Monday, December 31, 2012

Love, love you all.

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Another year has come and gone by so quickly. In a blink of an eye - we are passing on this year of 2012 - and starting a brand new one. 2013! Two thousand and thirteen. Wow.

This year has been a great year. I have been blessed with 'better' health. I have been blessed with a year filled with friendship and love from my family and friends. I have celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary. We have worked hard and treated ourselves to a brand spankin' new shed (that we adore) and a new truck. And I think that although it wasn't for the full year - I have taken on a new workout/health/nutrition program that I have for the past three months been falling in love with.

This year has been a good one for us. I don't have regrets about things that I didn't accomplish, places I didn't go, races that I didn't run, weight that I didn't lose (I did end up losing 7 pounds - hah!), paintings that I didn't paint, organizing that I didn't organize... I have realized that life is so precious that I can't have hang ups on what I didn't get done - and need to focus on what I did.

I know that I have said this before - maybe in different words - but when I am taking care of myself - life is just so much better. I am not sure how I can explain it better than that. And for me - taking care of myself is eating healthy, working out, getting lots of sleep, drinking lots of water, staying positive, loving those who want to be loved, no stress, and appreciating myself. Those are all simple things that I can do everyday. I have only added things that I know that I can do. And when I do all of these things, then other things will just fall into place.

My new work out regime - is helping me in so many more ways than I thought. I think that the biggest thing for me - is finally taking the time to take care of myself. Spending 5 days a week exercising - is gold for me. GOLD. When I do that - I feel exhilarated. I feel invincible. I feel strong. I feel powerful. I know that isn't the same for everyone - but it definitely is how I feel. I just wish that it didn't take me so long to figure this out.

I have goals set for this year. I am not quite ready to share them. I fear that if I share them and then have to alter them or don't meet them - that I have failed myself. So at this time - I have to change that focus - and instead of already thinking of how I may fail - think of how I am going to whip those goals butts - and celebrate the success.

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I can't handle those faces - they are too cute - and they remind me for every negative their needs to be a positive. For every time they don't come when they're called - they will always snuggle with us in bed at night. 

My new mantra for 2013 is: For every negative thought - you have to have a positive thought to counter it.

Some may say 'Just don't have any negative thoughts'. And to that I would say 'Impossible. Unless we're living on Little House on the Prairie - it's impossible to never have some type of negative thought'. Again, that's for me. With that being said - I am not going to always look for something negative. Trust me. I will just let those pop up whenever they need to.

For example:

Rant: I am taking some pretty heavy duty medication for the sarcoidosis/uveitis right now - that I am not a big fan of - and it sometimes makes me nauseous and I can sometimes feel defeated.
Rave: Today I gave myself my first injection of the meds - instead of having my dear friend Judy do it for me. I will never be a nurse and I am sure that if a nurse saw me perform this today - that they would have cringed - but nonetheless I did it!

Life is grand.

Christmas was lovely. The entire holiday season. I will miss it as I always do. I love the house being decorated - the lights, the tree, the little sentimental things that come out once a year that always generate a ton of memories. I love it all.

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Christmas morning breakfast. Croissants, lox with capers, cream cheese with fresh dill, scrambled eggs and mimosas. 

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Christmas dinner place settings. A little box filled with chocolate. 

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My two lovelies on Christmas morning waiting for their coffee. 

I haven't been cooking too much this season. We did have Christmas dinner and I cooked all of our favourites. What I did cook the other night to go along with our turkey soup were Gruyere Cheese Popovers. I finally used the popover pans that Babs gave me for a shower gift. I loved them - and CANNOT WAIT to try them again.

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Gruyere Cheese and Pepper Popovers

Pre-heat the oven to 375.

2 cups of milk (I used skim)
4 eggs
2 cups of flour
Pepper
Gruyere cheese - about 1/2 cup cut into small cubes - enough for 3 cubes for each popover
Cooking spray

Place the popover tins (or muffin tins) in the pre-heated oven on a baking sheet - and let them get nice and hot.

Warm the milk on the stove. Warm to get hot - but not too hot that it burns.

Whisk the eggs. Add the pepper, whisk some more. Then slowly add in the milk while whisking. Don't stop whisking. Add in the flour - and continue to whisk.

Remove the pans from the oven. Spray generously with cooking spray.

Fill the pans almost to the top.

Place 3 cubes into each pan.

Bake at 375 for 40 minutes.

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Remove from the oven. They will easily come out of the pans. Serve hot.

Alrighty my friends.

Thank you to those who pop into my blog from time to time. I appreciate you all. I love the feedback that you give me - and I hope that you continue to check in. I hope that I can in someway bring a smile to your face, give you an idea of what you can make for dinner, and share my stories with you.

Lots and lots of Love!!! And all of the very, very best in this new year.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Pomegranate Love

Tonight when I was out hanging our 'make-shift' Christmas lights - in the dark - and loving every minute of it - someone on my street was cutting their grass. What??? It's winter. Lawnmowers should be tucked away for a long winter's night. I was wearing a down vest, running pants, a long sleeve shirt and gum boots. It's not right. It's winter. I should have been in a parka, my Sorel's, a toque and scarf, definitely gloves - and instead of a lawnmower it should have been a snow blower.

I love winter.

I want cold, snowy weather.

Dear Santa, please bring me snow for Christmas.
Loves,
C.

