What’s for dinner? Chicken Alfredo Pasta Bake

It was another rainy day in the city today…

Something hearty and easy was in order for dinner tonight. Our daughter had some homework to get done afterschool, and I wanted to help her with it, so being in the kitchen a lot wasn’t gonna fly. I needed something that could cook unattended for awhile, so here’s what I made:

Chicken Alfredo Pasta Bake

Chicken Alfredo Pasta Bake

adapted from gimmesomeoven.com

Ingredients:

Chicken Alfredo Pasta Bake Ingredients

350g short pasta

2 cups shredded, cooked chicken (about 2 small chicken breasts)

1 batch alfredo sauce (see below)

1-1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (I didn’t have enough, so I added in some cheddar)

1 cup frozen peas

Handful of spinach (chopped)

Alfredo Sauce Ingredients:

1 Tbsp. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp. flour
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup low-fat milk (I used 1%)
3/4 cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Cook the pasta al dente in a large stockpot of well-salted boiling according to package instructions. Drain. Return pasta to the stockpot and add chicken, alfredo sauce, peas and spinach. Gently toss to combine until the pasta is evenly coated.

Pour half of the pasta into a greased 11×7-inch or 9×13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with 1 cup of cheese. Layer the remaining half of the pasta evenly on top. Sprinkle evenly with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until the cheese is melted and just barely starts to turn golden. Remove and serve immediately, sprinkled with additional toppings if desired.

To make the Alfredo Sauce:

Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and saute one minute, stirring occasionally, until fragrant. Sprinkle with flour, and stir to combine. Saute for an additional minute to cook the flour, stirring occasionally.

Slowly add chicken broth, whisking to combine until smooth. Whisk in milk, and bring the mixture to a simmer. Let cook for an additional minute until thickened, then stir in Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper until the cheese melted. Remove from heat and set aside.

So this turned out to be awesome! No fighting with the kids to eat their dinner AND, Little Dude had 3, 3! helpings!!!

{{Giveaway + Promo Code}} Healthy Family Expo, Saturday March 6th, 2016

Healthy Family Expo 2016 Is Bigger & Better Than Ever!

I’m so excited for the Healthy Family Expo this year!

It will be my first year attending and I’m looking forward to seeing all the amazing vendors, as well as the activities and entertainment planned for the kiddos!

Healthy Family Expo

The 3rd annual Healthy Family Expo returns to the Vancouver Convention Centre on Sunday March 6th from 10am – 5pm. It’s a fun-filled day for Lower Mainland families with kids aged 0-12 offering small steps & simple solutions to healthy, active, eco-friendly living, including:

  • 100+ Exhibitors, Shopping & Food Sampling
  • Biggest Active Kid Zone in the Lower Mainland, with climbing wall, giant hamster ball track, fire truck bouncer, run bike & sportball areas, animal safari, DANCEPL3Y classes & more!
  • Bobs & LoLo concerts at 11 am and 12:30 pm
  • Jessie Farrell concert at 3 pm presented by Bolthouse Farms
  • $15,000 Grand Prize Showcase, including a 1-year lease on a Toyota Prius c
  • On-site hybrid vehicle test-driving with Toyota Canada
  • Seventh Generation Baby Feeding & Changing Lounge & Active Baby Stroller Parking
  • First 200 attendees receive child day ticket to the Sea to Sky Gondola
  • Advance tickets are entered to win a $200 shopping spree at the Expo!
  • $1 from each ticket sale supports the Canucks Autism Network.

RSVP that you’re GOING in the Expo Facebook Event to win thousands in prizing before the big day! Tickets: $12 in advance (www.healthyfamilyexpo.com/tickets or at Whole Foods Market or London Drugs) $15 cash at the door, kids under 12 are FREE!

