Smartie’s Unintentionally Vegan + Paleo Yam Mash-Up

Hello there, my 3rd day posting in a row here!  Woohoo!
I feel like writing about something a little different for a change today.

I want to share with you something brilliant that nonchalantly happened right before dinner time. Smartie our six year old (his internet name ūüôā – inspired by one of the beautiful stories James Herriot, “Smudge the Lost Lamb” ), came up with this really amazing side dish out of the blue that is so completely on (health) trend and hipster that I must¬†share with you all.

It is super easy, lip-smackingly delicious and it is unintentionally vegan and paleo to boot!

So here it goes, my first ever recipe share on this blog. Hope you will find it as tasty as we all did. ¬†Note: I am guessing there may be variations on this recipe¬†for a next little while to come because…well, read on.


VeganYamMashUp VeganYamMashUp2



We were clearing out the basement and Smarty found in the “give away” box a kitchen tool that I felt was not all that useful. It is a food mill we got years ago when we were trying to figure out the baby food situation. Smarty was obsessively curious about it – a strong trait of his. He felt a need to understand how it is can be used.

So I found the closest thing to a potato – yams for him to try the mill with. I peeled, chopped them into large chunks and popped them into a pot with a steaming tray. Ten minutes later they were cooked, soft and ready for the food mill to do its job.

I had planned to put some butter and salt in and that was that.

As I walked away to give him some space to nerd out on this kitchen tool, Smartie requested that he wanted to add Hemp Hearts into the mash. Hmm, okay not at bad idea!

Five minutes into his mashing yam bliss, he went to the pantry himself and brought out some toasted Black Sesame Seeds and sprinkled it in. By this point, I knew to not say anything and/or interrupt the beautiful mash up that was happening.

He threw in a pinch of salt at the end and voila, we’ve got this absolutely amazing, universally child + baby friendly, vegan and paleo of a side dish added to our supper¬†this evening.

How can I not share this with you?!

This is my 3rd day of taking on this #YourTurnChallenge and so far I have yet to miss a day. ¬†I’ve decided to give myself the freedom to not stick to a specific plan, just some notes taken down in the beginning of the week to inspire myself to share everyday this week. So far so good!

I am grateful to come across this opportunity to work on a creative habit that I have been putting off, and had been reading some fantastic stories on the YourTurnChallenge website where I am posting also. (You can find my last two posts here and here or my blog).

I hope you will try out Smartie’s latest creation and let me know what you think! I’m thinking adding a splash of Bragg¬†instead of salt would be a nice touch too. ¬†The ingredients and directions below. Enjoy!

Until tomorrow.

Much warmth,


Total cooking time: 20 mins
Serves: 4 adults as a side dish



  1. Peel yams.
  2. Chop yams into toddler fist sized chunks.
  3. Place peeled yam chunks into a pot with a steam tray – I used this one.
  4. Steam for 15 mins.
  5. Mash them up with all the ingredients together.

Storytelling While Knitting


A sincere spring and Easter greeting from our home to yours.

Here is a photo of these Robin’s Eggs I’ve been knitting in the last few weeks. ¬†I call this my lunch time storytelling project. ¬†Since I would usually finish my portion of the meal sooner than my boys, I would pull out the small little size 2 double pointed needles and a leftover ball of sock yarn and would start knitting this simple little pattern.

As I knit, the boys would ask me questions that would¬†prompt¬†a story about spring, birds, eggs (in this case), my childhood, stories about their grandparents, their friends, and much more. ¬†These little eggs are so fast to finish, it is a nice way for them to see me start and finish a project before them. ¬†They would sometimes count how many I’ve made so far and would decide which one of their friends we should give these eggs to as little spring presents.

I find that these little mama craft projects are a great teaching tool for little ones.  It had always lead to great conversations and storytelling opportunities.

Here is the pattern that I have found from one of my favourite crafting resource The Purl Bee.

Enjoy the week!

Much warmth,

It’s Been a While

It’s been a while since I last posted. ¬†I have not abandoned this, if anything I cannot stop thinking about all the things I want to write here and it can be overwhelming.

