March 31, 2015

It Finally Hit Me!

It finally hit me.  I am officially on Spring Break.  It hit me yesterday morning when I didn't have to get up hours before the sun.  Those of you who know me know that I am a huge early bird, but sometimes 5:00 am is just a tad too early to get the worm everyone's always talking about...

Yesterday I got up at 7:00 am, made some breakfast and plunked myself on the couch where I slowly enjoyed my breakfast while watching some Netflix!  Ahhh...no better way to spend my first real day of holidays!

I have no real plans for the next two weeks, which I'm kind of loving.  At first, I was a bit disappointed I wasn't going anywhere but now I'm perfectly content with my decision!  I plan on doing some Spring cleaning (i.e. going through cupboards, closets and drawers), getting my gardens ready, building a kitchen table (pretty excited about this one) and going to as many classes at the gym as I can!

Now, back to the food!  Here's yesterday's breakfast.


Acai bowl with all of the toppings!


Acai Bowl
Ingredients:

1 package of sugar free acai pack


1 frozen banana
1 cup frozen strawberries
1/8-1/4 cup almond milk (I used homemade but any will do)

Directions:

1. Blend in blender/food processor. The stronger the better!  Add more liquid to reach desired consistency.

2. Have fun with your toppings!  I added banana, blackberries, leftover granola from yesterday's breakfast, walnuts and raw buckwheat groats.

Now, I have never had an acai bowl before, nor do I know what it is them...but this one was phenomenal! 

Do any of you make acai bowls? Or if you don't, have you ever had one?  















March 30, 2015

Roasted Tomato Soup

Rewind to dinner last night.  Simple ingredients, easy prep, minimal clean up and tons of flavour!

Roasted Tomato Soup
adapted from somewhere that I can't remember...

Ingredients:

6-8 tomatoes on the vine cut into quarters
1 yellow onion cut into quarters
head of garlic
fresh basil
fresh thyme
juice of 1/2 lemon
2-3 tbsp olive oil
salt 
pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper


Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut top off of garlic head.  Put head down on cookie sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Bake for 30-45 minutes until lightly brown.

2. Put tomatoes, onion, fresh herbs (to taste), olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper (to taste) and cayenne pepper (1-2 pinches) into large bowl.

3. Mix with hands until combined.



4. Put on cookie sheet.  Bake for approx. 30 minutes.



5. Add all tomato mixture to blender.  Squeeze out roasted garlic into blender.  Blend until it reaches your desired consistency.  I blended until it was completely smooth and creamy!


6.  Serve, garnish and enjoy!

Have you ever made tomato soup this way? 






March 29, 2015

I'm Back!

Well, well, well...look who we have here.  Yes, I'm back.  Yes, It's been over a year.  I still can't believe it.  No major excuses and no, I am not going to write a novel about what I have been up to because I have a granola recipe to share with you, and let's face it granola recipe > my whole life story.  But, here is a quick little list to get you all up to date:

  • I am currently teaching at the same school as last year (K-2 class), which is in a very remote community
  • Francis graduated from UVic with his Engineering degree and moved to Campbell River.  He now has a great job working for the Hydro Dam project as a Field Engineer!
  • We (my dad, Francis and I) renovated and moved into a house on a large piece of property 
  • I am still baking and cooking up a storm
  • I haven't been running much at all lately but have been going to group classes at the gym (zumba, spin) and keeping up with my pilates!

Now that that's out of the way, let's get down to business.

This granola *drool*.  So easy, so quick, so healthy, SO delicious.  Make it, like now!


Five-Minute Granola

Ingredients:

1/2 cup oatmeal
2 tbsp coconut oil
1-2 tbsp sweetener of choice (I used maple syrup but actually prefer agave nectar)
1/2-1 tsp cinnamon

Directions:

1. Preheat oven (I used a toaster oven) to 350 degrees.
2. Mix all ingredients together.  
  • Note: it is easier to use coconut oil at room temperature than liquid
2. Spread granola onto non stick cookie sheet or onto a silpat.
3. Bake for 5-10 minutes or until slightly golden.
4. Allow to cool and enjoy (if you're impatient like me you can put it in the freezer)





I love this granola so much that I sometimes make it at 5:00 am before I head off to work.  


Served on top of 2 % greek yogurt and topped with banana, apple, peanut butter coconut oil drizzle and unsweetened coconut flakes!

How do you like to eat your granola?







October 19, 2013

It's been a very long time...