Healthy Family Expo

To kick off pre-Expo celebrations, Healthy Family Expo partners have teamed up to give one lucky Lower Mainland winner a healthy family prize package valued at over $1000, including:

Enter through Rafflecopter below! Open to Vancouver Lower Mainland and Sea to Sky Corridor residents. Winner will be announced at the Healthy Family Expo Facebook Party on March 3rd , 2016, and must collect prizes at the Expo at the Vancouver Convention Centre on March 6 th , 2016.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Just for you, my loyal readers, I have a special PROMO CODE to share with you! You can get 2 for 1 tickets by using PROMO CODE “RCP241”! Click on the image below and enter the code upon checkout!

HFE Promo Code

Keeping active during the Winter and absorbing Nature’s beauty at the same time! #HealthyFamilyExpo

Recently, I was invited to take part in a night time snowshoe adventure, alongside of a group of fabulous bloggers, up at Cypress Mountain.

Photo credit: Angela Baxter Santoro

Photo credit: Angela Baxter Santoro

The lovely ladies that were a part of this tour, were the blog ambassadors for the Healthy Family Expo, happening Saturday, March 6th at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Mark that in your calendars!

Healthy Family Expo

I hadn’t been snowshoeing in about twenty years, so I was pretty excited to get out again. The snowshoes that I had originally used back in the day, were glorified milk crates (seriously), so putting on a pair of the more modern aluminum-style ones was quite the treat!

I had woken up that morning with a fantastic bought of the flu that my generous kids had passed onto me, but I wasn’t about to let that ruin the evening that I was so looking forward to. I pulled on my big girl panties, along with some thermal under gear, and headed up the mountain.

Trudging up the hill

Cypress Mountain itself, is such a beautiful location! Snow everywhere, and the evening sky was so clear, that we could see the stars. Being that clear also brings along cooler temperatures, so as our adventure progressed, the snow began to sparkle from the new ice crystals forming.

We were led on our tour by the fabulous and oh-so knowledgable, Kelvin. He was so informative about the wilderness around us that you’d think he was born and raised on the mountain! We couldn’t have asked for a better tour guide, as his amazing personality shone through with his huge smile.

Getting the low down

Cypress Mountain provided us with the snowshoes, snow booties (to protect your boots), headlamps (because we were trudging around in the dark), and two spectacular guides to lead us on our trek. We split into two groups on occasion. One went along the easier path, and the other veered off into the more adventurous route where we climbed hills and tested our cardio endurance. Guess which group I went with? I wasn’t gonna let my flu spoil my fun and allowing me to play like a kid again!

Photo credit: The Write Balance

Photo credit: The Write Balance

At the conclusion of our adventure, we were treated to some hot chocolate and cookies. Normally this tour includes a Cheese & Chocolate Fondue, but with the early snowfall this year, the construction of Hollyburn Lodge (where the fondue takes place) wasn’t completed in time. But regardless, it was still pretty awesome!

I highly recommend grabbing a group of friends, or just hubby, for an evening out or an afternoon activity to stay active and enjoy a Winter Wonderland up at Cypress Mountain before Spring arrives!

Cypress Mountain

 

Help raise awareness about Autism Spectrum Disorder! #PacificAutism

Are you familiar with Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Autism Awareness

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex neurobiological condition that can affect the normal function of the gastrointestinal, immune, hepatic, endocrine and nervous systems. It impacts normal brain development leaving most individuals with communication problems, difficulty with typical social interactions and a tendency to repeat specific patterns of behaviour. There is also a markedly restricted repertoire of activity and interests.

The term “spectrum” refers to a continuum of severity or developmental impairment. Children and adults with ASDs usually have particular characteristics in common, but the conditions cover a wide spectrum, with individual differences in:

Number and particular kinds of symptoms
Severity: mild to severe
Age of onset
Levels of functioning
Challenges with social interactions

According to the latest estimates (March 2014) from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 1 in 68 8-year old children in the United States has been identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This represents a 30% increase in the prevalence rate previously reported by the CDC.

Individuals on the autism spectrum tend to have varying degrees and combinations of symptoms and therefore treatment must be specific to the individual. It is also important to keep in mind that individuals with autism vary widely in their needs, skills and abilities.