I needed to take some time to re-access the direction I would like to take on with this blog. ¬†There is so much to share to the point I had started to feel disorganized. ¬†The voice in my head would remind me that I needed to continue to share what i’ve been learning because this parenting journey had been so enriching, educational, inspiring and rewarding that it would be selfish to keep to myself.

One of the biggest decision we’ve made recently was that we would like to try on the journey of homeschooling our boys. ¬†This endeavour had been most exhilarating and overwhelming to me since like most people, I grew up going through the traditional school system. ¬†Especially in the culture I grew up in (Chinese), the homeschooling concept does not exist – at least not in the last hundred years.

So here I am, again finding myself yet at another juncture where a decision is made for the development of our family culture that requires swimming up yet another stream with our current society.  Thankfully, when I started to dig around I discovered that there is a really sweet and supportive homeschooling group in our area and furthermore the support over the internet is astounding!  Many people have homeschooled and many more are starting to as well.  Knowing this, I am feeling quite safe and encouraged to give this all my efforts.

So diving into deep research and learning mode I went and here I am coming up for a little air to say hello and want to update on what type of things I will be sharing in the next little while.

Through my research on homeschooling, so far I’ve learned to deepen my rhythm at home as well as gained much new insight on how we all really learn as human beings, from both a scientific and emotional standpoint. ¬†In a way, I’m actually homeschooling myself on homeschooling and the journey had been fun and eye-opening.

For instance, I just finished a workshop in the past weekend on the introduction to Anthroposophic Medicine and learned all about how to help my family to “Thrive through Illness” with the incomporable and gifted¬†Trish Mcphee, and ER nurse practitioner from Grass Valley CA. ¬†My mind and soul are so content with all this new knowledge on how to really facilitate my little boys, husband and friends during times of illness that I am looking forward practicing what I’ve learn the next time they are sick as well as sharing these experiences here.

Also, I’m working on a little e-guide on helping expecting mothers weave through all the baby consumer material¬†minutiae¬†that comes towards you as soon as you find out that you are pregnant. ¬†I want to help these mothers-to-be to consider a simple and clutter-free first year into motherhood so they can focus on their connection with their new baby.

Until the next post, here is a wonderful essay on some of the things we should be aware of saying to our little ones:
10 Things to Stop Saying to Your Kids (and What to Say Instead)

I hope this winter had been good to you and your family so far and that you were able to find some time to do some reflecting and renewing after the business of the holiday season.  I am excited to connect and share more with you soon.

With warmth and love,

Our little Nasturtium seedlings that we planted on Imbolc/Candlemas (Groundhog Day).

Our little Nasturtium seedlings that we planted on Imbolc/Candlemas (Groundhog Day).

Speaking Less as More


Parenting with less words.

One of the main shift in paradigm for me after becoming a parent is to truly understand the importance of not talking too much to a young child.

I was under the impression that I will need to “teach” many things to my child and tell them all about their world and surroundings. ¬†It is such a common thing in our society when talking to very young persons is to ask about what is their favourite, ¬†ask them to name an object or colour and mostly sentences will start is the word “What”.

What is your favourite colour?

What is your favourite animal?

What would you like to eat?

What would you like? This? or That?

This is usually how we adults think to engage in a conversation with kids.

My husband and I don’t do that anymore. ¬†It was not an easy habit to break but after understanding how questions can actually stress and pressure a young child’s development, we simply cannot ¬†continue as “normal”. ¬†The normal in our household now is to listen and observe more. ¬†We comment and ask much less. ¬†Ever since we’ve become conscience of this, we have noticed a significant change in the overall energy in our environment. ¬†It is much more peaceful and the day goes by with more harmony.

Some days, I get commented on the gentle and calmness of ¬†our little boys’ dispositions. ¬†Our society’s expectation of the behaviour of boys is usually loud, physical and rambunctious to name a few. ¬†As if gentleness and calm are something so rarely “natural” in children (especially boys) and that we must have won the lottery (twice!). ¬† Most people are in awe at how observant and engaging they are.

Since I usually do not talk about parenting unless when asked, I just make a mental note to myself that I know I have found one of the secrets to parenting that will result in overall serenity:

In speaking less to your child, they will blossom (even more) before your eyes.

I’m sure I will be writing more on this topic…