Changes

July 29, 2009

I was going through some papers a couple days ago, and stumbled upon something I wrote down back in January.

Reading it made me realise just how much I have grown and changed since then. I wrote this about at the time or just before I started this blog.

I truly believe that my blog has hugely helped me find myself. But I find it interesting that some things I wrote on paper happened since.

I thought I would share it with you. These are thoughts that came to me, late at night, at a time when I was just feeling so lost. So here it is:

My journey to health
As I am writing this, I am sitting on my bed, surrounded by veg. recipes, health pamphlets and a vegetarian magazine. I find I want to immerse myself in this new world. I feel it's giving me a purpose. I'm learning about food, but it's more than that. It's health. I'm learning about health, but it's more than that. It's life.
I used to meditate, but now I don't anymore. I used to be happy, but now I'm just moody. I am now a 28 year old mom of two amazing toddlers, and I'm tired all the time and I'm cranky all the time.
I think I found my path. It's going to take a while to get to where I want to be. But what an amazing journey this will be. I want to be a better mom, a healthy and happy woman, a peaceful spirit. I can already see how this is going to change me. It's like a domino effect. Many pieces that all lead to one place. But there are so many pieces, that I just can't quite put words to all this yet. But I am liking where it's taking me.
Boy, how right did I turn out to be! It started with me learning SO much about nutrition, then I drooped about 15 lbs, became calmer, definitely happier, my kids are happier and calmer (went from thinking my son might have ADHD to fixing most of the issues through diet), my relationship is so much better because we are all happier... and I found myself in the process!
I am still growing, learning, expanding my horizons. But I can truly say, my whole family is better because of this journey I went on.
I guess the moral of the story is that if your a mom and lost yourself, it's definitely worth trying to find yourself again. Sometimes things in life can happen, and transform you into someone you don't know anymore. It's up to you to make changes and do something about it.
Try it, you just might be surprised by what happens!
Stephanie xx

Under construction

July 28, 2009

Just a little note to let everyone know I am "trying" to change my template.

I tend to want to change colors around me every few months, like room decors and such.

I found the templates offered by blogger did not suit what I wanted at the moment, so I am looking at other sites.

I thought it would be pretty straight forward, but it turns out that it's NOT. lol.

By changing the template, I lost a few things, and I have to change it again, since this one will not allow me to change fonts and colors of texts.

So please, please, please, bare with me! Hang in there, I'll be done soon. I'm thinking once I get it done the way I like it, I'll just have to stick with it.

It's waaaay too much trouble when you don't really know what your doing!

The best soup ever!

Last week, before all this crazy heat started, I took the notion to make soup...at 10:30pm.

Yes, I know it's weird, but I could not sleep AND I had been drooling over this recipe for a couple months I think. The recipe is from
Fresh 365. And if you've never heard of this blog and love cooking, then you will be in heaven!

And by the way, I believe that all her recipes are veg.

This woman is amazing at food photography. I thought maby she was a food stylist for a magazine or something, but turns out she's a designer. She's just really talented with photography AND cooking.

You can find the original recipe
here.

I talked about this soup on my Facebook page, and had a couple friends who wanted the recipe. So here it is :)

Curried Lentil, Swiss Chard and Chickpea Soup

(I took this picture, it did not come from the Fresh 365 blog. I wish my food pics were half as nice as hers)

Serves 4

3 Tbsp olive oil
1 lg onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lg bunch Swiss chard, chopped, stems and leaves separated
5 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup baby carrots, coarsely chopped
4 cups vegetable broth
2 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cup red lentils
15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic and Swiss chard stems. Saute until golden brown, about 10 minutes.
Stir in curry, cayenne and salt.
Add Swiss chard leaves, carrots, broth and water, stir and bring to a boil.
Add lentils and chickpeas.
Reduce to low heat, cover and simmer until lentils are tender, about 12 minutes.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.


This recipe is so easy and fool proof! I did not have any cayenne, so I used chili powder. I used regular carrots instead of baby ones, and sliced them. AND I was tired apparently (hey, it was almost 11pm when I was done making this! lol) because I forgot to put certain ingredients in the pot at the right times, and the canned chickpeas were not tender enough when the 12 minutes was up, so I let it sit an extra 20-30 minutes. Result: my red lentils disintegrated! The texture was still good though. It made it thicker and less like a broth.