There is no standard “type” or “typical” person with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Knowing the early signs that lead to early diagnosis can lead to optimal outcomes.

Autism is treatable.

Puzzled Jewelry

London Drugs, Puzzled Jewelry and the Pacific Autism Family Centre have teamed up to raise awareness about Autism Spectrum Disorder. Between January 8th and February 19th, 2016, a 925 sterling silver puzzle piece necklace will be available to purchase at all BC and Alberta London Drugs locations to support the new Autism Centre of Excellence.

At a cost of $25.00 plus tax, the proceeds of the necklace will go towards the new Autism Centre. Slated to open in the Summer of 2016, the Pacific Autism Family Centre (PAFC) core purpose is to become a knowledge centre while addressing the support and services required. The centre will be the hub for research, and collaboration, providing individuals and their families with resources for their lifespan.

Puzzled Jewelry is a brand with a cause, created by Patricia James, Keri Kennett, and Debbie Sui, three mothers joined together by an autism diagnosis that affects each of their little boys. Each year, Puzzled Jewelry will design a unique puzzle piece item to build awareness if Autism. Proceeds will go to PAFC.

Pacific Autism Family Centre

London Drugs

What’s for dinner? Garlic Dijon Baked Salmon

We all know that salmon is good for you!

Even our kids love the taste of salmon! Our daughter can’t get enough salmon sashimi on Sushi Night, but that’s an occasional treat.

Here’s what I made:

Garlic Dijon Baked Salmon

Garlic Dijon Baked Salmon

Ingredients:

1.5 lbs salmon fillets (I used wild coho)
2 Tbsp parsley, freshly chopped
2 large or 3 small garlic cloves, pressed
1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1/8 cup light olive oil
2 Tbsp of fresh lemon juice
Lemon slices

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 450° F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.

In a small bowl, mix together: 2 Tbsp chopped parsley, 2-3 pressed cloves garlic, ½ Tbsp Dijon mustard, ½ tsp salt, ⅛ tsp of pepper, ⅛ cup of olive oil and 2 Tbsp of lemon juice.

Slice salmon into even portions. Lay them onto a lined baking dish with the skin-side-down.

Generously brush all sides of salmon with sauce and top with fresh slices of lemon.

Bake at 450°F for 12-15 min or until just cooked through and flaky. Don’t over-cook or it will be dry.

Serve with rice and your favourite veggies.

Another winner here! The kids wanted seconds!

What’s for dinner? Thin Crust Pizza with Creamy Garlic Sauce

We love pizza!

Who doesn’t?! It’s kid-friendly and you can put whatever toppings you like on them.

We wanted to switch things up a bit, so I tried out a new recipe for the pizza sauce.

Here’s what I made:

  
Thin Crust Pizza with Creamy Garlic Sauce

Ingredients:

4 x tortilla wraps (your choice of flavour)

2-3 Tbsp Creamy Garlic Sauce*

Toppings of your choice. We flash fried a couple of chicken breasts with some light seasoning and diced them up. Chopped mushrooms, spinach, and of course, black olives (the kids favourite).

1 cup grated cheese (non-dairy is perfect too)

For the White Garlic Sauce:
2 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
1 1/4 cup milk
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded

  

For the White Garlic Sauce:
Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour until no lumps remain.
Gradually whisk in milk. Add salt, pepper, garlic and basil.
Mix in Parmesan cheese and stir until the cheese has melted.
Remove from heat. Sauce will thicken as it stands.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place the tortilla on a pizza pan or cookie sheet. Spread creamy garlic sauce over the entire surface of the tortilla. Add your toppings all over. Sprinkle with grated cheese. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Watch the edges of the tortilla so they don’t burn. Remove from oven and let cool for 2-3 minutes. Slice and sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and/ or Sriracha sauce if you’d like to kick it up a notch!

The kids gobbled up a half a pizza each! I’m definitely making this again!