Enough negativity. It's almost Christmas. It's almost my work's Christmas party. It's almost time to put together a menu for our annual Christmas party. And it's almost time that I think about what to buy for Christmas prezzies. I'm stuck in that area.

Lately, I have been in love with pomegranates. I heart them. I love them in my breakfast fruit/veggie drink. And I even more love them in the salad that I am making on a regular basis. I will share that with you shortly - I need to get a good picture of it - because it is magnificent.

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Pomegranates are full of goodness. They are beautiful. They are lovely gems of love. I love them. Last week we picked up a couple of GIGANTIC pomegranates at the Granville Island Market. They were so large. So full of delicious flavour and juice.

Here is how I like to 'harvest' my pomegranates.

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Cut the pomegranate in half. I recommend cutting it in a bowl - only because the juices can spray out and they may stain.

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Fill the bowl with water, covering each half of the pomegranate.

Then gradually pull the halves apart, and start to pull off the arils (that's the little gem - fancy word) - and let them just fall to the bottom of the bowl.

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When you are have pulled out all of the arils, drain the water out and pull out any bits of the white core (I don't know what that is called).

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Place them in a container - maybe a mason jar - and let the sit in your fridge and ENJOY your hardwork.

Here is a deelish recipe for Pomegranate Crisp.

Alrighty. I am just finishing up a cup of hot cocoa. Enjoying the Christmas lights in my living room and waiting for my better-half to return home so that we just hang.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A great Christmas memory: Christmas Tree Hunting

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 Happy December.

I love December. I love Christmas. For me once December is here - the countdown for Christmas is on. It's a month full of great things. A month of wonderful things to look forward to. A month of celebrations. A month of focusing on friends, family, food, fun, traditions...

I have so many wonderful Christmas memories from my childhood. Many of the traditions that we do now - were things that I did growing up.  I love that my parents made the whole Christmas season so special for us - and that it still means so much to me. And I am so blessed to have created a new family with my love - and he loves Christmas just as much as me.

I wanted to share a funny story of one of our family traditions growing up. I wish that I had pictures of the event - because thinking back - they would have been very good to look back on.

I like to call this story - Christmas Tree Hunting

The cast: My dad, my sister, our dog - Shadow, me and our Bonneyville

Where: Highway outside of Kitimat

Why: It was Christmas and you went out the woods to get your tree - no tree farms in Kitimat

What: Literally - 20 with a windchill probably making it -35. A thermos of hot chocolate and a bag of mixed nuts.

My dad, sister, Shadow and I head out in the two-tone blue Pontiac Bonneville. We are bundled up in warm jackets, toques, scarves, mittens, warm boots. The car is nice and warm. The ground is covered in a beautiful blanket of freshly fallen white snow. The trees are dry - well actually more frozen really. The air is so crisp - and oh so cold. We are tearing down the highway. Sorry, no we're not. My dad is driving at a comfortable 60 km/h. My sister is riding shotgun. I am in the backseat with Shadow. Shadow is excited. She is always excited for a car drive - but she knows that we are going somewhere good. Shadow also knew Christmas. She loved the excitement of it. Seriously!

My dad turns off the highway - probably onto a logging road. Thankfully he knew where to go - so that we wouldn't get stuck in the snow.

We get out of the car. Whimper a bit because it is cold. Instant nostril freeze. If you haven't experienced this - it's not pleasant. We get the saw from the trunk. And we head down the paths trying to spot the perfect tree.

The perfect tree for us was something that was big. Super wide and high enough so that it would hit the ceiling so that we couldn't put our tree topper on.

After 15 minutes, I decide that it is way too cold and that it's time for Shadow and I to head back to the car and warm up with some hot chocolate and mixed nuts. Ok - I have no idea why we had mixed nuts - and why I even remember them, but I do. Shadow and I settle in - pour some warmth and snack on nuts. Are nuts bad for dogs? Shadow didn't think so. She always got treats.

A couple of minutes later - my dad and sister return with the perfect tree. As I watch from inside the cold car - sheltered from the wind - they start strapping the tree to the top of the car with some sturdy rope. They have the windows slightly cracked so that the rope can go through to keep the tree secure. The tree is fastened and my dad tells my sister to get in the car. She tries to open the door - but my dad has tied the rope through so that the door can only be opened 2 inches. She says 'Dad... uh, I can't get in'. My dad looks in frustration and says 'What? You can't squeeze through?'.

At this point, I am finding the entire thing hysterical. My sister is as well. My dad, not so much. Our nicknames, JC and Goddammit, are being used.

My dad unties that part, my sister gets in, and he ties it up again. He gets in and tells me that my job is to hold the ropes, 'TIGHTLY', from the backseat. We head out back onto the highway heading for home.

I am sitting in the backseat full on hot chocolate and mixed nuts. I am holding the ropes tight. And I am singing - which I do often. I am singing 'Paradise by the dashboard lights'. I am not singing quietly - I never do. My sister is just patiently listening and my dad is concentrating on the 60 km/h.

About 4-5 minutes into the trip, I can feel the rope loosening. Loosening ropes = tree falling off the roof.

I say 'Uh dad, the ropes are loosening'. My dad says 'JC - hang on child.' I say 'It's not my fault, they're coming loose'. My dad says 'If you were concentrating and not singing, they wouldn't come loose'. I say 'Uh???'. He is cursing, I am holding on so tight, and I stop singing. Who knows? Maybe singing does make the ropes tying down the tree while driving 60 km/h 'does' make a tree come loose.

