic sit in a dark space, the garlic juices will start to ferment. Which produces a gas within the jar. If you don’t release the gas, it will start to leak from the jar and it could make a mess. If you’re worried about making a mess, place a plate under your jar. And don’t be concerned if you see bubbles or a bit of foam on top of your honey. That’s just the result from the fermentation process.

You don’t need to worry about botulism with this recipe. Honey is acidic and anti-bacterial. Just make sure the jar you use has been cleaned and sterilized before use. Simply tighten on your lid and away you go!

Be sure to use raw, unpasteurized honey. This is very important because the microbes in pasteurized (not raw) honey have already been killed off. Your garlic won’t ferment properly and will not be safe to consume.

Now that we have gone over the important parts, let’s start preparing!

Fermented Honey Garlic

Ingredients:

  • Clean sterilized jar
  • Peeled Garlic Cloves, enough to fill the jar 3/4 full
  • Raw Honey, enough to fill the jar

Instructions:

  1. Sterilize your jar by boiling the glass jar and lid for 10 minutes. Leave it to air dry and cool before using.
  2. Place your peeled garlic cloves into the jar.
  3. Pour your honey overtop till garlic is covered. Leave 1/2 inch space between the honey and the lid.
  4. Place in a dark spot for minimum one month.
  5. Everyday, open your jars to “burp” them. Release some gas. Then tighten the kids again. After one month, you should only have to burp every few weeks.

I hope you enjoy this recipe and be sure to tag me on social media, @thejaclynyvonne !

Starting Ranunculus Flowers

Ranunculus flowers are at the top of my favourite list. These soft, pillow like gorgeous flowers add elegance to any bouquet. And a must grow in every flower cutting garden.

These are a cool weather flowers, meaning they grow best in early spring or late fall. For successful growth it’s recommend ranunculus corms are harvested and dried every year. Though they will do just fine if left in the ground to grow year after year.

When starting your ranunculus flowers you need to soak the dormant corms in room temperature water for 4-6 hours. This is the pre-germination phase. It helps brings your corms back to life. You will know when they have soaked enough when your corms have doubled in size, and look plump.

Plant them in container with high quality potting soil. Be sure to moisten your soil before planting your corms. They need the moisture to continue germinating once planted in soil. But not drenched soil, or your corms will get mouldy while you leave them to germinate.

Corms are unique looking tubers, like little spiders. Be sure to plant the finger-like projections downward gently into your soil. Then cover lightly with more moist soil.

You then need to store your planted corms in a dark and cool place. About 10 degrees Celsius roughly. It will take about 2-3 weeks for your corms to germinate. Be sure to check the moisture level of your soil everyday. I just check with my finger and if it doesn’t feel that wet, I give each pot a spray of water.

Once you see little sprouts, it’s time to bring your ranunculuses out into the light and warmth to continue growing. I am in southern Ontario and plan on transplanting my seedlings into the ground around mid-April. Still plan on covering your Ranunculus during frost. They are a cool weather plant, but don’t handle frost very well.

I’m excited for you to be starting these beautiful flowers in your garden and be sure to tag @thejaclynyvonne along the way!

Perfecting the Grocery List + Meal Planning

Prices of pretty much everything are going up. Everyday I’m either thinking about the price of gas, or the price of food. And the gas I’m going to spend to go get the food. To help with all this spending I have really been trying to stay on top of our food spending. With the increases at the grocery store I find it really easy to overspend, drastically.

Helping me to stay on budget is my grocery list, but no. This is not any ordinary grocery list. Where you sit down for ten minutes, write down what you need. Then head out to the store. Creating your grocery list, a list to help you save money takes time and energy. I’ll be open and honest. Expect to spend minimum thirty minutes or more.

With all the things we have going on in life, I know many are not going to want to put the time and effort in. But honestly, doing so will save you in the long run. And over time, you will decrease that time frame by doing these steps.

Create Categories Based Off Your Store

When you enter the grocery store, what is the food section you shop in first? Then second? And so on.

For me it’s: fruits/ veg, bread, deli, meats, healthy aisle, dairy and eggs, frozen, baby food, dry foods.

While reading your list at the store, it will help you not forget anything. And prevent you from having to go back to a section you’ve already been.

So grab a piece of paper, and make your headings in order of the section you start at, to the section you finish at.

Know Your Staples

Sit down and write out the foods you and your family eat every week. Does one child like a certain type of granola bar? Someone always eat oranges? Don’t forget chicken nuggets. Make a list of what you know you need to buy!

And write down when you run out of something during the week. Did you shop on Monday, but were out of deli meats on Thursday, maybe you need to add more down to your list.

Check Your Stock Pile

These are items you might not use regularly. Canned foods, flour, sugar, oats, spices or mixes. But are important to have stocked to save you a random trip to the store one day. Where you go in for flour, but come out with $100 worth of groceries (been there!). So get up and take a look!

Check The Flyer

This is probably the most important step when creating a grocery list on a budget. You can download the @getflipp app which gives you access to hundreds of flyers right on your phone.

