Monday, November 29, 2010

Happy Monday all!!

       How was your weekend? Anyone do some Black Friday shopping? As you know I'm in Canada, so we don't get the crazy deals like my American friends. Yet, every store here on the weekend was having some sort of Black Friday rivalry sale. I did take part but only for some winter boots, nothing too picture worthy there.
Besides shopping, I got so much stuff done this weekend and it felt good to be so efficient.

Application in -check


Homework- a half a check

Clean bachelor suite- check

Garden clean-up - check

Drop off clothes/housewares to charity - check

Hubby fix oil leak in my car- big check:)

Spend some quality time laughing with friends because of this - check

Make two soups - check

Phew!! Lots going on and some big things checked off my to-do list. I like getting things done now so that I can move on and have fun later. Don't you agree? 

Moving on from my brag fest, what do you think about the new look? I think it looks a lot "cleaner" and brighter! I didn't change it sooner because I thought it was going to be a lot of work but it actually wasn't too bad. I had to google for a tutorial but all went smoothly so I'm happy:) Let me know what you think!

The other day at the grocery store I sort of went a little crazy in the tea aisle. I was set on trying
some new flavors as my tea stash was getting really low.
First up, Candy Cane Lane tea. I saw this crazy tea flavor featured on Katie's blog and thought I would give it a shot. Even though I was quite skeptical. Verdict? It's AWESOME!
 If you aren't in the Christmas spirit yet, one sip of this tea will transform you!

Mmm..ginger peach, chocolaty chai, and jasmine green tea!
 I like them all but the ginger peach has to be my fave.

    Good timing too as Thursday I woke up to this.....

A winter wonderland in my backyard!

Oddie's first experience with snow. It was pretty hilarious watching him play around and even roll in the snow

As I ended up working from home for half the day, it was the perfect time to make spaghetti sauce! I roughly based my sauce on Kathy's recipe and adjusted the spices to taste.
Why on earth is there romaine in my pasta bowl? Well I had a salad before I got to the pasta, and I had a few pieces of lettuce left in my bowl and decided to try it with the pasta and sauce on top. It actually was pretty good. Lots of different textures. You can say weird here if you like:) That slim piece of bread WAS a piece of garlic toast. Yum!! Just take a piece of friend bread, slather on some vegan spread, sprinkle on some garlic powder, and your favorite cheese. Broil for a couple minutes. Delish!
I like to always have some sort of salad with a meal. Here it is romaine, mushrooms, and collards in a balsamic dressing.

The hubby's version with goat cheese feta and sunflower seeds

That's all for today folks!!! Have a great rest of your Monday.I'll be back soon to share with you some great soups and whatever else I concoct in the Kitchie. Until then, Oddie says hi.....

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

a dash of this, a dash of that

Happy Wednesday!

        Happy Thanksgiving eve to all my American friends. All the delicious posts that are popping up around the sphere are making me drool! As we have already celebrated Thanksgiving in Canada, I'm looking forward to using some of those recipes at Christmas time.

So, are you guys loving my erratic blogging these days? Me neither. I'm up to my ears with paperwork and such for my school application and it requires my utmost attention so the blog is lower on the priority list right now. I've almost got everything together and thanks to a great friend (you know who you are!!!), I'm feeling confident with my entry. I've been on the phone everyday making sure all the paperwork is going to get to the school on time. Seriously, this has been such a thorn in my side. Who knew it would take so much effort to get your grades from university. Lesson learned.

Now that it's getting colder out, much colder, it's time to winterize the garden. I haven't done a lot but I need to get on it soon before it really gets to be winter around here. They are calling for one of the worst winters in 55 years in my neck of the woods!! Considering we have already had snow, they may be right! I harvested some broad beans and dried out the seeds so I can plant them next season. 

 Beautiful color!

 Even the cat's were intrigued. Nemo from afar..

 Oddie from up close:)

Do you harvest seeds for next years crop? 
I harvested these beans,cilantro seeds, and some butternut squash seeds.

Are you excited for citrus season? I love all citrus so I am pretty excited to dig in.

 Mmm so juicy and sweet!

 itty bitty!

 I saw organic mandarins last year but they were so expensive. This year they are almost the same price as the regular mandarins!! Love that!

Now for some breakie. I am toast girl. I LOVE my sprouted Silver Hills bread with almond butter but I know variety is important. So, I used a different base for my nut butter topping.