He turns into the dump turn off - so that he can pull over and fix the tree. He gets out. He's angry. And he re-ties the tree to the roof. He gets back in the car and we drive off.

Again, I am sitting in the back holding the ropes. My sister and I are laughing uncontrollably. I am mortified at the time because I am worried that if someone saw us pulling out of the dump they will think that is where we got our tree.

We drive home and I cannot stop laughing. We get home, unload the tree and just laugh about the days events. My dad is still saying that if I hadn't been singing that the tree wouldn't have come undone.

The funny thing about my dad, is that he would always spaz - and then laugh about it after. He would say 'JC' and 'Godammit' - but we knew that it wasn't said to be mean - it was the words that he used.

Anyways - the tree went up - and it was perfect - and this is a memory that I will never forget.

I know that as I write this - my dad is looking over my shoulder with Shadow at his side - and he is laughing too.

No new recipes right now - but since it's Christmas - give these a try:

Slow cooker Chicken
Egg Noodle Love 
Blueberry Crisp

I hope that you are all enjoying December - don't stress - take each day at a time and have a cup of hot chocolate and reminisce about your favourite Christmas memories. I would love to hear them.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Christmas is coming! What? Who said that?

I don't want to alarm you - but unless you have been living under a rock since Halloween - you will know that Christmas is coming. CHRISTMAS IS COMING!!!!

I was a bit hesitant to mention Christmas before December 1st - and then I decided that it was ok.

I love Christmas. I am excited that the holidays are among us. I won't do 'Christmas' before December 1st. I may buy a few Christmas presents, I may start thinking about our holiday party and what will be on the menu, I may start making my Christmas list, I may purchase wrapping paper, and I may plan a craft evening with my bf to make Christmas tags.

Thankfully December 1st is a Saturday this year - so I will start the decorating early. If you want to come and help - I will serve eggnog and candy canes - and have cookies baking in the oven. I NEED HELP PEOPLE! Well not really - I just like it when I am not alone decorating playing Alabama's Christmas album and Dolly and Kenny over and over again. Actually - I do like it. As long as husband is there to pack up all the boxes and put them away - I'll be happy.

Ok, instead of a recipe tonight - I thought about posting a few things for Christmas to get you in the spirit. If you are not wanting to be in the 'spirit' yet, I apologize.

How about this for a nice Christmas gift?

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  Homemade soup mix

1 glass jar
3/4 cup dried soup base/mix (I used a base that I found and Lifestyle Market)
2/3 cup dried green peas
1/2 cup pearl barley
2/3 cup orange lentils
1/2 cup dried onion flakes
1/2 cup dried yellow beans
2 1/2 tsp dried italian seasoning
1/2 cup pasta (shells or macaroni)

Instructions:

1 onion - diced
1 pound of ground meat - beef, turkey or chicken
Kosher salt and pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 14 oz can of tomato sauce
4 qts of water or stock
Vegetables if desired

In a large skillet, add the olive oil, and saute the onion with a pinch of kosher salt. Saute for 6-8 minutes. Add in the ground meat. Saute until the meat is browned. Add in the stock, tomatoes and tomato paste. Add in all of the soup mix and let simmer for at least an hour. Stirring regularly. Add in any vegetables that you like in soup - corn, celery, carrots...

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I gave these as gifts last year with soup bowls, soup spoons and fancy crackers. Wrapped in cellophane with a big ribbon - they made great gifts.

Alrighty - I need to go and start my Christmas list.

Dear Santa....

Loves.

Enjoy!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Spinning with my dad

For my dad's 50th birthday we got him a mountain bike. It was when mountain bikes were just becoming popular. It was a Norco - white - probably 10 speeds or something - and we bought it from Schooley's Sports.

We all piled out to the driveway to surprise him with it. He was surprised. Loved it! He got on the bike, and just before peddling off he said 'I am going to climb mountains with this'. As he rode off - he rode over the garden hose and fell off. Ha!

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My dad and I dressed up as my mom for Halloween 

 Years and years later, my dad did climb mountains. He rode in a bike race from Pr. Rupert to Terrace (I was his pit crew - and I didn't do such a good job). He rode his bike to Stewart and Hyder, Alaska - then ferried home - and rode back from Pr. Rupert. He also rode his bike to Pr. Rupert again, and then rode through the Queen Charlottes. All by himself.

It sort of breaks my heart to think of him doing it on his own - but at the same time - he was very independent and loved the time to himself. He loved it. He was destined to be a cyclist. He was amazing. He was strong. He was encouraging. He was a machine.

This morning at 5:30 AM, I left the house to pick up Pilar, and head down to an early morning spin class. Being at the gym before 6 AM to spin is something that makes me feel like I am torturing myself - but part of me loves it! Working hard before most people are up and out of bed - is super satisfying for me.

Anyways today - as I was 'push pulling' saying words like 'motha effa' and 'help me Jeezus' under my breath, and panting like it sounds like I am having a mild heart attack, I thought about my dad. I thought  about him joining a class. Him working his butt off. He would be wearing grey cotton sweat pants, a grey sweat shirt, white sport socks, probably his Nike's or his moccasins, and a sweat band. He would be spinning beside me - and probably saying things like 'C'mon Poodsin's you can do it'.

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I have heard that when you think of someone that is no longer with you in this life - that at that exact moment - they are with you. Although I think of him so often - I love it when I do think of him at times like this - when I really do feel that he is with me. I know that he would be right there with me - waking up way before the crack of dawn to head somewhere that is good for you. Good for the soul. Good for the heart.