Look up the store you will be shopping at and browse. See something on sale that is on your list? Jot down the price beside the item on your list. Once all done, checkout your savings. Do you think you’re really going to save? Ask yourself if you should stock up more because of your savings?

You can go a step beyond and check out other store flyers. Do you see peanut butter on sale somewhere else, but not at your store? Tap and save, and do some price matching while at check out.

Check Your Freezer & Fridge

Fridge foods spoil faster, maybe you don’t need to buy hummus. Or you’re more stocked up than you think in the freezer. Take the opportunity to check. This is also a great opportunity to throw out foods that have gone bad. Give the fridge a mini clean out before you fill it back up with more food.

Let’s Check-In

Ok we have done a lot so far! So let’s just take a minute to see what we have done.

  1. We set up our list and created our categories in order from where we start shopping IN the store to where we finish.
  2. We wrote down our staples, our must-have purchases.
  3. We checked out stock piles to see if there is something we need more of.
  4. We looked through the flyer, highlighted items on sale and did some rough math on the potential savings.
  5. We checked the freezer & fridge to see if there were any meals that needed to be eaten.

Now is the time to finish our list by doing some meal planning. Now, when writing this meal plan. It’s not the be all end all. You might get to the store and realize they don’t have chicken breast. So maybe write down some extra meals, or write down some substitutions. You have a meal written down with chicken, can you substitute it with something else?

Meal Plan Tips

  • Let the family get involved – have the kids pick a meal, ask your partner if there is something they would like to eat. One less meal for you to think of.
  • ONE vegetarian meal (or more) – vegetarian meals are easy and can be a lot cheaper than a meal with meat. A can of chickpeas can feed a family of four and only cost around $2.
  • Check the fridge & freezer AGAIN – is there some leftovers to eat, or something in the freezer that should be eaten soon? Make a meal out of those.
  • Meal plan at your comfort level – do you like a strict list or more broad? If you pick hamburgers but want to leave what sides you’ll eat to the day of making it. Or, you want to write down exactly what you will be eating, go for it.
  • Check the flyer AGAIN – maybe something is on sale you don’t always buy, but can make a meal from it.

Finish the list

Ok, you’ve got your meal plan done! You know what you plan on eating for the week. Time to finish writing down on your grocery list what you need to eat all those delicious meals. And then you are ready to…. Grocery shop!

But wait….they didn’t have something at the store that you needed. So either:

  • Substitute for something else
  • Completely cross it off your list
  • Or create something new last minute (you planned fajitas but now you’re doing tacos)

Finesse The Meal Plan

You’ve gone grocery shopping, now you’re home. You’ve got everything put away. Go back to your written meal plan, and update it. Like up above, you were going to do fajitas one night, but changed it to tacos. Write that change down!


And that is it! This is my way of creating the perfect grocery list while also completing my meal plan.

Is it a process yes? Is it worth it and a great way to save money, eat homemade meals consistently, stay on top of healthy eating, and not waste any food? YES!

Don’t forget to tag @thejaclynyvonne on social media!

Dairy + Gluten Free Funfetti Cake

From January till the end of March, we celebrate all five of our birthdays. I know, it’s absolute chaos from pretty much having one big party after another. Really, the party never stops! But my love for baking really enjoys this time of year. I adore making my children’s birthday cake. To see their eyes light up when it’s all done, and their huge smiles when it’s lit up with candles. Such memories I know I will cherish my entire lifetime.

We just celebrated my middle child’s fourth birthday, and for her cake. She picked a vanilla funfetti cake! She loves sprinkles. And I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to test out a recipe so the whole family could enjoy the cake.

My son, who is currently breastfeeding is allergic to dairy, and I don’t handle gluten all that well. So I created a recipe that has no dairy and no gluten. The recipe steps are similar to making a cupcake. The creaming of sugar, and slowly adding the gluten free flour will help give your cakes a good rise.

I like to use vegan butter in this recipe, EarthBalance is my preferred choice. It tastes very, very similar to butter. Becel does have a great line of plant based butters. Both can be found in standard grocery stores.

You’ll see while reading the recipe “non-dairy milk”. It’s your choice what you would like to use: almond, oat, coconut or cashew. Be sure to use a non-sweetened non-dairy milk, or your cake will be one sweet treat.

For the flour, I recommend using a 1:1 gluten free baking flour. This has Xanthan gum in it which will help your cake texture turn out similar to all-purpose flour. Bob’s Red Mill is my preferred choice, which can also be found in standard grocery stores or online.

The best part of this cake is the sprinkles! the bright spots of colour as you cut into the cake. To help the sprinkles from not leaking as you mix them into the batter, and to stop the sprinkles from sinking to the bottom as the cake bakes. You need to take a tablespoon of flour, and coat the sprinkles in a smaller bowl. The outer flour barrier will help keep your sprinkles intact and in place.

My number one tip with this recipe is to cream the vegan butter straight from the fridge. The motion and heat produced from the mixer will be enough for this recipe. Vegan butter melts at a lower temperature than traditional butter, and letting it soften too much will make your batter dense.

