A Colouring Book For Children

I have written in the past about colouring books for adults, but I wanted to share with you this post that I have found about an innovative, new colouring book aimed at children.


Created by a Swedish Mom, this colouring book is loosely based on Disney’s Princesses.  But instead of conforming to the “normal” gender stereotypes where the female characters are beautiful and the male characters are strong and heroic, she decided to take a new approach.


These Princesses are all strong, “kick-ass” females.

The artwork is fun and modern, and the message is one of empowerment and gender equality.


This colouring book is not just for girls though.  The creator hopes that it will be enjoyed by girls, boys and even adults.

And the best bit is that it is free to download from her website!


Hand-Knitted Socks

When I saw my daughters the other week, I took them some socks that I had knitted them…



A was lucky, and she got not just a pair of socks, but also a pair of boot-toppers that I had made with some leftover yarn:


C was given a pair of REALLY bright neon-coloured socks:


J’s socks were more conservatively coloured….


And B had a pair of stripy “scrap-yarn” socks that took me ages to knit, and even longer to weave in all the ends!


And then this is a picture that I had taken of me and the girls…


I apologize for the quality of the pictures – they were taken using a cell-phone.

Music n Motion

C plays flute in the Calgary Roundup Band, and today they were performing at Music n Motion – an event produced by the Calgary Marching Show Band Association (CMSBA).

A fantastic picture of C playing her flute at the High River Little Britches Parade

A fantastic picture of C playing her flute at the High River Little Britches Parade



There were 7 bands in total, and it was a really good show.

The Roundup Band’s performance was called “Believe” and was based on the music from Peter Pan, and was excellent.  There is a good reason why they are considered one of the best junior high marching bands and have won many awards.  This was the first time that the band had performed it in public.

C playing her flute

C playing her flute

C said she really enjoyed herself.

After the performance

After the performance

And luckily, the rain held off until after it was over.

She survived

She survived


Happy New Year! And a packed lunch.

Happy New Year everyone!

I took a break from posting over the holiday period so that I could spend time with the family…  but we did have a fantastic time.  Lots of good (paleo) food, and lots of family time.

I will post photos later on once I have had a chance to sort them out.  And I will post about the food as well.

But for today, this is the first packed lunch of 2014 that I made for Hubby to take to work today (I don’t start back until tomorrow and the kids go back to school on Monday).


Clockwise from the top left-hand corner I packed:

  • Leftover Cranberry sauce in the little dipper with some date bites (essentially chopped up energy bars) below
  • 2 mini mandarin oranges and some red pepper sticks
  • Green leaf lettuce with leftover turkey thigh cut into bite-size pieces
  • leftover roasted roots (rutabaga and sweet potato) and brussels sprouts stirfried with bacon.

A  lot of this (the cranberry sauce, the turkey, the roasted roots and the brussels were leftover from the turkey dinner we ate yesterday.

This roast dinner used a GIANT 20lb organic turkey


that I bought on special from the grocery-store for just $10 a few days after Christmas (I stashed it in the freezer to keep it fresh)…  I LOVE some of the bargains you can get at this time of year!

There is loads and loads of leftovers from this bird that I will stash in the freezer to be used for packed lunches or other meals, and of course I will make bone broth from the carcass.

All in all, that is a VERY frugal purchase.

Elk Osso Bucco

First of all, I apologize for not posting for a while….  life got a little crazy round here in Salixisme-land…

Being a massage therapist, I have to do a certain amount of “continuing education” (ie training courses).  Over the last weekend, this was what I was doing.

I did a fire-cupping course on both Saturday and Sunday and now I can offer cupping-massages, or even just use the cupping as part of my normal massages (it is fantastic for trigger-point release). It was a fun weekend…  nothing like playing with fire!

In addition to this, it was our wedding anniversary.  So on Saturday evening, we visited Charcut in downtown Calgary (more on that in another post).  It was a wonderful meal and I ate far too much!  And C had her first ever parade with the Roundup band on Saturday as well.  She was performing at the Santa-claus parade in Fort Mcleod.