It's times like this - that I know he would be proud of me. That he would be loving life. And it's these times that I embrace him standing beside me - sitting on my handle bars - turning up my tension - I just know that he's there. And I know that I will never be on my lonesome.

No recipes tonight - I have a few new ones to share. Stay tuned.

In the meantime - for this coming weekend - try one of these goodn's.

Seafood Chowder

Breakfast - Baked Eggs

Ice cream sandwiches

Alrighty friends. At the end of such a great day - a day full of hard work and dedicating to myself, and being reminded that my dad is always around - I am also so excited to meet our newest friend - Avery Frances Marie - Steve and Alanna's new baby girl. We are going to spoil that little bundle. Can't wait to  meet her and squeeze her. Ok - I promise I won't squeeze her - but I do plan on taking in a big breath of new baby smell.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Mmmmuffin


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Muff-in.

I think that if you are being conscience of what you are eating, and you are trying to lose weight, and you are a health freak, then muffins aren't probably something that would be recommended for a special treat. BUT. But, what if you found a healthy, low fat, low sugar, and super tasty muffin recipe? Well? Would you try it?

Go on. Give it a try.

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Not your typical Muffin

3 cups of flour - whole wheat, a mix of whole wheat and all purpose - or any type of flour you desire
3 tbsp of baking powder
1 1/2 cups of apple sauce*
1 cup of non-fat greek yogurt - I love the Astro brand
Pinch of salt

*Apple sauce: Peeled, cored and cubed apples. Add to a pot, cover with water. Boil on medium heat for about an hour. Mash with a potato masher and then use a hand blender or blender to puree. You can add cinnamon and cloves for a bit of flavour - or just leave as is. Deelish.

Add ins:

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Apple Cinnamon Muffins
2 cups of apple - peeled and cubed into small pieces
1 1/2 tsp of cinnamon

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Lemon Blueberry Coconut
Zest of one lemon
2 cups of frozen blueberries
1 cup of unsweetened coconut - see if you can find the thick organic kind - it's so worth it

Pre-heat the oven to 350.

In a large bowl mix all of the dry ingredients with the apple sauce and yogurt. Mix well.

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If you want to make both flavours, divide the batter in half - and separate into two bowls. Mix all together - and that's it.

Using a light cooking spray - spray the muffin tins. If using large muffin tins - you have enough batter for 12 muffins. Regular size tins - at least 18 muffins.

Bake at 350 for 37-42 minutes.

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They are fresh, they are sweet from the natural flavours, they are super moist, they are good for you, and best of all - they are DEELISH!

Loves.

Enjoy!

Monday, November 12, 2012

One down...

Well I am not sure about you - but I have successfully made it through a fabulous Monday.

I like to say 'one down, 4 more to go'. I am referring to the weekend, just in case you weren't sure. Could you imagine if I was like, 'one down, 4 more to go, and then two days until we have another Monday! Wahoo, I love Mondays!!!'. No seriously, could you imagine?

I actually don't mind Mondays at all. Don't get me wrong, I prefer Fridays over Mondays - but I am not a 'disliker' of the Monday. Sort of like how I am a morning person instead of a night person. I like the mornings. Now don't get me wrong, I do enjoy not having to get up and go-go-go in the morning from time to time - but I would much rather get up early and rested than staying up until all hours of the night. In my younger years, I could stay out late, and get up early. Now I really have to take one or the other. If I stay up late - I might as well just book the next day off. I like my sleep.

Wow - I just re-read what I wrote - and can pretty much guess that you all think that I am some wild and crazy girl. I still can be - I just have to plan for it months in advance. Like this coming weekend - my BF - Tracy (check out her new website HERE) - and I are going to be living it up 'crazy style' in the big city. We are thankfully on the same page when we define 'living it up crazy style'. We'll probably have a drink or two, have a nice dinner somewhere and then hang out on the couch with the tele on just talking. Hm, I maybe should have checked with her before I wrote this - because she could be really wanting a crazy night.

Alright - I intended to have this post dedicated to some butternut squash. I love that stuff! It's the best time of the year for it - so stock up on it - it's in abundance - it's deelish and it's good for you!

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Butternut Squash Chili

Ok - disclaimer - I am not sure if I can really call this a 'chili' but I am.
Also - this dinner makes enough for a A LOT of meals. Perfect for freezing.

1 large onion - diced
2 packs of lean ground turkey
1 large butternut squash - peeled and cut into small bite size cubes
2 red peppers - diced
2 cups of sliced mushrooms
5-6 stalks of celery - sliced
2 large cans of diced tomatoes
1 small can of stewed tomatoes
2 cans of white kidney beans - rinsed (or use whatever beans you love)
1 large garlic clove - diced or shredded
3 tbsp of chili powder
1 tbsp of ground cumin
2 tbsp of oregano

In a large pot, over medium heat, drizzle 1 tbsp of olive oil and add the onion - with a pinch of kosher salt. Saute the onions until they are translucent and golden. Add in the ground turkey. Brown the ground turkey - until it is almost cooked. Season with all of the spices and the garlic.

Add in the butternut squash. Stir so that the butternut squash is covered with all of the onion and turkey. Add in the remaining vegetables and stir it all together.

Next add in the tomatoes and beans.

Add in more seasoning if you like it spicier.

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Stir everything together. Cover, and let simmer over low-medium heat for at least 30-45 minutes.

