10 Gift Ideas for the Hard-to-buy Person in your Life

Feeling overwhelmed by Christmas shopping? Don’t know what to get for this hard to buy person? Been there done that…

To tell you the truth, hubby tells me I’m the ‘’hard to please’’ one lol. Plus I’m trying to keep stuff to a minimum in my house (Ha, with 3 young kids, good luck with that!) so I usually end up not knowing where to put all this new stuff we just got!

So if you want more sustainability in your life, I have what you need to get some inspiration and check some people off your list:

1-      Offer Experiences over material things (I know it can be hard to put under the Christmas tree!) but theatre tickets, concerts, hockey game, museum… anything that fit the person’s interest

2-      Gift card can feel a bit less personal but it can be turned into a bonding/fun shopping trip with the gals

3-      For the gardener: House plants or seeds – Might as well choose one that’s really beneficial like Aloe Vera or one that purify the air (spider plant…)

4-      Dried Herbs to spice up meals when the fresh stuff is not available

5-      FOOD: everybody needs it so it can be the go to gift! Real whole foods are best or any prepared meal ready to be served is always a good idea. Enjoy friends and family’s company around the dinner table is always the best of gifts. I’ve had people buying whole chickens to give as Christmas gifts to their grown-up kids. Can’t go wrong with that, and if they don’t know how to cook it, well it’s never too late to learn!

6-      New Year’s resolutions are always a great time for shaping up. Gym cards/subscription, swimming pool card, starting yoga (include a yoga mat with that one!) or just planning on going for a walk once a week with that special person

7-      For the avid reader: books, magazine subscription

8-      A robotic sweeper for the person who doesn’t have time to clean their house (anything invented yet for picking up toys, books and other things left on the floor? I could use that one…)

9-      Home made gifts are always nice, especially made by the kids. If anything, it will get them to learn about giving and will be a great excuse to spend quality/creative time with them.

10-    Start a tradition. Tuck some pretty paper inside a glass jar. Tie on a tag instructing family members to write down one thing they loved about each day, then read them aloud every holiday season.

Let me know which one is your favorite! Wishing you and your family a Very Merry Christmas

Estelle

Estelle Levangie
How to Grill a WHOLE CHICKEN on the Barbecue

How is your summer going so far? We managed to squeeze in some beach time between weeding and feeding animals, so that's good! Summer will be over before you know it so we made a commitment to spend the hot days with the kids. It's just too hot for working anyway!

One thing I haven't feel like doing lately, is cooking... Especially on these really hot days, my appetite is just not there. So I have a solution to the ''Feeding the kids'' problem. I get hubby to cook a whole chicken on the barbecue! A big one with that, so there's lots of leftovers...

Here is a recipe for that delicious grilled chicken on the barbecue (Marinade is not necessary with our chickens because they taste delicious just on their own!):

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole Thyme for Ewe Farm chicken (3 1/2 to 4 pounds) spatchcocked
  • For the marinade:

             - 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

             - Juice of 2 lemons and zest of 1

             - 3 garlic cloves, finely grated

             - 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano

             - Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

             - 2 scallions, sliced

             - 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh dill

Directions:

Special equipment: Strong scissors or poultry shears

To spatchcock the chicken, use strong kitchen scissors or poultry shears and cut down either side of the spine. Pull out the spine, turn the chicken over and press down on the breast of the chicken to flatten it out to one thickness.

Marinade:(Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice and zest, garlic, oregano, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl. Put the chicken in a gallon-size resealable plastic bag in a rimmed dish. Pour in half of the marinade, reserving the rest for serving later. Seal the bag and rotate it around to evenly distribute the marinade. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard the marinade. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season generously all over with salt and pepper.)

Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Prepare a grill for medium indirect heat: turn all the burners to medium-high heat; after about 15 minutes turn off one of the middle burners and turn the remaining burners down to medium. Make sure to avoid flare ups by turning off the burner directly under the chicken.

Place the chicken skin-side up on the indirect side of the grill with the legs facing the hotter side. Cover and cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh (avoiding the bone) reads 150 to 160 degrees F (almost cooked through), about 50 minutes.

Move the chicken over to the direct-heat side of the grill. After 2 minutes, flip the chicken to char and crisp up the skin side, another 3 or 4 minutes. Check that the temperature in the thigh is now at least 165 degrees F. If it is not, then move the chicken back to the indirect side, cover and cook until the final temperature is reached. Remove from the grill; let rest 20 minutes before carving.

Stir the scallions and dill into the reserved marinade. Drizzle over the chicken or serve on the side.

Now that brought my appetite back! Hoping you spend lots of time with friends and family on this beautiful summer in Cape Breton.

Warmly,

Estelle

PS: Your only chance at getting FRESH grass-fed BEEF this summer is this Saturday July 21 at the Farmers Market! There will be lots of steaks for the barbecue as well, but they won't last long. So come on and stock up for the summer.

There will be half and quarters of beef available in the fall.

Estelle Levangie
6 Ways to get your kids to eat more Vegetables

Now that summer is here, the garden is starting to boom (along with the weeds...). I'm sure you've made lots of plans for this summer. We're just going to try to make it to the beach on hot days and maybe go camping once or twice. It's easy to have fun in the summer, as long as you make time for it! Having family from away come visit is always nice too. I just got back from France where all of my family still live. Elliot and I had a lot of fun!

 

Like most kids, mine don't want to eat their vegetables. They'll just fill up on carbs and meat. I keep trying to add more of them into their diet (which means less junk!) and hopefully their palate will start to change and they'll appreciate veggies more.

Here is a few tricks you can use to get them to eat more veggies:

1- Set an example: If they see you eat your veggies, they're more likely to try them. You are their role model after all!

2- Offer it to them when they're most hungry and give no other options. Just before lunch or supper, when they have to wait for the food to be ready, is the perfect time to get the veggies out!

3- Blend them with something they like: I'm thinking popsicles! Make a smoothie and add a few greens (not too much so they don't notice) and pour into popsicle molds. Stick in the freezer and Voila! My new favorite way to get some goodness into the kids. Strawberries and blueberries smoothies are so easy!

4- Get them involved: I'm not the best at it, since I like to be efficient when it comes to doing anything, but it works! Kids are more likely to eat something they helped prepare, or even better, helped grow. Starting a garden and getting your kids to help plant, water and pick is a great way for them to try theses beans and peas they've watched grow.

5- Enforce the ''One bite rule'': Research shows that children who have initially rejected a food must be exposed to it at least 8-10 times for the food to be accepted! That's a lot of rejection, but consistency pays off. Require the child to try at least one solid mouthful of a rejected food whenever it is served.

6- Make it fun: Use colorful veggies, and arrange food in patterns in their plate - a smily face is always a win in our house! Kids like their food arranged into separate piles. Also dips can be more fun for those raw carrots and broccoli.

Try to always have fresh fruits on hand, and have them in an easy to reach spot: Already peeled and cut apples, sticks of carrots. If it's available and within reach, it's half the battle!

Warmly,

Estelle

Look at these kiwi vines growing on my parents stone and brick house in North of France!

Look at these kiwi vines growing on my parents stone and brick house in North of France!

Estelle Levangie