Yesterday I was at work, and considering all the snow that Calgary has been having over the last 2 days, it was a long day.  And on my way home, I experienced the scariest bus ride of my life!  There was so much snow and the roads had not been cleared and there were buses sliding all over the place, loads of accidents and buses getting stuck everywhere…  And the traffic was really slow due to the road-conditions, so my normal 45 minute commute took over 2 hours.  NOT FUN!  By the time I finally got home, I was bitterly cold and I was not in the mood to write a post at all.  All  wanted to do was to collapse in a hot bath with a glass of wine!

Anyhow, back to the recipe:

I love elk meat, and being a lean, wild meat, it is perfectly Paleo.  We don’t eat a lot of it, but when we get the chance to go to the Calgary Farmers Market, we always make sure to visit the Wapiti Ways stand and buy some elk (usually stew meat, liver and hearts).  The last time we were there, he pointed out some sliced elk shanks, and mentioned that they would be perfect for long, slow cooking (most elk is so lean that it needs to be cooked quickly or it becomes tough and inedible).

As soon as I saw the elk shanks, I was thinking “Osso Bucco”…  and that is what I made with this wonderful meat.

This recipe contains tomatoes which are an AIP stage 4 reintroduction.  When reintroducing foods on the AIP, I recommend this guide.

Elk Osso Bucco

serves 6


  • 6 thick slices of elk shank (mine were around 1″ thick), bone in
  • coconut oil to sautee
  • 4 rashers of bacon – chopped (we use pastured bacon that we get from Spraggs Meat Shop)
  • 2 onions – peeled and chopped
  • 4 carrots – peeled and chopped
  • 4 sticks of celery – chopped
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 6 cloves of garlic – crushed
  • 4 tomatoes – diced
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 bottle of dry red wine
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro – diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley – diced
  • olive oil

First of all you need to sear the elk in a hot pan with a little coconut oil added.  Cook for 1 minute per side until golden brown.  Remove the elk and place it to one side.

Add the chopped bacon to the pan and cook over a medium heat until the fat runs and the bacon is starting to crip.  Add the onion and 2 cloves of garlic and cook over a gentle heat until the onion is translucent.  Add in the carrots and celery, and then add the thyme, bay leaf, lemon juice and pour in the entire bottle of red wine.  Add the tomatoes and simmer gently until the vegetables are tender and the wine is reduced by at least half.  Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Nestle the elk shanks on top of the veggies and cook, covered, over a low heat for 1½ – 2 hours until the elk is tender but not falling apart.  Turn or baste the elk every  ½ hour.

While the elk is cooking, place the cilantro, parsley and 4 cloves of garlic in a food processor along with the lemon zest and a glug of olive oil.  Pulse until coarsely chopped to make a gremolata.

Serve the elk with mashed vegetables (I used mashed rutabaga) and greens and spoon over the gravy and some of the veggies.


Sprinkle the gremolata over and serve at once.


Just look at that wonderful bone marrow in there!


When I scooped it out and ate it, it was rich, creamy and delicious!  And the elk shanks themselves were perfectly cooked and very tasty.

Dreams Take Flight

B has been offered a once in a lifetime trip to Disneyland with an awesome charity called Dreams Take Flight.

Today started early (at 3am) as we had to have her at the airport for 4:30am…

We got her up and gave her a good breakfast as they would not be eating on the plane until around 8am…  I chose to give her some of the Taco Bake I posted about the other day…

And then we put her in the car and drove over to the airport at around 4am.

As it happened, we were a little early, so had to wait outside the lounge where the various groups were to meet up while they got everything organized.


Hubby took a couple of photographs of B while we were waiting:


Eventually, we were let into the lounge, where we found the meeting place for B’s group “Minnie Mouse” where she was given a Stampeders Tshirt to wear.


B was so excited that she could not keep still and spent most of her time bouncing.  Her group leader said that she should have been in Tigger group!  But I think the name of her group suits B perfectly – she is small and squeaky!  And she was certainly squeaking with excitement this morning!