And that's it. A full, dinner in no time.

Top with a dollop of non-fat plain yogurt - and you have a deelish dish.

*This dish could be made vegan or vegetarian so easily - just omit the turkey. Add tofu, extra beans or more mushrooms for it to be heartier - without missing the meat.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Program - Week 7

I hear the voice inside of my head. It says 'Your day is planned. You are going to have an amazing workout. You will be afraid that you will struggle. You will struggle. You will feel that everyone is watching you. You will think that you are the only one that finds each step, each jump, each push, too hard. You will get through it. You will achieve what you set out to. You will feel strong when you are done. You are making yourself more healthy. You can do it. You will do it.'

Then I get out of bed.

I head to my workout, with different thoughts and voices in my head. I am not crazy. I am not hearing voices that shouldn't be there. I am hearing the voices that I have grown accustomed to for so long.

These voices are sometimes my cheerleaders. These voices are sometimes my worst enemies.

I recognize that these voices almost only come out when I am struggling when it comes to physically challenging myself.

As I drive, I think about how I long for the day that I could stay in my pj's until 10. Sipping hot chocolate or tea. Watching Sunday morning junk TV. Planning the day - but not planning it too fast.

As I drive, I remind myself that this is only week 7. That those days are not gone. I remind myself of how fortunate I am that I am in a place that I have the option to do this - but at this time - I am making it   a priority.

I arrive to the studio. I no longer have butterflies.

I tell myself that I am here - that I will make this workout worthwhile.

I run. I run hills. I breathe heavy. I catch my breath. I run again. I run fast. I climb stairs. I struggle. I laugh. I wince. And then I run again.

I celebrate the day. I celebrate my fellow friends and their accomplishments.

I go home. I feel the pain and exhaustion from battling with my body. I am home in time to have breakfast, walk my pups, read a magazine and plan a full day. Home in time to realize that it was all worth it.

And as I get up off the couch, or come upstairs - my body aches. The aches are reminders of a hard day - but remind me that this is all a journey. And although some days may be painful - they won't all be like this. And although there may be days that I am not confident in my abilities, and that there will be struggles - I just have to tell myself that I am doing this. I can do this. And I will do this.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Simple dinner

Week 6 of the New Program - is going pretty good. So far, I have worked out 2 days out of 3 where I sweated buckets (literally), used cursed words that a lady shouldn't say, and made it through. I look at the 'sweat' as an indication that I am working as hard as I can. I look at the 'curse words' as a reward for my struggles as I work hard. And when I am done at the end of the day - it's refreshing to know that I made it through, I didn't die, and I will do it all over again.

One thing that I struggle with, is not seeing the results that I am wanting to see. I feel that I workout hard at least 5 days a week; I am really focusing on what I am eating; I am getting lots of sleep; I am drinking lots of water - and still nothing. Week 4, I lost 4 pounds. Wahoo! Week 5, gained a pound. Curses. And then, that little voice in my head, reminds me that it took me many, many years to get to where I am now, and it will take me many years to get to where I want to be. And then I have to remember that this isn't a temporary program - but a change in the way I live my life.

Tuesday's are my day off - unless I need t miss a workout on any other day besides Friday. It's nice to come home from work - walk the pups, and make a dinner that should last us for another couple of days.

Tonight's dinner was something that I have wanted to make for a couple of weeks now. I am sort of addicted to making a dish that I can count for protein and making enough of it to last a couple of days. It's all about planning. Planning people!

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Individual Meatloafs - Italian and Mexican

Italian Meatloaf
1 pack of lean ground turkey (I am not sure the weight - but you can pick up a pack of 4 for $20 at Costco!)
2 tbsp of tomato paste
1 egg
2 tbsp of Italian seasoning*
2 tbsp fine whole wheat bread crumbs

*If you don't have italian seasoning - you can use dried oregano, garlic powder, chili flakes

Mexican Meatloaf
1 pack of lean ground turkey
2 tbsp of tomato paste
2 tbsp of fine whole wheat bread crumbs
1 tbsp of ground cumin
1 tsp of garlic powder
Dashes of tabasco sauce (depending on how hot you like it)

Pre-heat the oven to 400. Mix all of the ingredients together. Using either a small loaf pan - like THIS one - or muffin tins - spray the pans with cooking spray - or a olive oil (I have my olive oil in a spritzer bottle). Divide the meat into 4 and place it in the tins.

Bake for 40-45 minutes.

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Serve with mashed cauliflower (instead of adding butter, I used 2 tbsp of goat cheese - oh hello goat cheese, I love ya), salad or a sweet potato.

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Alrighty oh. I am off to see who won the American election. Actually, I'm not. I am off to find a pair of rainboots online.

Loves.

Enjoy!


Sunday, November 4, 2012

My new program.

Wow - it's been forever since I have written. It's November - what happened to October - and pretty sure that we will be saying that in no time when it's December.

There are a couple of reasons why the absence:

1. I have started a new 'program' and I am trying to eat healthy and be fit. As a result, I am eating many of the same things over and over and over. And did I mention that I eat them over and over again?

2. I am short on time. After a day of work, dog walks, workouts, dinner, snack/lunch prep for the next day, when the day is done, I just want to sit on my Royal Canadian and watch The Voice, Jersey Shore, The New Normal, or my dogs wrestle (in no specific order).

3. I worry that what I am writing will be boring, uninspiring, unappetizing.

4. And I don't want anyone to think that I am putting my story out there for 'high-fives' or 'atta-girl' - but more that it's a good way for me to journal - what I'm eating, how I'm feeling, and how I am progressing.