Even with all those minor "screw ups", it still tasted amazing!

Thanks to
mum seeks life for blogging about it a while back. I never would have found this blog and my now new favourite soup without you!

Raw mango "ice cream"

July 26, 2009

With all this heat, we've been craving frozen treats a lot here this week.

But I'm not a fan of conventional ice cream anymore, often an easy "go to" for parents.

First, my son and I are both lactose intolerant, so that's obviously not tempting. Eat ice cream, have instant tummy aches and don't leave the house for hours...No thank you!

Second, since we eat healthier here this year, I don't really like food that comes out of a box or container. They contain way too much sugar and additives, something my son's body does not react well to.

So I decided to make raw mango "ice cream".

Raw Mango "Ice Cream"

1 1/2 cup Mango, cut up

1/3 cup raw (unpasteurised) honey

1/2 cup water

I put everything in the blender until smooth and then in a container to freeze over night. It was a bit too sweet to my taste, even if I used less honey than the recipe calls for, but I did forget to add a dash of lime juice, which would explain the sweetness AND my mango was so ripe and sweet!

The good thing with this kind of recipe, is that you can adjust it to your liking before freezing. If your a non-honey vegan, you could switch the honey for raw agave. And don't limit yourself to 1 kind of fruit. Try strawberries, or papayas, or even substitute the water for fresh orange juice, or coconut water!

Oh the possibilities!

It's been a hot and busy week

It's been a hot and busy week: 3 play dates in 2 days, running errands, Daddy coming home from work for his days off (he works away) and a crazy amount of heat and humidity!

We've been having fun though!

The first real hot day, the kids were just melting. So I got them ready for some wet fun and let them go crazy with water guns, a bowl of water and some containers on the balcony.

When you don't have a yard, you do what you gotta do!

And they were very happy, but hot!


Then when Daddy got home, we decided to try golfing as a family. He's been trying to get me into golfing for years and I never had any desire for it. I actually had only played twice, before our oldest was 1 yo. And I did not enjoy it that much, because at that point, I was not enjoying being without my baby.
So anyways, we decided to try it as a family. Our son even has his own set of Jr. clubs that we got him last year and he's pretty good at it, considering he's not even 4.
I was hoping for the best, but expecting the worst. And to my surprise, EVERYONE had fun!


We will be going as a family again before the end of summer, that's for sure. It was awesome!
Then a couple days later, Daddy took our son to the driving range for some father/son time. That meant that my baby girl and I got to have girl time. But I was not in the mood to go anywhere, I was so exhausted.
So I decided to bake some cookies with her. (even if it was really hot) Every time I bake, her brother wants to help with everything and never gives her a chance to have a turn, or he gets mad!
This time, she got to help me with the whole recipe! It made her so happy and she kept saying :"I big girl!"
Then, we made some Smoothie Popsicles.

She got to help again and she loved it. Actually, even if she is a year and a half younger than her big brother, she takes direction a lot better. She listens to everything I tell her, and never have to repeat twice.

AND she's so careful no to make a mess... bonus! Ha!



Ta Da!!! See what we made!

Strawsome!

July 20, 2009

If your still hesitating on jumping on the "green bandwagon", then here is something that will probably make you want to dive in head first.

These particular glass straws are from Strawsome. (There are a few company's out there that make them) They are SO stylish. Tiffany over at nature moms blog just posted about them. She has some for her family and I must say I'm a bit jealous ;) (She is also doing a giveaway, so go check out her blog :)

Over the past year, I bought a few different kinds of plastic straws to basically "bribe" my kids into either drinking some green smoothies (and smoothies are too thick for most straws by the way), or trying to get my daughter to use a glass or cup, instead of a sippy cup. But how many straws did I end up sending to the landfill in the process? At least couple hundred, I am sure. I even got some cheap "swirly" straws from the dollar store and wash and reuse them.... and eventually trow them away because they are so hard to clean. Plus, who knows where they were made and what kind of chemicals were in that cheap plastic?

Now, straws that are better for the environment, reusable, easy to wash (they come with a special brush) AND are this beautiful, makes the decision a no-brainer to me. I am never buying plastic straws again. And with those, I am sure I'll get my kids interested in any kind of special beverage, weather it's green smoothies, fresh pressed juice or just plain 'ole water.