HI EVERYONE!!!!!!  I am so excited to be back.  I know it has been a super long time since I have posted but the last few months of my life have been some of the best/worst months of my entire life!  I won't go into too much detail because there isn't enough room on this page, but I will give you a bit of an update!

Let's start with June...Francis and I were in the middle of looking for jobs for September.  A lot of areas were on our radar: Quebec City, Calgary, Vancouver area etc...  It was a really hard time for us.  We were trying to find jobs in the same area, which let's face it is nearly impossible.  I made a very difficult decision in June to put in my notice at my job.  I realized that I needed time to really focus on applying for jobs and wasn't giving it the time that it deserved.  After 7 long years at University, I owed it to myself to really concentrate on my future!  It was a fun 6 months working with awesome people and having fun but I had the rest of my life to look after!  Francis had also applied for a job in Calgary...a VERY good opportunity for him...so I wanted to try to go with him.  If he got the job I was going to move there regardless if I got a teaching job or not.  We just wanted to be together...

On my last day of work I got a call from the school district in my hometown!  They wanted me to come in for an interview.  Umm...what??? I didn't even know what to do!  I was so excited and so flipping nervous at the same time!  Of course, I said yes.  Francis also had an interview at a job in Vancouver!  Francis' interview went well and he found out that he got the job (woo hoo).  My interview went well but I wasn't offered the job...super bummer, but you know what?  I got over it and I realized that it wasn't the end of the world.  I was so nervous for the interview that I ended up crying...yup, you heard that right.  It was a combination of nerves and getting emotional over the relationship I had with the students in my final practicum class!  I'm not embarrassed about that anymore...I did my very best and I was happy that I was completely myself!

That same day the school district called me again...they wanted me to come in for another interview the next morning.  I almost turned it down because I didn't want to be nervous again...but I realized that that would be a huge mistake and that I should just go in there, give it my all and not be nervous.  I looked at it as a learning experience and told myself I probably wouldn't get it but that I was very fortunate to have been giving an interview (getting on the sub list is very hard, let alone getting a teaching job with little to no experience).

Later on that day, the principal of the school called me and said she was trying to get a hold of my references but couldn't.  Ahhhhhh she was actually calling my references?  I gave her the numbers and became extremely nervous.  Over the weekend I was very relaxed because I knew they wouldn't call me to tell me the good or bad news.  Monday rolled around and I had just come in from my morning run when the phone rang...I didn't answer it.  I was WAY too nervous.  I called back and was expecting to be told that I didn't get the job but I was prepared for it.  She told me that they would LIKE TO OFFERING ME THE POSITION I INTERVIEWED FOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I couldn't believe it!  I got super chatty and the lovely lady on the phone had to ask me...after about 5 solid minutes of my chatter...she said...so, do you accept the position?  OF COURSE I DO!!!!!  It was such an amazing moment that I will never forget!  Completely surreal....

The rest of my summer consisted of packing, shopping for my very first car (eek) planning lessons, shopping for my classroom (SO FLIPPIN' FUN!).  We officially moved out of our place at the end of August and I am now settled into my new life in my hometown.  Francis is in Vancouver and we see eachother most weekends, which we both really look forward to!


My new car :)


Teacher supply store my good friend, Nicole and I went to in Van!  SOOOOOOO overwhelming...I walked out with some stickers...


Oh the chaos...


Moved in trying to unpack and get settled asap!


Starting to come together...walls are still bare but that will change once I make a trip to Emporia for some beautiful prints!


My bedroom...yes, I have a view of the ocean! I am SUPER lucky!


The stunning view the very first morning of my new job :)

View from my office!  Seriously?  So gorgeous!


The forest I take my class to everyday...we have so much fun in there!


There is only ONE stop on the way to my school...and she makes the LARGEST cinnamon buns EVER!  This doesn't do it justice...it is the size of my head...not even kidding!  It fed about 6 people...


The beautiful Elk that I get to see at least a couple of times of a week... they are the most majestic creatures I think I have ever seen.  They are beautiful.


And just one of my little B-man looking all cute...he has settled in to his new home quite nicely :)

I am in love with my career...the people, the atmosphere, the village (yes, it's a village, not a town...it's that small :) and of course my absolutely wonderful class!  I look forward to seeing them every morning...the smiles, the hugs, the laughter!  It is THE most rewarding, fun career I could have ever asked for and I am so beyond grateful that I was given this opportunity!  We have only been in school for 2 months but it has gone by super fast and I feel like that will continue throughout the year!  The best part is that I always know I have weekends off and so does Francis...so I work very hard during the week so that I can look forward to a relaxing/fun weekend away or at home!