So, there we have it. I am starting week 6. Although the weight loss is not going nearly quickly enough - I do feel better. I feel stronger. I feel healthier.

My friend, Pilar, is the one that told me about the program - and she is doing it with me. She is a huge support - and it makes things a lot easier having someone to encourage you and go with. I have also met some really great people in the program too - and they are full of support - and encouragement.

The goal of the 'every day' eating plan - is to have a protein with every meal, 3 litres of water a day, 2 complex carbs, as much veggies as I want, and having 6 meals a day, instead of 3. I have been focusing on this quite well for the past few weeks. A lightbulb sort of went off when I realized what I should/could be eating - and when I really started to think about what I needed to eat.

Getting the proteins in was hard for me in the beginning - b/c I didn't realize how little protein I actually ate in a day. Most of it was at dinner. Having a protein with every meal really helps fill you up.

Our fridge is stacked with fresh veggies - as it normally always is. Our freezer has a lot of different proteins for the week. And our cupboards are full of beans, canned tomatoes - and that's really about it. Oh except for that fig plum relish that I made and canned about a month ago. Hm, not sure if I'll be sharing that recipe quite yet - as it's so tart - it's not too deelish.

I commit to 4 workouts a week. 3 are 1 hour long and 1 is about 1.5 to 2 hours. And then I try to go to at least one other class a week. A majority of the classes are like a drill/boot camp style - we do lots of running and lots of ab stuff. I attend 1 early (very early 6 AM) spin class before work one day a week. I love it. I love to spin. I sweat my butt off - but it's a great workout. I have also started running around the hood with Magnum as my running partner. He is so good! He takes advantage of the short walks that I do between runs - and keeps up and is so good on his leash. Jozie... not so much. I haven't even tried it with her - b/c I know that she would have me pulling her the entire time - as she does a fake pee - b/c she wants to catch her breath. Hm, I wonder where she learned that from :)

My breakfast is always the same sort of thing - with just a bit of a variety of what I put in it. I posted about my NutriBullet breakfast HERE. Except - at this point our NB is a bit 'broken' so we have been using the blender - it works perfectly - it's just harder to clean. I always put an ounce of almonds in for the protein for that meal. I love them - I love the freshness - and the fact that I have about 4-5 servings of fruit/veggies before 7AM.

Around 9ish - I usually have baked egg whites - you can find that HERE - minus the bacon and cheese. Today's were made with just broccoli, a bit of dried oregano and egg whites. I do these every Sunday and make 12 at a time, and then keep them in the fridge and have 2 at work each day.

Lunch is usually the same. I will have a bunch of cut veggies, or a salad. And then maybe some homemade Hummus - you can find that HERE (I use more lemon juice, less olive oil, and less garlic so that when I am sweating my butt off I don't smell like Fabian who I dated when I was 18)- or half a boneless/skinless chicken breast, or 1/2 a can of salmon - or maybe a cup of cottage cheese with some cut up cantelope. I try to switch it up a bit - so that I don't get too tired of the same thing. Fortunately when I have a salad, I don't need a dressing - so I am able to cut a bit of what I don't need out of my diet.  And then I usually have a piece of fruit - maybe an asian pear, apple or a mandarin.

In the afternoon - if I'm hungry - I find that I'm not usually - I will have some non-fat plain yogurt and some berries. And then before I know it, it's dinner. For tonight, I am making a huge batch of spaghetti sauce - using tomatoes that I roasted from the garden, and some canned, and then adding boneless/skinless chicken breasts, and a ton of veggies. I am going to make a whole wheat spaghetti, and I will have a bit b/c I haven't had any complex carbs today. So this will be my treat. And to me, it's a good one.

I am baking the chicken in the oven, and I have an extra piece leftover that I will use for two salads this week - Monday and Tuesday.

DRINK. DRINK. DRINK.

Water. Not booze. Well, you can if you want.

Water is so good for you. For so long it was a huge chore to drink water. It was super psychological for me and I just didn't like the taste. I am SO over that now. But I get it, if it's hard. Try adding a bit of lemon or lime to it for a bit of extra flavour. Or freeze some strawberries or grapes - and add them. I think that if you're not a water drinker - I get that it's so tiring for people to say 'water is so good for you' - but it really is. For me - it makes me feel alert - refreshed. I know that sounds odd - but it really does. I have a 'water' story for you. When my dad was sick in the hospital, before he passed - we would be at the hospital with him for at least 12-14 hours a day. For anyone who has stayed beside someone who is very sick, you know that this can be a huge strain on your body - emotionally and physically. After a week or so - I started drinking water from the ice cold water machine which was around the corner - from my dad's room. I started out with a drink here or there - and before I knew it - getting up to get the water, and drinking at least 6-8 glasses a day - became a part of my routine. And I totally felt a difference. I felt more awake, less hungry, and less like a loafer just loafing around. Unfortunately, I didn't keep this habit up after we left the hospital - but I wish that I had. But, for a long time now, I OD on water every day.

I keep having those 'ah ha' moments. Was that what Oprah called them? Mine are actually more like 'oh shit, why didn't you realize that sooner, you duh' - but that is a lot to get out at one time - and if people hear/see me saying that they will probably think that I am odd.