I need to order some very soon...

Wouldn't YOU want to be seen sipping on one of these?

New and improved

July 19, 2009

I have been wondering how to improve my favourite recipes both nutritionally and flavor wise in the past week.

I really liked my Pina Colada smoothie (blogged about it here), but it's not something I'd want to drink daily or every couple days even. I don't eat yogurt very often anymore and I found it so heavy on the stomach that it was actually giving me indigestion all through the night. (Could be because I had too much of it, as I am used to having a very large glass of green smoothie, daily)

Gotta listen to your body sometimes!

So I "greened" it up: omitted the yogurt, and replaced with TONS of spinach, and added a bit more pineapple. It was divine! And, alot easier to digest! And now it's vegan, so no matter what your eating preferences are, anyone can have one of those!


Here are my applesauce oatmeal cookies. OK, so a cookie is a cookie. It's a sweet treat. It's not health food, I know that. I did not try to add spinach to it :)

But going through some old recipes from when I would eat full fat and full sugar versions, I remembered that these oatmeal cookies I used to make, also had some grated orange rind (peel) in it, and they were A-MA-ZING! So I whipped out a batch an hour ago, added the rind of a clementine (did not have any oranges), and they were even better. These are dangerously good! And I find that since I add flax to the original recipe and organic shredded coconut, they are more filling and more tender.

A must try if you ask me!
I like that I no longer use a cup of butter for a batch of oatmeal cookies.
My arteries are thanking me!

Let me know how you like them if you decide to try these recipes, please. I would love some feedback :)

Stephanie xx

I am inspired

July 14, 2009

Between rekindling my love for cooking, baking, decorating and being artistic again, I am really starting to find myself again.

I just want to add quickly a big thank you to Viv from Ish and Shi, she is so creative and artistic, I just love her blog and she inspired me to get back to do the artsy and crafty things I love and used to do. (She also has an Etsy shop. You can check it out here.)

I decided to do a simple project to get back into it. A door sign for Arianne's room.

Nothing like a little candlelight to make any project extra calming and peaceful!


And here it is all done! It was simple to make, but the end result was a happy, calm and inspired new me!

I had forgotten how much I love doing this kind of thing. How good it feels to finish a project. And how much self esteem it gives me, because I think I'm pretty good at it, if I may say so myself ;)

Creativity is flowing through my veins right now... I cannot stop thinking of new things I can do, paint, recover, redecorate.

My brain is going a hundred miles an hour.

I now have a huge list of projects for the summer, and I will be posting more of them as they are finished.

I would love to know, what inspires you lately?

What we ate yesterday

Yesterday was a good day.
Everyone was happy, rested, well behaved. But it was also a good food day. We ate so many healthy things, my body must have been trying to tell me something. After the last 2 weeks of being out and about on mini vacations, I felt absolutely gross. I'm so ashamed of what I ate, I wont even tell you were we ended up eating most times because of how often we ate there.

For breakfast, I had some hearty organic oatmeal (forgot to take a picture), topped with ground flax, hemp seeds, unsulphured raisins, cinnamon and maple syrup.

Then, morning snack was another green smoothie. Yum!

(OK, I did have a couple cups of coffee too, otherwise I am very grumpy)

At lunch, my friend's daughter was over because I was "babysitting" her. It was a last minute kind of thing and I had nothing planned for lunch. So this is what a quick put together meal can look like:

Blueberries, dried goji berries, marble cheese (I wanted to put some raw cashews, but I was unsure if she would eat them. I used to love eating cheese just like that, but I found myself not wanting it.) Noodles with tomato pesto, SO good! A homemade biscuit and some cuke.

Then, sometime in the afternoon, I snacked on one of those puppies. I just love avocado's!

In the afternoon, I went to the health food store. I was in the mood for a healthy, but sweet snack. I decided to try something new and bought these unsulphured papaya spears. They were HUGE! I only nibbled on a tiny end and kept the rest of the spear for later that evening when the urge for a sweet snack would hit me. They are my new favourite sweet snack. I cant believe that I waited this long to try one.

And this was our supper. Salmon, oven roasted potatoes, and snap peas with plain yogurt for the potatoes. I forgot to take a picture before digging into the yogurt and giving some salmon to the kids. But oh well, it was so good.

Speaking of food, I should really get off the computer and go make some lunch. Someone has to feed these kids!