There was a bit of waiting around while the other 4 members of her group arrived, and while she was waiting, she got to meet the air-crew who were going to be flying the plane:


The Stampede Princesses:




And the Calgary Flames mascot:


She was also interviewed for the local news (Global TV)

I will be watching the news tonight for sure!


And eventually, they were ready, and at around 5am her group headed off to security on their way to board the plane…

She was so confident and I am really proud of her!

We pick her up at midnight tonight, after a full day of going on rides.  She is going to be exhausted, but she will have so much fun!

I can’t wait to see all the pictures…


This is a picture that appeared in yesterday’s Calgary Herald, showing B’s group as they emerged from the plane.  B is the one with her face half cut off sadly:


And these pictures were taken as they arrived back home to Calgary at just gone midnight:




On her Daddy’s shoulders as we were leaving the airport to come home.


Paleo Chilli (in the slow cooker)

We have a busy night tonight…

Not only do I have to go to a band camp meeting at C’s school, C also has jazz band practice after school and then Roundup band practice after that (it coincides with the band-camp meeting), so I am going to the band-camp meet, and Hubby is taking C to the Roundup band practice, dropping her off and then coming over to join me at the meeting.  Then we will pick her up after.   Poor C is going to be exhausted!


So I expect to be back late…  very late.  We seem to be on a run of late nights this week as there is just so much that needs to be sorted out right now.

Because C, Hubby and I won’t be back home to eat until at least 9:30, a slow-cooker meal seems ideal, especially if it is one that everyone can dip into as and when they want to eat.

So I made a paleo version of chilli in the slow-cooker.   The plan is to serve this with cauli “rice” that is already cooked and in the fridge, but it would be just as good by itself.  I am planning that those who do want the cauli “rice” can just nuke it in the microwave.

This is an AIP Stage 4 reintroduction recipe because it contains both tomatoes and chilli.  When reintroducing foods on the AIP, I recommend this guide.

Paleo Chilli (in the slow cooker)

serves 6-8


2lb ground beef

1 onion – chopped

1 stick of celery – diced

2 carrots – diced

1 green pepper – diced

6oz mushrooms – sliced

2 cloves garlic – crushed

156ml/5.5 floz can of tomato puree

3 cups bone broth

1 cup of red wine (optional – replace it with more broth or water)

2 chipoltle chillies in adobo sauce

1 green jalapeno – seeded and chopped

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp oregano

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

This is simple to make – throw everything in the slow cooker, mix it up, put on the lid and turn it on.


Cook on low for as long as you need, at least 8 hours, but it can sit for a lot longer if needed.

I know a lot of slow-cooker chilli recipes say to brown the meat first, but I don’t bother.

Serve hot either by itself in bowls or with cauliflower “rice”


Now that the recipe is done, back to the Roundup Band….


C has just been accepted to join this, and we are very proud of her.  It is a Junior High marching band based in Calgary, and is one of the best junior high marching bands in Canada (and I suspect North America too).  Last year in 2012, they were a gold medal junior band at the World Association of Marching Show Bands competition in Calgary.  They play, not only in Calgary (they are featured at the Calgary Stampede and the Stampede parade amongst other things), but throughout Canada and even internationally.


This makes it the third band that C is a member of as she also plays with her Junior High Concert Band and Jazz Band.

So now you see why we are so proud of C!

BTW we got home at around 9:45 and C said she was mentally tired and her feet hurt but she felt fine….  and that it was good fun 🙂

She has a band-camp for roundup band at the weekend too which came as a bit of a shock for us…

My Daughter the Artist

A loves to paint….  and I think she is pretty good at it.

The other day, she wanted to give a birthday gift to one of her best friends, but the girl in question said that she did not want anyone to buy gifts for her…

So A decided to give her an original painting that she had done.

And this is what she came up with:


This is acrylic paint on canvas, and her friend absolutely LOVED it.