My moment for today was - when I was doing the dishes. And I was thinking about the dinner that I whipped up for myself on Thursday night after our trek to Costco (egg whites, romaine, spinach, edamame - so worth the drive out there) - I whipped up the fastest salad with tomatoes and peppers and a bit of plain yogurt with lemon juice and dried oregano. I am not sure why I thought about that - but for me - Thursday and Friday nights are sort of the start to the weekend. Thursday is Chris' Friday - and  well, Friday is my Friday. Thursday is the start of the end of the week - and I always wanted a treat for dinner instead of having to make something. So maybe we would pick up a Subway or a Burrito, or a burger (not fast food honestly). And I was just thinking of how I thought that was a good way to reward myself for a hard week. And then I was thinking of how easy it is to make something healthy - and reward yourself that way. As much as I want to eat ice cream all the time, and drink apple juice, and eat lasagna every night - it's just not what my body needs.

So this is my commitment to myself. My need for change. It's like I am Running for My Life - all over again.

I want - sorry please let me rephrase. I WILL lose weight. I WILL be strong.

If you have any questions about this - let me know - I would love to chat about it. I am still planning on cooking - just not with butter or cream or chocolate (well not for right now anyways - we all need a cheat meal once in awhile) - but I will share what I am having - and you may like it.

Loves.

Enjoy!


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Royalty?

Well, I have just had a week off of work, and head back to the grind on Monday. It's been a great week - I just wish that when I said 'week' that I meant 'four weeks'. But, the week has been lovely - and I am truly blessed to have had a week off with my husband.

We visited Summerland - and hung out with my brother and his family. I just love it there. I love his farm, I love the weather, I love the town, I love it all. I loved, LOVED, spending time with my nieces and nephew and just reconnecting with them and catching up.

My brother's farm is full of apples, pears and asian pears right now. SO MANY. I made pies, apple crisps while we were there and brought home a suitcase full of asian pears and apples. I haven't done anything with them yet except eat them. They are so delicious. There really isn't much like picking something right from the tree and devouring it.

The rest of the week - we haven't done anything too exciting. There have been daily dog walks, lunch out, dessert out, meeting friends for tea and lunch, a movie, house cleaning, getting rid of stuff, and just taking it easy. We're sort of the King and Queen of taking it easy this week. I wonder if that is really a thing? OMG - we could be royalty!!!

Last night - after a long of tea with a friend and a Costco trip - and sitting on my Royal Canadian - and before we went to 'Looper' (I highly recommend it) I whipped up a batch of Lettuce Wraps. Typically THIS is my recipe for Lettuce Wraps - but I switched it up. I switched it up b/c I didn't have my normal ingredients for my 'typical' recipe - but I am so happy that I tried it a different way.

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 Lettuce Wraps Version 2.

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts - chopped into small bite size pieces
2 red peppers - chopped into small bite size pieces
1 small onion - chopped

Sauce
3 tbsp low sodium soya sauce
1 tsp of hot sauce
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 clove of garlic
1 tbsp of fresh ginger
Juice of half a lime
1 tbsp of honey

Romaine lettuce leafs
Organic sesame seeds (optional)

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In a skillet or large pan - over medium heat - heat a dash of olive oil and add in the onion with a pinch of kosher salt. Saute until the onion is soft and translucent - about 7 minutes. Add in the chicken and cook.

Meanwhile - in a small blender* - add the garlic and the ginger - and chop it all up. Add in the rest of the ingredients and puree it all up. Add the sauce to chicken and continue to cook - add in the peppers at this time too.

Stir consistently - and continue to cook it until the chicken is done.

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Scoop out the mixture on to romaine lettuce leaves and top with a tsp of sesame seeds.

And that's it. They are crisp, delicious, flavourful and healthy!!!

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*I have a small Cuisinart food processor that I LOVE. I used it all the time. And I saw one at Costco yesterday for $39 - I paid double for mine at the Bay.

Alrighty friends. I have a panko crusted chicken in the oven right now. It's one of my brother's chickens that he raised - and we are super excited to try it. I will share.

Loves.

Enjoy!


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

ChChChangin'

Well hello Wednesday. How did you sneak up on me so fast? It was just Thanksgiving and now it's Wednesday. Soon it will be the weekend and I will be on holidays. HOLLYDAYS!!! Nothing fancy - a week off. A week of sleeping in, staying in my pj's all day long, eating bonbons, not answering the phone, watching hours and hours of my shows. Oh man. This is going to be grand.

KIDDING!

I can't sleep past 7. I don't really have pajamas - I need to get some. Bonbons - I wish. Not answering the phone - this actually may happen. And watching a lot of tv  hopefully.

So, I started this new workout program last week. It's quite intense. I am expected to go to at least 3 workouts a week - and aim for something everyday. Last week I went to 4 classes and went on a 35 run/walk. This week I have been to three classes and have one tomorrow morning early. It will be a Spin class. I like to refer to it as 'The spin bike seat is stuck up my hoohoo' or 'Sh*t!!!'. I sweat. I sweat a lot.

It's great. I love it. Some days have been harder than others - but the feeling afterwards - the sense of accomplishment, the energy in my bones, the encouragement, the urgency of change. I am not setting goals at this point. I am just wanting a change - I am looking for a lifestyle change. Changing my life. I am running for my life again.

About a month ago, my husband told me that he had bought something - and that I couldn't laugh at him. I wouldn't laughed. Well I would have - if he bought a thong. Or a snuggy. He told me that he had bought the NutriBullet - and that we were going to give it a try.