Pina Colada Smoothie

July 12, 2009

Everytime I go to my local Health Food Store, they always have these free health magazines by the cash register. I picked up a couple and one of them had the intire issue dedicated on the benefits of coconut. There was this smoothie recipe in the back that I decided to try, and it's now my new favourite! (Besides my daily green smoothie, of course)

The original recipe leaves alot of room to make this in almost any way to suit your taste buds, but this is how I made it.

Pina Colada Smoothie


1 cup orange juice (recipe called for juice, milk or water, depending on what you like)
1 cup plain unsweetened yogourt
2 cups fruit (I used 1 1/2 banana and 1/2 cup fresh pineapple)
3 Tbsp good quality extra-virgin cold pressed (raw) coconut oil

Blend until smooth and Voila!
It tastes like Pina Colada, minus the alcohol, and it's SO filling. It's basically a meal or a snack if your really hungry. Next step for me is to figure out how I can "green" it up, (remove the plain yogourt and add some dark leafy greens) and still have it taste the same. I'll try to make my breakfast green smoothie taste the same tomorow and I'll let you know what happens!

Enjoy!

Mini-vacation (Part 2)


For the second part of our mini-vacation, Alban was home on days off. So we went camping to Jasper (Alberta, Canada) for 1 night...well, that was the plan. It did not exactly work out as we thought. First, it was over cast and a bit rainy. Second, every single campground in the whole Jasper National Park was

full. And we thought since it's a ski town, that it would low season. Umm... not so much. Apparently,
summer is high season. We found out because all the streets were packed with tourists and hotels and motel prices were ridiculously expensive. We stayed in Jasper this past Christmas and it was half the price. So we ended up back tracking an hour to find a hotel room in another town, outside the National Park. And the next morning, we did not go back to Jasper, but simply headed back home.

BUT, while we were there, we went to the Athabasca Falls (which I love) and walked all the way down the path to the river bank and took some awesome pictures of the kids and some of the kids and I. Sorry, no pictures to post of the falls or us, because my batteries died for my digital camera. Thank goodness I never go on a trip without my manual camera as well.

Alban loves to drive on "new" roads just to explore and does it every now and then. I usually don't like doing that because he seems to have a knack for finding the most twisty windy roads, tight spots and the "Oh my God we are going to get stuck" paths. And this time was no different. But I am glad he did it during that trip. The pictures above were taken while on that road. We have been to Jasper 3 times before, but had never drove up that road and wow! We were not sure where it would take us, but we kept driving. I think there was only 1-2 stretches that were straight. The rest of the time was just turns and judging by the mountains around us, we soon realized that we were heading UP.

On the top right picture, you can see a part of the mountain that is really snowy. Well, it's actually a glacier! And this is what it looked like from the "almost end of the road". (almost because my batteries died just before we got to the end).

There was even a parking lot at the end of the road and there was people hiking all the way to the glacier. I cant wait to go back when the kids are older so I can go for a walk up there and then I can say I've walked on a glacier!

And this is the only picture on my digital cam with people on it. I just love it. It's going in a frame in our living room for sure!

I am dreaming already of our next Jasper vacation...

Our mini vacation

July 9, 2009

We have been back from our mini-vacation for a few days now. 2 back to back road trips with the kids with only one night at home in between made for alot of laundry and a big mess to clean up at home. So it had been a bit busy around here, but I think I'm back on top of things now. As on top of things I can be I suppose. People who know me personally, know I have a big tendency to be very disorganized. But that's a story for another day :)

First, I took the kids by myself for our first road trip without dad. We went to visit their Auntie. They had SO MUCH FUN!!! She has a huge yard and lives outside of town, so they played outside all day long, everyday.


They helped their Auntie to replant some plants.
And they had some yummy Popsicles.
They drove around the yard in their cousins Silverado.

And then there was their first car accident... Oh no!

Baby Girl was probably thinking it was safer to walk at this point, ha ha.





Here is my little guy fixing his truck by "checking the oil".

OK, the truck is all fixed now, lets go for another drive!

We all had a really good time, but it went by so fast! Hopefully we get to go back again sometime this summer. It was definitely a welcomed change of pace from our 3rd floor home and trips to the park. I love the happy look in their faces. There is nothing like the great outdoors to make kids happy!

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