I PROMISE I am going to get back to some more regular blogging...and I will include more running/exercise updates and food recipes, of course!  I am sorry it has been so long but I have also had a rough few weeks as I have lost a very close family member unexpectedly and it has been extremely tough...trying very hard to cope and I think that just getting back into the swing of things will help...having an outlet like blogging will also be very good for me!  Sorry for such a ramble but I had a lot of share obviously!  I hope I haven't lost any readers...but if I have I am sorry and maybe I will gain some new ones! :)

Have a great Saturday night!  I am having a nice glass of wine by my fire watching some Gilmore Girls overlooking the ocean with my kitty... perfect!

May 05, 2013

Fresh is Best

Is everyone else in Victoria absolutely dying over this amazing weather we've been having? It's absolutely phenomenal!  We are supposed to break some records today and hopefully it keeps up! So far so good :) 

So, after Francis and I finished lazing around yesterday afternoon we had some lunch.  He had the locally made, FRESH herb pasta we bought yesterday with a rose sauce (to die for) and I whipped up a  nice big salad.  


Same as yesterday but with grated beets and parsnip, basil infused olive oil and a poached egg on top.  I wasn't patient enough to cook it over the stove so I microwaved it? Has anyone done that before? It was a scary experience...a few explosions were involved.

We spent the rest of the afternoon driving around West Saanich, stopping at a few farms/markets along the way...just to see what they had to offer this time of year.  Nothing exciting as of yet but strawberry picking season is next month (TRYING TO CONTROL MY EXCITEMENT).  We also drove into Oak Bay to get a new house plant...I killed our love fern...yet again...

When we got home, Francis watched the hockey game and I got my bikini on and laid out in the sun to soak in some rays.  It felt amazing!  I didn't have sunscreen on so I didn't stay out very long...but I am going to be buying some this week so that I can stay out longer next time!  My pasty legs need some vitamin D.

At about 5 pm I whipped up some dins.  Toasted Sesame Ginger Salmon, brown rice and a HUGE green salad for me.


His - Sans the salad.


Hers.  His just looked much prettier than mine...  The salmon was pretty tasty, but I have to admit I am a HUGE seafood snob.  I grew up in the salmon capital of the world and we ate fresh salmon all the time.  We would go out on our family boat, put down the prawn and crab traps and then go salmon fishing, sometimes stopping at our favourite islands for a swim along the way (in the summer of course).

We would bring our catch of the day (Summer Spring's are my favourite salmon) home and cook it that night.  Talk about fresh, right?  The toppings were always simple. Salt, pepper and dill or fresh garlic and lemon or sun dried tomatoes.  We always used very fresh ingredients to compliment the fish not mask it like this recipe did.  This salmon also tasted quite fishy, which SUPER fresh fish does not...BUT...it was pretty good but I don't think I will make it again.

Dessert was, as you know, Rhubarb Crisp.  Topped with vanilla ice cream!  One word: Incredible.


Today, Britta and I went to Elk Lake at 6:30 am for a 12 km run.  The birds were chirping, the sun was shining, it was quiet and the air smelled fresh and sweet.  It was a great way to start the day!  Breakfast was a simple bowl of flax flakes cereal topped with some strawberries and banana! Mmmm mmmm good.  I really wanted a nice, cold smoothie but forgot to freeze a banana last night (fail), so I guess I'll have to wait until tomorrow!

Now get out there and enjoy the sunshine!

xo




May 04, 2013

Update and a VERY Special Birthday Wish

I know, I know...I have been MIA for over a month! Isn't that crazy?  I definitely missed my time away from you all and am super happy to be back in action!  Not a lot has been going on with me lately...just enjoying life as much as I possibly can! Going to fitness classes I've never been to before (bodybump, step and sculpt and ZUMBA), running, working and hanging out with some of my fav. peeps.  So pretty much the same as always... before I get into the goods, I'd like to wish a very special person a Happy Birthday.

Happy Birthday to the most beautiful, inspirational and just plain wonderful woman I know.  I love you more than words can say, mom and if I can be half the woman you are I will be one lucky lady.



Now onto yesterday.  It was a great day! Actually...I think it's safe to say that it was one of the best days I've had in awhile.  I didn't do anything that most people would find exciting but for those of you who know me know that I live for the simple things!

I started off my day nice and early at about 6:30 am.  I got up, enjoyed some breakfast and headed out the door bright and early grocery shopping!  I stopped by the Rootcellar first, which has recently been renovated and expanded and is absolutely AMAZING!  I was actually happy that I was shopping by myself because I could take my sweet time looking at each and every product that they had to offer, and I did.  TONS of local meat, bread, produce and dairy products!