Well - it's been a month - and we love it! We use it everyday. I make a drink every morning for my breakfast. Chris has his between work and Kunga.  He has already lost some weight - typical boy - but we are both feeling healthy. And how can we not. The drink can be filled with whatever you want to add.  Everything is raw - fresh - deelish.

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Here is a typical breakfast drink.

A bunch of spinach, a kale leaf, half an avocado, half a grapefruit, grapes, hemp hearts, a plum, flax seed and water.

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 Add it all in - and whip it up.

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And that's it. Literally 10 seconds.

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I love the drinks. They are earthy, flavourful and so good for you. We add so many different fruits and vegetables. Cucumbers, watermelons, oranges, bananas. So many possibilities. Adding the hemp hearts, flax seeds or goji berries - are good for the boost.

If you're looking for something different to incorporate into your diet - I would totally recommend this. I would order it online - as it will come with a bunch of nutritional information and a recipe book.

Alright - I need to hit the hay. Hay hittin'.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Mmmmm Bacon

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I just had the best dinner. Seriously! I am not going to post the recipe because there really isn't one - and I think that if I showed you a picture that you would tell me that it looked like I was eating baby food. FYI - I am NOT eating baby food. I also don't have a baby. Well unless Chris is my baby. Gag. We don't call each other 'baby'. We call each other 'Babe' quite often. Like 'hi babe'. Or 'babe can you pour me a full glass of wine?' Actually I am not a huge wine drinker. So it would be more like 'babe can you make me a chocolate milk shake?' And he would say 'babe, no. Milk shakes aren't good for you'. And then I would say something like 'Babe, screw you'. And then we would laugh and dance and hug.

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Anyways - for Thanksgiving dinner I roasted not one, but TWO huge roasting pans full of root vegetables and a few non-rooties. There were yams, butternut squash, parsnips, yellow beets, purple beets and carrots. They were roasted with a bit of olive oil, kosher salt and pepper - roasted at 400 for about 45 minutes. There were a lot left over. So tonight - I put the rest in the blender, added a bit of vegetable stock and pureed it all up. It was sort of the consistency of mashed potatoes. Seriously! The colour was spectacular. I sauteed a bit of onion with two red peppers in a pan, added the rest of the chopped up turkey and heated it all up. Yumma in my tumma.

Now although we loved the roasted veggies, but this recipe was the star of the dinner. Well I sort of think that it was. I found the recipe in a Canadian Living magazine, and it is going to be my new 'go to'. I think that there are many different variations to do with this. It's rustic, it's full of flavour and it is a deelish treat.

Please try it and tell me if you loved it like we did.

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Leek, Apple and Bacon Tart

2 leeks
3 apples - something a bit sweet not too tart - I used gala
10 strips of bacon
1/2 cup of white wine
1/4 cup of cream
3 tbsp of dijon mustard
2 cups of gruyere cheese
Puff pastry

PS - I also made this for our friend Stacey, who is vegetarian, and I just sauteed the leeks and apple in a bit of olive oil - and made her, her own little tart.

PSS - I made the tart filling the day before and just kept it in the fridge. It made the prep so easy.

Bake the bacon in a 400 for 20 minutes. You don't have to bake the bacon - but lining a baking sheet or tray wth aluminum foil - and baking them is so easy. So Easy!  Drain 2 tbsp of the bacon fat. Pat the bacon dry - to try and soak up the extra fat.

In a skillet, saute the leek in the bacon fat. (I feel so bad and guilty for using bacon fat!!!) Sigh. Ok, I'm over it. Saute the leeks - add in a pinch of kosher salt and ground black pepper, until they are soft, 3-5 minutes. Add in the white wine. Add in the apples and continue to saute - about another 3 minutes. Add in the cream and let the leeks and apple thicken. Rough chop the bacon and add it to the leeks and apples.

Puff pastry - make sure that it is fully thawed (I used Tenderflake and it never fails) - roll out onto a flour surface. Roll into a rectangular shape. Fold in the corners so that it makes and then fold over all of the sides - about 1/2 inch. Do this for both pieces of the puff pastry.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and add the puff pastry to the sheet.  Brush the corners and sides with milk. Spread the dijon mustard evenly over the puff pastry. Evenly place the mixture into each tart. Then top with the shredded gruyere cheese. Brush the sides again with milk.

Bake in a 400 oven for 25 minutes.

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Rustic, so flavouful, so deelish.

Alrightyo - off to tidy that messy kitchen.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving



Happy Thanksgiving.



I am thankful for so much.

I am thankful for:

My handsome husband.
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My wonderful mom.
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My great family.
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My pups.
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My fat cat
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Wonderful friends (I can't put pictures of them all up - but if you're my friend - then I hope you know I love you lots and lots!!)
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My feet - they are getting me active and healthy.
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My career - it has given me so much - and allows us to have the life we do.

My neighbours.
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Getting tickets to see Bruce. BRUCE!!!!!!!!

And so, so much more.

We did Thanksgiving Dinner yesterday. We had my mom, her neighbour and our lovely friends David and Stacey. I will definitely post a few recipes in the next couple of days - but wanted to share this - because I loved how they turned out.

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Seating cards - a little piece of card stock, a piece of raffia tied around a little pumpkin. I put the name on the top and on the back I wrote why I was thankful for them in my life.

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Alrighty - heading off to eat a healthy turkey leftover dinner. And maybe, just maybe, a small, tiny piece of pumpkin pie.

Loves.

Enjoy!