 Apples and dates!

Toppings! Shredded coconut, chia seeds, and almond butter. So, so good!

What have you changed around in your breakie lately?

Now for something warming! It's crazy cold in my house right now as we need to get the gas fireplace fixed...still! Of course we decide to switch fireplaces during the coldest winter. Good plan! That also means fireplace companies are booked for days in advance and so we have to wait until Friday to have a guy come out and look at it. Let's hope for the best!

I was drooling at Angela' blog on her Thanksgiving ideas post and saw a soup recipe that I wanted to try. Holiday Soup For The Soul sounded like the perfect soup to unthaw to.

 I was out of quinoa so I used a wild rice blend

That's a whale of a zucchini, hey? It's from my uncles garden and I'll be eating from it for a year:)
The greens I used were collards as I didn't have spinach on hand.

Mmm..thick and chunky!! Perfecto!

I am handing my application in on Friday and then I'm getting immersed in all things Christmas!! So excited!!

Are you getting ready for the holiday season already or is it still too early to be bringing out the tinsel and lights? 

Have a wonderful night everyone!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Walls come tumbling down

Hey all,

    I have a different post than my usual food/fitness/fun posts. Today I want to talk about putting up walls in our minds and trying to tear them down. Lately I was involved in a situation where both those events took place and it was eye opening!

On the one hand I saw someone who didn't believe in themself and was desperately afraid of making changes that could greatly benefit their life. It was like looking seeing my old self in the mirror. It made me emotional and frustrated. I now knew what my family and friends used to go through with me!!

I tried hard to build them up and tell them you CAN do it, change IS possible.. But the walls would come up and they would retreat. I wasn't thinking that I could change this person's habits on the spot, but I was hoping for a couple of bricks to crumble at the least. Nada.

They sounded like a broken record. I thought I was finally making some progress and then they would retreat and return to their normal defense mechanisms. It was heartbreaking every time this happened. As I feel life is too short to fester in things and we need to forgive others and, maybe even more importantly, we need to forgive ourselves.

I hated doing it but I had to get out of the conversation.
I had said all I could say and now the ball is in their court. I hope they don't fumble, I really do.

Now, to the other end of the spectrum. Someone near and dear to me finally saw the light! It was so exciting to see someone take control of their life and be strong in a difficult situation.

This revelation was long time coming and I'm so happy to see this person tackle change and see it as a good thing. Change is hard. Period. Even when you know the change will be for the better, you still have to take the actions to get there. Facing scrutiny from others can cause such fear that people resist change all together.

I feel motivated to keep moving forward and to always be open to whatever comes my way!
Being a support to others has increased my belief in myself too.And that's always a good thing:)

Seeing two ends of the wall spectrum unfold in one day is crazy but, quite frankly, I'm exhausted!
On one hand I'm super stoked to see this new leash on life, and yet on the other, I can't help but feel defeated. I know it ultimately comes down to the individual having to make the change on their own but sometimes I feel this will never happen and they need a little push.

 Have you had any experience with 
"wall builders" or "wall destroyers" ?

 Have a great night everyone!! I think it's time for some ZZZzzzzz's!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

cheesy chili nachos with homemade gaucamole (and salsa!!!)

Happy Tuesday,

               Sorry I haven't been around too much in the sphere as I'm busy training a new girl at work, my boss is away, and homework has been creeping up on me!!

Good news is I'm halfway through the course as so that's keeping me motivated! I'm doing much better than I did in university too so that has me feeling pretty good. I really just needed to believe in myself and not let fear get the best of me.

You really CAN do anything you put your mind to!!

So, now that we can do anything, why not a home workout with a broomstick and some 2x4's?

Yep, I really wanted to do Zuzana's Sexy Beast workout but I didn't have a dip station so a broomstick, a table, and a couple of 2x4's did the trick.

How can you tell my hubby works with wood? Ha!
It's a little scary pulling yourself up on that thin, plastic rod as all you can think about is it breaking and you crashing to the ground! But it held up and I was able to do the workout! It felt good to do some "pulling" exercises as lately I've been doing a lot of "pushing" exercises (push ups, dive bombers etc)

After that good sweat session, I made a delicious juice with fresh cranberries

 Mmm local cranberries!! Love that deep red!

add in some celery, cucumber, carrot, beet tops, beets, and you've got yourself some amazing plant blood!!!