And a picture with the artist herself 🙂


Hiking Up Baldy Pass

Yesterday, I mentioned in a post that we had gone hiking…..We decided to go to Kananaskis Country, the place where we do most of our hiking.  A didn’t want to come with us this time, she stayed at home with the dog and cooked dinner (a ham from the pastured half pig that we picked up at the farmers market yesterday).

In the car park, waiting to go hiking

In the car park, waiting to go hiking

The hike that we decided to do this time was Baldy Pass, a fairly easy, 8km hike, with about 570m elevation gain,  that usually takes no more than 4 hours.


After leaving the car-park, which is on the east side of Highway 40, aprox 1km beyond the southern end of Barrier Lakes, you cross the road to find the trail head.

Baldy pass viewed from the car park

Baldy pass viewed from the car park

Initially, you are walking along a fairly good path through a wooded area.


There were quite a few flowers in this area despite the lateness of the season, although some of the leaves on the bushes were starting to change colour (the trees were mostly conifers):




Eventually, you come to a junction in the path, and you turn left, passing a signpost:


This path is not as good the first, it is rutted and has a surprising number of sinkholes – the result of the dramatic flooding that Southern Alberta suffered in July of this year…  Kananaskis was badly hit, and there are still some roads and campsites that are closed.


Eventually, this path gives way to what was a scree/dried up river bed – lots of gravel, lots of stones and rocks.  It is pretty hard going at this point – good footwear is needed (although Hubby and I were wearing our Vibram five fingers and they stood up to this terrain very well!)\


Here too were signs of the recent flooding.  The following picture shows what it looked like before the flooding:

Image from hikingwithbarry.com

Image from hikingwithbarry.com

And this is what it looked like after the flooding:


You can clearly see where the flood waters gouged out a new river bed, creating deep gulleys.



The following picture shows the remains of the path that has been destroyed by the floods:


Despite the damage, it is still passable.  My recommendation is that you stick to the left hand side as much as possible on the ascent in this section (and stick to the right hand side on the descent) as for most of the way there is a fairly usable path.  But despite this, this section is the worst part of the entire trip.

Eventually, you come to a small inuksuk that forms a marker where the trail leaves this section and heads back into the woods.


Hubby stopped at this point and took the following panoramic view looking back down the valley:


In this wooded area, the trail is very much steeper than the first section, with lots of tree roots and rocks in the path.  It became quite hard going at times.



This wooded area is much damper than the one down below and it is far more shady.  There were very few flowers and even a few mushrooms/toadstools growing by the path:



And eventually, you come to the top of the pass, where there is a small cairn:


The view from the top looking back the way we had come:


The gaps in the trees you can see in that photograph are the ski runs for the Nakiska ski resort.

This is the view looking the other way:


Hubby took a picture of me at the top – the problem with being the one behind the camera is that there are never any photographs of you!


But I did manage to get pics of Hubby and the girls:





Thee return trip was pretty much retracing your steps – it was much easier and faster going down however…

And by the time we got to the car, we were more than grateful for the homemade energy bars that I had brought along!

Back to School Packed Lunches 2

The other day, I made some suggestions about how you can make sending a packed lunch to school easier and less stressful.

Today I am going to make suggestions as to what you can actually put in that lunch box.

I am not going to suggest quantities to send, you know your child best, and know how much he or she will eat…  and besides, my 9 and 11 yr old eat far more than my 15 year old does.  And I am sure that a teen boy who is playing sports would eat more than all 4 of my girls combined!  And a tiny pre-schooler will eat not much more than a few bites of any one thing.  If the lunchbox comes back empty and your child is starving at the end of the day, you know to send in more.  If they left half their lunch, try sending in a bit less….

I suggested the other day that you cook extra the night before and send the leftovers for lunches.  In general, that will be a fairly balanced meal depending on what you have leftover.  Don’t forget, soups and chilli and many other dishes can be reheated and sent in an insulted food jar.  Others could be sent in a microwave safe container if your child has access to a microwave.  And some are just as good cold as hot.  If you would eat it cold out of the fridge, why not try sending it to school as a lunch?

