Welcome to Our Happy Mess! I'm Ann and I live in Montreal, Quebec, Canada with my husband Phil and our two VERY active boys, Jack and Leo.
I love to cook and have fun in the kitchen. At Our Happy Mess, I aim to give you quick, family-friendly, easy recipes. In case you're interested, here's a little bit about me, and why I started this blog!
My Journey to Blogging
After my first baby, Jack, was born and my maternity leave ended, I went back to work full-time at my office job. It was then that I discovered that life as a working mom, in so many ways, didn't have much in common with my previous existence!
In my old life, cooking was a hobby I loved and spent a lot of time doing. When I got it in my head to make a particular thing, whether it was lasagna or cinnamon rolls, I would spend ages looking for the "perfect" recipe. I immediately dismissed any recipes that mentioned the words "easy", "quick", "simple" or anything else of the sort.
Because I didn't want the EASY recipe. I wanted the BEST recipe.
The recipe that would make my friends and family "oooh" and "aaah" and beg for the leftovers.
Fast-forward two years.
I was rushing from work to daycare to pick up a tired, cranky toddler who started screaming for cookies the second we walked into the house. Then, based on the loudness of this screaming, I would decide on one of two options.
1: Heating up some leftovers and giving him an early dinner before Phil got home, all while trying to prepare something my husband and I could eat in exhausted silence in front of the TV, after the toddler went to bed.
2: Dashing around (as much as one can dash with a toddler hanging on one's leg), trying to get something on the table in 30 minutes so we could have a family meal together.
If neither scenario sounds like the blissful family life of your dreams, that's because it isn't!
So let's just say my approach to cooking took a different (opposite!) turn at that point. Now when I see "easy recipe", I think "YES. Click!". And guess what I've discovered!
1: It's totally possible to get a delicious meal on the table in 30 minutes or even less!
2: Shortcuts are fine!
3: Perfection is both an illusion and totally subjective anyway, especially when it comes to food!
Since I knew I wasn't alone with these daily struggles, I decided to make it my goal to help you find fast, healthy, delicious, easy recipes that your family would love. Because cooking for your family IS love, right?
So that's how this lil ole blog was born! In the last 5 years it went from a hobby to an income that supplements my freelance work making recipe videos for clients!
I get to work with food all day and I absolutely love it. If you're interested in knowing more about how I got started in this career, check out this career Q & A I participated in.
Our Happy Mess
Quick and Easy Recipes
Very occasionally I may post a more time-consuming project, like this popular chocolate caramel cake (worth it!)
You'll also find the whole gamut in terms of food groups, including meat. However in recent years our family has cut down significantly on our meat consumption, for both health and environmental reasons.
Basically we've adopted what some call a flexitarian diet. We still eat meat weekly, but recipes like these Vegetarian Tex Mex stuffed peppers, baked tortellini with roasted vegetables, or the most amazing vegan stew will convince you that dinner can be delicious, satisfying and vegetarian all at once.
Lately we've become more acutely aware of our impact on the planet and have been trying to make some positive changes to reduce that impact. Eating less meat is one thing and you can check out my tips for eco-friendly grocery shopping for more ideas!
I'll admit it! The health factor of food was something I rarely took into consideration before I had kids. But now that I do, I find that I care a lot what goes into their little bodies, and ours too!
I love coming up with healthy snacks like these chocolatey Date Energy Balls that take 5 minutes to whip up and are LOVED by my kids. Or these Kale Apple Smoothies that always remind me of that favorite after-school combo of apple slices and peanut butter. Another favorite snack is these one bowl healthy raspberry muffins, that I've made endless variations of.
I also firmly believe that eating should be a joyful experience and that dinner isn't complete without something sweet to bring it all together.
Get in Touch!
I love to chat about food, life, and everything else, to share recipes, and hear about yours. I can't wait to hear from you!
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Note: All photos above were taken by the incredible Michelle Little. If you're in Montreal and in need of some professional photos, Michelle and her team are amazing!