This juice packs a punch, both flavor and nutrient wise!! 
The cranberries alone have some amazing benefits, according to WHFoods:

Good source of Vitamin C
protection against urinary tract infections
optimizes the balance of bacteria in digestive tract

Yesterday I was at Silver Hills picking up some sprouted bread and since I haven't been in there for a while I cruised the other food stuffs they were selling. It was then that the corner of my eye caught this....

YES!!! I found it. I couldn't believe it! I thought I was going to have to go to Vancouver to pick some up but now I only have a 10 minute drive. I'm excited to have this option available as the soy cheese is pretty gross ( in my opinion). I won't be stocking my fridge every week with it but I'll definitely be picking some up as a treat.

Mmmm!! I actually really like it. It's a little greasy but the flavor is the best of the fake cheeses I've tried so far!

Have you tried Daiya? What's your favorite?

Since I already have some amazing homemade salsa, it wasn't too hard to put together some tasty nachos!
I love LOADED nachos so I decided to make some chili spiced beans to layer in!

Spicy chili beans
I can kidney beans
1 cup pureed tomatoes
2 tbs chili powder
pinch cayenne
salt as desired

Add all ingredients in a pot and cook until the pureed tomatoes reduces down a bit. Adjust spice as desired!

In my opinion, nachos just aren't complete without some delicious guacamole!

Spice it up guacamole

3 very ripe avocados
2 tomatoes
1 small onion
Juice from 2 limes
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin
Pinch cayenne pepper
Salt and Pepper to taste

But before we get to the main attraction, you have to make sure you get in a good serving of veggies!

Kale, tomato, yellow bell pepper, cabbage, green onion, and cucumber salad with figgy balsamic dressing

Alright it's layering time!

Start with a good base of chips. Then add some of the spiced chili beans and top that with some Daiya!

Then add some jalapeno peppers (take the seeds out!!), tomatoes, and green onions. 
Then add another layer of chips and repeat the toppings

Stick the plate in the oven at 350 degrees on broil. 
When all the cheese looks melted take the plate out as the cheese will burn pretty quickly after this point

Then start dipping! The cheese actually melted pretty well and it maintained it's flavor too. 
Next time I would add more veggies and probably more beans too as they added great flavor!

What a great way to end a Monday!! Then to top it off we caught up on the latest Dexter. 
Oh they are so good at keeping the it! 
PS did you know that the guy who plays Dexter is married to the girl who plays his sister (Deb) on the show? Just found that out at the latest family dinner. Crazy!

Speaking of crazy! Check out the harvest we collected today at my work garden...

There is rosemary, a couple varieties of lettuce, beets, turnips, kale, parsley, chard, celery, and beans (drying them out to save the seeds). Amazing for the middle of November!!

Have yourself a great night!!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A little okra, quinoa roasted beet salad, and a workout

I'm back! I felt like I needed to give Remembrance Day it's own post. I'm sure you would agree:)

The other day I was wandering through the aisles of my favorite produce place and I saw these.....

Immediately I heard Katie's voice screaming at me to pick some up. I listened.

Katie said to try roasting these suckers and eat them with with some classic condiments or even ginger mustard will do. I followed orders! 

How did I do?

Then it was the battle of the condiments.Will it be the saucy MR.K or the sophisticated MR.DM?

After Multiple taste tests I think Mr.Dijon had me swooning more! Yum!

Do you like okra? What's your favorite way to eat it?

I'm thinking okra would be amazing deep fried and of course Paula Deen can show you how!

On Saturday night when I was making dinner for some friends I WAS going to bring another salad but my energy levels were just too low. Since I bought all the ingredients for the salad, I made it for myself instead later in the week:)

I was searching for a quinoa salad (love me some quinoa!!) and I came across Ricki's blog Diet, Desserts and Dogs. What a great site! I had seen the site before but had totally forgotten about it. So glad I found it again as it's a great for foodie inspiration.

While I was cruising around Ricki's recipe index I found a great quinoa, roasted beet, and walnut salad.

I used pecans because I didn't want to shell walnuts that night! Mmm really good. Just one note, make sure you don't burn the lemon rinds and the dressing can get a bit bitter! I also suggest doubling the dressing recipe as I would have preferred a little bit more. As a result I added a bit of a new dressing I tried.

 Involving some very expensive figs:)

Add in some olive oil and balsamic vinegar (along with some other goodies) and you've got a
figgy balsamic dressing.