Sandwich Substitutes

Just because you and your children don’t eat bread doesn’t mean that sandwiches and wraps are off the menu.

Try some of these suggestions:

  • Use hollowed out cucumber or celery sticks as the “bread” and fill with sliced meat and salad veggies as in this great recipe.
  • Apple slices make a great bread substitute when using nut butter.  Make sure you dip the apple in a mix of lemon juice and water to prevent them from browning.
  • Red Bell Peppers can also be used in place of a “bun” as in this recipe.
  • Portabello mushrooms have been used as the bun for burgers many times.  Why not use them in place of bread in a lunchbox sandwich?
  • Or you could simply make a paleo bread and use that for sandwiches occasionally.  There are many paleo bread recipes out there.  Some low carb others quite high in carbs but gluten free.  Given that most kids need extra carbs, I favour this recipe.  You do have to pay for it, but I figure that $3.95 is pretty cheap for such a versatile recipe!

Another alternative to sandwiches is to make a wrap.  You can buy paleo-friendly wraps, but why not consider some of these suggestions:

  • Use lettuce leaves to contain taco meat or other shredded meats such as pulled pork.  You could also fill them with egg salad or tuna salad made with homemade mayonnaise
  • Use deli meats as a wrap for veggies like in this recipe.  Another suggestion is to use thinly sliced roast beef, spread with a little mustard and horseradish and then rolled around veggies.  Avocado would be especially good!
  • Use the Magic Dough recipe I mentioned earlier to make tortillas to use as a wrap.
  • Make a thin omelette or crepe and use that to wrap veggies and meats.

But you don’t just have to send sandwiches or sandwich substitutes.  Consider going down the bento box formula and sending a protein ingredient with a couple of sides and maybe a treat or some fruit….

Aim for one protein, a couple of sides (veggies), some fruit and an occasional treat.  Make sure that there are plenty of good fats (eggs, avocado, coconut, nuts and nut butter, olives, olive oil, oily fish even cold cooked bacon) as it is the fat that will help keep them full until home-time.


Suggested protein ingredients that I have sent to school with my kids are:


  • Cold cooked meat – this could be leftovers from the night before or cooked especially for the lunchbox.  Cooked chicken is wonderful when cold – wings, legs especially so, but even leftover breast meat is good.  Paleo versions of chicken nuggets are also popular especially if you provide something to dip them in.  Leftover ribs are tasty, especially if you supply some of the BBQ sauce for dipping, as is cold sliced beef.  Use some sliced deli meat if you can find some that is nitrate and sugar free.  You could even cook a ham or roast some beef specially for lunches.  And don’t forget cold cooked sausage or bacon.  Cooked burgers or meatballs (with or without a sauce) are another suggestion  provide a dip if you think it would work.  Home-made kebabs are another alternative that are fun to eat.  And speaking of kebabs, these are a fun choice, alternating deli meats with veggies on a skewer.  Something most kids are sure to love!  If you include dairy in your child’s diet you could add cheese cubes as well!
  • Jerkey (make sure it does not contain any non-paleo ingredients) – preferably made from grass-fed beef.  And don’t forget about “wild meat” jerkey such as elk, bison, venison…
  • Fish – yes fish can be served cold.  You could send in a can of tuna or sardines with older kids, and for the younger ones make tuna salad with homemade mayo.  Even leftover Paleo Fish Sticks could work well cold with a tartar sauce made with homemade mayo or Paleo ketchup.
  • Nut butter and nuts will provide some protein and healthy fats if your school is not nut-free.  Otherwise, just send in a small amount of nuts.  Remember that nuts, with the exception of macadamia nuts, are very high in omega 6 fatty acids, and should be more of a condiment…  if you cannot obtain macadamia nuts, consider walnuts – they have a better omega 6 : omega 3 profile than most other nuts.   Spread nut butters on a paleo friendly cracker and top it with another one to make a paleo version of PB sandwich…  or try these apple-sandwiches with nut butter between 2 apple rings.    You can also use nut butter as a dip for veggies such as carrot sticks and apple slices.  Try spreading various nut butters in celery sticks and top with raisins or dried cranberries for ants on a log.  And if your school is nut-free, consider using Sun-butter as an alternative.
image courtesy of www.makeandtakes.com