And of course no cake is complete without icing, and yes this icing recipe is dairy-free also. And delicious might I add. No one would know that it is dairy-free.

Now let’s get baking!

Dairy + Gluten Free Funfetti Cake

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/3 cups of 1:1 gluten free flour + 1 tbsp
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup vegan butter, cold.
  • 1 cup of white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup of non-dairy of choice
  • 1/3 cup sprinkles of choice

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees and grease two 8″ inch pans.
  2. In a small bowl, coat the sprinkles with 1 tbsp of gluten free flour.
  3. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt.
  4. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream the vegan butter until creamy and fluffy. Roughly 5 minutes.
  5. Add sugar in slowly till thoroughly combined.
  6. Mix in one egg at a time, making sure the egg is mixed in before adding the next egg.
  7. On low speed, add half the flour mixture. Beating until just blended.
  8. Add all of the non-dairy milk and vanilla extract, beat till just blended.
  9. Add the rest of the flour mixture, beat till just combined.
  10. Add in the sprinkles, gently fold 5 times with a spatula. Do not over mix or the sprinkles colour will start to leak in the batter.
  11. Pour the batter evenly into the baking pans, bake for 20-25 minutes till golden brown and toothpick comes clean.
  12. Allow time to cool before icing the cake.

Dairy-Free Vanilla Icing

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup vegan butter
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 3-4 tbsp non-dairy of choice

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, cream vegan butter for 3 minutes with an electric mixer.
  2. Gradually add one cup of powdered sugar at a time.
  3. Beat in vanilla, and one tbsp of non-dairy milk.
  4. Continue to beat, and gradually keep adding a tbsp of non-dairy milk till desired consistency is reached.

I really hope you enjoy this delicious cake and be sure to tag me @thejaclynyvonne in your creations on social media!

Transitioning to a Montessori Bed

Our third child has been nothing but different in the sleep department, compared to my two oldest children. I don’t want to say difficult, because what sleep pattern is normal? But it’s safe for me to say that he loves his Mama, and co-sleeping is his preferred sleeping arrangement.

Since our son was five months old we have been working relentlessly to get him sleeping in a crib. We have tried many sleeping methods, many tactics, I joined countless Facebook groups, stalked multiple sleep consultants on Instagram, I even paid a sleep consultant to help us. By the end at ten months old, I was laying in the crib with my son. Like a wannabe ninja, I would climb in and out. In hopes that one day it would just magically work.

Finally one day, we said ENOUGH! We took apart the crib and got it out of the house. We just knew it was never going to happen. The “cry-it-out” method wouldn’t work because we discovered when my son was six months old, he vomits when he cries. And crawling in and out of a crib throughout the night is not the greatest on your body. We knew to get our son out of our bed, we were going to need to do a method we have never done before. A technique that would be gentle on both him and I.

I say me, because mentally all this “sleep training” was exhausting, pretty much draining. I felt like a failure. Most of it stemmed from going into sleep training my son naively. Thinking I was a professional after successfully sleep training my two oldest children. I quickly discovered I am no professional. And it took me a while to realize that every child is different, and it’s not that I was doing something wrong. We just hadn’t found the right technique that suited his personality and needs.

We knew right away that we were going to need to do a mattress on his bedroom floor. Cut him off from our room cold Turkey. But a large bed not only for his safety, but for our comfort during the night. I tortured myself by squeezing in and out of the crib for months, and it was horrible. I’ve learned that success not only comes from meeting your child’s needs, but yours also.

So we got a queen mattress and laid it out on his bedroom floor. Spent an afternoon baby proofing his room for safety, and hunted around the house for blankets and pillows to protect him. We are planning on building a Montessori bed frame with a railing. For now we are testing out this sleeping technique before we commit the time and money towards the new bed frame.

The plan is to just get him comfortable with his new room. It will most likely involve me being there to help him fall asleep, and me going in throughout the night if he wakes up. He still feeds once a night, usually around 1am.

From there, I plan on staying in the room but patting his back and not going in his bed. We want him to drop needing me to sleep, so we can move onto me hopefully not being in the room at all. In the near future I will be weaning him from breastfeeding. So having me out of the room, and hopefully not needing me to sleep with help with weaning our son off breastmilk.

But, we understand that this will take a while. It’s not going to be a one week success story. We are taking a couple, maybe even few months. There is no rush this time around. As a busy household of five, the extra stress from being on a timeline is not beneficial for anyone.

What I want you to take away from this post is that there is NOT one way to parent. Something that may have worked for one child, may not work for another. There are so many factors, and it’s not because you’re doing something wrong. Trust your gut, your heart and do what is best for everyone.

And try not to get caught up in what other parents are doing or saying. It’s easy for “Melissa” down the street to give you a ton of advice on what she did for her kids. Take it in, but don’t let it make you feel guilty.

Just know you are doing a great job!

I will keep you all posted on this transition, so stay tuned!