After about an hour of looking around the market, I grabbed an americano from the bakery next door and headed over to Thrifties to get a few things.  Let me tell ya...Thrifties looked terrible compared to the Rootcellar so I spent about 10 minutes in there and was out as quick as possible.  Next on my list (yes, I made a list of the order of where to go...let me explain...you see...all of the places I wanted to go opened at different times so I started with the places that opened first and that would have the best selection/deals before I head to the other stores)

My last THREE stops were Lifestyles (always a favourite), Costco (mostly for the gum) and Fairway for the few things left on my grocery list (still wasn't able to get everything - who would have thought that raw, frozen prawns would be so hard to come by).


When I got home I immediately cleaned out and restocked the fridge.  Boston was also super excited by all of the fresh goods!


I think I might have got a TAD over excited by all of the deals and great produce that I found...but it will definitely get eaten.  Francis and I love us some fully loaded salads, especially this time of year!


While I was putting the groceries away I sipped on this Hint Fizz.  I hadn't tried one before but I'll surely be getting one again!  Zero cal, zero sugar, all natural! I'll take it ;)


After all of the groceries were put away I made some stewed rhubarb sweetened with agave.  $12  worth of rhubarb = a crap load of rhubarb.  I froze a few containers, have one in the fridge to mix in with my greek yogurt AND a huge container of raw stuff left, which I will use up tonight in a crisp!

In the afternoon, Francis and I went for a walk around Thetis Lake and then made a pit stop at Young Young's Tea House for a "Bubble Tea" aka fruit slushie with little jelly goobers in the bottom.  We both used to get these about twice a month when we lived in that area but hadn't had one in years.  They totally hit the spot.  They were even better than I remember.  I had a mango with coconut jelly and Francis had peach with passion fruit poppers.



Read the fine print.  "Warning: Please be careful not to choke while sucking on the pearls or jellies." How hilarious is that?  I guess you can never be TOO safe...

When we got home we relaxed, watched some hockey (I watched Full House ;) and made up some yummy salads for dins.



Pre washed romaine hearts (best invention EVER), strawberries, cucumber, grape tomatoes, avocado, natural chicken deli meat, fig goat cheese, strawberry balsamic reduction and pepper.  WOW! That's a mouthful.  It was so flippin' fresh and delicious. Mmmm...K, I'm hungry now!

This morning I was woken up early with a nice fury butt all up in my grill (classy, Boston, real classy) so I got up...which I was planning on doing whether Boston stuck his tush in my face or not.  I thought about going for a run at the lake again..but I really wasn't feeling up to it.  Because I pushed myself so many mornings during half marathon training I am really enjoying listening to my body and doing something active when I feel like it, which, luckily for me, is most days!  

Instead of a run...I made myself a really yummy breaky: greek yogurt, banana, strawbs, stewed rhubarb and a local granola I found in the bulk section at Lifestyles.  I'm happy I only got about 1/2 cup because I'm not lovin' it.  Nothing beats homemade granola, am I right?


After breakfast Francis and I headed out to the Rootcellar again to get a few more things...okay okay...I just wanted to look around at everything again!  We came home with some local chipotle turkey sausages, local fresh pasta, local root beer (for Franny Bear), and a beet and parsnip for salads.

I also wanted to grab a coffee at the bakery next door...and Francis saw a HUGE cupcake that he just had to have for his breakfast! "It's Saturday" he said.  I like the way you think!

This afternoon we are going to do some research on biking trails around here so we can go on a bike ride.  The weather is amazing and we both have the day off together.  We've gotta take advantage of it!  Hoping to do something fun tonight as well but only time will tell what our crazy selves will be up to...stay tuned!



March 21, 2013

Biscotti Love

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Nicole and I decided to spend the afternoon baking biscotti.  It was a pretty grey day and there was no better way to spend it.  Catching up, drinking tea and baking! Perfect!

I think we probably went a tad overboard...we made 4 different kinds.  Mint Chocolate, Butterscotch, Lemon Lavender White Chocolate, Cranberry Pistachio Dark Chocolate.

We didn't want to play around with such a simple, delicious cookie.  There are so many ways to lighten up these recipes, which I have done in the past, but why change something that is already so perfect.  Plus, biscotti's are actually quite a low calorie cookie that you can feel good about treating yourself to!


Lemon Lavender White Chocolate
(adapted from Bon-Bon Bonnie's Lavender/Lemon Biscotti

Light and refreshing, with a hint of sweetness from the white chocolate.  The perfect afternoon treat to have with your cup of tea.