image courtesy of http://www.makeandtakes.com

  • Dairy – if your child tolerates dairy well, this could be a good source of protein in their lunch.  Consider sending in cheese cubes or sticks.  Cheese on a skewer with fruit is wonderful – that sweet and savory thing…  just make sure that it is not highly processed cheese.  And for preference go for organic, and pastured dairy…  if you live in an area where you can purchase raw cheeses (not possible in much of Canada), do that…  it is surprising what kids will eat.  Mine LOVE stinky cheese and those with big flavours, feta, brie Camembert, Gorgonzola…  don’t assume you have to buy cheap flavourless processed cheese to appeal to a child’s palate.  And like everything else, read labels…  Cream cheese can be spread on celery sticks and topped with dried fruit to make a nut-free version of ants on a log.


Aim to send in at least 2 side dishes.  These could include the following:

  • Cold cooked veggies, leftover from the night before.  Sweet potato wedges/fries are especially good, but don’t forget about other roasted veggies (beets, carrots even parsnips).  Cold broccoli and cauliflower tastes good, especially with a dipping sauce.  Even cooked asparagus would work.
  • Raw veggies with a dip.  Choose from carrot sticks, baby cucumber, cherry tomatoes, celery, bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, radishes and anything else that you think your child would eat.
  • Salads are also a good side, and pair especially well with chicken, eggs and sliced meats.  Send the dressing in separately in a small pot or jar so that the leafy salad veg does not go limp.
  • A fermented side such as lacto-fermented pickles, sauerkraut or kimchi tastes good and provides some healthy gut-friendly bacteria.
  • Stuff tuna or egg salad into a de-seeded bell pepper or a hollowed out tomato.


Kids love dipping food into dips.  And it has been shown in a recent piece of research that this is a good way to get children to eat more veggies…

Suggested dips include:


Fresh fruit is a great addition to the lunch box.  Pretty much any fruit that your child likes can be included whole or sliced.  If slicing apples, remember to dip them in a mixture of lemon juice and water to prevent them from browning.

Sweet Treats

Kids almost always love these, but they are not usually all that great, so include them only occasionally.

Consider sending:

  • Dried fruits – dried apples, dried mango, dates (stoneless are best), raisins, cranberries, apricots.  Check to ensure that the fruits have not been dipped in sugar – a surprisingly large amount are, which is crazy seeing how sweet dried fruit is anyway!
  • Chips – try kale chips, plantain chips, sweet potato chips, or any other home-made veggie chip that you can think of.  They are easy to make, slice the veggies as thinly as you can (for kale chips, rip into small pieces) and bake the veggies in a low oven until they are crisp…  add seasonings as you feel necessary.  Kale chips will take only a short while (less than half an hour), sweet potato or plantain chips may take upward of 2 hours depending on how thick they are.  Watch them carefully so that they do not burn.
  • A small square of dark chocolate or a few chocolate coated raisins or almonds.  Aim for 85% cocoa solids or better in the chocolate.
  • Berries and coconut cream
  • coconut yoghurt
  • plain greek yoghurt with some fruits (this is primal, not paleo)
  • Homemade fruit/energy bars
  • grain-free granola
  • grain-free muffins, cookies or cakes
  • pudding such as my chia puddings. You can flavour these with any fruits you like.


The best thing you can send for lunch is plain water.  If your child won’t drink that, try flavouring it with lemon juice or even making a flavoured fruit water.  Another suggestion is to send cold milk in a thermos – use cows milk if your child tolerates that, but also consider almond milk as an alternative.  Older children might like unsweetened iced tea or herbal teas (hot or cold), and if they have access to hot water you could even send an unbreakable mug such as a travel mug and a couple of tea bags.