This is really delicious! I made the dressing from a recipe off of The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen's site. Another great site to check out some foodie inspiration..and it's gluten free!

Now for workout time!!! i had another treatment for one of my knees the other day and so I need to keep the exercising of the lower body to a minimum. This is hard for me to do because I love to feel the burn in the legs, thighs, and but!! But I need to honor my body and let it heal so that I can squat and lunge into my 90's:)

So, I decided to invent a little workout that was geared towards my abs!

Kick my but abs Circuit

Please note: I'm not a trainer, just an exercise lover who put some exercises together. 

Rebounder - 60 seconds (Jump with two feet or jump single leg bringing your knees as high as you can)
Side plank lift - 25/side
Rebounder - 60 seconds
Stability ball plank- 60 seconds
Rebounder - 60 seconds
Rebounder - 60 seconds

Repeat the circuit three times. Resting where needed.

I feel it in the abs today..wahoo!Have a great rest of your day!!


Happy Thursday!!

             How are you all doing? I'm still not feeling my best but I'm almost there! I am on the last hour of an intermittent fast and could not sleep past 5:30 so here I am writing to you fine folks:) Why does this always happen on my days off? I better plan more strategically next time.

Today is a very special day in our's Remembrance Day!  

Past and present many men and women have dedicated their lives to creating peace for our world and I wish I could thank every one of them. I'm not just talking Canadian soldiers either! Just because it's remembrance day here doesn't mean we don't honor all soldiers around the world!

To those loved ones who have lost, I pray for peace in your heart

To children who have lost a mother or a farther, they really were true superheros!

To wives/husbands who have spouses out in battle, I pray for a safe homecoming!

To veterans thank you for your sacrifice and for facing so many atrocities so that we may live in peace . I never will forget you!

To those soldiers facing the battles of the world today, I pray for your safety! You make my world a better place and I am forever grateful!

Do you have a relative who is currently in battle or one who battled a past war?

Monday, November 8, 2010

The dinner I couldn't taste

Happy Monday all!

              Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend.  I know a few lucky people ate their way through Foodbuzz weekend!! Looked like a lot of fun:) I, on the other hand, was trying to remedy a cold I caught. Boo!! It started on Thursday as I was totally lethargic and could barely function. Then on Friday I felt a lot better and even made it to the gym for a great upper body workout sesh from Jessica's site.

I had my sis-in-law over that night and we had a glass of wine together which I think is what kicked my cold into high gear as the next morning I was down for the count. I had made plans already to cook our good friends some dinner on Saturday night and I kept my word, even though it took a lot of rest stops and a nap to get me through! The worst of it was I couldn't taste a darn thing. Cooking without my taste buds? Yes, sadly I was cooking blind!!

Anywho, here was the menu!

 Soba noodle salad with ginger peanut dressing from Vegetarian Times. For some reason I didn't take a picture of this beautiful salad but it looked something like I've made before...


I had this big ambition to make three salads and a soup plus dessert but due to me feeling like my head was going to explode, I toned it down to one salad, a soup, and cupcakes:)

As for the soup, I made a roasted butternut squash soup by Michael Chiarello on the Food Network. It was a lot of effort but the soup turned out pretty amazing. I added in too much squash so my soup turned out a bit thick but the taste was all there...apparently!

Now for dessert!! I saw Angela post an amazing recipe for.....
Mini Cinnamon Chocolate Cupcakes with Spiced Buttercream and Candied Maple Walnuts and I knew they were going to be my little treat for the dinner guests!!

 I started by shelling some walnuts! Mmmm local walnuts that I picked myself:)

Then I candied them up!

Then I frosted them up!!! I went with the full size cupcakes:)
Yum!! These turned out perfect!! Just moist enough! And with that icing...divine!

What's your favorite cupcake recipe?

I made it through the dinner with the help of some herbal tea. Then I gave our friends a scoby to make their own kombucha!! Wahoo!! So excited to share my knowledge and help someone make this amazing drink!

Sunday came along and I was feeling a bit better so I helped the hubby who had this sudden urge to have an organization bonanza of the house! I didn't fuss one bit:) I'm happy to say my kitchen is spotless and with some better organization, I have more counter space..wahoo! The rest of the house is looking awesome too.

Oh how I love progress!!!

All while we the hubby worked around the house the kittens had a grand ole time playing!

 I see you Oddie!!

I got you, big bro!!

 Time for a nap!


Night Night!!