Ingredients:
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp dried lavender blossoms
2 large eggs
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 tsp grated lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup white chocolate chips

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
2. Process sugar and lavender blossoms in food processor until a fine powder forms.
2. Cream butter and sugar in your stand mixer or large bowl until light and fluffy.  Add the rest of the wet ingredients. Mix well.
3. Add all dry ingredients (except white chocolate chips) to your stand mixer, or a large bowl.  Combine well.
4.  Add dry to wet.
5. Mix until well combined.
6.  Add white chocolate chips.
7.  Split dough into 2.
8. Form each section of dough into a log, approx. 10 inches long, 3 inches wide.
9.  Bake on a parchment lined cookie sheet (or use your silpat) for 20-25 minutes until corners are brown and crispy.  The centre will be soft.
10.  Remove from oven, cut into ~3/4 inch-1 inch slices.
11.  Place slices on their side and bake for ~10 minutes on each side.
12.  Remove from oven, allow to cool, and serve with your favourite cup of tea.  My personal favourite is red rose with milk :)






Butterscotch Biscotti

We used a plain biscotti recipe and just added 1-1/2 cups of butterscotch chips.  These are so beyond amazing.  Words can't even describe.  These were the first to go out of my freezer...

Ingredients:
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups butterscotch chips


Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
2. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the rest of the wet ingredients. Mix well.
3. Add all dry ingredients (except butterscotch chips) to your stand mixer, or a large bowl.  Combine well.
4.  Add dry to wet.
5. Mix until well combined.
6.  Add butterscotch chips.
7.  Split dough into 2.
8. Form each section of dough into a log, approx. 10 inches long, 3 inches wide.
9.  Bake on a parchment lined cookie sheet (or use your silpat) for 20-25 minutes until corners are brown and crispy.  The centre will be soft.
10.  Remove from oven, cut into ~3/4 inch-1 inch slices.
11.  Place slices on their side and bake for ~10 minutes on each side.
12.  Remove from oven, allow to cool.




Pistachio Cranberry Dark Chocolate Biscotti

Full of some seriously delicious ingredients.  The pistachios add a nice crunch, cranberries add a nice chew and the dark chocolate adds a nice richness to these yummy cookies.  

Ingredients:

2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup unsalted pistachios
1/2-1 cup dried cranberries
1/2-1 cup dark chocolate chips



Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
2. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the rest of the wet ingredients. Mix well.
3. Add all dry ingredients (except pistachios, cranberries, and chocolate chips) to your stand mixer, or a large bowl.  Combine well.
4.  Add dry to wet.
5. Mix until well combined.
6.  Add dark chocolate chips, pistachios, cranberries.
7.  Split dough into 2.
8. Form each section of dough into a log, approx. 10 inches long, 3 inches wide.
9.  Bake on a parchment lined cookie sheet (or use your silpat) for 20-25 minutes until corners are brown and crispy.  The centre will be soft.
10.  Remove from oven, cut into ~3/4 inch-1 inch slices.
11.  Place slices on their side and bake for ~10 minutes on each side.
12.  Remove from oven, allow to cool.





Chocolate Mint Biscotti
adapted from Honest Cooking's Double Chocolate Peppermint Biscotti

'Nuf said.

Ingredients:
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
6 tbsp butter (softened)
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1-2 tsp peppermint extract (we used 2)
1 cup mint chocolate chips

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
2. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the rest of the wet ingredients. Mix well.
3. Add all dry ingredients (except mint chocolate chips) to your stand mixer, or a large bowl.  Combine well.
4.  Add dry to wet.
5. Mix until well combined.
6.  Add mint chocolate chips.
7.  Split dough into 2.
8. Form each section of dough into a log, approx. 10 inches long, 3 inches wide.
9.  Bake on a parchment lined cookie sheet (or use your silpat) for 20-25 minutes until corners are brown and crispy.  The centre will be soft.
10.  Remove from oven, cut into ~3/4 inch-1 inch slices.
11.  Place slices on their side and bake for ~10 minutes on each side.
12.  Remove from oven, allow to cool.

A few stragglers...



Sooooooo...I'm sorry I waited so long to post these recipes.  I just thought it was going to take much longer than it really did.  I hope you guys make at least one of these recipes.  They are too good to pass up.  

All right...I am off to continue my relaxing day.  The couch is calling my name! Trying to get as much rest in as I can before the COMOX VALLEY HALF MARATHON this Sunday! EEK so soon.  

xo